Thursday, December 30, 2010

JANUARY is going to rock!

Okay, to my whole 7 followers, I have news. January is going to be a big month for my blog. And by February, I better have some more readers!

Here are some of the exciting things happening at Mommy's Always Write next month.

* My LDS Mommas writing contest. Here is the link. So far we only have two entries. But Christmas is over now, so get to it! The deadline is January 15th. The contest isn't based on how good your writing is, just on number of entries. So if we get at least 10, one of you will win a $25 Barnes and Noble gift card. Please enter!

* An awesome "blog hop" with three of my fellow new Cedar Fort Authors. Michael Knudsen, Cheri Chesley, and Dan Harrington will be joining with me in reviewing books, interviewing each other, and of course, offering prizes.

*And don't forget January 22 I will be at the Brass Plates Bookstore signing books from 2-4.

So please become a "follower" via the button below. But more importantly, become a reader by checking back often.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

My Anti-Resolution Resolutions...

I'm not a huge fan of New Year's Resolutions. As my husband says, if you're really going to do something, you wouldn't have to wait until January 1 to start it. However, I do have a couple of plans for next year (and both of them are already in the works).

Revise The Letters Never Sent and submit it to the publisher. I have hid my rough draft away for a month to get some space from it and will be pulling it back out in a few weeks.

Finish a rough draft of Danielle, Never The Bride. I am at 10,000 words (out of 75K).

Try to attend LDS Storymakers Conference. The trip is kind of expensive for a non-Utahan, so hopefully this can work out.

Good luck writers with your goals for 2011! Post them here if you want to.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

My READS for 2010

When I was a college student, studying journalism, we started nearly every class period with one thing--reading the newspaper. We read for exceptional journalism, we read for tight leads, we read for errors, but mostly we just read (sounds like red) to read (sounds like reed). haha

My professors all agreed, you can't be a writer without being a reader.

When I delved into any creative writing courses, the main theme was the same: You must read to write. So here is a blog post devoted to being a reader, not a writer.

What have you read this year? What was great for you in 2010 and what was not so great? I'd love a comment with your top picks and bottom of the barrel stuff too.

Here was my 2010 shelf:
1. Graceling by Kristin Cashore (fantasy)
In this novel "graced" characters are people with special abilities who perform the work for kings in the 7 kingdoms. Katsa, the main character, has been graced with the ability to kill.
I loved the voice in this novel and the impeccable description. I disliked parts of the ending that seemed forced (just to set it up for a sequel).
My grade? B+ (I recommend it.)

2. Fire by Kristin Cashore (fantasy)
This is not a sequel to Graceling, however it is touted as a "companion" book. I found the two had a minuscule amount of material that linked them--and the parts that did link them felt forced. However, I really enjoyed Fire. In this book our heroine is a "monster"--in a very unusual sense of the word. She is gorgeous and can read and control minds. I loved this character better than Katsa from Graceling. She was more feminine and with fault. I also liked the ending.
My grade? A (I recommend it.)

3. Long for this world by Sonya Chung (fiction)
I can barely remember what this was about because I read it at the beginning of the year. What I do remember most is that I went the entire book without really knowing which character was which. The difficult Korean names were so confusing to me, I really couldn't follow it.
My grade? C- (only because it had some beautiful wording. I don't recommend it.)

4. and 5. Hunger Games and Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins (YA fantasy fiction)
I loved the post-Apocalyptic premise of the story and how the series jumps off with a bang with the "reaping" ceremony. I also really enjoyed the first person perspective in these which allowed the reader to be left wondering about what was happening with the other tributes in the arena. There was only one part near the end of book one that really bugged me and that was the quick addition of the monsters that seemed too far out of the realm for the rest of the book.
Katniss was really bugging me by the time I got part way through Catching Fire, and when they announced the Quarter Quelle, I was like, "oh give me a break!" So much so, that I decided not to read Mockingjay (and judging from the negative reviews, many readers disliked the third book).
My grade? A on Hunger Games. B- on Catching Fire. (I recommend them both).

6. Letter to My Daughter by George Bishop (fiction but made to sound memoir-ish)
This quick read had a very realistic mother-daughter relationship (especially for coming from a male writer). However while the book moves fast I would have enjoyed seeing how the "letter" changes the future for the mother-daughter relationship.
My grade? C (Don't recommend it.)

7. Winter Garden by Kristin Hannah (fiction)
I absolutely loved this book about two sisters bound by a loving father who have a horribly cold mother. When the father dies they delve into their mother's life story and begin to understand why she is the way she is.
This book features a story within a story. I believe most readers will be much more invested in the back story than the one that is based in present day. I know I was. I absolutely loved Vera's character. My only dislike was a part near the end that was fairly cheesy.
This book got bad reviews from my book club because it can be quite a heart-wrencher and has a slow start. I agree with those critiques, however I loved the story and also loved the ending.
My grade? A (I highly recommend it.)

8. Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris (vampire--Does this have its own genre yet?)
Barmaid Sookie Stackhouse falls in love with vampire Bill and helps find a murderer with her psychic abilities. Okay, I hate to compare it to Twilight, but can I really not? Whereas in Twilight you love Edward despite what he is, you really don't with Bill. I mean his name is Bill, for heaven's sake. How hot vampire-y is that? Also I just couldn't get past the picture of the older woman author in my mind whenever I was reading a sexy scene--which by the way were a bit too graphic for my tastes.
My grade? C (Don't recommend.)
9.
Come Sunday by Isla Morley (fiction)

A book about a couple living in Hawaii who face tragedy in the beginning. The novel is their journey through the grief. I love sad books as long as there is a type of redemption or lesson learned. This had neither. Just plain and simply depressing. However Morley does have beautiful writing and I enjoyed that.
My grade? C (Don't recommend).

