|Posted on April 4, 2017 at 11:55 PM||comments (0)|
BLOG POST FOR APRIL 2017
As a member of the League of Utah Writers and the Northern Utah Stage and Screenwriters, I’ll be participating in a panel presentation/discussion at the LUW Spring Conference on April 8, 2017, at Salt Lake Community College in Taylorsville, Utah. In preparation, I’ve been developing my portion of the presentation, preparing handouts, gathering bios from each of the six panel members, procuring copies of my stage script to sell at the NUSS table, organizing a GIVEAWAY, designing a table sign, and serving as an ambassador for my publisher by assembling information for prospective playwrights from my publisher. It’s been exciting yet challenging to get everything accomplished before the fast approaching conference day. What’s been my biggest challenge? I’d answer that it’s been my trying to physically navigate the preparation efforts while recovering from a foot fracture and painful plantar fasciitis. YIKES! It’s been a challenge, but the finish line is near! If you’re interested in writing and would like to participate in this one day of educational opportunities related to many aspects of creative writing, please plan to attend the conference. You can find the schedule of classes, class descriptions and registration information at www:leagueofutahwriters.com/spring-conference-schedule
The following is the draft for the NORTHERN UTAH STAGE AND SCREENWRITERS PANEL PRESENTATION/DISCUSSION planned for the LUW 2017 Spring Conference:
“WRITING FOR STAGE AND SCREEN”
PANEL PRESENTATION AND DISCUSSION
Joseph A. Batzel – Professional Actor, Director, Producer for Stage/Film, Voice-Over Artist, University Educator – serving as Moderator and representing higher education for stage and film.
Alice M. Batzel – Playwright and Journalist, briefly speaking on: (1) how to get started as a Playwright, (2) creating your opportunity, and (3) thinking beyond your royalties and seeing how your work can benefit charities.
Steve and Valerie Odenthal - Playwrights, briefly speaking on: (1) winning a local playwriting competition and the reward of seeing that work performed, (2) staging a community playwriting competition, and (3) their collaboration with public schools to create original plays and have their work performed regionally and internationally.
Kam Klitgaard – Playwright of 40 published plays, University Educator, speaking on: (1) choice of publishers and how they vary in marketing your work, (2) as a University Educator in Playwriting, what is the greatest skill deficit or most common mistake he sees in the work of novice playwrights, (3) his experience with partnerships between Playwright and Community/Education entities as a collaborative enterprise.
Kam and Joe will jointly speak briefly on their recent participation with the “Brigham City Sesquicentennial 150th Anniversary” as Playwright and Production Director.
Garrett Batty - Professional Screenwriter, Producer, Director, speaking on: (1) the formation of his film company, (2) development of ideas for new scripts, (3) submitting screenplays for consideration, (4) how to get your screenplay accepted for production, (5) projects he’s currently working on, (6) how the Utah market and national market are positioned for new screenplays by Utah screenwriters.
I HOPE TO SEE YOU AT THE LEAGUE OF UTAH WRITERS 2017 SPRING CONFERENCE ON APRIL 8, 2017!
|Posted on November 12, 2016 at 1:40 AM||comments (1)|
NOVEMBER 2016 - BLOG
“WRITING FOR YOUR LIFE” by AWARD-WINNING AUTHOR ALLY CONDIE
The month of October was National Book Month. During that month, our local library in Brigham City, Utah, invited several guest authors to make presentations. On October 11, 2016, I was able to attend the presentation by Author Ally Condie, and what a treat that was!
A few bio facts about Ally Condie:
- She and her family live in Pleasant Grove, Utah.
- She started writing stories as a child.
- She studied in London, England.
- She has used aspects of her personal life in ALL of her writing, whether it is places, events, acquaintances, etc.
- She previously worked as a high school English teacher at Provo High School and Timpview High School in Utah. When she was a teacher, she did not have time to write because there were so many student essays and research papers to grade.
