Saturday, April 30, 2011

I Definitely Ain't No New York Times Book Reviewer

     I've realized that I'm a terrible book reviewer. Which is funny because I used to think that I should be a movie reviewer. I hate reading reviews from hoity-toity reviewers who despise all the really good blockbuster movies but love those ones that are so slow or awful for whatever reason. Example: they slam Transformers, but love The Hours. I've seen both, and Transformers wins, hands down, in my opinion. I mean, come on, the way those cars transform into giant robots is cool! Staring at Nicole Kidman's huge fake schnoz- not so much. Which I think is the general opinion of the masses (not everyone of course). So I always thought I should be a reviewer for "the people".
     Well I suck at reviews. Especially book reviews. Here's the problem- I get so caught up in the story that I'm not really paying attention to much else. I've tried during my latest Twilight and Harry Potter readings to slow down and really analyze why I like those books. It never works. I end up getting so lost in the story that I've finished the book and I'm left thinking, "whoops, why do I love it? who knows?"
     I've realized that this could be a problem with my writing. I love story and characters. Rarely do I stop reading in a book and think, wow that was a really good sentence. So when I write, I do the same thing. I don't like to sit there and think of ingenious or literary ways to say "I feel sick". Instead I want to know why does the character feel sick, what is he/she going to do about it.
     I think really great writers probably do both. Tell a great story with the ingenious writing. That's something for me to work on, to reach towards. To tell the story in a way that only I can tell it, not in a generic fashion. Which is why we edit, right? The first draft is telling the story. The later drafts are to help it stand out, not be generic. To fix those blah sentences like "I feel sick" and make them more meaningful. Writing is tough, there's no going around it. Telling the story is easy. But writing...

     Anyway, I read "Intertwined" by Gena Showalter this week. It's paranormal with vampires, werewolves, and powers. In most books the male and female main characters feel inexplicably and powerfully "drawn" to each other which leads to their inevitable romance. Well, not in this book. While the main characters do feel "drawn" to each other, it's more in a brother/sister kind of way and I found that refreshing. Although later both main characters do feel that inexplicable draw to two other people (er, creatures). Sigh. It seems that a lot of YA books have that these days- the powerful unknown force that draws the boy and girl together. I hate to say that I think it's getting a little overused and while I didn't use that in my own book, I hope I don't even have one sentence saying Jessica is "drawn" to Alric. I'm getting a little sick of it. Just saying.
     Actually, I think I need to step away from the whole paranormal thing for awhile. I don't think it's the writing of any of the books I've read, I think I've just become oversaturated. I need to read something different. Which I'm not. I'm reading City of Fallen Angels, by Cassandra Clare. Ah well.
     See what I mean about being a bad reviewer? Did I even really say anything about the book? Not so much. The book's ok. Yeah. 3 out of 5 stars. Go me.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Harry Potter Mania

     Can I just say how excited I am for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2! I can't wait. I watched the preview this morning and actually got tears in my eyes. So okay, I'm kind of a dork, but I CAN'T WAIT! Not only for the movie, but I always re-read the series when a movie comes out so I'm excited to read the books again (yes for at least the 7th time). Sadly it'll probably be the last time I read them for awhile since that will be the end of the movies. Sniff. I don't know what makes these books so awesome or why I love them so much, but I do and they are and I CAN'T WAIT! Did I say that already? Well it's true!
     Okay, I'll calm down. But check out the preview if you haven't watched it already.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Sixteen-Year-Old Me Strikes Again

     Note to self: don't try to write while Camp Rock 2 is on TV in the background. I know I know, it's a slightly cheesy pre-teen movie. But it's no good trying to write a very important, gotta-be intense conversation between my hero and heroine while Nick Jonas is in the background singing about how he thinks cheese smells like feet. No joke. And FYI- the song is totally cute, really. (see below)

     It just proves the truth of my previous post (sixteen-year-old me vs. thirty-year-old me). Thirty-(one)-year-old me is trying to focus and be responsible, trying to get a thousand words written before it's time to make dinner. Sixteen-year-old me is wishing I was in the movie dancing next to Demi Lovato. Or at least dancing in front of the TV.
     Ah well, I finally gave up, mid-sentence, when I realized I had barely made it over 1,000 words. I'd been staring at the same sentence for more than ten minutes with no idea how to write what I was trying to say. Now I'm finding it just as hard to blog because the movie is still on. What can I say? I like teen musicals (although I prefer ones with Zac Efron in them over the JoBros). I just can't squash my sixteen-year-old self down. She's fighting her way out of me, trying to burst out with some poppin', lockin' and we're all in this together-in'.
     And then my two-year-old walks by, the smell of poop wafting over me, and sixteen-year-old me dashes back into hiding, holding her nose all the way. Ah well. That's the way it goes. I'll just have to remember tomorrow not to let my daughter watch any of her movies while I'm trying to write.

