Monday, June 30, 2008

Spell Cheque

By C. Lynn Beck
© 2008

Computers came out and we all cheered when we discovered the little wizard named Spell Cheque. Or is it Spell Check? Apparently, some Spell Chequers will allow either spelling. And that’s where the trouble comes in for most of us.

We mite re lie on Spell Check a tad to much and half a multitude of errors going out in our male … and inn our manuscripts.

Um-huh. See what I mean? All those errors in that sentence above, and not a single red underline to indicate something misspelled.

Recently, I ran across a site called, Accu-Assist,, which gives weekly grammar tips. Although they're a business site, they have an archive of commonly misspelled words that you might want to keep handy. That great and powerful wizard, Spell Check, is usually snoozin’ when these words come up and it’ll make you look like a literary genius when you spell them correctly.

(Info taken from the weekly grammar tips at Accu-Assist.)

You're a real trouper! (not trooper)

A sleight of hand (not slight)

A rite of passage (not right)

You piqued my interest. (not peaked)

Hear, hear! (not Here, here!)

Hear, hear!” is a phrase used often (especially by me) and I thought you might enjoy “hear, hearing” what Accu-Assist claims is the history behind it:

According to the "The Mavens' Word of the Day" at the Random House website, "hear, hear! " is a common cheer used at the British House of Commons as an expression of approval (or disapproval, if it's used sarcastically). The website goes on to explain: "As a parliamentary cheer, 'hear him, hear him!' is first recorded in the late seventeenth century and continued into the nineteenth; the reduction to 'hear!' or 'hear, hear!' occurred by the late eighteenth century." So next time you want to express your agreement with someone, you can shout, "Hear, hear!" However, if you write out this expression, don't be surprised if many people assume you have made a spelling error. You'll know better though!

There you have it. So, until next week (as they say in Canada) …“Keep your stick on the ice!”

C. Lynn’s other work:
Cup of Comfort for Horse Lovers, "Horse on Lap", pg 83
Life is Like Riding a Unicycle by Shirley Bahlmann, "Priming the Pump, pg. 79
Newspaper Column
Ensign Magazine, Dec 2007-Q&A
2007 League of Utah Writer's Award-Historical Fiction Website

What books C. Lynn recommends:
You Know You're a Writer When ... by Adair Lara
The Writer's Book of Hope by Ralph Keyes
Publishing Secrets by LDS Storymakers (BJ Rowley and others)


Saturday, June 28, 2008

Walking the Line

By Keith Fisher

Her family was going fishing. Oh, how she wanted to go too. She pulled a floppy hat onto her youngest son and made sure he promised to stay away from the lake. She kissed her husband good-bye and turned to go back to her self-imposed exile. She wondered what she ever did to deserve such an understanding family.

When she sat in her chair, she glanced at the framed letter she’d placed on her desk after her first book was published. The hand-written note explained how the fan’s life had been changed after reading her book.

"That’s why I do it," she said. "That’s why I put up with deadlines."

How was your week? It seemed that no matter what I did, I was behind. I published my Monday blog late, barely finished my chapter before critique group, and published my Friday blog late too. Now here I am, It’s Saturday morning, and I’m late again. If I didn’t have deadlines, I might never get anything done.

Lately, I’ve been listening to some of my friends who submitted three chapters and then had to finish the book when the publisher wanted to see the rest. The deadline they imposed stretched their talent and helped them grow.

The point is all writers are going to have a deadline at one time or another in their career. It’s a given, but it can be a good thing. Deadlines take us out of our comfort zone. We emerge from the refiner’s fire, a better writer. We develop habits that will help us throughout our career.

For our edification I looked up deadline in Wikipedia. I copied and pasted the results. You might find it interesting:

The context of a due date originated in journalism, probably from an earlier usage in printing, representing a guideline marked on a plate for a printing press (inside which all content should appear). According to the Oxford English Dictionary, early usage refers simply to lines that do not move, such as one used in angling; slightly later American usage includes a boundary around a prison which prisoners must not cross

The second definition is the one I’m going with. Imagine the hallway outside of your writing space as the deadline. Now, if you step outside of your writing space, the guards will open fire with a machine gun. You’d be cut to ribbons.

Does that help? Remember the Berlin wall? In other places in East Germany it was a 12-15 feet high fence. On either side of the fence, they had cleared the vegetation for several yards. Even if you got over the fence, you still had to cross the demarcation, or deadline.

So as you struggle with writer’s block, imagine the deadline outside of your writing space. Plot your escape, make plans, then stop and realize you are drafting a story in your mind. "Aha," you say.

You see? Deadlines can be a good thing. If you’re currently laboring under a deadline let me say, I’m sorry. Then let me tell you, congratulations—you have cleared the fence—someone wants your work—you’re about to grow. When you stop to catch your breath in the trees, just beyond the cleared space, remember me. Now you’re free to walk and enjoy the journey. I will still be struggling to get over the deadline.

Good luck with your writing—see you next week.

Friday, June 27, 2008

The Little Engine...Pooped Out

by G.Parker

Sometimes as a writer I feel the burden of forgotten words and empty pages. I know we're supposed to keep telling ourselves, "I think I can, I think I can," and everyone around us is saying, "we know you can, we know you can." But there are days when the little engine feels like all the coal is burned up and there is nothing left to give.

Have you ever watched a movie or read a book that had a disappointing ending? One that made you angry and throw the book to the floor? I've had a couple that made me react like that.

A movie that comes to mind to illustrate my point is Princess Bride. There is a part where the grandson asks the grandpa who kills Humperdinck.

"I don't understand."
"Who kills Prince Humperdinck? At the end. Somebody's got to do it. Is it Indigo? Who?!"
"Nobody. Nobody kills him, he lives."
"You mean he wins?" the boy cries angrily. "Gees, Grandpa! What did you read me this thing for?"

There are times when we're writing a story and the ending isn't a happy one. Perhaps the ending is appropriate, things are better, but it's not cut and dried like most fairy tales or romances. Sometimes life is more complicated than that.

The challenge as a writer is to see if this helps or hurts your story, and perhaps future stories. If the reader thinks all your books end like that, they might not want to read any more. Some of us WANT happy endings, all tied up nicely and glowing into the sunset. There is enough frustration and confusion in reality, who wants that in something fictional?

But sometimes reading that kind of work puts you in a different frame of mind. Sometimes it helps you ponder your own life and realize that perhaps it's not as bad as previously thought. It can help you move forward.

I'm not saying I've written anything like this -- even remotely -- but I think it's a possibility every story faces. Not every story is happy. I sound like the end of Mr. Magoriums Wonder Emporium...the little boy is narrating and he says that "all stories come to an end, even the ones we really like. That way another story can begin."

Sometimes we have to end a story, despite how it comes about -- so that we can get started on the next one. It's like a blank page waiting and calling to us...another whole ending to contemplate and develop.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Fate or Inspiration

Part II
By Nichole Giles

Remember last week when I mentioned that I had closed my eyes and allowed someone else—who I didn’t know—choose my workshop class at random? Yes, well. As I said, I was putting my faith in fate and divine inspiration.

