Jan 31, 2015

My Day to Wax Prolific

by Cindy R. Williams

I don't really wax anything let alone prolific waxing. Who makes up these cliche's anyway? Research shows they are the result of common actions or situations, many from bygone years. Waxing prolific must be one of those. Thinking about it, waxing prolific may have come from a time when bees wax was used to polish wood furniture, hand rails and even wall paneling. How tedious that must have been. Or . . . did it always mean to wax on, or speak for long periods of time? What does it mean to you?

Jan 29, 2015

These Things I Know

by Andilyn Jenkins

My message will be short today, partly because my brain has been drained of all its natural resources. But mostly because I have about six different op-ed pieces I’ve started writing and/or brainstorming and not enough time and direction to finish them off. But they all stem from this core. And it is the core I want to emphasize today.

This core supports my life. This core begins my mornings and finishes my thoughts. This core shapes how I read, think, watch, listen, converse, teach, question, and work. My core is a fundamental part of who I am.

I know Jesus Christ. Though I have never seen Him, I know He lives and is my Savior. I know that He atoned for my sins, and by His grace, I can be redeemed from the fall of Adam and from my own mistakes. He hears me and answers my fervent and constant prayers through manifestations from the Holy Ghost, the bearer of truth, who is my constant and most loving companion.

I also know that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints founded this testimony in me. Because of my parents’ diligence, my leaders’ examples, and my own personal experimentation on the Church’s doctrine, I testify Christ’s church has been restored to the earth today through modern prophets who work tirelessly to represent Christ’s will to the world at large. I know that when I obey those teachings, which are Christ’s will, I physically feel stronger, more capable, and happier.

This unyielding testimony makes up my core and allows me to bring tough questions (both spiritual and secular) to the Lord, recognizing that He doesn’t always answer them quickly or clearly, but answer them He will. And whether those answers come today, in twenty years, or in the next life, the timing has no effect on these things I know.

May my testimony be a slice of truth for you, and may you listen to the subtle whispering of the Holy Ghost is my prayer, in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Jan 24, 2015

John Cleese on Creativity

I just finished watching a segment by John Cleese (Fawlty Towers) on Creativity (You Tube.) These short video clips have helped me put my creative process in perspective. I decided to take notes when I watched these segments. And in order to make myself really put the information together. I pared it with this blog. Hopefully it will be helpful to all of us—at least it will be for me, and that's my objective.

John suggests that your unconscious or subconscious mind helps you create. He defines ways to foster that connection. Think about this general principle and come up with own your personal list. Here is his:

*Sleep on it. If you get stuck on a problem, sleep on it; and ideas will come to help your resolve the dilemma.

*Rewrite from memory. He found that if he rewrote a scene from memory, it was stronger than the original one because his subconscious mind had continued to work on it even after he quit writing.

*Avoid interruptions. If you are interrupted when you are writing, you are pulled out of the creative process, and it's difficult to pick up your train of thought again. Try to stay focused.

*Create boundaries of space. Find a place to write where you will have no interruptions. He suggests an office or a quiet park bench. (Lots of luck with little children around.) You know your own schedule best. Orchestrate an optimal place for your situation.

*Create boundaries of time. Set a specific time to work each day where you can define a starting moment and an ending period. To me that means my writing has to be near the top of my priority list for the day. After scripture reading, nothing happens before I get some writing done.

Hope this is as helpful for you as it has been for me. I'll post about the other short videos in the next weeks. Share your ideas. Let us all benefit from them.

Jan 22, 2015

What I Learned While Deboning a Chicken

by Kari Diane Pike

Life offers very few guarantees. I can guarantee you, however, that the moment I get elbow deep in bread dough, my phone will ring or someone will knock on my door. Every single time. Oh, and something else. I can usually count on having a brilliant epiphany - the exact key I need to write the next great novel - while standing at the kitchen counter prepping raw chicken for the evening meal. By the time I wash my hands and run upstairs to my computer or notebook, the thought has disappeared. It's kind of like trying to get out the door for an important meeting and you know you just had your keys in your hand, but you can't find them anywhere. My daughter would say they have "invisiblated" (and you have her permission to use that word as often as you like - her goal is to get it put in the dictionary).

