Friday, July 13, 2012

Finding My Voice

 I think it was three years ago I had a cool dream and decided I should write a book about it.  I didn't think about how I should say things, or what the readers would think, I just wrote it.  I ended up re-writing the entire story at least four times.  I changed the ending significantly, I decided I had written it in the wrong point of view, and I thought the first draft was just kind of dumb.  I made huge mistakes in querying and ended up trashing the entire project. 

After that, I joined a writing club, started going to seminars and classes, and began to perfect my craft.  I talked to people about my stories, got opinions, and changed my writing for the better - or so I thought. 

I know friends and family are biased and therefore don't usually have objective opinions, but my mom said something significant to me a few days ago.  She said she liked the first book better.  That the characters were more real, that she could identify with them.  Though I think the story is underdeveloped- the difference is- it is true to my voice.  I didn't write it to please anyone but me. 

Now I know with my current WIP to stay true to me, and write for me.  Hopefully other people will like it, but if they don't, it doesn't matter.  I do this for me. 

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

A Nice Rejection? Could Be Worse.

Dear Andrea,

Thank you for querying me about your manuscript, HIDING IN PLAIN SIGHT. I've read your sample pages and I'm sorry to say that the project just isn't a perfect fit with my current needs. This has less to do with your strengths as a writer and more to do with my goals as an agent and the trends of the current literary marketplace.

I wish you the best of luck in your search for the right agent and publisher. Keep writing!

Kindest Regards,

Monday, July 2, 2012

A Time To Mourn

By now, everyone has heard about 6 year old Sierra Newbold from West Jordan UT.  She was kidnapped from her room in the middle of the night, raped, and thrown in the canal.  There is nothing I can say that will make a difference, but I have to say a few things. 

I am so sorry for that little girl.  For the things she must have suffered  - the terror she must have experienced before she died.  My heart goes out to her parents.  For the things they have suffered and for the time they will continue to suffer. 

I hope they catch they horrible, discuting, dispicable "human being" that did this to her.  There is no forgiveness for someone like that. 

Friday, June 29, 2012

A Writer's 'Tell'

Everyone has pet words.  One of my favorites is amazing, I think everything is amazing.  My 10 year old changes his pet words often.  His current one is epic.  He is always saying "That was an epic failure."

I was listening to a podcast called Writing Excuses and they were talking about writers pets and calling them TELLS. Things authors sometimes overuse- such as making a character blink too much.  I notice I have characters swallow emotions and bit their lips and chew on fingernails.  (A few of my bad habits.)

I was watching the last episode of one of my favorite shows, ONE TREE HILL, and I noticed a tell of the writer.  Often, like almost every episode, two people will be having a conversation and when they end it one of them walks off.  The person left standing there calls out their name, the other one turns back, and the dude standing there says something profound.  

One of my idols screen writer Mark Schwahn

It kind of started to get on my nerves, it was so predictable. That being said I think it is a challenge for us to get outside of ourselves and come up with new material.  Still, a worthy challenge for the watches and readers sake. 

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Man On A Ledge - 3*

"There won't be a Man On Another Ledge," said Sam Worthington in an interview on Ellen.  He had to spend three weeks filming out of a "really high" window with only cables to keep him from falling to his death. 

This was another pick of my husbands that I wasn't exactly thrilled about, and again, happily surprised.  Though the acting was simply put, fine (Worthington drives me crazy with his inability to master an American accent), the story was intense and actually kind of believable.  I really love to enjoy a movie I didn't think I would. 

BTW - my pick was Moneyball and it was as good as everyone said it was.  Seriously, can't go wrong with Brad Pitt.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Year Round School Doesn't Benefit Kids

My kids are still in school and it is June 25th.  It is 100 degrees outside, a perfect time to be swimming in our pool, eating Popsicle, and going to the park, they are sitting in a hot school under florescent lights.  In January- they will be out of school when it is like 12 degrees outside and the only thing to occupy their time is fighting and watching TV.

Year round school has been around, in some form or another, since the 1800s.  The theory behind it was that the kids would benefit from shorter breaks, thus not losing all that they learned over a prolonged break.  It is also said to save money.  However, Charles Ballinger - executive director of the National Association of Year round education- says a year round schedule cost the same as a traditional school year. 

