Friday, November 15, 2013

What defines "real writing"?

I was speaking with a woman about my blog and realized how neglected it is.

It's not that I don't have blog thoughts or things to write about. It's been the heavy focus on writing editing and submitting that seems to take all of my spare time.

There's been a huge discussion online lately about what makes a real writer. Some think it is the ability to write deep prose and win awards even if it makes no money. That genre writing is fluff and not real writing. The other side of this argument is that genre fiction, and earning money to pay your bills is the definition of real writing.

As a fiction writer I definitely side with the second half of the above statement. To me, success is earning money to support either your life and family or earning money to support your art. While awards are nice. (Trust me, they can go a long way in the writing world. They give you credibility and make people trust you as a writer.) They aren't everything. No award is going to give me money to buy gas for the car so I can go to my next author event or book signing. Awards don't buy book marks or business cards. Book sales do that.

The article assumes, that LDS writers are not real writers because we don't have authors that have won awards and therefore we aren't real writers in general. Um Orson Scott Card winning a Hugo and a Nebula for Enders Game isn't real writing? What about David Farland, Eric James Stone, Brandon Sanderson, Dan Wells? What about the whole plethora of LDS authors who write for the National market and are doing amazingly well? James Dashner and the Maze Runner movie comes to mind. If genre writing is not real writing and is not a measure of success then why is the list of LDS authors that are publishing nationally and paying their bills so large I can't list them all? AND in my short list I have totally left off the women in the writing world that are successful. I apologize.

The article also assumes that LDS writers in general are too sunshiny to write serious issues because of our culture, beliefs and upbringing. I sorely disagree with this but that is a subject for an entirely separate subject, and topic for another day.

While I am never going to change the minds of those who think I am not a real writer, I can at least start a discussion that is both interesting and thought provoking.

So are you a real writer?

Friday, September 20, 2013

How we are inspired.

On Monday I talked about music and writing. Today I'm talking about something a bit more strange.


I'm a deep POV writer. I literally share my head with my characters. Sometimes I wonder if they'll ever leave. Often times I see something and think of a specific character.

I have several necklaces that remind me of certain characters. For example. I wear a bone carving that is "Antony's" necklace. It's from New Zealand. Antony grew up in Dunedein New Zealand.

It looks a lot like these.

Anyway, I wear it when I write his character. I wear it when im working on his books or when I am just needing some Antony Company.

Do you do something similar?

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

One Thing That Will Kill Your Writing Career


Yep. I could just leave my post at that. However, let me explain.

One of the first things were taught in Martial Arts both when sparing and practicing is to keep your hands loose.

Why? What is one of the first things we do or describe a character do when we or they experience negative emotion? Clench our/their hands.

What does it do to us? It focuses the negative emotion into something physical. It makes it manifest. In a sparing situation it wears you out. You're wasting energy you could be using to defend yourself.

Jealousy can do the same thing to writers mentally in regards of writing and their writing career. It takes a lot of negative mental energy to be jealous. It can dominate thoughts and make people unbearably miserable. Let alone not a pleasant person to be around.

Instead of writing, a jealous person stalks other peoples websites, Facebook profiles, and Amazon pages and staring at numbers, statuses, and pictures that will do nothing but make them more miserable. They compare themselves to other people that either have had that lucky break or have spent the thousands of hours and written the millions of words to earn their success. In that negative world they are living in, they don't see that they could be the same if they weren't so busy being green. They let those little doubts that could normally be kicked to the curb become insurmountable walls and they have defeated themselves.

I'll be the first to admit that when a friend or acquaintance gets a six figure deal or signs with an amazing agent or publisher or has a massively successful signing or launch I feel a little green. Hey, I'm human. It's what I let it do to me after those initial moments that matters the most.

I let it go. Often times I sit my butt in my chair and open a document and stele my resolve to write something better. Something amazing. Or make new and more ambitious goals, or submit to that agent I was a little timid about approaching.

We have a choice.

Let something like jealousy kill our potential. Or let it motivate us to make us better.

What is yours?

Monday, September 16, 2013

What inspires you?

I am a music fan. I write, play and clean to my music. I do not claim to be trendy. I'm not. I have stuff new and old that I like to listen to. Lately I've been on a older Finger 11 kick. That said I'll hear a certain song and whether it reminds me of a character, scene or story depends on a lot of things. I thought it would be fun to link and talk about certain songs and why they resonate with me.

