Thursday, December 13, 2007

My Husband, My Hero

Before I explain the above title, I just want to say thanks to all of you for checking in on me and letting me know I'm thought of and loved. Things are fine, just super, super busy. Christmas and birthdays are hard for my kids as it brings back memories of their birth mother and makes it a real struggle. I've felt like they needed as much of my time and attention as I could give them. Add to that my church duties (which I love) and a slew of invitations (it's so nice to be loved!) and I've hardly had time to think or sleep, let alone check e-mail and blog. I certainly have missed all of you though. Things should slow down soon.

We now continue with our scheduled blog-

I wish I'd known a few weeks ago how truly amazing and courageous my husband was. I would have entered him in Candace Salima's Best Husband in the World contest. I knew he was a wonderful guy, of course, but I never knew how brave he was until a couple of weeks ago.

See, he saved somebody's life. He didn't run into a burning building or perform CPR, but what he did was courageous nonetheless.

My hubby has always been a kind-hearted soul. He's one of those that is almost always there when you need him to be, whether it be for a listening ear or moving heavy objects, a hug when it's most needed and he even does dishes and bathrooms! He also has the most amazing singing voice . . . but I'm getting away from my topic. Because of this kind heart he's got, he likes to spend time in depression chat rooms trying to lift others up and offer a friendly hand when people are in need of one.

A couple of weeks ago Hubby was at work, checking his e-mail, when he got a chilling message from one of his online friends. They had just taken an entire bottle of pills and had sent him a message to say good-bye. Having a first and last name in is address book, he searched online and found an address, then called the police in that state to inform them of the suicide note he'd received. They found the person in time to save their life. It's taken two weeks to finally get the whole story, but the person is doing well now, having been in the hospital for treatment, and thought they were angry at first, now they are very grateful to Hubby for saving their life.

So, he's my new hero and I couldn't be more content to be married to such a brave and persistent man. It took hours from his work to do all of this, but he did it without question, without thought, and I couldn't be more proud. (I hate the "P" word, but I can't think of another way to phrase it.)

What an amazing guy. My husband . . . my hero.

Quote of the Day: "When the will defies fear, when duty throws the gauntlet down to fate, when honor scorns to compromise with death - that is heroism."
- Robert Green Ingersoll -

Monday, November 12, 2007

My Aura is blue

Your Aura is Blue

Spiritual and calm, you tend to live a quiet but enriching life.
You are very giving of yourself. And it's hard for you to let go of relationships.
The purpose of your life: showing love to other people
Famous blues include: Angelina Jolie, the Dali Lama, Oprah
Careers for you to try: Psychic, Peace Corps Volunteer, Counselor

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Attack of the Killer Computer

I'm sure you guys are dying to know where I've been lately. Well, my blog title probably gives you an idea. My computer has had one problem after another until I finally reformatted and caused even more problems, including the fact that it no longer recognized my ethernet card. I wanted to write, but it's kind of hard with a rebellious computer. Today I've spent reinstalling all the software I need so that I can get back on track.

I've had a few fun days in all the chaos. My friend Jill (Hi Jill!) kidnapped me on Friday, took me to her salon and paid for a wonderful cut and style, including a luscious scalp massage. It was awesome. After that she took me to lunch and to the new Cheesecake Factory for dessert. I had the most AMAZING piece of cheesecake there. I think it was called something like "apple caramel streusel", only it was longer. Every bite was sheer bliss. I told Jill that getting fat never tasted so good. lol She took me home for a couple of hours and then kidnapped me AGAIN, blindflold and all, for an early birthday celebration with some of my favorite people. I was supposed to stay overnight, but nobody told me to get off work on Saturday, so I couldn't. I was bummed, but it had been such a wonderful day that it was okay.

So, today is my 37th birthday. I remember turning seven years old on November 7th, 1977 and how cool I thought that was. It's not quite so cool to be turning 37, but still neat that I've got 37 happening on 11/07/07. I don't know why that tickles me, but it always does. Not much going on today for a celebration except that I've had most of the day to myself, which has been nice. I'm about to the point now I can start writing, but the kids are out of school early, and I promised to make manicotti for dinner. I know, I know, I should probably insist on being taken out to dinner, but the fact is, I like my own cooking better than any of the restaurants around here. I haven't had manicotti for years and very much look forward to sharing its flavors with my children. This will be their first experience with it.

So, Dad is off with the kids to find me a present and Grandma already asked me what I wanted and purchased it yesterday-the new disney movie Ratatouille. LOVE it! Hopefully my computer will keep breathing for a while now so I can catch up on my writing. I've missed you guys!

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Time Thief and NaNoWriMo

Stop! Thief! Come back with my time! Somebody, help! I need my two weeks back . . . .

Is anybody else feeling like this? I swear, yesterday it was Independence day and now I'm less than a week from my birthday, which is another reminder of the time thief. Sheesh.

I really did intend to come back on the 20th and write a blog. Really, I did. I guess I let all the extra hours I've had to work and my need for sleep get in the way. It truly seems like I've had not a minute to spare the entire month of October. Maybe that's why it feels as if time has disappeared.

On another note, I signed up for NaNoWriMo,--as if I don't already have enough to do. For anyone who doesn't know, NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month. It's a challenge to write 50,000 words in one month starting November 1st. That averages out to 2,000 words perday, excluding Sundays with one day to spare. I haven't written yet today, because of that need for sleep I mentioned earlier, but as soon as my kids hit the hay in about 20 minutes, I'm off to start. I'll put up a tracker to let you guys know how I'm doing. Wish me luck!

Quote of the Day: "If a story is in you, it has got to come out."

- William Faulkner

Friday, October 19, 2007

To Be Continued . . . .

I apologize for not posting anything new for a while. Life has taken over and my time has been very limited. I'm still alive, I promise, and doing okay, though I'm VERY tired with all the extra hours I've had to work in the bakery. My goal for writing hasn't happened, but I'll keep trying. I had hoped to go to the Eden Writers Conference this weekend, but other committments and lack of money nixed that idea. Maybe next year.

I'll be back tomorrow with a new post. Until then . . . Adieu.
P.S. Oh, and about the picture - those are my squirts. On the left is Birdy and the right is Tin Man. Aren't they cute?

Quote of the Day: "One has to be just a little crazy to write a great novel."

- John Gardner

Monday, October 15, 2007

Ten Most Kissable Characters

Julie Wright tagged me with the weirdest tag to date.

The author (Veronica at Toddled Dredge ) explains the tag as, “Ten Literary Characters I Would Totally Make Out With If I Were Single and They Were Real But I’m Not, Single I Mean, I Am Real, But I’m Also Happily Married and Want to Stay That Way So Maybe We Should Forget This.”

I must admit I've been at a loss on who to select. Call me strange, but I've never even thought of kissing a character-primarily because they're not real.

That being said, I've thought it over and made a few selections more because I like the characters than because I think they're in any way worth kissing, and since the only way to kiss them is to stick my mouth in a book, the point is moot. Papercut lips anyone?

1) Sparhawk from David Eddings Elenium series. I can't help but like the hard outer shell of the warrior with the kind and compassionate inner self.

2) Butch from J.A. Jance's Joanna Brady Mysteries. He's a great cook, rides a harley, and makes a great step-dad.

3) Garion from David Eddings Belgariad and Mallorean series. Can't say why, exactly, but he's always seemed like a neat guy.

4) Prince Raoden from Brandon Sanderson's Elantris. The strength, determination, and compassion of this character are very appealing, though if I had to kiss him, I'd rather it be after he finished his transformation at the end of the book.

5) Death in Piers Anthony's Incarnations of Immortality. I know, I know, it's a little psycho, but he's a really cool character and is a very compassionate incarnation once he becomes the grim reaper.

6) Skif from Mercedes Lackey's Valdemar series. He's mischevious, a little reckless, and doesn't often pay attention to the rules. Gotta love it.

