Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Let it Snow . . . .

Isn't she lovely?

I'm knee-deep, or today that would be neck-deep, in revisions for my novel. My editor has been great and I'm still having fun with the whole thing, but it doesn't leave me much time for any other writing (unless I forego laundry, cooking, and cleaning--that might not be such a bad idea!).

So I'm going to post a few photos of what we did over the weekend. Besides eating to engorgement, we also enjoyed a surprise sledding trip. Monday of last week we were wearing t-shirts and running the AC. Friday morning we woke up to 3-4 inches of snow and decided to take advantage of it. Yes, I do live in Colorado where we say that the the only thing predictable about our weather is that it's so unpredictable. We do still have snow on the ground and I'm spending my writing time next to a cozy fire. I love writing next to a fire!

My younger kids--we call them the "little kids." Don't know what we'll call them when they're teenagers. I think they'll always be the "little kids." We also joke that they're the "second family" because they're all close in age and there's a gap between their group and my older kids.
My daughters are so camera-shy. Can you tell? Usually they like to pose like Charlie's Angels.

This is about a 20 minute drive from my house. We like to go sledding here because it's so beautiful. A river runs just below these trees and it's gorgeous year round.
Hope you all had an enjoyable weekend and were able to spend time with your family.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

I'm Sponsoring a Contest

I'm sponsoring one of the categories for a Christmas story contest at LDS Publisher. My picture book, Grasshopper Pie, is the prize for the Reader's Choice, Unpublished Author category. I'm excited to be able to sponsor a contest and promote my picture book at the same time. LDS Publisher has been a great help to LDS writers and this promotional idea is fabulous. Published authors can sponsor a specific contest or an entire month. It's a great way to support a site that's dedicated to helping LDS writers navigate their way through the publishing world while also promoting individual books.

Promotion is uncomfortable for many LDS writers because it feels as if we're braggarts or full of ourselves when we promote our books. Yet, no one will read a book unless he/she is aware that such a book exists. And, as writers, we tend to like the creative writing process more than the promoting and marketing processes. Indeed, most of us would much rather shut ourselves away in a cozy mountain cabin next to a warm fire and pound out stories rather than promote our books.

I've been toying with several ideas to promote my upcoming YA LDS novel, Heaven Scent. I want something unique enough to stand out, but not so radical it makes people wonder if I'm sane. I need something economical enough that I can reasonably produce it, but not so cheesy no one even notices it. The wheels keep turning in my head. For now, I'm thrilled with the opportunity to sponsor a contest at LDS Publisher.

I hope that any of you who have a Christmas story under 1500 words will consider entering it into this contest. Those who win will receive books as prizes and will also receive feedback from readers and LDS Publisher. It's a lot of fun and can get those creative juices flowing. Hope to see you over at LDS Publisher.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

My List of 10 Male Characters

As usual, I'm a day late and a dollar short. Some time ago, Marcia Mickelson tagged me with the "10 Male Fictional Characters I'd Most Like to Make-out With" or something to that effect. I had it in the back of my mind, but life slammed me and I forgot.

My list of 10 male characters that I would find attractive if I were single and they were, well, you know, real:

1. Rhett Butler--no need to say anything else.

2. Thom Casey (Nightshade Mysteries by Kerry Blair).

3. Ben Adams ("Spires of Stone" by Annette Lyon).

4. Phillip Adams ("Spires of Stone") Wouldn't be the first time I liked brothers.

5. Andrew Davidson ("To Have or To Hold" by Josi Kilpack). Love how he changes.

6. Slade Jacobson ("Masquerade" by Sierra St. James/Janette Rallison).

7. Brandon Mace ("Molly" series by Tamra Norton).

8. Jason Hackett ("Angels Don't Knock" by Dan Yates).

9. Kyle Reynolds from my upcoming novel, "Heaven Scent."

10. Travis Dixon from my WIP.

Yeah, I know 9 and 10 are kind of like cheating, but since others have done this I think it's acceptable.

I do read mainly juvenile fiction and there's not a lot of "hot" middle grade characters, at least not to an over-the-hill mom of 10 like me!

This was fun.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007


It was quite a weekend.

My son, (2nd boy, 5th child) turned 12 on Saturday. In the LDS church, that's a magic age. Shortly before he turned 12, he earned his Faith in God in Primary and passed off the requirements in Boy Scouts to become a First Class Scout. Since boys can, at the age of 12, receive the priesthood and be ordained a Deacon in the LDS church, we decided to invite family and friends over after church Sunday to celebrate my son's birthday and his ordination.

