Monday, February 23, 2009

How my story started

I was thinking about how many people have inspired me. When I realized that the list could go on forever, I decided to write this instead. I search the internet for other authors. Stories of success and stories of failure, but most of all, stories of hope keep me going. Here's my story.
I love to read. I always have. I was shocked to look at my third grade transcripts and read that my teacher thought I would have trouble with reading. If I came to a word I couldn't pronounce, or didn't understand, I would skip it and keep going.
It's a good thing I never knew what my teacher thought of my reading all those years ago. I inhale books. I eat them. Well, not literally, but I devour books and then long for the brand new unread pages of another book as soon as I'm done. Yeah, I'm addicted.
When you've read so many books that you can't even begin to keep track of how many, certain lights start to dawn. For me, I knew that I wanted to write a book. Not just a book. I needed to write the book.
Too late at night, after we were already in bed, I was telling my husband how much I wanted to write a book, but that I couldn't. He asked me what I needed in order to write one. I told him I had to know what it was going to be about. I had to know the story before I could write it. Five seconds later he was snoring.
And then the story spilled into my head. I could see everything. The characters, the plot, the story. I spent another week researching and writing down the ideas. Then there was nothing else for it, and I had to start writing.
At first, everything I wrote sounded wooden. It wasn't until I was really warmed up, sometime in the middle of the novel, that things started to flow. I had to go back and fix the first half of my book literally a hundred times.
I worked with a fabulous guy from Berkely who helped me format the story and keep everything more consistant. I had some help with writers conferences. Along the way, I even found a writers group- which ironically enough, I got a contract for my manuscript with the version of my story before I met my writers group. Kind of proof that you can do it alone if you have to. But now that I am so blessed to have a writers group, I don't think I would go it alone anytime soon.
I won't say I was never rejected. I've actually had my fair share. I try not to dwell on it. It doesn't inspire me to revisit my failings. What I find inspirational is all the people out there who move on in the face of rejections.
And, above all, I admire the ones who have said it directly or indirectly to me... There is more than one story to be written. The only limitations to you have are the limitations you create. You have as many opportunities as you give yourself. Writing is not a one-time thing. There is more than one story.
And so, with faith in my pocket, I write more. And believe more. And hope more. And I know there is more than one opportunity and more than one story. And I'm even happy to tell you that the first story was the only one that fell into my head before I went to sleep. The others came randomly, often a sudden thought that I let myself follow until it became more. So if anyone out there reading this needs a little lift- let me tell you from my heart- don't give up. Even when it's hard, you can do it. It might take time, lots of work, tears and frustration, but you can do it if it is your will.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The 13th Reality by James Dashner

This is the first book in the series....

The world wide web is an amazing thing. If there is one way to make the world easier to find yourself in, it's here. I want to introduce you to someone I admire, someone who has inspired me, someone who makes me believe I can be an author no matter the odds. James Dashner has written several books, his latest series is The 13th Reality. If you're at my site, it means you already are a fantasy fan. If you haven't already read the first 13th Reality book, that is something you shouldn't miss. The second book in the series is coming out next week. Cool! I am so excited.
If you're already a Dashner fan, then good on ya. If you don't know who he is, check out his blog
This guy is great. He has a quirky sense of humor, a sharp eye for wit, and his books lead you though interesting paths you never knew existed... well, maybe that's because it's a fantasy. I love fantasy.
I was watching a really depressing love story with a tragic ending (I'm not going to tell you which one it was in case someone out there liked it) on Valentine's day, of all days. It made me realize a couple things. First, all of my most favorite movies and books (with a few exceptions, I know...) involve fantasy. And America seems to agree with me. Look at the top selling young adult books today. We like to live bigger and better than the limitations we are given here allow us to do. Somewhere inside of all of us, we want to fly, or run fast, or change things, or do something great. There is just more to us all than the mundane world we live in. Our minds thirst for fantasy because we can live somewhere else for just a moment and imagine something better.
James Dashner has a magic of his own. With his words he weaves stories that transport you to a different dimension. And for me, personally, he has inspired me with hope. Thanks to him, I have started to believe that I can do the impossible- sell a book in the real world. I read a quote that said you were more likely to be struck by lightening than to publish a book (vanity presses excluded). Now I'm worried that my bad luck side is going to catch up with me and I'll be struck with lightening.
But seriously, if you want to support someone who not only writes well, but is a really good person all the way around, buy his books. He's got mega book signings in Utah, be sure to check out his blog for more information. And he's entertaining. I read his blog just for a lift.
Since I still have to wait for May for my first book to hit the shelves, I can't tell you to buy it yet. So take some of that money you stashed away in case of a really good, must-have book, and find James Dashner's The 13th Reality. You'll be glad you did.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

