Monthly Archives: May 2012

THree THing THursday

You guys, there is something wrong with me.

It’s the second week in a row I forgot to post.  Carol emailed me both times at the end of the day with this: Are you okay?

The first time I wasn’t sure why she was asking and then the second time I knew right away what she was asking and I could not believe I did it again. Things have been busy. And stressful. And crazy. But that’s how it is for everyone almost always, right? I blame it on my dentist. There are a lot of things I can handle. A LOT. But then there are some things that knock me off my feet. Dental issues fall into that category.

And so . . . here are three things, none of them related to each other but all very important to the world:

1. The boys are in an on-going argument about which is stronger/tougher, dragons or cats (super cats that can fly and have fire coming from their tummies). This is a very difficult subject around our house and on the one side, it seems obvious, but when you get into the complex world of super-cats, it becomes clear that what was once so simple, has now become much more complicated. These discussions have made me think more and more about fantasy. My boys live in other worlds most of the day. They tie up villains to the trees outside with bungee cords. They yell at me when I step in hot lava.  They plan birthday parties for monsters. It’s a constant battle between danger and safety, life and death, good and bad. I wonder if I could tap into that energy. I wonder if I could write a fantasy about super-cats and hot lava. I’ve tried before but it is a struggle. I wonder how many of you write fantasy and contemporary fiction? Is it easy to switch over? We were talking about dinosaurs today and discussing vegetarians vs. omnivores vs.  carnivores. How many omnivore fantasy/contemporary writers do we have out there? Does one come more naturally than the other

2. Ray Bradbury once said: “You have to know how to accept rejection and reject acceptance.” What do you think of this advice? Is this easy for you? Difficult? True? False? Happy? Discouraging?

3. If I write a horror novel about dentists, will you buy it?

*No offense to dentists. It’s my issue. Not yours.

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Mishmash!

Eric just bought the most stupid game ever. And it’s called Skyrim. Ever heard of it? Yeah, I thought so.
So he has this stupid game. And apparently it takes about 175 hours to win. Or maybe even worse. But I figure, he worked for 11 days straight at almost 12 hours a day. . . I guess that means he earned a bit of time to assslack while playing xbox.

I don’t have a lot of free time, and the free time I have, I spend with Eric. And now he has this game.

But I just discovered that the game is sort of a horrible blessing in disguise.
Yes. And that is this. . . .
I have already gotten a hundred pages of my novel re-written.
WHO KNEW?!?
I didn’t.
But I’m excited. {Even though I hate this novel now. Every word sounds like crap in a handbasket. Mom says that’s normal when you’re doing your millionth re-write like I am.}

Mom had a list of 25 things that she wanted to do this summer. Maybe I should post a few of mine here.
SELL NOVEL! Someone somewhere might like it . . .right?
Get a little house to live in with Laura.
Get new car, which also means, get job.

I probably have to move back in with my mother dear. I’m not sure how she will like that because I have saggy ears and wear shirts that show my bra, but I don’t really have any other choice. {Unless someone knows of a killer priced basement apartment or something along those lines, for rent?}
So that is why a job will be nice. My nanny job ends on Saturday. I will be very sad to go. I love those kids–like family, but it isn’t worth the pay anymore. But it’s still sad. They love me back.

I was watching a documentary on this serial killer. And one of the people that grew up with the murderer talked a little bit about their childhood. He said that there was a town pedophile {Sounds like something Mom would write about} that lived on their block. And that the kids would go to his house sometimes {I’m not sure why. . . kids are stupid. That’s probably why} and he would get eggs that were almost ready to hatch and open them up and expose the baby chick. Most of the time the bird couldn’t survive.

The guy talking said he was so disgusted by that, that he knew the man was evil. {This was before they found out he was a raging pervert. The pedo, not the guy.}
Doesn’t that give you the worst image in your head? I don’t know why I keep going back to that but I do. Maybe I’ll steal it and put it in a book somehow. Hmmmmmmmm

This post is farrrrr too long to read. But either way, everyone have a nice week!

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15-Minute Blog

Here goes–I’m timing myself.
I always think i will spend just ten minutes. Fifteen at the most.
No. I start writing and the next thing I know, thirty minutes–45-minutes, have gone by.

