Saturday, December 31, 2011

The Mayans Made a Calendar

By Keith N Fisher

Today is the last day. At Midnight, 2011 becomes history. 2012 promises to be an unusual year. Depending on who you talk to, and which method you follow, it’s the end of the Mayan calendar, which means the end of the world???? Some people claim the ancient Mayans made a calendar that ends in December of 2012. So naturally it’s a forecast, right?

Okay, each year, I get a new wall calendar with only twelve months. If we follow the above logic, then the world should end each year. Instead, we print a new calendar and get on with our lives. I guess we could assume the calendar maker knows something, and we should crawl into a hole to wait out the destruction.

Yes, I’m being facetious, but when He gave signs and clues about his second coming, Jesus said, “Know man knoweth the hour.” According to scripture, there are dozens of major events that must happen before the end comes. All of those things will take a little time, so maybe the Mayans weren’t predicting anything. Then, again . . .

Also, in 2012, there will be another US Presidential election, how many of you are already getting tired of the posturing? Like with Christmas music, I get so tired of it, by the time the big event comes, I just want it to be over. I get sick of dreaming of a white Christmas. There must be hundreds of different people who sing, the weather outside is frightful, but the fire is so delightful . . . well, you get the picture.

In 2012, the public accusations will rise to a new low. I’m already sick of politicians who continue to blame the other guy for the state of the country. Each side has an agenda and they try to make us believe the other side won’t work with them. I’m thoroughly fed up with selective memory and apparent hypocrisy. With all the, my way or the highway, maybe the Mayans were right?

So here we sit on the last day of sanity, on the edge of a big year, with financial gurus forecasting devastation. I find it interesting, that it was the financial institutions that got us into the mess we find ourselves in currently.

Now, before you think I’m preaching gloom and doom, let me tell you a story. On New Years Eve 1999 I stood in a discount club warehouse and watched all the people pushing trolleys loaded with canned goods and emergency supplies. I wondered why, if they were worried, they hadn’t prepared sooner. There was a threat that the computers in the world might shut down with the change of the century. Since computer clocks started in the nineteen eighties, the experts wondered how the systems would interpret any date without nineteen hundred something in it.

In the weeks that followed, I saw ads everywhere. People wanted to sell their emergency supplies. The catastrophe didn’t happen and they were trying to recoup their losses.

It’s true that stuff happens. Sometimes it doesn’t, but Jesus said,
Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

Trust in him. Live your life. Be happy, and be at peace. Connie posted a blog this week and talked about setting her writing goals. I plan to do that, because, hectic or not, 2012 is the year several of my books will see the light of day.

May you accomplish all your writing goals this year and may you find peace. Good luck with your writing---see you next week---unless, of course, the end comes.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

It's Time

by Cheri Chesley

This will be my last post here at the "Blogck." Don't worry, I'll still be around--stalking, commenting, whatever--but I will no longer be a regular contributor.

My life has taken a few interesting turns in 2011, one of them being a cross-country move. You'd be surprised how many things are restructured when you move 1200 miles. Or maybe you wouldn't be. :) Obviously, I had to let go of my babysitting job. And while it's not necessary for me to get another job here, if I do we can have our house paid off in less than 3 years. That is a grand incentive.

It's difficult to let go of the writing time I have now while the kids are in school, because if I get this new job it will be during those hours. I long to be this prolific writer who publishes a few books a year--and the ideas in my head would support that--but, like everyone else, I have to be practical too. Another bonus about this move is that my husband's hours have drastically changed. He now has a job with a rotating schedule, where he works the same hours a day (a day job, no less!) but never works more than 3 days in a row. This means he has every other weekend off, and rotating days off during the week. On the days he's home, I can get a couple hours of writing time in and he can manage the kids.

Unfortunately, my blogging has become a problem. Not only does it satisfy that instant, urgent need to write, but it takes up a lot of my time. So, I had to make a few cuts. Which is probably a good thing, since I was running really low on topics. :)

I've truly appreciated my time here, and I'm so glad for the opportunity to participate with the fantastic people associated with this blog. See you on the flip side!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Goals

by C. LaRene Hall

As most of you know, goal setting has always been a big deal to me, so it is logical to do that prior to a new year. Since Sunday will be the new year I do need to set my goals now.

1. Develop my talents
Writing - Write something every day. I have sure been neglecting this, but know I have to do better this coming year.


Music - I bought a new keyboard so I am hoping to learn to play it this coming year. I have all the equipment - book and keyboard, so now I just need to do it.



Music - Learn to conduct a choir. There is a long story connected to this goal, and since it is forced upon me, I may as well do it willingly.

2. Read my scriptures every day. I always set this goal, but I don't always do the every day thing. I usually do catch up on Sunday. This year I am going to try to do better. Catch up works, because I did complete reading the New Testament this year, but it would have been better if I had done it daily.


That is all the goals I am going to set for this New Year. Those two things are going to keep me very busy since I still work 6 hours a day.

Hope each of you take time to set your own personal goals.

HAVE A HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

The Holiday Hustle

By Keith N Fisher

I havent filled my list. Well, the truth is I never made one. My wife went out on Black Friday and came up empty handed. She has a new plan for next year, though. She’s going to eat Thanksgiving dinner in the line in front of the store.

She knows what she wants to buy before she shops. Me, on the other hand . . .
My daughter and I went shopping to find her mother a Christmas present the other day. Neither of us could think of a suitable gift. Just goes to show where our minds have been.

I’ve been too caught up in the day to day. The holiday hustle and service, has taken a back seat. Then, there was this guy at work . . .

One of my customers came in talking about the Idaho lottery. He said several of his friends had chipped in, and he was on his way to buy tickets. He asked me what I would do if I won. I told him I don’t gamble, but I remember hearing about the employees of a construction company doing what he was doing. They won big money.

To answer his question, I wasn’t sure what I’d do with the money if I won, but the group I’d heard about kept working and used their winnings as a hedge against inflation.

The conversation got me thinking and I surprised myself. I told my friend I would keep working and start a foundation to give anonymous gifts to needy families. I assure you I’m not that service minded, but in my heart of hearts, I knew it would be the right thing to do. I think it’s what Jesus would do.

Then, the thought occurred, that it’s easy to make that kind of decision with a hypothetical winning lottery ticket in hand. The true nature of my thoughts, while holding a stack of cash, might be entirely different. Would I pay off the mortgage? Spoil my daughter? Fix up the house?

Of course, there are many loose ends I need to tie up, but I like to think I would also help others.

After coming to that realization, I thought of all the past Christmas’ when giving was paramount in my mind. Christmas in the mission field comes to mind. The first ten years of marriage does also. There were times in my life when my heart was in the right place. So, where is my heart now?

Losing jobs and reinventing myself while promoting my writing career has left me somewhat, self-centered, I think. With all of that self-promotion, it’s hard to remember others. Yeah, it’s an excuse, but it helps me justify my actions. I missed two opportunities for service this week. I could’ve been there, but I got lost in the holiday hustle.

It’s true, life is simple in retrospect, but I’ve decided to change. I really would love my job to be a choice, instead of a necessity. To be able to help others, and spend quality time with my family. So, I’m taking Jacob’s advice from The Book of Mormon,

17 Think of your "brethren like unto yourselves, and be familiar with all and free with your substance, that 'they may be rich like unto you.
18 But "before ye seek for riches, seek ye for the 'kingdom of God.
19 And after ye have obtained a hope in Christ ye shall obtain riches, if ye seek them; and ye will seek them for the intent to "do good-to clothe the naked, and to feed the hungry, and to liberate the captive, and administer relief to the sick and the afflicted. Jacob 2:17-19
pasted verbatim

Just think about what would happen if I substituted the words writing success, for the word riches.

I’m posting this on Christmas Eve. Later on, I’ll be working. Like last year, I’ll come home from work, wake my family, and see what Santa left under our tree. Then, before church, I’ll take a short nap and plot my strategy for serving others. In the mean time, here’s a cute little video you might enjoy.

Merry Christmas and good luck with your writing---see you next week.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Merry Christmas

by G.Parker

As everyone knows that I suffer from Swiss Cheese brain, no one will be surprised that I forgot to post my normal blog yesterday. Keith was probably on the ball and posted today...but I wanted to add my two cents...

