Showing posts from January, 2008

Book Club Questions -- 3

Two more questions from the book club, and we'll move on to other topics.

I get these these two questions a lot, from both readers and aspiring writers alike.

1) How do you find time to write?
The short answer: I get creative. (I'm a writer; we're a creative lot, right?)

The longer answer: My writing time has shifted over the years. It sort of has to when adding babies to the family and as the kidlets go through different stages. The key for me is finding where the gaps are. It used to be nap times, for example. But I've also learned to use what I call "brainless" moments to plan ahead and to write in small snatches and with distractions.

I use brainless moments (like driving the car or sorting laundry) to think ahead to what scene I need to write next when I get the chance. And then when I have 45 minutes in the dance class lobby, I make sure to have my AlphaSmart Neo with me so I can make the most of that time.

This school year is a new one for me, though: My old…

Book Club Questions -- 2

We're moving on to a few other book club questions regarding Spires, which I'll try to answer without any major spoilers:

1) How did Hannah change over the course of the story?
In a nutshell, I think she went from girl to woman.

Some book clubbers wondered why she was so trusting at first. To me, it was simple: Hannah was innocent and pure in heart and it never would have crossed her mind that a person she trusted would do something intentionally cruel or deceitful.

Lesson learned the hard way.

2) What kept Ben and Bethany at odds for so long, when their fight began from single argument?
In a nutshell, individual pride. It's that pride that kept each of them from making the first step toward reconciliation for so long. Pride is what led to the fight in the first place. It's also what fueled their banter.

3) Why did Claude have to go away?
In his eyes, it was the only way he could live with himself. In my eyes, it was a way for him to find redemption.

I love getting reader quest…

Book Club Questions -- 1

As promised, I'm (finally!) getting around to addressing some of the questions the book club in West Jordan posed. Several of their questions were really great, and since I've heard some of them a few times now, I thought I'd answer them here as well, because I'm pretending other readers will care!

Today we'll address two questions:

1) How do you pick your characters' names?
I keep a running file with potential character names, with a column each for female, male, and family names. I add names to those lists (or sometimes into a notebook first that I carry with me) whenever I come across common names from the 1800s that I like or might want to use sometime.

The places I find those names are generally while doing research, such as in books, theses, or cemeteries. As I use a name from one of the lists, I take it off so I don't inadvertently use it again later.

As a result of all that, my character names often reflect people from real life, although to my knowledge…

Fortnight Gone

Yesterday marked the end of a wonderful two weeks. It was the last chance to spend time with my parents before they headed back to land of the Fazer blue chocolate bar and dark winters to continue their church service for nearly two more years in Helsinki.

Three years ago they left for an assignment at the BYU Jerusalem Center, which lasted over a year and a half. A few months before they were to leave the Holy Land, they were given their next assignment, which they're in the middle of now. By the time they are released from that one, it'll be almost five years of continuous service, with a handful of brief visits scattered here and there.

In those three years they've missed a lot, including family baptisms, ordinations, a grandchild going on a mission, and then those smaller things, like dance recitals and basketball games. On the flip side, I think those of us left at home have felt blessed in some ways by their service.

My youngest was 2 when they left. She'll be 7 whe…

Celebrating the Whitney Way

I fully meant to write about the book club I attended recently, posting a question or two that they posed and giving answers to them.

But then something fun happened, so I'm bumping those posts to next week.

On Tuesday, January 15, the finalists for the first annual Whitney Awards were announced.

And I'm one of them!

(Visit the complete list all the finalists here. Scroll all the way to the bottom to find the Historical novel finalists . . . and Spires of Stone!)

For a full explanation on the Whitneys, visit the official website. But a nutshell version is that they're aimed at recognizing excellence in fiction written by LDS authors who strive to improve their work. The award can go to any writers who are LDS, regardless of what market they write for.

It's is named after Apostle Orson F. Whitney who had the vision of the Latter-day Saints some day creating literature that would "reach the heavens," that some day we'd have Miltons and Shakespeares of our own. (N…

Random Awesome-ness

Today I have two topics I wanted to be sure to cover.

First, to answer Luisa's question from last week's Day Read:

"Which LMM was your indulgence of choice?"

The answer: I spent time on one of her (L. M. Montgomery's) books that I hadn't read in several years, Anne of Ingleside.

It was fun reading it this time for a couple of reasons. One is that I'm reading her journals from the period shortly before she began this book, so I have an inkling as to what was happening in her life at the time. One issue causing her grief with her son Chester likely inspired the last couple of chapters of this book. (If you've read it, you can probably guess what he was guilty of.)

For those who like reading LMM but are not as obsessed with her as I am, I thought I'd also mention that this was the last Anne book she ever wrote (and the second to last book of her career, followed only by Jane of Lantern Hill,if I recall correctly). The Anne book prior to Ingleside was Anne…

Day to Read

I heard about the idea of a Day to Read several weeks ago, first from Brillig the Great and then from Novembrance. The creator of the concept is Soccer Mom in Denial. Go ahead and read her post about it here.

I jotted the date on my calendar and have looked forward to it ever since.

I think that technically I'm not supposed to be blogging today . . . but it's early enough in the morning that I wanted to at least tell people about the day and encourage them to read to themselves and to their kids. I have a feeling my preschooler and I will be curled up (yet again) with the book she got for Christmas, Yertle the Turtle and Other Stories, by the amazing Dr. Seuss. (One of my favorites from childhood.) I'll also get in some mommy reading time.

And appropriately enough, I'm speaking at a book club tonight for a group of ladies who read Spires of Stone.

Until then, I'll first do some basic housecleaning (two loads of laundry REALLY need to be sorted; the kids are out of sock…

Happens to the Best of Us

As I mentioned in this post, I'm an L. M. Montgomery nut case. I own something like 32 books that she wrote (among them her mini-biography, The Alpine Path, several short story collections, and a first edition copy of Anne of Windy Poplars. Of course I own a more recent edition as well.

I also have a CD compilation with oodles of photos and other historical stuff about her. Oh, and a book covering her early career before the first Anne book came out, during which time she was noted for her poetry and short stories.

You'd be hard-pressed to find anyone who would think that LMM was not successful in her literary career. Her work spawned several adaptations to stage and film (including at least two films in her lifetime, one during the silent era). Her books have been translated into dozens of languages. After her husband's forced retirement, she was the sole bread-winner for the family. More than sixty years after her death, readers around the world still clamor after her stor…

Thrifty Fun

A few months ago I learned about The Grocery Game from fellow blogger Jenna. I'm always on the look-out for ways to pinch a penny, but this web site has brought it to a whole new level. My grocery bill will never be the same.

The basic gist:
Pricing on grocery store items goes up and down in relatively predictable patterns. When laundry detergent is on sale, chances are that cereal or whatever else is not. Plus, all sales are not created equal. Sometimes an item may be marked down by only a matter cents, but if you wait a few weeks, the price will drop much more.

Clipping coupons always helps, and in years past, I could save a bit with my weekly coupon stash.

But what if you could take the rock-bottom prices when they arrived and combine them with coupons to get screaming deals?

Holy cow, that's what.

The Grocery Game does just that. It does the tracking for you. Your job is to clip the coupons from your weekly Sunday paper (doesn't hurt to find some on-line too) and then check …