Friday, July 30, 2010

Giveaway Winners & The Winning Story

Announcing the winners of my 4-year Blog-Anniversary Extravaganza!

Thanks to everyone who participated; it was a lot of fun. It'll be fun exciting to see what the next four years hold.

First, one bit of fun news:
With the release of my cookbook, Chocolate Never Faileth, in October, a companion DVD will also be for sale. Picture me doing a 1-hour chocolate cooking show! How cool is that going to be?

I'm in the process of talking with the director, deciding on which recipes to demo, and all that fun stuff. I've never done something quite like this before, but I think it'll be a ball.

(Biggest challenge: constantly telling myself to . . . talk . . . slowly . . .)

And now: The Winners!

NOTE: All winners must e-mail me their mailing addresses so prizes can actually GET to them. If I don't hear from you w/in a week, your prize will be forfeited.


3 COMMENTING and spreading the word winners:

THE CANADIAN CHOCOLATE PACK from Kim goes to Sarah M. Eden for her blog post telling readers about the contest.

All the Stars in Heaven, by Michele Paige Holmes: In a true twist of Karmic fate, Random.org picked Kim (who donated the chocolate prize) to win a prize of her own!

Alma the Younger, by H. B. Moore goes to Norah S for her comment.


3 TRIVIA Game Winners:
(Tip: Next time, enter this part of the contest. Your chances of winning were REALLY good, and I made the questions easy to figure out. Just sayin')

Spiral-bound Notebook & Pen (with the quotes, "Unlock your mind; read," and, "Don't bug me; I'm writing." This prize goes to Elizabeth Morgan.

The Mouse Pad (Quote from Groucho Marx: Outside a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside a dog, it's too hard to read.) goes to a friend I haven't seen in years (and one of the original members of my critique group TEN years ago!), Sherri.

T-shirt with the quote: "A house without books is like a room without windows" goes to Melanie J.

And lastly, the story winner.
Yes, that's the winner, singular, because only ONE person sent in a story. (See what I mean about entering in more than one area? You could have won a prize if you'd just sent in a story!)

The winner is TJ Bronley, a great supporter of local writers and a really fun guy (read this post on his blog for a great laugh, including the comment trail. Oh, and this one, too.) I'm also partial to his sweet wife, so I'm glad he entered and won some goodies for her.

Since I had planned on three winners for stories, but we have only one, I figured it was only fair to give TJ TWO prizes. (I even had another sponsor offer yet another awesome prize, but knew we wouldn't have the entries to justify it. Come on, people! Maybe next time?)

TJ said anything he won would likely be a gift for his wife, and that's fantastic, since here's what he gets:
The story rules were to keep it to 250 words and either begin or end with the following sentence: In hindsight, it wasn't such a good idea.

Behold, TJ's winning story:

Better Left Unsaid

I saw her from far away. She was easy to spot across the room. Casually walking toward her, I interacted with as many people as I could. Delaying the impending discomfort was a procrastinator's lifeline. Her brother stopped me about ten feet from her by grabbing my arm.


“Dude, are you gonna talk to her?”


“Yeah,” I replied.


“Are you sure it’s a good idea?” There was almost a warning glance in his eye. “Everyone will be watching you.”


Of course it wasn’t. “Yes, it’s gotta happen,” I replied.


“Whatever. Just don’t come crying to me.”


I pulled my arm away and continued my saunter.


“Hey, Tim,” she said as I approached.


“Hey, Casey.” It was now or never. “You have toilet paper sticking out your pants.”


She looked down, a horrified look on her face.


“Everyone’s noticed. I finally saw you.”


“I went to the bathroom a half hour ago! People have been staring at my butt that long.”


“I guess so,” I replied.


SLAP!


She stormed off while I placed my hand on my throbbing cheek.


In hindsight, it wasn’t such a good idea.


Wednesday, July 28, 2010

WNW: Where'd It Come From? Back-formation

One of my favorite quirks of English is how versatile it is in creating new words, and often without us even realizing it.

A common way of creating new words is essentially tweaking a current word in a process called back-formation.

With back-formation, the new word usually looks like it is the original one and that the other word or words came from it.

That idea make sense grammatically, because we tend to just slide into creating back-formations. The new word is typically shorter, because often a typical prefix or suffix was removed to create the word.

The first I heard of this concept was with the word EDIT. It wasn't the original word.

But wait: isn't that's what an EDITOR does?