I hope everyone has a marvelous Christmas day and New Years. I hope that your desire to make the world a better place through writing is strengthened, and that you will commit to making the new year one filled with your words.

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Decisions

by C. LaRene Hall

Sorry I didn't post yesterday. I forgot that my computer at home is giving me problems when it comes to posting my blog. When I finally had time to blog I couldn't because the equipment wouldn't work.

Decisions in the month of December gets really crazy. I had a difficult time this week trying to juggle all the concerts for grandchildren. With three of them performing at the same time, but at different locations, it was impossible. My one granddaughter is very active in musical activities, and I was grateful that I had already attended one of her choir concerts earlier this year. I had also attended the play that she performed in. That still wasn't easy to have to tell her, sorry, but I just can't come this time to either of your performances. One grandson performed in the percussion band on Tuesday night and the other one performed in his percussion band on Wednesday night. I had not attended any of their performances prior to this week.

I also find decision making hard when it comes to my writing. I guess that is why I have so many stories started. I just can't make up my mind. Some days I feel like writing on this story and another day I would rather work on a different one. My computer is full of stories that I have yet to complete. Are the rest of you like that? Do you stick to one story until it is finished or do you skip abround like I do?

Have a great Christmas. Isn't this time of the year fun?

Tis the Season

by Cheri Chesley

Seeing as it's nearly Christmas, and we are writers, I've chosen to share a poem with you that I wrote some years ago. It's since been put to music by a talented young man, who gave me an electronic copy I'm not smart enough to share here. :)

But I hope you enjoy the poem in its simplicity, nonetheless. Merry Christmas.

"Jesus Child"

The star shone high and bright,
in the sky above our heads.
We tried to tend our flocks,
but followed it instead.
How far it led us, we know not.
Nor do we really care.
For we'd have trod a thousand steps
to see who we saw there.
He was so small, this Son of God,
an infant child who lay
in a manger, with Mother dear
on a bed of hay.
His eyes, so bright, just like the star
that shone in Heaven above,
looked on us with approval
as we gazed at him in awe.
Others came, but we were first
this sweet child here to see.
And we knew then, deep in our hearts
our Savior he would be.

December 19, 1994

Saturday, December 17, 2011

And the Winner is . . .

By Keith N Fisher

I took everyone who commented, those who answered the questions got in twice. I put all the names in Excell, and randomized them. The winner is Melanie Goldmund. Please contact me at uvdutch57 at yahoo with your address so I can get your chocolate bar to you.

To all of you wonderful people, who offered suggestions for the blog, thank you. Also, thanks, to all who read and didn’t comment. I know there are many.

Now, let’s talk about writing. Have you ever been distracted? How many times have you set down to write and nothing comes to mind? I seem to be going through one of those times when everything I write, sucks. I finished Starcrossed, left Rebecca in a happy place, after recovering from alcoholism and a self centered existence. Then I searched through my list of projects, trying to find one that felt good to me.

I worked for a while on my SCI-FI dystopian, novel about a woman who gets trapped in circumstances beyond her control. Then, I went back to a novel about a woman who gets caught up in a mystery. The suspense is killing me. As the genre implies, there must be suspense on almost every page. I can’t let the action wane or my reader will stop reading.

To make matters worse I suddenly realized the plot is similar to, The Net, a movie with Sandra Bullock. I went back to change things and make it my own story, but it was discouraging.

Going back into my project file, I opened a manuscript I wrote several years ago. I looked for ways to improve the writing and tighten the plot, but I couldn’t get excited about it either. Through all this, computer chess has elevated itself in my list of priorities, and my critique group has been on hiatus.

What do you do when this happens to you? I got lucky and took my laptop while playing taxi driver the other day. During the down time while I waited for school to end, I opened my story, ignored what I’d written before, and moved ahead with it. I’ll fix the other parts latter, but for now, I’m writing.

Writing suspense is still hard, but moving forward worked for me, what works for you?

Good luck with your writing---see you next week.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Traditions

by G.Parker

This time of year is full of traditions.  We have traditions that have been handed down for generations, and traditions that are started as new couples with young families.  When two people get married, it's usually a blend of family traditions in their home.  When we got married, my hubby and I had very different views on what happened on Christmas day, how stockings were hung and what was done during the holidays.  We finally agreed to alternate some things, but it turned out that we never put the stockings up till Christmas Eve (sigh) and there is no Christmas music played before Thanksgiving.  I'm sure there's many traditions like that in your home.  There are lots of traditions that are social ones, and religious ones and business.

Some of traditions are worth keeping.  They enrich the lives of those participating as well as give our children something lasting and concrete to hang onto.  Traditions are usually worth explaining at that point.  Like why we have Christmas trees and celebrate Christmas in December instead of April.

There are some traditions though, that need some examining.  And there are a few that have come under the microscope lately, and think change is afoot.  I'm talking about traditional publishing.  Used to be if you wanted to get something published, you went to a representative of that publishing house and presented your work.  They liked it (or not) and then offered you a sum in advance (sometimes) to publish and everyone hoped it would do well and sell enough to make money.  Then the average person started to need an agent, because well, EVERYONE wants to be a writer.  Everyone has a story to tell and thinks what they have to say is worth reading.  That has caused a backlog of work for the publishing companies, and they turned to agents to represent the writers so that they could weed out those who weren't quite as good as they thought.

Then comes the internet and modern media.  Publishing becomes kind of an older model of doing business.  People are introduced to the ebook concept and the whole idea of publishing traditionally has come into question to the point where some publishing houses have started their own lines of ebooks.

Along with that you have the indie publishers...or in the old days, vanity publishing.  This was where and individual is turned down by a traditional publisher, decides to take matters into their own hands, and pay to have their work published and markets them themselves.  Back in the day (as a co-worker of mine likes to say) when someone published a book on their own, it was looked at as not worthy of reading because a publisher hadn't printed it.  They couldn't sell them in traditional book stores, and it was difficult to get a hold of one.  That is still an image that people are fighting because, unfortunately, a lot of books that are published by people on their own don't always have the editing and other checks going on before the work is published and they have lots of errors.  It's hard when you're doing all the work yourself.

I'm privileged to know a couple of individuals who have gone the independent publishing route, and their work is good enough the publisher should have grabbed them -- but didn't.  Their loss.

But my point in this, is that perhaps it's time to rethink the traditions regarding standard publishing.  There is such a whole new world opening out there with the internet and ebooks.  People can download information with the click of a button.  No longer does it take a whole lot of paper and ink and time to produce an article that perhaps will sell, perhaps not.

I'm not advocating that paper books stop being printed.  Personally, I like the feel of a book in my hand, the smell of the ink and the turning of the pages.  I haven't bought into the ebook market yet -- though that's a possibility, I'm sure.  But I do think that people shouldn't have to be as constrained as they were, so dependent on the way a publishing company worked.  It opens up a new opportunity for writers everywhere to really have a chance to get their work out there for people to read.

Just some food for thought.  Traditions.  What do you think?  Have a good weekend...

Thursday, December 15, 2011

The Best Gifts

(image courtesy of twentytwowords)

by Cheri Chesley

Christmas seems to be a time of year when we search for the "perfect" gift to give someone we love. Sometimes, though, those gifts come to you.

I have a friend, LAURA. We met in Tooele when I organized the Tooele chapter of the League of UT Writers. Laura is an aspiring author and a really intelligent lady. She also happens to be a fantastic editor.

She volunteered to look over my most recent manuscript for The Tyrant King before I sent it to the publisher in January. She emailed it back to me a couple days ago. Laura's never really edited for me before, but I know from mutual friends she's thorough and insightful. I admit, I was nervous. Hearing your baby isn't beautiful is hard, but I knew this is what I wanted. I needed to know what was wrong with the manuscript BEFORE sending it to the publisher. I really need this one to be as good as I can make it.

I am so grateful for the things she pointed out, grateful for the opportunity to make the story better than it was before. I consider that edit a wonderful Christmas gift. Thank you, Laura.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Books




by C. LaRene Hall

Christmas Eve is just around the corner (only 10 more days). Our family Christmas party was last Saturday. I always worry about the gifts I give to all the children and grandchildren. Will they like what I an giving them? They are all different ages - from almost 50 to only 4. What can you buy that everyone will like?

