Monday, March 30, 2009


I was reading my second book to my husband. He was really far behind, and I didn't know if he would ever catch up- I hardly ever read to him. But what got me was when I started crying during one of the chapters. Crying! I'm crying over characters that I MADE UP! -that don't actually exist and that I decided to make miserable things happen to. Woe. It was weird.

But my husband was so sweet. He told me that I loved my characters that much. He was right. Heart and soul- I love them all. Do they have special institutions for people like me?...

I love writing. Where else can you control the universe and everyone in it? Ha ha! I guess that really does make me crazy.

Well, I have to confess something else. I didn't like the Twilight movie the first time I saw it. The spider monkey tree climbing thing really killed the moment for me.

But, I bought the movie anyway. And I liked it so much better the second time. I had already prepared myself for the spider monkey scene, so I was able to enjoy everything else a little more.

And, in other news, I bought a book at a bookstore last weekend. If I had enough money, I would have bought around 20 books. There are so many that I want to read right now!!! I'm trying to be good. I go to bookstores every week at least once. I "window shop" a lot. I have a list of around 30 books that I want to read right now.

But, Brandon Mull is coming to Boise next week. He'll be at Barnes and Nobles at 7:00 on April 7, and my boys and I will be there with his latest Fablehaven book. It will be so fun.

I went to another book signing at Seagull Bookstore on Saturday, but the author wasn't there! The manager said she took off two hours early. We had a pretty good conversation about what she liked authors to do at book signings. It was cool. She said she would put in a good word for me at the next managers meeting- where they decide what books their going to buy.

It's almost April. Hold onto your seats, it's going to be a good ride.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Once Upon a Dream

Have you ever heard a 23 month old sing?

I was sitting here, feeling a little brain dead. It's been one of those days. Laundry, dishes, toys, repeat. And some writing in there. And some wishing.

And then I hear, coming from the next room, my tiniest one singing. She has an Aurora doll that sings "Once Upon a Dream". My little girl has an adorable voice. When she sings that song, it makes me believe in dreams all over again. My dreams. Even on a day like today.

Yes, I know it's true
that visions are seldom all they seem
But if I know you,
I know what you'll do
You'll love me at once
the way you did once
upon a dream
Visions are seldom all they seem. That's one thing you can never put a cap on. No matter how small your life may be right now, there's no limit to how big you can dream. I'm a hopeless dreamer. I can't stop. I work hard, put everything I have into it, and then I hope and I dream, and I don't know how to give up.
And so I wait...because I believe too, that someday, in some form, my dreams will come true.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009


Randomness.... is that a word? It should be.

I've been thinking about some things. I've been making friends that I've never met, and learning to admire people I've never seen. It's great. Kinda weird, too.

Man, I get goose bumps when I read about how well James Dashner has been doing with Random House. I love that guy- in a good- absolutely appropriate way. I bought all his books from the Door in the Woods series forever ago and read them all. My oldest son did his first school book project on the first book in that series. It feels like James Dashner has been part of our house. Then he writes 13th Reality. Very cool. And the sequel. And then gets a book deal with Random House. Somewhere in the middle of all that, he takes the time to read my entire unedited manuscript for Alvor .. AND.. e-mails me a quote to put on the back of the book. But that's not even the whole story. James is nice. I don't know if that's a strong enough word. But when I read about all his successes, I feel like those impossible dreams I have might someday, just maybe, come true.

And then, I just have to tell you about Annette Lyon. I love her too. Again, in the most totally appropriate way possible. She's got some things figured out, and I'm learning from her. I admire her persistance, her ability to research and her resiliance, endurance and brilliance. Yeah. I wish I could be more like that. I'm never going to be blonde, though.

My goal is to finally meet these people in person. James Dashner is the easiest. He's teaching a class at the BYU workshop in June. I'm so excited. He probably has no clue who I am.

As for Annette, that one will be a little harder. Maybe if I'm in Utah this summer when she's doing a booksigning. Yeah. The reason I want to be in Utah this summer is so that I can do some booksignings. Me, the greeny, the one who's never even been to a real booksigning... unless you count Glenn Beck, but he's a mega star. I don't think people will be lining up for hours at the door when I go. It will probably be more like, "Who are you?" "What book?" "Never heard of it."