Well, yes. That's what we call it today. But the person (EDITOR) was given the name, and what they do was later called editing.

English uses -OR and -ER endings to mean "one who" (a teacher teaches, a sweeper sweeps), so it's easy to take a noun that happens to have a similar ending and apply the rule we're used to.

Therefore an editor must . . . edit! EDIT is a back-formation of EDITOR.

Other examples that were surprising for me to stumble on:

Taking off the -ion suffix:
  • resurrect from resurrection.
  • aviate from aviation
  • conversate from conversation
  • evaluate from evaluation
  • absorb from absorption
Removing the -er, -ar, -or suffix to create a verb (as with edit/editor):
  • beg from beggar
  • buttle from butler
  • burgle from burglar
  • curate from curator
  • commentate from commentator
  • swindle from swindler
  • tweeze from tweezers
Removing the -y suffix:
  • choreograph from choreography
  • haze from hazy
  • injure from injury
  • jell from jelly
  • sulk from sulky
Taking off a prefix like un-:
  • kempt from unkempt
One from a nursery rhyme:
  • pea from pease (Remember the old rhyme: "Pease porridge hot. Pease porridge cold." Pease was singular.)
And my two favorites:
  • mentee from mentor
  • enthuse from enthusiasm

Sometimes we use back-formations as jokes, like how (see Wikipedia) comedian Bill Bryson reportedly suggested that we should call someone who has tidy hair "sheveled" (as opposed to disheveled).

And in an episode of the sitcom Scrubs (a show I found brilliantly written from a Word Nerd standpoint), Turk tells Dr. Cox, "I don't disdain you! It's quite the opposite–I dain you."



Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Distance for Davis

Distance for Davis


If you're in northern Utah in just over a week (Friday, Aug 6 and Saturday, Aug 7), be sure to check out all the events surrounding the fund raiser for Davis Cox, a young man about the age of my own son who is suffering from a severe case of aplastic anemia . . . a very dangerous illness.


There will be lots of fun, from a 5K (okay, to ME running isn't so fun) to motorcycle stunts, hot air balloon rides, entertainment, and more.


Below is information from the press release about it.


Visit Davis's website (link below) for more information about him and the fundraiser:



Davis County Community Hosts Fundraiser for Local Teen with Aplastic Anemia

“Distance for Davis Cox” Fundraiser Includes

Utah Blaze and Miller Motor Sports Park


Rare Disease Affects Three in One Million U.S. Residents Each Year



WHAT: “Distance for Davis” Fundraiser for 14-year-old aplastic anemia patient, Davis Cox.

Event includes a Utah Blaze Football Clinic, Nitro Circus Movie Premier, motorcycle stunts by DJ Osborn, a silent auction and raffle, a 5K Fun Run, hot air balloon rides, a blood drive, food, games and entertainment.

WHO:

Utah Blaze, DJ Osborn, local companies, friends, family and classmates rally to raise money and support local teen Davis Cox.

WHEN: Aug. 6 from 7 p.m. -11 p.m.


Aug. 7 from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.


WHERE: Davis High School, Kaysville, Utah



WHY:

In March 2010, Davis, a 14-year-old Kaysville Junior High School Student, contracted a random virus that damaged his bone marrow, which resulted in severe aplastic anemia. Once, a healthy football and baseball player, Davis now experiences life-threatening symptoms ranging from retinal bleeding, two-hour nose and gum bleeds, fevers, severe bacterial infections, and a depleted immune system.

MORE ABOUT APLASIC ANEMIA:


Affecting only three in one million Americans each year, aplastic anemia is a disease of the bone marrow, where the marrow stops making enough red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets for the body. People like Davis, with severe or very severe aplastic anemia, are at risk for life-threatening infections or bleeding. Treatment includes bone marrow or cord blood transplant and immunosuppressive therapy.

If you can't attend, you can always donate at the "Distance for Davis" website: www.daviscoxfundraiser.com.







Reminder: Entries for the story part of my blog-anniversary giveaway are due TOMORROW, Wednesday, July 28th. All giveaway winners will be announced this Friday, July 30th.


Monday, July 26, 2010

Cunningham Flat Daddy

We're getting close to having enough to pay for The Lyon's Tale's FOURTH Flat Daddy for a military family going through a deployment. Woohooo!

(Not familiar with the Flat Daddy program? Visit THIS PAGE of my website or go to the Flat Daddy site.)