This year, like most years, I bought a family game, family movies, and books. I don't think you can go wrong with those items. At least in my family everyone loves games and movies. They have learned through the years that if they don't love books - oh well. I do and that's what I give.

Of course, picking out the perfect book for each indivdual can be difficult. This year I made it a little easier for some of the children because I bought them music books to go with the instruments they play. I try to stay close to each of the grandchildren so I know what their particular tastes in books are. One granddaughter even posted on facebook how much she liked her book she received from grandma.

A few years ago, when I felt more ambitious than this year, I wrote each grandchild their own story. Of course, you probably don't have time to write such a story this year unless your family is real small, but think about it for next year.

If your shopping isn't done this year, do think about how beneficial a good book would be for those you still need to purchase a gift for. I honestly don't think you can go wrong when you give a book.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

The Blog Giveaway

By Keith N Fisher

Because I’ve always assumed everyone loves free chocolate and as you can see, this is not a normal chocolate bar. Hershey’s makes the single size we give for Halloween, then there is the 1.55 oz. They make a big thick one next. After that is the big bar at 4.4 oz. At work, for Christmas, we sell a one-pound bar, and a five-pound bar. I decided to give away a one pound bar.

Since I was disappointed in the responses last week, and because I want the most for my fifteen-dollars, I’m going to extend the drawing for another week. Those who took the time to answer the questions last time, will get two entries in the drawing. Everyone else can get in the drawing by leaving a comment on this post.

What could be easier than that?

As for the answers to the contest:

After a considerable amount of discussion on a Yahoo Group Site, our blog went public with the first post on April 21, 2006, when Cindy Beck posted, What’s in a Name. We have used many graphics over the years but this was the first one made by Darvell. Then came others until we settled with the one we use today.

Of course you know the first bloggers were Heather Justesen, Connie Hall, Cindy Beck, Nichole Giles, Danyelle Ferguson, Wendy Elliot Gaynell Parker, And Karen Hoover. They were all members of Authors Incognito and got together from that group. The purpose was to use blogging as a hedge against writer’s block. Hence the name, Blogck. Darvell combined blog with block and the name stuck.

That was the quality of talent when in June of 2006, Danyelle left the blog and I answered an invitation. On June 24, I posted, Standing on the Precipice, and I’ve posted every week since.

Over the years, many bloggers have come and gone, but we’ve pretty much stuck to our stated purpose of helping writers know they aren’t alone. There are others who struggle with writing like they do. I want to thank all those writers who have moved on. Your service has provided encouragement, more than you know.

Currently, the list shows, Darvell, blogging on Tuesday, Connie, on Wednesday. Cheri, on Thursday. Gaynell, on Friday, and Karen Dupaix on Monday. Some of those writers are moving on, and we thank them for their service to all of us.

So, there you have a brief sketch. We are at a juncture with the blog and we need advice. We also wonder if we’re being helpful. Let us know, and until next week, when I announce the winner of the chocolate, good luck with your writing.







Friday, December 09, 2011

The Morning After

by G.Parker

Okay - so we've survived November and are into the second week of December.  Isn't that kind of like the morning after?  It's kind of like the day after Christmas, when the feelings of anti-climatic sink in.  (Of course for some, that happens within hours of opening presents...)  All the excitement is over and now you have to go back to normal.  It's one of the reasons I don't take my decorations down right away -- I want to cherish the memory and feeling as long as possible.

When you've finished a story, do you feel that way about it when you're done or do you wish you'd never set eyes on it and don't want to see it again for months?  That's usually where I sit.  I'm so finished with it I want to forget I ever wrote it.  I've heard that actually, it's a good thing to set it aside before you start editing because that will give you a fresher look on things.

It's always better to hand it out, say, "here, read this and get back to me in a month or so."  Then when they hand it back you're like, "wow, I wrote that?  It's dang good!"  And it will be.  Trust me.  ;)

Let me know what your editing routines are, I'd like to know.  Have a good weekend, and see you next time!

Thursday, December 08, 2011

What We're Grateful for

by Cheri Chesley

It's funny how life experiences can color our perspectives. I had an inkling of a "writerly" post for today, but last night something happened that will make this more of a spiritual post. This is more about the LDS than Writers in our blog's title.

One of the things I've had to get used to since our move to OK is that our new house has two antiquated gas heaters in the bathrooms. The other day I went to my husband and asked him to please show me how to light them so that we aren't always at the mercy of him being home to bring warmth to certain areas of the house. Mind you, I've had experience with gas stoves, gas ovens--including the kind I had to light myself. I'm not a wimp; I can do this.

Sometimes I try too hard.

Last night, I went to light the heater in our bathroom because it is the only thing that warms our bedroom. Except I stuck the lighter in too far, and, without thinking, pulled it out slowly to reach the gas. The gas had only a few seconds to pool right there, but that was enough.

Suddenly, all I see is a fireball billowing right at my face. I pull back and extinguish the lighter at the same time. In my peripheral vision, I can see flames and hear my hair burning. I stamp it out with my hands. Hair burns fast, but it's easy to put out. A high school friend who smoked taught me that.

I looked in the mirror to assess two things--one, was I "OUT", and two, how bad did I burn? Heavenly Father gave me a gift, or talent, if you want to view it that way, in that I never panic in the moment of crisis. Many of us have this; I'm so grateful for maintaining my presence of mind in critical moments. We've all seen the viral videos of people absolutely taken by panic when they need to take action. We usually laugh, as is the video's intent.

There is extensive damage to my hair, of course only in the front because I was leaning over the heater while attempting to light it. I was growing out my bangs. A trip to the salon today will determine if that's still going to happen. My eyebrows are slightly singed, as are my eyelashes.

My eyelashes. Less than half an inch from my eyes. My husband stares at me a bit longer than necessary. "What?" I ask, thinking the singed and burned hair must look stupid. "I'm so glad you didn't lose your eyes," he says.

It didn't take long to feel profound gratitude to my Heavenly Father that things were not significantly worse. I don't even have a "sunburn." And we're taking a trip to the salon today, not the doctor's office. We didn't spend last night in the ER. My plans to write this December have not been put on hold.

And I do still have most of my hair.

I get a little tingly when I think of that moment, when the fireball was coming right at me. I know in that moment I was being protected. I felt it. Were there hands on my shoulders, pulling me back? I can't say for certain, but I will tell you that was the most crowded tiny bathroom I've ever been alone in.

Thank you, Father, for looking out for me when I wasn't. I really appreciate it.

And I told my husband, from now on, lighting the heaters is HIS job. ;)

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

NaNoWriMo in November



by C. LaRene Hall

I received one of these certificates also.

For most writers the month of November is busier than usual. I started my month out by going to a writers retreat. This is the second time I’ve gone on such a retreat, but it was the first time that I went with this particular group. It was a large group, and the house was huge. I spent most of my time inside a theater room, lounging in a recliner that had a cup holder. I curled up in a blanket with my laptop and typed away. In the two full days, and two part days I wrote more than 20,000 words. I wish it had been more because that left more than half the words still to be typed.

I did finish before the end of the month, but there were a few days I wondered if I would really meet my goal. There were times that I just wanted to quit writing and do something else. Of course, those who know me know that I am not a quitter. If I say I will do something I will.

This is the third time that I have completed NaNoWriMo. There has been a year between each of those accomplishments so I think that means that I’ll sit next year out.

At the retreat I learned many things and the one I most want to share is about the sprints. Before this I kept getting emails telling me that so and so was going to sprint and that I should join them. I had no idea what they were talking about until I saw it in action. I watched several times before I got brave enough to participate.

I only did it once and couldn’t believe what I accomplished in that 20 minutes. Words flew onto my paper that I don’t think my brain had ever thought before. I ended up writing a romance scene (something I had never done before) and a gypsy scene. Since that one small experience I have expanded my story to include many things that I never would have thought about before.

How many of you writers have ever participated in NaNoWriMo before? How many of you did it this year? Will you do it again?

