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?