7) Mark Iverson from Betsy Brannon Green's Hearts in Hiding. There's just something about the protector . . . .

8) Pug from Raymond E. Feist's Riftwar Saga.

9 & 10) Okay, I'm cheating a little here. The last two are from my own book, The Sapphire Flute, but since I created characters that appeal to me, it would make sense that I'd be able to inlude them. The first is Aldarin, step-brother to MC Ember, and the second is Brant, fiancee to MC Kayla.

Well, that feels a little weird. It's kind of like posting a list of all the boys you secretly wished you had kissed over the years. I keep having to remind myself they're not real. They're not real!

Anyway, that's my list. As for who to tag, I'm not at all sure who has and hasn't been tagged on this one, so I'll just cross my fingers and leap. I'm tagging Paulette & Michelle (both of whom are moving, so it might be a while), April, and, oh, let's see . . . I'm tempted to pick James Dashner, but I don't think he'd have much success on this one. Hmmm, how about my dear friend Jenica. All right guys, have fun, and let me know when you post so I can come see!

Quote of the Day: "I think the first duty of all art, including fiction of any kind, is to entertain. That is to say, to hold interest. No matter how worthy the message of something, if it's dull, you're just not communicating."
-Poul Anderson

Friday, October 12, 2007

The Armor of Light

I officially changed the title of my book to The Armor of Light today. It has a nice ring to it, don't you think? Of course, whatever publisher ends up taking on the series (keeping the faith here, folks) will probably end up changing the title anyway, but I want to like what I've got while I'm writing it, you know?

I've set a goal for myself of 1,000 words per day. I wrote a short prologue last year and yesterday I polished it up a bit, added some more to it, and wrote another thousand words for chapter one. At first I thought I'd written another 2,000, but later realized I was counting the prologue too. I was rather happy with that. Okay, that's putting it mildly. I was flying high for a couple of hours thinking I'd doubled my goal, but was still happy knowing I'd hit it, at least. I would have written more if I'd had more time.

Today was a wake-up call for me. I've complained for so long about the fact that I never seem to have time to write. Well, yesterday I worked for seven hours and had a bazillion other things to do, including spending time with my kids, but somehow I managed to squeeze in over a thousand words. If I can manage to write on a day like yesterday, certainly I can find some time on the not-so-busy days. One hour. That's all it takes to write a thousand words if I park my rear in the chair and pound away at the keys. Surely I can find and hour, even if it's only in 15 minute increments. A thousand words a day, every day, would get two to three first draft books done in a single year. One hour a day to accomplish so much.

I decided to track my writing progress here on my blog. I like the accountability factor, much like Tristi Pinkston's tracking of her weight loss. Maybe someday I'll be courageous enough to post that on my blog too, but for now, writing progress is going up, and I plan to keep it up!

Quote of the Day: "A word is a bud attempting to become a twig. How can one not dream while writing? It is the pen which dreams. The blank page gives the right to dream."

-Gaston Bachelard

Thursday, October 11, 2007

A New Beginning

The day in Salt Lake was very enjoyable. I was only able to watch three shows instead of five, as I had to hunt down my cell phone. I finally discovered my eight year old had taken it to school with him. Needless to say, he was in a bit of trouble when he got home. I was too tired to watch the last movie. My bedtime is normally 8:30 with such an early job, so by the time 9:00 rolled around I could hardly keep my eyes open and had to drive forty miles home.

I did enjoy the movies, though I'd seen them all before: Transformers, Evan Almighty, and Ratatouille. They were some of my favorites of the summer and definitely worth revisiting.

I started outlining The Golden Breastplate today, though I'm considering renaming it The Armor of Light. It's been so long since I started a new book, I'd forgotten how much I hate beginnings. Some people can jump right in and know exactly how they want to start a project, but I am NOT one of those people. I get pictures that form in my head of where things are going throughout the middle of the book, and sometimes the end, but the beginning? I sweat and write and sweat some more and write it over again and again and again. Why are beginnings so scary?

I think part of the answer to that is the fact that we're so often told you've only got thirteen lines to grab an editor's attention. Now, I know full well that I will probably rewrite my beginning a dozen times before I'm ready to send it anywhere, but knowing that it has to catch somebody's attention more than any other part of the book sends me into a panic. I'm not sure what to do about it at this point, but knowing what is in part causing the problem does help-a little.

Back to work again tomorrow and actually looking forward to it. For some reason, working so early makes my day feel more productive. At least I can say I did something, even if my house is a wreck and I don't have anything more done on my book than a title, knowing how many chapters I want, how many days the book covers, and what happens in three of the chapters. It will come, I know that. Somehow it always does. I've just got to be patient and make sure I ask the Great Creator for his input. He's a much better writer than I am.

I'm sure things will look better after a good night's rest. Maybe it will help me remember how to be creative again.

Quote of the Day: "Successful writers are not the ones who write the best sentences. They are the ones who keep writing."

- Bonnie Friedman

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

A Well Deserved Day Off

Okay, here it is, the big announcement you've all been waiting for--


I find myself both relieved and a little sad to be finished. I'll be starting on the next book in the series tomorrow, titled The Golden Breastplate.

In the meantime, I am taking a day off from life and going to the dollar theater. I plan to spend the whole day there. I'll take a book and read it during my lunch and dinner, then head back to the movies. It's a cheap date with myself. Six bucks will let me see five movies, and yes, I do plan to see that many. I haven't taken myself out like this for a couple of months, and I need it! Especially after all the long editing days I've had the last couple of weeks.

So, thank you, my friends, for your words of encouragement and support. It has helped tremendously.

I'm outta here!

Quote of the Day: "It is perfectly okay to write garbage – as long as you edit brilliantly."

- C. J. Cherryh

Monday, October 8, 2007

More Progress Reports

104 pages today. I was hoping to finish as tomorrow and Wednesday are going to be busy, but it's almost ten and I still have to get up at 4 in the morning. I don't dare stay up or I'll pay for it tomorrow. I only have 34 pages left until I finish inputting changes. I'm so dang close. It's frustrating not being able to take the time tonight. I'm not the most patient person in the world, as you can probably tell.

On another note, I've become obsessed with Medieval and Renaissance music as of late. It's very inspiring when writing a fantasy based on that type of a world. The two groups I've come to love the most are Trio Mediaeval and Ensemble Dreiklang Berlin. The first is a trio of sopranos that sing polyphonic 14th century style music. Their blend is exquisite. The second is an instrumental group of mostly recorder players, and some of those recorders are HUGE. I downloaded both from iTunes, if anyone is interested in finding it or listening to samples. The music absolutely inspires me.

Sorry I haven't posted much for a few days. I've been super busy and I didn't want to post until I had something to report. Hopefully tomorrow will be the big day when I can say label it as "done."

Quote of the Day: "It begins with a character, usually, and once he stands up on his feet and begins to move, all I can do is trot along behind him with a paper and pencil trying to keep up long enough to put down what he says and does." - William Faulkner

Thursday, October 4, 2007

I'm heading to bed, but wanted to let everyone know I didn't get selected for jury duty after all, so I only had to be there for a couple of hours. I spent most of the day inputting those edits I couldn't do yesterday. 125 pages of success! Woohoo! I'm more than 2/3 done. I've got several things to do tomorrow, so I'm not sure how far I'll get, but I should at least have it all done by the weekend, even if it's not in the mail yet. It will get there. Thanks for all the support, my friends. You make it much easier to go on when life falls apart.

Quote of the day: "Tell the readers a story! Because without a story, you are merely using words to prove you can string them together in logical sentences." - Anne McCaffrey

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Cold Medicine High

I was reminded today why I hate cold medicine so much. I took two pills at 5:00 this morning - two pills that are only supposed to last for about four hours, and I'm just now coming down off the high at 10:00 pm. Needless to say, I got absolutely nothing done on typing those edits in today. How could I edit when the page was swimming and my brain had turned to fudge? I'm a little disgusted with myself. I knew better, but took them anyway.

