Showing posts from 2009

New Year Quote

"People are so worried about what they eat between Christmas and the New Year, but they really should be worried about what they eat between the New Year and Christmas." ~Unknown

Read more at Suite101: Funny New Year's Quotes and Sayings: Humorous Holiday Quotations About the Start of the New Year

Christmas at Arlington National Cemetery

Rest easy, sleep well my brothers. Know the line has held, your job is done. Rest easy, sleep well. Others have taken up where you fell, the line has held. Peace, peace, and farewell...

Merry Christmas!


Christmas Cheer!


What was your favorite book PUBLISHED in 2009?

I got the idea for this post from Nathan Bransford post(warning: if you look at his post, your 'to be read' list will grow):

This year has sped by incredibly fast-And I didn't get enough reading done.
I looked at my goodreads (become my friend!) shelf to see how many books I read this year.
Looking at my lists, I wondered how many I had read that were published in 2009.
Only 14.

So, here's a question: How many books did you read that were published in 2009?

Another question: What was your favorite??

The West Beckons

I won 3rd place in Poetry in the Oquirrh Writers Contest.

Here is the piece I entered:

The West! The cry echoed Off mountains And meadows And streamsThe West! Came the shout From thunder And lightening And godsThe West! The wind whispered As thousands poured Through the rocky gates Full of dreams

Contests and Freebies

Mary's Great House is giving away a Great book on her blog. Family Record Keeper looks like a great way to keep everything together!

C.L. Beck is giving away a signed 2010 Greg Olson calendar!
Michele Ashman Bell is giving away three great books this week. Go take a peek and leave a comment.
Queen of the Clan is giving away "Missing" by Rhonda Hinrichsen.

My Musical Advent Calendar blog has music and videos plus a prize.
A contest everyday until Christmas on LDS Women's Book Review.

You can win music at Anne Bradshaw's blog She has a rare signed DVD. Take a look!

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is giving away a FREE Christmas DVD called Joy To The World.

Are you a scrapbooker or crafter? There are a few blogs holding a contest to win! Racelle's Writing Spot is having an awesome give away by The Original Scrapbox. Go there NOW! Queen of the Clan and Random-ish by Nichole are also blogs for this contest.

And if you have gotten this far in this l-o-n-g c…

Foto Friday (posted on Sunday)

Folder 6Foto 12
What can you write about a sleeping child?

Pep Talk

This email I got from NaNo is long but worth reading:Dear Writer,Writing is the easiest thing in the world. Anyone can do it. It's like hitting a tennis ballagainst a wall. It's like swimming. Anyone can learn. You don't have to be the best. Youdon't need to compete in anything. On the other hand, you may aspire to be a celebratedstar.Like swimming, like playing tennis, there are people writing at all levels. If you just wantto amuse yourself writing the weekends, just keep on keeping on. If you want to bash outa novel, you need no more advice than to keep on keeping on.But if you dream of making something original and beautiful and true, if you imagine seeing your book reviewed, or in the window of a book store, you're in the same position as the ambitious swimmer—you've got a lot of training to do, a lot of muscles to build, a lot of habits to start establishing right now, today.If you know what these good writing habits are, there's nothing more I can gi…

Contests Around the Net

Want to win something everyday this week? Try Heather Justesen's blog. She's got books, vinyl lettering and cake!

Heather has a trailer for her book: The Ball's in Her Court

Win Baskin Robbins gift certificates on C.L. Beck's blog.

What's on your nightstand? On Michele Bells' nightstand is G.G. Vandagriff's book "Hidden Branch" for you to win!


Cindy Beck! You're the next winner on Taffy's Candy!
Congrats on winning the 'can't put it down' book by Stephanie Black.
Send me your snail mail and I'll get it to you as soon as I can.

Also, Heidi Ashworth! Where's your snail mail address? I need it to send out your book.

I Am A Winner! NaNoWriMo style

List of NaNoWriMo pros and cons:

Finished @ 50363!
Finished before Thanksgiving dinner.
Typed a totally different genre than I have before.
Have another interesting story to work on.
Didn't edit.
Didn't care.

Apparently, the NaNo muse deemed this only Book One.
Have another interesting story to work on.
Didn't edit.

More pros than cons is good!
Have a great week!

Contest time! Books, Music and Food!

Want to win a book from Heather Moore? How about Land of Inheritance from her Out of Jerusalem series? Wander on over to My Writing Lair. Her newest book, Alma, would make a GREAT gift.

Yogurt! That's what you win over on Cindy Beck's blog. Not only yogurt, but a kids insulated lunch bag, place mat and spoon. Need a stocking stuffer? Cindy coauthored a funny book called Mormon Mishaps and Mischief.

