Wednesday, December 7, 2011

A tough time

Well, sorry for the silence again. I'm just not that good at this right now. Between actually trying to write, working, and family stuff, the blog is pretty much the first to get the ax on any given day. And it's just gotten more complicated at our house.

Baby girl, who turns 1 year old tomorrow, is allergic to eggs. We found out a few days ago when she tried scrambled eggs for the first time. She's probably been allergic for a long time, but we didn't realize what it was until she had the egg on her face, so to speak. She broke out with a bright red rash and welts and got a little wheezy. The whole shebang. And now, it seems to make a lot of sense that she's had a diaper rash that just wouldn't go away.

The worst part? She's still a nursing baby and egg protein is one of those things that goes straight through. So, not only does she not get any egg in her diet, but neither do I. And egg proteins don't break down when you cook them. That means you can't have eggs in any products. Noodles, cookies, cake, bread. Yes, bread. I now have to read every label of everything we ever eat. And there's an awful lot that is on the no go list now. It's giving me a head ache. And a bit of the blues. And it is still so new that, every new item she can't eat (and by extension, me) just makes me sad.

So, yeah. Things are interesting at our house. Hopefully it will settle down again soon. And we'll have it all figured out.

In other news, my blog is having a birthday on December 22. It will be 2 years old. What should we do to celebrate?

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Close, But No Cigar

Well, it's been a crazy and hectic month. With lots of family, friends, celebrating, working, playing, writing.

For any one who is interested, I didn't finish NaNoWriMo. I did, however, write close to 20,000 new words this month. And that's amazing. And I still love the story. And I'm going to finish it. Maybe next month.

Other than that, nothing really new to report. Things are moving along. Always more to do and less available time.

How are you all doing?

Monday, November 28, 2011

He's a Very Nice Prince

Well, the Thanksgiving holiday has come and gone. It was a good one at our house. We mostly sat around and ate a lot of food. We shopped online instead of braving the 2 hour drive and crazy lines at the store. We ate more food. We played some board games. We went out to the local sand dunes and got really dirty. It was good.

I consider myself to be more of a sunshine and roses sort of person. It's just what I like. And I try to surround myself with it. I still recognize that there is a lot of unhappiness and angst out there. And I was confronted with some of it over the weekend. Two different friends talked to me about how their current relationships (one married, the other not) are really struggling. There are underlying problems (some financial, some family, some other) in both cases, but the fact that there is some talk about ending it makes me really sad.

All of this to say, I lucked out. I have a Prince Charming. Even when I'm frustrated (because, let's face it. I'm human.) Or when I'm having a depressed day. Or whatever. He's really amazing. And supportive. And compassionate. And I lucked out.

It brings to mind all those teen books out there that have amazing relationships. Everything just works out. And you know you have found your soulmate. And... the list goes on. It's really appealing to have that kind of relationship. It's what we all want. And that's why there are so many people writing about it. And why we keep reading them. For those of us who picked the grand prize in the relationship department, it reminds us of what we have. For those of us still searching, it reminds us of what we want.

So, friends, do you like a little romance in your reading? Do you write about the romance you have or want?

Monday, November 21, 2011

Thankful Day 3

Well, friends, it's Thanksgiving week. I'll be taking off the rest of the week, but I did want to finish out my Thankful days. And it's my 200th post. What a great way to celebrate!

I'm thankful for you. The writing community at large. And all the friends I have made in this crazy journey. There are many of you. Some, I will never meet in person. Some, I have spent time with outside of the internet and hope to do so again. Some of you have gotten agents, sold books, self-published, given up, started again. And we're all in it together. What a great thing to have people who share our passion in life. We aren't alone in our journeys, even though writing is a solitary pursuit. And I'm glad that I found each of you. I'm looking forward to more great times shared with you. And I'm grateful that when times are hard for me, or for you, we're here for each other. Because we all need a little encouragement from time to time.

So, to you, and all of you, thanks. Thanks for being a part of my life. And have a very happy holiday full of feasting, family, and friends.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Thankful Day 2

A little late, but once again, the oldest boy has some kind of virus, so lots of snuggling time for us.

Today, I'm thankful for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (or the Mormons). I'm a lifelong, practicing member. We've been in the news a lot lately with Jon Huntsman and Mitt Romney running for president. And with any media exposure, there is controversy.

I'm one person who has a pretty deep spiritual foundation. It influences every aspect of my life. I wouldn't be the cool kid I am without having been a member of the LDS Church. But aside from that, I find great hope and peace in the teachings of the Church. It gives me a lot of strength when times are tough and joy for the good times. I don't want to get all religious preachy or anything like that, so I'm not going to lay out the entire belief system. If you have questions about what I believe or why I believe it, feel free to ask.

What are you thankful for today? Feel free to share a comment, or link to a blog post, if you have one!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Thankful Day 1

In the spirit of Thanksgiving (next week! I can't how fast the time is going by!), I am going to make a series of posts about things I'm thankful for. I try to have a balanced life, so most of it won't be writing related. I hope you'll stick around any way, and maybe even share some of the things you are thankful for as well. If you do, please leave me a comment so that I can read it.


Today, I'm thankful for my family. I really feel blessed in this department. I have great parents who always provide a lot of insight and inspiration. I have siblings that I enjoy spending time with. I lived with three of my sisters when we were all in college. Who does that? I do, because my siblings are amazing.

