"What we do in this life, echoes in eternity."
Maximus, Gladiator
"Our creator would never have made such lovely days, and given us the deep hearts to enjoy them, above all thought, unless we were meant to be immortal."
Nathaniel Hawthorne

Saturday, January 30, 2010

JK Rowling Harvard Commencement Speech

As If I needed another reason to admire this great lady. Her words are so timely, and I heard them at the right time. The video is only 20 minutes long, but I know the influence of JK's words will linger in my mind, and hopefully the way I live my life, forever.

J.K. Rowling Speaks at Harvard Commencement from Harvard Magazine on Vimeo.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

They keep me smiling

Every day I vow I'll never forget the things my kids say, and I forget all the same. Today it seems my kids had an extra dose of wittiness or cuteness in their breakfast. I hope their words make you smile too.

Episode 1:
Me: "Swan. Finish your homework. All of it or you'll get another "F." (It was taken out of her report when she turned in a month worth of undone homework).
Swan: "It was a "D" not an "F." Wait! What does the "D" stand for? "Defended?" (because I called the teacher to explain why she hadn't submitted homework). "Didn't turn it in?"
Swan, 7 years old.

Episode 2:
Me: "Get in your car seats! We only have ten minutes to get to school on time!"
El Cangri (4 years old) was fumbling with the car seat buckles while I did his sister's in a few seconds.
He opened his eyes wide, full of wonder and admiration.
Then he said, "Mom! You're super fast! You're like a... like a Pink Flash!"
(I was wearing a pink hoodie).

Episode 3:
Before naptime I went to Chubbers' room to tidy things up.
There were a lot of books and plastic animals scattered on the floor.
I started singing the "Clean-up song" and calling El Cangri to help out. The mess was mostly his.
He replied grinning from ear to ear, "Okay Mom. Let me get my wand..."
He proceeded to wave a plastic Harry Potter wand and throw things on my face. He said, "I keep missing. This wand doesn't work!"

Episode 4:
Right before bedtime I was telling Gorgeous Boy (9) not to stay up reading because it had been a long day and he had school the next day.
He looked at me in the eye and said, "And please mom, make sure you sleep at least 4 hours. You look tired!"

Episode 5:
Swan to me, "Mom! I'm so happy!!!!!! You're pregnant!"
Me: "No, I'm just a little fat."
Swan slinking away to her room, "Sorry."

Saturday, January 23, 2010

LTUE2010 Symposium

February 11-13 BYU will be hosting The Marion K. “Doc” Smith Symposium on Science Fiction & Fantasy. There are special guests of the caliber of Brandon Mull, James Dashner, Nathan Hale, and Brandon Sanderson, among many others.
For a detailed schedule of events, click here.  One more thing: did I say it was free?
Well, it is! I hope I can make it. It looks fabulous!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Writers' Conferences

Last year I attended the Writing and Illustrating for Young Readers Workshop which was hosted by BYU. This year it will take place on a different venue, the Waterford School in Sandy. There are several sessions offered in the mornings, and the presenters will be:

Picture Book with Bonny Becker
Picture Book with Kristyn Crow
Chapter Book with Mike Knudson
Novel for Intermediate/Advanced Writers* with Sara Zarr
Novel for Intermediate/Advanced Writers* with Alane Ferguson
Contemporary Novel with Ann Dee Ellis
Beginning Novel—for those working on their first novels—with Emily Wing Smith
Fantasy/Sci Fi Novel with Brandon Mull
Fantasy/Sci Fi Novel with Dave Wolverton, aka David Farland
Beginning Class in Writing for Young Readers** with Cheri Pray Earl and Rick Walton

The afternoon sessions are bound to be incredible too. Last year I signed up a couple of weeks before the conference. All the spots for the full day workshops were filled and I only attended the afternoon sessions which were very informative and helpful too. Registration just opened for this year's conference, and I'm planning on signing up this weekend so I can reserve my spot.

I'm also attending the LDS Storymakers Conference which will take place at the Marriot Hotel in Provo. One of my talented critique group partners, Jaime Theler, is responsible for organizing this conference. She will also be presenting a workshop.