Yeah, but that's all gonna change. In about a million years. You never know what's going to happen. That's the point. It's all about shooting for the stars until you finally manage to hit one.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Good Morning Sunshine... or not

The morning person debate...
I love mornings, like about 10:30 in the morning when I have had 8 1/2 or more hours of sleep and breakfast dishes are done and everyone is off doing something. Yeap. That's my kind of morning.
It's not like I can't get out of bed at 5:00 in the morning. It's just that I'm completely useless for most of the day if I do. Seriously. I used to coach drill team at a high school. A whole year of leaving the house at 5:30 AM. When I got home, I would snuggle back in bed and sleep until about 10:30 when real mornings should start.
When I was a high school student, I left the house at 5:30 AM everyday. No idea what I learned at those early morning classes. My brain was on auto-pilot.
All people are not created the same. Some can get up and have the light of dawn create sudden brilliance. Those are the people who write, paint, practice the violin or piano or whatever before people like me can think straight.
And even though night people like me understand that morning people work like that, I think the opposite doesn't happen as often. All those moms out there forcing their kids to practice the piano before school. Ouch. I know, my mom made me do it too. And I am terrible on the piano.
But on the bright side of mornings, I love going outside alone (it rarely ever happens) in the morning. I really do. There's something peaceful about it. For just a second I can see why some people live for mornings.
Then I go back inside and when 10:30 comes around, my brain wakes up and I become that creative genius, ha ha.
And, if you're like me, I can clean in the mornings. Cleaning takes no brain work. None at all. And I like to read stories to my tinies then too.
But when it comes to writing. Strictly late morning, afternoon or night. No dancing or writing before the brain has come to a complete awakening. Trust me, I've tried. It doesn't work.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

It was so much fun... now back to work

St. Patrick's day was a blast. No disappointments. Sure, a few small snags, like getting lost on the Veteran's Grounds looking for building number 88 which is located next to building number 13 not by the flagpole. We walked all over and discovered that even the sheds had numbers on them and not a single building number was in numerical order. Hmm. Number 46 was by 77. Let's just say that my two boys and I made it to the show just in time for the last dance and my oldest son danced in his socks. He didn't have time to put his shoes on.

But we did make it to all the other performances all over town: schools, downtown Boise, retirement centers, the Veteran's hospital, and the Veterans of Foreign Wars place- it looks like a Bingo hall. And, it was fun. We lived off of Doritos, Irish Soda bread, and water. It wasn't bad. We had some really funny moments, like when my oldest son started doing an immitation of highland dancing while the bagpiper was playing outside of a school. He turned around to see that fifty something elementary school kids had lined up behind him to watch. My oldest was IMMITATING Highland dancing...meaning he looked like a complete doofus on purpose. When he turned around everyone clapped and cheered. He was mortified, but in a good way. Have you ever seen a bagpiper laugh while he's playing? I was laughing so hard that I had to wipe away the tears.

But, I promised myself that I would be good and get right back to work as soon as St. Patrick's Day was over. I'm happy to report that so far I have. Yeah, I know, it's only been a day. My house is kind of clean, the laundry is mostly done, and I wrote about 1500 words yesterday on my sequel to Alvor.

I'm so excited about the second book. Cool cool stuff. I think it's going to be even better than the first one, and you all are still waiting for that one to hit the shelves. May May May May. I tell myself that it will be here before I know it, but I don't really believe it. There's still Spring Break, Easter, my daughter's second birthday, my husband's birthday and Mother's day and probably clogging Nationals before I have a book in my hands. It seems like a long time.

But, another day, another chance. Thanks for giving me someone to ramble to. Maybe if I keep you posted on how much I'm getting done, I'll actually get more done. For the record, I'm now on 20,900 words give or take. For you writers out there, you know how it feels. For you civilians, just think of it as page 75 and I still have 215 pages left to write. This is getting depressing. Hmmm... how about instead, be impressed that I managed to write 75 pages considering how insane my life is most of the time.

When the successes of the day includes that your kids are dressed, the dishes are done and there's not some food item spread all over the house, it changes your perspective on everything else you do. Just so you know, my goal is only 1000 words 5x a week. That's about how much time I squeeze into my life. It's a new goal, so I'm going to see how well it works. You gotta have something to aim for or you'll never know if you hit the target or missed it by a mile.

