Feb 29, 2012

Hey, Guess What?

by Kami Cornwall

It's my turn to blog! I'm so sorry I only remembered just now. Then this reassuring voice that sounded an awful lot like "Curly" from City Slickers said to me, "The day ain't over yet..." and I knew that I had seen too many movies. And also that I still had time to blog.

So...I got in to grad school! That little voice is no longer pestering me. Thank you, thank you. But more importantly, I have been mulling over my story and had an epiphany. I wish it had been originally mine...BUT...as I was discussing some aspect I had written someone gave me some (what I think is) very good advice. I wanted to open the question to you, internets.

My main character was in a very real moment of peril. Paralyzing peril! And one of the great characters in the story comes to her rescue. My friend said, "Wait a minute, hold it! He is becoming the hero here. Isn't she supposed to be the hero? She needs to save herself or have circumstances change in some act of God or good luck. To have him come in and save the day makes me question who the main character is now."

So what say you, fellow writers? Does the main character need to be saving herself? Or can her friend burst in and save the day?

Feb 27, 2012

The Sunday Experiment

by Kristin Baker Przybyla

While browsing through posts on blogs I'm following, I ran across this one by Ali Cross. I thought it was such a neat idea that I decided to give it a try yesterday. I know a lot of us already have things like this worked out, where you don't write on Sunday, or watch TV, or get online. Anything that reminds you to keep the Sabbath holy and/or to set aside one day to regroup and put family first. I try to do something like that too, but Facebook and email have me snared in their nefarious webs, and I spend a LOT of my free time wasting said time online.

So my unconnected day wasn't 100% successful - baby steps when you're combating an addiction! ;) First I commented on Ali's blog about what a great idea that was (on Sunday, yes I did), then I checked my email just in case I was missing something important, then I checked Facebook, went "oops, what am I doing?!" and finally logged off. I decided to work on a scene from my WIP that I hadn't had the time in recent weeks to look at.

I know a lot of you also don't write on Sundays, and I totally respect and admire that. Maybe one day I'll set the laptop down completely on a Sunday too, but for now I still write because to me it's just fun, relaxing, and a peaceful thing to do on a peaceful day. Plus, with 6 kids I'll take all the writing time I can get! On Sundays they're a little less crazy than they usually are, and that's when I'm most likely to get free time.

Anyway - I got nearly 1000 new words written over the course of a few scattered hours throughout the day, and I learned some important little tips on managing the things that waste my time the most. I did slip once or twice more and got back online, but this next Sunday I'm going to try for 100% unplugged. Even if that means not writing at all, or asking my hubby to temporarily disable the internet. *cries*

The most shocking, and most important lesson that I personally learned, was that when I sit down at the computer to write I tend to go straight to my social sites first. Every single time. I don't know if it's a feeling of writing inadequacy, just wanting to procrastinate, or what, but I'm going to try to put a stop to that. I have all my social windows open right now (because it's my birthday and I wanted to check my messages!), but as soon as I hit "post" I'm going to close those windows and open my WIP.

How do you combat things like social media or other distractions?

Feb 26, 2012

Filled My Cup at Time Out For Writers' Well

As imaginative as writers can be, we need to give ourselves time to fill our oil lamps, replenish our cups, and energize bodies and minds. ANWA Writers Conference is the perfect resource.
I am glad so many of my writing colleagues were there!

4 But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps.

The parable of the 10 virgins doesn't comment on how or when the wise obtained their oil.
My personal interpretation is that with careful planning and diligent effort the virgins were always prepared in readiness.

How writers can fill their lamps.
1.) Practice, practice, practice.
2.) Read, read, read.
3.) Observe, make notes, listen to the voices in our heads.
4.) Rub shoulders with other writers such as in chapter meetings, retreats and especially at conference.
5.) Respect the talent which God has given you. Don't bury it in the sand and return it unused.

38 He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.

How writers can fill their cups.
1.) Dip in the well of living waters. (scriptures are divine literature your well, prayer is your bucket to lower and raise full of life giving water)
2.) Emulate the Master ( serve others in the writing community)
3.) Listen to the still small voice of inspiration. (our muse of revelation)
4.) Write, journal, spread the gospel of clean wholesome reading materials in every genre and mode. The three fold mission of LDS writers is to spread the gospel - publish to all the world; perfect the saints - write uplifting, morally clean, inspiring words no matter what kind of writing we do; and redeem the dead - Historical fiction, Family History, Research, and so forth.
5.) Schedule a time, create a space and set goals for your writing so that living waters can flow forth from your pens.

How writers let their light shine.
1.) Do not hide your candle under a bushel. (Once published promote/market - shine your light.)
2.) Use all resources available. (God inspired those who created our modern technology - use it.)
3.) Give Back to others. (One learns much and spreads the gospel through teaching others.)
4.) Allow your family, friends and others you choose to share and enjoy your gift.
5.) Invest in and polish your talent, take writing classes, and use professional assistance of editors. This way your light will shine bright without flaws.

16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.


Feb 25, 2012

How do I begin . . .

By Bonnie Harris

Let me start out and say that the ANWA Conference has been incredible this far. I have enjoyed every class I've taken and have learned so much from everyone around. Thank you to all who have worked so hard to put it together.

Since I'm still in the middle of it, I'm having trouble figuring out what exactly to share. (Imagine Pooh Bear sitting on his log, tapping his head saying, "Think. Think. Think." That's what I'm doing right now.)

OK. Lisa Mangum gave a class on starting your story with a bang. We all want to do that. We've all been told how vitally important the first line of our book is. Here's what she had to say . . .

The Harsh Truth

  • Editors care so much about the first line of a manuscript, they will make the decision to buy or pass on a project based solely on that single first line
  • Therefore, your first sentence ought to be the single greatest thing you ever write in your entire life.