I have amazing in-laws. Hubby's parents have welcomed us into their home when we relocated for his work. They go out of their way to do nice things for me, to give me a break, let me take a nap, watch the kids for short (and sometimes long) periods of time. And hubby's sisters? So much fun to spend time with. I never feel like an outsider. 

I have the cutest, best kids in the whole wide world. They make me laugh. They teach me all kinds of things about life and priorities and all kinds of things. All three of them love me, even when I'm grumpy and busy. And they make the world so much happier. An example (if you'll forgive my self-indulgence.) Middle boy just turned three. Oldest boy is four. I told middle boy I wanted to kiss his forehead. He said, "No, mommy. Brother has a four-head. I have a three-head." What a cutie. 

And I have the most supportive, inspiring husband any girl could ask for. He first encouraged me to write. He is even writing a nanowrimo novel with me, so that we can do it together. He's smart and funny. He encourages me to give myself a break and to be my best self. And I love him like I couldn't imagine loving. I feel truly blessed.

Check back on Wednesday for Thankful Day 2!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Be Yourself!

Okay. I know it's Thursday. And I don't normally post on Thursday. But I didn't post yesterday, so this totally counts.

Lots of people talk about social media. It's on tons of blogs. "Get involved in social media." Okay. I did that. I have a Facebook account. (I'm Kayeleen Jackson Hamblin, if you want to friend me.) I have this blog. I have a twitter account (@kayeleenhamblin). And I even sort of have a Google+ thing that I never really look at. You know what using all these social networks has taught me? Everybody is chasing the next best thing.

I looked at Twitter today for the first time in a few days. It has this new section called "Activity." Honestly, it looks like the new scrolling thing on Facebook that tells you who your friends are friends with and what they said on someone else's status. You don't know the people and probably don't care what your friend thinks about it, but there it is. And Facebook did it in response to Google+. So, Twitter is trying to be Facebook trying to be Google+. Doesn't that seem ridiculous? And Facebook is trying to be more stream of consciousness like Twitter. And it goes on and on and on.

But you know what? I use Facebook for something different than I use Twitter or Google+. I don't want them to all be the same as the other things. And this is the lesson. Just be what you are, people! It's worth it to be different. Whether it's what you write or your social media or whatever, just be you.

Monday, November 7, 2011

NaNo update!

The posting is probably going to be scarce this month. Between working part time, cleaning the house, taking care of the kids, and all the other crazy stuff that is gong to happen, I'm choosing NaNo over blogging, so there you have it.

So far, everything else is winning out over word counts. I have written every day so far (except Sunday.) I just haven't hit the 2000 or so words each day that will bring me to 50,000 at the end of the month. I hope I can catch up! Wish me luck!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!

Today, I plan to clean the house, eat chocolate until I get sick, and catch up on all the little things that need doing before NaNoWriMo starts tomorrow.

Hope you have a Happy Halloween!

Friday, October 28, 2011

It's here! Okay, almost!

This week,I've outlined (but only a roughly.) I've talked the story over with several trusted people. I've put together a play list. I've warned the family that things will probably be falling apart for the next month. I think I might be ready for the mad frenzy that will be NaNoWriMo.

I don't know how I'll get everything done. There will still be the family, the job, the house. And I'm adding in close to 2000 words a day? I just don't know if I will make it, but I'm sure gong to try!

How about you, friends? Are you doing NaNo? What have you done to get ready? And as a bonus question for me, what songs take you back to high school or the emotions you felt back then?

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Obvious to You, Amazing to Others

One of my good friend, Krista at Mother, Write. Repeat., hosts a contest every once in a while, called An Agent's Inbox. The basic idea is that writers with complete, ready to submit manuscripts can post their query letter and first 250 words. The Agent reads the entries just as if it was in their inbox and responds accordingly. I like to read the entries and the commentary because it gives me things to look at for honing my own work.

This time, it left me feeling a little down. And it's kind of silly, and obvious, but here's why. The agent said that things that are similar to my idea (not in essentials, but in general themes) were really getting overdone. It's the "ordinary teenager discovers something amazing and unique about themselves and has to save the world" kind of thing. But also, different. I read comments about how frequently that theme is presented and it left me wondering what I had to offer. What is unique about my idea? How is it going to stand out in the midst of all the other similarly themed books?

I mentioned it to my husband. And he sent me this:

And I felt better. I hope it helps you, too.

Monday, October 24, 2011

More than the Sum of its Parts

So, I have a job. It's a part-time, online job. Basically, there's this company that sells video clips to people. They hire contractors to assign search terms to the clips and write descriptions of what the clip is about. It stretches my writing mind to find just the right words to describe a 10 second segment of video. But that's not the point of this post. The point is, lots of different companies supply clips to the company I work for. Like Sony. And Paramount. And BBC. And Discovery. A lot of the time, the clips are just random, but sometimes, I recognize where they came from. Like today.

This morning, I worked on some clips from a very memorable popcorn summer disaster movie of 2009. And I could tell that the clips came from this movie. They were all chroma key. (There was a blue screen behind many of them to add special effects later.) There was even a couple of shots of a toy boat being capsized in a puddle. (Does that give it away? I probably shouldn't give it away.) All of these shots had been unimproved. They were completely raw, as they might have been sent to the editor. And I couldn't help but think of my writing.

