Showing posts from 2012

Best of 2012

In the rush of holiday madness, some years I forget to make my yearly roundup of favorites, inspired by Luisa's annual list. (Go read hers if nothing else than for the too-cute picture of her daughter ringing in new year.)

Top Books by Genre
Science Fiction: The Lost Gate, by Orson Scott Card
Paranormal: Dispirited, by Luisa Perkins

Acceptable Loss, by Anne Perry. (Wow. Just, wow.)
(Also: Didn't read much in this genre in 2012, but Anne Perry deserves a mention no matter what. Can't wait to hear her speak at the LDStorymakers conference in May!)

Young Adult:
Feedback, by Robison Wells (Even though I really read in in 2011, pre-publication)
After Hello, by Lisa Mangum
With a Name Like Love, by Tess Hilmo

Women's Fiction:
Handle with Care, by Jodi Piccoult (Didn't like the last chapter.)
Home Again, by Kristen Hannah
He's Gone, by Deb Caletti (An ARC. The book won't come out until May 2013. Look for it!)
Night on Moon Hill, by Tanya Parker Mills

My Lu…

WNW: Christmas Edition #2

After doing a Holiday Edition (please read that one before addressing your Christmas cards and gifts!) and a Christmas Edition (read that one before thinking someone is sacrilegious for using "Xmas") for Word Nerd Wednesday (I like both of those!), I thought it appropriate to do another post before Christmas.

Once again, I'm going back to my linguistics roots with two of my favorite linguists, Dad and Dr. Oaks.

Christmas carols, and I'd bet, songs in general, have a way of retaining archaic terms and phrases. I'm going to talk about two specific carols, both of which I remember for their word nerdy qualities.

"The 12 Days of Christmas"
When my sisters and I were young, we'd make up versions of this song to go with other holidays: Easter or Halloween or maybe another theme altogether.

The song itself is rather odd, though: who gives presents of milk maids and several types of birds? The five golden rings make sense. The pipers piping, not so much.

I …

WNW: A Twitchy Mistake: "Let Alone"

Some time ago, two friends (Sarah M. Eden and TJ Bronley), brought up a grammatical pet peeve they shared: the misuse of "let alone."

It was one of those things that I hadn't noticed too much . . . until someone pointed it out. Turns out that yep, people do use this one wrong, and with somewhat alarming frequency.

Here's how you use "let alone": 
"Let alone" ups the stakes. Generally, the speaker/writer is referring to two things, one much bigger/worse/awful/awesome than the other.

Rules of thumb: 
(1) The smaller "less wow" item is first.
(2) The item with the biggest "wow" factor is mentioned second, after "let alone."

And that is where people make the mistake: by putting "let alone" next to the lesser item.

Example #1 (courtesy TJ)
Five-year-old Timmy asked for a pet, but we aren't getting a pony, let a lone a dog.

Here, the sentence implies that a pony is a common pet, while a dog (a DOG!) is s…

My Secret Weapon: Or, Writing Isn't So Solitary Anymore

Today's post has a partner. Luisa Perkins and I are blogging about the same thing today (surely with individual perspectives and insights). After reading my post, be sure to hop over to her blog. The link is here and again at the bottom of the post.

Picture of me with Luisa Perkins  at the Whitney Awards gala, May 2012
First off, I'm stating the obvious: Writing is a solitary pursuit.

You do it alone. It's just you and the computer. If you're lucky, you have a critique group, you attend conferences, and have other chances to rub shoulders with fellow writers, all things to help to keep you going.

But when push comes to shove, it's the whole BIC, HOK—butt in chair, hands on keyboard—that gets words onto the page and, eventually a whole book written. Or revised. Or submitted. And so on.

As my regular readers know, I've been at this writing gig for a really long time. But I still fight my old enemy, Resistance, which can show up in any form to keep me from getting m…

WNW: The Influence of a Madman

If you've frequented my blog for any significant period, you know that I adore and rely on the Oxford English Dictionary (known as the OED). An entire blog label is devoted to my references to the beloved OED (including this post!). I turned to my most beloved dictionary a lot when writing my historical novels. (Was "cookie" used in the 1880s?) Many friends ask me to check the OED for similar reasons. (Among them, J. Scott Savage, author of The Fourth Nephite books, to be sure he's got the 1830s lingo right.)

And, of course, right here, Word Nerd Wednesday mentions the OED with relative frequency.

This post will have two parts:
(1) What is the OED anyway? (What makes it different from any other English dictionary out there?) (I've covered this briefly in past posts, but it's been a long while.) (Yes, I know that multiple sets of parentheses is atypical.)


(2) What does a madman have to do with the OED?

What Is the OED, Anyway?
In 1857, Professor James Murra…

A Release, An Event, & A Giveaway

All I can say about the last little while is holy busy, Batman!

(I may be channeling a lot of Batman lately, as my husband and I went to see Dark Knight Rises over the weekend . . .)