Monday, April 25, 2011

I Am Number Four and I Am Not Consistent

     Woo-hoo! I wrote more than two thousand words today. Woo-hoo! Oh wait, I said that already. Who cares, woo-hoo!
     It's funny, because if I really put my mind to it, I could probably write a book in two months, three max. Daze and Knights took me five but I hadn't even finished the first half in the first three. Book 2 has taken me WAAAAY longer but that's mostly because I keep putting it aside so I can re-edit Daze. And then I go in spurts, writing tons in just a few days and then nothing for like a week. If only I could be consistent. But sometimes writing falls by the kids/cooking/cleaning/reading/blogging/visitingteaching/querying/yougettheidea wayside.
     In another life, I live completely alone, have a maid and a cook, and have all day long to write zillions of books a year. I'm probably also very lonely and slightly crazy in that life. Ok, more than slightly. I'm slightly crazy now, so totally crazy is probably more accurate. Anyway, I guess I'll take what I can get. Trying daily to balance life as a mother and wife and all that entails, and writing. It's not always easy and I don't always succeed. But I'm sure as heck trying.

     I read I Am Number Four over the weekend. I've seen the movie and I found the book very similar. I like it when movies stay close to their book origins. I couldn't help but picture Alex Pettyfer throughout, although I think he'll be way better as my Alric than the alien John Smith. Voice was lacking through the book, but the storyline, and maybe the fact that I knew what was coming, kept me reading. So the book was okay, maybe not as good as I wanted it to be. But that happens sometimes when I see the movie first. I expect the book to be AMAZING, and sometimes it just isn't, probably because it has lost its newness. It was a good book though and if you haven't seen the movie, or even if you have, give it a try. I am interested to see where "Pittacus Lore" (I put his name in brackets because that's not his real name) takes the story. And reading it made me want to watch the movie again. Or maybe Alex Pettyfer's the reason. Ha! 

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Me? Weepy? No Way!

     What is up with playlist? All of a sudden they decide to make 'licensing restrictions' and now the music won't play for me? Not cool. Not that I need the music, I have my iTunes playlist to listen to. But this past week without music on my blog has been weird. And not in a good way weird. After I'm done this post I'm going to have to find myself another site to use.
     And can I ask what is up with the ginormous zit that appeared just in time for my 10th wedding anniversary? I mean really. It's probably due to my query stress and the fact that this week has been busier than usual, but still. Oh well, my husband is stuck with me, huge zit and all, poor schmuck.
     Anyway, I read a great book this week: Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly.

     Right off the bat- great voice. The first lines: "Those who can, do. Those who can't, deejay." Totally, simply, brilliant. The voice really stood out and kept me reading, even when I had certain issues going on. This book took me through a range of emotions. At the beginning, I struggled with how suicidal the main character is. This just shows my very normal, trauma-free upbringing, but that's just not something I can relate to. I didn't get it. I didn't understand quite the despair she was feeling. I just kept thinking, geez this is depressing. By the middle of the book, I was totally into it as her depression lightens a teensy bit because she's distracted by this old diary she's found. The book goes back and forth between Andi (the MC) and the diary entries dealing with Alex- a girl alive during the French Revolution. (Of course I loved that since I love history of all kinds).
     Yesterday, I was reading the last half of the book, and I found myself almost... weepy. That might not be the best word since I don't think I've ever been weepy. But, I found myself on the verge of tears when I burnt two pans during dinner (stupid pork chop recipe), and again when my son held up his fork, a (barely) singed piece of pork sitting on it and said, "this is burnt pig".
     Then I'm at Walmart getting Easter stuff and I hear a young guy say hi to a young girl- both Walmart workers. Why did I get weepy at that? Well, who knows really, except the guy had a very pronounced limp- something more serious than a sprained ankle- and the girl said hi back so sweetly that my eyes started to sting.
     THEN, I'm talking to a friend on the phone, listening as she tells me of a certain trouble she went through, and I'm again trying to hold back tears so that my voice doesn't come out all weird ad squeaky.
     I mean SHEESH. I'm not pregnant, nor can I blame my weepy-ness on any other "female" related matter. I hardly ever cry for real. Sure, I easily cry during movies, tv shows, books, but never for real. The weepy-ness could have been due to stress, or tiredness.
     But I blame the book. The book had so many raw emotions, strong emotions, emotions that I've never felt before. And I think for some reason, they brought out all of my own.
     The book was really good. But I feel I should give this WARNING: Accidents may occur of an emotional nature while reading. Please prepare yourself accordingly- tissues, chocolate, a pillow to punch and/or scream into, a person to hug, or whatever else you might need to keep yourself from almost bawling in the Walmart check-out line. Read at your own risk.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Contest with YAtopia

