Friday, December 30, 2011

Here's to New

I thought about doing a reflective post about 2011, but honestly, all I really have to say is stuff that happened in my life. Not only is it not-so-inspirational, it just wouldn't apply to most people. All that reflective stuff is something that will end up where only I can read it and weep.

Instead of focusing on the past, I decided to look to the future. The unwritten pages of the new year. Now that is exciting.

And every single person in the world has the same thing to look forward to.

A couple years ago I bought a bracelet for myself, one that I wear virtually everyday. I bought it for two reasons.

First, it doesn't stop giving encouragement.

And second, I believe that if you think positive things everyday, it helps.

Here are the words I think of everyday.

"Love Life, Be Brave" "Smile" "Laugh" "Sing" "Play!" "Dream" "Dare to be different"

"Wish" "Dream Big" "Be the Change you Wish to See" "Shine" "Love" "Choose the Moment"

So what are my new year's resolutions? Other than a couple things on my list, they are the same ones I've had for two years. It's all the little quotes on my bracelet reminding me what my life should be like.

It doesn't stop a bad day in its tracks, but even through hard times, it helps me to know that I've really given these things my best shot. I've tried to live up to those words. I've dreamed so big that I was sure I could never even begin to climb the mountain. Even when I've failed, at least I know I tried. And more, I know so much more about that mountain that I'm still going to climb it.

"Be the change you wish to see" This one is harder. Try it.

"Choose the moment"

There are so many. My bracelet seems to have better advice than anything I could come up with.

But when I slip that silver on my wrist, I feel like I'm re-committing. It's like I'm reminded of my new year resolutions every day.

"Love life. Be brave." Loving life may well be a learned behavior. A daily choice. To love life in spite of itself. That's where being brave comes in. Being brave enough to look hardship in the eyes and head straight through it with a smile.

So here's to your new year's resolutions. May you have some, however simple they may seem. More courage. More commitment. More determination. More integrity in doing those things you set out to do.

Words can be cheap, or they can be so valuable they change your life forever. It's what you make of them.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Transcendent- a new paranormal book

Are you looking for bite size pieces of YA yumminess? Try this one. Its' like an assortment of chocolates waiting to be tasted. Each story is it's own tale with flavors so different you'll be wanting to take a bite out of everyone.

For more information on this book and the wonderful writers behind it, go to this blog. They're doing a blog tour with some cool things, so go check it out.

Whether you like a ghost story, a fantasy or a little romance, this book really does have it all.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Silver Bells and Silver Linings

Okay, I'll admit it. It's been a tough month. It isn't going out with some miraculous bang, either, more like an explosive one. It won't be hard to say goodbye to 2011.

But in the midst of trials, I've found out a few things.

First, even when you're having a pretty bad day, you can still handle another blow. You may not like it, but you can handle it.

Second, just because nothing makes sense, doesn't mean that everything is without a reason. It just sometimes takes us a while to see the bigger picture.

Third, good things pop up at the most unexpected moments in the least expected ways. Cherish them. Sometimes noticing the good things helps you deal with the hard things.

Fourth, yes, there is such a thing as a silver lining. I know I don't see it most of the time, but it's there. In fact, when I do finally notice it, it's so amazing that it makes me wonder how I could have been so blind not to have seen it sooner.

So although there are not likely any amazing miracles on the horizon for me, I'm happy. As happy as I decide to be. That's the one thing I can control.

And it's such a good time of the year to decide that.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Celebrating Failure

Once again, I'm dropped into the deep pool of failure and I'm learning to swim all over again.

The failure... unsuccessful on my TCRG exams... meaning I have not a clue what I passed and what I didn't, or whether I can take just one or two parts over or if I would have to retake the whole thing.

The swimming...

Did I learn anything? Definitely

Am I a better person for having gone through this year? Probably

Will someone please come put me out of my misery? Not likely

Okay, it's more like treading to keep from drowning. I know I'll formulate some kind of plan and figure out how to live with me and all my inadequacies. I mean, it's not like this is the first time I have failed, even this year.

In fact, I'm so experienced in failure that I should be able to teach a class on it.

But the thing that I can't ignore is the fact that I can only fail when I try something hard. If it were easy, I would always succeed.

So why do I keep putting myself in precarious situations that leave the door wide open to another failure?

Because I want more. I'm never going to be satisfied sitting in my own mediocrity (definition... moderate to inferior in quality; ordinary). Wait, isn't that what all my failures are trying to prove? That I am the definition of mediocre?

Maybe. I guess I'm rebellious.

So world, I give you proof that I'm trying to be better, even if I'm still not there. Failure is proof that I tried.

For how to handle success, please find someone who knows more about it. I don't happen to be an expert in that field. We don't have a happy dance at our house. Or a this-is-what-we-do-when-things-go-insanely-right tradition. It seems like we spend most of our time figuring out how to get over the next hurdle.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

A Better Attitude

I've lost a lot of sleep worrying about things- all things I can't control, but can't stop worrying about.

And then I've seen others with hearts of gold and know that they have worries too, but somehow balance it so well that the world would never know.

So thank you, to all who have been an inspiration to me lately. There are so many. Many who are thoughtful enough to share and honest enough to make it mean something.

I want to be more like you. I'm working on it. Worrying less and blessing more- like you.

It all starts with gratitude, I think. And I have so much to be grateful for. Everyday- and I know it. I just have to think about it more often. And think of all the things that go wrong less often.

It's not going to change all those things I'm worried about, but maybe it will change me, and in the end, that's all I can do anything about. So I'm going to try harder to look at the world differently. To see the good more than the bad and to realize that I can do something to make it even better.
Kind of like this picture- it's feels more real than the one where everyone's smiling perfectly- Life is tiring, but if you look closer, it's not hard to find things to love. I'm going to try harder to find those things.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The Twelve Days

Ever been so busy that you don't know if you got anything done? That's been me lately.

When I think about what cool, exciting things I have to write about here, I come up blank. I mean, I'm busy, but let's face it, who would want to read about my life.

So, in the spirit of the holidays, I give you my real-life version of the twelve days of Christmas.

Clearing throat...

On the first day of Christmas, it was a surprise to me, the front gate fell apart literally.

On the second day of Christmas, it was a surprise to me, our newest microwave fried, and the front gate fell apart literally.

On the third day of Christmas, it was a surprise to me, the dryer wouldn't dry, our newest microwave fried, and the front gate fell apart literally.

On the fourth day of Christmas, it was a surprise to me, the washer suddenly died, the dryer wouldn't dry, our newest microwave fried, and the front gate fell apart literally.

On the fifth day of Christmas, it was a surprise to me, the ceiling finally got done!!! The washer suddenly died, the dryer wouldn't dry, our newest microwave fried, and the front gate fell apart literally.

On the sixth day of Christmas, it was a surprise to me, the other microwave door broke. The ceiling finally got done!!! The washer suddenly died, the dryer wouldn't dry, our newest microwave fried, and the front gate fell apart literally.