So let me just tell you how that all turned out.

I already mentioned how valuable I found the comments of the women in my class. And how wonderful the instruction of “Her Majesty, Queen Claudia Mills,” my class leader/teacher. She is quite an amazing woman.

Now about the rest. The day we read my manuscript—I brought one chapter—the assistant in my class, “She Who is Like Unto Aphrodite,” otherwise known as Kerry, handed me my pages and asked for a clean copy. I’m not going to claim I didn’t wonder why, but I gave it to her without questioning her motive. Again, I blindly hoped something good might come of it.

In the meantime, the conference committee held a contest for the “Best First Page,” which I entered. I am of the opinion that it never hurts to enter contests, especially free ones. (Well, free after I’d already paid my conference fees…) So I printed my first page without changing anything, except for adding a header, and dropped it in the basket.

On Friday morning, as we discussed new manuscripts, (we had time that everyone got to go through two) Kerry called me out of the room. She handed me back my chapter—which was marked with comments from the editor representing Mirrorstone Publishing. Kerry then asked if my manuscript is finished.

My heart sank, because the answer was no. But I did tell her that the book is drafted, and I have intentions of having it polished and ready by the end of summer.

Kerry looked at me and said, “Well, don’t rush it, but when it’s done Stacy will look at it. You can probably take as long as a year if you need.”

Whoa! Hold on. The editors at this conference weren’t even looking at manuscripts. Or so they claimed in the beginning, and here I was, holding a manuscript chapter that not only did the editor comment on, but asked for as well.

Apparently, I was destined to be in class with Kerry, who loved my manuscript enough to pass it on to someone she knew. What a DOLL!

My new friends and I exchanged email addresses because during the week, we gained the desire to start a writer’s group together. (And already a few emails have started circulating.) So I have a whole new group of writing friends. (Don’t worry, Authors Incognito, I’ll never forget all of you!)

But my story doesn’t end there. Later in the day, during the closing extravaganza, the conference committee announced the “First Page Contest” winners. I took third place, out of 68 entries. And mine was the only fantasy piece of the three winners.

As I floated (yes, floated) out of the auditorium that day, I remembered five days past—to Monday morning and my misgivings about allowing fate to take over. See, apparently my faith was strong enough because however much I might have gained from being in another class, I KNOW I got the most—the best—out of being in this one.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Wanting to Write

By C. LaRene Hall

Usually, if I tell someone I’m a writer they say, “That’s what I’d like to do.”

After quizzing them further I find they spend more time wanting to write than actually trying to write. Some of them have never written their first sentence. I get the feeling they think it’s easy to be a writer. Those of us who write know that’s not true.

Why do so many people say they want to be a writer? I laugh when I think about it. I guess besides thinking it’s easy, they probably think it’s exciting. In reality, it’s lonely. I’m sure most of them see dollar signs. Little do they know that if someone paid me for the time I spend writing, I doubt I’d make one cent in a month, and I write every day. Of course, there’s always an exception to the rule. I’m just not one of those.

How many of those who say they want to be a writer really try to reach that goal? Very few of them go beyond the words. If you press them for what they’ve tried to write they usually duck their head. What happens when you invite them to a writing meeting? They always have an excuse why they can’t come. Maybe someone says they have a story started, but when you offer to critique will they let you? Probably not. I think it’s because they really don’t have a story started.

As in most cases, there is always an exception. Occasionally I’ll find someone that does want to come to a meeting. I’ve even found a few who let me read their story and were open for suggestions. They just needed someone to get them started again.

I’ve decided that if you are born to write, you will. Nothing can stop you, because it’s part of who you are.

My new blog is

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Remember Your Audience

By Darvell Hunt

Yesterday I ordered a hamburger meal from Wendy’s in the Houston, Texas, airport. The lady behind the counter, who seemed to have a mix of ethnicity in her blood, plus a Texan accent, spoke something to me after I got my food.

I asked her to repeat what she said. I thought she was telling me my order number so I could pick up my food. After the third try of listening intently, I just said, “Okay,” and moved down to the end of the counter, where I recognized my order. I grabbed my food and left to join my traveling buddies.

Sometimes when we write, there will be some readers who say, “What the heck is this guy talking about?” If you forgot to whom you are writing, this will happen a lot more than not.

I was not familiar with this Texan girl’s accent and I finally gave up on what she was trying to tell me. If that happens in one of my books, the reader will probably put my book down and look for something else they don’t find so confusing.

Having written entire novels to a small, niche market, I know this sort of thing can happen—and it can kill your chances of an acceptance. For my later novels, I have specifically thought about who my audience was to be, before even writing chapter one.

Remember your audience. It might make the difference between an acceptance and a rejection.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Marketing and Self-promotion

By C. Lynn Beck
© 2008

(Keywords: writing, promotion, self-promotion, promoting, promote, marketing, Cedar Fort, Doug Johnston, Marsha Ward, LDSStorymakers )

Several weeks ago, I suggested you give yourself a pep talk—a reminder that it's okay to promote your writings. And last week I listed a few of the tips that Doug Johnston gave on marketing at Cedar Fort's 6-7-8 Conference.

Have you adjusted to the concept that it's not conceited or self-aggrandizing to endorse your characters and plots? If so, you've started on the path to making your writing a success.

Today I'd like to give you a few more ideas on self-promotion ... no, wait, let's not call it self-promotion, because if you're like me, you'd rather not promote yourself. You're promoting your characters, and the work that has brought them to life.

Several of these are my own ideas and a few are from a handout by Marsha Ward, given at the LDS Storymaker's Conference.

  • Almost every email browser will let you put a "signature" on your email. That means every time you write to someone, that signature shows up at the bottom. What a perfect place to put your name and a link to your website, your blog, a link to order your latest book, and a link to, or list of, awards you've won. If you're not sure how to do it, type the word "signature" into your help section's search box and it should give instructions.

  • Speaking of email ... you can send a flier promoting your latest work to every friend and family member in your address book.

  • I'll bet you've never thought of your answering machine as a means of promotion. Anytime you've not home and someone calls, he/she is listening to your message. If you're shy about listing the title of your latest work in the message, you can keep it simple and mention that you're an author ... who is available for book signings and speaking engagements. Change the message occasionally so that regular callers don't hear the same message constantly. And be succinct ... most people hate waiting through a long message.

  • Even though you can pay most bills online, there are always a few that have to go through the postal system. Perhaps your life insurance, deposits to the bank, and payment for the city utility bills go through the U.S. mail. Don't waste that opportunity! Print out a small blurb, with an excerpt of your latest work and your contact info, and include it with the bill. I use a full size sheet of paper, fold it in thirds so the excerpt shows on top, and place the bill and check inside. It not only protects sensitive banking information and account numbers, but advertises your work as well.

