Monday, November 29, 2010

The Flip Side

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving. I certainly feel blessed. My brother and his family spent the holiday with us. We had a marvelous time, went to see the latest Harry Potter movie, and then, did the crazy "Black Friday" thing. After standing in line at Target for two and a half hours at four in the morning, Hubby and I have vowed to never do that again. :)

This week I'm back to blogging. And visiting blogs. I'm sorry I haven't been around lately. With the holiday and trying to get a couple of books written, I've fallen waaaaay behind. But I vow to do better.

For several weeks before Thanksgiving I'd been telling you about my path to publication. This week I thought I'd discuss the flip side of publishing a book.

I had been trying for years to get published and in that time I went back to college and earned my degree. I also worked for a curriculum publisher writing and editing children's concept and biography books. 

Still I wanted to break into fiction. I wrote five romantic suspense novels, three middle readers, and one young adult, none of which were published. My second young adult novel, The Forgotten Warrior, finally made it.

But there's a flip side to publication. No one told me about this part, so I'm letting you in on the secret. 

Here it is: once you're published that's when you roll up your sleeves and work your tail off. It's true. Writing your novel (or in my case novels) was only the proving ground. You're mingling with pros now. No more excuses. There are edits to make, galleys to read, and during this time you need to ramp up your promotion engine. This means you need to write articles for magazines/newspapers, volunteer to speak anywhere and everywhere you can, and you have to make a presence for yourself on the Internet.

I wish I could give you a magic formula on which generates sells of your novel, but after having only three books published I'm still trying to find what really works. AND it's different for each book. What worked for one book may not work for another.

Were all the years of writing novel after novel and receiving one rejection after another worth the time and trouble when I finally became published? Oh, yes! 

There's something magical about holding your novel in your hands, turning the pages, and smelling that fresh scent of a newly published book that has your name on it. Each time it's a thrill. I'm very grateful to my publisher! Their entire staff have been amazing.

And if I'd never published I wouldn't have created my blog, and I would have never met YOU!!!

I hope reading about my looooooong story to publication (took more weeks than I thought) has encouraged you on your path. 

For those who have already published maybe you found that your journey was similar to mine. 


Monday, November 22, 2010

Part Seven: My Journey to Publication

Last week I left you wondering if my young adult, time travel was the first book I sold.

Well, it wasn't. I spent a year writing about a boy named Tag, who went back in time to Samuel the Lamanite's daughter. The working title I had for that novel was The Wraiths and the Sacrifice. I felt good about this book. As soon as I finished Tag's story I sent it off. This started the process of send the novel off, get a rejection, send off, get rejection. Meanwhile, I needed to work on another YA. 

Once again I wanted to use the backdrop of the Book of Mormon. I asked my son what Book of Mormon story he thought was exciting. He looked at me as if that was a no-brainer and said, "the Stripling Warriors."

I really liked that idea, but I wanted my next book to have a female protagonist. As I pondered over what to do I realized, why not have a teenage girl with a black belt in karate go back in time and help train the stripling warriors? That would make for some great conflict. Plus, the research into karate would be a snap because my son was a second degree black belt. So I started working on The Forgotten Warrior

As I wrote the book I realized there were two big climatic scenes: one after the battle for Cumeni and one after the battle for Zarahemla. So I cut the story in half, making two books. I sent the first book to a publisher who requested to see it, but I also queried other publishers just in case. Then the publisher--whom I really wanted to buy it--replied to my query interested in the novel. I started putting pressure on the publisher who had been sitting on my book for a very long time. Finally he called and confessed that he'd lost the manuscript and could I email him a copy. I did and within a week he rejected the book, freeing the way for me to send it to the publisher I wanted all along. I was so excited. 

And then  . . . I didn't hear anything for six months. :(

I remember when I finally did. It was July and I was attending the RWA (Romance Writers of America) conference in Dallas, Texas. I'd gone to the Harlequin party with my roommate, who publishes with them. I met many famous authors and agents. We returned to our room late that night. 

