Wednesday, December 25, 2019

New favorite Christmas bread!

I found a new favorite Christmas morning bread (that we will eat all year long!) from Annie & Everything! 

Christmas Morning Sticky Buns

***Prepare these the night before you want them for breakfast.  
That might be Christmas Eve, or it might the night before a special birthday, or any time you are craving the sticky goodness… (my mom used them at her bed & breakfast!)
            3/4 cup chopped pecans
             1 package (12 rolls) FROZEN roll dough — DO NOT THAW
1 box (3.4 oz) butterscotch instant pudding mix
1/2 cup melted butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
These easy make ahead overnight sticky buns are one of the best ideas for Christmas breakfast. Using Rhodes frozen rolls, dripping with a gooey pecan, cinnamon, and brown sugar topping -- this will become one of your favorite holiday recipes. While they bake, you can open gifts with the family -- then enjoy the decadence!1
. The night before you want to eat these (sorry for the obnoxious repetition, but I don’t want anybody to be disappointed by starting these on the morning they plan to have them!), grease a bundt pan.  Sprinkle pecans in the bottom.

These easy make ahead overnight sticky buns are one of the best ideas for Christmas breakfast. Using Rhodes frozen rolls, dripping with a gooey pecan, cinnamon, and brown sugar topping -- this will become one of your favorite holiday recipes. While they bake, you can open gifts with the family -- then enjoy the decadence!
2. Arrange 11-12 FROZEN rolls on top of pecans (however many will fit comfortably).

These easy make ahead overnight sticky buns are one of the best ideas for Christmas breakfast. Using Rhodes frozen rolls, dripping with a gooey pecan, cinnamon, and brown sugar topping -- this will become one of your favorite holiday recipes. While they bake, you can open gifts with the family -- then enjoy the decadence!
3. Sprinkle dry pudding mix over top of rolls.  (The “cook & serve” type of pudding will work in a pinch, but it will not make the nice sticky caramel like the instant pudding will.  Instead it will be rather runny — but it will still taste yummy.)

These easy make ahead overnight sticky buns are one of the best ideas for Christmas breakfast. Using Rhodes frozen rolls, dripping with a gooey pecan, cinnamon, and brown sugar topping -- this will become one of your favorite holiday recipes. While they bake, you can open gifts with the family -- then enjoy the decadence!
4. Stir together melted butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon, and pour the whole thing over top of the rolls.  PLACE IN A COOL OVEN OVERNIGHT.

These easy make ahead overnight sticky buns are one of the best ideas for Christmas breakfast. Using Rhodes frozen rolls, dripping with a gooey pecan, cinnamon, and brown sugar topping -- this will become one of your favorite holiday recipes. While they bake, you can open gifts with the family -- then enjoy the decadence!
This is what you will see in the morning.  Yea, baby!!

5. REMOVE THE ROLLS FROM THE OVEN.  This is very important.  If you do not remove them before preheating, you will not be a happy camper!  After removing the rolls from the oven, preheat to 350 degrees.  When the oven is up to temperature, return the rolls to the oven and bake 25-30 minutes or until golden brown.  Cool 5-10 minutes, then flip over onto plate.
And then it’s time to indulge in this thoroughly amazing, yummy, tender, sticky, gooey, mmmmm-delicious treat!!  Perfect with a cup of coffee or a cool glass of milk… oooo this is killing me….

These easy make ahead overnight sticky buns are one of the best ideas for Christmas breakfast. Using Rhodes frozen rolls, dripping with a gooey pecan, cinnamon, and brown sugar topping -- this will become one of your favorite holiday recipes. While they bake, you can open gifts with the family -- then enjoy the decadence!

Now that the kids are older, I have to make two batches of these sticky buns to keep the whole family happy.  But since they’re so easy and quick — and I want my fair share, lol — I don’t mind doing it! Try them for your family this year and see what they think — and also notice how relaxing your Christmas eve and morning are. I think you’ll start a new Christmas tradition!

Sunday, December 15, 2019

Cranberry-Chocolate Chunk Cookies by Betty Crocker

I found a new favorite Christmas cookie! This is a recipe from Betty Crocker, where they use their own sugar cookie pouch, but I used my own recipe. It was delicious! 

