Wednesday, 30 April 2008

Unplanned Chore

This morning was typical for my youngest daughter. Once again, she couldn't find her shoes. I tell her to take them off and leave them on the shoe rack when she comes in the door, but now that the weather's nice, she forgets. So there we were, frantically looking through the house for the missing pair of runners.

She insisted they were left on the rack the night before, and someone must have moved them. Right. We all wait for her to go to bed and then hide her shoes, just to torment her. I told her I had better things to do with my time, like think up new chores for her. She went back into the basement to check the family room one more time while I checked her bedroom. The disaster that greeted me was no surprise. I pushed a pile of dirty clothes out of the way and checked under the bed. No shoes.

She finally found them in the basement and left for school, slamming the door behind her, mad at me for nagging her about her mess again. That did it. I grabbed a garbage bag, some upbeat music, and banished myself to her room. The only child I had at the house today came to help me and together we organized some things and tossed others. Then we did some rearranging of furniture. The project took me the entire day.

I learned a long time ago to pick my battles as a parent. Getting the kids to clean their bedrooms is one I don't fight very often. I remind and encourage, but I don't lock them in their rooms until the job is done. When they were younger, I would go in every couple months and do thorough clean, but I've only done that once to her room since I started babysitting three years ago.

I figured she would be quite angry with me, and when she saw the vacuum and a few boxes in the hallway, she scowled and I thought I was in for it. She went into the room and started to cry. Then she threw her arms around me and said she loved it.

After I told her how much dust I found under the bed and on the shelves and explained how much it affected her asthma and allergies, she finally seemed to hear what I was saying. The before and after pictures helped, too. I think she got so used to the mess she didn't realize how bad it had become. Hopefully with a little daily encouragement, we can keep it looking nice. So I didn't get anything else done today, but I did complete an overwhelming task and make a little girl feel good.

Tuesday, 29 April 2008

Books Eligible for the 2008 Whitney Awards

I am reposting the list for the 2008 Whitney awards. It is growing and it looks like there are many interesting books for all sorts of reading interests. As always, I will keep adding to the list as I hear of new books. If you know of any books that are released in 2008 by and LDS author, let me know in the comment section and I will get them added.

  1. Abramson, Traci Hunter - Freefall
  2. Ashley, Amanda - Dead Perfect
  3. Beeson, Sam - The Unvalentine
  4. Black, Stephanie - Fool Me Twice
  5. Borrowman, Jerry - Home Again at Last
  6. Cratty, Nancy - Silhouette
  7. Dashner, James - The 13th Reality: The Journal of Curious Letters
  8. Esseltine, Chris - Caleb's Quest
  9. Ferrell, James L. - The Holy Secret
  10. Fogg, K.L. - Diamondback Cave
  11. Gallacher, Marcie & Robinson, Kerry - A Banner is Unfurled 3:Glory from on High
  12. George, Jessica Day - Dragon Flight
  13. George, Jessica Day - Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow
  14. Grey, Sandra - Traitor
  15. Hale, Shannon - Rapunzel's Revenge
  16. Hallstrom, Angela - Bound on Earth
  17. Hardman, Christy - Against the Giant
  18. Haws, Annette - Waiting for the Light to Change
  19. Henham, R.D. - Red Dragon Codex
  20. Luke, Gregg - Do No Harm
  21. Kurland, Lynn - The Mage's Daughter
  22. Mace, Aubrey - Spare Change
  23. Marcum - Mary and Joseph
  24. McClure, Marcia Lynn - The Whispered Kiss
  25. McKendry, Kristen - Promise of Spring
  26. Meyer, Stephenie - Breaking Dawn
  27. Meyer, Stephenie - The Host
  28. Miller - The Lost Verses
  29. Mull, Brandon - Fablehaven: Grip of the Shadow Plague
  30. Norton, Tamra - Make Me a Home
  31. Nunes, Rachel Ann - Fields of Home
  32. Owen, James A. - The Search for the Red Dragon
  33. Perry, Anne - Buckingham Palace Gardens
  34. Pinkston, Tristi - Season of Sacrifice
  35. Reid, Pamela Carrington - Shades of Gray
  36. Sanderson, Brandon - Mistborn 3: Hero of Ages
  37. Skye, Obert - Pillage
  38. Sorenson, Toni - Master
  39. Stansfield, Anita - Promise of Zion
  40. Stewart, Chris - From the End of Heaven Vol.5: The Great and Terrible
  41. Talley, Rebecca Cornish - Heaven Scent
  42. Thackeray, Christine - The Crayon Messages: a visiting teaching adventure
  43. Vandagriff, G.G. - The Arthurian Omen
  44. Weyland, Jack - As Always, Dave
  45. Winegar, Tracy - Keeping Keller
  46. Youngblood, Jennifer & Poole, Sandra - Stoney Creek, Alabama