Are you sweating yet? Do you feel the pressure? Are you scared?

Good.

It's all a lie!

There are so many other things that editors look at. (I admit, my breath stopped in my throat as she went on with this and then you could hear a collective sigh when she said it was a lie.) This is what she said you do need.

1. Start with a prologue if your story needs it
2. Showcase something special on the first page
3. Review your first page after you've written your last page
4. Look at your whole book
5. Pay attention to everything on your first page

The big thing Lisa hit on was to give yourself permission to move onto the second sentence and the third and so on.

There. You now have permission to move past the first sentence. Now, get writing!

Feb 24, 2012

Finding Balance: The 1st Chapter

by Laura Lofgreen

I’ve been struggling with big life decisions.  If life is a journey and I’m on a path, I’m searching for the map of directions.  This does not leave me discouraged, but more aware that every choice I make is a step toward my destination.  It’s amazing and wonderful to think God allows me to choose my path, but intimidating to realize how little control I actually have.  Once again, this doesn’t leave me discouraged, just more aware of the gift of my ability to choose and more determined to make the right choices for me.  Every day is full of excitement and disappointments, growth and opportunities, sometimes good, sometimes bad, sometimes easy and sometimes difficult and I’m alright with that.  I’ve have never been one to be overwhelmed or burdened by life.  I work best under pressure.  I take on more then I should because I like being pushed.  I’m satisfied only if I’m growing and being challenged in big ways.  At times I’ve said to my husband, “I am my own worst boss because I never give myself a break.”    

I wear an imaginary tool belt full of band-aides for children’s boo-boos, pencils for children’s homework, diapers and a bottle in my hollister (never mind my keys or purse because they are always lost).   Being a mother of 5 young children creates a clear path of where I’m going with not just duties and responsibilities, but goals as a family.  Mother, wife, homemaker, house wife, all things I love, all these I’ve dreamed about throughout my childhood. I married my prince and he’s everything and more then I ever thought would be mine.  My children are my jewels.  Yes, I know my roll, I know my duties, yet I push to still be me; the individual with dreams and pursuits and passions all my own aside from mother and wife.

I can’t sit still for long.  I stay busy with loading the dishwasher and doing laundry, but look forward most when I am able to choose what I want to do with my time.  But, it’s a struggle, because with the pull to do what I want and to follow my heart means the dishes don’t always get done and we have cereal for dinner at my house more then we should.  I know the majority of my time at this stage is life is chore charts, planning birthday parties and sorting socks, so I try to balance my individual dreams into something I can do after the kids go to bed.  In other words, can I satisfy my own pursuits between the hours of 10:00pm-1:00am?   That’s what I’ve been doing for the last few years and it’s not working that great anymore.  My own pursuits have pushed there way into prime mothering time.   This is the struggle because more and more, when I have success as me the individual, it contradicts with me the mother and wife. 

Should I mention now I tend to over analyze things more then most. 

So what is this dream, what are these pursuits?  Skydiving over Antarctica?  Saving the whales?  Winning American Idol?  Discovering a cure for cancer?  No, it’s becoming a writer. 

A writer. 
(Just saying it gives me chills.)

Have I always had this passion?  No. I’ve only recently discovered (in the last ten years) how desperately I want to be a writer.  Most authors have known they wanted to write since the time they could read and write themselves.  Truth is I didn’t like to read as a child.  I never understood things I read.  I couldn’t focus.  I would get headaches.  I did like to write, but only occasionally and only if assigned by my teacher.  I did have a very active imagination, but not through books.  I liked to be outside climbing trees or looking for bugs.  I role played mother and teacher all the time.  Starting at the age of 8, I had a summer school where I invited all the neighborhood children to attend.  I made worksheets and assigned homework.  I babysat as early as age 8.  I also played with Barbie’s until I was 14, mainly because I loved fashion and would make clothes for them. 

So why the struggle with writing? Why the contradiction in everyday life?  Really, is writing such a threat to laundry and grocery shopping and snuggle time with my 6 year-old at bedtime?  Yes.  Because when I write, it is all consuming.  I can’t sleep.  I eat, live, and dream my characters.  I think I see them on the street.  I actually have stopped people and told them they remind me of a character in my book. I’m constantly deriving plots, twists and turns.  I write and re-write, edit and re-edit, research agents and publishing houses, etc.  I read everything in my genre, which is young adult.  I read every New York Times best-seller I can get my hands on.  I analyze writing techniques, attend workshops and more.  Writing for me becomes a fulltime job because writing for me is not passive.  I live to get back to my computer so I can write some more.


For the next few blog posts, I will explore my options as mother and writer and how to find balance.  I appreciate any suggestions or comments you may have.

Feb 23, 2012

There is Always Enough...

by Kari Diane Pike

The bomb dropped 31 days ago. Not that I'm counting or anything. Well, maybe. Sometimes. Usually. Sigh. On the upside, as each day passes without Doug finding a job, I become more and more aware of the Lord's tender mercies. No matter where I am, He sends me exactly what I need, at the exact time that I need it; even when I had no idea that I needed it. Is that statement any more clear than a bathroom mirror after a hot, steamy shower?

Simple things I used to take for granted, now fill my heart with gratitude. The Lord makes every thing "just enough." As I struggle to make decisions, He sends me just enough "enlightenment" to discern the good from the best. When I feel weak, He sends me just enough strength to carry out my tasks, and avoid temptation. When my child needs a pair of shoes or I run out of milk, I receive just enough resources to fill that need. He sends just enough love to give me hope and peace, and courage to keep going. Sometimes it comes in the sensation of His loving arms around me as I kneel in prayer. At other times, it comes in the form of a tearful smile from someone else I have been able to serve. Now and then, it comes in a loaf of fresh bread baked and delivered by an angel neighbor.