I must confess-I've been playing Christmas music. I know. It's not even Thanksgiving yet but I Love Christmas music! Not Entirely British is giving away a Christmas CD: His Name Shall Be Called Wonderful by James Loynes.

And not to be left behind, post your favoritest book ever on my blog and win Stephanie Black's Method of Madness book. I should have given this book away at Halloween! It's scary!!

Queen of the Clan is also running a contest through December called An Angel in Your Life. Write about an angel in your life and win a gift certificate to Seagull Book Or De…

Foto Friday

#11 file #20 picture:
Santorini, Greece, perched on top of a volcanic mountain.

Can get there by one of three ways: ride a donkey (better to ride one going UP not DOWN), walk up amongst the donkeys and their droppings or ride a cable car.

Beautiful white and blue buildings and delicious baklava!

(Click on the picture. Hopefully it will open to another window and give you a better view of Santorini)

NaNoWriMo Pep Talk

Hi novelist!

Lindsey here, Community Liaison for NaNoWriMo.

Last week the love interest in my novel did something kind of abhorrent. He drugged the neighbor's dog and blamed it on his girlfriend. I couldn't believe he did that! It was a completely unauthorized move. But once it was done, there was no undoing it. All the things I had planned for him to do and say in upcoming scenes were all wrong—suddenly my knight was a first-class jerk. Even if I went back and deleted the scene, I'd still know what he was capable of. (It seems I have a "no take backs" approach to my characters.)

So I did what any overly emotional, sleep-deprived writer would do: I broke up with him. And in doing so, I kind of broke up with my novel, too. This started having all kinds of adverse affects on my life. I lay awake at night, puzzling over how my good guy went so bad. I couldn't get to work in the morning for all my distracted agonizing over what to do. I was getting out of the shower…

Pep Talk by Jeff Savage

This was an email I received recently. I totally respect Jeff (Scott) Savage and his opinions. He takes his time to talk to newbie writers and give them ideas and help. (I added a link to Jeff's recent post at the end of this post). I thought I would pass along what this emailer (Tobyn) wrote:
Hey Nano team,
I went to Dragon's keep tonight and Scott Savage was there. What a cool guy. He was very personable and has a great attitude about the art of writing. He talked about where he came from and how he got rejected, and how he got his first contract, how he got rejected again even with an agent.
Hearing his story was inspirational. I asked him how to make nanowrimo work in a good way so that we are not churning out just mediocre gunk. His answer was excellent but very long, so I have shortened it for you. He said he doesn't like to outline each chapter. He likes to know where he begins and where he ends. He likes to have a good protagonist who is a hero with flaws or an…

NaNoWriMo Pep Talk

Hi novelist!

Lindsey here, Community Liaison for NaNoWriMo.

Last week the love interest in my novel did something kind of abhorrent. He drugged the neighbor's dog and blamed it on his girlfriend. I couldn't believe he did that! It was a completely unauthorized move. But once it was done, there was no undoing it. All the things I had planned for him to do and say in upcoming scenes were all wrong—suddenly my knight was a first-class jerk. Even if I went back and deleted the scene, I'd still know what he was capable of. (It seems I have a "no take backs" approach to my characters.)

So I did what any overly emotional, sleep-deprived writer would do: I broke up with him. And in doing so, I kind of broke up with my novel, too. This started having all kinds of adverse affects on my life. I lay awake at night, puzzling over how my good guy went so bad. I couldn't get to work in the morning for all my distracted agonizing over what to do. I was getting out of the shower…

Contest Time! Twilight Perfume

Want to win a Christmas book? Ho-ho-ho on over to Joyce DiPastena's blog for a festive quiz.

How Can I Keep From Singing? That is a question my daughter asks. But over on Anne Bradshaw's blog it's a music CD contest!

Over on Write Up My Alley is a contest for Twilight inspired perfume.

Good luck!

Winners! Becky & Heidi

Becky Irvine, Come on down! You're on the next winner of a free book! Pick a book! Send me an email with you snail mail address and book you would like and I will send it out as soon as I can pull myself away from the computer. :)
Here is the list of books I am passing on; some are freebies I won, some are books I have doubles of:

Women of Virtue by Jodi Marie Robinson

Loyalty's Web by Joyce DiPastena

The Craft of Revision by Donald Murray

Pick Up Games by Marcia Mickelson

Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg

Heidi Ashworth! You are the second winner! Choose a first and second favorite from the above list, give me your address and I will send one of them to you!

