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

Friday, December 31, 2010

Welcome, Welcome, Twenty-'leven

So, what do you think we should call the new year? Two-thousand Eleven? Oh-eleven? Just plain Eleven? I'm going with Twenty-'leven.

2011 will hold, among other things, my oldest child graduating from high school and going off to college, and my fortieth birthday. One consolation is that my fortieth birthday will be on 9-10-11. Really, who could ask for a better date for a fortieth birthday than that? Also come fall, I will have children in every level of school from pre-school through college. Nice, huh?

I feel like I should report at this point on my Big Goal. You know, the one over there on the sidebar with the countdown clock? If you don't want to scroll down and see it, I'll just tell you. It says, "Within two years, I will have a novel published or at least have a contract. Also, I will be presenting at a local writing conference." Well, sometimes I think I ought to just remove that from the blog and pretend I never said it. No novel contract as of yet. But not for lack of trying.

I haven't been invited to present at any conferences, however I am going to be on some panels at Life, the Universe and Everything at BYU next month. I am trying to act all nonchalant about this. Just a few panels. No big deal. Inside though, I'm doing a major happy dance. This is really a long-held dream come true for me. (Squeeeee! Okay, back to being cool.) If you're in the area and want to come see me on some panels, LTUE is Feb. 17-19 on the BYU campus. Anyway, I figure it's a step in the right direction. And since my novel is still out on submission, I won't give up on the novel contract part just yet either.

Now, on to the Twenty-'leven writing goals:

Keep Writing
Keep Submitting
Finish "Refuge" in January
Write another novel

Yes, I'll be starting off the year with another novella challenge like I did in October. Shall we see if I can beat the PR I set then? "Refuge" is the third and final part of my three novella series of prequels to my novels. What novel I will write after that remains a mystery to me.

What big plans do you have for the next year?

Let's make it the best year ever!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas, Friends!

I want to wish all of you terrific people a very Merry Christmas and many wonderful happenings in the New Year!

Me and my Sweetie
I'll see you all again next week. Enjoy!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Guess What Day It Is?

It's the day that voting starts for LDS Publisher's Christmas story contest!

Voting runs from now until Friday. Please pop over there, read the stories and vote. I can't tell you which story is mine, but I am going to tell you that you have to click on "older posts" to get to mine. What better way to spend the week before Christmas than reading Christmas stories? Hope you enjoy!!

Friday, December 17, 2010

My first guest post

Hey, everybody, I'm a guest today over at Christine Bryant's Day Dreamer blog. Go check it out here! Leave a comment. It will make me happy. :)

Monday, December 13, 2010

A Christmas Gift For You

See that box over there on the sidebar? Right at the top? That's my gift to you. Click on the picture and read the story. It's only one page long. Enjoy and have a wonderful holiday season!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Favorite Traditions (and a winner)

It's time to announce the winner of the Giveaway of Holiday Cheer! I thought you might all enjoy reading the awesome traditions everyone shared:

tiffany said... my favorite tradition is Christmas eve pajamas & having non traditional stockings  

Lisa said... My favorite tradition is one my family has been doing since I was a child. It's a Danish tradition where an almond is hidden inside a pudding and the lucky person who finds it while they are eating gets a prize. The customary Danish prize is good luck for the year to come but growing up my parents would do a game or a Christmas decoration for their prize. I LOVE this tradition. It wouldn't be Christmas without it.

Taffy said... We open one family present on Christmas Eve like a video or game we can all do together.

KarenG said... My favorite tradition now that our kids are grown and moved away is that every year, one of the couples is in charge of Christmas breakfast. Then we open presents and that makes the rest of the day more relaxed, some are here for a casual meal later, others go to the in-laws houses. 

kbrebes said... We always drive up to Morro Bay for a family Christmas Eve party and then drive home late at night to have Christmas morning in our own home. For many years we had the tradition of stopping in a tree lot and picking up a huge, leftover, beautiful, abandoned tree that never sold. We'd haul it home and decorate it, drinking hot chocolate and singing songs. Once my foot got stuck in a hole in the ground--lots of other silly, funny things happened while we went tree hunting together. (We put a well lighted fake tree up each Thanksgiving.)

Linz said... My favorite tradition is driving around to look at Christmas lights! We always have such a great time!!! 

Tess said... what fun! our favorite tradition is our annual "christmas cozy". We sit around a candlelit table covered in candy and and share fun family memories. It involves laughter and lots of food...:D 

MaDonna Maurer said...My favorite tradition since I married a German is Christmas Eve. We have Brauts and red cabbage with lots of salads for supper. Then, we eat Christmas cookies while the kids open the presents from his side of the family....the next morning kids open presents from my side of the family.  

Queen 'Bina said...My favorite Christmas tradition is the stocking. If I don't a gift under the tree, that's fine, but don't skimp on my stocking! I especially love getting the orange in the toe and the nuts and candy that fill in the gaps between stuffers. It's silly, but growing up, I always got a tooth brush and hair care stuff in my stocking. There were other fun things as well, but that tooth brush seems essential to me now. Very sadly, my kids don't seem at all excited about the cherrished orange. But Santa will still bring me one. I just know he will!  