Before I tumbled into bed, I checked my phone. My husband had left a message. To not disturb my sleeping roommate, I tiptoed into the bathroom to call. My husband told me I'd received an email from the publisher with good news and bad news.  

The bad news was the editor who loved my book was quitting the company, which really concerned me. What chance would my book have? Then Hubby told me the good news. My book had passed their review board. The final approval would come from the managing board. I should hear something in about a month. I was so excited that I let out a little scream, waking my roommate. She thought I was ill and tapped on the door, checking on me. I told her what had happened, and we were awake for quite a while talking about all the possibilities.

A month later I received an email from the managing editor at Covenant Communications telling me that they accepted my book, The Forgotten Warrior, for publication. My dream had come true.

Little did I know a whole new world would open to me, and I was about to learn the flip side of being published.

What is the flip side? 
Did I publish other books? 
What about The Wraiths and the Sacrifice

I'll tell you next Monday. ;)

This is the only post for this week. I have family coming from out of town to spend Thanksgiving with us. 

Happy Thanksgiving!


Friday, November 19, 2010

Book Review - Life and Death at Hoover Dam by Jerry Borrowman

A long, long time ago my husband and I lived in Idaho when the Teton Dam burst. This was a very dark time in our lives. My parents had to flee their home on the river, but even worse, my husband's father was killed in an accident due to the flood. Images are burnt into my mind of that day and the days that followed.

When Jerry Borrowman asked me to read his new book, at first I was reluctant because it had to do with a dam. But knowing what a great writer he is, I told him I would. I am so glad I did. Here is the back cover blurb.

It's 1931 and men are desperate for jobs. A lucky few will get to work in the searing heat of the Nevada desert on the massive Hoover Dam., the single largest public works project in history. Their goal is to tame the mighty Colorado River with a dam that towers sixty stories high from the base of the canyon to the crest of the dam. In doing so they will create the largest man-made lake in the world. Nothing like it has ever been built.

Life and Death at Hoover Dam tells the story of a handful of these men and the sacrifices they endured. From choking on gasoline fumes in 120 degree heat inside the five-stories-tall diversion tunnels to dangling by slender cables from the thousand-foot walls of Black Canyon, they will put their lives at risk. 

Meet the Conroy brothers: Dave, an engineer who works with Frank Crowe, legendary dam builder and chief engineer; Pete, his older brother who is as wild as the Colorado River itself. Pete is a crew foreman, supervising the high scalers who blast the sheer cliff walls into which the dam must be anchored and later in the massive forms where seven million tons of concrete will settle--some say to last a thousand years. Sean O'Donnell, a scrappy Irishman who worked on the Empire State Building in New York City but whose family desperately wants him to come home. And Tony Capelli, a farmer from Southern California whose land will become verdant and productive once the flow of the Colorado River water is assured. But prejudice is rampant for those with foreign names, even though American Citizens, and Tony will face mortal danger as he struggles to stay on the job and feed his family.

In the end, these men and the 20,000 others who worked on the dam will build a monument that makes possible the palm trees of Los Angeles and the desert oasis of Phoenix. This is the story of their lives--the men who built the matchless Hoover Dam.

Borrowman has a way of putting you in the scene. I worried for Sean as he dangled from ropes working on the tunnels. I routed for him as he went above and beyond the call of duty to save someone's life. And I sorrowed for him when he made a mistake that nearly cost a crewmen his life. The Conroy brothers were wonderful characters. David, the serious one, was weighted down with not only his job, but troubles at home. You can't help but feel how torn he was between his duty to keep the workers safe and the need to be a husband to his wife and father to his teenage son. His brother, Pete was a rascal you fall in love. He stands up for what he thinks is right, goes to the rescue of those less fortunate, and does it all in his cavalier way. But it was the character of Tony Capelli that really struck a cord with me. My great grandparents came from Italy. As I read about Tony's hardships and the discrimination he endured, I couldn't help but think of my ancestors and wonder what they went through.