What I saw this morning was pretty random. Unpolished. And if you added it together as it was, you wouldn't have much. But, with some polish and flash, a bit of editing and storyline, you end up with something that is so much more than just a collection of images. And that's what we are trying to do with our writing. We want to bring everything together, with some spit and polish. And then have the readers bring their experience and expectations to it. Together, we make our stories more than what they would have been.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Pushing through

Last year, I had a story idea. It was beautiful. And different from everything else. And I tried to write it. And failed miserably. It was devastating. And in a way, it contributed to my lack of enthusiasm for writing for a long time. I lost some of my confidence. After having two great stories that I had finished drafts for and worked on revisions with, and loved to pieces, it was hard to have something that I felt had failed completely.

Well, a year has gone by. I've pulled out that idea and dusted it off. I've bounced it off some people. I've honed the concept. Switched it around to something more workable. And I still love it. I still want to tell that story. And that is what I will be doing during NaNoWriMo this year. I believe that I'll be able to get more accomplished on it this time. I think I might make it all the way. It should be really great.

What about you, friends? Have you ever lost your confidence in writing? Have you ever had to put aside an idea that you loved? How did you pick yourself up again?

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

For a friend

There's nothing new from me today. All of the family has a horrible (and I mean horrible) cold. My brain is kind of absent because of it.

But, there is news in the blogosphere. One of my first blogging friends, Shannon O'Donnell, announced the best news today. She's got an agent! I love it when my friends succeed. Congrats, Shannon, and best of luck getting your book out there!

Go and congratulate her at

Monday, October 17, 2011

Gearing up

We're at t - two weeks and counting down to Midnight, November 1st. So what, you say? It's the start of National Novel Writing Month! Are you signed up? I've been a participant twice now. I finished once, but was pregnant last year, and that interfered with my writing time. This, year, I want to do it or die!

I've got two weeks to prep for the onslaught. Plan out my daily schedule. Figure out where the story is going. Plot. Characters. Settings. You know. All that stuff that makes a good book.

So, here's my question for you, friends? How do you develop your stories? Do you use the character interview? The Snowflake method? Do you pants it? And do you have any suggestions for me?

Friday, October 14, 2011


So, I have a problem. It's something that's been with me basically my entire life. It started when I heard my mom say, "Your sister has some amazing things ahead of her." I'm the oldest. I never heard my mom say anything like that about me. She swears she told everybody that I had amazing things ahead of me, too, but I don't remember it. I spent a lot of my teenage years resenting my sister and feeling like I wasn't good enough.

I talked to my sister about it recently. You know. That talk you have where you clear the air and move on. Don't get me wrong. I love my sister. We were roommates in college for four years. There was always this underlying thing. So we talked about it. Turns out, my sister resented the situation too, and hated feeling like there were huge expectations on her all the time.

I didn't realize how much this impacted my life until I looked at my own expectations of myself. I expect that I will always have my house clean. I will always hang up the laundry. I will always do the dishes. I will never yell at the kids. I will be a supportive wife. I will be active in my church. I will be productive and never waste time. I will use all my talents. The list goes on and on. And not only will I do all these things, I will be the best at them. It's really unreasonable.

And it stopped being a comparison between my sister and me and became a comparison between me and everyone else. Somebody got an agent with their first round of queries. Somebody has a huge number of blog followers. Somebody has an amazing book deal. Somebody has this other thing that I don't. And I'm not good enough or smart enough or whatever. I keep thinking I don't have to be what someone else is, but tell that to my 10 year old self. It's a habit that's been around for a long time.

And I'm breaking the habit. The cycle stops here. I'm giving myself permission to not being anything more than I am. I'm changing my criteria for success. I don't have to do what any one else is doing. I'm accepting me, faults, flaws, and foibles. Because somewhere under all the things I want more of, there's a whole lot that I'm not celebrating. And I'm worth it. I'm smart, strong, capable, and enough!

If you have felt this way, now's the time to join in the revolution. It's time for us all to accept ourselves and celebrate the person we are, instead of wishing we were somebody else. Who's with me?

Thursday, October 13, 2011

An answer

Thanks, every one for the input on prioritizing.  As I thought about it, I have come up with a few ideas. And I'm sharing them today at the Dojo ( I'd love to hear what you have to say about it. I'll be back tomorrow with an awesome and inspiring post.

Friday, October 7, 2011


So, there's this thing where I go in circles. I want to be active in the blogging world. I want to be active on Twitter. I want to have a clean house. I want to play with my kids. I want to finish my rewrite. I want to. . . . . . .  and the list goes on. Balancing everything gets really touch and go some days. Like when baby girl is teething and doesn't want to be put down at all. Or when oldest boy is at preschool for 2 hours and I can only choose one or two things for my relatively free time. Or . . . . You all know how it goes.

So, my question for you, friends, is what do you do to balance? To prioritize? What's your secret to success?

Monday, October 3, 2011

Being Happy

Any time you have major changes, there's one of two possible outcomes. You can look back at where you were and be miserable that you aren't there any more. Or you can look ahead at the new possibilities and be excited for what's coming. In either case, you haven't avoided the change. You've only managed your perspective on it.

Never has this been more evident for me than right now. I'm at the end of a difficult and frustrating change. We left our first home, rented it out to someone we didn't know, and moved in with parents. At first, it felt like we were moving backward. We didn't have the ability to look after ourselves. We were dumb for getting into the situation in the first place. And I missed our home. Wanted to walk around my garden. Walk down the street to visit friends or family. I'd never lived any where that wasn't my home town for any really significant time. (Not counting my LDS mission. That's a whole different set of circumstances.) And I was pretty miserable thinking about what we'd given up.