So, it turns out I really do have jury duty tomorrow, though what that entails, I don't know. I guess I'll find out in the morning. Oh, and my van died. Can you believe that? My hope was that even if I did have to go to the courthouse in the morning, things would get settled out of court just before and I'd still be able to go to the luncheon of the beautiful blogging babes. Without a vehicle and being sick to boot, I'm kind of stuck.

Unless a miracle happens, The Sapphire Flute will not be in the mail on Friday, but I'm doing my darnedest. I can't believe the opposition I've had in getting this thing done. It gives me hope that maybe there's a reason for it??? Maybe it can do something for someone somewhere? I can always hope.

Quote of the Day: "Any man who keeps working is not a failure. He may not be a great writer, but if he applies the old-fashioned virtues of hard, constant labor, he'll eventually make some kind of career for himself as writer." - Ray Bradbury

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Progress Report

That's my dog. Isn't she cute? Her name is Moo, but we call her Moo-moo. Yes, that is the name she came with. We extended it to be "Mulan", but we don't call her that often. She lets the boys do just about anything with her- thus, the chickie-hat.

I haven't made as much progress on edits today as I'd hoped for multiple reasons - we had the young writers workshop today (which went great! Thanks, Jewel!), I just caught a bad cold, and I had to works double the hours I normally do this morning. I also had some major additions to some of the chapters to increase the sensory detail. I think I did pretty good considering all of that. I got another 59 pages done for a total of 167 out of 489. I think tomorrow will be better. I don't have nearly as many demands on my time, though I've got another 2 or 3 chapters that are going to need the sensory detail added as well. I honestly think tomorrow will be a great editing day. I might just make that friday deadline. I'm sure going to try. Thursday might be a challenge since I might have to do jury duty, and if I don't have to do that I've got lunch with the blogging babes. I'll find out tomorrow and will let you all know.

So, I'm going to bed. My brain is fried and my throat feels like I swallowed a bag of sand. Blech! Good night!

Quote of the Day: "I write for the same reason I breathe - because if I didn't, I would die." -Isaac Asimov

Monday, October 1, 2007

Goal Accomplished, Part 1

I finished my on-paper line edits today. One hundred and thirty-seven pages. I went to my favorite restauroffice (Pizza Hut) and sat there for four hours while I whipped through the climax of the book. Let me tell you, that was the fastest four hours that have passed in my life. I was so caught up in my story, I forgot to eat! Crazy, eh?

And speaking of crazy, I work tomorrow morning, and for those of you who don't know, I work in a bakery decorating donuts and I have to be there by 4:30 am. It's almost 10:30 pm. I was supposed to be in bed two hours ago, and I'm still up. Guess why? Yeah, I was inputting my edits to the computer. I've done 107 pages since the kids went to bed. Most of it has just been a comma here, or a changed word there, but there are a few chapters that I've added whole paragraphs, and I'm trying to decipher my scrawl with bleary eyes. Anyone else would say I was torturing myself, but it's just so exciting! I want to finish! This has been the story of my heart for sixteen years, and I'd about given up on it until it won first place in the fantasy category of the LDStorymakers first chapter contest. I figured I should take a second look at it after that. It needed a lot of work, which is why it's taken me six months to get to this point - but it's almost done!

So, here's the goal, and I'm really hoping you guys will keep me accountable here. I have two people waiting for this manuscript, and I want it in the mail by Friday. Kick my bum, people! I need this one heck of a lot!

Quote of the Day: "I . . . have to constantly balance "being a writer" with being a wife and mother. It's a matter of putting two different things first, simultaneously." - Madeleine L'Engle

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Pizza Quiz

Just in case anybody is wondering, my favorite pizza is Hawaiian, with onions if possible, with a nice, thick crust and extra cheese. Of course I don't get it that way very often, but in my dream world where calories don't count, that's what I'd choose every time.

What Your Pizza Reveals

Your appetite is pretty average. You don't go overboard - but you don't deprive yourself either.

You consider pizza to be bread... very good bread. You fit in best in the Midwest part of the US.

You like food that's traditional and well crafted. You aren't impressed with "gourmet" foods.

You are generous, outgoing, and considerate with your choices.

You are carefree and friendly. You should consider traveling to Hawaii.

The stereotype that best fits you is emo. You think you're special... and you kind of are.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Sailing Around My World

Julie Coulter Bellon over at Six LDS Writers and a Frog spoke today about how sometimes the inspiration hits and as badly as we want to write, life just won't give us time to write it down. I feel like that's been the story of my life for the last six months. Ever since I had surgery back at the end of March I've really struggled to find the time and energy to do any of the writing things that are so important to me. Today has been another one of those days.

After such a successful editing day yesterday, I yearned to have repeat success, but it wasn't meant to be. I've done what I can, despite work, doctor appointments, soccer practice, disobedient children, and all the homework woes, but the little I've done seems so measly when standing next to yesterday's success.

Why is that? Why are we never happy unless we've topped our previous success? Julie Wright and James Dashner have talked about it, how we always want more. First the goal is to get a book written, and we do it. Then it doesn't seem enough, so we try to get it published. Sometimes we do. Then it's wanting a New York Times Bestseller, and then a Newbery - when does it end? Why can't having written the book be a stand alone success in and of itself? Why can't eighty pages be celebrated as loudly as a hundred and sixty-six?

I posted a quote previously that seems rather appropriate today, so I'm going to post it again in the body of the blog, as I've been thinking about it a lot today. It says:

"Success is a finished book, a stack of pages each of which is filled with words. If you reach that point, you have won a victory over yourself no less impressive than sailing single-handed around the world." - Tom Clancy

Let's think about that for a second. How many people say they want to write a book and never get past the first few chapters? How many people in this world actually FINISH the books they start, let alone go back and edit, and re-edit them? So, I say, let's celebrate every chapter written or edited. Let's celebrate every line of gorgeous prose and touching dialogue. Let's celebrate each and every word that's poured from our hearts and souls, every paragraph we've tortured ourselves over, and the poems we've discovered in the shower or on the road.

For today, just for today, I want it to not only be okay to have edited eighty pages, I want it to be AWESOME! What a success! I sailed single-handed around the world of my book, and today I went back for a visit. How cool is that?

Quote of the Day: "Never give up! Never Surrender!" - From Galaxy Quest, the movie

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

dancing baby

Editing Again

I took myself away from the house again today after desperately trying yesterday (with little success) to get my edits done. Well, I've got to say I feel like celebrating. Not only did I get some editing done, I did 166 pages! That's a little over 1/3 of the book! Woo Hoo! And you know something cool I discovered? Ready for it? Now don't laugh--

My book is AWESOME!!! (Okay, you can laugh now. I am.)

It's not a bragging thing. I think we should all love our books. After all, they are our babies, and doesn't every parent think their baby is cuter than all the others? (Now I'm really laughing. I can't help it! It must be the high from being back on track. That's Track not Crack! I know what you were thinking--)

So, I just wanted to share the news and invite ya'll to do the happy dance with me. Woo-hoo!

Monday, September 24, 2007

Ode to Pepsi

As a seventeen-year-old night owl going to early morning seminary, I found myself falling asleep in class on a repeated basis. After a particularly embarrassing moment of waking up in biology thirty minutes after class had ended, I found a quick, simple, and tasty way to avoid falling asleep: Pepsi. I've been addicted for nineteen years now and have decided it's time to give it up. So, as a final farewell to my Pepsi drinking days, I'm posting a poem I wrote a couple years ago. It's called . . . .

Ode to Pepsi

Oh, Pepsi, friend
thou dost lift me up
and send great bursts of life
through sluggish veins
that waken mine eyes
and quicken my step
so that I might finish the day
I have begun.