I'm THRILLED with the response from my readers who have donated. (You know who you are; thank you, thank you, thank you!!!) Every little bit helps.

The fourth Flat Daddy will go to the Cunningham Family. A little about them:

Mom and Dad Cunningham met at a single adult conference in July 1996. They were married five weeks later.

During the early years of their marriage, Daddy C was in college, and even with a growing family (of four boys!), he managed to graduate with honors with (YES!) a Bachelor's in English Literature and Writing.

His final semester, he joined the Army and left for basic training July of 2000. The following February, the family headed for their first duty station: Fort Bliss, TX.

The following years are a blur for them with two deployments, diapers, pre-schools, IEP meetings, OCS, and PCSs. (Acronyms that don't mean much for us civilians!) Daddy felt he was missing the boys growing up, so he decided to end his active duty Army career and find a civilian job. During that time, they got a surprise: their one and only daughter, born six years after their youngest son.

He maintained his military connection, though, and is now attached with the Montana National Guard. He's deploying to Iraq in a matter of weeks. (Hence the need for a Flat Daddy quick!)

This will be Daddy C's third deployment.

In Mommy C's words:
We are so proud of him and his desire to serve! He's such a good example to our kids, and to the kids in his Primary class. Because of his great love for the Gospel and the fine example he has set in our home, even though he will be leaving, we will not be without the priesthood: Our two oldest boys hold the priesthood and love to serve. I see their happiness and willingness to fulfill their responsibilities and know it's because their dad is the same way! :) The younger two boys are anxiously waiting for their time to serve in the priesthood too!
To donate to my Flat Daddy fund (and get the Cunninghams their Flat Daddy by the time Dad leaves!) use the DONATE button on my sidebar. We're getting close, so if we end up with extra funds (I hope!), they'll roll over to the next Flat Daddy Family.


Reminder: Enter my blog-anniversary giveaway for a chance to win prizes! The story entries are due on Wednesday (tick, tock!). The NINE winners from all three ways of entering will be announced Friday.

Friday, July 23, 2010

How Do I Draft & Revise?

I've had several people ask variations on this question, so I figured it was time to answer it.

Every writer is different, and I don't pretend to hold all magical writerly wisdom in my hands. But because every writer is different, I think we can all learn from one another, see what works for one person, and try it out for ourselves.

My drafting and revision method (such as it is) has evolved over the years quite a bit. Here's roughly how it stands today:

I rarely draft chronologically, at least at first. I usually start a novel midway. This is largely because I have a first-chapter curse (wish I were kidding). If I try to start at chapter one, scene one, that section will be inevitably be doomed for the trash can.

It's also because my ideas for books don't START at scene one. I usually get a cool idea for a specific scene that happens in the middle. So I start writing there, back up, jump forward, and somehow link it all together. At some point I do settle into mostly chronological writing, but I always allow myself to jump ahead again if I feel the need.

I'm not a strict outliner, but I'm not a "seat of your pantser," either. I fall somewhere in between. I have to know where I'm starting (although not what the first scene will be), where the story will end up, and several major landmarks along the way.

That's how I can hop ahead: I write out one of those major landmarks early on.

But I can't outline with too much precision, because that takes the fun out of discovering exactly what my characters will say and do. I do generally know that my characters will go from A to B to C, but I'm often surprised at exactly how they get there. (If that makes sense. Writers rarely do.)

I've learned that writing scenes I'm already "on fire" about tends to be best; if I wait until I get there chronologically, some of the fire is gone. Sure, by the time I've written everything that comes before that part, I often have to rewrite bits to make the whole fit together, and there's always bridging from one section to the already written parts, but it works for me.

While in drafting mode, I generally spend a lot of time thinking. When the kids were really little, this was the only way to survive as a writer: to think ahead to what I'd be drafting next, so when I had 45 minutes, I could race to the keyboard and pound out the next part.

I still think ahead even though the kids are older. This kind of creative thinking can be done while I'm falling asleep at night, folding laundry, taking a shower, driving, or whatever else doesn't use much brain power. I call them "brainless moments," where I can be doing one activity that doesn't take much attention or focus while my creative side can wander around and do its thing.

That way, when I'm ready to draft, I can really get to work instead of staring at the screen, fingers over the keys, but getting nothing accomplished. This is especially important for when I do writing marathons, when I set aside several hours or a special day just for writing. If I have a solid list of scenes to come, I won't lose valuable time trying to figure out what comes next.

