Author Archives: CLW

Three Things Friday!

by Lisa

The Inquirer’s Prayer

Oh Agent, who sits behind your desk,
I’ve researched well your name.
I sent five pages.
They’re on your screen,
Glowing in your inbox.
Give me a chance to send a full.
And forgive me all my adverbs,
As I forgive your overbearing schedule.
Then sign me as your client,
Sell movie rights and more.
I really need some money,

‘Cause I’m desperate and I’m poor.


(Disclaimer: I’m not ready to query. I will be soon… probably. And I’m terrified.)


by Brenda

Are we there yet? . . . Are we there yet? . . . Are we there yet?   . . . . .  Not quite, but soon.
Are you doing NaNo? What was your goal for yourself in November? It might have been 50K at NaNo. Maybe it was more . . . or less. Maybe it was a personal goal: lose a couple of pounds; walk daily; cook for your family every single (day/week/month) at least once; stop biting your nails.
Whatever goal you decided on, does it look like you’ll get there (you still have four days)?
My goals were to write every day in November:
So far, so good. It helps that I’m using 750words dot com to do the writing (It’s free for the first month, and only $5 a month if you want to stay on it. They send you a daily reminder to do your 750 words, you earn “badges” for various accomplishments and at the end of each session, you can look at totals, an analysis of mood, tense, word analysis, etc.)
Write at least 750 words every day (less than half way NaNo’s 50K) :
I’ve run from 777 to 2,429 a day and NEVER below the 750, but I’ve got quite a ways still to get to the 50K.
Ultimate goal was to write 50K words:
With a little extra, coming close to my high (above) or a little more each day will get me there.
An extra goal: work on getting my weight down a bit, even with Thanksgiving and Christmas coming on:
I am down about 3 lbs from the first of the month, so it’s a start.
See you when we’re “there” after Nov. 30, midnight — good luck, and keep going!


by Cheryl

Happy Thanksgiving!
Years ago, someone challenged me to write down twenty things I was thankful for every day for three months.
Believe it or not, I did it.
I learned quite a bit.
First of all, twenty things is a LOT. Five is easy. Ten is a brain teaser. Fifteen takes awhile. But twenty? You have to pay attention all day, every day, to come up with twenty.
The next thing I learned was that I really like food. Almost every day at least one entry was food.
I also learned that I can be thankful for completely opposite things. I can be thankful for sunshine one day and for rain on another. I can be thankful to go out with friends and thankful that plans got cancelled so I can rest.
Lastly, I learned that I am infinitely grateful for the people in my life. Their love, encouragement, and kindness is what powers me. I could not make it without my incredible friends and family.
I’m not sure I’d ever attempt it again, but it was an experiment I’ll always treasure. So what do you guys say? After Nanowrimo, is anyone up for a new challenge?

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Monday Monday before Thanksgiving Means . . .

NaNoWriMo and getting ready to be Thankful. Right?

So how are you doing on the writing?

Keeping up on those words? I’m still sure I can catch up!

And on being thankful?

I took this quiz the other day that had to do with whether one is a positive or negative person. Yup, I’m a neggie.

Who’da thunk it (not including my kids or friends)?

I was almost 100 % negative.

So I thought I’d say one thing I am grateful for this morning. I don’t even have to think to come up with it.

Children’s Writers. There are some of the nicest people I know in the world of writing for children. The five of you who follow the blog. The people I get to teach writing to. Many of the other published writers. The almost published writers. Most everyone I know wants to see others succeed. Wants to be a better writer. Wants to read other people’s work. Read their own work out loud.

Sure, there’s the odd duck that you hate. But I’m pretty good at just cutting out of there and never going back when I meet someone like that.

Now don’t confuse the two. I might be a Negative Nancy, but I want you to publish and publish again and again. I want you to achieve this dream and I’ll help you as much as I can. Then, hopefully, you’ll remember me when I am old and take care of me.  (And old age is upon me right this second! Hint hint.)

Thank you all you Writers who are kind. To me, being kind is one of the most important traits out there.

Now decide what you’re thankful for today. And maybe each day this week. Maybe even for the rest of the month. Or year. And into next year.

Thinking those kinds of things is supposed to make a doomsdayer less doomsdayee.

Maybe I should see?



Filed under CLW, Depression, Family

Thoughts on Self-Publishing

by Lisa Sledge

Some authors do self-publishing right. You know who you are.

