Thursday, December 31, 2009
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
My motto last January was "Everything's Fine in 2009".
I tried to believe it.
But 2009 was not so divine. A lot of things are extremely fine, but I don't know if everything is fine for anyone. So I was thinking I needed a new motto for 2010. Something that gives me courage to face the things that aren't fine and helps me be excited for all the new challenges.
What is 2010?
"Trying Again in 2010"
"Endure to the End of 2010"
"Begin Again in 2010"
Whatever 2010 is, it's not like the cars that have already been built. The new year hasn't started yet and the possibilities really are endless. No matter what I already know will happen, there is so many more things no one can know. I love the adventure, the mystery. I love the fact that no matter who you are, all around the world everyone will be making their own 2010.
I've been reading the new year's resolutions from the comments left on the contest. If you haven't dropped a comment yet, you've got a little more time. Lots of people want to lose weight. Some want to read more. Be less stressed. Stop swearing. Spend less money.
And then there are a few who don't make resolutions.
All of these have left me thinking. What do I need to do to be a better me? I can't pick up the typical resolutions and copy them. I'm a totally different person than most. I really shouldn't resolve to do some of the same things, but at the same time, there are other things I need more of. And how will I know if I've met my goals if I don't have any.
I tell kids all the time that if they don't have a dream, their dream can't come true. If you don't have a resolution, you can't complete it. If you don't want to change, you won't.
I know we all tick a little different.
Most of my resolutions are in my head instead of somewhere where the world can see them. I'm hoping that 2010 will be an even better year.
Thursday, December 24, 2009
And all through the house
Every creature was stirring
Except for the mouse- (we got rid of him last week)
All the stockings were hung
By the fake chimney with care
In hopes that St. Nicolas
Soon would be there
I in my PJ’s and
My cute hubby in his too
Are trying to remember
Where we stashed all the goods
We’ve got presents hidden
All over the house
And the shop
And down the street
And we can’t remember exactly what
We spent hours wrapping
So on Christmas morning
We’ll all have fun unwrapping
Like most years
Santa’s workshop is still going
Making toys for little ones
Who will wake up tomorrow without ever knowing
That the man in the suit
Is someone they’ve always known
And Mrs. Claus
Is never far from home
And even though Christmas
Isn’t about presents
And my precious angels
Haven’t forgotten who sent us
Here on Earth to be tested
To have families and love
Who gave us the biggest gift
Of eternal happiness from above
I still can’t wait
For the floor to be covered
With wrapping paper and toys
Good St. Nick can be counted on
For my sweet girls and boys.
Saturday, December 19, 2009
Using random.org - the winner is
Thursday, December 17, 2009
Monday, December 14, 2009
And, as if anyone needed a reminder, it's the last week of school before Christmas break. At least where I live. The last week of early mornings. The last week of quiet afternoons to write. The last week of a regularly scheduled life.
It's good and bad. Good because I love lazy mornings where kids don't have to rush off to school. I love watching them build snowmen and snow forts and play together like life was made specifically for that. Good because Christmas is so close and it's so much fun.
And, the down side is smaller. I'll be honest. I'm going to miss having a couple quiet hours a day to write. I know. I'm selfish, but I love quiet afternoons where it's just me and my laptop. I'm going to have to lock myself somewhere and write anyway. Yeah, I'm that addicted to it. I should joing writers anonomous or something. It's just that I've got this story I started a couple weeks ago and I'm totally in love right now. I don't want to miss the momentum.
Don't worry, I haven't lost track of priority #1- my family. Fortunately I get lots of opportunities to spend quality time with them- one of the major perks of being a stay-at-home mom.
And for those of you who like updates on the writing side-- here you go. For the year 2009 I met nearly all of my writers group goals. When my group decided to make goals, I was nervous. I had never committed to anyone any amount of writing or goals. I barely nail myself down to what I want when it comes to writing. But, for what it's worth I.....
*Had Alvor come out as a published book and worked hard to market it by doing signings.
*Put together a school visit and had opportunities to get out there and present.
*Worked on my unfinished novel. Uhm, it's still unfinished though.
*Sent stuff out to agents. Total waste of time. I'm going to have to start over with this one when I get my new book written.
*Started writing a completely unrelated book. This last one I didn't even know for sure what the book would be until a couple weeks ago. In fact, when we had our last meeting, I had to admit that this goal wasn't met. I still need to finish it, but at least I'm off to a good start.
So, what about 2010?
I know. It's kind of early for new year's resolutions, but....
*Find a publisher for Book 2 of Alvor.
*Finish writing the book I started this month.
*Send it out to agents.