Oh, fiendish friend,
thy taste is acid to my gut
though sweetened tongue
and dependant blood
doth cause me to partke of thee
time and time again
despite the burning heart
and shaking hands.

Oh, Pepsi,
thou who dost masquerade thyself
as friend, when thou art in truth
a parasite that gives me bursts of life,
but takes it from me again,
and I am forced to drink thy acid
once again, or resign myself to a nap
-- and I,
fool that I am,
would rather poison myself than sleep.

I shall poison myself no more! Pepsi - we're done. Adios, amigo.

Quote of the Day: "I discovered that rejections are not altogether a bad thing. They teach a writer to rely on his own judgment and to say in his heart of hearts, 'To hell with you.' " - Saul Bellow

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Wonder Woman

Call me cheesy, but Wonder Woman has always been one of my favorite shows. Maybe it was the beauty of Linda Carter or the comic book superhero aspect of it, but I was a faithful and devoted watcher during its 3 original years on television and through the re-runs of my teenage years. I say this so that you understand how meaningful the following is.

Tristi Pinkston gave me The Wonder Woman Award over on her blog, and it's my first blog award! Pretty nifty to be put in the same league as Linda Carter, though I'm not about to run around in a bathing suit and boots saving the day. I'll settle for juggling my little family and serving where I can.

As for those I think are Wonder Women, first would be my mother, of course, raising my brother and I alone after my father passed away when we were 4 and 2, and she did a darn good job of it, if you ask me! Then there is my friend and neighbor, Shari, and my friend Jenica (who used to be in my ward). There is Shanna for her board breaking abilities while going to school full time, and Michelle who juggles six kids (I think) and is in the process of selling her house. That's all I can really think of right now, though I'm sure there are TONS more out there waiting for this award.

Thanks, Tristi!

Friday, September 21, 2007

Book Tag

Candace Salima tagged me with a new book quiz thingie, and I'm ALL about books, so here I go!

1. My Reading - My favorite genres are fantasy, science-fiction, and mystery/suspense, though I've been known to read an occasional biography and romance, and it doesn't matter to me if it's written for adults or for kids. I love it all.

2. Total Number of Books Owned ∙ I counted 1,195, but I'm NOT counting all the kids books I have (since they're for the kids and I dont' read them - that would add another 200, at least), nor am I counting all of the textbooks my husband fills his den with (same excuse as above). I've also got a few out on loan and you never know what books will turn up when you go looking.

3. Last Book Bought ∙ I spent two hundred dollars on books this last trip, (Yeah, I know, don't say it, I'm addicted) so it's hard to pick just one. The only fiction book I was the new Shannon Hale one, Book of a Thousand Days, and one of the non-fiction books was The Five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate, by Gary Chapman. I haven't had the chance to finish either yet, though I have started The Five Love Languages, and find it a wonderful read.

4. Last Book Read ∙ Twilight, by Stephenie Meyer. I'm in the middle of New Moon now.

5. Five Meaningful Books ∙ Okay, here is where this little quiz gets a bit tricky. I'd love to have a list of spiritual books like Candace, but, sadly to say, I'm not nearly as well read as she is, and have only recently started to expand beyond my standard mystery and fantasy. I'll try to explain why they were meaningful to me.

  1. The Artist's Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creatvitity, by Julia Cameron. This book taught me how to let go of the garbage and fears that were holding me down and express myself with writing again. It was one of those books that changed my life.

  2. The Book of Mormon - This book of scripture opened my heart to the power of God and his infinite love and atonement for us.

  3. There is a book whose title I cannot remember that was published in the early eighties, I believe (and if anybody knows what it is, PLEASE tell me in the comments!). It was written by a twelve-year-old boy about his adventures in school. There was one follow-up book that I know of. When I read that book at thirteen was the first time I realized I could actually be a writer. If he could do it, why couldn't I?

  4. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L'engle (who passed away last week) was one of the first fantasy books I read. I opened whole new worlds for me and directed my passion for reading and writing in this direction.

  5. Are You My Mother? by Dr. Seuss was the book that made me want to read. I had four short years with my Daddy before he passed away, and every evening when he came home from work he would sit me on his lap and read to me until bedtime. He swore he'd have me reading before I started kindergarten and if he'd lived longer, he would have. I was so close. So this book, more than any other has influenced my love of reading because of the sweet memories it brings back of my father and his passion for the written word.

So, that's my list. Thanks for tagging me, Candace. It's been an interesting journey answering these questions. I am going to tag my writers group. Shanna at Shanna's Life, Stories, and General Ramblings, Wendy at Interregnum, Paulette at 700 Blank Pages, and Michelle at My Life in a Laptop.

Quote of the Day: "The writer who is a real writer is a rebel who never stops." - William Saroyan

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Young Writers Workshop

A few months back I was out walking with my best friend and ran an idea past her. "What do you think about doing a writing workshop for teenagers?" She thought it was a great idea, having several talented young writers in her house, and encouraged me to pursue it. Before I knew it, I'd asked my writers group if they'd be interested in helping to sponsor something like that and it was a unanimous affirmative.

It has been total inspiration - for me. I have never been so sure I was doing the right thing in my life. I've always wanted to work with teens. I connect with them on a different level than I do adults. I fit there, though whether it's because I'm a big kid, or I just understand what it's like, I don't know. We reserved a room at the library and started spreading the word, then came up with a game plan on what to teach.

Tonight was our first class. Of the 14 girls who originally showed interest, 11 came. It was amazing. They were excited and wanted to be there and they know SO MUCH! I am in awe of these young women, none of them over 15, who have written books and stories, who know what plot and characterization are. They got it. I could see their eyes light up when a concept finally came clear in how to construct a story.

I'm flying so high tonight, I don't know how I'll ever sleep, and the gratitude I feel is overwhelming - humbling. I am so proud of these kids, and so very grateful that I can have a small part in giving them something I always longed for and never had at their age - the knowledge of how to put a great story together.

Today I can honestly say: "I love my life!"

Quote of the Day: "I don't know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody." -- Bill Cosby

Monday, September 17, 2007

Poetry Obsessed

It feels so good to be writing poems again. Everywhere I look I'm inspired with phrases popping into my head from nowhere. I feel alive again in ways I haven't for too long. I've never been one to parade my poetry around. I always wrote it for me and was rather embarrassed to admit that poetry was my first love, and now I find myself posting my lines for the world to see - and I am perfectly okay with that. There is still a part of me that wonders if people will get bored if I post so much poetry, that they will wander away, but another part stands up and says, "Hey, it's my blog, and I can post poetry if I darn well want to!"

So here I am again with a poem inspired while up the canyon the other day. I mentioned in a previous blog that I watched a family of deer for about ten minutes. Well, it was no exaggeration, and they were the primary topic of this poem. I call it . . . .

A Place of Solace

I've found a new place of solace
in the whispering band of trees,
who put on a fashion show of autumn leaves
and fading summer green.
The music of the breeze sets tree trunk legs
to dance with a bow and sway,
then the trees put their heads together and whisper,
whisper their secrets,
and I am finally allowed to see.
A doe and her two fawns
tiptoe within sight to stand in stillness
and watch me, too frozen in awe to move.
Finally, unthreatened, Mother Doe moves closer
to drink from a stream at my feet.
Her back leg reaches up to scratch -
like a dog she hoofs at her cheek, then rests.
For ten long minutes I saw their secret,
saw the deer live among "my" trees
before they darted back to the hiding place
wherever the deer call home,
like fairies retreating to their ring,
and I sat alone again,
a little wiser,
in my new place of solace.