Life and Death at Hoover Dam may have reminded me of the Teton Dam disaster and the haunting memories of that time in my life, but it also made me think of the many men who have placed themselves in harms way to make a better life for so many people. I loved this book and highly recommend it.

(I received a free copy of this book to review. I reviewed it because I liked it.)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

3D Characters

3D seems to be the up and coming thing in movies. What about books and most especially what about the characters in your books?

I like to give my characters three dimensions: physiology, sociology, and psychology. Let's take a brief look at each one.

Is your character male or female, old or young, tall or short, heavy or thin? I think you get where I'm going with this. Physiology is about your character's outward appearance.

Was your character born into wealth? Or was he/she given away at birth? What kind of education did your character receive? What schools did he/she attend? What were his favorite subjects? What was her home life like? Did your character have brothers or sisters or was he/she an only child? Does your character believe in religion? What nationality is your character? What does he/she like to do for fun? Sociology has to do with how your character was socialized.

Physiology and sociology molds your character and develops his/her psychology. What kind of moral standards does your character have? Is he/she ambitious? What is your character's temperament like? Is he/she obsessive, easygoing, or superstitious? What talents does your character have? And how smart is he/she?

Now tell me what I've missed. How do you develop 3D characters?

Monday, November 15, 2010

Part Six: My Journey to Publication

Fate was very fickle for me. 

Just when I thought I had my life planned out, boom something unexpected happened. I told you last week that after college I had this wonderful job writing and editing children's books. Well, before I knew it, all the books for the second grade curriculum were complete. I thought the company loved me enough to keep me on and assign me another project. In swooped the Flying Fickle Finger of Fate. They let me go. I was totally devastated.

I had never been let go from a job before. I had nightmares for months. I cleaned my house from top to bottom, went through old recipes and organized them, I even worked on our family photo albums. I also tried to find another job, but my heart wasn't in it. As I re-evaluated my situation, I realized that now was the perfect time to devote all of my attention on writing novels. But I wanted to focus on a specific genre: young adult.

So I headed to the library. 

For months I read every Newbery Medal winner I could get my hands on. After a while, I decided on the type of YA novel I would write. I wanted to try and break into inspirational, time-travel with a focus on the Book of Mormon. That really narrowed the field of where I could send my work, but I couldn't ignore the feeling that was what I was supposed to do.

So I started writing my first YA book. Was it my break through novel that became published? You'll have to wait for next week to find out. ;)

Friday, November 12, 2010

Interview with Author Tiffany Young Fletcher

Tiffany Young Fletcher and I had a signing together at the Seagull Book in South Jordan. I'd never met Tiffany before, but I'd heard about her new book, Mother Had a Secret. It's an amazing story about her childhood and growing up with a mother who had multiple personalities. Tiffany agreed to do an interview for my blog. I think you'll find it very interesting and at times heart tugging.

 Have you always wanted to be a writer?

Before I start, I want to thank Kathi for her kindness and generosity in interviewing me for her blog. Now to answer the question, I have always wanted to be a writer. I started writing when I was very young and won my first writing award in the first grade. It was a Young Author's Fair and I think I took second place. All I remember is that I received a blue ribbon, and from then on, I knew I was destined for big things. ;)

Tell us a little bit about your new book.

My new book is entitled "Mother Had a Secret" and it is the true story of what life was like growing up with my mother who was diagnosed with multiple personality disorder. The book is really about my relationship with my mother and how I learned to love and appreciate her and see her for the person she was rather than define her by the mental illness she bore.

 What inspires you and motivates you to write the very most?

My husband and children inspire me the most. Since I write non-fiction, it is the lessons that I learn from my husband and children that give wings to my thoughts and allows the Spirit to touch my mind and heart.

Is there an established writer you admire and emulate in your writing? Do you have a writing mentor? 

 I really don't try to emulate anyone, although I love Emerson. His writing is truly beautiful and inspiring to me. I think that my writing mentor is my husband. Although he hasn't yet been published, he is a far better writer than I am and I am always reading his work, trying to learn what I can from him to make my own writing better.

