Sunday, December 30, 2012

An End and a Beginning

by Donna K. Weaver

This year has been such a mixture of blessing and struggles. But, I guess that's the way it tends to be anyway. Like the characters we write, we need to earn our happily ever afters.

Hubby and I watched the movie Mr. and Mrs. Smith last night. It's the story of a couple of assassins who marry not knowing what the other really does. Their life together is built on lies. When things fall apart and they each receive an assignment to assassinate the other, the sparks fly and things get real. During a low point, Mrs. Smith makes a comment about a happily ever after simply meaning that the story isn't over yet.

Well, the movie's a romantic comedy, so you can figure out if they get their happily ever after. But her comment--even though it was made during that dark moment we writers are familiar with in stories--is one that I disagree with (and the characters reach a conclusion more like mine).

The truth is this:

And I suggest that our writing doesn't have to be perfect either. As human beings, we keep growing and changing. Our writing will keep growing and changing--maturing.

As you face your hopes, dreams, goals, resolutions--whatever you want to call them--for 2013, realize that your book doesn't have to be perfect to be wonderful. Get it where it can fly and let it go. And then move on to your next project.

This is my last post as a member of this fun blogging team, and I've appreciated the opportunity. Thank you. And Happy New Year.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Christmas, and Other Distractions

By Keith N Fisher

I was going to write a depressing tirade about how 2012 didn’t measure up and Christmas didn’t make the list of memorable events, but I need to give thanks for last minute blessings.

It’s true. It’s been a hard year, culminating in the devastation of a dead car. How could things get worse? No money, and we had to carefully orchestrate the use of our one good vehicle. "Ah," you say, I should be grateful for the one vehicle, and you’re right.

I’ve been discouraged. Even writing has suffered. I’m still writing, don’t get me wrong, it’s just that I’ve been at it so long and others are much more successful. I needed an attitude adjustment.

We took a leap of faith with the car. Sold the old piece of crap for pennies and looked into another. Payments, and how they will be made, are scary, but we trudged forward. Thinking I had a reserve, I offered a certain down payment. The paperwork went through and I had no reserve.

That’s when the Christmas miracles began. We received several anonymous gifts of cash and my family gave us money for Christmas. We had the down payment. Now, God willing, circumstances will change so we can make the payments.

I bet you’re about to jump to a conclusion. No, my writing circumstances haven’t changed. I still plug away at it. I’m getting close to having several manuscripts ready for submission at the same time. I’m waiting to hear from a publisher on one, and I have several more in different stages of being finished.

Until now, submitting manuscripts has almost been a distraction. It took time to edit, and I hate editing. Still, I’ve been faithfully submitting. Now, I’ll have several to fall back on, while I write more. I’m about to enter a new phase in my career. I will be in salesman mode. Along with writing, submission will be a daily task.

Anyway, now that Christmas is over, I can turn my attention to amending my circumstances. I’m hoping for a great year in 2013, and I pray yours will be also.

Happy New Year—good luck with your writing—see you next week.

Friday, December 28, 2012

A Year in Review

by G.Parker

Well, it's the end of December and the new year is only a couple of days away.  I find this time of year kind of interesting, and I watch the days like they're going around a corner.  What's on the other side?  It's unknown, it's a little scary, but it's also more of the same.

I thought first I would contemplate much of what we covered over this past year.  We added some new writers, we had a couple of contests (No, I haven't forgotten you, winners of my contest, I'm just lame at getting things out) and there was much advise given.  In reviewing my articles in comparison with the rest of our group, I think that my writing has tended toward the philosophical point of view, and what's going on in my life.  Not necessarily something that helps with writing.  I guess I should apologize for that -- it's not what you are reading our blog for.

But perhaps the few that read my posts are.  I mean, who knows?  I sure don't.  We don't get a whole lot of feedback on this blog, so what we do get we cherish.  We salute all of you who have made comments over the past year, and know that at least some of you are appreciative of our efforts.

Now that we are coming to a close on 2012 and looking toward 2013, I hope you're not superstitious.  Some might think that the year 2013 would be unlucky, like Friday the 13th, or 13 people at the table, etc.  I have no such fears.  I think 2013 is going to be awesome.  You see, I never thought the world would last this long in the first place...so much like the turtle in Over the Hedge, I think things are going great.  "...I thought we'd be dead by step 2."

I would suggest that you start planning what you want to have happen in the coming year.  What kind of things are you hoping to achieve?  What goals would you set?  I don't believe in resolutions, and I've written blogs on that, so I won't cover it this year.  I do think as a personality, the human mind needs goals to force them onward, so that is something we should all be focusing on.

