Tuesday, March 27, 2012


1. The idea came from an article about this epidemic in the Philadelphia Inquirer.
2. The research and writing took seven years.
3. Thirteen publishers rejected it. Scholastic didn’t fully reject it, but asked if I’d rewrite it to be part of their Dear America series. I said thank you, no.
4. I lost track of the number of revisions. 14? 112? Whatever, it took a long time and needed a lot of work. This book was my apprentice piece.
5. It has sold more than one million copies in the United States, won all kinds of shiny awards, is a standard part of elementary and middle school curriculum, and has been translated into Catalan, Dutch, Italian, Japanese, Mandarin, and Spanish.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Author Interview with Carolyn Frank

My friend, Lori, made a "cross your heart, hope to die, stick a needle in your eye" promise when she was in grade school. She promised not to tell who her best friend had a crush on. In a moment of weakness, Lori let the name slip out. She was devasted she'd betrayed her friend. So, Lori took a needle and stuck it in the white part of her right eye. To this day she has a teeny, tiny red spot on her eye. It reminds her to keep her promises! ~Taffy

Welcome Carolyn Frank today and her new release PROMISES!

Tell us in one sentence about your book.
It’s about a timid girl growing up next to Bryce Canyon 100 years ago, who learns there’s a difference between complaining and standing up for herself.
Sounds interesting!

What made you want to be a writer?
I’ve liked to write since I was a kid, but I buried my desire when I had an overly critical teacher in college. But six years ago I read a book about a woman who went through a mid-life crisis and had an affair with a monk. The story bothered me so much it made me think, “I can write something better than this.” The next day I decided to write a novel, and I began the process. What kept me going was the desire to produce uplifting literature and provide a wholesome choice for readers, especially children.
I'm glad you're writing better stuff than a mid-life crisis affair! 
Any other books in the works?
*Another historical fiction is scheduled for publication in early 2014 with Covenant Communications. It’s about a Mormon boy who was a Hitler Youth against his will.
* An upper middle grade speculative/historical fiction is finished and is in the final stages of editing.  It’s about a boy who travels through books by means of a Literary Loom to aid him in his school assignments, experiencing the lives of historical greats like George Washington and William Tyndale while learning about freedom and God’s hand in the shaping of America.  
* A YA dystopic/speculative fiction entitled Bonded is finished and is in the early stages of revision. It’s set in a future time when the U.S. no longer exists as we know it, and slavery has returned. It deals with a young slave girl’s quest for freedom as she discovers the mysteries of the past.
* A middle-grade science fiction novel is half-way written. It is entitled Tree Boy, and it’s like a Superman meets Spiderman, meets the Ents (tree people) from the Lord of the Rings. (I got my degree in botany—what can I say?)
Um, you're busy, Carolyn!

What are your future writing goals?
To write until I am too senile to write anymore.

Are you a night owl or early bird?
Definitely an early bird.

If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?
Near my family. (I just wished they lived in Star Valley, Wyoming so I could move up to our cabin and live there amongst the aspen, fresh air, and un-crowded streets).
*sigh* Sounds nice.

Favorite season?
Spring. I love to see my perennials poke their heads out of the dead foliage of winter.
I just found a little, purple crocus popping up in my yard the other day!

What is the best piece of advice anyone has given you?
I love the quote by William Shedd, (I don’t even know who he is, but the quote was on a calendar I got from my insurance agent over ten years ago).
“A ship in the harbor is safe, but that’s not what ships were made for.”
 I've never heard that one. Nice!

What advice do you have for an aspiring writer?
Believe you can do it, be prepared for a lot of work, and don’t give up—and you’ll get published.
 You're a great example, Carolyn! Thanks for stopping by today!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Foto Friday

This almost looks like a different world. Or post apocalyptic.


Monday, March 19, 2012

Help you and your characters

Need some help getting out of a writing slump? Try one (or all) of these exercises:

  • Take a scene from your story and change the POV.
  • Write an obituary for your main characters.
  • Rewrite an action scene between two characters with NO dialogue.
  • Write a journal entry from one of your characters to reveal their biggest secret.
  • Write a paragraph of one of your characters from the viewpoint of another.
  • Change the age of your main character by ten years, up or down, and rewrite a scene from her POV.

What ideas have you tried in your writing that's helped you?

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Can you create your own luck?

Can you create your own luck?

Thomas Jefferson said it best: "I'm a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work, the more luck I have."

An open writer goes to a writer’s conference and sees the potential to make new friends and contacts with the possibility of getting in touch with an agent or editor. A closed writer sees competition and shuts down.
Luck is what happens when you open yourself up to chance. Chance meets optimism.

You’ve worked on your manuscript, loved it, and now you feel the time has come to introduce it to the world. You hold you story out the window and wait for the Agent Fairy to fly by and pick it up. If only that’s how getting published worked!
Luck is what happens when you sign up to pitch your story to an agent, find the perfect outfit, wear an extra layer of deodorant, prepare and deliver your one-minute speech. The next minute you’re being asked to send the full manuscript to the agent. Preparation meets opportunity.

I’m sure you’ve heard many authors say they were in the right place at the right time for their book to be sold. Does that mean they stood around at writer’s conferences, waiting for an agent to spot them and ask for their story? Do they mean once they typed the words “The End” the journey was over? Did they land a book deal on the first query? Most likely not.
Luck is what happens when you write and write and edit and on query number 189 you land a book deal. Discipline meets perseverance

One hundred eighty nine rejections. That is a lot of  “no thank yous” or “your story is a right fit for us.”  A lot of soul crunching pain, wondering if your dreams are worth the trouble. Each time the backbone gains a little more strength, scar tissue interweaves over the weak spots, giving us the courage and strength to move on. Again and again. Muscles grow stronger from resistance. Become resistant to rejection.
Luck is what happens when you persist through the rejections, never giving up, and are open when the right agent says yes. Perspective meets strength.