Location and life experience can sprinkle their influence in your writing. Tell us about where you grew up and a little about where you live now - city? Suburb? Country? Farm? If you could live anywhere you want to live, where would that be?

I grew up in Ammon, Idaho and Roy, Utah. They are both suburbs of bigger cities and we were always close to a grocery store and a gas station. Now, we live in a city that is more like a little country town. The nearest gas station is about ten minutes away and the nearest grocery store is fifteen minutes away, and I love it. We are still close to bigger cities, but I am not afraid to have my kids walk to their friend's house or ride their bikes around the neighborhood. It is such an amazing community, and really a place I could live in forever. If I could live anywhere I wanted to though, and I was only thinking of myself, I would live by the ocean, maybe even in a lighthouse. I love the ocean and I love lighthouses even more. Living there would be just like Heaven for me, as long as my family was with me of course. :)

Bring us into your home and set the scene for us when you are writing. What does it look like? On the couch, laptop, desk? Music? Lighting, handwriting?

When I first started writing, I loved handwriting it in a notebook. Soon after, however, I learned that it was tedious to write everything down and then have to re-write it onto the computer, so we bought a laptop and now that is all I use. We have an office in our basement that both my husband and I share. Sometimes, I prefer to take the laptop to the bedroom. Wherever I am , I have to be away from my kids, and it has to be quiet in order for me to think. I am too easily distracted if I have music or other things going on. My husband likes to listen to music when he writes, and it amazes me that he can get anything written, but he's good at it, and it works for him. I, on the other hand, prefer solitude. It gives me a sense of peace and well-being, and hopefully allows me to convey that same peace into my writing.

Do you watch television or movies? If so, what are your favorites? Do they inspire your writing?

I love watching movies, and my husband and I have our favorite television shows that we record and watch together when we get a chance. My favorite television series is Castle, probably because he is a writer. I also enjoy Bones, The Mentalist, and Chuck. My favorite movies are anything romantic of course. Pride and Prejudice and Phantom of the Opera are probably my all time favorites. I don't think that the things that I watch inspire me in my writing, mostly because I prefer writing non-fiction and I enjoy finding my inspiration in everyday people and situations.

How has being published changed your life?

Being published has changed my life because it has made it possible for me to influence more lives and see what a difference sharing my story has made in the lives of others. I am overwhelmed by the number of people who email me and share with me how reading my book has changed their perspective and blessed their life. I would have never met the amazing people I get to meet each time I go to a signing or a book club. I feel blessed beyond measure for the opportunity Heavenly Father has given me to help others feel and recognize His love for them. Heavenly Father has taught me so much and I am grateful He has given me the opportunity to share that knowledge with others. It has truly blessed my life.

Do you have any book signings, tours or special events planned to promote your book that readers might be interested in attending? If so, when and where? Also tell about your blog and website.

I have three book signings coming up in November. Nov. 13 - South Towne Seagull, 12-2 pmNov. 20 - Fashion Place Seagull, 11-1pmNov. 27 - Spanish Fork Seagull, 11-1 pm I have been asked to speak at two stake firesides in the coming months and have also been asked to attend several book clubs. I enjoy these opportunities and welcome them from anyone who might be interested. I don't have a website, but my blog can be found at http:\\ There, you can find the first two chapters of my book, radio and television interviews and a link to purchase the book, if interested.

Thanks, Tiffany!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


Ever feel like you're going in circles? Life can be busy and hectic. Sometimes at the end of the day you may wonder why you even got out of bed because you haven't accomplished what you wanted to. You had a plan and then because other things got in the way, you didn't meet your goal. 

This can happen to the book you're writing. When you start, you have a plan, but then a character takes over or you find some awesome research you just have to include, and now your book doesn't look at all like you thought it would. This is where having a premise for your story can help.

