Friday, May 27, 2011 | By: Taffy

Failure vs. Fear Foto Friday

"When we can begin to take our failures seriously,
it means we are ceasing to be afraid of them. It is
of immense importance to learn to laugh at ourselves."

-- Katherine Mansfield
Wednesday, May 25, 2011 | By: Taffy

Playing Full Out @ Writing Conferences

I read this article and wanted to write my own post about Playing Full Out because I believe in it not only at conferences but in life.

<------(The picture has nothing to do with writing. Don't kids play fully though??)

I've been to my share of writing conferences. I always come away recharged and ready to revise my stories to be better. I've noticed a few shy attendees, hiding in the corner or in the back, somehow fearful of talking to anyone.

One piece of advice I received before my first conference: Don't be shy.
If any of you know me, that's not a problem. But, I still feel a little overwhelmed by all the people. Writing conferences are full of interesting/amazing/funny people. You just have to take a step forward and meet them. The person you want to talk to probably feels the same way. :)

Next piece of advice: Inhale the knowledge.
Not matter how tired or bored, don't get distracted. Learn from the experts, those in front of you.

Why playing full out though?
  • Anytime you are bringing your very best to the conference, you are raising the bar for yourself and those around you. Even the presenters benefit. When you are doing your best, negativity isn't around, only the positive comes through.
  • When you are playing full out, you are totally into the class you're in and you absorb and understand more.
  • Playing full out means you are more open to change, doing better. And your work will reflect that change.


What about you? Been to any conferences where you played full out? Any more advice you'd give?
Monday, May 23, 2011 | By: Taffy

The Forgotten Locket by Lisa Mangum INTERVIEW & GIVEAWAY!


A little about Lisa:

Lisa Mangum has loved and worked with books ever since elementary school, when she volunteered at the school library during recess. Her first paying job was shelving books at the Sandy Library. She worked for  five years at Waldenbooks while she attended the University of Utah, graduating with honors with a degree in English. An avid reader of all genres, she has worked in the publishing department for Deseret Book  since 1997. Besides books, Lisa loves movies, sunsets, spending time with her family, trips to Disneyland, and vanilla ice cream topped with fresh raspberries. She lives in Taylorsville with her husband, Tracy.


Let's get down to the interview, shall we? Then scroll down, read the blub and find out how to win this book!

Thanks for coming over Lisa!


Tell us in one sentence about The Forgotten Locket.
In this exciting conclusion to the love story of Abby and Dante, Abby must travel to 16th-century Italy in order to save Dante from destruction, restore her family to reality, and stop Zo from destroying all of time, but doing so will require her to journey beyond the origins the hourglass door.

Was it harder writing the first or last book of The Hourglass Door Trilogy?
Hands down, it was harder writing the last book of the series. I think it was due in part to the fact that during the writing process, I’d often say, “Ah, I’ll figure it out later. Save it for book 3.” But then when book 3 rolled around, I had to answer all these questions and tie up all these loose ends. That proved to be more challenging—and more rewarding—than I’d anticipated.

Which character would you like to spend the day with? Why?
This might surprise you, but I think I’d pick Leo. He was such an interesting character for me to get to know while I was writing the story and I think there is more to his story than even I know. Plus, he lived all those years through some of the most interesting times in history; I bet he has some wonderful stories to tell.

If a movie was made about your book, who would play the main character(s)?
Hmm, I might pick Ben Banks to play Dante. And one of my friends thinks that Ian Somerhalder would make the perfect Zo. As far as who would play Abby . . . maybe Emma Watson? I really have enjoyed her work in the Harry Potter movies. Or Emma Stone.

Are you a night owl or early bird?
Night owl. I am not a morning person (though oddly enough I do a lot of my best work in the morning) and I much prefer the evening hours.

Do you listen to music while you write?
Yes. I have a wide variety of music on my iPod that I listen to when I write—mostly pop and rock. Sometimes it helped to play a specific song during a specific scene to set the mood or enhance the emotion.

Do you have a favorite writing snack?
I usually don’t eat snacks while writing, though I do enjoy a hot bowl of popcorn while watching a movie after I’m done writing for the day.