*Eat lots and lots of dark chocolate until I find one.
*Finish the unfinished book that I started last year if it's the last thing I do.
*Go to writers conferences and have a total blast.
Good goals. I think I can even do them. Especially the eating dark chocolate one. I've got that covered. I guess that means I'm going to have to keep exercising in 2010 so I don't turn into the goodyear blimp while I'm at it, but you don't get to hear about my other new year's resolutions...
Thursday, December 10, 2009
So, here's the gist of it. I tell you five things of the following....
Five North American Cities in Which I’d Seriously Consider Living:
(I'm going to say other than Boise where I love love love to live)
1. Mesa, AZ
2. Sandy, UT
3. Harrisburg, PA
4. Elkton, MD
5. St. George, UT
Five Songs to Which I know all the Words:
Lots of hymns, primary songs and Christmas songs. I'm never sure if I know all the words to songs on the radio.
Five Foods I’d Hope to have in Unlimited Quantities on a Desert Island:
4. Cheese- let's just hope this deserted island has refridgeration :)
5. dark chocolate. Would life on a deserted island be worth it without it?
Five Chores I Should be doing instead of Blogging:
2. I don't know. I'm blocking housework from my brain right now.
Five Childhood Friends I’d like to See Again:
Okay. Now you all are sure of what a boring person I really am. I'm supposed to tag five more people. I'm thinking about it. I'm not so great at this tagging thing.
Monday, December 7, 2009
I'm sure that would have looked great on a Christmas card.
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
Do you want to win a new YA book?
Here's the rules....
Leave a comment with your favorite line from Alvor and what page # it's on. Believe me, I'll know if your page # is right. Super easy. I'm looking forward to your answers.
Yeah, I know this is tricky, you have to actually have a copy of Alvor around for this to work, but it's worth it, right?
***And, to qualify, you have to be a follower of this blog. Also, to simplify the process of notifying the winner, you MUST leave your e-mail address. ***
+1 link this contest to something (your blog, twitter, facebook, website, etc) Please include what you linked it to
+1 if someone enters the contest and mentions that you sent them here - they have to say your name to get the extra entry
Contest ends December 19 at 12 PM MST. Yeah, I made it noon so I would have time to post the winner on Saturday. We use random.org to choose the winner.
I'm really liking the idea of giving away other books- so we might have to keep doing it. If you're anything like me, I run out of things to read on a regular basis. It's fun to have a fresh book around.
Saturday, November 28, 2009
And the winner of a signed copy of Alvor goes to......
Monday, November 23, 2009
And, coming soon.... a contest that I'm excited about. We're going to have the Have You Read Alvor? Contest. We're going to start this in December. Up for grabs will be a new title book- I'll give you that info later. The contest requires your favorite sentence of Alvor and what page it's found. Easy. Well, easy if you've read the book.
So, after you've finished with the turkey, grab my book and get reading. It's going to be fun.
Just a little reminder for those of you who have entered the contest already-- you must be a follower to qualify as an entry. Make sure you really are!
Coming up on the horizon, I'm excited for 2010. The writing stuff is cool cool cool. February 11-13 I've been invited to be on the author panel at BYU for the LTUE conference (Life the Universe and Everything). Can't wait for that one. It's going to be so fun.
More schools to visit. YAY! If I haven't been to your school, your kid's school or your favorite school, drop me a line.
Then there's the writers conferences. April 23-24 is the LDStorymakers Writers Conference in Provo. Agents and Editors and Authors, oh my. It's going to be a blast.
April 30-May 2 is a Novel Retreat for SCBWI in Idaho. Three days of taking a novel to revision bootcamp. It sounds painfully fun.
Instead of shopping like a crazy-lady this Friday and Saturday, I'll be signing books at Costco. Friday I'll be at the Boise Costco from 11-4 and Saturday I'll be at the Nampa Costco from 11-4. Come visit me in your pj's or whatever you shop in on Black Friday.
And, if you need to get into the holiday spirit, come to the Boise Festival of Trees this Wednesday at 7:00. I promise you'll have a good time watching the Boise Cloggers.
I'm excited to see family and turkey this week. Planning on making a couple cherry blueberry pies too. I'll be posting again before the big turkey day, so I'll save my food enthusiasm for then.
Thursday, November 19, 2009
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Here it's overcast and cold.
And the Rains came up and the Floods came down- it's a song about your house being built on a strong foundation or a weak foundation and depending on which, it's either going to stand or slide away.
Try not to think of the mudslides in California.
Sometimes a lot of rain comes and there's not much anyone can do about it.