     So I'm entering a contest today. I mean, why not? It's over at YAtopia. You enter in your pitch and the first line of your manuscript for awesome agent Natalie Fischer from Bradford Lit Agency to look at.
     While I'm unsure about my two-line pitch, and I'm trying to work on my hook for my query letter- which are really the same thing- I figured I'd enter the contest anyway because you just never know.
     If you're interested in the contest, head here:

     And check out YAtopia while you're at it, it's a great blog!
     And that's about it for today- I'm still stressing over my query which is probably why I have a major headache. Stupid query. You will be the death of me.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Help! I Need Some Query Help!

     So I've got issues. Which is, you know, obvious. Probably. My writing issues might not be quite so obvious though. First of all, I can't stop re-writing my first chapter (although I haven't in a whole month- gasp!). The other thing I can't stop re-writing: yep, my query.
     My first query sucked bricks. I know that now. Unfortunately, that's the one I've probably sent out the most. Lately though I'll get two or three rejections and think, I've got to rewrite my query. Or more like, "AAAAHHHHHHH! My query sucks! I've got to change it! Right now! AAAHHHHHHHH!"
     So I have three different versions, one of which I've never sent, one I've sent once (but haven't heard back yet) and one I've probably sent at most, five times. So it's not like these are exactly tested. I read somewhere that at every 20 rejections is when you should rewrite your query. (I'm obviously waaaay to obsessive-compulsive for that.)
     What I'm hoping for is some feedback. Even if it's just telling me which query you like best. Or if they all suck- cuz they very well could. Or what I'm missing. Or what's too much. Or if they make no sense. Or... well, you get the idea. And for your viewing pleasure, I've posted pics of my dream movie cast, cuz I like pictures to look at.
     So, anyone up for the task? Anyone? Bueller?

Jessica Jacobs (Samantha Munro)

Query #1

Sixteen-year-old Jessica Jacobs loves to daydream about being an actress, a socialite, a princess. Never in her daydreams is she forced to scrub poop off the floor by her awful boss (Lady Fiona). And never in her daydreams is she pursued by the creepy stalker guy (Lord Purvis) instead of the charming and swoon-worthy knight (Lord Alric). But how else did she end up in crazy medieval land, unless she’s gone crazy herself?

Crazy or not, the place has some perks. Like taking sword fighting lessons from Lord Alric, who is so hot he even makes decapitating another person look good. Falling in love with him would be a perk too if only he felt the same way about her. Instead Jessica has to deal with Lord Pervy’s cheesy pick-up lines and Lady Fiona’s stinky feet. It sucks being the peon instead of the princess.

With a battle looming, a mysterious traitor within the Court, and Lord Purvis going from creepy to downright freaky, Jessica wonders if her new (but very cool) sword fighting skills will be enough to keep her alive. Staying might cost Jessica her life. But going home to the world she knows means leaving Lord Alric- and that will cost her heart.

Lord Alric (Alex Pettyfer)

Query #2

Sixteen-year-old Jessica Jacobs never imagined that her daydreams would one day become reality. But this reality is something she never would have imagined. Instead of designer jeans, she’s wearing a potato-sack dress. And instead of Zac Efron, she has to deal with bad-breathed medieval knights aiming swords at her throat.

To make matters worse, she isn’t the princess in this daydream, she’s the peon. Between scrubbing poop off Lady Fiona’s floor, and dodging Lord Pervy, ahem Lord Purvis, Jessica barely has time to wonder if she’s somehow trapped herself in a daydream, or if this world is more real than she originally thought.

Then she meets Lord Alric. Suddenly finding a way home isn’t all that important anymore. Charming and totally hot, he’s exactly the kind of guy Jessica usually daydreams about. Just one problem: Lady Fiona is determined to marry him. And Lady Fiona gets whatever she wants.