- She enjoys mystery, even murder/death in a well-crafted story, but not gore.
- She has published ten books.
- Deseret Book is the publisher of her first five books. She then got an agent, and Penguin is her current publisher. She feels that she learned much about the business of writing and the craft of writing during her experiences with Deseret Book, and she holds that to be of significant value.
- She does not write for adults. She writes for teens because her life is rich in that age group, and there is no sex in the story with that age group. For her, writing to that age group is the most fun.
A few points that I gleaned from her presentation and the Q&A with the audience:
• There are many reasons for someone to write: to heal, to learn, to celebrate, to discover, etc.
• Write what you know emotionally. It could be betrayal, love, loss, sibling rivalry, etc. along with your fiction.
• In her novel, SUMMERLOST, she reflected on some of her experiences as a child dancer at the Shakespear Festival in Cedar City, Utah. Her Grandfather was the President of the University during her childhood.
• Where does she begin when writing a story? Her writing process usually begins with a character, doing an action, along with the hint of her personal history/event; then, she develops the story.
• When writing for teens, friendship can be ‘enough,' in spite of what others assume about your relationship with others. Understanding this is especially valuable for middle-grade students.
• The journey to finding out more about love is what it’s like to love someone imperfectly.
• Why does the “end” always have to be what people talk about? The story of one’s death does not need to be the story of one’s life.
• How long does it usually take her to write her books? It took nine months to write SUMMERLOST. It took two years to write ATLANTIA.
• If someone is interested in writing, what do you suggest for them to do to begin? For those individuals who are interested in writing, she suggests the website of Ann Dee Ellis. There is an especially helpful writing exercise of 8-minute memoir writing prompts on her website.
• She also encourages people to write their personal history; this can prompt events for a story.
• Another helpful writing exercise is to write a letter to a character, or write a story for your children.
• When you write, you need to be disciplined, but you need to love to write it.
• Since she has a degree in English and experience as an English teacher, does she find herself focusing on that skill set when creating a story? The technical aspects of her English degree are NOT something she focuses on when she writes and creates a story.
• In what ‘point of view’ does she recommend a story be told? Consider how many different POV you see the story through. She often writes in first person, though third person may give the distance your story might need to make it real.
• Does she outline? She does NOT outline when writing a story.
• FIRST DRAFT is the author telling the story to their self. SECOND DRAFT is the author telling the story to an audience, and the audience may be different each time.
• What emotion is the easiest to write, and what emotion is the hardest to write? The emotion of LOVE is the easiest and the hardest to write.
• How involved are you in the marketing of your books? The author’s involvement in the marketing depends on the publisher regarding travel, book festival attendance, school visits, book signings.
• How does a writer find an agent? A good place to search for a literary agent is “agent query.com” Also, look in the back of books you like and see who the author’s agent is in the acknowledgments, then look up that individual on-line.
• Where do you actually ‘start’ in the story when writing it? Start your book with the scene that you have in mind. It’s fine for it to be out-of-sequence. Write that scene, save it, and build forward or backward from there.
• What does she consider to be her “best” published work? The answer would be different at different times. Her most recent work is that which she often considers being her “best” published work. As a writer, you always want to improve and get better at your craft. To date, she would consider SUMMERLOST to be her “best” published work.
• Which of her published works has been the most financially successful? The trilogy of MATCHED, CROSSED, REACHED.
• Which of her published works was the most rewarding for her to write? SUMMERLOST.
• How does a book get a title? Does the author get to create that title? In her case, it’s a collaboration between the publisher and the author.
• Do you find that readers sometimes interpret the book differently than how you intended it? YES! She has had fans of a book speak to her about an aspect of the book that was particularly meaningful to them and why, but their interpretation of that part of the story was never how she had intended it. That’s OK. Interpretation is part of the reader’s journey; telling the story is the author’s journey. The intent of the author is that the two journeys are the same. But if they differ, that’s still OK. She finds it interesting and occasionally even amusing when a book fan has a different interpretation than she had intended when she wrote it.
