Wednesday, January 28, 2009

I'm Finished

Today, I finished my current manuscript. The final word count is 90,949 words. I've had a few people read through it and one friend edit most of it. So, I've already done some editing on it. I'm now printing it out, will read it through again for another edit. Then, I'm sending it to two more evaluators to get their input. And, then comes the final edit. I'm also re-thinking my title.

I'm so happy to be done with the initial manuscript. I started this in March 2008 and finished it in less than a year. I've never written anything so fast. It usually takes me almost 2 years to finish one. Needless to say, I'm very happy today.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Our Talents

I've been in a cyber-discussion about whether or not moms should write books and run marathons. The person I was having the cyber-discussion wondered what women who do these things are trying to prove. I don't think we are trying to prove anything. I don't run marathons, but I'm truly impressed by those who do.

I do write books, but I'm not trying to prove anything. I love to write and I love being a mother. For me, one doesn't take away from the other. I find joy in writing; it makes me happy. Being a happy mom is important for my kids. It's important to make time in our lives for things that make us happy.

In this discussion, it was suggested that writing books should wait for a time when my kids are grown up. Now is not the time to write books, it was contended. There will be time for that later.
I know so many mothers who are writers. That kind of thinking--that we shouldn't write because our kids are small and we should put it off for later--is wrong. We all have been given talents. If we hide our talents or put them off for another time, then we're not showing our gratitude for those talents. Using our talents shows gratitude to Heavenly Father for giving us those talents.

I'll be honest. I don't have a lot of talents. I sing horribly. I can't play the piano. (I've tried, and I suck.) I'm really bad at cooking & baking. I'm not artistic. I'm not crafty. I'm not athletic.

My two talents are being a mom and writing. And, I see no reason why I can't demonstrate those two talents simultaneously.

We all have talents. I know people who sing beautifully and I love hearing them. I'm glad for mothers who use their talents to sing in choirs or do solos at church. You will never see me singing a solo in sacrament meeting. Not that I don't want to. I'd love to be able to sing, but people have told me not to. Once, even from the floor below I was told that I sing horribly. So, I won't sing, but I'm glad for those who do, who give me goose bumps when they sing solos in church.

I'm glad for moms who play the piano at church. I took a few years of piano and can do okay with my right hand, but my not my left hand. She just does not want to cooperate. So, I've tried, and I can't. I wish that I could.

When I was a teenager, one of my church teachers was a very talented singer. A few times, she participated in theatre productions. I once saw her do Annie Oakley in a local theatre's production of Annie, Get Your Gun. I cried watching her because I was so inspired by her talent. She was a mother of two at the time, and I was grateful for her supportive husband who encouraged her to display her beautiful talent.

I have a friend who sewed her daughter a coat with a matching hat! A coat. She made an actual coat! This same friend also sings amazing solos. Talents are wonderful. We all have them and we should pursue them, not hide them or put them away.

There are mothers all around us who use their talents, who don't hide them. They shouldn't hide them. I'm glad for mothers who make beautiful quilts, who make delicious desserts, who run 5K's, who take beautiful photographs, who do pottery, who cut hair, who teach piano and dance, who paint pictures, who decorate amazing cakes, who coach the girls basketball team at church, and who write books.

Can a mother write books and be a good mom? Just ask my friend, Rebecca Talley, who is a writer and has ten kids. Or, ask my friends, Tamra Norton or Tristi Pinkston, who home-school their kids and have published multiple books.

As for me and my one talent, I will continue to pursue it. It's the only I have. I'll never sing or play the piano. Yeast doesn't like to rise for me. My rice krispy treats don't stick together the way they should. The patches on my son's cub scout uniform are lop-sided. The photographs I take will continue to be off-center. I can't cut my kids' hair. But, I can write. I'm not the best writer in the world, but I do write. I'm grateful for my supportive husband who is my greatest cheerleader. He tells people he's just met about my books and carries my cards to hand out to people. He wishes I would do more book-signings. He's encouraging and supportive of my one talent.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

What I'm Reading Right Now

So, I started reading Harry Potter a few weeks ago. I read quickly, at first, but by Chapter 5 it slowed down for me. I'm still in the middle of Ch. 5 and will finish reading it. Everyone tells me it gets much better and I believe them. However, I think I'm putting it aside for a bit.

In church, I'm one of the leaders of the 12-13 year old girls and next month, we're doing a little book group. We're each picking any book to read and next month, we'll talk about our book with the others. I'm reading Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow by Jessica Day George. I'm loving this book. It's Young Adult. I read Dragon Slippers by the same author last year and loved it! I guess it's because the main character is a girl that I've taken to this book more so than Harry Potter. I know that sounds awful every time I say that, but it's true.

