Monday, May 31, 2010

Blog Drawing and A NOSE IS A NOSE IS A NOSE!!!

The winner of this week’s drawing is Stacy at A Writer’s Post. Congrats!!!

She will receive a Love Inspired book. Remember all you have to do to become eligible for the drawing is become a follower of my blog and leave a comment.

Now for a little peek into my life.

A nose...


is a nose ...



is a nose.
.
And my nose will never be the same.

Here's the story...

Last Thursday I had to have a basal cell cancer taken off of my nose. Let me tell you, this was not fun. The doctor did what he called the “mohs” procedure, which meant he would cut off what he thought was all the cancer, then do tests on that to see if he got it all. Each test took from 30 to 40 minutes. My cancer was a bit stubborn. It took three tries to get it all. Then the doctor had to graphed skin from higher up on my nose to fill the hole where the cancer had been. I asked the doctor how many stitches he’d taken. His reply, “A lot!” He let me see his handy work, and I have to say he did a great job in repairing the damage. A word of caution for this summer: use mega doses of SPF.

After the doctor finished, the nurse put a pressure bandage on my nose. It was huge. The next day I awoke to find both of my eyes were swollen like puffed marshmallows. However, today the puffiness is gone. Yeah!!! But I have to sport a large bandage on my nose for two weeks.

At least my cancer was caught in the early stages. If I hadn’t asked my GP what the funny thing (that was hardly noticeable to anyone else) was on my nose, the cancer would still be growing.

So I’m counting my blessings.

This made me think of this wonderful song by Bing Crosby. You usually only hear it once a year at Christmastime, but hey, I'm celebrating...count your blessings.


Friday, May 28, 2010

Book Review - The Man Fisher by Richard Landerman

When my friend asked me to review the book, The Man Fisher, for some reason I thought it would be about Christ. I don’t know why I thought that, but boy was I surprised when I started reading the book. It wasn’t what I expected at all. As I read I realized the book was really about a man who loves to fish.

The beginning of the book starts out in places I’m very familiar with. I’m from southeast Idaho and grew up near the Snake River. In fact, at one time my husband and I owned a home right on the riverbank. Fishing has been part of my life. My mother and father both loved to fish as did most of my siblings. Though, I do not consider myself a “fisherman”. I never could quite get the casting down, always catching my hook in the willows or rocks. Though, I do admire those who can fly fish, so I wanted to follow the main character, Teddy Buckley. Chapter one opens with Teddy being a fisherman and river guide on the Snake near Jackson Hole Wyoming.

Here’s the back-liner of the book:

“Go out and find someone who needs you” is the prescription a friend gives Teddy Buckley as the cure for his narrow, empty, self-centered life as a trout bum and scion of a wealthy, banking family. Until his friend, Clark, had thrown down that challenge, life had been the perfect daily schedule of searching for rising trout, taking care of his own needs and wants. But frankly, his life up until now had seemed…well, honestly, it was pointless.

Thus begins Teddy’s quest for a fuller life of peace and happiness through service. His odyssey will take him to the slopes of Mt. Fuji, the rain forests of Alaska, and finally the vast open desert of New Mexico. Along the way he is tutored about the meaning of life by new friends, and at times by total strangers. But his new faith in the power of service will be sorely tested to extremes as he faces war, death, evil, poverty, deprivations of his freedom and severe loneliness. Can he bend but not break? Can he come through his crucible a more pure and refined son? Can he stay true to his new beliefs? Will he ever experience happiness and peace?

The book takes place during the late sixties and early seventies right during the Vietnam era. I thought when the blurb said he faced war that he’d be right in the thick of battle, but he wasn’t. Though Teddy is drafted during this time, he actually goes to Guam. The war he fights is within himself, the war to understand his purpose. I liked Teddy. I rooted for him and wanted him to find happiness. I won’t ruin the ending and tell you if he does or not.

There were a few things I didn’t quite understand. The prologue seemed unnecessary, sometimes the author missed an opportunity to show and not tell, and I really wanted to know more about Teddy’s family for instance—how did this son of a banker develop a passion for fly-fishing? The story is episodic going from one situation into another. Such stories sometimes struggle to maintain tension.

What makes this a good book is learning how Teddy grows into the man he was meant to be, not only mentally but spiritually as well for Teddy develops a relationship with the Savior. As I finished this book I realized my first assumption was right—this book was about Christ.