I know I will participate again, because it gives me another story to work on. Yes, most of the stuff I wrote will be deleted, but the story idea is still there and many of the scenes will probably not be touched. I really do write well when I am under pressure.

As a writer, I find that I really do waste a lot of time. I spend time thinking about writing instead of writing. Are you that way?

See you next week.

Saturday, December 03, 2011

LDS Writer’s Blogck Content Contest, and a Quick Thought

By Keith N Fisher

Good morning boys and girls, today, we are going to have a contest. Its really an open book test, with the chance to win a one-pound Hersey bar. All you have to do is post your answers to some trivia questions, and you will be entered in the drawing for the chocolate.

First question:
1. LDS Writer’s Blogck went online when?
2. Who were the first bloggers?
3. What writers group did our blog come from?
4. What was the title of the first post, and who posted it?
5. If you found out the answer to number 4, what does the name of this blog stand for?
On a personal note, I joined this blog later. For question number six, what day was my first post, and which blogger did I replace?

While you’re posting comments, please add your recommendations; should we change our format? What subjects would you like to read about?

The answers to the questions and many others can be found on the blog. Remember to post your answers in the comments section. The drawing will be held in a week and I’ll post the results here. Good luck in the drawing, and keep writing.

Now, just a quick thought.

My friend posted a fun little thing on Facebook the other day. Some of you will get a kick out of it. I found it interesting to note, however, that all of the time and labor saving devices we have today were invented by my generation. Perhaps we are to blame, but would you really want to go back to the old ways?

Roger “B” Heilman posted,

In the line at the store, the cashier told an older woman that she should bring her own grocery bags because plastic bags weren't good for the environment.

The woman apologized to him and explained, "We didn't have the green thing back in my day."

The clerk responded, "That's our problem today. Your generation did not care enough to save our environment."

He was right -- our generation didn't have the green thing in its day.

Back then, we returned milk bottles, soda bottles and beer bottles to the store. The store sent them back to the plant to be washed and sterilized and refilled, so it could use the same bottles over and over. So they really were recycled. But we didn't have the green thing back in our day.

We walked up stairs, because we didn't have an escalator in every store and office building. We walked to the grocery store and didn't climb into a 300-horsepower machine every time we had to go two blocks. But she was right. We didn't have the green thing in our day.

Back then, we washed the baby's diapers because we didn't have the disposable kind. We dried clothes on a line, not in an energy-gobbling machine burning up 220 volts -- wind and solar power really did dry the clothes. Kids got hand-me-down clothes from their brothers or sisters, not always brand-new clothing. But that old lady is right; we didn't have the green thing back in our day.

Back then, we had one TV, or radio, in the house -- not a TV in every room. And the TV had a small screen the size of a handkerchief (remember them?), not a screen the size of the state of Montana . In the kitchen, we blended and stirred by hand because we didn't have electric machines to do everything for us. When we packaged a fragile item to send in the mail, we used a wadded up old newspaper to cushion it, not Styrofoam or plastic bubble wrap. Back then, we didn't fire up an engine and burn gasoline just to cut the lawn. We used a push mower that ran on human power. We exercised by working so we didn't need to go to a health club to run on treadmills that operate on electricity. But she's right; we didn't have the green thing back then.

We drank from a fountain when we were thirsty instead of using a cup or a plastic bottle every time we had a drink of water. We refilled writing pens with ink instead of buying a new pen, and we replaced the razor blades in a razor instead of throwing away the whole razor just because the blade got dull. But we didn't have the green thing back then.

Back then, people took the streetcar or a bus and kids rode their bikes to school or walked instead of turning their moms into a 24-hour taxi service. We had one electrical outlet in a room, not an entire bank of sockets to power a dozen appliances. And we didn't need a computerized gadget to receive a signal beamed from satellites 2,000 miles out in space in order to find the nearest pizza joint.

But isn't it sad the current generation laments how wasteful we old folks were just because we didn't have the green thing back then?


Good luck with your writing---see you next week.

Friday, December 02, 2011

Well...Novembers Gone, Decembers Here -- Wind has finally subsided

by G.Parker

Well...the craziness of Nanowrimo is over, and the almost equally crazy month of December is upon us.  The weather has been equally crazy, as we just went through an East Wind that decided to uproot as many trees as possible in our neighborhood.  My dad has a tree on his house that smashed his hot tub, and our church lost most of it's trees and shingles off the roof.  I felt like asking if it was March and not December...Hopefully if you live in Utah or California you've survived without too much damage.

I hope November was a good month for you - that you reached your goal and became an official Nano winner.  I did...


I have to say, it seemed easier this year than any year previous, which is nice.  Now I take a small break during December and then in January, it's editing time!!  I promised my hubby that I would get some items submitted this next year, so in order for that to happen, I need to do a bunch of editing.

How do you mix your editing with your writing?  Do you focus only on writing one day and editing the next?  Do you do it hour by hour?  I'd be interested on how you manage to keep current with writing and current with editing.  

Editing is the bane of my life.  I love writing new stuff...I HATE having to rework or rewrite it.  Editing always takes so much time, makes my brain work harder and me crankier.  sigh.  

Hopefully everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving, and are all set for the wonderful Christmas season.  Our sort of annual ward Christmas party that I was SOOO looking forward to tonight had to be cancelled due to the damage of the wind (or perhaps just the wind, who knows).  I'm trying not to be depressed and look on it as a positive thing -- I didn't have to come up with a table decoration as I'd signed up for.

What do you look forward to this Christmas season?  I'd like to hear.  Are you going to be writing or taking a break?  Remember, I want to know how you handle your editing and writing.  Have a good weekend! 

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Did you Miss Me?

by Cheri Chesley

You may have noticed, but I chose NOT to post on Thanksgiving. How many people were really trolling the internet on feasting day looking for writing advice, after all? I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday. We hosted, and had 19 people. It's probably good that we hosted since we have the largest house in the family (in the area). And Bryan's mom was able to come down from the rest home for a couple of hours and join the fun. Sweet lady. Bryan took the kids down to see her later that day, and she told him she didn't get a chance to see me or say hi, but that he was NOT to give me any guilt about it. Gotta love her. :)

Seeing as it's Dec 1, this post could go several places. I didn't NaNo this year, so we won't talk about who met their goals. I edited instead, which in truth was my own little marathon. Technically, I'm ready to resubmit The Tyrant King to my editor. It's taken a lot of extra time, but the story has only benefited. I really think it's the best thing I've done yet.

I may be the only one, but I find editing a tricky process. Certainly there are formulas you can follow, but only the writer can decide when the book is "ready." Some of us have issues with that. In truth, I can edit a single story for years, constantly finding new ways to improve it until I feel it's perfect, but what do I gain from that? There is something to be said for throwing that near perfect story out to the public and seeing what happens.

More growth has come for me as a writer from the process of publishing The Peasant Queen than any of the years I took editing the thing. I won't deny it's been, at times, sort of a trial by fire. People are not always kind in their reviews, and some of them have stung. But the personal growth I've experienced has resulted in a better story the second time around. It's been wonderful.

Perhaps, when I've published my 20th book, I may feel that sense of having written the "perfect" novel. :)

Keep on writing!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

An Empty Newsletter

By Keith N Fisher

Well, I don’t feel any happier, but I do have a new appreciation of all the blessings I’ve been given. Last week I talked about counting blessings as a way to happiness. I also said I would spend thanksgiving counting mine.

It was a wonderful activity that brought insights and peace. How many of you have been grateful for air to breathe? We had dinner at my brother’s and I spent much of that time reminiscing about my childhood. You see my brother owns a house where the barn used to be, when I was three years old and we lived down there.

The small bungalow my parents rented still exists, but it was moved and sits on blocks in a field behind the landlord’s house.

I remember playing in the water puddles that formed in the road after a rainstorm. I remember so much more, but I don’t want to bore you.

I’ve finished the book I was working on and started on another. I now have one at the publisher and two in editing. This, latest, story wants to be told, but its not anxious to give up the secrets. I’m sweating over every word, trying to get it right.

I also started our annual family newsletter this week. What a daunting task it has become. Do any of you write seasonal greetings? Our newsletter used to be easy. Our lives were full of activities, but as the economy tanked, and funds became hard to scrape up, activities have tapered off.