If you're in this area in April for the LDS Storymakers conference or in June for the Writing and Illustring for Young Readers Workshop sign up now. You won't regret it! And let me know if you do. It would be a lot of fun to meet virtual friends in real life. Last year when I attended my first conference, I felt I belonged to a group of very talented people who shared a passion with me: the love of words and stories. Writing doesn't have to be such a lonely affair after all. 


Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The Story Siren 2010 Debut Author Challenge

The Story Siren
is holding wonderful contest to read books by debut authors in 2010. I'm looking forward to:
1. Paranormalcy, by Kirsten Whit
2. Wolves, Boys and Other Things That Might Kill Me by Kristen Chandler
3. Nevermore by Kelly Creagh
4. Nightshade by Andrea Cremer
5. Tell Me A Secret by Holly Cupala
6. Mistwood by Leah Cypess
7. Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkin
8.
Guardian of the Dead by Karen Healey
9. Shadow Hills by Anastasia Hopcus
10. A Love Story: Starring My Dead Best Friend by Emily Horner
11. The Secret Year by Jennifer Hubbard

12. Losing Faith by Denise Jaden
13. All Unquiet Things by Anna Jarzab

14. Claire de Lune by Christine Johnson
15. The Ghost and the Goth by Stacey Kade
16. Iron King by Julie Kagawa

17. Harmonic Feedback by Tara Kelly

There are so many wonderful books coming out this year, that I don't know how I'll find the time to read them all or finish my novel. Oh! I know! I just won't sleep at all, after all, the lousy two hours I get a night aren't doing anything for me now. I'll do without them too :-)

So, if you want to support new authors, click on the link and sign up on The Story Siren contest. It will be so much fun!

Nathan Bransford - Literary Agent: Guest Blog Week: One, Two, Three, Five, Four

I just read this post by Bryan on Nathan's blog and it illuminated my day, gave me strength to keep working on these revisions. Beautiful post. Read it.
Nathan Bransford - Literary Agent: Guest Blog Week: One, Two, Three, Five, Four

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Help Haiti Recover

Here's a link to The Ellen Degeneres Show homepage with several charities that are accepting donations to help the people of Haiti during this difficult time.
The news outlets talk about close to 500,00 possible fatalities. 500,000 people.
Help Haiti Recover - The Ellen DeGeneres Show

Doctors Without Borders is accepting donations as well and the Utah Channel 4 has a link to the LDS charities page.
$5, $10 is such a little amount, but if we all donate, a lot of good can be done. And if you can't donate money, or time to volunteer, prayers are always accepted.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Trust

I'm always humbled when a person trusts me. When at the pool I tell my Chubbers, "Jump!" she closes her eyes and jumps into my arms. If I tell El Cangri, "I'm staying all night beside you," and then he wakes up to find me sleeping soundly in my own bed, he feels betrayed and unloved.
I treasure this confidence my kids have in me because I know that there's nothing sadder than loving someone you can't trust.
Other times I'm in shock at how trusting and afraid of offending others people are, especially in Utah.
Right before Christmas, I was at the pool observing the kids' swimming lesson. A young woman called my attention and said, "I want to go swimming with my husband and two other kids. Can I leave my baby beside you?"
Before I could say "Yes" or "No" she swam away. The baby was a precious little girl, just a few weeks old. She slept the whole time I watched her. I didn't mind looking after her. The thing that bothered me A LOT was that when it was time for me to leave, I couldn't find the mom. By the time my kids were begging me to go change them, I saw the mom playing with her older kids; she thanked me and went on swimming. The baby was left sleeping in her carseat.

Maybe I'm too overprotective, too insanely paranoid of where my kids are and who's watching after them, but I wish I had said something to her. I'm sure the little girl will grow and have a beautiful, long life, but I shudder when I read the news (online) and learn of so many little ones who are missing. Some are missing by accident, others by neglect, because no one was taking care of them.
My children are the greatest gift I've been given. I strive daily to be the best I can be just because of them, and when I fall short of my goal of being kind and patient, they always have a forgiving smile for me.
They trust me to protect them, and that's what I intend to do. I'm sorry if anyone becomes offended by this paranoia I suffer; I especially apologize to my children for not being able to ride their bikes in the neighborhood unsupervised, or spending the night at a friend's house. I just love them too much.