I figure 2013 is the year I'm going to get published.  Either in ebook form, or physical, or perhaps both.  I promised my hubby, so I try to keep my promises.

What are you going to do?  We'd love to hear about it.

I would toast you all if we were together on Tuesday evening, so picture that in your mind and enjoy.  See you next year!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas Everyone.

by C. Michelle Jefferies

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I have had such an amazing Christmas season this year. Wonderful gifts, time with family, and great reviews. Thanks Donna Weaver.

The path to wisdom is not always straight

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Merry Christmas

by Donna K. Weaver

Source
 This lovely carol, Jesous Ahatonhia (Jesus is born),
was written for the Huron Indians in their own language by Father Jean de Br├ębeuf,
Jesuit missionary to Canada. It was first sung in 1642.
English interpretation by J. E. Middleton



“Twas in the moon of wintertime
When all the birds had fled,
That Mighty Gitchi Manitou
Sent angel-choirs instead;
Before their light the stars grew dim,
And wond’ring hunters heard the hymn—
Jesus your King is born, Jesus is born,
In excelsis gloria.

Within a lodge of broken bark
The tender babe was found,
A ragged robe of rabbit skin
Enwrapp’d His beauty round;
But as the hunter braves drew nigh,
The angel song rang loud and high—
Jesus your King is born, Jesus is born,
In excelsis gloria.

The earliest moon of wintertime
Is not so round and fair
As was the ring of glory on
The helpless Infant there.
The Chiefs from far before Him knelt
With gifts of fox and beaver pelt--
Jesus your King is born, Jesus is born,
In excelsis gloria.

O children of the forest free,
O sons of Manitou,
The Holy Child of earth and Heav’n
Is born to day for you.
Come kneel before the radiant Boy,
Who brings you beauty, peace and joy—
Jesus your King is born, Jesus is born,
In excelsis gloria. 

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Happy Doomsday. How is Your Writing?

By Keith N Fisher


My apologies for posting a similar blog as Gaynell's. I already had it written and there isn't any time to write another one.


You might remember my post from December 31, 2011 when I wrote about the Mayan calendar and the forecast of gloom and doom. I heard a cute analysis the other day that says it all: "The Mayans didn’t predict the invasion of the Spanish, how would they know about the end of the world?

Still, It’s interesting that even though our logic prevents us from believing there is still something in the back of our head that asks, what if? What if the Mayans were right and the asteroid hits us? How will we deal with the zombies?

My friend asked a question on Facebook the other day, which got me thinking. He said he wondered how many ward members would be visiting his bishop this week. You know, to take care of for unresolved sins, just in case? His sister wondered, in the comments trail, if he had anything to confess.

I suppose for some people, the night before the end came, would be a good excuse to party. I joked about sending greeting cards to everybody, stating I didn’t buy Christmas presents this year because the world was supposed to end. Then in a postscript I’d add, Merry Christmas, you didn’t die.

Sure, it was all a bunch of hype and mystery, but what if? What if the Mayans meant that the twenty-first would be a last day, and the world would end on the next? Hmm. Maybe we haven’t taken leap year into account.

I wonder how many of us will use the next few days to thank God for letting us live longer?

How is your writing? Are you finding satisfaction in your hard work? Tis true there will always be those who find success without really trying, but that applies to every endeavor. Writing should always be more than a career. It’s a way of dealing (or not dealing) with a world of trouble, and the possibilities of zombies. It should be part of you, and you should find joy in doing it. If not, it will become drudgery that never pays enough to survive.

Good luck with your writing—see you next week.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Happy Holidays and Last Day of the World

by G.Parker



Well, the month has gone by faster than a rabbit in search of a carrot.  I can't believe it's only 4 days till Christmas, and (no big surprise to anyone) I'm not ready for it.  This month hasn't seemed very Christmassy to me.  My daughter commented that she felt the same way.  I'm not sure why - I looked forward to this month with great anticipation.  But, I've also looked forward to January so much that this month has faded in comparison.  I'm not sure.

But anyway - in the large scheme of things, we aren't supposed to be here tomorrow.  Personally I don't think that's going to happen -- it would be too easy.  Life doesn't work that way.  ;)

If that were to happen though, what would be your thoughts?  I watched a sitcom that I've been recording called Go On with Matthew Perry.  It's pretty good, but this one was about the last day.  One of the characters had survived past the point his doctors had said he would, and he'd made a list of all the things he wanted to do on his birthday.  It kind of sounded like a bucket list.