Angela Felsted said...Oh, yeah . . . and my favorite Christmas tradition? Making cookies for Santa on Christmas Eve, then sipping hot chocolate with whipped cream. Yum. 

Renae W. Mackley said...There's lots of little things that make up our Christmas traditions: like my husband cooking eggs benedict for breakfast, snacks and appetizers for dinner, new PJs on Christmas Eve, and lots of music.

Jan Markley said...massive amounts of chocolate is one of the best ...  

Elizabeth Mueller said... I love the cozy feeling of family together and the joy shining bright in the expressions of my kids' faces. 

Tyrean Martinson said...I love the munlies we make on Christmas Eve and eat on Christmas day. We have so much fun making them as a multi-generational family, and then they are yummy to eat.  

Maeve Frazier said...Last year we started a new tradition of sharing Christmas with our first grandchild. My Husband and I are called Lolli & Pop; because what child wouldn't want to go to LolliPop's House at Christmas! Merry Christmas to you all! - Maeve -  

MT said...My favorite tradition is acting out Luke 2 on Christmas Eve. I love it when people feel festive and start giving away books and candy. :)  

Medeia Sharif said... I love Christmas cookies.

Sound like great traditions don't they? It sure put me in a festive mood! So, without further ado, the winner of Stolen Christmas, The Widow's Mite, The Boys Upstairs, and a bag of Butterfinger Jingles is: 

Maeve Frazier!

Congratulations, Maeve. I love that your grandkids call you Lollie and Pop. So cute! Please send me your address to angloft (at) gmail (dot) com and I will send you the Jingles, I'll have the books shipped to you, and I'll email you The Boys Upstairs in whatever format you like.

Thanks again for entering at have a very Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Giveaway of Holiday Cheer!

*Sings* It's the most wonderful time of the year!

And since I think everyone deserves a great Christmas story collection, I'm going to get you started off right. Here's what you could win:

A copy of Stolen Christmas and Other Stories of the Season.  Remember this? Well, maybe you don't, since I've gained the bulk of my followers since last year. Stolen Christmas is a fun, eclectic mix of Christmas stories from LDS Publisher's Christmas story contests. My story, "Shepherds and Kings" is in it, along with authors like Sarah M. Eden, Tristi Pinkston, Don Carey, Joyce DiPastena and more! You're sure to love many of these fun, entertaining and touching tales.

A copy of The Widow's Mite, which I reviewed last month.

An e-book copy of The Boys Upstairs, which I reviewed last week.

And last, but not least, a bag of my absolute favorite Christmas candy--Butterfinger Jingles.

Now wouldn't that make your Christmas brighter? Just leave a comment on this post sharing one of your favorite Christmas traditions, post a link to the contest on Facebook or Twitter, and you're entered! The contest will be open until Friday, Dec. 10 and I'll announce the winner on Saturday Dec. 11. It's that easy. And all of these books would make great gifts too! So, don't be shy. Leave me an entry and good luck to all!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Check Out My Interview

Happy Saturday, Gang! Only three weeks until Christmas. If you have a minute in all your Christmas preparations, go check out my interview today on the Mormon Mommy Writers Blog. You might learn a few things about me.

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

More Christmas Goodies (of the print variety)

Today I am pleased to share another great addition to your Christmas story collection. Jane Lebak's novella, "The Boys Upstairs." Here's the blurb from the publisher's website:

Jay Farrell, a crippled priest, has begun housing homeless boys in his rectory. Once a street kid himself, he was riding the rocket-train to a lifetime in prison until the day he drove over a land mine in Iraq. Today he works at an inner-city parish, running a soup kitchen and struggling to manage an impoverished church.

With temperatures below zero and falling a few nights before Christmas, Jay's estranged brother Kevin dumps three more children on his front porch. Kevin, a cop who can't believe in God after all the evil he's seen, hasn't spoken to Jay in years, but he knows Jay will at least give the kids a place to stay. It isn't over yet, though. As they work together to meet the children's needs, they must confront the long-buried emotions that have divided them so long.
The Boys Upstairs examines the real gift of the holiday season and how hope can transform the ones society condemns as not worth saving.

I have really enjoyed Lebak's work in the past, especially her novel Seven Archangels: Annihilation, which was originally published as a serial on Mindflights. So I was excited to read a Christmas story from her. She did not disappoint. "The Boys Upstairs" is a touching and tender portrayal of two brothers struggling to reconcile their differences against a back drop of an inner-city Christmas. I found myself drawn in by the characters and their struggles. They were all well-drawn, real people that I could relate to and root for. The ending was satisfying without being overly sentimental. "The Boys Upstairs" is a story of hope and healing and the gentle touch of God's grace. It is a great read to help remind you of the real reason for the season. "The Boys Upstairs" is available in several formats from Muse It Up publishing.

You can visit Jane Lebak on her blog, Seven Angels, Four Kids, One Family

Thanks, Jane, for giving me the chance to review this great Christmas read!

Update from the author:

The publisher of MuseItUp has decided to give a 25% discount on all titles until December 10th, so if you use code HC2010D at checkout in the discount code box before going to Paypal, the price drops to $3.38 Canadian.