Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Facebook Delinquent

I've heard other people talk about it, it's the new great thing. Everybody's doing it. If you want people to know who you are, you need to do it too. So I decided to take the plunge and join Facebook.

I didn't realize that my computer would hate me for it. Every time I load it- yes, I have dial-up Internet- my whole computer crashes. I end up waiting for that spare moment when I can hijack my husband's laptop with wireless so I can catch up with what's going on.

At least the messages go to my e-mail account, so I know when people are trying to talk to me. Like today when my sister and my sister-in-law tagged me for the ABC thing so that in about a month I could get something on Facebook that resembled the alphabet. Right. I'm doing it here, so Tamra and Robin, this one's for you.

A- I Adore, Admire and am Awed by the Awesomeness of my husband.
B- Books are my favorite way to spend time alone.
C- Clogging rocks. I'm addicted to it. That's why I teach it out of a studio in my backyard.
D- Dance. I know, I already mentioned it, but... I have taught Clogging, Irish Step Dance, Ballet, Tap, Jazz and been a Drill Team Coach. I have taken Modern, Highland Dance, Ballroom and various Folk Dances.
E- Everyday. I try everyday to make today better than yesterday.
F- Family and Friends. I need to work on making more friends and getting to know my family better. That's why I'm going to need to live until I'm a hundred years old.
G- Girly girls. I never thought I could get into the girly stuff, but now I have two girls of my own, and they are as girly as it gets. They love princess dresses, dolls, shoes and necklaces.
H- Hope and Happiness and Home. I hope therefore I'm happy, and whether it's neat or messy, I LOVE MY HOME.
I- Ice cream. I love it. My favorite flavor is burnt almond fudge.
J- Jewelry. Everyday I wear my watch, two rings, a bracelet and earrings.
K- Kindergarten. Yeah! Next year my twins get to go to Kindergarten!!!!
L- Laura. I was named after my dad's ex-girlfriend. Nostalgic, huh, but I love the name. And, for the record, my sisters' names are Tonia, Tamra and Tara. I guess I didn't fit the mold.
M- My Maiden name is Madenford. It's so much easier being a Bingham. People can actually say it and spell it.
N- Not a Neat Freak, not a cook, not a shopper.
O- Optimistic. Second Oldest. Orthopedic knee surgeries.
P- Peace and
Q- Quiet. I love quiet. I write best when it's quiet and I learn best when there are no distracting sounds.
R- Reading. I don't get to read as much as I would like. Right now, excluding my own work, I read 30 minutes a day while I work out.
S-School Science Teacher. That's what I was before I was a busy mom.
T- Travel. I love to travel. I haven't been out of the country as much as I would like, but I have seen Australia, New Zealand, Mexico, Canada and about half the states in America.
U- Upstairs. I've never owned a house with an upstairs.
V- I learned to play the Violin in sixth grade, but haven't touched one since. Maybe someday...
W- Walks outside on a nice day are my absolute favorite. And, of course, I love Writing.
X- Lots of X-rays on my right leg, eight knee surgeries.
Y- My kids are Young, and I love them so much. If there is anything as beautiful in the entire world as an innocent child, I have yet to see it.
Z- Zoom zoom. That's what I tell my kids when I want them to hurry.

Did you actually read all the way through the list? That's incredible. Now go and write your own ABC's. See if the same thing happens for you as it did for me. When you get to around letter H, you realize that your life isn't that interesting and you start to wonder if maybe you could use the Hawaiian alphabet instead.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

You've got to see this.

It's cool, isn't it?

I was having one of those days where you clean the minivan out because at least then something feels done. You guessed it, my house is a mess. We had three shows today, and now that we're back there's a lot waiting to be done.

I came inside to switch the laundry and my husband said, "You've got to see this."

Sarah Seiter is the gifted artist that brought this image to life. She sent it on an e-mail. It's a long story, but I can tell you two things- she's read my whole book and I've never met her. The rest of the story isn't mine to tell, but I can tell you that I love this art.

The more I look at it, the more details I see. It has a lot of pieces of the story in it. It tells so much all by itself.

She said she wants to read the sequel. I'm still writing it. I'll get it done soon, as in sometime this summer, not sometime today. It has been so fun to write. I'm not sure when my life is going to slow down enough to really dig in deep and get a lot done, but it has been so fun writing while I do have time.

