Showing posts from 2011

Holiday Hop Winner picked the winner for the Holiday Hop giveaway, and it's time to announce who that is.
As a reminder, the prize is all three of my e-novels: Lost Without You At the Water's Edge The Golden Cup of Kardak
PLUS (assuming the winner has a device that supports a .mobi file) an e-copy of my grammar guide, There, Their, They're: A No-Tears Guide to Grammar from the Word Nerd. The e-version is more comprehensive and up-to-date than the print version, so booyah.
The winner is Ruth!
Congratulations to Ruth, and thanks to everyone who entered!
I'll be back to regular posting after the new year. Now, off for more pie . . .

Holiday Blog Hop Giveaway

Yippee for book giveaways, and an extra hooray for ones that coincide with Christmas!
I'm part of the Holiday Blog Hop, which runs from December 15 - December 25. Visit The Holiday Blog Hop to find the rest of the participating blogs (and so you can win more ebooks!).
Extra bonus: The winners from each participating blog will be put together, and one of them will be randomly chosen to win a Kindle Fire. (I recently got to see the Kindle my mother-in-law owns. Didn't get to use it, as my kids were all over it. It's very cool.)
SO: Enter any of the giveaways participating, including mine, and if you win, you'll have an extra shot at the grand prize.
Due to personal writing and editing deadlines (and thing like, oh, family and Christmas), this will be my last post until after the hop is over and I announce the winner.
My giveaway will be very simple: The winner will receive a copy of all three of my e-novels: Lost Without You At the Water's Edge The Golden Cup of Kardak

Media and Young Women

Writer and bloggy friend Melanie Jacobson (hey, I spelled her name right!) recently linked to a page relating to a study at Dartmouth that I found both fascinating and disturbing.
The page had rows of photographs that had been touched up digitally. Above each row is a toggle button allowing the viewer to click between the original photo and the after, touched-up version.
I had several reactions. First, it's amazing what technology can do today.
Second, even though I already knew that photos we see of celebrities are enhanced, this was the first time I saw to what extent that's true. And, um, turns out that the stars don't look like themselves.
Third, the longer I clicked back and forth, the more uneasy I became. This is largely thanks to the fact that I have three daughters, and two of them are out of grade school and quickly turning into young women. The images of beauty and body images they see around them every day, everywhere, must have an impact on them.
The potential ef…

Music for Christmas

The other day, a dear friend of mine, Michelle, who is one of the powerhouses behind Mormon Woman, pointed me toward a beautiful song for Christmas.
It's called "Do You Have Room," by Shawna Edwards. As soon as I listened to it, I wanted my son to play it at church, accompanying someone singing it who sings far better than I do. (Twenty years ago, I had a voice. We'll not discuss my current vocal abilities.)
Watch the video for it below, and if you enjoy it, here's the great news: You can get a free MP3 of the song or the sheet music! Doing so is way easy:
Go to the composer's website and share a special Christmas memory or tell how you will make room for Christ in your life this Christmas. Easy peasy. (Link below.)
Here's the song:

For more information, visit (and LIKE!) the Shawna Edwards Facebook page.
To leave your Christmas memory or tell how you'll be Christ into Christmas, here's the Shawna Edwards website.
It's beautiful. I think I'll go…

VARIANT Giveaway Winner!

Thanks to everyone who participated in the Gratitude Giveaway Hop.
I had a tremendous response, and I'm grateful for each and every new (and old!) follower.
The winner of VARIANT, by Robison Wells, is Kristi from Books and Needlepoint!

WNW: Turkey!

In honor of Thanksgiving, today's Word Nerd Wednesday is all about a favorite staple the holiday: turkey.
Until I did a bit of digging with my trusty OED, I didn't realize just how many definitions turkey has.
For fun, a sampling of 10 of the many definitions and phrases associated with the word:
1) Guinea-fowl According to a quotation into OED dating from 1552 to 1601, it's a bird originally brought from Numidia (a former kingdom in northern Africa) to the country today known as, of course, Turkey.
2) Bird of which all the species are American, one type originally domesticated in Mexico. The definition goes on about predominantly where in Northern America, but as long as they're also available in the freezer section of my local grocery store, I don't know that I care that many of them are from Missouri.
3) The wild version of the domestic fowl above. Again, found in North America.
4) The flesh of the bird mentioned above. Now we're talking Thanksgiving. Pass the cranbe…

Chocolate Never Faileth: Corrections and Bloopers

The first typo I became aware of in Chocolate Never Faileth was brought to my attention by my friend TJ, who came to a signing for the book with his wife and kids. He told me about the typo. I didn't believe him. Or, rather, I desperately hoped he was wrong. The book had been all I worked on for almost a year, shoving my fiction (and creative writing self) aside. At least three people proofed the thing, including me.On the other hand, I'd already published seven novels. I should have known that mistakes and typos can (and often do) slip through, no matter how carefully the writer and the publishing team work on a book.As I became aware of a few more errors in the cookbook, I put corrections on my website. Even so, I still get regular questions about the same issues over and over again. I assume that means they aren't finding the list of corrections on my site, so maybe a blog post will help. They're on THIS PAGE. If I find more things to fix (knock on wood!), that'…