Now, keep in mind, I have 10 people living at my house. Many of those are professional mess-makers. It takes time, energy, and patience to thoroughly clean my house, especially since, most of the time, my younger kids are only a step behind me uncleaning what I've just cleaned. (I think they gleefully follow behind me undoing all the work I've done just to see my reaction!). Thankfully, my husband pitched in and helped all through the week. He washed dishes, cooked the turkey, mowed the lawn, cut down weeds, and cleaned the yard/outside areas around the house. He's my very best helper and he's by far the hardest worker of all of us.

Which is why I was quite distraught when I realized that my husband ( as well as my son and my older daughters) would be gone all day on Saturday (the last day to really get everything clean) at a youth activity. Let's do the math: 10 people, minus my husband and older kids (the cleaners) = me left with the younger kids (non-cleaners). Hmmm. I needed a little (okay, a lot of) chocolate when I realized this.

In addition to the youth activity, my older girls were also performing in "Fiddler on the Roof" at the high school Friday night, Saturday night, and in a matinee on Saturday afternoon (they attended the youth activity in between performances).

And, my daughter who attends college decided to come home for the weekend.

Can I also add that my six-year-old son had a talk in Primary on Sunday?

Did I mention the carpet cleaner and the hard surface cleaner both stopped working mid-cleaning?

And the icing on the cake? Our family spoke in church at Sacrament Meeting on Sunday. On charity. As if I had any left!

Well, I survived, but it was oh, so hectic and I collapsed Sunday evening after everyone left (including my husband and son who attended a church meeting Sunday night). I was pleased with the support of family and friends for my son's ordination and happy to have a clean (just barely) house for it.

It's always nice to have family get-togethers. I must admit, though, I like the get-togethers best at someone else's house!

How was your weekend?

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Write, Write, Write

I am currently enrolled in a children's writing course through The Institute of Children's Literature. This course focuses on writing for the magazine market. I can choose to either write fiction or non-fiction for each assignment. Since I've studied, and successfully marketed fiction, I decided to concentrate on non-fiction.

I never thought I'd be interested in writing non-fiction, but listening to my kids ask questions and talk to each other has given me more subjects than I will ever have time to write about. One question will lead to another which will invariably lead to another. I have notebook pages filled with possible article ideas and I'm interested in pursuing each idea. Thinking about what I can learn along the way is exciting. I want to learn about sea horses, rocks, and how to measure the weight of clouds. There's so much to learn and so little time to learn all of it.

I decided to take the course from ICL because I believed it would help me learn how to write non-ficiton more quickly and more efficiently than my own researching and reading could provide and because I wanted personal feedback from an instructor on how to improve my writing. I'm constantly working to improve my skills and often wonder if I'll ever feel like I actually know what I'm doing. I'm not sure that I'll ever feel like a real writer, especially since so many writers know so much more, and write so much better, than I do.

Once in a while, I wish I could escape the desire to write. I know I'd get a lot more cleaning done. I'd probably cook better meals. I'd have more time to sew, do crafts, make meals for others, and iron that growing pile of wrinkles in my laundry room. Yet, I can't seem to imagine my life without writing. It's such a part of me. I tried to quit. Once. I guess I'll keep at it until I'm too old to write anymore or I write everything I want to write, whichever comes first.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Read a Good Book?

Have you read a good book lately? Was it by an LDS author? If so, you may want to nominate it for a Whitney Award. The Whitney Awards have been developed to recognize excellence in literature by LDS authors. For an extensive list of books eligible for the first annual Whitney Awards go to LDSPublisher.

I'm excited about this new opportunity for LDS writers and plan to attend the banquet following the LDS Storymakers Conference on March 22, 2008. What a great idea to encourage excellence in LDS writing. And, what a fun way to celebrate with the winners.

Once you nominate a book, the Whitney Awards Comittee tallies the votes and all books that receive more than 5 nominations will be placed on a list. The committee will then read all books that meet that criteria and whittle the list down to 5 books. Industry professionals will then vote for their favorite from among the 5 finalists.

A lot of thought and work has been put into creating the Whitney Awards and I'm looking forward to seeing the results.

I've nominated books. Have you?