Quote of the Day: "Success is a finished book, a stack of pages each of which is filled with words. If you reach that point, you have won a victory over yourself no less impressive than sailing single-handed around the world." - Tom Clancy

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Middle Name Meme

Julie Wright tagged me with the middle name thing. I'm not positive, but I think I'm supposed to use the letters of my name to describe myself. This might take a while as my middle name is a bit long, but I'll give it a shot. I was named after my grandmother, Elizabeth Elder Sipe, but she went by Betty. She was an amazing woman and I couldn't be more proud to carry her name, though it wasn't always so. She was funny, super strong willed, and very spiritual. I miss her.

E - Eccentric. I like a strange mix of all kinds of things, though I'm not the funny hat lady or anything. Oh, wait, yes I am! I like hats, but I don't think they look funny. Back to the point - I like music of all mixes: classical, rock, country, new age, and most everything in between. I play the flute with passion and built myself a den. I like animals and hate bugs. Love sweet and salty together, only like chocolate or brownies if they have nuts, and then I LOVE them. I have a lot of likes that are total opposites. Does that make me eccentric?

L - Lazy? lol I admit it, I'm a bit of a couch potato. My idea of heaven is to lay out under the stars and do absolutely nothing, and failing that, a mountain side in a reclining chair so I can watch the clouds go by.

I - Idealistic - I'm an optimistic dreamer.

Z - Zombie. It seems I'm always tired, probably because I'm such a night owl and am forced to get up in the morning. I hate mornings. Let me say that again. I hate mornings!

A - Aware. Let me clarify this because it applies on several levels. First, I am one of those people that is hyper-aware of everything going on around me. I can tell what my kids are doing by the sounds they create (they truly believe I have eyes in the back of my head! They even asked me how I slept, because it would mean my eyes were squashed in my pillow. Kids!) . It's one of the reasons I have to use earplugs when I write. Every little sound distracts me, unless the sound is so loud it becomes a buzz, and then I can discard it to background noise. Second, I'm also one of those who tends to be very in tune with what kinds of energy other people are putting out. I guess I'm a bit of an empath. Not in a sci-fi kind of way - I just can tell what other people are feeling a lot and it makes me very aware of how to communicate with them. It's easy to climb into other people's shoes.

B - Batty? Full of bologna? Boring? No, I'd have to go with "Brainy" on this one. It's not that I'm super smart or anything, I just like to learn things. Stuff fascinates me, so I study it. My brother calls it being the "Queen of useless trivia". That's me!

E - Embracing. Again, this applies on multiple levels. First, I've become a very huggy kind of person as I've gotten older. There's just something about connecting with somebody with a hug that I can never get enough of. Second, I'm one who tries to embrace life, though some days I succeed better than others. I'm not afraid to try new things and truly believe I can do them.

T - Talented. Okay, I feel a little weird putting that down, because I am so NOT a prideful kind of person. I just happened to be very blessed to be good at a lot of different things. As a teenager it frustrated me because I couldn't decide what I wanted to grow up and be. I knew, quite literally, that I could be almost anything. That came from my mother. She always told me I could do anything I wanted to if I wanted it bad enough. I believed her with all my heart and still do to this day. That's how I can build a den, or a bookcase, or any of the other numerous things I've tried.

H - Heartfelt. I'm a pretty sincere gal. What you see is what you get. I don't give compliments unless I mean them, and I never try to pretend to be something I'm not. I feel things very deeply and try to live what I believe.

So that's me in so many words. Of course there are more layers, but I'll have to save those for another challenge. I guess it's time to pass on the torch. I think I'll tag Shanna and Paulette.

Quote of the Day: "When I don't write, I feel my world shrink. I lose my fire, my color." - Anais Nin

Saturday, September 15, 2007

The Burning Mountain

As I drove home alone from Salt Lake last night, I rounded the bend to find darkness rising from the Stansbury mountains. The air was thick with smoke, even from so far a distance.

The first line of the following poem popped into my head, so I grabbed notebook and pen and jotted my thoughts down as I drove. I wouldn't recommend doing that, by the way, it's definitely not safe, but I had to grab the inspiration when it struck.

The poem is as of yet untitled, so if anyone has any ideas, feel free to leave them in the comments trail.

The mountain's on fire again.
Smoke smears the valley
like brimstone remnants from Satan's pit.
Three times now it's caught aflame,
thrice in a single season,
as if Hades' rose from the depths of earth
to settle on her slope.
It's eerie how the orange glow
only shows itself in the darkness,
and during daylight hours the purple stain
of smoke dirties pristine skies.
The acrid stench of ash and char
poisons air perfumed
with summer flowers and alfalfa fields,
until a single breath feels dirty.
The glorious sunset turns an angry red,
filtered through the smokey clouds -
My sunset gone awry
as the mountain burns.

Quote of the Day: "Writing is an exploration. You start from nothing and learn as you go." - E. L. Doctorow

Friday, September 14, 2007

Nature's Distraction

I discovered something about myself today- I will do anything I can to get out of editing. I went up a different canyon today hoping that the new sights would inspire me and get me back on the page. Well, it inspired me all right - so much so that I sat in my chair for two and a half hours and did almost nothing. I looked at the beautiful leaves; I wrote my morning pages; I watched a doe and her two fawns for about ten minutes; I watched some cows and batted at a lot of flies. I read my scriptures, prayed, and looked at the leaves some more. Then I left because it's almost time to pick up the kids.

I am beginning to agree with Edna Ferber where editing is concerned. She said "The ideal view for daily writing, hour on hour, is the blank brick wall of a cold-storage warehouse. Failing this, a stretch of sky will do, cloudless if possible."

Honestly, the most productive place I can go when editing is the library. If I'm home, I check e-mail and my blog every ten minutes or less. If I'm at a cafe or restaurant, I watch the people, and you already know what I do when I'm up the canyon. It's a great place to be when I need creative ideas, for the WRITING part of a story, but it really sucks when I need to do something I have no desire to do.

I guess it's back to the library for me, and even better if somebody can drop me off there so I don't have a car to leave. I get REALLY productive that way because I know the sooner I finish, the sooner I can call for a ride and go home.

My kids are spending the night at my in-laws tonight, and my husband works night shift, so I'll be home all alone. I could get some editing done then (since that's usually my mosts productive time), but I have to work in the morning and can't afford to stay up all night. I guess I could go to bed really early and wake up early, but knowing me I'd just take the time to catch up on my sleep. *sigh*

Anyone know of a good, cheap writer's retreat? Oh, wait, that puts me back in nature again. Never mind.

Like I said, back to the library.

Quote of the Day: "The faster I write the better my output. If I'm going slow I'm in trouble. It means I'm pushing the words instead of being pulled by them." ~ Raymond Chandler

Wednesday, September 12, 2007


I find it interesting that my e-mail adddress states that I "luv2writepoems", and yet I haven't written but a few in the past two years. It really got me thinking as to why that was, and the conclusion I came to is this: poetry makes me dig deep and doing so has just been too darn painful. I won't go into a chronicle of all the heartache the last two years has offered, but I will say it has been the two hardest years of my life.

Over the years, my self analization has brought me to the understanding that emotionally, I'm a stuffer, which has resulted in many an explosion of nervous-breakdown proportions. So, to battle this tendency to stuff, I had to do the opposite: express myself - and how better to do that than in a beautiful, poetic form? Poetry turns pain into art. I chronicled the lives of my boys from the day I found out we were going to be able to adopt, to their terrors in the neighborhood, and I discoved that it helped me find humor and joy in their progress. So why now, when I need it so terribly, have I found it hard to express myself in a form I love so much?

The answer is that writing got in the way. I know that sounds a little funny, but I think I made a mistake when I joined a poetry group. All of a sudden I found myself comparing my poetry to theirs, which is nothing like what they write, and it just didn't measure up.

I stopped writing.

Instead of allowing myself to be plain old me, I fell into the pit of comparison and couldn't find a way out. I rationalized that it was okay, that maybe poetry wasn't my thing after all, that novels were my TRUE calling, but I forgot one thing: I never wrote poetry for anybody else. I wrote it for me. By no longer expressing myself poetically, I let myself down.