Usually, but not always, when I first sit down, I'll go over the last part I wrote, making tweaks and fixes on it. That helps get me back into the groove of the story world, which makes continuing the story easier. It also makes answering the question, "How many drafts do you do?" pretty hard to answer. (Some scenes get rewritten a dozen times, others three or four.)

If I feel stuck, or somehow disconnected to the story world, I'll open up some research related to it. That used to mean historical books about temples and whatnot. For Band of Sisters, it was often rereading military wife interviews. With my YA folktale, it's reading a section aloud from The Kalevala.

I tend to write sparingly in my first drafts, so when I go back to look at a scene for the second (or whatever-eth) time, I flesh-out the details: setting, emotions, action, and so forth.

After revising a scene a couple of times, I print it out and take it to critique group. Ideally. There are times I have to crank out something to read, and they, um, get to see it hot off the press in all its ugliness.

When my awesome group is done praising/shredding/otherwise fixing the scene, I take it home. In theory, I make the needed revisions right away.

In reality, I often have a several-inch stack of critique pages before I buckle down for serious revision. I look at everyone's feedback and compare it, since sometimes they don't agree among themselves. I take about 90% of their suggestions. They're that good. But I don't take every single suggestion; it is my story, after all, and a lot of things are subjective. (I don't expect my fellow group members to take 100% of my feedback either.)

When I'm done drafting a book, I'll go through the whole thing from start to finish, looking for anything more that needs fixing or polishing that I haven't hit yet.

Up to this point, I've been working on the manuscript piecemeal, seeing it microscopically, if you will. The full read is the first time I see the book as a whole, where I experience the story arc all at once.

So I look at it macro-scopically, to see the big picture: Does this chapter flow into the next? Does this scene transition well here? Is the pacing good throughout? Does the motivation wash in that scene? Does the conflict carry over from here to there? Do the character arcs work? And so on.

Generally there's not time to take an entire manuscript to critique group a scene or chapter at a time before I want/need to submit it, so when it's fully drafted and revised, I ask for anyone in my group who has time to read over the whole thing. I hope to get at least two readers, and even with their busy schedules, they're pretty darn awesome and always come through for me.

We swap these kinds of favors, so I don't feel too bad asking; I know that I'll be returning the favor by reading someone else's entire manuscript soon.

When I get their edits back, I go through one final revision before submission.

Yeah, except that "final" is a misnomer, because even after acceptance, there's more revision with the help of my editor before we enter the line-edit stage.

That's the "typical" process, but really, there isn't a typical one. Every book has been different.


Remember to enter my blog anniversary giveaway. Nine prizes are up for grabs.

TIP: Right now you have a GREAT chance at winning SIX of them . . . check out the second and third ways of entering.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

4-Year Extravaganza!!!


Yippee! Today marks FOUR YEARS since my very first post here at The Lyon' s Tale, wherein I celebrated my writerly weirdness.

IT'S PARTY TIME!!!

(PRIZES BELOW!)

But first . . .

A lot much has happened in four years. A smattering:
  • Four of my seven novels were published.
  • I got two teenagers. (And an ulcer. Connected? You decide.)
  • I got my own gorgeous office with built-in bookcases made by my husband.
  • I won Utah's Best of State medal for fiction.
  • The Whitney Awards were created. My suggestion for naming the award was picked. ("Whitney" in honor of apostle Orson F. Whitney, who envisioned an amazing future for LDS literature).
  • I was a Whitney finalist, then a member of the committee, and this year got to present a Lifetime Achievement Award to Gerald Lund.
  • (Speaking of which, be sure to nominate your favorite books by LDS writers . . . and that includes national books. A title needs five nominations to be official. Get nominating!)
  • The Teen Writers Conference was born, which I've been part of since its inception.
  • I broke my nose.
  • I used elements from that experience in my next two books.
  • Two daughters hurt their wrists w/in about 48 hours of one another: one sprained, the other broken. With their red hair, I was immediately identified by the Urgent Care NP. "Weren't you just here with another daughter with a similar injury?"(I am a fit mother. I SWEAR.)
  • Husband and I took a trip to visit my parents in my other homeland, Finland, where they were presiding over the temple. You can read all about the trip HERE.
  • I was asked to write a COOKBOOK, of all things. Lesson: You never know where writing opportunities will come from. Keep doors open. (And watch shelves in October!)
  • I joined Facebook (with both a personal page and an author page).
  • I joined Twitter (@Lyonstale).
  • At the pestering request of many, many people, I created my grammar book.
  • Most recently, I got my very first book available for readers once again, currently on the Kindle. (Can I hear a woot, woot?!)
Now for the celebration, in THREE parts (each part will have MULTIPLE winners!):

1) A random drawing for prizes.