Here's to new targets. I hope you all have one too.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Irish Blessings

Every year I pick out some of my favorite Irish blessings and share them. Here are some for you....

May the light always find you on a dreary day.
When you need to be home, may you find your way.
May you always have courage to take a chance
And never find frogs in your underpants.
As you slide down the banister of life, may the splinters never point in the wrong direction.

May the sound of happy music
And the lilt of Irish laughter
Fill your heart with gladness
That stays forever after.

Dance as though no one is watching you,
Love as though you have never loved before,
Sing as though no one can hear you,
Live as though heaven is on earth.
May green be the grass you walk on,
May blue be the skies above you,
May pure be the joys that surround you,
May true be the hearts that love you.

Wherever you go and whatever you do,
May the luck of the Irish be there with you.

He who loses money, loses much;
He who loses a friend, loses more;
He who loses faith, loses all.

Mothers and fathers hold their children's hands for just a little while...And their hearts forever.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

St. Patrick's Day this week...not for the weak

I love St. Patrick's Day. When I was growing up, I thought it meant green jello at dinner. Then Riverdance hit the stage and my life changed forever. I started Irish step dancing 12 years ago. And I wasn't a kid anymore. I was married and my first child was five months old.
So why did I start? I saw Riverdance on TV. While I was watching it, something electric coursed through my veins. I knew I wasn't supposed to be sitting around watching this, I was supposed to be doing it. It took me eight more months to find the only Irish dance school in Boise, maybe even Idaho. They were brand new. My first teachers led me along until I finally could take from David Chase, the only certified TCRG in Idaho at the time.
A lot has changed since then. Now there are more schools and practically everyone in Boise has at least heard of Irish dance. But some things have stayed the same. The music breathes life into me. Dancing it gives me a rush I can't find any other way. I love performing for all kinds of people. I love sharing the joy that Irish dancing gives me.
And, my son, who's twelve now and almost as tall as me, is an awesome Irish dancer too. I get to go out into the world by his side and be his equal for just a few hours a week. That's when I'm not the mom telling him to clean his room, eat his vegetables and go to bed on time, it's when I get to talk about life, share a root beer and laugh at dumb things.
Maybe it's what Irish dancing has become between the two of us that has made St. Patrick's Day full of magic for me. I get to share it.
And my eight year old is on his way to clicking his heels just as high as his brother. Yeah, I get to take both of them around the town all day on Tuesday. It's a day of corned beef and cabbage. Red potatoes and the world's best soda bread with golden raisins. It's the day we sit in the truck drinking water and eating power bars as we drive to another show. It's the day I see kids of all ages- adults included- soaking in the wonders of all things Irish.
And if the leprechauns don't hide chocolate gold coins at your house the night before St. Patrick's Day, I suggest you lure some into your home. Even my little ones get to share in the fun. And did I mention the Irish blessings?
As you slide down the banisters of life, may the splinters never point in the wrong direction.
Wishing all of you a splendid St. Patty's Day.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


I figured out a long time ago that I am not good at waiting. I hate waiting. I was not one of those moms who dreamed about the day when her beautiful baby would be born. I wanted the nine months to be over- now. Waiting is hard.

And then I get into the biggest waiting occupation on the face of the earth- writing. Sure, you don't have to wait to write. That can be done almost anytime, depending on the day, your kids, how much laundry you have to do, the latest natural disaster your home has undergone at the hands of your four year old twins, and whether or not you still have to cook and clean up after breakfast, lunch or dinner. And snacks. And change diapers. And answer the phone. I'm starting to wonder how I ever wrote a book.

But once the masterpiece is finished, the waiting begins. Waiting to get a contract. Waiting to see the edited version. Waiting for the book to finally, finally, finally become a reality that you can see your very own name across the cover. That waiting. And then, it starts all over again. Writing and waiting.

But there is one thing I've learned about waiting. If you waste all your time waiting and never living, you've lost the best part. So, I'm trying to live in the moment, plan for the future, write like there's no tomorrow and not wait for it.

