Success only flourishes in perseverance -- ceaseless, restless perseverance.
--Baron Manfred Von Richtofen

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Honest Scrap

Hope everyone had a great holiday. I sure did! (I know there's another one coming up this week, but I'm not so much into the whole New Year's Eve thing. All it means is that no one goes to bed and I don't get my alone time. Oh, well.)

 A couple of weeks  ago, I was nominated for the Honest Scrap Award by Aubrie Dionne and Nicole Green. Thank you, ladies! The last time I was nominated for this award, I sort of fudged and only told one honest thing about myself instead of ten, so this time I am mending my ways and presenting the required ten honest things about myself. Hope it doesn't put you to sleep!

1. I love ice cream. I got an ice cream maker for my birthday. Heaven!
2. I prefer natural childbirth. Seriously. I've given birth with an epidural, without any medication, and by C-section. Natural is the only way to go!
3. I love to wear hats.
4. I grew up in the tiny town of Ferron, UT, and from there moved to Las Vegas for high school. Culture shock!
5. I don't remember the last time I went to the dentist. (I do make sure my kids get in there regularly, though.)
6. Speaking of kids, I am the happy mother of five sons and one daughter, all of whom are adorable, brilliant and talented. Not that I'm biased or anything.
7. Someday, I want to sing in the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. This seems more attainable than publishing a novel sometimes.
8. I hate politics, however I am going to attend my neighborhood caucus in March and run for state delegate. Something must be done.
9. I have never traveled outside of the US.
10. I used to think blogging was only for people with a desperate need for attention. How embarrassing! I was definitely wrong about that. I love blogging, love my followers, love the blogs I follow. Glad I decided to find out what I was missing!

Well, I just thought those up off the top of my head, so hope you enjoy. I have decided not to pass this one along, because it's too hard to pick out blogs out of the many that I read and love, so if you want this award, want to do your own list (and I'd love to read them!), please comment on this post, and the award is yours! Or just comment anyway, even if you don't want the award. I always love reading your comments.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

On Christmas Eve Eve

I want to wish you all a joyful holiday and a prosperous New Year. Here's a quote from President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, quoting President Monson, to get the year started out right:

When our wagon gets stuck in the mud, God is much more likely to assist the man who gets out to push than the man who merely raises his voice in prayer—no matter how eloquent the oration. President Thomas S. Monson put it this way: “It is not enough to want to make the effort and to say we’ll make the effort. . . . It’s in the doing,thinking, that we accomplish our goals. If we constantly put our goals off, we will never see them fulfilled.”

So, let's all get to it in the new year! Let's see some great things happen in 2010!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Merry Kiss-mas (or the Official Kissing Day blogfest)

Heard about this on Elana's and Nisa's blogs. It was started by Sherrinda. Looks like fun. You're supposed to post a kissing scene from something you wrote, so here goes. Here's a scene from my current WIP, The Ransomed Returning (it's sci-fi). Emma has lived her life in slavery and never learned how to really feel. Ben has just discovered his feelings for her, but doesn't know quite how to approach her. He decides to write her a love song. (Oh, and Joey is Emma's grandfather.)

Emma answered the door. "Hello, Ben. Joey's not here. He and Mariane went out visiting."
"Oh. Well, I came to see you, too. Mind if I come in?"
She shrugged "I don't mind."
He followed her in and sat down beside her on the couch. She didn't quite meet his eyes. "You didn't come to church with us today," she said.
"No. I went with my parents this time. I wanted to be with the nengwoonts'eng—the people I lived with in the mine."
"That man who was in the plane with Hannah, he was your leader, wasn't he?"
"Are you worried about him?"
"A little, but they most likely got out all right. Kwetoo'unuv can take care of himself wherever he is. I think they'll be fine."
"Do you think the Great Ones will come with more attack vessels and punish us?"
"No. And even if they do, we're ready for them."
Emma looked away.
"I'm glad you decided to stay here with us," Ben said.
She nodded. "Grandpa—Joey—says I should pray for God to help me."
"That's good advice. You know, I prayed and God helped me catch that watcher by the park."
Emma flinched.
"We took his overskin off. He can't hurt you now."
She shuddered. "Are you sure?"
"Absolutely. I could take you down to the refuge and let you see for yourself."
"I don't want to see him."
"We told him he could be free like us, but he won't do it. It's sad really."
"Maybe he's afraid," Emma said.
"Maybe. But there really isn't anything to be afraid of."
Emma stared at her lap. Ben took out the guitar. "Would you like me to play for you?"
She shrugged. "If you want."
He played the melody he'd been working on all afternoon. Emma's eyes drifted shut. She leaned her head back a little, listening.  Something almost like a smile touched her lips. She really was quite beautiful. He could imagine her happy and vibrant and alive. He'd like to see her like that. He'd like to see her smile again.
"That's pretty," she said.
His face grew hot. "You like it? I wrote it for you."
She opened her eyes and stared at him. "For me? Why?"
"I wanted to." He strummed a couple more measures. "Because I'm crazy about you."
Her eyes widened a little, as if she'd just then figured out what that phrase meant. Ben took a deep breath, and even though he didn't think the words were ready, he started to sing. As he did, the whole thing clicked in his brain and came out better than he expected.
It wasn't much really, but when he finished Emma had tears rolling down her face. Oh, dear. That wasn't the reaction he'd been hoping for. Come to think of it, he didn't know what reaction he'd been hoping for. He set down the guitar. "Why are you crying?"
She reached for him and he took her hand. "What I feel, it's so—so big. I don't know what to do. It frightens me."
He laid his hand on her cheek. "But really there isn't anything to be afraid of." He slipped his hand around the back of her neck and pulled her to him and kissed her. It lasted only a second.
Emma gasped. "Ben," she whispered and leaned toward him. He kissed her again, longer this time, enjoying the sweet scent of her skin, her breath against his cheek.
He pulled away from her and turned. "Joey. Oh, um—" There wasn't anything to say, so he just shrugged his shoulders. He didn't let go of Emma's hand.

