Monday, June 30, 2008

Good Times For A Change

This is musical blog. Listen to this song as you read it. I am not fancy enough just to put the song on my blog, so the video doesn't really need to be watched. I just love this song and the Smiths and since I am headed for a change thought it would be a good mix.

As stated before my friend Tristi is doing a writing challenge in the month of July. I have been looking forward to this, but as the time drew nearer I did not know if I was really ready. My fairy tale, the one that I have been working on since November, has lost its wings. Or maybe it just never had any to begin with. It is a great story, but I don't know if I am ready to write it yet. I am beginning to think that maybe magic and fantasy are not what I was meant to write. I know I can, but I think I need a lot more research into things before this world can be created. Did I mention I needed a lot of research? So I think it is good times for a change. I am going to use this month to let my fairy tale simmer and see if it can find its wings ( I just can't give up on it, I think it is a great idea). While it is doing that, I am going to use the BIAM (Book in a month) challenge to try something completely different. It was an idea I had in February of 2007 while driving down to Zion to do research for AND THE SKY FULL OF STARS. I used the idea to write the short story start that got me a place in Orson Scott Card's Literary BootCamp. I have been praying about it and think that this is a good idea. For one thing, it takes place in our world with no magic. It is also more Sci-fi than fantasy. I am prone to writing in 1st person and I really want to work on my 3rd person, but it wasn't working with my fairy tale. So now I can write a modern fantasy ( there are no aliens in this one, but lots of science things) and try out my third person voice. So for the month of July my 13,500 words are going to be devoted to new project that I like to call THE LAVERKIN PROJECT. Good times for a change! (I HOPE!)

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Happy Birthday Guys!

Free Clipart Picture of a Birthday Cake with Candles. Click Here to Get Free Images at Clipart
The past few days have always been birthday central around here. When I was growing up we had two weeks of birthdays. The first week in February had my dad, my two sisters, and my birthday. Even when my sister got married, her husband was just two days before hers. So we always had a big celebration then. We used to go to Sizzler when they still gave you a free birthday dinner. We would pay for two and get five free. They stopped doing that. Hmmm I wonder if we had anything to do with that?
My mom and brother had their own little birthday celebration here at the end of June. My brother is one day, my mom the next. Somewhere along the line they might have been on the same day since my mom was born in Germany during WWII and because of the time difference and the Daily Light Savings they had during the war at one time she had a birth certificate for both the 26th and 27th. But in the end, we celebrate her special day on the 27th. Then when my first niece was born she came on my mom's 50th birthday. As our family grew we could not keep up the trend of February or June, but these three need a big happy birthday shout out!
Something about each of them.
My brother S. is 5 years older than me and when he used to babysit when my parents went out of town he would get James Bond movies, Dr. Pepper, and Pizza and all we would do the whole weekend was veg and watch Bond, James Bond! He (my brother, not James :)!) always let me hang out with his friends and would take me places. He never made me feel like a dumb little sister. Happy Birthday Bro!
My mom is the coolest ever! She does everything for me. We celebrated her day yesterday by going to Seven Peaks Water Park, and then having Macaroni Grill, and for desert Magleby's Chocolate Cake! When my mom found out that the agents who were looking at my partial were going to be in Idaho there was no question in her mind what we would do. She offered to drive up there with me and watch the kids. Plus she paid for all the gas! She supports my writing and gives me a lot of encouragement. Plus she has the best use of English Grammar (even with a thick German accent). I have the worlds greatest grammar editor in her (probably should have her review my blog, but there is no time). I love you Mom! Happy 65th!
My little niece just turned 15. When I talked to her last night she said she spent the day playing golf and sleeping. She is on her school's golf team and is super talented. She is also my Sailor Moon buddy. Whenever she sleeps over at my house we watch Sailor Moon until the wee hours of the morning, eating ice cream and drinking cream soda. She is a very talented writer and was on her school's news paper. She has a great imagination. Her favorite part of golf camp was the girl-boy ratio 5 girls 39 boys! She is growing up way too fast. Happy 15th Girl!
I love all of you and hope your days rocked!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

