Monday, May 28, 2012


checking older posts

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Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Better Late than Never

Sorry I'm late in posting. I have no excuse except for the fact that I let other things get in the way. However,
I have good news. I just finished the final rewrite on a manuscript I've been working on for over a year. There were many times I wanted to just delete it from the computer and go on with life in a different story. But a little voice inside me just kept nagging at me, saying "Don't give up. Don't give up." Now we'll see where it goes from here.

This morning, while cleaning out my office closet, I found, inside one of my larger than large art envelopes, several portraits I had done in pastels, in the year 2002. I looked at them with renewed interest, thinking they were truly well done, and I asked myself, "What if I had not simply put them away, but used them as a guide to create even better pastels?"

I found a jacket I had crochet over 10 years ago, that only needs back, front and sleeves stitched together.  That's all that's left to do.( My excuse? I ran out of crochet thread.) Wow! and that why its still folded up in a sewing bag? Then I found a baby afghan I was crocheting  with only another 8 inches of length to go. Plenty of crochet thread is laying with it.(No excuses).

I have an idea. While I've been writing this, I had to stop and help my husband find a birthday card for our granddaughter. That took all of 5 minutes. Now, if you add up all the minutes of interruptions to get something else done, would it make a good excuse for all the undone things in our lives.

There are times when we have priorities that take us away from the manuscript, the art work, etc, and there are times when we get discourage, overwhelmed, exhausted, etc., and that's okay. Sometimes we need to step away. Just don't forget to step forward, again.

Pres. Uchtdorf made a statement that stays with me even when I'm struggling. He said,"The more you rely on the spirit, the greater your capacity to create."

Have a great day.



Monday, May 21, 2012

My Five Years of LDStorymakers

I attended my very first LDStorymakers conference in 2008. It was held in late March, which coincided with Spring Break here in Texas, allowing me to drive up with my girls, helping to justify the trip. I had finally decided to take my writing self seriously, and threw myself into learning about both the LDS market and the authors who had succeeded there.

I hadn't personally met anyone in the LDS writing community at this point, but by frequenting writer's blogs and reading their work, I had come to know and admire a number of people. Including the lovely and talented Tristi Pinkston, who's quarterly writing challenges played a big roll in my developing a positive writing ethic.

I loved the conference and attended both boot camp and all of the workshops. I learned so much! I did not, however, sign up to attend the inaugural Whitney Awards banquet, a decision I regretted as soon as I drove away from the hotel after the last workshop, and a mistake I will never make again.

After that conference, I knew I would be back, despite living 1000 miles away. I set two goals for LDStorymakers 2009: To enter the first chapter contest, and have my book done so I could pitch it to one of the LDS publishers.

I had a great time at LDStorymakers 2009. I was much more comfortable with myself, many of my writing friends from 2008 were there, and I met a number of new friends as well. There was still so much to learn, too!

My first chapter for Space Corp General won first place in the Youth Speculative Fiction category, I (barely) kept from passing out as I waited to do my pitch, and I took another picture with Tristi Pinkston.

By LDStorymakers 2010, I had a contract with Cedar Fort for my new book, and it was while at the conference that I learned the title: Bumpy Landings.

And there were even more new friends. So many new friends that I may have, somehow, forgotten to get a picture with Tristi.

But I remembered in 2011!

By the time this conference rolled around, my book had been out for several months, and I was a proud badge-wearing member of the LDStorymakers family. And yet even though I had a published work of my own, there were (are) still so many things for me to learn!

Shortly after the 2011 conference ended, I was asked to be on the committee for the 2012 conference. Talk about an amazing experience! Working with Jaime and Heather and the rest of the committee to help put together this most recent conference was a great honor, and a fun way to keep Storymakers in my heart all year long. I also had the chance to present a workshop this year, which was extremely fun.

And I got to hang out with Tristi again.

After past conferences, I may have, on occasion, gotten a bit choked up at the thought that I would have to wait a full year for this awesome conference to come around again. But I have been asked to co-chair the 2013 conference with Heather Justesen, and there has been no time for tears this year!

Between preparing for next year's conference and the first-ever 2012 LDStorymakers Midwest Writers Conference this September, every day has been LDStorymakers.

And I couldn't be happier.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Free Training for Authors Who Want To Make It Big!

                                                         by Trina Boice

Do you enjoy helping and inspiring other people?  Do you want to write a book that will keep people talking and change their lives for the better?  Think big!

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To your success,


Sunday, May 13, 2012

Do writers need to be good spellers?

                                                             by Trina Boice

Do writers need to be good spellers?  Some writers will say that's what a good editor is for! 