On the seventh day of Christmas, it was a surprise to me, we stayed up til 3 to fix the counter, the other microwave door broke. The ceiling finally got done!!! The washer suddenly died, the dryer wouldn't dry, our newest microwave fried, and the front gate fell apart literally.

On the eighth day of Christmas, it was a surprise to me, the kitchen faucet has no pressure, we stayed up til 3 to fix the counter, the other microwave door broke. The ceiling finally got done!!! The washer suddenly died, the dryer wouldn't dry, our newest microwave fried, and the front gate fell apart literally.

On the ninth day of Christmas, it was a surprise to me, we took a break fixing the house and bought a Christmas tree, the kitchen faucet has no pressure, we stayed up til 3 to fix the counter, the other microwave door broke. The ceiling finally got done!!! The washer suddenly died, the dryer wouldn't dry, our newest microwave fried, and the front gate fell apart literally.

On the tenth day of Christmas, it was a surprise to me, we got the new used washing machine repaired. We took a break fixing the house and bought a tree, the kitchen faucet has no pressure, we stayed up til 3 to fix the counter, the other microwave door broke. The ceiling finally got done!!! The washer suddenly died, the dryer wouldn't dry, our newest microwave fried, and the front gate fell apart literally.

On the eleventh day of Christmas, it was a surprise to me, another child with an abscessed tooth, we got the new used washing machine repaired, we took a break fixing the house and bought a tree, the kitchen faucet has no pressure, we stayed up til 3 to fix the counter, the other microwave door broke. The ceiling finally got done!!! The washer suddenly died, the dryer wouldn't dry, our newest microwave fried, and the front gate fell apart literally.

On the twelfth day of Christmas, it was a surprise to me, I love my new microwave, counter, and used dryer and washing machine and fixed gate, another child with an abscessed tooth, we got the new used washing machine repaired, we took a break fixing the house and bought a Christmas tree, the kitchen faucet has no pressure, we stayed up til 3 to fix the counter, the other microwave door broke. The ceiling finally got done!!! The washer suddenly died, the dryer wouldn't dry, our newest microwave fried, and the front gate fell apart literally.

Aaah, the holidays.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Register for the 2012 LDStorymakers Conference

Today's the day you've been waiting for. Well, maybe not all of you, but some of you.

Today is the first day you can register for the coolest writers conference on the planet. Here's the link.
The conference is May 4-5.
  • 2-Day Conference: $170
  • Friday-only Conference: $95
  • Saturday-only Conference: $75

Location:

The Provo Marriott Hotel
101 West 100 North · Provo, Utah 84601 USA

Registration

Registration for the 2012 LDStorymakers Writers Conference is now open. It will close April 3, 2012 or until we are full. IMPORTANT–attendance is capped at 450 participants each day, so register early.

And here's more cools stuff you need to know.

The Boot Camp is AWESOME. It's held May 3 and if you have a manuscript you would like some editing with, this experience is invaluable. Not only will you get personalized attention, you will learn a lot. This is often the most rewarding experience to conference attendees after the weekend is over.

If you have a manuscript you are ready to pitch, they have the agents and editors there for you. Sign up early for a pitch session. Trust me, they sell out so fast. Secret... you can get on a waiting list for a pitch session.

Here's our stellar list of agents and editors:


Weronika Janczuk

Molly O’Neill

Kathleen Ortiz

Holly Root

Michelle Wolfson

Besides all of that, I'm telling you, this conference is life-altering. You will not be the same person when you leave- you'll be smarter, more aware, deeper and clearer about the writing industry. And you'll meet other writers who you will never forget. Whether you're a beginner or a published author, this conference has everything.

Don't forget to check out the master classes designed to dig deep into the writing skill sets. There's so much here. And no, you don't have to be LDS to go. At all. This is a fabulous chance to hone your craft regardless of where you are in your writing. Don't miss it.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Still waiting...

It's still November, but only barely. Thanks to all who nominated WINGS OF LIGHT for the Whitney award. It is now officially up for the 2011 books in the General Youth Fiction category.

Some people are waiting for Christmas. Some people are waiting for finals to be over, or for the holiday break. Some people are rushing to get everything done in the next four weeks.

And I'm... feeling very much in limbo. Waiting. Waiting for my TCRG exam results. Waiting to hear from the agent who was kind to me. Waiting to see if good things are on the horizon, or if I'm back to being the same girl I was this time last year.

I have lots of good things in my life, don't get me wrong. It's just that I've been working hard for specific things, and now all I can do is wait to see what happens next.

I know I need to get busy too. And I will. It's not like I'm not busy... I just feel like I'm waiting.

In the meantime, thank you all you wonderful people who have made each day brighter.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

November observations

It's been a different kind of November this year. Here's something I learned from my pool of author friends, and it seems to be true. Agents and publishers make decisions around Thanksgiving.

I'm not saying they don't make decisions all year round, but as writers, we sometimes get it in our heads that no one works in November and December. At all. Which simply isn't true.

I just heard from a fellow writer that her manuscript she submitted to a publisher nearly a year ago was accepted the other day. And another author reminded me that he signed with his agent a week before Thanksgiving. And another author recently signed with a big house last week. There are more stories than that, these are just a few.

I've been speculating as to why this is, and all I can come up with is National Novel Writing Month. As writers, we tend to view November as our sit-down-and-write-a-ton month. It's therapeutic- I mean, an excuse to write for hours on end is sort of like unlimited chocolate for a month. And it's professionally helpful- we get a good jump on a novel- or keep writing on that novel we've already started.

So where does that leave the book industry professionals? Good question. Here's where I jump to speculation. I would suggest that there are fewer queries in the month of November than any other month of the year. It's a guess, not a fact, but still something to consider.

And to support my theory of agents and editors having more time in November- I have received a handful of rejections from queries I sent out last April. Why November?

But more exciting by far, I was lucky enough to receive a full editorial letter from an agent with suggestions on how to make my book more marketable. Wow. I can't tell you what an honor that was. Even if she doesn't decide to sign me at the end of the process, I learned a lot. And after spending many hours with the piece, it is better for her efforts. That is priceless.

Of course, my heart nearly flattened when I read a rejection letter this morning- before I realized it wasn't from the same agent. Note to self- always read to the end of the form rejection letter so you know who it's from.

But still, it supports my theory that agents have a little more time in November. Here we are two days before Thanksgiving and I'm getting a rejection from a query sent last April (again). Oh yeah, I should mention that I stopped sending queries after April.

So instead of spending the month immersed in NaNoWriMo- I've done sort of a half and half. Half writing, half editing. And half dancing, half remodeling the front of our house and half housecleaning/laundry. Don't even bother mentioning my fraction skills. I've probably spent half the month helping my older boys with math homework too.

Are you taking November off of querying because you think it's a pointless month? My advice- if you're ready, go for it.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The Impossible Dream

Have you nominated a book for the Whitney Awards? Click on over and do. It's easy, and it's something you can do to encourage authors of your choice.

Yes, Wings of Light is eligible, should you feel inclined to make my day.

I've been thinking about writing goals, and general book industry things. The goal of writing in general has never been something I had stress too much about. I love writing.

