Even though last week was my anniversary, this week Scott took me to salt lake for the weekend on a surprise trip (not a total surprise because he fully expected me to pack) But he wouldn’t tell me where we were going or what we were doing (making it very difficult to pack).
We ended up going to Les Miserables at the Pioneer Theater. You know, it doesn’t matter how often I see this production I still weep like a baby and love every minute of it. The most poignant line written in human history: “To love another person is to see the face of God.” We went to the Bombay house for dinner, which is wonderful. Naan bread and chicken Mahkani . . .
We took the kids to see Evan Almighty which they loved and we loved as well. What a fun film! Nothing like what I expected, and totally worth the time spent on it. Just being with my family has been a much needed recharge to my creative batteries. I leave in seventeen days for North Carolina and then I will be back to writing Hap’s story. My goal was to finish three novels this year, but I may have to be content with two and a half. I’ll be moving in on rewrites for another manuscript which will tie up creative time for completing the Nightmare Givers and Spell Check . . . there’s always next year . . .
The weekend has been very relaxing and just fun. It’s nice to get away and not have any pressing demands on us. Did I mention my husband is adorable? No? Well he is.
I was tagged by Annette Lyon and decided I needed a break from my day. If you want to play simply remove the blog from the top, move all the blogs up one, and add yourself to the bottom. Next . . .remove my answers and fill in your own!
What were you doing ten years ago?
1997 I found out I was pregnant with our second child. This pregnancy was a total surprise to me since we’d had such a difficult time having the first one. It was in 1997 that Scott and I waxed entrepreneurial and decided to sell everything and get out of the city to open our little store in the middle of nowhere . . . yeah, I know. I don’t regret the move. Many great things have happened to us because of this move, but sometimes I’d like to have a “sliding door” experience to see where a different option would have taken us.
What were you doing one year ago?
One year ago . . . I was getting ready for the second child’s baptism . . . getting started on My romantic comedy and turning in Seeking Zion for publication. It was a year ago that I learned to deal with the fact that I’ve hit middle age and things are never going to look like they did when I was twenty. Happily, my cute husband is getting old with me. We fondly discuss things like the resurrection. Some cool things that happened last year were our family trip to Hawaii (where I would go back and live off the land picking mangoes and papaya if Scott would agree to come with me) our family trip to Disneyland, and several great moments just hanging out together. Five snacks you enjoy:
1. Chinese crackers
2. Hint of Lime Tostitos with my garbanzo bean and lime chip dip mmmmmm
3. fortune cookies
4. ice cream (I’m still lamenting the loss of Kaberry Kaboom Ben and Jerry’s)
5. a box of ding dongs and a 2 liter of Dr. Pepper (for when I’m stressed and need to compensate for the calories I’m burning in sheer anxiety)
Five songs you know all the lyrics to:
1. Moon Over Madness (Gino Vannelli)
2. Time to Say Goodbye (Sarah Brightman and Andrea Bocelli)3. Tro (Marie Fredriksson)
4. Inside Out (Eve 6)
5. Love Shack (B52’s)
(really this is very unfair to limit me to five . . . I know the lyrics to a LOT of songs . . . music is my companion when all else fails me)
Things you would do if you were a millionaire:
1. Pay off all my bills
3. leave most of it in savings and live on the interest so it’s there when kids get married, go to college, go on missions . . .
4. Landscape the yard so it’s like the one in my dreams (me too!)
5. rip out my kitchen and start overFive bad habits:
1. deciding ten minutes before dinner should be served what I plan on making (OH! I am getting a chef if I become a millionaire!)
2. Opening my mouth in public
3. E-mail and blog-reading addiction.
4. self doubt (it’s a hobby with me)
5. Screaming like a little girl when I see a spider
Five things you like to do:
3. Take walks
5. Take long, lingering baths (with candles and a book . . . baths are no fun without candles and reading material) Things you will never wear again:
1. My old jeans . . .
2. Pink and baby blue eye shadow (Why didn’t anyone tell me I looked like a clown????)
3. Heels. A bad back and heels do not pair well.
4. Cowboy boots. I love ‘em but they aren’t me anymore. Those boots are the most expensive pair of footwear I own. I still reel when I think of the cost.