I am also more aware that each time I recognize these gifts, it is because I have chosen to get out of bed, to read my scriptures, to set aside my pride, and to consciously step out of my self and focus on loving and serving. And quite frankly, there are days when it takes everything I have to get out of bed. But it is always enough.

I have enough time to be diligent. I have enough strength to endure. I have enough love to give, and enough courage to face each challenge, each opportunity for growth -- because without those challenges, I cannot grow! I am fascinated by the thought that while I need to be steadfast and immovable, I must not let my heart grow hard. Because I do know that Christ is my Lord and Savior -- that He atoned for my sins and that He lives -- and that He made it possible for me to return to live with Him in the presence of God the Father. Because of that greatest of all gifts, I can be assured that no matter what else happens in this life -- everything is going to be okay. It will all work out. My testimony will be strengthened and my capacity to love and learn will continue to grow. My knowledge and wisdom and compassion will increase through obedience and service. And one day, I will be able to see my Savior face-to-face and know that it is not only enough...but totally worth it.

Feb 22, 2012

I Am a Woman of Action


by Nikki McBride Spencer

I am a woman of action. I tend to make snap decisions. I've had some spectacular successes with my decisions, and some colossal failures. My friend, on the other hand, can't make a decision to save her life. She tends to ponder, discuss, and mull things over until the problem is worn smooth, like a thousand-year-old river stone.

Sometimes I conspiratorially lean to my husband's ear and whisper, "She can't make a decision to save her life. I can't stand it." He nods, and whispers back at me, "Well you don't have to live with her. Just enjoy her as your friend and know you will be agonizing over will you be going to Taco Bell or In-n-Out today." I nod back and go hug my friend, who is truly a delightful person...if only she wouldn't devote so much brain power to the mundane.

Recently I have been struggling with a fork in the road decision. Which road should I take?

I've tried to make my usual snap decision. Tried and utterly failed.

Perhaps I should take a clue from my thoughtful friend. I should take my time with this decision, let it sit in my mouth like the scrumptious caramel candy it is, melting on my tongue and making the hollows of my cheeks pucker with the sweetness. I should allow the richness of the decision coat my taste buds and let it slowly dissolve away, taking its own sweet time, feeding me information that only patience will reveal. Then and only then will I be able to really see the big picture.

But oh how I want to crunch that candy!


Feb 21, 2012

International Mother Language Day

By Leesa Ostrander

Today for me is Writers Block Extreme Day, yet is is also International Mother Language Day.

This day "has been observed every year since February 2000 to promote linguistic and cultural diversity and multilingualism." It was designated "to promote the preservation and protection of all languages used by peoples of the world".

Celebrate the day and perserving our unique ability to teach our children and help individual family culture continue.

Visit the International Mother Language Day at:

http://www.un.org/en/events/motherlanguageday/

Feb 20, 2012

Happy President's Day!

By Tracy Astle


Associate with men of good quality if you esteem your own reputation; for it is better to be alone than in bad company.
George Washington


Happy President's Day, everyone! As to the quote above, let me say that ANWA certainly qualifies as being a place to associate with people of good quality.

Today I'm thinking about holidays in writing. I like to include references to holidays in my writing; I also like to read stories with holiday references. To me it provides a kind of touchstone to the reader, something they have likely experienced, too. From a scene showing how characters celebrate or don't celebrate, how they respond to or ignore a holiday, the reader can either identify with or at least learn more about the characters. It's no accident that so many books are set during holidays. Sometimes the holday practically becomes another character in the story - think A Christmas Carol. 

Holidays can be jam packed with emotion, just waiting to be mined for the benefit of the reader. Who doesn't have some kind of attachment to the big holidays, and maybe to some smaller ones? What a fun thing it could be to explore with a reader why Ground Hog Day is so important to a character while Christmas is no big deal.

So, two questions for you.
          Do you like to use holidays in your writing?
          Why could Ground Hog Day be important to someone, and Christmas not so much? (Bonus points for creativity in answering this question.)


BTW - We have our own kind of holiday just around the corner with the ANWA Conference starting up on the 23. I so wish I could be there with you all. Let me be the first to wish those of you who will attend, "Happy Conference!"

Feb 19, 2012

It's Coming Up Fast!

by Marsha Ward

ANWA's 20th Annual Writers Conference takes place next weekend, with a Critique Camp with published authors, and a Query and Pitch Class and Workshop with Anita Mumm on Thursday evening; and classes and events on Friday and Saturday.

We have agents and editors, poets and family history specialists, fiction writers and researchers and song writers and . . . well, a whole lot more. Refer to the schedule Cindy Williams posted on this blog yesterday for when your favorite presenters will be doing their thing. I'll put their class topics below. Don't forget the Story Time, Book Signings, Panel, Meet and Greet, and our first-ever BOB Awards. See you there!


Thursday:
8:00 p.m.
Anita Mumm: Literary Assistant, Nelson Literary Agency - two-hour class & workshop
Tell Me More:  Whetting an Agent’s Appetite with your Query or Pitch: This is a hands on workshop where writers may read their query to Anita and the participants.  All are then invited to give suggestions and critique the query.

Friday:
8:30 a.m.
Lisa Mangum: Assistant Editor at Deseret Book/Shadow Mountain
“Kaboom,” Went the Coastal Monkey Factory: Starting Your Story with a Bang: Is it true that editors and agents only read your first sentence before making a decision? If so, this class will teach you how to make your story start strong—and stay strong.

Linda Radke: President of Five Star Publications, Inc.
(Classes are Friday Only)
Traditional Publishing, Partnership Publishing and Self-Publishing: Finding a Home for your Book: Linda will speak about the pros and cons of each level of publishing followed by a Q&A.