It's figuring out how to juggle the industry and what I'm going to focus on there that is a little more ominous.

Do I spend a lot of time promoting the book I have out right now and hope that somehow a few more people discover how awesome my series is? It is awesome. I feel good about the soundness of the Alvor series.

Or do I let the marketing flop have its way and look to the future as I write yet another book and get back on the big house publishing horse?

It's a tough one. I usually lean toward the latter. If there is one thing that is clear in my mind, it's where I want to end up in my writing career. Sure, I'm not there- but the goal is. And I'm stubborn enough to keep working toward that goal. Loyal enough to not sway from what I want. And stupid enough to think that it's possible.

Shrug. I'm a writer.

And the beauty of writing- it has no time limit. I never have to quit.

I guess that's the beauty of life. No matter what it is, we all have the choice to make goals and keep them. To make life worth more because we put more into it.

Maybe you're like me and have such lofty goals/dreams that they seem impossible to catch. It's okay. If you don't know what you want, you'll never get it.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

I make imaginary people.

Some have imaginary friends. I make imaginary lives.

Which sounds crazy.

I love it.

You guessed it. I've drunk the writing juice and I'm riding the wave again. I'm in love with my character. Love who she is and what's happening. I don't know how I survived seven months without writing. It's like going without chocolate.

The horror.

But now I'm thinking about my story. Wanting more time with it. Which is why this post is going to be short. I need to get back to writing.

And, note to all you writers out there, bring the cord of your netbook with you when you leave the house. Yes, even the dentist's office has a place to plug in, if you bring the CORD. Darn the dead battery anyway.

Oh, and my poor seven-year-old with an infected tooth that made half his face swell up. He had it pulled today. I was going to let him play a game on my computer before I realized it was dead. He's recovering. He's going to have a black eye from the infection- at least that's what the dentist said.

Sad.

Okay, enough rambing. Back to work!

Monday, October 31, 2011

It was a dark and stormy night...


NaNoWriMo The best excuse out of the whole year to write starts tomorrow. Are you going to do it?

There are contests for people who write the most words. Support groups for people sprinting through a novel in a month.

Me? Uhm, I'm celebrating by actually getting my laptop and flashdrive out of hiding. If I can find my flashdrive. It's been SEVEN months since I last wrote.

I feel like I'm at an AA meeting. My name is Laura Bingham and I haven't worked on a novel for seven months.

Wait, I just found my pink flashdrive. (Why couldn't have been green?)

Now I want to plug it in and see if the story I started is still any good. Maybe I'll start over. It would be the perfect excuse...November starting tomorrow and all.

Then the question is, can I still write?

Yes, the seven month writing diet was painful. Necessary for studying for my TCRG exams, but agonizing all the same. And yes, it turns out this was a successful weight-loss strategy, not that I intended it to be, but as long as we're talking about diets...

But now that the diet is officially over, it's time to see if my brain still knows how to string a story. There's only one way to find out. I can't believe I'm nervous that I might have lost my touch. Maybe I wont' be any good at it any more. Writing might have been one of those flukes.

Even if it was, there's no way I could live without it. Bring on November. I'm ready.

Monday, October 24, 2011

The Day After


Never before have I seen so many worn blue Ar Rinci Foirne books; clutched in front, opened and fervently studied, or sitting hopefully on the exam table before all items were required to be removed from the candidates' tables.

There was no need to present a badges labeling candidates for the October Vancouver TCRG exams. The nervous energy prior to the written exam would have kept any normal human out of the area. All of us standing there as if either impending doom or eternal glory awaited the outcome of what we were about to undertake.

The anxious air was thick.

I'll admit, sweat trickled down my spine.

Then off to the races. Two hours have never gone by so quickly. The intensity of answering each question felt so focused that by the end, I could not even remember what all of the questions were. Each one held my absolute attention and there was no room in my head for any other thoughts.

Then another half hour waiting in the hall for the next test.

My legs shook for a full ten minutes. I don't even know why, except that every ounce of me wanted to pass all of these tests and two hours of sheer focus must have taken its toll.

They played 19 set tunes twice while we wrote down their names, time and bars. This was the easy part of the night. Until I realized that one of my questions had been answered wrong and after scribbling my four different guesses, there was no more room on the space provided for my final answer. Hopefully the panel will have a magnifying glass to read what I wrote.

And then the days to follow were filled with dancing and studying. A little sleep and a quick bite in between, but not much else.

At the end of my last test, my panel leader told me I could go relax and enjoy the rest of my day. I could be happy. She told me I could be happy.

And where I thought I would be instantly filled with a rush of relief, I found that she was right, I did feel happy. Later as I flew over San Fransisco I found another feeling. Deep gratitude. So strong I could not do it justice in words. This is the feeling that has stayed with me since the end of my test.

My brain is still recovering from overdosing it with Irish dancing, but my heart is filled with gratitude. The whole experience taught me more than I could have ever projected. It changed me. And in spite of my flaws and weaknesses, I have no honest regrets. I came and gave what I could, and left with more than I had.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Stolen Inspiration

Read it. Believe it. As far as I can tell, it's all true.

“What nobody tells people who are beginners — and I really wish someone had told this to me . . . is that all of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, and it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase. They quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know it’s normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you will finish one story. It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. It’s gonna take awhile. It’s normal to take awhile. You’ve just gotta fight your way through.”

Friday, October 7, 2011

Alias


Check out a new book- there are so many out there right now that I'm excited about. Here's a new one.

ALIAS by Mandi Slack

Hop on over to her blog.

She's doing a virtual tour all month.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Wings of Light up for grabs

MMmmmm, I'll take that one....

If I could pick any kind of cake in the world, you should know it would be a Godiva Chocolate Cheesecake. Is there anything closer to heaven? (Don't answer that. I'm still dreaming of Godiva chocolate cheesecake.) Of course, we're pretending that this gorgeous cake is said cheesecake that I will never be cured of.

The best part about it being my birthday is that I get to share it. I love sharing my birthday! My kids love it too. Funny how that works... But I can't think of a better way of spending my birthday than making the people around me happier.

So, although I would go completely broke if I tried to give EVERYONE something, I'm going to give you a chance to win a copy of WINGS OF LIGHT.

All you have to do is leave a comment and tell me what your to-die-for-dream-birthday cake would be.

And tell me your e-mail address so I can get a hold of you.

Contest ends Saturday, as in October 8. Love you all! Hope you have a beautiful day.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Almost There...




I'm freaking out. I am taking the biggest test of my life in two weeks. TWO WEEKS!!!!! AAAAaaaahhhhh. I've studied my brain out and I think it's melted into puddles and the steam is leaking out of my ears.

Am I going to remember anything?

I seriously need a miracle. Sort of counting on one. I'm planning on studying until the very last second, but will it be enough?

Oh yeah, and I'm turning older tomorrow and that really can't help my odds. They say one year older and wiser too, but I'm sort of thinking- one year older and more forgetful. Maybe being forgetful makes you wiser. Hmmm, there could be some correlation.