(The Man Fisher was published by Sortis Publishing. I was given a copy and reviewed it because I liked it.)

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Villains, Heroes, and Second Bananas

I can hardly believe it is the last Wednesday of the month. Remember on Wednesdays this month we’ve been talking about the story people in your book.

We’ve breathed life into your characters, we’ve given them knowledge, and we’ve made them appealing. Now we need to take control of our characters: the villains, the heroes and even the second bananas.

To take control we need to:
  • define their roles
  • give them characteristics
  • make them effective.
All three apply to every character in your story. Let’s focus on a story most everyone knows—Harry Potter.

I’m sure you’ve heard this many times, but here it is again—your story is only as strong as your villain. The reason Harry Potter was such a success was because of the strength of Voldemort. His role was clearly defined—kill Harry Potter. Harry’s role—survive with courage far beyond his years. His second banana, Ron, had Harry’s back. Villain, hero and second banana are clear in this story.

What were their characteristics? Voldemort was not only evil, but smart and mysterious. Harry was a bit clumsy at first, but as his courage grew so did his character. Ron was a follower and the crutch Harry needed every once in a while to fulfill his destiny.


Were these three characters effective? If Voldemort not only put the fear in Harry and Ron, but in all the readers who anxiously awaited each book, then yes, he was effective. Just like Harry was not only an inspiration to his friends and teachers, but also to his many readers. And Ron was effective because there were times he wasn’t always helping Harry. Sometimes he was jealous of Harry and sometimes a bit preoccupied, but these were times when Harry needed to go solo and become the great wizard he was meant to be. And it was during these times Ron might have been most effective because he was human and showing readers how to overcome their flaws and rally to help someone when it counted most.

For me controlling your characters--helping them fulfill their destinies--is what writing books is all about.

Again, I’ve only touched the surface. Tell me about a story you loved because of the villains, heroes and second bananas.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Jumping for Joy!!!

I don't usually post on Tuesdays, but today I'm jumping for joy.

The release of my book, The Stone Traveler has been bumped up to  JULY!!!

My editor told me that my cover should be ready today or tomorrow. I can hardly wait to see it.

From just the title, what do you think it will look like?

Monday, May 24, 2010

Book Drawing and SNOW?

The winner of my blog drawing this week is Carolyn. She blogs at Checkerboard Squares

If you would like to win a book become a follower of my blog and leave a comment. If you do both of those things your name will go in the jar for next week’s drawing.

And new this week -- if you visit two or three times during the week your name will go in two or three times. So visit often.

I just looked out my window and it’s SNOWING big time.



Enough already! It’s May 24th, yet it feels like February. Don’t get me wrong I love winter, but even I’m beginning to grow weary of the cold. I want sunshine, birds singing, walking in the park, going to the swimming pool, picnics and all that other fun summer stuff.

SNOW, really?

Okay, I’m finished with my little rant.

Last weekend my hubby and I went to Idaho to visit relatives, attend a wedding reception, and go to a baby blessing. Great times! I love catching up with family and friends I haven’t seen for a while. We were only there for three days and weren’t able to visit with everyone we wanted, but getting away even for a short time recharged my batteries.

One problem though, I wasn’t able to keep up with the blogs I follow. AND I missed them. There isn’t enough hours in the day for me to catch up, work on edits, and write. So I hope if I’ve missed some major news someone will let me know.

Here’s a couple of questions for you:

What do you like most about getting away for the weekend?

How do you go through all the blogs you’ve missed and keep up with your work?

AND the final question…

WHEN IS THE SNOW GOING TO STOP?

Just wondering…

Friday, May 21, 2010

Author Interview with Jerry Borrowman

At the LDStorymakers Conference last April I ran into author Jerry Borrowman. He has a new book out, and I thought you might like to learn a little about him and his latest novel.

Enjoy!

 Have you always wanted to be a writer?

I first started writing articles for the Church News and Ensign, and then later in the financial services industry. The thing I like about writing is that it gives me a chance to share ideas and stories that I believe are important, with other people—most of whom I’ll never meet. But I never thought I could write a book—that was for authors, which was too much for me to aspire to. When I met Rudi Wobbe, however, and heard his remarkable story about three German boys who had the courage to stand up to the Third Reich, I knew I had to help him. So, I went to work writing his story, which turned into Three Against Hitler, a perennial best-seller in the LDS market. That launched my career.

