Author Archives: anndeecanndee

About anndeecanndee

I write books. Sometimes. Mostly I just throw up words.

Your People

While doing the dishes or laundry or cooking, I like to listen to audiobooks, interviews or podcasts. It makes me feel like I’m working on my writing and craft while doing things I don’t love so much but have to do because of life.

Yesterday I listened to this story on This American Life about a woman who looked into the history of a family story about her grandfather getting abducted as a boy. It was a tale that was told often and had become a core memory of the family. One day her dad handed over a scrapbook of news articles and photos and journal entries about the ordeal.

She became curious about some of the details and started to research. What had begun as something she had a few questions about turned into an almost full-time job with strange and interesting turns. She made new friends in the process, had hard discussions with her family, and uncovered evidence about a mystery that had been long put in a drawer.

I was fascinated! I thought about all the stories of my family. The things we know from oral traditions, the things we have documented and things we could find out if we dug a little deeper. Have you ever researched an ancestor? Asked questions about things that puzzled you about your history? Looked at narratives, first-person accounts of their journeys, every day life, etc.?

Our histories are full of people, full of stories, full of heart ache, full of triumphs, full of mistakes. What if you took time to interview some of your family? Got into the details? Learned new things? I think this is the most fascinating stuff and could lead to compelling novels or memoirs or even just family discussions

I challenge anyone reading this to do it. This week. Talk to one person in your family about a story you’ve had questions about. Or maybe just ask them more about an experience you don’t understand or have wondered about. See what happens. Free-write about their response, how it matched up with your understanding, and what new questions you have.

Let me know if you do it. Also tell me any podcasts or audiobooks you love. Happy Monday and Happy February and Happy Stories.


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On how to have fun

Write an email to someone. Maybe a writing friend. Maybe a sister. Maybe a online buddy.

Make it urgent. Make it important. Make it fiction.

You have to put in enough clues that they know it’s fake (that’s why writing friends might be the most open to this) but let yourself go.

At the end of the email write,

I’m need you to write back. Please. It’s all I have right now. Please.


If you don’t write back, I will be heart broken. Harry will be heartbroken. Pricilla, who is buried alive, will be heart broken.


I know this email is long sorrynotsorry!! JK. wRite Back!

Tell me how it goes.


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The Difference Between Dreams and Goals

The Difference Between Dreams and Goals

by Kathryn Purdie

Another January is here, and writers everywhere are making resolutions for the new year. “I’m going to get an agent! Sell a manuscript! Hit the New York Times Bestseller’s List! Win a major award!” Easy there, writer. Those sound like dreams, not goals. The difference between the two is vast and important, but both are vital for success.

Dreams give us passion. They are the driving force necessary to pursue our goals. Dreams help us get back on our feet when we experience setbacks. But while dreams are powerful motivators, achieving them is almost always beyond our control. After all, we can’t make an agent or editor invest in us, force readers to buy our books, or demand critics to enjoy our work. What we can control, however, is accomplishing specific writing-related goals, which will hopefully move us closer to realizing our dreams.

As far as the realm of traditional publishing is concerned, writers should only be pursuing goals within two categories: education and writing. Why? Because no one can take away what you learn, and no one can take away the words you write. They are the only goals you and you alone control. The chart below lists suggestions for goals within each category.



This January and all throughout the year, make those vision boards, dream big, and keep your passion alive, but find satisfaction along the way through accomplishing goals YOU can control, and remember SMART goals are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely.

Happy New Year, writers!



Kathryn Purdie is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the BURNING GLASS series (Katherine Tegen Books/HarperCollins) and the forthcoming BONE GRACE. She lives near Salt Lake City, Utah, with her husband and three children. Kathryn is a trained classical actress who studied at the Oxford School of Drama and was inspired to write her debut trilogy while recovering from donating a kidney to her older brother. In her spare time, she loves playing guitar, binge-watching TV, and devouring Peanut Butter Oreos. Find her online at

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Dear Friends

December is a wonderful black writing hole for me. Everything stands still and nothing gets done and things are merry and bright and there’s lots and lots of chocolate. I am now back to real life, thank goodness, and school starts tomorrow! Yay!