And dancing. Oh the dancing. I need one FABULOUS day. Just one day of doing what I know how to do without messing it all up. So many dances- I just need to be my very best for a few hours.

Okay, I'm done ranting publicly. I'll save my freaking-out session for loved ones and strangers on the street.

Meanwhile, if you live around here- COME to my book launch next Friday from 7-9 PM at my studio (2840 Wildwood St., Boise 83713). It's just a bit of fun. Bring the kids.

And the best part of today- my older sister's birthday. Happy birthday Tonia! It's always nice to know that someone will always be older than me. It makes me feel young. Ha ha... Good thing you never come to my blog! ;)

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Book Launch Party!

I had one of those weird dreams last night that carried over to my waking thoughts. Someone wanted to buy a book from me, but when I went to grab one, there wasn't any there. Instead, I found boxes and boxes of other people's books.

Uhmmm.

So I went to my "box of books" and found four copies of Alvor and no copies of Wings of Light. What? Upon further investigation, I found three copies of Wings of Light on my bookshelf.

And then I got to thinking... I never really had a proper book launch when Wings of Light came out. Sure, we splattered things all over the internet, but we missed any kind of hands-on experience.

So here's what I decided to do.

Book Launch party- at my studio (2840 Wildwood St., Boise, Idaho 83713) October 14 from 7-9 PM. We'll have food, music and something fun for kids to do. This is a chance to hang out, chat, meet people, and if you haven't already bought a copy, we'll have Alvor and Wings of Light for sale at a super price.

And if you do already have a copy, come anyway. I mean, if you live around here. It's a party.

In the meantime, I'm scheduled to do book signings at Book Nook- 705 12th Ave Road, Nampa, Idaho this Friday from 1-3 and Saturday from 12-2. Then I'm hopping over to Crowley's 1485 Poleline Rd. E. #139 Twin Falls, Idaho from 6-8 PM on Saturday as well. If you live close to those stores, drop in and say Hi!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Oh, you mean me?


I spent most of the week in San Diego at the bay.

First impression:

It's so cold! I thought I was staying at the beach. I thought this was California with sand, sun and waves. What gives?

Second impression:

Look at the diversity of the downtown area. Cool outdoor mall. I love the bay. I love to see the ships, boats and yachts. Look at the pelicans, herons and egrets. Can you believe how amazing these ships are? The Midway is incredible. I can see why someone could spend everyday watching the water.

Last impression:

I'm going to miss the bay. The boardwalk. The cute little shops, the beautiful walk along the water and the diversity of people and things.

I know the road to where I want to be looks a lot like the first picture, and sounds a lot like my impressions of San Diego Bay. It's not "all that" all the time. It's probably going to take some twisting turns, a walk through downtown with a group of people dressed in black giving away free hugs and seeing how many homeless there are before I see how much more there is.

But even when I didn't see it, it was there. I just had to see it through a different set of eyes. I had to experience it to know.

Yes, we'll jump on the writing business and tell the same story. The more I write and read, the more I see the whole industry through new eyes. And yes, I still believe that in the end, I'll see the it, like the bay, for what it really is- a marvel of new and old, nature and man's creation all working together to be a thing of beauty.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Now

It was my first time in Manhattan. The top two pictures were taken last month.

It's hard to explain why seeing the Freedom Tower filled me with such hope. As I looked up at the skyline of buildings, I saw what people were able to build out of devastation.

If you didn't know the horror that had happened only ten years previously, you would have never guessed it standing on the sidewalk and looking up at this tall building that defies the crushing events of 9/11. Defies, or defines.

We don't give up. It's an American trait.

The picture below shows what the Freedom tower will look like after completion. If you look at how it compares with the building next to it, the whole things comes into perspective. That's not exactly a short skyscraper standing beside it.

I have to be honest, I stood there looking at the Freedom Tower and couldn't even imagine it being twice again as tall as it already was. Amazing.

I didn't know anyone that lost their life that day. And yet, I can say with all sincerity of my heart that the event affected me deeply. We're all one nation, under God, indivisible. And when a piece is torn from our land, we all feel it. We all cry. We all mourn the loss of lives and find a deep respect for those heroes who stepped up to do what they could- heroes who are still stepping up to the call.

But out of the ashes, I see a nation who's hope is brighter than the darkness. A nation that is willing to fight against evil. And I know that it's a world I can send my children into. A nation that has enough good to keep believing.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Reading when I should be doing...

Ordered clogging shoes...check
Choreographed five different dances...in progress
Picked out costumes for this year...in progress
Ready for my Irish Exams...I wish
Miss writing like crazy...check

It must be fall. That time of year when reading a book is a guilty pleasure. Which explains why I've had a couple people ask me to review their books in the next couple weeks.

I'm seeing this as a mandatory distraction. This must be a good thing.

Hmmm, speaking of good things... I am reading a book that is really good. And like my fourteen-year-old told me last night, I don't usually say that about the books I'm reading. This one is a lucky draw- sort of a chance finding. I picked it up, bought it, never heard of it, and Bang, this thing is awesome.

UNEARTHLY by Cynthia Hand

I told myself I was over the well-worn concept of angels in paranormal stories. Vampires and werewolves too, to be honest. but Cynthia proves that it's not the tool, but the story, voice and writing that makes the novel so good. You don't always have to invent the wheel- just make a really cool new one.

I almost read the whole thing yesterday. Just like that.

When I should really be focusing on all the stuff I started listing at the top.

But what's life without a little distraction? I never regret reading a good book.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Three agents and an editor...

We're already getting things set up for the 2012 LDStorymakers Conference. So far we've got Michelle Wolfson, Kathleen Ortiz and Holly Root as well as Molly O'Neil from HarperCollin.

Are you excited yet? I so am.

I love working with these people. I've learned so much over the last year and a half by getting to be involved in this side of things.

And, I've learned how very sweet most everyone in the book industry really is. People, in spite of the rejections you are surely getting (if you're submitting) it isn't because they're vindictive.

They're just professionals trying their best to do their job- to sell books.

The good news is that agents and editors are so great to work with so when you finally find the right one for your work, it's usually a good experience from there out.

We won't get into edits and how you might feel about those today. I'm on the love-editing side of the fence anyway.

For those of you who like to plan ahead, the LDStorymakers conference will be at the Marriott Hotel in Provo may 4-5. Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

The Little Things

A couple weeks ago, I was staying in Pennsylvania- and besides the usual splendor, I found all sorts of tiny miracles.

This was one of them. It hardly seems real that a gorgeous black and blue butterfly would let me pick it up, but it did.

And then it let me hold it for almost a minute.

I've always believed that if you catch a butterfly in the wild and let it go, it's better than any star you could wish upon. And I made a wish. Okay, you caught me, I made more than one. I always do.
I know it's silly- or superstitious. And really- like my little girl always says- "Dreams don't come true- I always dream I can fly."

But there is something significant about knowing what you want deep down in your heart. That dream, or wish is a way of acknowledging hope. Faith. And ultimately means work.

If you're like me, you've always worked for it, but it doesn't hurt to catch a butterfly.

