Showing posts from June, 2010

WNW: Spelling Protesters. Really.

I'll be the first to admit that English is a conglomeration of funky ways to spell things. That's largely because so many languages have contributed to English. We have "rules" . . . and then a thousand exceptions to each one. It's almost a surprise that any of us ever learn to read.
Let's take a quick look at a language where spelling is a piece of cake: In Finnish, spelling is the ONE easy thing. The language has an insane number of cases, all of which I had to learn at one point in grammar class.
Bragging rights: I outscored my friend Marjo on one such test, and she was annoyed because I wasn't even a Finn . . . but I'd studied. Don't ask me to do it now. Totally couldn't.
But spelling? Piece of cake. It's nice that there's something not mind-numbingly difficult about Finnish.
See, everything is phonetic. If you learn what sound each letter makes, you can read anything in Finnish. (Caveat: a few letters make difficult sounds. Point s…

Ashleigh's Soldier & Flat Daddy

My generous readers got Ashleigh's Flat Daddy paid for before I put up her spotlight.
(That is because first, because I have the best readers EVER, and second, because I spaced telling you all about who she is until now.)
Here is Ashleigh with her sweetheart soldier, who is currently deployed:

Come July, Ashleigh's husband will have been a medic in the Army for six years. He plans to make it a career, as he loves the Army and loves serving his country. They were married in December 2008 and had their first baby, and sweet little boy, just a couple of weeks ago while Daddy was gone.
Ashleigh's husband also has a six-year-old daughter, Taylie, who lives in Washington with her mom.
During the deployment, Ashleigh and their baby boy live with her in-laws, including two nephews. The boys often ask where their uncle is; he's very involved with family when at home, so they miss him terribly. I have a sneaking suspicion that the Flat Daddy will be good for their nephews as well …

This Is Why I Write

The feedback I've had from Band of Sisters has been very much what I hoped it would be rather than what I feared it might be. Actually, the response has exceeded my expectations. I went in pretty scared.
After all, I was writing about deployment: a huge topic, one that's timely, sensitive, and one that so many people not only know about but have been through firsthand. And I'm brazen enough to attempt to capture that experience when I've never been through it?
Yet that's what I set out to do.
On one hand, that's kind of what fiction writers do every time they sit down. Beginning writers' work often tends to be largely autobiographical, but eventually, if you've written long enough, you move past that and invest in stories and characters several steps removed from yourself.
My first book was a mixture of the two: I included bits and pieces of things I knew personally (I went on lots of Uintah hikes as a teen. I was hit in the head with a rock at recess an…

WNW: Words HS Grads Should Know: #1-10

Several years ago on the LDStorymakers e-mail list, we had a weekly vocabulary word challenge. It consisted of words that aren't necessarily used all the time, but that we should know. The idea was to challenge those on the list to use the week's word somewhere in their writing and then report back.
It was great fun, if short-lived. Not everyone got involved, but I personally got a huge kick out of later seeing a good ten of challenge words show up in Tristi Pinkston'sSeason of Sacrifice, knowing exactly when she'd penned those scenes and why she'd picked those words.
This was while I wrote Spires of Stone and why you'll find in it quash, auspicious,and a few other challenge words that I've forgotten.
Here's the Word Nerd Wednesday version.
Back in 2007, Houghton Mifflin put out a list of 100 words they thought every high school graduate should know.
I thought it would be fun to look at those words here . . . and maybe challenge my readers to use one of the…

Book Signings: The Truth

Oh, my laws. I laughed so hard when I saw this video, I just had to share it.
My kids see me go to book signings. My youngest was born right after my first book came out (and 3 days after my last book signing for it), so she literally has not known a mother who doesn't do these things.
But somehow, even though they live with me, they don't grasp what a book signing IS. They envision something along the lines of Stephanie Meyer or J. K. Rowling, with crowds of adoring readers desperate to buy your book and get your signature.
My son once even wished me luck . . . that my hand wouldn't get too tired from signing all those books.
(Not much chance of that, bud. But thanks for the thought.)
Book signings are exhausting. You're "ON" for two hours (or however long) straight, trying to be energetic and chipper and helpful. And all the while, you feel a bit like a used car salesman trying to convince customers (who are trying to avoid your table as if you have leprosy) to…