There must have been some magic baking up in the Betty Crocker Kitchens when this recipe was developed, because this deceptively simple cookie is about to steal the show (and your heart). Perfect for bake sales, book clubs, Christmas cookie exchanges and anything in between, this genius recipe will disappear in almost the same short amount of time it takes to make them—maybe even faster. 

To keep it simple, we started with Betty Crocker’s sugar cookie mix, added a few heaps of dark chocolate chunks, tossed in dried cranberries and for a dazzling finish we sprinkled these confections with coarse sparkling sugar. We could have picked a different dried fruit, but the sweet-tart cranberries balance out the rich dark chocolate so perfectly that we’d say this combination is a match made in flavor heaven. Plus, with just 20 minutes of prep, you can make this always-impressive cookie in almost no time flat!


1 pouch (17.5 oz) Betty Crocker™ sugar cookie mix 
Butter and egg called for on cookie mix pouch for drop cookies 
1 bag (6 oz) 70% cacao bittersweet chocolate chunks (about 1 1/4 cups) 
3/4 cup dried cranberries


  • Heat oven to 375°F. 
  • Make dough as directed on pouch for drop cookies. Stir in chocolate chunks and cranberries. Drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls 2 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheets. Sprinkle sugar on tops. 
  •  Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until edges are set. Cool 2 minutes; remove from cookie sheets to cooling racks. Cool completely, about 30 minutes. Store in airtight container. 
    70% cacao bittersweet chocolate chunks give this recipe its premium flavor and texture. 
    Using a cookie scoop makes quick work of dropping the cookie dough. It also ensures cookies will be the same size and will bake the same length of time. Use a #40 scoop to make 1 1/2-inch balls, using about 2 tablespoons dough each.

O Come, Emmanuel - Christmas Version - ThePianoGuys

Thursday, November 21, 2019

The Waiting is the Hardest Part by Joanna MacKenzie

I thought this post from Nelson Literacy Agency was very timely with NaNo, or wrapping up your NaNo and sending out query letters. 

What do you do while you wait for the perfect agent? 

The Waiting Is the Hardest Part

By Joanna MacKenzie
At some point during your publishing journey, it will seem like all you’re going is waiting. There’s a lot of hurry-up-and-wait in publishing, and it’s hard to know what to do when you feel like you have nothing to do. Here are a few suggestions for how to pass the time:
1. Write Something. Ideally, something completely different. The best way to not dwell on the project that’s out with agents or editors is to get busy with new characters. Don’t write the second book in your planned series. Don’t rewrite the manuscript you just queried. Start a new project. Try out that idea that’s been kind of taking shape in the back of your head but that you think is way too off-brand for you. Even if you turn out to be right, every project hones your skills and makes you a better storyteller. You still have a few weeks of NaNoWriMo left!
2. Socialize. These moments of in-between are great opportunities to become the best literary citizen you can be. Part of being a successful author is being connected to your local publishing scene, no matter how small. Get out and network. Hit up a conference, a reading, a lecture series, or a local publishing drinks event. Not only could you have the opportunity to vent about the waiting with other writers, but you might also make some valuable connections for the next steps in the publishing process, such as asking for endorsement quotes.
3. Get Online. Waiting is also a great opportunity to get your social-media house in order. I’m a firm believer that writing should be your first priority, but if you’ve hit “the end” and sent that manuscript out into the world, you now have some time to focus on your professional online presence. Make sure you have the infrastructure set up for your social-media accounts as well as an author website or landing page, and start creating an online community for yourself by following and interacting with other writers.
4.  Read. If you’re someone who can’t read while they write, or if you can’t read within your genre while actively working on a project, then waiting for your agent or editor to get back to you is a great time to catch up on what’s recently been published. In addition to being an entertaining distraction, reading other authors might help you find new comp titles for your work or inspire you to diversify and write in a different genre.

Monday, November 18, 2019

What do NaNoWriMo, Literary Book Gift, Cashmere Gloves have in common?

Have you heard of NaNoWriMo? 

November has been declared National Novel Writing Month. Thousands of humans around the globe try to write a WHOLE entire novel in thirty days. 
How many words, you ask? 50K Fifty thousand. 50,000
That's a whole lot of words, people. And it's not as easy as you think. 
But it's a fantastic way to get lots of words written down and out of your head. 
There are many tools someone in November can use to help. This is one such tool that I love.