Well, once I realized this, and being the stubborn, contrary person that I am, I decided I was going to write a poem, even if I had to pry it from my screaming heart one word at a time. And you know what? It worked. Sure, it's not the best poem I've written, but I felt like it at least captured the essence of the place I was, and that's what I wanted - but most importantly, it finally freed my heart to express itself again.

So, I'll share my poem here. Not for praise, or glory, but because I need to share the fact that my soul is awakening and learning to speak once more. I need to share it so that I know the world hears the voice crying from inside of me. I need to share because I love the music of the words.

Settlement Canyon

Mustard moss on twisted bark.
A maze of spindly branches and leafy fans.
Sharp rocks jut from the hillside
and a fallen tree with still green leaves, broken.
Bare wood points skyward - accusing fingers
not sure who to blame for the pain.
Blinding sun plays peek-a-boo,
one minute harsh and painful,
the next offering welcome warmth.
Crickets sing in the middle of the day.
A crisp, autumn breeze cuts
through a narrow ravine while a jet
streaks overhead.
An occasional whooperwhil sounds.
A chipmunk explores left-behind food.
Flies and bees come to see the bright cans
and shampooed smells-like-a-flower girl.
Tick-tick-tick the locust start their song,
while the ash-powder dirt stirs in the breeze.
The usual green leaves are painted now-
half up the mountain's side
freckles of orangy-red change the view,
and here the girl sits to write,
here the woman comes to find peace.

So, the moral of my story is this: Be true to yourself. Write what is in you, and don't you dare judge it. Express it. Let it be what it is. Learn. Grow. But most of all, allow yourself to speak. Be who you are and love it with everything you've got, because it's precious -more precious than you know.

Quote of the Day: "You can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club." - Jack London

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

What is your Power Bird?

I haven't done one of these for a while and thought it would be fun to post this one. I love the things these quizes say about me. *big grin*

Your Power Bird is a Dove
Deep and emotional, you can connect well with almost any living creature.You bring hope and optimism to any dire situation.You are both gentle and affectionate with everyone you love.Truly nurturing, most people consider you to be a mother figure.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Scary Monster Goes Bye-Bye

As per Tristi's request, I am posting a new blog so that the big, scary monster can go away.


Okay, so, I took several bits of advice from the wonderful people who responded to my last post and gave myself a break today. I had my husband drop me off up the canyon 10 minutes from our house, with the intention of writing, and I did write - just not what I expected to.

I got a bunch of edits done at the concert on Saturday (10 chapters worth) and then realized there were a few things I still needed to add for some later things to make sense. Anyway, I had planned to do that today, but when I got up there, it was so beautiful and quiet that I found myself writing what I call "Ramblings" instead. Basically, I ramble on the page, whatever pops into my mind.

Today was a healing ramble. I started writing about my story but found myself turning inward and just went with it. I wrote ten pages, long hand, and just purged out all the garbage that's been festering inside. All the stress of the last twelve years came pouring out onto paper and I couldn't stop. It felt wonderful! Kind of a one-on-one therapy session with my inner self. Very good stuff.

Anyway, it was so wonderful I feel really good tonight, even with kids homework struggles and my other normal, everyday challenges. They're not bugging me like they usually do. I don't feel overwhelmed or frustrated. I feel . . . peaceful. Free. Lighter. It's amazing.

So, thank you so much, my dear friends, for your kind words of encouragement and advice. It went a long way in helping me today. I finally felt what I've known all along: I've got to fill my own well before I have anything to dip from. You guys helped me find my well.

Thank you.

Quote of the Day: "Writing is a socially acceptable form of schizophrenia." ~E.L. Doctorow

Friday, September 7, 2007

Time Monsters

I'm not sure what it is, but it seems that every time I take my writing seriously and schedule time to get it done, the world conspires against me to do everything it can to prevent it. Am I alone in this?

Every day for the past week and a half I've been desperately trying to work on line edits. Last week was a bust between my son getting suspended from school for fighting (he's in 3rd grade, for heaven's sake!), friend and family meltdowns, my own near-nervous breakdown, a death in the family, and numerous other things.

This week I got called to the principal's office AGAIN for the same son taking a knife to school, had my mother's birthday, a musical presentation in my son's class, and ANOTHER meltdown (mine this time). I know life has to come first, but when is there ever time to write? I work at 4:30 in the morning, so it's not like I can stay up half the night like I used to, and yet that seems to be the only time I can find.

I had expected to get my whole book done by tomorrow evening and I'm only on chapter 3. Now, instead of spending the day working on it like I'd planned, I've got a soccer game for my other son and an all day concert at Thanksgiving Point. I finally decided to just take my laptop and earplugs with me to mute the sound a bit and I'll see what I can get done at the concert, I'm that desperate. Any advice from all you experts out there? It's not like these are things I can say no to. Where can I find some time? Am I expecting too much of myself here?

Okay, done whining now, though any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Quote of the Day: "Keep writing. Keep doing it and doing it. Even in the moments when it's so hurtful to think about writing." Heather Armstrong, Keynote Speech, SXSW 2006

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Found Family

I had a cool experience today. My little brother called and said he'd found something he wanted me to confirm for him. After IM-ing me a link, I followed it to find a picture of a man who has to be my brother.

See, my daddy died when I was only four. He'd been married before and was significantly older than my mother, so he had two sons from his first marriage that were almost my mom's age. I haven't seen or heard from either one of them since he passed away, and much as we've tried to find them over the years, they've just seemed to disappear - until today.

Today we found one.

My brother, Sean, is going to try and contact him. We're both a little nervous as we don't know what kind of reception we'll get, but there is no doubting he's my brother. He's the spitting image of my father, if a little thinner. He's got the Gillespie ears, forehead, and nose, not to mention the mustache and snow white hair. Yeah, I did say my daddy was a lot older than my mom, didn't I? He was 18 years older than she was, so that makes my newly found half-brother around 70. I know, we're kind of crazy that way. You should see the looks I get when I tell people my oldest brother is only four years younger than my mother! I used to tell people just to see their reaction.

So, if I can get this to work right, here are their pictures to compare. The first is my daddy, the second, the man we think is my brother:

Is it just me? Or do they look alike? It's strange seeing a man I barely remember and realizing he is most likely my brother. It's a strange mix of happy and sad and longing for what could have been. It's made me very thoughtful today about the past, full of memories and ghosts of the path my life has taken. It's been a nice day that way.

Here's hoping we get a positive response!

Quote of the Day: "Good writing is supposed to evoke sensation in the reader. Not the fact that it is raining, but the feeling of being rained upon." -- E.L. Doctorow

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

A Literary Butt-kicking

The day was dark and dreary. The storm clouds spat their pebbles at the library windows, but Karen didn't care. She was lost in a world of fantasy and wonder, re-reading a favorite old book, when her quiet contemplation was disturbed by the appearance of several old friends.

James walked in first, his spurs and ten-gallon hat paired with a calculator protruding from the front of his western shirt. He spun his lasso 3 or 4 times before he settled it over Karen's shoulders with a flick of his wrist. Karen looked up, surprised, as he tightened the noose, her book dropping to the table with a loud thump.

"Ssshhh!" the librarian hissed as Tristi rounded the book-case, her fairy wings knocking books off the shelves that she immediately replaced with a wave of her magic wand.

Last came Julie in black biker leather. One gloved hand thwacked a thick pipe into the other with a repeated rhythm, as if she were about to burst into a song from "West Side Story" any moment.

"Hey, guys, what's up?" Karen asked, her voice shaking as she watched the menace in these people she thought were her friends.

"Well, now, we heard about you, Missy," James drawled in his sweet Georgia accent. "You've been messing around, reading them books when you should be working on that manuscript you've been asked for."