But Jessica manages to get something she wants for once: sword fighting lessons taught by Lord Alric. Falling in love with him is easy. Dealing with revolts, traitors, battles, diva bosses, and stalker brothers so isn’t. Jessica is left with a choice: stay in crazy medieval land for a man who may not even be real, or go back to her boringly normal, Lord Alric-free life.

Lady Fiona (AnnaSophia Robb)

Query #3

Sixteen-year-old daydreamer Jessica Jacobs wakes up one morning in a forest surrounded by rotten-toothed medieval knights aiming their swords at her throat. They take her to Hampshire, a quaint medieval town complete with looming castle, a genial Count, and the Count’s cow of a daughter Lady Fiona. Jessica can’t help but wonder if she’s gone from daydream addict to trapped-in-her-own-mind mental patient.

Jessica barely has time to worry how she’ll survive without her iPod, French fries, and flushable toilets. Lady Fiona, her new boss, is a total cow, making her scrub poop, move her furniture around, and rub her stinky-feet. And then there’s Lord Purvis- Lady Fiona’s older brother whose creepy stalker ways have led Jessica to dub him Lord Pervy. Jessica just wants to go home before things can get any worse. If only she knew how.

Then she meets Lord Alric who definitely has that whole knight-in-shining-armor thing going on. He’s the perfect gentleman, so unlike the high school boys she’s used to, and he drives Jessica emotionally crazy. It’s hard learning how to sword fight from him when she can hardly focus in his presence.

With a battle looming, a mysterious traitor within the Court, and Lord Purvis going from creepy to downright freaky, Jessica wonders if her new (but very cool) sword fighting skills will be enough to keep her alive. Staying might cost her life. But going home to the world she knows means leaving Lord Alric- and that will cost her heart.

Lord Purvis (Ed Speleers)

Friday, April 15, 2011

Info for Book 2

     In my quest to write a book that takes place in Virginia, year 1781- end of the American Revolution, I find I'm seriously lacking in the knowledge department. First of all, well, I'm Canadian! Although I did live in Connecticut for my last two years of high school, my US History class started at Reconstruction (after the civil war). So no help there. Also, since I'm Canadian, there just aren't the resources in my local small-town library. Even the Calgary library is lacking certain books/movies I've been looking for. So I'm trying to get my hands on anything from that time and about the American Revolution so I can get a better idea of that time in general.

     One movie I found and watched this week is called 1776. It's a musical. Now, I like musicals, I'm definitely a fan. Gene Kelly, Fred Astaire, Judy Garland- I love those old movies. And I go for the newer ones too like Moulin Rouge, Phantom, and Chicago. This movie was filmed in the 70s. Not my favorite decade for movies, I must admit. The movie wasn't that bad though, although it was hard for me to tell sometimes when they were just being musical cheesy or if some of those characters were actually like they were portrayed. I did learn a lot about the signing of the Declaration of Independence though (which is what the movie was about).
     I also watched a National Geographic movie about George Washington and learned a bit about him, although none of it was really all that helpful to my book. My book takes place in Virginia, but is mainly about the British army interacting with an American family, and Jessica of course.
     All I have to say is, thank heaven for the internet. Yes, it's a bad bad place. Sometimes I shudder to think what kids are using it for these days, but there is some good too. For example, I found a group of reenacters who recreated the 33rd Regiment of Foot, which is exactly the Regiment I'm using in my book. I plied them with questions galore and got back answers to everything. So grateful!

This is the 33rd Regiment of Foot out in California. Their website is

     Then I found, I don't even remember how, this fabulous blog called An Historical Lady. This woman, who has an inspiring story, sews these gorgeous dresses (among other things). Check out her blog, I thought it was incredible.

I have Jessica wear this dress (without the hat) in my book because I loved it so much! Check out this blog at

     I still need more info though. Right now I'm just trying to get the book written, but it's hard when I know I'm getting some things wrong, and I'm not adding in a lot of detail because I just don't know it. I figure that if Daze and Knights ever does get published, I'll have a legitimate excuse to take a trip out East to really experience the history and make book 2 as accurate as I can make it. Meanwhile, I'll have to keep haunting websites like the Colonial Williamsburg one ( to learn anything I can. That's all I can do!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