So, these two books will keep me busy the rest of the month. On February 9th, the finalists for the Whitney Awards will be announced. The Whitney Awards is an award given to LDS authors. This is the second year for the awards. As a member of LDStorymakers, I get to vote for the awards. So, once the finalists are announced, then I have to get busy reading so I can vote for which books I think are the best. That's a lot of reading to do and not much time. The awards are announced in April.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Almost There

My word count is at 87,089 words. I am so close to finishing this manuscript. I think my final word count will hover around 90,000 words, so if you do the math, I'm really, really close. I have about 3 little scenes to finish. I cheated and already wrote 'The End.' Bad me. I couldn't help it. The scenes I still have to write are scattered in the last few chapters.

I still have the death scene to write, but I've been putting that off. I wrote around it, already wrote the funeral scene, but I just can't kill the guy. I've been communicating back and forth with a friend from high school who is a doctor now. I'm trying to find the exact cause of death. It has not been determined yet. I think I've narrowed it down, but I'm still not exactly sure if that's how I want him to die. I just need to kill the guy already.

If I can sit down and write for about two hours for about 3 more days, I can have this thing finished. It's already gone through some heavy editing. My friend Amanda has edited most of it. I have about 4 more chapters to send her. I have a few more people reading it. When I finish it, I have one more evaluator to send the whole thing to. After I hear back from her, then I can finish editing and it will be ready for submission. I'm hoping to have it completely edited and ready to submit by the end of February. The end is in sight. I'm so happy.

Now, if I could just find the perfect title for it. Right now the name is "Watching From the Sky," but I don't really love it. It sort of implies a different meaning than I want.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

In 2007, I read The Icing on the Cake by Elodia Strain. In this post, I wrote how much I loved it. It's a wonderful Chick-Lit LDS novel. I have been eagerly awaiting the sequel and it has just been released.

Previously Engaged is the sequel to the laugh-out-loud antics of Annabelle Pleasanton. I'm so excited to order this book and highly recommend that you check out The Icing on the Cake.

Go to Elodia's website- to find out more about the books and for a chance to win a copy of her new book.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

A New Title

I just heard from my publisher that they've chosen a new title for my book that will be released in May. I entitled the manuscript One On One. The story is about Cara Jones and Mick Webber who are co-hosts of a local college basketball news show entitled One on One with Webber and Jones. There is some internal rivalry between Cara and Mick, which quickly develops to an attraction they both are determined to deny. During the course of the book, they do engage in a game of one-on-one basketball. I won't tell you who wins. So, that is where my title came from.

The publisher thought the title was too common a term and wanted a more original title. I put my brain to work and sent them a list of other titles. From the list, they chose the title Pick-up Games which is now my new title. I like this title a lot as well because it has that double meaning-- a pick-up game of basketball and picking up dates.

I'm happy with this new title and am excited to see what they will come up with for the cover in a few months. I guess I've been pretty lucky with titles. I was allowed to keep my original titles for both Star Shining Brightly and Reasonable Doubt. There had been some talk about changing Reasonable Doubt, but in the end they let me keep the title, and I was so glad about that.

Now, I'm just looking forward to May when Pick-up Games will be released.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Foto Friday

On Friday, we drove to Nuevo Laredo in Mexico. It was our kids' first time to Mexico. Omar was excited that he can finally say he's been to another country. Diego really wanted a sombrero, and Ruben wanted to find stuff to throw down in the water. Here we are after crossing back over the Rio Grande to Texas. I was just happy to have made it past Border Patrol. The few times I've gone to Mexico, I have this irrational fear that they won't let me back. I brought my Naturalization Certificate as proof that I'm a citizen, but there's always that little fear it won't be good enough. After all, I was in 8th grade when I became a citizen and the picture on my certificate is quite different than what I look like now. No worries, though. I got through just fine.

Harry Potter. . . Finally

So, I've never read any of the Harry Potter books or seen any of the movies. At this point, I feel like the only person in the world who hasn't. I haven't ever been very interested in Young Adult books or fantasy. This last year, I finally gave YA a try and read several books. It all started with Dragon Slippers by Jessica Day George which I reviewed in this post. I then read Book of A Thousand Days by Shannon Hale, Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine, and a few others. I found that I really liked YA and maybe a little fantasy too.

However, all the YA fantasy books I read and enjoyed involved female main characters. I just don't think I enjoy little boys as main characters. I have three sons and I absolutely love them and seeing their adventures, but I just don't want to read books about little boys. I know that sounds sexist or prejudice or whatever, but little boy books=no interest. I've tried a few, and I don't like them. Sorry.

My friend, Amanda, and I made a deal. If she reads Twilight, I'll read Harry Potter. When I first read Twilight, I didn't think I would like it. I was just reading it to see what the big deal was. Well, I really liked it and finished the series, so who knows maybe I'll like this whole Harry Potter thing after all.

My friend, Julie, lent me her copy and I'm going to read it this month. I'll let you know what I think about it. The rest of the series? We'll see. No promises there.