Sunday, 27 April 2008

Using the Right Words

Tonight when I tucked my youngest daughter into her bed, I leaned over and pulled her into my arms and she inhaled deeply as she always does. It reminded me of an incident that happened several years ago. We were walking through the grocery store and I was standing trying to figure out the best price on something. She came up to me, grabbed my arm, breathed in and then announced in a loud voice, "You smell, Mom." Everyone in the aisle stopped and some shook their heads trying to stifle laughs.

I felt slightly embarrassed and wished I could bury my head in the ground. She seemed to be lost in thought for what seemed like forever before she continued. "You smell like flowers." Relief washed over me as I stopped wondering whether my fellow shoppers must be offended by my horrible odor and gave my little girl a hug.

It made me realize how powerful the right word choice is. She had it right the first time. But without her further description, I probably would have hurried home to take another shower. Every time I speak or write, I am reminded how important it is to pick the words that most clearly convey meaning or emotion. It is a great thing to be reminded of this every time I give her a hug.

Thursday, 24 April 2008

Fun Interview

Annette Lyon sent me some interview questions just for fun. Enjoy...

What was the first thing you wrote for yourself (ie, creatively, on your own)?

I don't specifically remember the first, but as a kid I used to write stories and poems all the time. One year (I think I was eight or nine), I gathered all the poems I had written and put them in a book. I illustrated them and sent the collection to my great-grandmother as a Christmas present. I'm told she treasured them for years because she also loved to write. I remember the lovely thank you card she sent me encouraging me to keep putting my ideas onto paper. That was when I first decided I would like to be a writer. I don't know where that book is now, although I think my mother may have kept it after my grandma passed away. I'll have to ask her to look for it. Those first poems would probably be good for a laugh.

If you could pick an actress to play you in a movie, who would it be?

This is a hard one. No one comes to mind except for Anne Hathaway. Even though I'm sure her real hair isn't like this, I loved the scene in Princess Diaries where the brush breaks in her hair. Mine looks like that in the morning although I haven't broken a brush yet.

If you were a color, what would it be and why?
On my best days, I think I would have to be lavender. Usually I'm pretty calm and patient and don't let things bother me too much. Most of the time I'm quiet and keep to myself. Just one of those people that sometimes get lost in the background.

What is your favorite kitchen implement? Explain.
My electric tea kettle. My husband gave it to me for Christmas a few years ago. I opened the package and responded with the classic raised eyebrows and the well-thought out comment, "Oh, not what I was expecting." Of course, his face fell a little and I felt horrible. He explained to me that he thought it would make the perfect gift since I am always heating water up for hot chocolate or herb tea. I've admitted to him several times since that he knew what I needed better than I did. I use the thing nearly every day and don't know how I ever lived without it.

What is the oddest thing on or around your writing area?

Okay, I've looked around my writing area and am struggling to find something odd. There are the standard pens and pencils, paper, a dictionary and thesaurus, other writing books and the required chocolate stash. One odd thing is a large (20" x 24") picture hanging over the desk of a samurai warrior someone made for my husband while he was on his mission (my kids call him "big scary guy"). But as different as the picture is, I think the oddest thing at my writing desk may be me, although I'm not there nearly as often as I should be.

Hope you found the answers interesting. If anyone else would like to receive some interview questions, just let me know in the comment section. I'll come up with some and

email them to you.

Wednesday, 23 April 2008

A Homeless Scene

I woke up bright and early full of plans for the day, every minute mapped out. Stretching, I pulled the quilts closer around my shoulders, knowing there were still a few minutes before I had to get moving. As I tried to convince myself to get up a little earlier than usual, I had one of those moments I love.

A scene began to run through my head. I rarely see the pictures, but the ideas begin to flow and arrange themselves into beautiful sentences. I let the moment play out for awhile, immersing myself in the emotions of the character. I've learned I can't write it down too soon, I have to let the whole thing run out in my head. But as soon as the words stopped, I grabbed the pen and pad of paper I keep next to the bed and scribbled them as fast as I could. But this time when I went back to read it, I was a little confused.

The sentences are strong, the emotions riveting, but it is such a departure from anything I've ever written before, and I don't quite know where to put it. It's just a scene, and the accompanying story still eludes me. There are glimmers of an idea forming in my head, but meanwhile, the words sit in my notebook, hoping I'll find a home for them.