Also, I would love to link from here to your blogs. Leave the link you would like me to use.

Thanks ladies for your support and comments. You are amazing!

Pep Talk From Lynda Barry

(Lynda wrote her pep talk with a pen.)Dear Writer,Reconsider your hand. Reconsider writing by hand. There is a kind of story that comes from hand. Writing which is different from a tapping-on-a-keyboard-kind-of-story. For one thing, there is no delete button, making the experience more life like right away. You can't delete the things you feel unsure about and because of this, the things you feel unsure about have a much better chance of being able to exist long enough to reveal themselves. And the physical activity of writing by hand involves many parts of the brain which are used in story making such as time, place, action, characters, relationships, and moving forward across an entire connected gesture. And that's just what goes on when we write a single letter by hand.Although word count goals may be harder to reach, your body will not feel as tired as it does after a day spent tapping buttons and staring at a lit screen, especially if you write a bit longer than you usual…

AuthorsIncognito Award

Thank you!

Pep Talk From Gail Cason Levine

Gail Carson Levine's first book for children, Ella Enchanted, was a 1998 Newbery Honor book. You can learn more about her writing at

This is an email I got this week:
Dear NaNoWriMo-ers,

I'm not even the tortoise of writing. I'm the slug. And you are more than hares, you're cheetahs — writing at seventy miles an hour. I have to fictionalize even to talk to you.So it's October 31st. I’m back from trick or treating in a robot costume, worn to honor Isaac Asimov, who wrote or edited more than 500 books in his lifetime. After removing my tin head mask and my metallic gloves, I pig out on candy corn and think about today's accomplishments.I dug a shallow grave in the backyard and buried my print thesaurus (starting tomorrow, the first word I think of is good enough, even if I use it seven times on every page), dictionary (who cares how ophthalmologist is spelled anyway?), usage books (I can figure out the difference between lie and…

Interview w/ 6 yr old

Mom, I know where God lives.
You do?
Yea. In space.
Are you sure about that?
Yes. Then he can get close to the sun and make it brighter if he needs to.
And he lives on a star with the others and if the star goes out, they can move to the next star.
Yes. Like this star (pointing to a dot he made on paper) and this star (making more dots) and all these stars. But it's gotta be a star that is close so they can jump.
Where did you learn all this?
First grade.

Writing prompt via Sunday Scribblings

Rewrite, Restart, Redo

I was reminded today that NaNo rules are that the participants start from scratch. I did last year and was amazed what came out of my brain with no thought given to the writing. I put on loud music and just let my fingers type. Usually, I write out my thoughts and story but for NaNo I just type. It was a very interesting process.

This year I had an idea and a few pages hand written so that is what I used for NaNo. I don't feel the freedom to just go without thinking because I already have a preconceived notion where the story and the characters are headed.

But today, today, I let guilt get me. I sat down and just let my fingers go. The first page was utter nonsense. Kinda like my brain was spring cleaning. Then the story started to flow. I have no idea where it came from, but now I have over 5000 words in two hours! WOWSERS!

So I am starting my word count over. The story is strange; not one I would have thought up by myself! The creativity is just flowing and I take absolutely no cre…

Pep Talk from Jasper Fforde

Jasper Fforde is the best-selling author of the Thursday Next and Nursery Crime books. He has been writing for twenty years, but only published for ten. His training took a while. His eighth book, Shades of Grey, will be published in January 2010. He lives and writes in Wales, has a large family and likes to fly aeroplanes.Dear Writer,
I once wrote a novel in 22 days. 31 chapters, 62,000 words. I didn’t do much else—bit of sleeping, eating, bath or two—I just had three weeks to myself and a lot of ideas, an urge to write, a 486 DOS laptop and a quiet room. The book was terrible. 62,000 words and only twenty-seven in the right order. It was ultimately junked but here’s the important thing: It was one of the best 22 days I ever spent. A colossal waste of ink it was, a waste of time it was not.
Because here’s the thing: Writing is not something you can do or you can’t. It’s not something that ‘other people do’ or ‘for smart people only’ or even ‘for people who finished school and went to …

Gift idea and Contests

I love to give books as gifts!

"Altared Plans" by Rebecca Talley promises to be a witty, clean, LDS romance anyone can enjoy.
Twilight inspired perfume/cologne anyone? Try Custom Scents Online! Not only can you buy some perfume, there is a contest to win some!

On the contest front:
Tristi Pinkston is also doing a contest on her blog to win one dram of Twilight inspired scent. (dram...that's a funny word to me.)

Queen of the Clan is giving away the aforementioned book! Good luck to all.