I swear, someone has a demented time turner and has put my life on fast forward. (How in the world have I reached the point where my son has to look at college and scholarship applications? Impossible, I tell you!)

This post is to help keep my readers in the loop on the fun (and not Mom's freaking out again)stuff going on in the writing arena of my life.

Introducing Timeless Romance Anthologies
I feel so fortunate to be part of this awesome project! Heather B. Moore, Sarah M. Eden, and I have begun something uber cool: anthologies of Romance stories. Each volume will have SIX stories focused on a specific theme, and we'll hand pick three other writers to contribute to each volume, and you can expect three anthologies a year.

The first volume, what we're calling our "Winter Collection,"…

Fun with Punctuation. Really.

Those little black marks we use in our sentences are remarkably powerful. A slight change or deletion to a sentence, and suddenly we have a totally different meaning.

Here are two of my favorite examples in action.

#1. I see this one around Facebook a lot, so you may have seen it: 
Version 1: Let's eat Grandpa!
Version 2: Let's eat, Grandpa!
"Punctuation saves lives." (All thanks to a little comma!)#2. I first saw this one in college thanks to a professor. Like the first example, neither is incorrect from a technical standpoint, but each has a totally different meaning that relies entirely on punctuation.
Version 1: Woman, without her man, is nothing.
Our professor wrote that on the board, to the angry gasps (and possibly hisses) of the women in the class (and to the chortles of the guys).Version 2: Woman: without her, man is nothing.
Now the women were laughing. And the guys just grunted and shifted uncomfortably. 
So why am I bringing up punctuation, something usually re…

On My Own—From the Archives

SO much has happened and is happening that I'm trying frantically to catch up, and that includes keeping my blog updated. I hope to return to Word Nerd Wednesday next week.

One thing happening is that my oldest daughter has been playing music from Les Miserables. She particularly enjoys playing "On My Own."

It's beautiful, but I admit that hearing it also makes me giggle. The experience described below is why. It originally appeared here on my blog in October 2007.

(This same daughter, if anyone in my area is interested, is beginning to teach piano lessons. She's a beautiful musician, and she's great with kids.)

On My Own, Or on YouTube
As I’ve mentioned before, I went to high school with a bunch of thespians. These are people who took acting and made it a lifestyle. Their favorite party games were acting games. (Ever played "In the Manner of the Adverb"?) Their favorite pastimes were viewing or participating in plays—or listening to Broadway soundt…

PAIGE Launch: Spread the Love Contest

Paige is now in stores! (Yippee! Woohoo! Happy Snoopy Dance!)

The official launch party is this Saturday, August 11th, from 1-3 PM at the Fort Union Deseret Book store (same location as the other launches).

Help us spread the word about the launch.

Head on over to The Newport Ladies Book Club blog for details on how to enter and what prizes you can win!

Blop Hop Winners

It's Wednesday, but it's not Word Nerd Wednesday. Instead, I'm announcing the winners of the Summer Splash Blog Hop.

The e-book of Lost Without You goes to Cathy Jeppson.

The e-book of At the Water's Edgegoes to Lynn Parsons.

The e-book of The Golden Cup of Kardak goes to Lisa Banks Bennett.

The paperback of Spires of Stone Goes to Aimee.

The paperback of Paige goes to Zanza.

Thanks to all who entered!

The fine print: If I don't receive email addresses or mailing addresses (where applicable) for the winners by 8/3, prizes are forfeited.

Summer Splash Blog Hop!

BIG FUN is afoot at the Circle K. (Pardon the goofy Bill and Ted's reference.)

Consider this a jump-start to your fall reading list as well as a jump into the excitement for the release of my next book, Paige.

Truly, though. A boatload of writers are participating in a giant blog hop through the end of July. Each blog offers a chance to win prizes like books and other swag.

PLUS: The home blog for the hop will give out lots of GRAND PRIZES that you won't want to miss out on.

Grand Prizes Include: 
TWO Kindle Fires$75 Amazon gift card$50 Amazon gift cardA Kindle coverAnd signed paperbacks of something like TWENTY different novels (including a copy of PAIGE, which will be out right about the time the hop ends!)
To win one of the grand prizes, tweet about the hop.

Each tweet must have two things: (1) a link to the hop AND (2) the #SummerHop hash tag (both are needed to track the tweets to give you credit). Cool side note: The blog hop host blog post already has pre-written tweets, co…

Print vs. Electronic Books: My Take

You'd have to be living under the proverbial rock to not be aware of the brouhaha over e-books versus print ("real") books.

Two common arguments:
1) Get with the program. E-books are the wave of the future.

2) Nothing will ever, ever replace a good book. I love turning pages and the SMELL! Oh, I love the smell of paper!