A Discovery of Witches, and An Ignoring of The Number 31

     Oh thirty, thirty, wherefore art thou, thirty? It seems like just yesterday when I was all depressed at leaving my twenties and turning thirty. Can I have that back now? Or can I freeze time and just stay thirty forever? Although, if I'm going to do that, I might as well freeze myself at 28. Or 25. Nah, maybe 21... Maybe I'll just never celebrate a birthday again. Unless presents are involved. And cake. And dinner out. Ha! I'm such a brat. But hey- it's my party and I can be a brat if I want to.
     Anyway... I want to say a quick thanks to Krista and Kayeleen who organized the LDS Writer Blogfest yesterday and for letting me participate. It was really great to read everyone else's comments on the talks. I got, like, triple out of general conference this time.
     I haven't blogged about any books lately and that's because I read two vampire books that are both part of a different series (House of Night, Vampire Academy) and I don't feel like blogging about those until I'm done the series'. Then it took me a week to read my next book, which was this:

     A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness. Basically, I could describe it as Twilight for adults. There are a few similarities. But lots of differences too, I guess. Instead of a vampire falling for a human, in this book he falls for a witch. Oh and there's daemons around too. So I liked her take on vampires, witches, and daemons. I felt like she made it her own. I liked the love story. And I loved how she referenced a lot of historical stuff (the vampire was born in the 500s). I like me some history.
     What I didn't like: It was really long but had little action. Kind of slow. And with all the history she mentioned, she also mentioned A LOT of science. The quickest way to get me to fall asleep is to start talking science in a novel. Yawn. But that's just me- I have no scientific (or mathematic) brains whatsoever. Others would love that in the book, me- not so much.
     There was something I realized while reading this book. I was trying to figure out what was really stopping me from loving the book- I never wanted to quit reading it, I was interested to know what would happen, and I thought of it occasionally (not tons) when I wasn't actually reading it. So, why wasn't I loving it?
     Well, aside from the slowness and the science, I just wasn't connecting with the main character (Diana the witch). Part of the problem could have been that she never actually mentioned an age, so I started off thinking Diana was in her 20s. It wasn't until later that I figured out she's probably in her early 30s. This threw me off. And then the clothes Diana wears were just so old lady to me. Not that I'm this fashion maven or anything, but I swear all the girl wears is black trousers with sweaters or blouses. Trousers? Really? I just didn't get that. I mean, I know she's academic and all that, but you'd think she'd own at least one pair of jeans! Aside from that, there were times when she was calm and brave, and other times when she'd panic for little reason. The author sort of explains why this is, but I still couldn't help but step back from the book when she's panicking all of a sudden and be like, why is she freaking out? There are probably other things too but I just didn't really connect to her. In fact, I connected more with the old vampire dude than her (how messed up is that?). That's what really stopped me from loving the book. The book is good though and others might not have this problem with the main character, so I'd still recommend it.
     Well, since it's my birthday, I'm going to quit this and do... absolutely nothing. I think I'll go watch Shrek with my girls. Happy Birthday to me.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

LDS Writer Blogfest: "What Manner of Men and Women Ought Ye To Be?"

     First off, before I get to the talk, there were two things that happened during conference that I just have to mention. While I was sitting on the couch, waiting for the Sunday morning session to start, my 6-year-old son sat next to me. He sat quietly, his arms folded across his lap, and watched. After the opening hymn was over he turned to me, his eyes wet, and said, "Whoa, I almost cried there." I just about fell off the couch. Granted, his quiet sitting lasted only minutes longer, but in that one moment, he felt the spirit. Awesome. He's totally his mother's son- feeling the spirit strongest through music. While I sang along to the intermediate hymn with the choir and the entire congregation at the conference center, I just felt this swell in my chest at all the voices joined together. I get that feeling in sacrament meeting sometimes and it's just awesome. Something I can't really describe except it's a bit of breathlessness, of awe, and a feeling of commonality, of being joined as one. Music is very powerful and truly amazing.
     Anyway, on to the talk- What Manner of Men and Women Ought Ye To Be? given by Lynn G. Robbins of the Seventy. There were so many great talks but one of the reasons I chose this one is because it was the kind of talk I wanted to listen to again to really understand it. And there were certain parts that really struck a chord with me and in different ways.
     In our quest to be like the Savior, there are many thing we need to do. But we also need to be. Brother Robbins says, "be and do are inseparable". If we aren't both being and doing, then we're hypocrites. To give very simple examples, I can go to church every Sunday (do) but if I don't believe in the gospel then what's the point- there's no be. Or, maybe I believe in my heart the truth of the gospel (be) but if I never act on it by going to church, I'm not doing. Those are over-simplified examples, but you get the point.
     One of the things that really got me was when he mentioned "to do lists". I'm such a to-do list person- and by that I don't mean actual written to-do lists, but rather ones in my head- and I rely on them daily. For example:
get up
feed the kids breakfast
get them dressed and off to school
wash sheets and towels
dust and vacuum upstairs
pick up son from kindergarten
feed kids lunch
put daughter down for nap 
make sure kids have done their homework/ home reading
make and eat dinner
put kids to bed

