Thursday, December 31, 2009

The moment you've been waiting for...

And the winner of the $20 Barnes & Noble gift card goes to.......


Congratulations Marie, and thanks, everyone, for stopping by and leaving your comments.

And, to the whole world--- Happy New Years!

Wish I had something truly profound to go along with that, but I think I'm fresh out of brilliance. Last night I was talking to my husband about the things I want to do in 2010. There are three seriously big things I'm aiming for, and I could only do two out of those three things in the same year. What kind of New Year's Resolution is that?

I guess they're more like goals than anything. It's not so much a lifestyle change as it is things I hope to accomplish. And, like most seriously big things, I can't do any of them alone. Nope. Not one. Each completely unrelated goal takes others to make it happen.

And yet each goal requires me to be completely committed or it can never happen.

While I have some absolutes that I will accomplish- I must accomplish- I'll never be able to live with myself it I don't acoomplish- those kinds of goals, the mystery lies still in which two out of three things I will end up doing this year.

So that's where I am on this snowy new year's eve. Wondering what 2010 will shape up to look like, what I'll be doing and how I'll ever figure it all out. Somewhere in there, I'll be sure to eat too many snacks, laugh and celebrate the fact that we're starting over with a new year.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

It's almost here

For better or worse, 2009 is coming to a close.

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

Twas the night before Christmas

Twas the night before Christmas
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

The Everafter Winner and a New Contest

The contest with the smallest number of entries ever has a winner!

Using - the winner is

L.T. Elliot

Congratulations L.T. You've won your very own copy of The Everafter.

For those who entered the contest- thanks for that.

For the hundreds of others who didn't- I have another contest for you.

This one's a little easier. It's called:
"100 Followers by New Year's Eve."

That means I only need 6 more.
How do you enter the contest? Leave a new year's resolution as a comment (be sure to include your e-mail) and BE A FOLLOWER!!!! If you manage to drag another person over to my blog as a follower you get an extra entry.

Contest ends December 31, 12:00 PM MST.

And, drum roll please.... what do you win???
$20 to spend on whatever you want at Barnes & Noble.
Since I already told you all about some of my New Year's Resolutions, I look forward to hearing some of yours.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Nothing Amazingly Wonderful

I don't have anything fabulous to tell you, any news that will change the world at all. Nope. Not a single thing.

What I do have is the constant motion that moves each day forward no matter what.

A week from today is Christmas Eve. That's pretty amazing. Today is my kindergarteners' Christmas program at school. I love going to those.

But to be honest, it's been a really quiet month. All my Costco book signings were cancelled and for the first time since Alvor was released, I have a whole month without a single signing. So weird.

I'll be getting into the schools starting January, and I really am pumped about the coming writer's conferences.

But the most action I've seen for myself in the writing world is me writing and literally dreaming that something wonderful happens someday.

I've been lucky enough to spend several of my dreams with my favorite authors. Even editors. You know you're a completely insane writer when you wake up from another dream where a conversation with a famous author has helped you keep going. It's happened to me several times now, and I'm not at all sorry. Even if it makes me crazy, I have had a feeling of peace that comes from the dreamed words of wisdom. And I know I can do it.

Maybe that's the craziest part of all. I know that I can do this. I have no idea how long it will take, but I'm not giving up, so I know someday it will happen.

In the meantime, I really need to make something sweet and fattening if I ever get in the mood to bake. Or in the mood to eat it. Either one.

Monday, December 14, 2009

The last week

Just a reminder to you all-- this is the last week to enter the "Have you read Alvor?" contest.

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

meme tag

I've really got to keep up with things. For example, yesterday L.T. from Dreams of Quill and Ink tagged me for meme. Never heard of it. Turns out I live under a rock somewhere in west Boise.

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:
1. Bread
2. Milk
3. Potatoes
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:
1. Vacuuming
2. I don't know. I'm blocking housework from my brain right now.

Five Childhood Friends I’d like to See Again:
1. Heidi
2. Janet
3. Caprison
4. Shelly
5. Eric

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

Not Again

It's that time of year- when we get the family together and try to take pictures. Five kids with three five and under = disaster. But, all in all, as long as we keep the photo small so you can't tell how out of focus our do-it-yourself job is, we have a picture to send to the family and friends who want to keep track of us.

And the first thing the kids asked when we finished was- Can I mess up my hair now?

Sure. Go roll around in the snow. We're done.

We're taking pictures outside in the warm sun next time- I'm thinking July instead of December. I thought about sending everyone our Halloween family photo. It's way more entertaining, but we're missing our oldest. His zombie picture came hours later when he finally came home.

I'm sure that would have looked great on a Christmas card.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Hundreds will come, few will enter

Random picture having nothing to do with anything- I just thought it was cool.
It looks like I posted the world's hardest blog contest. In the last 24 hours, we had 56 people come check out the new contest- and no one enter.

Hmm. Is it too hard? Is it because most of those people haven't read Alvor? Is it because they borrowed it, or checked it out from the library and don't have their own copy?
Is it really because no one wants to win The Everafter?

Do I tell them all how to cheat? It's not that hard, in fact, linked to this very blog is a site that gives you the actual view of the first good little part of the book and it includes page numbers- but you would have to figure out which link it is on your own.

And, the selfish side of me is okay if none of you enter. This book is being donated for the contest and I'm sure I could be perfectly happy keeping it all to myself.

On a totally different subject- I've been jumping ship from the plans I made a year ago. At first I felt guilty for doing it. After I finished writing the sequel book to Alvor, I went back and diligently started working on a novel I started a year ago. Things were going perfectly, and then something happened.

I realized I needed to write a different book. Completely different. Still young adult, but so different from what I usually write that I felt guilty and embarrassed for even trying. But it's a great story and I'm already addicted to it. Another new novel!

Whatever happened to finishing what I started? I'm one of those that can't stand unfinished projects, but I'm doing it AGAIN. Now I'm not sure if I should let guilt guide the ship and go back to the first unfinished piece, or if I should ride this new story until it's done.

I'm thinking ride the new story. Maybe when I get done with this new adventure I'll come back to the old one and finally finish it- but I have the feeling I'll be writing the third book to Alvor by then.

Jeff Savage just posted a blog about not feeling guilty about what you're writing- and I'm taking that as my ticket out of caring too much that I'm changing course right in middle of the journey.

So, if anyone does decide to enter the contest- the good news is you have an excellent chance of winning. I'm even considering upping the ante and offering a second new title and having two winners. We'll see if there are enough commited takers first. Good luck to you all.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Have you read Alvor? Book Giveaway

If you haven't read Alvor yet, now's the time. We're giving a book away, The Everafter by Amy Huntley. Released September 2009, this one is pretty new. It's a good seller, so if you havent' heard of it, this is a great way to pick it up.

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 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.