Saturday, February 26, 2011


     Ok, I've got problems.
     Well, duh. I've always known I had problems, but now I can add another one to an alarmingly long and growing list.
     New problem: constantly rewriting my first chapter. I did it AGAIN this past week while I was at my parents house. The thing is, I've liked every one of my zillion beginnings. I'm just trying to find the BEST one. The one that grabs, that hooks, that explains without too much backstory. I think I've got it and then one day out of the blue I'll get this totally different idea and I just have to write it down.
     It's become an issue, let me tell you. An addiction maybe. I can't just leave it. I can't let it go. This latest new beginning is a bit different than before but I think it's going to work. I hope it will be the last one. Hopefully.
     Ha ha, yeah right. In another week or month I'll probably be writing a new one. Sheesh! There needs to be a can't-stop-re-writing-your-first-chapter support group out there. Maybe I'll start one...

Monday, February 21, 2011


     So, here's my plan. Why am I writing it on my blog? Do you really care? No. Probably not. But this is my plan and if I write then maybe I'll stick to it. Like my new years resolutions, whatever they were.
     I've finished editing my first book for the last time. Well, at least the last time for now! Haha. What I mean is, I'm sending it, and I'll keep sending it out for while, but if I get nowhere I think I'm going to shelve it for awhile. As much as I love the book, Jessica and Alric, and the whole idea for books to come, I don't think I should overdo it to the point of squashing it flat.
     Meanwhile, I'm finishing my second Jessica book. Why? Mainly because I have the story in my head and I need to get it out. I don't want to leave it sitting there unfinished, even if I'm just going to shelve that one too once I'm done. I HAVE to get it finished. So I'm working on that now. My only problem with that is I'm making quite a few changes to what I've already got: adding a character and changing an exisiting character almost drastically. So that's been work but it's got to be done before I can move foreward and finish the darn thing.
     Then... well, bye-bye Jessica and hello somebody new. I'm going to write something completely new. Don't know what yet, but I do have an idea on what my new character is going to be like and a loose idea of what's going to happen to her.
     So there it is. My PLAN.
     It's funny because awhile ago I remember thinking, if Jessica doesn't go anywhere, will I really write something else? But now, even though I've started getting those no's again (and they hurt, believe me), I know that the more writing I do, the better I will get. And hey, maybe if one of my later books is more successful than my first one, hopefully I can go back to Jessica and get her out there. Because I just can't let her go. And I probably never will be able to.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

For Such A Time Is This

     A few Sundays ago, Sis. Williams gave a great RS lesson. It was based on a talk given by Norma B. Ashton (wife of Marvin J. Ashton) and called "For Such A Time Is This". She basically read different bits of the talk and gave us pretty paper to write notes down on. The talk had so many great things in it that I just had to share my notes.
  • We spend too much time preparing for an unknown future that we forget to live- I totally do this sometimes! I look ahead, planning on what's coming next month, next holiday, next birthday, next season, that I'm missing what's happening NOW.
  • Waiting for a brighter future might make you miss a beautiful day- LOVE THAT! How much of my life and my kids lives am I missing because I'm constantly dreaming of being a published author?!
  • Have an abundant life today and tomorrow
  • Life is what happens when you have other plans- duh. We're going through that right now with a conflict between my awesome jazz class and a possible new calling for Jeff
  • Work with what you have
  • Others are NOT responsible for how we react to our problems- such an important thing to remember!!!
  • We need to find our own answers on how to live- so true! Just because X works for so-and-so, doesn't mean it will work for us. Just because Miss-Amazing-Mother uses cloth diapers to help the environment, doesn't mean we have to too.
  • "Ought to" and "Should" are NOT commandments- that goes with the last one. Yes we "ought to" bake homemade bread, or we "should" potty train our children by the time they're two, but that doesn't mean it HAS to be that way (although kudos to all you who manage those because I sure can't!)
  • To give up our interests wrinkles the soul- aw, love it. Helps me to feel not quite as guilty about my writing habit
  • And my favorite: If we trust in God, we won't experience fear- that goes along with my fave scripture, ...I fear not what man can do, for perfect love casteth out all fear (Moroni 8:16)
     So there we have it. A great talk, a great lesson (and a pretty picture)- so great that I had to share. Hope you get inspired like I did.