A New Goal In The Making

My friend Tristi is issuing a writing challenge for July and since I pretty much botched June up I figured I better try for it. To check it out for yourself you can go to Tristi's Challenges. My goal will be 13,500 words. That is about 500 words a day, not including Sunday. To prepare for it this week I am going to be reading a great book that Orson Scott Card recommended called THE LOST COUNTRY LIFE. It is so fascinating, and the new story line is really coming along in my head by reading this. It is all about how the average man lived daily life in medieval England. It is awesome. And speaking of Tristi and writing...
Tristi Pinkston has been a friend of mine since I was 12 years old. Our parents were in a business organization together and there was a group for kids called The Young Executives. Tristi is one of the nicest, most sincere people I have ever met. Her challenges help would-be-writers all over to reach their goals. That being said, I am a little ashamed that it took me so long to reading her books, but I did. I just finished STRENGTH TO ENDURE and I really enjoyed it.
The book is set in Germany during WW2 and is really compelling. So here is my truthful review.
I really had gotten into the first part of this story and the life of this German family as the war tore the country apart. And then all of a sudden it got religious and I thought, Oh no. Now don't get me wrong. I am LDS and I have a firm testimony. But, and I won't name names here, there are some authors who turn stories about accepting the gospel into less than believable fiction. Tristi hit it right on. I truly felt the spirit in these people's lives and it helped to strengthen my own testimony that I do believe in a kind and loving Heavenly Father, and that I do believe miracles can happen, and he does bless our lives.
If you are looking for a easy book that makes you feel good then check this out. I will be reading another book by her, NOTHING TO REGRET this week. It is also a WW2 story, but takes place in Topaz, Utah at the Japanese relocation camp. D and I took the kids out there in March and showed them around what was left, which is not much. But there is a memorial wall and it was a great opportunity to teach our children what went on during the war. I am excited to see what Tristi does with this book. So as she challenges me to get a book written, I challenge you to look her up and read some of hers. She is a true gem to the LDS writing community.

Monday, June 23, 2008

The goal will not be made!

As some of you may have noticed, my writing word count has taken a serious turn from bad, to worse, to disastrous. How am I ever going to get a book written with this type of word count? The answer obviously is...I'm not. But there are some good reasons why I have not gotten to where I wanted to be, and now that I have figured them out, I am hoping that I can jump back into the swing of things.
Last week was probably my busiest week I've had this summer. There was soccer camp, piano recitals, book club (at my house), the opportunity to go see Jessica Day George speak, helping throw a baby shower for my sister-in-law, my turn to do Sharing Time at church, as well as teach the lesson. Now add to that taking two days off to drive up to Boise and meet with the agents who requested my partial, and all the things I was doing to prepare for that, such as packing, catching up on laundry, doing a final edit on AND THE SKY FULL OF STARS, and you can see there just was no time for writing. My meeting however went very well. The agents were super nice people. I hope they end up liking my book if for no other reason than they are the type of people I want helping me break into the publishing field.
My second excuse took some time to dawn on me. The few times I sat to write I couldn't. I thought it was because of my crazy schedule, and the fact that I was spending time on my previous novel, but it turns out there was more than that. I realized that the story I have been writing for the past month was not the story that I had originally planned on telling. I was trying to hard to write this fairy tale like Shannon Hale or Jessica Day George would and it just wasn't working for me. So I decide to back off. Of course I would love to write like those great women. If you have not read them, you really must they are amazing. I want to be amazing too, but I think my amazing will have to come in its own way. So I am stepping back and going to write the story I originally wanted to tell. Once that is done I will let people tell me what I need to change to get it published. But until then, I will write for me. I think that will help bring the word count up again. Until then, June's goal is shot, but I am not giving up completely.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Rejections not funny, but this is!