  • Make up business cards with your contact info and a cover image (if you have one) of your work. Carry them with you all the time. You never know when someone will ask you a question about your writing career or how to reach you for a book signing. When they do, you can give them your business card. HINT: People are less inclined to throw away a nice business card than they are to throw away a torn scrap of paper with a phone number and no name.

  • Leave your business card even when no one has asked for it. There are bulletin boards at almost every supermarket, college campus, shopping mall and even in some restaurants. Put your business card up! If you don't want your phone number there for every crackpot to use, make up two sets of business cards. One you'll use for public postings, and it will contain your web/blog address as the contact info. The other you'll hand to individuals and may contain your phone number, if you choose, as well as your web/blog address.
During the week, try a few of these tips. If you feel a little uncomfortable, think about your characters. They've lived in your head and in your heart. Some of them have waited for years. Don't they deserve a little publicity, a chance to dance in the spotlight? Don't they deserve the opportunity to live in the hearts of others, and to change lives?

Of course they do.

C. Lynn’s other work:
Cup of Comfort for Horse Lovers, "Horse on Lap" pg. 83
Life is Like Riding a Unicycle by Shirley Bahlmann, "Priming the Pump, pg. 79
Newspaper Column
Ensign Magazine, Dec 2007-Q&A
2007 League of Utah Writer's Award-Historical Fiction Website

What books C. Lynn recommends:
You Know You're a Writer When ... by Adair Lara
The Writer's Book of Hope by Ralph Keyes
Publishing Secrets by LDS Storymakers (BJ Rowley and others)


Saturday, June 21, 2008

Hidden Vistas

By Keith Fisher

I opened my eyes and beheld one of the most spectacular sunsets I’ve seen . . .

Because of working nights, I often miss out on needed sleep. I was trying to catch up on some of that sleep the other day when my eyes popped open. It was like my mind knew what my eyes didn’t, and it showed me a beautiful sunset just outside my bedroom window.

Streaked with red and orange, and set against the dark blue of the sky, the clouds were really only wisps, but the centers held a deep purple hue. It was beautiful, and I was impressed. I watched for a moment, but I needed the sleep so I closed my eyes again.

A few moments later, curiosity opened my eyes again. By now, the colors were fading, the sun had fallen farther away, beyond the mountains. I looked again after a few minutes, and found the sun had set—the world had returned to normal.

I closed my eyes and pondered the metaphor. As writers we spend hours learning our craft. We learn about hooks and sentences, self-promotion and marketing. We often overlook the beauty that lies just before our eyes. The drama, waiting to be described and preserved in our memories, and written on the page.

Much of life is spent collecting memories, little snippets of time we can draw from to give our characters depth. How many of us trudge through our busy lives in too much of a hurry to see what lies before our eyes, if only we would open them. Like my sunset, things happen, people do things, there is beauty. If my mind hadn’t shown me what my eyes refused to see, I would have missed the sunset. Good luck in your writing and observation—see you next week.

P.S. In the comments section of my blog last week Annette Lyon said:

I take it that the Dead Authors Society doesn't include only dead authors, then? I love Ray Bradbury. It'll be a sad day when he dies, and that day can't be too far off, because he's getting up there in age.

Yes, you are right, Annette. Thanks for noting that Ray Bradbury is alive and publishing. His new book, Now And Forever, looks very interesting. Maybe I should pull Bradbury from the list of the Dead Authors Society, I included Farenheit 451 because it was required reading in High school and I weaseled my way out of reading it.

Friday, June 20, 2008

World of Doubt

by G.Parker

In the 'olden days', one got published by sheer effort, determination and repetition. You had to hone your craft. Actually, I guess things haven't changed that much, but it is still a different world. Look at the 'masters', such as Hemmingway and Fitzgerald. We have commented among ourselves that while these men have done great works of art, they would never have been published today, at least with the guidelines that we as writers have been given.

And while we struggle with getting our writing to the point that someone in a publishing house would notice it, publishing itself is struggling. There are large publishing houses that publish hundreds of books a year, but are receiving thousands of manuscripts. There are small publishing houses that try to serve the writer well, and struggle with the business, and end up failing. In many ways, these small, independent publishers cannot compete with the big houses.

Then we have publishers joining forces, becoming even bigger. Imagine how the little people feel in the days of transition..."which house do we represent?" Let alone the authors that had previously published with them.

The publishing world is even more difficult today than it was back when. Sales are everything. If a book doesn't sell, they aren't going to wait another month and see if it was a freak of nature -- they will dump it and the author and go with one that is selling. All of the business comes down to the bottom line. Every time I see the movie You've Got Mail, I feel sad. The world looses something each time one of those little family businesses closes shop.

As authors, we decided to try and take things into our own hands...we started what is called Vanity Press. However, with the onset of the internet, that market became a whole new nitch. Publishing your own work can be very rewarding. You can take credit for everything (even when it's bad...grin) and you get most the profit. On the other hand, you have to do everything that a large publisher would do for you. You have to become the marketing expert and talk about your book to everyone. We've talked about marketing in past blogs, it's not a new subject.

But it seems that just when we think our little corner of the world will be calm for a bit, we get another jolt, and things feel unstable again. A trusted friend is let down, a seemingly solid publisher shakes the foundations a little and we are back to wondering why we are in this business in the first place.

Many of us are here because we are driven to write. It's not always an easy passion, ask anyone in our families. It's definitely not always fun, especially when we are doing the rewrites, grammar and spell checks that make the manuscript ready to go. Sending that manuscript out into the world takes a whole 'nother set of guts, because we don't know if it's ever going to come back with a positive note.

Our world takes a lot of faith. We know there is a reason for what we're doing, especially as Latter-day Saints. All we can do is continue working, continue striving and hope that eventually, good will win out -- right will over come, and our words will be in print.

It's easy to become a Doubting Thomas in today's world, but if we want to succeed, it takes every bit of faith we've got. I think it can be done. As part of an amazing group of writers in Authors Incognito, I find comfort knowing they are there to support, cheer and encourage everyone. As long as there are groups like this, people who continue to write, things will continue to move forward.

The pen is mightier than the sword.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Fate or Inspiration

By Nichole Giles

I’ve spent the majority of this week at the BYU Writing and Illustrating for Young Readers conference. I’ve been to this conference twice before, and though I have come away every year feeling energized and inspired, I still had to convince myself to spend the money.

Lets face it, with the price of gas and food and everything else in the world, spending money on a writer’s conference—when I’ve already been to three this year—is somewhat difficult to justify. Still, at the end of April I held my breath and closed my eyes and jumped back in the pool. Well, figuratively. Literally, I handed over my much-used, nearly over-extended credit card and paid the fee.

And because I was so late in registering, the workshop classes I thought I’d go to were full. So, I told the woman on the other end of the phone to put me wherever she wanted—as long as it wasn’t a picture book class. And I left my class choice up to fate.

I ended up in an early reader class with author Claudia Mills. At first, I was hesitant. I have done middle grade before, but not for a long time. And I’ve never done early reader. Frankly, writing those books is very hard, and I wouldn’t have a clue where to start. Or at least, that’s what I thought on the first day. Turns out, we have a wide range of material in our class.