As for the benefits for kids, I have seen none.  My kids get a 6 week summer, which they don't forget anything they learned.  Sure when they get back to school they it takes a few weeks to get back into the swing of things, but it does every time they go off track.  My youngest has a particularly hard time re-adjusting to school after being off-track.  A process that is unfortunately repeated multiple times through out the year. 

As far as I can see, it does save money by allowing the schools to fill the school with more children.  They can have a lot more kids if an entire track is always off, the teachers just have to move class rooms every time they go off.  So instead of ponying up and building the right amount of schools, the government forces the kids to go year round.  I would love for our school to do away with it, like many in our area have, but since there are over 900 kids enrolled at our school, it won't be anytime soon. 

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Kindle Direct Publishing

"Did I cry over some of these rejections?  Absolutely.  Did I feel inadequate, untalented, hurt?  Did I doubt my ability to craft a story that readers could fall in love with?  You bet."

Jessica Parker got tired of the rejections for her book Flat Out Love, so she went with Kindle Direct Publishing, and did it herself.  They claim to 'empower serious authors to reach readers, build a following, and make a living' on their own terms. 

For the record, I think it is so amazing to have this option.  Used to be self-published authors were pretty much unheard of, but with e-books they are getting a lot of attention.  I am glad it is available. 

That being said, I am not ready for it, and may never be.  I don't think I have the ability to promote myself the way these authors do.  They spend tons of hours and definitely a lot of money  to get their books out there.  NOT that I don't want to help promote myself, just that I want my book to be its very best, and don't think that is possible without traditional publishing. 

Congrats to Jessica Park for making it happen. 

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

The Mind Readers by Lori Brighton

"I snuggled further down into my warm, soft bed, thinking maybe I was dreaming.  I could have sworn I'd just fallen asleep.  No way it was already morning.  Besides, I didn't want to wake up.  I wanted to sleep.  Sleep was good.  Very good."

This is an excerpt out of Lori Brighton's book The Mind Readers, which is about, yes you guessed it - kids who can read minds.  She does a great job of putting a different twist on it.  Only certain families are able to read peoples minds and they have to keep the secret from everyone for fear they will be taken by a government group and killed. 

It has a good amount of romance, suspense, betrayal - and the best part it is free on kindle.  So now reason not to download it now!  There are two more reasonably priced. 

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Why Am I So Tired?

I literally have to give myself a pep-talk to get out of bed in the morning.  I make a promise that after all my chores are done, my errands are run, and my work is done, I can take a nap.  And I do.  Everyone close to me knows, at 1:00 pm. don't even try to get a hold of me because I'm sleeping.

I've been like this for as long as I can remember.  My roommates in college told me she thought something was wrong with me because every time they came in my room I was sleeping.  Why am I so tired?

According to Web MD there are about 10 reasons I could be tired.

1.  I have a bad diet.  (Okay so it isn't perfect, but I try to get my food groups in.)
2. I am not getting enough sleep.  (Uh no way.  I sleep up to 9 hours in a 24 hour period.)
3.  I don't exercise enough.  (I feel like 45 min to an hour a day is plenty.)
4.  I am anemic.  (Nope, just got checked though it has been a problem in the past.)
5.  I am missing a key nutrient like potassium.  (Possible.)
6.  Thyroid.  (Nope, been checked a thousand times.)
7.  Diabetes.  (Nope.)
8.  Depression.  (Okay so yes, but it is being treated so should it make me tired?)
9.  Sleep apnea.  (Doubtful.)
10.  Heart disease.  (Doubtful.)

Though interesting, this is not too helpful.  While I get frustrated with this problem- I think the truth is, I just really like to sleep.  It is so relaxing and gives me a break.  Guess I will just have to live with it. 

Monday, June 18, 2012

The Great Debate: Legalizing Marijuana

When I was 18 years old, I was riding a ski lift with my brother, and I smelled a weird smell.  I asked him what it was and he just looked at me.  He couldn't believe I didn't know that they guys in the lift in front of us were smoking marijuana.  I'm a lot older now, and it is still the only time I have ever smelled it. 

I was with my family when a debate broke out about the legalization of the drug.  Most people were in agreement.  Just make it legal.  Honestly, I was stunned, but couldn't really offer an opinion so I did some research. 

Turns out it can cause mental and physical health problems, affect cognitive abilities, and make you lazy.  The problem with this information is: how many of these people had these problems regardless of their usage?  Plus, how do they know they haven't used other drugs?

Another argument- the use of alcohol is just as dangerous, and it is legal.  Besides people are going to use it anyway, why not tax it and make a profit?