That happened to me last night. The thought came. It blew my mind. I oohed and awed at the fireworks going off in my head. But the sparks faded fast and I rushed to the sink repeating the key phrase in my head. I rushed up the stairs and flipped on my computer. The screen lit up. My mind went totally and completely blank. Nada. Nothing. *insert face palm here*

When I remembered that today is every other Thursday, I still came up with nothing. I flipped through my journal to look for inspiration. I dug through my closet and looked for past journals. I discovered that I am missing at least five of them. Ugh. What I did find - several old notebooks filled with random notes from past ANWA meetings and events. Now there's a treasure.

I came across notations I made the first time I met Tristi Pinkston. She taught a class on "Writer's Voice" at the ANWA writer's conference on March 12th of (year unknown). I'll share a highlight from my notes:

  • Be HONEST when you write. 
  • Don't pollute your pen. Recall the purpose for which [your] gift was given. The Spirit gives you inspiration - listen to it. HONOR it. The honesty you project will attract the reader. Identify with your own writing before you send it out for others to see and read. 
  • Pray to speak [write] with the tongue of angels - with the purpose of building the kingdom and honoring your gifts by being yourself. Only the Spirit can speak to other's hearts. 
  • PRAY. Tell Heavenly Father you want to be an instrument in His hands.
Another treasure I discovered - a mess of writing prompts and the scribbling I wrote in response. And you know what? Some of it is pretty good!

I'm still a bit disturbed that some of my journals came up missing. I know I had them when we moved in a year ago.  And even though the epiphany I experienced last night continues to evade my conscious thought (and to be totally honest here, yes, I did have to double check how to spell conscious), at least I'm headed in a better direction. 

So, what have I learned through this experience? I think I need to start wearing gloves when I work in the kitchen and keep my notebook and pen close to me at all times. That way I can tear the gloves off and throw them down - just like the hockey players do when they start a fight (I dated a hockey player once upon a time).  Then I can grab those slippery thoughts  before they skate away and hide. Plus, going through these piles of notes reminded me that I have the best support group and resources imaginable - first and foremost being my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Because without His influence, without His guidance through the gift of the Holy Spirit, I couldn't do this. Because of Him, I can do hard things. And one of these days, when the time is right, He will bring all things to my remembrance.

Jan 20, 2015

Pain and Patience

by Marsha Ward

For several months, I've gone through a journey with pain, caused by an injury to my left arm. Medical advice is to rest the arm, ice it, avoid certain movements, and when the pain is gone, do a specific exercise.

Pain is a harsh task master. Although I have tried to follow the regimen, hoping to build up strength in the arm, achieve a cessation of pain, and the ability to function normally, I am not patient. I gnash my teeth at the slowness of the process.

Yes, I did the damage (albeit unknowingly), and have been well repaid in pain. Whenever I think I have achieved a good level of healing, I attempt to do too much. Then I pay the price. This happens over and over again. Can I not learn to be patient?

It appears that I am not a good student. Yesterday was a day of appointments and errands, and today, it appears that I did too much. I am back to icing the arm and refraining from typing.

The characters in my head are beginning to protest that I have left them alone too long. I'm sorry, guys. I'm stuck in a learning curve. Learning, once again, to build patience.

Jan 17, 2015


by Cindy R. Williams

Bestest? Yup, I better go to conference and learn proper English.

Hurry up and register while there is still an early bird discount. The ANWA Conference is one of the lowest cost writing conferences for the value. Top notch faculty.

ANWA's Annual Writers Conference
    Time Out For Writers

February 19-21, 2015 at the Hilton Hotel in Mesa, Arizona.

Here is the link to sign up:   http://www.anwa-lds.com/events/conference

Here is the scoop about the conference:

General Public Invited: This means men too!  Attendees don't have to be members of ANWA.