As for Alvor, I will have it in my hands May 8.

So far I have booksignings scheduled....May 9- Lagoon Amusement Park in Utah, May 16- Lagoon again, May 30-10-1 A Novel Adventure in Boise, Idaho and June 26 7:00-8:30 Rediscovered Bookshop in Boise, Idaho

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

In the Dark of the Night

It's Tuesday night at 10:30 and only two of my five kids are actually sleeping. No, they're not sick, they're night-owls. It's a genetic disorder that arouses energy at late hours of the night. Unfortunately early mornings nearly always follow. It doesn't matter, there will be another late night followed by yet another.

I should be working on my book, catching up on some of those word goals, but instead I'm kissing kids goodnight again and writing a post. My husband went to Walmart to pick up the lost bag of groceries that we forgot to load in the cart. You would think it was a Saturday afternoon. But no, I'm still negotiating with my kids that it's actually very late, they have school tomorrow and that if they don't go to bed I'm probably going to lose my mind.

I'm a night-owl too, but that's when I'm supposed to get time away from my kids. You know, breathe in and out and think straight at the same time without someone asking me to sign their paper, find them some lotion, get them a drink, find a green crayon for that homework assignment that they still haven't finished and then say goodnight again for the hundredth time. Me time. Whatever.

But in all fairness, they have to put up with the fact that I'm not a very good cook, I don't keep the house immaculately clean- it's more like survival clean, and that I'm better at helping with homework, giving hugs and kisses and talking to them than I am at all those domestic skills. We get by, but even the kids are starting to realize that if they don't pitch in around the house they're not going to be able to walk through it pretty soon.

But, we'll drag ourselves out of bed and slowly ease into another day. That's when we'll wish we were morning people instead.

Monday, April 20, 2009

3 Authors and 2 Owners

It was an interesting weekend. SCBWI hosted a literary festival this weekend. Basically it meant that three authors came to town. One was from Utah, she published with Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, another from Reno, Nevada, she published with an imprint of Simon and Schuster, and the last was from Portland and she published with Random House. Jim Thomas is her editor. I only mention this because I know him. At least I shook his hand and sat by him for twenty minutes during a question/answer session. But I got a good feel for what he likes in a book. Interesting guy.

Then, if things could get better, I was invited to do a book launch with Rediscovered Bookshop. She is the nicest. The party is scheduled June 26 from 7-8:30. It's going to be great!

Last Friday I met the owner of A Novel Adventure in downtown Boise. He's excited about carrying my book too. I'm hoping to do something on a Saturday morning during Farmers Market at the end of May. I'll keep you posted.

But, back to the authors. On Friday night they had this little gathering where we could get to know everyone. Only two of the three authors were there that night, but it was fun. But on Saturday, all three authors were at Rediscovered Bookshop where we were holding our writers group meeting in honor of the Literary Festival. We usually do it at someone's house.

The three authors sat themselves down at our little meeting and talked and answered questions for an hour. An HOUR!!! Okay, I'll admit. The reason I was so excited about this was because I was the one asking ALL the questions. Yeap. I had three big house published authors to shoot questions at for an hour. And I got a lot of answers that I have spent hours looking for and not finding on the internet. It was awesome. Completely amazing. Such a blessing. The fact that there were three of them meant that I could ask them their opinions on the same subject to get a feel for what "normal" was.

They were so generous with their time and open and honest with their answers that it was like getting a hundred dollar week-long workshop in one little evening, but relaxed, easy and casual. There are so many things I feel like I can get out there and do now, because they told me how.

If there is one thing I can say about authors in general, the more of them I meet, the more I think that they are overall - a really friendly group of people. Not snobbish. You would think, especially with the big house or Times News bestsellers- but not so. For some reason they don't have a big head. Maybe writing is so dang gruelling that it keeps most people from getting too full of themselves. It's a hard job. Time consuming, and if they're anything like me, they need all the inspiration they can get.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

So far...

I'm not a computer genious, but this was too good to not at least try to share it with you. It's the cover art for Alvor. They were still tweaking the back of it, so I'm leaving that off for now. You'll have to bask in the glow of the front for now. ;)

It's funny, but now that I know what the cover is going to look like, I wonder what everyone else will think when they see it. What do you think? Does it look mystical? Magical? Like your last campout? My four year old daughter thought it was a camping book. My four year old son thought it was a pirate book. My eight year old son said it was "cool" and my twelve year old son didn't say much. It was kind of like, "yeah. Why did you turn off my music?"