WNW: Flarf

That is a real word. Seriously. And it's a bizarre child of the technology age.
More, it's a literary term . . . if you sort of stretch the definition of literary.
The definitions I've found for FLARF aren't that clear, at least to me. It's generally described as something like:
A form of digitally-inspired poetry, often generated from the results of Internet search engines.
Um, okay, what?
Here's how flarf works (from what I can tell; I still don't really get it): Phrases from search engines like Google are used to spark a line of poetry. Often those lines are passed along from friend to friend, and the poem morphs. The piece of flarf takes on a life of its own, and in the end, you can't say who the original author was, because chances are, it was created by several people along the way as it evolved.
Yet I've found flarf with author attributions. (See? I don't get it.)
According to several articles I found online, the very first flarf piece began w…

Nuggets on the Salt Lake Temple

I love learning more about old temples . . . especially the ones I've researched and written about (cough-cough-Spires of Stone-cough-cough).

This is a shot of me next to an Earth Stone on the Salt Lake Temple. These were the largest, most expensive, and most difficult stones to carve. Note how BIG it is!
Recently, two fun bits came to my attention about the Salt Lake Temple. They excited me, and I thought my readers might get a kick out of them too.
The first is an article at Keepapitchinin, a great blog with Mormon history and other nuggets.
"The Mountain of the Lord's House" is a post that goes into some detail about how the granite was quarried for the temple. More, it debunks some long-held myths. (None of which, I might add, I ever used in the book.)
For example, the holes drilled into the stone weren't used to insert dowels of wood. Stories have been passed down that wood was inserted into the holes and soaked in water. Then the expanding wood broke off the st…

POD and Self-Publishing

I've had a ton of people ask me about self-publishing, and about CreateSpace in particular, since they're who I used for my grammar book.
First off, WHY self-publish? There are good reasons to and very bad reasons to. Thinking you'll be a sudden millionaire is right up there with why NOT to. (Ain't happening.)

A few generalizations about self-publishing:
-Non-fiction has a far better shot at having sales than fiction does
-Bookstores will almost never stock your book
-As a result, your chances of selling much are pretty darn slim
-You'll sell more if you have a strong platform (more on that later)
-With the current POD (print-on-demand) technology, writers no longer have to put thousands of dollars into printing a pallet of books that they then have to hand-sell from their garage.
-POD makes it possible for ONE copy to be printed at a time and then shipped to the reader.
-Self-publishing makes the most sense when you have a book that has a tiny niche and is unlikely to be …

Four Musketeers

I used to think I knew what friendship was.
When I was a kid, it meant playing house, roaming the neighborhood, doing bake sales, being invited to one another's parties (when my best friend didn't invite me to a Christmas party, saying she was told to invite other friends and having them then go caroling to my house? Yeah, it nearly killed that little nine-year-old in me).
As a high schooler, friendship was defined largely by who accepted me into their "group." For the most part, friends were who I hung out with on weekends. They're the ones I shared all the high school drama with (of which there was much . . .), the ones I always, always worried would nudge me out of the inner circle because they'd figure out that I wasn't cool enough and didn't belong.
During that time, I had an intense sense of loyalty and always supported my friends, whether it was in a performance, recital, birthday, or even for a competition in another city. (They were freakishly …

Mini Post: Book Winner

Been a tad busy with The Teen Writers Conference this weekend, so I failed to post the winner of Sarah M. Eden'sCourting Miss Lancaster, even though did pick one.
And that winner is: Elizabeth Morgan of Writers Block
She said: "My favorite Sesame Street character is Oscar the grouch. I love the way he is, but underneath it all, he is some times nice."
Have to admit, I like Oscar too.
Congratulations, Elizabeth! (Please send me your mailing address so I can ship it to you!)
If you missed the interview with Sarah, be sure to read it. She's a hoot!