Showing posts from 2013

Love Letter Anthology Cover Reveal! And News!

It's downright amazing to think that it's been over a year and a half since Heather, Sarah, and I sat down around my kitchen table to hammer out the concept of creating anthology collections with clean romance stories.

We're close to releasing our SIXTH collection, each of which has six stories: three novellas in addition to the three written by us. The others are all by authors we've hand-picked for each theme.

That means this collection marks EIGHTEEN guest writers we've worked with and that I've edited, in addition to twelve stories by Heather and Sarah I've edited, and the six I've written for the collection myself.

(Although full disclosure: as of today, my novella for this collection isn't quite done. Soon!)

(And I love where it's going!)

Here's the new cover for the collection that will come out on February 1:

Isn't it pretty?!
As you can see, this time the theme is Love Letters. But unlike any collection we've done so far, thi…

This Is Your Writing Brain on ADD

My older sister and I are similar in a lot of ways. We're both writers. We're both readers. We both majored in English. We both adore good chocolate. And on and on.

We're dissimilar in a lot of ways, but it turns out that one thing I thought was a difference actually isn't.

As an adult, Mel was diagnosed with ADD. The diagnosis made so much sense for her, at least with my limited understanding of the condition. She can jump topics in a conversation like hummingbird flitting from flower to flower, only faster. I can keep up, but I assumed that it was because I grew up around her.

The thing is that Mel's ADD has a bit of the hyperactive ADHD in it, although I wouldn't classify her as hyperactive in the typical sense. She's high energy, for sure. When I've mentioned to close friends that ADD runs in the family, they always follow that up with, "Mel, right?"

And then I have to say that well, yes. She's the one who is buzzing around all the tim…

WNW—Sandy Hook and the "They" Conspiracy

Today's Word Nerd Wednesday has a more somber topic than I usually take here, but I think it's a relevant one in light of how news is covered in the US and how we interpret evidence presented to us by various sources.

This post has been on my mind for almost a year, when I first heard conspiracy theories after the Sandy Hook shooting in December 2012. With the report of the shooting released this week, concluding that Adam Lanza acted alone, and with almost a full year passing since the tragic events of that day, I'm taking a stab at the issue the conspiracy theorists brought up in hope of shedding some light on the situation and, I hope, on not jumping to conclusions in relation to the language used in news reports and other situations.

Shortly after the shooting, I listened to several tapes online where people discussed how, in their strong opinions, there had to have been multiple gunmen in Sandy Hook, and that the federal government was hiding that fact.

One video we…

Barbara Park & a Little Girl's Wish

Last week I heard the news that Barbara Park, author of dozens of kids' books and best known for the Junie B. Jones series, had died from ovarian cancer. She was only 66, younger than both of my parents. She lost her battle with the same killer that took my maternal grandmother.

Whether you like Junie B. Jones or couldn't stand her improper grammar, the character became a cultural phenom and influenced millions of children, including my own. We have a shelf full of Barbara Park's books, and they are all well read. Even though my kids have outgrown Junie, I have no intention of getting rid of the books. They are a reminder of great times spent with my kids, laughing at Junie B.'s antics, and teaching my kids to read.

Recently, my youngest and one of her friends decided to make a Junie B. movie, and they began adapting the book into a screenplay first. I think Barbara Park would be pleased.

Park was more than an influential writer, something I bet that most writers would…

WNW: Abbreviations, Acronyms, Initialisms, & Monograms

Weeks (months?) ago, I pasted a note from Twitter to remind myself to do this post. I'm pretty sure the suggestion came from TJ Bronley, and here I am, finally getting around to answering his request.

For this week's Word Nerd Wednesday: What is the difference between acronyms, monograms, and abbreviations?

(I'm adding initialisms to the list; you'll see why.)

First off, let's look at what an abbreviation is.

An abbreviation is simply a shortening of a word or phrase using components of that word or phrase. Some abbreviations use a period at the end, but not all require one.

Examples of abbreviations:
Quart = qtMinute = minDoctor = Dr.Mister = Mr.Et cetera = etc.International Police = Interpol*AM, PMBC, AD
The last two on that list are so common that we've almost forgotten what they stand for (ante meridiem/post meridiem, meaning before and after noon, and Before Christ/Anno Domini, meaning in the year of our Lord).

Here are some modern abbreviations that develope…

Author Interview: Christy Dorrity

Today I welcome Christy Dorrity to the blog and interview her about her new release, Awakening. I haven't read her book yet, but I'm intrigued; I love mythology, and her cover is awesome!

I love what she had to say about crappy first drafts (TRUTH, people!), and that she enjoys my good friend Robison Wells' work. Enjoy!