Sigh...I just got another rejection letter, and while it was nice, and I am really excited because I am going up to Idaho--to hear the agents that requested a partial of my book speak, it is still hard. Sometimes I wonder if it is really worth it. I love to write. I won't stop, but I find myself working so hard on this story to make it right for someone else when I love the story as it is. Oh well we must please the masses I guess. But even rejection could not stop me from laughing at this great classic movie. They really knew how to make them back in the day. The movie is called THE SECRET OF SANTA VITTORIA. It is based on the book by Robert Crichton.

When they hear that the Nazis are coming to town to take their wine, they decide that they must hide it. Anthony Quinn is delightful as Mayor Bombolini in this witty, but heart warming story of overcoming injustice by a dictatorial power. The head Nazi is played by the amazingly talented Hardy Kruger (check him out in Flight of the Phoenix). I watched this with my mom and sister and we laughed the whole way through. There is nothing like hearing my mom with her thick German accent (which of course I can't hear) say she enjoys movies about "those evil Germans". Good times!

So the next time you are feeling rejected, pick up a good movie and laugh it up. It is true what they say, laughter really is the best medicine.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Creative Friends

I think my favorite thing about blogging is being able to see what some of my dear friends from High School are doing. We don't get together often enough (someone better hurry up and have a baby so we can have a shower) but I can still feel like I know what is up with them. They are all so cute and creative, but this blog is for one friend in particular--Emily. I mentioned her once before with her jewelry store Sass and Savvy. She makes all this jewelry and it is super cute. Right now she is having a contest for a free piece since she was recently given a review on SIMPLE. To enter just go to her site and pick three pieces you like, then head on over to the SIMPLE sight to leave a comment. When you see her stuff you are going to hope you are the winner. I know I do! Way to go Emily!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Salad Shakers

Ever since Kami posted the recipe for her Spinach Tortellini Salad, I have found myself craving salads. I love summer if simply for the fact that I can just send D out to the grill every night for one of his amazing recipes. I swear that man has the magic touch when it comes to grilling. He can do anything from chicken, to ribs, to fish, to ham, to...well you get the idea. The only thing is, while he is cooking up the meat, I am left in the kitchen to think up a side dish. Since the whole purpose of having him grill (besides the yummy factor) is that I don't want to heat up the kitchen, Salads usually come to mind. The only problem is, my family gets tired of plain green salad after awhile (not me I love salad). So I am always looking for creative and easy salad side dishes. I can't wait to try out Kami's and in the spirit of that, I thought I would post a recipe for one that I really am liking this year. I won't tag anyone, but if you are in the giving mood, I invite you to share your favorite salad recipe as well. Please help the neighborhood to shake up dinner!

Oriental Coleslaw
3 cups classic coleslaw mix (found in salad section)
1 can Mexi-corn
1 can Mandarin Oranges
1/2 bunch of green onions--chopped

1/2 C mayo
1T lime juice
1T red wine vinegar
1-2T sugar

Mix together and enjoy!

Saturday, June 7, 2008

That's Odd

I should be getting my hand on a copy of Odd Hours by Dean Koontz this weekend. It had to go through my mom and sister first. (Saving money, too poor to buy my own, how sad!)I am so excited. This is the fourth book in the series, which will be seven books. If you have never read them, go now start with Odd Thomas, go to Forever Odd and then my personal favorite so far Brother Odd (you have to love something about a monk who used to be mafia, but converted after reading The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane, yet another fantastic book!)
Afraid of Koontz? Heard he is too dark? Heard he writes Horror Novels? Well in some ways you are right. I too shunned him for several years because of those things. And then one day I discovered Odd. There is something so wonderful, so likeable, so endearing about the character of Odd. He is a 19 year old kid who works the grill at a local cafe and sees dead people. Yes, there are demented people in these books, but it is almost what makes the good guys so good. The fight between dark and light, and guess what the light wins. It isn't awful and creepy. And along the way some good people die, that happens to be life. To read Koontz POV on faith, yes faith! Click here.
Koontz has the most amazing way of writing metaphors and similes or as I affectionately call them Smellaphors (never can remember which is which). One of my favorite scenes is when he writes about a butterfly being like a geisha. It is so beautiful.
I seem to love all of Koontz characters. Christopher Snow, Jimmy Tock, but Odd is the one that started me on the path to one of my favorite writers and so he will always hold a special place in my heart.
For any of you already fans, you can check out a four part webcast about Odd here!
I am anxiously waiting to see what our hero does next. My heart is Forever Odd!