I encourage attendance at author presentations whenever possible.
You can learn so much about the art/craft of writing as well as the author’s writing journey.
You get to meet a published author!
You can get your book signed!
|Posted on October 13, 2016 at 5:45 PM||comments (0)|
BLOG - OCTOBER 2016
“ODE TO THE SQUIRREL” or “FALL BRINGS A SEASON OF RENEWED READING AND WRITING EFFORTS”
I am convinced that avid readers and writers can learn a valuable lesson from nature’s squirrels. As I observe these little woodsy creatures busily scampering about the Autumn yard as they gather berries, acorns, and nuts, then run across the fence and up the trees to hide their foraged bounty for the approaching winter, I find myself gathering books to read throughout the winter months. In addition to the colorful Autumn season being my favorite time of year, it brings me a renewal of commitment to reading, doing book reviews, as well as working on my poetry and novel writing. That’s what the Fall season does to me. Get the flu shot, stock up the pantry and storage room with winter supplies, and renew reading/writing goals. My stack of books marked, “To Read and Review,” is growing and my anticipation of the many hours of enjoyable reading is ramping up. My personal creative writing is branching out a bit as I contemplate joining a poetry group, a stage and screenwriting group, and continue with my novel writing group. Yes, it’s going to be a very busy winter. Cold temperatures and falling snow might keep me indoors most days. But I’m going to hunker down and enjoy the hibernation with books to read, poems to write, drafting a sequel to my western stage script, polishing my short screenplay, and doggedly tackling the remaining portion of my novel that has been “in progress” for this past year. As I seriously consider the comparison, I guess I really should have been a squirrel.
BLOG - SEPTEMBER 2016
JUDGE’S FEEDBACK FROM FALL 2016 LEAGUE OF UTAH WRITERS WRITING COMPETITION
Summer hiatus is over. Scorching temperatures have cooled down. Autumn has arrived with all of its beauty, and the change has invigorated me. In June of this year, I submitted two entries to the writing competition held in conjunction with the League of Utah Writers 2016 Fall Conference. As a relatively new member of the League, my intention of participating in the competition was to have my work looked at by a credible third party unaffiliated with the League, and receive constructive criticism. Though I was unable to attend the conference in September, I looked forward to receiving feedback from the judges. I received the promised feedback on October 11, 2016. Was the feedback critical? Oh, yes. Was it valid? I can see room for improvement, but I would have liked to receive comments from more than one judge. Nevertheless, I’ll revisit my entries and consider revisions based on the judge’s comments and seek additional critique as well. Having not participated in the League’s writing competition previously, I now have a better idea of the judging process and its criteria. All in all, I’m glad that I participated in the competition; it was a valuable educational experience. Once again, I realize that I’m a student in life and I have much to learn. But that’s OK. I’m willing to learn. I want to get better at the craft that I so enjoy. CONGRATS to all the winners! (You can see a list of all the winners on the LUW website.)
|Posted on June 28, 2016 at 2:30 AM||comments (0)|
BLOG – JUNE 2016
LEAGUE OF UTAH WRITER’S 2016 WRITING COMPETITION:
Each year the League of Utah Writers holds a writing competition in conjunction with their annual Fall Conference and announces the winners at the banquet on the closing night of the conference. Each entry submitted to the competition receives written critique/feedback from a judge. I find this aspect of the competition to be very appealing since the judging is conducted by a third party unaffiliated with the LUW. Having not participated in the writing competition previously, I thought it would be beneficial to submit an entry or two and see what kind of response I would receive from someone who is totally unacquainted with me or my work. It’s always nice to have friends, family, acquaintances, and fellow writing colleagues read your work and give you some feedback, but to get constructive critique from a third party who is a judge in a statewide writing competition, is very helpful to a writer. Since I’ve been a member of the LUW for a little over a year, I decided to participate in the competition by submitting entries in two different categories. During the month of June, I did just that. Unfortunately, I have a prior commitment and will be unable to attend the 2016 LUW Fall Conference, which will be held Sept. 23-24, 2016. However, I look forward to seeing the winners posted on-line after that, and I additionally look forward to receiving the judge’s feedback/critique on my submissions. Good luck to all who got their entries submitted before the deadline during June!