Fate has a funny way of taking care of people.

While most of the people in my workshop class are beginners, others are not. The entire class is women—which is a change for me. But I’ve come to be inspired by all their vulnerability and strength, their bravery at coming to the conference and showing off their work—whatever their stage in the writing process.

One young woman in particular stands out. She’s fifteen-years old, and had to get special permission to attend the workshop. They gave it to her because she will turn sixteen next month. This girl rides her bike to the bus stop near the library, and catches the bus at 6:45 every morning, then repeats the process backwards, arriving at the bus stop—nearly two miles from her house—at 6:50 each evening. After all that, she rides her bike home. That’s dedication.

I read her first two chapters last night and was shocked and amazed. This girl is still in high school. She’s just more than a year older than my oldest son. And her work is incredible. It stands out, stands alone, and with a little bit of polish and formatting, is publishable. To me, that’s inspiring.

While wandering through the bookstore after our class today, I ran into some of the other women from my workshop group. One of them made the comment that being in class with those of us who are more advanced is intimidating to her. But I don’t want to be intimidating, and I don’t want her to be discouraged—especially because she’s a beginner at this craft.

This is what I told her. “The fact that we are here, at this conference, is big. The fact that we have all brought our work, and have shown it to each other, is huge. It means we’re serious about writing.” She nodded her head in thought. Then I said, “Don’t be intimidated just because some of us are at different levels of writing ability. Some of us have been at this for years, and some are just beginning. We all had to start somewhere.”

“That’s true,” she said.

“We all have something to offer each other, something to teach, and a different viewpoint for feedback,” I told her. “And I’m really glad we’re all here.”

And it’s true. I am. I’m so grateful for all I learn every time I come to a conference—no matter where it is or what it cost. In the end, I’m really glad to have ended up in the class I did.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Satan's Trap

by C. LaRene Hall

In my life, there are many fascinating, exciting things to do. There are so many challenges that it’s hard to keep focused on the things that are essential.

What do you do when things of the world crowd in? Many times I find that the wrong things take highest priority. It’s easy to forget the main purpose of life. Satan works especially hard against good people with something as simple as distraction. He would have good people fill life with “good things” so there is no room for the important ones. Has Satan unconsciously caught you in his trap?

I certainly have found this true. Usually I do good things, but they aren’t always important. I find myself skipping the things that are vital to my eternal salvation. I leave the critical things for another day. Have you ever found yourself thinking, “I can read the scriptures tomorrow – it doesn’t have to be today.”?

Or maybe you have said, “I took Sister Jones a cake today, I’ll prepare my lesson tomorrow.” Procrastination is one of the ways that Satan catches many people. His tricks are not always easy to see. He has to deceive good people by making them think they are doing the right thing. No respectable person would intentionally do wrong.

To see if he has caught you in his snare you could make a list of all the things you do in a day. How many are good things? I bet most of them are. How many are important to your eternal life, and the purpose of being here on earth?

Why has your moral agency been given to you? Is it so you can live a pleasurable life and make choices to do the things you want to do? Or is there a more fundamental reason? Maybe it’s so that you can make the choices that will lead you to fully implement your purpose for being here on earth. Or maybe so you can establish priorities in your life that will assure the development and happiness the Lord wants you to receive.

Are you going to change your list tomorrow? I probably will. I’m not giving up my writing, because it is part of who I am. However, it’s not going to be more important than reading my scriptures, or fulfilling other church or family obligations. I’m not going to let Satan catch me in his trap of procrastination.

Visit me at my new blog

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Evil Elves are Everywhere!

By Darvell Hunt

My eight-year-old daughter is convinced that something she calls evil elves are responsible for bad things that happen. I told her I had never heard of evil elves and that they don’t exist. She said they do and everybody at school talks about them.

My daughter is at that age when scary things prevent her from sleeping—and I’m at that age when scared daughters prevent me from sleeping. So, it’s in my best interest to convince her that something as scary as evil elves are not real.

Today I noticed our laundry room light was on. My wife was not home at the time, so I figured one of the kids must have left the light on after they went looking for something in the dryer. Of course, when I asked who left it on, there were no answers. So I turned it off myself.

Not fifteen minutes later, the laundry room light was again on.

“Who turned this light on?” I called, almost yelling.

No answer, again. Of course.

They my daughter replied, rather calm, and in a lecturing tone of voice, “I told you evil elves were real.”

I suppose they are.

Evil elves tell me not to write another chapter, because television would be more fun. Evil elves prompt my kids to take on too many activities, so I have to spend my time as a kid-courier instead of editing one of my novels. I suppose evil elves also whisper into the ears of editors to whom I’ve submitted my writing, telling them that this submission is garbage and that they should reject it without even reading it (because if they really had read it, there’s obviously no way they could have rejected it).

So maybe evil elves do exist if you believe in them. That’s hard not to do, though.

It seems that evil elves are everywhere!

I suppose I have always had to overcome the evil-elf comments about my work not being good enough, that this editor or that publisher won’t want to see my stuff, or that the new book idea that just came to me is idiotic. It seems that sometimes my own evil elves are keeping me up at night.

Despite my daughter’s adamant comments about evil elves and the apparent supporting evidence, I’m trying to convince myself that they don’t exist. My writing is worth doing and I will succeed doing it.

Get thee hence, evil elves!

Monday, June 16, 2008

What Publishers Wish Authors Knew

By C. Lynn Beck
© 2008

Promises, promises. I always like to keep them and so, as I vowed last week, I’m going to give you a few of the highlights from Doug Johnston’s presentation at Cedar Fort’s 6-7-8 Conference.

Doug spoke about the things publishers (and publicists) wish their authors knew. He mentioned one point that really struck a chord: If a book is selling, publishers advertise it. If a book is not selling, publishers still advertise the book that’s selling.

What does that mean for us as authors? Whether we like it or not, if we want our book to have support from the publisher, we have to do our share of promoting. That in turn, will insure that a portion of the publisher’s advertising budget is spent on our best selling book.

Need a few ideas for promotion? Doug suggested a number of venues that we can utilize.

Newspaper reviews
Magazine reviews
Radio interviews
TV interviews
Author blogs
Author websites
Word of Mouth
Friends and family.

And when it came to the traditional method of publicizing—using the well-known book signing—there were a few ideas, as well.

Be on time.
Dress nicely.
Be prepared. Be able to tell what your book is about in a twenty-second “blurb” and make sure you have plenty of books on hand.
Smile and make friends.
Never autograph a book for a co-author.
Always talk to the person for whom you’re signing the book.
Take along and give out your business card.
Get email addresses from browsers and buyers.

I could go on and on with the ideas Doug gave, but unfortunately, that would make for a long entry. So, my suggestion is that if Cedar Fort does have another conference, you attend.

You never know, Doug may be at the next one and then you can ask him for some pointers yourself.