Tell us a little bit about your new book.
Stories from the Life of Porter Rockwell is co-authored with John W. Rockwell, Porter’s great-great-grandson. John had these great stories he’d been sharing with people in firesides for the past thirty years, but needed help writing them, which is where I come in. Porter Rockwell is a notorious or noteworthy character from LDS history, depending on your point-of-view. He was a great friend of the Prophet Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, Joseph F. Smith, and others. He was the sworn enemy of critics of the Church. He lived in violent times and he often used his skill with a gun to manage the violence. I think readers of this book will find his stories fascinating, and can decide for themselves what to believe about this remarkable man.

Tell us about your other books.
I have three co-authored autobiographies, including Three Against Hitler with Rudi Wobbe, A Distant Prayer with Joseph Banks, and Beyond the Call of Duty with Medal of Honor recipient, Bernie Fisher, a professional air force pilot. When my interest in history took me back to the First World War I had no one to co-author a book with, I switched to fiction, which led to the four book series that starts with ‘Til the Boys Come Home. I’ve had a great reception in that genre. More recently I wrote One Last Chance, which is a Depression era story and my first non-military book. Now I have Stories from the Life of Porter Rockwell, to add to my collection, and soon plan to publish Life and Death at Hoover Dam, an epic novel set in Nevada and Arizona.

What inspires you and motivates you to write the very most?
I want to help readers learn about history. My books are all historically authentic, even those with fictional characters. Having a story to pull you through the history adds to the interest of the reader.

Is there an established writer you admire and emulate in your writing? Do you have a writing mentor?
My favorite writers are Winston Churchill, Harper Lee, David McCullough, and 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?
I grew up in Pocatello, Idaho which is a very convenient place to live. We moved to Sandy in 1984, so all our children grew up as Alta Hawks and, 3 of the 4, as University of Utah Utes. Our oldest did go to BYU law school, as did my mom and brothers, so we’re a diverse sort of family. I tell people my heart belongs to the U since that’s where most of my money went.

If you could live anywhere, where would it be?
Tahiti. Marcella and I love the South Pacific for its easy lifestyle and wonderful scenery. Maybe someday …

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 never listen to music when writing since my wife assures me that I have attention deficit disorder. I sit in a lazy-boy recliner with my feet up, laptop in hand. I write so much that I’m at real risk for tendinitis if I don’t watch out, so that particular posture seems to work best to minimize pain in my arms. On one occasion Marcella suggested that I was gone too much. When I protested that I was home the night in question she said, “Jerry, your body was there, but you were a million miles away.” That’s me when I’m writing.

Do you watch television or movies? If so, what are your favorites? Do they inspire your writing?
I like movies, although we don’t go a lot. I loved “A Man For All Seasons,” “To Kill a Mockingbird,” and old war movies. But I also like James Bond movies, as far-fetched as they are. Chocolat is one of our favorites because it teaches some great lessons about tolerance and enjoying life.
As to television, the Food Channel is probably my favorite.

How has being published changed your life?
I recognize it as a great blessing to have my books published. So many people aspire to be a writer, who don’t make it into print. I’m glad that my writing is inspirational to people since I want it to honor the great men and women who, through sacrifice, make the world a better place. I’m always humbled when a member of the military or a veteran tell me they enjoy my military history and fiction—because they are the people who have paid the price that blesses all of us.

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?
Here’s the text of an e-mail I sent out to my friends earlier today. Perhaps it will be of interest to your readers:

Jerry Borrowman COSTCO BOOK SIGNING SCHEDULE
Saturday, May 15—Orem Costco 11 a.m.–2 p.m. (648 E. 800 S.)
Saturday, May 29—Murray Costco 11 a.m.–2 p.m.

THANKS FOR TAKING TIME TO CHAT IN YOUR BLOG.
Jerry Borrowman

You're welcome!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Making Your Characters Appealing

The last several weeks we’ve been taking a closer look at the story people in your novel.

On May 5th we covered "breathing life into your characters." Last week was about "giving your characters knowledge." Everyone has left wonderful comments that contributed to the discussion. I hope you'll do the same today.

This week we’re going to look at making your characters appealing.

Don’t you love to watch beautiful people? Of course, that’s why Hollywood is so popular. We like to watch beautiful people and what they do. We find them fascinating.

But think about this…would they make appealing characters to follow in a book? Novels deal with not only what pleases the eye, but also emotions that stir within the character.

