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Showing posts from October, 2010

Happy Chocolate Day!

Today's is a mini post with just a couple of quick items:
1) Crash, one my of my favorite bloggers, whom I lub (as she would say), is going after a blogging gig. She needs our votes to get to the next stage. Vote for her HERE once a day.
2) Remember how I got to be part of the cool reenactment of the original Mormon Pioneer Trek via Twitter? SUCH a cool experience. The guys behind TwHistory are shooting to get $25,000 in funding to help create new reenactments, which are excellent educational tools. To get the funding, they have to be in the top 10 by Halloween. Today, they're #12. Please vote for them! (Again, you can vote once a day through the end of the month.)
3) In case you've missed my incessant shouting about it, TODAY is National Chocolate Day and my book launch party in Orem at The Chocolate Dessert Cafe.
The Daily Herald announced it HERE. (See me holding the cookbook and matching my kitchen . . . yes, the very kitchen every recipe was invented/tested/tweaked/enjo…

WNW: People Who Became Nouns

I love learning the history behind words.
(Okay, duh. I could have pointed out something else equally obvious to my reader. Hmm. I like chocolate. Yeah, that'll do.)
Life magazine recently ran a piece online that I found utterly fascinating: How the names of people from history morphed into nouns and adjectives we use today.
I knew many of them (sideburns, gerrymandering, Heimlich, guy).
Others were totally obvious once they were pointed out, sort of a head-smacking "Of course!" moment (Colt, ottoman, Kalashnikov, Bunson).
And some were fascinating news to me (pompadour, Ferrari, fuchsia, jacuzzi, kelvin).
Check out the complete list with pictures and explanations HERE.
Tip: It works better if you click on the next picture from the menu below rather than on the NEXT arrow.

REMINDER: TOMORROW IS NATIONAL CHOCOLATE DAY AND MY BOOK LAUNCH!
THURSDAY, OCTOBER 28TH The Chocolate Dessert Cafe 212 South State, Orem 4:00-7:00 pm
-Giveaways & prizes -Free Companion DVD to the first 5 peopl…

Top 5 Ways to Stay Sane as a Writer

Top 5 posts HERE.
Writing is a lifestyle where it feels as if you sit on the brink of sanity. Sometimes that's because you hear voices and see "movies" in your head. Other times it's the see-saw of emotions that goes from "Yay! I can really write!" to "I'm the lamest person to ever string two words together. Wah!" and back again.
And that's not counting the crazy stuff involved in getting or staying published.
When I'm losing my mind, here are my top 5 ways of staying SANE:
1. Read.I always have a book (or two or three or four or . . .) that I'm reading, but I tend to read piecemeal. When I'm in the crazy zone, I find that sitting back and actually reading for an afternoon or an evening is a great way to de-pressurize and get back into the literary groove.

2. Take a Walk. I walk as long as it takes for my mind to "unkink." No iPod or anything else. Just me and the sidewalk. The first several blocks, my brain chatters about…

PAR-TAY!!!

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I interrupt my regular blogging schedule to announce what I will be doing on Thursday, October 28th (a week from today) on National Chocolate Day.
I hope you'll celebrate with me at my cookbook launch party!
It's at THE CHOCOLATE dessert cafe in Orem (can I hear a woot, woot?)!
Check out the deets on the invite below. Spread the word!
(Come! Maybe win a free DVD, get a free cupcake . . .)

WNW: English, The Obituary

First, a couple of housekeeping items:
1) Just got a 3-minute clip from the Chocolate Never Faileth DVD. Check it out in the sidebar! It shows how to make Tiger Tails, a great kids' birthday activity.

2) TODAY I'll be signing the cookbook at the Lehi/AF Costco from 11:00 am - 2:00 pm. I hope to see some friendly faces!

On to Word Nerd Wednesday!

This one is courtesy Lara, who sent me a link to an article that made the nerd in me totally grin.

