Blogiversary Q&A — November 2, 2010

Blogiversary Q&A


Look at that!  I’m actually posting on a Tuesday.  Albeit a little late.

Laura Maylene asked: “What would you say has been the biggest benefit of blogging?  What have you taken away from it in these two years?”

I’d have to say the number one benefit is the friendship and community.  There are times over these last two years that, especially as the blog grew and I posted more regularly, my friendships I made through this world carried me.  The sense of community is phenomenal and there’s a place for everyone in this blogging world, if they choose to seek it.

The other main benefit would definitely be the improvement to my own craft.  As I’ve looked to fulfill what I set out to do in this blog, exploring my voice, conversing with others like me, and chronicling my journey in this crazy publishing world, I’ve found myself increasingly focused on craft.  Sure at times I let loose, such as with every Friday, and I don’t always post serious conversations on the weighty issues, but I’ve learned and grown by blogging and by reading others’s blogs.  My takeaway is that I’m not alone, no matter how solitary this industry might seem at times, and that an old dog can learn new tricks. And new paths are always being forged and revealed to us as we go.

Natalie Aguirre asked, “How do you juggle working, school writing (and being so productive) and blogging?  Do you have any time management skills I might not have thought of?”

Um…time management?  Is that when I blog instead of putting on my makeup and drying my hair preparatory to the insanity that is the rest of my day?

The honest answer is that I don’t always juggle things so successfully.  And the ball that often gets dropped is blogging.  I have three blogs.  This one gets the most love and attention because it’s the easiest, it seems at times, and the one with the most instant gratification.  My photography blog has been woefully neglected, mainly because I’ve run out of printed photos to scan and I don’t know where to go locally to get negatives digitized and black and white film processed.  My food blog is my most recent addition.  As the quiet and peaceful newborn, never demanding attention by wailing or throwing a tantrum, it often gets neglected.

Work has been a little on the slow side of late so I will admit to having a bit more time to manage more carefully.

But that time, especially here as the term winds down (two days left in this class then one more 9-day class before Thanksgiving break!), goes to school when it’s not given to church.

I’ve made a conscious effort to make church and the Lord my priority.  School comes next.  Then work, when it’s there, and my writing.  Blogging, regrettably, is at the bottom of the pole.  I get to it when I can get to it.  And if that means no blogs get read or commented on until the weekend, that’s what happens.

Thanks, ladies, for such wonderful and thought-provoking questions!

There’s still time to ask me a question!  Put it in the comments and I’ll answer during Friday’s Footloose and Fancy-free post!

Happy Blogiversary to Me — October 31, 2010
Grand Prize Drawing Winners! — December 11, 2009

Grand Prize Drawing Winners!

It is time now for the grand prize drawing.

Congratulations to Stephanie Thornton and Windy A!

Here’s a rundown of what you’ve won, just as a reminder.  E-mail me an e-mail addy where I can send your prizes.  Also be sure to let me know the topic you want me to write about for the poem and which WiP you would like a peek at.

Thank you everyone for participating this week!

Grand prize: (2 awarded)
A $15 gift certificate to Amazon
A poem of their choosing
A peek at any one of my projects listed below


Oracles Promise (YA fantasy)- in progress
Lodestar (Paranormal)- in progress
A Rose by Any Other Name (romance)- First draft done
Jack and Caitlin (short story)- in progress
…Futile (poetry)- in progress
Musings (poetry)- in progress
Migrations (poetry)- in progress
Milestone (poetry)- in progress
Painted Silence (poetry)- in progress

Footloose and Fancy-free Friday 12/11 —

Footloose and Fancy-free Friday 12/11

First order of business?  Tamika is the winner of Thursday’s prize!  Wahoo!  Let me know what sort of image you’re looking for in the banner image and I’ll start working on it.  (I make no guarantees of speed on delivery, however, as I’m still getting accustomed to my Mac.)

