Tag Archives: Dogs

Today is the Beginning of Summer

For me, I mean. School’s out. I just have to submit grades.

And, as with any beginning, I have my goals.

The biggest goal of all is to enjoy.


I’ve never allowed myself to just live.


And I haven’t had the best of times the last few months. I’ve let this influence me. The sadness. The heartbreak.

Before me now is five months–with WIFYR (www.wifyr.com) stuffed in the middle–of enjoying being with Carolina. Taking a trip with a few of my girls. Polishing and organizing. Visiting Rick. Catching up with people I haven’t seen in a while. And writing.

How I love writing. And hate it, too.

And how I love rewriting.

How I love sexy new projects.

I’ve got all that before me.

Plus, guess what? I even jogged today. Not very far. And real slow. R-E-A-L slow. So slowly that Carolina walked beside me and said “Mom. ” And I was like, “Run. A. Head. Pl. Ease.”

I have second hand smoker’s lungs (thanks southern family o’ mine) and so I can’t breathe easily. Is this why I’ve had the cough now for years? (This better not be serious–but the allergy pills didn’t help. The asthma stuff didn’t help. The cough medicine didn’t help.)


What’s before you?

Is it dark?

Can you find light in that darkness?

Is it joy?

Does it include children? Lovers? Books? Friends? Food? Serving? Being served?


Perhaps is should include all of that.

And a good dog.



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Filed under CLW, Depression

When my girls were little, I trained them to sleep in. While they slept, I would get up early and get my writing and other work done.

Now I am in my bed. Typing. Cait, who feels icky, is sleeping beside me.

My mother is sleeping late in her room.

And the dogs are sleeping in, too.

Yup, we trained our dogs to sleep in.


So last Friday Kyra and I went to lunch. And we came up with a Writing Calendar of sorts. It goes like this:

October: Plot month

November: NaNoWriMo

December and January: Rewrite months

February: Romance novel writing month

March: Marathon madness

April: Rewrite month

May: Character and dialog month

June: My conference month

July: Another marathon

August: Rewrite month

September: Pacing


What do you think? For the next couple of weeks I’m going to TRY and talk about plot. The last two weeks of the month will be PLOT development weeks to prepare us for NaNo. Yes, I already have the exercise in mind for that.


We’ll start today with this. A definition from some online something or other.


the main events of a play, novel, movie, or similar work, devised and presented by the writer as an interrelated sequence.
synonyms: storyline, story, scenario, action, thread
Guess what I haven’t trained the dogs not to do? Puke. I REALLY hate vomit. Dog vomit makes ME want to throw up.  I’ve already cleaned puke up this morning. (Sigh)
I spoke too quickly.
The dogs are awake. And I am the only human up and working.
I guess my day has begun. 🙂


Filed under CLW, Exercises, Kyra, Plot, writing process

Three Things Thursday that’s Really Four

1. So last night I had two dreams that I thought would  make great novels. I never woke completely to write the ideas down but I have a new goal for myself. I am going to have these things on my bedside table from this point on:


dream journal,

scripture study material,



Each night before sleeping, I will open my dream journal to the appropriate place so I have at least two pages to write on.

Then, I’m going to remind myself that I have this pad of paper to help myself be more successful as a writer.

Maybe I will write a before-bed note to myself about my novel.

Maybe I will put a question down on paper that I want to dream through.

My dear friend, Rick Walton, has come up with complete book ideas–that he’s later sold–while lying in bed at night.

Why not really try to use that part of my brain while I sleep?

I’ll let you know how it goes!

2. The people next door (sort of) have a dog. It’s not a new dog. But the dog is still a puppy. A beautiful chocolate lab. Every morning about seven they put the dog in the cage. She (I don’t know if it’s a boy or girl) barks for more than an hour. She can see into her owner’s home, maybe can see them eating breakfast and getting ready to go to work at BYU. Anyway, she just stays, rain or shine or snow or massive heat (we haven’t had that yet since she came to live with them, but this is what they did with their last poor dog) out in a ten x six foot cage. All day. Every day. Every week. She’s let out a few minutes each day. Sometimes. I can hear her barking now (it’s 9 am).

Carolina, who has been looking up the life spans of dogs since Violet was killed, said, “Mom, that dog has eleven more years in that cage.”

It makes me sick. But did you know as long as there is shelter and food and water for an animal you don’t have to do anything more than that for it?

Ugh. Now I am awfully sad.

PS I noticed last night that the dog on Modern Family has a huge grin on her face. Pampered! I bet that dog makes more money per episode than I do per year!

3. My good friend, Dave Farland’s 16-year-old son, Ben, was in a terrible, terrible accident. PLEASE go to the Facebook page A Book Bomb for Ben to help out this family. (I wish I knew how to do a real link.) Ben’s injuries are so severe that medical bills are expected to exceed a million dollars. My heart goes out to Dave and his family.