It is said to be a gateway drug and studies show all hard core drug abusers have used marijuana.  Most of them started out with cigarettes and alcohol, so what was the drug that served as the gateway?    So if marijuana is outlawed- shouldn't alcohol be banned as well?  Approximately 16,000 people die in alcohol related accidents each year.  There was no information related to car accidents from marijuana, though hundreds were drug related. 

It is still unclear to me, but it seems that marijuana is no more dangerous than alcohol, but the jury is still out for me. 

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Do You Love or Hate e-books?

I am always slow to want/need new technology, I mean, I still don't own a smart phone.  So when my husband had to have a kindle I was like "Seriously?"  Just go to the library.

Walking into a library or a book store feels like a little piece of heaven on earth for me.  Particularly the library because I can borrow any of them for free.  I love looking around at the endless shelves of books hardly able to contain my excitement at all of the pages filled with unread words.  I can hardly wait to get my hands on them.

I can't get the same experience from downloading a book on the kindle.  Most of the time, I don't even get to see the cover.  Plus I hate that I can't actually turn the page.  I know sounds dumb, but honestly, I like the literal feel of a book in my hands.

All that being said, I have about 14 books I have downloaded on the kindle now.  My husband reads his books on his acer thing, so I have taken over his old kindle.  The thing about it is, there are so many boo

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Rent Contraband

We have Netflix.  We take turns choosing movies every other week, and last weekend it was my husbands turn.  His pick was Mark Wahlberg's Contraband.  I have to admit I wasn't exactly thrilled with the choice, but it wasn't my turn so I just went along with it. 

I have to say I was completely taken off guard by how good it was.  The story line was well thought out.  The first plot point of the reason Chris (Mark Wahlberg) has to get back into the old business of smuggling because his wives brother was in trouble, arrived exactly on time.  It was perfect because it was a valid reason and made the plot nice and thick. 

The acting was good, though I felt like Kate Beckinsale was a little mis-cast as the kind of lower class wife.  Though she did a good job, they didn't really have good chemistry and I just didn't buy her in the part. 

My only other complaint was Chris Farraday's (Wahlber) character arch was over before the movie started.  He was pretty much the same guy at the end as he was at the first, but due to time, it kind of worked. 

Overall, it was an entertaining way to spend a Saturday night and I give it 3 and a half out of four stars. 

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Living with a Type-One Diabetic

I wake with a start, my eyes bleary as they find the clock.  Its after midnight, and my husband is out of bed.  I find him in the kitchen with the refrigerator door open.  He is getting ready to urinate in it.  I rush over to him and try to pull him to the bathroom.  His body is covered in sweat and he yells at me calling me his sister's name.  He stumbles over to the couch and tries to pee there, but I stop him.  I try to drag him to the bathroom, something that proves difficult seeing as he outweighs me by at least 50 pounds.  I finally get him in there and settle him on the toilet, though I doubt he actually has to pee. 

Most of the populations reaction is to give him insulin.  If I did this, I would most certainly kill him.  A normal blood sugar level is 80 to 120.  His was about 33 meaning he already had far to much insulin in his blood stream.  Any more would send him into a comma he might never wake from. 

After I gave him a bottle of juice, I have to wait for 15 minutes, talking myself out of giving him more the entire time.  If I gave him more too soon, I might make his blood sugar skyrocket.  After awhile he starts talking normal, he knows my name, asks why he is on the toilet.  He is out of the woods so I crawl back into bed. 

He was 28 when he was diagnosed, something becoming more and more common.  No one knows why he developed it.  Type one diabetes is not hereditary, it isn't due to over-eating, or being obese.  There is a theory that something has attacked the pancreas and caused it to die, but nothing is certain. 

This incident was years ago and since then he has gotten much better at controlling his insulin levels.  He counts carbs in absolutely everything he eats.  This is vitally important because he knows his insulin to carb ratio is 15:2.  !5 carbs, 2 units of insulin.  Unfortunately it is not an exact science, and sometimes things just don't digest the same or the body reacts differently, and he ends up a walking zombie until we figure out what is wrong.  Other times he shoots high, but when he is high, he is still coherent and just takes more insulin. 

Living with someone with this disease is stressful.  My ten year old has been home with his father a few times and had to force him to drink juice.  Though he stayed cool, I know it worries him.  He is always asking his dad if he has taken insulin, and checking if he is sweaty.  I guess it something that is hard to understand unless you have lived it, but I wanted to give a small view into the difficulties. 