Not surprisingly, I'm often asked where I stand on the issue, so I figured a blog post would be apt. Everything below is my opinion. The book industry is changing at warp speed, and no one has a crystal ball to know what it'll be like in the future. But here's my take:

E-books, for better or for worse, are here to stay. 
This isn't necessarily a bad thing. A few years ago, my mother (a bibliophile who at the time traveled by air a lot) asked why anyone would want a Kindle. I told her to imagine being on a long flight and having hundreds of books to choose from to read . . . but no extra weight in your carry-on.

Her eyes lit up at that.


WNW: Independence Day Edition

Laurie (L.C.) Lewis is a friend of mine and a historical novelist who has studied U.S. History, particularly the founding of the country. She's written a series of books about the the War of 1812. 

(Note: I consider myself relatively well-versed in US history, but I learned a ton reading her stuff.)

She suggested a few words worth looking at on Word Nerd Wednesday for the holiday. Laurie gets lots of feedback from people who see those misused, so she passed some of them on to me.

The text: But when a long Train of Abuses and Usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object, evinces a Design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their Right, it is their Duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future Security.

The meaning: To display clearly, or provide evidence of. This part of the Declaration says that the "long train of abuses and usurpations," among other things, show clearly that the intent ("design") or the Briti…

DISPIRITED WINNER! picked Heffalump as the winner of her own copy of Dispirited.

I'll be returning to my regular blogging schedule soon, including a new Word Nerd Wednesday.

In the meantime, congrats to Heffalump, and for the rest of my readers, be sure to check out the book. (Remember that the Kindle version is mucho cheap!)

Author Interview: Luisa M. Perkins

I'm so stinking excited to host my dear friend Luisa on my blog today. She and I met online years ago, when my blog was brand new. We struck up a friendship based on the fact that we're both knitters (that's how we connected originally), writers, and Mormon.

Our friendship has gone way beyond those things. Today, we communicate via email and text almost every day, often several times, as we report our progress with to-do lists and goals and cheer each other on. Everyone needs a Luisa in their lives.

Aside from being a great friend, she's a great writer. As long-time readers know, I don't officially review books here. That said, her new book, Dispirited, is fantastic. It's deliciously creepy (this from someone who doesn't like to be scared), with a fascinating story, complex characters, and lyrical writing (something missing from a lot of fiction).

First, a bit about Luisa. Then her interview. And finally, a giveaway!

Luisa Perkins writes contemporary fanta…

Full Circle

A couple of weeks ago on Facebook, I mentioned getting a phone call that marked a full-circle moment for me. Life has been nothing short of hectic lately, so this is my first chance to explain.

March of 1996, I joined my local chapter of the League of Utah Writers. I attended their spring workshop, where I first met Rachel Ann Nunes, who wasn't yet published, but who today is pretty much a superstar in the local market.

I went to chapter meetings, which turned out to be one of the few times I left the house then, as I was a new mom. That fall, shortly after my son's first birthday and discovering I was expecting my second child, I attended  the League's annual Roundup conference. (I remember talking to Rachel in the hall after I'd stepped out of a class because I was so tired from the pregnancy that I kept falling asleep. She was out there soothing her newborn.)

At that conference and other Roundups that followed, I sat in classes taught by big names in the LDS market,…

Guest Post: Ali Luke on Why Editing Matters

Self-editing must be in the water . . . last week I posted on the Precision Editing Group blog about how I do it, answering questions from TJ, and today my readers get a treat: a guest post by Ali Luke that digs deeper in to the whys and wherefores of self-editing.

Ali is a personal writing coach. She's written books about freelance blogging, and now she's also a novelist. Today she addresses what's behind self-editing.

In short: It matters, and here's why.

Why Editing Matters . . . and How to Stay Motivated to Do It Well by Ali Luke

Whatever sort of writing you do– whether you’re working on a blog post, a book, or just a short piece for your church newsletter—you’re going to need to edit.

Sometimes, that editing might take just a few minutes. You’ll be looking for typos, smoothing awkward sentences, and making sure that you’ve included everything you wanted to say.

With bigger projects, though, the editing phase needs to take a correspondingly bigger chunk of your wri…

16 Months: My Transformation

While I usually talk about writing and books and word nerdiness here, this post is going to be a bit different. I'm hoping it will be of some benefit to others in their journeys.

A photo that amazing photographer Erin Summerill took of me at the recent LDStorymakers annual conference inspired me to put this post together. Even with my goofy facial expression and hand waving (I can't teach without using my hands), I've got great before and after pictures.

The really short version: 
For some unknown (then) reason, I got fat, sank into a horrid depression, and otherwise was miserable. Now I'm, well, not all that. The end. Oh, and this is what I looked like. The picture was taken at the 2010 UVU Book Academy conference. I may have gained a few pounds more in the following three months.

The longer version:
For most of my adult life, not counting pregnancies, my has weight stayed in about a seven-pound range. Ideally, I would have liked to have been around 10 lbs lighter and a…