A few things:

1. Praying for Rick. Such a wonderful man and writer.

2. My baby rolled over.

3. My sweet neighbor decided to be me for her fifth grade wax museum which is so nice and strange and kind because she was supposed to pick someone famous and  I’m nobody and there’s jam on my shirt:

Autumn wax museum

4. I’m trying to get a revision to my editor by Friday and that’s why I’m eating saltines with strawberry jam on them like I’m 11 again and blogging and taking pictures of my baby and eating saltines with jam on them.

5. For writing practice, please list all the after school foods you ate including jam and saltines. Do you still eat them? What does your character eat? Does their mom know? Is it payback that my kids now eat cereal with hot chocolate mix in their milk?


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Freaking Friday

Rick’s brain surgery was successful.

All the tumor has been removed.

There may be a need for chemo, but I’m not sure yet.

This has been a long, hard week. However, I’m grateful and hopeful for what may happen for Rick.

Thank you for all who have prayed and fasted and sent good thoughts out for our friend.

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Three Things Thursday

Me: Thoughts and prayers for Rick as he is in surgery right now.



Writing for Charity, last Saturday, had some wonderful events, speakers, workshops, and critiquing sessions. All the proceeds go to help literacy efforts.
For the morning sessions, I was timing so people could get to their next event on time. The first one I heard was from Sharlee Glenn. During her presentation, she gave a “short” history of picture books, then talked about where the picture book is headed now.
What a romp through the past! I LOVED it! Some of my notes:
Orbis Pictus, in 1658 ( ! ! ! ) was the first (an encyclopedia) written and illustrated specifically for children.
It was followed by a sweet little volume entitled A Little Pretty Pocket Book in 1744.
Randolph Caldecott, 1846-1886 (died at only 40 years of age? Sad), was the one for whom the famous Illustrator’s award was named.
Then came the plethora of EARLY books for children — how many have YOU read? How many are still available for purchase?
The Tale of Peter Rabbit, Raggedy Ann, Millions of Cats (LOVED this one!), Mike Mulligan, Madeline, Curious George, Make Way for Ducklings, all the Little Golden Books like Pokey Little Puppy and Saggy, Baggy Elephant, Goodnight Moon, The Cat in the Hat, Are you My Mother?, Where the Wild Things Are, Alexander’s Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day . . . and so many more.
I recognized every one of those early ones from Beatrix Potter on. And loved them — all over again. Grab the ones you still have and LOOK at the original printing date! We should ALL have such staying power!



Is there a section of your novel that you’re struggling with? Maybe it isn’t working, but you can’t understand why. 

Try this. Without looking at the original, rewrite the scene using only single syllable words.
By doing this, you get rid of the prose–the fancy words, the pretty phrases–and instead you focus on what’s really happening. Sometimes we fall so in love with our words that we lose sight of what’s actually happening in our story. This can help fix that.

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Monday, Monday

Just a moment to write today.

Ann Dee and I finished our novel.

Here’s what I hope–that it sells.

And that we do well with the book.

Because Ann Dee was so much fun to write with.

She knows so much.

She had a baby and is moving and still finished this project with me.

So I want to be able to write with her again and again.



Find someone to write with.

Someone who isn’t a control freak or doesn’t expect perfection right away or who doesn’t have to have everything his way.

Make a plan.

Meet at McDonald’s and go in the play area and take turns writing or never meet and write chapter by chapter a book you have no idea anything about.

Follow the lead of your partner.

Have her follow your lead.

Hansel and Gretal it to the end.


As you write, you’ll both be dropping hints that the other has to figure out.

Just like you do when you write anything on your own.


Have fun.



Try a genre you wouldn’t normally write.

Don’t stress.


Love it.

Trust each other.


Let me know how it goes.


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Freaky Friday

I love that book, Freaky Friday. I’ve loved it every time I’ve read it.

Anyway–Five Character Writing Exercises for next week. One for each work day.


1. I have some odd behaviors. If people knew them, they’d be like, “Why do you do that?” Truth is, I’m not sure. I think some of the things I do are carried over from my childhood as they happen as I get ready to go to sleep. What are three odd behaviors your character has? Ones they want to keep secret. In fact, what are three odd behaviors for ALL your characters? And it’s okay to not know why, but you’ll learn more about these people if you DO.

2. Interview several strangers. Have questions to ask them. Things like, “If you could change one thing about an event in your life, what would it be?” Not just, “What’s your favorite color?” Watch how they react as they talk. As you talk. What are their expressions? Nervous habits? Tics? What’s charming about them? Frightening?

3. If you’re not used to it, ride the bus for a few hours–preferably when you’re not alone. Write a quick 50 words (or less) description about each person who comes on the bus. Or sit in a restaurant, right in the middle, so you can see who’s there. Think outside the box for each person. No stereotypes. Find the odd and the pleasant about each individual.