Emotions are universal. Most everyone has a temper it’s just that some people take longer to reach their boiling point than others. Most everyone feels compassion, though some have a thicker skin. And most everyone yearns to have noble characteristics, though some are sadly lacking.. What's interesting in fiction is that readers identify with characters they admire and think they see in themselves. Though they may not have courage, they are attracted to characters who do…because they see themselves. This has to do with what Dwight Swain calls wish fulfillment. He also says that the real reason you find a character exciting and fascinating is his [the character's] story activities satisfies some aspect of your own emotional hunger. You identify because unconsciously you envy the courage of the character who challenges the world and fate.

So make your characters appealing by giving them admirable traits your readers will identify with.

Who are some of the characters you’ve greatly admired in novels?

I'll share one of mine. I'm a huge fan of Francine Rivers' series Mark of the Lion. One character I absolutely loved was Hadassah in the book, An Echo in the Darkness. She was a Jewish slave, who was brave, kind, gentle, nurturing and had unshakable faith. This cover is just how I pictured her in my mind.

Now tell me one of yours.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Book Drawing, Another Blog Award, and Robin Hood.

The winner of my book drawing this week is Tyler!!!

If you would like to win a book on my blog just become a follower, leave a comment, and your name will go in the jar for next week's drawing.

I received a blog award this week from Laura at Wavy Lines.

I love it because I love to scribble. I'm going to pass it on to other great scribblers:

Cindy Beck
Marybeth
Laurie Lewis
Krista V
David J. West


Now for a little peek into my life. Last Friday I saw the movie Robin Hood with my daughter, Trizia. We went to a late show. I mean really late for me 10:15 p.m.. But I'm a fan of Russell Crowe, and I've always liked the story of Robin Hood, so I went.

But this was not the usual "steal from the rich and give to the poor" story. Instead it was about Robin Hood the early years, how he met Marian, his men, and the back-story of his life. The theater was packed with guys, which was very different. Usually when Trizia and I go to a show there's more women. Maybe it was the time of night and the type of movie.

The review in the paper gave Robin Hood two stars. In my opinion the movie deserved at least two and a half and probably three. Part of the reason why I liked it so much was it reflected what we're going through right now: high taxes, a disconnect between the common folks and the leaders of their country, and promises broken. I like larger-than-life movies that make you cheer for the underdog. I love films with a little romance, battles, and a sense that the right prevails. Robin Hood had all that and more.

If you haven't heard about this movie here's the trailer.




What kind of movies do you like to watch? Epics? Romance? Adventure?

Friday, May 14, 2010

Book Review - In the Company of Angels by David Farland

I’ve often heard the term manifest destiny in relationship with the expansion of the United States and the pioneers who headed west during the 19th century. The growth of our nation was inevitable and destined to happen as more people arrived in America and wanted to make their dreams come true.

For some that dream had to do with their freedom to worship God as they pleased and not as others deemed they should. Those who followed Joseph Smith and believed that he saw God the Father and his son, Jesus Christ, being able to worship as they pleased became very difficult. Many times the Mormons were forced to leave their homes, sometimes in the dead of night, to save their lives. Before Joseph Smith was killed he had a revelation that the saints should go west, far away from bigotry and those who sought to do them harm. And so, when the prophet was murdered, the saints journeyed west and became part of the manifest destiny of our nation.

Many made the journey over a number of years. In fact my great, great grandparents fled Nauvoo and came west with the Heber C. Kimball Company in 1848, so I’ve heard my share of pioneer stories. One story stands out because of the intense hardships of their journey, that of the Willie Handcart Company of 1856.

It’s one thing to hear about these stories of courage and bravery, quite another to see it through the eyes of people who were there, people so hungry that they ate the skin from their knuckles, people whose feet bleed as they walked through the snow over Rocky Ridge, and people whose testimonies were so strong that they heard and saw angels helping them along the way. Reading David Farland’s novel, In the Company of Angels, puts you in the story. You can smell buffalo chips burning in the pioneers' campfires, feel the pioneers’ fear as they learn of friends attacked by the Cheyennes, and grieve as they bury their babies and husbands along the trail. This is a novel that will fill your heart with gratitude and love for those who sacrificed everything for what they believed. Here is part of the story line from the book’s cover:

In the Company of Angels centers on Eliza Gadd, the feisty, sophisticated wife of a Mormon bishop. When her husband answers his leader’s call to abandon his cottage in England and settle in the Rocky Mountains, Eliza’s world comes apart. She may help her husband pull a handcart with everything that they own across the plains…but she won’t bring herself to bow to a god she doesn’t believe in.

