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?

Friday, August 17, 2007


I'm not normally one to do book or movie reviews, though I always appreciate reading them, but I couldn't help but take a few minutes and share my thoughts on the movie Hairspray. I'll say right off I didn't expect much from this show. I mean, come on, John Travolta not only in drag but in a fat suit? It just didn't click for me. I went to the theatre on the spur of the moment one evening hoping to see something cool like The Bourne Ultimatum. Unfortunately it hadn't been released yet so I picked the only show that wouldn't keep me cooling my heels for an hour and it was a tough choice between two movies I'd already seen and Hairspray.

I must admit I was very pleasantly surprised. The premise is a young, weight-challenged girl who is head over heels for one of the stars of a local song and dance show. She has the opportunity to audition for the Corny Collins Show, and makes an impression, both good and bad depending on who you're talking to. I don't want to ruin it for anybody who hasn't seen it, but newcomer Nicki Blonsky did an amazing job as Tracy Turnblad, in my opinion. There were a lot of familiar faces and I was surprised to learn that they could actually sing. Amanda Bynes (She's the man) as the sweet and airheaded best friend, James Marsden (The X-Men as Cyclops) as show host Corny Collins, Michelle Pfifer as the wicked studio manager, and many, many more.

As far as family appropriateness goes, it's rated PG for some small language, a little inappropriateness, and a short teen smoking sequence, but for me at least, they were small enough as to go mostly unnoticed.

I've got to admit in the end I love, love, LOVE this movie. It's slightly cheesy, but then so am I, and the music keeps your toes tapping from start to finish. I'm not one who will pay full price to see a movie multiple times but I've seen this three times already and plan to go with a friend for a fourth next week.

All in all, I'd highly recommend it. It's a movie that shows characters trying to overcome prejudice, not only with the color of skin but also with size discrimination, something that is still prevalent in our society today. It actually has a message and moral to the story that is quite obvious by the time you reach the end.

So go see it, and if you want a movie partner, call me up. I'm certainly willing to go again.

Monday, August 13, 2007

What Element Are You?

Your Element Is Air
You dislike conflict, and you've been able to rise above the angst of the world.
And when things don't go your way, you know they'll blow over quickly.

Easygoing, you tend to find joy from the simple things in life.
You roll with the punches, and as a result, your life is light and cheerful.

You find it easy to adapt to most situations, and you're an open person.
With you, what you see is what you get... and people love that!

Tuesday, August 7, 2007


well, thanks to Candace Salima I was introduced to The Simpsonizer and decided to have myself Simpsonized. I've not been a big follower of The Simpsons over the years, though it's not because I don't find them humorous (I've already admitted that I am warped.) It's just that I don't have enough time to do the things I NEED to be doing, let alone shove more stuff into my head that will make me even MORE warped. Still, I couldn't resist this one. I don't think it looks anything like me, but I dont' care. It was fun anyway.

So, here I am! Simpsonized!

Sunday, August 5, 2007

What Do Your Hands Say About You?

Surprisingly accurate!

What Your Hands Say About You

You are logical, analytical, and rational. You have good verbal skills.

Bold and daring, you're not afraid to change your life if you think it needs an overhaul.

Practical and down to earth, you're a doer not a dreamer. You rather get something done than think about it all day.

Your emotions tend to be nervous and potent. Your energy - both positive and negative - deeply impacts your life.

Friday, August 3, 2007

What Superheroine Are You?

I LIKE this!!!

You Are Buffy the Vampire Slayer
"We saved the world. I say we have to party."

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Putting it to the Test

Yesterday I asked for some suggestions to overcome this year long writers block and got some great responses. Today has been devoted to putting them to the test. Shanna had told me at one point as well that maybe I needed to give myself permission to do something else for a while, which for some reason I've not been able to do. Today I have. I took Aneeka and Paulette's suggestion to use music that reminds me of my story and create a playlist. The only problem has been that I've got a lot of music. A LOT of music. It would take me 25 days, 5 hours, and 4 minutes to play every song I own. Try on 9,378 songs. I know, I know, it's a ridiculous amount, but music is my second love. When I was in college I couldn't decide whether to be an english or a music major, and it was actually a music scholarship that got me there. I can't help it, I'm obsessed.

So, I've been working on my playlist more by genre than favorite songs. It would take me a week to listen to everything I've got, even if I just listened to ten seconds of each song. I took most of the celtic and classical stuff, added a huge dose of new age and movie soundtracks and I'm done, although it's still to the tune of 2,143 songs. At least I don't have to worry about any repeats, and if a song comes on that doesn't inspire me, I delete it.

So, playlist in place, I tackled Tristi's suggestion. Tristi said " . . . I've had short slumps and it usually means that something in my life is out of balance. I need to clean my house or get my kids on track or just plain rest more -- and after I take care of that stuff, the writing seems to come back." That rang true for me like you wouldn't believe, especially considering the condition my den has been in for the past ten months. Life kind of slammed me for a while and everything got dumped in my den and stayed there. It's time to make it a usable space again.

So today has been full of music and cleaning, with the promise of new bookshelves when I'm done. See, I love to build things. I built my den out of a portion of my garage and it turned out great. Here's a couple of pictures from when I first finished:Sawdust fills me with creativity like nothing else. So, once I've got things cleaned up I'll build myself some new shelves and hope it will further stimulate the creativity that is already freeing up. Thanks, you guys, for taking the time to encourage me and share the things that have helped you. You've made a difference in my life today. I'll be back to writing soon, I can feel it!

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

A Kick in the Pants

I got this from Shanna's blog. It was interesting.

You Are a Mermaid
You are a total daydreamer, and people tend to think you're flakier than you actually are.While your head is often in the clouds, you'll always come back to earth to help someone in need.Beyond being a caring person, you are also very intelligent and rational.You understand the connections of the universe better than almost anyone else.
What Mythological Creature Are You?

I was going to blog about going to see Julie Wright on Monday, but Shanna already did it and other than saying Julie is one of the most awesome people I know, I don't have much else to say. It was a wonderful day that had me purging my frustrations with the publishing industry and getting a swift kick in the pants to get back to work. Just what I needed. But it got me thinking today about a poem I wrote a while back - at the LTUE conference actually. Go with me on this, it relates.

You'd think I were about to embark
on a footrace from coast to coast
or a marathon of toilet cleaning
for the dread I feel,
but no --
the hardest step,
the one that hurts the most,
takes the greatest effort
and consumes me with fear
is the simple act
of parking my butt in the chair
to write the first word

So, here's my question: Do any of you ever feel this way? And if so, how have you worked past it? Because to be honest, I've been stuck in this place for about a year and I don't like it. I've got an editor waiting for a book and an agent waiting for a synopsis on another book and I'm stuck, seemingly unable to park myself in the chair long enough to write.

If anybody's got any suggestions, please, PLEASE leave them in the comments. I could use the help.

Quote of the Day: "Writing a book is a adventure. To begin with it is a toy and amusement. Then it becomes a mistress, then it becomes a master, then it becomes a tyrant. The last phase is that just as you are about to be reconciled to your servitude, you kill the monster and fling him out to the public." - Winston Churchill