I'm not sure how I would approach it.  There are many things I want to do in this life, being a well known published author is one of them.  But on the other hand, I don't have lots of things I want to do that aren't the unusual.  I just like spending time with my family.  Writing.  Reading.  Doing some cooking.  That's my idea of a good time.

There was a time when I wanted to do a lot of travel, but that has changed.  While it would be fun to go to New Zealand and Australia, Scotland, and Hawaii with my family, it's not the panic it used to be.  It doesn't really  matter in the eternal scheme of things.

Family does.

So, while you contemplate the last day of the world, and your family, I hope you have a wonderful Christmas weekend.  I hope you spend every day with loved ones, remembering the reason for the season; our dear Savior Jesus Christ.  I know we will.

Merry Christmas.  See you next week.  ;)

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Why I Write

by C. Michelle Jefferies

I had an awesome time, over the weekend, at a book festival. The people coming to the festival were awesome. I did really well in my class, I didn't speak too fast and have tons of time left over with nothing to say. In fact I still had one point in my presentation left when my alarm went off. I had a blast with my roommates and the people I drove down with and learned so much from them and just had a great time. I sold some books and got to meet alot of people.

The two keynote speakers were wonderful and left me rejuvenated and ready to dive into writing again and to be all fired up about my career choice.

One of the awesome things was a "favorite book character costume contest" for the grade schoolers in the area. The winners were able to choose one book from an author at the festival. the fifth grade boy who dressed like Sherlock Holmes chose my book Emergence. At first I was afraid that it was a little too adult for him but he came back to my table the second day and told me how much he liked my book. I was thrilled.

There were a few drawbacks to the festival, the weather was rainy and overcast and it seemed to influence the ammounts of people that came to the festival. Who can change the weather though? Not me.

The second one has bothered me since it happened. This is the reason for this post. There were two speakers that addressed the general audience that shouldn't have given the message they did or it should have been in a workshop not a general address. The first speaker must have published twenty years ago. The information was so antiquated that I worried for those new authors that took the information as real and up to date.

The second speaker was not only so loud it hurt your ears, but the message was full of venom and spite toward the publishing industry as a whole whether you published traditionally or independantly. It was also a sales pitch for their small pub business. Bad form in my opinion. They labeled the traditional and indie published as being stupid. That they wern't getting as much money as possible from the manufacture of their books. That the only way to publish was through them. That they could save you money on printing so you have more in your pocket. I was unimpressed with their covers and would never choose them as a pub for that reason alone. Not even considering their attitude. While some people might like this position and method, I do not.

You see this person has either forgotten something or not realized something.

Not everyone who writes, is in it for the money.

I'm not. I knew when I started out that I wasn't going to earn alot. That's okay. I wanted to delve into worlds that make me  happy. I want to hold a book that I wrote in my  hands. I want to teach others about the joy of writing. I want to hang out my my tribe of writers and enjoy people who get me. None of the authors that I was with over the weekend are in it for the money. We're in it to tell stories, to change lives, and to inspire people. Especially the youth of our world. We write to get kids excited to read. To allow adults to excape the drudgery of life for a few hours. To cheer to excite or to make a reader think or feel deeply.

There are so many reasons to write for me, but making lots of money isn't one of them.

The path to wisdon is not always straight.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Challenging Times

by Donna K. Weaver

It's been a challenging few days, and I've found myself emotional and responding to things a bit differently than I usually do. At times like this, I find comfort in the knowledge that everything isn't really horrible in spite of what a particular incident might make us think.

Following is a link to incidents showing how awesome people can be. I hope you're as uplifted as I was. It made me cry.



Saturday, December 15, 2012

Happy Birthday Donny Osmond

By Keith N Fisher
calihotcakes.com

I had a birthday last week. It was one of those days when, according to the law of averages, you realize you’ve lived more days than you have left. And that was a long sentence. Now that I’ve reached this milestone, I think its time to make peace with something.

Years ago, I discovered I have the same birthday as Donny Osmond. Not only the same day, but the same year too. A girl who I liked made the fact known to me. It probably happened on my birthday. She was gaga over him, and I never got anywhere with her.

My research over the years told me that he was born in Ogden, Utah. I was born in Provo, Utah. I used to claim I was a little older than he, but I don’t trust that information any more.

About that time, I heard a few stories (probably rumors) about his junior high experience. He had a tough time, like I did. I learned to defend myself and developed an attitude. He wasn’t allowed, due to image and publicity.

Newspapers ran stories about his birthday over the years and I threatened to demand equal time. It probably stemmed from that rejection I mentioned, but I was jealous. He was a singer and TV star. I was not. When I turned twenty, he turned twenty. When he turned forty, I did too. The local paper did a big story on him. I wasn’t famous.

