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LTUE 2011

Hey! Two posts in one month! I almost seem like a committed blogger . . .

Ah commitment–such a fickle thing. 

The launch party for Hazzard Universe Book has finally been set in stone! It will be held at: Barnes & Noble Booksellers, Murray UT. On the corner of 5300 S and State St on Wednesday, March 9th from 6-8 pm. Kevin Wasden and I would be thrilled to have you join us to celebrate the beginnings of this series with us. We’ll have light refreshments, some door prizes, and be signing books!

Hazzardous Universe Book Two is finally over 40,000 words. And I started a new book yesterday. Mr. Wright came up with a title and the first line few pages just came to me and I had to hurry to get them written even though I’m on a deadline for this book, and even though I am on a deadline for another book. I also have a book trailer for Hazzardous Universe featuring several of the full page sketches Kevin has done for the interior.

I spent the weekend at the BYU fantasy and science fiction symposium of Life, the Universe, and Everything. I was on several panels and love being able to do that, but I also love being able to learn.

I learned a lot this year. I actually took notes. Something I came away with this time around is something I already knew but really struck home to me. It was from Tracy Hickman:

Being published isn’t important. It is nothing to be published; it is everything to be *read*

Wise words.

Saw the King’s Speech with Jessica Day George and Dan Willis and loved the movie. Loved loved loved it. It was poignant and rich. But it made me laugh a lot when, after a half hour of trailers and the movie FINALLY came on, Dan leaned over to Jessica and whispered, “I almost forgot why we were here!”

I love that LTUE means friends, laughing, Thai food, and books. Thank you to the committee who works so hard to keep the cooler in the green room stocked with Dr. Pepper. I sing praises to you. Honestly. Such. A. Good. Time.


I’m revising. Last night I tore through thirty pages of edits and feel good with the progress made on my manuscript. I’m hoping to be done tonight. Hoping–but not holding my breath.

A long time ago, when I was doing a book signing for my first book, I met another author–Carole Warburton. She was with a bigger publisher (the one I’m now with), and I was in awe of her. She gave me some advice, advice that is useful every day in my career.

She taught me about edits.

“Edits aren’t evil,” she’d said. “Edits are a chance to prove you can do it better.”

So when it comes time to do an edit on a book I’ve written, I repeat her words in my mind. Edits are a chance to prove I can do it better. I love a challenge. Of course I can do it better! Just watch and see.

I only wish I could manipulate my reality the same way I manipulate my written world.  I wish I had a delete button when I say something completely stupid. I wish I could rearrange parts of my day so they fit better and accomplish more, the same way I rearrange paragraphs on a page.

In reality, just like with writing, of course I can do better when I don’t get it right. Of course I can be more patient. Of course I can speak words of compassion, love, and respect. I can edit my  future, but that doesn’t delete the deeds of the past. It’s vexing–this reality thing.

The important thing is knowing where we can do better and working towards that. Thanks Carole. The advice is useful all these years later.

Cross My Heart actually has a book launch date–November 4th! It’ll be food, fun, and prizes so be there! The address and details will come in the next few days. Sorry about the delay on that. I’m heading to California to do  a book signing at the Disneyland Hotel and we’re making a family trip out of it so it’s been tough to get all the scheduling to work out. Thanks for being patient with me.

Another Book!

So I’m sitting in my store today, eating the world’s most expensive hamburger, and typing furiously to finish the novel I’d meant to finish last month and my youngest calls me from home.

“Mom! You need to call your editor RIGHT NOW!” he says. Even at his young age, he understands that a phone call from my editor trumps a phone call from pretty much anyone else (except my agent, who is an absolute equal).

Editors only have a handful of reasons to actually make phone calls.

  • To reject you
  • To tell you you missed a deadline
  • To tell you they changed your title
  • To tell you that you need to do a bit (or a lot) more editing
  • To tell you that there is no reason to do stress overeating, but that your novel is going to the review committee for final approval
  • Or to tell you that your novel was accepted.

So my other son walks in through the front door of my store (he passes through the store to get home) at just this moment. “Watch the store for me a minute while I go home to make a phone call!” I command as I fly out the back door. I find my cell phone, see I have a voice mail, listen to the voicemail which is my editor asking me to return his call, and with the monarch migration going on in my stomach, hit the speed-dial button that connects me to my editor.

“Hey Jules.”  He answers before the end of the first ring.

“Hey Kirk.”

This is where we go off on polite chit chat for a moment before he says,  “So . . . the committee has discussed your novel Love Study and have decided to publish it.”

The monarch migration fly on as I exhale in relief.