#shoutout to Literary Book Gifts for allowing me to trying out their cashmere, fingerless gloves! 
I LOVE them! ๐Ÿ’๐Ÿงค

They are soft and warm! Perfect for cold days writing at home or in the library. 
They aren't bulky or thick, so they don't get in the way of typing or turning pages. They can be kept in a coat pocket or a purse. Everyone will be jealous of not only your style, they'll be jealous of how warm your hands are as you read and/or write.

Have you ever done NaNo? 
How did you do??
Have you ever wanted to do NaNo?
It's never too late to start!

Monday, November 4, 2019

Top 5 Fictional places I'd like to visit

What fictional world would you like to visit? Why would you visit?

Here is my top 5:

Hogwarts (for the food, duh)

Can you imagine having food magically appear every. time. you ate? YES, please! Also, the Room of Requirement!

Room with a View

I want to see the beauty of Florence described in the book. The flowers, the meadows, the hotel. And maybe the food.

Warcross by Marie Lu

I'm not gonna lie, I found this story fascinating. The game and the glasses and the future (though I don't like the thought of everyone being so connected to the media).


How fun to live (almost) like during Jane Austen era? The clothes, the walks in the park, the romance.

A Song for the Stars

I would love to time travel back to the 1700's to visit the lush beauty of the Hawaiian Islands before everyone else discovered the area.

Friday, November 1, 2019

Monday, September 16, 2019

Writing Dialogue by Julie Wright

Julie Wright gave some good advice on writing dialogue. There is so much great dialogue can do for a story. I sometimes forget the reader can't read my mind. We can't assume readers can read our character's minds either.
And what is the best writing mechanics to SHOW us more about who and what the characters are thinking/feeling/struggling with.

I'm just going to bullet point it all.

Good dialogue should (must do at least ONE):

  • Reveal character
  • Set the tone
  • Alter relationships (build up or tear down)
  • Increase tension
  • Move plot forward


  • Don't info dump
  • Use adverbs sparingly
  • Don't need cussing
  • Make your dialogue count

There is a different between real dialogue (which is SHOWNG) and narrated dialogue (which is TELLING).

There's a great chapter in the book, SELF-EDITING FOR FICTION WRITERS by Renni Browne and Dave King.

Now, go through your first five chapters and test out your dialogue. How is it? Showing? Telling? Does it reveal the character? 

What book have you read that you loved the dialogue?

Monday, September 9, 2019

Must-Have Moments by Jen Nielsen

Jen also talked about everything in story and how to make scenes better (using OUTSIDERS as an example):


1.     Inciting Incident
a.     Ponyboy heads home late
2.     Complication
a.     One wants something but the other will not or cannot give it
b.     Both want something
c.     If one gets it, the other loses
d.     Darry is mad. If Pony gets his freedom, Darry loses his control over brothers

3.     Crisis
a.     Sodapop intervenes; Darry slaps Pony, changing the trijectory of the story
4.     Climax
a.     Pony runs away, gets jumped by rivals, Johnny kills rival
5.     Consequence/Resolution
a.     Pony and Johnny rescue kids and become heroes, one dies

EVERY character in EVERY scene needs TWO definable goals:
  • Physical goals (external)
  • Emotional goals (internal)
EVERY scene created is a 'fight' scene. There should always be a clash or an obstacle.

EVERY scene has an arc that connects it to the previous scene. Even the opening scene connects to a previous scene the reader doesn't see.

 1. Physical relationship of characters in the scene
     ⇨ Physical proximity matters!

2. Body language can mark the key points to the moment.

3. What has happened just prior to the key moment?

4. Can you define every emotional shift?
    ⇨ If you can, you're writing a great scene

5. At what point in each beat is the tension the most palpable?

6. Is there subtext that enhances the scene?

Monday, August 26, 2019

Must-Have Moments in Your Novel by Jennifer A. Nielsen

I've decided it doesn't matter what Jennifer Nielsen is teaching, I NEED IT.

