Monthly Archives: May 2015

Three Things Thursday on Friday

From my dear Cheryl:

Sometimes I think we put a little too much of our real life into our stories. I know my first draft characters always  come out too much like me. It’s good, in a way, to model characters after real people, because it makes them relatable. On the other hand, real people are boring. 

So switch it up a little. Maybe she has an aunt that works as a psychic. Or a dog that’s famous in town for having saved the life of a Boy Scout. Or maybe her dad keeps a pet alligator in the bathtub. Don’t ever limit yourself to reality. The whole point of fiction is to escape reality. We might as well have a little fun doing it.
And my dear Brenda:
Last Saturday I helped at the “Spring Into Books” Event held at the Viridian Event Center.  This was started by the Oquirrh Chapter of the League of Utah Writers.  The year before they had held a “book signing” event, mostly populated by chapter members. This year they began, in the first meeting of the planning “committee” (of which I was a member, and dragged my husband into it as well), to expand their idea.  It just kept getting bigger and Bigger and BIGGER.  One of the committee is on the board for the Viridian — and said he could get the venue for free.  Eventually, we were co-sponsored by SL County Library System, West Jordan Arts Council, Jordan School District, Salt Lake County and the National Endowment for the Arts.
Best guesses to date are that 58 authors were there to sign books for the approximately 1,000 people who showed up (I’ve seen guesses of 200+ more than that).  Authors rented tables or half-tables to show their wares  And admittance was FREE.

Kids were entertained with games, prizes, a clown making fantastic balloon animals, flowers, and tiaras, free popcorn and so much else. One genius came up with a “scavenger hunt” list of items to find: soccer ball, mermaid or merman, a dragonfly, a candle, etc. All of them items pictured on various authors’ covers. If a child could get initials from each of the authors that he’d seen their cover, he could show it at the front desk to receive a free, colorful pencil.  Simple, but tremendously popular.

Just under 20 authors took a 20 minute slot to read to interested parties from their books.  That ran, like the entire event, from 3pm to 7pm.  Another room had hourly round-tables: 5 separate tables, where audience members could listen to authors on a variety of subjects, or come watch an illustrator and hear what his/her job entailed.

The Copper Hills H.S. poetry-slam group performed from 5 to 6 pm.  They are an award-winning group (and there’s already been SOME talk of including a poetry-slam contest next year).
There were also hourly drawings for various prizes, a choice between a free book or a T-shirt with writerly notes printed on them.
Every “sponsoring” entity sent people to  check on the event, to see if they would still  be interested in sponsoring next year.  ALL of them have put in a “We want to help next year” — and there are talks of making it even bigger — which we’ll need, if this kind of response repeats itself.
It will probably be held about the same time of year — You Will Want To Be There — late March of 2016, or so.  Watch for it in the newspapers, on TV, through online announcements, etc., and come join us as we Spring Into Books!
And from me:
Today, I’m going to plant flowers with my youngest.
I need to. I’ve been writing a book that has brought some icky parts of my past to the surface, and I’ve been sad. This compounds my already depressed mood.
It’s okay, though, to lift my face to the sun. Dig in the dirt. Paint a room a bright color.
This part of my life is over. And yes, it still touches me, wrapping memory around my heart and lungs. But. But now I can write it down. Loose it a little. Maybe free myself from some of the anguish.
How does writing help you?

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Happy Memorial Day!

Thanks to all who served–both veterans and their families.


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Three Things Thursday



I’ve been complaining of how hard of a life I’m having lately. I keep waking up sobbing and that sets my days off for deep sadness. Keep having the nightmares.  I think those are tied closely to my anxiety because of the way I feel when I’m waking. I’ve tried turning things over to God, have let many things go, have chewed my nails off. Nothing seems to help.

This happens in life. We know this. And when you’re a writer (or anyone for that matter) you need support. People who sorta know what you’re going through, pull their part of the weight, listen to you, request to read your work, say, “I’ll pray for you.”

I may have already said this, but as forgetful as I am, I can’t remember (I feel I may have).