Tuesday, 22 April 2008

Blog Tours

Blog tours seem to be the latest thing in book promotions. Authors have bloggers read and review their books, sometimes doing interviews as well. The author directs people to the blogs and they get lots of great publicity. I'm going to be involved in three blog tours, so I have a little reading to do.

On May 20th, Tristi Pinkston will be dropping by do discuss her latest book, Seasons of Sacrifice. I've already read this, but you'll have to come by in May to see what I thought.

The next visitor to Write Bravely will be Rebecca Talley with her book Heaven Scent. This is a young adult novel that I'm really looking forward to reading. I'll be interviewing her on June 11th.

The last to stop by will J. Scott Savage talking about his book Farworld. He'll be here sometime in the last week of August. His book is young adult fantasy novel.

So check back to meet these great authors. I'm excited to read their books and visit with them.

Monday, 21 April 2008

Seven Things...

I've done a few of these, but this time Josi Kilpack tagged me, hoping I'll clear up some questions some of my previous posts have raised in her mind. It's probably good she gave me a specific challenge because I don't know what things I'd say that I haven't said before. So here goes...

1. Yes, I am old enough to have teenagers, but thanks for thinking otherwise. It really made my day. I had my first baby six months before my 22nd birthday. My oldest turned 15 a few months ago and my second will turn 14 on Mother's Day. Now if you really want to do the math, you can figure out how old I am.

2. My first marriage lasted five years, and then I spent 3 1/2 years as a single mom. Lots of learning experiences in those years made me a stronger. more self-sufficient person, but I wouldn't wish those things on anyone else.

3. I married my second husband 7 1/2 years ago. He is the best thing that ever happened to me and my children.

4. I am a step-mother to three children. The oldest is getting married in June, which means I may get to be a grandma before I turn 40.

5. I don't color my hair and rarely cut it, mostly due to laziness. I can't be bothered to take the time out for hair appointments and I hate spending so much money on coloring when it has to be done so often. You can't imagine how grateful I am that the gray hairs are few and far between. (Although I think that is slowly changing.)

6. I love living in Canada and don't ever want to change that, but whenever I hear all my blogging friends who live in Utah and talk about getting together, or their writer's groups, I feel a little isolated and wished I lived closer to everyone else.

7. My house is my favorite place to be. I'm a bit of a homebody and sometimes my husband has to drag me out and encourage me to be social. I come home from the LDStorymakers conference in the spring and need several days by myself just to recuperate. Being social for two solid days wears me out.

So there are seven things. Hope that clears a few things up for you, Josi.

I think everyone I've thought of has already been tagged, but if your reading this and want to participate, consider yourself tagged.

Sunday, 20 April 2008

What My Day Looks Like...

Pictures to go with yesterday's post. A view down my street this morning. Somewhere under all that snow are my daffodils...
My driveway - love the snow hanging off the roof...
In the backyard, the robins are taking shelter on the lilac bush. It's hard to see them, but there are about 12 on the tree in the picture. Click on the picture for a better view...
Despite all the cold, January-like weather, the frost on the front door is beautiful and so is all the snow.

Saturday, 19 April 2008

Merry Christmas?

I am so tired of winter. We woke up this morning to almost 15 cm of snow, and I hear that it is supposed to keep snowing for several more days. My kids will be going back to school on Monday after a week of spring break but they keep hoping they will get a snow day and their holiday will last a little longer. Not likely, but not entirely impossible.

In April 2001, we had a huge snowstorm that closed the school down for three days. We lived on an acreage outside of town and couldn't get out of the driveway for several days until a kind gentleman in town came with his tractor and shoveled us out. The drifts were several feet high and lots of fun for the kids to play in. I love spring storms the most because the weather is fairly warm and the kids can have tons of fun playing in the sticky snow.

As much fun as a snow day would be, I'm tired of winter and wish the snow would go away. My daffodils were just starting to bloom and now they are weighted down by the snow. I hope they survive the cold. The trees are starting to bud and with a little bit of warm, there will be green everywhere. One good thing about the snow - when it melts, the grass will green quickly and everything will be bright with all the extra water. Meanwhile, I feel like I should start making fudge and get the kids to make their Christmas lists. It just seems like the right kind of weather for it.

Wednesday, 16 April 2008

New Motivation

I found a whole new motivation to sit at the computer and write. My oldest daughter got her learners permit today and is excited to get behind the wheel. I drove to the church parking lot and let her drive around for awhile. Then I let her drive the two blocks to our house. I think I aged twenty years in twenty minutes.

