I recently came back from a family cruise to the Mexican Riviera with my entire family. My dad, mom, brothers, sister, all the in laws and the all the grandchildren. It was so many shades of fabulous that i could gush for several pages, but I will spare you all that gushing by simply saying, “Wow!”
It was fun. Yes, of course it was fun, but more than that it was wonderful to reconnect with my family that way. We had no distractions of our regular lives to take us away from each other. We ate meals together, went on walks on the track that overlooked the pacific ocean and watched the sun sink into its watery bed, and simply *enjoyed* the world around us.
I’m home now and though I hated the laundry mountain that had to be tackled at the end of the trip–I regret absolutely nothing (except not being able to finish that last chocolate melting cake on the last night of the cruise)
My boys have the Klondike Derby today for scouts where they will be sleeping out in the snow capped mountains over night. They left me the stuff they wanted to take in huge piles on the living room floor so I could organize the stuff into something manageable–no one packs like I do. I was in the midst of writing little Mom-Loves-You notes and tucking them into various pockets of their rucksacks when I was thinking about all the really beautiful things I’d seen on the cruise and on shore.
The rain forests, the sunsets, the pod of dolphins, the whales, the caves by the sea, the way the waves would swell before crashing on the shore and as each wave crested, it revealed schools of colorful fish that I hadn’t noticed before. Beaches of sand so light, you almost felt you were sinking into it, the simple joy of feeding an orange to a parrot.
Each little bit of uncovered beauty felt like a note carefully hidden in one of the pockets of my life for me to find at some unexpected moment saying that God loves me. I don’t what your religious affiliations are and don’t know that you don’t think I am intensely corny for feeling this way, but regardless of your beliefs, you have to admit, we live in a truly wonderful world.
It’s nice to get little reminders that the world is good and there are great people in it. Family is awesome.
I am participating in a blog hop sponsored by: I am a Reader Not a Writer and Down the Rabbit Hole. I’m participating because this particular blog hop giveaway is about YOUNG ADULT BOOKS!!!!!!! Is there anything on the planet I love as much as young adult books?
Only the family, but besides THEM . . . nothing.
I am giving away a brand new copy of NYT bestselling author James Dashner’s Scorch Trials, hardback first edition. This is a YA filled with danger, action, and humanity at its best and worst. Super fun read!
And if you go to the link list, you can see ALL the others who are giving away awesome YA books.
The rules are simple:
1. Follow me on Twitter: @scatteredjules
2. Leave a comment here letting me know you followed me.
The giveaway ends on February 1st at 12:01 AM
As a bonus, I will throw in another YA book of my choice (I have tons of awesome books). I promise it will be a book of high quality and good content because I don’t read things that aren’t.
I decided to start the year with a january Blog Hop giveaway. So read to the bottom if you want to participate.
I love the poem by Tennyson: Ring Out Wild Bells. Love it. It’s been put to music in the LDS hymn book, and it’s haunting and beautiful and feels full of promise all at the same time. The song gives me chills. I was disappointed we didn’t sing it on new Year’s Day in Sacrament meeting, but maybe next year.
With two books coming out within the next three months, I have been insanely busy. This means I haven’t blogged very much, which is probably a relief to everyone because then they don’t have to hear me whining over edits, over the fact that every time I think I’ve uncovered the secrets of the comma I realize I haven’t uncovered anything at all, over the fact that my kitchen counters are never clear, over the fact that Mother Nature is a real slacker with the whole winter thing.
I’m really glad I spared you all of that whining. Lucky you guys!
But since it is tradition that I start the year by looking back at the previous year, I’d decided I’d better write *something*. I had things I wanted to do last year, and things that actually were achieved.
Writing. I had tons of writing goals. Long term . . . short term. I wanted to write three books. I wrote two and three quarters. I would have made this goal except the year ended with all kinds of stuff getting piled on me at once and honestly . . . I have three kids who need to know they’re loved. I had to put something aside, and the work in progress was that something. It’s mostly done . . . which feels quite the same as mostly dead. I will pick that up again in another week or two. The two books that did find their way to completion are also the two coming out in the next few months. Olivia (which is part of the series written with Josi Kilpack, Heather Moore, and Annette Lyon) is coming out in February. And Hazzardous Universe: The Magician’s Last Words (Loving that title!) is coming out in March. The book that is mostly done is called Capes and Curls. It’s a fairytale retelling featuring Little Red Riding Hood and Goldilocks. It’s been a fun write, and I cannot wait to go back to it.