Life in the fast lane. I wish. Anyway, back to the real world for a while...

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Press Day

Today's the day. I wish I had some artwork to show you, but I haven't seen my cover yet. I'm starting to think I'll see it when I see my book for the first time. So here's hoping for the best.

But, consolation prize, this is how the title will actually appear in the book. I know. You are super impressed.

I thought it was cool.

In three to four weeks the book will be out! It seems like forever. The time might fly for you, but everyday seems to be getting longer around here, and it's not because I'm getting a ton done.

Today is an important day for a lot of people. Tax day. My more favorite way to celebrate is my sister-in-law's birthday. I love her. Mitzi has more talent in one little finger than I'm ever going to have. Her oldest daughter started clogging with me almost seventeen years ago. Wow, I must be old. Eventually Mitzi decided to learn how to clog too.

It wasn't long before she became one of my teachers. She is amazing with kids. And costumes. She designed my costumes for almost all the years I've owned the Boise Cloggers. She moved to Rigby, Idaho over a year ago and I've been on my own to figure out costumes since.

I miss her, and not just because I lost my costume designer and my teacher- she is just an amazing person. She and her daughters came to my house to dance every week. Her then fourteen year old daughter was the first one to read Alvor. She would come in every week and read what I had written and offer suggestions and comments. For the record, she is responsible for inventing the Living Garden. You'll understand what that is when you read the book.

So, their off to the other side of Idaho dancing and blessing lives over there. I'm still selfish enough to wish they were here instead.

But, happy birthday Mitzi! I won't tell anyone how young you are.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Hope is...

With April moving at an injured snail's pace, I wanted to share some of my thoughts.

Hope is....

-realizing that no matter how many people you don't get a chance to talk to, you're not alone.

-writing almost everyday because you are going to sell that second book, after your first one has taken off like wildfire.

-seeing how many people you have never met in states you've never been to that come to your blog spot to either commiserate, laugh with you or learn.

-doing the laundry even though you know darn well it's just going to pile up again.

-walking outside to get the mail and noticing that the buds on the magnolia tree are blooming even though there still aren't any leaves.

-doing your hair and make-up even though the only people that will see you that day are your husband, kids and dog.

-getting through the next ten minutes because they might be even better than the last.

-laughing with people

- being proud of others' accomplishments even when your own don't begin to compare

-finding something funny in something that makes you nervous, scared or horrified

-realizing that you already have tons of good things in your life

-getting up in the morning and starting over sure you're going to be even smarter, brighter, happier and better than the day before.

Here's to hope. I know we all could use a little more.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Easter Aftermath

It was amazing. The sun was shining and it was almost warm outside. Beautiful.

It seemed like it was going to be a typical Easter. Saturday was wonderfully uneventful. Until 10:00 PM when my husband called and said that he forgot to call speakers for church the next day. Okay. I ended up going to bed at 1:00 AM. Some of my kids are night owls like me, and even though I put them to bed at a decent time, they are often found wandering the house until late. So I was waiting for everyone to go to sleep to fill the Easter baskets.

But I was going to get to sleep in on Sunday. It would be fine. 7:30 AM rolls around and the kids are making all kinds of noise. They got up early on Sunday because they knew that there would be an Easter surprise waiting for them. Maybe next year I'll wait until after church to give them their candy. Hmmm. Why didn't I think of that before?

Honestly, the talk part wasn't that bad. I got to sit by my husband and hold his hand for most of the meeting, and my friend was watching my sugar hyped kids. If anything, it was a really nice Easter present for me.

So, we got home, had a super fast dinner- thanks to pre-cooked ham- and attempted to have some of the little people take a nap. Around 6:00 we did the annual Easter egg hunt in the pasture. We haven't let the three mini-horses in the pasture for over a month just for this. The fewer horse pies, the better.

Everything was going pretty well until the neighbor's dog decided she wanted to eat our little maltese. It was a puppy black lab, and somehow in her enthusiasm, she managed to wiggle under the broken fence. My normally fearless-of-dogs- kids thought that if the black dog wanted to eat our puppy, she probably wanted to eat them too. Lots of screaming. It took a few minutes to catch the lab and the neighbor managed to get her back home.