     This is my actual list for tomorrow (and most Wednesdays) and it will run through my head throughout the day while I mentally check things off. It gives me great satisfaction to get things done. When I do, I feel like I've earned the time to write, to read, or watch my favorite shows. But these things are all do's. They're important, yes. But where in that list is, play with the kids?
     Then I think of more churchly things- I can mentally check off: went to church, did my visiting teaching, read my scriptures, paid my tithing... you get the idea. But if I'm doing all those things simply to check them off my mental list, have I really gotten the point? Am I doing them more because I feel I have to- to get them done- than an overpowering desire to be even as he is? Hmm....
     Another reason I liked this talk is because Brother Robbins applied be and do to parenting. He says, "as a parent, when can I check a child off my list as done? We are never done being good parents. And to be good parents, one of the most important things we can teach our children is how to be more like the Savior."
     He says that teaching be to our children will improve behavior more effectively than focusing on do.
     So, my kids are fighting with each other (surprise surprise). When I yell at them to stop fighting with each other, is this really effective? Of course not. (Although honestly, sometimes they don't listen until I get to the yelling.) But instead of disciplining them for what they did, I need to figure out what would correct the fighting. Like teaching them to be patient and forgiving. Teaching them to love. Teaching them not to blame.
     The word discipline come from the same root word as disciple- therefore we should be disciplining with patience and with helpful lessons. Not with anger. He quotes D&C, saying we should discipline "by persuasion, long-suffering, by gentleness and meekness, and by love unfeigned; by kindness and pure knowledge."
     There's something I feel the need to say though. First off, I am not even close to being "the perfect mother". If anything, I lose my temper too easily. BUT- I've seen other mothers who I think interpret the above to saying to their kids, 'please don't do that' in a plaintive almost begging quiet voice. While I applaud the non-loss of temper, most kids I've seen totally ignore this kind of discipline. So. I think there needs to be the happy medium: a very firm but non-yelling kind of discipline. Trust me- I'm saying this to myself because I need to quiet down my voice lots of times.
     I thought it was funny when he mentioned that a sweet child enrolls their parents in Parenting 101 while a more difficult child enrolls them in Parenting 505. For me and my four kids, I'd say I'm probably in 101, 202, 404, and 505- all different with each of my kids. What I find interesting (and somewhat awful) about myself is that I seem to be hardest on my 101 kid and yet she gets the least of attention. Could be because she's the oldest. But that's definitely something for me to work on.
     Brother Robbins talks about turning negatives to positives. If they confess to doing something wrong, praise their honesty rather than focusing on the actual deed. Give compliments on being, not doing. Instead of "good job vacuuming" try "it makes me happy when you do your chores with a willing heart". Instead of saying "nice goal" in a sport, try, "you never gave up".
     The talk was full of so much, and it gave me a lot to think about. A lot to work on in with my own actions and in how I parent my children. To finish I want to quote Brother Robbins. He said, "The most important way to teach to be is to be the kind of parents to our children that our Father in Heaven is to us."
     I'm really glad I got to participate in this blogfest. It helped me to listen extra attentively to the talks. And blogging about this one helped me to understand it better, to really think about it deeply in relation to my own life. I can't wait to read what the other bloggers have to say...

Annette Lyon: “Desire”
Annie Cechini: “The Spirit of Revelation”
Ben Spendlove: “The Atonement Covers All Pain”
Chantele Sedgwick: “LDS Women Are Incredible!”
Charity Bradford: “LDS Women Are Incredible!”
Jackee Alston: “The Eternal Blessings of Marriage”
Jenilyn Tolley: “What Manner of Men and Women Ought Ye to Be?”
Jennifer McFadden: “Establishing a Christ-Centered Home”
Jessie Oliveros: “Establishing a Christ-Centered Home”
Jolene Perry: “It’s Conference Once Again”
Jordan McCollum: “What Manner of Men and Women Ought Ye to Be?”
Kasey Tross: “Guided by the Holy Spirit”
Kayeleen Hamblin: “Become as a Little Child”
Kelly Bryson: “The Atonement Covers All Pain”
Krista Van Dolzer: “Opportunities to Do Good”
Melanie Stanford: “What Manner of Men and Women Ought Ye to Be?”
Michelle Merrill: “The Eternal Blessings of Marriage”
Myrna Foster: “Opportunities to Do Good”
Nisa Swineford: “Desire”
Sallee Mathews: “The Eternal Blessings of Marriage”
Sierra Gardner: “The Atonement Covers All Pain”
Tamara Hart Heiner: “Waiting on the Road to Damascus”
The Writing Lair: “Waiting on the Road to Damascus”