And now, I've changed my perspective. There's been some really unexpected blessings. My kids getting to know their other grandparents. Having a solid plan in place for getting out of debt. See hubby working hard again and feeling productive. And then there's the more subtle things. Feeling independent. Feeling strong and capable. (I know. It's strange to feel those things in this situation, but I do.) And I feel hope. Hope that things can change. I've realized that while the things I have aren't HOW I wanted them, they are WHAT I wanted. And if I am getting what I wanted, the how stops mattering as much.

How does this apply to writing? I don't know. Something to incorporate into a character's arc, I suppose. If it's something I go through, it certainly would be realistic to expect a similar journey from someone I'm writing about. Something to think about, any way.

How about you, friends? What are you learning right now? What are your hidden blessings?

Friday, September 23, 2011

And we're off!

Well, friends, thanks for all the input on my dilemma of the week. I'm pulling out all the notes from various readers so far and going over what I have with the notes. That's my goal for the weekend. Figure out where we are and what the next step is. I'm still really excited about the possibilities of this WIP, so I'm going to try to stay with it at least for now.

We had a really interesting couple of days. (This is the reason for the lateness of the Friday post.) The kids had dentist appointments and check-ups back in Cedar. That meant an overnight trip with all three of them, BY MYSELF! I wouldn't have thought about it as being a hassle, but all three of them have had colds and all three of them got car sick on the drive over. And middle boy fell of a chair and got a serious goose-egg ON HIS EAR! (I didn't know you get swell like that on an ear, but you can.) And there were other minor things that would have been less pleasant to deal with, but there you have it.

Here's the thing. We spent basically two days on our own with lots of difficult or horrible things going on, and it was okay. I didn't lose it. I didn't fall apart. I didn't even crack a little. And this is how I know I'm making progress in my life. Even just a few months ago, this would have been the end of the world. I would have been forlornly crying in the corner, unable to cope with all the stuff that went wrong over the course of our trip. But, I didn't. And I feel better about myself and my abilities.

The same thing happens in our writing, I think. We have to go through a bunch of junk. That's just the nature of it. There's negativity and criticism and critique and rejection. Over time, we learn to cope with it better. And when we're in the badlands, we can look back at what used to be the badlands and see how far we've come. Even though taking a break wasn't on the list at the time, I'll go back to the writing and be better at it, handle the negative better, and just rock it all over the place.

How about you, friends? Are you in the "rock it" place or the badlands? How have you seen progress in your life or writing?

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Where do we go from here?

Did anybody watch the movie version of Evita with Madonna and Antonio Banderas? Yeah. That's my favorite song from the show. (And if it's now stuck in your head, you're welcome.)

This is the position I find myself in. I was in the middle of a major redrafting/revision/rewrite of my WIP when we moved and got sick and general craziness ensued. Now, I'm going back to that major redraft/revision/rewrite. And I've lost my momentum. And a little of my direction. I'd put in a lot of time on the rewrite and made a lot of progress. So, now, where do I go from here? Do I start over? Do I try to recover from the time off and move forward from where I'm at?

So, friends, have any of you been in this position? What did you do? What would you recommend?

Monday, September 19, 2011

And we're back!

So, it's been a while. I've missed the blogging world. And the writing world.

We've finally settled in to our new place. It's been better than I could have hoped. Things are going really well with hubby's job. The kids love living at Grandma's house. Oldest boy loves his preschool class. Little Girl started crawling. And I'm feeling like there is financial hope at the end of the tunnel. (Stupid economy.)

I'm still working on my daily schedule so that I can get back to writing. I was right in the middle of a draft that was looking pretty promising. I want to finish it in time to write a Nano-Novel. I've got some good new ideas to play with and I don't want to get into them until I've got Sleep out to betas.

In other news, I am reading. And not just reading, but reading new stuff. Usually, my reading material is almost exclusively YA or MG, with the occasional adult fantasy. I'm branching out. There's Memoirs of a Geisha, The Pelican Brief, Bourne Identity and maybe another one down the pipes. It's been good so far. I don't know that I will ever really love adult books. I'm just too big a kid at heart. I just want to be a little more diverse in my reading.

How about you, friends? What are you reading? What have you been up to since we last chatted? Hope to see you around!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Terry Tibke's Upgrader Blog Tour

Hello again, every body. I promise to get back to regular blogging again soon. Before then, however, I'm participating in the blog tour for Terry Tibke. He's a writing ninja at the Dojo where I hone my writing skills and I am pleased to tell you about his book, Upgrader: Re-engineered.

A dimensional rift has opened, and now a headstrong young man must learn to use an ancient power before the Earth is enslaved.
Dylan Kent is exposed to a mysterious energy from another dimension! Transformed into an ever-changing warrior, Dylan must harness these new powers in order to keep our world free from intradimensional invaders. These invaders have come to our world in search of the power Dylan now possesses. If Dylan is unsuccessful in repelling them, not only will he die but our world will die with him!

This book was a fun, quick read. There's lots of action from the very first words. If you like graphic novels, the feel is very similar. There's interdimensional travel, tentacled creatures, and a sentient power source that could protect or destroy the world--depending on who gets their hands on it. Fortunately for us, average teenager Dylan finds it. He's got the usual concerns about being on the team and looking cool for his girlfriend. It just takes a little nudge to make him into an extraordinary hero, ready for a fight that will save the world.