Stop searching for that elusive four-leafed clover. It gets grass stains on your knees and only wastes precious time you can use to create your own luck.
Luck is what you make it, my friends. Now go out and make some.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Character Obituaries

 Our life dreams the Utopia. Our death achieves the Ideal. Victor Hugo

I needed a little help getting into the heads of my characters so I wrote an obituary for each of them.
You can say WOW with me?
What an enlightening activity both for the character and their loved ones. I searched through a few papers to find examples. Obituaries are written by a parent, sibling, off spring, spouse or friend. Each is unique. Some are stuffy, others humorous. Short and long. But each not only gives an insight to the one who has passed away but also those who are left behind.

Here are a few from my story. Can you tell anything about the character?

Our wonderful Josefina is finally free of her diabetes. She brought joy and happiness to our family.
The memory of her laugh and kindness to each of us will stay with us forever! She was cherished and loved by many and will be greatly missed!
From an early age, Josefina suffered from diabetes. She wore a brave face and carried a big stick. Her brothers taught her self-defense well but her illness couldn’t be fought,
Thanks to all who loved her. She felt your love.
Josefina left this earth before her time on earth was finished. She was the bright, desert rose in this drab world.
She walks spiritually with her grandparents and one sister now.
The burial will be a private service, open to family on Tuesday at 11 AM.

 Norma Louise Shaw passed away in her sleep due to a heart attack in her beloved home of seventy years. She was preceded in death by her parents and beloved husband, Henry Shaw. She was an only child and had no living children of her own.
Her friendship and twinkling eyes will be missed. She loved baking cookies and sharing them with others. Her greatest love were her many cats. All her cats found a loving home and they will miss Norma.
 Cremation and scattering of ashes in a private ceremony were held at a local funeral home per Norma’s request.

Our precious angel returned to heaven following a tragic accident. Sheila’s bight light was snuffed out, her brilliance dimmed; her bubbly laughter quieted before her time. We have no doubt if she were allowed to remain in our arms, she would have changed the world. She lives in our hearts, never to be forgotten, never to truly die.
Our darling baby is somewhat survived by a loving mother, Helen, and adoring father, Troy, who can never, ever replace her or dim her memory.
Sheila is in a brighter place, singing with angels, glowing in her new wings. The music she must be playing on her golden harp will no doubt bring the angels running to listen to her wonderful music.
May she find joy in her new life and think often of her grieving parents. Some day they will be reunited. Hopefully sooner than later.
We love you, dear, dear Sheila Helena Macartney.

This one was an actual obituary I found. It's hilarious! I wonder who wrote it?

Dandelion B. Treecraft died August 4, 2011

Christened "Daniel Bryan Whipple" at his birth, in Fresno, California, Dan endured 13 mind-numbing years of public schooling in California.

After divorcing Leta, his wife of six years [formerly, his step-mother for 12 years], Dan moved to Spokane and took up, promptly, with a former babysitter from his grade-school years.

From 1991 until 2009, having found his calling, Dan employed himself as an arborist, changed his legal name, and attempted to make an honest living providing ethical tree care. Anyone who's attempted to make a living - ethically - can attest that it is no small feat. Mr. Treecraft's scorecard, here, looks fairly good - if graded on a --curve'. He was pleased, though, that many of his clients also became enduring friends.

Jan and Dan were married on the Autumnal Equinox, 2001, a pot luck affair which drew a crowd of well under one thousand.

The next nine years passed in what appeared to be sublime, flawless bliss. Both Treecrafts were generally satisfied to let that appearance prevail.

Dan was also exceedingly proud of being ousted from several dozen Spokane City Council meetings, by Council President Joe Shogan.

Besides his wife, Jan, Mr. Treecraft is survived by their dog, Skippy, Cuckoo, the cat.
Burial will be at Worley Township Cemetery 10:00 a.m., Saturday, August 6, 2011.

A caravan of grave-digging friends and well-wishers are expected to provide funereal talent, shovels, sweat, cheer, graveside manners. Eulogizers of quick-witted brevity are welcome to speak. Long-winded droners may be stoned and used as backfill. Bring a picnic lunch to share, and something to sit on.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Catching up...

I had a great post idea for today but it flitted away. Next week maybe...

Catching up on my stuff:

  • Sick. Achy. Headache. Sneezing. My abs hurt from coughing. I've been taking white pills then brown pills all day. And napping. I popped in the six hour version of Pride & Prejudice but it didn't make sense. I'm going to feel better tomorrow! I know it!
  • I had an awesome writer retreat weekend with my critique group girls (more on that later). I wrote about 14K in words. My goal is for this story to be done by Storymakers because I'm gonna pitch it.
  • I also entered the First Chapter Contest
  • Weird thing about being sick for me is I don't really enjoy TV but I read like a maniac. I'm catching up on my reading pile. I finished OLIVIA and am now reading THE DEATH CURE. Hope to finish tonight.
  • I caught up on my review site yesterday. 
  • I have awesome friends. One brought me soup today.
  • Hubby is out of town. Good and bad. Good because I'm tossing and turning at night, bad because I don't get any of his sympathy or getting me drinks and snacks. *sigh*
  • On the other side, my kids are taking care of me. The oldest made me go to bed, stating he would send the youngest off to bed at nine. And he did. He's also running errands for me. LOVE having another driver in the house.
What about you? What are you all up to??

Monday, March 5, 2012

A few of my favorite things I'm doing

I'm reading: Fiction: The Light After the War by Anita Abriel  It is 1946 when Vera Frankel and her best friend Edith Ban ...