So I have a new book slated to come out. YAY! Its release date is early 2011, so next year sometime. It’s strictly romance. It’s funny, sassy, smart, and filled with love–as is my heart when I think on how much I really like my editor and the acquisitions committee at Covenant. It’s an LDS novel and is so much fun that you are guaranteed to love it.  I’ll post the cover when I get it, but since it isn’t coming out for a while, you’re going to have to wait–just like I have to.

It used to be called The Day My Subconcious Betrayed Me, but I had to change it to something shorter (though I’m stubbornly keeping it the way it is on my website, because that’s the way uh-huh uh-huh I like it). For the purposes of just getting it to the committee, Kirk and I came up with Love Study. Love Study is a respectable title, but it doesn’t pop the way the novel does. So if you all come up with anything that sounds snappy for a sassy romance, feel free to let me know. I am totally open to suggestions. The first chapter is on my website. Go have a peek.

How to be an Editor’s Favorite Author

I went to an SCBWI conference this last weekend. It was one of the better conferences I have been to in a while, including some of the out of state stints I’ve done. Friday night they had a mix and mingle thing for published authors, the editor, agent, and illustrator director they brought in for the conference. I love mingling with authors. These are my people. Just thinking about them makes me smile. I spent a wonderful time talking to Amy Finnigan, Mette Ivie Harrison, Rick Walton, Sydney Husseman, Stacy Whitman and many others. It was great fun. I also got to meet Jill Dembowski from Little Brown. I spent a small while chatting with her and realized I was guilty of hogging the editor, not because I meant to, but simply because she was so much fun to talk to and we both love books. It’s so easy to converse with others who love books. Once I realized I had started a monopoly, I hurried to move her into another group where others had a chance. She just acquired a new series that sounds simply awesome. I’d give more details, but don’t know if that’s allowed so I’ll just say that in 2010 look for a way cool book from Little Brown.

The next day was the conference. It was held at the city library in downtown Salt Lake. I hadn’t been to the library since they built it. This is the great tragedy of living in the middle of nowhere. The library is beautiful. I mean really truly breathtaking. And the conference? Fabulous. I actually learned new things (and I’ve been writing a long time folks) Jill spoke on what makes authors stand out in her eyes. Her thoughts were poignant enough to merit repeating, so here they are:

The first thing she said was, “Buy Presents!”

Of course we all laughed, and she said she was just kidding. But there are “gifts” you can give your editor that are not only acceptable but hoped for as well.

These are a few of the things from her list:

  • Write well
  • Don’t be a jerk
  • Don’t be a jerk
  • Don’t be a jerk

Really honestly, that is all you need to gift your editor with. Prove you aren’t difficult to work with by truly *listening* to what they have to say. And do everything in your power to WRITE WELL. They don’t need chocolates (well they probably do . .  who doesn’t really?), but your contract will not be dependant upon providing chocolate (I hope I’m not wrong . . . Kirk? Am I wrong? Do you need chocolate, or tickets to the world series maybe?)

Of course this is information for how to act both before and *after* getting a publisher. Jill went on for a bit on how to improve your chances of being noticed by a publisher in the first place. Here’s that list:

  • Do proofread. Editors understand an errant comma, but do your absolute best to turn in your best.
  • Do research the publishing house, their list, and their editors.
  • But DO NOT stalk! Don’t look up the editors on Google Earth and spy on them via satellite.
  • Do know competitive titles to what you’ve written. What other books is your manuscript most like?
  • Do know what makes your manuscript stand out from those competitive titles.
  • Do know the marketplace in terms if what is available and being published.
  • Do NOT try to cater to the marketplace. Just because vampires are hot right now does not mean that’s the type of book you should be writing.
  • Do have a great web presence. Have a website, a blog, facebook, myspace etc.
  • Do get an agent.
  • Do NOT lie about your credentials. Here’s the deal; I write in a very niche market. Of course I have to play nice and be honest. I know everyone (and I mean everyone) in my little niche. You might assume that the rest of the publishing world must be this vast sea of authors, editors, and agents, but you would be wrong. It’s still a small world, where everyone knows everyone. You mistreat someone along the way, you tell one little lie about a publication, a contact, ANYTHING, and it will come back to bite you in the backside. I promise you. Because these people are mostly all friends. And they get together and talk. Not saying they’re all gossipers, but that they communicate. Be smart. Be honest. Let your work stand out and shine . . . either that or as Jill said, let your normalcy shine. (that made me laugh–authors? Normal? Yeah right.)
  • Don’t complain about agents, or publishers, or other authors on your blog. This is bad form. Don’t do it!
  • Do say thanks. A little gratitude for the time an editor or agent spends on you goes a long way. They work hard for you. Appreciate it enough to vocalize a thank-you.