And whether I have a good reason or not, I still wake up some mornings and believe that anything is possible. I don't know when, or how, but I know it is.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Let them eat cake


"Failure is the reward for those who try." Me- last night after baking a cake for my dad the DAY AFTER his birthday.

And here's my kids and my sister's kids right before we eat said cake WITHOUT my dad- because he's going to be gone too late for a school night.

Yeap. My special brand of brilliance.

Don't worry, we gave him the half-eaten cake later, even though I wasn't there to see his confused expression.

Just for the record, I was going off my grandma's calendar (in Pennsylvania). I spent the a week looking at his birthday written on the wrong day on her calendar- not that I would have suspected it. She is his mother. She would know when his birthday is... right? I guess we all make mistakes.

But do I really believe in the motto that failure is the reward for those who try? Absolutely. Anyone who tells you different probably doesn't live in the real world. I can't think of a single successful person in history who didn't experience failure.

The important thing is that failure is not the ONLY reward for trying. Eventually you might even reach your dreams.

So was it worth making the cake a day late, even though I never got to see my dad? Yes.

I appreciated the comment someone left on my last post.

"I figure if I keep writing (umm, and submitting), eventually the pieces will fall together. Either that, or I'm going to be ninety-something and still sending out queries." MKHutchins

I feel the same way. Truly. Sadly, maybe, but exactly to be sure.

Not only in life, but in writing. Failure is inevitable. Once you get over that fact, there really is nothing holding you back. If the worst thing that can happen is you fail, and you know that failure is part of the process, then at the very least, or at the very base of every goal, we have nothing truly to lose- and everything to gain.





Monday, August 29, 2011

My nutshell

To all writers, aspiring or otherwise...

My writing history in a nutshell-

Wrote first book. Sold it immediately to a small press. It went into a bunch of stores and with the help of over 50 book signings and tons of school visits, sold thousands.

Wrote more books.

Got an agent.

Rejected a few times from publishers, but in the meantime sold second book of series to the same small press at agent's advice.

Said book was not given a chance. It made it into almost no stores. Four months later, it's only sold a few hundred copies.

Agent decided YA wasn't her thing. Told me to find a new agent.

In the meantime, wrote another book that agent said she loved.

More rejections. Lots more.

Now studying for my TCRG exams and not writing at all. Could only focus on one big thing at a time.

Miss writing. So much. Fantasize about writing my next novel. Dread the next slew of rejections.

Wondering if I'm crazy for not giving up.

But insane enough to know that rejections will never win. I am too addicted to writing. Even when I fail.

But I want to succeed. Badly. Bad enough to write better. To face the future.

Because I'm convinced that one of these days I will get there. Even though I have no proof.

Friday, August 26, 2011

The last drops of summer

I'm reading the ARC for THE DEATH CURE by James Dashner. It doesn't stop moving. Kind of like my week.

Which explains why I haven't finished it yet.

Soon though.

Okay, I need to send you all over to the Lateiner Gang Book Review Spot so you can sign up to win a copy of Alvor or Wings of Light. Dave talked me into giving away four books, but I'm not going to do it unless we get a bunch of people over there.

And while we're at it, if you leave a comment here, I'll give you an entry to their giveaway. Simple. You have to visit their blog for more entries.

Coming soon, second grade for my twins, fifth grade for my son, High School for my oldest guy and preschool for the baby girl of the family. I know we're starting later than usual, but I'm barely keeping up. I guess that's what happens if you leave town in August. Doh.

We have sacks of school supplies waiting for their new classrooms and this morning my kids are going through their entire wardrobes sorting out what still fits. School is in the air. It's the early mornings that we're going to have to get used to.

So, tell me what your favorite part of this time of year is!


Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Testing... Testing...

I'm back. I nearly fell off the internet planet for a couple weeks, but I've landed smack dab on earth again and my list of things to do has become significant.

To spare you a travel-log, it sufficeth to say that New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania were in my recent past and not only did I learn valuable driving tips, how not to land a penny on Ben Franklin's grave and other life skills, I found a side of Pennsylvania that I've only hoped existed.

They really do have enormous butterflies constantly visiting the flowers just outside the window... just like my story Alvor. Who knew? It was amazing.

And now that I'm back in Idaho, I'm looking forward to the adventure of school, studying for my Irish exams, and most delectably, WRITING. Oh how I miss it. I've put myself on a writing diet so I could focus on studying.

Where I thought the fire would extinguish and I would finally realize that deep down inside I've only pretended to be an author- the opposite has happened. I've seen more clearly what my next book needs. I see my career from a different perspective. I know I'll write another story and I've got a better idea of what needs to happen next.

So what am I saying? I hate to admit it, but taking a break from the pressure of succeeding has done me a lot of good. Instead of being stressed daily about whether my writing is good enough to see my dreams come true, I've been able to process what I need to do and how I'm going to do it.

And my writing advice to you? Well, I don't have any. This is the first REAL break I've taken from writing for four years. And my days are literally numbered. I know exactly when I'm going to get my manuscript back out and start again. Had it not been for something as huge as studying for my TCRG I would have never done it. But I'm glad I did.

Are you stressed to the point that it's taking over you life? Your every other thought? Maybe it's time for a break. Maybe. Just a short one. you never know where it will lead.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Free Writer's Conference- WriteOnCon


If you love writing, want a chance to visit with editors, agents and authors, but don't want to pay a lot of money and spend time traveling, then check out WriteOnCon.

It's coming up August 16-18. The conference allows live online chats and question/answer sessions. The best part, besides that it's free, is that you can read all the info after the conference is over.

No matter what your schedule is, you don't have to miss this incredible opportunity.

Who is participating?

Agents include Michael Bourret, Mary Kole, Holly Root, Joanna Volpe, Natalie Fischer, Marietta Zacker, and Sara Megibow, Steven Malk, and many more people you’ll want to learn more about.

Authors and editors too.

It's an education you can get at home without the expensive registration fee.

Elana Johnson, author of POSSESSION helps run it. And I'm super excited. I will have the chance to get to know her better over the next year as we organize for the 2012 LDStorymkaers conference. Have you read her book? Do it. This is a tell-everyone-to-read it kind of story.

And speaking of cool author friends of mine, a big congratulations to Jeff Savage. He just landed a 3-book deal with Harper Collins for his Middle Grade series. Way to go Jeff!

And now a little plug from Jeff Savage about my newest book WINGS OF LIGHT (Oh, yes. You need this book)

“Warning: If elves, spells, dragon-riding, intrigue, mystery, danger, romance, and intercontinental pizza hopping are too much for your heart, you should NOT read this book. Otherwise, pick it up, take it to the cash register, pay for it through whatever means possible, take it home, lock the door (you won’t want any interruptions), and read it- NOW! Laura Bingham has penned another novel that fantasy readers of all ages will devour.” J. Scott Savage, author of Far World series


Saturday, August 6, 2011

Dashner Does it Again

My friends over at the Lateiner Gang Book Review Spot managed to get their hands on an ARC (Advanced Reader Copy) of The Death Cure. Which I think is totally awesome. Okay, yeah, a little jealous, but then I already know I'm going to buy this one. The end of The Maze Runner series. Action-packed stuff.