I get a kick out of other newsletters I read. Some of them, I’m convinced, are propaganda sheets, designed to make me feel guilty about my less than, perfect life. I marvel at how we all become spin doctors, tweeking the truth to make it sound better. This year, I’m afraid I’ll end up saying, “nothing happened last year”.

There are, however, a few pictures I can use. My wife continues to get thinner and I’ve noticed a weight loss on myself. Hey, I just thought of some things I can write. Perhaps with a little spin . . .

Good luck with your writing---see you next week.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Week 4

by G.Parker

Okay - the countdown is coming to an end, and those of you who haven't gotten 30,000 words yet are probably sweating and working those fingers to the bone.

I'm not -- lol.  I actually met my goal on Tuesday!  But, I'm determined to finish the story, so I still have some typing to go.  I'm at 54,000 words, so I could end up closer to 60,000.

Hopefully you all got rested over Thanksgiving, enjoyed wonderful food, lots of company and plenty of distractions.  Now you should be all ready to hit the keys and get those word counts up and finish out the month with a bang!  There are still some write-ins going on in various parts of the country, still lots of encouragement and motivation being tossed out.

Grab those pumpkin pies, a fork and head over to your keyboard, sit down and get typing!  (do I sound like a drill sargent now?)

Type, 2, 3, 4 -- Type!

You can do it.!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Thanks

By Keith N Fisher

Hymn number 241 in the Mormon Hymnbook, caught my eye the other day. I’ve probably sang that hymn thousands of times over the years, but I finally got the point recently, and I thought you might benefit.

The advice in, Count Your Blessings, is clear. If we are burdened with troubles there is freedom. All we need to do is, count our blessings. Name them one by one. Count our many blessings see what God hath done.

According to the song, there are myriad things God has done for us and if we honestly start counting those things, how can we feel anything but grateful? Then with gratitude in our hearts, our troubles seem to morph into manageable annoyances.

That is the promise---happiness through gratitude. Are you willing to give it a try?

In light of the impending holiday, I thought it would be a good time to try the experiment. Each year, we greet our friends with a cheerful “Happy Thanksgiving", and rush to continue our preparations of the great meal. Many people look forward to watching sports on TV. Most of us can’t wait to get reacquainted with relatives. Others wish those relatives would stay away. How many of us actually use the day for what it was intended. How many of us take time to recognize God’s part in our lives?

When I think of my childhood and teenage years, I have much to be thankful for. I realize the many times God saved me. There were times when He, alone, stood between me and impending doom. As I grew older, He helped me in subtle ways. So, I plan to take time on the holiday, tuck my tail between my legs, and give credit where credit is due. I bet I will run out of day before I run out of blessings to count. Either way, I look forward to the promise in the song.

I hope your holiday will be full of family love and good food. I also hope you will take a moment and remember He, who made it all possible.

Good Luck with your writing---see you next week.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Week 3

by G.Parker

I've discovered the biggest thing you want to remember about NaNo is not to compare yourself with others. Unless that's a good way for you to be motivated, you need to remember that what is an amazing count for you is going to be nothing for someone else.

I will get to a certain level, only to notice that someone has already reached 50,000 words. My first thought is that they must not have a life! I mean, how can you possibly write that much in such a short period of time when you have people to take care of, a job to go to, and a home to maintain? It just doesn't seem humanly possible. Of course, I write more and more each year, so perhaps it's just a case of getting the mind going and the fingers moving.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Moving On

by Cheri Chesley

Last week, about this time, I finished my edits on The Tyrant King. While I wait to hear back from my beta readers about what changes I should make before sending it back to my publisher, I've gotten to sit back and wait for my brain to decide which story to work on next.

It was no contest, really. I just fought it for a bit.

I feel like I SHOULD be working on the third and final installment of The Peasant Queen trilogy. I've started the draft, met my cast of characters, introduced the greatest horse (character based on a real horse) to fiction, and transcribed ALL of my handwritten work to computer.

But that's not going to happen right now.

Consequences is a contemporary YA "coming of age" (though I hate that term) about how, sometimes, we aren't the ones most affected by the consequences of our actions. Sometimes those most affected are people we love dearly, and wouldn't hurt for the world--except we did.

The timely thing here is that Chloe's story is one I originally drafted during a NaNo (National Novel Writing Month--November) a few years ago. It's the story that my brain is drawn to whenever my brain goes "dormant" from fantasy.

It's a story near and dear to my heart, drawn largely from personal experience but placed in a completely fictional situation.

It's a story about growing up.

It's a story about facing your past.

It's a story about reshaping relationships.

And it never fails to make me cry.

It's NOT a conversion story, though it deals largely with the LDS beliefs of forgiveness and love, acceptance without condoning. My character never has that moment where she feels the need to be baptized, but she does come to understand more about her father's church.

It's NOT a romance. Dealing with the mess her life has become, Chloe has no time for boys.

It's my hope to find a publisher for Consequences after the New Year. I'll keep you posted.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Typing

By Keith N Fisher

Like most of those in my generation, I took a typing class in junior high. I recall sitting behind a typewriter, trying to find the “D”. We had a chart on the wall that showed the placement of all the keys, but we weren’t supposed to look at it. I had to close my eyes and try to remember.

I wondered why the letters weren’t just placed in order. You know start at the top with “A” and move down the keyboard until you find “Z”. It didn’t make any sense.

When I found out, however, why the keys were placed like they are, I nodded my head and understood. After the invention of the inline typewriter, proficiency of the users caused a problem. The type bars would often get tangled on the backstroke with the following bar. To avoid the problem of jammed keys the inventors mixed up the keyboard to slow down the typists.

Having spent hours typing on an old manual typewriter, I can understand. Even with the confusing placement, my keys often got tangled with each other. Now, after all these years, I’m vaguely familiar with the keyboard. I also use a computer that reacts to each stroke in quicker time than even my mind can function. I don’t need the “A” in the top left corner, because I’m used to having the “Q” up there.

I still wonder if an inline placement could help though, and some keyboards are laid out that way, but it’s okay. You see, when I’m composing off the top of my head, as if I were speaking, I write pretty fast. My fingers become an extension of my mind and words flow fast enough for me.

On the other hand, I’ve taken typing tests that made me feel like a ninth-grader again. I’m slower than glacial ice. Instead of typing word for word from the test sheet, I tend to read the thing, take time to comprehend it, then type what it said. Sometimes, I even have to visualize the chart to remember the keyboard placement. Well, I hate timed tests anyway.

Now, as if to add insult to injury, designers keep placing the keys closer together. Laptops are getting smaller. We have netbooks that seem to be made for a four-year old typist, or one-handed users. My big fingers feel cramped, and I tend to type the wrong letter. Editing, while writing, seems to be the wave of the future for me. Maybe I should adopt the two-thumb texting, method of writing.

Or maybe, I need to put my fingers on a diet. Perhaps, Mrs. Woodward standing over me with a stopwatch, making sure my eyes never stray to the chart on the wall. Of course in those days, the keys were almost an inch apart. If you wanted to type a letter, you had to mean it. Therefore, your finger muscles had to be strong.

Later, with electric typewriters, they eliminated the need to press hard, but the keys were sensitive. If the user held a finger down too long, the letter would appear more than once. I guess that’s still possible with computers, but the timing has been perfected to prevent accidental doubles.

Yes, writing is not for the faint of heart. If it’s any consolation, most of the classical writers we admire didn’t type. I think I’ll stick to writing from the top of my head, and try to avoid typing tests.

Good luck with your writing—see you next week.


Friday, November 11, 2011

Week 2!

by G.Parker

Well, it's week 2 and your story should be about a quarter through.  You might be running into your first case of writer's block.  It happens about now, when you're going along with the initial plot outline, and then -- bang -- and suddenly you're thinking "where was I going with this??"

Sigh.

Believe me, because that's where I'm at right now.  I wrote 500 words this morning of pure...nothing.  Ugh.  At least I'm ahead of where I was last year.  My count right now is 29,610 words.  I'm pretty proud of myself, but it's now coming back to bite me.

