Showing posts from March, 2008

The Writer Brain Curse

It's bad enough that after years of critiquing and editing my own and other writers' work that it's almost impossible to read a book for the sheer fun of it. I can't shut off the editor in my brain. I can't help but rewrite sentences in my head as I go or notice plot holes and character motivation problems.

But it's getting worse.

The research end of my brain is now poking holes into plots too.

I recently finished reading a book that had a rip-roaring fun plot. The story was action-packed and very well written. My editor brain didn't even have to pull out the red pen too often.

The problem, then? Factual details that . . . weren't.

And this isn't even a historical novel.

Three (among many) that jumped out at me:

1) This one is something almost everyone knows: referring (several times) to knowing that you don't have cell phone reception because there is no dial tone. Excuse me? Okay, so the book is probably ten years old. Cell phones weren't as comm…

Close Friends & Conference Fun

I wish I had a picture of a particular moment at the LDStorymakers Conference. It was one of those times when your worlds collide, although it wasn't traumatic like when George from Seinfeld was at risk of being destroyed when Relationship George collided with Fun George, but it was a funky moment nonetheless.

After a session on Saturday, I walked over to a table to grab my things. Standing beside it were three people.

Jeff Savage, who has been part of my critique group for about six years, joining just a couple of months before my first book, Lost Without You, was accepted for publication. As the first man in our group, he's been a great asset. We finally had a guy to tell us when our men were acting like sissies. Of course, he's also known for his "Well, I really have just one comment," critiques. When you hear that, brace yourself. The "one thing" is probably major. And darn it all, he's usually right.

Here's a picture of Jeff at the Whitney Gal…

What a weekend!

That about sums it up. I’ll surely post more later (especially some photos), but for now, I had to just express some overall feelings from the experience.

The conference has come and gone. Jeff Savage (or J. Scott Savage, depending on which of his books you’re talking about) is officially crowned as the next conference chair—and is our first conference "king" instead of "queen."

The attendees were enthusiastic, the instructors fantastic, the food yummy, and everything else just great. Meeting editor Tim Travaglini and literary agent Jaime Chilton—and chatting around a table with them late into the evening—was definitely a highlight for me.

I’m so grateful to all the many, many people who helped us put the conference together. It took a small army of dedicated people to do it all. Thanks to all of you; you know who you are!

When the conference wrapped up Saturday, the hard part was over for me, but the Whitney Gala was still ahead. My husband, awesome man that he is, sh…

It's HERE! And I'm Outta Here

Quick post today . . .

I'm doing the headless chicken dance today as I load up the minivan and get the family ready for when I leave this afternoon for the conference, which begins early tomorrow morning with Boot Camp.

As you can imagine, there's a lot to do while the kidlets are at school and before I drive off into the sunset. And when I do leave, I won't be back online until next week.

I'm guessing that a good chunk of my readers won't be checking up on me over the weekend, as they'll be at the conference with me.

However, a lot of Storymaker friends won't be there for one reason or another, and they were lamenting the fact. Some of the Whitney finalists are in that number. They asked, half kidding, half serious, if someone could please text message the results of the Whitney Gala as they happened on Saturday night.

Their wish was the Whitney Committee's command.

So here's the fun news:

Three authors who are attending the Gala (Matthew Buckley, Tristi …

St. Paddy's Day Scars

As a mother, you try your best to raise your children with love and understanding, shielding them from the darts and arrows of the world.

Invariably, you will fail.

It's just a part of life; you can't shield your kids from everything. Indeed, when it comes down to it, you wouldn't want to shield them from everything, or they'll never learn life lessons. However, no matter how hard you try, you'll end up scarring the little guys in ways you never predicted.

Case in point:

Three years ago, I sent my kindergartener off for another day of school. Off she went, merrily waving to me as she hopped out of the minivan and trotted along the sidewalk into the school.

Two and a half hours later, she came home in tears. In short order, I was informed that it was all my fault.

You see, it was St. Patrick's Day, and I had neglected to be a good mommy. I hadn't sent my little girl to school in green. Apparently, several of the boys in her class thought that fact was great …

The Countdown

It's ten days away for most of those involved, but it's essentially nine days away for me.



I'm referring to the 5th Annual LDStorymakers Writers Conference coming up next week, which Heather Moore and I are co-chairing.

Can I just say that I am eternally grateful that
a) I'm not in this alone and
b) that my partner is so capable and
c) that her strengths lie in all my weak areas?

As some readers may remember, we were "crowned" at last year's conference, so this conference has been twelve months in the making. The last couple have been the most intense, of course, and now it's almost here.

We're dotting i's and crossing t's right now, trying to make sure that there are no lingering ends left untied. (It's amazing just how many ends there are to check . . .)

Between now and then, I have a lot to do, for both the conference as well as for my personal life. For starters, I have to get everything ready for Easter before I drive off to the …

A Very Serious Interview

Or not.

Some time ago, Luisa was interviewed on her blog with questions provided by a fellow blogging friend and offered to pass along the love.

I raised my cyber-hand (Oooh, oh! Pick me! Pick me!) and she has obliged. Below are her fun questions and my answers.

Thanks, lady!

1. How did you celebrate your first writing sale?
First, some back story: Our first VCR was a hand-me-down from my in-laws. My writing goal for years was to use money I earned through writing to buy a new VCR before that old one bit the dust for good—which could be at any time.

My first couple of writing sales were articles that were clustered together, so I used the money from them to buy a brand new VCR with—oooooh, self-cleaning heads and the ability to mark commercials! (I’m dating myself here . . . DVD players didn’t exist yet . . .)

2. How many writers does it take to change a light bulb? Please explain your answer.

Just one.

But it might take somewhere around 37 light bulbs to get the job done, because she’ll keep …

Make—or Wear—a Scene

First off, thanks to everyone who commented and sent me notes of support; I appreciate it more than you know.

I'm doing much better now.

Today I thought I'd mention a fun new product some of my readers might enjoy.

When my brother-in-law Brian was on his mission in Italy, he came across men's ties with artwork on them depicting various events. The idea stuck with him, and now, many years later, he's doing something similar.

Enter Scene Ties, designed by artists with images from the Bible, Book of Mormon, and U. S. History.

Currently, my husband owns this one, which is a pretty, blue-tone number that portrays pioneers crossing the plains. (Pardon the blur; the pictures didn't transfer here all that well):

And my son picked out the one showing Daniel in the lion's den (a play on our last name, I think):

Scene Ties also has ties with the Stripling Warriors, Samuel the Lamanite, and the signing of Declaration of Independence. More of these 100% silk ties are in the works…

Ever had a day

that was supposed to be free and open and fun,

but then you got an e-mail that turned it upside down,

and it kept you preoccupied and stressed all day

to the point that you spent hours and hours drafting a reply and coming back to it and rethinking it

and feeling nauseated and near tears over the entire issue

even after you finally get up the guts to hit "send,"

because you know you still didn't say it right,

so instead of getting anything of value accomplished (having fun with the kids who are out of school for the day, squeezing in some work on that freelance job, or, I don't know, making sure the family has clean underwear), your day is sucked into the void of worry

to the point that it's an hour past dinner time when you finally put the lasagna on the table

and although it tastes great, you can't stomach it

or the yummy rolls, either

and your hands tremble

and your head is killing you

and you find yourself snapping at your poor kids for the stupidest things

and they wo…