Conrad Storad: Award Winning Author of Non-fiction Children’s Books
(Classes are Friday Only)
Read Me A Story! Cultivating the Art of Listening– Reading Aloud to Children Workshop

9:30 a.m.
Jane Dystel: President of Dystel & Goderich Management
Soup to Nuts: Going from idea to book along with the importance of a social media platform, followed by Q & A.

Brent Whiting: Journalist and English Professor
“Great Opening Lines — Grabbing the Reader’s Attention.” Writers sometimes get only one chance to grab a reader’s attention. Ways to write a catchy introduction and clear thesis, so the rest of your writing doesn’t get ignored.

Donna Hatch:
7 Secrets for Writing Romance: Romance is more than a meeting, a kiss, and a marriage proposal. Discover 7 secrets to writing a romance, what cliches to avoid, and what today’s market craves.

10:30 a.m.
Larry Brooks: Author, Blogger, Writing Teacher, Worn Out Jock
Why Your Writing Process Counts: Working Smart vs. Simply Working: A look at the many ways writers complete a successful “search for story” through an understanding of certain fundamentals and principles.  Or not.

Peggy Shumway: Author and former Family History Consultant
“Your Grandfather Did What?” Crafting a Family History that Reads Like Fiction: Who says a family history has to be boring? We’ll learn how to create compelling family chronicles using the same techniques as fiction writers.

Sara Francis-Fujimura: Freelance Writer, Creative Writing Teacher and Author
Contracts, Kill Fees, and Serial Rights, Oh My! (A Crash Course in Magazine Writing): Learn how to read editorial guidelines, write an attention-getting query letter, and protect your intellectual property, all while working on your writing craft and making a little extra money.

2:00 p.m.
Josh Perkey: Senior Editor of the Ensign Magazine
(Two-hour Class) Writing for Magazines: Ever wondered how to get published in the Ensign? Ever wondered what it takes to publish in a national magazine? This two-hour workshop will teach you how to craft articles for human interest magazines, including Church magazines such as the Ensign, New Era, and Friend. We’ll spend about 20 minutes discussing the particulars of Church magazines, then broaden the scope to human interest magazines in general. Then we’ll spend the balance work-shopping your ideas. Come with ideas ready to develop. When we’re finished you’ll have the makings of something worth preparing to submit to publishers.

Linda Radke: President of Five Star Publications, Inc.
(Classes are Friday Only)
It’s All in the Pitch – Marketing and Publicity: The difference between marketing and publicity.  The importance of a media kit, obtaining endorsements, designing and maintaining a website for promoting your book, researching associations and other groups for pitching your book, promotional postcards, fliers, etc., researching conferences where your book might be displayed, researching appropriate opportunities for book awards, author book signings . . .and more.

Joyce DiPastena: Author of Mystery, adventure and “sweet” romance in the Middle Ages
Breathing Life Into Historical Research: Whether you write romance, mystery, or straight fiction, this workshop will teach you how to turn historical facts into a living, breathing world for your readers.

3:00 p.m.
Josh Perkey: Class continues

Deirdra Coppel: Author, Illustrator, and Graphic Designer
Writing Business Sense: Working with designers and illustrators, avoid common legal mistakes, what to do if your publisher gives you a bad cover, and get the best price on your art without sacrificing quality.

Conrad Storad: Award Winning Author of Non-fiction Children’s Books
(Classes are Friday Only)
More Than Just the Facts — Nonfiction is FUN! — Nonfiction Writing Workshop

4:00 p.m.
Janette Rallison: Award winning Author of Young Adult Fiction
Using Internal Thought to Create Characterization: When writing a book, voice is all important-and voice usually comes from a character’s internal thoughts. Come learn how to strengthen your characterization and voice through your character’s internal thoughts.

Matt Peterson: Copy writer
Freelance Copy writing – The Perfect “Day Job” for Writers: How you can use your writing skills to pay the bills (while you continue to work on the next great American novel): Freelance writing is a great way to make a living, whether full time or on the side. Matt will share real-life experiences and teach you how to start your own freelance copy writing business. We’ll discuss things like where to find jobs, how to manage your finances, and how to manage the day-to-day demands of writing for a living.

Linda Prince Mulleneaux: Editor at Walnut Springs Press
The Critical Skill of Self-Editing; Focusing on What Agents and Editors Really Care About: You can get published, you’ll just have to operate on your “baby.” Learn how to perfect your prose and streamline your story.

Saturday:
8:35 a.m.
Janette Rallison: Award winning Author of Young Adult Fiction
Using Internal Thought to Create Characterization: When writing a book, voice is all important-and voice usually comes from a character’s internal thoughts. Come learn how to strengthen your characterization and voice through your character’s internal thoughts.

Brent Whiting: Journalist and English Professor
“Great Opening Lines — Grabbing the Reader’s Attention.” Writers sometimes get only one chance to grab a reader’s attention. Ways to write a catchy introduction and clear thesis, so the rest of your writing doesn’t get ignored.

Matt Peterson: Copy writer
Freelance Copy writing – The Perfect “Day Job” for Writers: How you can use your writing skills to pay the bills (while you continue to work on the next great American novel): Freelance writing is a great way to make a living, whether full time or on the side. Matt will share real-life experiences and teach you how to start your own freelance copy writing business. We’ll discuss things like where to find jobs, how to manage your finances, and how to manage the day-to-day demands of writing for a living.

9:30 a.m.
Jane Dystel: President of Dystel & Goderich Management
Soup to Nuts: Going from idea to book along with the importance of a social media platform, followed by Q & A.

Sandra Hendrickson: Teacher, Songwriter and Author
It Just Takes Time: A class on creative songwriting that will motivate you to dig a little deeper, learn more skills, and challenge you to be a better songwriter.