I enjoyed Upgrader. Dylan is easy to relate to as a character. The story has a fast pace and is easy to follow. It would be enjoyable for middle grade readers, as well as the young adult market it was intended for. It's the perfect read for a reluctant reader. And, in the highest praise I can give a book, I'll be loaning my copy to my 14 year old brother. He'll have a good time with it.

You can check out more about Terry Tibke and his book by clicking on the button in the sidebar or by following the link.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

What Moving Taught Me About Writing

Well, friends, phase one of the move is complete. We have driven back and forth between our house and grandma's house a few times. Hubby had another kidney stone right in the middle of the process. We finally got the place completely empty and clean last night. And then we had the longest drive of our lives as baby girl protested being in the car for another 2 hour drive, while two boys fought and screamed and shrieked at each other. Clearly, it is time to be done and stay in the house for a few days.

As we were driving home last night, I thought about my story. The one that has been shelved for the past few weeks as we've dealt with the move and part-time job and other things that have come up. I realized that my move is a great source to draw from for writing purposes. So here's what I've learned.

1. Things happen quickly and you start right where the action is. For us, this move was a pretty sudden thing. We made the decision and moved in about two weeks. We had planned to move gradually, but that just wasn't the way things were going to work out. Most of the time in our writing, we have to put our characters right into the thick of things. We can't drag it out and leave them hanging around waiting for things to happen.

2. Things are going to go wrong. Kidney stones. Screaming kids. Multiple trips. Despite careful planning, things don't happen the way we expect them to. In a character's journey, they need to go through a few bumps. Things can't be smooth sailing the whole way.

3. Even when you get where you are going, things aren't going to be perfect. Because we moved two weeks early, the in-laws house wasn't quite ready for us. That means boxes are stacked in the living room. We are sleeping in the guest room. There's still some cleaning up of the little apartment we will be living in. And then things have to be moved into the attic for storage. With our characters, sometimes, the end of the journey isn't really the end. It's going to be the starting point of something even bigger.

4. There's a lot of clean-up and repair involved. We had to pack everything, but that wasn't the end. Once we were out of the house, we had to fix all the little things that we'd put off. Put up gutters. Patch the hole in the wall. Fix the leaky faucet. And then we had to clean it up. In writing, just when you think you are done, there's still going to be some clean-up involved. Tying up the loose ends. Making sure all the story is told. And going over it a few times to work out all the bugs. Do a little editing. It's going to need it and you'll only see it after everything else is done.

So there you have it, friends. What I learned about writing in the middle of my move. What have you learned about writing recently?

Monday, August 8, 2011

I swear, I'm crazy!

Just checking in briefly. We had originally thought we would be moving at the end of the month, but now, it's more like moving at the end of the week. We want to rent out our house and most people want to be able to move in before school starts next week. So, I'm going to be a crazy person for the next few days. And it's going to be awesome!

Wish me luck, friends. Hope you all have a great week.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Changes are a brewin'

So, things are changing again. Didn't someone once say, "The only thing you can count on is change?" (Ha ha. That's punny. 'Cause you count change. Ha ha.) (Okay. I think I'm funny. You don't have to agree.)

We've lived here in our own home for almost a year now. And we are moving. Hubby's job is requiring a relocation. To his hometown. So, we will be finding a renter for our house and moving in with his parents. I never in a million years pictured something like this, but meh. It is what it is. I actually really like my in-laws, so it's not as horrifying a prospect as you might think. The thing that I am saddest about is leaving my own house. And my garden. The garden is almost more sad than the house.

We have one month from today before we have to be all settled into our new situation. And there is a ton of stuff to do to get us there. We have to clean out the house. Clean out space in the in-laws house. Find a renter. Fix up some little stuff in the house that we've been putting off, like adding gutters. And still do all the other stuff that usually comes with our day. I feel like I'm swimming through deep waters without a scuba.

So, if things are spotty, or there is absolutely no writing news from me, that's why. I'll be here, staying afloat, just trying to get everything done. And it will be good. At some point.

What's challenging you today, friends?

Friday, July 29, 2011


The internet at my house crashed today. And now, I'm at the in-laws, making plans for a huge (HUGE) change in our lives coming sometime next month. More details when there's more to share.

Sorry for the lack of significant post today. Hope you are all well. Enjoy the weekend. Can you believe it's August already?

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Midweek slump

Okay. You caught me. It's the middle of the week and it feels like it should be Friday. I didn't clean the house yesterday, which always leaves me in a bad mood. I still haven't figured out my schedule for working/writing/wifing/mothering and that leaves me in a bad mood. I have to go to the store with the boys today and that leaves me in a bad mood. You may be getting the big picture.

Still, it could be worse. And I recognize that. It could be better, but at least it isn't worse. When I was a missionary for my church, 10 years ago, I went through slumps. I had a mantra for those times. "I can do anything for 1 day (or insert other time period.)" Strangely, it helped a lot to think in terms of a time limit. And it's really true. I can do anything that I have to do, as long as I know it's going to end at some point. So, today, I can get my house clean by the end of the day. I can work out my schedule by the end of the week. I can go to the store this morning. And I can get out of this slump before tomorrow.

So, friends, how do you deal with your slumps? What's your mantra?

Monday, July 25, 2011

Pioneer Day

Here in Utah, July 24th is a state holiday. It's the day that the first pioneers meandered into the Salt Lake Valley after crossing the plains from Illinois. We don't actually celebrate our statehood day, like most states. We celebrate the day our state was discovered, so to speak. That day, so long ago, people with horrifying and tragic pasts stepped out into uncharted territory (literally) and hoped for a place that would give them peace and prosperity.