So we relocated to the front yard. Safe, right? No dogs to terrorize innocent children. It's amazing what kids find when they're looking for eggs. In this case, it was three snakes warming themselves. Yuck. Not a big snake fan.

But here we are, the morning after. The front of the house is littered with candy wrappers and plastic eggs. And toys. And we're back to normal. And you know what? It was a good Easter.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Something to Talk About

I feel like I've just been through a whirlwind. My hair's a mess and so is the house. Well, I guess the house is usually a mess and as for the hair, I'll get to it later.

Yesterday was crazy. Good crazy. I'm trying to remember what I spent all morning doing, but it wasn't writing and it wasn't very much cleaning. Hmmm. Then, in a flash, the morning was gone and the craziness began.

I hadn't had time to check my e-mails most of the morning, so when I finally sat back down at the computer, there in my inbox was my book. Do you hear the choirs of angels singing?

I looked at the first couple pages and the whole book thing seemed more real than it has this whole time. I love the font for the title. The page that hit me the hardest was the one I didn't write. You know, the page that tells you the copyrights, publisher and a mini-synopsis. That page. That's when it hit me full force. In one month, I'm going to be holding my book in my hands.

So I kept reading. Very excited about the not girly butterflies that grace the chapter headings and breakers. Oh yeah. Perfect.

I haven't read this book since my very last time editing it in, I'm thinking it was October. Back then I was so sick of my book I never wanted to see it again. Call it editor's fever. I edited until I couldn't edit any more.

When I started reading it yesterday, I started reading it like an editor, but then I got sucked in. I lost track of trying to find mistakes and found myself living the story. I couldn't believe how fast everything happens. When I was writing it, it took three or four months just to get half way through, and yesterday I read half the book in a couple hours.

The funny thing was, yesterday was the first time I had ever read the story with my editor brain turned off. It felt more like fun reading, you know, the kind you do with stories that you like to read. I was amazed that my former disdain for the book was completely gone and I fell in love all over again. If you didn't know how psychotic writers were, I'm sorry to be the first one to break it to you. Writing has a lot of love/hate in it. You love it, you hate it, you are a fabulous writer, you suck. It's a cycle. I've been told I'm not the only one who goes through this. For my own sense of well-being, I try to believe it.

I didn't want to stop reading, but it was 5:30 and no one else around here was going to make dinner. We had spaghetti. It took me a whole ten minutes to make. Thanks Ragu! Then my boys and I were off to Barnes and Nobles for Brandon Mull's booksigning.

I was an hour early. I would get a great place in line. Yeah, right. They gave us #116. I found a chair and let my boys wander the store picking out hundreds of dollars worth of books I wasn't going to buy right then. 7:00 came around and they called for numbers 1-25. At 7:20 they called for #10. #10? You've got to be kidding.

A family standing in front of me was trying to do the math. Their number was 248. The dad asked the daughter, what's 248 x 2? "I think I have time to get a hamburger." The girl never did figure out what 248 x 2 was. I was still trying to figure out what 116 x 2 was. That's like 3 and a half hours?

At least I had a chair. My boys spent a lot of time laying on the floor reading.

And then, a face from the past, and I still can't remember her name, comes up to me and hands me her #10. She told me she accidently got two numbers when she came in earlier that day. She didn't know it was one number per family. She was looking all over the store for a familiar face, and mine was the only one she knew. How sweet!

I got in line and was out of there by 7:45. Sweet!!!!

And, just for the record, Brandon Mull is a really nice guy. It wasn't his fault the line was moving so slow. The store manager was allowing for pictures, questions and all sorts of time-consuming things. He told me things would probably change after they figured out how long it would take.

My boys were pumped about the dragon poster. That thing was like gold to them.

Then I came home and sat down at the computer where I stayed until I read every word of my book. I'm so proud of my editor. She did awesome. Everything is exactly how I wanted it. The only things that are different are the things I never did figure out how to fix. You can read my book knowing that I wrote it, and that it's not a product of an editor's point of view.

She did great. I think I have a new best friend. Now I just have to meet her.

And so, now I have butterflies in my stomach as I wait for the cover art. I'll let you know how it goes.

