Showing posts from 2009

My Top Reads of 2009

Just for the fun of it, I thought I'd post some of my favorite reads from the last year. This isn't a complete list by any means.
I'm aware that this list contains a rather a bizarre combination of genres. What can I say? I'm an eclectic reader.
The Reckoning, by Tanya Parker Mills A finalist in several Whitney categories, and definitely deserving of that honor. Loved it.
Seeking Persephone, by Sarah M. Eden Also Sarah's Affectations. The former was a Whitney finalist this year for Romance (it's a Regency), and I adored it. She's now publishing with Covenant, and her first book with them will be out in March. (Same month as my Band of Sisters! Maybe we can do signings together!) And she's already got another book accepted. She's a terrific writer.
The Source, by James Michener Holy research, Batman. This book is one of those that you can't read in long, relaxing stretches. There's just so much that fills your brain that you have to set it down per…

WNW: Christmas Edition

There's a little Christmas word myth I'd like to set to rest.
As a teen, I thought "Xmas" was a cute way to shorten "Christmas" (and it definitely took less time to write out!).
But then someone pointed out a horrifying concept: by using such shorthand, I was crossing Christ out of Christmas! Henceforth, I felt guilty anytime I used it. Anytime I saw "Xmas," I cringed.
There were times that writing out the whole thing was tedious, however, such as on a big plastic storage tub for the basement with tree ornaments. But I couldn't get myself to use it. So I'd compromise and use "Cmas." At least that started with Christ's first initial . . .
Turns out that all my worries were for naught. The term "Xmas" is very religious and very much keeps Christ in Christmas.
It goes back to the fact that the Greek word for Christ begins with the Greek letter Chi, which looks like, yep, the Roman letter X.
The Early English adopted that …

It Was Inevitable, Really

The other day, my fifth grader's class was discussing parts of sentences.
One student guessed that a preposition was the subject of an example sentence, and my daughter gave a rather lengthy explanation about why that was not, in fact, correct.
I believe the sentence in question was something like:
The students went to the school.
"To the school is a location. It's where they're going to," she said. "So that can't be the subject. The action with the verb is where you find the predicate, and to the school is at the end of that, so it's part of the predicate. But the students are the ones doing the action. So the students is the subject."
The class stared at her in stunned silence.
My daughter closed her mouth, swallowed, and, looking around at the class of gaping fifth graders realized:
Oh my gosh . . . I'm turning into Mom.
Sniff. I'm so proud. What a great Christmas gift.

Writing Journey: Evolution of a Word Nerd

Alexes from One Cluttered Brain asked me several all at once, and they're all sort of related, so I'm answering them together:
When did this fascination with grammar and words begin? Does it interfere much when you write something? And aren't you an editor as well? How does that work when you are trying your writing hat on? Does your editing hat ever get in the way?

Being as I grew up with a linguist as a father, conversations about words were typical dinner-table fodder.
(I thought this was normal. Apparently not.)
I don't remember ever not thinking that words and etymologies and so forth were interesting.
I also grew up with a mother who was always reading. My father used to joke that he couldn't get into his own bedroom without a library card. The master bedroom had several bookcases which were filled, stuffed, and then crammed with books.
The basement was the same. So was the kitchen. Every room in the house had books. And I mean ever…

I'm at the AML Today

And I will be the 17th of every month.
As promised, click here for my very first post.

Bad Blogger!

I've totally slacked off. I'm aware. I apologize.
I had a way cool idea for a post for Monday. Didn't have time to write it, because I was doing things like, oh getting ready for things like that big holiday that's coming next week (oh, and tackling that pile that suddenly multiplied in the laundry room).
Monday night I spent time with my family making pulla, a sweet Finnish bread flavored with cardamom. It's something we've had in the house at Christmas since I was a little girl, and I make it every year with my kids. (To see what it looks like, here's a post from last year with a picture.)
Tuesday night I had a ball taking some pulla to a Relief Society activity in my parents' ward (the same one I grew up in!). The young women were invited, so my oldest daughter got to come, and my two sisters were there as well. After treats and talking (and getting shushed . . . we were seriously SHUSHED! Okay, fine. Luthy women tend to be loud) my mom spoke about som…

Writing Journey: I'm Skeered and Other News

Today, I'm in the mood for a list. Therefore:
1) Edits for Band of Sisters are done and turned in. They were pretty painless. To make things even better, Kirk's a riot. He kept inserting funny comments along the way that made me laugh. (I've mentioned that I'm glad he's my editor, right? Just a few times?)
2) I had a phone call on Wednesday that lasted nearly an hour and a half with the man behind an amazing charity that I will be partnering with soon to help families of deployed soldiers. I know that a lot of people want to do something for families in that position but simply feel helpless and don't know what they can do that would make a difference.
Here's something anyone (yes, you!) can do that can make a significant difference in a family's life. Details will be forthcoming as the release of Band of Sisters gets closer. Let's just say I'm totally stoked for this!
3) I've taken on a new blog job. Sort of. I'm apparently either really b…

WNW: Metonymy Rocketh

Wondering what the heck I'm talking about? Ten bucks says you know what metonymy is, even if you don't already know the term for it.
Let me preface this Word Nerd Wednesday by stressing that I'm such a nerd. Just the word metonymy makes me happy.
Say it. Savor it. Metonymy. Ahhhhh . . .
Okay. So you're thinking, Annette, shut up already. What does "metonymy" mean, already?
Here's the basic idea:
You use a piece of a whole thing, something the whole is associated with, and use that to refer to the whole.
Sounds confusing, but it really isn't.
(Side note: metonymy and synecdoche are so closely related that I'm not going to really distinguish between the two here. Most of the examples below are technically metonymy, but an argument could be make that a couple are synecdoche. They're sub-classes of the same concept, really. Sue me.)
One classic metaphorical example is from Shakespeare's Julius Caesar:
"Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ea…