While there were trials ahead (and they were numerous--have you seen the deserts in Utah?), they had faith that the land around them would become home. That they would be able to rest for a season. That they would build families and lives of substance and meaning.

I look at those men and women, the early pioneers, and marvel at their sacrifices. They came in droves. An entire church and community moved from all over the world to the haven they wanted to build here in Utah. Some of them gave up everything they had, including the families they had grown up in, to walk more than 1200 miles. My own ancestors were members of an ill-fated handcart company that left too late in the summer and were stranded in deep snow in western Wyoming.

I think about about those men and women and what they did. What they sacrificed. The faith they had. And then, I look at my own life. There have been dark, horrible, and tragic moments. There have been moments of trial and testing. My family struggles with the economy and sickness and a dozen other things at different times. And I wonder if I am like them--those amazing people who took a step into the dark and set themselves up for greatness. Do I have the faith and courage to walk into the unknown, whatever that may be for me, and do something hard. Something new. Something beautiful.

How about you, friends? What lessons do you learn from the past? Have you made any leaps of faith?

Friday, July 22, 2011

Progress Report, Sir

Well, it's been a while since I said anything about where I am. It's been a little scattered and hectic around here. I started a job a few weeks ago to get rid of a few bills. It's an online job with hours I can pick for myself, but figuring it all out has seriously cut into my writing time. I'd like to say that I had made some major progress on my writing, but I can't today. Maybe next week when I have a more regular schedule.

In other news, nothing much is going on. We've done all our traveling and vacationing and everything else, so we're home and having a good time just hanging out. I really like to be home. It's a funny thing because I always wanted to travel a lot, but having a house that's ours makes me want to stay here.

And that's about it for the day. How are you all doing, friends? Anything exciting right now?

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Wednesday Want-ads

New clocks. Preferably with a few extra hours.
Not finding enough hours in the day.

Dell laptop overheats at 
completely inconvenient and random times.
Would like to resolve this problem.
Knowledgeable parties may inquire below.

Now offering napping services.
Can't get in your own nap?
Let my baby have your nap for you.
Flexible schedule. Will work with you.
(Any time that a nap results will be good.)

New and improved.
Self-cleaning houses.
Just coming to your market soon.
Free up all kinds of time in your busy day!

You may have noticed the theme today. I desperately want more time! What do you want today, friends?

Monday, July 18, 2011

Less Interesting

Have you ever wondered the difference between interesting and less interesting? I know. A rhetorical question. And that's the death of things. Because rhetorical questions are less interesting, right? (I did it again.)

I've been thinking about this a lot recently as I've been reading books that aren't my normal fair. There's been a couple of contemporaries and some adult books thrown in the mix. And as great as they are, they just aren't as interesting to me.

I'm not going to name names because that isn't fair, but I wanted to make a general comparison. Usually, reading a dystopian/sci-fi/fantasy/paranormal/apocalyptic or similar YA book, I fly through it. It is usually a matter of days... sometimes hours to read through. These recent books? I stopped reading one. I've been going sporadically for a few weeks on another. Now that I'm thinking about it, it isn't just in YA books. I can read an adult fantasy in next to no time compared to a contemporary.

Don't get me wrong. There have been some contemporaries/memoirs/non-fiction that I just loved. And I haven't tried all the authors out there. I mean, everybody raves about Sarah Desen, but I haven't read one yet. So, I'm not giving up hope. I'm just saying that I'm less interested. Less interested in things that don't have that fantastical element to them. I'll still try the other stuff, but I gravitate to what I'm interested in.

What about you, friends? What are you interested in? What are you less interested in? Does it influence what you write?

Saturday, July 16, 2011

A HUGE Contest

My blogging friend, Ariel, at My Writers Craze is having a seriously huge contest. Not only is it a huge contest, but she's a great gal and you should be following her.

She's giving away books (Divergent), gift cards (Amazon anyone?) and critiques. What are you still doing here? Go check it out by clicking here!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Independence Day Flash Fiction blogfest

If you are looking for my entry in the Poetry Schmoetry blogfest, it can be found here.

And now, I'm participating in another blogfest. This one is hosted by my good friend and fellow writing Ninja, Ali Cross. The information and participant list for this blogfest can be find by clicking here.

"The rules are deliciously simple. Post an original piece of flash fiction, 250 words or less along this theme (and, FYI, "independence day" can mean anything you'd like it to mean--don't feel you have to be restricted to the July 4th holiday!):

"It's Independence Day and something unexpected happens . . ."

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
The last traces of spark fizzed out on the end of Kathryn’s sparkler. Somehow, they had seemed so much more exciting when she was five. “There goes another lame holiday,” she said as she dropped the still glowing stick into the bucket of water on the sidewalk. “Why do we even celebrate anyway?”

Grandpa George smiled at her before holding out another sparkler to be lit. “That’s because you don’t remember. If you had been there, you’d want to celebrate, too.”

She took the sparkler and lit it, then watched the sparks fall harmlessly to the ground. Each spark lit up the grass like the disbelief in her heart. “Those are just stories. It couldn’t have been that bad.”

“Have I ever told you about Topaz?”

“Topaz? Like the rock?” Kathryn dropped the finished sparkler into the bucket and waved off the next one Grandpa George offered.