Even though there's no precipitation outside, the temperature of how things are going all around me looks like rain and floods. Jobs lost, income decreased, disappointments, sickness... and the list goes on. I think you probably have a list of your own with more specific things in mind.
If you're having one of those years, here's something that's helped me. It seems small, and it doesn't fix your problems, but it does help.
Someone lightly punched me on the arm and said, "It's going to work out."
It was a light punch, but enough of a tap to make me look up and really want to know if it was true.
Then, on a different day with different people, another light punch on the arm to someone, "Things are going to pick up."
Sometimes, even when you're doing all you can, the rains are going to come, the floods are coming up. It might look like your house is going to wash away, but keep standing for as long as you can. Maybe you can only take it one minute at a time, but it might be enough to weather the storm.
And then keep working on it. One of these days, things are going to work out and the sun is going to shine on your once water soaked house.
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Saturday, November 7, 2009
Here are some of the things I've noticed:
"You look too young to be an author." They're also the ones who don't buy my book. They're usually people in their mid-fifties. My only guess is that they don't know or care who Stephanie Meyer is. Confession- she's my age. She's actually one year younger. I wonder how many people tell her she's too young to be an author.
Yesterday, a lady asked a man, "Do your boys like books?" He answered. "Yeah, we don't read at all. We wait for the movie to come out." I was so shocked at the conversation that I wrote it down, word for word. I don't think they thought I was paying any attention to them as they walked by. Who knew there were grown ups out there who equated watching movies to reading books? It's like he thought that reading simply gave you the same entertainment value as watching a movie and watching a movie took so much less effort that it wasn't worth reading. What kind of a world would we have if everyone felt that way? Scary.
On the other end of the spectrum, I meet adults and kids who want to be writers. All of them share an enthusiasm that is kind of contageous. It's hard not to love what you do when you're around other people who love it too. And, here's my observation about it- the older they are, the more excited about writing a book they are. Interesting. It's almost like the more work they have done and the more they have learned how very difficult the whole process is, the more they have jumped in with both feet and are loving it.
And, last but not least, here's a tribute to the kids who wrote their thoughts on a thank you card. These are in their own words..... "Thanks for coming to our class and for being awesome. I'm planning on reading your book." Wow. I didn't know I was awesome, but thanks.
"Thank you fo coming ta our skool! Yo book looks kind a wicked... I like it." I'm hoping this guy meant to sound cool. Otherwise, he's his english teacher's worst nightmare.
"Thank you for coming and talking about dreams and ways to achieve them. It was really fun."
"Thanks for coming to our class and I am going to use your advice to make a good story next time I have to."
"Thank you for coming to Riverglen! I learned that reading can help succeed my dreams."
"Thank you sooo much. Your book cover & the parts you read of your book were great."
Aren't these kids great! And I thought I'd be nervous to talk to a bunch of kids. Not even. It is so much fun.
At least I know there is a whole new generation of people who are learning that reading has value and that it will take them places. That's a very powerful thought.
Monday, November 2, 2009
It was great! The third graders at Ponderosa were awesome. Always raising their hands eager to answer the questions and give their ideas.
At Riverglen Jr. High I got to have some fun with the seventh and ninth graders. Great kids- and good sports. They let me pick on them and we had fun.
And the results are in:
Cereal was the most common thing eaten for breakfast- usually consumed in five minutes with the exception of the boy who spent 20 minutes eating his Chex. He says he's a slow eater.
Veterinarian was the most common answer for what kids wanted to be when they grew up. Professional sports was second.
Talents- gymnastics and writing was the top two answers. To follow was football, soccer and my personal favorite- being nice to people.
More third graders are willing to admit their talents than ninth graders by far.
At least half of the ninth graders didn't know what they wanted to be when they grew up where as nearly all of the third graders did. I liked this. To me it proved that they were growing up and learning more about the world. It's hard to commit to a profession when you're only just figuring out what each career really means.
Old report cards get the attention of students and teachers. And some looks. I felt like I was a kid again when I got some of those looks.
From the teachers- they all said the same kind of thing. They wished there were more author visits in the schools because it's exactly what the kids need. And, bless her heart, the third grade teacher insisted that I inspired her, too.
So there you have it.
It's a good thing I didn't actually cry when I told the ninth graders that everyone alive has talent and that there is a lot in them that is just waiting to be discovered. I came close. Good thing I had the powerpoint to distract them and give me a second to pull it together.
Man, I love those kids.
I almost forgot! Go to Barnes & Noble in Boise --Tuesday, November 3, 7:00 PM and on. It's going to be a fun signing and I have some cool stuff to give away.