Monday, June 11, 2012

Why do people choose civil service?

I want to shake my blog up a little bit. I have more interests than writing, and I don't know many people who share my interest so I want to write about other things as well. On Mondays I will be exploring my journalism background, and writing about my opinions. I always wanted an opinion column - so here it goes.

I have a great respect for those who choose to go into civil service. Namely - teachers, police officers, firefighters, and military personnel. We need people who want to do these highly important jobs, yet we pay them probably half what they are worth. But then I started looking at the higher paid jobs and it wasn't as clear to me.
 Take a surgeon for example. They can make upwards of $400,000 per year which seems kind of extreme. But remember, they go to school for sometimes 16 years, and they work a minimum of 80 hours per week. They make a lot, but they work hard for it.

So then I thought about professional athletes who make into the millions. And really their jobs are like playing right? But if they can command that kind of money, and get it, shouldn't they pursue it? I mean no shoe company is going to pay a cop to have him advertise their brand. So if we don't want them to make so much money we would have to stop supporting them. Stop watching the games, going to the games, buying our ten year old $70 jerseys with a players name on it. The truth is we like the sports, and as long as we do, we are going to pay for it.

Another truth is that although civil servants are valued jobs, they don't take as much talent or training. A cop and a firefighter only have to go through the academy, though I have heard they do better if they have a college education. Though teachers have higher educations, they only work 9 months out of the year and have every break known to man. It isn't to say that they don't deserve more, but they have to demand it. In New York City they had a hard time getting people to join the police force so they upped their wages. If they couldn't get people to do it here, they would have to pay more. So my questions remains what motivates people to become Teachers, Firefighters, Police Officers or Military Personnel?

Monday, June 4, 2012

Waste of time... Maybe.

I just got a critique back from an author I met at a conference last year. She said the same thing everyone has said about my book. The history is questionable, and my voice is too modern for historical fiction. Although I love my book which is about the Salem witch trials, I think I am going to chalk it up to a learning experience. I don't have the voice for historical fiction so don't waste my time writing them. I feel good to have learned this after only one book I guess, and I still have many other books inside of me screaming to get out. I read something in Jennifer Echols book Love Storythat gave me great encouragement last night. "If you want to make writing a career you will get rejected again, and again, and again, and again. You have to learn not to take no for an answer." It inspires me to keep going and someday I will find success.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Have You Published Your Book Yet?

I get asked this question every time I go to a family party or see friends I haven't seen for awhile. While I realize they are only trying to be nice, to act interested in what's going on in my life, the question can feel like a dig. Plus it doesn't really make a lot of sense. Unless I want to self-publish, which I am not against just not there yet, I really don't do any of the publishing. What they could ask is: Do you have an agent yet? Sadly the answer would be a big resounding NO. But even if I did it would be years before I actually had a tangible product to show them. Yes show them not give them as I want it to be my profession after all. The more I learn the more I understand, this is a process, and a slow one at that. So I guess my point is, if anyone knows an author, ask about their book, but don't act like getting published is the only accomplishment. I wrote a book consisting of 75,000 words. That is pretty cool in and of itself. Right?

Monday, May 14, 2012

My Mom Loves To Read

Yesterday someone asked me what I would want my children to remember about me as a mother. My answer was that I wanted them to know I love them and that nothing is more important to me than my family. One of the things I love the most about my mom is her passion for reading. I remember growing up she was alwasy reading a book. She would finish one and pick up another. It is truly her favorite thing to do. As a child, I didn't really like reading much. (Gasp for anyone who really knows me.) My mom was really worried, she thought I was missing out on something great. So she got Little Women for us to read together. It was wonderful. (I have read the story since and didn't enjoy it as much.) After that we read The Secret Garden. And then I just started liking reading. I am so grateful that she felt it was important for me to enjoy reading and took the time to help me learn how. I would never have discovered my passion for writing without it. So I advise all parents to read with your kids. And thanks Mom!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Can't We All Just Get Along?

The easy answer, no. But as I am always asking, begging, and threatening my kids - they still fight. A lot. They were out of school recently, for three weeks, and the fighting grew even worse. I asked my son why and he told me "We're bored." Conflict, good or bad, is entertainment. Sometimes I will be reading a book, and when things are going really well for the characters, I notice my mind starts to wander. I think about how I should be cleaning my house, or writing my own book. But when everything keeps going wrong I can't seem to put it down. The same with movies, and life, I guess for that matter. Things are interesting when they aren't perfect. It made me think that next time I am irritated by things going so badly, I should be grateful. I will appreciate the easy more. Also it gives me great ideas for my books.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Do I Fear Success?