I teach classes for Workplace ESL Solutions.  We specialize in English as a Second language, Spanish for workplace managers, citizenship, and business writing tips.  There is a super helpful article we posted on our Linked In group that lists the 100 words most commonly misspelled ('misspell' is one of them). Dr. Language has provided a one-stop cure for all your spelling ills. Each word has a mnemonic pill with it and, if you swallow it, it will help you to remember how to spell the word. Master the orthography of the words on this page and reduce the time you spend searching dictionaries by 50%.

Here are just the words that start with the letter "A" to get you started...


  • acceptable - Several words made the list because of the suffix pronounced -√™bl but sometimes spelled -ible, sometimes -able. Just remember to accept any table offered to you and you will spell this word OK.
  • accidentally - It is no accident that the test for adverbs on -ly is whether they come from an adjective on -al ("accidental" in this case). If so, the -al has to be in the spelling. No publical, then publicly.
  • accommodate - Remember, this word is large enough to accommodate both a double "c" AND a double "m."
  • acquire - Try to acquire the knowledge that this word and the next began with the prefix ad- but the [d] converts to [c] before [q].
  • acquit - See the previous discussion.
  • a lot - Two words! Hopefully, you won't have to allot a lot of time to this problem.
  • amateur - Amateurs need not be mature: this word ends on the French suffix -eur (the equivalent of English -er).
  • apparent - A parent need not be apparent but "apparent" must pay the rent, so remember this word always has the rent.
  • argument - Let's not argue about the loss of this verb's silent [e] before the suffix -ment.
  • atheist - Lord help you remember that this word comprises the prefix a- "not" + the "god" (also in the-ology) + -ist "one who believes."
To see the rest of the 100 words, go to:

Thursday, May 10, 2012

The Puzzle With Plots

As a kid, I remember playing with sliding puzzles, the ones where you slide one piece into place, but you have to move a bunch of others out of the way in the process. When you move one piece it shifts everything else, and they were so tricky, I think I just gave up on them as some kind of a that-would-be-nice-to-see-what-it-looks-like-finished-but-I-doubt-I’ll-see-it-in-my-lifetime puzzle.

Well, this same thing occurs in writing, and I like to call it the plot puzzle. For me this happens not so much in the outline, but when I’ve written the first draft and am combing it through it, trying to turn it into a masterpiece. (Because sometimes I can overlook plot holes or weaknesses that could be changed to make it better.)

Unfortunately, this can lead to a rearranging of sorts—kind of like those sliding puzzles—because when I move or change even one thing, everything else in the story shifts with it.

This is how it works in my mind: How can I make the meat of the story more juicy? I can add yada-yada. But if I do that, then I’ll need to add something to chapter one to include this yada-yadaness, and maybe something else in chapter three to tie it in. Oh, but if I do that, then this means that this major part will need to be revamped. Hmmm. What else can I do to make it better?

Sometimes I just let things go. Other times, revamping is necessary. But I find that writing a detailed outline from start to finish helps to keep my thoughts on track. Often as I do this, ideas will come, and others I’ll scratch. But in any case, I find that creating an outline helps me to solve the plot puzzle to make a good story even better.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Storm Clouds? Big Whoopdy Doo!

For Christmas my wife gave me a gift certificate to attend the Storymakers Writing Conference in Provo. I had been looking forward to it for quite a while and my plans were made...but then they changed. A couple of months ago the church scheduled the date for the Kansas City Temple Dedication and guess what, it was on the same weekend. Hmmmm. What to do? I've been looking forward to the Temple dedication far longer than the writing conference but I still found myself a bit disappointed that I couldn't do both. My children started practicing in February to be a part of the cultural celebration on the Saturday prior to the dedication and I knew I couldn't miss that either so I decided to cancel my plans for the conference. The celebration was fantastic and the kids had a great time, but still I felt a twinge of disappointment that I couldn't go to the conference. Sunday, as my family and I drove to the Kansas City temple for the dedication, the skies opened up and POUNDED us with rain. We wondered how wet we would get and how uncomfortable we might be in the temple sitting in wet clothing. I found myself feeling a twinge of disappointment that the weather wasn't clear and sunny. As it turns out, the rain stopped at the most opportune times and we didn't get a drop on us, but as soon as we started driving home, the pounding rain started again. It was at this moment that I realized what a shame it is to let events or circumstances in our lives distract us from the things that are most important. Would I have liked to go to the conference, sure. But going to the cultural celebration and dedication was more important for me. Would I have preferred sunshine instead of blinding rain. Yeah, of course, but I shouldn't allow a small thing like rain dampen my enthusiasm for the amazing experience I had. This also made me think of the writing, publishing and reviewing process we go thru as writers. We struggle and work to write our manuscript. We shop it around and finally get an acceptance from a publisher and we eagerly await the release of our book. We anticipate the release with such high hopes but sometimes we allow a rain cloud or two dampen our enthusiasm and pull us out of the joy and excitement we should be basking in. The specific rain clouds I'm thinking of are bad reviews. The release of a book is a thrilling experience after months or even years of effort and struggle, so why should we let one dingdong ruin that euphoria for us by merely saying or writing something critical? Would we like every reader to praise our book as the most intelligent, well written, humorous, touching work they've ever read. Yeah, sure. But it's not realistic. So a reader didn't like it. Big whoopdy doo! They're just stupid heads. (wait- I digress) We WILL get bad reviews but a review on goodreads, Amazon, blogs etc should not make or break our enthusiasm. In some cases we may be able to learn from the review, in some cases we simply need to ignore them because we cannot get caught up in the hype, either positive or negative, about our work. Just say, "darn!" and then move on. So that was a rambling way of saying, focus on the positive, ignore the negative and focus on what really brings you happiness and fulfillment. Don't let the rain clouds of bad reviews dampen your enthusiasm for writing.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