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SUMMERTIME READING OPPORTUNITIES:
Summer 2016 is here, and so are a host of fantastic reading opportunities. Reading enthusiasts of all ages can find great summertime sales on book purchases at large book-selling chain stores and small independent bookstores alike. Additional summer reading promotions through various electronic book marketing/selling sites for hardback, paperback, and electronic books offer substantial cost savings. You might also want to check with your local library and bookmobile to see the summer programs that they have; the best feature for that venue is that those books are available for anyone who has a library card and no purchase of book/media is required. What a bargain! School might be out for the summer, but many excellent summertime adventures are easily accessible within the pages of a book. I’m an advocate of summertime reading for readers of all ages!
|Posted on June 1, 2016 at 1:15 AM||comments (1)|
BLOG - MAY 2016
I WAS PLEASED TO ATTEND TWO SPECIAL EVENTS DURING THE MONTH OF MAY 2016:
On May 3, 2016, I was pleased to attend a Self-Editing Workshop presented by Author Heather B. Moore at the Brigham City Library in Brigham City, Utah. It was a valuable two hours with much instruction, tips, and sharing of her insight regarding the value of self-editing your novel’s working manuscript. Her power-point presentation was superb with emphasis on avoiding common grammar mistakes, the importance of maintaining consistency with point-of-view, and giving special attention to pacing and plotting. Additionally, she emphasized the importance of being precise with punctuation, and the necessary preparation that a novel’s manuscript should receive before submitting it to a publisher/agent/professional editor. Throughout her presentation and at its conclusion, she graciously entertained questions, shared her vast experience as an author and editor, and made sure that all attendees received answers to the questions they brought that evening. For many, it was a special opportunity to purchase copies of her books which she brought that evening, and she personalized all purchased books with an autograph and personal message; likewise, she also signed any of her books that attendees might have brought with them that evening. As a bonus, she “gave away” numerous books that she had authored and only asked recipients to post a book review about that book on an electronic media marketing site when they completed reading it. What a bargain!
An illuminating answer from her when I posed the following question: “In a review of the collective body of your published works, which would you consider being (1) the bestseller, (2) your best literary work, (3) your favorite work?”
Her answer: "(1) Bestseller would be WOMEN OF THE BOOK 0F MORMON, (2) best literary work would be CHRIST’S GIFTS TO WOMEN or EVE: IN THE BEGINNING, (3) favorite would be FINDING SHEBA or DAUGHTERS OF JARED."
Many thanks to the Brigham City Library for hosting Author Heather B. Moore, and special thanks to her for her generous time spent with those who attended the Self-Editing Workshop.
Author Heather B. Moore's website is http://hbmoore.com/
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On May 14, 2016, I was pleased to attend the Book Launch Party for BORN TO TREASON by Author E. B. Wheeler, held at The Book Table in Logan, Utah. There was much anticipation building over the launch of this book and I was especially looking forward to the book launch event so that I could get a copy. It was fun to attend with fellow members of the Brigham City Writers Chapter, Joseph A. Batzel, Steve Odenthal, and Valerie Perry Odenthal; we also met up with our Chapter President, Keri Montgomery and we took a group photo as we surrounded Emily at her author's table. You can see this photo posted on my Facebook page. Additionally, we were able to chat with some members of the Cache Valley Chapter, Chadd VanZanten, and Amanda Yardley Luzzader, as we supported and celebrated the launch of Author E.B. Wheeler’s newest book. A professionally decorated cake featuring her book cover art was served, and we especially enjoyed chatting with Emily Wheeler and congratulating her on the publication of BORN TO TREASON. Hurrah! We each purchased one or more copies and Emily autographed them. After I have completed reading the book I will post a book review on my website. Now, to read......do not disturb, please!