Dave's reading it right now and will be posting his review, so check his blog for that.

For those of you who have never met James Dashner, I'm going to tell you (again) what a great guy he is. Down to earth. Thinks he might look great in a Speedo on the beach, but, uh, no that image may forever be burned into my imagination. Ouch. I wish you would have never said that James.

And in case you haven't picked up on it, he does have a sense of humor too.

Check out the Maze Runner series if you haven't already. What's taken you so long? Oh yeah, and go read my books too.

Friday, August 5, 2011

A Winner, and other stuff

Thanks for joining my evil scheme! We had more than 25 places called. Hopefully we'll see "Wings of Light" in more stores and libraries.

Thanks to Random.org, our winner of the $25 gift certificate was ChiChai Hana

Yesterday I had two different people tell me that they REALLY WANTED Book 3 of the series. I just smiled. What I was really thinking was, "If you want it so bad, go tell 25 people to read my book."

If you love a story, you should tell everyone. Write reviews on Amazon and Goodreads. Tell your friends that you loved a story and they should read it too. I am constantly making book recommendations- obviously other than my own book :)

People want to read what you liked. It saves them time. They don't have to sift through the hundreds of books in their favorite genre, they can go straight to the one that someone else liked.

And, people, I'll say this next part out loud... there's not going to be a third book unless I can sell a decent number of this one. Yeap. I have other things I'm working on. Things that have nothing at all to do with this series. YA novels, and one MG, but unless I see a demand for a third book in the Alvor series, I'm holding off.

It's not that I don't love those few people who have read "Wings of Light" and are asking for more. I do. But writing is a business too. Yes, it's an art, but at the end of the day, I have to do what's best business-wise.

So, how do we get the third and final book of the Alvor series into your hands? Get as many people to read/buy "Wings of Light" as we can. I need to sell a few thousand, not just a few hundred.

Otherwise, the next published book you'll see from me won't be an Alvor book. I have my sites set on other things. And I have to. I'm a writer, an artist, a mom and a full-time trying-to-do-it-all-whether-or-not-I-can lady. I want to make everyone happy, but sometimes I need a little help.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Books I've been reading

It should come as no surprise that regardless of what else is happening in life, I manage to squeeze reading time into it. Sometimes, it's only a few minutes, but it all adds up to a book read after a while.

I usually have a thing about watching a movie before I've read the book. I always read it first. but in the case of "I am Number Four" I watched the movie...twice. Then read the book.

While I rarely review books, I'm thinking this one is so popular that it won't hurt. And I learned a few writing lessons along the way.

The movie made the characters more relate-able, real, and made me sympathetic for them. The book was a lot more cardboard in terms of character development.

The book had a lot more detail and a cooler turn of events when it came to the legacies and how they fought the battle in the end.

So where the author fell short, the movie people jumped in, and where the author had better stuff, the movie people cut it into bits.

My lesson: develop the characters. Give the readers a character that not only seems real, but that they can't help caring about.

Plot counts. While the characters make the book, the plot makes all the difference. Something cool needs to happen or we'll get tired of reading it and loose interest.

More books I'm reading/read lately.

The Red Pyramid by Rick Riordan. Confession on this one... I drug my feet getting to this book because I thought it would be too much like all the other middle grade fantasies I've read. I was pleasantly surprised to have been proven wrong.

Illusions by Aprilynne Pike. Again, I was wary that she wouldn't be able to top her last book. Series can be hard to write, but I enjoyed the new elements and characters and felt she breathed fresh air into this book.

Possession by Elana Johnson. I just started reading this (I know, finally, but I've been saving it for dessert.) I was right. This book is dessert. I love the voice. Completely. Combined with the fast plot, so far, all I can do is think about this book when I'm not reading it. Seriously. You need this one.

Now it's your turn. And while I'm at it, check out Wings of Light.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

It isn't over yet...

Today's theme: It isn't over yet.

For those who haven't entered my Evil Scheme Giveaway there's still time. We have to have 25 to make the contest complete.

Also, due to an employee changeover in both the national and publicity marketing department from my publisher at the time of it's release, Wings of Light never saw the "light of day". It never found a home in a brick and mortar store.

But it's not over yet. With the help of some new marketing people, there's a pretty good chance we'll get to have Wings of Light get into Costco and Barnes & Noble. We'll probably have to start close to where I live, but there's still hope.

And that is to say, there is always still hope. No matter what happens in life - there is always hope. It isn't over yet. As long as a new day waits, a new opportunity is there. Disappointments strive to take over the day, but like my husband said last night, "I keep waiting for something to make your day." And I said, "Sometimes you have to make your own day."

I hope you're not giving up on what may seem like your impossible dreams. The fight to get there makes you stronger, and you will never be the same because of the battle.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Tristi Pinkston's newest book!

Author Tristi Pinkston is excited to announce the release of the third novel in her Secret Sisters Mysteries series.


Titled Hang ‘em High, this novel takes place on a dude ranch in Montana. When Ida Mae’s son invites her to come for a visit, of course she brings Arlette and Tansy along with her. They are expecting to spend the week looking at horses, avoiding the cows, and making amends in Ida Mae’s relationship with her son. What they don’t expect is to be stuck on the ranch in the middle of a blizzard and to be thrust headlong into the middle of a mystery.

***

Help Tristi celebrate her new novel in two ways. First, come participate in the two-week-long blog contest, where you can win a book nearly every single day! All the details are up on Tristi’s blog.






Second, come to the book launch!


You are invited to an

August Authorama!

Saturday, August 13th

Pioneer Book, 858 S. State, Orem

12 – 4 pm

Games, prizes, balloons, face painting,

and Dutch oven cobbler

prepared by world champion cook

Keith Fisher.

Authors Tristi Pinkston, J. Lloyd Morgan, Cindy Hogan,

Nichole Giles, and Heather Justesen

will all be there to sign books.

This is one book launch event

you will not want to miss!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Check out this Giveaway!

My friends over at the Lateiner Gang Book Review Spot have made a big splash. Hop on over to their blog for details on how you can win.

He talked me into giving away two sets of the Alvor series, so let's make it worth it!

And here's a bit of odd trivia. Wings of Light has sold more copies in New Jersey than any other state. And no, Dave Lateiner didn't even know that.

I am hoping to spread the word to more places. Check out the Evil Scheme to get points in helping me do this.

Yesterday Heather from Ireland got it in her local library. I was super excited to read that. Wings of Light not only visits Ireland, but a new spunky character in that story is from the Emerald Isle. Very cool. Thanks for helping Heather!

No matter where in the world you live, there is a good chance you can get this book into a library at the very least. My publisher works with an internationally recognized distributor. And thanks to the internet, no matter where in the world you live, you can enter our contests.

So, "Top o' the morn to you," and I can't wait to see where all of your help takes this story.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Join my evil marketing scheme...

Just when I thought I would hang up my writing hat for a while as I work towards my Irish exams, I find myself working on marketing.