So today I'm talking about Emergence and a certain song by Onerepublic

It's called Something's Gotta Give

Why does this remind me of Emergence?

The line talking about "staying up all night listening to records that we like". It reminds me of the scenes where Antony and Elite would dance to music from his old record collection. This song is instant stress relief for me. It makes me smile thinking of Antony and Elite enjoying music together.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Helping Write Blurbs

I love to pay it forward. I owe a lot of good Karma to people out there who helped me make it to the realm of published author. Way too many to list although I try occasionally to do that.

When people ask for help I usually jump at the chance to crit something or help promote. Sometimes if asked to read a whole book and crit it I have to pass, I only have so much time in my day and most of that is spent putting out destructo boy fires.

When Maria asked for help with her back cover copy I jumped at the chance. Not only just to help, but also to help feed my muse who loves it when I delve into someone else's story. He loves to start plying in my writing worlds while my analytical brain is in someone else's.

Maria was so excited to get her new 25 word promo and her back cover copy blurb revamped she blogged about me and my new business. You can see it here. Maria's Random Thoughts

And here is my new business: Metamorphosis Author Services

Friday, August 30, 2013

Mercedes Madness

I've interviewed her before and she's one amazing person.

I had the pleasure of spending a few days with her in Mesquite last December. She grew up in the town where I now live. She is quirky, sweet and deliciously deviant all rolled into one dark-haired, tall, whimsical horror writer.

In addition to her short story compilation Beautiful Sorrows out last fall she has two new projects that I can't wait to get my hands on. As well as being nominated for a Brahm Stoker Award which is HUGE, and being awarded four Honorable Mentions by Ellen Daltow, which is also huge!

Okay so back to her Projects.

She was asked to write a story about Jack the Ripper for an anthology. Called Tales of Jack the Ripper

Go on. Go take a look you wont be disappointed.

The second is her first novella called Apocalyptic Montessa and Neuclear Lulu a tale of atomic love. you can find more about this tale at Ragnarok Publications facebook page.

Monday, August 5, 2013

I'm in the Tank!

Authors Think Tank that is.

I had the extremely enjoyable opportunity in May to sit down with the creators of the Tank and do a podcast for them. We talked about writing action scenes.

I was a little nervous because I've always hated what my voice sounds like. However, this was awesome. I sounded good. I didn't ramble on, I sounded like I knew what I was talking about. (which I do, I was just worried.)

It was a blast to do and I totally appreciate the creators of the Tank. I'm glad to call them friends.

Here you go:

Episode #24 Writing Action.

PSST . . . I'm not the only podcast on there. They've talked to people much more famous than me. (James Dashner of Maze Runner fame, Agent Michael Bourret, writer and editor Lisa Mangum for example)

Friday, August 2, 2013

A short run on the wild side.

I spent last Saturday in Layton at the Salt City Steamfest.

Its a steampunk convention with classes and booths and costumes and the Doctor. I wish I'd taken pictures this year but my focus was on teaching my class instead. I do have pics from last year ill post some of those.

But I had a great time. The class went well. the presentation was great and I had compliments on it. I made connections. And that's the most important thing.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Do You Have The Time . . .

To do anything?


My life is always busy, seven kids, house, husband, a full time writing career and deadlines. Yeah I could be the poster child for the whole "burning your candle at both ends".

We started the summer with our six year old being lifeflighted to the local children's hospital with a skull fracture. I had emergency surgery and now chicken pox is going through our family one child at a time.

Someone commented to me this week that they hoped their kid also didn't get the chicken pox from my kid because they didn't HAVE time for a sick kid. While I blew off the comment, how was I supposed to know he was sick when he was completely spot free and not acting sick? What they said bugged me for days.

The whole HAVE time thing.

I don't have time to do anything. Time is that elusive thing that slips through my day like trying to hold water in your hand. I could spend my entire day just putting out fires that two year old's make, answering the phone, running errands etc etc etc. I'm sure you get the idea. I could spend the whole day swimming upstream. thinking I don't HAVE time.

Same goes for writing.

Do I have time to write? Of course not.

Let's think about this for a minute. The way we approach anything can have a profound impact on how we actually follow through.

While someone might not HAVE time for sick kids or writing, there's a simple answer.

I MAKE time.

Yep. I make my family, my home, my writing a priority.

I let the phone go unanswered, I get off facebook, I either turn on the computer or turn it off depending on my focus for that period of time. I let my older kids load the dishwasher and mop the kitchen floor.