Friday, June 6, 2008


There was a time, not that long ago actually, that I used to write for no one but myself. It was a carefree time of not having to worry about anything. I could rant, go off on tangents, and not worry one iota about formatting. So basically I could blog! :) And then one day I got this delusional idea that maybe I might try to get something I wrote published. There were no big flashing lights telling me that my present stream of writing was not going to get a first glance, let alone a second if I sent it in as is. It was obvious to me that I had to play by the rules if I wanted to be taken seriously. So I learned the proper way to format, I triple checked grammar, I spent a few dollars extra on shipping and nice paper and ink. When it was time to send it in, I didn't skimp. Sure I probably have goofed up now and then. It seems everyone wants to receive something just a little different. I try to please all, but hey I'm only human (or so I have been told, I did get bit by that monkey....hmmm maybe I am turning primate!) But really, I try to be as professional as possible.
The point of this all is my "daily kick in the pants". This is an e-mail I get regularly from super cool author David Farland (ie Wolverton in the sci-fi world). It is a fun little piece of information with tips on how to improve my writing and make it the best I possibly can. So when I got today's e-mail on being professional first I laughed at what I read, and then I thought--seriously people? Here is my favorite sample.

1) Does my manuscript stink? I'm not talking metaphorically here, I'm talking about "Does it smell bad?" I've had manuscripts come to me that were yellow with cat pee on them. I've gotten manuscripts that smelled so heavily of tobacco that you didn't want to get within ten feet of them. I've had manuscripts that smelled of marijuana. I got one once that smelled strongly of coffee--it was badly stained. I've never bought a manuscript that smelled badly.

I can understand not knowing which corner to put your name in, but cat pee? I triple check my pages to make sure the edges don't even have wrinkles. Maybe I am a little obsessive, but I can guarantee my lunch won't be all over it! Does that mean I'll get published? Who knows, but I can promise you this, I will never send out a piece of work that STINKS!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Summer=Vacation? WHATEVER!

