Friday, 18 September 2009

Revise, Revise, Revise

My writing has been a little stalled over the summer but my brain has been getting back in gear. I've got ideas of where I want to go next and some different projects I'm excited to get started on. But then two things happened that are just slightly slowing down those other things.

First, I've been working on a submission package for one of my books. I nearly had it ready to go in the mail, but then I got called to sub for the week. Wednesday evening I ended up calling in sick as a nasty virus got me. During my breaks at the school and while I lounged around in bed wishing I felt better, I started reading another book from my large stack. Loved it, but realized as I read that many of the elements of the story mirror the one I was getting ready to submit. In fact, they are similar in so many ways I can understand one reason why the publisher rejected my manuscript this summer. So I need to rethink that one. I still love the story, and with some major work I think I can make it different enough, but for now I'll probably shelf it.

I'd submitted my other book to a different publisher a while ago. I got an email from the editor this week rejecting it, but also giving me a long list of suggestions, encouragement and inviting me to resubmit. I needed that. So many of the suggestions were 'ah-ha' moments - things that I instantly knew would make the book stronger. Of course, now I have an enormous amount of work ahead, but I'm excited to get at it. Along with everything else I have in my head, it should keep me plenty busy. It feels good to be back at it again.

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

The Month at the End of the Money

It's a common problem. Most people I know suffer from it at least a little. In our house, we are finding that the month at the end of the money seems to be growing.

We tend to be frugal here and when I try to think of ways to cut back even more, I draw a bit of a blank. We shop at second hand stores as much as possible, we eat very little prepared food, and we don't go out often. I suppose I could feed my family more beans instead of the cheap cuts of meat we usually eat, but I've never been successful there. Somehow, I'm the only one eating those leftovers.

So the next option is mom finding a job. Subbing at the school last year helped, but it just didn't quite fill the gap.

Because we live in a little town, thirty minutes away from the city, employment options close to home are quite limited. Ideally, a full-time aid position at the school will open up but until that happens I have to look at other options.

It is so important to me and to my husband to have me be available to the kids and home as much as possible, that our solution has to be somewhat creative. Hopefully with the little bits here and there, the month end and money won't be so far apart. So here it is. . .

First, I'll keep working at the school as often as possible. Hopefully when a position opens up, they will already know me and I might have a chance of getting the job. Then there is the place where Rick works. His boss has been asking if I would be available to pick up some hours here and there doing warranty returns. That's only five minutes from home, so that's okay.

The one I'm the most hesistant to step back into is sewing again, but I do have the ability and there always seems to be some demand for it. After sewing for so many years I suffered some severe burn-out. The three year break I took leaves me ready to do some more. Besides, my oldest daughter will be graduating next year and will want a grad dress for that. I need to refine my skills again so she can be the belle of the ball. I'm also working on getting some products up on I'll let you know when there is something there. So I guess this is me hanging out my shingle again.

"Seamstress for hire."

Tuesday, 8 September 2009

The Holy Bible and Mormonism by Christopher Mills

"Critics of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints often use selective passages from the Holy Bible to assert that Mormons are not Biblical Christians. Some critics simply do not understand how Latter-day Saints can use the Bible as a source for spiritual guidance and hold beliefs that other Christian churches do not. Other individuals do not even realize that Mormons use the Holy Bible.

This book explains how Latter-day Saints controversial beliefs are Biblical and also examines the references used by the critics and puts them into proper context. After all, proper interpretation of Scripture comes from collective verses rather than selective verses. Christopher Mills has chosen topics that he has personally been confronted with and shares his experiences. He also includes his testimony of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ."

This is a great little book that would be an asset to any home. Mills quotes passages from the Bible to explain Latter-Day Saint beliefs. He uses easy to understand language to discuss topics such as baptism, the nature of God, temples, eternal marriage, prophets, and more. He does this in a straight-forward and non-argumentative manner.

Mills doesn't aim to prove any other religion wrong, only to explain what the Mormons believe using familiar scriptures from the Bible. This book would be useful in family home evenings, for Sunday school teachers, and just as a resource to use when non-LDS friends have questions. The book can be purchased here.

Sunday, 6 September 2009

Saving Madeline by Rachel Ann Nunes

"As a public defender, Caitlin McLoughlin dreams of someday locking the bad guys in prison instead of defending them. But prosecuting jobs are scarce, and Caitlin’s future seems bleak. When her current client is about to walk away from a brutal crime, she risks her career to make sure he doesn’t hurt anyone else. Yet what if her choice means sacrificing her career and the means care for her mentally disabled sister?

Then Caitlin meets Parker Hathaway, charged with kidnapping four-year-old Madeline. Just another criminal, another job, Caitlin thinks.

But Parker tells a far different story. Can Caitlin believe him, as her heart urges? Is she willing to put everything on the line to defend her client—a man who claims to be protecting the child he loves? Or is her trust better placed in the handsome deputy district attorney with his undefeated record in court? Caitlin’s pursuit of the truth swiftly thrusts her into a maze of unanswered questions and unexpected heartache.