4. Your character keeps two journals. One is for normal use. The one that can be found. Can be read by others. The other is secrets your character may be trying to even keep from herself. Write several entries for both. Think of everything when you do this–Like, does she use two different pens? Burn incense when she writes in one log and not the other? Does she go somewhere else to write? Where does she hide the books?

5. And now a Freaky Friday question–if your character did change lives with someone–who might they choose to change lives with? Why? What if YOU made them change lives with someone? Then who would it be? Why? Write out a couple of days in that new life.


PS–Oh! I just came up with an idea for a new book writing these suggestions. It’s scary. Cool!

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Three Things Thursday


Sometimes we put our character in a situation when they really need a complication.

A situation is self-contained, and there’s only one way out.  A complication opens up to more possibilities.

Think about Pixar’s The Incredibles. We start out with Mr. Incredible trying to get to his wedding on time. Interesting situation, sure, but just a situation. Either he’ll get there or he won’t.

Then there’s a complication: a suicidal jumper. Mr. Incredible saves the man, but encounters a new complication—a  burglary in progress.  As he deals with that, another complication arises when a young fan interferes.

Through the complications, Mr. Incredible is repeatedly forced to act. His desires come to light. The stakes are raised the later it gets. The plot thickens when his young fan grows to resent him. The situation might be the important part of the plot, but it is the complications that give our character depth and set the story in motion.

Take a look at the outline of your novel. Are there situations where there could be complications?



The League of Utah Writers, another writer’s group I’ve been a member of for decades, had their spring workshop yesterday at the Larry H. Miller complex. Margot Hovley was among the many speakers/presenters who conducted sessions on a wide variety of writerly subjects . . . and a hearty thanks to all who served!
Margot’s presentation was on POV — reminders of “rules” I was much in need of reviewing. When she began talking about 2nd person — the “you” factor — she asked if anyone had ever read a book written in that voice. No hands were raised, but I found myself thinking back to my high school years: I wrote what turned out to be an award-winning essay . . . in 2nd person. It was called “Basement” and began “You’re thinking you can’t do it again. You hate that basement with it’s dust and dirt, it’s cobwebs . . .” But I’d been asked by my grandmother to go down there (again!) and bring up a bottle of something or other from the fruitroom. It was one of those funny, but creepy, pieces about chores young people hate performing, and followed me down into the darksome basement, into the lighted (thank you!) fruit room and back again.
It was fun to write, and my mother made me read it to the family when it won a prize. But, oh, my grandmother! She was mortified! “Our basement isn’t that dirty!” I don’t think she bought my excuse of “poetic license.”
So here’s my question for you, dear readers: Do you know of any books written in 2nd person? Margot mentioned ONE title in passing, but I couldn’t hear what the title was. Later, recalling how much fun it was to write (at least a SHORT piece) this way, I thought it would be interesting to fool around with it on something longer, but I’d love to read an example. Titles? Any one? ANYONE?
Stacked up on my desk–a book to finish reading, two books to edit, one more to almost edit, and today–day two of writing my new book.
I’m excited about this new novel. Set in 1969, I’ve decided it takes place in a month–right in that span of time of the moon landing, the Sharon Tate murders and Woodstock. While none of those will be significant to my 10 your old character (except the moon walk [!!!!]), I have to say that I am THRILLED with this new idea.

As this is the start of the weekend for me, I’ve lots planned. And number one (not including family) is writing.

Want to join me for a mini write-a-thon?
Let me know. I’d like 5,000 words on this new piece by Saturday evening.


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Kyra Leigh, Queen Bee

Today my lovely boyfriend left for Florida. We have been dating on and off again for over two years now. We’ve never been in a solid relationship until this last few months because he’s stubborn and I’m stubborn and he travels a lot and I’m a wimpy cat. But these last four or so months have been amazing. It’s funny to watch someone grow and change and to watch yourself grow and change, too. And all in good ways. With the last guy I was seeing I found myself changing a lot. Mostly for the better but a lot for the worse as well.

But those hard times and those bad changes I think helped me realize who I am and what I want. My previous boy never believed in me. I would read him my writing and he wold fall asleep, or want to watch tv, or whatever. I know I wasn’t the best writer back then, but it would have been nice to have been supported, even a little bit. He never believed I could get an agent and thought I would never publish. {one down, one to go!}

Whether I end up with this current guy, or meet someone new, I feel like he’s always believed in me. It means a lot. And it’s helped me a lot with my writing. It’s helped me with my goals and it’s helped me believe in myself.

It’s been a hard couple of weeks. But I’m excited to see what this summer holds. Hopefully lots of travel, new friendships, and amazing writing.

I can’t wait. Even with a bruised heart I really can’t wait.

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