10. Alicia: My Story by Alicia Appelman-Juhrman (memoir)
My favorite read of the year! It's Alicia's story as a survivor of Nazi-dominated Poland. She was such an amazing girl with incredible integrity and courage. My only critique would be at times while reading this it almost had a Forrest Gump feel. I kept thinking, really? Could all these things really happen to one person? It's truly unbelievable and I believe much more engaging than Anne Frank.
My grade? A+ (You must read this!)

11. The Wednesday Letters by Jason Wright (fiction)
In this book siblings find old letters from their father to their mother and discover some unknown things about family. This book was especially interesting to me because I wrote a book with a similar premise. It was a fast easy read and had good morals. I also enjoyed a twist in the end. I feel the characters could have been a bit more developed.
My grade? B (I recommend.)

12. Luck of the Draw by Rachael Renee Anderson (Mormon chic-lit)
A college guy takes a bet to date three unsuspecting roommates simultaneously. This was a light-hearted, fun read. I was often annoyed at Dani, the rich but money-hating roommate, because of her hypocritical nature. I think my wanting to slap her on one page and then hug her on the next shows that Anderson's characters were very well developed. I identified with each of them and in the end was really hoping for a certain outcome.
My grade? A (Highly recommend for an LDS audience)

13. Bringing Up Girls by Dr. James Dobson (non-fiction)
This how-to manual on raising girls was wonderful. It highlights the perils of girls these days and the things we can do to help them. It specifically encourages strong father-daughter relationships. I really enjoyed this book.
My grade? A (Recommend, if you have daughters!)

14. Becoming Kate by Dixie Owens (fiction)
In this book Liz Lindsay becomes the first successful recipient of a brain transplant when she dies in her late 20s. Unbeknown to everyone else she still has her own memories but is now trapped in a young girl's ailing body. The idea was strange, but somehow Owens made it believable. I moved through the novel quickly and enjoyed it as a light read.
My grade? B (I Recommend.)

15. A Reliable Wife by Robert Goolrick

It's hard to argue a best seller, but this book wasn't for me. The writing was lovely and the idea wonderful. However nearly every page was full of sex, drugs or violence (and some references were very, very dark). About a hundred pages in I wanted to keep reading so much, but I knew it just wasn't good for me. I returned the book and read the spoilers online. Most reviewers admitted it got even darker and more sexual as it went. I'm glad I put it down.
My grade? D (I wish it would have been more clean because the idea was fascinating.)

Let's hear your 2010 best and worst!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Writing for release

What do you do to calm your nerves?

Do you enjoy a day at the spa? Go for a run? Have a sit-down with your hubby and vent all the things wrong in your world?

Here's an idea. Try writing.

I wake up early and try to write every week day. It doesn't always happen, but when I am pushing myself for a word count or something, I really stay on the ball and I rarely miss a morning. Sometimes getting out of bed when the alarm goes off at 5 and my sweet honey says, "babe? Are you getting up today?" is really tough. Maybe he shouldn't put it as a question. It's true, sometimes I roll over and say, "I don't think so." But most the time I say "yeah" and after another ten minutes I drag myself out of bed and to the computer.

It takes me a few minutes to get my brain in gear, but once I do, and the words start really flowing, I feel fabulous. And when the clock nears 6:45 and my morning write is almost done, I feel even better. For me, it's the same as that horrible feeling of not wanting to go work out, but then once you do you are so glad that you did. Does that make sense?

The next time life feels a bit hard (And with the economy, sickness, stress of holidays, or children home from school--trust me life will feel hard), I challenge you to write. Get out a piece of paper if you like to do it old school, or sit down at your computer if you would rather. Just let your mind wonder.

WHAT you write is not important. THE act of writing is the therapy here. I think many people would love to be writers, but they are afraid what they will write might be junk. I have news for you. What EVERYONE writes is junk! It's only after revisions and outside readers' opinions and feedback that the junk we write starts to take shape and become something worth reading.

So give it a try. And maybe I'll give exercising a try. But then again... probably not.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Growing Up Gracie review

Author Michael Knudsen recently reviewed Growing Up Gracie on his blog. He tells about how his daughter read it quickly but he thought it definitely wasn't for a grown man.
It turned out he was glad he got past his preconceptions of a "Mormon chic-lit" book and read it.

Log in to his blog here to read the full review. And check out his new book The Rogue Shop on Amazon. I can't wait to read it!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Brass Plates Bookstore Signing

I am scheduled for my first book signing. It is at The Brass Plates Bookstore in Spokane Valley. Mark your calendars for January 22 from 2-4. The owner is going to have lots of copies so I look forward to seeing you all there!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

LDS Women's Book Review

The LDS Women's Book Review just added Growing Up Gracie to its list of best gift books for Christmas 2010.

The link and a quick interview are here: LDS Women's Book Review

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

A Deadline

There are a few of you wondering about a deadline for the "Mothers" Contest. (See next post down for info). I forgot to post one.

Since Christmas craziness is upon us right now, I am going to set the deadline for the contest at January 15, 2011.

Shalie M. was our first contestant to enter, and has already received her winning copy of Growing Up Gracie. I've also received one other entry. SO, get to writing ladies. I want to hear about your mommy moments!!! (And I really want a chance to give somebody some Barnes and Noble bucks too!)

Friday, December 10, 2010

Calling all LDS Mothers

So, I have an idea, but I am going to need a lot of help.

Why should you help me, you ask?
Because there is DEFINITELY something in it for you.