I got a rejection today. One of the bad kind where she just said, this is not for me, but good luck. The things was, I didn't really feel that upset about it. Sure I had a moment when I opened the email and though, maybe she liked it, but when I saw the short email I felt almost nothing.

It made me wonder if I should have felt more disappointed or upset, instead of just resigned. I have been told many times that I am going to get hundreds of rejections so maybe I was just prepared.

But when I read a blog post that talked about how hard the world of writing is, and then felt relieved, it made me wonder. Am I afraid of succeeding? I read an article that said fear of success is subconscious and we are almost always unaware of it.

How many times do I sabotage myself in all areas of my life, because I am afraid I might be good at it? Am I afraid that high expectations will be put on me? Expectations I can't live up to? Is it easier to drift along in a mediocre life and keep the dream alive that I could be doing better, but I choose not to? Honestly, I don't know.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Being a Mom

I didn't want this blog to be a mommy blog, but I find myself wondering if it so important to stay away from them. For one thing, not many read this, and for another, I don't feel like it will be successful if I don't write about things I want to write about. And today I want to write about being a stay at home mom.

I was a latch key kid, and it was very traumatic for me. I hated coming home to an empty house and being alone all summer long. I judged my mom for not staying home-swore I would never work while my kids are young.

For the most part, this has been a good decision. I liked being home when they get home, being a part of their school lives as well. But I find myself wondering again, what now? I am almost 35 years old and have nothing (on a personal level) to show for it. I mean, I work at a daycare making peanuts and watching other peoples kids. Not exactly what I pictured when I looked into my future.

I understand why my mom went back to work. First of all the money would be very nice, but beyond that, she needed to define herself outside of the roll of mom. Sure I have hobbies and other interests, but really- mom is all I really know.

I guess I will continue to ponder it and hopefully find the solution. If there is one.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

As You Wish.....

I've been reading a book lately that has some similar themes and ideas as my book. The problem is, I didn't really like it. This of course made me worry, is my book boring? I figured out the problem with this book and I am hoping I didn't make the same mistakes.

This other book didn't make you work for the payoff. I am going to use the princess bride to explain what I mean. Not only because it is one of my favorites but also because it written so perfectly.

Wesley has to work hard for his eventual payoff. I mean think about it- the girl is constantly taunting him, and he just keeps doing anything she wants. When he finally gets her, he is kidnapped by pirates and almost killed. Once he gets back to her, she engaged to a king, and unattainable again. He gets her back only to brave the fire swamp and then as he survives that- he ends up in the pit of despair. After all that, he gets killed by the evil king. But as we know, death cannot stop true love, plus he was only mostly dead. He ends up getting the girl but man did he have to work for it.

This try and fail cycle makes the payoff so much sweeter. I think it might be one of the secrets to truly great stories, and why trilogies are so popular. Reading through three books makes us really work for the happily ever after, or not depending on what you are reading.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Sport is so much drama

My husband often complains about drama, usually when talking about women. Not me of course, but just in general. Sure women do tend to have overt drama, with our tears and such, but I have discovered something about men recently.

They just hide their dramatic side better. Every time I went to the gym for two weeks straight the sports channels were on and on about Peyton Manning. Where is he going to go? All this speculation and gossip was enough to make me roll me eyes, over and over. There are several radio stations devoted to the propagation of gossip about the sports world. Talk radio anyone?

So I encourage men to broaden their drama appreciation and watch a chick flick now and then. And seriously reconsider calling us the drama queens all the time.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

The First Three? Impossible

When I look into sending out query letters, most of them ask for the first three chapters to go with it. I have done everything I can to make those chapters the very best they can be, but I still don't feel like they are enough.

I have been editing my book, trying to take out any super modern language, and I am in the final few chapters. It doesn't matter how many times I read it, I can't stop reading when it gets to the end. I also have significantly less editing at that point. The story seems to just flow so freely, everything coming together, it is by far the strongest part of the book. And I feel like my best writing.

So how am I suppose to sell it on my first few chapters? When is this ever the best part of a book? Seems like a no win situation and I just wish I could get them to read the end. I know they would love it then.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Hunger Games : The Movie Was Better

I cringe when I say this because the movie is never better, but I really thought it was this time.