Thursday, April 7, 2011


     Yesterday I wrote approx. 4,000 words on Jessica book 2. 4,000 words!!! What a great day! It just put me in the best mood, I felt so excited about the book, nothing could get me down. I even blogged about writing sequels because I just felt so great about the work I'd done yesterday and so far on the whole book.
     Then last night as I'm checking my email, I get a nice form rejection. Nothing like a rejection to kill my good mood. Or totally annihilate it. At least they didn't have any pages so the rejection was based on my query only or on the story idea. That's something. I guess. Although it makes me question my query... but I'm going to leave it for now since it's a brand new draft.
     Well, to lighten my mood today, I put 15 songs on my playlist that I'm loving right now. I couldn't have a silent playlist, it just wasn't working for me. Silly I know, but I can't help myself. I think these songs show just how varied my music tastes are. So I'm going to use the music to get me pumped again so that I can ignore last night's rejection and churn out another thousand words or so this afternoon. Wish me luck, and have a happy Thursday.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011


     I read a post yesterday on the BookEnds blog (I have a link on the side there) about sequels. Someone asked whether it's useful to write a sequel to a book that hasn't been published yet. Jessica from BookEnds replied that no, you really shouldn't waste your time writing a sequel. By all means write an outline, but leave it at that. Because if the first book is never published, you haven't wasted effort on writing a second, and if it is, you'll have plenty of time to write that sequel after.

     Well, I agree... sort of. I mean I can't fully agree since I'm in the middle of writing my own sequel to a book I haven't published yet. But I understand what she's saying. Daze and Knights (my first Jessica book) might never get published. Although I don't quite cut it off in the middle of the story, thus making a sequel necessary, I have written it so that you're left wanting more (hopefully) and in a way that you couldn't really read the second one before the first. The second one (currently untitled) doesn't stand on its own. So even if I finish it, I could never query it. The only real difference writing it makes is that I could change my query letter line from "I have started a sequel" to "I have finished a sequel". Big whoop-de-doo.

     So why am I writing it? Well, I can give you multiple reasons...

     1- It's hard not to envision where you want your books to go, especially if you plan right off the bat to make it a series of books instead of just one.

     2- My vision of what I wanted to happen in each subsequent book changed drastically from what I had first planned while writing Daze and Knights. Most of this is due to Jessica's relationship with Lord Alric, which I never planned to be as intense as it turned out. After talking with my sister who read my second draft (poor girl), she insisted that I couldn't omit Alric from future books (which I had originally planned to do). After our conversation, and a lot of brainstorming, I changed my views for future books. Those views became quite fixed and made me excited for what was to come.

     3- My idea for book 2 was an idea I've had for a long time, long before Daze and Knights was born (or even conceived- haha!) So naturally I spent time- in my head of course- tweaking it to fit with Jessica. While doing this, some very clear scenes played out in my head, so clear that they were impossible for me to ignore. In fact I remember some of those scenes coming to me during one of my three-hour drives to Cardston to visit my parents. I just had to write them down.

     All three of those reasons maybe aren't quite enough to explain why I'm now taking the time to write something that might just be so unnecessary as to render it obsolete. The biggest reason therefore is this:

     4- My original idea, which led to my new idea, which led to some very fun and some very heart wrenching scenes, led me to dah-da-da-daaaa: unshakable excitement. I can't help writing it because I'm just so freaking excited about book 1 and 2! I'm excited about the differences between the two, the differences in the worlds/time periods, the HUGE difference in Alric. I'm just so fired up with where this book is taking me and where it could go in future books that I Just. Can't. Help. My. Self. (Yes I know myself is one word).

     No, I won't write any future Jessica books, although I could. I already have 3 different time periods I want her to visit, and different ideas for what might happen in each. One of those three would be the last book of the series (if it became one) and I have written an outline for that. (I find that when ideas come, it's best to write them right away, even in note form, or I'll completely forget them. On the day that I was practically seized with what would happen in the last book, I did just that- writing a page of notes of what I see happening, at least right now. Things would probably change if I ever got to that point.)