As the years have gone, I’ve had a good life. I have a great family, and I’ve achieved many things. I’ve been on TV, and been applauded by youth groups. I write pretty good fiction, and I’m still breathing. Donny hasn’t got a clue about me, or our connection. I watch him sing and I’m proud that we share a birthday. He really is a good man.

So, now, I pause on the downhill slope, to let go of the past. That girl that made me jealous has long since passed from my life. It’s time to move on. Happy birthday, Donny, I hope you are blessed with much joy.

As for you, my dear readers, good luck with your writing—see you next week.

 

Friday, December 14, 2012

It's Out!

by G.Parker



Well, I've held back for as long as I could, and now I have to say it.

My book is available!!!

Yes, I decided to do an indi publishing of an ebook for Christmas.  It's a story I self published (as in printed the pages and glued them into a little book) for my relatives about seven years ago and decided it would work in the ebook format.  I thought I'd see if it would go anywhere, you know?

Well, the first night it was up, I had five buys.  The next day I had one more.  This has been without any type of promotion AT ALL.  Of course, there hasn't been one since.  lol.  So, I thought since Donna did a post about indi publishing Wednesday, this would work for today's post.

Personally, I think the business of publishing has become a crazy world and the writer doesn't have a lot of options left for him/her.  I am of the side of self publishing.  The only problem is, as a self publisher, you have to do all the leg work.  I think ebooks are the next new horizon, but since I don't own anything to read ebooks on, and am not really in favor of getting one -- it's kind of hypocritical to say that.

If I had loads of money, I would say you could all go download it for free.  Since my pockets are not that deep, I'm afraid I'll have to just say go look at it and see what you think.  I'd welcome any comments here.  I'm thinking of adding pictures to a print version and making it more kid friendly, but I'm not sure.  Anyway, it's out there, it's live, and apparently it supposed to end up at Amazon and other sites because it passed Smashwords review.  As soon as I know that for sure, I'll let you know.

Until then, I hope you have a great weekend (count down til Christmas is only 11 days...) and keep writing.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Keep Going!

by C. Michelle Jefferies

This coming Saturday I will be teaching a class on "The Power of Persistence". I will be at the First Anual Mesquite Book Festival. If your in the area come and say hi. I'd love to meet some of our readers.

Persistence is an interesting thing, while it is not being stubborn it is the ability to focus and dedicate yourself to a goal or task.

Writing to be published takes persistence. I often hear that the difference between published and not is persistence.

I have to agree, it took me over five years and 44 rejections to find a home for Emergence.

To be persistent is to set goals and be able to not only break them down but approach them in a way that they are achievable. To look at being a writer one day, one month, one book, or chapter at a time.  It takes the ability to face and admit failure sometimes. To delete a word, chapter, or scene, or even to scrap a whole book or theme in a manuscript.

I can tell you that persistence does work. I know friends who are getting contracts and seeing their books coming out and they are just like me years of practice, and enough rejections to paper a table.

To those who aspire, hang in there, it'll happen.

The path to wisdom is not always straight

Sunday, December 09, 2012

Self-Publishing

by Donna K. Weaver

Have you heard that Simon & Schuster is now offering self-publishing services? You can read the New York Time article here for more details.
Authors can buy packages ranging from $1,599 for the least expensive children’s package, to $24,999 for the most expensive business book package.
 I don't know about you, but those prices have a real choke factor for me. How many books would you need to sell to make back the cost? And it's not like S&S won't be taking their cut, just as Amazon will.

What do you think? Are there any real benefits for going this route? Is this just a different form of vanity publishing? Does vanity publishing even exist today in a world with so many self-publishing options?

Saturday, December 08, 2012

Accepting Invitations

By Keith N Fisher

I think I’ve written about it before, but I loved to play make believe when I was a kid. I got to exercise my imagination and it was fun pretending I was anything I wanted to be.

We spent hours, my friends and I, losing ourselves in our game.

Later, when I grew up a bit, make believe was pushed aside for other recreational activities. Some of my friends kept it up only we call it drug abuse and alcoholism today.

Now I sit for hours in make believe sessions and I call it writing. I realized the implication, while writing, the other day. You see, dealing with real life and the horrors that go with it is hard. It’s much easier to escape into a world where I can be anything I want I can do anything I want and not think about real life problems.

So I sit on the fringe. Characters I’ve created call to me. They hold bright invitations of solid gold. Offering a chance to come play make believe. You’ll have to excuse me. I’ve gone away—I escaped—I’m with my friends.