It's as much a pseudo-obituary as it is an article. You can find the brilliant piece in The Washington Post

It begins, like any good obituary, with the "birth" and early history of the dearly departed, as well as those loved ones it left behind:

The English language, which arose from humble Anglo-Saxon roots to become the lingua franca of 600 million people worldwide and the dominant lexicon of international discourse, is dead. It succumbed last month at the age of 1,617 after a long illness. It is survived by an ignominiously dimi…

Dialogue: 6 Things It Can/Should Do

The other day I left a comment over at Jordan McCollum's blog about writing good dialogue. I referred to six things I think good dialogue can do. My belief is that every scene with dialogue should have at least two of the six.
Then in the comments of my last post, Kathleen asked if I'd list them. I've taught dialogue at writing workshops. At some point maybe I'll go into more that I cover in the 1-hour workshop, but for today, here are the six things:
#1 Reveal Character Good dialogue is a great characterization tool. A man might call a color "orange," while his wife might refer to it as "salmon" or "coral." Meanwhile, he might discuss all the features of the latest Mustang, while her eyes glaze over. (Or, for variety, switch things up: make her the mechanic and him an artist who notices the nuances of color.)
My father (a 70-something retired linguistics professor who grew up milking cows in Cache Valley, Utah) would use very different vocab…

Top 5 Things Every Aspiring Writer Should Know

All Top 5 posts HERE.
This one's tricky. Looking back, I wish I'd known a lot of things about writing and publishing.
But then I second-guess myself and think, No, I'm glad I didn't know this or that back then . . . it might have made me give up.
Here are five things that I think would have helped, many of which I learned the hard way:
1. You will have an apprenticeship. That means not to plan on success out of the gate. Sure, you may be one of the lucky ones who hits a home run on their first try, but the chances of that are less than the chance of getting struck by lightning.
Most of those overnight successes you hear about took years to actually happen. Like a concert pianist who spent years on their craft, writers must spend time (and lots of it) learning their craft. Writing well isn't easy.
Case in point: Uber-famous and successful Brandon Sanderson has exploded onto the fantasy scene. But it took writing something like THIRTEEN books, religiously honing his craft…

The Absentee Blogger

Bad, blogger. It's been a whole week, and nothing from me!
Not for lack of trying or lack of inspiration. Just lack of time and stuff piling faster than I can get rid of it. (Much of it good stuff, like extra freelance work, but still.)
A couple of bits until I post again:
Last Friday, I guest-posted at Christine Bryant's blog about the joys (and constant mistreatment) of being an English major. On a similar topic, in November, I get to speak to a class of freshman English majors at BYU. I took that very class (more years ago than I care to admit) and now get to be on the other side . . . published, just as I hoped. COOOOL!Today I posted over at Precision Editing Group's Writing on the Wall blog about the crazy timeline that is publishing.A couple of weeks ago I got to speak at the UVU Book Academy. The next day I had a book signing at BYU Bookstore, where I handed out fudge samples. One of my daughters was my sample helper. Catch photos of both at Krista Jensen's blog.La…

WNW: The Much-Abused Semicolon

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Rampant semicolon abuse is so frequent that I just have to post about it in hopes that maybe one person will stop the mistreatment of the poor mark and give it some respect. Or at least keep it from being so regularly misused.

Let's start by getting two things clear:
1) A semicolon is NOT a fancy way to show a pause.
2) A semicolon is NOT a colon and therefore is NOT used the same way.

In other words, the following examples are WRONG.

The fancy pause semicolon: Trixie climbed to the top of the high dive; terrified.

The semicolon-as-colon: At home, Jane began her second arduous job; keeping house and caring for her children's physical, emotional, and spiritual needs.

Please don't do those. Pretty, pretty please?

A semicolon is used correctly when the text on both sides of it can stand alone as complete sentences.

THIS version would be correct:
Trixie climbed to the top of the high dive; she was terrified.

See? Separate the sides:
Trixie climbed to the top of the high dive.
(Complete s…

Top 5 Things to Make the Writing World a Better Place

(Past Top 5 posts HERE.)
First, a couple of housekeeping items: Still haven't heard from Dan, winner of the redundancy contest. He'll forfeit his prize if I don't have a way to get the prize to him by Saturday night.
Book signings for Chocolate Never Faileth (with FUDGE SAMPLES at both!):
TODAY (Friday, October 1) BYU Bookstore, 5-8 PM
TOMORROW (Saturday, October 2) Deseret Book Flagship store, SLC 4:00 - 5:30 PM

Now for today's post:
Top 5 Things to Make MY Writing World a Better Place
Writer's Digest had someone list the "top 5 things to make THE writing world a better place" in their top 10 issue.
I'm already taking the number down to 5, so I can change the premise, too, right?
Things to make MY writing world a better place:
1. A crystal ball. Not knowing is probably the worst part of writing and publishing. Whether it's submitting and waiting to hear back for acceptance or rejection or trying to figure out which of your ideas would be most marketable, or a…