Remember that fabulous book you've been meaning to buy? You know, Wings of Light... Oh yeah, that one. Well, I'm trying to get it into some stores near you.

A little trick that you could do to help me in this quest...

Call your local bookstore or library and ask if they have Wings of Light by Laura Bingham. When they say no, or offer to special order it for you, just say, "That's okay, I'll just order it from Amazon," and then hang up.

Here's the carrot for you, leave a post saying that you did this and you will be entered to win a $25 Amazon gift card. For each store or library you call, you get one entry.

And, we'll only give away $25 if we get at least 25 stores or libraries called by August 6. We'll use Random.org to choose the winner.

Alright, get your phones out and let's do this thing. It takes people like you to make things work. Thanks for your help.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Six Seconds with my Son

You'll probably have to click the video to see him- my blog cuts him off. But hey, what's six seconds. Sometimes it's the little things in life that make it worth remembering.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Hot summer nights are overrated


"I was really hoping for a break, but instead, everything broke." - my husband last night

I don't know why, but it's starting to make me laugh.

Let's see... the AC went out just when summer kicked in.

Last night we discovered that someone used our credit card to buy $147.50 worth of products on itunes. Said credit card has been canceled- ten day wait for our new debit/credit card :(

And, just to top it off, this morning I find that my e-mail account has been hacked. A different one this time, and the hacker was a commercial. At least the police didn't show up at my house to see if I really was stuck in Europe somewhere like they did last time.

And just for fun, let's look at how this relates to the world of writing. Oh yeah, it sounds exactly like writing. Whether we're talking about obstacles for characters in your book or the obstacles you face in publishing, this is all sounding very familiar.

Have you ever read a book or watched a movie and it seems like so many bad things have happened that you really don't know how this character can go on? Well, I see it a lot. In fact, that is what makes books (or movies) so good. It's when they've painted themselves into the proverbial corner that I have to know how they get out.

In the writing industry, the same feelings of failure can apply. I know, there are the exceptions. I like to think of them as just that. Exceptions to the rule. But for a great number of people, rejection and disappointment is a part of the process that can't be avoided.

In those books and movies the main character does find a way out of the problem. Writers who don't give up will too.

It might not fix the air conditioning in the middle of July, but slushies and popsicles have never tasted so good.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Plan A on a Silver Platter


If you want you Plan A to be served to you on the theoretical silver platter, then may I suggest a few things.

Plan B should be served on a gold platter and Plan C on a platinum one.

I've been thinking about how my "best laid plans of mice and men" have been working out for me over the last three years. Well, let's just say that NOTHING in writing has worked out exactly how I planned. Thus the "Mice and Men" theory. Ever read that book? It's a depressing tale of how making plans doesn't equal realizing them.

But I think that's pretty common in the writing world. And the fact is, there is a good chance you don't know what would be best for your career experience and growth. Maybe Plan B is better, and Plan C,D,E,F or Z is better yet.

Don't be afraid of it. The only element entirely in control of the author is the writing itself. What happens to it after that can be shaped, shifted and influence, but never completely controlled alone by the writer. It becomes a product of others.

I'm not saying you're off the hook once you've written your work and revised it to death, actually, it's the opposite. If you don't do everything in your power to push it into the world, I guarantee it will never get there. (Agents and editors don't knock on the door and ask non-famous writers for their latest manuscript.)

Wherever you are in your writing career, don't be afraid of change. Especially changing your mind. That winning book you wrote might be the ticket to get an agent, but then they never sale it. No worries. Write another one.

You published with a small press and you are doomed to stay small potatoes. Not to fear. You can write as many new books as you want and try your hand at the national market.

You lost your agent when she decided to go into retirement. Okay, this sounds a little familiar to me... Get back on the horse. If you can't sell your manuscript to another agent, yeap, you guessed it, write another novel.

And most importantly, don't give up. Giving up isn't a plan. Taking a break is a plan. Rethinking is a plan. Quitting is not.

I know how hard it is to see your dreams take on shapes so different than the ones you had in mind, but trust that the future is still there waiting for you. And that in it, your dreams still have a chance to come true, even if it is served on a different colored platter.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Winner Announcement

Okay, okay... I know I said June 30- but that was before I knew I would be leaving town. I'm back now and finally have time to post our winners. Thanks to all who stopped by to leave a comment.

Without further ado, here are our lucky winners for today:

Winner of a copy of WINGS OF LIGHT van_pham

Winner of an electronic copy of THE BOOK BLOGGER'S COOKBOOK:
Wicked Walker

Both winners were chosen using Random.org

Saturday, June 25, 2011

When there are no words

Do you see that look of adoration, even from my then four-month-old daughter? We all looked at him that way. And on the other side, nothing will change about that.

Things I learned from my grandpa...

*a little bit of humor goes a long way

*hard work pays off

*if you take care of things, they will take care of you

*blueberries are good any time, any day, and there are always more in the freezer in the cellar

*don't give up

*never stop learning

*the world is a beautiful place

I love you Grandpa. Thanks for giving me a glimpse of what beauty the world has to offer. Thanks for giving me your green eyes. And thanks for making me laugh. You may understand now better than ever how much you have meant to me all my life. You will always be in my heart.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Christy Dorrity's The Book Blogger's Cookbook

Okay, here it is again! MMMmmm... what could be a better combination than delicious books and delectable recipes?

If you miss this one, I'm telling you, I warned you not to. Not only will you find recipes that even a kitchen-impaired individual such as myself can master, but every single book represented in her cookbook is a must-read. You can't go wrong with this.

So, to inspire you all to hop over to this site we have a couple of carrots to dangle.

First is her grand prize of a kindle. Mega awesomeness here.

And second, I'm giving away my first copy of WINGS OF LIGHT from this blog...wiping tears of joy...my latest baby... yes, I'm finally going to give a copy away.

And, one lucky winner will get a kindle copy of The Blogger's Cookbook. You can download this onto your PC if you don't have a kindle.

Rules for winning my book....

*be a follower
*leave a comment telling me your favorite summer food or recipe


Okay... We'll give this a week. The winner will be announced June 30 using random.org.

Meanwhile, you need to go sign up for that kindle and get your hands on a copy of this amazing cookbook.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Book Review from the Lateiner Gang


How is it that an Idaho girl can end up with friends from New Jersey even thought she's never been there?

Books are amazing things.

Two years ago, Dave Lateiner walked into his local Barnes & Noble and walked out with a copy of Alvor. He read it, loved it, reviewed it, and the next thing I know I get an e-mail from him. But that wasn't all. He wanted to do an author interview.

I was kind of shocked that my book found its way into the hands of someone like him, but I've been so glad it did.

And here to share his magic touch with book reviews (ignore his grammar mistakes, he'll get those fixed later today when he has a little more time)....

I give you the Lateiner Gang.

He wants a popping water fountain installed in his backyard and a changing brooch that actually works. So do I.

But since I can't give anyone those things, I can offer some free books instead. And yes, this time we're giving away Alvor and Wings of Light. You'll have to hop over to his blog over the next week or so for the details.