Our grand prize drawing will be at 4 p.m. MST today.  That should allow people to get some last comments in so they can up their chances of winning.  I want to be fair.  I’ll be pulling names from a hat.  (And you might even get video of it!)
On to other news.  How many of you dream of reading this sort of biography about yourself?  “Winner of two Pulitzer Prizes, two National Book Circle Awards, Presidential Medal of Freedom, our nation’s highest civilian honor, and has received over 40 honorary degrees?  Respected [insert whatever here], loved by millions, spent five weeks atop the New York Times bestseller list, etc.”
Yeah, got me a little emotional last night.  A biography along this line was given for David McCullough last night at a concert I attended.  He was one of two guests appearing with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir in their annual Christmas concert.  (Natalie Cole was the other.)  Totally got emotional.
And, yes, I’m LDS.  Deal with it.
But, I must admit, the thought crossed my mind a time or two, “That could be me someday.  I could be the guest narrator with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.  I just have to write a killer book or ten and then I can do it.”
Yeah, I can dream, right?
December is rapidly passing me by.  Fortunately I’ve most of my Christmas shopping done.  I don’t know if I’ll finish draft 1 before my birthday.  (Which is a week from tomorrow.)  Sigh.  I feel so old sometimes.
Oh well.  If I don’t hit my birthday goal, it’s going to be bumped to Christmas.  That’d give me 6 extra days and I could still make the draft be my gift to myself.
Fingers crossed.
Until 4 p.m. my friends.

Creating satisfying endings — December 8, 2009

Creating satisfying endings

So, we all know that the beginnings to our books have to be stellar.  They have to grab the reader and throw them into the car for the ride.  But how much do you think about your ending?  There are so many ways to fail an ending.

I took a creative writing class in high school.  It was my junior year and the year was full of drama that I won’t go into.  But, of all the instructions we ever had on requirements for our projects in creative writing, there were only 2 “hard and fast” rules.  1- Don’t kill your hero.  2- Don’t make it all a dream.

Now, I am a firm believer in rules in certain areas of life.  But writing?  I just want to throw “rules” out the window.

Let’s take an example.  Newhart and The Bob Newhart Show.  I’m far too young to have watched these in their original runs.  (Thank you Nick at Nite.)  I’ve never watched much of the former, but I remember watching the latter in its reruns.

The latter ended by making the entire show into a dream on the former.  Why did this work when the “rule” is not to make things a dream?  It worked because it brought together loved characters, and it gave a satisfying end to two different shows.  Viewers loved the twist, they loved seeing the old set an the old characters.  But they’d also gotten this wonderful ride with very different, yet equally real, characters.

As for the killing of your hero, well, my mom and I both thought that would happen with the Monk finale.  It was a two-part finale and a very satisfying end to the show.

I don’t want to give away anything, but let’s just say that the overriding plot of the entire 8 seasons was wrapped up and a certain amount of normalcy returned to everyone’s lives.  Each character that we’ve come to know and love over the years got their own HEA ending.  How did they do it?  Monk solved his wife’s murder, other characters got their own normal relationships, the monkey on the back was taken away, and all characters have now lived happily ever after.

So, how to make a satisfying ending?  Make it make sense with everything you’ve written.  Monk wouldn’t have been a satisfying ending if he hadn’t solved his wife’s murder.  That had been hanging over him for the entire 8 seasons of the show.  Now it’s done.  He can move on with his life.

Whatever your ending, it has to make sense with how things go.  I’ve found myself in a J.K. Rowling scenario as I plan out all three books of the Sunstone trilogy.  And it’s hard, but for the immediate now I can’t foresee a way of making it turn out any differently.  I’ve gone through many different possible endings to the trilogy in my head, but they just don’t gel with how I’ve got things planned.  Characters don’t feel right in the scenarios I’ve imagined and I have to be true to that.

In the end, if you remain true to the characters you’ve created the ending will be satisfying, regardless of how happy or tragic it may be.

Now, on to other news.  This week I am celebrating (belatedly) the one-year anniversary of my blog.  Yesterday we had a really great contest.  There were quite a few entries.  The winner was incredibly hard to select.  I can’t ever do a merit-based one again!  Seriously you guys are amazing!

Without further ado, the winner is….

Embee with her sonnet to golly gee dingoes!  (Hope you don’t mind me posting it here!)  Of all the entries, hers made me laugh the absolute most.  To the point where I might have gotten my keyboard wet.  All the entries were fabulous.  Please don’t be discouraged if you didn’t win in this one.  There are four (five) other chances to win this week!

Here is Embee’s sonnet.

Golly Gee Dingoes

Golly gee, dingoes, you’re yellow brown dogs.

Your cousins are foxes, wolves, and jackals.