5. My black formal. Okay I shouldn’t have bought it in the first place. I know this now. I know that the whole backless part was totally not my style and totally against my standards but I felt pretty in it . . . apparently my date thought I looked pretty in it and I spent the whole night feeling uncomfortable until the evening culminated in me slapping his face and demanding he take me home. (this is where the song “Follow the Prophet” comes to mind)
Five favorite toys:
1. Alphasmart . I CANNOT live without it. I highly recommend any writer invest in one. It’s my #1 writing tool for drafting. (mine too Annette) Not so good with revising, but it’s a massive time saver. So portable. Nearly indestructive. Battery lasts forever. I can write whenever, wherever. I couldn’t have gotten my last three books written without it.
2. Four wheelers. Love ‘em, can’t live without ‘em
3. Clear Play DVD player. It edits the dvd’s I buy and rent and makes it so I can watch a movie like Click and weep like an infant and love the movie and not be ashamed to have my kids in the room with me. If you don’t have one . . .I’m asking why the heck not?
4. My Jane Austen action figure. When my husband gave me that I could have kissed him ‘til we both stopped breathing. How cool to have him know me so well.
5. my library. Every home needs a library.
Where will I be in ten years?
Ten years . . . Light! Rae will be 21. She better be graduating from college and not even thinking about marriage yet. Allen will be just leaving for his mission, and Lucas will be close to graduating. I feel panicked all of a sudden! Sometimes I feel that way when I look at them now. When Rae turned ten I almost had a nervous breakdown. It was like I blinked and she was ten. I’m afraid to blink again for fear she won’t be there when I open my eyes.
Scott and I will still be here, running the store, and living our life here. Hopefully the basement will be finished. Hopefully I’ll have many more books published that were successful.
But I’m not ready to be so grown up just yet. I happily wait in today.
Five people to tag:
“We shall yet have Miltons and Shakespeares of our own. . . . In God’s name and by His help we will build up a literature whose tops will touch the heaven, though its foundation may now be low on the earth.”
When Latter-day Saint Apostle Orson F. Whitney first spoke these words, the literary canon of his people didn’t contain many works. Fast forward over a hundred years, and literally thousands of novels are published, enjoyed by readers each year.
Yesterday it was announced that the 2007 Whitney Awards are now open for nominations. In its first year, the Whitney Awards will recognize excellence in LDS fiction. Each year, the quality of LDS fiction rises and the Whitney Awards will focus on those achievements. The 2007 winners will be announced in March 2008 at the annual LDStorymakers Writers Conference (http://www.ldstorymakers.com/).
The Whitney Awards honor novels in the following categories: Romance/Women’s Fiction, Suspense/Mystery, Science Fiction/Fantasy, Historical, Novel of the Year, and Best Novel by a New Author. Novels can be nominated by any reader (via http://www.whitneyawards.com/), and nominees are voted on by an academy of industry professionals, including authors, publishers, bookstore owners, distributors, critics, and others. Out of the nominations, five will be chosen as category finalists. The Whitney Award will be the first of its kind to honor excellence in literary achievement in LDS fiction.
I’ve read several excellent LDS novels this year. And I’m looking forward to checking out the late summer and fall releases. Read what’s new in LDS fiction this year, then nominate your favorite!
Father’s day is soooo much better than mother’s day. I am never going to be a father and therefore feel no sense of falling short on this day. My own dad is a wonderful man to whom I owe so much. I owe my ability to speak in public to the time he dragged me out of the house at the last minute to participate in an optimist club oratorical contest at the last minute. I owe my love of reading and writing to him. I owe my ability to be well socialized to him. I owe my ability to cuss like a sailor to him . . . oh wait, he likely didn’t want anyone to know that. He’s just great in every way. I love and respect the good man my father is and will always be grateful to him for being there for me in all times of my life.
