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Writing Excuses

I FINALLY finished my seventeenth novel! It took longer than I’d hoped and life got a little in the way, but it’s done, and it’s pretty awesome. The title is Shell. I’m pretty much in love with it. I love the way it feels when I look up from a creative work, blinking in the harsh light of reality, and feeling that exhilaration of creative completion. It’s not always easy to finish a project.

I have all kinds of excuses for not writing when I’m supposed to be writing. Some of them are valid, and others . . . not so much. One way to get rid of the excuses is to stoke the creative fires. A good way to do that is with the podcast Writing Excuses with Dan Wells, Brandon Sanderson, and Howard Tayler. They are some genius writers giving genius advice. I’ve been invited to be a guest speaker on Writing Excuses a couple of times. It’s always a delight to be part of their show, merely because they are super fun guys and good friends. My favorite episode  where I co-guested (is that a thing?) was the one with James Dashner. SO. Much. Fun.

So in honor of completing my seventeenth novel, Shell, and in honor of the beginning of my eighteenth novel, Daughters of Air, I give to you Writing Excuses–the one place you can go to be entertained, inspired, and educated all at the same time.

http://www.writingexcuses.com/2010/06/20/

I will be at the storymakers conference this weekend hanging out with many of my beloved friends and presenting the class “How to Take the Suck out of Success.” Hope to see you there!

xoxo

 

My New Book! Victoria’s Promise

A luxurious mansion. Thirty stunning bachelorettes. One very eligible bachelor. All of the ingredients are in place for a successful reality dating show, and behind the scenes, Tori Winters is set to pull the romantic strings as assistant director of Vows. Despite her distaste for public exhibitions of love—which spelled the death of her last relationship—Tori intends to give the public exactly what they want: scintillating footage of a bevy of beauties vying for the attention of Christopher Caine. But Chris, a consummate Southern gentleman and the star of Vows, seems almost too good to be true—and soon, even Tori finds herself falling under his spell. Despite legal obligations to avoid fraternizing with the talent, it’s clear her feelings are anything but unrequited. With the support of her friends in the Newport Ladies Book Club, Tori must make a life-altering decision: is she willing to jeopardize all she’s worked for in order to embrace her own fairy-tale ending?

I confess that it’s hard to not call this book Victoria’s Secret since the book that came before this one in the series is Ruby’s Secret and since that is a major national chain with serious brand recognition, but I will overcome this and call the book by the title the publisher has given. However . . . if you ever hear me slip up, feel free to giggle at me and then forgive me. I do not always behave intelligently. Regardless of all that, I can PROMISE that this is a fun read, one you will enjoy, with plenty of heart and laughs. Let the romance begin!
Victoria’s Promise releases to stores January 15th! So be on the look out for it!

The Sapphire Flute

Lesson learned: never leave a manuscript you’re working on unattended. I came back to my computer to find my son had finished my sentence for me: “And then her head blew up.”
I guess it’s better than some of the “sentence-finishers” my husband has left me when I’ve left my computer open.
I promised to review a book a while back and then never got around to writing the review so I am doing that today (since I am now done with taxes, wrote 3300 new words in my work in progress, and the kids are in school–and yes, I am putting off preparations for the class I’m teaching at the writer’s conference in two weeks).
Karen Hoover is one of my very dear friends. She is my favorite roommate for the LTUE science fiction and fantasy symposium. She puts up with my whining, my snarky attitude, and the fact that I snore. Seriously. She is a true friend. When I first met Karen, it was at a storymaker writing conference. James Dashner invited her to dinner with us and things just grew from there. After that dinner, she went home and wrote a poem called the poser because she felt so out of place at a table full of published authors. I told her she was wrong. She is not a poser. She was working on her writing and she’d be published soon enough.
And now she is.
And I couldn’t be more proud of her. Karen is such a humble, good person. She makes me a better person when I am with her. I am grateful for every twist of fate that put her in my path and allowed her to like me. And so it is with honor and excitement that I get to review her book, The Sapphire Flute
 
The Sapphire Flute
It has been 3,000 years since a white mage has been seen upon Rasann.

In the midst of a volcanic eruption miles outside of her village, Ember discovers she can see magic and change the appearance of things at will. Against her mother’s wishes, she leaves for the mage trials only to be kidnapped before arriving. In trying to escape, she discovers she has inherited her father’s secret–a secret that places her in direct conflict with her father’s greatest enemy.

At the same time, Kayla is given guardianship of the sapphire flute and told not to play it. The evil mage C’Tan has been searching for it for decades and the sound alone is enough to call her. For the flute to be truly safe, Kayla must find its birthplace in the mountains high above Javak. The girls’ paths are set on a collision course…a course that C’Tan is determined to prevent at all costs.