You’re roughly a household pooch analog,

And yet you’re nothing but wild animals.

Your home is down under, outback of course.

Being good carnivores you like to eat meat,

And you’re rarely picky about its source.

Even livestock, pets, small people you’d eat.

Those Aussies they find you an awful pest,

But truly I think you’re just misunderstood.

As wild pests go, you must be the best,

After all you eat other pests, isn’t that good?

So golly gee dingoes, you got a bad rap,

Perhaps they would like you elsewhere on the map.

Today’s prize is a collection of up to three poems on topics of your choosing.  I promise to get these written as soon as possible, but I will take the time necessary to make sure they’re quality and something I can be proud of.  To win today, all you have to do is comment with your most groan-inducing pirate joke.  Then I’ll put all the jokes into and pick a winner that way.

Embee, e-mail me an address I can send those to and I’ll get them off post-haste.


It’s time to party! — December 7, 2009

It’s time to party!

Woohoo!  Party time!

So, it’s weird to think that this blog’s been around for a whole year.  I really only started blogging regularly once I was out of school and basically had nothing else to do all day.  But, the official start date of this blog is October 30, 2009.

Check out the very first Chronicles post.

Or don’t.  It’s not very pretty.  Kind of makes me cringe.  I was still trying to find a direction for this blog at that point.  And no one even knew it existed back then.  *wipes tear*

OK, moving on.  Time to celebrate!  (Conga line starts in the corner.  But look out for the macarena dancers.)

Which brings us to our first contest!  Remember, today’s prize is a set of pristine-condition Alexandre Dumas books.  (Check out all the prizes here.)  You’ll get a copy of The Man in the Iron Mask and an unabridged copy of The Count of Monte Cristo.

Here’s what you have to do.

Write me the best thing you can around the phrase “Golly gee dingoes.”

Got that?  Done laughing?  Keyboard dry?

Winner earns it on merit.  What are my criteria?

The winner will be the one I deem most worthy of the warning, “Swallow all liquids.”  In other words, whichever one makes me laugh so hard I’d spew whatever I was drinking if I didn’t swallow first.

Yeah, great image.  Now you’re all fleeing for cover.

Anyways.  I’ll announce the winner in tomorrow morning’s post.  And a reminder that all comments this week garner an entry in our random drawing for the two grand prizes on Friday.

*Update: Max 1-2K words on today’s entry.  You can post it here in the comments or e-mail it to me.

Birthday Bash Prizes! — December 6, 2009

Birthday Bash Prizes!

OK, so I’ve been plotting and scheming and here are the prizes you can win this week.  (Most of them, at least.):


The Man in the Iron Mask
The Count of Monte Cristo (unabridged)


A collection of up to three poems of your choosing.  You choose the topic, I’ll write the poems.




A custom banner image, via Photoshop, using any images you want.  For use in blog title or on a website.  Your choice.  (jpeg images will be the result of this prize)


Our grand prize day!  Two lucky winners will receive:

A $15 gift certificate to Amazon
A poem of their choosing
A peek at any one of my projects listed below


Oracles Promise (YA fantasy)- in progress
Lodestar (Paranormal)- in progress
A Rose by Any Other Name (romance)- First draft done
Jack and Caitlin (short story)- in progress
…Futile (poetry)- in progress
Musings (poetry)- in progress
Migrations (poetry)- in progress
Milestone (poetry)- in progress
Painted Silence (poetry)- in progress

Each day will have its own contest for winning that day’s prizes.  Friday’s contest will consist of a random drawing.  However, each and every comment for the whole week enters you into that drawing.  (Including Friday’s.)  I’ll cut off entries at 4 p.m. MST on Friday.  At which point I’ll draw two names and announce the winners.

This week should be fun!

Belated Birthday Bash — December 5, 2009

Belated Birthday Bash

With cake!

I realized today that I’ve missed my one year blog birthday.  What many of you don’t know is that this blog began on October 30, 2008.
So, yeah, I’m a little behind.

But whatever.

To celebrate, I’m doing a whole week of contests.  Complete with prizes!

I’m still deciding on the prizes, but there will be book giveaways, gift certificates, and some other special goodies.

Two grand prizes will be given away at the end of the week.

So, tweet, retweet, facebook, blog, etc. and you could totally win!

More details to come tomorrow.  The celebration begins on Monday!