Yeah, I know- key word- trying. There's so much that I'm holding out for right now. So much that I hope will happen, but it all starts with the one little word- wait. I think my pet peeve phrase is 'In due time...' And you can guess what phrase comes up a lot for me. Yeap. Constant reminders to wait, cuz I still haven't learned how to yet.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Utah- home to tons of authors, just not me...

Yesterday I looked all over the house for the old atlas. We've had it for fifteen years, but I don't think I've seen it for at least seven. It had huge pages with a separate map of each state in the US. So cool. And I still can't find it.
I love living in Boise. I don't think I ever want to move. But for the first time in my life, I'm actually jealous of people who live in Utah. They're in the center of a lot of opportunity. The hubub of writers workshops and conferences, panels, booksignings- it blows my mind. Here, in Boise, there's one writers conference a year that I know of. One.
On some rare occasions there are school visits from an author, but the booksignings don't happen very often around here. Boise is a long drive from almost everywhere.
But never fear, the internet is here. Thanks to a lot of cut and paste, I now have a three and a half foot map of Utah hanging on the wall in my office. Yeap. Now I actually know where Draper is, and Spanish Fork, and Tooele. How do you say Tooele anyway?
I'm planning on attending the BYU Writing and Illustrating for Young Readers Workshop June 8-12 and I thought I would do some book signings in the area while I'm there. The thing is, I've only been to Provo twice- ever.
But all that will change now.
I plan on getting to Logan, Ogden, SLC, Provo and even traveling south to St. George and then clear down to sunny AZ. Not all at once. I'm thinking more like three separate trips.
I'm excited to visit eastern Idaho where some of my favorite people in the world live too.
In the mean time, signing off and still writing.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Writing- a part time job you do during your full time job

It's March already. In my house St. Patrick's Day is considered an official holiday. My husband takes the day off of work to watch the little ones while I take the boys (who get the day off of school) all over town performing with an Irish dance group. We usually start at 5:00 in the morning with the news and end the day around 9:00 pm. And all this happens two weeks from today.
But that's not the best part of March this year. My editor is sending my manuscript sometime in the next two weeks for me to review. I can't wait to see it.
I've been thinking about how things started a lot lately. Maybe it's because this rollercoaster ride of writing still has me reeling. I didn't spend my childhood wanting to be an author someday. I didn't even really consider writing until the day I found the story. Even then, it seemed like I was pretending.
In college I took an English class. Back then it was called Ricks College. My professor had us read a book. That's it. We discussed the book every week. I never had to write anything and we never talked about writing. I think he just really liked the book. It was "From Beirut to Jerusalem" by Thomas Friedman. I still have the book on my bookshelf.
By the time I transferred to Boise State, most of my credits were useless. The way the classes were set up, most of my credits didn't transfer. Instead of re-taking things, I tested out of them. English was one of those classes.
After I started writing my novel, I soon learned how much I didn't know about novel writing. What a long process. I feel like I got my English class after all these years.
But- about the picture. That's my older sister Tonia. She won't mind me sharing her photo :)
That picture was taken the day after Thanksgiving 2007. She was visiting Boise and we were hanging out. I asked her what kind of books she read. She said strictly nonfiction. "I'm writing a book. Does that mean if I ever finish it, you won't read it?" Yeah, that was my smooth way of telling the first person in my side of the family that I was writing a novel. It was Tonia- who travels the states and sometimes the world- who was she going to tell? My secret was safe.
Of course she said if her little sister wrote it she would probably read it. Thanks Tonia.
Back then I didn't know how long it would take. I had written 23 pages as of the day of this picture. Not very promising. That was before I knew about word count, double spacing, half inch paragraph indentations and page headings with numberings.
If my writers group had seen me then.
Six months after this picture I wrote the final words to the novel. Already I had edited and revised. But it's never enough. More and more and more editing and revising. I learned to enjoy editing. Until the upteenth time when I wanted to throw up just thinking about my story. I was sick of it. That's when I got my contract.
I read somewhere that when your story turns into a monster, it's time to send it out to the real world and let them deal with it. I agree.
And as for my full time job. Mom of five kids. When I wrote Alvor I had three year old twins and a seven month old who eventually turned one. Twins are something else. Writing helped me hold onto my sanity. Did I just say that? I love my kids a lot. I really do. Even when permanant marker is the color of the day.
I tell my husband all the time- If I can write a story, anyone can.