Ember, Kayla, and C’Tan are all strong female leads who carry a very character driven story. The magic system is brilliant and something I never would have thought up, so now I have magic system envy. And the action is strong enough to pull along the reluctant reader. When I first read this book, Mr.Wright  asked what I was reading. I told him and then he asked, “Is it any good?”
“Of course, it’s good, or I wouldn’t be reading it.”
“You’re just saying that because she’s your friend and you love her,” he said.
“No. I’m saying it because it’s true.” At this point I’m ready to throw a boot at Mr. Wright’s head.
“Prove it. Read me the first page and if, when you get to the end, I want you to turn the page and read more, then we can safely say it’s a good book.”
So I read the first page and stopped.
“Hey!” He became indignant. “Why are you stopping?”
“The first page is over.”
Then a little sheepishly, because he was so caught up in the story that he’d already forgotten our deal, he said, “Fine. Turn the page.”
Turn the page indeed. Great job, Karen! Great book!

Eyes Like Mine

Eyes Like Mine

Eyes Like Mine

Here’s my new cover for my novel Eyes Like Mine. I am really excited about this book since it is truly a beautiful story. And remember all that whining I did about abridging the book and having to cut out HALF the words?

Well, my way cool and incredibly awesome editor decided an abridgement wasn’t necessary. That’s right, folks. I got to keep every word. I know!!! I am so excited (as you can see by my grammatically incorrect coupling of punctuation)! It’s already up on Seagull’s and DB’s websites which just staggers me since I don’t even have my official release date yet.

This has been such an amazing week, I’m not even sure how to process it all. First, I have the storymakers conference which is the highlight of my year, then I get an agent–and not just any agent–but Amy Jameson! Then I get an email from The Ensign magazine offering to buy an article I sent in, and now my cover and news of the no abridgement. I completely endorse the “no word left behind!” program Kirk has placed me on.

Seriously, I have burned so many calories from all the jumping around I’ve been doing.

Madeleine L’Engle and Me

I bought the book A Circle of Quiet just after my booksigning at the BYU symposium. It was on sale, and I can’t turn down a sale. I love to tell Scott how much money I save him. Besides, I loved reading A Wrinkle in Time when I was in fourth grade and was happy to read more about her.

I have shed many a tear since then. Madeleine and I have quite a bit in common. We’re both neurotic writers. We’re both mothers trying to juggle writing careers while dealing with the tsk tsks from other mothers who have it all together when we don’t. We both own grocery stores in small communities. We both married men who loved acting. We’ve been dealt the stinging blow of rejection and have come back screaming, “Is that all you got?”

Okay so maybe neither of us came back screaming for more, but we did come back . . . isn’t that the important thing?

I  hate how I’ve discovered how much I love this woman only after it was too late to ever meet her. Madeleine died last September. I would love to give her a hug and say, “Thanks for understanding my very weird life.”

Something that struck me as utterly profound was this statement she made after a rejection she received on her fortieth birthday. This was after her years in the thirties, which were filled with endless manuscript rejections and incredible guilt for taking time to write books when she worried she might be better occupied to learn to make cherry pie and do as other–more proper–mothers do. She decided to, “Stop this foolishness and learn to make cherry pie.”

She covered her typewriter in what she refers to as a great gesture of renunciation and walked around and around her room bawling, totally, utterly miserable.

While pacing and bawling, she stopped, realizing her subconscious mind had already begun working out a novel about failure.

She uncovered her typewriter.

This was her moment of decision. This was her moment where she realized she WAS a writer, no matter what, even if she never had another book published.

A quote from her on this matter is, “I’m glad I made this decision in the moment of failure. It’s easy to say you’re a writer when things are going well.”

I mourn the fact I never got to hug her.

There have been several rocky years where I was faced with the very real possibility that I would never see my name on a future publication. There was a time when I covered my computer, and said, “Stop this foolishness and learn to make pie.” Okay, maybe I never said I’d learn to make pie, but there are so many ways I fall short of other women because I have split my life into other things. I would stop the foolishness of writing, and be like other moms.

I uncovered my computer.

I, too, am glad to have made this decision in my moments of failure.  And now with another book coming out,  quite possibly two, I wonder that I even considered it.  There is no such thing as second child infertility with novel writing. If you can write one . . . you can write two, and more. If you can make the choice to keep writing amidst rejection and failure, then you’ve proved something important–to you and to the world, but most importantly to you.

You proved you really are a writer.