I wanted to read 70 books and I read 78. One of these days maybe I will be as well read as Jessica Day George. But probably not. That girl is a machine! I fell in love with Jim Butcher’s writing over the year and ended the year with James Dashner’s Death Cure. It was an epic ending to the series. It was fitting and believably human. I genuinely loved it. if you haven’t read it–then a pox upon your head. Dashner did a great job and Death Cure was a great book to end my reading year. Thanks James.
I wanted to get into shape. But one ACL snap and torn meniscus later, I am just grateful to be walking. I’ve come to the point that I can walk without a limp most of the time. I still struggle on stairs. I can do them, but sometimes if my knee is really hurting, it’s slow going. A rather severe depression overcame me at the time I injured my knee. It’s strange how a physical ailment can have such an emotional impact. I’m clawing my way out of it. Some days are great and there’s no pain at all. Others are less than great. It is the way of things.
I wanted my kids to be safe and happy. They are that for certain. I’m so grateful for the joy those three kids give me. I love listening to them laugh and hearing their ideas. I love the way they see the world and the fact that they aren’t afraid to share their thoughts with Mr. Wright and me. I love their jokes and hard work, and the way they care about others. Families are important things. And not every day is perfect in any family, but every day is worth experiencing because they are there: parents, siblings, in laws, nieces, nephews, children, spouses. I’m glad for the people in my life.
It was a good year. I was able to do some cool things and spend time with cool people. I’m glad to have another year at my disposal. Maybe I’ll get three books written this year . . .
I wish all of you a great New Year. May you accomplish your goals and be happy. As a way to kick off the year, I’m joining
Today I found out my book Hazzardous Universe is being featured on the Seagull Book and Tape home page of their website near the bottom. I don’t think that’s ever happened with one of my books before. How cool is that???? The book is being featured alongside the video my publisher did of Kevin Wasden and me. The sound is really low so turn your speakers up. The background music is fun.
Go have a look: http://www.seagullbook.com/
I am lame in the video a little, but I am lame all the time so it won’t be a surprise to anyone.
Book two to the Hazzardous Universe is done and into the publisher, and I’m a little antsy to start working on book three. So much fun stuff ahead!
Something I discovered while working on my newest book today was that sometimes accidentally adding a letter to a word can really really change the meaning to a sentence. My main character went from being busy to being busty. No surgery involved Glad to have caught that one.
I’m almost finished with my latest Work in Progress and am beyond thrilled about it. It’s one book that will be part of a four book series. The other three books are being written by Josi Kilpack, Heather Moore, and Annette Lyon. I am so excited for all the coolness of this series! It’s women’s fiction that deals with relationships and the importance of friendship. It is such an honor to work and write alongside the three women who have changed and altered my writing path for the better. They are all such incredible writers as well as incredible friends that it humbles me and fills me with gratitude to be associated with them.
We’ve had a few writing get-togethers, which includes food, laughing, talking, more laughing, and actual writing. So cool to work and collaborate with great minds.
I’ve been thinking a lot about collaboration lately and found that my experience has been really positive with working with others. Kevin was and is an absolute joy. He’s been really wonderful to let me have creative freedom in writing the story of Hap Hazzard and Tara Jordan. And now, working with Josi, Annette, and Heather, I’ve found even more joy. Working with creative people who all respect each other really is key. That’s how collaboration can work. If everyone is there for the sake of the project and can put their own egos aside–the project suddenly becomes a life unto itself and creativity flows.
I always warn people when they mention they’re planning on collaborating on a project. There are so many things that can go wrong. I’ve seen friendships die on the vine due to projects that went awry. But my own personal experiences have been so phenomenal. I’d love to take the credit and say it’s because I’m just so darn easy to work with, but really . . . the opposite is true. I am sometimes beyond lame. I think my collaborations have worked because I’ve surrounded myself with good people. They make up the differences where I fall short.
I guess that’s the secret to successful collaboration–work hard, be willing to make concessions, and surround yourself with good people. Today is just a good day and writing rocks.
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.
I know I am the least consistent blogger on the planet, but it’s been a busy month. I’m finishing up a book, attending children’s school programs, preparing presentations for writing conferences, and have recently returned from New York.