You consult with professional editors.

Meet with writing groups.

Utilize feedback from beta-readers.

Attend writing clinics,

Rewrite your manuscript again,

And again.

Making sure it is perfect.

It’s expensive.

It’s hard.

It’s worth it.

And some authors hurt my heart.

They are the ones with lovely words and wonderful ideas

But not enough patience for perfection.

It makes me sad.

Such beautiful aspirations deserve love and care,

Not a quick read-through,

an amateur cover,

a rushed online publication.

They’re excited.

They want to send their story into the world.

But be kind to dreams.

The first time you type “The End” on a full length manuscript, put it aside.


Then tell your excitement to sit and simmer.


Read it again.

Write it again.

Show it to trusted friends and mentors.

Then repeat.

Make your manuscript shine.

The same applies for traditional authors

Who query agents and publishers

Before a novel is ready.

The secret to writing,

So far as I can tell,

Is as much patience

As persistence.

It is hard.

But we can do it.

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Three Things Thursday

from Cheryl!

As we come upon the end of November, some of you are probably thinking about your ending.
If you’re like me, there are probably two endings you’re considering. There’s the “proper” ending, the one you know the books needs, and there’s the ending you want to write. The one you want to write is probably happy and perfect, with everyone living happily ever after and no death or sacrifice anywhere.
My recommendation is to go ahead and write the one you want to write. Sometimes you just have to get it out of your system or it’ll drive you crazy.
However, once it’s physically down on paper, I bet you’ll see how little substance it has. It’s fluffy and cheerful, but it’s not what you really want. What you really want is the true ending, the one you don’t want to write. And when you revise, watch how quickly and without regret you throw out the fairy tale ending for your true ending.
from Brenda!
Timewise, as I write this on Sunday, Nov. 16, I’ve just passed the halfway mark for NaNoWriMo.  In your real time when you see this on Thursday, Nov.20, we’ll be right at two-thirds of the way to the finish line.
Here’s what I’m proud of: I’ve written something every single day.  My goal had been to write 2,000 words per day, which would bring me well past the “winning line” of 50,000 words.  I made that word goal for a brave two days, I think.  But here’s the thing: I have NEVER written this early in NaNo before in my 11 years or so on their site.  I have been declared a “winner,” having reached the magical 50K by the end, but NEVER by writing daily.  I may or may not make it this year, but what I WON’T be finding out, AGAIN, this year is that I can put myself through the ordeal of MOST of the 50K in the last 4 to 7 days of the month.  I vowed NOT to do that again.
Sure, I’ll have to make more than the 1667 per day, but nothing like 30K in four days.
Here’s what I’m NOT proud of: though I’ve written every day, some of it has NOT been straight “story” – some has been outline-ish. This, from a “pantser.”  Some has been research; yes, for THIS specific story (THAT part I AM proud of).
Here’s what else I AM proud of: I am getting farther into the story I intended to write.  I have discovered things about some minor characters that lifts them above their original roles – and that doesn’t derail the story.  I’ve kept going daily in spite of the inevitable struggles of family, home and friends’ well-intended interruptions.  I haven’t given up.  I may not make it all the way to 50K.  Even if I get the word count up there and “win” it will not yet be a finished story. And I’m OK with that.  And I’m enormously proud of ALL of you . . . ALL of US . . . for even trying!
How are YOU feeling about YOUR progress?  Tell us what YOU’RE proud of!
from me!
Writing like crazy? Sprinting toward the NaNo finish line?
Or are you limping along?
If you’re behind, start anew today. By the end of the month you will have done half of the original goal. But half could be the bones of a terrific YA novel.
That’s what I’ve been doing. Going after my goals even though I am behind! And I’m feeling rather confidant!


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We Have to Postpone The Shower

Ann Dee had her baby this morning.


Will get back to you with new dates and times.


And  more information if she wants me to post it.


I’ve seen a picture. She’s beautiful and she has a slight smile. I love her already. And I love the baby, too.

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by Lisa Sledge

I’m going to do a bit of soul bearing.

I love my mother-in-law. My children call her “Hara”. She is the kindest, most selfless person I know.

Once I was sick. It was so bad I needed someone else to lift my legs into my bed because I had no strength. She took the midnight train to sit with me, clean my home, comfort my two-year-old, empty my catheter, and scrub vomit out of the carpet. She saved my life and gave me courage.

And when I let her down, she forgave me.