Saturday, October 31, 2009
The squirrel that's been shamelessly running through the ceiling of the Bingham home has finally been taken into custody. After terrorizing a family with its morning antics, the squirrel (name with-held) went into the live trap on its own accord Thursday evening.
The suspect refused to make noise when the trap door shut, likely hoping to keep its new winter home even in the metal cage.
Authorities believe the squirrel had been living in the ceiling since October 24 making the intruder's stay six days long. No one has confirmed how it lived for six days without a water supply.
The squirrel was driven away from the home and released in another location.
In other news, a group of dancers (including my oldest son) are to perform Thriller (click here to see the news footage) all evening to commemorate Halloween and the passing of Michael Jackson. A professional makeup artist flew into town to make the dancers look like the authentic zombies. Dancers have been holding practices for a month to prepare for this event. Catch the Thriller action from 7-10 PM tonight at 1606 Harrison Blvd. in Boise. Dancers will be performing every fifteen minutes throughout the evening.
And, if you happen to get a trick or treater at your house before lunch today, be sure to give them something healthy to eat. It's probably my kids.
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
and I don't know how many there is
But it's been there all week long.
Well the furniture is moved from underneath the infested side
just in case it falls from the ceiling again
It makes me want to cry.
There's something stuck up in the ceiling
and it makes a lot of noise
and we found some nuts and bones.
Well, we didn't know that squirrels ate bones
but apparently these rodents
eat more than the insulation in our home
There's something stuck up in the ceiling
and the live trap has some nuts
but it doesn't seem to work
Well, the kids are terrified to eat their breakfast anymore
and my little ones are hiding
behind closed doors.
There's something stuck up in the ceiling
and it's freaking me out
'cause I hear it running back and forth
Well there's a reason they call it a drop panel ceiling
A flipping squirrel already fell
inside my house on Sunday
There's something stuck up in my ceiling
and I'm ready to move out
but that's kind of hard to do
I have visions of the movie Ratatouille going on
and I have a creepy feeling
more than one squirrel is along
There's something stuck up in my ceiling
and I wonder if it's found
the old Decon from years ago
Well it would be disgusting if it died up there
and I can't imagine the smell
that would be terrible to bear
There's something stuck up in the ceiling
and we've called Animal Control
and they won't come do a thing
The live trap has a cookie, peanuts and some peanut butter
but apparently our litte friend
already has a stash that's better
There's something stuck up in the ceiling
and I'm losing my mind
I just want to get my safe house back.
And it's been there all week long.
do doo do doolidadoot da doot do doo.
Sunday, October 18, 2009
Good luck to everyone. If you didn't enter the Lateiner Gang's contest, what are you waiting for? We're talking serious free stuff over there.
Good luck to everyone! You all deserve to win.
Saturday, October 17, 2009
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
One of the things I've been looking forward to the most since publishing Alvor is doing school visits. Ironic, in many ways because I'VE NEVER SEEN ONE DONE.
Ever. Not once.
I figured this could be a good thing. I mean, I can't copy everyone else even if I wanted to. And, I do have some plans in mind.
What brought on this conversation? Here's the scoop. I admit, I'm so excited about the possibilities.
Laura Jonio, the CRM at the Boise Barnes & Noble has organized an educators event for this afternoon at 4:30. The plan is for me to do a fifteen minute presentation followed by a book signing. Hopefully I'll have the chance to meet some teachers, librarians and other staff members of schools in this area.
One thing I've learned the hard way- if you're easily accessible and don't cost a fortune, nobody's intersted.
What does that mean? Let's say I'm a big time author. I call a handful of schools in the Boise area and tell them I'm planning on being in Boise for these two dates. Here is the cost of the visit- are you in or out? Pressure! Schools love pressure.
On the other hand, if you happen to live in Boise and you offer school visits for practically nothing, almost no one's interested. I say almost because there are a few that are willing to have me come even though I'm nearly always available and promise not to blow their budget.
Here's the other kicker. If Barnes & Noble sets the school visit up for me- it's free. Free.
I guess it's time I told you why I'm so excited about all of this. Besides the fact that I used to be a science teacher and I LOVE talking to kids, Laura Jonio has her mind made up that things are going to work out.
What she said was, "Let's sell a million books."
I said, "That's setting your sights pretty high."
She said, "Do you know book 4 of Fablehaven?"
Her, "My name is in the back of the book. Do you know why?"
Her, "Because I helped him sell a lot of books! We can do that with your's. Let's get you out there into the schools."
Me, "Okay. I'm game."
Then I got off the phone and went to my bookshelf. Sure enough. Her name is on page 541 of Fablehaven Book 4 by Brandon Mull.
