Showing posts from July, 2009

Writing Journey: Part XXIII

Today's Writing Journey post is really about part of my current journey, something that happened this week. Or, rather, yesterday. I began this series talking about my aspirations of wanting to be a writer back in second grade, and it's almost to the present, so I hope my readers don't mind a detour to the actual present.
A woman from the ward my in-laws recently moved from knew about my books (basically because my mother-in-law brags about me almost as much as my own mother does . . . it rocks) and that they were about the Utah temples. When she was put in charge of Girls Camp, she felt that I should be the person to come speak to the girls about that topic.
My mother-in-law put us in touch, and I agreed to go with them on a hike, where we'd eat lunch, and then I'd give a talk about temples using some of the research I've done. This was scheduled a couple of months ago.
We had to do some tricky arranging because I have two children with birthdays this week and …

How I Helped to Almost Give a Polish Woman a Heart Attack

Back in my sophomore year of high school, two of my best friends, Sheryl and Janee, decided to do a triple group date for MORP with me. It was April, and Sheryl had just turned 16.
Since the dance was near Easter, we had an elaborate way of asking the guys out. It took literally hours to do, and I'm sure mere minutes (if not seconds) to undo:
We blew out the insides of a bunch of eggs and washed them out. Then we refilled them with a variety of items. My favorites were honey and oil. We also left some raw eggs in the basket but made holes in both ends and filled them in (I believe with a glue gun) so you couldn't tell by looking which eggs had been tampered with.
The eggs with the big question (probably four or five, "Will you" "go to" "MORP" "with me" and then our names) were all on slips of paper in sugar-filled eggs. Those ones took the longest to fill. (You'd be surprised how much sugar fits into an egg and how long it takes to grad…

Writing Journey: Part XXII

So here was this giant, hidden Mormon Woman blogging community I knew nothing about even though I'd been blogging for a long time, and the only person I knew for sure who knew where it was, was the woman who'd made the comment on that blog.
And that would be Sue over at Navel Gazing at Its Finest. Ever wonder what sparked her post that asked her readers who their favorite Mormon bloggers were? Um, well, that would be my e-mail to her saying basically, "Who in the heck ARE these people, and where can I find them?!" She said, bascially, I'll ask my readers. So she did.
I didn't even know Sue at the time. Yet Sue is one of those big Mormon women bloggers she was talking about. That's just how in the dark I was.
She got something like 84 comments to that post listing favorite bloggers. Many comments were from people who are not LDS and said things like, "Why is it you Mormon people are so dang funny?" and the like. A lot of the same bloggers' names…

WNW: Malapropism Fun

Malapropisms are some of the best parts of English. They're funny and can make your day. (That's only a slight exaggeration.)
I'm guessing a lot of you already know what they are, but let's refresh our memories. In short, a malapropism is the unintentional misuse of a word in funny way. The sentence still makes sense, but not in the way the person meant.
One fun example is in Kerry Blair's book, Mummy's the Word, where she has a character constantly using malapropisms. You know what word she means, but what she says instead is hysterically funny. I don't have a copy on me, or I'd give examples. Just find a copy and read it. You'll get a kick out of it.
A blogger who often does entire posts showing malapropisms is My Imaginary Blog. Check those posts out here. With her permission, here's her post from last Christmas, with a whopping 32 malaprops in it.
See if you can spot them all:
Today it’s poring rain, but soon, in lieu of the Christmas season…

Lessons from Random Stuff in My Head

Don't Be Judgmental, Because You REALLY Don't Know.Today, my dear friend Brillig's post about put me into tears. Go read it. You'll be glad you did. (Her blog has had some techno-problems. I hope the link works.)
If Writing a Random Claims to Fame Post, Don't Forget Your Own Family. Um, duh. Yeah, I'm feeling kinda stupid on this one.
If you live in Utah (or are LDS and shop in Seagull and Deseret Book), you have probably heard of the A Capella group VoiceMale.
Okay, so here's my giant claim to fame: The founder and vocal percussionist, John L. (there are 2 Johns in the group, so they really do use their last initials) is my dear cousin. He put the group together when they were at USU. They practiced in my uncle and aunt's home, and he often arranged (and still does arrange) some of their music.
And he's one of the most generous and sweet guys I've ever known, and that's counting all the years we had growing up together as cousins when he and my…

Writing Journey: Part XXI

So last time I was left with a book coming out in March (Tower of Strength), a YA fantasy based on a Finnish folktale I'd written because, well, I felt driven to, and now needed to shop around nationally, and I was on the LDStorymakers Conference committee and the Whitney Awards committee.
And of course, throughout all this, I'm always doing editing and magazine writing stuff.