I am asking for submissions from LDS MOTHERS. Not writers, per se. Just MOTHERS. Yep, that means you!

Here is what I want: 400-1500 word essays on one of these four topics.

1. Major Mommy Follies: Any mess ups you've had as a mother, like the time you almost had a heart attack after you drove 200 miles and realized your child's car seat wasn't attached to the car.
2. The Unbelievable Things My Children Have Done: What did your child do that just about put you over the edge?
3. Other Mothers: The women you admire and how they have improved you as a mother.
4. I Knew There Was A Reason I Became Your Mother: The wonderful moments that make it all worth it.

Here's what you get: I will give a signed copy of Growing Up Gracie to the first person who enters a legitimate submission to the contest. If I get 10 or more entries, I will give a Barnes and Noble gift card of $25 to one writer (chosen at random). If I get 20 or more entries, I will give a $25 Barnes and Noble gift card to two writers (chosen at random).

Rules: You must be willing to see your entry reprinted (on this blog or in print). Your entry must have no profanity or show abuse in any way (such as I am a bad mom because I beat my kids). Your entry must be legible. You must be willing to allow editing (for grammatical and spelling type errors) of your submission. You can submit entries in each of the topics, but your name will only be considered as 1 of the 10 for the drawing.

Submit entries (not as an attachment)at maggiefechner@gmail.com. I won't open attachments so just write it in the body of your email message.

Lots of you have told me you've always wanted to write. Now here's your chance!

Thanks. Good luck! And the funnier, the better!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

An Author's Pet Peeves

As a new author--and I mean brand spankin' new--I know I haven't really EARNED the right to have developed any pet peeves yet. Nevertheless, I must say I've got a few.

As I've mentioned before, the road to publication has been wonderful with so many well-wishers and kind friends and family helping me along every step of the way. These pet peeves are to the rest of the world...

1. When people say, "How much money did you make? Is Dan going to quit his job?"
That one makes me laugh so hard milk comes out my nose!
First of all, I won't have any idea how much money my book has made until six months after it's release date and even then I will only be paid a small percentage of my book's sales price on a monthly basis.
From what I've learned from other authors, the writing business is for THE LOVE and not for THE MONEY. I wrote Growing Up Gracie for fun. Then I attempted publishing it because I thought it would be neat to see my name on a book shelf and my daughter's name in the title of a real book. I never began this journey with the idea of making money.
Only a very small handful of people make it big in the writing world. And the LDS market is even smaller. A best seller in the LDS world is like 1,500-2,000 copies which would roughly net me $55 per week for the time I worked on the book. It would be more lucrative to join a bogus multi-level marketing campaign! So, now that I've divulged all financial inquiries, stop asking if I'm going to be rich.
And some day, if I do make it rich with a big national best seller, your check's in the mail.

2. You're going to be like Stephanie Meyers
Yes, I am Mormon. Yes, I did write a book. That's it.
If you believe I'm like Stephanie Meyers, you obviously HAVEN'T read my book. She is one of the few people I was talking about in my previous pet peeve that actually HAS made it big. And if I could make $50 mil in the first year my book was released, trust me, I'd love to be like her.

3. Your cover is so beautiful. You did a great job!
Well thank you. I love it too. Actually though, the publisher has 100% control over covers, blurbs on the back, and titles. I had nothing to do with my cover. I did name my book however.

4. You should have demanded this (insert some crazy demand here) and this (another crazy demand here) in your contract
Thanks for the advice; however, most first time authors don't have a lot of clout to be in the position of DEMANDING anything in a contract. We mostly take it or leave it. I'm not saying its good to be walked all over, but in the publishing world, you kind of have to tread lightly until you have a little more experience (and book sales) backing your name.

5. When people ask "How much did you have to pay to get your book published?"
Nothing. Nada. I didn't go with a vanity press or a blog printer. Growing Up Gracie is an actual company published book backed 100 percent by Cedar Fort. (I'm not knocking self-publishing, it just wasn't a route I was willing to take).

6. When people ask, "Where do you find the time?"
I've already covered this one on Facebook. I feel everyone FINDS the time for the things they love. As I've said before, there are many things I don't FIND the time for because I'm not really interested in them. For instance, I don't sew, deep clean more than occasionally, or exercise. Most my dinners can be cooked in 30 minutes or less. I envy other mothers I know who seem to get so much done each day. It's all a matter of our own priorities.

Now that I've aired all my pet peeves, I hope you got a laugh out of this and nothing more. This wasn't meant to offend. What are some of your writer's pet peeves?

Friday, December 3, 2010

Growing Up Gracie Author Interview--This one is awesome!

Growing Up Gracie got another review and an awesome interview. My author friend Rachael Renee Anderson reviewed it on her blog here.

Here's an excerpt: "Growing up Gracie is charm in a book. It was like reading a modern day Anne of Green Gables and Anne of Avonlea all rolled into one. Filled with humor, depth, strong bonds of friendship, and yes, romance (my favorite), Maggie takes the reader on an adventure so real and poignant, it will make you wish you grew up in a small town."

I liked this interview because she asked some fun questions about my real life and my awesome husband!

There's a giveaway too.

Happy Reading.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

New Interview

The Children's and Teen's Book Connection posted an author's interview with me today. They will be reviewing Growing Up Gracie soon.

Interview here

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Oh the joy of Genres

Who knew there were so many genres in writing? I sure didn't.

I mean you've got fiction and non-fiction. Right? That's what the school librarian taught us when she showed us the good ol' Dewey Decimal System.

