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

Monday, April 30, 2012

Another Review of Defenders

Today, Renae Mackley of Renae's Writespot reviews Defenders of the Covenant. Thanks, Renae

If you missed the rest of my unofficial blog tour, here are the links:

I have just decided that if you comment on any or all of these links, I'll put your name into a drawing for an Avenging Angels T-shirt!

Wouldn't you love to be an honorary member of the fleet?

The giveaway will be open through all the upcoming reviews, interviews and such until May 31, and I'll hold the drawing on June 1.

(Some posts, like Jane Still's, don't have comments open, so those won't be included. Also, I'll only include commenters who are also following my blog and the participating blog. Rules and all that.)

So, go forth, comment and enjoy!

Friday, April 27, 2012

Interview Today!

Hey, all. You may have noticed over there in the sidebar that I have a little unofficial blog tour going on for Defenders of the Covenant. Today, I was interviewed by C. LaRene Hall. So, if you're interested in when I started writing, where I got my inspiration for the book, and my best piece of advice, go check it out. Plus, you'll get to read her awesome review of the book. =)

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

You Won't Find Time to Write in Your Couch Cushions

I thought I'd share the highlights of my "Finding Time to Write" presentation here on the blog.

First of all, if you're waiting to write until you find the time, you will never write! Sad, but true. We cannot find the time to write. It's not hiding under the couch cushions. We have to make the time to write and we have to make that time count!

So, how do you make time to write? Make a list of everything you do each day, and I mean everything--from working to eating to sleeping to combing your hair. Go ahead, I'll wait.

Done? Okay. Take a good, hard look at that list. Are there activities you could spend less time on? Are there any you could eliminate entirely?

Here are just a few suggestions for carving time out of your day:

Get up a half hour (or even fifteen minutes) earlier, or go to bed a little later
Take the bus to work and write on the bus
Take a few minutes of your lunch break to write
Trade off babysitting with a friend
Make a double batch of dinner and save half for another night
Watch less TV (or no TV!)
Let your family pitch in on cooking, cleaning and other household tasks
Settle for a less-than-spotless house

I think you get the picture. The bottom line is that writing (or doing anything worthwhile) requires sacrifice. There are some things you may have to give up in order to spend time writing. Only you can determine what those sacrifices should be. Just make sure you're not sacrificing the wrong things. I firmly believe that we should never sacrifice our relationships or our health (physical, emotional and spiritual) for writing.

What are you willing to sacrifice for writing?

Next week, we'll talk about how to make your writing time effective.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Out of the Comfort Zone

Well, I survived teaching at Write Here in Ephraim. I think it went pretty well. I felt like I was talking too fast, and didn't know if I made sense half the time, but the people attending seemed to like it all right. I think. That was my Science Fiction and Fantasy class. I took a lot of what I said from the Writing Speculative Fiction posts I did. Only one person came to my Finding Time to Write class, but she and I had a nice discussion.

It was good for me to get outside my comfort zone like that and stretch myself a bit. I think I learned more about how to make a presentation interesting and how to get people involved. I'll do even better next time.

Another stretching moment came this week when I submitted my second novel (a sequel to Defenders of the Covenant) and she politely asked me to cut it by 20k words if possible. Really? 20,000 words is a whole lot to come out of a novel! But I want to see it published, so I am taking the challenge. Yesterday, I started hacking. And hacking. And hacking. It got it down by 26K! That should give me the room to add what I need to put all the pieces back into a coherent whole again. You know what? I think it's going to be a better novel for it.

What have you done to step outside your comfort zone lately?

Friday, April 13, 2012

Pep Talk!

We all need a pep talk once in a while, don't we? Tomorrow is Write Here in Ephraim. (If you're in the area, you should totally come. It's free and it's going to be fabulous!) It's my first real conference teaching experience. I've been on panels, but having an hour all to myself to try and impart something important about writing is a little daunting.

So, I've been giving myself a pep talk today. I can do this! I know a lot about writing! I can be fun and entertaining! Right? Right? Funny enough, it actually is working. I feel a lot more confident than I did yesterday.