Then there is the other man in my life . . . This year our anniversary has fallen on Father’s Day. Today marks fifteen years of marriage to Scott. He was gone for the last few days and I’ve missed him terribly. I spent several hours ripping my bedroom apart trying to find his father’s day present. Sometimes I am so clever when I hide presents, I hide them from myself too. So though I missed him, I was glad he wasn’t home to laugh at me. I think he leaves town every now and again to help me remember why I desperately need him. It works. I had lots of time to reflect on fifteen years and more since Scott and I started dating 21 years ago (yeah I can’t believe it either . . . I SWEAR I am not that old!)
Not every day of our lives together has been perfect and rosy. There have been days where I know I am way more difficult than I need to be, but he has his days too. But through all the bumps and lumps and tears, I’ve received more than my fair share of love and laughs. We’ve really just grown up together in a way I imagine high school sweethearts do. I confess I still smile when the phone rings and it’s his voice on the other end. Twenty one years and I still get goosebumps when he sneaks up behind me to kiss the back of my neck.
I’m a firm believer that though every marriage sees bad days . . . if you don’t stick it out through the bad days, you won’t be around to see the good ones. There have been a lot of good ones. I wouldn’t trade them for anything.
I’m glad our day fell on father’s day. It’s serendipitous to celebrate the myriad facets of this one man that I would walk the world for. He’s a fabulous father . . . a fabulous husband, and he puts up with me–I’d be a fool to not appreciate that since few men are up to that challenge. I cannot think of one other person I’d rather have walking this road with me. I’m grateful my two boys have such a fine example to teach them how to be men. Happy Father’s day Scott. Happy anniversary min älskling.
And Happy Father’s Day to all the rest of you men out there!
It’s my turn to rave about Michele Holmes new book. The title is Counting Stars (and we all know how much I love stars) so naturally, based on title alone, her book is a hit with me. Because I am working on my presentation for the youth conference I’mspeaking at in North Carolina . . . I’m going to be wretchedly evil and give you just the blurb here:
Jane was hoping for a second date — maybe even a boyfriend. What she wasn’t expecting was Paul Bryant’s completely original and sincere pick-up line: “Hi. I’m Paul. I have terminal cancer. My wife was killed in a car accident, and I’m looking for a woman to raise my children.”
It was never Jane’s plan to fall in love with a dying man and his two infants. But her seemingly simple decision to date someone outside her faith leads to one complication after another, and the choices she makes soon have far higher stakes than she could have foreseen. In choosing to help Paul, is she choosing to be alone forever? And how can something that seems so unbelievably messed up feel so completely right? Sometimes love is found in the least likely places and the greatest blessings are discovered while counting stars.
The book is beautifully written and worth the read. I heartily endorse it with two thumbs way up.
When my life sucks rocks, I hang with my daughter. Yesterday sucked rocks . . . big muddy ones. So I took the pile of clothing, backpacks, and stuffed animals that have waited patiently to be mended for the last year and went to work putting on buttons and sewing up holes (the dog responsible for most of those holes has passed on . . . she was lucky because I HATE sewing and I’d have killed her if she’d been anywhere near me). I did this to keep myself away from the dishes. The day was bad enough, I likely would have smashed every dish against the wall. (I did end up having to do the dishes anyway. The only thing that saved them from shattering against the wall, was the knowledge that I would be the one to have to clean up the mess.)
I am not domestic. Proof of this is the year my husband bought me a miter saw for Christmas, and I bought him a set of T-Fal cooking pans. We were both thrilled because we got what we wanted. A little backwards, but that’s half the reason our marriage works (The other half is because he’s adorable)
My daughter IS domestic. She’s the perfect girl. She even likes pink (shudder). So she pulled out her sewing machine to help me. Notice I say HER sewing machine, not MY sewing machine. Like I’d ever take on ownership of such a contraption.
While she hemmed up pants that we’d cut into shorts, she made a comment. “You know how people always say it’s good to learn from your mistakes?”
“Mmm-hmm.” I said this around the tongue hanging out of my mouth while I tried to thread a needle.
“I think they’re wrong.”
I would’ve argued that they (whoever they are) weren’t wrong. It’d be bad to not learn from your mistakes and to keep making them. I’d have argued except I needed to keep my tongue hanging out of my mouth to thread the needle. Don’t ask why stupid faces helps in these situations. They just do.