About the Book
. . . because some Celtic stories won’t be contained in myth.

A little magic has always run in sixteen-year-old McKayla McCleery's family—at least that’s what she’s been told. McKayla’s eccentric Aunt Avril travels the world as a psychic for the FBI, and her mother can make amazing delicacies out of the most basic of ingredients. But McKayla doesn't think for a second that the magic is real—it’s just good storytelling. Besides, McKayla doesn’t need magic. She recently moved to beautiful Star Valley, Wyoming, and already she has a best friend, a solo in her upcoming ballet recital—and the gorgeous guy in her physics class keeps looking …

What Stan Lee Taught Me About Writing

I suppose that "What Stan Lee Reminded Me About Writing" would be more accurate . . .
The first weekend of September this year marked a monumental event: the first-ever Comic Con in Salt Lake City. They sold completely out of tickets. The place was so incredibly packed that I understand the fire marshal showed up at one point.

I got to attend on the busiest day, Saturday. Walking the floor as part of a moving river of human beings was stifling at best. (Good thing my claustrophobia didn't kick in; it totally could have.)

When I freed myself from seeing cool things like the Hulk made out of balloons, a life-size Tardis, Sasquatch, and the most amazing costumes on attendees, I found myself on a relatively free end of the hall. I'll call this celebrity alley.

Along this area, various celebrities, largely famous for roles in science fiction or fantasy television shows and movies, had areas roped off. At the far end of each area were tables and chairs and a giant poster …

It's Like SYTYCD

Every three months for a little over a year now, I have a new kind of writing challenge. And by that I don't mean the same challenge every time, but something new, a challenge like I've never had before.

You know how, after a big exercise day, you'll wake up the next morning sore in places you didn't know you had muscles?

It's sort of like that, but in a totally awesome, cool way. Only I'm exercising writing muscles I didn't know I had. In some cases, it's felt like I didn't even have the muscle at all, and I'm developing it as I go.

It began, if memory serves, back in the spring of 2012, when Heather came up with the brilliant idea (she comes up with great ideas quite often) and invited me and Sarah to join her.

The idea: Write and publish clean romance novellas in anthologies. For each anthology, invite three other proven romance writers we know and respect. Everyone involved helps promote the anthologies, which then, in theory helps fans of a…

WNW: The Outrage over "Literally"

Today's Word Nerd Wednesday tackles a topic that has lit up the Internet in the last week or so: the so-called "news" that the word literally has a new definition, meaning figuratively, which is technically the opposite of what the term means.

Note that I put "news" in scare quotes. That's because it's not really news. Dictionaries have been adding that second definition for years. Literally. (Hah!) People noticed this time, because it was a new change to Google's dictionary.

I got my copy of the OED about ten years ago, and the alternate definition of literally is there. Granted, that definition is the last of five, meaning that it's the least common and least accepted one. Plus, it has a note that it's "improper" to use literally in a figurative sense.

HOWEVER . . . (You knew that was coming, right?) as with every word in the OED, this definition includes quotations from the earliest usages of literally with each definition. And …

Fans of Sarah M. Eden, Take Note!

Big, fun, fabulous news for Sarah M. Eden fans!

For the first time, Sarah is having an awesome launch party at The King's English Bookshop in Salt Lake City for her brand-new release, the second book in Shadow Mountain's Proper Romance line: Longing for Home.

This isn't a glorified book signing. Oh, no. It's a full-on party.

Attendees get a chance to hear Sarah talk to her fans (or possibly do a reading from the book!).

Plus they'll be treated to  awesome Irish-themed refreshments (fitting because the main character is from Ireland): FIVE flavors of scones (not Utah scones; authentic ones), plus clotted cream and strawberry jam, THREE flavors of tarts, shortbread, mini quiches, and sausage rolls.

And of course, you can get your book signed.

I mean seriously, people! It's going to be epic!

The launch party is TOMORROW, Tuesday, August 20, at 7:00 PM.

See full details on the Facebook page. You can pre-order a copy of the book at the bookstore link above, or you c…

Blog Hop Winners!

The grand-prize winners for the overall hop have already been notified. I've sent two readers e-copies of my grammar book.

Now to announce the winners of A Portrait for Toni. We have 2 randomly selected winners.

The first is from those who e-mailed me the correct answer to the trivia question (After he read my grammar book, how many points did my son's ACT English score go up the next time he took the text? Answer: a whopping SIX points!)

The second is from those who left comments about grammar/punctuation peeves or trip-ups. Great comments on a variety of grammar and mechanics issues!