Peggy Shumway: Author and former Family History Consultant
“Your Grandfather Did What?” Crafting a Family History that Reads Like Fiction: Who says a family history has to be boring? We’ll learn how to create compelling family chronicles using the same techniques as fiction writers.

10:30 a.m. Lisa Mangum: Assistant Editor at Deseret Book/Shadow Mountain
Making the Leap: Or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Slush Pile: After a decade of sorting through the slush pile, I’ve learned what works and what doesn’t. Learn how to get your manuscript noticed and you, too, can make the leap out of the slush pile.

Deirdra Coppel: Author, Illustrator, and Graphic Designer
The Amazing Future of Illustrations: EMC’s Enhanced Multimedia Content are going to change your writing career whether you like it or not.

Wendy S. Peterson: English Teacher at Shepherd Junior High in Mesa, Arizona
Poetry: A Spicy Slice of Life: Like spices in food, poetry makes life interesting, more flavorful,  and richer. Learn to integrate writing poetry into your life using easy-to-get-started and simple-to-understand ideas in a nurturing and supportive environment.

2:00 p.m.
Linda Prince Mulleneaux: Editor at Walnut Springs Press
The Critical Skill of Self-Editing; Focusing on What Agents and Editors Really Care About: You can get published, you’ll just have to operate on your “baby.” Learn how to perfect your prose and streamline your story.

Sandra Hendrickson: Teacher, Songwriter and Author
It Just Takes Time: A class on creative songwriting that will motivate you to dig a little deeper, learn more skills, and challenge you to be a better songwriter.

Sara Francis-Fujimura: Freelance Writer, Creative Writing Teacher and Author
Cooking up Some Chicken Soup (How to Write Fun, Inspirational Personal Essays): Learn how to turn family stories and struggles into inspiring and/or entertaining personal essays for magazines and compilation books like Chicken Soup for the Soul.

3:00 p.m.
Larry Brooks:  Author, Blogger, Writing Teacher, Worn Out Jock
Fundamentals Presentation

Dave Eaton: Marketing Consultant in Online & Social Media Marketing
Social Media Marketing – Your Online Path to a Bestseller: How to create a Bestseller before a single page is in print! Using your Blog, Facebook, Twitter and other Online Platforms to zero in on your target audience with a laser focus and create a following that will hang onto your every word.

4:00 p.m.
Keynote: Lisa Mangum
“Reach for Your Dream – It’s Closer Than You Think”
Lisa takes you on her journey as an author and editor and explains how YOUR dream (whatever it is) is truly closer than you think.

Feb 18, 2012

ANWA Writers Conference February 23-25, 2012 - - - SCHEDULE

By Cindy R. Williams - ANWA Event Co-Chair
Here is the much requested and long awaited ANWA Writers Conference Schedule at the Hilton Hotel in Mesa Arizona. (Alma School, north of the I-60 Freeway)
If you haven't yet registered . . . well . . . hurry up my friend! 
Go to www.anwa-lds.com

Thursday             2/23/12
5:00PM – 6:00OM        Registration                          KIVA Foyer            
6:00PM – 7:50 PM       Critique Camp                       KIVA A 
8:00PM – 8:55PM        Query & Pitch Class             KIVA A  
9:00PM – 10:00PM      Query & Pitch Workshop    KIVA A   

Friday              2/24/12
7:00 – 8:00PAM     Check-in                KIVA Foyer 
8:00– 8:15 AM       Welcome               KIVA A/B 
8:30 – 9:20AM       KIVA A          KIVA B                   KIVA C                              
Break-outs    Lisa Mangum    Linda Radke         Conrad Storad                                    
9:30 – 10:20AM   KIVA A               KIVA B                  KIVA C         
Break-outs           Jane Dystel        Brent Whiting     Donna Hatch       
Pitches: Lisa Mangum, Linda Radke,  Linda Mulleneaux   
10:30 – 11:20AM   KIVA A           KIVA B                  KIVA C                             
Break-outs        Larry Brooks      Peggy Shumway  Sara F. Fujimura  
Pitches:  Lisa Mangum, Linda Radke, Jane Dystel       
11:30AM – 1:50PM        Lunch                  Atrium South                                                         
11:45AM – 1:45PM  Story Time Reading and
Book Selling & Signing    Pueblo
2:00 – 2:50PM        KIVA A         KIVA B                  KIVA C              
Break-outs       Josh Perkey 1    Linda Radke        Joyce DiPastena
Pitches: Lisa Mangum, Anita Mumm, Linda Mulleneaux
3:00– 3:50PM        KIVA A          KIVA B                  KIVA C 
Break-out         Josh Perkey 2   Deirdra Coppel   Conrad Storad
Pitches:  Linda Radke, Anita Mumm, Jane Dystel               
4:00 – 4:50PM       KIVA A           KIVA B                  KIVA C
Break-outs     Janette Rallison    Matt Peterson   Linda Mulleneaux
5:00PM – 7:30PM               Dinner        Attendees on their own 
Hilton's Zuni Grill has a great Friday evening Soup/Salad bar for $9.95.
7:30 – 8:45PM                     Panel           KIVA A
Jane Dystel, Lisa Mangum, Anita Mumm,  Linda Mulleneaux, Josh Perkey 
9:00PM – 11:00PM            Meet and Greet               Fiesta/Terrace     