World Special Olympics 2009

I am lucky enough to live in a town hosting the World Special Olympics this year. There are some really amazing people volunteering and of course- the athletes. I don't know how to say it all. I don't know if anyone can.
Last year my cloggers and I, and then again the Irish dancers and I danced for the closing ceremonies for the Idaho Special Olympics. That was my first encounter with the Special Olympics. That was when I knew I was hooked. I got to see hundreds of cheering athletes, coaches and volunteers. They were having the time of their life, and so was I. I loved looking out at the faces of the athletes and seeing their excitement. Life should have more joy in it like that.
I knew then that the World Special Olympics was to be in Idaho for 2009. I knew we would be a part of it again. I just didn't know how much it would touch me. I want to give you just a couple glimpses.
My cloggers were performing for the athletes from Canada at a dinner. While I was watching my kids dance, one of the athletes approached me. She told me this was her first time out of the country. Then she showed me every single picture that she took on her digital camera. And her favorite picture was the picture of the American flag that had been presented; in the background hung the Canadian flag. It was awesome. She was so sweet.
Then on Monday my cloggers, and of course then the Irish dancers, performed at the Special Olympics Festival downtown. The volunteers were so nice. So helpful. But the best part was watching the athletes clap to the music. At the end of the clogging show I waved at the audience and an Asian athlete smiled and waved back at me. He kept waving and smiling, so I did the only thing I could. I waved and smiled back. That's why I dance. I love it when I can see the real human side of the audience. And these Special Olympic Athletes are so genuine, so real.
My youngest daughter, a tiny blondie, attracted the attention of another Asian athlete who had to touch her hair and face. She was mesmerized by my daughter. My eight year old son thought he was in heaven when he managed to win a game of air hockey with an athlete more that twice his age. It wasn't about disabilities, my son didn't think he was going to win, it was about the pure interaction, the kind we don't see very often, the kind where one spirit can feel the other's.
I know there hasn't been as much coverage on the Special Olympics as they would have liked. Even though we have busloads of coaches and athletes who have streamed in from around the world, so many people seem completely unaware of the miracle of these amazing people.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

I'm starting to think that the reason that blogging is so popular is because we really like to find out what's going on in everyone else's life. That, and - let's face it- as fun as writing a book is, writing a blog post is faster. Way faster. And you don't have to spend months editing it.

It's not like I'm not still writing. I am actually addicted to writing. I guess that means that I need to sign up for some kind of anonymous group. I hope I'm not the only one, though. I just love writing. It's a major stress reliever, too. I ran into someone the other day who said that she runs out of ideas when she writes. I told her I don't run out of ideas, I run out of time. Most importantly- uninterupted time. I have five kids. When their not busy filling the living room with uncooked angel hair pasta, they're raiding the cupboards and fridge. This morning I found out exactly what seven eggs look like when they have been carefully spread all over the kitchen floor. She was such a sweetie that she even threw away the shells. That's my girl.

Anyway, back to writing...

Friday, February 6, 2009

The other day during dinner, the only dinner all of the kids, my husband and I actually ate together this week... my father in law came into the house and announced that my his niece is reading my book. Hmm. We were still trying to figure out why my father in law was there- Did you call him to babysit? Did you have a meeting tonight, too?

"What book?" Okay. That was probably a lame question. But how in the world does someone going to school in Utah suddenly have access to a manuscript in the editing process at Cedar Fort?

I came back home around 9:00 that night. It was another long Irish dance practice. I snuggled up to my husband who didn't mind that I smelled like sweat and after talking about the kids, he told me he had called his aunt. His cousin is doing an internship at Cedar Fort. I still don't know all the details, but I guess they gave her my piece after it had already been edited and asked her to look for any inconsistencies. And I'm thinking, my husband's cousin gets to read the edited version before I do, and she didn't even know I wrote a book before she was assigned my manuscript.

Sometimes I think it's a weird world. Quirky too. At least the aunt said she was enjoying the book. That's got to be a good sign.

Last night my cloggers performed for the Canadian Olympians for the World Special Olympics. What a blast! It was awesome. Monday we are performing again for the World Special Olympics Festival. They are such a fun crowd. It's definitely one of my favorite audiences to dance for.