If you had sixty seconds to grab something from your home, what would it be?
Assuming all my loved ones are safe (including my cat), I’d grab my computer, family photos, and my collection of Disney pins.

Is there one author or book who changed your writing or viewpoint?
On Writing. It was amazing to see how he approaches writing and to learn more about his path to becoming an author. Even though I don’t agree with everything he suggests, I learned a lot from him about the craft of writing.

Is there book that hasn't been written yet that you would like to read?
I’m eagerly awaiting A Dance of Dragons by George R. R. Martin. I’ve been waiting five years to read the next part of that story!

Any advice to aspiring writers?
My best advice comes from a quote I found at Disneyland: “Don’t hurry. Don’t worry. Don’t stop.” Don’t hurry through the process. Take time to learn your craft. Take time to enjoy the journey. Don’t worry if you make a mistake. Don’t worry if other people don’t understand. Most important of all, though, don’t stop.

What are your writing goals now?
I’m working on a new contemporary YA novel about sisters. And after that I have a fairy story I want to do. I don’t think I’ll ever run out of ideas. :)

 Thanks again, Lisa, for taking time to answer questions. 
Does anyone else have a question for Lisa?
Would you pick different actors for the characters?
How many of you had a book or author who changed your perspective?




The future is uncertain. The battle to control the past has begun. The final book in the riveting Hourglass Door trilogy begins when Abby steps through the black door, and she doesn't dare look back. Though it means leaving Dante—wounded, bleeding, and possibly blind—she knows it is the only way to save her family and stop Zo from manipulating the river of time and throwing the future into chaos. In the end, Abby must face a final confrontation that will take her to the very origins of the hourglass door.

The third and last book in the series, The Forgotten Locket, will make you want to reread the whole series. A good, clean young adult read!
The world in the Hourglass Door Trilogy is different than any I've read. I enjoyed reading the two worlds and I have to admit sometimes the intelligence of it all went over my head. But the time travel were intriguing.
I wanted to go back and read more about Leo and the relationships he has/makes from the beginning. I like reading about him, his past and the choices he made that rippled through time.
The love story is just right; not a tons of "poor us! how will we ever be together? Wah! Wah!" Their relationship was something they had to fight for, which strengthened it.
Zo is intense, charming and psycho. He tries everything to stop Dante and Abby and disrupt time.
A big part of the books that I LOVED was how important family was to the characters and story.

Rating: PG 13
V:Some fighting
L: None
S: Kissing

Wanna win this book?! Of course you do! Head over to GoodReads here and enter to win! The contest goes until May 31st.


Wanna buy the book? Click the link.


25% test (p. 91):
""Interesting question. We'll have to save that impossible situation for another round." Orlando said with a grin.
I laughed. "And playing this game helped your brother sleep?"
"Actually, no, not very often," Orlando said. "What did work, though, was when we'd come down to the fireplace, and I would brew up a warm drink for him to help him sleep." Orlando nodded at the empty cup still in my hands. "He was particularly fond of Father's special tea, too. Though when I made it for my brother, I always mixed in a wish."
"A wish?" I repeated. A quiet memory chimed inside, a feeling of light and the taste of pink.
Orlando nodded. "He always took his wishes very seriously. He would stop and think for a long time about exactly what he wanted to wish for. And his working was always exact--it wasn't 'I wish for happiness,' but 'I wish for the sun to shine tomorrow so that the flowers will bloom and make Mother happy.'" He shook his head in fond memory. "He was always more concerned about other people then he was about himself."
"What kinds of things did you wish for?"
Orlando turned his attention to the fire, avoiding my gaze. "Oh, I never made a wish myself."
"Why not?"
"I don't know. Maybe it was because I didn't want to look at my life and see what was missing.  Once you identify what you lack, then it's all you see anymore. Wanting something  couldn't have would only lead to unhappiness, so I tried to be content with what I had."
Friday, May 20, 2011 | By: Taffy

Foto Friday

Ahhhh! Another writing retreat! This one we can make ourselves :)



http://www.miss-design.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/1_veranda_miss-design.com_.jpg
Wednesday, May 18, 2011 | By: Taffy

We interrupt this blog...