Saturday     2/25/12
7:00AM –8:00AM               Registration           KIVA Foyer   
8:00AM – 8:20 AM             Welcome                KIVA A/B                       
8:35 – 9:20AM     KIVA A                  KIVA B                      KIVA C                             
Break-outs       Janette Rallison     Brent whiting    Matt Peterson                                                     
9:30 – 10:20AM      KIVA A               KIVA B                            KIVA C                             
Break-outs          Jane Dystel             Sandra Hendrickson    Peggy Shumway
P
itches: Lisa Mangum, Anita Mumm, Linda Mulleneaux 
10:30– 11:20AM    KIVA A                 KIVA B                       KIVA C                                  
Break-outs         Lisa Mangum          Deirdra Coppel        Wendy Peterson                      
Pitches: Linda Mulleneaux, Anita Mumm, Jane Dystel 
11:30AM – 1:50PM    Lunch/BOB Awards  Atrium South                        
12:15PM – 1:50PM    Book Signing        Pueblo                                                                          
2:00 – 2:45PM        KIVA  A              KIVA B                           KIVA C
Break-outs    Linda Mulleneaux     Sandra Hendrickson   Sara F. Fujimura
Pitches; Lisa Mangum, Anita Mumm, Jane Dystel 
3:00PM – 3:50PM     Fundamentals Presentation        KIVA A/B       Larry Brooks      
                                     Marketing in Social Media           KIVA C           Dave Eaton     
4:00PM – 5:00PM     Keynote        Lisa Mangum           KIVA A/B                               
5:00PM – 5:30PM     Closing Ceremonies                      KIVA A/B       
                                     Founders Award               
             

Feb 17, 2012

Teen Dancing, Clean Music, and Pulled Pork Sandwiches

by Debra Erfert

This past Saturday our ward, or congregation, of our church had a potluck luncheon. Its theme was a Cowboy Rodeo Roundup in celebration of the 170th anniversary of the Relief Society, one of our nation’s oldest women’s organizations. We were challenged to collect 170 items—any item—for a local charity as part of our celebration. We decided to collect 170 pounds of non-perishable food for the community food bank during our luncheon. We had barbeque pulled-pork sandwiches, plus nummy side dishes and desserts made by ward members. To get as many people as possible to come out on a busy Saturday afternoon, we promised a semi-professional photo booth, (which turned out totally fabulous) I also advertised we would have an instructor teach us country line dancing and the two-step.
Most everything went according to my plans. (I’m the whole activities committee. We have a small ward.) The weather was nearly perfect! Can’t beat 80 degrees during the winter, can you? Did I forget to mention this event was held outdoors in the church’s parking lot? Oops! Well, the slight breeze made keeping the plastic denim looking table clothes in place interesting, but otherwise, the outdoor venue was the perfect place to have our dance.
Oh, yes! Our country dance. I’ve heard over the past few years about delegating jobs, and I learned how to delegate with the best of them. One of the activities I handed over to a friend was finding someone to teach the electric slide and the country two-step. I thought these simple steps would be good wholesome dancing for the youth in our ward. And besides, I wanted to learn them, too.
The night before our activity, I stayed up late and downloaded two hours worth of clean country music from iTunes onto my iPod. Not an easy task, I tell you. If you’ve every truly listened to the words of any song, country or pop, you may be surprised to hear the suggestive sexual situations, or a curse word or three, or lyrics about drinking, or smoking! Oh, my! Finding 30 songs was almost impossible. I said almost! I did finally achieve my goal, and went to bed with a smile on my face and happy thoughts of doing some boot scootin’ the next day.
The only problem I had was with the couple that came to teach the dancing. They had their own ideas about what kind of dancing was proper for our youth and what kind wasn’t.  While I wanted line dancing, where everyone could participate, if they so desired, this couple insisted that teaching the youth of our church a dance where “they didn’t have to be part of a couple was wrong.” It was also “wrong for a group of girls to get out on the floor with their little girlfriends and dance together.” I tried my best to understand their theory, but my disappointment added to my already growing migraine I woke up with that morning. I wouldn’t get my dance choices. They would be teaching the Virginia Reel. Being the ever-diligent committee person, I dragged my husband out onto the parking lot dance floor and smiled, while mentally spinning back in time to my junior high school gym class.  
Yes, my friends, I learned to square dance when I was a youth.
Is it wrong for the youth of today to country line dance? I’m really trying to understand this concept, and since I didn’t have any daughters, maybe those of you who do have girls, grown or not, could give me a little advice on how not to take this couples' criticism of my dance choices personally. I really thought I had thicker skin. 


Feb 15, 2012

I have changed this title 5 times. Nothing fits.

by Kami Cornwall

Sometimes when I'm trying to write I can't help but hear this repetitive tape of completely useless phrases I've heard throughout the week playing in my brain. It's the reason why I'm sometimes self-conscious and definitely the reason I can't get a lot of writing done. Well, that and the kids who keep saying, "Watch this part!" even though I've watched that part two thousand, five hundred and twenty seven times.

Things I've been told this week: "Oh, I remember you from last year. You're the lady with the white skin!" ~ from a receptionist who is also a white person. (Yes, my skin is unusually white...but it makes me laugh when people like to point it out as if I'm unaware.)

"Have you cut your hair?" No, I'm actually growing it out. (Feeling a little self-conscious about my appearance now.)

"Have you heard back about Grad school yet?" This is a little like waiting for a mission call. These will be the longest next few weeks of my life.

"How's the writing coming? Done with that book yet?" Um...no. I thought writing it would take far less time than it has. Does anyone have a cabin in the woods I can sequester myself in for a week or two? Beach-house, maybe? No? Ah well. I'll be here plugging away with my highly reflective skin, strange looking hair and compulsive runs to the mailbox.

Feb 14, 2012

Valentine's Day

by Terri Wagner

Tonight was our FHE for singles. Don't ask how it came to be on Tuesday's or even how I got involved, it just happened. What was interesting was the lesson. The sister who gave it has come a very long way to be there and do that. She was afraid to try anything as a new member. Now, she gave a terrific lesson.

