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Showing posts from November, 2009

Happy Birthday, LMM

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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!

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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?

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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 …

Writing Journey: Audio Double Hockey Sticks

I entered the publishing world at a rather odd period: right as cassette tapes were making their exit and CDs were making their debut.
As a result, my first novel's audio was put on cassette. My second was available on both cassette and CD, and my third was only on CD. I was right at the transition period.
This was also a period where nearly every Covenant novel was available in both print and on audio. Slight problem, however: audio sells less, but has new costs like paying an actor to perform the thing, so they always insisted that the author abridge the book down to a particular length to help on production costs.
When the full transition to CD was complete, it brought me a slight measure of joy. This may sound like a small thing, but for a writer, it was huge: the CDs they used could hold 5,000 more words of air time than the cassettes could.
That meant less abridging. Instead of cutting my book down to 48,000 words, we had to cut books down to only 53,000.
Let's put those num…

WNW: 2009 Word of the Year

Each year, The New Oxford American Dictionary picks a new word that has become a part of the lexicon and declares it the word of the year.
Past popular words of the year you might recognize include:
2005: truthiness (a word invented and popularized by Stephen Colbert of The Colbert Report)
2003: metrosexual (my husband's not, thank goodness)
2000: chad (memories of that election are enough to make us all have horrid flashbacks, right?)
1999: Y2K (if you're too young to remember this one, be glad)
1996: soccer mom (I wasn't then. I am now.)
And so on.

The word of the year selected for 2009:
unfriend
I love it.
Generally speaking, "un" is added to adjectives to make them negative (unacceptable, unhappy, uncertain) and to some verbs to reverse them (unwind, undo, unpack).
Which means that unfriend implies that friend is a verb. The fun thing is that in today's world of social networking, friend has become a verb. We friend people on Facebook and other platforms, and there…

Winner, Winner!

Quick announcement for the footrest winner, and then I have to get back to judging a contest for my local library. (Something I've been doing annually for six years now. Quite fun, I must say.)
I kept a clear list of every single entry on an Excel spreadsheet to make sure every single entry was accounted for (every comment, tweet, FB mention, blog post).
I used Random.org to pick the winner.
It picked: Entry #19: Mandy!
Yea, Mandy!
(I'm half tempted to go, "Oh, Mandy . . ." and start crooning like Barry Manilow, but that would date me, so I won't. Whoops.)
I've actually known Mandy for years, and because of our connections, it feels like we're related, even though we're not.
(No favoritism, I swear. It was all Random.org's doing. Not that I'm complaining. Yea, Mandy!)
Mandy, e-mail me your mailing address (I don't think I have it!) and your phone number (the company needs that for their accounts--I think I have your old one), and I'll get y…

Writing Journey & Randomness

I began chronicling my writing journey something like a year ago (wowzers), and we're basically up to present day. I've talked about submitting the chocolate cookbook. About a week ago (not on the Journey series) I announced it had been officially accepted but that we don't haven an official release date.
So that's just about as current as you get.
I'll continue to give updates and talk about what I'm working on and how things are going.
As I've written the series, I've collected a list of questions that readers have dropped into the comments about writing and publication issues, and I decided to use them for future parts of this series. Plus, there are lots of things I never did talk about, and I may discuss random things that come to me. (One topic: audio books. Oh, heaven help me. I never did describe the hideous torture of abridgment. I will soon.)
As a reader or an aspiring writer, if you have any questions for me, please drop a note, whether in the …

Giveaway! Giveaway!

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Almost exactly a month ago, I promised a fun giveaway, and I'm not about to disappoint.
Accent Furniture approached me with the chance to review one of their products and give one away to one of my readers.
Knowing that the vast majority of my blog readers spend a lot of time at their computers (being avid bloggers, writers, and readers themselves), I decided immediately that I'd pick something in the home office section of their website.
As I browsed, I landed on something that made me grin. I wanted one, and I had a sneaking suspicion that just about all my readers would like a shot at getting one too.
I told the company what it was. They shipped mine to me, and I've been trying it out for the last week.
Behold, The Balt Rolax Ergonimic Footrest:

Here's how it went down: my kids were almost more excited than I was to see the box. One opened it with scissors while another ran to get a Phillip's head screwdriver (the one tool we needed to assemble the footrest).
The main…

Writing Journey: Sliding into Chocolate Homebase

It was the second week of August, and I knew without any doubt that I simply could not get a full manuscript of the chocolate cookbook to Covenant by the end of the month like I'd promised.
The thought was devastating. I'd never, ever missed a deadline, self-imposed or otherwise. I knew they'd be understanding, but I hated to disappoint them. I was disappointed in myself, even though I'd done everything short of moving mountains to get the book done in four months.
I sent an e-mail to Kathy, the managing editor, and to Kirk, my personal editor, explaining the situation and apologizing profusely. I said I could almost certainly have the book done in another six weeks, the first part of October.
Once again, Kirk proved to me that he's the best editor a writer could hope to have. His reply was something along the lines of, "We'd much rather have a quality product than a rushed one. Take the time you need."
(Have I mentioned that Kirk rocks?)
They hadn't …

WNW: Best Word Ever--Theobroma

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Today's WNW is a brief vocabulary lesson . . . with a point.
The word: theobroma
Let's break it down.
Theo comes from the Greek root for "god"
broma means "food"
So basically, theobroma means "food of the gods."
Can you guess what it means? No, not ambrosia. Something even better. Oh, yeah. You know.
Theobroma is the genus name for the cacao plant.

(Here's a picture of cacao pods I took myself at the NY Chocolate Show back in 2003.)
In short, theobroma refers to CHOCOLATE, and one of the main chemicals found in chocolate is called theobromine.
So why did I use WNW to share a chocolate vocabulary lesson today?
Because I have a special announcement:
My chocolate cookbook has been officially accepted for publication!
The original thought was the it might be out next fall (Oct 2010) just in time for Christmas shopping. The official release date is still up in the air, but there's a slight possibility it might come out a little earlier.
I'll keep reade…