Friday, November 8, 2013

Amazing and wonderful

There's something strange that happens sometimes when you are brainstorming ideas. True story, this happened to me yesterday.

I asked hubby to help me think of ideas for a Christmas story. He's pretty creative and threw things out that were almost verging on the ridiculous. Like:

a renegade cop
a robot renegade cop
at christmastime
learns the true meaning of christmas
with plucky sidekick

But one of the ideas he shot out really grabbed my attention. It was "a pioneer Christmas story." Nothing more. But then I thought about my ancestor who was a little girl in the Willie Handcart Company. It was in the winter, just before Christmas, which means her first Christmas in the states would have been after being rescued. What a great idea! I felt really strongly that it was a story that needs to be told.

So, I started to research my ancestor and was led to a wealth of information in an unexpected place. It was like Heaven had reached out and said, "Here. Get it done."

Now, I'm contemplating my first ever historical piece. And a story about an 11 year old girl. Firsts all over the place! I'm still thick in editing and writing for NaNoWriMo, but I know that I'll be writing this story, as soon as I have enough of a direction to go in.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Still here... working on things....

I'm thick in edits. And family. And hubby's new business. But I'm still here, plugging away. With new ideas and great directions for old stories. It's a great life to be a writer.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Seeing things through the eyes of Time

I used to think I was this amazing writer. Back when I had first started. You know, when the rosy glow colored everything with sparkles and glitter. I think every body thinks that. We aren't objective about it.

It's been more than 4 years since I first sat down to write. and I picked up that first story again. I still love it, but as I read from then, it feels so pretentious. So verbose. So PURPLE!

I was pretty naive about writing. I thought all it took was just putting words on a page and then someone loves it and puts it into a book and then people buy it! And I wasn't even close to being ready.

Now, editing this book, I'm seeing all the rookie mistakes and the things I thought were so beautiful crafted. And some of it really is beautiful writing, but it doesn't go anywhere in the story. It doesn't tell anything about the character or further the story arc or anything really important. And, for the first time, I can really see myself cutting out huge chunks and replacing them with better, more important, pieces.

It's surprising and nice. I'm happily murdering my little darlings and leaving them on the editing room floor. (Which, by the way, happens to be the rug in the living room, but we digress.)

So to all of you who are like me, take some time away from that book and let yourself grow in your writing. you'll be surprised what you see when you come back to it.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

LDS Writer blogfest

LDS Writer Blogfest
If you've followed the blog for a while, you might know that one of the constants around here each spring is the LDS Writers Blogfest. Four years ago Krista Van Dolzer kicked off the first blogfest, joined by many LDS writers around the blogosphere. It's a great opportunity to talk about LDS beliefs and how that impacts our lives as writers.

For me, being LDS (a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) is the primary aspect of my life and everything else I do is impacted by it. My family has been LDS for generations. It shapes my choices and what I want out of life. As I've become a writer, I have seen how that informs what I write and why I write it.

One of our scriptures in the Book of Mormon, 2 Nephi 2:25, says: "Men are, that they might have joy." This is something that has always struck me as important. I've always been a happy-endings sort of person. When I write, it's rarely something dark and gritty. There are twists, yes, but it's going to be something light, often humorous, with a happily ever after. As a "Mormon", I've grown up with the idea that life is a happy thing.

Even the start of my writing career is surrounded by that idea of finding joy in life. I have a real tendency toward post-partum depression. It's been a really difficult thing for someone who wants to be happy to find themselves buried in depression from time to time. I was starting down the black hole of sadness shortly after my 2nd son was born. I was up late at night and feeling unfilled by my life. (Not that I didn't have great things, but, you know. Depression.) At the suggestion of my husband, I started to write my first book. It was amazing how much that lifted my spirits! I was doing something creative, something that had always been a secret goal of mine. I loved the outlet and the feeling of accomplishment. It was amazing to write the last word and look back at this amazing thing that I had just done. And it still feels that way when I write.

 We live in a world of darkness. Horrible things keep happening. We have school shootings and natural disasters and crime sprees and economic downturns and all kinds of things that constantly weigh on us. We could be bogged down in all of it. But we don't have to be. Our current prophet, Thomas S. Monson, spoke in a General Conference of the church in 2009. He said, "Though the storm clouds may gather, though the rains may pour down upon us, our knowledge of the gospel and our love of our Heavenly Father and of our Savior will comfort and sustain us and bring joy to our hearts as we walk uprightly and keep the commandments. There will be nothing in this world that can defeat us."

Even though writing is a source of great comfort and joy to me, the teachings of the LDS Church give me hope and peace and a feeling of love for God and those around me. I've learned that even when things are dark, I can feel joy because of the trust I have gained in Jesus Christ.

Many other bloggers are participating in the blogfest today. Hop around to their posts and see what they have to say. If you would like to participate, it's not too late to sign up! Just add your name and link to the list below. And if you have any questions about the LDS church, what we believe, or how I feel about either of those things, feel free to ask.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

New Words! New Words, I tell you!

I've written new words. I've deleted a lot of old words, but I've written new ones to replace them. It's grand and exciting.

I pulled out the first story I ever finished. All 40,000 words of it. And I still love the idea. So, I'm looking at it again. and writing new words! I didn't think I would get around to writing anything at all this year, taking a break until baby girl is a bit bigger, but I'm getting back into it. And it really does feel great. New ideas to expand the story and improve it. (Thanks to new writing friends.)