Think of your best Valentine's memory and share it with someone. Buy a Valentine's card for Jesus and sign it. Find the four letter word that means a third letter word: God is love. Read Daughters in my Kingdom.

Now of course these ideas are geared towards single sisters. My favorite memory was once upon a time we had secret sisters in RS. And for years my SS sent me a Valentine's Day basket. Turned out to be one of my best friends. Until I moved away, she never forgot to send me one. It was a treasured memory.

Wasn't that a great FHE lesson? I thought so too.

Feb 13, 2012

Back It Up!

by Kristin Baker Przybyla

The other day my laptop told me the flash drive was going out and I'd better back up everything I wanted quick, or lose it all. And I was like, "Nooo, laptop, I thought you were my best friend!"

But I went through that nightmare a couple years ago. I'd actually had three different backups of my writing, and I thought I was safe when the motherboard overheated on my computer. To my utter horror, I found out after that I hadn't been backing everything up correctly, and I lost six chapters of rewrites in The Moongate, and most of Cobalt.

I had a tantrum of epic proportions that day. And I learned an important lesson!

This time, I got the hubby's help running a backup of everything I didn't want to lose on my hard drive, which is mainly pictures I'm saving to use on my blog, videos, and a few games. Everything else - cherished family pictures, unedited videos, and of course my writing, is already backed up to our network drive. (And for safekeeping, my husband runs a periodic backup of the network drive, because that crashed once too.)

But I didn't feel safe enough doing a regular backup of my manuscripts to the network drive, because that would actually require me remembering to do the backups! And mama's getting old, some days I forget to put my pants on before I head out the door. Someone in my writers' group suggested a company called Dropbox, and when I got home, I actually remembered to look them up.


And I love it! Basic services are free, and that provides me more than enough space for my books. You just download their program, and it puts a "Dropbox" folder in your files, and then you save the files you want to back up to that folder like you'd use any other folder. You can access files in your Dropbox folder from any computer that has Dropbox installed, so one day when one of the kids was using my laptop and I wanted to write, I just installed it on my husband's PC and happily opened up Cobalt. I use it as my default writing folder now, because it automatically backs it up and if my laptop dies, I know my stuff is safe. I still use the network drive as a secondary backup, but only when I remember!

I'm definitely not advertising for Dropbox, but throwing it out there as a super easy way to keep your writing and other files safe. What ways do you use to back up your work? And if it's not something you often do, I'm shaking my finger at you right now to get a backup system in place. You never know when your computer decides to up and die on you, and it might not give you a warning first.

Feb 12, 2012

Romance Poetry and Song

by Margaret L. Turley

The 20th Annual ANWA Conference: Time Out for Writers Faculty Members include Three Romance & Fantasy Writers, a Poet and a Song Writer to tickle your Romantic Creativity.


Donna Hatch will teach: Seven Secrets for Writing Romance. During her sophomore year in high school, she wrote her first full-length novel. Her writing awards including Golden Quill and SARA Merrit. In between caring for six children, (7 counting her husband), her day job, and her many volunteer positions, she manages to carve out time to indulge in her writing obsession. A native of Arizona, she writes Regency Romance and Fantasy.


Janette Rallison writes Young Adult Fiction, Sweet Romance and Science Fiction/Fantasy. She has published seventeen books and sold over a million copies. Her pseudonyms are Sierra St. James and C. J. Hill. Her awards include: IRA Young Adults' Choices List 2007, 2008 & 2009 plus Grand Canyon Reader Award Nominee 2011. Janette will teach: Using Internal Thought to Create Characterization.

Joyce DiPastena is an author of mystery, adventure and "sweet" romance in the middle ages. She will be teaching "Breathing Life Into Historical Research" at the Time Out For Writers 20th Annual ANWA 2012 Conference. Whether you write romance, mystery, or straight fiction, this workshop will teach you how to turn historical facts into a living, breathing world for your readers.


Sandra Lee Hendrickson is a music educator, songwriter and author. She studied music in college and attended many songwriting workshops to develop her music skills. Sandra will teach It Just Takes Time - a class on creative songwriting that will motivate you to dig a little deeper, learn more skills, and challenge you to be a better songwriter.


Wendy S. Peterson is a fourth-generation native of Mesa, Wendy hails from a long line of teachers. She will teach: Poetry: A Spicy Slice of Life: Like spices in food, poetry makes life interesting, more flavorful, richer. Learn to integrate writing poetry into your life using easy-to-get-started and simple-to-understand ideas in a nurturing and supportive environment.

Full Schedule: Classes, Activities, Pitches & Fees


Questions about the Conference, contact ANWA Event Co-Chairs,

Cindy or Patti at anwa-events@anwa-lds.com.


Hilton Hotel Discounts: 1-800-544-5866 or ONLINE

To register go to: http://anwa-lds.com/2012conference.html


More information about ANWA: http://anwa-lds.com





Feb 11, 2012

One more important thing to do

By Bonnie Harris

I've felt for awhile that if I want to really succeed in the writing world, that I needed to get to know some of these new internet things, i.e. Facebook, Twitter, Blogging, Tumblr, etc. As I've attended writing conferences, others have confirmed that feeling and I've tried a little harder to stay on top of it. Then in this month's Nelson Literary Agency's Newsletter, Kristin Nelson said basically the same thing. (I'll share what she said in a moment.)

But that's one more thing to do, you may say. Yes. It is one more thing to do. It's an important thing to do, but it doesn't have to be done all at once. I started with Facebook and got the hang of that. Then of course they change/upgrade/create a new learning curve, but that's another story. Thanks to some encouragement from a friend, I figured out the blogging world and have even ventured into Twitter. I can't say I completely understand all of it, especially the new stuff coming out, but I can say that it's amazing how many people I'm able to reach with just those three things.

