Showing posts from October, 2009

Not That I'm Counting

In the rush of getting Halloween costumes on for school this morning (we've got a cyborg, a cave woman, a half man/half woman, and a cheerleader), the kids forgot to rip off the last link in the paper chain.
There it is above, just waiting to be torn to shreds in celebration, because that final link means one small but significant thing.
This is it. Today is the day.
Mom and Dad (Grandma and Grandpa) are in the air. They land tonight. Five years and two missions are finally over. I get my parents back.
We'll be the ones at the airport with the balloons jumping up and down and screaming like banshees as they come down the escalators.
As fun as that part will be, I'm most looking forward to something else: feeling their arms around me again, holding me tight as I breathe them in.
Welcome home, Mom and Dad. I've sure missed you.

WNW: Every Day or Everyday?

Which do you use? When? What's the difference? Is there one?
The everyday/every day mix-up is easily one of the most common mistakes I see in my editing work and one of the most common questions I'm asked.
Kinda figured it made sense to address it here. I do mention it in There, Their, They're as well, and I think I do a pretty good job of it. But recently, I had a brain flash about how to explain it even better.
I'm hereby using that brain flash in this post and reserving the right to reprint it in the second edition of the book. 'Cause I can do that. :)

Every day This phrase is pretty much what it sounds like: something that happens on a daily basis.
Examples: I brush my teeth every day. Every day, I send my kids off to school. I check the mail every day for another rejection.
It's easy to know whether to keep the space.
Just ask: Can I add the word "single" between "every" and "day" and have it make sense?
If so, keep the space:
I brush…

I'm Taking It as a Compliment

Last night after dinner, I ended up sitting around the table chatting with my two older girls. (I love that they're old enough for that!)
Their dad walked in and stopped. "Girl talk, huh?"
"Something like that," I said, enjoying myself.
Actually, we weren't talking girl stuff. (Fortunately! They're a little young for that stuff. I hope "girl talk" is a few years off yet.)
We got into talking about a series of books, and they were asking me something about the topic of the series, so I explained quite a bit about it. Suddenly my 10-year-old grunted.
With a roll of her eyes and a shake of her head she said, "I swear, Mom, you know everything. Or if you don't know something, you go look it up."
I grinned and said, "And you know where I got that from? The part about looking stuff up?"
They both knew and answered in unison. "From Grandma."
"And that was before Google existed."
They mock-gasped at that and began ma…

Writing Journey: Summer of Chocolate

With the writing conference over, I figured I had roughly four months to pull together a chocolate cookbook. I'd told the managing editor I could probably get her a manuscript by the end of August, and this was late April.
Originally they had pictured a number of recipes somewhere in the neighborhood of their last cookbook: 200. I sort of choked. Since that book included appetizers, main dishes, salads, desserts, and all kinds of categories and this was all chocolate, I asked if we could lower that number. We settled on what still seemed high but at least in the realm of possibility: 120.
120 recipes in 4 months. I already had several recipes in my own stash, plus others my Utah Chocolate Show sister would be willing to help me out with. So it wouldn't really be 30 each month, or one a day. I would be more like 20 or 25 a month, and if I could whip out 2 recipes a day, three days a week, I'd be so golden.
I'd have the recipes done in July and could spend an entire month a…

WNW: Shibboleths

Shibboleths are fun. Unless you're an Ephraimite, that is.
Just the word makes me smile. Generally speaking, they're a single word that easily distinguishes a person as not belonging to another group because of the way they say it.
It comes from the story in the Bible, in Judges 12, verses 5 & 6. Not a happy story. The Gileadites managed to defeat the Ephraimites in battle. When the refugee Ephraimites tried to cross the Jordan river, they were given the Hebrew word shibboleth to say to prove they were Hebrews. If they couldn't say it correctly (using the SH sound at the beginning), they were killed:
And the Gileadites took the passages of Jordan before the Ephraimites: and it was so, that when those Ephraimites which were escaped said, Let me go over; that the men of Gilead said unto him, Art thou an Ephraimite? If he said, Nay;
Then said they unto him, Say now Shibboleth: and he said Sibboleth: for he could not frame to pronounce it right. Then they took him, and slew hi…

Six Bits of Monday Randomness

Random Bit #1 I've been out of town and computer-less since Thursday, spending some much-needed (and enjoyed!) time away with my husband. It. Was. Awesome.
As a result, however, today I opened my Google Reader to find 254 unread posts. Did you get the full impact of that number? Let's spell it out:
Holy schmoly, you people are prolific!
Um . . . I don't think I'll be getting to all those posts. Just a tiny little guess. Don't take it personally or anything. I'm just not Super Woman.