I didn't realize how important premise was for a novel until I wrote The Forgotten Warrior (my first published novel). I'd written several books before this one, but my focus was on plot and getting my characters from point A to point B. As I started Forgotten Warrior, I remembered a class I'd taken on script writing where the teacher had promoted the idea of working with a premise, and I decided to try it. I wrote my premise down on a strip of paper and taped it above my monitor. I wanted every scene to work toward it. 

Other writers may call premise theme, thesis, aim, driving force, purpose, or goal, but for the most part they all serve the same purpose: they keep your story focused.   

Having my premise where I could see it while I worked helped me immensely. I read it every day. It was as a gentle reminder, keeping my story on track.

I'd love to know what you think. Please tell me, do you write with a premise in mind?

Monday, November 8, 2010

Part Five: My Journey to Publication

I told you last Monday that after years of writing and with only winning a few contests, I decided to go back to school. And that decision sent me down an unexpected path on my journey to publication.

I loved college! I attended the University of Utah. Being among all that energy and knowledge was fantastic. The only thing I really hated: the tests. 

Oh my stars! I'd study for an entire week before an exam. I did all right, but it was a challenge. Not only was I going to school, but I was working part-time as well. There were days I wondered why I was getting up at five in the morning so I could get a couple of classes in before work. Was I crazy? Probably, but I was also driven. I'd always felt as though I'd missed out not going to college. I attended year round for three years. As I neared graduation, I decided to apply for an internship at Continuum, the university's magazine. There was a great deal of competition for the job. I was totally shocked when I got it.

But taking the internship meant I had to leave my part-time job that I'd had for many years. I loved my friends at work. Leaving them was very hard, but we still get together every Christmas to catch up with each other.

My internship was a privilege. I met some fantastic people and learned what goes on in the magazine world. They even published one of my articles, which was a real kick. As I neared the end of my internship, I started looking for a full-time job, hoping to use my writing skills. I applied for a technical writing position at a curriculum publishing company that made educational computer games, lessons, and books. 

I was totally surprised when the boss called and offered me the job. I worked with computer programmers, graphic artists, and writers. Of course, I wanted to get in on writing the books. Not only was I able to write nine children books, but for a while I was  in charge of the math and science books for first and second grade students. 

I'd probably still be working there. Thank heavens fate stepped in and reminded me what I really wanted to do . . . write fiction.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Interview with Author Gary Toyn

A little over a month ago I had the pleasure of attending a huge book signing event. I shared a table with author Gary Toyn. People flocked to buy his latest book that he co-authored with Michael Winder. I asked Gary if he would like to do an interview for my blog, and I'm happy to say he said yes.


Have you always wanted to be a writer?

It’s rather ironic that I’m an author. Frankly, I didn’t enjoy reading much until after I was married. I spent much of my early life out of high school as a singer in a rock band, traveling around the world entertaining military people with the U.S.O. I traveled to nearly 50 countries, and hoped for career in music. After a helicopter crash in Honduras, my wife insisted I get a degree and get a real job. My wife has always been an avid reader, and she shared with me her passion for reading. I became a sports writer, and was a “stringer” for UPI and ABC Radio covering the Utah Jazz and the NBA. I was able to interview all the well known players of the day, like Michael Jordan, Larry Bird and Magic Johnson. Learning to interview became a valuable skill, and I applied it to being a video producer. I worked as a video producer, and was contracted to produce video profiles of famous people, which ultimately led to my first book.

Tell us a little bit about your new book.