2) An easy trivia contest. (I give obvious hints, so there's no excuse to NOT find the answers.)

3) A mini writing contest.


THE PRIZES, THE PRIZES!!!

1) CHOCOLATE!
Kim is generously donating a delicious Canadian chocolate pack to one winner. (That alone is worth entering, no? Oh, yeah.)

2) Eyes Like Mine
A signed copy of Julie Wright's latest novel, a recent Whitney Award finalist.

3) All the Stars in Heaven
A signed copy of Michele Paige Holmes's latest, also a Whitney finalist this year. (Her previous book won the Whitney for Best Romance. She has yet to publish a book that isn't at least a
finalist.)

4) Alma the Younger
A signed copy of the newest release by 2-time Whitney winner H. B. Moore.

5) A Spiral-bound Notebook and a Pen
The notebook has a totally cool cover (a blueish/grayish door with a brass doorknob and lock). Quote on the front says: Unlock your mind: read. Winner also gets a pen to go with the notebook. It has cute polka dots and the words: Don't bug me; I'm writing.

6) A Mouse Pad
Features a stack of books and the famous Groucho Marx quote: "Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read."

7) A T-shirt
White, with a row of cute houses on it and a quote below them: "A house without books is like a room without windows."

8) A custom piece of jewelry from Bangles, Beads, N' Bobbles.
Visit their Facebook page or Etsy shop to get an idea of the fun stuff to choose from. Since the winner's prize will be created custom-made, they'll have to plan on about 2 weeks so Sandra, the brain behind the magic, can make the piece and ship it.

9) Finding Rose
A signed copy of Stephanie Humphrey's debut romance novel from Walnut Springs.


Enter THREE ways:
1) Comment, then spread the word, if you want to. (THREE RANDOM WINNERS.)
One comment will enter you. Get additional entries by spreading the word. (You know the drill: tweet it, blog about it, put it in your FB status, yada yada. Then let me know what you've done, and you'll get extra entries for each item. Blog posts linking back to this one are worth two entries, all the other fun stuff is worth one extra each.)

2) Answer the five trivia questions below. (THREE RANDOM WINNERS.)
Send your answers to ANNETTE at ANNETTELYON dot COM. DO NOT put your answers in the comments. I promise, they're EASY:
Five Trivia Questions (all answers can be found here on my blog):
1) What month of the year did I begin Word Nerd Wednesday? (Hint: Look for the "Word Nerdiversary" post.)
2) When (month and year) was Lost Without You first published? (Hint: Look at a recent post.)
3) What was the title of the first book I began to write (but never finished)? (Hint: The VERY FIRST post with from the Writing Journey series. They're labeled.)
4) What cosmetic do I almost never leave the house without? (Hint: #76.)
5) List the other SIX members of my critique group There are seven of us, but don't list me. (Hint: Sidebar)

AGAIN: DO NOT put the answers into the comments. E-mail them to me.

3) Enter my mini writing contest. THREE winners will be awarded from the entries, which will be judged by a super-secret but totally awesome panel.

The rules: write a short-short story of 250 words or fewer (word count will be enforced), with either the opening or closing sentence being:

In hindsight, it wasn't such a good idea.

Send your story (fiction or non-fiction) via e-mail: ANNETTE at ANNETTELYON dot com with the story IN THE BODY OF THE MESSAGE. (No attachments. Maximum of two stories per person.)

Winning stories will be posted here, so by entering, you're granting The Lyon's Tale that right.

DEADLINE for stories: Wednesday, July 28.
(That's a week from the date of this post.)


TO SUM UP:
-THREE PRIZES for comments and spreading the love.
-THREE PRIZES for those who correctly answer ridiculously easy trivia questions.
-THREE PRIZES for mini story winners.

That's NINE awesome prizes you have a shot at winning!

Winners will be announced Friday, July 30.


Ready, set, go!


Coming Soon: Firsts and Lasts

UPDATE: Firsts and Lasts is now live as an ebook, and it'll soon be available in paperback as wel! Get the ebook HERE . I've got s...