That's when my week started looking a lot better. If she's as determined as she sounded on the phone, she's going to get me into a bunch of schools, and I'm going to have a blast visiting them.
If you came to this post to find out how to do a school visit, or to find out what my game plan is, I won't disappoint. Here's a brief outline that I'll be working with.
Why Follow your dreams?
*How reading can help you get to anywhere you want to be
*Practice your talents and let them grow
*Try new things
*If you never have a dream, your dreams can never come true.
What does an author look like as a kid?
*Good reading a writing habits
*Anyone can be good at reading, just start
*Even if you don't want to write books, reading teaches you, inspires, improves
problem solving skills and increases memory retention
Where do stories come from?
*Building a story using students' ideas
Pictures in your mind
*Read parts of the book out loud and talk about what students' see in their head.
*Show pictures of what some artists saw in their minds.
What if you fail?
*A discussion about the power of never giving up and the strength of persistence.
*True failure is never trying.
Friday, October 9, 2009
And, I'm finally going to say it out loud, and live with the consequenses. I've finished writing book 2 of Alvor. I've been working on editing and revising. Anyone who's ever done that before knows that the process turns your love affair into a "I can't believe I was that stupid." Kind of like the butter, only worse.
Yet, in spite of my obvious flaws, I still like the story. A lot. It's a little more grown up than Alvor was. Still safe, but more teen.
But, for all practical purposes, I'm going through the stage of writing when I wonder if any of this is really going to work. Can I get an agent this time? Is there a bigger publisher out there for me? All the questions writers beat themselves over the head with until they finally get the only answer that will quell the raging storm. Yes.
I just need a yes.
In the meantime, I have been writing a dreaded full synopsis. If you've never heard of this, it's basically writing your entire novel in present tense condensed. In ten pages, tell the editor everything that happens in your story, from beginning to end, including all the subplots. Oh, and while you're at it, make it tense, suspenseful, full of emotion and captivating.
I'm one of those people that feels like writing a full synopsis is kind of like writing a really boring text book. It feels nothing like writing novels. I have pretended for months now that I would hire a brilliant synopsis writer to do the job for me, but even then, I knew was only hiding from the inevitable.
The fact is, I love writing novels and talking to people at presentations, book signings and school visits. That is the fun part of being an author. All the invisible work- like writing query letters and synopsises is not my idea of fun.
Did you know that the dictionary considers a synopsis a brief outline? Ug.
I'm setting out to finish what I started, which means trudging through this part of the process. And now that I'm officially 'out of the closet', I'll keep you posted with how things go. It's always fun to read about how many times a writer has been rejected. Sorry, I haven't been keeping score. But if I do hit a home run, I'll let you know.
Sunday, October 4, 2009
Here are some of my favorite conversations from book signings from the last two days.
Lady: "There's someone famous in Costco!"
Me: "No, I'm not famous, I'm just here signing books."
Lady: "But you're here in Costco, so you must be famous."
Me: "No, I live here in Boise, I'm not famous."
Lady: "Someone in Boise is famous?"
Me: I gave up. "Yeah. I'm famous."
That one still makes me laugh. I'm so famous that no one in Boise even knows who I am.
Old man: "You know, you're the first author I've ever met in my whole life."
Me: shaking his hand, "Well, it's nice to meet you."
Him: "You need to sell one or two million books, then you'll be the first millionaire I've ever shaken hands with."
I'm still laughing about that one. Today I was wondering who the richest person I've shook hands with. My husband was the one to remind me. It was Glenn Beck. You know, the reason he didn't come to mind was because he was such a normal guy. Nice. He took a few moments to have a conversation. I guess I wasn't thinking about how rich he was, then or now.
More nice words from people this weekend:
Me: I'm talking about my book to someone, "It's a teen read."
Employee from across the aisle yells: "No, it's not! I read it and I loved it!"
Janitor pushing a really big trash can: "I bought your book for my wife and she loved it. She couldn't put it down. Said it was her new favorite book. I just wanted you to know."
I said thanks, but even that is not equal to what he did for me. I can't believe there are total strangers in this world who care enough to say such nice things.
I can't put their reviews in my query letters. No one will ever publish their comments in a newspaper or a national review. But that's okay. Really. When it's real people saying what they mean, it's impossible to top.
But, there were others. Three specifically come to mind. A teenage girl read the back of my book and when I asked her if I could sign one for her she said, "Not today." Her dad was standing there. It reminded me of all the times I told my daughter, "Not today" when she asked for something I just couldn't buy right then. It sounded the same.