Author E. B. Wheeler's website is http://ebwheeler.com/
|Posted on April 26, 2016 at 11:55 PM||comments (0)|
BLOG – MARCH & APRIL 2016
I was pleased to experience three special literary events during March and April 2016.
(#1) Author Chadd VanZanten was the guest speaker at the March 2016 meeting of the Brigham City Writers Chapter of the League of Utah Writers. Chadd provided an educational forum on the art of short-story writing. “The most important thing in writing a short story is that there must be tension. Tension and anticipation exist in every successful short story that has achieved a readership. You long to take the journey, to feel the experience. Unfortunately, tension is one of the hardest things for a learning writer to skillfully incorporate into their story. Incorporate your unique voice.” Chadd gave us much to think about that evening as he extended several challenges: (1) be true to your voice as a writer, (2) sharpen your skill as a writer and as an editor by reading and studying the work of other writers, (3) study the mechanics of grammar, and (4) value the role that each member of your LUW chapter plays in providing valuable critique with one another’s writing. As an advocate for the League of Utah Writers, Chadd also encouraged each member of our group to join the LUW, discussed the benefits of membership, attending the League-sponsored conferences, and participating in League-sponsored writing competitions. Additionally, he graciously stayed after his presentation and participated in our critique night and shared how his critique group functions.
*** Chadd VanZanten is employed as a professional editor and writer, and he is one of the two authors of ON FLY-FISHING THE NORTHERN ROCKIES, which received a 2015 Silver Quill Award from the LUW for published books. Chadd is the 2015-2016 LUW’s Writer of the Year, “Best In Show: Prose” for his short fiction piece “SLENDER”. (As a side note: I attended the 2015 LUW Fall Conference and heard him read that piece; it was superb.) Thank you, Chadd, for attending our chapter meeting and providing such a great educational forum for our members. See you on Facebook and at League-sponsored events!
(#2) The 2016 League of Utah Writers Spring Workshop was held April 9, 2016, at Salt Lake Community College – Taylorsville Campus. I was very pleased to attend, and though this event was heralded as the smaller of the League’s two annual conferences, there was impressive attendance, and the class offerings were vast and varied. Additionally, the SLCC facility was outstanding. Upon my late arrival at the registration table, President-Elect Jared Quan graciously welcomed me and started the experience on a high note. I was particularly pleased to have attended classes on Capturing Voice, Pitch Perfect: How to Sell Your Book in 30 Seconds, Four-Part Pacing, and a lively panel discussion on Revision. Throughout the event, the class presenters were comprised of experienced professionals in editing, publishing, self-publishing, as well as award-winning authors, educators, librarians, legal consultants, journalists, social media experts, and LUW chapter presidents. Many thanks to the LUW leadership and event director, Author Johnny Worthen, for a great 2016 Spring Workshop! I look forward to the 2016 Fall LUW Conference!