There are the acts in a story:

ACT I Intro
ACT II Mayhem Ensures
ACT III Resolution

1.     Intro to the world (like the intro to the Shire)
#1 key moment ~ intro to the voice

2.     First clash with the antagonist

3.     First decision (leave the shire)
#2 key moment ~ The hero’s fatal flaw

4.     Intro subplot
a.     It needs a purpose
b.     Works into the resolution
c.     Could be conflict, info, parallel plots, suspense, etc
#3 key moment ~ subplot must have a purpose

5.     Hero confronts THE conflict (I’ll take the ring)
a.     Is it unexpected?
b.     Is it a turning point?
c.     Is the hero wildly unprepared?
#4 key moment ~ Does your reader know what both your hero and your villain want?
#5 key moment ~ Are the stakes high??

1.     Antagonist shows his strength; he must be stronger than the hero
2.     Allies appear for the hero
3.     Problems and more problems
a.     RIGHT HERE if you have writer’s block, your characters don’t have enough to do
4.     Crisis point ~ No turning back (Gandalf dies, Frodo can’t go back)
a.     #6 key moment ~ Exact moment your hero can’t turn back

5.     Dark night moment ~ protagonist goes on their own to move forward
a.     #7 key moment ~ when all is lost, what gets your hero to her feet again?

1.     Resolution of the problem defined in Act I
2.     Confrontation
a.     The hero might lose but…
b.     The hero is victorious
3.     Resolution
a.     How has the hero grown?

#8 key moment ~ Reader is satisfied and all the threads have been closed

Monday, August 19, 2019

Keynote speaker Jason Wright #Betheone

 Jason Wright was the keynote speaker at #storymakers19. He talked about being the one. Whatever that means to you #Betheone 

Be the one to open the door for someone else, take the time to listen to a friend or stranger, show kindness



 ALSO, what if...your book changes YOUR life?

2019 Keynote Speaker, Jason Wright

Jason Wright is a New York TimesWall Street Journal and USA Today bestselling author.
Jason is also a regular columnist for Fox News and the Northern Virginia Daily. Articles by Jason have appeared in over other 100 newspapers, magazines and web sites across the United States including The Washington Times, The Chicago Tribune, and Forbes.
Jason is also a popular speaker who speaks on the miracle of opening doors, faith, failure, the Christmas Jars movement, the lost art of letter writing, and many other topics. He has been seen on CNN, FoxNews, C-SPAN, and on local television stations around the country.

Monday, August 12, 2019

Slow Burn Romance by Kasie West

"There’s so much more to a kiss than the kiss. We’ll discuss how to craft a story that will have your
readers begging for the HEA. We’ll discuss elements such as conflict, characters, history, tension,
emotion and how to use them to build a perfect romance. And then, of course, we’ll talk about crafting the perfect kiss."


In order to know the future of your characters, you need to know their past
You need to know their personal history
You need to know their relationship history


Check each chapter for conflict
What are your characters goals?
What are their obstacles?


Throw your love interests together often, so they can learn more about each other
Show them being vulnerable


Chemistry comes through dialogue!


Accidental touching
Build up the physical contact
How does the contact make them feel? (Sometimes you show this, sometimes you tell)

The Kiss

There is usually a BEAT right before the kiss
The kiss is more powerful writing from the emotions that surround the kiss

Monday, August 5, 2019

You ain't Shakespeare

Basically...write YOUR story.
Stop stressing about perfection in your writing.
You ain't Shakespeare.

Monday, July 29, 2019

The Magical Muse by Jennifer Nielsen

To say Jennifer A. Nielsen is amazing is a HUGE understatement. There are so many positive adjectives I can use to describe her! It would take up this whole post. She's an influencer, teacher, writer, friend, listener, centered, true-to-self, best friend anyone would beg to have. She's kind, sweet, funny, smart, insightful, witty...did I say amazing yet?
(I know, I know, fan girl much?)(I truly want to be Jen when I grow up).
When you're with her and talking to her, she is laser-focused on you and you alone. She proved to be the one with sound advice for a friend in need over the weekend.

We learned a lot about being creative!

First, ask yourself:
Where am I creative?