C. Lynn’s other work:
Cup of Comfort for Horse Lovers, "Horse on Lap", pg 83
Life is Like Riding a Unicycle by Shirley Bahlmann, "Priming the Pump, pg. 79
Newspaper Column
Ensign Magazine, Dec 2007-Q&A
2007 League of Utah Writer's Award-Historical Fiction

What books C. Lynn recommends:
You Know You're a Writer When ... by Adair Lara
The Writer's Book of Hope by Ralph Keyes
Publishing Secrets by LDS Storymakers (BJ Rowley and others)


Saturday, June 14, 2008

Three Subjects

By Keith Fisher

Yes, I thought it was great too. Since everyone else has already talked about the CFI 6-7-8 conference, there’s not much else I can say. I would like to add my thanks, however, and kudos to the staff at CFI for the hard work. About the only way it could’ve been better would be for CFI to send us on an all expenses paid trip :). Life is good and thanks to Eloise Owens for helping me remember there is a bigger wave.

On another subject, I brought my 10-year old daughter to critique group this week. She came to play with the host’s kids, but they had something else come up. My daughter decided to sit in with us, and since we were missing one member, we gave my ten-year old copies of our chapters.

She followed along with us and made comments on the manuscripts. I’m told she caught some things we didn’t see, but she was too shy to talk about it. I asked her how she liked critique. She said she really liked Nichole’s new book.

I’ve got to tell you I’m impressed. First that my daughter has a working knowledge of what makes good writing, and second; Nichole’s new YA fantasy holds her attention. I have told my daughter she can’t see the new Narnia movie until she reads the book first—she chooses not to—which gives you an idea of how good Nichole’s new book is going to be.

What can I say? I’m a proud father, but it occurs to me that our next generation will be wonderful writers. I hope they choose to be.

Now onto the third matter, I’ve been posting entries that I call The Dead Authors Society. This week I was planning to start A tale of Two Cities, but I put it aside because of prior reading commitments. I still haven’t gotten to Frankenstien by Mary Shelly, Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury is waiting in the wings, and there is still Moby Dick.

I’ve seen summer reading lists posted on other blogs and it occurred to me, I could do the same thing with my old classics. You can read along and we can talk about them. I’m going to compile my list, but for now, look above.

I did want to note, however, that even though much of what he wrote is not politically correct by today’s standards, I admire Mark Twain. In Huckleberry Finn, he dealt with the slavery question at a time when his opinions might have gotten him hanged. He did it through the eyes of young white boy and the message is still poignant today. Even though the language is hard to read sometimes, Huckleberry Finn is a good read.

Good luck in your writing—see you next week.

Friday, June 13, 2008


by G.Parker

It was suggested in a blog a while back that we promote ourselves in unique ways. Self-promotion is pretty much the best way to get the word out now, (unless you can afford major advertising) and so it's up to us to spread the word.

One of the suggestions was to change the message on our answering machines. For some reason that caught my fancy, and I thought it would be hilarious. I'm sure it's something my husband would love to do, and it would probably go something like this:

Greetings! You have reached the humble abode of the fabulously famous and amazingly talented G.Parker, author and illustrator extraordinaire. If you need to actually speak to her and think you can cut through the countless people who are answering her phone calls to reach her, press one. She tries to return all calls within 48 hours, or 48 days, depending on if she's on a book tour or gallery showing. If you are trying to reach one of the other occupants of our home, press two -- but it might take a while for them to get back to you as they are probably gone too. Be sure to check out the G.Parker website, where her latest book release and gallery showings are listed. Also, make sure you enter the contest on her blog so you can win a copy of her latest book, Humility Under Fire -- a Deseret Book bestseller.

Hmmm...That would certainly garner attention, wouldn't it? Yeah...I think people would start burning my books in protest. However, you'll notice that most of us have blogs apart from this one, as well as web sites -- so we are working on promotion. Unfortunately, nothing works like word of mouth and someone telling a friend that they LOVED that book, or you just HAVE to read this! Works every time...

That is how the blog tours came about. Some savvy people came up with the idea that if they could get people to read their books and then review them on their blogs, that those who read them would be interested in reading the book, and so on and so forth.

I'm doing Jeff Savage's new book on my blog. You'll have to check it could win a free copy of his book! Okay, I know that sounds like my phone message, but this is the truth! Honest!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

"Heaven Scent" Book Tour Stop

By Nichole Giles

She should have considered herself the luckiest girl in the world, or at least in her high school. From the outside, it looked like Liza had it all. A wonderful family, a promising basketball record, and halfway through her senior year, scholarships were already beginning to pour in. She had everything a young woman could ever want—except the love and attention of the father she had once adored.

When a terrible tragedy takes away everything that matters to Liza, she must find it in her heart to forgive the broken promise that caused the loss and embrace the last thing she has left—who also happens to be the last person in the world she wants. Her father. The road to forgiveness is long and hard, but along the way, Liza is introduced to a religion that gives her hope and fills her with the peace she longs for.

Heaven Scent is a touching story of a young woman’s journey toward forgiveness, and her search for the one thing she never knew was missing in her life…religion. This book is a must read for adults and young women alike—just be sure to start the journey with a handy box of tissues!

Rebecca Cornish Talley, author of Heaven Scent, has kindly agreed to answer a few questions about the writing process and how Heaven Scent went from manuscript to published book.

First of all, Rebecca, thanks for joining me today. I know you must be so busy, being not only a wife, but also the mother of ten children and several animals. (By the way, you do NOT look like you have ten kids—amazing.)

1. Where did your initial inspiration for Heaven Scent come from?

My mom used to wear a distinctive and unique perfume. She passed away when
I was a young girl and during different times of my life, especially difficult ones,
I’ve been able to smell her perfume.

2. How did you know where to start writing?

I wanted to start with an exciting scene, a hook, that not only showed Liza’s talent in basketball, but also showed her frustration with her dad. Since her basketball game is a turning point in her life, it seemed like the natural place to start.

3. How long did it take you to write “Heaven Scent” from rough draft to polished copy?

About a thousand years—at least it felt that way. It started as a short story in high school. I decided I wanted to expand the story into a novel and started working on it on and off for years between pregnancies, nursing newborns, toddlers, kids, teenagers, and caring for my ailing grandparents. It was a long process and I sometimes wondered if I’d ever finish it.

4. What were your strongest influences as you went through this process?

My family kept encouraging me to finish it. I also joined some online groups and members of those groups (David Woolley, Patricia Wiles, Terry Montague) kept encouraging me and helping me understand the mechanics of writing. was a valuable resource for me. I also had the internal drive to complete this story because it was so important to me.

5. What made you decide to write for the young adult audience?

This particular story is a YA story. I’ve worked with young women over the years and have three teenage daughters at the moment and wanted to write something that would be interesting, and maybe even inspiring, to this age group.