But whoa. Now days there are many, many, genres in fiction. In fact, my editor at Cedar Fort recently wrote on Facebook that she was writing a (drum roll please) Upper-Middle-Grade Low Fantasy. I'm not going to lie. I had zero clue what the heck she was talking about. But, she filled me in. Upper-middle-grade is the higher end of the 8-12 year old range. And low fantasy is "when you have fantastical things happening in a relatively normal world as opposed to an entirely fantastical realm."

Good to know!

Of course there is romance, western and mystery. But did you know within each category there are numerous "sub" genres? For instance, there is contemporary romance, historical romance, paranormal romance, romantic suspense, and inspirational romance.

In my writing world, there is also an LDS version to each of these genres.

So, what's the point of all this rambling? None. Goodbye.


Just teasing. The point is, my writing partner recently pointed out to me that I have mis-categorized my next novel. Rookie mistake. I know. Hey, give me a journalistic lead and I will tighten it to as few words as possible, but this fiction world is a little different and new to me.
So, the appropriate GENRE for The Letters Never Sent is Family Saga.

Doesn't that sound nice? Family Saga.

Parts of it are in the present day while the oldest sections are in the early 1900s. But ALL of it revolves around the Cameron family. So, that's that! I'm getting excited about revisions on it and then passing it on to my awesome first readers.


Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Fire and Ice Book reviews Growing Up Gracie

Fire and Ice Book Reviews gave Growing Up Gracie four stars.

"Maggie Fechner addresses with candor and grace the growing pains of teenage pregnancy, adoption, finding a testimony, making your place in the world and receiving personal answers to prayer. She weaves in a small town romance with its roots in friendship and faith. I am looking forward to reading more from Maggie..."

To see the whole review, an interview with me, AND to enter her giveaway for a free copy of Growing Up Gracie Click here.

Monday, November 22, 2010

"The Letters Never Sent" Rough Draft Is Done!

My second novel, The Letters Never Sent, has a finished rough draft! Hallelujah! Hallelujah!

I LOVE the feeling of something accomplished! My critique partner BR Paulson and I have been really pushing each other to finish our current novels and I am so happy to say our persistence has paid off. She is nearly finished with hers too.

Now, for me, the process from first draft to actual book is a long one. Here is what's next:
*About a month of germination... I don't even look at the thing for awhile. I need to distance myself and then read it with fresh eyes.
*Read over my book and begin the process of rewriting.
*Rewrite some more and more and more and more
*Let my first readers take a peek
*Rewrite again with any feed back I've received
*Craft a query letter
*Submit to publisher
*Hold my breath and hope for acceptance

Here is a brief description of the book:

When Lily Foster makes a major life change and discovers secrets about her ancestors she never bargained for, the first step of an exhilarating journey is taken. As she struggles with her own trials Lily finds a link that will take her from present day to that of her great-great grandmother Annie Cameron, making her own way from Scotland to Wyoming. This book is about a journey of redemption and a search for sense of self. And the realization that sometimes what we long for the most is the one thing that was right in front of us all along.
The Letters Never Sent is a mainstream historical fiction novel about the women of the Cameron family.

(And I know, I know. I just can't get away from Wyoming). Maybe next time.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Update!

These few weeks have been super exciting with the release of Growing Up Gracie. The most frequent question I get asked is this: Where can I buy your book? So, here's an update!
On shelves it is available at most Deseret Bookstores in Utah and Southern Idaho. It has been ordered and will be on shelves soon at The Thistle in Cody, Wyoming, (where the book is set). It is on shelves at the Brass Plates Bookstore in Spokane Valley. I have also had friends go in to Barnes and Noble and Hastings and had clerks order it for them.
As far as online, it is at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Borders, Deseret Book, and Cedar Fort.
Thanks for buying it. The more books sold the more likely a publisher will want the next book I produce, so thanks!

Also, my college alma matter ran an article about me and my novel in their newspaper this week. Here is the link to the Eastern Washington University Easterner story.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Growing Up Gracie is released!!!


This has been an awesome week. Growing Up Gracie was officially released on Monday and I received my very own first copies on Wednesday. Amazing.
We had a fantastic launch party last night and had lots of wonderful people come by to say Congrats and buy their own copies of the book. I was able to read my dedication and acknowledgments to those who mean the most to me and supported me while Growing Up Gracie was becoming a reality. My sister catered the event and I only have two words for the food-Holy Yum.
Now what's even better is that some of the folks who have bought the book are starting to post their opinions on Facebook and that is total heaven. I have been so very nervous about the simplicity of this first novel; and so far all the comments have been great!
Yay for a wonderful week.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

TWO more places to buy Growing Up Gracie

Hi! A few folks have informed me Amazon said "Temporarily Out of Stock" and "Borders" said "backordered" for my book. Either this is FANTASTIC news and lots of you are ordering my book, or they only ordered one or two copies in the first place and are needing to replenish their stock. Either way, I found two more places to order it:

Through Deseret Book
http://deseretbook.com/LDS-Books/new/c/1

and

Cedar Fort

I know The Brass Plates LDS bookstore in the valley has ordered the book and is waiting for it to arrive.
Also, I will have lots of copies for sale this Friday at my release party, so feel free to come buy it from me!

Thanks so much for your support!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

What other authors had to say about Growing Up Gracie

Book Blurb for Growing Up Gracie:

This book is young adult fiction but will resonate with readers young and old with the story of Gracie Fremont.

As the fifth of six kids in rural Cody, Wyoming, it's sometimes hard for Gracie to see what makes her special – aside from her pointy arched eyebrows, of course. But with the help of her family, her two best friends, and a few unexpected bumps along the way, Gracie eventually discovers that with the Lord's guidance even the most ordinary girl can lead an extraordinary life.