She smirked at me when I ah-ha-ed in triumph over the needle and then said, “I think It’s far better to learn from someone else’s mistake. That way you still get an education and don’t have to be in trouble for it.”
Did I mention she is eleven?
I agree with her.
And not that her insight helped me with my reasons for hating yesterday, but that I loved how she forms her own insights and I loved being with her. She is better than any counseling I could get elsewhere. If you’re having a crummy day, take a deep breath and go hang out with your kids. Child therapy is the very best kind.
A week ago, James Dashner wrote into our writer’s group with some interesting little statistics from one of his manuscripts. I won’t give you those statistics since it’s private information and he might not appreciate me displaying it to the public. But being that James is an accountant who tends to be a little OCD about numbers I thought I’d run his numbers against my newly completed manuscript. The idea is that he counted up how many “overused” words are in his manuscript. I’ve used my most recently completed novel here:
- The manuscript title: The Day My Subconscious Betrayed Me
- Word count: 75,000
- the word “that”: 635
- The word “the”: 3047
- The word “suddenly”: 1
- The word “was”: 711
I plan on harvesting a few of those was-es and sending them into the lazy writer trash can, but over-all I think I faired quite well. By running this little exercise I found several pet words of mine words like “seemed”, “Just”, “shrug” (my characters have the twitchiest shoulders in the world!), and “had.” Then there were the pet phrases, “He scrubbed his hand over his head.” “She narrowed her eyes to glare at . . .” (she glared at everybody so you can fill in the blank with almost any name you want).
I’m glad James brought it up since he’s reawakened my need to tighten my writing. I think it’s something we can all do in, not only writing, but our lives as well. We could throw away a few things tying up space that we keep around for no other good reason than because they make us feel comfortable. I am NOT OCD, but every now and again I feel better when I clean out my closets and even better still when I clean up my manuscripts.
“I’m sick of following my dreams man, I’m just going to ask where they’re going and hook up with ‘em later.” –Mitch Hedberg (quote courtesy of Jeff Savage)
Mitch is a kindred spirit. If I ever meet this person, I’m buying him dinner. It must be nice to be an author unafraid. You know who those guys are. They are the ones that no matter what they write, someone, somewhere will publish it. And all the critics swoon at the mere mention of said author’s name. It’s like the Midas touch of words. And don’t get me wrong if you think I am just being bitter. I’m way more than bitter. I’m outright jealous
In reality (that place I refuse to exist) I am a GREAT cheerleader for others. I’m happy when other people succeed. I really am.
So I’m happy for them, jealous of them, and just sitting here wondering where my dreams plan on taking me next. I’m hoping it’s somewhere excellent. I hope it’s somewhere linked to the words “New York Times Bestseller’s list” and involves greenlighted movie projects and action figures.
In the mean time, Why don’t you all mosey on over to Carole Thayne Warburton’s blog. Her blog was so sweet it made me tear up a little . . . or maybe I’m just hitting menopause and am hormonally imbalanced (scott, keep your comments to yourself!) In her blog, she tells of the time we first met. She makes me sound sooo much more confident than I really am that I had to laugh. In reality, authors scared me. Every stinking one of them. I felt like such a phony around them. Like a little girl wearing her mom’s lip stick and heels. It’s taken me years to overcome that feeling (and I’m lying when I say I’ve overcome it) . I also laughed when she says I have energy. What she meant to say is that I have attention deficit disorder. You should also check out Carole’s books while you’re there. She is an excellent writer. My husband loves her books as much as I do. And he is a man of discerning taste (he married me after all).
To all of you worrying over your own writing careers I leave you with this poem (I didn’t write it. Karen Hoover, who totally rocks, wrote it)
The Poser –Karen Hoover
At the beginning again
a fresh start
a paragraph or two
the word dance begins
who never learned to dance
spin and twirl
with the best of them
the ones who REALLY know
how to link plot to structure
and weave words and stories
am simply a poser
If any of the rest of you have ever felt like a poser, I’d love to hear the tale. Feel free to share in the comments section.