Gratitude Giveaway Hop

Yay! From today, November 17, through Sunday, November 27th, I'm part of the Gratitude Giveaway Hop!
It's a chance for me to say thank you to those who follow my online doings. As such, this giveaway doesn't have a bunch of hoops to jump through. No tweeting, FB-ing, blogging, or anything else. And no one gets more than one entry.
Why? To say THANKS to my followers!
Somewhere around a gazillion other blogs are participating, so you can enter to win stuff on all of them, too. To find the other blogs participating, visit I Am a Reader, Not a Writer, where you'll find a Linky with the full list.
Here's what I'm giving away:
Variant, by Robison Wells
It's garnered a ton of praise. It was listed as one of the best books on the Publisher's Weekly list for 2011 and got starred review in Kirkus. (Stars there are a very big deal.)
This book is a great read for anyone 12 years old, up to 110 or so. Boys will love it (my 16-year-old son couldn't up it down), but I…

The Choice to Write & Publish

Today I'm on my soap box about a truth and what it means to me. It has a few parts.

Part I: The writing and publishing life isn't easy.
Not everyone will tell you that, and not everyone who is told so believes it, but it's true. And the reality is that if you're going to walk the path seriously, you'll have to sacrifice something.
Some of what I've sacrificed: several hobbies and pretty much all television, with the exception of the news and the occasional Dr. Phil episode, prerecorded on the TiVo, watched while I fold laundry and do dishes. I've also sacrificed having a Martha Stewart house (if you can call that a sacrifice; I'm teaching my kids to do more, which prepares them for adulthood anyway).
What I haven't sacrificed is my family.

The truth is that a lot of people love the idea of writing and getting published, but don't like the reality of what that means. When push comes to shove, they don't have the drive to do what's needed befor…

WNW: Providing Education and a Future

Today's Word Nerd Wednesday is taking a somewhat more serious turn.
I have fun here on WNW, where we often discuss goofy language stuff or pet grammar peeves. But if you've followed me for very long, you know that my interest in language and words goes way beyond grammar.
I'm huge on bringing both adults and children into the 21st century through literacy and education. We're in place now where getting an education and knowing how to communicate (both read and write) are crucial to success.
Statistic after statistic shows that poverty is directly connected to education and literacy levels . . . especially the mother's. Increase the mom's education, and suddenly her children have a better shot at a happy, successful life.
That's why I'm joining bloggers during November to help raise funds for an LDS Philanthropies scholarship that helps single parents get degrees so they and their children can improve their lives.
From LDS Philantrophies (bolded section my…

WNW: Changing Names Doesn't Change Attitude

I've talked many times about how English (and all languages) evolve. Today's Word Nerd Wednesday is taking a slightly different angle.
Many people believe that language is power, that by changing how we refer to something, we'll change attitudes. That's just not true at all.
An easy example is the word toilet.
The word used to mean the place where a person (usually a woman) would primp: do her hair, spritz perfume, add her jewelry.
But when we got indoor plumbing, people wanted to refer to our, well, business in a manner what would sound nice. So they called the place where we do something entirely different than primp by the same name, the toilet.
Instead of thinking about bodily functions in a pretty, primping sort of way, the new word, toilet, took on the connotations of what we do there. (In other words, it adopted the ick factor.)
Dang. Toilet didn't work. We needed a new term. How about bathroom?
Well, sure, we bathe there, too, but we all know what it really means…

My Dickens Confession

As a BYU English graduate, I had the opportunity last week to speak to a group of English majors. I always love speaking opportunities like that; it's quite different than discussing dialog or plotting at a writing conference. (It's also a bit weird to look out at the class, feeling like I just graduated, and realize that most of those in the audience are half my age. Ahem.)
In the intro that Brother Spotts, the academic advisor, gave for me, he mentioned that my senior course (a semester-long required class where you focus on one author) was on Charles Dickens. I was impressed; he had to research that one out.
I had a great time speaking to the class, and afterward, I had the urge to pull some Dickens off the shelf.
I absolutely loved my Dickens course. We didn't read the typical Great Expectations and such that most of us were already familiar with. Instead we read books like Our Mutual Friend and Bleak House. Our professor led fascinating classroom discussions that challen…

How I Pulled an "Anne"

Or: Maud's Influence
Like many writers (at least, I believe), I am influenced here and there by the books I read. Not in a blatant "I'm stealing this plot" sort of way, and not even in the more subtle, "I'm totally using that metaphor" kind of way, either.
If I come across a passage where an emotion comes across powerfully, I'll step back, put on my writer hat, and try to figure out how the author made the scene so effective. I watch for structure: what works well, what doesn't. Most importantly, why.
And so on.
But there was one case where a book impacted mine in a more direct way.
I won't do spoilers, so here's my attempt at explaining while being vague:
There was a case where I wrote Character A needing redemption in the eyes Character B, so A and C could be together. As I pondered the plot issue, I remembered a device in Anne of Green Gables, by Lucy Maud Montgomery (who preferred to be called Maud, not Lucy).
I realized with an aha that …