And who doesn't want a hot bowl of soup now that Old Man Winter is here? C.L. Beck is having a contest and giving away soup bowls. Invite me over for lunch when you win them :)

And I want in on the contest! I have a couple of books sitting around that need someone to read them. That lucky person could be you! Just leave me a comment about your favorite genre to read and why.

Names, Characters & Eternity

In the LDS church, we believe that families can be together forever. These 'ordinances' are performed in our temples. Worthy members of the church can enter the temples to be married and hopefully, reunited after death.

We also believe that many of our ancestors who have died before they were married in the temple still have the opportunity through us, the living.

Today, many members of church went to the temple with over 140 names of my ancestors. I was unable to go but many stopped me and told me how much they enjoyed helping my ancestors.

And how much they enjoyed the names:

Margaret Coke
Dorcas Benedict
Phebe Earll
Fawn Price
Matilda Gleed
Elizabeth Cotton
Thomas Howard (Duke of Norfolk)
Sir Knight Tomas Howard (1st Earl of Suffolk)
Lady Mary FitzAlan
Capt. John Benedict
George II Count of Hesse-Darmstadt
And my favorite! Christmas Poll (male)

I have found the mother lode of names for any books or stories within my own family!

What about you? Any interesting names in your family?

Writing Prompt

Thanks for stopping by today.
I took a writing prompt via LDS Publisher.

Renn (person's name), Seattle, divorce, tire iron, 3 inches

"Renn! I need you!" her shrill voice shattered the peace that had prevailed for all of 5 minutes.
"Just a minute, Ma," he shouted back.
"I need you now!"
"I'm in the bathroom, Ma!"
"Fine. I could die here on the couch and no one would know. Die here watching that fat guy on 'Price is Right'. Why did they get him anyway? Where is Bob. I liked Bob so much better. He was nicer and..."
"What do you need?"
"Would you be a dear and get your mother a drink of root beer?" She handed the glass to him, ice clinking.
He held in the breath that wanted to escape as a groan. She had him over a rock and they both knew it.
Renn took the glass into the dirty kitchen, opened the door to the fridge and stifled another groan. The fridge stunk of rotten food. He looked at the butter, a bottle of root …

To Be Or Not To Be...In A Critique Group

I attended Josi Kilpack's class @ UVU on Critique Groups. It was enlightening and pushed me over the edge of wanting to be in one. Especially when she guarantees I will be published if I don't quit! Can't beat that!
Here are a few ideas/questions for creating a critique group: Do want the group to be genre specific or general? Fiction vs. nonfiction? 4-5 people are a good start on a group. The group needs to have rules for adding members or bringing people to the group.Pick a day, time, how often and how long to meet.Does everyone need to bring a chapter each meeting? Do you want to focus on one piece or give everyone a turn? You might need to set a time limit for each piece as well. Do you want everyone to email their work to the group ahead of time or bring a hard copy and read aloud?What is the commitment level of the group? Be there every meeting? Is everyone okay if someone doesn't show up for months?Pick a location that works for everyone. At a home or restaurant…


If any of you have noticed my WIP count in the side bar, the numbers are down.Yup. I cut a bunch of scenes. But! I have finished editing! AND found I have not written an ending. How did that happen?? (Will this nightmare called 'book' ever end?) So in the next few weeks my #s should go up. Right?
This weekend I also wrote 3/4 of a short sci-fi story. And yes. I do have an ending; they all live happily ever after :)

Rejection Humor

I tried to post a comic strip today but it was too big to fit. Here is the link instead:

BOOK REVIEW Alma by H.B. Moore

King Noah is thundering with rage. On Amulon’s watch, the former high priest Alma disappeared from the city of Nephi, and every night more believers manage to escape. The king threatens certain punishment unless Amulon recaptures Alma—a seemingly impossible task.

But Amulon has a plan. An equally valuable prisoner is at his fingertips: Noah’s wife, Maia, whose newfound faith means bitter humiliation for the king and an opportunity for Amulon to seize power.

Amulon’s disavowed daughter Raquel is making plans of her own. Alma and his followers are building a colony by the waters of Mormon, and she’s determined to begin a new life there despite the deep grief she suffers daily as Abinadi’s widow.

Abinadi’s watchful brother Helam deems the journey to Mormon too risky, but when Lamanites plunder and burn the settlement, Raquel has no choice but to flee with her young son.