Monday, April 6, 2009

"Your Future is as Bright as your Faith"

It's my quote for the year. Is that good, or what? I love it. President Thomas S. Monson said that yesterday. Easy to remember, easy to apply. I know that right now the world is a scary place. Life is hard.

And yet, it's not that bad. The flip side of the bad stuff is how many really good things we have in our life. Everyone does. I think the people that realize their blessings the most are the ones who are dragged to their limits. It's an interesting thing. Maybe the ones dragged to their limits are also on their knees. It's hard to not be thankful when you start to think about what's good in your life.

And then there's the law of the harvest. You can't get something for nothing. I love that too. Maybe it's because I've been working so hard and hoping that someday it will pay off. I don't expect something for nothing, I'm sort of hoping for at least a little something for a whole lot of work. The funny thing about putting your whole heart into your work is that there is a sense of satisfaction at the end of the day. It might not be in the form of a dollar, but you still get something for it.

What can I say? It was an inspiring weekend.

Now that it's Monday, I'm trying to get my head back in the game. I think the next couple weeks are going to feel like a whirlwind, followed by a month of sitting around and waiting again. I'm going to see my edited proof anytime now. Kinda nervous. I have no idea how much is changed. But I'm optomistic. Forever hoping, always believing.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

It's Working

Now that April Fool's day is over, I'm not related to President Obama, the twins are officially registered for Kindergarten, and the house is clean, I'm back on track. Whew.

I'm on 29,753 words in my sequel to Alvor. I was really hoping for 30,000 by now, but it's been busy.

This story has taken me places I didn't know I was going. Before I wrote the sequel, I outlined the whole book chapter by chapter. And I was excited about the story then.

Now, all kinds of cool things have come up that I didn't see coming. And I like it even better. It's twisted and different than the original plan, but in a good way. It's just working.

I don't know why my stories always seem to write themselves. I think I know what's going on, then they take me somewhere new. I even ask myself along the way, "Are you sure?" and the answer is usually, "yes".

I don't know if it makes me schizophrenic or if all authors have this unknown variable they work with as they write.

Sometimes I like to think of these moments as pure inspiration. It's better than being crazy. And, hey, some of the best stuff I write was things I didn't plan to happen. It's like the characters know what they need to do better than I do.

I know. It's weird. Unless you write, you probably wouldn't understand.

Wow! Good news! I'm totally excited. I should be getting the edited proof by Monday and April 15 is still the scheduled press date, so..... drum roll please.....My book should be available the first or second week of May. At least in Utah, and definitely in time for me to do book signings June 8-12. Yah! Happy happy happy. I'll let you know when I get the really exciting stuff- the artwork for the cover. Ahh. Now on with the day.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

And the Fool goes to...

Yeah, it's April Fools day. I got up and stumbled into the kitchen with my cranky almost two year old who has a cold. I'm not a morning person- see below post for details.
I turn on the water to wash my hands only to be sprayed. It's the oldest trick in the book. My twelve year old son lovingly wrapped a rubberband around the sprayer. He didn't even try to disguise it. You don't have to when your mom's not a morning person. I have terrible reflexes before 10:00 AM. I got pretty wet.
My already cranky daughter immediately slips on the wet floor and now she's really crying. I wasn't laughing.
The pranks started a couple days ago when someone scotch taped the microwave shut. Fatal mistake- they did this at night. I caught it right away.
So, I told myself that I was going to have a good attitude about the "pranks" even though I'm not really the type.
Then I checked my e-mail. I've been laughing all morning.
About a month ago I had one of those super weird dreams. President Obama was related to me and decided to come to one of our family functions. I don't know why I dreamed that. It might have something to do with the fact that I knew I was related to President Bush. My grandma's maiden name is Bush. I've been related to the president of the Unites States for as long as the Bush family has been in office. That's a long time.
And no, they never came to any family events. We're pretty distant.
So when I dreamed that the Obamas were related to me, it was just plain strange.
Then I get an e-mail from Washington D.C. this morning. They have confirmed that I am fourth cousins once removed from President Obama.
Why? Did they read my mind? I hadn't asked for this information.
And at the end of the day, I finally find out that it was a prank too.
I guess I'm the fool.
And just for the record, I'm looking up before walking through doorways. This one has already paid off. My twelve year old isn't finished with me yet. Ha ha ha