“It was the place they took all of us. They locked us up behind gates and barbed wire. They took away everything except for what we could carry. They made us work for our food. They watched over us with guns.” Grandpa George’s face grew distant and the wrinkles over his brow deepened.

“Isn’t that what we were fighting against? I didn’t think they would do that to their own people.”

“We were different. And they didn’t trust us.” Grandpa George sighed. “When we got out, we had to start over, in a new place. But we always remember our freedom on Independence Day.”

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
This snippet was inspired by a recent exposure to the Japanese-American relocation camps of World War II. It's sad and interesting stuff.

So, friends, what does independence mean to you?

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Check it out!

The lovely Chantele Sedgwick is interviewing me at her her blog today. You should totally drop by. And if you aren't following her, you should be. She's awesome!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Tipping Point

Hubby and I have been watching the History Channel's miniseries documentary "America: the Story of Us" on Netflix. It's been interesting to see what has happened to make the USA what it is today. Two episodes in particular struck me as we were watching. One centered on the Bust Era that followed the Stock Market Crash in 1929 and the other was focused on WWII.

The thing about it that really stuck with me is that they told individual stories. Historians think that the bank run that tipped the scales was started by an unnamed man who was unhappy with the service he received at a bank and spread rumors about how he was treated. As people heard what he said, they all went to withdraw their money and the bank collapsed. It was a domino effect after that, but it started with this one man.

The construction of the Hoover Dam was the vision of one man who wanted a big bonus. He came up with innovative techniques, like using pipes full of freezing water to cool hot cement. He pushed through the biggest construction project of the time, giving thousands of men jobs and stability when the country was falling apart.

There are countless small stories that add up to big events. We never know what is going to be the tipping point that leads to something unexpected. The stories we write need the same kind of momentum. On some level, the things that happen need consequences that will tip the scales one way or the other. It might not be the beginning of a war or a stock market crash, but the choices our characters make need to be the beginning of something.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Finally, a winner!

Okay. It's only taken me forever to get to this, but the winner of a special surprise from my first blogfest is....

Shelly Brown!!!!

You have won your choice of a book from or the Book Depository or you can choose a critique of your query or first 10 pages instead. Email me at kayejazz @ gmail dot com to claim your prize.

And to all and sundry who have been coming by the blog, commenting etc. I am a horrible person who struggles with responding to comments. I've tried many different methods and will continue to try and catch up. I read them all and don't want you to feel neglected. 

Thanks everyone. You make my day!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Poetry Schmoetry Blogfest

Today, Shelly Brown is hosting a blogfest.

There are lots of cool people participating and it's not too late to sign up. Just go to her blog or click the picture above. You can also find the list of other participants and the rules there.

I wanted to post a couple of poems today, so bear with me. It's kind of the evolution of poetry in my life, as you can probably tell after reading.

First: a high school poem.


What foul stench is this?
She cried in agony.
I cannot quite figure
Why this smell bothers me.

Why do I have to 
Smell this all day?
Why can't this taste in my mouth
Go away?

There must be some reason
Behind this foul smell.
If I knew what it was,
Maybe you, I could tell.

This smell is invading my thoughts
Like some toy.
I figured it out.
This smell belongs to a boy.

Here's an entry from early college:


Peeking gracefully
from her bed of day,
she casts silvery fingers
across a chariot of clouds.
One by one,
the stars
align themselves
as horses to draw her
across her shadowy realm.
Like a swan,
she spreads her wings of light
through the blue-black 
lake of the sky
and begins her 
solitary journey
through the night.

And here's my most recent offering:
the sky was not content
to stare longingly
down at the earth.
he reached down
with lingering tendrils
to silently caress her face.  

Shrouded in his mystery,
she shivers until the sun
uncovers this tender moment,
erasing every trace
in a shining, sparkling explosion,
until only a memory is left.

And there you have it. There's tons of angsty teenage poetry that I could share, but really, who wants to read all that "love is awful", "I'm so lonely", "why don't I have friends" stuff any way? Except me. And I laugh a lot while I'm reading it.

So friends, do you have any poetry hiding around? What do you like (or maybe dislike) about poetry?

Friday, July 8, 2011

Catching up

Yesterday was my anniversary. Hubby and I have been married 5 years now. We've had a college graduation, three kids, bought a house, started a business, managed apartments, and tons of other things. We've had firsts and lasts and in-betweens. It's been a good, hard 5 years. I'm looking forward to many more.

We're on the road again today. It's summer. We have to take advantage of the time. I'm writing and working and mothering and wifing. It's busy. I promise to have something more exciting to say next week. My thoughts have been long. And deep. Or at least deep for me.

Also, being on the road, I don't have a winner from the blogfest last week. Maybe tomorrow when I am home again. Have a great weekend, friends.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011


It occurred to me as I was watching my 4 year old play with sparklers without fear for the first time. I'm really thankful for my life. It's not an easy life. I've gone through lots of things that I didn't appreciate at the time. And I'm still surrounded by tough things. It doesn't get easier. But it's mine and I'm grateful for it.

I'm grateful for kids who are so cute they just make me giggle all the time. (It's hard to remember that when they dump the whole bottle of shampoo on their heads during bathtime.)

I'm grateful for a house that is mine. (This is especially true when I can come home to my house after being gone for a few days.)

I'm grateful for my talents. I write, sing, dance, and a few other things for good measure. And I can develop them. Like my writing. I am better now than I was when I started two years ago. And I know I will be better in two years when I look back again.