New York Times Best Selling: Brandon Mull and Regina Sirois are keynotes. 

John Rudolph with Dystel & Goderich Literary Agency 
Pam Van Hylckama Klieg with D4EO Literary Agency 
Lisa Magnum with Shadow Mountain Publishing 
McKenna Gardner with Xchyler Publishing 
Heather Moore with Precision Edition Group 

Other wonderful authors and faculty:
Janette Rallison 
Julie Wright 
Kelly Oram 
Liz Adair 
Penny Freeman 
Sarah M. Eden 
Tanya Parker Mills 
Dave Eaton 
John Wincek 
Joshua Oram 
Angela Morrison 
Betty Webb 
Dr. Christina G. Hibbert, PSY. D. 

Something I really love about this conference is there will be classes on INDIE writing and publishing.

The world is at our fingertips!

Jan 15, 2015

Skating My Dog

by Andilyn Jenkins

In 1998, I skated my Yellow Labrador, Ginger, to the park around the corner from my house. At eight years old, I discovered my own version of “walking the dog.” I had tried running with her to the park, but she was too fast and too strong for me. And “walking” was not a word in her limited vocabulary. So in a risk-taking mood, I strapped on my roller blades; wrapped her once-blue, sun-bleached leash three times around my right hand; held her warm, slimy tennis ball in my left hand; and unlatched our back gate while she danced for freedom and nosed her way around me, bolting for the park as though she wouldn’t know fresh air until her paws hit the Bermuda grass. My blonde hair danced behind me as the hot wind blushed my cheeks, and I consciously remember thinking that if my in-line skates hit a rock, I might die. Of course, I never thought to wear knee pads or a helmet. Ginger raced, her neck bearing my 54 pounds seemingly effortlessly. And yet, her pink tongue with that one black spot dangled from her smiling mouth as she huffed heavily from the sprint.

The “park,” in this case, is a euphemistic way of saying retention basin with a yellow slide and a wooden picnic table carved and graffitied with names, hearts, and countless expletives. But for a blonde girl and her yellow lab, this park was everything we needed. Valencia orange trees made up the perimeter of the retention basin free for the picking. And Ginger spent the first fifteen minutes sniffing various patches of grass, apparently catching up with old friends and leaving notes of her own. Then the retriever in Ginger came alive as I sat on the top of the hill digging the pointed end of my CTR ring into the orange peel to get it started. And as I peeled the sticky orange, Ginger trotted up the grass and dropped her slobbery ball in my lap. Then she stood back and hopped around, while I teased with puckered lips, “Who-wants-za-ball? You-gonna-get-it? Get-za-ball,” and pitifully chucked it through the air with all my 54 pounds. She was back in seconds. And so we played. I wiped slobber on my jeans and popped orange wedges into my mouth only to spit out the seeds and sometimes the whole wedge altogether after sucking all the juice from it. Ginger dashed back and forth from me to the bottom of the hill, pausing occasionally when she caught an intriguing scent on the breeze.

And as the time went on, I noticed her trudging up the hill to bring me the ball. Then she’d set it down and plop onto the grass next to me. I’d scooch in close and rub her ears and back, loosening her thick coat and letting it go in clumps across the field. And she’d relax and lean into my pampering, while keeping her head up, scanning the surroundings, looking out for me while I saw nothing but her.

In loving memory of a great dog, and an even better friend.

Jan 13, 2015

Among the Sweetest Gifts of All

by Terri Wagner

As the years go by, I find myself changing my opinions based on experiences that I have. Just this weekend, I had another such change. For years, I more or less supported limited abortion. I still do. However, lately, I am thinking of even more limits to that option. A family member made a decision to pursue a relationship with a man who well let's just say isn't a man and leave it at that. The unfortunate usual happened. She did not want to abort, a decision I wholeheartedly supported.

A friend of mine who lives in another state knew an LDS couple who could not have children. Due to the now messed up situation with same-sex adoptions, the church opted out of the adoption process. So I put my friend in touch with my family member and prayed the right thing would happen.