So I figure if I keep very busy writing and getting the latest story done, she'll have to get her dad to teach her. I keep my youth, the story gets done, and she gets to drive. As for her dad, he's already taught three kids, so I figure he's got it under control. The scariest thing is my son thinks he should get his the minute he turns fourteen next month. I don't know if I can handle two teenagers learning to drive. I may have to start coloring my hair.

Tuesday, 15 April 2008

I Hope it Fits

I've spent the last two days making a dress for my ex-mother-in-law. Because of some fitting issues and specific colour requirements, she couldn't find a dress to wear to her youngest daughter's wedding at the end of May. So when I was in Utah in March, she gave me her favorite dress (so I could copy it) and the fabric for the new dress and I brought them back to Canada with me.

They have been put aside until this week when the kids are out of school. My kids can help me with the kids I tend during the day so I can get some sewing time in. So I have no pattern other than the old dress and both the old dress and the new fabric are rather slippery. It has made for an interesting and frustrating project, but once I hem it tomorrow, I'll be done and I can get it into the mail. Then I just cross my fingers and pray it will fit her perfectly and she'll love it.

Even though I've tried, I can't think of any way to relate the experience to writing. I haven't had much time to work on my own projects. I guess I was too focused on the task at hand but once it's on its way to Utah, I can concentrate again on my own work. There are just times when the writing has to get put aside because life gets in the way, but without the experiences life offers us, what would we write about anyway?

Monday, 14 April 2008

The Library Should Be Off Limits

I should limit my trips to the library. It's one of my favorite places and I can spend hours looking through the books for one I haven't read that catches my interest. Lately I've been trying to stay away from the library as much as possible. Reading cuts into time I should be using for other things, especially time I should spend writing. Besides that - I'm still working my way through the books I brought back from the LDStorymakers conference.

So tonight I get a call from the library telling me that two books I had placed on hold were in. Two of the kids and I walked to the library so I could check out TWO books and I came home with SEVEN plus a few movies to keep the kids entertained while they are home from school for spring break. I'll still get the other things done that are on my list for the week but I'll just have to read twice as fast to keep up with all the reading I have planned. I can't wait.

Friday, 11 April 2008


First of all, I just want to remind you to click the link in the sidebar to take you to the list of books eligible for the 2008 Whitney Awards. The list is 41 books long and always growing. Start reading and nominating your favorites at the Whitney Awards site.

One of my dearest friends, Sue Ann, passed away a few years ago and I still miss her terribly every day. One of the things we shared was a love - or obsession - with embroidery and needlework. She was amazingly talented and spent much of her life learning and developing new talents. This week her husband is packing up everything so he can move to Arizona and be closer to his children. He called me and asked if I would like to have Sue's needlework patterns. I was touched that he would think of me and told him I would like that. I came home with five large boxes full of books and leaflets collected over 30 years. So I spent the afternoon going through the patterns and putting aside things I already had, or things that didn't interest me, and then trying to organize the space where I keep my patterns to hold the Sue's collection. I will never have to buy another pattern again, and it is nice to see her name written in her handwriting on the different pieces.

Then my husband and I drove too the city for "date night"- mostly just running a few errands. We stopped at the thrift store, which is one of my favorite places to buy books. Tonight I found Chicken Soup for the Writer's Soul, I can't wait to crack it open.

Of course, no trip to the city is complete without a stop at Walmart to pick up some milk on the way home. We always joke that if you want to see your friends and neighbors but just don't have time in your busy schedule, head to Walmart on Friday or Saturday night and you are bound to run into half the town. Tonight was the same and we ended up going for treats with my sister and her husband, as well as saying hello to numerous other people.

I am still way behind on my writing for this month. I haven't made it past the spot that is giving me so much trouble in the latest manuscript yet, but I am still working on it and know the inspiration will just bowl me over one of these days.

And that's my Friday.

Thursday, 10 April 2008

BIAM Update

April's BIAM isn't going so well. On top of the laptop troubles I've been having, I took on two extra kids for the month of April, one of them a baby. Now I can't even squeeze in those fifteen minute blocks of time. Today I had six kids under the age of five, and five of those kids are still in diapers. Tomorrow will be about the same. Once the kids go home in the evening, the rest of my family descend on the computer.