The girl's dad whispered something in her ear and she smiled. She turned and picked up my book and asked me to sign it for her. I could tell it meant a lot to her. It was an honor to sign that book and become a small part of happiness in her world.
A boy stopped me as I was loading up my things to leave. He was probably ten years old. "Would you sign this for me?" He handed me a book. His big brown eyes were anxious and excited. His name was Jack. After I signed his book, he hugged it to his chest and practically skipped to his grandpa who was standing across the aisle.
The last was a little girl, maybe nine. She came up to me while I was putting up a sign at my last signing. "I'm looking for the author of this book," she said, holding Alvor.
Okay. You can tell I'm a softy for kids. But that's who I write for. To me, if they're looking for me, then I must have done something right. Maybe they're a little more forgiving. Maybe they're more innocent. Maybe sometimes you can see into their eyes and know there's a whole world waiting for them to become something amazing. When they cross paths with me, it reminds me why I do what I do.
Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Per e-mails from my publisher and requests from the Costco buyer, I am officially starting my Costco tour.
In Idaho. Sorry all you other states, I can only effectively tour where I live. Otherwise, I'd be driving or flying all over the place and going broke doing it.
Never fear, you might be able to order it since Costco does work with my publisher. There's also Barnes & Noble, Deseret Book, Seagull Book, independant stores and online places like Amazon.com and barnsandnoble.com
But for those of you who want to know what a stay-at-home mom of five kids, dance teacher, business owner and writer's Costco tour looks like, here you go....
Twin Falls Costco
Hmmm, let me guess. Too much information. Yeah, maybe, but if nothing else I can check my blog so I can remember where in the Costco I'm supposed to be. Functional and fun to read, ha ha ha.
It also makes me really easy to find. Just head to Costco pretty much any weekend between now and Christmas. Piece of cake.
Which reminds me... if you haven't signed up to win a free book, check out the post below and get signed up already. Even if you have a book, you could give it away to friends or family or, and I love this idea, donate it to a school. You'd be such a nice person! Think of the karma.
If you do happen to live in Boise, I'm supposed to be at Deseret Book in Meridian this Saturday from 6-8 PM for Lady's Night. They always have free cookies and drawings. It should be fun. I hope to see you there!
Monday, September 28, 2009
The sun has set, and cool air trickles into the valley. It feels like fall. I'm ready for the leaves to turn shades of yellow, red and orange.
Maybe it's time for jeans and tennis shoes and to say goodbye to the flip flops for a while.
I'm ready for life to slow down and take a breath.
I'm ready for the smell of warm cookies on a cold day.
I want a few unread books on my shelf and some mint tea. What could be better?
Things are changing and I'm ready for the change.
Now that the busy summer is officially over, things can slow down again.
This is when writing becomes my hideaway. When the sun sets early in the evening, I escape into another world. Sometimes my stories, sometimes books.
Sometimes through conversations. I love this time of year. I think the cold weather brings people together. Everyone getting a little closer to stay warm.
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
To add to the fun, it's my birthday in two weeks. October 6.
So, to celebrate, I'm giving away a signed copy of my book.
I always share my birthdays. I take my kids to the store on my birthday and let them pick out a toy. It's not uncommon for us to buy a gift for all of our kids when there's a birthday at our house.
We don't always share everyone's birthday, but they never know when we will. It keeps it fun.
I always share mine, though. That's my rule.
So this year, I'm sharing my birthday with you.
Here's how you enter the book giveaway contest. Don't laugh, it's another tradition that I enjoyed for a while.
"Heavy heavy hang over thy poor head,
What do you wish with a bump on your head?"
Every birthday for a lot of years, the birthday person would have to make a wish for everyone who gave them a present. The gift giver would hold the present over the head of the birthday person and say those words. At the end, the giver taps the present on the birthday person's head.
For a while there, my kids thought they were saying, "Heavy heavy hang over diaper head." I still laugh about that.
We haven't played "Heavy heavy" for a while.
If you want a book, you have to play.
***If you want to win a book, leave a comment with a wish in it. You can wish for anything.
***If you add yourself as a follower, or if you already are one, you get a second entry.
Hmm, I'm seriously considering adding something to the package besides a book. After all, it's my birthday and I love sharing it. Maybe I'll make that part a surprise. I love surprises.
I'm not even going to tell you how old I'll be. If you still think I'm in my twenties, who am I to burst your bubble? Ha ha ha...
The contest will end on Saturday, October 17 2009
11:59 pm EST
Why? My friends the Lateiner Gang are having a contest for Catching Fire. Click here to enter their contest and we wanted you to get a chance at both.