Growing Up Gracie, and Maggie Fechner, are already garnering rave reviews:

“Maggie Fechner drew me in from the first page with her unique use of description and compelling characters. Growing Up Gracie is sure to be just the first offering from this rising author.”
- Tristi Pinkston, author of Agent in Old Lace and Secret Sisters

"Fechner's characters are fun and diverse. She'll have you rooting for your favorites and weeping for their struggles."
-Heather Justesen, author of "The Ball's in Her Court" and "Rebound"


The book's official release date is November 8, but it is already available through pre-order online at Borders, Barnes and Noble, and Amazon.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Party!!!!!

Family and Friends,

Whoot, whoot! It's finally here. My novel "Growing Up Gracie," has officially been released by Cedar Fort Publisher and it's time to celebrate!! We're going to throw a monster bash at my house Friday night. Appetizers, desserts, prizes and fun friends. Books will be for sale!

Friday, November 12, 7-10p.m.

Remember "Gracie" grew up in Wyoming, so feel free to get yourself all hicked-up if you want to.

I'm not a huge fan of posting my address for everyone, so if you are planning on coming, shoot me an email at dmfechner@gmail.com and I will get you directions.

Because my house isn't huge, we suggest you get a babysitter for your kiddos (Friday's date night anyway, right?) BUT, if it's a deal breaker, definitely bring those kids!

P.S. If for some HORRIBLE reason, you can't make it, you can check out my book online at Borders, Barnes and Noble, and Amazon!

Thank you
Maggie

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Can't wait any longer!

I've been waiting for details to share any information, but I've just got to get the word out on my book--even though I don't know EVERYTHING yet.

For all North Idaho and Eastern Washington folks who are interested in checking out Growing Up Gracie and meeting the author, a fantastic release party is in the works, and details will be announced soon. Books will be available there!

For everyone else, the time to go out and look for that book has finally arrived! The official release date is November 8--Monday! And some November release Cedar Fort books are already making their ways to the bookstores. If it's not at your favorite bookstore, request they order it!

And if you'd rather shop from the comfort of your computer desk, feel free to order online at Borders, Barnes and Noble, or Amazon. It's also available directly from the publisher, Cedar Fort Inc.

Pass on the word to your friends and family. Or better yet, buy it for them for a Christmas gift. It's definitely an LDS novel, but is also appropriate for anyone who just enjoys a little clean romance.

Thanks for the support and I'd love anyone who sees my book on a shelf to leave a comment on where they found it.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Praise for Growing Up Gracie

“Maggie Fechner drew me in from the first page with her unique use of description and compelling characters. Growing Up Gracie is sure to be just the first offering from this rising author.”
- Tristi Pinkston, author of Agent in Old Lace and Secret Sisters

"Fechner's characters are fun and diverse. She'll have you rooting for your favorites and weeping for their struggles."
-Heather Justesen, author of "The Ball's in Her Court" and "Rebound"

"There is a warm comfort that comes from reading Growing Up Gracie, the memoir of one teen and her two best friends growing up in Cody, Wyoming...I am looking forward to reading more from Maggie as this book is just the beginning and a first installment in a new Fremont Family series."
-Fire and Ice Book Reviews

"Growing up Gracie is charm in a book. It was like reading a modern day Anne of Green Gables and Anne of Avonlea all rolled into one. Filled with humor, depth, strong bonds of friendship, and yes, romance (my favorite), Maggie takes the reader on an adventure so real and poignant, it will make you wish you grew up in a small town."
-Rachael Renee Anderson, author of Divinely Designed and Luck of the Draw

"When I first saw this book I thought, “Okay, Mormon chick-lit. Not for me.” I got the book for my eighteen-year-old daughter, and she devoured it in less than a day... Once she was done, the book was just kind of lying around, whispering “get past your preconceptions and read me.
I’m glad I obeyed the whisper...
I truly enjoyed this quiet story, and recommend it to all readers, although girls in their teens wondering what the coming years will bring will find it especially resonant."
-Michael Knudsen, author of The Rogue Shop

"The book is phenomenal, and not just for those readers of the Young Adult Genre! I enjoyed the realism and development of the characters - which are some of the most important parts to a book for me."
-Bonnie R. Paulson, Author of Dictating Desire

"Fechner has created realistic characters and a voice that made me feel like she was sitting next to me sharing this story as her own. I could relate to many of Gracie's experiences in the book and I found her to be a very honest, endearing character.I'd compare this book to comfort food--it makes you feel good and all warm inside."
-Rebecca Talley, Author of Heaven Scent, Altared Plans, and The Upside of Down


"Growing Up Gracie is the kind of story you can relate to--Gracie is the kind of character we care about. She's strong without knowing it. She's brave without realizing it. And she grows into herself a little at a time, just like we all do. The book starts out with a little teaser of the boy Gracie eventually loves, and each time she met a new one I asked myself, 'Is it him?'"
-Cheri Chesley, Author of The Peasant Queen

Monday, October 25, 2010

Two weeks

We are two weeks from the official release date of Growing Up Gracie on November 8. I am so happy! It is currently listed on the http://cedarfort.com/ site under the New Release tab.
I should have details in the next few days on the release party of the book. It's going to be a blast!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Waiting

Not much is happening on my end as far as the release of Growing Up Gracie.
But things are happening behind the scenes at the publishing house. I am so excited to hear if any local bookstores will carry my book. Hopefully I have a few book signings.
I am currently requesting reviews from LDS authors and blogs, and also looking forward to a release party. The release date is still November 8!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Endorsements!

I am so excited. Growing Up Gracie received two endorsements from great LDS authors. Quotes from Tristi Pinkston and Heather Justesen will be on the back flap of my book!