So, where are you with your efforts?  Are you still going strong?  Have you joined a writing group and sat and written with them?  I was supposed to go to one last night, but was unable to get there.  I get to try another write-in on Tuesday, so I'm looking forward to being way productive then.

So - off I go to get some writing in.  Good luck to all of you, and keep up the word counts!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

What is a Book Bomb?

by Cheri Chesley


I received an email last night asking people to participate in a Book Bomb for Rob Wells' Variant. Had to ask myself, What the heck is a Book Bomb? I mean, isn't "bomb" a bad thing?

Consider me educated. You can click HERE for better details, but, essentially, Rob wrote a fantastic book, and while it's circulating among the masses through HarperCollins he's had some personal setbacks. Like being diagnosed with a panic disorder that has cost him his job. You can check out what he has to say about that HERE.

And here's the part where we all get to help. A Book Bomb is where we pick a day to buy one book, and spread the word as much as possible to as many people as possible so they can also buy a copy of the book that day. Today is Variant's day--November 10, 2011. I've bought my copy, recommended it to friends, and am going to head up to the bookstore later (the only bookstore within 40 miles, mind you) and pick up a copy for my kids' school. That I'm using my own income from selling my books to do this should demonstrate how passionately I feel about helping Rob out.

You're not losing out, here. You actually get to spend money to help someone and get a book out of it. A great book, no less.

Here are the links to purchase Variant for your KINDLE or NOOK devices, or you can run out to your local bookstore for the hard cover. AMAZON has a great price if you want it shipped to you, but they've got less than 20 in stock so you might want to hurry. :)

Saturday, November 05, 2011

Ghosts, Ghouls, Kim Karshian, and a Great Story

By Keith N Fisher

It’s been a couple of years since I wrote about Halloween. It’s about time, don’t you think? By tradition each year, I sit on my front porch in a festive mood and pass out the offerings. Life is great when the holiday falls on a warm night, but I recall several stormy nights when I would’ve stood in bed if it wasn’t for our daughter’s desire for candy.

When she was younger, we made the mistake of putting her down for a nap before going out, then wondered why she didn’t seem to care. I recently watched the videos and realized she was sleep-walking at the time.

Out of self-defense against those who would steal the whole bowl of candy we left while we went around the neighborhood, I began to stay home. The porch sitting tradition started when I got tired of standing up every five minutes to answer the door. I dressed up a few times, but it scared some of the children. Now, I remain my usual scary self, and I can’t remove my mask.

One year, I tried to read one of the Harry Potter books, but there were too many interruptions. I have tried to write, with the same results. This year, I didn’t try, although I did have my laptop charging on the bistro table. I took pictures, chatted, and philosophized about the different aspects of the holiday.

Also, this year, since our daughter graduated from supervised trick or treating, my wife joined me on the porch. My mother even stopped over.

I went to work later on, that night, and watched the kids who came into the store. Some were dressed in costumes, some weren’t. I remembered some of the teenage antics I played on Halloween, and marveled at the changes in the world.

I wished my daughter could’ve grown up when I did. When neighbors were kind, and they took care of each other’s children. It was a time when we didn’t worry about the dangers kids face today. Parents didn’t need to go trick or treating, but they still worried.

While working, I passed the tabloid magazine rack and read one of the headlines about Kim Kardashian. Now, there is a scary Halloween character for you. Except she never removes the mask. The way I heard it, she staged a wedding & marriage as a publicity stunt and now, after seventy-two days, she’s in the process of filing for divorce. Talk about a circus act. Using smoke and mirrors she has proven she’d do almost anything for attention. It’s becoming hard to tell the difference between fantasy and reality these days. Reality seems to be whatever a press agent says it is.

Later, the radio played I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing, by Stephen Tyler and Aerosmith. The song reminded me of a great story. I heard on television.

Back in the seventies, A model named Bebe Buell, hung out with rock stars. She became involved with Todd Rundgren, a famous lead guitarist and songwriter. After a while, she broke up with him and started hanging out with Steven Tyler of the band Aerosmith. That relationship was short lived, however, because Steven’s drug abuse scared Bebe and she went back to Todd.

Soon afterward, Bebe had a baby girl and named her Liv Rundgren. They were a family who socialized with Rock Stars and show people.

When Liv started to grow up, she noticed a resemblance between her and Steven Tyler’s daughter Mia. Now there are two different stories here, but they agree that at some point, Liv confronted Bebe about it and was told the truth. Bebe didn’t know for sure, but Steven was probably her birth father. At twelve, Liv took Steven’s stage name and became, Liv Rundgren Tyler. She has two dads and calls Todd her spiritual dad.

Later, Liv tried modeling, then acting and is very popular. She played Arwen, in Lord of the Rings among other leading roles in other movies. In 1998 she played Bruce Willis’s daughter in a movie called Armageddon. There is a poignant moment in the story when Bruce has to do the heroic thing. He tells his Daughter, Liv, by videoconference, that he won’t be coming home. Liv touches the screen with both hands as his image fades out.

In the music video that accompanied the movie, they put Steven on that screen during the last part of the song. Liv touches the screen as Steven fades out. It was touching.

Isn’t that a great story? Even though it’s an unconventional family story, its true, and unlike Kim Kardashian, Liv Tyler doesn’t display it across the media. She tells the truth and leaves it at that. It would make a great plot for a book if someone could write it without being sued. Have a great week.

Good luck with your writing—see you next week.

Friday, November 04, 2011

15,000 words

by G.Parker

Okay everyone...it's November 4th.  Where do you stand on your word count??  I decided to accept Nichole Giles challenge and do the 15,000 words in three days.  It was a daunting task...but I did it!  I did most of my words on Tuesday, and then fleshed out the rest on Wednesday and Thursday.

So, how are you going with your word count?  If you haven't accepted anyone's challenge at this point, you should have written at least about 2,000 a day, for about 8,000 words.  Personally I don't write on Sundays, so I try to write more.

There are lots of groups getting together and holding 'write-in's and various locations.  If you have joined in on the NaNoWriMo craziness, then you'll be able to look at regional stuff and see what's available.  If you haven't, you're going to be one of the few sane people this month, so enjoy it!

Personally, it's been going so nice, it makes me worried.  I know there's always a stressed feeling during this month, but if I'm already this far ahead, it sort of takes some of the stress off.  But I was raised on Murphy's law, and that generally operates rather frequently in my house, so we'll see how it goes.

Tonight is supposed to be a big first winter snow storm.  Fortunately I have paper and a pen, in case the power goes out, I can curl up in front of the fire and write.  But I also have a family that I try to let know I'm alive during this time and if I get my writing done during the day, then I spend my evenings with them.  So, I guess as soon as I'm finished writing this I need to get my fingers going on that.  ;)

How do you spend NaNo?  What are your favorite motivations?  Let us know, and keep up the good work! You can do it!

Thursday, November 03, 2011

The City of Light, chapter 1 part 3

This week, I'm giving readers a peek into a story I started to develop this fall. I'm not asking for critiques--this is a bare bones first chapter preview. I plan to work on it later. You can find the first part on my AUTHOR BLOG, and the second part of the chapter on my PERSONAL BLOG.

City of Light, continued

Her mother nodded, and Genna wasted no time leaving the room. Sorai followed her to the bedroom she and Aisilyn shared. It was a spacious room with two large beds against opposing walls, and a great window on the wall between them. Genna motioned for her serving maid to put the purchases on the brightly colored blanket that covered Aisilyn’s bed.

Genna moved to the trunk at the foot of her sister’s bed and opened it. Most of her sister’s trousseau had been purchased, but they did find a few more scarves and the material that would serve as her wedding veil. Genna unwrapped these items, folded them and placed them gently on top of the wrapped wedding dress and other items in the trunk. She did not turn when she heard the door open.

“Thank you, Sorai,” Aisilyn said. “You may go now.”

Sorai bowed her head in reply and left the room.

Aisilyn crossed the room to her bed and sat down. Genna looked up at her as she closed the trunk.

“I’m going to miss all this shopping when you marry Jacob,” she said. “We’ve had a lot of fun gathering and sewing.”

Aisilyn reached out her hand; Genna grasped it without hesitation. “Nineteen days,” Aisilyn said. “Jacob and I were to be married in just nineteen days. Then I would have been safe.”