6. With so many kids—and animals, and a husband, and household—how in the world do you find time to write?

I just squeeze it in whenever I can. I usually have a notebook with me to jot down ideas or things I want to change on a work in progress. I “write” in my head while in the shower, doing dishes, ironing, or driving kids to activities. It’s hard to find time to write, but I’ve given up hobbies and other interests to pursue writing.

7. I understand that you played high school basketball. Did you find that you had to further research the game as you were writing, or is this one of your personal areas of expertise?

Unfortunately, I didn’t ever play well enough to be offered a place on a college team so I had to research that. The rest of it I remembered from playing for so long. I also watch basketball games here and there. In fact, I was watching the NBA playoffs on TV one year when I was pregnant and my water broke during a game (I had the baby 2 hours later).

8. What advice would you give to fellow fiction writers who are targeting the young adult audience?

Read as many books in that genre as you can. Listen to how teenagers speak and to what concerns them. No matter what, though, write that story that’s in your heart.

Rebecca, thank you so much for your time! I so appreciate being able to visit with you. I’m especially grateful for your efforts to create this wonderful, inspiring book. As I read, I put myself in Liza’s footsteps and felt her pain. It takes a talented author to be able to do that.

Thank you, Nichole, for hosting my book. I so appreciate your help and your kind review.

Heaven Scent is available for purchase at:

Deseret Book, Seagull, Independent LDS Bookstores,,,, and

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

My First Week in Paradise

By C. LaRene Hall

Cruise ship

This week I promised to tell you about my trip to Hawaii. We began our cruise on Kauai – the place that everyone says is “The Garden Isle”. It is definitely a tropical paradise if that means breathtaking mountains and valleys, cascading waterfalls, forests, and beaches. We spent a day and a half enjoying the beautiful landscape. The first day we took a tour to Waimea Canyon, “The Grand Canyon of the Pacific”. In the evening, we rode a train around a 100-acre plantation, and attended a luau. The next morning we went down the Wailua River to Fern Grotto (a scenic lava cave) on a riverboat. Just thinking about it makes me wish I were there right now.


Next, our cruise ship sailed to the Big Island. While docked in Hilo we went to see the Rainbow Falls located near the rain forests in Wailuku River State Park. Next, our tour bus took us to visit Hawaii Volcanoes National Park at Halema’ uma’u Fire Pit and Kilaee Iki Crater. We saw the Thurston Lava Tube, and billowing steam vents near Jagger Museum.

Late in the evening, we stood on deck and watched the lava flow as our ship sailed past the volcano on the way to Kona. The next morning a tender took us to shore where we caught a tour bus to take us through the historic town. We stopped at the St. Benedict’s Catholic Church called “The Painted Church”.

Our next stop was at Pu’uhonua O Honaunau National Historical Park, home to the sacred Hale O Keawe Heiau, a sacred Hawaiian temple. We spent time wandering among the ruins. There was a wall 10-foot high and 17-foot thick built about 1550. I could tell they had fit the stones carefully together. Near the wall were wooden images. Legend says that Hale o Keawe, is watching over this temple. After the bus left us at the dock, we took a taxi to see and take pictures of the beautiful LDS Temple.


The final island on the cruise was Maui, “The Valley Isle”. There were lots of mountain slopes and peaks, volcanoes, lava cliffs, lush green valleys, tumbling waterfalls, forest and jungles. We were brave and took the Road to Hana tour. Our first stop was at Waianapana State Park where there were blowholes and a gorgeous black sand beach. I had never seen anything like it before. There is no way I could count all the waterfalls and beaches we saw that day. I’m sure there were more than one hundred curves and over fifty one-way bridges as we traveled the winding road. We had lunch at the Hana Ranch Restaurant.


I can honestly say I never remember being as cold as I was the following morning when we went to see the sunrise at the Haleakala Crater. I huddled behind a building and would run out to the rail every five minutes to snap a picture of the sunrays as they began to peek over the crater, and above the clouds. When the time came for the sun to make its appearance, my camera failed to work. I wanted a picture so I would always remember the beauty of that morning. Instead, I’ll always remember how cold it was, and that I was dressed and on shore to take a tour by 3:15 am. Disappointed I returned to the bus, where the driver told me to take the batteries from my camera and hold them in my hands for a short while. By the time he had driven the bus to the summit, my camera was again working and I used those same batteries for another two days.

I hated to see the cruise end because I enjoyed the peaceful and beautiful surroundings. Escaping the real world is something we all need to do at times, and I find my mind wandering back to the scenes I can still see in my mind.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

6 7 8 . . . 3 2 1!

By Darvell Hunt

I’m sure by now you’ve heard of the 6 7 8 Conference hosted by CFI last weekend. I’m not going to give a review of the conference here, because other attendees may have done so on their blogs already, but instead I want to tell you about a practical result from this conference.

When I got home from the conference on Saturday evening, I started writing a new book. Yeah, okay, you say, so what? Don’t writers do that sometimes? Isn’t that why we call ourselves writers?

Yes, that’s true. I’ve done just that probably a dozen times by now and more than half of those I’ve completed. But this one is different. This one has no real plot.

Doug Johnston at Cedar Fort gave away tons of books at the conference on Saturday. I didn’t win any of the drawings, but I noticed something very interesting. I didn’t take specific notes on what the titles were, but it seemed to me that the majority of them were non-fiction. Why is that, I thought?

Well, the answer, I'm guessing, is that non-fiction books are easier to sell than fiction, so I think they may actually be publishing more non-fiction. Thus far my LDS writing career has focused on telling stories, but I’ve been planning a non-fiction book in my head now for about two years.

Seeing that non-fiction seems to be selling so well, I decided that it was time to write my own non-fiction LDS book. So, immediately after the conference, I started writing it. It’s not going to be a long book, but it is going to be a meaty book. I’m giving myself 30 days to finish it and 30 days to edit it. I’m planning to submit it to Cedar Fort first, because I’m so impressed with their marketing strategies and their apparent interest in their authors.

Yes, this is a rigorous schedule for this book, but I’ve got my feet squarely planted in the starting blocks and I’m ready to go! This is my chance to show why I’m a member of this blog group, which is this: I write. I’m LDS. And I write LDS books.

While I plan to keep secret this current project during its initial stages, I will announce my progress here on this blog. My goal is to have this book accepted by the end of this year. Hopefully I’ll be able to track the progress of this book from conception, to writing, to editing, to acceptance, and finally to bookshelf, here on LDS Writers Blogck.

This doesn’t mean I’m not still concentrating on my fiction, just refocusing my efforts for the next few months.

3… 2… 1… Ready, set, write!

Monday, June 09, 2008

Catchy Name, Catchy Conference

By C. Lynn Beck
© 2008

The 6 7 8 Conference. It took place on Saturday, June 7, 2008 and was a catchy name for a writer’s conference sponsored by Cedar Fort … and that CFI put a lot of effort into advertising.

Did it live up to its potential, or did it wallow like a pig in a mud puddle?

Despite the stiffness in my joints from sitting all day, I’m happy to say I felt the conference was well worth it. And a great bargain for the price! The snacks were yummy, and the lunch was decent. More importantly, the speakers were well prepared, and their information was not only timely, but interesting.