Here is another giveaway for the series you should check out. Squeaky Clean Reads

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The Blueberry Patch



I suppose it should come as no surprise that my family has a variety of artistic tendencies. I mean, I had to get it from somewhere. It's just that I hadn't ever really stopped to think about it that way before.

My older sister is a film maker. She specializes in documentaries (and doesn't read fiction, nope, not even if her sister wrote it.)

She has been lucky enough to spend a lot of time in one of my favorite places in the whole world- my grandparents' house in Pennsylvania. They live in a little village tucked away in the mountains. It feels like a miracle every time I visit- fresh air, green everything for as far as you can see, and of course, the miracle of having my grandparents there.

My grandpa is a cancer survivor. He's had it several times. Now he has Parkinson's disease too. He's been through a lot, but it never could take away his sense of humor. I wish this video showed a little of that side of him, but you're just going to have to take my word for it on that one. When I'm there that my grandma and grandpa have me laughing every day.

My grandpa has a gift with plants. The video shows off that the most. My grandma is an angel, but it's harder to capture that on film.

And what does any of this have to do with writing?

Everything.

The last time I was in Pennsylvania, it practically broke my heart to have to go back home to Idaho. I wanted to take it with me. I wanted to be able to live in both places. And that is how my first book found a home. I could see the magic anytime just by writing it down and making it permanent. Alvor was born in a little village tucked away in the Pennsylvania hills. Erin and Bain live in my grandparent's house (with the addition of an imaginary basketball court).

If you've read Alvor, check out the house in the video. Take a look around the yard and you will see where the main characters live. It's amazing. And yes, I miss Pennsylvania so much. I wish wish wish I could go there again soon.

Till then, enjoy the virtual tour.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Books + Food = Yummy Read


"Books you'll devour with recipes you can't put down."

Christy Dorrity has a brilliant eye for finding good books and a savvy skill at bringing the flavors to life. As she reviews her literary finds, she invents recipes that bring the foods of the story straight to your kitchen.

And it's amazing.

Super yummy.

Easy.

And I can't wait to taste the creations waiting in her recipe book.

The 2011 Book Blogger's Cookbook

Christy is having a two month blog tour you won't want to miss. And as the big bang giveaway at the end- a kindle is up for grabs. Oooh.... I want one!

Alvor and Wings of Light have recipes waiting for your taste buds- along with some other great novels....

Books were selected from the author’s book review blog and paired with delectable recipes like “Fairy Touched Calico Brownies” from the Fablehaven series by Brandon Mull, “7-Day Layer Dip” from Lauren Oliver’s Before I Fall, and “I Hate Chocolate Cake” from Amanda Hocking’s Switched. Mouthwatering photos complement every recipe.

This is not to be missed. Go check out the tour and go get an electronic copy.

And while you're at it, take some notes on Christy's book reviews. She picks good ones, and I know you'll need something to read this summer. (or winter should you be reading this from the land down under. A big wave to you mates.)

Monday, June 6, 2011

Write because you have something to say

It's a motto that I have lived by since I can remember. Before I considered it writing, I wrote only what meant something to me. I either let no one else read it or I threw it away.

Now I write things that mean something to me and give it to the world to see.

But I still try to only write when I have something to say. And today...

all I have is randomness.

Truly. I've been editing like it's my new favorite sport. Has this ever happened to you? All I want to do is sit and revise- edit- revise- change- oooh, and revise some more. It's like a disease.

And then my grandma sends me a random e-mail that makes me laugh so hard I can't breathe- so I'll share some of it with you in case you have my demented sense of humor...
Church Ladies With typewriters . . .

They're Back! Those wonderful Church Bulletins! These sentences (with all the BLOOPERS) actually appeared in church bulletins or were announced in church services:

The Fasting & Prayer Conference includes meals.

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The sermon this morning: 'Jesus Walks on the Water.' The sermon tonight: 'Searching for Jesus.'

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Ladies, don't forget the rummage sale. It's a chance to get rid of those things not worth keeping around the house. Bring your husbands.

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Don't let worry kill you off - let the Church help.

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For those of you who have children and don't know it, we have a nursery downstairs.

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At the evening service tonight, the sermon topic will be 'What Is Hell?' Come early and listen to our choir practice.
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Scouts are saving aluminum cans, bottles and other items to be recycled. Proceeds will be used to cripple children.

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Please place your donation in the envelope along with the deceased person you want remembered..
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Potluck supper Sunday at 5:00 PM - prayer and medication to follow.

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The ladies of the Church have cast off clothing of every kind. They may be seen in the basement on Friday afternoon.

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This evening at 7 PM there will be a hymn singing in the park across from the Church. Bring a blanket and come prepared to sin.

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Low Self Esteem Support Group will meet Thursday at 7 PM . Please use the back door.
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The eighth-graders will be presenting Shakespeare's Hamlet in the Church basement Friday at 7 PM . The congregation is invited to attend this tragedy.

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Weight Watchers will meet at 7 PM at the First Presbyterian Church. Please use large double door at the side entrance.

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The Associate Minister unveiled the church's new campaign slogan last Sunday: 'I Upped My Pledge - Up Yours.


So as you can see, I'm breaking my own rule. I don't really have anything to say... but I'm still laughing. Aaah. Okay, I'll come back and entertain with something more thought-provoking ...next time.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Finding Ruts


In between checking e-mails, I stumbled across an MSN article about exercising ruts. Okay, I admit, I read the whole thing.

And I was surprised to see that I was stuck in a rut or two myself. After thinking about it, I realized how simple it would be to make a couple of adjustments and *ding* my rut would be gone.

For you exercise enthusiasts out there- I decided I needed more resistance training. I kind of let that one go out the window at least six years ago. I know- kind of bad of me. But I can change. It would be easy. I just needed to think about it and realize that I should do it.

What about writing ruts?

1- Just like in exercising, sometimes you need to switch things up. If you go on the same walk for 30 minutes every single day, your muscles get used to it and you plateau.

Instead of doing exactly the same thing everyday, be aware of when you need to be diverse. When you're writing there are many things that take time- planning your plot, developing your characters, creating scenes, finding weak spots in your plans, editing, writing, etc.

The list can really keep going for a long time. In fact, if you're simply writing and never planning or thinking into your story, it won't be as strong of a book.

2- Is the story itself stuck in a rut? This is where stepping back and doing resistance training will help. Get your weights out and find new ways to strengthen your plot and characters. Figure out what's missing. Maybe the stakes aren't high enough, we need more time in the character's head, more action, less info dump, more dialogue, less dialogue... you get the picture.

Sometimes the only way we can see the problem is to step back and think about it from a different angle.

3- And lastly, we're setting our workout machine on "fat burning" so that we stay in a zone that is easier, but ultimately burns fewer calories and ends up being a less effective workout.

There's a chance you could push yourself a little more when it comes to the writing industry. Maybe you need more social media, writers conferences, a writers group, etc. Or perhaps you could handle writing more hours in the day than you do. If you could be doing more than you are, try to.

And in the end, we'll have a better story- uhm, and a better body too I guess if you apply all the same exercise principles. So get your tennis shoes out, or your computer, and have fun!