I just found this article by Mandy Hubbard on the latest trends in publishing. Read it!

Here are a few things that got me excited because I'm writing/editing this genre right now:

MANY editors would love a thriller/suspense/horror. Most said more of the psychological kind, not the slasher/guy-with-a-chainsaw kind, but there was room for both, really. If you've written something seriously, insanely scary, you're in luck. 

We heard all week long: Editors are hedging bets that sci-fi may be the next big wave/trend. Partly this is because we just haven’t seen a lot of it lately and it feels more fresh/stand-out, and partly because dystopian sometimes naturally evolves into the sci-fi  realm, so in many ways, readers are being prepped to move in this direction. 
Another thing I heard all day, every day? Realistic/Contemporary YA is a tough sell, but almost every editor really, really wants it to rally and come back in a huge way. 


Characters of other races, religions, etc, are high on the priority list, as most eds want to see more diversity. One thing, though, is that in many cases they want a book about a character who happens to be black, or jewish, or in a wheel chair, not a book about a character’s identity as it relates to those specific things.

Perfeckt!





Sometimes we writers (humans) need to step back and remember to be authentic. Because being authentic is being perfect.
Monday, May 16, 2011 | By: Taffy

Arrogance vs. Confidence

At the last writers conference I had the opportunity to pitch my book to an agent. I was nervous like I though I would be, only sweaty and out of breath.
(Gross, right? Learn from me and be prepared!)
I ran back to my room and grabbed my first chapter just in case I had time to read her a portion to give a feel for my "voice."
I gave her my pitch, she wrote something down and told me she liked alien stories and wanted to see more of my story.
Very cool!
I told a few friends, called my husband (who chewed me out because I didn't call him right away) and began to think of a few changes I could make to tighten the story.
The week following said conference I've gone about my writing in a totally different way.
I feel different.
I feel good.
Really good.
Somehow, my few minutes of time with the agent gave me a boost in confidence. I think I'll call it validation. Yes, validation. Which leads to self-respect and self-respect.
Then I wondered if I was being arrogant.

So, of course I had to look up the two words:

Confidence= belief in oneself and one's powers or abilities; self-confidence; self-reliance; assurance
Arrogance= offensive display of superiority or self-importance; overbearing pride.

Ah. Confidence, not arrogance. 
I think confidence sometimes comes across as arrogance. Or do we just perceive it that way? Why is that?
Be confident in your work because you are your works best advocate. 
Go forth in the world and be bold.
It's not arrogance driving us, it's confidence.


What about you? How do you feel after your last writers conference? Or how do you boost your confidence??


Here are a few quotes for you as well:

Nobody can make you feel inferior without your consent.  ~Eleanor Roosevelt
It took me a long time not to judge myself through someone else's eyes.  ~Sally Field

It's not who you are that holds you back, it's who you think you're not.  ~Author Unknown
 


HAVE A GREAT WEEK!

Friday, May 13, 2011 | By: Taffy

Foto Friday






Holy huge cave, Batman!!
I'm overwhelmed by the size of this cave. A small village could hide in here.
http://images.nationalgeographic.com/wpf/media-live/photos/000/327/cache/hang-en-cave-vietnam_32754_990x742.jpg
Wednesday, May 11, 2011 | By: Taffy