Whoever coined the phrase "the carefree days of summer" obviously did not live in our house. As the month of June approached, I made several goals and outlines of things I wanted to have accomplished. Let's just say the month did not start out with a bang as I had hoped. Last Tuesday I was informed by my husband that he would need to leave on his business trip to Green Bay 2 days ahead of schedule since the President was coming to town and all private aviation was going to be grounded while Air Force One was in the area. So Wednesday I got him packed and sent on his way.
School ended on Friday and luckily we got taken on a shopping trip. Unluckily, it took about 5 hours to find clothes to fit my 7 year old. Since she is so tall she has to be in the older kids clothes, and why do they assume that the minute you no longer fit in size 7 you want to look trashy? Hello! Well we did finally find a cute skirt and shirt thanks to The Children's Place. I don't know what I will do when she out grows them.
Friday night I got a nice break as my sister babysit so I could go up the canyon to a baby shower. Much thanks to T for having twins and G for throwing the bash. It was fun, but with both those activities the house managed to get messy, but not cleaned.
Saturday morning added to the mess as I raced around trying to get me and the kids ready for my niece's baptism. We ended up spending most of the day in Alpine. I left the girls at my mom's, but brought home my 14 year old niece for a sleep over that included this and this. Once more no time to clean or write. Then I got a phone call from D saying that the plane he had flown out had been grounded by the FAA for some mechanical probelms and so he had no idea when or how he would be getting home. On Sunday there was church. I teach the 3 year old class, need I say more? After church I had to go exchange kids, since I had neglected to leave car seats with my mom, I got to drive all the way back to Alpine instead of to our usual half way mark. M was not feeling well at all, and we ended up staying there for dinner, not getting home till past 9.
Monday, Soccer camp started. This will consume roughly 14 hours of my week for the next month. Then I had to do Costco where my normal 2 week bill increased by close to $80. Ouch. How can food cost so much? I tried to clean on Monday, really I did. I got my fridge, freezer and pantry clean--nothing noticable though. When it was time for dinner I had to run to Wal-mart to get those extra items that you just can't get at Costco to complete your meals. I was a mess. My kids were a mess. C had dirt all over her face, M was sitting in the cart since she was still feeling so sick, and L had decided to wear snow boots with his shorts. So it would stand to reason that I ran into my MTC Mission Companion and her cute, clean family. The last time we saw each other was 3 years ago at her wedding. After feeling embarrassed beyond compare, I made it home just in time for M to get a high fever and beg me just to hold her. Which of course I did, and I realized as the younger two destroyed the house even more (Still no hubby) how much I rely on her to help me during the day. But a ray of hope shone through the haze of hecticness as Monday night I got a call saying that D was just going to take the airlines home. He came Tuesday morning, but by that time we were at the doctor for a Strep Test for M. It was negative. Turns out she has some highly contagious virus that has no medicine to cure it so she has to just ride it out.
Life is crazy! So there has been no writing, since I can blog and e-mail thorugh distractions, but when it comes to my novel I rarely find the silence I need. But I hope it will get better. Until then, I can continue looking at my list of what I wanted to have happen and imagine that one day I will get a Vacation to get caught up on life. I just have to face it that it probably won't be this summer!

Sunday, June 1, 2008

To Cut Or Not To Cut, That Is The Question

It has been said that some brave souls in the neighborhood will be cutting their hair in July and donating it to LOCKS OF LOVE. My quest is to find out if I am one of those who will take the plunge into short-hairdom. (And I do mean short!)
My first reaction was, of course I will do it! Several years ago I donated my hair, and have been wanting to do it again. In December I actually cut of 8 inches (which no one even noticed, except my best friend, yes I even had to tell my husband.) At that time I had thought about it, but then I heard they did not take highlighted hair and so I just threw the locks away. Today I have learned that it is hair that has been bleached that they can not accept and that usually means highlighted. So I called my stylist, and found what I thought to be a milestone, more of a pebble...No bleach has ever been used in my hair.
Now I face the next milestone...They must have a minimum of 10 inches. 10 inches folks! That would mean going short. Did I mention SHORT? Yes, I put my hair in a pony tail and measured and it would put this thick brown mass I know as hair up to my ears. That is short!
Here I will rant aimlessly....I really want to do this. I am terrified to go that short. I could wait. But something in me tells me to do it now. My hair grows pretty fast, it will be okay. Could I do anything to get it to grow say an extra inch in the next six weeks? Mint shampoo? Sleeping in a bun? If I hate it how long will the awkward state last? Knowing the cause it is for, should I even care how long it will last?
So here I am shouting out to the world (or the like 10 people who read my blog, thanks guys!) what should I do? For those of you who may not know, I lost my father to Lymphoma Cancer 13 years ago. Every year around Memorial Day I donate money to the America Cancer Society in lieu of buying flowers. This year I just want to do more. What does it matter if I have short hair, knowing someone who has lost all their hair in the fight against cancer has none? I guess the thing is, I know what I should do. But we all need a little push in the right direction sometimes. So I am asking you. Should I cut? And if you have any pictures of super cute do's will you please send them my way (Thanks for the first batch Shelley!)
Hamlet asked... To be or not to be, that is the question. So in true Shakespearean manner I implore you! To cut or not to cut, that is MY question!