Stalled by setbacks, the pioneers find themselves forced to take their journey perilously late in the season. The lives of Eliza’s children hang in the balance. But how can she reason with people who believe they are in the hands of angels, that their faith can turn back storms, and that their leaders like the Apostles of old, have the power to raise the dead?

Farland won Best Novel of the Year for this book at the Whitney Awards held in April. As he accepted his award he told the audience how he came to write this novel. He said, “Ghosts came to me in a dream and asked me to write their story.” Farland is a convert to Mormonism, his mother was a devote Baptist. As he wrote this story, he would send his mother parts of it to read. If she didn’t hear from him for a while, she would call and ask him what he was doing about “their” story. When his mother passed away, Farland took his inheritance and published this book.

Even though David Farland has had many books published, has written screenplays in China and has taught writing classes throughout the nation, you could say In the Company of Angels was part of Farland’s manifest destiny, for only he could write this touching novel to remind us of those who sacrificed everything for what they believed. I strongly recommend this book become part of your family’s library. It will become a classic.

(I purchased this book and reviewed it because I liked it.)

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Giving Your Character Knowledge


No two characters should be alike. All of them need to have goals, self-awareness and the ability to learn. Your characters need knowledge of their world and how they see it. Dwight Swain says, "Though contrived by a writer, a good--that is effective--character should appear to move under his own power. He needs to act without ostensible prodding from his creator... Your character's need to control destiny, to feel adequate to each developing situation, is what gives him his strength, his drive, his motive force: in a word his direction."

Your characters need direction and even more than that they need to feel passionate about something. This gives your characters dimension and fleshes them out so your readers find them believable. In fact, your readers might even see themselves in your characters. Donald Maass says, "...We read fiction not just to see ourselves, but also to imagine ourselves as we might be."

Isn't that so true?  Maass also added, "Characters in breakout fiction may seem realistic, even average, but they are bigger than their circumstances. They do not just suffer, but strive. They do not practice patience, but act. They do not merely survive, but endure. ...A great character is one that not only deepens our understanding of ourselves but that opens to us ranges of potential, a riot of passionate response to the problems of existence."

Wow! So give your characters knowledge, goals, self awareness and not only the ability to learn, but to teach by their actions.

This might be interesting...share something you've learned from characters you've read in a book.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Drawing Winner and BIG, BIG NEWS!!!

Happy Monday!!!


The winner of my blog drawing this week is Mason Canyon.

I only have five more books left and my drawings will be over. So if you want to leave a comment and become a follower of my blog your name will go in the jar for next week’s book.

Now for my BIG, BIG news…I sold another novel to my publisher!!!



This book isn't a young-adult, time-travel, though I'm still working on one. And The Stone Traveler, which is a YA time travel is being released in August. It goes to press in a few weeks. I can hardly wait to see the cover. I'll post it here as soon as my publisher sends it to me. You'll be among the first to know. AND I'm very hopeful to sell the sequel of The Forgotten Warrior. But sometimes to accomplish a goal you have to take a different path from what you'd hoped. The fate of the sequel may depend upon how well The Stone Traveler does, so tell everyone you know to please buy a copy. :0)

The book I just sold is very different. This novel is a romantic suspense that I titled River Whispers (not certain if my publisher will keep the title, but I hope so). Let me tell you a little more about how I came to write this book.

Years ago my sister, Jo, and I were returning home from a camping/fishing trip. We were talking about the books I planned to write. As we talked I told her I wanted to write a book about a woman fishing on the Snake River and she comes upon a dead man. It sounded like a good challenge, plus I really liked the idea.

So, I started working on the story. I wanted two sisters (to commemorate the fun times my sis and I have had), and I wanted the book set in Idaho. This is how Regi and her sister, Claudia, came into being. On another trip Jo and I took to Virginia City, we stayed at the nicest bed and breakfast and had a riot talking and laughing most of the night. I decided that the sisters would own a B&B called the Raindancer. And, of course, there had to be a romance, enter Samuel Tanner, a tall, rugged cowboy. Next I stirred in the murder. I don't want to tell you too much right now, but I will later. 