Good luck with your writing—see you next week—maybe.

Friday, December 07, 2012

Now That It's Over...

by G.Parker

(photo courtesy of fanpop.com)


I almost feel like Inigo in The Princess Bride.  "I've been in the revenge business for so long, now that it's over I don't know what to do with the rest of my life."

Well, not quite - I know what to do with the rest of my life, but it's hard to get back into focus.  It's like my brain is fried and I've had so many other things to get done, I'm not sure where to head now.

Ever feel like that?

It doesn't help that Christmas is three weeks away and I haven't even decorated my home.  The kids are starting to get restless.  I'm hoping to take care of that tomorrow. 

In the meantime, I hope to come up with something a little more worth while for next week.  I hope you're still writing, and still plugging away at your dream.  That's the only way it will come true.  See you next week.  ;)

Sunday, December 02, 2012

NaNoWriMo and the Writing Conference Season

by Donna K. Weaver

First off, I beat NaNo. My fastest time ever.


I've found that where I live and with the writing groups I associate with, the first half of the year is filled with writing conferences. It's a literal feast of opportunities. Here are a few I'll be attending:

January 26 - iWriteNetwork Winter Workshop - (I'll be a presenter along with the awesome Sarah M. Eden, Michele Paige Holmes, Elana Johnson, and Gregg Luke)
- What I love about this conference is that it's hands on, so the classes are constructed so participants can actually work on the techniques they're being taught in the class.

February 14-16th - Life, the Universe and Everything (LTUE)
- Two years ago I went to this for the first time. It was my first writing conference, and I was a volunteer (and have been since). This is a large conference and has a combination of individual sessions and panels. While its focus is fantasy/SciFi, there's plenty of craft instruction in all of them to be worth attending even if you write other genres or nonfiction. It's also amazingly affordable.

February 21-23rd - American Night Writers Association (ANWA)
- This will be the first out-of-state writing conference I've traveled to. My hubby's sister doesn't live too far from where the conference is being held, so he'll tag along and visit while I attend classes. They even have a Protagonist Ball.

May 10-11th - LDS Storymakers
- Once again, I attended my first Storymaker conference two years ago. It was a wonderful experience and I met so many awesome people. The classes here are more class-like than at LTUE which has more panels. Two years ago I attended a Bootcamp critique session, and last year I added Publication Primer (a more intense critique session with a focus on publication). I learned so much!

Well, that's what I've got scheduled for the first half of my year. CONduit is also held in May each year though I haven't attended that one yet.

How about you? Have you attended a writing conference? Do you like them? What about national conferences? Ever attended one of those?

Saturday, December 01, 2012

My Computer Ate My Homework

By Keith N Fisher

Like an obedient computer operator I saved after every paragraph. Don’t you think I deserved a positive outcome? Read further. During my writing session the other day, I’d found the zone, and I felt golden. That’s when my operating system arbitrarily decided to close my word processor. I’d written a whole scene of great stuff and was in the middle of the next one, when it quit.

Normally, it wouldn’t be a problem. I could just reopen the program and all my saved stuff would be there, but not this time. The writing gremlins or a sadistic operating system had other ideas. I lost the whole thing up to the first paragraph of that session.

In the old days, I could rescue a document by opening the temp files in the register. Of course the old days taught me to save frequently, so I shouldn’t need to do that now. I couldn’t even find the temp files in the new system. It has caused more problems than its worth.

Have you noticed I’ve avoided mentioning names? I’m trying to keep from being arrested when I mention my plans for murdering the software engineers. In an effort to clarify, let me tell you about my problem. I have a word processing program developed in 1997. My current operating system, developed recently by the same software company, is not friendly to my older stuff.

I can almost understand them making the system so that old DOS based programs don’t work. After all, it’s hard to make a do all application that takes every situation into account, but wouldn’t you think they should at least honor their own programs?

Okay, I admit I’m holding onto the old tried and true applications and perhaps I should jump into the twenty-first century, but I don’t have that kind of money. Besides, when did we become a disposable society? Are we supposed to change computers and software like toilet paper? Should I have to purchase a new car when I get gas?

So, after I ranted and raved about the loss. I tried to rewrite the wonderful prose I’d written, but it was gone. The ideas were there, but the perfect arrangement of words had slipped from the pages and my mind. It didn’t help to reflect on what the software company had done to me, so I opened a new document and wrote this blog.

Don’t worry, I’ll get over it, but I hope you’ll understand when I threaten to kill the engineers. I won’t really do it, but then again, maybe I’ll get a light sentence. Who would convict me? I'm sure the jury has the same problem.

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