You Can't Hear Me

People often assume that because I'm a writer, I must be great at getting across what I mean in conversation. That when I open my mouth, eloquence ushers forth like a fountain.
The reality is that most of the time, I feel like I have a short circuit between my brain and my mouth, and I struggle to find a way to get what I'm thinking past my brain, into words, and out of my mouth.
I recall one conversation I had with a good friend where my response came out absolutely wrong. I knew it the moment I said it. The words alone were enough for my brain to flash red warning lights, but her face also told me my answer was hurtful.
I didn't mean it the way it came out, but for the life of me, I couldn't come up with how I could have said it differently. I grasped at straws for several minutes.
After she left, I continued to ponder on the conversation. Two weeks later, I figured out what I should have said.
This is why I like writing things like novels: I can go back for weeks at a …

Writing Journey: Got My Edit!

My current journey . . .
See Wednesday's and Thursday's posts for some of my other fun news for the week (a Christmas article, my winning essay, etc.). I was touched when my friend Alison Palmer even posted about my win. I had so many people e-mail me, comment on Facebook, and otherwise congratulate me. Yesterday was awesome. Thanks to everyone!
In other news, I officially have my edit for Band of Sisters. I got it earlier this week, and I'm supposed to give it back to Kirk, the editor of awesomeness, on Monday.
For previous books, such short of a timeline to go over an edit would have seriously freaked me out. This time, I'm okay with it, because the edit is quite light. I really think that by the time I got this one through my critique group, it was pretty darn clean. That, and I was able to write it at a pace that got it clean as I went, if that makes sense. Plus, it's contemporary, which required very little research beyond the military parts, yet I took as long t…

The Link! The Link!

As promised, I'm posting the link to the annual Funds for Writers essay contest, which I won. (Yippee!)
I recommend subscribing to the Funds for Writers newsletter and blog. (You can do that from the link above as well.) Both are great resources for writers.
Now I have to decide how to spend the prize money. Hmm . . .

A Wee Bit Sidetracked

I had an entire Word Nerd Wednesday post already written about metonymy (because I like funky literary gems like that, and they're so much fun to talk about).
But then something happened, and now I'm sidetracked, so metonymy will just have to wait until next week.
Instead of a regular WNW post, here are 5 pieces of information I want you to know:
1) First, last week's Nerdiversary book winner:
Congratulations to Countess Laurie, who selected as the winner of a copy of There, Their, They're!
(Click on the title to get your own copy! That's called blatant self-promotion! Stop me! I'm using excessive exclamation points, and I can't get up!)
Countess Laurie, send me your mailing address so I can ship your book to you!

2) The ladies over at LDS Women's Book Review are doing a countdown to Christmas by interviewing writers about their Christmas traditions and book lists. I got to be their first one yesterday. Read the post by clicking HERE.
3) Remember th…

Happy Birthday, LMM

135 years ago today, a little girl was born in a small town called Clifton. She would one day become a world-famous author.
Her mother died when she was only 22 months old. The little girl's only memory of her mother is at the funeral, of her mother lying in her casket, looking asleep, and the girl wondering why everyone was crying and giving her sympathetic looks. That memory would one day show up in a book called Emily of New Moon.
Her father remarried and moved out west, so she was raised by her rather strict grandparents. She did spend a year or so with her father during her adolescence, but it was a miserable time, and she longed to be home with her cousins and friends, so she went back to live with her grandparents.

Later on, she went to college and at one point became a school teacher, sleeping in a room so cold in the winter that her wash water and ink bottle would freeze overnight.
Even so, she had aspirations to be a writer, so she got up early before school, lit a fire, go…

Word Nerdiversary!

Image courtesy Daily Clip Art
It's been a YEAR since I started doing Word Nerd Wednesday!
So far I have personally had a ball talking about some of my personal favorite topics, whether it's been pet peeves on holiday gift cards, Grimm's Law, or when to use parentheses versus brackets and italics versus quote marks. (Those last two posts are ones Googlers regularly land on. Never expected that.)
Technically, Word Nerd Wednesday's anniversary is November 26th, so tomorrow is the anniversary, but tomorrow isn't a Wednesday, so we're cheating by celebrating today. (Sue me.) Let's just say the party is a day early, a bit of pre-Thanksgiving joy.
The celebration will have TWO PARTS:
FIRST: I'm going to share three fun words that have some history for me dating back to my teens.
SECOND: we have a giveaway. This one requires nothing but a comment to enter. No Tweeting, Facebooking, blogging, or anything else. Just leave a comment so I know you want it. This time it&…

Acceptable Stereotypes? Since When?

I can remember one time I have admitted my high school and not gotten a reaction along the lines of how I must be a rich, snotty brat. It was about ten years ago when a woman in the city we lived in at the time was researching Utah schools because she knew that the secondary education in our area wasn't stellar. She wanted to move where her kids would have a good high school.
We went walking on a track one morning, and she asked where I'd gone to high school. I hesitantly admitted it. Her reaction almost had me stumbling in shock off the pavement.
"No way! You are so lucky. Wow. You must have had an amazing education."
You know what? I did have an amazing high school education. But no one else in the general Utah area knows that. All they see is the reputation my school has for wealth . . . a reputation that is not even founded, as only a small percentage of the student body had money, and even fewer were snotty. (I knew plenty of poor, snotty students, and one of my …