I personally wanted the child but felt so strongly he/she needed a mom and a dad. After months of communication and heartache and searching for the Spirit's guidance, a precious little boy came to earth last Friday. His birth mother adored him. She loves him, and that will not change. But his new mom and dad adore him as well. The minute they walked into the hospital room, I knew they were his parents.

While there have been hard feelings in the extended family, I have no doubts William is right where he wanted to be. I know my family member prayed constantly over the decision. I hope she knows just how right that decision was. The adopted parents are sensitive to her feelings, and have handled all of this more that well. It's been a happy ending for everyone, although a lingering sadness will continue.

What I guess I failed to consider in my support of limited abortion is the heartache of those who want a child so desperately and simply cannot have one. What a win win in so many ways. I'm revising my support for limited abortion for even more limited abortion. There are times it is a necessary evil. Here's William Isaiah Alexander Tucker. Welcome to earth!

Jan 10, 2015

A Heaven of a Holiday

The holidays can be a little bit of heaven. 

I hope your holiday was a good as mine. I always love to be with family. Our six children live far enough apart that it's hard for us to come together in the winter. But usually several of them make plans, including the cutting of the Christmas tree.

We travelled to be with three of our children for Christmas. It was a wonderful time to watch the cousin cut their own tree and decorate it. Heaven doesn't get any better than this.

We took the kids for a hike in the mountains to see the panoramic views, but when we found the snow, we opted for sledding. Heaven doesn't get any better than this.

 The kids love each other. Heaven doesn't get any better than this.

 A trip to the temple is always in order

along with a baptism

assuring us that heaven doesn't get any better than this.

Jan 8, 2015

A Lemony Story

I wish I had taken a picture of the beautiful lemons our daughter brought to us from my cousin's house. Almost as large as grapefruit, their unblemished, bright yellow brought sunshine to my gray and brown kitchen. I picked one of the lemons up and rolled it back and forth under my palm against the counter. I held it up to my nose and took a deep breath. Visions of lemon bars, cookies, curd, pie, and lemonade swirled through my head to the chorus of that old Peter, Paul and Mary song - Lemon Tree. You know, the one they swiped for the Pledge commercial - oh wait - you'd have to be my age to be able to remember all that. Anyway, despite what the song claims, the lemon is quite edible. You just have to sweeten it up a little, or a lot, depending on the type of lemon you have.

I noticed these lemons were getting soft and needed to be juiced as soon as possible. Still in recovery mode from a bout of stomach flu, I decided to go ahead and juice the fruit and store it in a used apple juice bottle in the refrigerator until I could get to the store for freezer bags. I also had a couple of ice cube trays I could fill. A single ice cube uses right about 2 tablespoons of juice, so that makes a handy way to have just the right amount available at a moments notice. Those three dozen or so lemons gave me enough juice to fill the gallon bottle and both ice trays, with just enough left over to make a gallon of lemonade for the guys at my house. I used my cute Pampered Chef star pitcher for the lemonade and I used a sharpie to label the bottle: "Lemon Juice." I even drew a picture of a glass and made one of those circle symbols with a line through it - the universal symbol for "Do Not" do whatever is in the picture.

All of that work wiped me out. When my dear hubby got home from work we said the blessing on dinner and I went upstairs to lie down. Moments later I heard,

"Why did you draw something on this bottle? What is it?"

A rush of adrenaline boosted me off the bed and I ran down the stairs as I hollered, "Don't drink it! That's the lemon juice, not the lemonade."

Our seventeen-year-old son snickered at his father's confusion. "Mom! You totally ruined it! I was going to let him drink it and take a picture of his face and send it to Grandma."

Poor hubby stared at the bottle in his hands. "You told me there was lemonade in the fridge. This is lemonade." He started to twist off the cap.

"No, this is the lemonade." I opened the refrigerator, grabbed the pitcher, and held it out.

"Mom, it would have been perfect. Just like story of when Grandma watched Dad drink the lemon juice from her fridge just to see what he would do. I wanted to see his reaction!"