(#3) Author and Editor Lisa Mangum was the guest presenter at the Brigham City Library on April 19, 2016. She presented “NOW HIRING – WHAT PUBLISHERS ARE LOOKING FOR IN NEW AUTHORS”, focusing on creativity/imagination, vision, flexibility, and passion as the desired attributes. Her presentation was welcoming, informative, and very encouraging for writers in attendance. She explained the difference in the roles and responsibilities of the author, editor, and publisher. Also of tremendous benefit was the way that she illustrated the various aspects of a story that attracts the attention of an editor/publisher and the reader; this was a valuable checkpoint for aspiring authors as she discussed elements of a marketable hook, strong voice, relatable characters, authentic dialogue, and a compelling plot. Lisa spoke with enthusiasm regarding her work as an editor and her collaboration with authors to make their work the best that it can be. She stressed that a writer must continually write and that a publisher wants to be sure that authors have more than one story in them if the publisher is going to invest in their work and them as a writer. Today’s publisher wants to make a lasting investment, a lasting relationship with the writer. The writer must equally be committed to meet deadlines and know what readers are looking for in future books. What might have been surprising to some aspiring writers in the audience is that they are expected to “do their homework” regarding the industry and the direction that it is continually taking. To do so requires reading industry trade publications (paper and electronic), following social media, and being able to spot trends in popular genres. Authors need to stay curious and read for pleasure in addition to their work of writing, see how others are writing, be informed, and keep learning. It was particularly interesting for Lisa to be so candid about authors needing to develop the skill of being prepared to “hurry up and wait”, regarding the timeline for an accepted manuscript to go through the necessary steps before the printed book gets put on the shelf for buyers. She graciously took the time to answer questions regarding query letters, how to track queries, tools to help a writer specify their manuscript’s genre, avenues for promoting your work, how to find an agent, and suggestions for employing an editor before pitching your manuscript to a prospective publisher. At the conclusion, Lisa sold and signed copies of the three books in her Hourglass Trilogy.
*** Lisa Mangum is employed as the Managing Editor of Shadow Mountain Publishing. She is also an award-winning author. Her published books are AFTER HELLO, THE HOURGLASS DOOR, THE GOLDEN SPIRAL, and THE FORGOTTEN LOCKET. Her books are available through Deseret Book, Seagull Book, and through numerous electronic marketing sites. Thank you, Lisa, for generously sharing your time, expertise, and talent with us at the Brigham City Library. Who knows, perhaps a manuscript from someone in attendance that night will reach her Managing Editor’s desk! In the meantime, see you around the bookshelf!
Chadd VanZanten http://www.writerscache.org/brags.html
League of Utah Writers http://www.leagueofutahwriters.org
Brigham City Writers Chapter of LUW http://brighamcitywriters.blogspot.com/
|Posted on March 1, 2016 at 2:30 AM||comments (0)|
BLOG – FEBRUARY 2016
SPECIAL EVENT: February 16, 2016 at Brigham City Library, AUTHOR PANEL featuring three local authors --
JOSI S. KILPACK, MARIE HIGGINS, and MELISSA J. CUNNINGHAM.
I really enjoyed attending this special author event. It was interesting to hear their viewpoints on many subjects:
1. Each author currently writes for a different publisher:
JOSI S. KILPACK – Shadow Mountain Publishing
MARIE HIGGINS – Self-publishing
MELISSA J. CUNNINGHAM – Clean Teen Publishing
2. How they each got into writing.
3. The journey that took them to their individual decision to either traditionally publish or self-publish.
4. Royalty variations regarding sales in paperback, electronic format, and audible.
5. The “cost” to the author (financial, man hours, travel) of promoting your work, and what they consider being a valuable expenditure with a good payoff.
6. The expectation of the publisher that you will largely promote your work.
7. What works now compared to what has worked in the past with promoting your published work (personal appearances and book signings, Facebook book launch events, on-line author chat events with readers, hosting GIVEAWAYS for copies of your latest release, etc.) It was particularly interesting to see the common expression that many book buyers are very busy and often purchase on-line and do not attend a personal book-signing unless they especially want to speak with the author and get a book autographed. While attendance at book signings is decreasing, electronic sales are increasing, resulting in an overall increase in sales.
8. The differences among each of the three panelists regarding their individual achievement or nonparticipation in college education, and whether that education was in English, Literature, Creative Writing, or a non-writing focus.
9. The differences in their individual work experiences unrelated to the writing profession.
10. The importance of attending writing conferences for the purpose of learning how to be a good writer, networking with other writers, entering writing contests, practice pitch sessions and formally pitching your finished manuscript to a publisher or agent.
11. Each author on the panel also told about the genre that they typically write in and what type of reading audience their work attracts:
MARIE HIGGINS – Fiction, Clean/Christian romance, and romantic adventure. She has mostly teen girl readers and secondly has adult female readers though she does have some male readers also. She has a very large international reading audience.