WATER is the #1 element to creativity.
WHY Water?
It supports the body, so the body relaxes and the brain relaxes and creates a cocoon.
The relaxed brain creates DOPAMINE, which creates peace in us.
(I was totally skeptical about this. I mean, when will I get to a waterfall or sit in a hot tub?? The next morning I was thinking about a hole in my plot while I was showering and BAM! The thought came and I solved the problem!).

BLANK page
Staring at a blank page works. Most ideas being with a single spark. Only you can grab it.

COLLECT stupid facts
Did you know there is a DOG MAYOR? And he's won THREE times?

LISTEN to music and pick up on lyrics

ASK what if? What if that happened? Or he said that? Or she did this?

MAKE up back stories to other stories or to strangers you meet. Why does that guy keep looking at pictures of the same girl, over and over again? For the two hour flight?

LOOK for details. Why is he carrying yellow roses?

COME up with more than one plot point...come up with at least 5.
SET limitations on your characters (limitations are the mother of creativity).
PLAN your incubation period. ⇨ WRITE down your questions you have about your plot, character, etc and go about your day. You've given your subconscious brain a task and it will answer your questions.

TRUST your imagination! You're in the right place!

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Blessed, honored pioneers!

Minerva Teichert (1888-1976), Washday on the Plains, 1938, oil on canvas, 42 x 94 1/2 inches. Brigham Young University Museum of Art, gift of the Teichert Family Collection.
This week we celebrate Pioneer Day on July 24, which is Utah’s state holiday. Minerva Teichert produced scenes of her Mormon Pioneer heritage in the living room of her Cokeville, Wyoming ranch home and participated in civic celebrations of Pioneer Day. Washday on the Plains conveys the resolute commitment of the pioneers’ posterity to remember the heroism and dedication of their forebearers in trekking to the Mountain West. Minerva made sure that the vital role of women in this epic was not forgotten. These industrious pioneers embody both strength and beauty in their crisp patchwork fashions.

Monday, July 22, 2019

Put on Your PANTS: Outlining Tips for Pantsers; Polishing Tips for Plotters by Lisa Mangum

The next part of Lisa Mangum's class on pantsing and plotting (continued from last Monday) was B.E.L.T. (see what she did there?)

Your characters belief system
How much pain can they stand?
What is there relationship with God?
⇨ What sacrifice does your character make to achieve their goal?

What unexpected fear does your main character have?
Are they feeling guilt? How do they atone?
What does your main character feel after defeating the villain?? Relief? Sadness? Justification?
What bring your MC closure?

Who does your character call for help?
Where does your character feel safe?
What is your character's reputation in the community?
What kind of legacy do they want to leave behind?
What DO they leave behind?

Unexpected quality in your hero?
Who is your hero's hero?
⇨ Make a list of heroic qualities and use them to measure your hero's success and failure, both internally and externally
Allude to the heroic quality in the beginning and echo it throughout the story

Monday, July 1, 2019

Put on Your PANTS: Outlining Tips for Pantsers; Polishing Tips for Plotters by Lisa Mangum

Lisa Mangum is one of the best teachers and she always has an amazing perspective. I've never heard her teach the same presentation twice. She taught about pantsing and plotting or P.A.N.T.S

When you edit, go through and find out everything you learn about the character. Look for their physical descriptions, their hopes, dreams, flaws, goals, anything internal.
What's missing?

The villain is the hero of his own story. The villain needs to be smart, crafty, etc And the villain needs to know the hero's weaknesses, strengths, etc
⇒ Write a character sketch of the hero from the villains point of view
What poses an inner threat to the hero?
What will the hero lose if he fails?

What makes the hero truly happy?
Use the equation of "Nothing is more important than X. Except for Y."
Like in the Godfather: "Nothing is more important than family. Except for respect."

Put your symbols into action by using the rule of three:
1st time = interesting
2nd time = Pattern
3rd time cements, presents or establishes a problem, solution or theme

The things we do for love!
Stakes matter when the relationships matter.
This is life or death

There was so much more to this breakout. I love Lisa's insights.
I'll add another section from her lesson next week!

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Reading AND writing

QOTD: What are you reading this summer?

When summer hits, I envision writing All. The. Day. Long.

But that doesn't usually work out.

