Category Archives: Publication


# 24

Write 25 first lines for your novel.

Jot them down quickly (you already have a first line, and you’re working on a book, so you know where you’re going–this will be an easy exercise), a minute or less per line.

That first line is a promise to your reader. It can show voice, hint at character and plot, show mood and it certainly should grab the reader.

So what are you doing with YOUR book opening?

Remember, Richard Peck (LONG WAY FROM CHICAGO, A YEAR DOWN YONDER) says, “You are no better than your first line.”

Once Richard read the first few pages of my novel that is under consideration right now. “You don’t have your best first line,” he said. He was right. I chopped off the first paragraph AND learned a valuable lesson from a great writer.

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Filed under First Line, Life, Publication, Revision, Uncategorized, Voice

Monday, Monday

Things I Have Learned in the Last Month

  1. I have found if you are always cold, your heating bill isn’t as much as when you are warm.
  2. If you make goals and then watch TV all the time, you never reach your goal. Even if you are watching all the Friends episodes. Or all the Sherlock episodes starring Engelbart Humperdinky. Or all the House episodes even when you hate House.
  3. Lots of dogs make lots of dog hair. This does not make you warmer, and yes, you will awaken with a hair in your mouth and or war. I bet even very clean Cheri earl has dog hair somewhere at her house. Maybe not in dinner, but somewhere.
  4. Grief freezes you.
  5. If you write the emotion you’re feeling when you come up with a new book idea then set the book idea aside, later when you come back to it you’ll remember why you love this new idea.
  6. The older you get the more tired you are. Unless you’re eating right and exercising. At least that’s what I’ve heard.
  7. Adult children, and writing partners, are even more naughty than little children.
  8. The more you brain storm, the more you can brain storm. This goes for ideas for new books, plots you’re having trouble with, and where to store your canned corn.
  9. Babies are amazing.
  10. Writing for just five minutes each day keeps a story alive, keeps you interested, means you’re that much closer to publishing success.



Filed under CLW, Exercises, Life, Publication, Writers Block

Kyra Leigh, Queen Bee

People said when I turn 25, things are going to change, and that life is going to get better.
My life has been great. Really! But sometimes I feel sorry for myself. Partly because I’ve been so lonely, and my job has been horrible the last few months. I got screwed over by my boyfriend, and some of people I’ve dated haven’t been very nice to me.

But my friends kept telling me, don’t worry, turning 25 will be good for you.

I’m 25 now.

Last week I was offered a new job, with great pay, amazing benefits, and a fantastic schedule. A schedule that I allows me to write, workout, and be social.

Also,I sold my first book! I haven’t been allowed to say much about it, but I have never been more scared and excited in my whole life. Really.
Here’s what happened:

I got the phone call from my agent early in the morning. The night before I had gone to a heavy metal show where I partied, and danced, and sang, and blah blah. I came home feeling sorry for myself because the guy I’d gone with had spent the whole night with his ex-girlfriend.
I woke up feeling way tired, sore from dancing, and a bit hungover from the gin and tonics.

Then I saw that I had a missed call from a number from New York. And the rest is history!

As hard has things get, I haven’t given up on my dreams. It seems my hard work is starting to pay off.

All because I haven’t given up.

Even though I’ve wanted to.

This whole post has been a ramble.  I’m sorry. I guess I am just excited to share my happiness, and see what amazing things happen in the future.


Filed under Family, Kyra, Life, Publication, writing process

Three Thing Thursday



How does the time keep going so quickly? Wasn’t it just last Thursday? Last Halloween when Ann Dee was talking about Trick or Treating? Wasn’t it barely 2000 and something when so many were so sure the world was going to end?


Just as confusing as time in our lives is the time we write. How much time does your novel really need? Does it need to last 4 years? 4 months? Or will 4 days do?


The passage of time is important in a book. It means growth, change, a character learning something.  And the passage of time needs to be accounted for. If weeks go by and we hear nothing from the character, why? Do we hear nothing for a reason or can the book be shorter?


As for me, well, I opt for shorter times periods. They are more manageable. That said, I’ve had two books that take place over a year and one novel that takes place in less than 12 hours.  Remember, there must be a reason for everything you do in writing.




I don’t think I’m alone, these days, in thinking of scary figures, screeching owls; creepy, crawley things that may (or may NOT) go bump in the night. And I’m not talking about the Politics du jour. I’m talking about your favorite and mine: Halloween !
I’m going to miss my over-hanging balcony again this year. When I lived in Lehi, I used to dress up as a witch, turn off all my lights, and sit outside with my record of Monster Mash and other creepy noises, and a CAULDRON of goodies for the bazillion kids who lived in my neighborhood. It had gotten too hard for me to run up and down the 15 steps to my garage level, so I set up shop on the balcony. Some of the older kids (make that 8, 9 yrs old) knew about the crazy lady dressed in black up on her balcony in a witch hat and green makeup. They’d come to just below the east end of the balcony and call up:
“Do the Witch Laugh!”
 If a Daddy or Mommy was hold a much younger child, I would say, “Are you sure?” and wait for his or her “permission.” Didn’t want to REALLY scare the bejeebies out of the little ones.
Then I’d do the Witch Laugh. The kids would all run around my patch of front lawn, screaming. When they’d calm down, I’d throw down a handful or two of the goodies.
Good Times in Lehi ! ! !
Now, what I should do — and YOU could do it too — decide on my favorite “bad guy” types: MINE would be witches, of course; never been a fan of Dracula, the Undead, Zombies, etc.
What could I write — just for fun — about my “bad guys.” And how bad would they, could they, be? What would they do? How could they finally be vanquished? Or maybe it’s just a poem, or lyrics to a song, possibly set to a familiar tune?
Try some FUN writing just to interrupt for one evening and make yourself a Merry Little, Scary Little All Hallow’s Eve ! ! !
A few weeks ago, I turned on the local news and saw the mugshot of my beloved high school English teacher. He has been accused of having a two-year-long relationship with a student, beginning when she was just 15. 

Since then, I’ve alternated between feelings of shock, disbelief, and overwhelming sadness. This is the man who influenced my life more than all my other teachers put together. He pushed me, inspired me, taught me to love literature in a way I never had before.
Every time I read a book, I interpret it using the methods he taught me. Every time I write, I use the techniques he gave me. Every time I teach, I’m merely mimicking his style, his enthusiasm, and his pure love for the subject.
So how could a man who did so much good in my life and in so many others have done something so disgusting and despicable?
This is one of the reasons I think age benefits writing. When I was young, good people were good and bad people were bad. Period. The characters I wrote reflected that. One-dimensional, cliche, flat.
But the older I get, the more I realize how wrong that is. People have depth. They have secrets. They have entire lives that no one knows anything about. And the best characters are like that too.

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Filed under CLW, Life, Publication, three thing thursday, writing process