A few good things:

  1. I got noise cancelling headphones. This means I will be wildly productive.
  2. I’ve been reading more than ever (but not writing) and I listened to an interview with Elizabeth Strout, one of my favorite authors, who had these pieces of advice for writers: a. don’t stop. ever. And b. read beautiful sentences. She says reading good words and sentences and books is like eating good food. It gives you energy and strength and makes you feel better.
  3. Someone at church said this: momentum is more important than destination. I believe this!

With that, my goals:

  1. Finish a draft by the end of January of WIP.
  2. Write a little, even so so little, five days a week.
  3. Read. Read beautiful sentences and books.
  4. Listen to beautiful sentences and books and podcasts. You can get a lot of professional development and learning done by searching for podcasts from your favorite writers and artists. There is so much wonderful education on the internet that you can be taking in as you DO THE DANG DISHES!!!! And I believe it makes me happier and more motivated when I am filling my heart with things I need.
  5. Be happier. Be more patient. Spend more time outside in the mountains. Meet new people. Be kinder.

Those are so easy right? Are they attainable? Maybe. I’ll adjust as Carol suggests. I’d love to read yours too. Hope your year is off to a great start.


Love Ann Dee

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Merry Christmas Day 4

Today, make a list of all the things you know about.


Chocolate Whole Bag Eating

Bike Riding



Hot Air Ballooning

Jump Roping

Black Licorice


Wasting Time



UTA Busses

Sitting in piles of laundry




Forgetting important things all the time

The list should go on and on and on and on. All the things you can think of. As you write, each item should bring up even more ideas and and those ideas can each be a limb of your brainstorming tree with many many smaller branches and twigs and leaves coming off, each labeled with names and faces and scenarios and ideas. See if one branch burns brighter than the others. Maybe that is your next book.

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Merry Merry Christmas! Day 2 & 3

Hello Friends.

Today we cut down a Christmas Tree! And we’re reading Christmas books! And listening to Christmas Chronicles!

For your writing exercise today (Day 2) do this: Write the last page of a novel set at Christmas time. You can take characters you already know and use them or you can end a brand new book. Either way, try write a finale before you write anything else. It might be weird. It might be cheesy. But you should try it anyway.

For tomorrow, Sunday (Day 3): Write a gratitude letter. To your partner, to your son, to your grandma, to your teacher. Write one from a character in your novel to another character in your novel. Write one to your critique group, to your mailman. Write one to your best friend. Maybe write one to yourself, for all the good things you’ve done this year or perhaps write one to God, an appropriate writing gift for the first Sunday in December.

Much love.

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Merry Christmas!!!

Today is the first official day of December and as a Christmas gift to ourselves and to you, we are going to post a writing challenge each day.

Day 1: Write for ten minutes about your mother. What does she look like? What does she talk like? What does she like to do? What does she talk about? Does she drink Diet Coke on the back porch? Does she love to go to the library? The movies? The beach? What was she like when you were little? Did she read to you? Yell at you? Make you finish your fish casserole? If you could tell her anything right now, what would you tell her? If you could take her anywhere right now, where would you take her? If she was a character in a book, what would be the thing that drives her? What does she want more than anything else in the world? And what holds her back? What are her flaws? Who does she love? Who does she confide it? How does she use her time? What does she do when things go bad? Does she ride bikes? Does she eat cotton candy? Does she live in Florida in the winter? On a cruise ship (people really do live on cruise ships)? Is she gone forever but actually not gone at all? Write about your mom. Not for your mom, but about your mom. Write it without worrying that she’ll read it. Write it without worrying you might get it wrong or right or anything else. Just let your fingers fly and see what happens.

Merry first day of Christmas.

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