Also, I've joined ANWA--American Night Writers Association. I'll be heading up a new chapter, here in my little southern Utah town. It's exciting to be finding new people to work with and write with. Okay. I'm saying exciting a lot. But, I guess it's just because everything is exciting!

So, stay tuned. I'm still planning to read a lot, but I'm also going to be writing! Yay!

Monday, April 29, 2013

Announcement: LDS Writer Blogfest coming soon!

blog button photo old-journals-844687-print.jpg Well, it's that time of year. (Actually, a little late, but better late than never.) For the past three years, Krista van Dolzer and I have hosted the LDS Writer Blogfest. It's a great time where LDS writers can connect and share the things they have in common. This year, things have been a little busier for Krista, as she just announced a book deal and has been involved in the Writer's Voice and several other contests on her blog. In talking about it, we decided to push it back a month and let anyone doing the A to Z challenge or participating in the various blogs contests and conferences finish up April.

So, here it is! The blogfest will be on May 20. That's 3 weeks away. Sign up on the linky below or email me at kayejazz(at)gmail(dot)com with an indicator that you want to participate. You can talk about how being LDs effects your writing, what you believe as a Mormon, or anything else you can think of. We'll send out reminders if you leave an email in the comments. And if you want to spread the word, grab the button! (*I'm trying to get the blog button working. I can send you the html code if you want it before I get the grab box working.)

Monday, April 1, 2013

This whole Bloglovin' thing

I read blogs almost exclusively with google reader. At least I did. Until they announced that google is getting rid of reader in July. So, I'm going to try out Bloglovin'. I hope it goes well.
Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Monday, March 11, 2013

A little giveaway from my friend, Aurora Smth

Aurora Smith

One of my fabulous blogging friends is hosting a contest on her blog. She's giving away a copy of her book, MY STUPID GIRL. It's the next book on my TBR list and I'll have a review of it for you here soon. In the meantime, check out her blog. She's a pretty cool gal.

Friday, February 8, 2013


Since I've been spending a lot more of my time holding small baby girls and a lot less of my time writing, I've decided to make this the year of reading. Every once in a while, I plan to post what I'm reading or what I've read, possibly with reviews, though I'm not planning on becoming a book review blog. (Let's face it. I just don't have that kind of time on my hands.)

So, in the month of January, here's what I read:
Whispers in Autumn (The Last Year, #1)
Whispers in Autumn by Trisha Leigh. This is a great book with sci-fi/post apocalyptic elements. From goodreads:

In 2015, a race of alien Others conquered Earth. They enslaved humanity not by force, but through an aggressive mind control that turned people into contented, unquestioning robots.

Except sixteen-year-old Althea isn’t content at all, and she doesn’t need the mysterious note inside her locket to tell her she’s Something Else. It also warns her to trust no one, so she hides the pieces that make her different, even though it means being alone.

Then she meets Lucas, everything changes.

Althea and Lucas are immune to the alien mind control, and together they search for the reason why. What they uncover is a stunning truth the Others never anticipated, one with the potential to free the brainwashed human race.

It’s not who they are that makes them special, but what.

And what they are is a threat. One the Others are determined to eliminate for good.

 I loved this book. I read it on kindle and it was so engaging that I couldn't put it down. 

I also read
Matched (Matched, #1)Crossed (Matched, #2)Reached (Matched, #3)
I got Reached for Christmas, so I reread Matched and Crossed. I found it all to be quite nicely tied together. The end was fulfilling and matched the rest of the story. This series is not an action-y series. There's a lot more introspection and reflection about what it means to be a person and what choice is. And I liked that.

Right now, I'm reading
Across the Universe (Across the Universe, #1)A Million Suns (Across the Universe, #2)Shades of Earth (Across the Universe, #3)As They Slip Away (Across the Universe, #0.5)
I've finished As They Slip Away and am rereading the rest of the series to finish up with Shades of Earth. What a great sci-fi! Light on the science, heavy on the fiction, and a dash of mystery. So good.

What are you reading right now?

Saturday, February 2, 2013

In defense

So, I've been thinking. And evaluating and... you know the drill. New year. New ideas. New hopes.

I haven't been actively writing for several months now. And I want to be. But I feel discouraged when there's only 5 minutes to write. And a baby sits in my lap all day. And the house has to be cleaned. And homework and ... yeah. I think we've covered this before too.

But, here's the thing. I have been reading. A lot. And talking shop with hubby. And also with random people on writing forums. So, I'm keeping my hand in, even if it isn't active.

Something I discovered in a recent conversation. We all get super defensive about our writing. Or, at least, I do. Maybe I'm the only one, but I don't think so. The person I was in the conversation with had asked for honest opinions on a piece of writing. All the feedback said, "You've got some problems and here's where they are." And his response was, "But if you look at the rest of this," or "if you understood where I am going with this," or some other defensive thing.

I found it off-putting. He'd asked for genuine help and because he got defensive, he couldn't see what was going to help him improve.

I thought back to my most recent long term writing spurt. I had sent my first couple of chapters to a reader and got back a "it might work better this way" response. And I was devastated. And attached to what I'd already written. And I couldn't see why they were saying, "You really could do better by changing (this specific thing.)" I thought I knew where the story was going and what I wanted out of it. I responded with a "but, it's this way because of .... and I can't change it because of ....."

Months later, looking back at that, I was defensive and unresponsive to the help I'd asked for. And the truth of the matter was, my reader had it absolutely right. If I were to go back now to that moment, I would try to step back and see why I had gotten that feedback and maybe make the changes then, instead of losing the momentum of the story and feeling derailed (like I do.)

How do you respond to criticism? Have you moved past defensive and derailed?