New York was awesome. Aside from an absolutely terrifying subway ride with a crazy racist (is there any other kind?), the trip was delightful. Honestly, in my 38 years on this planet, I’ve never once witnessed racism and hate to that degree. I always knew it existed in the world, but it has never been so in my face before. Since it was the most frightening and ugly experience of my life (and I’m old and desensitized), you can imagine what it might have been like for my 14 year old daughter.
She wept for the lack of humanity in humans for quite a long time after we’d departed the train. It broke my heart to see her belief in basic goodness stripped from her so completely. But to my husband’s credit, he stood up for the four young men who were under attack by that horrible angry man. Since he did take a stand, he became the center of the man’s attack for the rest of the train ride. But he bore it well, and cracked the joke that he bet our daughter had never heard her dad called names like that before. It was genuinely awful and unfortunately the bright lights of the big city were dimmed just a bit.
But the rest of the trip was great. Mary Poppins was delightful, the park beautiful as ever, and the subway musicians on key and awesome. My street vendor in Washington Square who has great curry was still there and the food was worth the return trip. And really, it doesn’t matter what we’re doing, it’s just fun to be with my family. Due to the recent unpleasantness regarding terrorism in NYC, security was heightened to an amazing degree. I haven’t seen that much visible policing since just after 9/11. We even had an armed escort from the coast guard while we rode the Staten Island Ferry.
My daughter said she’d be willing to go again, but only if her dad was with her.
Over the last few weeks I’ve written 100 new pages in my work in progress, which fills me with glee and a wee bit of vexation since it should be a higher page count, but I’m glad to be moving forward. Great things are on the horizon for publishing; stay tuned for more news which should be coming in the next couple of months.
And something I’ve taken away from my trip to the big city is that we all have opportunities every day to offer kindness to one another. I hope to waste fewer of those opportunities in the future, because in spite of a crazy man on the subway, I believe there is greatness in humanity. There really is.
I was at World Fantasy in San Jose over the weekend and had an excellent time with old friends and new friends alike. I had great roommates: Stacy Whitman and Heidi Summers, and great hang out buddies: Rob Wells, Marion Jensen, Josh Perkey, Joshua Bilmes, Dan Wells, Eric Stone, Lee Modesitt and his lovely daughter Catherine Modesitt, and some guy named Nick–who was hilarious.
The weekend wasn’t much for furthering my career as a writer, but it *was* great fun. Guy Gavriel Kay watched the Yankees stomp the Phillies with me and he bought Catherine and me chocolate-covered strawberries. He is a complete keeper. Not only am I a huge fan of his books, but I get to be a huge fan of the man. It constantly amazes me how wonderful these famous authors are. How Lee Modesitt befriended me even back when I had little to offer as an author. Good people are in the writing world folks–some seriously good people.
I did get to help a few of my friends meet agents and get business cards and make acquaintances that will help their careers so the weekend was definitely worth experiencing. Even though it meant leaving Mr. Wright in charge of Halloween.
The boys all fared well enough for face painting in spite of everything and the house wasn’t in near the disarray I’d imagined I’d return home to. But I did ask Mr. Wright to start a pagemaker document for the relief society christmas dinner. That way I could get the times and dates entered, print up the invitations, and send them off to my relief society president without delay.
When I opened the document this morning this is what I found:
We’re going to eat, drink, and be merry. No men are invited so we’re having Chip and Dale Dancers coming. Bring your dollar bills and a side dish! Love, the Relieved Society
Good thing I looked before I printed. I am sure Mr. Wright thinks he’s amusing. I know I think he is.
Here are some pictures from the con:
Josi Kilpack chose me and four other bloggers for this blog award—which was very sweet since she said so many nice things about me and she’s got it all backwards. SHE is the one who is always listening to me. I find it amazing that she is such a great friend and that I really can tell her everything. So the deal is since she tagged me, I get to answer all her questions and then tag some others.
Now, on to the questions.
1. Where is your cell phone?…. I don’t know. It was in my purse the last time I saw it this morning, but we went hiking and I’m out of town and honestly, dealing with a phone while out of town seems lame so I never bothered with it again today. The battery needs charged. Dang. I hope my agent didn’t try calling . . .
2. Your hair? …… Is like it always is–one braid to the left of my face and the rest all tied up in back and spilling over with a stick hair clip thingy.
3. Your mother? …… Is a saint for taking on the challenges of raising my teenager. She deserves flowers and chocolate every day.
4. Your father?….. Is the other saint for being willing to take on the challenges of raising my teenager. He deserves books and back rubs every day (not that I’m giving these things out, mind you. In fact I fully plan on stealing several of his books next time I see him.) Even though my daughter’s pretty easy to take care of, they have gone above the call of duty and I can never repay them for this.