Check out these LDS authors and their books:

Tristi Pinkston

Heather Justesen

Friday, September 10, 2010

Two months and counting

We are down to about two months until the release of Growing Up Gracie. I am getting so anxious!
All of my author proofing and changes have been done. My cover is complete and I love it. I have been getting endorsements for the back of the book, and the CFI marketing team is working on securing reviewers.
It should go to print in the middle of September It is all so exciting! I can't wait to have it in my hands.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Luck of the Draw




Stubborn Dani Carlson thinks she has the world figured out. The child of wealthy, absent parents, she grows up despising money and vowing to live simply and therefore happily. But when a young co-ed throws her plans for a loop she learns truly living may require compromise.

Meanwhile Brighton Anderson is just trying to get to med school without too many disruptions. But his relentless roommates and their silly laundry bet is just around the corner. And this time it's Brighton's turn. His challenge: Take three roommates on two dates each without them discovering his scheme. He knows it's immature, but with a big break from his laundry on the line he can't pass it up.

Brighton meet Dani... And Katherine... And Sandy...

Brighton meet trouble.

Rachael Renee Anderson's novel Luck of the Draw is an entertaining romantic comedy. Her characters are so well-developed you can't help but want to hug them at times and slap them at others.

Her pace makes the novel hard to put down and even harder to forget. It's a lesson in service, generosity, and making difficult changes for those you love.

You can buy Luck of the Draw online at Cedar Fort Inc., Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Borders.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

It's Here! Here's the Official Cover



It was not what I imagined, but I absolutely LOVE it! I didn't even think of a cover without Gracie on it. But this cover is SO Wyomingish. The truck and the mud and the flat nothingness reminds me of home and fits perfectly with the novel. Great job CFI Design Team!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Author's Remorse, and other pre-publishing lessons

Well we are nearing the days when my first novel Growing Up Gracie will head to the press to be put into print. It's been through the editors and my final author's proofs are due back in less than a week. The cover is almost finished and book buyers are being lined up for the selling of it.

As this unique process comes to fruition, I have learned some neat lessons.

First of all, I wanted more than anything for my book to be picked up by a publisher but now that it has, let me just say this--YIKES! As the day comes closer I realize many people will be reading something I spent a lot of time on and is close to my heart. It scares me to know that many people will say, "Huh?? I could have done much better than that!" or "Seriously?? What was she thinking?"

What keeps me grounded is the thought that while yes, many or maybe even most of you COULD have done it BETTER than me, you didn't... And some day if you do actually finish a book, I wish you nothing but the best of luck with it!!!

I have realized no matter how much time and how many rewrites I do, there are always going to be parts of my book that I just wish I could have phrased better. There are going to be characters I love and feel perfectly developed and others that just didn't quite get to the point I wished they had. There are going to be single words that I will re-read 10 years down the road and cringe at.

But more importantly than all this is the knowledge that while this book will soon be a final product, it is also just a starting point. I hope to have a long writing career full of improvement and growth. I hope that one day I will look back (after my 7th novel is published) and think, wow, I've come a long way.

Thank you all who have helped me with your encouragement as I begin this journey.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Writing for your children's sake

Just like most young first-time mothers, my mom dutifully recorded all my firsts in a delicate blue baby book etched with tiny pink flowers. She recalculated the story of my birth and jotted down the price of a gallon of milk and what day I first waved bye-bye. I love my baby book and I am so glad to have one, but there is so much more we as mothers can share with our children.

Wouldn't you love to know how your mother felt on that day when her toddlers were fighting, the bills were going unpaid, and the roof was leaking? Wouldn't you love to read your grandmother's feelings when she first met your grandfather? How she felt and the hopes and fears she felt for their future. Wouldn't it be amazing to have your father's retelling of his feelings when he first saw each of his children, or how he felt when he gave you a blessing.

This is the purpose of journaling. Not only do we benefit from being able to look back and understand lessons learned, trials overcome. But the benefit to our posterity is priceless. Many people think their story is not important, so there is no need to write it down. I think it is in the mundane details of every day life that we can learn so much from our ancestors.

The cool thing about the technology age is we now have countless ways to journal.

1. Good ol' pen and paper. There is something to be said about seeing a person's handwriting. Plus, you can take it anywhere.
2. Computer journaling. You are already on your computer anyway, why not spend 20 minutes a week writing in a word processing program? Be sure to print it off and back it up occasionally. You can write updates on the family, your feelings and testimonies, or even just pick a question and write the answer, such as: what has been the biggest blessing from being a mother, what is your favorite date you've had, or who do you wish you were more like?
3. Blogging. If you have a family blog, you are journaling! Who knew it could be so fun? This makes it easy because you have a running journal and scrapbook all in one. Print it yearly (this can be done online for under$50.) and you have an annual journal full of all the important happenings of your fam.

The point isn't how you do it. The point is just that you do. I challenge you all to think about a method of journaling that would work well for you and go for it. No matter how boring you think it is, I am sure your children would love to read it some day.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

My Review of the Fantasy Fiction Genre

This spring I joined the "Bust Is A Must" book club and I absolutely love it. The group has no rules as far as book selection, but I have noticed 90 percent of the books selected (well, all but my pick actually) have been of the Fantasy Fiction genre.

Our Group has read Graceling, Hunger Games and Catching Fire, Dead Until Dark, Hush Hush, and now Fire.

In the past I have shied away from fantasy--probably because I don't have a single abstract thought in my brain--but I have enjoyed reading this new genre. All of these are great novels. As one of our members said, these are good books to get you far from the realities of every day life. The imagination these authors must have is amazing. I can't fathom coming up with such unique plots and settings.