“Life Lessons from Fathers of Faith” features short stories written by Latter-day Saint sons and daughters' about their famous and not-so-famous fathers from all walks of life. These stories describe the unforgettable moments and gifts father’s can give, and how it's often the little things that make the biggest difference in a child's life. It contains more than one hundred inspiring tributes, including stories from or about Thomas S. Monson, Henry B. Eyring, Dieter F. Uchdorf, The Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, and Gordon B. Hinckley. It also features stories by or about Mitt Romney, Stephen R. Covey, Greg Olsen, Jane Clayson Johnson, LaVell Edwards, Larry H. Miller, Bronco Mendenhall, Janice Kapp Perry, and Academy Award-winning filmmakers Kieth Merrill (Mr. Krueger's Christmas), Jerry Molen (Schindler’s List), and Phil Tuckett (NFL Films). Other names include Robert Dotson, (CEO-T-Mobile USA) J. Willard Marriott, (CEO-Marriott Corp.); Alan Stock (CEO- Cinemark Theatres), Nolan Archibald, (CEO-Black & Decker) and dozens more touching true stories. However, the more I hear from people who have read the book, the more I hear that they are equally impressed with the stories about the “not-so-famous fathers.” These stories are powerfully inspiring, and some are incredibly amazing, but all seem to testify of the power of the priesthood, and of the eternal impact of good fathering.

Tell us about your other books.

I own American Legacy Media, a publishing company specializing in biographies and other non-fiction historical titles, dealing mostly with World War II. I’ve ghost written and edited several titles relating to WWII. My first book with my name on it was titled “The Quiet Hero: The Untold Medal of Honor Story of George E. Wahlen at the Battle for Iwo Jima.” I was fortunate to have Sen. Bob Dole and Sen. Orrin Hatch contribute to that work, and I received endorsements and reviews from many other notables. This book tells the story of a World War II hero who earned this country’s highest honor for valor, the “Medal of Honor,” at the Battle for Iwo Jima. He spent 60 years trying to forget about his medal and his celebrity status. Wahlen didn’t even tell his wife about the Medal of Honor, as she only learned of his fame after she opened an invitation for them to attend the inauguration of President Eisenhower, (all Medal of Honor recipients receive a complimentary invitation to every presidential inauguration). After meeting Mr. Wahlen when I was asked to produce a video documentary about his life, I was later asked to write his book about his amazing story.

What inspires you and motivates you to write the very most? 

I’m intrigued by extraordinary people. Not so much with famous people, (although some famous people are extraordinary), but I’m more interested in getting to know people who accomplish extraordinary things. I’ve met and interviewed many amazing people, and find that good people are everywhere, in most every culture, educational level and socio-economic status. Having interviewed heads of state, political dissidents, and CEOs, I’ve discovered a common thread among these extraordinary people appears is their remarkable strength of personal character, combined with a level of sincere humility that allows them to see the source of their good fortune.

Is there an established writer you admire and emulate in your writing? Do you have a writing mentor? 

I am inwardly quite jealous of fiction writers. I’m not capable of writing a good fiction story, so I am relegated to having to regurgitate the just facts and only the facts. As non-fiction writers go, David McCullough is probably the most skilled story-teller we have today. I also enjoy reading James Bradley, and the late Stephen Ambrose.

Location and life experience can sprinkle their influence in your writing. Tell us about where you grew up and a little about where you live now - city? Suburb? Country? Farm? If you could live anywhere you want to live, where would that be? 

I grew up in Huntsville, Utah. A rural community known for being the boyhood home of President David O. McKay. I learned to hate milking cows and feeding chickens, so much so that I vowed never to do it after I moved away. However, I was most fortunate to have grown up in a rural setting. I was able to learn from good, honest, hard-working people who had a profound impact on my upbringing. I learned from great youth leaders who sacrificed greatly to teach me many important life lessons, people like Ray Tidwell, Norm Montgomery and Lew Burhley,who are people you probably don’t know. But I also was fortunate to have been influenced by Elder Marlin K. Jensen, who was a my Priest Quorum Advisor, Bishop and Stake President.

Bring us into your home and set the scene for us when you are writing. What does it look like? On the couch, laptop, desk? Music? Lighting, handwriting? 