5. Your favorite food? …… thai–at that little thai place I went with all the LTUE people. DANG that was awesome eating. Let’s go again, okay guys?
6. Your dream last night?…. Mind your own business! Okay just kidding, I don’t remember my dream. I remember waking up feeling disturbed but had no idea why.
7. Your favorite drink?…. Dr. Pepper baby!
8. Your dream/goal? …. To find success in every aspect of my life–family, writing . . .
9. What room are you in? …… my sis in law’s guest room. Guys are playing wii in the other room and I am supposed to be writing. Slacker.
10. Your hobby? …. hobby? people have time for those things? Really?
11. Your fear? ….. failure
12. Where do you want to be in 6 years?… happy healthy and on the new york times best sellers list after having just won the Newbery.
13. Where were you last night?…..At my sis in law’s house. she is an excellent hostess. We’re here doing halloween party stuff which I will blog about and post pictures for some time in december (since I’m flaky and behind on everything) What? You think Halloween pictures in December is a dumb idea?
14. Something you aren’t?….. sated . . . ever.
15. Muffins? …..raspberry lemon
16. Wish list item? …… A huge contract! Please Santa! PLEASE!!!!
17. Where did you grow up?…… Salt Lake City
18. Last thing you did?…… laughed until I cried while Mr. Wright read a spooky story during our Halloween dinner. The story wasn’t really funny, but Mr. Wright IS really funny. I love how he makes our kids laugh.
19. What are you wearing? …… red shirt. red fuzzy socks, blue jeans. I know. No black. Is anyone else as surprised as I am?
20. Your TV? ….. usually off. I am not a tv watcher only because I know I have no self control. If the tv goes on–my eyes widen and my brain shuts down as I plant myself in front of it.
21. Your pets? ……… 2 dogs–Shadow–black lab, hound mix and Copper–chow. We’re down to one fish. I’m hoping to kill him off so I can revamp the fish tank.
22. Your friends? …… Everywhere. I once had someone ask me one of those psychological test questions where they said, “You look around you. How many trees do you see?” The girl I was with who was also answering those questions said, “Two. Off in the distance.”
My answer was, “I see a whole forest.”
The trees were supposed to represent how many close, personal, sacrifice-everything-for friends you felt you had. Whether those little psych tests have meaning or not–that answer is 100% true.
23. Your life?…… pretty awesome. I am so grateful for each day, for my family, for everything.
24. Your mood? …. content.
25. Missing someone? ….. every day.
26. Vehicle? ……Honda. Grey. Boring.
27. Something you’re not wearing? …… LOL
28. Your favorite store? …….these questions keep going!!!!!! Home Depot
29. Your favorite color? …… Black
30. When was the last time you laughed? …… laughed all night tonight.
31. Last time you cried? …..On the way home from St George when we left our daughter after a short visit.
32. Your best friend?…… My husband. I’d be lost without him. Literally. I have no directional skills. But beyond that–he is everything great in my life.
33. One place that I go over and over? ……. Crazy. Kids are usually driving.
34. One person who emails me regularly?…….Josi. We’re planning a book tour and it requires a lot of communication. I love emails from Josi
35. Favorite place to eat? ……. anywhere I’m not cooking.
If you’re someone I tagged, be sure to tell me so I can read your answers.
And I am tagging Karen Hoover, Jaime Thelar, Janet Davis, Alice Beesely, Janette Rallison. These ladies are getting tagged simply because I love them and want to know more about them.
Mr. Wright and I just passed our 17th wedding anniversary. It’s been 21 years since our first date. It’s hard to believe we’re that old. The man is a total punk. He teases, tickles, does butterfly kisses on the kids’ cheeks so they giggle in church when we’re supposed to be quiet. He is altogether infuriating. He is amazing.
It’s no secret the kids would choose him over me if given the choice. I don’t blame them. I’d choose him too. I think back to the person I was when he met me. I was wretchedly ugly–too skinny, too pale, no sense of how to present myself, and I had no confidence. In the time we dated he changed all that. Not that he changed how I looked, but how I saw myself. And by seeing myself through his eyes, I found I was someone worthwhile. And then he left for his mission for our church.
He told my grandmother before she died that he was going to treat me so good that while he was gone on his mission, no one else would be able to compare. And he fairly well did it. There were a few guys who ranked pretty high, but in the end, it all came back to Mr. Wright. It’s amazing what a girl can learn in two years.