"Yes," Tristi-fairy said. "Some people are a tad disappointed with your behavior, Karen. Naughty-naughty." Triski tsked, her finger shaking at Karen as if she were her mother.

"It's time for some literary butt-kicking," Julie growled and stepped closer, her club thumping more vicously into her left hand.

"Ssssshhh!" the librarian hissed, a little louder this time.

Karen looked at the trio, panicked, her stomach tumbling like a load of boulders in a washing machine. "Wait, wait! I can do it. I - I - " she stuttered. "I'll have it finished by Saturday. Really. I will."

Julie snorted. Tristi rolled her eyes. James spat on the carpet.

All eyes followed the globule as it flew through the air and impacted the carpet. In a flash the librarian was there.

"Young man, we do NOT spit in the library!" The seventy-something woman took James by the ear and started to pull him toward the front door.

"Ow, OW! All right already!" he said, crouched over to follow the old woman. He dropped the lasso as he passed through the security gate, his hand to his ear.

Julie and Tristi turned back to Karen once James was outside, his face pressed to the glass, watching. Startling as it may sound, they looked more menacing without the tall cowboy hovering over them. Julie got in Karen's face. "You've got until Saturday, girl, then we settle this." Julie strolled out of the library. Tristi touched Karen's head with her wand, a flash of light blinding them both for a moment. Karen suddenly had the overwhelming urge to write until her fingers bled. She had to finish her book. She had to!

The librarian was back again. "No spells in the library!" She reached for Tristi's wand, but the fairy spun it over her own head and disappeared with a distinct 'pop'. The librarian grunted, then glared at Karen. "Anymore of your friends going to stop by today?"

Karen didn't answer. She had pulled her laptop forward and was lost in her book. Not a book that was between pages, oh no, this was her book, the book that lived in her mind, coming to life at last on the screen before her. It was time to finally get it done. Her friends had given her the butt-kicking she needed to move her back to the page.


This story is dedicated to James Dashner, Tristi Pinkston, and Julie Wright who are about the best butt-kickers around. Thanks, guys!

Friday, August 31, 2007

Renovations Part 1

I told you guys I'd keep you updated on the progress of the renovations in my house. I started with my den because I knew I needed a refuge from all the chaos I was about to create. so here is project number one.

I got my new bookshelves built and installed and wanted to show them off a bit. So here is the 'before' and 'after' what I call my "wolf wall":


I'm very excited to have some more space for the books that were sitting in a box. I am considering moving all the wolves and dragons to my red wall and extending the bookcase to the ceiling though. Isn't it perdy? I still need to put a strip of trim at the bottom, but for functionality, it is finished!

In other news, our writing group had a luncheon with James Dashner last Saturday.

James was great. He asked all of us where we were at with our writing and encouraged us to keep going. In my case he threatened me! See, I've been stuck on one particular chapter of content edits for ages and just couldn't seem to make myself sit down long enough to do it. James told me that if I didn't finish it by Saturday, September 1st, he was going to tell Annette Lyon and Heather Moore not to accept my registration for the next LDStorymakers conference. Well, I couldn't let that happen! So today, my dear friend Shanna offered to watch my suspended-from-school son for a couple of hours so I could finish it up in her writing room.

Well, I am very pleased to announce that I DID IT! I told everybody at the luncheon that I worked well under pressure (though I probably shouldn't let that be widely spread about). I always performed better than I practiced with music and tested better than I did at homework. Thanks, James and Shanna, for kicking my butt and making me get this done. Now I've just got to do line edits.

Back to work I go!

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Cool Birthdate Quiz

It's been a busy weekend, so I'm just taking a second tonight to post something. I'll post about my writing group's lunch date with James Dashner tomorrow. Tonight I'm too tired and actually get to sleep in until 7 am. Woo hoo! I'm off work tomorrow. Normally I get up at 4. I'm still tired though since technically it's an hour past my bedtime, thus the rambling nature of this paragraph.

I found this cool quiz on Candace Salima's blog. I'm not sure how true it is, but it seems to hit the mark pretty closely to me.

Your Birthdate: November 7

You are an island. You don't need anyone else to make you happy.
And though you see yourself as a loner, people are drawn to you.
Deep and sensitive, you tend to impress others with your insights.
You also tend to be psychic - so listen to that inner voice!

Your strength: Your self sufficiency

Your weakness: You despise authority

Your power color: Maroon

Your power symbol: Hammer

Your power month: July

Quote of the Day: "Perseverance is more important than talent. The world is full of talented men and women who never achieve anything." - (not sure who said it, but I like it!)

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Media Flip-Flop

How many times have you gone to a movie based on a book you love and rolled your eyes at all the changes? How many times have you loved the book and hated the movie?

I'm not as particular as some people are, I guess. Maybe it's because I can find value in both mediums. Or maybe it's because more often than not I read the book after I see the movie. Well, whatever the reason, I usually don't mind the changes. Most people I know detest the '80's version of Dune, but I always enjoyed it. I didn't read the book until years later and found joy in that too. I loved The Chronicles of Narnia onscreen and in book form both, as well as Harry Potter (in all its forms), and on the small screen, The Dresden Files and Blood Ties.

What is my point, you might ask? Well, I seem to have the opposite problem. There are a few movies I like much, much better than the books. In fact, I find it difficult to get into the books at all. Quite frankly, they bore me, and I know some of you will be up in arms when I mention them as one series in particular is a fantasy classic. Yes, I am speaking of The Lord of the Rings. Now, now, put the fruit down and step away from the screen. I adore the characters. Frodo. Bilbo. Gandolf and Aragon. I love them all, but in this case, for me at least, what translated well to the silver screen was too full of description for me to climb inside the character's heads.

I guess that's the biggest thing for me as to whether I truly love a book or not. I could care less what shade of green the grass is, or whether the lamp is to the left or right of the door. Give me a character with depth. A person I can imagine living next to, someone quirky and full of passion and feeling, then put them into a threatening situation and I'm hooked.

Now, though this is a long winded blog, I do have a point and it's not about Lord of the Rings. No, this post is about another movie I recently saw that I absolutely loved, and the book that has been a letdown.

I'm speaking of Stardust. I can't quite put my finger on what it is about the book that makes it so easy to set aside, but it has become almost a burden to read it, and what fun is reading when it's not fun anymore? Every time I pick up the book I think "It's got to get better," but here I am half way through and it's just not. I can see how it translates well to a visual production because that seems to be what it's all about: description. Where is the drama? Where is the love of the character? It makes me sad because I want to like this book. I really want to like it and I just can't. I'll probably plow through just for curiosity's sake, but I'm already looking forward to picking up something new. Something with some pizazz, that will let me crawl inside somebody else's mind and live there for a while.

Am I alone in this?

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Climbing Off the Fence

I've decided I'm a bit of a fence sitter in life. Not where my beliefs are concerned - no - I'm a fence sitter in expressing my true thoughts and opinions. It must be the white in me -- you know, from the color code book? Whites are the peace keepers, the ones who avoid conflict at all cost and I am split right down the middle as a blue-white. Blues are emotional and loyal, the ones who take charge when no one else will step forward. So, I've got my blue side that is very passionate about things and my white side that doesn't want to step on any toes, so I feel all these things and never express myself, or very rarely anyway. Only when it's safe and I'm pressured into it.

I've got to admit, I admire Candace Salima her ability to voice her thoughts so openly, whether it be political, religious, or anything in between. Her blogs are fascinating to me and I look forward to each and every one. Tristi Pinkston does the same thing with different topics. She seems so open with what is on her mind.
I can't help but ask myself why I can't be more like that? But then I remember: we've all got our place in this life. We've all got our own unique gifts and challenges and where Candace and Tristi may be gifted in presenting themselves so fluently, I can keep the peace. Their gift is my challenge, and in the end that's really okay.