The main reason was because, for me, the book was written in the wrong point of view. I couldn't get a good read on Katnis, and consequently didn't really like her, from her own point of view. Not to mention the fact that it took all of the surprise out, (Um, I think she wins). I think it would have been better if an outsider was telling about her so we could see how everyone sees her, and not how she sees herself.

The other reason was because I found it very revealing to see what the capital, and Hemich, were doing during the games. I understood everything so much better seeing it from their perspective.

The odd thing is, I write from first person. It's makes me wonder if I should, but I can't seem to help myself. Not only is it almost all I read, but it is also very popular in the YA genre, and I just like it. Makes me wonder if I should change my mind. (That is on my next book, of course).

Monday, March 26, 2012

The Glass is Half Empty

I'm a half empty glass kind of person. I don't see it as being pessimistic, I see it as realisitic. I mean, if the glass has potential for more, it is only half full. But something got me to thinking the other day, and I realized it is all about persepective and where you are in your life.

I was at my brothers house and he was saying how sad a life his autistic twins live that being allowed to play in the front yard was a huge treat. I told him it was kind of beautiful, the way they could be so happy about something so small. I was thinking of my own kids who took major outings to feel like something was memorable.

Another friend of mine said how she wished someone had told her ten years ago how perfect her life actually was. She was sad she had wasted so much time trying to change it. I had a simliar experience and told her that we all felt that way, and hindsight is 20/20, as they say. But I also thought maybe if someone would have told us this years ago, we wouldn't have listened, because we weren't ready to hear it.

All this got me to thinking about character arcs. Sometimes it feels like we need to make something vastly significant happen to change them, but really all it takes is a change in their persepctive. A way to make them look at things differently. And maybe something bad, will turn into to good, if we all just look at it a different way.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Social Media: Is it good or bad?

As hard as it is to believe, there are still some people who aren't involved in any kind of social media. I know some who hate the idea of it so completely they refuse to give it a chance.

As a want to be author, I really don't have a choice. If I don't have an online precense I can most likely kiss any book deal goodbye. Though I see the downside to it, the complete and total wasting away of hours and a time, I think it has merit.

Not only is it a good way to advertise things, but it also helps me to connect to people. There are people I have known my whole lives, that I didn't really know, until facebook. I like hearing funny, or interesting parts of their lives I otherwise would have no idea about. I like being connected.

I do get overwhelmed sometimes. I started with facebook, then worked my way to twitter, and then started this blog. But now I keep hearing about pinterst, and it's like, how many do I need to have an on-line presence?

Monday, March 19, 2012

Try, try again

'Tis a lesson you should heed,
Try, try again.
If at first you don't suceed
Try, try again.

Thomas H. Palmer

I am terrible at trying again. I can't actually think of something I have stuck with, hobby wise, for an long period of time. I quit ballet after a year, I quit softball after a season, I quit gymnastics after a few years, and I quit the piano. My mom always said if I didn't do it right the first time I just gave up.

I have been working on a book for more than a year. I have edited it so many times I have lost count, and really thought it was close to ready, maybe even there. Then I sent out a query. On the positive side I got back a personal letter telling me specific things to fix about it. The problem is she didn't like the voice of my main character, said it was too modern for the historical time period.

So now I am fighting my instincts to give up, and force myself to try again. I know so many people have queried hundreds of times and continued to fix their books, to perfect them. But others got it right the first time. So if we have to keep trying, do we really get it.

People have to work on anything they really want to be good at. If it were a musical instrument, and I had a bad performance, I wouldn't just give up. Or a bad interview wouldn't make me stop looking for a job. Still it is rejection, and rejection is always hard to take.

I guess at some point or another we all have to get back on that pony and ride.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

What makes people read a particular book?

I've recently signed up for Goodreads, which is really great, and I noticed the wide variety of books the people I am friends with read. It got me to thinking, what makes people pick up a book? To actually read, that is.

For me, the biggest draw to a book is a recommendation from someone else. (Goodreads helps out a lot with this.) If someone I trust tells me to read a book, I usually at least give it a try.

Second, it is the author. If I have read something of theirs, or something about them, or even met them, I am willing to give their book a try.

Lastly, it is a bit shallow, but if I think the title and the cover are interesting. Along with that is the synopsis on the back. If it looks good, it draws me in.