I do my best writing at 4 a.m. I normally don’t sleep well, so rather than lay in bed and lament that I’m not asleep, I get up and write for an hour or two, when all is quiet and I have no distractions. I’ve always been a “MAC” guy, ever since the days of the early Macintosh computers when the screens were black and white and 6 inches wide. I now use an I-Mac with a 27 inch screen... I call it “Moni-TOR” and it helps me with my aging eyesight. My office is lined with books. In addition to my section of signed and unsigned books I’ve published and sell online at, I have my church history section that contains all the writings of the prophets, the history of the church, and other related titles. I also have my World War II section, consisting of all the historical titles I’ve collected over the years and have used for research purposes.

Do you watch television or movies? If so, what are your favorites? Do they inspire your writing? 

I watch very little TV. I find it boring and mostly a waste of time. When I do watch TV, I tend to watch the Food Network because I’m a hopeless foody. I love to cook and experiment with various recipes. My wife and I enjoy discovering new restaurants, especially ethnic, and out-of-the way places. I’m also not very interested in watching movies, but one movie actually inspired me to write my first book. I remember taking my son to watch “Saving Private Ryan.” After the movie I sat and bawled unabashedly because it moved me at such a visceral level. As my father was a World War II veteran, I had developed a growing interest in learning more about combat experiences. I then began to read books about that war, and in particular, memoirs from WWII veterans. Not long thereafter, I was approached to publish my first book called “God Isn’t Here: A Young Man’s Entry in WWII and his Participation in the Battle for Iwo Jima.” It is now in its third printing, and was recently translated and published in Japan.

How has being published changed your life? 

I don’t think being a published author has changed my life much at all. I still cook dinner every night, mow the lawn, take out the garbage, and do everything else I’ve done before my book was released. I once thought that being on TV or radio would have some type of impact my life, and also on books sales. The fact of the matter is, very few people have actually seen me on TV, and even fewer ever comment about it. Although books sales are going well, selling books remains hard work, and requires patience and diligence. Gladly, I’m still a nobody, and every talent and success that I have ever enjoyed is a gift from a loving Heavenly Father, and He deserves all the credit.

Do you have any book signings, tours or special events planned to promote your book that readers might be interested in attending? If so, when and where? Also tell about your blog and website.

My publisher, Covenant Communications, has me quite busy for the next few months during the Christmas season. Consequently, I have numerous book signings, along with my co-author Mike Winder. To see the latest, go to our website We’re also on Twitter at

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

NaNoWriMo Fever

An epidemic is going around called NaNoWriMo Fever. If you are a writer, it is highly contagious so be very careful or you may catch it. I've come close, but have managed to escape.

Seriously, even though my schedule doesn't allow for me to participate in the National Novel Writing Month frenzy, I wanted to give aid and comfort to those who are writing a novel in one month. 

Take a look at this fun video for inspiration.

And if that didn't do it for you try this one.

Now, even if you haven't caught NaNoWriMo fever, the best writing tip I could give today (or any day for that matter) is to just . . . write!!! You may not use every word in your finished product, but you'll be able to mine some gems out of your ramblings that may surprise you and head you in a direction you never dream of before.


Monday, November 1, 2010

Part Four:My Journey to Publication

As I have told you before, my writers group has done a lot to help me on my journey to publication. We have been meeting once a week for over twenty years. Yes, I said twenty years.

When we started none of us were published. We were all learning not only to write but how to critique. Sometimes a person couldn't read a sentence without being interrupted because someone had a comment about the writing. We have grown a great deal since that time. We've refined our critiquing and our writing. As the years have gone by over eight members of our group have become published.

I had been a member of our writers group for quite a few years when one of my manuscripts became a finalized in St. Martin's Malice Domestic Contest. Later I won the Heart of the West and the Golden Pen contests. And for a time I had a New York agent who tried for a couple of years to sell my novels, but with no success. I began to feel as though I was stuck.

I decided maybe I needed more education. I'd never finished my English degree, so after many talks with my husband and after our youngest had graduated high school, I went back to college.

Let me tell you, there's nothing like being the old lady in a class room of young college students. It wasn't as I thought it would be. No, it was better in so many ways, and it took me down a path I didn't expect, but without following, I never would have published.


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