Drama and danger escalate as Alma the Elder organizes the Lord’s church and baptizes its members, bringing an outpouring …

Writing Poem

Here a little There a littleUntil I am done writingEditing is dumbAnd I talk in run on sentences
Here a little There a littleUntil my story is boldTo unsuspecting readersAnd it reaches gold
Here a little There a littleUntil I see youAnd fit you in my storyOr you find the story for me
Here a little There a littleUntil my brain is fullAnd I can’t thinkMy story is incomplete
Here a little There a littleUntil my story is completeI work on my storyNo- My story works on me

One More...

One more writing conference this year...I went to UVU's Book Academy last Thursday. Many, many, excellent classes and talks were given. This writers/readers conference is worth your day. One class I really enjoyed was Josi Kilpack's on critique groups. I'll post my notes later.
To all you writers out there: KEEP MOVING! Don't stop writing!
To all you readers: READ! We can all support our local authors; Buy and read their books.

League of Utah Writers Conference


I met Richard Paul Evans.

Amazing speaker and motivator.

And Yes.
I met James Dashner.
Funny and all around good guy.
But I can't get his picture to load so you'll just have to trust me.

Plus, I met many other great people like: Clint, Eric, Leslee, another James, Luann, and more this weekend.
Thanks to all the presenters and LUW for a fantastic writing conference.

See you next year when I win an award and not a stapler...

Author Interview: Joyce DiPastena

I am excited to have Joyce visiting my blog today! Leave a comment and your name will be thrown in the jester hat to win Joyce's book!

Let's jump right in:

Joyce, did you want to be a knight or a princess when you were growing up?

A princess. Or at least a "noble lady". I used to imagine myself in this beautiful, flowing "old fashioned" dress. I'm not sure what time period that dress was from, since I really didn't understand what the Middle Ages were at that point. It's possible I was dreaming more of a Renaissance-style dress than a Medieval one at that point. But the gown was always a deep crimson velvet covered with beautiful embroidery. Which is odd as I think about it, because my favorite colors are more in the blue/blue-green family, so I don't know why I chose those colors for my "dream gown". Maybe at that early age, I subconsciously knew that crimson was a "royal color"?
As for the knight. I've never wanted to b…

Illuminations of the Heart by Joyce DiPastena BLOG TOUR

"Clothilde." He spoke the name on a breath like a prayer. Then he lowered his head and kissed her.

Her heart is lost in that first embrace, her world is shaken to its foundations. There is just one problem; her name is not Clothilde. It is Siriol de Calendri. Trained in the art of illumination in the far-off city of Venice, Siri is directed by her late brother's will to the county of Poitou in France, where she enters the guardianship of her brother's friend Sir Triston de Brielle. Once in Poitou, Siri hopes to find employment in an illuminator's shop - until Triston unexpectedly snatches her heart away with a kiss.

Triston is a man of quiet honor and courage, but the guild he carries for the death of his late wife, Clothilde, has left him numb and hesitant to love again. Worse yet, Siri bears an uncanny resemblance to his lost love. Or does she? Her merry laughter and twinkling eyes are very different from his late wife's shy smiles and quiet ways. Yet when he…

Methods of Madness by Stephanie Black

Stephanie Black, you scare me, in a good author way.

It's been three years sincethe terrible night Emily Ramsey suffered a double tragedy-the death of her sister and the disappearance of her fiance. She deserves another chance at happiness, and gentle, adorable Zach Sullivan is the perfect man to mend her shattered heart. But from the moment Emily opens the hand-carved box holding a glittering diamond solitaire, she's seized by an unshakable fear: she's going to lose Zach.

That's exactly what Monica, Zach's es-girlfriend, is banking on. Bitter with envy, Monica will stop at nothing to sabotage Zach and Emily's romance. a troubling note shows up in Emily's mailbox, fanning the flames of suspicion. a bloody photograph sends her reeling. But when someone is brutally murdered, will Emily be able to escape suspicion and the possibility that she might be next?

I have been humbled in my claims to pick out the bad guy(s) in books. I sorta guessed in Stephanie'…


Thanks for your time and thought on these questions, Rachel! Does anyone else have questions for Rachel? Leave them in the comments and I bet she will answer them...
Q: I remember the story of the child swallowing drugs. I have to admit, it made me look closer at the homes my children might go to. I think mothers are blessed with 'gut feelings'. What do you think? A: Absolutely. There have been far too many times in my life where my children have been protected because I followed my gut feeling. I always look closely at any home where my children play, and quite frankly, I do everything I can to encourage them to invite the children to my house. I want to know what they are doing. The trick is to have food. Have food and they'll come. Q: Can we do more to protect children? A: There's always more we can do. We can look for problems in our neighborhoods, get to know the children who live near us. Ultimately, the responsibility lies with parents, where it should be, but when y…