Today is my I was BAPTIZED into the Mormon Church Day.
I try to celebrate every year.
Nothing big.
Just time with my kids.

ALSO–Happy Birthday Chris Crowe!!!!!
Chris is 72 today. He hardly looks a day over 70.

Today is also Memorial Day.
And sort of the Start of Summer.

So here is a list of 25 things I want to do this summer
No order of preference

Finish Fine in my Skin
Send off to Steve
Finish rough of computer addition book (mid grade) before conference starts
Go to Conference
Get everything prepared for a week before conference so I can breathe for one week before it starts
write four-five chapters of next book (either S&S novel or SMP novel)
work on non-fiction book with Ann-Dee
send in proposal
find a new house to live in
work on food storage
get birth certificate
have a fun week away–or doing nothing here
start to consolidate crap here at the house
go out to lunch with friends
have a few movie nights
use dehydrator machine
do another writing marathon with you all
win (can I say win????) lawsuit (this is a positive affirmation)
spend lots of time with my girls
lose 15 pounds
stop biting my nails
start working on next year’s conference
get my website/blog thingie up and running
write like I am a real writer–like this is my job–because it is
come up with a few ideas for Rick Walton and his e-books
Laugh. A lot.

That last one is the most important.
I want to be happy this summer.
Not let ex-crap and lawsuits and painful experiences bother me so much.

Everyone, post your 25 hopes of the summer.
Maybe we’ll meet on a beach somewhere, if we co-ordinate!!!!

PS This took just about 15 minutes! Excuse typos, please. :)

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Three Things Thursday

1. I have a book signing! (This is Carol.)
Yes, mark your calendars–please. I hope you can come to The King’s English bookstore on June 23 at 2:00 where I will do a signing for WAITING.
This IS the day after WIFYR. That Saturday after.
I hope everyone in the whole wide world can come.
And guess what? I’ve never done this before, but I am going to actually advertize that I am doing this signing.
Why? It’s embarrassing when the Amazing Ann Edwards Cannon comes to the signing and feels so sorry for me (because it’s just her and Rachel and Margaret and they are all store employees) she buys two books!
(I love Ann. Thank you for buying those two books. She would have bought all the girl scout cookies if her sons had been daughters.)
:)

2. I am doing a final rewrite of a book set in 1969!
Yahoo! Historical fiction that I lived through.
Way way way back in the olden days.

So, I think we, as writers, put our books in the places and times–with the just-right characters–they need to be set in. At least I do.
THE CHOSEN ONE would only have ended up as it did with KYRA as the main character. Another girl might have married her uncle.
When I write, I find a character and follow her to see where she leads. And maybe I know a tiny bit about something to do with the story, but usually it’s all about whoever has decided to be the mouthpiece of the story.
Florida in 1969–well, I was hardly alive, but I have done research.
And it was so Southern.
And so is this little girl and her family.
I’ll send it off this afternoon to my most amazing agent.

EXERCISE–Switch up PLACE for the story you are working on. If your story is modern-day fantasy, change it to something set back in time like Kathryn Duey’s SKIN HUNGER.
If it’s contemporary young adult, play with the setting and make it 1800’s.
Take your time and just experiment. Complete 750 words. I’d love to read them.
Then ask:
What have I learned from my character in this setting?
How is she different now than she was when I started this experiment?
What is one thing I can take for her back to the current WIP?

3. Another writing exercise–
You need paper
timer
pen or pencil

Set the timer for 40 minutes.
Take a deep breath.
Start writing.
Write EVERY idea you have or think you have, of books you can write in the future.
So maybe you have already outlined 7 books for your series. Sure, count those.
But I want you to think of ideas where there is just the germ of an idea and go for those.
Don’t stop and ponder.
Put it all down, even if you don’t think it’s your genre.
Write the whole 40 minutes.

So I have a file with lots of ideas in it.
And those ideas include non-fiction, LDS non-fiction, stuff I could sell on my own if I ever got my website going, picture books, a paranormal idea, historical fiction, things American Girl should buy, nothing fantasy, middle grade starts to stories. YA beginnings.
I have years worth of work waiting for me.
And I’m glad.
Why?