I asked some people and they gave similar answers, but also interesting difference. My mom said she looks at the rating on audible, if it is above 3 she buys it. My husband says his number one thing is the price, though he often looks at the best sellers list.

So I wonder, what makes people read a particular book?

Monday, March 12, 2012

Grocery Shopping Rant

An exercise in writing about how much I loathe grocery shopping.

I try to avoid grocery shopping as much as possible, but to my great dismay, it is somehwat unavoidable. I mean, you gotta eat right?

I hate walking through those doors with the high ceilings and the artificial lights. I hate trying to find a cart that doesn't pull too far in one direction or the other. I hate when someone is standing in front of what you want just staring at it as though it is will magically change. I hate searching for items on my list that are in the completely wrong place-like how canned mushrooms are by the spaghetti instead of the canned vegetables.

The thing I hate most about it, the money I spend. It is so much more than anyone I know, and I can't figure out why. I do all the ad shopping, have tried coupon clipping, and even went as far as price matching. (A somewhat humble experience). And still I end up spending far more than I think I should. It just ticks me off every time. Spending so much money on stuff that in two weeks will be literally, waste.

The other thing that irritates me is the time I spend. I usually go to two stores because I don't buy my meat at the same place I buy everything else so it ends up taking me almost 3 hours. There are a million other things I want to be spending my time on.

If I could, I would pay someone to do it for me. Too bad I can't afford it.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Trying to overcome the fear

Right now I am nearly paralyzed with fear, and when I am afraid of something I just procrastinate it for as long as possible. I don't think I can come up with anymore excuses though, it is time. Time to start sending out queries and trying to get an agent.

The reason I am so afraid is because of past failures. A few years ago I wrote a book and thought okay, great, wrote a book, send it out. Anyone who knows anything about publishing could tell you what a mistake that is. Thankfully, I joined the League of Writers and learned the process.

So this time, I wrote the book and then edited it 12 times. I had other people read it and then edited it again. Then I paid a local company to edit it. Then went through it a few more times.

Then I wrote my query letter. I read a book about writing query letters, I attended several conferences about it. I read tons of examples on the Internet. Then I begged a local author who wrote the book I read about querying to take a look at my letter. She graciously did, and sent back some changes.

For the last few months I have been using the excuse of the synopsis. I attended a conference where they gave some good advice. I read some examples and some advice on the Internet. I had a few people read it, and then sent it to my most trusted writing friend to review.

Now I am basically out of excuses, but I am still to afraid to send it out. I don't think the work could be anymore ready, but it is still bound for rejection. Tons and tons of rejection. Tomorrow I will test it, and send out a query letter, and hope for the best.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Why Women Read More Than Men

I read a twitter post today saying that you want women to like you book because they are the ones who are reading. I wasn't sure if it is true, I mean, I come from a family of readers. My brothers read, my dad does, and my husband reads a lot. My best friends husband is the one who got me into reading classics.

So I looked it up. According to an NPR article (Why Women Read More than Men)48% of women reported being frequent readers, while only 26% of men do. Of them, only account for 20% of the fiction readers. So men aren't reading, but when they are, it is non-fiction.

The article suggested that women are more empathetic and have a greater emotional range, allowing then to enjoy fiction more.

My first thought was, women enjoy the escape from reality more. I don't know if that is just me, but when I asked my husband he said the same thing. It isn't that life is so bad, it is just nice to have a break once and awhile. I love to escape into a world of fantasy where kids can fly and vampires are perfectly beautiful. I want to create this world for other people, so they can have an enjoyable experience for an afternoon, before they have to get back to real life and make dinner.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Reading in the schools makes me worry

Every wednesday I go to my youngests child's class, and have the kids read words to me. There are 23 kids in his class, and I would say 3/4 of them get most if not all of the words right. Thankfully my boys is among them.

But I am worried about the other 1/4 of the class. The kids who can only read one or two words out of 14. I have been doing this with them every week for the entire school year, and it is the same kids who are struggling. Not only that, but as the words get harder, they are falling further and further behind. I can't see that anything is being done about it.

Thanks to the no child left behind, they will be passes up to the next grade, and become the next teachers problem. I want to do something, but I don't know what, and besides it doesn't feel like it my place.

It makes me so sad. I get so much joy from reading, but even if they do eventually learn, they probably will hate it. The entire situation is a shame.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Synopsis can be boring.