WNW: Homophones, Take 3

Time for another round of homophones that are commonly confused.
Six more pairs in today's Word Nerd Wednesday:
rise/raise Something rises on its own, like bread or the sun. Or yourself, if you're talking about getting out of bed in the morning.
A person or thing raises another object, like the curtain on a stage, or an employee's wage, or children.
Hint: The second word (raise) requires a direct object, like the curtain or the wage. It can't be alone: I raised. We raised. He raised. Nope. Those don't make any sense. We need a "what" that is the object of the raising.

everyday/every day This one has its own WNW post, but in short, the single word (everyday) is an adjective, while the two-word version describes a time period. It answers the question, "When?"
Tip: If you can add "single" in the middle, you know you need the two-word version. Brushing my teeth is an everyday thing. I brush my teeth every (single) day.
fair/fare If something is just …

My Current Writing Life

Thought I'd post a few pictures of what I've been up to lately.
In September, I went up to the League of Utah Writers Round-up conference. Due to mommy commitments, I wasn't able to stay the entire time (next year, I hope!). I did some one-on-one manuscript critiques for Precision Editing Group. At the hotel, Josi, Heather, Julie and I wrote, laughed, ate snacks at a bakery, and ultimately buckled down to go over mutual scenes from the Newport Ladies Book Club series to make sure they all match.
(We had to finish that over the phone Saturday night, since I was no longer at the hotel.)
Saturday morning before my critique sessions, I spent some time with my laptop. I literally kicked off my heels and typed away. Unbeknownst to me, Josi snapped a picture.
I believe this is the only photo in existence where I'm drafting something involving the military wives from Band of Sisters. Here, I'm working on the sequel (as yet unnamed). The book is about the re-entry time after t…

Come! Learn to Write About YOU

A lot of people tell me they aren't writers. And in the sense of writing for publication, maybe they aren't. But then they say they "can't" write, and I want to blow a raspberry at them and say that yes, they can too write.

Everyone should write, if nothing else than to experience the power of the written word and of creating the written word for yourself and your family. That doesn't mean it's up to you to write the Great American Novel or anything like that.

It can mean blogging. Journaling. Family history. It can also mean writing a personal history.

About a year ago, I attended the funeral of my aunt Eleanor, my father's older sister. As I listened to her daughter, my cousin Becky, relate Aunt Eleanor's life sketch, I couldn't help but think about the day (many, many years hence, I hope) when my father passes. I sat there thinking that I didn't know the kinds of stories about my dad that Becky was telling about her mother. And I wan…

Banned Books Week

It's Banned Books Week.
For readers, writers, teachers, and parents, that should mean something. And it's not that we should be cheering for books to be yanked off shelves, either.
I'm the first person to raise their hand if there's a conversation about how some books are garbage, how I don't want my kids reading that, how I won't read such-and-such, for that matter.
But I want the right to make those choices for myself and for my family. No one else has the right to choose for me.
Based on the choices others have tried to make in banning books for other people's "good," censorship is a very dangerous road. A look at some of the most banned classics stunned me. It includes several of my all-time favorite novels. It also includes some I hate, but I don't think they should be banned.
Children's books in particular tend to get under fire, as well-meaning (at least, we hope) adults put their noses into parents' business and make the parenting d…

WNW: Grammar as Currency

On last week's Word Nerd Wednesday, Jordan McCollum made a comment about how the "needs washed" usage can be considered standard if you live in an area where it is, well, standard.
We exchanged some emails about what constitutes "standard" and acceptable as far as English goes. I don't want to put words into Jordan's mouth, and she can always write about her opinion on the issue, but I thought the topic was worth addressing in a WNW post.
Here's my basic opinion on standard English and the "rules," keeping in mind that while I love language and am a total nerd about it, I am not an expert, nor a linguist. And Jordan has studied linguistics.
However, my dad is a linguist (I think word nerdery is genetic). We talk about this kind of stuff a lot, and I think it's largely thanks to his influence that I don't get overly annoyed by a lot of so-called grammatical mistakes in conversation or other casual settings, like emails and blog posts…

Author Interview: Abel Keogh

Today I get to interview fellow LDStorymakers member and writer, Abel Keogh, who has a new book out. He's a copywriter by day, and a creative writer by night (or by free time, as the case may be).

About Abel:At the age of 26, Abel Keogh unexpectedly found himself a young widower. When he decided to starting dating again, he looked in vain for resources that could help guide him through the dating waters and open his heart to someone else. He found nothing. As he began blogging about his experiences, women dating widowers began emailing him asking for his thoughts on their situations. As the numbers of emails increased, Abel started writing his own dating a widower advice column. In Dating a Widower Abel shares the knowledge he’s learned from his own experience and the most common issues he’s seen from hundreds of emails from women dating widowers.Abel is also the author of the memoir Room for Two—the story of the year of his life following his late wife’s suicide—and th…