I’m a writer.

And
so
are
you.

So Exercise.

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To Post or Not to Post

I keep forgetting about my post. Just a few more weeks and maybe I can get it set in stone in my brain.
Maybe .
If I’m lucky.
The kids are watching some poorly written cartoons that I wish they wouldn’t. Every once in a whole I change to the TLC channel for a show about kids with Horrible Diseases and Terrible Health Problems. The children I babysit hate it. But sometimes it has to happen.
There is a pretty funny show they watch every once in a while called Regular Show. It’s pretty funny, and reminds me of something I would watch as a child. Pretty good characters. And such.
How does this have to do with writing? It doesn’t.
But this does.
Mom got her third starred review for WAITING in School Library Journal. Three stars? Amazing! Everyone be sure to congratulate her OR they could buy the book and write their own review. Which I recommend. Because the book is amazing!
Also, I’ve mentioned this before, but I must mention again. . .
The WIFYR conference.
If you haven’t signed up, now is the time. The afternoon sessions are always a good deal if you don’t have time to commit to a full five-day class.
There will still be an astounding performance this year and there will also be a lot of amazing people speaking. Think of all the friends you could make. . . Or maybe you could even snag yourself an agent! Who knows? I know that I’m bringing my novel this year. Maybe I’ll have time to sit in a few sessions and get some of advice!
Either way, I hope you are all there!
Everyone have a great week this weekend and stay safe. I am going fishing for the first time on Sunday. Let’s hope I catch some yummy dinner!
:-)

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I am Not Blind

We’ll see if any of my kids are.

So this is what I have always done to keep my children safe.
Told them all the things they shouldn’t do by giving them examples of the people who did them.
It’s a scientific way of raising children.
(I noticed–by the expressions on their little faces–the 7-year-olds in the Sunday School class weren’t taught this way in THEIR homes.)

“And then volt after volt of electricity poured into his little body.
He died.
He died a horrible death.
And when his mother found him, she also found the bobby pin.
NEVER stick anything into an electrical outlet.”

“And then the lion clawed her face off. All because she wouldn’t listen to her mother and got close to the lion cage with the beef jerky.
Please listen to me and stand a safe distance from all the cages.
Even a penguin can cause bodily harm.
And I’m not sure I can get this cashmere jacket off in time to jump in after you.”

“And then she fell. All the way to bottom.
Why? She got too close to the window.
How could she know a screen wouldn’t hold her weight–isn’t that what we think a screen is for–not just to let in fresh air? And could anyone but the staff know there was that slight downward slant to the floor?
Just keep away from the edge.”

Each of these stories (and millions like them) ended like this:

“She’s maimed. And oh how the people stare, except her mother who loves the child even though she’s scarred for life.”
“She can see, partially, from her one eye if she stands just right, with her head tilted in that special little way.”
“You think that hang nail hurts? Let me tell you a story that ends in amputation and all because she went outside in winter barefoot.”

I have to say that I can’t call my girls in to tell them a story, to share a teaching moment, any more. They know the tone of my voice or something. It’s in the way I say, “Hey, girls. Come here.”
I used to have a not-so-subtle introduction.
Now I just have to leap to the very ending of the story and say it all in one long breath.

“Twentythreedeadandallbecausetheydidn’thomeschool.”
Or
“Wait!Theyfoundhershe’saliveshe’salivebut
I’msureherlifewillneverbethesameagainandwho
canblameheraftertheordealshe’sbeenthrough.
Letmetellyouwhathappened.No,comeback.
I’llleaveoutadetailortwo.”
Or
Well, you get the picture.

What I didn’t teach my girls about was an eclipse.
How was I to know that an almost full eclipse would happen and the best place to view it would be UTAH?

Here is information directly from the NASA site:

“Partial eclipses, annular eclipses, and the partial phases of total eclipses are never safe to watch without taking special precautions. Even when 99 percent of the sun’s surface is obscured during the partial phases of a total eclipse, the remaining photospheric crescent is intensely bright and cannot be viewed safely without eye protection. Do not attempt to observe the partial or annular phases of any eclipse with the naked eye. Failure to use appropriate filtration may result in permanent eye damage or blindness.”