Genna sat facing her. “You will still marry Jacob in nineteen days. Nothing has changed that.”

Aisilyn’s sky blue eyes sought hers. “I love him so much, Gen. How can I leave him? I’ll die.”

“You won’t,” Genna said, surprising herself with the conviction in her tone.

“Nothing is going to come between you and your destiny.”

“What is my destiny?” Aisilyn pulled away and rose to pace the floor. “Will I become Jacob’s bride, or the demon’s? What is my path?” She stopped in front of the window. “I can’t explain it, but when I heard the demon’s voice I knew he was talking about me. I still feel it, a certainty deep in my soul. Father and Mother won’t listen. They are blinded by the fear I may be right.”

“But they are right about the demon never before being able to penetrate the barrier,” said Genna. “Maybe this is another of his empty threats.”

“Does it feel that way to you?” Aisilyn turned to look at her.

Genna watched the sunlight through the window play with the gold in her sister’s hair. She looked so much like an angel, framed by the light outside, that Genna couldn’t imagine pairing Aisilyn with a demon. In that moment, Genna vowed it would never happen. No matter what she had to do, no matter the cost, the demon would not have her sister.

“It doesn’t matter what I think,” Genna said. “I’ve known since Father brought Jacob home that you were meant for each other. Your union will be blessed by God, and will be eternal. Nothing the demon can do can stop that.”

Aisilyn sighed. “I wish I had your faith.”

Genna crossed the room and put her arm around her sister’s shoulders. “You do, but right now it’s clouded by fear. Let’s pray together, and then you can rest a bit before dinner.”

Aisilyn nodded. They went back to the side of her bed and knelt together, facing one another. Genna offered the prayer, asking for God to help soothe her sister’s worries, and also to help them know what they should do. When she finished, she kissed Aisilyn’s forehead and left the room.

Her father had sent a runner to the Council building for information. Genna smiled at the thought. He did not hesitate to use his influence with certain officials to learn what was going on, at least not when it came to matters concerning his daughter. Though he may have taken a cautious, practical approach, he still wanted to know what the Council was thinking.

“Genna, dear, will you please help me with dinner?” Her mother asked. “Where is your sister?”

“She’s resting,” said Genna. “I’d love to help. What are we having?”

“Cook has prepared a lovely cut of lamb,” said her mother. “I told her I would see to the side dishes.”

Genna smiled. “What about dessert?”

The knock at the door stopped her mother’s reply. Sorai had been in the parlor and answered it.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

The Camping Trip

By Keith N Fisher

Last week, I went camping and re-posted a blog talking about another trip. I’m happy to report the writer’s block I experienced then, didn’t happen this time. I woke up in the middle of the night and wrote the final scene for my work in progress.

It’s interesting to sit in a truck on an almost moonless night and write by the light of your laptop. I’m large enough that my computer sits perfectly between my chest and the steering wheel. I took off my glasses and visited with my character.

On another day, I worked on a new project and did some editing. I got so caught up that my brother knocked on the door and scared my pants off, asking if we were going hunting. I discovered my laptop makes a good flashlight in order to see who is interrupting me.

I learned a few things on the trip this year. One, is that its possible to put your underwear on backwards in the dark while trying to not wake anybody up. I also learned that it’s very cold standing behind bushes and under trees, trying to turn your underwear around.

Later, I learned my cousin has become an avid reader. He stumbled across a book by Nora Roberts while waiting for somebody, and now he reads almost everything he can find. He’s going to be a beta reader for me.

I became reacquainted with the concept of gazing into a campfire and contemplating the deeper meaning of life or the next plot turn. I drank hot chocolate and wrote well, better than I used to. I also put in some hunting time.

It was a having a good time away from real life, wish you were here, kind of weekend. Wish you could’ve been there. Good luck with your writing—see you next week.


Friday, October 28, 2011

Are You Ready?

by G.Parker

Okay - I was a slacker last week, and I apologize.  I still can't believe I totally spaced off writing my blog, but then, we have discussed the swiss cheese brain factor, haven't we?

Anyway - today I want to remind you to get ready!  Actually, I'm hoping you're ready and chomping at the bit.  Next Tuesday starts Nano!!

Unless you've been living in a non writing world for the past little while, you should know what NaNo is, but just in case, a brief crash course.

NaNoWriMo (which stands for National Novel Writing Month) is a month long writing frenzy where you try to get 50,000 words written between the first and thirtieth.  It's not for the faint of heart, and it's not for everyone who writes.  But, it's dang fun and it's crazy.  My husband hates it - he threatens to send mail bombs every year.  "Why did they have to pick November for Pete's sake?  It's not like they couldn't have picked March or something."

You go to the site, you log in, and create your author page.  Then, you write.  Of course, you can't really write until the first, because everything you write before then doesn't count.  And you want EVERY word to count. I would still recommend that you flesh out your plot idea before hand, that makes it easier to just write, but whatever it takes, you should do this.  Because it makes the creative side in you grow, drives everyone around you crazy and will bring you more stress than you've ever known.  Hm....well, just keep a large supply of chocolate around and you'll be fine.  I always have a pep talk with my family ahead of time to remind them of whats happening and that they had better not expect too much interaction if I'm at the computer.

So, the blogs for the rest of the month of November are going to be about me and my fellow writer's progress.  Be sure and let us know if you've signed up.  We want to know how well you do!!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

And the Movie Was?


The other night I sat down with the hubby and watched an old film noir. Love that stuff. This was a Barbara Stanwyck—love her—flick about a woman who wakes up in the middle of the night and sees a murder out her window. The problem is, the murderer does such a great job hiding his crime that the police find no evidence. No one believes her. Rather than let the matter drop, she pursues it, determined to make sure the crime is uncovered and tied to the killer. At the same time, the killer is determined to make her the least credible witness ever. To that end, he orchestrates a sequence of events that even get her committed to a hospital for “observation.” She struggles finding someone to trust, even the detective-turned-boyfriend, Larry.

The plot wasn’t complicated, and it was a pretty straight forward flick. Not Oscar-winning or anything, but that kind of movie isn’t supposed to be. What I particularly enjoyed was the villain was a writer—a published author—which put a fun twist on it for me. Once he declared his Nazi sympathies, of course, you knew he was going to get his in the end. Movies of that era were really clear on establishing justice for the truly evil bad guy. For a second at the end, though, it looked like our heroine was going to die, too.

As you can tell, the movie kind of stuck with me. The killer was an author, but not a bestselling one. In fact, his book didn’t do well at all, something that they made a point of saying. I guess a bad author is more likely to be a killer? :)

In truth, I’m having one of those days where I doubt myself, my direction, my ability. The only way to get past it is to write, but that’s the hardest part. It’s something like knowing scripture study and prayer will help with a problem, but not feeling worthy to do it. Writers are complicated people. We feel deeply; we think deeply. We ponder perhaps more than is healthy. While this can be great when it comes to plot detail and story lines, it tends to bite back in the form of doubt in the real world.

Call it a super power. And what was that Uncle Ben said? “With great power comes great responsibility.” Thanks, Spiderman.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Re-Posting From the Archive

By Keith N Fisher

I’m going camping and I won’t be here on Saturday. Also, things are hectic right now, so I decided to re-post an article from 2006. I’m not sure if this will appear on time, but if not I’ll be late. I did a little editing because I’m a better writer now. I hope you like it. I’ll see you when I come down from the mountain.



Writers Block at 9,000 Feet

By Keith Fisher

I couldn’t bring my computer. Well, I guess I could’ve but I’m one of those who didn’t know you should remove the battery from a laptop while on house current so it only lasts about 50 minutes. Because of my daily writing habit I wondered if I would go crazy without my electronic crutch.

In an attempt at appeasement, I brought a wire bound notebook. I figured I could at least, make notes of the ideas I might have. I had a priesthood lesson to plan anyway.

My brother had a different kind of hunting permit than I did, but I didn’t want him to go alone, so I went camping. As it turned out, my dad went too, but he stayed in his trailer with my brother. So, I had a lot of alone time in mine. During the day, I got to shoot the bull with my dad. We solved the problems of the world, and my brother went hunting.