Jasmine Flowers-Short Story

(This is the short story I submitted for Utah Children's Writers in April.)
Every night I lay lonely in some low class dive, I took out her story and read it, certain to find a clue for me. Tonight, I am back in the same dingy hotel room I started in when I covered her wedding five years ago.
This time I reported on the death of a famous tribe lord: her would-be-husband. I found out he had taken twenty wives, seven in just the last year.  It was a great accomplishment for man of his years. Plus, he had 46 sons and counting.
I returned to the hotel, wrote and sent off my story and read hers again. Ellis. She told me of her favorite flower, Jasmine and she loved her parents deeply.
When I checked out, I asked the manager where Ellis’ family had moved.
“They didn’t move,” he whispered.  “They shut themselves up in their house after their daughter ran away from her wedding. Poor family. Ruined them for life.”
The smoldering coals I held so carefully in my heart burst into flame. She was here? I left my bags and sprinted into the streets. I wandered everywhere and nowhere, waiting for the sun to go down.
I needed to find her. I don’t remember when I first understood I was in love. From the moment I interviewed Ellis, I couldn’t get her deep, brown eyes from my mind. At the time, she was engaged to a wealthy tribal king who ensured protection for her father’s smaller tribe.
I waited until dark to knock on the front door. No answer. I peeked in the windows. No light. I jogged around to the backyard. The place was empty.
I ran back to the hotel, my legs and lungs burning.
“Mr. Jonas! A message for you!” the manager said as he waved his arms.
“I don’t have time!” I grabbed my things.
He stopped moving. “She waits for you by the pool.”
All the times I read her story, all the places I looked for her after she ran away, and I never planned what I would say to her.
I hurried to the hotel pool. The smell of Jasmine hit my nose. I glanced at the water, full of floating white flowers.
“I’ve waited for you to return for so long,” her soft voice announced from a darkened corner. I peered through the dark. Two figures stepped forward—mother and daughter.  I bowed my head in respect to the older woman.  I glanced up; tears glistened on her cheeks.
“Please take care of her.” She pushed her forward with a little nudge and left.
“Where to princess?” I asked, as I wrapped my arms around her.
“Some place I can read your story.”
Tuesday, May 10, 2011 | By: Taffy

First Chapter Contest Winners

At LDStorymakers they held a first chapter contest. Here are the winners (congrats to all!!):
Grand Prize #8 Malach by Cory Webb

Special Recognition Award #29 S.U.P.E.R. by Kimberly VanderHorst

Adult General
1st: #4 A Starlit Road by Curtis Moser
2nd: #26 Going, Going, Gone by Kim Karras
3rd: #119 Three Promises to the Dying Lady by Sharee Campbell

Adult Speculative
1st: #56 Last Dispensation Space by Randy Lindsay
2nd: #138 Dark Mist by Mark Greer
3rd: #7 Banished by Lisa Swinton
3rd: #18 Windows by Debra Erfert
3rd: #89 Uriel by Devon Dorrity

Historical
1st: #24 The Seventh City by Renae Mackley
2nd: #32 Heartstrings and Towerstones by Scott Lockwood

Mystery/suspense
1st: #113 Facade by Jordan McCollum
2nd: #110 conspiracy by Nicole Trionfo
3rd: #128 Running Scared by Kristine Parkin

Nonfiction
1st: #54 The Utah Gold Rush by Darvell Hunt
2nd: #141 Surviving the Detour of Divorce by Sheri Johnson

Romance
1st: #144 Brenna by Lisa Turner
2nd: #11 Hunky and the Beast by Amy Dahlke
3rd: #10 Fallen Angel by Lisa Swinton

YA General
1st: #40 Southern Cross by Yamile Mendez
2nd: #84 A Blind Eye by Julie Daines
2nd: #20 She Came From the Hill by Janice Sperry
3rd: #134 Red Dirt Road by Shari Bird
4th: #62 Landslide by Cory Webb

YA Speculative
1st: #75 New Sight by Jo Ann Schneider
2nd: #34 Independence Day by Christine Bryant
3rd: #93 Colorless by Wendy Swore
4th: #14 Second Death by Lana Jordan
Monday, May 9, 2011 | By: Taffy

Wassup?

My brain is still not fully functioning. I'm in "to-do" overload from laundry to ten pages for my critique group. I promise to post about the LDStorymakers Conference soon.
So you don't go away angry or mad or sad, here is the pitch I gave:

"Mandy's having a bad day. She just found out her mother is an alien and her father has been covering it up for years. While researching the disappearance of her best friend's brother, Mandy uncovers the dark truth about aliens running her town."

Whaddya think?

See you in a few days.
Friday, May 6, 2011 | By: Taffy

Foto Friday

 Oh Man! My heart's pounding just looking at this image!


http://funstuffcafe.com/img/creative-art/impossible-places/impossible-places01.jpg
Monday, May 2, 2011 | By: Taffy

You. Are. Awesome.

Just a reminder of how cool you are!

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, 'Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?' Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others." 

Marianne Williamson (A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of a Course in Miracles