Thank you Cheryl and Brenda.

Every week–early–these two beautiful, busy, kind, good and caring women send a hint for Thursday.

I’m not so sure I’ve told you what a relief it is not having to worry about posting a couple days a week. You all have helped me so much.

You always send your posts. Many times you check in on me.

Your comments are always excellent and I learn from them each week.

Everyone should have the Brendas and the Cheryls in their lives. And we each need to be aware when we should be a Brenda or a Cheryl, too.



Our trip to “see family” in Alabama will close this coming week. My husband’s family has always had what they call “Sloppy Luck.” To explain: Herb’s brother was coming to their sister’s house to celebrate Mother’s Day with their 88-year-old mother who lives with sister and her husband. His vehicle broke down on one of the major BUSY thoroughfares in Birmingham. A nephew happened to be going in the opposite direction — 8 lanes away — yet managed to turn around and go help him push the car off to the side. Another relative happened to have a tow truck available, and went and picked up the car later. We were already at “Mom’s,” so Herb went to pick his brother up — easy to find because he was only about 2 stop lights away from the motel we’re staying in. “Arnold Sloppy Luck” at work.
While we’ve been here Herb’s sister, a yoga instructor, has had her rotator cuff (which was operated on just before we arrived) checked out: it’s doing well. The power went out at sister’s place a couple of night’s later, and the power company couldn’t find where the fix was needed. Sister knew, directed them, and the power was restored in the middle of the night. Before morning, Mom got out of bed, fell and broke her leg: AFTER the power was restored, so they were able to find and get medical help out there and transport her to a hospital — without the power restored, it would have been SO much more difficult. Plus, we’ve been here to visit Mom, give rides & support to brother, support family, instead of being thousands of miles away. “Arnold Sloppy Luck” again.
You probably can’t use their “Arnold Sloppy Luck,” (maybe they’ve already got the name as a franchise of some kind), but why not “Johnson Sloppy Luck,” “Weinstein Sloppy Luck,” or “Bronsen Sloppy Luck” in your story? What “Happy Coincidences” might spark up a scene, a character, an event? And HOW do you keep it from seeming all TOO coincidental?
This is the way life IS in the Arnold family !
Earlier this week, a friend and I had a “spirited debate” about whether a story was plot-driven or character-driven. 

My opinion (or, you might say, the correct opinion, hee hee) was that it was plot-driven when it should have been character-driven. Events happened to the character that forced him to react in the only way anyone would. Yes, many acts required intelligence, bravery, and an ability to deceive. But the character never grew or changed. Even the romance developed as a natural consequence to the plot, and the main character never showed any real emotion or desire to be in the relationship.
It isn’t enough to focus your entire story on the actions of one character. The story needs to follow the inner growth of the character, the character should not simply change because of external influences. Do not allow your character to be a Mr. Potato Head, with the outside emotions changing but nothing happening at the core.


Filed under Depression, Plot, three thing thursday, writing process

A little plug . . .

My friends Margaret Stohl and Kami Garcia’s new book in their Dangerous Creatures series just released. To celebrate they are doing a book drive. All you have to do is post a picture of yourself with a book you love. Their publisher, Little Brown, has agreed to donate a book to an underfunded school library for every picture posted. Here are some details from Margie:

During the two weeks of May 12-May 26 (starting this Tuesday) hashtag, #BooksArentDangerous & post your photo with a book. The book can be one that mattered to you, one you wish you’d had, or a current read you would recommend. You can post on facebook, instagram, twitter, or tumblr. For every photo you post, Kami & Margie are working with Little Brown to match it with a book donation. (Details TK!) In addition, we also encourage our author, reader, teacher, librarian, blogger, and bookseller friends to take this opportunity to donate books to underfunded local school libraries. If you do, please post those pics too, and we’ll be reposting at

I think this is fabulous and a great cause. Here is my picture that I just took which is beautiful and sexy. IMG_5004

I love the WESTING GAME. Love it. Since I was a little girl. Now I’ll hashtag this #BooksArentDangerous and voila!

Join in the fun! Books for all!

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