Ten days ago, I called her on the phone.

“I’ve been having a little trouble,” she said. “I keep forgetting things. I couldn’t remember my phone number the other day. And last night I was reading and then forgot how. The letters stopped making sense.”

“Maybe it’s stress,” I said.


Last Friday, she had a problem at work. She couldn’t remember where she was. Or what she was supposed to be doing.

There is a tumor the size of a golf ball entwined deep in the tissues of her brain. She has months remaining. Soon she won’t be able to speak. Then she’ll lose the ability to move.

I’ve only known her six years, but somehow, I can’t imagine my world without her.

I don’t want her to go.

I’ve never met most of the people who read this blog. Someday I hope to know more of you.

But as you see my words on your screen, you might think of someone you love. You might remember what it was to watch them fade. In our shared sorrow, we will connect. The world will become smaller. We will find strength together.

It’s amazing, the power that can be found in typing a few words onto a page. Somehow, in spite of differences and distances between us, we understand each other. And we find friends and comfort among strangers.


Filed under Family, Life

Three Things Thursday


What: Writing Baby Shower. Games are Writing Games. You might even walk out of the party with a story idea.

Who: All Writers. All Friends of Ann Dee Knight Ellis.

Boy Writers May Attend, too. We want you there.

When: Nov 20, 2014

Time: 7-8:30

Where: Orem Public Library, 58 North State Street, Orem, UT

More specific directions: Orem City Rotunda (reception area just outside of the City Council Chambers).

Covered food items may be brought in through the library entrance.

Enter through the main library door. Take the breezeway on your left into the adult (south) wing. Continue out the library’s South entrance into the City Building. You are still inside the city buildings, cross through this second breezeway and into the Rotunda.

NOTE: This is Ann Dee’s first baby girl. She has four adorable boys. At this point she has little for a female child! Let’s change that!

Look for: Utah Writers and Authors
Celebrating Author Ann Dee Ellis and Her New ‘Edition’

From Cheryl

I just came across this video, and it’s fascinating.  It’s made for photographers, but it relates to writing as well. 

The video shows hundreds of different photographs taken by different people with different cameras, but with almost identical results. The point? Pretty much any picture you take, just like with any story you write, has been done before. Nothing is truly unique.

But then it goes on to make the point that you should take comfort in that. There is beauty in the similarities, and in the idea that all across the world we are finding common experiences.

In Nanowrimo, you’re coming up on your Murky Middle. This is when you will doubt yourself. This is when you realize that this is the exact plot of Indiana Jones if he was in the Star Wars universe. This is when you decide it’s not worth it, you’ll never get published, you’re wasting your time.

Stop it.

No, your story isn’t unique, and that’s okay. It’s your story, no one else’s.

Get your butt back in that chair and keep writing.



From Brenda

Boy!  Just in Time ! ! !
As some of you know, I’d set up a regimen of writing for one hour, reading for one (genre-related materials), and writing for another one.  Then, during the last 3 days or so, I’ve been just barely clocking in the 750 words needed on in spite of their reminders, incentives, “badges,” etc.  JUST enough to keep my “streak of 300 days” there going.  But I’m trying to do NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), which requires 1,667 words “a day” (average) to get the 50K by the end of November.
What to do?  I was discouraged and struggling with sticking to it, after what I thought was a stellar beginning.  It’s a book I care about writing.  But still . . .
Then this morning (11/10/14) at 5-something a.m., I opened my email of the day from Write to Done: Unmissable Articles on Writing, a piece entitled “7 Ways To Keep Writing When You Feel Like Giving Up” by Alison Breen. [ ]  Check it out, to get full value from this thoughtful article . . . it may help you, too.  Still, I’m going to list the seven insightful ideas, most of which relate to keeping up your “grit” quotient:
1.  Know Your Writing Motivation
2.  Practice Mindfulness
3.  Manage Your Self-Talk
4.  Shift Your Focus
5.  Learn to Regulate Your Emotions
6.  Shift to a Growth Mindset
7.  Keep Your Energy Levels High
And I’ll add one more – the ONLY thing I had come up with to help myself out this morning before I’d read this article:
8.  If I can’t write for an hour, I’ll write for 20 minutes . . .  I can do ANYTHING for 20 minutes!  (Then take a break and add another 20 minutes, and another 20 minutes, and another 20 minutes . . . )
Thanks, Write To Done, and Alison Breen !

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