JOSI S. KILPACK – Fiction, historical fiction, regency romance. She has previously published books in suspense, mystery, contemporary romance, and culinary mysteries.
MELISSA J. CUNNINGHAM – Fiction, Paranormal, suspense. She mostly has teen readers but also has an adult reading audience.
12. The lengthy journey that an original idea takes to becoming published. Passing through stages of a first draft, initial revisions, and self-editing; review by a critique group, additional revisions, Beta readers, final pre-submission self-editing. Then you are ready to pitch the book, submit three chapters if requested, then additional chapters if requested. When your manuscript is accepted by the publisher, you go to contract. The manuscript then goes to their professional editor assigned to your book, and the author does content edits and line edits as directed by the editor. The manuscript then goes to proofing, formatting for print, galley proofs, and then to final print. There are variances considering whether your book is self-published or traditionally published, and there may also be some variances in procedure from one traditional publisher to another.
13. Whether the author has any input on the cover design and whether or not the author owns the cover (contract stipulation).
14. Publisher deadlines in comparison to author setting their deadlines in self-publishing.
15 The feedback that each author has received from their readers, either personally, via email, Facebook, etc. locally, state-wide, nationally, and internationally.
16. Each author told about their current book releases and what is coming out next.
CONSENSUS FROM THE THREE AUTHORS: “IT IS NOT ALL GLAMOROUS. IT IS A LOT OF HARD WORK, BUT IT IS REWARDING IF YOU TRULY WANT TO CREATE A STORY AND SHARE IT WITH OTHERS.”
The evening ended with each of the authors selling and signing their books, followed by refreshments being served.
These three authors can be followed on Facebook and their individual blogs and websites:
MARIE HIGGINS at www.mariehiggins84302.blogspot.com
JOSI S. KILPACK at www.josiskilpack.com
MELISSA J. CUNNINGHAM at www.melissajcunningham.com
|Posted on January 31, 2016 at 1:15 AM||comments (0)|
My 2016 New Year’s Resolution is encapsulated in three words:
BALANCE... DETERMINATION... DISCIPLINE.
In applying this focus, I am hopeful to accomplish what I desire…..
(1) to live in gratitude and service each day
(2) to be a wise steward with my time
(3) to hone my talents
(4) to be kinder
(5) to be more forgiving
(6) to grasp courage to make improvements, frequently
(7) to be more joyful
** It will involve my personal life, spiritual life, creative life, family life, and community life.
** It will be ........a way of daily living and trying to do better than the day before.
** It will be ........an invitation to see any personal failure as a gateway to begin anew, again, without embracing defeat.
** It will be …….welcoming positive possibilities each and every day.
|Posted on December 20, 2015 at 1:45 AM||comments (0)|
During November and December of this 2015 year, I have been very touched to discover how many people have quietly and publically observed the Thanksgiving and Christmas season by “remembering the reason for the season” and “acting upon it”. May we each pause and truly give thanks for all of our many blessings and the many sacrifices of others which afford us those blessings. May we, likewise, pause and truly ponder “the reason for the season”. May it be a time to reflect, be prayerful, and focus toward our Savior, for He is truly the seed and the root of all that is good.
There are many things each one of us can do to help make this season be “a season of Thanks and Giving”. Even if we only do one thing, we can celebrate “Christmas with a Cause” by giving of our self, our time, our talent, our means, or perhaps “gifting” forgiveness or “accepting” the gift of forgiveness from someone. From simple things, truly great things can spring forth. Hope can begin. Lives can change. The impossible can become possible.
May we each take time to pause and reflect upon the holiday season as a time of “Thanks and Giving”, and allow our Christmas to be a “Christmas with a Cause”. I am convinced these acts can individually and collectively make a profound difference for good, for I have seen it in the example of so many of you. May we look within our self this holiday season and give thanks by truly giving, and allow our Christmas to be one with a Cause.