I have to tell you something, however. Although several writing tips were given, the emphasis was on that dreaded "M" word … dee dee dee dee (scary music) … marketing!

Picture being asked by your publisher to dress up like a chicken and stand on a street corner, waggling a sign that announces your book. Got that vision firmly entrenched in your mind? Does it make your heart pound, your knees weak, and cause you to swear you’d give up writing before making such a fool of yourself?

Good, because then you’ll feel better when I tell you the speakers never once mentioned dressing up like a chicken. Or waggling a sign on a street corner.

Abel Keogh (Room for Two) spoke on creating an Internet presence with a website and blogging. Janet Kay Jensen (Don’t You Marry the Mormon Boys) discussed self-promotion with an emphasis on creating a media kit. Doug Johnston (Cedar Fort’s publicist) gave marketing hints that every publicist wished his authors knew. Finally, the keynote speaker, Eloise Owens, (Get Off the Beach) talked about her experiences learning to surf, and the motivational sales book she wrote about it.

Although all the speakers were good, I fully expected—before I got there—that my favorite would be Eloise Owens. She was the professional speaker, flown in from Texas at great cost.

And she was good.

However, imagine my surprise when the presenter I enjoyed the most was Cedar Fort’s own publicist, Doug Johnston. Come to think of it, I got so much out of his presentation I wish they’d paid him the big bucks, as well.

Unfortunately, Doug’s presentation occurred at the point where things were running late, and he had to rush his talk. I wasn’t able to take notes fast enough to keep up with him, but the ones I did get will be a great help in marketing my writings.

Last week I promised to give you tips on self-promotion, and I haven't forgotten those. Barring any unforeseen events, I plan on sharing Doug’s marketing tips next week. Then the following week, I'll give my thoughts on the subject ... so, be sure to check back for the nitty-gritty!

In the meantime, though, you might want to know this snippet of information. Scuttlebutt says that Cedar Fort is considering doing another conference in the fall.

Assuming it’s as good as this one, you won’t want to miss it!

C. Lynn’s other work:
Cup of Comfort for Horse Lovers, "Horse on Lap", pg 83
Life is Like Riding a Unicycle by Shirley Bahlmann, "Priming the Pump, pg. 79
Newspaper Column
Ensign Magazine, Dec 2007-Q&A
2007 League of Utah Writer's Award-Historical Fiction Website

What books C. Lynn recommends:
You Know You're a Writer When ... by Adair Lara
The Writer's Book of Hope by Ralph Keyes
Publishing Secrets by LDS Storymakers (BJ Rowley and others)


Saturday, June 07, 2008

Learning how to write

By Keith Fisher

Are you part of a critique group? Several months ago I wrote about my dreams for a group that would meet once a week and help each other write correctly. After the LDStorymakers conference, I became part of one that exceeds my dreams. It’s great to get together with other writers who understand, but I discovered an added benefit I hadn’t planned on.

We patterned our group after the example we saw at the conference. The group that J. Scott Savage affectionately calls “The Ladies of Wednesday Night”. When we meet, we bring a copy of what we’re working on for each member. We mark each other’s manuscripts as the author reads it, then we discuss why we marked it.

I was editing today and discovered several places that needed changing. I knew this because members of my group have drilled it into my head. I went ahead and made the changes in my manuscript. Then I began to pore over the marked suggestions from the group, and found I had already changed most of the mistakes.

It’s obvious my group is helping me. I hear their voices when I’m writing, and I fix the bad sentence before it appears on my blog. I’m learning how to write, but more importantly, I have a group of friends who care about each other. When one of us is going through a problem, everyone is there to help.

Have you found a group yet? In our group, we have two published authors who lend experience. We have a beginner, but you’d never know it because of talent. Two of us are on the verge of greatness, and then there is me. In honor of President Hinckley and his ‘B’s, I listed a few of my own below.

Be humble—accept the fact you might be wrong. Be helpful—make helpful suggestions. Be open-minded—not everyone writes the way you do. Be quiet—don’t try to re-write their book the way you would write it. Be yourself—remember you are the only one who decides how your book is written. If you don’t agree with a suggestion, you don’t have to follow it. However, keep the first ‘B’ in mind.

Good luck in your writing—see you next week

Friday, June 06, 2008

What's In A Word?

by G.Parker

In reading an article one of my fellow bloggers was readying for publication, we stumbled upon a word usage dilemma.

A word can mean many different things to people. Your vocabulary is something that increases in size and knowledge every day -- especially if you're a writer.

For instance -- what would you think of the word humility as compared to modesty? Both words can mean the same thing, but two people looking at them see them in entirely different ways. One of our bloggers saw no problem with the word modesty in relation to the topic. I, on the other hand, felt it expressed something relating to state of dress and suggested humility be used instead.

Of course it should also be noted that the one blogger is male and I am female, therefore we see things differently as a matter of course. Grin.

But it started me thinking. Words are merely tools to express thought, emotion and action. If we are writing something that we want the average person to enjoy and understand, we can't write pages of empirical thought stating reams of data they wouldn't care about. We have to show empathy, understanding and a knowledge of their word base.

Unfortunately, or fortunately (depending on how you look at it) I tend to write at a 4th grade level (I guess). There is a program in Word Perfect that tells you the average size of word used in the document, as well as the characters etc. It's really intimidating having your word processor tell you that an elementary school kid would read your stuff with no problem when you're thinking about college age people...

I'm not suggesting that we 'dummy down' our work, unless the intent is for a young person to grasp simple objectives, but we do need to examine the words we use and make sure it's the proper place. Telling you that my whimsical daughter loved science, for instance, wouldn't make as much of an impact as if I said my analytical son wanted to be an engineer.

It's all in the word.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Bring on the Rain

By Nichole Giles

Earlier this week, my son asked me if it was supposed to be windy or rainy that day. I shrugged, telling him, “The weather-lady said it wasn’t.”

“But Mom,” he said, “I saw some rain drops a few minutes ago.”

I scrunched my forehead in thought. “Yes, you’re right, it did sprinkle a little bit.”

“So the weather lady was wrong.”

“Apparently,” I said absently. I was all set to get back to whatever I was working on (writing) except that my son still looked thoughtful.

“Mom?” he said again. “How does the weather lady know if it’s going to rain or not?”

At this point, I launched into the whole explanation about satellites in space, and Doppler radar—which might have been over his head except that he had always been inquisitive in this way.

“Well,” he said after my lengthy diatribe. “I guess sometimes they can’t see rain.”

That made me think. Of course, he was right. Absolutely right. Not even the weather person can always tell you when it’s going to rain. No satellite, or radar, or fortune-telling machine can tell you when your life might take an unexpected turn—for good or bad.

So we live our lives the best we can, be the best kind of people we know how to be and write the best words—and stories—we can think to write. All the while, we hope and pray that someday our words will be read by someone who needs them. That our experiences and thoughts, along with the voices in our heads, can someday change the world.