Have you ever tried to concentrate on a plot while chatting with someone? I put down my notebook and talked. I didn’t get my writing done.

After we ate the Dutch oven food I cooked, and we said good night I went into the trailer and opened my notebook. Nothing happened. I tried to make notes for my lesson but I couldn’t keep my mind on it.

I realized if I had a generator, I could’ve brought my computer. At least I could Edit, or watch a DVD. What do you do when you’re camped at 9,000 feet during your writing time and nothing comes to mind? Did I mention I was alone in a camp trailer? No distractions, what a great set up. I was having the weekend that most writers can only dream about, but my mind wasn’t co-operating. What would you do? I gave up.

I finally decided to go to bed, thinking I would at least get some sleep. Well, that was the plan, anyway. I began to obsess over a dry throat and dust in the furnace. I didn't want to wake up with a cold. Perhaps a little hot chocolate, I thought.

When my hot drink was ready, I sat down and thumbed through previous notes made in my notebook. It got me thinking about the characters in a different book than the one I was working on. Suddenly, and without forethought, I was writing again. I still missed my computer screen, but the notebook was working fine.

Three cups of hot chocolate and four hours later, I decided that I’d better go to bed. I was happy when my head hit the pillow. I forgot about the dust in the furnace while I dreamed about plot lines.

I spent the rest of the weekend writing the story I never intended to work on. I learned to be flexible with my writing time. I also learned that even though it sounds crazy, characters are like children. If you pay attention to one, the other will get jealous and try to take center stage. If I listen, perhaps my writing will turn out better.

I’d forgotten the joy of quietly putting ink on paper. It was nice to reacquaint myself. Although, reading what I wrote, is another matter.




As I said, this blog was written in October of 2006. That was three laptop batteries ago. I now have a cigarette lighter cord for my computer, and I take a notebook.

There are several projects percolating in my brain in case of writer’s block. I’m also writing a cookbook, so my camp kitchen is packed and ready. I’ll see you when I get back.

Good luck with your writing—see you next week.




Thursday, October 20, 2011

Moving Forward

by Cheri Chesley

Thank you to everyone who gave me input about my problem last week. It really helped. Thanks in part to the encouragement, I've been able to figure out a solid way to rewrite the story. It will take time, but I've already written a scene. That's a good step, right?

All writers experience growth and change in their writing. It's part of why you almost always hear a well known author lament how "terrible" their first novel is, even if it is published. I don't know a single person who can't give me the title or description of one awful published novel they're come across. They're out there: usually they're the ones that make us ask, "If this garbage can get published, why can't I?"

This is where finding joy in the journey comes in. Not everything we write will be awesome, but it will help us learn, if we're open to teaching.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Killing the Independents

By Keith N Fisher

I watched a documentary on Public Television the other day. It was called, Paperback Dreams and it lamented the demise of two San Francisco Bay area book stores. Cody’s Books, in Berkely, California, and Kepler’s across the bay in Menlo Park.

The narrator talked about their beginnings and how they became Mecca for the free thinkers and counter-culture radicals of the sixties. Cody’s even served as a medical first-aid station in nineteen-sixty eight during a Telegraph Avenue anti war protest. The police & National Guard used tear gas and clubs to disperse the crowd. So, a group of former army medics who’d been in Vietnam, offered to help those who were injured.

Many famous people, writers and musicians cut their proverbial teeth in those stores. Joan Baez talked about the time she spent in Kepler’s and what she learned. Even the Grateful Dead, hung out there. Roy Kepler, the founder, used to complain that they always played the same song, and stole the ashtrays. Over the years, there have been many writers who read their work at Cody’s and Keplers and left a signed photograph for the wall. Those places were filled with literary tradition.

The show explored the different ways those two stores have struggled to survive. The economy will always be a problem for book sales, but the real threat started when reading fell victim to visual media. Book sales dropped, but the trade paperback, with the cheaper price, saved the business and gave those two stores their start. Then, came the threat from big box stores, like Walmart, Costco, and Target. They are still cutting into the market, but online, discount booksellers have devastated the industry. The latest attacks on independent bookstores have come from e-books and print on demand and it’s killing bookstores.

As writers, we selfishly plot and scheme. We look to our bottom line to find the best way to get our work published. We embrace the brave new world in our attempt to market our careers and sell books. After all, that is the point, right? Technology is the wave of the future, isn’t it? I wonder how many of us consider what the brave new world is doing to the independent bookstore.

We search for places to launch our books and moan the loss of independents, but forget to patronize those stores during the rest of the year. We buy each other’s books online and as e-books. Who can afford to do otherwise?

During the closing of one of the stores in the documentary, one of the customers claimed she used to come into the store three times a week. In a private response, the owner of the store wondered, if that were true, where were the sales? It’s the bottom line that closed the store.

With the routine closing of independents and now, national chains, like Borders, we are losing a way of life. The exchange of ideas and independent thought of the sixties are gone. Meeting at Borders for a cappuccino and a quiet place to write is going away, too. Did you ever walk into a small bookstore and breathe in the aroma of freshly printed books? You won’t get that at Amazon. Well, the warehouse workers might, but thumbing the pages and fingering the spine is impossible with e-books.

With the loss of independent booksellers, our world is changing.

I’ve lamented the coming of E-books and print on demand before. I certainly don’t want to harp on something that is inevitable. I just wish we could hold-on to the better parts of our society.

Good luck with your writing—see you next week.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Friends in High Places

Well, perhaps that's not the right title, but it's what came to mind.  I had dinner with a couple of women last night that all have the same birth month as me.  October.  It's a great month to have a birthday in - I know I'm prejudice that way, but I happen to love October.  Anyway - one of the women is a young mother who is trying to write and get back to writing in a consistent way.  She hasn't written for 10 years, and feels like she's way behind in the curve.

She remembered talking to me and how I'm a writer and thought I might be interested to know she had just joined a writers group and thought I might like to join with her.  I thanked her for thinking about me, but told her I'd been a member of a critique group for several years, and yes, it's a wonderful thing.  Isn't it funny how I wrote about critique groups last week?  I think it's interesting how these things seem to come circling around.

I also think it's admirable that she's realized she needs outside input to get her writing going.  That is pretty smart, something it took several years for me to pick up on.  So, I think she's way ahead of the curve, and her writing can only improve with effort.  She said that her first meeting made her feel very behind, as everyone else's writing was wonderful and her's was awful.  I doubt there was that big of a difference, but I also remember how one of the newer members of my group went home and bawled because she'd had such a hard time listening to our suggestions.

Having someone critique your baby is hard.  Not only is it a part of you out for the world to see, but you want so desperately for someone to like it, to validate that you're a writer.  When they say sure, but you need to fix this and that, it's like saying "yeah, we can save you but it will cost your leg and part of your arm.  Can you work with that?"

I salute those who have realized that they need help and want advise.  It takes guts to realize you can't do it on your own, no matter how good you.  How many of you have gone out there and found that group after last week??  Roll call!!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

The Best Laid Plans

by Cheri Chesley

A few years ago, I wrote a story for my niece as a birthday present. I've always been happy with it, in memory, and loved the concept of the story. How fun would it be, I thought, with Halloween approaching, to release this story as an ebook since it's a fun little ghost story/mystery. So I emailed the girl who'd been working on the cover for me, and set a release date for tomorrow--October 14, 2011.

Then I realized I need to authenticate the story, set in Scotland, by doing some research into the area and culture. Not all facts will make it into the story, I reasoned, but I needed to have a clear picture in my mind in order to project a clear image on paper.

At last, I sat down to edit the story and get it ready to publish.

And realized it's terrible.

Don't get me wrong, the plot is solid. It's actually a really cool mystery set over 500 years. But the writing, what I remembered as being so good at the time, is really awful.

First of all, there's almost no showing. It's all tell, all the time. Secondly it's incredibly trite. The way the characters talk to one another is forced and unnatural. I'm embarrassed to think there was a time when I thought it was good.

I know I'm not the only person this has happened to, and I'm sure you all have stories to share. While I'm trying to figure out if this one is worth salvaging, I'd like to hear from you. I definitely could use a little boost. :)