The last tidbit of advice Jill imparted was this: The latest trends in writing is GOOD STORIES!

My work in progress is at 42,000 words.  And I wasn’t even doing Nanowrimo.

Lips, Writing on the Wall, Whitney Awards, and the writing4kids blog

First off, let me tell you: NEVER get your lips tattooed. All that color that made me look like a harlot the first day had flaked off by the end of the fourth day. Now my lips are these pale, barely pink things that still hurt, but have nothing to show for it. My sis in law who got her eyes done is deliriously happy with hers and I wish I had followed her example when choosing how best to spend my gift certificate.

Second: Yesterday was my day to scribble over at the wall.

And today I got kudos for my post from Jon Bard over at In case you aren’t aware, Jon keeps his finger on the pulse of the children’s literature market and does a pretty swanky job of it. He’s the editor of the Children’s Book Insider. Jon rocks and the fact that he liked what I wrote yesterday only improves that opinion. 🙂

And hey! This means I’m on You Tube!  I tried to embed it here, but you all know how useless I am with technology so here’s the link:

Third: The Whitney awards is doing a fundraising auction! I stole this from Josi Kilpack’s blog (forgive me Josi!)
 The Whitney Award Benefit Auction is being held through the month of November. Items are added to the auction daily and all funds go to support The Whitney Award which is a reader based award for LDS writers. If you have been considering getting an edit, now might be a great time to do it (just in time for Christmas 🙂 and so far the prices are great. Here’s the link:








You Know how I work for eBay? Well I went and checked stocks today (as I do daily) and about had a heart attack! Stocks are under thirteen dollars! Are you kidding me??? eBay is a totally solid company which makes money EVERY quarter! What are investors thinking? This only goes to further prove that too many idiots control the monetary system.

eBay rocks! Do your Christmas shopping there. You can bid on the edit from Precision Editing Group for your favorite writer. That’s a gift that will bring a grin to any writer’s face.

Have a great week everyone. I’m working like a crazy woman on my work in progress and have now reached 37000 words! Woohoo. So don’t feel bad if I am totally quiet on the internet.



I picked a bad week to quit cussing

First of all, Michael Crichton died November 4th at the age of 66 from cancer. So sad that his death was glossed over by the major news of the presidential election. I am a big fan of his writing. I always found myself being able to see things from a different point of view–one I’d never considered before–after reading his books.

Some quotes I like by Mr. Crichton: “If you don’t know your family’s history, then you don’t know anything. You are a leaf that doesn’t know it is part of a tree”

and my favorite: “In science, consensus is irrelevant.”

One of my favorite articles he’d written can be found at:

In fact . . . this article holds one of the base points for the book I am currently writing. We lost an interesting thinker on election day. I, for one, will miss his viewpoints and opinions.

Next on my list for reasons I picked a bad week to quit cussing . . . I did something incredibly vain. Though I take little responsibility for the actual fault. The blame goes to my sister in law who wanted to surprise me with a really cool gift for my birthday. She convinced my mom and my sister to go in on it with her. They paid for a gift certificate for me to get permanent makeup. More specifically, I got my lips tattooed.



Seriously, I am not kidding. It was unprecedented pain, like a million tiny razor blades churning my lips into raw hamburger. I had a “block” for the pain, but whatever they use for those blocks is not the same stuff dentists use because it had worn off in ten minutes. The other hour and forty minutes was spent with my fists clenched tightly at my middle and tears running out the corners of my eyes. I would have stopped the whole procedure halfway through, got off the table, and walked away forever, except then I’d look like some half baked mutant.

The technician person kept telling me I was almost done. I finally stopped her mid-sentence and told her she was a horrific liar.

When they handed me the mirror at the end, I almost laughed and cried all at once. I looked like Goldie Hawn in the First Wives Club when she had her collagen injection on her lips. I looked absurd, and swollen, and I confess I had the thought that it was no less than I deserved after doing something so frivolous and vain.

Today I look better (less like a harlot, and more like a child playing with mommy’s lipstick) The  jury is still out on whether or not I am glad I did this. My advice to anyone thinking about it is, “Pay the extra money and go somewhere that will knock you out first.”  I do believe I will be happy with it in a couple of weeks, after I’m all healed and not having to put on lipstick to go out. I’ll let you know.

In consolation to all this, I wrote 2000 words yesterday. This equates to 8 pages in a 12 pt font, 1 inch margins, Times New Roman. Not bad for a day’s work.