• Spend time reading to patients at a nursing home, hospital, or assisted living center.
• Volunteer time and materials to wrap gifts for others.
• Volunteer service at a homeless center, community pantry, or soup kitchen.
• Make a financial donation to a charity or literacy program of your choice.
• Donate books to your local library or bookmobile.
• Donate a basket of children’s books to your local hospital to give as gifts to children who may be hospitalized over Christmas.
• Donate items to the local Women’s and Children’s Rescue Center.
• Anonymously give gifts to a family that would not have Christmas without your help.
• Write a letter to someone or help someone else write a letter and mail it for them.
• Donate Christmas cards to a local nursing home for their patients to use as a ‘gift’ for those that visit them.
• Donate food to the community food pantry.
• Volunteer to help others with snow removal.
• Write letters to our missionaries, military men and women, and send packages to them.
• Volunteer to put up, take down, and store away exterior holiday lights/decorations for someone who needs help.
• Become a volunteer in the Community Christmas Angel program.
• Organize a group to do Christmas caroling at homes of the elderly.
• Make someone’s Christmas wish come true….anonymously.
In the spirit of a season of “Thanks and Giving” and “Christmas with a Cause”, I converted the December GIVEAWAY from my Writer’s Website to making a financial contribution to a literacy program in my local area, and providing a literary reading as a service to a skilled nursing facility in my community.
|Posted on October 21, 2015 at 9:20 PM||comments (0)|
AUTHORPALOOZA - On Sept. 19, 2015 I attended the Authorpalooza at the South Towne Barnes and Noble. Forty authors were in the store, and all were signing books and meeting reading fans of all ages. The entire store was buzzing from the large crowd attending. I was especially pleased to meet Author Lisa Mangum as she signed my three recently purchased books written by her: The Hourglass Door, The Golden Spiral, and The Forgotten Locket. I found her to be very congenial, inviting, and I was surprised to learn that these three books are also now available in paperback which will be ideal for less expensive gifting. Wonderful! My meeting of this author was very enjoyable and I was happy to have met such an approachable, accomplished, award-winning author. I look forward to reading my autographed books! I'm very glad that my husband and I attended the Authorpalooza event and Author Lisa Mangum made the experience a very positive one. If you ever get the opportunity to attend a similar event, I recommend it! This year was the second year that the South Towne Barnes and Noble hosted the event, and I suspect that we can easily anticipate seeing it again in the coming years. Be on the watch for this!
MANUSCRIPT UPDATE - YES, I am continuing to work on my manuscript for MIDNIGHT on the EMERALD COAST . I am currently working on rewrites/revisions prior to submitting it to my editor. It's going well. In fact, from recent feedback received from members of the Brigham City Writers chapter of the League of Utah Writers, I made a major decision to eliminate the prologue. Critiques can sometimes be painful, but the feedback from my chapter group was extremely valuable; this propelled me to consider a new avenue for sporadically disseminating valuable information in a captivating and interesting way throughout the novel. I have created a new character who will (with purpose) deliver the information previously contained in the prologue and she will play a vital role in moving the story along. Additionally, the character can carry over into the other volumes within The Case Files of the Salt Lake Ladies' Detective Agency. Another bonus to this is the dicovery that this new character also has the ability to spin off another series of books on her own merit!
Another thing that I am happy to report on is the fact that I am collaborating with a career experienced female private investigator and she has agreed to be my professional consultant throughout my female detective book series. Her actual field experience in crime scene investigation, being an evidence custodian and expert court witness, conducting background investigations, working with law enforcement, and owning her own independent private detective agency is of tremendous value as I insure credibility with each of the books in the collection. I will "introduce" her to my website followers in the future.
FORECAST - As we approach the November/December months, look for my next blog "Thanks and Giving" and "Christmas With A Cause". Until then, THANK YOU for your support in advocacy for literacy through life-long reading and writing. SEE YOU AROUND THE BOOKSHELF!