This novel will come out in the spring of 2011. To celebrate I thought I’d post some wonderful pictures of the Snake River taken by my nephew, Greg Oram. Once you see them, you’ll know why I set the book in Idaho. 


Beautiful, right? This is the Snake at Swan Valley. I love this shot.


This picture was taken at Fall Creek on the Snake River. When I was a little girl, my sister and I ventured behind the falls and found a cave. I could just imagine it as a hide out in a book.

Okay, now after looking at these photos, where do you think the body in my book was found?


Friday, May 7, 2010

Guest Blog - Laurie Lewis author of Awakening Avery

My friend Laurie Lewis has a new book out titled, Awakening Avery. I thought it might be fun to have her guest blog about her new book.

Take it away, Laurie.

“How were you ever able to put so much feeling into that story?”

I recently received that comment from a reader. It’s one of my favorites because I wanted “Awakening Avery” to be a chuckle-out-loud, grab-a-hankie sort of read. Life, as we all know, causes broad swings on a woman’s emotional Richter Scale, and this novel pulls from some deep places in my own heart.

My husband suffered a heart attack mere hours after we had returned home from depositing our youngest son at college, and in an instant, everything I knew about our family was on the line. What would I do if Tom didn’t survive? How would I tell the children? How would we go on?

That was seven years ago, and thankfully, Tom made a full recovery, but the questions that flooded our family during that frightening period are still vivid. “Awakening Avery” is a story of hope and self-discovery born from those questions.

I know women who’ve been catapulted into the solo lead of a family, witnessing their struggles as they find their footing and deal with the family’s emotional upheaval. It’s every woman’s greatest fear, and once I was grounded again after Tom’s heart attack, I began writing “Awakening Avery” to explore the delicate intricacies of that very personal journey. Three storylines involving the Thompson and Carson siblings provide some of the best laughs and most difficult choices in the book.

“You’re depressed,” the doctor declared.

"Ya think?” is author Avery Elkins Thompson’s sarcastic response to the astute diagnosis for the malaise that set in following her husband’s untimely death. Avery’s carefully controlled world is imploding. Her once-rock-solid family is reeling and vulnerable in ways she never could have imagined, and her adult children fear they are losing her too.

Avery can’t write, and questions about their father’s death leave the family mired in pain. “We need a healing place,” her oldest son tells her, suggesting she find it on Anna Maria Island, Florida, a former family vacation spot.

“You’re just a shadow of the person you used to be . . . We’d gladly give you up for a while if it meant getting you back.”

When Avery returns to Baltimore to sell the family’s waterfront condo, she meets rodeo-ers-turned-real-estate-brokers Teddie and Rider Davis, and Avery’s quiet life will never be the same again.

The Davises help Avery secure a summer house swap with brooding widower Gabriel Carson from Anna Maria, whose overprotective parenting has resulted in two self-centered, twenty-something daughters. Avery and Gabriel are in for the summer of their lives as they step into one another’s messy, complicated worlds.

Still, venturing out on her own again is challenging for Avery, whose experiences at the Ringling’s magnificent Cá d’Zan mansion, and with the quirky characters she meets there, eventually awaken her to truths she has long forgotten—that as crazy as life can be, it is possible to laugh and love again.

Family vigilance is one of the themes I wanted to explore in “Awakening Avery.” Death, health issues, financial upheaval, divorce, sin, the loss of a home, a move, etc.—can lead to cracks in our family’s spiritual armor. But in truth, anything that causes parents to be preoccupied can lessen our vigilance, pulling us down from the watchtower, allowing weakening influences into our homes. Avery suffers from a lack of vigilance for a time, resulting in a variety of concerns with each of her three adult children. With a little help from her friends, she reestablishes her own spiritual footing and then sets off to strengthen her family and everyone else in her circle.

I hope “Awakening Avery” will resonate with women of all ages. It’s been a healing project for me.

Thanks for inviting me to guest blog, Kathi!

You're welcome! To find out more about Laurie and her other books click here.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Wednesday's Writing Tip--Your Story People


For the month of May, I thought for the writing tips we'd discuss your story people--your characters.

Creating characters to people your story can be a bit intimidating. You don't want stick figures numbly walking through your plot just doing what you want them to do. Don't get me wrong you need control, but there's a trick to it. And it has to do with characterization and building believable characters readers will see as three-dimensional. They can't be all good, nor can they be all bad. 