And if our words can’t change the whole world, maybe they can change a life—or at least help someone change their own life. We do our best to learn from the past, live for the present, and hope for the future. And when we feel abundance of any kind of emotion—be it happiness, joy, anger, sadness, or true and deep heartache—we journal it, preserve it with words, in order to better draw from those feelings when we write.

The river of time is rolling past. When I feel, I write, and what I write when I feel strongly about something is always, always worth reading.

I cannot tell the future, anymore than I can look at the sky and tell you if it will be sunny tomorrow. But I do know one thing. Everything that happens in my life brings me one step closer to my destiny—which of course includes having a book on the New York Times Bestseller List.

So, go ahead life. Bring on the rain. I have a pen and paper handy, and I’m ready.

Blog Tour News

By Nichole Giles

Visit me on June 12th for the “Heaven Scent” Blog tour:

As Liza proves herself a basketball star, everyone—from college basketball recruiters to the gorgeous Kyle Reynolds—seems to take note of her. Everyone, that is, except her own father. While her father is busy at his law practice, Liza learns about a strange new religion from Kyle. Could Kyle’s religion help her family? Or is it already too late for her father to make amends?

When yet another broken promise finally leads to tragedy, Liza doesn’t know if she will ever be able to forgive her father. It will take a good friend, a new belief, and a miracle straight from heaven to help Liza see that she still has a choice. The compelling story of a high school basketball star, this is a novel every girl will want, and none will be able to put down!

Tour stops:

June 9 Ronda Hinrichsen
June 10 Don Carey
June 11 Stephanie Humphreys
June 12 Nichole Giles
June 16 Michelle Jefferies
June 17 Emily Debenham
June 18 Danyelle Ferguson
June 19 Ali Cross
June 20 Karen Hoover
June 23 Kim Thompson
June 25 Rachelle Christensen
June 26 Andy Lemmon
June 27 Karlene Browning
June 30 Marcia Mickelson
July 1 Cindy (C.L., C. Lynn) Beck

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Hawaiian Entertainment

By C. LaRene Hall

I promised that this week I would tell you about the entertainment. When I was a young girl, my parents enrolled me in dancing classes – tap, ballet, and also hula. I was actually a good dancer, and have wished many times that I had pursued dancing as a career.

For me, the best entertainment is watching someone dance, so of course, I loved Hawaii. Jack and I attended two luaus – one in Kauai and one at the Polynesian Cultural Center. With the food also came entertainment. I wish the evening shows could have lasted all night.

We also enjoyed a hula show on the beach one evening. Another night, we attended what was claimed ‘Waikiki’s Hottest Ticket’ – Society of Seven at the Outrigger Showroom across from the International Market Place. The seven men performed impersonations and comedy acts, Broadway show tunes and popular hits of today.

For the most part, I liked the show presented. The biggest problem was our table was one inch away from the stage. I’m serious, I’ve never sat that close to someone performing before. For me the music was a little bit louder than I would have liked. Also, I’m not used to a singer reaching out to shake my hand. I really didn’t want to be part of the show.

As I mentioned they did impersonations – to name a few – Elvis Presley, Sonny and Cher, and of course, the Rat Pack. The one imitating Dean Martin stood swaying with his drink right over the table where I sat. As you have already guessed, yes I did get a bit wet. In fact, my entire right leg was as wet as the table and stage.

As a whole, the entertainment in Hawaii was enjoyable. I still love hula dancers and yes, I have some stories written about the Polynesian people. I’ve often felt that I was misplaced and for some reason was born on the wrong continent. The stork missed the islands and instead dropped me at a home in a small town in Utah. I have always wanted to go back to my little grass shack.

I also want to mention that I have my own blog page and hope you will drop in. The link for it is

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

A Change of Pace

By DeeDee Hunt

I just finished writing chapter 7 of my first LDS romance novel. It's a bit weird for me to admit, but I'm a man writing women's fiction. It's not so much that I decided to write a romance novel, but rather that I had story in my head that I found I had to tell—it just happens to be a romance.

I'm finding that I like this story a lot. It's different from most of what I've written thus far, but yet still very similar. It's all about telling a good story and writing about compelling characters. Romance stories are generally character driven, which is what I write most of the time anyway, so I haven't found much difficulty doing it.

I have found it interesting to be writing from the point of view of a woman looking for love, which is a situation I've never found myself in—I have, however, been a man looking for love, though, so I think I may be partially qualified. Love is love, right?

It feels good to be giving birth—to a new story, that is. I don't feel like I'm making up the story as I go, but rather finding out what happens to the characters that have been living in my head for years. I feel a bit like a mother in that I'm giving these characters life. I care what happens to them and I feel sad when they are downtrodden. (But then, isn't all good writing like that?)

So, for now, I'm tossing aside Mr. Darvell Hunt and picking up the pen of Ms. DeeDee Hunt. I'm liking the experience. I don't plan on making the sex-change permanent, but I'm enjoying it while the story flows.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Blow That Horn!

By C. Lynn Beck
© 2008

Humility is a virtue, right? We're taught from the time we're young to act with meekness, to downplay our strengths, and practice self-effacement.

"You did a great job," a teacher, parent or friend might have told us.

We probably smiled, blushed, and said, "Aw, shucks, it was nothing."

Then, one day, we became writers and with a little luck, had a book or story published. Now, suddenly, we're supposed to banish the, "Aw, shucks," and toot our own horn.

Wait, that's not quite right. We aren't supposed to toot our horn ... we're expected to blare it over a loudspeaker, from a van decorated with our pen name and book cover.

It's a difficult task to accomplish when we've applied the lessons of meekness for most of our lives. It's a hard act to balance, with humility weighing on one end of the scale and self-promotion on the other. Many of us feel uneasy ... embarrassed ... and haven't a clue how to start tooting our own horns.

There is an important first step. It actually starts from within, rather than without. We need to give ourselves a little pep talk, with a reminder that humility and self-promotion can co-exist in an author's soul. We need to tell our consciences that we are promoting our plots and characters, not extolling our own personal virtues. We must free ourselves from the idea that we are conceited if we mention our work, and let go of the thought that others have to be the ones to point out that we've written something worth reading.

And when we've done that, the thought of self-promotion will no longer cause the discomfort it once did.

Drop off a comment and tell me what you find the hardest about self-promotion. And then check back next week, when I'll give tips and suggestions to help you promote your work.

C. Lynn’s other work:
Cup of Comfort for Horse Lovers, "Horse on Lap"
Life is Like Riding a Unicycle by Shirley Bahlmann, "Priming the Pump, pg. 79
Newspaper Column
Ensign Magazine, Dec 2007-Q&A
2007 League of Utah Writer's Award-Historical Fiction Website

What books C. Lynn recommends:
You Know You're a Writer When ... by Adair Lara
The Writer's Book of Hope by Ralph Keyes
Publishing Secrets by LDS Storymakers (BJ Rowley and others)