The other thing slowing me down is the direction the plot took about two chapters ago. I can pinpoint the exact spot where everything slowed down. I'm beginning to think I need to go back to that spot and let the characters take a different direction although I'm still trying to work all that out. The story is good and the characters are strong, I just need to explore different paths to take with the plot. It's going to take more time than I hoped, but I'll get there.

Wednesday, 9 April 2008

Farworld Blog Tour

J. Scott Savage is planning a blog tour to coincide with the release of his book "Farworld". He's offering two ARCs (advanced reader copy) each to 200 bloggers who will read and review the book on their blog sometime in July or August. So watch this space sometime in July or August for a book review on the book and an interview with the author. One of the ARCs is to be given as a prize to one of the blog readers, so I'll have to come up with some sort of interesting contest.

I'm excited about this book. It is a YA fantasy and it sounds like something my kids will enjoy with me. Farworld is the first of four in a series.

Monday, 7 April 2008

Before the Dawn by Dean Hughes

'When the bishop calls Leah Sorensen to be Relief Society president, her first impulse is to assume he's joking. "They'd all vote against me if you put my name up," she tells him, "and I'd vote with them." She's prickly and proud, a farm widow who doesn't get along with the town women at all. Why would the Lord want her? Because it's 1932, the depth of the Great Depression, and, as the bishop tells Leah: "You lost your husband and you didn't give up. You know how to survive hard times, and some women in our ward don't. I'm not looking for a nice church lady right now. I'm looking for someone with some grit, and that's what you've got." But will grit be enough when the opposition begins?'

I've always loved books by Dean Hughes, and this one is no exception. He has a way of bringing characters to life so by the end of the book, I feel like I'm reading about people I know well. In the book Before the Dawn, Leah Sorenson is the least likely person to be Relief Society president, yet through her own life experiences and her quick tongue, she changes the way the women in town view each other, and they change the way she views herself.

The author paints a clear picture of what it might have been like to live in the depression, and still try to raise a family, find higher education for children, take care of medical expenses. The story tells how women from all walks of life need each other and shows how much we all have to give. I think what stuck out the most to me was how bitter Leah had become through as she judged others. In the end she saw the value of each of her sisters in the gospel and learned to humble herself as they saw the value in her.

This is definitely a book I'd recommend.

Wednesday, 2 April 2008

Not Funny

I was very grateful that my family forgot yesterday was April Fool's Day. My brothers used to play the most awful tricks on me - like putting a wet washcloth under my quilts so I would get into a wet bed. Not very funny, especially when they tried the same trick every year. I'm not great at thinking up jokes to play on people, so I wasn't very good at getting them back.

So anyway, yesterday passed quietly until dinner time. I walked into the living room to talk to my husband when I noticed something odd. A long crack marred the smoothness of one of the windows. I pointed it out to him and we stared at it - puzzled - for several minutes. How could it have gotten there? It was too high in the window to have been caused by the kids, and they hadn't gone in the living room all day. Still, we called them all in and asked just to be sure.When we went to bed, we decided maybe some higher power was playing a good April Fool's joke on us.

This morning, we gathered in the living room for morning prayers and my husband made show of pulling the blinds up. Of course, the crack was still there. (One can always hope). Odd that the crack would happen right on April Fool's Day. But really not funny.

Tuesday, 1 April 2008

Laptop Woes

My thoughtful husband gave me a laptop for my birthday last summer and I think it was the best birthday present ever. I quickly got used to not using a standard mouse and actually prefer using the post most on my machine. It didn't take long to get the machine set up the way I wanted, downloading my favorite software (PageFour and Living Cookbook) and putting files where I could get at them quickly and easily. Another huge bonus was that my wrists and elbows bothered me less when using the laptop.

I began to wonder how I ever got anything done when I had to share a computer with the rest of the family or when I couldn't take the computer into any room in the house. Well, I'm beginning to remember. My laptop died last month and I am going through serious withdrawal. I get less done and often have to wait for my turn to come after a husband does a little work from home, and kids use it to do homework.

Meanwhile, the laptop is at the "doctor's" to see if they can figure out why it won't start up and freezes when it does. The day before it died, it started giving me problems. My husband decided we would probably have to re-install the operating system, so we took the time to transfer all my files to the family computer. Within hours of finishing this, the laptop decided not to work at all. What a relief it was to know all my files were intact and still accessible. (I have one email account that I email files to, but I hadn't done that in some time and all the work I'd been doing for boot camp at the conference was on that laptop.)

Anyway, I miss my computer and keep trying to figure out how I got a whole book written on the family computer. Still, I'm glad I don't have to write entire manuscripts with quill and ink by candlelight.
Related Posts with Thumbnails