My favorite of these reads was Suzanne Collins' Hunger Games. The excitement and fear of the Capitol's post-Apocalyptic reaping drew me in immediately and I devoured the book quickly. The dark idea of the Capitol controlling the districts through its atrocious Hunger Games was so unique.

I loved that this book was in the first person perspective so the reader was kept in the dark on what the other tributes were up to within the arena. Because of this, when the tributes attacked, it was just as much of a surprise to the reader as it was to Katniss. If there is an Edward/Jacob type decision to be made in this novel between Gale and Peeta, I am definitely a Gale fan. His love for Katniss is a mature; take-care-of-you kind of love that I thought was fantastic.

That being said, there are a few things that have been bugging me about this genre of books. First of all, it seems impossible for a book to have a main character who is not a stubborn 17-year-old girl. (Which of course is understandable since we are reading Young Adult fiction). However, every single 17-year-old girl behaves much more like a 25-year-old woman. I guess this is similar to high school shows like One Tree Hill used to be when the viewer is left constantly asking Really? You're supposed to be 17! And where are the parents here?

I guess these books were not the first fantasy fiction books I have read. I've read the Twilight series (well, really, do I live under a rock in Timbuktu?) And I like them. However I've only read them once and am not a screaming crazy fan. I do like the story but I have a hard time remembering the book specifics. I also like how the movies continue to get better and better.

I guess my overall review is that, surprisingly to me, fantasy fiction may have a place in my personal library. It is still not my favorite. And I would love if some of my fellow book clubians would occasionally pick something different. (I am dying to read Water For Elephants, The Help, The Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, and A Reliable Wife). But I admit escaping to the mountains of Monsea and the confusion of District 13 (is that the one??) is fun too!

I'd love to hear your opinions on any of these reads!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Pre-Order Growing Up Gracie

It's pretty cool what you can find out when you Google yourself. I just found out my book will be published under the Bonneville imprint, in paperback, with 240 pages. It will be released November 1, 2010. And best of all...

You can now pre-order Growing Up Gracie through Amazon!

Here's the link: Amazon

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Editing Begins!

I was just informed by my editor that work is commencing on my novel Growing Up Gracie. Cedar Fort hopes to have it to the press by September with a release date of November of this year!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

YAY

We have a tentative release date of November of this year for my first novel.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Come Along With Me

So here is the start of what is sure to be a long journey from being a writer to becoming an author.

Here's what we have so far.

~A manuscript--Hallelujah (this is how I feel when something is finally done)

~A contract--Even more hallelujah ("I'm so excited, and I just can't hide it," Oh, I digress)

~A WHOLE LOT OF TIME--Bummer!

My novel Growing Up Gracie was recently accepted by Cedar Fort Publisher's. They are the second largest Latter-day Saint (Mormon) publishing house behind that giant known as Deseret Book. They publish about 100 books each year of LDS and mainstream material. They distribute to Barnes and Noble, Borders, Costco, Walmart, Deseret Book and Amazon. (Now, that doesn't necessarily mean I will get into any of those, here's hoping though).

Now the process between an accepted contract and an actual book on the shelf can be from 8-16 months.

The first step is finding out my release date. I still haven't heard, but you can bet I'll blog it right up as soon as I do.

Secondly Cedar Fort suggests all their authors create a website. Since I am cheap and already have a good grasp on the blogging thing, I decided to go this route. So click on the links if you want to keep up with where I am at on other writing projects or other junk like that.

Blog entries might not be super frequent for awhile because come on, how many ways can you say "I'm still waiting for any news..."? But I'll post updates occasionally, maybe a little on the books I am currently writing, and maybe some info on books I read. We'll see.

Thanks for following my journey!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

About My Books

My debut novel, Growing Up Gracie, is a young adult novel with Latter-day Saint themes. It was published by Cedar Fort Publishing Company in November of 2010. I hope you like it!

Burnt sienna, auburn or even ginger colored hair was what Gracie Fremont longed for as her bony fingers held waxy crayons next to her long locks one by one. But if the timid, skinny five-year-old were honest with herself, the closest match was brown. Plain old brown.
And that brown crayon defined Gracie Fremont’s life: Average.
Nothing difficult or unusual or even interesting ever happened to this little girl sandwiched in an LDS family of eight. But growing up in rural Cody, Wyoming, Gracie learns that lasting friendships, hidden talents and developing a testimony of her own are some of life’s most precious gifts. And finding true love is a fantastic bonus.

OTHER PROJECTS IN THE WORKS

The Letters Never Sent

When Lily Foster makes a major life change and discovers secrets about her ancestors she never bargained for, the first step of an exhilarating journey is taken. As she struggles with her own trials Lily finds a link that will take her from present day to that of her great-great grandmother Ailsa MacDonald Ritchie, making her own way from Scotland to Wyoming. This book is about a journey of redemption and a search for sense of self. And the realization that sometimes what we long for the most is the one thing that was right in front of us all along.
The Letters Never Sent is a mainstream family saga about the women of the Ritchie family.
Rough draft done. In the revision process.

Ever After, Emmy (romance)
Gorgeous Emmalene Stark had a perfect life laid out for her from the time her gloating parents brought her home from the hospital in their tiny home-town. And she's never objected much. After all, it's been a good life. But on the cusp of her upcoming wedding to life-long friend Lawrence, Emmy experiences her first adventure that leaves her wondering if this cookie-cutter life is all its cracked up to be.
Set in the 1950s, two intermingling love stories will leave you hoping Emmy finds all she's searching for.