The biggest pluses for me with summer is the ease of a routine, a schedule: there isn't one. Even when we have tried to do Field Trip Friday or Taste Test Tuesday, we haven't lasted through summer. But I wouldn't change it for the world. I've come to understand that I need to 'chill out' during summer, enjoy myself and my down time, but most of all enjoy my family time, because it slips away fast.

One of my hobbies that I seem to be able to catch up on is reading. Reading by the pool, reading in the car (I take ginger to counter car sickness) or staying up late to 'just finish one more chapter.'

And I firmly believe reading and writing go together.

I find that I enjoy writing in the morning, have lunch, then read in the afternoon or evening. Reading opens my mind and creativity to other worlds and characters and thoughts.

I LOVE leaning! I LOVE reading books from other countries and cultures. This women's journey to read a book from every country made me think about my reading habits. I'd love to expand my world even more. I'm including Ann Morgan's Ted talk and the link to the books she read in a year from other countries.

Monday, June 17, 2019

Chuck Palahniuk on 'thought verbs'

Here is a short piece of a post from Chuck Palahniuk on 'thought verbs.'

The piece got me thinking about how I'm a lazy writer. I want to change that.

Typically, writers use these “thought” verbs at the beginning of a paragraph  (In this form, you can call them “Thesis Statements” and I’ll rail against those, later)  In a way, they state the intention of the paragraph.  And what follows, illustrates them.

For example:
“Brenda knew she’d never make the deadline.  Traffic was backed up from the bridge, past the first eight or nine exits.  Her cell phone battery was dead.  At home, the dogs would need to go out, or there would be a mess to clean up.  Plus, she’d promised to water the plants for her neighbor…”
Do you see how the opening “thesis statement” steals the thunder of what follows?  Don’t do it.
If nothing else, cut the opening sentence and place it after all the others.  Better yet, transplant it and change it to:  Brenda would never make the deadline.

Thinking is abstract.  Knowing and believing are intangible.  Your story will always be stronger if you just show the physical actions and details of your characters and allow your reader to do the thinking and knowing.  And loving and hating.

Don’t tell your reader:  “Lisa hated Tom.”

Instead, make your case like a lawyer in court, detail by detail.  Present each piece of evidence.  For example:
“During role call, in the breath after the teacher said Tom’s name, in that moment before he could answer, right then, Lisa would whisper-shout: ‘Butt Wipe,” just as Tom was saying, ‘Here’.”

One of the most-common mistakes that beginning writers make is leaving their characters alone.  Writing, you may be alone.  Reading, your audience may be alone.  But your character should spend very, very little time alone.  Because a solitary character starts thinking or worrying or wondering.

For example:  Waiting for the bus, Mark started to worry about how long the trip would take..”

A better break-down might be:  “The schedule said the bus would come by at noon, but Mark’s watch said it was already 11:57.  You could see all the way down the road, as far as the Mall, and not see a bus.  No doubt, the driver was parked at the turn-around, the far end of the line, taking a nap.  The driver was kicked back, asleep, and Mark was going to be late.  Or worse, the driver was drinking, and he’d pull up drunk and charge Mark seventy-five cents for death in a fiery traffic accident…”

A character alone must lapse into fantasy or memory, but even then you can’t use “thought” verbs or any of their abstract relatives. 

Oh, and you can just forget about using the verbs forget and remember.

No more transitions such as:  “Wanda remember how Nelson used to brush her hair.”

Instead:  “Back in their sophomore year, Nelson used to brush her hair with smooth, long strokes of his hand.”

Again, Un-pack.  Don’t take short-cuts.

Better yet, get your character with another character, fast.  Get them together and get the action started.  Let their actions and words show their thoughts.  You -- stay out of  their heads.

Monday, June 3, 2019

Self Edit Like A Pro by Jolene Perry

I love NaNoWriMo! I love being able to let my brain dump out words that form paragraphs and eventually form a story. Not to brag (just proving my point), I can usually write 50k in a weekend. They aren't pretty words, but it is a story.

But I HATE editing. For some reason, I feel like a failure because all the words in my head come out a jumbled mess on paper (stupit, right?)

At the same time, I love editing because I can make the sentences stronger and make my story better.

Jolene Perry's class was excellent on self-editing.
Here are a few of my notes:

There are a few edit rounds:

Developmental/Big picture
Fine line

Line edits help make awkward sentences better, change passive sentences, and improve flow.