I’ve gotten to know Dave at Writing and Illustrating for Young Readers (www.wifyr.com). He’s a great guy. Once, on stage, I read a winning piece to a contest we ran at WIFYR. Huzzah was in the reading. I’d only seen the word (once? Maybe once?), never heard it, and I read it wrong in front of everyone. The audience laughed at me (something I am used to– as many of you know). Dave came up on the stage as the room cleared and taught me the proper way of saying the  word, explained how it came about, and was just so kind to me.

He’s helped many, many writers over the years. He is generous and good-hearted. Please consider helping this family. Every little bit helps.

I know prayers would be appreciated, too.

4. This is my last Thursday with my students.

I’ve really lucked out this semester. I have fantastic writers. Fantastic students. Amazing people who I have loved getting to know. If they keep working hard, I will have lots of books dedicated to me, these writers are that good! They let me be dumb in class, corrected my mispronounced words (only after I asked!), and worked their butts off.

So, my last part of this post today is to my wonderful writing students. Keep going. Keep writing. Don’t stop. Stretch. Reach for the hard parts. Keep thinking. Don’t settle. If you really want to write, do it. You’ve become my friends and I always feel lucky to make good friends of the people I teach. Every time I receive an email that someone I taught finished a novel or got an agent or sold a book, it’s almost as good–maybe even better–than when I sell something myself. I truly want you to succeed. Thank you for making this semester amazing.


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

Old, New, and Future Dystopian Novels

Kyra here.
This is my post where I rant AND have baby reviews. 
I’ve been trying to write. It’s been going badly. ickysickhorribleterrible. I don’t know how you people do it. I think . . .  yes, I think I’ve already said that.
Well, I guess it’s because I mean it. 

Writing is hard. But I bet it’s even worse writing a dystopian novel.
I’ve read four this month, and seriously? Just thinking about how difficult it’d be to write one . . . no wonder Mom has been so. damn. moody. these past couple months. {just playing ;P }

OK. So the first I’m going to talk about is {can you guess?} MATCHED, by our famous co-blogger, Ally Condie. I read this novel in July. But I’m going to talk about it anyway. 
So we all know what the book is about right? If you don’t, look it up real fast. After you do that you’re going to wish you had a copy. {oh, MATCHED doesn’t come out till NOV.} 
MATCHED is a dystopian romance. Let me just start off by saying Ally does a fabulous job putting us in this crazy world without boring us. I’m not going to lie, I’ve read plenty of dystopian novels where all the description just kicks my behind because it’s so dull.
Well, I wasn’t bored at all reading this book. And I also wasn’t confused. 
The book also just had some plain old beautiful writing. Ally had lines in here that made you wanna slap her. {In a good way. ha ha ho ho. No but, I mean that as a compliment.} 
Ally, how did you do that? Writing that book wouldn’t have been possible for me. It was complex yet easy to get through. That’s amazing to me.
You guys are going to love MATCHED. And when it does come out, we’ll read it for the book club. {The book club that doesn’t have any members, but WILL.}

The next book I’m going to {briefly} talk about is FEED by MT Anderson. I decided I wanted to read it again this week because I loaned it to my friend, Chris. After Chris finished reading it {he’s the first boy I’ve loaned FEED to who actually got through the first chapter. what IS it about boys?},  he sent me a text message that pretty much went like this:
 So I finished Feed. That kid is a real A-hole. I cannot believe how much I hate him.
 And I responded: So you liked the book then?
 He proceeded to tell me how much he liked the book, but that he was also bothered by it. Well, in MY mind that’s a good thing, right? The book made him feel. Even if it was an angry emotion, Chris still felt something.
 So I had to read FEED again. And all I can say is sheesh. SHEESH. How in the world did Anderson write such an amazing book? He made his own language and it actually works. How is that possible? If you haven’t read FEED get it now. But I do warn you, it’ll turn you into a junkie and you’ll have to read the book at least once a year, like me. lol

Isn’t this a cute dog?
The last book I am going to talk about is another one I read this week. 
The Damn Dystopian.
Can I just say my mom is the best writer in the world? ha ha ha.
This book actually put a tear in my eye. I didn’t know dystopian novels were supposed to do that.  My mother has outdone herself. After reading the DD I don’t think I’ll ever be able to let her look at my “novel” because that book blew me away. She thinks I hated it, but no, I loved it. A lot. In about a year and a half you will all get your chance to read this book. You should start preparing yourselves right now for it’s awesomeness. 

I guess that’s enough ranting. The point of this is, you writers amaze and inspire me.
Ally, I can’t wait to read your next book. {whenever that may be}
And Mom, you’re the best. I heart you.

The Damn Dystopian.


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