I make time to write. I make time to edit, market, communicate with editors, publishers etc. I make it a priority because its important to me.

How do you make time to do those things that are important to you?

Monday, July 29, 2013

Update on my writing

Just a quick note. Walnut Springs Press and I have amicably parted ways. It was a mutual decision and were both happy with it. I need a wider realm of distribution for my books that the small publisher just can't provide.

Meanwhile Emergence is still with WSP and is on Amazon and other forms of distribution. I am actively searching for a new publisher. Everything is good.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Need that little nudge to make your book great?

I am happy to announce my newest project.

Metamorphosis Author Services

I've been toying with the idea for a little while now. But I am now getting requests to help authors with their plots and stories. I am now accepting clients for plot and story consulting as well as other services. If you want to see what I can do to help you e-mail me at

Services Available

Plot analysis and consult: $ 100.00 (aprox time, 3-5 hours)
This is where you send your synopsis and structure for your book to Mrs. Jefferies and she helps shape and mold the story into something great.

Whole Book Analysis: Starts at $ 300.00 (aprox. 15 hours)

Mrs. Jefferies takes a look at the whole book, including plot and character as well as subplots and gives you a more intense look at your work in progress. This is intended for finished manuscripts and an author who is willing to go back and revise and rewrite.

Author Mentoring: $ 100.00 for 4 weeks.

This opportunity is for writers to meet with Mrs. Jefferies in email, chat and live meeting where possible and work on perfecting your skills as an author especially dealing with plot and character arc.

6 Day Intensive Online Bootcamp: $ 200.00 This intensive online course takes you through 6 days of assignments and coaching from a Marine Corps Wife. Be prepared to drop and give her twenty pages.

Structure or Master Chapter Outline (SM) Online Class: $ 35.00 You receive a disk with the Power Point presentation, a recording of the class being presented, and the notes and worksheets included in the class.

The Writing Book: $ 5.00 The ultimate book for planning your novel. Especially once you learn Structure and Master Chapter Outline (SM).

Writers block attack: $ 10.00 for 30 minutes. Online or on the phone. I can brainstorm with you and get rid of the nasty block in no time.

Lunch with Michelle: $ 200.00 We eat, we plot, we analyze, we brainstorm and eat dessert.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

The Ability to Touch Someone

I just spent about 24 hours in the presence of other writers. This last weekend was the LDStorymakers Conference. Oh my Gosh! Talk about the most energizing, uplifting, happy and exhausting hours I've had this year.

I met new friends, saw old friends and made connections. I learned so much and had so much fun. It was awesome.

I'm not here today to brag about it though. I'm here today to tell you one of the reasons I go to these conferences.

I'm sure some people think that there's no reason to go to more than a few of these. That is the worst idea. Ever. While learning things is important, especially in this ever changing world of publishing. There's something important about writers meetings and conferences that is often overlooked.


Every single success I've had in the publishing world has been because of a connection I've made at a meeting, workshop, or conference. Every. Single. One.

Winning contests, (the ability to call myself an award winning author). Requests from publishers, edits and crit partners, successful and not successful (but taught me some valuable lessons) pitch sessions, author pictures by professional photographers. Friends and amazing books that I've learned from. Every single moment that has brought me here. To the point of being published and maybe having an agent has been because of connections.

So next time your tempted to think that you don't need to go to the next conference or meeting you hear about. . . Stop. Think about the connections you could be making and sign up. I promise it's worth it.

Monday, May 13, 2013

My Awesome Weekend

I had an awesome time at LDStorymakers this last weekend.

There's so many awesome thing's that happened that I probably can't list them all, but I will share a few highlights.

The classes were awesome as always. The friends and attendees were equally awesome. I was able to meet so many people that I'd only known on facebook before then.

The food was great and the conference was well organized. My only problem, and this is minor, was I wish I could clone myself and go to every class so I didn't have to miss anything.

I was able to do my very first podcast. It was awesome. I talked about fight scenes and writing action. It was great. I talked about my experiences in Tang Soo Do and how I write my action scenes. I participated in the mass book signing and it was great too. I was actually able to sit back and enjoy Saturday's lunch because I am no longer able to compete in the First Chapter Contest. What a relief.

The two most awesome highlights for me was getting my author pictures taken by the awesome Erin Summerill. I felt like a rockstar. I can't wait to see the pictures! (I also got two pictures taken by Heather Zahn Gardner. They're awesome too.) I love all of my talented friends!