Toni is still a couple of weeks away from release. These two lucky blog hoppers are the winners of a free e-copy as soon as it's out:

Trivia Question: Holly L

Comment: Jayme S


I've had a whirlwind of a summer. As vacation time wraps up and school starts for the kids again, I'll be back to blogging more regularly. I have some fun things coming up that I can't wait …

Blog Hop's Over!

Thanks so much to everyone who participated in the Summer Splash blog hop!

Winners from my blog and all the others, including the grand prize winners, will be notified soon!

Blog Hop: Win Books & Other Prizes!

From  Friday, July 26 thru Monday, July 29, I'm part of a giant blog hop extravaganza, where you can hop around from the main Summer Splash Blog Hop site to enter to win a ton of awesome prizes, including e-books, paper books, Kindles, and much more! It begins and ends at midnight on those dates (EDT), so don't miss out.

1) Visit  every blog included in the hop, and you'll be entered into win one of 3 prizes, including big bundles of e-books and signed paperbacks. (2 copies of my grammar book will be awarded as part of the prizes!)

2) Spread the word about the hop on Twitter, using the hash tag #splashwithus for a chance to win one of these awesome prizes:
Kindle Fire HD 8.9 (The one worth $269.00!)$100 Amazon gift card$50 Amazon gift card

You have 2 ways to win a copy of my soon-to-be-released contemporary romance, A Portrait for Toni. I'll choose 2 winners at random who do either of the following (or do both of the follow…

On Beauty, Dove, and the Lies Society Tells About Women

I'm getting all soap-boxy today. It's about a topic I've been thinking about for months, and it's finally come to a head.

You've all seen the Dove Real Beauty commercial, right? The one with the forensic artist? If not, here it is. Or watch it again to refresh your memory:

Many women's reaction to the video was powerful emotion. Some women cried at the message, which is captured in the tag line: "You're more beautiful than you think." Yes, I am, was the overwhelming response as thousands of women shared the video through social media.

Then came the backlash about whether the forensic artist was biased because he knew about the experiment, and how the majority of the women were Caucasian, and maybe that's the kind of beauty we're being told is somehow "real." Those arguments may or may not be valid.

It was a different response that make me sit up and pay attention: the one saying that outward appearance/beauty shouldn't be wha…

WNW: Please Trash?

Last winter, our family took a trip to the Happiest Place on Earth. Because I'm a nerd and can't entirely shut off my editor brain even on vacation, I couldn't help but notice a recurring grammatical problem on the trash cans in Disneyland and California Adventure.

While I took plenty of pictures of the kids, I found myself snapping pictures of trash cans and other things that made me laugh. Soon my husband was in on it too. (My sickness appears to be contagious.)

Let's take a look.

The folks designing the cans for recyclables did an okay job. Note this can, with the polite request to recycle:

We could argue that they could have added a comma between the two words, making it RECYCLE, PLEASE, but at least the request makes sense.

The receptacle standing right next to this one, however, uses the same type of phrase, including please, but they ended up with an unintentional humorous meaning:

Now obviously they don't want park goers to throw things around and otherwis…

Wix's Life Lessons for 8th Graders

As the school year winds down (and my oldest child graduates from high school!), I wanted to share a cool list made by my daughter and her classmates. For the past two years, they've been in a special advanced program for English and social studies (nicknamed "Acad," short for Academy), and this year they had the same teacher for both classes.

This teacher (nicknamed "Wix") combined the two subjects. For example, when he taught about the Civil Rights era, the class followed that unit by reading and discussing literature about race issues. He integrated both subjects seamlessly, and as a result, the students learned more in his class than any other in their lifetimes.

Wix taught my daughter how to be a critical thinker. Wix challenged her in ways few junior high kids ever are. He made her grow and stretch and do more than she thought she could.

Wix is retiring, so this is his last set of students ever. As a going-away gift, my daughter had her classmates share f…

10 Years and a Great Conference

Every spring for ten years now, I've been at the LDStorymakers Writers Conference, which began as a tiny event (47 attendees) in a tiny venue (a small rented theater) and which has turned into a powerhouse conference that has to be capped. This year we had 450 attendees and a waiting list. I served on the committee for something like seven years, and one year I even co-chaired it with Heather Moore. It grows and improves each year, and it's a huge undertaking. (Next year, the conference is moving to a larger venue to accommodate up to 600, I believe.)
To catch up, I've blogged about the conference several times: HERE, HERE, HERE, HERE, HERE, HERE, and HERE.

For five of those ten years, I've attended the Whitney Awards gala, two as a committee member and three times as a finalist (one of those years, I won—still one of the highlights of my career).

I look forward to the conference for many reasons. I enjoy teaching about something I'm passionate about. I love liste…