I'm grateful or the friends I've developed with this blog. I feel like I really know you. We share in hard times. When I'm celebrating, you come with me. When I'm sad or acing hard, personal things, you send love and prayers.

I'm grateful to live in a time that has so many conveniences and advantages. I've got freedoms that never existed years ago. And I can choose a lot do a lot of things for myself that my grandparents and great-grandparents never even considered.

What are you grateful for today, friends?

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy Holiday!

I know some of you aren't celebrating the 4th of July like I am, but I wanted to say happy holiday all the same. Or happy Monday. Whatever floats your boat. I'll be at a parade in the morning, eating ridiculously expensive street vendor food in the afternoon, and watching the small town fireworks show at my inlaws' house. Hope your day is as fun, friends!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Hodge Podge

Whenever I heard "hodge podge" I always think of this crafting thing that's like glue and lacquer at the same time. I think it's called mod podge, but I am not a crafter, so I couldn't really say. Any way, it's not related to what I'm going to say right now, so, I don't know why I wrote it in the first place.

Just a few little tidbits before the weekend.

For any one who was interested in knowing, my grandpa had his surgery and has been recovering nicely. He ended up having three disks replaced in his neck. The description of it kind of reminded me of The Adoration of Jenna Fox. He know has a surgical gel supporting his vertebrae and preventing damage to his spinal cord. He will be okay, even though it was touch and go for a while there.

I'm writing more on a daily basis than I have in a while. It's nice. And I feel productive. And like I might actually finish this draft. Yay!

I have recently started training for a part time job. It's all online and since I spend a lot of time online any way, it's right up my alley. It'll help to pay down some of the debt that has piled up as my husband has been starting his own business. And still give me time to do the things that I have been doing any way. (At least, we hope.)

We're going out of town for the 4th of July. We might even stay away for the whole week. It's our 5 year anniversary next week. I can't believe we've been married 5 years. It's crazy!

And that's it for me, friends. I hope you all have a stellar weekend. Thanks to everyone who participated in the blogfest on Wednesday and check back sometime next week for the winner of the special surprise!

What are your plans for the 4th of July?

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Why I Write, part the 1st


And today's the day. My first blogfest. First, I want to thank everyone who has signed up to participate. I'm looking forward to reading what all of you have to say. There weren't any rules, so everyone should be just saying things like they are. I hope it was as meaningful for you as it is for me.

When I was in high school, I had a pretty awful view of myself. I grew up on the wrong side of town. Not that there is a "bad: ghetto" side of town in Cedar City, Utah, because there isn't really. I just grew up "in the valley." Where all the poorer people lived. I was also the oldest of 8 in a 1-salary family. Dad worked at the local university as staff. Not even a professor. I think the highest his salary ever got during my teen years was 35,000. And that just didn't stretch as far as we might have liked. I got two pairs of new shoes and maybe one or two new outfits in the fall before school started. Everything else was "new to me" but not new.

I looked at myself as the loner. I had one or two close friends, but I didn't really fit in with most groups. I was always super smart and kind of a know-it-all. I was also pretty nerdy. I could be really loud. I never needed the mic when I had a role in the school play. I was always the best friend and never the girlfriend. On top of all that, I was a goody two shoes. And that made me a downer sometimes when people wanted to have a little bit of "fun."

In retrospect, I was unfairly harsh to myself. Interesting how we sometimes see the worst in ourselves.
I wasn't nearly as obnoxious as I thought I was. Although, I was pretty fashion challenged. (Shopping at the DI and never having anything new didn't help that.) It wasn't that bad. I went vintage retro most of the time. And it was cool in college.

In all the people I've talked to, while the specifics of my experiences are different, the emotional content is the same. We've all had those moments of loneliness, fear, excitement, love. There's nothing better we can do with our lives than connect with people on that level. I want to explore those feelings and make them normal and safe. And that's why I write.

You can check out other people's reasons for writing by following the links below and one lucky participant is going to win a special surprise.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Lovin the language blogfest

Jolene Perry at Been Writing is hosting the Lovin' the Language Blogfest today. She has some great news hidden in her post, so you should check it out. You can still sign up on the linky list at her blog, but your time is limited, so after you have read my post, go! Fight! Win! Okay. Not fight so much, but you get the idea.


Pick any five lines or any five SHORT exerpts from one of your WIPs. If you're feeling shy, and don't want to share from your own work, share from something you LOVE.

I'm going to share a little bit from The Last Musician, which is the idea I started working on, but had to shelve for lack of time. By which I mean, I hadn't put in enough time to build the story. It's still growing in the back of my mind and will be the next project when I finish editing Sleep.

This snippet is from the very beginning of the story. The MC has met an old homeless guy in a rain storm and now is talking to his mom. It reminds me a lot of the conversations I had with my mom when I was irritated at the world.


He took a big bite out of the sandwich to placate her and left the rest sitting on the plate in front of him. “I ran into a homeless guy on the street just as it started to rain or I would have been home a little earlier.”

“Oh, I see. And how did that make you feel?” she asked, intently staring at him.

“Wet, Mom. I felt wet. I need to go change my clothes, okay?”


I love it because it feels so real to me. I was a bit of a sarcastic back-talker sometimes and the voice makes me feel something. I hope you enjoyed it!

And, friends, while you are here, sign up for my blogfest taking place on Wednesday. It's the "Why I Write" blogfest and you can get to it by clicking on this link or by clicking on the button in the sidebar. I'd love to have you join in!