The best part was I managed to eeek into a Pitch session with Alyssa Henkin of Trident Media. I was so nervous, but she is awesome and SO NICE. I was immediately put at ease and we had a great time. She really likes my idea and asked for a full.

I love Storymakers! I am who I am because of them. I've made every contact that has forwarded my author career at this conference. I've become the author I am now because of it.

LDStorymakers. . . you have a devoted fan. For life!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

So you want to write a series?

Or a Trilogy.

There's a few things you need to think about as you start on this grand adventure.

Does the series or trilogy have a plot and character(s) arc? If so, good. If not what are you waiting for? There needs to be characters and plot issues that span the whole set of stories. You can't just have three different stories and lots of different characters and call it cohesive.

Similar but opposite. You can't just write one long story and break it into three parts and call it a series either. Each book has to have its one separate plot and character arcs.

Not just the good guy either. the bad guy needs an arc as well as motivation for being bad.

Details! Draw a map, or the floor plan or what creatures and characters look like. Store these drawings, pictures on your computer or in a hardbound notebook of some sort. Nothing like having a character change eye color, or names or something else in the middle of the second book.

In that notebook or document, write names dates and details. don't rely on your memory to do it for you. I promise you it will fail you and you will be scrolling through your previous MS for information. Also keep the important details in this place as well.

Lastly, have fun. A series or trilogy gives you some freedom you don't have in a stand alone. More room to develop characters and large complicated plots. Just remember a little problem prevention saves you a lot of trouble in the long run.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Author Bling

Bling, swag, stuff.

Whatever you call it. It's the stuff that you hand out to, and display for your readers. It's supposedly there to help promote and remind the reader of who the author of the book they just bought, or want to buy is.

What am I talking about? Bookmarks, business cards, promotional items, etc.

To be honest, you don't need it. However, if you want to be remembered, chances are this kind of stuff will help. It's a way to remind someone who is interested in your work who you are and what you wrote.

One thing to think about when ordering bling, is what you wrote and are promoting, VS what you will write in the future. Imagine it this way. If you are going to write a series of books with the same feel, ordering a thousand business cards in the same style might not be a bad idea.

If you write five stand alone books in quick succession, ordering a thousand business cards with your first book cover on it is probably not a good idea.

Or if you're like me and run the gamut of genre between futuristic suspense to middle grade non fiction, book specific items are not the best idea for most of your stuff. I also imagine that some promotional choices can and should be made based on the amount of money you have to promote your books. I honestly can't go out and buy new stuff like banners for every book that I am producing. Nor do I want to. What's the point of having a closet full of items for past books?

On the other hand, book specific book marks are a good idea. Whenever someone buys a book you put a few in the book, or in the envelope or sign them and hand them out to people who don't buy your book but look like they might be interested later.

If you are displaying your book(s) at a conference or signing it's a good idea that the table reflect the book. Even if you have to split the table and use two themes. Another option is to create a general look that does well with all of the books offered. I imagine it might be as hard to do as it seems. Unless all of your books reflect your theme or genre.

So in retrospect this is what I think should be done in regards to extra stuff.

Author general:
Banners, signs, business cards, e-mail signatures, author pictures, author bios, website themes, (unless you are doing separate websites for every book, genre etc.), display tables and how an author presents themselves, all need to be more generic.

Book specific:
book marks, book related giveaways, things like pens, key chains, pins, decorations for tables and for launches, can be more specific.

Authors note: these promo items can also be ordered in smaller amounts and still be affordable. However, spending lots of money on large items for every new book can cut into profits that could be used somewhere else.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Write Here in Ephiram!

I'll be there March 9th! I'll be teaching three classes TWICE! I'm so excited! I'll be teaching Story Structure, Master Chapter Outlines and Martial Arts in Writing. I'll have my Book Emergence there for people to buy and I'll sign it if you ask. There'll be some awesome classes and some awesome door prizes. You know you want to.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

The most wonderful time of the year . . .

Yes I know the snow is melting and the temperatures where I live are now in the livable range. And Yes I know its not December.

Even better? It's conference season.

Yep, most of the writers conferences are happening between now and summer. There are a few in September and October but that just spreads the joy a little longer.

So if you are gearing up to start the conference season starting this weekend with LTUE in Orem Ut. Or some other conference. I have a few suggestions of what to do and bring to make your time at the whirlwind of people and information better.

