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Showing posts from August, 2008

Body Movies--Yes!

My daughter's fascination with how snails poop has moved on to bigger and better anatomical concepts.

Not long ago, she asked me how we talk. I had to dig to figure out what she meant, which boiled down to:

How do our bodies actually make the sounds of speech?

I tried to explain about vocal chords, how our tongues form sounds, but that wasn't enough for her. So we went to computer, where I searched for videos of vocal chords in action, including the famous clip of Steve Perry's wonder chords banging together at an insane rate as he belts out that falsetto note he's famous for. (It took me forever to find the clip before; I'm not searching for it again or I'd link to it!)

Fascinated by the video, she stroked her neck in wonder. "Mine look like that when I talk?"

A few days later, she asked how our bodies move. A simple explanation about muscles wasn't enough for her. She wanted more. (I mean, really. She's in kindergarten. It's not like she'…

The Difference 8 Years Makes

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Eight years ago, I dropped off my first child at kindergarten. He was nervous. I was nervous. I also had his (then) two little sisters with me, one in a stroller, and the other I was trying to keep a hand on so she wouldn't get lost in the shuffle.

We took pictures, found his name tag and his desk and all that stuff. And then it was time to say good-bye. He gave me a hug (fortunately without tears). I took a deep breath and walked out the door.

I fully expected to do what friends had told me to expect: sit in the driver's seat of the car and burst into tears.

I didn't. I couldn't. I was too worried about my little guy. He was probably the youngest kid in his class. What if a big bully decided to lay into him? I had been in charge of his world for his entire life. Would a teacher with twenty other kids be able to keep track of him? What if he got lost in the school? What if he got kidnapped from the playground?

What if, what if, what if?

It was all I could do not to stalk th…

Drafted!

Final word count: 82,940

Working title: Band of Sisters

Time for: Happy dance!!!

Reactions

You never know what to expect from other people after you get the good news that you're about to be a published novelist.

Before the big day arrives, you've surely imagined what it will be like. I'm betting that you're wrong in several cases.

For example, I was pleasantly surprised in how my parents reacted. Growing up, I was the good girl. I regularly brought home the 4.0 GPA. I didn't break family rules. I had friends they liked and trusted. I graduated high school with honors, passed a couple of AP tests, got a scholarship, never drank alchohol or smoked, and so on.

This was all taken in stride. It's what I did. I don't recall much celebration or pats on the back about it. Doing well and doing right were just expected of me.

But for the last six years, ever since my first book was released, my parents have turned into proud peacocks, bragging about me to everyone they know. (Mom's been known to advertise my books wherever she is, including obscure places…

"City of Influence" Has Arrived

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Nearly four years ago, my long-time friend Sarah (who I recently talked about here) gave me a call and asked if I'd take a look at a book she was working on for her job. She was (and is) a director at Corporate Alliance, a pretty cool institution that connects businesses to one another to help them all succeed.

I didn't know that at the time. All I knew was that Sarah wanted me to take my red pen all over her manuscript. Which I did. The book was unlike anything I'd ever read before: A fun story that actually taught real, helpful business principles without being dry and putting me to sleep.

Better yet, the concepts were clear, applicable, and the story was witty and well-written. I still remember lots of important lessons I learned reading it.

It's a sort of a fantasy business parable. She once described the book as, "Harry Potter meets How to Make Friends and Influence People." As out there as that sounds, it's a pretty apt description. I know I learned a…

The Mighty STET

I read a blog today that hit home in such a way that I wanted to jump up and down and yell, "YES! That's it exactly!" I can't explain it nearly as well, so after reading this, go check it out.

But here's my experience:

I've been at this writing thing a long time (it's been almost exactly 14 years since my first submission), and for a good chunk of that time, I've been getting critical feedback (probably 11 or so years since I got my first feedback form from a contest judge, and nearly 9 since getting major critiques by peers).

In that time, I've developed a thick skin, and I crave feedback to help me get better. A good reader or editor will point out problems in a manuscript, whether they're big (this subplot drags, and I hate this character) or little (your modifier is dangling, and you're using "just" way too often). When it comes to feedback, bring it on! I want all the warts pointed out and fixed.