Nope. Not busy or anything.
Right around the new year, Covenant sent out an e-mail to their authors requesting submissions for a compilation of true Christmas stories they'd be putting out for the holiday. My gut reaction was sort of, yeah, right, like I can put one more thing on my plate.
But immediately following that came a memory of a really amazing Christmas experience I'd had nearly twenty years prior. Plus, if I'm given the chance to submit something, even if I don't know if it'll be accepted, I'll usually take it. I'm nuts that way.
So I wrote the story up. Technically, …

Gratitude: My Best Friends

Recent events have made me take stock of some things, and one of those big things is looking at who are my true friends.
I believe true friends are those with whom I can be purely the real me. No games, no pretending.
These are the friends who love me as I am, no matter what. When I am with them I can express my honest opinion and be accepted even if the other person disagrees completely. (And you know that's a big deal, because I'm so darn opinionated.)
These are the people who love me even if they haven't seen me in months. We can pick up exactly where we left off last time. There's no awkward lulls or getting used to one another again.
They love me even with all my faults (a big deal, because they know all my faults).
And best of all? They think like I think.
With two exceptions (Hey, Shauna and Janee!), each and every one of my best friends is a writer.
I spent most of my adolescence aching to fit in. Trying, hoping to, and often, miserably failing.
I was so painfully sh…

Writing Journey: Part XX

Wowzers: Part Twenty!
So as you probably figured out from last time (well, THIS was really last Friday, but you know what I mean), even though I turned in the deployment book in October of 2008, it wouldn't be out fall 2009. Instead of a lag time of roughly 9 or 10 months, it would be about twice that.
Originally the release date was "spring" 2010 (which was hard to hear, because that could mean several different months and you have no clue what to plan for), but I now have an official release date for that book: this March.
I don't yet have an official title, but for the first time in ages, I submitted a manuscript with a title. I'm calling it Band of Sisters. (Get it? Like an army "Band of Brothers"? Their wives at home are a "Band of Sisters"? It was my husband's idea.)
So far, my editor and I are still calling it that, but I have no idea if the committee is really giving it that title or whether it'll change. (I'll post that info…

WNW: Conversational Pause Lengths

One of the most interesting things I learned in my English 223 class (you know by now who taught it, right?) was about conversational rules and pause lengths in particular. It was also the first place I heard the name of Deborah Tannen (I've mentioned her before . . . read her! She literally changed how I view myself).
One thing Tannen mentions in her work is pause lengths in conversation, cues as to when it's someone else's turn to start talking. Most of the time, we aren't aware of these kinds of things as we talk, but all of us have our own internal "clock" that tells us when someone's done saying something and we're allowed to take the floor with our own thoughts.
The interesting thing is that everyone has their own pause lengths. Genders tend to have different pause lengths. So do different cultures. For some it's half a second, for some it's two seconds, for someone else it's a length in between.
And, as I've read some of Tannen'…

Our "Exciting" Fourth

We spent the weekend up at my in-laws with all four of the Lyon siblings who are in Utah. (The other two are on opposite coasts, alas.)
I cannot explain how much more enjoyable these kinds of visits are to me now that my kid are older. On my side of the family, there are several older grand kids, and I remember chasing my toddlers and walking the floor to comfort babies or having to leave the grown-up table conversation to deal with an owie or just nurse a baby or whatever and being so jealous of my sister-in-law, whose boys were old enough to just run off and play. I couldn't wait for the day I could do that.
Well, MY kids are the oldest grandchildren on the Lyon side. A few years ago, I was on the opposite side of the table. Several grown-ups were playing a board game, and every few minutes, a mom or dad jumped up to take care of a toddler or baby crisis. But I was never one of them. I got to sit and smile as I watched them. My kids were older now and happily playing amongst thems…

Thoughts on My Writing Journey

Today's post is a bit different (sorry for last time's cliff hanger ending; I'll resolve that next week).
Something's been bouncing around my brain as I realized that some people who are not in the publishing industry might view some of these posts in a light that I never intended, especially if they haven't read all twenty posts in the series (or whatever number we're at now).
First, a story. I promise, it's relevant.
Back when I had several tiny kids, I was part of a neighborhood book club. We got together once a month and, of course, talked about whatever book we'd read. Inevitably, as happens when you get a lot of women together, discussion often meandered into motherhood.
No mother in the group had a teen yet; we were all in the grade school or younger era, most with babies. So we had lots of talk about sleep deprivation and potty training woes and colic and vomiting and trying to get crayon off walls and how to unclog toilets after kids had flushed do…

WNW: Speech Acts

This post goes back to my favorite professor and class from BYU whom I've raved over enough that I'll stop embarrassing him by pointing him out by name. (*cough* Dr. Oaks *cough*)
Actual definitions of what a "speech act" is varies from linguist to linguist, but the basic idea is what is being accomplished by what a person says when they're speaking.
The list we got in class included the following speech acts:
Statement: John is a doctor. Question: Are you sleeping? Apology: I am sorry. Directive (Order): Go outside. Threat: I'll kill you. Promise: I'll come back at six.
Okay, so here comes the fun part. A direct speech act is pretty obvious.
The form follows the function. Basically, with a direct speech act, if it looks like a statement, it's a statement. If it looks like a question, it's a question. The form tells you what kind of speech act it is.
So a question in a direct speech act would always has a question mark after it:
Are you sleeping?
This is a …