**we use www.random.org to select the winner**
**Please include your email address so we can contact the winner**
Sunday, September 20, 2009
Audio Books worked for me. I highly recommend it to anyone forced to stare at an interstate for hours on end.
I'm happy to report that driving was not the highlight of my Utah tour. So many great other things overshadowed the mind-numbing driving time.
Thursday I met some great people at Southern Utah University. Their librarian conference offered opportunities for school visits around the St. George area.
And, maybe, if I'm very very lucky, Kim Hanson from Bound to Stay Bound Books, Inc. will convince the president of his company to invest in Alvor.
Never heard of them? I hadn't either. Here's how it works. Bound to Stay Bound Books, Inc. is a company who prebounds books for libraries. They use a buckram cover that defies wear on the corners of the books. Each section of their book is over-sewn and is guaranteed against defective binding.
Basically, they find books that they think will do well in the market, buy 1,000 copies from the publisher, bind them with their super powers and sell them to libraries all over the country.
Sounds cool, huh? I thought so.
Alvor is in Kim's hands now. It's his job to read my book and pitch it to the man in charge. If they decide to take my book, Alvor will have a hardback.
Industrial strength, indestructible hardback. He told me he still has the original Harry Potter bound books still in circulation. They last that long.
And, if this hasn't sounded like a commercial yet, here's their website. http://www.btsb.com/
Friday, I sold out of books at Barnes & Noble in Sandy. Next time I think we need more books.
Saturday I spent the afternoon at Costco in Lehi. No one dropped a bottle of wine. Thank goodness. Three different people came up to me and said they already had my book and how was it possible I was right there at their Costco and they didn't know it so I could sign their books.
Lots of people talked to me. I love you, Utah. And lots of people even bought a book.
Still, if you sit still for four hours in Costco, you're brain starts to melt and drip out of your ears. I think. I didn't fully recover until I got back to my brother's house in Taylorsville, or Murray depending on which GPS you ask.
I'm happy to say that it was a worthwhile week. Part of me wishes I had been able to go to the League of Utah Writers Conference yesterday, but I guess you can't win them all. Here's to doing what you can in the hours that you have with the resources you've been given.
Monday, September 14, 2009
And, if you have any advice about what makes the best car snacks, I'm all ears. I'll be driving six hours a day Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday. My brain is melting just thinking about it. I would never survive as a truck driver.
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
My question to you- is it worth it? Is it worth spending 11 months living with ants in a caterpillar's body just so it can someday grow up to be a butterfly? Is it?
All I can say is, I hope so. I'm pretty sure, actually. And even when I'm not that excited about the caterpillar stages of life, I know that someday things are going to look different to me. Chances are, it will be because I stuck it out and didn't give up.
Tuesday, September 8, 2009
My eight year old said to me last night, "I don't have school tomorrow, right? Tomorrow's Monday and it's a holiday."
How confusing is that? "Uhm, today is Monday and you DO have school tomorrow." That was me, the responsible mom.
This morning my husband woke up late. That's when he realized that our twelve year old son was still asleep and school started in fifteen minutes. Either he pedaled his bike double time or he got the first tardy of the year on the fifth day of seventh grade. Bummer.
My twins were convinced they didn't have school today. "It's not today, right?" That's what my five year old boy kept asking.
As they waited at the bus stop, they kept looking down the street for the neighbor girl who waits for the bus with them. She never showed up. "Are you sure we have school today?"
The bus did come and everything worked out.
Except the fact that as soon as everyone was gone and my two year old decided to tak a nap, I realized how completely messy the house was.
I think we're experiencing delayed school lag. At some point the weather is going to turn downright cold, the sun will go down sooner and my kids will finally accept that summer is officially over. But looking out at the clear blue sky and the green grass, I'm still thinking "It's not today, right?"
Saturday, September 5, 2009
Yeah, me. I still don't have a Costco card. Can you believe it?
I spent Friday afternoon at Costco in Boise. 12-4 to be exact. Then again today. When my publisher asked me to do a signing at Costco, I thought it was kind of strange. I mean, milk, meat, vegetables and Alvor. It didn't really sound like it went together. Apparently I was way wrong.
It was different watching the river of carts flood down the aisle in front of me all day. Odd seeing carts parked in front of my table and beside it, and behind it. Pretty much everywhere.
And now that I've spent six and a half hours at Costco in one weekend, all I can say is- I'm going back. Totally.
Here's a quick highlight of my two days.
I sold a book to a lady who is in charge of the book collection for an organization who helps abused girls. I had to keep from crying as I signed that book. I could imagine those girls reading my book and I know it would carry them out of this world for a little while and help them realize what miracles they are. That is the kind of book I tried to write.