Currently 26K words (45K to go).
-----------------
The Fremont Family Series (young adult fiction)
If you fell in love with the average girl from the All "Mormerican" Fremont family, you'll love these books.
Growing Up Gracie was the first in this series of six. Each book will be from the perspective of a different child in the family and will explore how even the "perfect" family faces hardships and trials and must learn and grow in more ways than one.

I am currently about 20,000 words in on my second novel in this series: Danielle, Never The Bride.
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Friday, May 28, 2010

FAQ

What audience is Growing Up Gracie intended for?

The target audience is young adult. That being said, some of my favorite books are young adult and I am definitely no longer a "young" adult.

How did you get the idea for Growing Up Gracie?

I grew up in Cody, Wyoming, and I've had a deep love for that area my entire life. I have always felt that friendships play an overwhelming role in the adults we turn out to be. Throughout my growing up years I was usually in some form of a best friend group of three. The characters in Growing Up Gracie are not based on any of my close friends, but many of the places and circumstances are bits and pieces of things I experienced growing up. Also Gracie and Quentin's story has tiny pieces reminiscent of my life.

How long does it take you to write a book?

I wrote Growing Up Gracie fairly quickly (a few months maybe) when I was a new mother and had an infant who was a great sleeper. I remember my parents and husband taking me out to dinner one night to celebrate that I had finished writing my book. I then proceeded to put the book away and not touch it for about five years. When I dragged it out again I read it and was appalled at the horrible writing I had once celebrated! I began editing and editing and editing and editing. I probably did three complete rewrites before giving the book to my first readers. Then I edited some more and more and more.

The Letters Never Sent took me about six months to write. I am currently in the revision process and I hope to submit it in the spring.

What was the process of finding a publisher like?

Finally on my 29th birthday I felt I had something worth submitting. I set a goal of publishing by the time I was 30 and sent it to my first choice publishing house. Two days before my 30th birthday I was informed by Cedar Fort Publishers they wanted to publish my book.


How did it feel to get a contract?


This was probably one of the most exciting moments of my life. First I screamed and danced and called my husband and mom and best girl friend. Then I got nervous: maybe someone was tricking me. I actually called the publishing company just to confirm that no one was playing a horrible joke. Once I knew it was real I pulled the manuscript up on my computer and reread it and again I got incredibly nervous: Oh no! It's really not good, I thought. And finally I settled into a long pattern of waiting to hear any news at all on the process of being published from my company and starting writing another book.

What is your writing schedule?

I wake up at 5 and try to get in an hour and a half of writing before the day begins. I take Saturdays and Sundays off. Then when my kids nap I try for a little more writing. When it's movie day, I may write for most the day.


What books do you like?


I enjoy classics like Pride and Prejudice and The Catcher in The Rye. I also like contemporary writers Kristin Hannah and Suzanne Collins. If I am completely honest, I mostly pick a book based on how pretty its cover is--So, who says you can't judge a book by its cover? I usually get books from the library and so shortly after I've read them I can't remember the title or the author. My favorite is historical fiction set any time before the 1970s. I read The Work and the Glory series night and day until I finished it. I also recently read and was totally enamored with Alicia: My Story. I love reading about hardship and I don't need a happy ending to be satisfied with a book.


Do you currently have any more projects in the works?


Yes. I have three books at different stages of writing.
First is The Letters Never Sent.
Here is a blurb:
When Lily Foster makes a major life change and discovers secrets about her ancestors she never bargained for, the first step of an exhilarating journey is taken. As she struggles with her own trials Lily finds a link that will take her from present day to that of her great-great grandmother Ailsa MacDonald Ritchie, making her own way from Scotland to Wyoming. This book is about a journey of redemption and a search for sense of self. And the realization that sometimes what we long for the most is the one thing that was right in front of us all along.
The Letters Never Sent is a mainstream family saga about the women of the Ritchie family. I am currently in the revision process.

I am also writing Ever After Emmy, a love story set in the 1950s. I am about half way through the first draft.

And finally I have a rough start on a companion book to Growing Up Gracie, called Danielle, Never the Bride.

About Me

I was born and raised in Wyoming--the land that I love. Being a first child and having a phenomenal mother, I was read to all the time. I entered my first "Young Author's" contest in first grade. When I won, I was able to meet the author of a children's book (I now have no idea who this was).
I was a quick reader and I loved to write. I wrote a lot of poetry and entered poems in National Poetry contests. When I heard one of my poems was published in a book I was quite excited. I later learned that EVERYONE's poems were published in that book and it was only a ploy to get people to buy the $50 book, which of course, my family did not buy.
It didn't deter me though. I became the editor of my high school newspaper, won the Wyoming Journalist of the Year award, and went on to earn a degree in Journalism from Eastern Washington University. I worked as a reporter, columnist and features writer for three community newspapers. I also worked on short stories and continued my ever-expanding personal journal. It is several hundred pages and covers over 20 years of my life (which I am sure no one will EVER want to read).
I then took a major life break to, well, start my life. I got married to my best friend and we started a family. I kept up my journal, but didn't do a whole lot of writing otherwise. That was until I had my first baby and delved into Growing Up Gracie. I wrote it and didn't touch it again for several years. Finally I pulled it out and got back into the swing of writing and I have been going strong ever since.
I have a wonderful husband and four children who put up with my addictive love of hobbies which change frequently: photography, writing, baking, writing, genealogy, photography, running, writing, etc. etc. I usually can only focus on one thing at a time.
You can read author interviews with Fire and Ice here or Children's and Teen's Book Connection here

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Upcoming Events

February 18, 7 p.m.
Aunties Bookstore in Downtown Spokane
Author Discussion, Q&A and signing