So, here's a pep talk for you, for whatever might be daunting you at the moment. Finishing your WIP, writing a query, submitting, getting started...whatever.

You can do it! You are awesome! Just look at how far you've come already! I believe in you! I know you can succeed!

So there you go. Now go forth and conquer!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

LDS Writer Blogfest: Avoiding Envy

Kayleen Hamblin of Kayleen's Creation Corner invited me to participate in the 3rd annual LDS Writer Blogfest. I chose one of the talks from our recent general conference to blog about. It is from Elder Jeffrey R. Holland about the Savior's parable of the laborer's in the vineyard, found in Matthew 20:1-15. I chose this talk since it concerns an issue that I think is relevant to us writers. Envy. We may not talk about it, but I know from personal experience how easy it can be to feel envious of the success of others in this business. Don't get me wrong. I love this writing community. It is so supportive and terrific. But I have felt those envious feelings stirring in me on more than one occasion. Here's what Elder Holland had to say:

Brothers and sisters, there are going to be times in our lives when someone else gets an unexpected blessing or receives some special recognition. May I plead with us not to be hurt—and certainly not to feel envious—when good fortune comes to another person? We are not diminished when someone else is added upon. We are not in a race against each other to see who is the wealthiest or the most talented or the most beautiful or even the most blessed. The race we are really in is the race against sin, and surely envy is one of the most universal of those.

Furthermore, envy is a mistake that just keeps on giving. Obviously we suffer a little when some misfortune befalls us, but envy requires us to suffer all good fortune that befalls everyone we know! What a bright prospect that is—downing another quart of pickle juice every time anyone around you has a happy moment! To say nothing of the chagrin in the end, when we find that God really is both just and merciful, giving to all who stand with Him “all that he hath,”2 as the scripture says. So lesson number one from the Lord’s vineyard: coveting, pouting, or tearing others down does not elevate your standing, nor does demeaning someone else improve your self-image. So be kind, and be grateful that God is kind. It is a happy way to live.

So true! That really touched me when I heard it. I don't think I have a huge problem with envy, but I know I've felt it at times for sure. And I am happy for all of your successes. We're all in this together, my friends!

Read the entire talk here.

Go check out the other entries!
Amanda Sowards
Ben Spendlove
Britanny Larsen
Cami Checketts
Charity Bradford
Danyelle Ferguson
Giselle Abreu
Julia Keanini
Julie Coulter Bellon
Kasey Tross
Kayeleen Hamblin
Kelly Bryson
Krista Van Dolzer
Laura Johnston
Melanie Standord
Rachelle Christensen
Rebecca Belliston
Sierra Gardner
Stephanie Worlton

Friday, April 6, 2012

A Brand New Bag

The writing bag then...
I loved my old writing bag. Loved it! My sister made it for me. I loved the soft yellow fabric, the cheerful daisies, the mint green interior. I loved the many pockets and the large space inside. I loved it so much that I loved it to death. The handles are threadbare. They are coming unstitched from the top of the bag. There are holes in the bottom corners. I knew it was time for a new bag.

...and now.
 I need something that can carry multiple notebooks and has lots of space for all the pens, mp3 player, phone, carmex, sunglasses, flash drive, scraps of paper, camera, and everything else I need in order to write. I decided on this awesome vintage messenger bag.

I. Love. It. No offense to my darling sister or the memory of my other beloved bag, but this one is also perfect. It has pockets and roominess and sturdy canvas. And a bio-hazard symbol. So far, I'm very pleased with my bag.

And yes, having the right bag does help me write better!

What about you? Do you have a special object--bag or something else--that you need to get your writing done?

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

A to Z Guest Post

I'm sort of sideways participating in the A to Z Blog Challenge today with a guest post over on Angela Felsted's blog. 

I'm talking about (what else?) Defenders of the Covenant for the letter D. Go check it out!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Launch Party!

My launch party last Friday went better than I could have imagined. It was so much fun! My sweet, talented husband put together a video of some of the highlights of the night. Enjoy.