There are specific points to cover while creating a character, and we'll talk about one each week:
  • breathing life into your characters
  • giving your characters knowledge
  • making your characters appealing
  • controlling your characters.
Today we'll tackle breathing life into your characters.

In life no two people are alike, so it should be with your characters. All of the characters in your book should have a life of their own. They walk differently, talk differently, and think differently. It's the differences that set characters apart. You need to make certain that when a particular character is on stage that your reader will know who he/she is. To do this you must:
  1. give your character a commanding presence
  2. make sure his/her presence fits the role
  3. determine whether your character complements other characters
  4. give your character appropriate identifiers that fit him/her.

Giving your character a commanding presence means to give them a trait to be remembered. i.e. busybody, shy, outgoing, rude, fun-loving, etc.

Making sure your character's presence fits the role means to make sure you don't have a main character who is rude and suddenly he becomes very thoughtful with no motivation.

Determining whether your main character complements other characters means to make sure the commanding presence of your characters aren't the same. You shouldn't have four shy characters. Remember contrast makes characters memorable.

Giving your characters appropriate identifiers means to have their actions fit them. i.e. a shy character may hide her face behind a lock of hair, bite her lip, or chew her fingernails.

Can you think of other ways to breath life into your characters? 
I'm sure I've only scratched the surface. I'd love to add more to the list.

Monday, May 3, 2010

A Drawing, An Award and Adventures with my Daughter

The winner of my blog drawing this week is: Laura Marcella!!!

Don’t forget if you’d like to win a free Love Inspired romance, leave a comment and become a follower of my blog and your name will go into the weekly drawing.

Last week Wendy at On’n On’n On-Because a writer always has something to say gave me this beautiful blog award.
Thank you, Wendy.

I’m going to pass it on to:

Michele at Michele Ashman Bell
Christine at Day Dreamer
Jodi at Spumoni
Tristi at Tristi Pinkston, LDS Author
Shawna at The Forever Blog

Now for the adventures with my daughter, Tricia.
I enjoy shopping with my daughter. I never really know what's going to happen, but I know we'll have fun. Tricia works part-time for the theater at the Conference Center. She’s in charge of the props for the Christmas production of The Savior of the World. A couple of weeks ago we went shopping for material that looked like fish. You haven't really lived until you've ask a salesclerk, "Does this look like fish skin?" First, you'll get the--is this woman for real--look, that is quickly replaced with--why was I the person she had to find? Despite the lack of scaly-looking material we finally found success.

Saturday Tricia was looking for artificial trees. She needed to replace some branches on the big tree in the production. We were in luck. We found three trees reasonably priced. The problem was loading them into her Pathfinder.

After standing in the rain staring at the car, we realized the trees weren't going to load themselves, so we rolled up our sleeves and got to work. Tricia put the backseat down, and  we were able to put them in the car with the tree bases in the front resting on the passenger seat. But this left little room for me to sit. Turning on my side I squeezed in, and holding my breath I closed the door. I thought we were home free. I only lived a short distance away. But Tricia thought it would be best to take the trees to the storehouse in North Salt Lake—we were at 9000 South. I understood her reasoning. She didn’t want to drive around with the trees in her car all weekend and besides it was only a twenty-minute ride up the freeway.

Soooo the ramp to the freeway was stop n’ go, which should have been our first clue to turn back. Already half of my derriere was turning numb, a tree branch was poking my left side, and my head kept bumping the door frame. As we merged into the flow of traffic it was bumper to bumper. Tricia said she wanted to get over to the HOV lane. I thought, good luck, sweetheart. I really didn’t think she could do it, but by some miracle she maneuvered through four lanes of traffic and found success. I’m not sure how because my eyes were closed. Once in the HOV lane it wasn’t bad at all. However, I’ve never seen that much traffic on a Saturday. Twenty minutes turned into forever. The numbness in my left side traveled down my leg, leaves and moss floated in the air, and my head had made a nice little groove in the door frame. BUT we finally made it and put the trees safely away.

Once we returned home, Tricia got out that scaly-looking fish material and started working on samples to show her boss.


Above is Tricia cutting out the fish.



Here, we're stuffing the fish with beans.



And here are the sample fish.

Do you think they look like fish from the Sea of Galilee?

Okay, step away from the computer and squint, now do they look like fish?

Okay, so stay where you are and pretend there's a fish net over them?

Maybe turn the light off.

Okay, so maybe we need another miracle... :0)

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