This day and age, internet exposure is a must. I'll admitt that I've read a few books, enjoyed them enough to look up the authors webpage/blog, and have gotten really frustrated when there hasn't been one. Frustrated enough to decide not to read any more books by them. (Well, at least for a little while.)

In our busy lives, I know it's hard to squeeze in more time to add something else, but it can be done in the most simple way possible. You don't have to spend hours on it, I don't think. But it is important to use it. In my opinion.

Now, here's what Kristin has to say.

Publishing is shifting and changing so rapidly, even I have no idea what it's going to look like 12 months from now. But one thing has become very clear to me. For authors to really succeed, they absolutely must embrace technology. Not only do they need to embrace it, they need to learn to love itรข€”even if it's not a natural fit.

Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, insert next big thing.

The days of Salinger scribbling furiously in his cabin alone, no communication with the outside world, are long gone. Although I imagine now there will be some story of a reclusive author with no Internet connection making it the old-fashioned way even in this always connected world. *grin*

And embracing technology holds true for agents too.

Seems like ancient history when back in 2003 I bought my first tablet PC (it was a Gateway) so I could read and edit everything electronically. No paper. Queries by email.

My fellow agents thought I was nuts.

I'd drag that eight-pounder around to editor meetings in New York so I wouldn't have to retype my notes post trip.

Eight pounds. That's crazy. Today, the iPad and Kindle Fire weigh mere ounces.

You cannot remain static. And no, I haven't decided to start tweeting, but I have begun a series of video blogs. The learning curve has been steep, but I'm glad I'm doing it. Man, I'm learning so much about my computer's capabilities.

What else do I not know? Time to find out!

Feb 10, 2012

Losing a Neighbor and Writing

Last summer, I awoke at 3:00am to a startling scene; red and blue flashing lights of fire trucks and cop cars all up and done my street.  My husband and I, plus our two oldest boys hesitantly walked down the street and were horrified to realize my neighbor’s house was on fire. 
I found out the next day my neighbor, Kirby Allen had passed away in the house.
This tragedy really hit home because even though I was friends with my neighbor and I’d wave to him when he drove by, I didn’t even know his first name until he died.  What type of neighbor was I, to not ever introduced myself?  If only I’d reached out more?  And for not even knowing Kirby Allen all that well, I missed him. I worried that he suffered and had been scared.  I realized I loved Kirby Allen.  Every time I drove by his collapsed home, my eyes would tear up. 
The incident was all over the news.  I read about his life in the newspaper later that week.  His life was amazing and full of accomplishments.  He was eclectic and an artist and passionate.  He was someone I would have loved to hang out with, learn from his life and enjoy what he had to share.  But, I couldn’t do that anymore. Kirby was gone.  Like most of life’s issues, I turned to writing to help me cope with the sorrow of this tragedy. 
I wrote about Kirby Allen on my blog here.  The response was overwhelming. Not only did I hear from his grown children, but I received emails from extended family from all over the country.  I received calls from church members and neighbors.  A friend of mine suggested I submit the article to the Arizona Republic newspaper for publication and it was published the day of Kirby’s funeral. 
Below is the press release I submitted, in the format I found most professional.  I’m grateful something I felt in my heart was able to bring comfort to those who knew and loved Kirby Allen.  


HOW IS IT I DIDN’T KNOW KIRBY ALLAN UNTIL HE DIED?

Mesa, AZ, June 23, 2011 -- You’ve been my neighbor since I was 14 years old. 
How is it I never knew you?
You lived across the street from my parents with your collection of chickens and ducks and exotic cars in the driveway. My little brother called you “Chicken man” and he did his best to keep his dog off your property.  You wore your personality on the outside of your house with many patriotic emblems, including a ten-foot Statue of Liberty in your front yard.
After I married, I moved back into the neighborhood in a house my husband and I could afford. Trick or treating on Halloween, your house was aglow with white ghosts and orange pumpkins.  My husband and I lured our scared kids up your side walk.  You coaxed them to touch the plastic bats hanging from your porch.  You had candy, a friendly smile and chickens.  From that day forward, my kids called you “Chicken Man” too. 
Occasionally, I’d see you drive down the street in your white pick-up and you’d stop to talk about weather and irrigation schedules. Eventually, your ducks had babies that burrowed in patches of desert rose you’d planted, creating a storybook scene in our Mesa neighborhood. 
Another year, another Halloween and an excuse to walk up your sidewalk, past the Statue of Liberty, past your upside down American flag, inside terraces of bougainvillea and back into your world, but of course, I didn’t even know your name.
I woke up Thursday June 16th at 3:00am to a street carnival of red and blue flashing lights.  It was eerily quiet when I saw your house engulfed in fire.  Flames almost 20-feet high tinged the tops of your palm trees.  Never had I seen such force, never had I seen firefighters at work.  It was a strange sort of suffering.
At 4:30am, my family and I walked home, back to our beds.  I wasn’t until morning I found out you had died in the house fire.
And I cried.
I cried, hoping with all my might you hadn’t suffered, but I guess that’s naive.  To think death took you in such a frightening way makes me sad and angry
I read in the newspaper you name was Kirby Allan.  You were a famous musician, a WWII veteran and ran for Mayor of Mesa 9 times.  You lived an amazing life.
I wish I would’ve known you Kirby Allan. I wish I would’ve reached out.
The fire fighters took down your flag, folding it into a triangle.  Your Statue of Liberty stands unharmed and your bougainvillea reach toward heaven.  Chickens run in your backyard, hiding in their roosts under your antique wood wagon wheels and piles of limber. 
Your three grown children are taking care of things, looking through stuff, trying to make sense of your blessed life that ended in a tragic accident.
I miss you Kirby Allan.  Take care of the desert roses in heaven and know that you are loved, even by a neighbor who barely knew you.