Kids- YEAH! I got to talk to kids, teens, boys and girls everywhere from 5-17. Awesome. I love selling my book to them. It really makes my day.
I was invited to do a reading for "Celebrity Night" at one of the schools here. Uhm, except that I'm not exactly a celebrity. I guess I better not tell them.
A guy from Illinois bought my book and promised to try to get it into several libraries in that state- that's what he does for a living.
Another mom of the library director somewhere in California bought Alvor for her son so he can get in into California libraries.
I met old friends who didn't know I wrote a book, and some that did. One even stood there for a half hour today telling people that came to my table to buy my book. She must have been pretty convincing- they all bought one. Now I just have to get her to read it. Her daughter read it and loved it.
And, the big finale..... drumroll please....
At exactly 2:30 this afternoon two crazy things happened. Someone dropped a bottle of wine and it literally exploded everywhere. We're talking a 35 foot radius at least.
And, at that same moment, I signed the last of the 108 books that Costco ordered. I ended up going home early today because I ran out of books. I couldn't believe it. All 108.
For the record, that is my record number of books sold in two days. Now you know exactly how small-time of an author I really am, but hey, you gotta start somewhere. I think next time we'll skip the wine. I mean, if you're going to celebrate with bubblies, try rootbeer. Ha ha ha.
Thursday, September 3, 2009
Sheila was nice enough to post an author interview. She really does her best to make me look good.
It's people like Sheila and Dave Lateiner and others who are gracious enough to read my book and tell the world what they think, that make my future so much brighter.
But there are others. Reviews on Amazon.com, Goodreads, Barnes & Noble (all except the guy who said "fun but not fantastic"- we don't like that one as much)-- there are so many who have taken a stand to help my book rise out of the sludge of millions of books available. Thanks everyone.
And so many have never met me. I mean, I would love to meet them- but they did this without any chance of gaining something. It is out of the pure goodness of their hearts.
To all of you who have told someone to read Alvor, I owe any success I might enjoy to you. My career is in your hands. Thanks for being so completely awesome.
Gentlemen, I have just completed my new novel.
It is so good, I am not even going to send it to you.
Why don't you just come and get it.
Ha ha ha... If you've ever written a novel, you know exactly how this feels. Wouldn't it be great to just skip the whole submission/ rejection process. Yes, it's a submission/rejection process. You can't get anywhere unless you can take the big REJECTION letters.
You want more?
I guess that's how every writer feels. I'm working through some things, including writing query letters and I'll tell you- I can't really make myself believe that anyone would pick up a whole manuscript based on a letter. Any letter.
Tuesday, September 1, 2009
I sent a copy of Alvor to Sheila at Book Journey to review a while back. I have a lot of respect for this gal and am amazed at all the time she puts into her book reviews. Today is the day. I didn't even realize until five minutes ago.
Okay, I had to get my kids off to the school bus before I could get on the internet- but here it is. I was so nervous to read what she had to say.
All I can say is- holy cow. I know. My vocabulary should be somewhat more developed than that, but I couldn't believe what she said. I'm serious.
If you don't believe me, read this. I promise these are her words- a person I've never met in my life.......
As I opened the pages to this book I was thrilled to start reading and get a sense of Narnia…. and then a sense of Twilight, then Never Ending Story, Harry Potter, and dare I even say a small sense of Zelda? Yet as I kept reading, and while each of those things about the book just made me more excited to read it – I closed the book last night knowing that while the book gave me a feel for some favorites I have known… Alvor is in a class all of its own. Unique in its own right.
This book was everything I had hoped it would be. I loved the vivid descriptions of all that their world held. And I loved that when I read the final words… and I closed the book, I had a feeling that it was not over. And whatever that means, if Laura Bingham left it open for us the readers to come to our own conclusions of what happens next or if this is a hint of another book to come… I do not know.
I for one…. hope it is the later.
It made me want to cry. I mean, it's exactly how I wish the world could see Alvor. And to those who wonder what will ever happen next- Book 2 is coming- I just don't know when it will be in book form. That's a whole 'nother story.
Now if I could just figure out a way for everyone to find Alvor, read it and of course, fall in love with it.... yeah, I know. It's kind of impossible. Instead, I have fun getting lost in my story as I write it and hope that someday my dreams will come true. I still work hard trying to get it out there to the world- but I'm only one person. It's going to take more than me.
Monday, August 31, 2009
Things seem really normal. How strange...
Anyway, I feel a little sad that we had to draw a new winner, but it's already Monday and we still haven't heard from the other winner.
So... using random.org I have a new winner....