I read a tweet today that synopsis can and should be dry. I almost jumped for joy, hoping this person truly knows what they are talking about. Cuz the problem is, I have been stuck on my synopsis for my book for about 3 months.

I mean putting my entire novel into as little words as possible while still covering the story is daunting. I took a class that suggests you write it before you begin writing the book, so I did. I read it recently and let me just say, it was terrible. Not just a little either.

Luckily, I recently went to a writing conference where someone made a small comment about them. (Note-to-self: someday do a class on how to write synopsis because there isn't enough info. about them.) The comment was how your synopsis should have your main character's arc. It was like light went on inside my head, and I was like duh! Why didn't I think of that?

Since then it has been so much easier. But I still am reading it and thinking, this is not as good as my book. How will I get an agent with this? Now I am hoping that the agents realize this is a quick draft of my book, just to let them know: yes she can write a story. I want to see more.

Now I have to get my nerve up and start sending it out. Ugh!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

I love TV!

I don't know why people get this condescending tone when they say, "I never watch TV" like it is something to brag about. I always want to tell them how sorry I feel for them, and how they are missing out on some killer story lines. I just wish I had even more time to watch TV.

I love the way I get caught up in a story and I start to care about these people as if they are actually a part of my life, and in a way they are. I see them every week and I watch as this awful stuff happens in their lives and how they overcome it, or don't. I love the character development and how it can go on for years.

I really feel like some of the best writers work for TV. One of my favorites is Mark Schwahn who created and wrote episodes of One Tree Hill. His words have really moved me.

So I will continue to watch more TV and love it.

Monday, February 20, 2012

The Stay at Home Mom's Dilema

When I was in first grade my mom went back to work full time. I ended up going to neighbor's houses and it was awful. Always being the guest, never feeling like I belonged anywhere. So I vowed I would never do that to my kids.

This year my youngest started first grade and it put a spin on my life. All the sudden I felt like I couldn't justify being home when they were gone most of the time. I started looking for a job with hours when they were in school. I couldn't find a fit and I was still left with the dilema of what to do when they go off track.

Of course I want to be a full time author and do most of my work from home, with the exception of travel to promote my book, but until that time comes I find myself wondering what should I do? Is it okay to be home when your kids aren't?

Today my oldest was home sick for with a fever and I was glad I didn't have a job and I didn't have to worry about arranging not to be there or someone else to take care of my sick kido. I also volunteer in my kids classes once a week and help with every party and every field trip. I love it, but I can't rid myself of the guilt. Particularly when my husband gets up at 4 am to go to his first of two jobs.

I don't know, maybe when they are older the answer will be more clear. For know I will just try to enjoy my time and tell the guilt to take a hike!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

I read way too much

I never thought I would say that. I mean, can reading ever hurt you? I don't' think it hurts me per say, but I think there are better things I could be doing with my time. The main one - writing.

Of course reading helps me to learn to write better and whenever I read I am studying how the author is using techniques to make the story flow. I am not saying I should stop doing it altogether. In fact if I had to give up reading to write, I would quit writing. I love books more than anything, well maybe not french fries, but still. It is just that I spend at least two hours a day reading, and there are many days I don't write at all. I think it is just about balance and there is such a thing as too much of a good thing.

My new goal: write for at least 2 hours a day. I know even with that I will have time to escape my life into the fantasy world of a novel.

Monday, February 13, 2012

A Tale of Two Authors

I spent the weekend at LIFE THE UNIVERSDE AND EVERYTHING at the Utah Valley University. It is one of my favorite writing conferences, not only because it is cheap, but also useful. And there a lot of Utah authors who attend.

So I had two very different experiences with a couple of them. The first is a woman I will refrain from naming because I am not going to portray her in the best light. I had met her a few times before, but I didn't expect her to remember. I was standing in the hall talking to someone I had just met, when she started lurking. (You know horning in on our conversation.) I didn't really think, but just greated her, doing what I thought was the polite thing, and inviting her in. I will just say she wasn't very gracious.

Later I saw her on a panel and she said some flippant and frankly rude things. The entire experience left a "bad taste in my mouth" and to be honest I don't know if I will buy any more of her books.

After that I stood in a long line to have Brandon Mull, one of my idols, sign my book. I was taken aback at the way he took time to talk to every single person in the line. He asked me what I was doing with my life, wanted to know about my kids, and laughed when I told him how much I liked a part of his book.

Lesson learned - be nice to everyone. When I am a published author I hope I can be as gracious as he was.