So there you have it. I actually do intend to include love song lyrics, but--yeah--I don't really know how to write a song. (Anyone want to write a love song for my book?)

Friday, December 18, 2009

Who Wins the Cookies?

I got my dozen roses, thanks to my sweetie. :) They're pink! I'd post a picture, but I haven't taken one and don't know where the camera is. (My life in a nutshell.)

I want to thank all of you who commented on the cookie contest. I really appreciated all the kind words about "Highway Songs." They made me smile. Oh, and a special thanks to David J. West of Nephite Blood, Spartan Heart for reviewing "Highway Songs" on his blog. I really appreciate that. Go check out his very interesting blog. His novel, Heroes of the Fallen will be out (I hope) soon.

So, now the moment you're all waiting for. The winner of one dozen homemade chocolate chip cookies is:

Rosslyn Elliot of Inkhorn Blue!

Congrats, Rosslyn. Just send me your address at angloft(at)gmail(dot)com, and I'll send the cookies to you, probably after Christmas. (I'm sure you understand.)

Thanks again everyone for entering (and for reading the story).

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

"Highway Songs" is Published!

I am very pleased to announce that my short story, "Highway Songs" is now available at Residential Aliens. (Cool picture to go with it, eh?) I'm very excited. This makes one dozen published stories! I feel like celebrating. Maybe with a dozen doughnuts or a dozen roses. I don't know. How do you think I ought to celebrate?

Oh, I know. I'll have a blog giveaway! If I get one dozen comments on this post. I'll hold a drawing for one dozen of my homemade chocolate chip cookies. (Disclaimer: You probably won't get this prize until after Christmas.) How does that sound? Go ahead, comment away! Read the story and let me know what you think, or comment here about anything you like.

It's a happy day for me!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

My How Times Have Changed

I've been thinking back to life when I first started writing. I had a one year old baby and our very first computer. (If you'd like to read the whole story, check out this post.)

Then: I did most of my writing on the computer in WordPerfect. I mailed in nearly all my submissions. Getting published on the internet was frowned upon. I used Courier New exclusively. I put two spaces after sentences. I went to Science Fiction conventions and writing conferences, but never really talked to anyone. (I'm kind of shy in person.) I didn't have any writing friends. There was no such thing as blogger or facebook or gmail. I went to the library to do the majority of my research. I worked in isolation.

Now: I write by hand, then type it up into Word. Times New Roman is the font of the day. One space after a sentence is considered standard. I prefer electronic submissions, though I do still have to use snail mail Internet magazines are respected, POD, and ebooks are all the rage. I still go to cons and conferences, but now I make an effort to network and get to know people. I do most of my research online if possible. Blogger, Facebook, Twitter, etc. have expanded my writing world. I don't feel so isolated. I have amazing writing friends even in real life.

I can't wait to see what the future will hold.

By the way, if any of you bloggy friends are interested in reviewing Stolen Christmas and Other Stories of the Season on your blog, please email ldspublisher(at)hotmail(dot)com, and she'll send you a code for a free e-book to review!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Stolen Christmas Contest Winner!!

A big thanks to everyone who entered my Stolen Christmas contest. I enjoyed reading all the things you love about Christmas. I also love snow and caroling, gifts and family, remembering loved ones and celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ. Christmas is such a wonderful time. I hope that you all are focusing on the joy of the season and letting go of the stress. I'm trying to do that myself.

The winner (by random drawing) of Stolen Christmas and Other Stories of the Season is:

Mikey Stephenson

Check out his blog: Written by Mikey

I loved his comment, so I hope he doesn't mind if I post it here. He said:

I think the most thing I love about Christmas is that ever year it gets better and better. This year I get to spend it with a beautiful new baby girl who brings such joy into my heart. I think every day should be filled with the love that we feel this season, the love of our savior Jesus Christ. Best wishes to all this holiday season!

Congratulations, Mikey. Email me your address to angloft(at)gmail(dot)com, and I'll get your copy of Stolen Christmas in the mail. Just as soon as I can make it to the post office through the snow storm!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Win a Copy of Stolen Christmas!

You know you want one. Well, here's your chance. To enter, leave a comment on this post telling me something you love about Christmas, and post a link to this contest on your blog or on 
Facebook or Twitter. You can comment anytime between now and whenever I get online on Monday morning. At that time, I'll hold a random drawing for your very own copy of Stolen Christmas and Other Stories of the season. Good luck!

P.S. I went to help out the 6th graders again today, only they weren't doing writing workshop. They were doing math. Dividing Fractions. "Use the multiplicative inverse of the divisor." Help! Brain cramping! Actually it was still kind of fun.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

December Story Feature: Sweet Singing in the Choir

This month's story is a special Christmas gift from me to you. "Sweet Singing in the Choir" is one of the many Christmas stories that I have written as a gift to my family and friends over the years, and it is one of my personal favorites.

When Eliza, better known as Lazer, slips into the church looking for a bathroom, she doesn't know she's about to get drawn into a memorable experience with the off-key choir practicing in the chapel.

I hope that you'll enjoy "Sweet Singing in the Choir," and that it will brighten your Christmas season. Leave a comment here to let me know what you think.

P.S. If you like "Sweet Singing in the Choir," check out another of my Christmas stories, "Shepherds and Kings," in Stolen Christmas and Other Stories of the Season.