The whole concept puts me in mind of the scripture that says: "And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them."
(Book of Mormon Ether 12:27)" (Italics added for emphasis)

I've not blogged much lately, mostly because I've been feeling so many different things, I was afraid to put them out there for the world to see for fear I might offend somebody. Well, it's time to start being humble enough to take a chance and let the Lord help me be stronger in my weakness.

So here I am. I'm blogging about me - the real, genuine me - imperfect, a little fearful, and struggling to make it through each day - and just hoping I can finally hop of the fence and show myself for who I really am. I'm letting the grass be green again.

Quote of the Day: "Stop thinking about everyone else. Think about you. What do you want? What are your dreams? When you get to the end of your life and you're looking back on all you accomplished and didn't accomplish, what are the regrets you're going to have? Now live so that you don't carry those regrets." - Tristi Pinkston

Monday, August 20, 2007

102 Reading Suggestions

I found this over on Stephanie Black's website and thought it would be fun to go through. Evidently Josi Kilpack put this list together after surveying several authors. I thought it was kind of cool.

Books that I've read are in green print. Books I own and have not yet read are in Purple. Books I'm dying to read are in yellow.

1) A Heartbeat Away—Rachel Ann Nunes
2) Almost Sisters—Nancy Anderson, Lael J. Littke and Carroll H. Morris
3) Angels Don't Knock—Dan Yates
4) An Old Fashioned Romance—Marcia Lynn McClure
5) A Question of consequence—Gordon Ryan
6) Ariana: The Making of a Queen—Rachel Ann Nunes
7) As the Ward Turns—Joni Hilton
8) At the Journey’s End—Annette Lyon
9) Baptists at Our Barbecue—Robert Farrell Smith
10) Charly—Jack Weyland
11) Charley’s Monument—Blaine M. Yorgason)
12) Chickens in the Headlights—Matthew Buckley
13) Children of the Promise, Vol 1: Rumors of War— Dean Hughes
14) Children of the Promise, Vol 2: Since You Were Gone— Dean Hughes
15) Come Armageddon—Anne Perry
16) Daughter of a King—Rachel Ann Nunes (picture book)
17) Dead on Arrival--Jeffrey Savage
18) Double Cross--Betsy Brannon Green
19) Dusty Britches—Marcia Lynn McClure
20) Emeralds and Espionage—Lynn Gardner--my daughters absolutely loved this
21) Escaping the Shadows—Lisa J. Peck
22) Fablehaven—Brandon Mull
23) False Pretenses—Carole Thayne
24) Faraway Child—Amy Maida Wadsworth
25) Fire of the Covenant—Gerald Lund
26) First Love and Forever—Anita Stansfield
27) Flowers of the Winds--Dorothy Keddington
28) Ghost of a Chance—Kerry Blair
29) Gustavia Browne—Alene Roberts
30) Jimmy Fincher Saga Vol. 4: War of the Black Curtain— James Dashner
31) House on the Hill—Annette Lyon
32) House of Secrets—Jeff Savage
33) House on the Sound—Marilyn Brown
34) In a Dry Land—Elizabeth Petty Bentley
35) Lifted Up—Guy Morgan Galli
36) Love Beyond Time—Nancy Campbell Allen
37) Mary & Elisabeth—S. Kent Brown (Non-fiction)
38) MaCady—Jennie Hansen
39) Molly Mormon—Tamara Norton
40) Mummy's the Word—Kerry Blair
41) My Body Fell Off—BJ Rowley
42) My Not So Fairy Tale Life—Julie Wright
43) No Longer Strangers—Rachel Nunes
44) Nothing to Regret—Tristi Pinkston
45) On a Whim—Lisa McKendrick
46) On Second Thought—Robison Wells
47) On the Edge--Julie Coulter Bellon
48) One in Thine Hand—Gerald Lund
49) One Tattered Angel—Blaine M. Yorgason
50) Out of Jerusalem 1 (Of Goodly Parents)—H.B. Moore
51) Out of Jerusalem 2 (A Light in the Wilderness) —H. B. Moore
52) Out of Jerusalem 3 (Towards the Promised Land)H. B. Moore
53) The Peacegiver—James L. Ferrel
54) Pillar of Fire—David Woolley
55) Poison—Betsy Brannon Green
56) Prodigal Journey—Linda Paulson Adams
57) Pursuit of Justice—Willard Boyd Gardner
58) Return to Red Castle—Dorothy Keddington
59) Race Against Time—Willard Boyd Gardner
60) Sarah—Orson Scott Card
61) Saints—Orson Scott Card
62) Sixteen in no time—BJ Rowley
63) Spies, Lies and a Pair of Ties—Sheralyn Pratt
64) Standing on the Promises Vol 1: One More River to Cross --Margaret Young and DariusGray
65) Strength to Endure—Tristi Pinkston
66) Surprising Marcus—Donald S. Smurthwaite
67) Tathea—Anne Perry
68) Tempest Tossed—Josi S. Kilpack
69) Tennis Shoes Among the Nephites—Chris Heimerdinger
70) The Alliance—Gerald Lund
71) The Book of Mormon—Nephi thru Moroni (non-fiction)
72) The Believer—Stephanie Black
73) The Coming of Elijiah—Arianne Cope
74) The Counterfeit—Robison Wells
75) The Emerald--Jennie Hansen
76) The First Year—Crystal Liechty
77) The Fragrance of Her Name—Marcia Lynn McClure
78) The Killing of Greybird—Eric Swedin
79) The Last Days, Vol. 1: The Gathering Storm—
Kenneth R. Tarr
80) The Last Promise—Richard Paul Evans
81) The Looking Glass—Richard Paul Evans
82) The Miracle of Miss Willie—Alma J. Yates
83) The Single Heart—Melinda Jennings
84) The Visions of Ransom Lake—Marcia Lynn McClure
85) The Work and the Glory Vol 1—Gerald Lund
86) The Work and the Glory Vol 2—Gerald Lund
87) The Work and the Glory Vol 3—Gerald Lund
88) The Work and the Glory Vol 4—Gerald Lund
89) The Work and the Glory Vol 5—Gerald Lund
90) The Work and the Glory Vol 6—Gerald Lund
91) The Work and the Glory Vol 7—Gerald Lund
92) The Work and the Glory Vol 8—Gerald Lund
93) This Just In—Kerry Blair
94) Time Riders—Sierra St. James
95) Time Will Tell by -- Julie Coulter Bellon
96) To Echo the Past—Marcia Lynn McClure
97) To Have or To Hold—Josi S. Kilpack
98) Towers of Brierley -- Anita Stansfield
99) Twelve Sisters—Leslie Hedley
100) Unsung Lullaby—Josi S. Kilpack
101) Wake Me When it’s over—Robison Wells
102) Winter Fire—Rachel Ann Nunes

Authors who contributed to the list: Tristi Pinkston, Julie Wright, Jeffrey Savage, Rachel Ann Nunes, Jewel Adams, Annette Lyon, Heather Moore, Stephanie Black, Julie Bellon and Josi S. Kilpack

Quote of the Day: "In my experience, the best creative work is never done when one is unhappy." -- Albert Einstein

Sunday, August 19, 2007

What Kind of Chocolate Are You?

You are Milk Chocolate

A total dreamer, you spend most of your time with your head in the clouds.
You often think of the future, and you are always working toward your ideal life.
Also nostalgic, you rarely forget a meaningful moment... even those from long ago.

I couldn't help but post the results on this quiz as I've spend the past three days with my "head in the clouds". We had a nice blessing come into our lives of a little extra money and I've got the opportunity to do some much needed home improvements. Not to hire somebody, oh no. Why would I do that when I can have so much fun with the power tools? I'll blog about it in more detail when I have the plans finalized, but for now, let's just say my house is getting a much needed Design on a Dime style makeover, or maybe it's more of a Design Remix makeover. I don't know. Whatever. Anybody else out there obsessed with HGTV?