Tuesday, December 29, 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

Thursday, December 24, 2009

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...

Sunday, December 13, 2009

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??

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

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 streams

The West!

Came the shout

From thunder

And lightening

And gods

The West!

The wind whispered

As thousands poured

Through the rocky gates

Full of dreams

Monday, December 7, 2009

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 contest post, go over and bug James Dashner for me. Tell him what movies you've seen lately (he's wondering if anyone has seen 'The Road') and let him know you would be glad to send a review of those movies via private email. He'll LOVE it! :)
Or write about football and how wonderful the guys in charge are doing. He'll LOVE that too! :)
Maybe we should be nicer to James. Ok. For reals. Tell him how much you love (pick one or two) his books.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

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 ball against a wall. It's like swimming. Anyone can learn. You don't have to be the best. You don't need to compete in anything. On the other hand, you may aspire to be a celebrated star.

Like swimming, like playing tennis, there are people writing at all levels. If you just want to amuse yourself writing the weekends, just keep on keeping on. If you want to bash out a 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 give you. Perhaps you know what I'm going to tell you—you have to write regularly, every day. You have to treat this as the single most important part of your life. You do not need anything as fancy as inspiration, just this steady habit of writing regularly even when you're sick or sad or dull. Nothing must stop you, not even your beloved children. If you have kids you do what Toni Morrison did—write in the hours before they wake. If you wish to be a like the champion who swims for four hours every day of the year, you will need extraordinary will. You either have this or you don't, but you won't know unless you try .

Let's say you (quietly, secretly) want to be a genius. Then you must teach yourself to be self-critical. Trust me—your own uncertain opinions are worth one hundred times more than the judgments of your friends. Your friends love you and are may be very smart. But they cannot imagine what you have not yet imagined. So don't show them stuff you fear may not be right.

If you feel at all unhappy with your work, there is a good reason for it. Trust your judgment. Write the draft again, and again. This is the strength you must build—to work alone, in solitude, and write and rewrite and rewrite. Even when you finally succeed in making the original work you wished, you will still live with doubt and uncertainty. All writers learn to live with this. In this way you and I feel exactly the same about our work today.

If you ever read one of my books I hope you'll think it looks so easy. In fact, I wrote those chapters 20 times over, and over, and over, and that if you want to write at a good level, you'll have to do that too.

That is the first half of the good habits you must develop.

Here's the second half.

First, turn off your television. The television is your enemy. It will stop you doing what you wish to do. If you wish to watch TV, you do not want to be a serious writer, which is fine.

But if you do pull that plug you've just created time for that exercise which is going to build up your writing muscles like nothing else. It's called reading. Perhaps you are already reading good books for several hours a day, in which case you don't need me to preach at you. Forgive me. I only mention this because I have met an extraordinary number of beginners who don't think they need to read anything too much.

I don't doubt these people enjoy their writing, and perhaps they will even get to publish something. But you can not play the top game without reading every day. There are so many extraordinary books waiting for you, some writing by living writers, the majority by those a long time dead. This is not because writers used to be better than they are now, but because a lot of generations have come before us and we would be crazy not to know what miracles they achieved.

Some of the great books are about people with lives just like you. Some will have characters you can 'identify' with, but some of the very greatest will tell stories you could never have imagined, were written in languages you cannot speak, and tell the stories of people like none we have ever known.

Now you've killed the TV, you should invest in a very good dictionary.

I know it is a major drag to stop reading and look up a word in a dictionary, but it is less of a drag than continuing to read not knowing what the story really means. No-one wants to do it. I never want to do it, but it is always worth the trouble. In my own case I often write the new word down, not because I am stupid, but because it helps me remember it.

So what books should you read if your greatest aim is to lift your game?

Clearly "Goose Bumps" is not going to help you in your ambitions, but where to start, where to continue the adventure you're already on?

I'd suggest a wonderful new book by Francine Prose, "Reading Like a Writer."

Go buy this now. You may already be a disciplined, talented original writer but you will not be sorry to read this for two hours tomorrow.

-Peter Carey

You can learn more about Peter Carey's writing at his website.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

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.