When editing, it might be helpful to plug the manuscript into a plotting method, like Save the Cat and see where the story needs fixed or is missing beats. If I find myself rethinking a scene, then I just need to cut it.

One of Jolene's advice that I want to use more often:
Write a pitch of the book, or a blurb, to help keep the story straight. 
Step away from the manuscript for at least THREE weeks to see where to fix MS better.

There needs to be TWO reasons for each scene:

1. What do we learn?
 About a character? About their world?
2. How does this scene propel the story?
What is the key in this scene that adds tension?

Each character has a background, interests, hobbies, likes/dislikes that shape their world. Are those views shown in their actions?

If you need help with characterization, trying reading the scene from each characters point of view! Then ask, are they acting in a way that help the main character?


Don't use thought verbs-SHOW the emotion
Don't use dialog tags improperly
Don't use a passive voice
Don't use 'it' or 'it was' if at all possible
Cut pet words

Define 'it' and 'there' do make the story better.
Search for ING endings and see if I can make the sentence more succint.
⇛Being more specific nearly always adds tension!

You DON'T need an action AND a dialogue tag.

Checks grammar, punctuation, spelling, etc. 
Learn about hyphenation, commas, and lay vs. lie

Jolene has a blog!

Monday, May 27, 2019

Be Still My (Always) Racing Heart: Common Mistakes in Romance and How to Avoid Them by Jenny Proctor

I've written at least 5 YA books. I had 3 full requests from agents for my psychological thrill. All three agents left the industry within 6 months of asking for my manuscript. LE SIGH.
Recently, I switched genres. I'm trying my hand at contemporary romance now (can you blame me??).
I love writing romance! Because of my love of writing love (sheesh), I choose all romance writing classes at #storymakers19.

One of the classes was by Jenny Proctor!

This is one piece advice I'm going to use every time I start a story:
⇒Before drafting, tell a friend (or your critique group) your story. Pay attention to the questions they ask! Use their insights and questions to fill out your story.

Know your characters!
Ask WHY for everything they do.
Allow them to make mistakes.
Know their conflicts both intelluctual (false impressions and assumptions) and emotional.
Too much 'hotness' doesn't a relationship make! If you use too much 'hotness' you don't have enough character depth.
Why are your characters meant to be together? It's not because of biceps or the perfect nose.

(Jenny suggested a book she loved: The Emotional Craft of Fiction by Donald Maas).

Step away from your MS for 3 weeks!

Jenny has a website!

Monday, May 20, 2019

Writing conferences in Utah

Years and years ago, I wrote an LDS romance. I thought it was pretty good, so I decided I needed to figure out where to send my amazing manuscript to have it published. I read about a writing conference close to where I lived and decided that is where I should start. After all, the conference title had 'LDS' in it.
The conference was smaller back then. We fit in one of the ballrooms at the Marriott hotel in downtown Provo. I'm not sure how many were in attendance, maybe 100? I got to meet so many amazing people! I'm still friends with most of them today.

I soon learned I didn't write the perfect book. That hurt my ego a little bit, which was good. I'm still learning the craft. I'm still learning I can't write the perfect book in one setting.
There are quite a few writing conferences in Utah. My favorite is LDStorymakers. I think this year there were over 800 participants and it runs for three days in May.

Life, the Universe and Everything is a fun conference full of panels of writers, comic strip makers, screenplay writers and lots and lots of science fiction and fantasy. You'll catch sightings of lots of writers, like Brandon Sanderson!

LTUE is usually in February.

WIFYR or Writing for Young Readers is held in June. There is a lot you can choose from in this conference. You can go in the morning, afternoon or evening. All week long, or just to a couple of classes or workshops. I haven't been able to go to this one yet (because of moneys) but every single one of my friends who have gone, have loved it and benefited from it.

Book Academy is held at UVU. A one day conference with a keynote speaker and amazing teachers.

There are also many writing chapters throughout Utah that host their own conferences. Plus, writing retreats.

Monday Motivation ~ First do no harm, and second to try to do good

"I think we all, as parents, readers, writers, teachers, editors, whatever, have a responsibility to first do no harm, and second to ...

Writer Website in A Weekend

Writer Website in A Weekend