- Some guys are physically deformed in a way that is not readily apparent. Though they appear to have only two hands–they really have four or more.
- Dating during poverty ridden college years could be viewed the same as going to a soup kitchen–the company might not be great but you got fed, so who can complain?
- One small argument with your boyfriend on a mission in a foreign country through mail takes months and is exhausting.
- Learning how to stand on your own is imperative if you ever want to stand with someone else by your side.
- Never give your phone number to people you don’t want calling you.
- A pretty face gets boring if nothing intelligent ever comes out of it.
- You can recover from tripping over love. Falling in love is forever.
- If someone asks you to marry them and the word, “NO!” screams inside your head, do not allow the word, “Yes.” to fall out of your mouth.
- Looks Nice and Nice Looking do not exactly mean the same thing. (see number one about the hands)
- The marriage decision is the one and only time where you have the right to make a totally selfish choice.
I’m glad I made a selfish choice in getting married to Mr. Wright. Even when he’s annoying, I’m grateful he’s annoying me rather than some other less deserving female. He puts up with a lot from me. And I’m glad to say that after 17 years, he’s still likes me for reasons I still don’t understand. So I guess we’ll keep each other.
My teenage daughter surprised me a few months ago. She went home from our store (where we rent dvd’s too) with a few movies: Juno, Sidney White, and Meet The Robinsons.
I had nothing pressing to do and knew that Juno had some pretty grown up themes and figured I ought to watch it with her in case she had any questions. We ended up pulling an all day movie fest watching all three movies. I hadn’t seen any of them and it was fun to hang out with her and watch movies until our eyes got sore. (loved Juno BTW. It’s a little irreverent, but I loved it)
It surprised me to hear my teenager’s favorite movie in the world was Meet the Robinsons. It further surprised me to see her eyes mist over at the end. I mean, the show was cute, endearing, and I truly enjoyed it, but until her declaration and verge-of-tears reaction over the film, I hadn’t looked much deeper than the surface.
The story revolves around a very central theme: Keep Moving Forward.
Such a positive approach to life. In the movie our little boy-genius-orphan, Lewis, makes many mistakes, but he learns to keep moving forward–that those mistakes will build him into the man he was meant to be. Is the concept of growth and stumbling blocks oversimplified in this movie? Of course.
But such growth really isn’t the kind of concept that bears complicating. The simplicity of the message to keep moving forward is part of what makes it efficient and beautiful.
I finished my first book and hid it away on the harddrive of an old 8088 because I was afraid to keep moving forward. My husband shoved me out of my comfort zone and into the dark and disturbing world of submitting manuscripts, because I simply refused to go out on my own. Did I make mistakes? Of course. I freely admit, I’m published by an unexplainable comedy of errors. Little twists and turns of fate. Every twist and turn, making me the person I am.
Had I not stumbled forward, I would have lived in that place called regret. Always wondering what I might have accomplished if I’d only picked myself up and dusted myself off when things didn’t go the way I wanted. Always wondering, and in that wondering, consistently feeding off heaping portions of dissatisfaction. The movie Meet the Robinsons ends with a song that spoke to my soul. Because even as we stumble through our lives and trip over our own mistakes–aren’t there millions of tiny moments that bring joy as we journey through our lives and become the people we’re meant to be?
Sitting on a couch all day on a Saturday afternoon with my daughter who sometimes seems to understand so much more in the world than I do is definitely one of those little wonders.
Let it go,
Let it roll right off your shoulder
Don’t you know
The hardest part is over
Let it in,
Let your clarity define you
In the end
We will only just remember how it feels
Our lives are made
In these small hours
These little wonders,
These twists & turns of fate
Time falls away,
But these small hours,
These small hours still remain
Let it slide,
Let your troubles fall behind you
Let it shine
Until you feel it all around you
And i don’t mind
If it’s me you need to turn to
We’ll get by,
It’s the heart that really matters in the end
Our lives are made
In these small hours
These little wonders,
These twists & turns of fate
Time falls away,
But these small hours,
These small hours still remain
All of my regret
Will wash away some how
But i can not forget
The way i feel right now
In these small hours
These little wonders
These twists & turns of fate
These twists & turns of fate
Time falls away but these small hours
These small hours, still remain,
These little wonders
These twists & turns of fate
Time falls away
But these small hours
These little wonders still remain