One, you need a bag. There's books, bookmarks, business cards, and other stuff that your going to be grabbing. You are also going to want to take notes and need a place to store said notepad.

In the bag you probably want paper and pens if like me you still take notes faster with them. Your notebook, laptop, iPad etc can also go in this bag.

A bottle of water and gum/mints for when your thirsty or meet somone youd like to talk to and you had onions on your sandwich at lunch time.

Snacks if you tend to be a little low in the blood sugar department.

Business cards with your contact information on them. Your email website and blog are the ones I think are most important.

One last thing. Remember to bring your manners and courtesies with you. That way everyone has fun.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

The method of motivation.

I have a lot of things going this year. I'll have two books released as well as a short story in a Christmas anthology. I am also in various stages of writing and editing other works in progress.
Yet some days I can't seem to stay off facebook.
It's not that I don't have plenty of ideas to write or projects to do. I have tons of story ideas begging to be written and projects in various stages of done-ness.
It's just that things like facebook and Pinterest and other social media is so shiny!
I have a whiteboard right next to my desk with all my projects listed and their level of completion. I try to have certain hours where I work and do writerly things. Some days I think I'm more distractible than others.
How does everyone else do it? How do you stay motivated?

Monday, February 4, 2013

MUSEical motivation

Last time I posted about music that inspired me it was well recieved.

This week I want to highlight Crossfire by Brandon Flowers

This song talks about being caught in the crossfire between heaven and hell. Searching for chelter together as a couple. Telling the devil to go back to where he came, his fiery arrows drawing their bead in vain. That our dreams will break the boundaries of our fear.

Anyway. Go take a look, and enjoy.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Where is your writing groove?

This morning I had the kids up and ready to go to school except breakfast. One is a picky eater and usually let him choose what he wants. I was in my office which is right off the kitchen writing happily away on a rough draft.

Well the picky eater knocks a bottle of hot sauce off the shelf in the fridge and it breaks all over my kitchen floor. So there's broken glass, red sauce and the smell of vinegar and peppers all over my kitchen and the bus is supposed to be there in less than five minutes. Stuck in the kitchen I ask a kid to get paper towels and scoot the garbage closer to me while the picky eater goes and changes his pants which are covered in Tabasco. I get it cleaned up, get the kids some change to buy breakfast at the school and send them out the door in just enough time to catch the bus.

The house back in a non frenzied silence I return to the office and sit and stare at the cursor. The momentum is lost in the chaos and I have completely forgotten the scenes I was about to write when the bottle exploded.

Which brings me to my topic. Where is the best spot for you to write? Do you have to get in the groove or can you sit anywhere and just pour it on?

I stumbled upon this awesome website where the author of the site posts insanely gorgeous pictures of this house they'd love to build or buy and refurbish for writing in. I love the pictures. Its sparks my creativity, but it also started a train of thought that has been prevalent since. What if you could only write on one spot or in the perfect conditions? How limiting would that be? I am glad I can pretty much write anywhere and at any time. I'd never get anything done writing wise if I waited for the perfect conditions. As evidenced by the chaotic home I live in.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Music for writing

Some writers require music to write. I go either way. sometimes I need something to listen to sometimes I need silence.

There are some songs that are very important to me and my story. These songs are the EMERGENCE Playlist.

I thought I'd share these with you and why they are so important.

This is "What I've Done" by Linkin Park.

This song talkes about making mistakes in the past and asking for mercy. This is the perfect song to start out my EMERGENCE Playlist.

Hope you enjoy it.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

A new page--clean and white

I love the thrill of opening a new document to start a new book.

There's potential there. The ability to create is new, open, and the possibilities are limitless.

The new year looks the same to me. Full of potential for great and amazing things. With EMERGENCE released I am feeling a certain weight off my shoulders and am ready to plunge back into many things that were emotionally impossible before my book baby became reality.

I am so ready to leave some things in my past and open new books that I have just dreamed of before now.

So before I bore you with all my musings, I will write out my goals for this coming year.

I will be more present in my family. My kids deserve my time.

I will treat my writing and publishing as a business.

I will try to be more friendly to those around me and inclued my friends in my life more.

I will bake more and play more.

I will use the jewlry making supplies I bought last year. The leather too.

I will go back to Karate and work on my red belt.

I will work to make my book EMERGENCE a success.

I will nurture aspiring authors.

I will work on making myself happier.

So there you go in black and white. The things I want and desire to do.

Hope your new year is smashing, and much better than last year.