     The thing is, I love Jessica. I love writing her. She feels like a part of me. And I can't help feeling fired up about her. I know when I finish book 2, it's going to be hard for me to let her go. (Hopefully by then I'll be closer to publishing book 1 and then I won't have to. Ha- a girl can dream!) But I will. I'll put book 2 aside, without edits (ouch that'll be hard), and start something completely brand new. But deep down I'll still be praying for the day when Jessica sees the light and I can continue her story.

       (Pictured- some of my favorite sequels. Clearly I had a hard time choosing!!!)

Monday, April 4, 2011

the first one ~ boyslikegirls

The First One by Boys Like Girls

Taylor Swift - Haunted (with lyrics)

Ok so after I published that last post about changing my music, I went to playlist and realized that only 2 of those 5 songs were there, and the 2 that mattered least to me. Sucky. So I found them on youtube instead and decided to only post Haunted and The First One. Enjoy, if you feel like it.

Update On Book 2

     Well, I've written just under 42,000 words on Jessica- book 2. So I'm not quite halfway through, but I still feel like I've got a long way to go. And I'm a little worried that it won't be long enough, which is laughable since the first draft of book 1 was approx 168,000 words! I know! I've cut about 50,000 words off it- more than I've written s far for book 2! That's why I feel like I've got a lot still to do. (FYI- this is my computer word count, not my estimated word count which happens to be a lot less.)
     To motivate me, I've decided to put songs on my playlist this month that I've either mentioned in book 2 or have inspired me for book 2. The one that inspires me the most is Taylor Swift's Haunted. It's just so perfect for the situation of book 2, for what Jessica has to go through, for how Alric is towards her. I get the shivers every time I hear that song because of what I see in my head while listening to it.
     If book 2 was a movie, I'd use The First One by Boys Like Girls at the very beginning of the movie because it very aptly describes what Jessica is going through missing Lord Alric, and how she sees him everywhere even though he's not really there.
      I mention both Club Can't Handle Me (by Flo-Rida) and You Don't Know Me (by Michael Buble) in one particular scene- a scene that I happen to love.
     And just because I love Two Is Better Than One and it's like my anthem/theme for book 1, I just had to put it in.
     That's all I got. I'm sure as I write more, I'll find more songs that either fit into the book or inspire me for different scenes. I'm trying to ignore the worry that it might not be long enough, or that I'm butchering the history part of it (it takes place in 1781). I just want to keep it up and get the story written. That's my goal. See it, live it, write it. Later I'll worry if it sucks bricks.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Random Thankfulness

     I was reading back my random rants post and I couldn't help but laugh at myself. Gee, my life is tough (and yes, that's 100% sarcastic). There are awful tragedies happening around the world, people are going through so much pain and turmoil, and here I am ranting about how my favorite tv shows aren't on right now! Terrible.
     So I thought I'd counter it with random things that I'm thankful for.

1- The way my kids look at me, like I'm the person that matters most in the world.

2- How even though I'm tired or cranky on sundays sometimes, the lessons, or talks, or even just the hymns are enough to part my dark clouds.

3-  Nothing beats a really great song. Music incites such emotions within me, it's no wonder I listen to it almost all day long and that it's such inspiration for my writing.

4- Writing makes me happy. Enough said.

5- I love Chapters (or Indigo, whichever). I go there and it calms me. I breathe in the books. I could sit there all day long and just read.

6- I had a roommate at BYU who said that at the movies, the previews would make her forget what movie she was seeing and then she'd get extra excited when she remembered what movie was about to start. I feel that exact thing every time I go to a movie.

7- I heart my blackberry torch. I know that's silly, but after having a crappy phone for the last ten years, there's nothing like that feeling of 'I am so cool' that my blackberry gives me. Stupid? Yes. But also true. It's that sixteen-year-old coming out in me.

8- There's nothing like a Cadbury Cream Egg. I mean, yum. I'm practically drooling right now just thinking about licking out the creamy center and then gobbling up the chocolate egg.

9- I know some people say that Walmart is evil, but I'm sorry, I love it. And I can't wait until Target comes to Canada. There just better be one close by.

10- It warms my heart to watch my kids play nicely together (even though it never lasts forever).

One extra- 11- Can I mention how much I love Tangled! My kids are watching it right now. Is it the greatest kids movie ever, or what?!