What legacy will YOU leave?

                                                                       Trina Boice

Maurice Sendak, widely considered the most important children’s book artist of the 20th century, who wrenched the picture book out of the safe, sanitized world of the nursery and plunged it into the dark, terrifying and hauntingly beautiful recesses of the human psyche, died on Tuesday in Danbury, Conn. He was 83 and lived in Ridgefield, Conn. The cause was complications from a recent stroke, said Michael di Capua, his longtime editor.

When the book first came out, parents and reviewers criticized the scary images.  Now they are a beloved addition to many family's libraries.  A movie was made about the book a few years ago, although it did not achieve great recognition.

If you're an author, what one book will you most be remembered for?  What is it you'd like to be remembered the most for?  My father-in-law's funeral was this past weekend, so I'm especially feeling introspective lately.  Our time on this earth isn't very long, and of course, none of us knows how much time we have left.   What things are most important to you in life?  Family? Relationships? Career? Legacy? Stuff?

After we attended the funeral of my husband's sweet father, the family went to the Huntington Library to take pictures and see beautiful artwork and gardens to bring peace to our hearts.  The Huntingtons left a wonderful legacy of artwork to share with the world.  

Most of us would readily say that we'd love to leave the world a better place by having been in it.  The question is "How?"  Find what you're passionate about and bring about good in that realm.  Share.  Give.  Serve.

The books I love to read the most are the ones that aren't purely for entertainment, but ones that leave me truly feeling enriched, inspired, and motivated to do and be better myself.   I try to write those kinds of books too.

What can you do today to leave your stamp on the world and make it a better place?

Storymaker's Conference

Where shall I start? Wow!! Those who organized and presented the conference did a remarkable job. The classes were well presented. The food was great. And though there was construction going on, and we had to walk around it, it seemed to part of the adventure . . . and a way of walking off all that good food.

The Keynote speaker was Kevin J. Anderson. He is an author of more than a hundred novels, 47 of which have appeared on national or international bestseller lists. He has over 20 million books in print in 30 languages. He has won or been nominated for numerous prestigious awards, including the Nebula Award, Bram Stoker Award, the SFX Reader's Choice Award, the American Physics Society's Forum Award, and New York Times Notable Book.

This man writes 6-10 books a year. In addition to his own fiction, he has written numerous bestselling comics and graphic novels and several collaborative projects, including novels in the Dune Universe with Frank Herbert's son and a bestseller with Dean Koontz. He writes 7 days a week, 6-8 hours a day. That thought makes my head spin, but that's why he is so successful.

One important point he made  is that writing is like a full-time job. You have to put in the hours to become successful.  Oh, I think these words made an impression on everyone there. We can't all write 7 days a week or even 6-8 hours a day, but we can organize our time just as if we were going to a job every morning and putting in the time necessary to be a success.

Other commitments have taken up a lot of my time this past year. I think, however, all should be back to normal, now, and I can devote much of my time to writing and painting, again. Oh, how I'm looking forward to settling back into my routine. I certainly won't be writing 6-8 books a year because I have other commitments like spending 6 hours a week on Genealogy. 4 hours a week on Indexing. 6 hours a week working in the temple, etc., but I think I'll type up a schedule that will keep me on task so that I can spend the time I need to be a good writer . . . no, not just a good writer, but an excellent writer as well as an accomplished artist. I only have to prove it to myself . . . and that's the plan.

Have a great day.