Meanwhile, time is running out for Madeline. If Caitlin doesn't find the proof she is looking for soon, there may not be a future for any of them."

Inspired by real life stories, Rachel Ann Nunes new novel Saving Madeline takes us inside the legal system and the lives of Madeline and her parents through the eyes of Caitlin, a public defender.

From Rachel: "Several years ago, shock radiated throughout Utah when an infant was found dead after ingesting meth she had found in a plastic bag on the floor of her home. What made this tragic circumstance even more notable and horrific is that weeks earlier her father had forcibly taken her across state lines, hoping to protect her from her mother’s substance abuse.

Authorities found the child, placed her back with her mother, and sent the father to jail for assault and burglary. A little over a week later, the baby was dead and the mother was charged with desecration of a dead body for moving her daughter to cover up the mother’s drug abuse.

All charges against the father were eventually dropped. Sadly, this is not the only story of a child becoming the victim of a parent’s drug use. In my research, I found many more instances, some of which I’ve written under the Author Comments for the book on my website at Though these true-life experiences do not appear in my book, the events inspired me to explore what might have happened in a similar instance. Questions I asked myself include, "Can the ends justify the means in some circumstances?" and "How far would a parent go to save a child they love?"

It was an interesting look at how the legal system doesn't always know what's best and how the choices of parents so seriously affect children. There were several ethical and moral questions raised in the story, and in the end it left me wondering what I would do if faced with similar choices. The characters were well rounded and each of them struggled with their own demons. Of course, the romance in the story was well written and I kept wondering how Caitlin would finally find love with all the other things she was trying to balance.

I recommend this book and know it will have me thinking for a long time. For more information go to Rachel's website. The book will be released mid-September.

If you want to win a copy of this book, comment on this post. Rachel will put all commenter's names into a draw to win a copy of Saving Madeline at the end of this blog tour.

Thursday, 3 September 2009

Writer Appreciation Week

Agent Nathan Bransford has proclaimed this Writer Appreciation Week. What a wonderful idea! I like to email or write an author when I really love their work and I encourage you to do the same.

There are so many ways you can do this. Every author has a blog, facebook page, twitter account, or website. You could also leave comments on review sites and amazon. Find a youtube video about their book and comment. Another way is to buy a new book. Authors only make money when the books sell. Share the love and let the authors know just how much you appreciate all the blood, sweat and tears they put into their work. Writers deal with so much rejection, they need the positive once in awhile.

So take a moment, read a book, make an author's day. . .it's just that easy!

Wednesday, 2 September 2009

Too Soon Gone

It seems far too early this year. Here it is the third day of school and I still feel like I got cheated out of summer. I've already paid for two sets of school pictures to be taken and ordered a new band instrument for the youngest daughter (trombone - who'd have guessed?). My canning supplies are still in the kitchen waiting for the next batch of fruit to come and the last few days have been the hottest of the summer. Of course the pool is closed now since all the life guards have returned to school. That's okay though. Who has time to swim now that it's homework season again.

My oldest daughter started grade eleven and is going to try keeping her job at the theatre throughout the school year. I've always insisted that my children have early bed times which gradually get later as the kids get older, so working late on a school night might be a real trial for her. But if she can pull it off, she'll learn valuable time management skills especially since she'll have to work her way through university. This year is going to go too fast and, as she keeps reminding me, next summer we get to start shopping for grad dresses. I'm trying not to think about it.

My son started grade ten and officially entered high school. This is the kid who has had 100% attendance for five years now and is shooting for six. This is also the kid who hardly ever brings home homework. Tonight he brought home some math. I think he'll find high school to be more challenging than what he's used to. I'm glad. He needs it. He's counting down the days until he turns 16 (although that is still over six months away.) He's sure he'll start asking girls out right away and we're sure he'll turn out just like every other guy in town. Only time will tell. (Is it legal to lock them up until their brains become unscrambled?)

Then there is the youngest. She's finally in grade six. She's been looking forward to this for three years now. The school is part of a pilot project where every student in grade six "owns" a laptop for the year. They use it for many of their assignments at school and get to bring it home with them. I'm trying to smile about that, but the injustice of my 12 year old getting a laptop of her own, while mine rests in computer heaven just makes me want to cry. Okay, that might be a little over the top, but still. . .

Even though all this is a constant reminder that the winter snows will be upon us before we're ready, I have to admit I'm looking forward to the change in the seasons. It's one reason I choose to live where I do. I can only take so much warm weather before I start craving a mug of hot chocolate and a good snowstorm. My mind has started to think about the holidays coming up - what sort of pie will I make for Thanksgiving this year, what Halloween costumes will the kids want, and Christmas lists? (Santa really is going to get started earlier this year.) My two critique groups will start up again and I begin the job hunt in earnest.

Summer went too fast and winter will probably do the same, but the return to routines is welcome and the cooler weather will be a nice change. I suppose it's about capturing the joy of every moment before it fades into memory, since the memories are all that's left when the moments fade away.
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