Saturday, February 12, 2011


     Can I just say, YAY FOR BOOKS!
     A couple of nights ago I started watching a movie. About half an hour in I sat there thinking, do I really want to watch this for another hour or more? Am I all that interested? Do I really care if Meryl Streep and Alec Baldwin work it out?
     Um, NO. I'd much rather read. And that's what I did.
     I just don't get those people out there who don't read. Who think TV or movies are way more entertaining. Try reading. Just try it- one book. I can even recommend some great ones, depending on your interests (I've read something from almost every genre). Although I do enjoy tv and movies, there's just something about a really great book that has me almost lost to the world around me, even when I'm not reading. I can feel the stories so much more, understand the characters on deeper levels. I get excited in a way that I don't get for anything else.

     The book I just finished this time which had me deleting that silly movie off my PVR half an hour in, was Diane Peterfreund's "Rampant". An awesome book about a unicorn hunter. I love how she took our fairy-tale-like notions of sweet, cuddly unicorns and changed that into scary, man-eating, fanged monsters. It was something so new and fresh (at least for me) that I couldn't help but get caught up in it. I just finished the book this afternoon and I wasn't disappointed with anything. I can't wait to get my hands on "Ascendant", the sequel to Rampant.
     I just want to say it again. Yay for books. Because they are awesome.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011


     As I'm back into the querying process- spending time researching agents, reading countless blogs and books, and still editing- I found an interesting bit of info. This author (who will remain nameless because even though she posted this online I still feel weird about giving away other people's info so freely) was sharing how she got her agent on one blog and she gave these stats that I found interesting:

-11 years of writing

-11 manuscripts

-211 rejections from editors (2 fulls and 1 partial requested over the years)

-12 contests/grants entered (1 win)

-75 rejections from agents (12 fulls and 2 partials requested, mainly last year)

-1 yes!

     Now I've only written one book (and about 1/3 of another), I've only received a handful of rejections, never entered a contest, and have only been writing seriously for a little over a year. But I found her stats heartening. Why? Well, the downside is that it might take me 11 years to finally get my yes. I might need a lot more writing experience to get that yes. But on the other hand, my bare number of no's doesn't even come close to hers. It's yet another reminder to keep plugging away. And to keep writing especially so I can just get better and better. 

Sunday, February 6, 2011


    I felt a little depressed yesterday after my writer's courses. Not that they were discouraging or anything like that because they weren't at all. Mostly I think it was just the reality of it all. I sit at home at my computer and write and edit and dream that everyone will fall in love with the world and characters that I've created- just like I have. Learning about the business of writing- marketing, publishing, etc- just reminds me that this is a business. And a tough one. I know I've said it before but it's something that I constantly forget.
     Last night I watched the movie Fame (the recent one). What a good idea that turned out to be. It helped to motivate me and bring my spirits back up. Not that I'm trying to be "famous", but trying to be a published author is similar, and just as hard, as trying to be an actor, singer, dancer, etc. In the  movie certain characters realize their dreams, and others have their dreams crushed.  You'd think that might bring me down but it didn't. It was just another reminder to keep trying. That dreaming isn't enough- you have to DO. I know that even if I DO, that might not mean things will happen, but at least I can look back and say, I DID.
     There was one particular quote that really got me though, and I had to pause the movie to write it down. I want to share it because it really spoke to me:

Everything you're ashamed of,
All the parts of yourself you keep secret,
Everything you want to change about yourself;
It's who you are.
That's your power.
Deny it and you are nothing.