What is that saying about history repeating itself? I guess prankster genes can be inherited - because the lemon doesn't fall far from the tree...or something like that.

This incident was funny to me because of the story behind it. My husband cannot stand sour anything. It makes him shudder. My mother-in-law knew that and the story about her prank is famous in our family. Now I have another scene to connect to it as I write our family history.

What kind of inside jokes do you have in your family? What makes them funny?


Jan 6, 2015

Adversity and Irony

by Marsha Ward

We all know the saying about the best laid plans going awry. That seems to be the theme of my life the last four months or so. I sat down and made great plans for my writing and publishing output for 2015, then injury and various illnesses hit, and I'm down to typing with two or three fingers instead of two hands.

Although I'm pretty fast with these tywo or three fingers, the output demands substantial time in checking for errors. It's an imperfect system at best, not the two-handed touch typing Mrs. Dover drummed into me in high school. (I'm leaving in the errors so you can see what happens when I don't check my work. Fumble fingers! I often hit two keys at once.) I won't be able to three-finger type a novel. It's too distacting--and too slow!

I ordered one of those speech-to-text software programs so I could get around my physical limitations, but when I checked my mail on Saturday, it had not arrived, although it had been promised for Friday. Another delay in my plans.

Okay, I'm not someone who likes ti sit around and moan about mt bad luck--at least, not for long. :-) So, what am I going to do while I'm waiting for my arm to heal?

First, I'm going to revise my goal list to make it more reasonable.

Seconf, I'm going to do a lot more mental pre-writing--with the hopes that my short notes and conclusions will make sense when I'm ready to tackle the actual work.

Third, I'm giing to teach the software how I write, once it arrives.

Fourth, I'm going to sit back and thibk about the blessings I've been given, anf then ENJOY them. I might even let other people help me do things I can't do for myself, but let's not get all weird here. I'm still a stubborn, independent, impatient soul. One or two instances will go a long way.

In the meantime, I ask for your prayers, good thoughts, and healing vibes on my behalf, so that my arm will heal with no repercussions, and I'll be able to get back to doing the thing I love the most: writing about people and how they overcome their trials.

Ironic, yes?

Jan 3, 2015

Why Do You Write?

by Cindy R. Williams

Why do you write?

One of life's biggest questions.

Here are a few answers I came up with.

I am a born story teller so writing is a natural progression. (I am better live and in person at telling stories than I am at writing them. I have to keep learning how to get them out of my head and on paper in today's way of writing.)

I love dreaming of the way things could be AND should be.

I love to write situations that turn out how I wish live would.

I love to write about fairies, dragons and goblins.

I love to make others smile.

I love to make them cry, sigh, connect to one another, think "Wow, I feel like that too."

I love to leave a bit of a legacy to my family.

I love to meet other writers.

I love to learn.

I love to grow.

I love to write wholesome works and feel I am doing a little bit of good in this big, scary world.

I love to take bits and pieces from people I know and plug them into characters. So much fun to make a villain out of old boyfriends.

Why do you write?

Jan 1, 2015

Changes to Our Blog

by Marsha Ward

ANWA Founder and Friends has been bringing insightful blog posts to you about Life, The Universe, and Writing and Publishing on a regular basis since 2007. As I look back, that's a pretty astounding record!

This year, we're going to change things up a bit. Our schedule will have three posts each week. Marsha Ward and Terri Wagner will blog on alternating Tuesdays, Kari Pike and Andilyn Jenkins will appear on Thursdays, and Cindy Williams and Christy Monson will alternate on Saturdays. This blog schedule is posted in a Page just above this message.

This means we're saying good-bye to some fantastic women who have been Members of our Blog Team: Beckie Carlson, Claire Enos, Heidi Murphy, Lucinda Whitney, and Stacy Johnson. While we will miss their participation, they have busy lives (as we all do), and have elected to move on with other activities.

Stay tuned for other refinements and features on our Blog. We all wish you the Happiest of New Years, with abundant blessings and joy!

Happy New Year!!!