So I believe every writer needs …

Frickin' Brackin' ARGH!

So that's a slight exaggeration. But it is frustrating.

I've been slaving away at my work in progress, trying very hard to get it fully drafted by the end of this week. It's been a 12-week goal of mine to get it done, and I'm so close . . .

The goal isn't a random one. It's pretty important I get the book done soon, because of certain scheduling difficulties and plans I have for getting it critiqued by trusted people and getting it back and revised and submitted and . . . you get the idea.

Much of that stems from the fact that I won't be able to write for much of September, so time is of the essence here. (I'll explain why soon. It's a totally rockin' cool reason why I won't be working then. I'll blog all about it afterward. Let's just say it deserves a big huge "WOOHOO!")

Here's the deal: I have five women who are all integral to the book. Each one faces her own issue. Their problems intertwine, and the women help one anot…

School Shopping: Ending the Drama

I always hate school clothes shopping. It's not like buying something for yourself. It's a miserable process from any vantage point, an epic saga drawn out by whines and complaints.

To make things easier on myself, I once tried spreading it out over the summer with my three who were in school, taking one in June, one in July, and one in August.

Slight problem: In June, you can't find much for school (like backpacks and lunch boxes, not to mention any SALES) and any clothes you do buy will probably be outgrown just as the snow starts to fall.

Other years, as I've tried sticking to the budget I set for the event, the kids whine and complain and BEG for just this one extra thing. Okay, or two or three extra things. PLEEEEEEASE? And either I say no and look like Cruella deVille, or I give in like a soggy noodle and spend too much.

Either way, I lose.

This year I did something a bit different. I wasn't intending to fix the problem, exactly. I just wanted to experience the fi…

Today: A List

1) People treat you differently when you're wearing a blazer, slacks, heels, and even lipstick instead of your usual mommy uniform of a t-shirt, jeans/capris/sweat pants and sandals. They look at you different and speak to you differently. The entire attitude is something I don't get in my day-to-day life. It was very odd.

(I spent much of the day at the Whitney booth at the LDS Booksellers Convention and ran a couple of errands before and after in my more dressed-up clothes. After having several moments like this, I wanted to yell, "Really, I'm a mom! I don't usually look like this!")

Contrast that with the sweats, ponytail, and zero makeup I had on when Josi from Sundial in the Shade dropped by to pick up some Whitney stuff last week. You know you have a true friend when they don't notice (or, more likely, don't mention) that you look like a drowned rat.

2) While at the convention, I discovered a painting that I just might beg and plead for Covenant to…

Contest Time!

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I have a post I'm thinking about doing, but I'm not sure whether I dare write it or put it up here. It might get me a lot of hate mail. But then, I'm so opinionated, I'm not sure I'll be able to not talk about it.

You probably already know the topic. Yeah. That one.

Hmm. Still on the fence.

In the meantime, I've got a new contest up on my website. You'll want to enter this one. Really, truly.

Whitney Award-winner Josi S. Kilpack has a new book coming out next month. I had a chance to read it awhile go, and it's most definitely another keeper.

I can state my opinion on this one, because Josi's on the Whitney committee this year, and therefore her book isn't eligible to win an award. So yay for opinions! I loved the story! Read it!

Josi's known for taking issues that are big and working awesome plots around them. If you recall, her last book, Sheep's Clothing, was about internet predators. The plot of that one still freaks me out.

This time, Her …

My Favorite Room: Tada!

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I've been promising forever, and I finally dug through the digital photos we've taken over the last year to pick out all the ones from my office makeover.

As I think I've mentioned before, when we moved into this house, it was originally #4's bedroom, being as she was still in a crib. Now that she's an official big girl, she's moved downstairs and shares a room with #3. My old office is now #2's bedroom.

I love spending time in my new office, complete with a gorgeous view outside and plenty of sunlight . . . neither of which you'll be seeing in the photos, because the blinds are closed because of the glare.

Finally, without further ado, the transformation of my office, with waaaaay more pictures than you probably care to see!

First, the beginning of the demolition. The carpet is gone, the trim all ripped out. The walls look a bit pink here, but the color was really more of a cool taupe.


Honey ripped out the closet shelves, bars, and trim, leaving this:



Then h…