      Let me tell you, there's a lot I don't like about myself. There's a lot I try to hide, to keep secret. I need to use it, channel it, write it. I think that even if I never get where I want to be, at least I will have learned about myself along the way. I will have done my absolute best. And if I haven't realized my dreams- hopefully I'll have realized my full potential.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

So You Want to Write a Novel

I went to the Calgary Library's Writer's Weekend today. It was really great. The classes I attended were: Marketing Your Writing, Fiction Writing, Resources for Writers, and Publishers on Publishing. It was all great, informative and helpful. The one I found the most helpful was Marketing Your Writing. She started her presentation with the above cartoon from YouTube. So funny that I had to share it!
I just want to say a thank you to the Calgary Public Library for doing stuff like today's workshops and the Writer-in-Residence program and things like that for writers. Even though my membership cost a mint because I don't live in Calgary, it's great to be part of a writing community and to have opportunities to learn more about the craft and the business of writing.
Sadly, I tend to come away from stuff like that with mixed feelings. On one hand- I see all the others out there who like to write and who support each other and I feel that comraderie and connection. But on the other hand, it's a tough business- one that I'll be lucky to break into. It doesn't help when the publishing world in general is faltering.
All I can say is, ah well. I will keep writing. It's my dream. Sometimes dreams come true, sometimes they don't. But I will keep writing because it makes me happy. Worrying about publishing does not make me happy. So I need to remember to focus on the writing, to enjoy it, to work at it. Then if somethng comes of it one day, to take that as the icing on the cake, not the cake itself.

Friday, February 4, 2011

I heart Boys Like Girls

     Ok, sick of the musicals. Except All I Ask of You- I swear I could sing along to that song over and over. Luckily no one hears me except my kids- I'm that terrible. I decided to pay homage to my fave band- Boys Like Girls and put only them on my playlist. Wish had "Contagious" but no such luck! Anyway, love you guys, can't wait for album #3, and hopefully one day I'll get to see you in concert!

And should I admit a teensy crush on this guy?! No, I probably shouldn't.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Here We Go Again

    I've finished yet another edit on the computer, an edit on paper (I've probably killed a forest by now- sorry trees), and I'm in the middle of editing on the computer one last time to make sure I don't have any mistakes. That might seem extreme but when I take all my notes and edits on paper and fix them on the computer, there's bound to be mistakes (there has been) so I have to go through it all again just to make sure.
     Yesterday I started the querying process again. One agent is now the recipient of my brand new query letter, and another agent has that new query letter and my new first chapter. It feels like I'm starting out all over again. I can't help but feel that hopeless positivity- mainly because this new stuff hasn't been rejected yet.
     It's like when I sent my book out for the very first time. I did it the old fashioned way- mailing it in to a very prestigious agency/agent. And then I waited for two months, all the while dreaming that I would get that phone call asking to see more. Of course that was a ridiculous dream. I'd like to hear of one author who got an agent from their VERY FIRST query. I don't think one exists. Because the fact is that no matter how amazing your book or query letter might be, not everyone will be interested in the subject.
     I was reading in Writer's Digest some successful query letters and the agents view on why they chose them. One of them was so mind-numbingly boring to me that if I was an agent I would have tossed it after the first two sentences. Obviously it hooked that particular agent though because he requested more and then eventually represented that author. It just goes to show that no matter how good your query or first chapter might be (and mine might totally suck- who knows), there will still be some agents out there who just won't be interested because it's not their thing or they're already representing something similar.
     Now that I'm back to checking my email every five minutes- or trying NOT to do that- I can't help but feel anxious and nervous and excited and scared and hopeful that maybe this time, my new stuff will do the trick. But it probably won't. And after the first few rejections I'll get, it won't matter so much anymore and I'll just keep plugging away on my search to find someone, ANYONE, who will see the potential in my work. And if I get nowhere, well, then I guess I'll have to go back and edit some more, rewrite my query letter, cut, maybe change my first chapter for the ka-billionth time.
     It's either that, or give up. And no way am I going to do that.