We’ll see who is blind this morning.
No, I’m not kidding.

As Drew drove away with Carolina to go and watch this spectacular event, I ran next to the car telling them both everything that could happen to their eyes.
(Yes, I’m an expert in eclipse damage now. An expert in yet another way to live your life when you hadn’t thought it might turn out with that ending. It isn’t just the book that is harmful to one’s health.)

“Injury is confirmed hours later. Don’t even glance!”
“Your retina will not slough off the dead skin from the horrible burn. You’ll just be blind.”
“You cannot even tell you are burning. The retina is cooked. Cooked!”
(I hollered this last part as the Porsche headed away south down Canyon Road.)

But what about Laura, Kyra and Elise?
Sure I had scared my 74-year-old mother sufficiently.
And Cait.
Neither of them dared look anywhere near the sky.
They kept their heads down the whole car ride–as first the sun seemed to intensify. And then darken.

(Here’s the thing.
I accidentally did glance at the sun.
“Mother,” Cait said, disgusted. “Do you think you can trick the sun by sneaking a look at it?”
“No,” I whispered.
But from that point on my vision dulled.
I kept thinking, Now what? What have I done? Is my sight gone? Can I see? Not so good. Have I cooked my retinas to a crisp?
This morning it’s fine.)

I couldn’t help but think of people long ago.
people who watched this frightening, end-of-the-world display.
I can see them falling to their knees.
Crying out in fear.
Knowing their god is destroying the sun, putting it out.
I’m sure they prayed, chanted, did whatever.
And they all wound up blind because they didn’t know not to look.
There’s a book in that.
A terrible, terrible story.

“And because she didn’t know, her retinas were burned like too-done bacon, and she would never ever see her beautiful boyfriend again.”
“Is that a true story?”
“Yes. Yes, it is.”

I have to await the damage Laura, Elise and Kyra have sustained.
They weren’t with me.
I couldn’t read pages of information to them from the Internet.
And when I called last night I heard that one had stated “I’m a rebel!” as she watched the eclipse (I can find designer, black glasses for the rebel) and the other two had watched through sunglasses, and out the back of the car window, glancing only briefly.
Perhaps the cloudy sky helped.
But I doubt it as “Damage to the eyes comes predominantly from invisible infrared wavelengths.” So says NASA.

Here are two more facts: Vinegar doesn’t cover the smell of poop.

And nothing clears up as fast as it does on TV and that’s why you shouldn’t have sex before marriage. Remember that.

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Three Things Thursday

So my good friend, Kirk Shaw, is leaving. Like leaving leaving–going away leaving. And I told him that I would post his house that’s for sale (check out the library!!!!). But then I thought–“But if he sells his house . . . he really really really will go.” And it makes me sad to think this.

But, I promised. So check out the link below. I think you may have to copy and paste.

http://www.utahrealestate.com/report/public.single.report/report/detailed/listno/1086004/scroll_to/1086004

Let’s do a few writing exercises.

Funny first–
You have your main character and she finds out her best friend is leaving.
What might she do to stop this move?
Sure, she misdirects the moving trucks. But think deeper than that.
Funnier than that.

Scary second–
Your main character’s best friend needs to move.
Something weird is going down at the place next door.
Write a scene where the best friends know, for safety’s sake, there needs to be a move.
(At first I thought ghost, but I’ve thinking about writing a murder book, so that’s what’s coming to mind now.)
Spend enough time in this scene that we know the place well, the situation well and that the hairs on our arms stand up.

Letter third–
Have your main character write a letter to the person who is leaving.
Have her get a letter back that she isn’t expecting.

Other exercises might include:
a romantic scene
a huge fight
an odd present that is left for one or the other
a main character who feels guilty that she’s glad her best friend is leaving
a mystery, the uncovering of something neither of them knew, that now halts the move

Play with all these things, even if none have anything to do with your current story.

For those interested–Kirk is teaching at Writing and Illustrating for Young Readers. There are a couple spots left in his class.
http://www.wifyr.com

And Kirk, I’m going to miss you. You are a fabulous friend, a fabulous editor and a fabulous human being.
I wish you the best.
You and your amazing family will be in my heart.
So much love, Friend.

Carol

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