Random Bit #2 Yesterday the lesson I got to teach the Sunday School class for the older teens was about . . . get this . . . the Salt Lake Temple and its foundation. I'm so not kidding. Ya think that's a topic I know a tiny bit about?
The point of the lesson was about the importance of building your spiritual foundation on Christ, and it compared the Salt Lake Temple foundation to that, including the original sandstone foundation that cracked and needed t…

WNW: Words from My Books

Just for the fun of it (because I know I need to lighten up a bit and laugh), I decided to pull out a few words that have caused problems in old manuscripts for one reason or another. As I came up with this list, it cracked me up to realize that every one of them came from Spires of Stone.
Maybe it's because the entire process of writing, rewriting, editing and just getting that puppy to press was so traumatic (see my Writing Journey series for the whole the whole messy story in parts XI, XII, XIII and XIV).
Whatever the reason, here are some of the gems we ran into.

Disclaimer: I mention a couple of frustrating situations I ran into with Covenant's contract editors below. I've published six (almost eight) books plus a short story with them. Their editorial team and contract editors are top-notch. So I mention these experiences below specifically because they were so totally bizarre and out of the realm of my experience. Spires of Stone was my fifth book with them, and I'…

A Hero and a Family of Hundreds

My senior year, our high school started up a marching band program, and all I heard from my friends that were part of it was about how the one school to beat was American Fork.
That was, well, a very long time ago, and today? Well, the American Fork High School marching band is still the one to beat. It's won the state title something like 19 years in a row. It's so good that it was invited to perform for George W. Bush's second inauguration and in the Macy's Day parade.
But it wasn't until our family moved into a neighborhood with many youth involved with that same marching band that I started to see just how huge the program is. Almost as soon as we got here, I was called to work with the Young Women of our ward. The marching band or color guard (which performed with the band) was a huge part of many of their lives.
They were proud of their involvement, and it was their number one priority. Even though the marching band and color guard consisted of a large number of…

Linkage & An Upcoming Giveaway!

Links about the Hero's Journey
First, for those who attended my presentation on The Hero's Journey method of plotting at the League of Utah Writers meeting in Provo in June, (or those who didn't), Jordan McCollum has posted many of her notes in two different posts.
I used a lot of fantasy stories as examples (Star Wars, Harry Potter), but some attendees asked how the archetypal structure applies to romance. Good question. It does, since I use it and write romance myself. (In fact, I think using it helped me plot out my last book, Tower of Strength, quicker than any of my others.)
Today, Jordan has a guest post addressing that very thing. See it HERE.
Read her other posts about my presentation and The Hero's Journey concept HERE and HERE.

Coming very soon (dates and details TBA), I will be doing a review and giveaway through Accent Furniture.
I get to review a particular product, which they'll be sending me to try out, and the…

WNW: Mr. Smith, You Have an Accent Too

I get the Utah jokes. I really do. I get the cultural jokes. The political jokes. I can laugh right along with the best of them.
I do, however, get a teeny, tiny bit annoyed with what I call the California Syndrome. I first ran into it in the form a kid named Jake in high school geometry who had unwillingly just moved from California. In hindsight, I think he was just bitter over his parents' divorce, but the way he lashed out, everything in Utah was just plain stupid.
Back then I was a very quiet and shy kid (you'd never know it, huh?). I still had strong opinions, but I kept them bottled inside nearly all the time. But this kid? Man, he just wouldn't stop. One day I turned around finally laid into him about how Utah isn't the the armpit of the world, so would he shut up already? He pretty much hated me after that. Like I cared.

More years than I want to admit later, my son has a teacher at the junior high who is from California. He loves to poke fun at the Utah accent, …

I'm Almost Back!

If all goes well, I'll be turning in my chocolate cookbook today.
The stupid school district up and made today a professional development day, which means the kids are home right when I need them to not be.
Luckily, my sister-in-law's kids were dying to have mine over to play, and since she knew I had a deadline, she thought that heck, let them hang out there for most of the day.
Boo. Yah.
So in a little bit, I'll be driving the munchkins over to her place and then settling my behind into the chair to write. The cooking part is done. (Can you hear the angels singing? It's truly a glorious sound.)
I've written down the recipes as they've succeeded, but I still have a lot of other stuff to work into the book about ingredients and chocolate (lots of stuff about that) and a glossary and a bunch of other fun stuff in between that I hope readers will enjoy reading as they run into.
After turning it in, I'll have to celebrate, but it can't be with chocolate (I had…