Tuesday, November 29, 2011

What's the low down?

WELL, Thursday is December 1. And you know what that means, right?

A. You can finally re-cinch your belt from your Thanksgiving feast.
B. You should really start Christmas shopping.


C. You can now register for the LDS Storymakers Conference for 2012?

Why C. Of course!

If you don't know anything about the conference that draws about 500 attendees each year, here's the link. http://ldstorymakers.com/conferences/schedule/

If you do, let's talk about your plans.

*Will you be staying at the Marriott or do you live near SLC?
*Will you be attending Boot Camp?
*Will you be doing a pitch session? (The idea of this nearly breaks me out in hives. I will definitely NOT be brave enough for this).
*Will you be staying for the Whitney gala?

You get the picture. Let's talk shop here. What are your plans for the conference?

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Your thoughts on Happiness

I just finished Gretchin Rubin's The Happiness Project. This book is about one woman's attempt to spend a year becoming happy. She didn't face depression, have a recent loss or anything like that. Rather, Rubin already had the great husband, the nice house, the kids, and the job she always wanted but one day she realized even with all of those things, she wasn't as happy as she should be.

Have you ever felt that way?

The book covers the resolutions she worked toward over the year. Each month she tackled new things she wanted to be better at (such as enjoying new hobbies, being mindful of her eating habits, not nagging her husband, laughing more etc.). She kept a monster chart to track her progress.

I thought the Happiness Project was a good book and a great idea, but severely overwhelming. This woman comes across as SUPER WOMAN with all the things she did. (For instance, after tackling all the clutter in her own New York apartment, she does the same in several of her friends' homes). Instead of encouraging me to do my own Happiness Project, I was deflated with thoughts of "I could never do all that she did."

BUT.... There were many wonderful tidbits I gleaned from this book.

1. One of Rubin's Personal Twelve Commandments was "Be Gretchen." She talked about how she'd always been embarrassed that her favorite books were children's books. This didn't seem sophisticated enough compared to the heavy reading her peers enjoyed. But when she reminded herself to Be Gretchen and embraced her passion, she was happy. In fact she started a Children's Literature group that was very successful.
Over the past several weeks there have been times I've reminded myself to Be Maggie. For instance, we've often put on a big Christmas party, but when I asked myself if doing this really made me happy, I realized that it doesn't. In fact, it makes me stressed because of the cleaning and expense of putting it together. I decided to just Be Maggie this year and let the party go. I think this was Rubin's hope, that the reader doesn't think they need to tackle everything she did, but rather what works for them.

2. The Rubin family does a Polite Night often where they all dress up and have a fancier dinner (at home) and work on good manners with their kids. I think this sounds like an awesome new tradition.

3. Rubin quotes a prayer that includes the words "shield your joyous ones." She talks about how there are certain people we know who tend to have positive attitudes and be uplifting. And we tend to take advantage of these people by needing them to buoy us up and at the same time wishing they weren't always so positive. Rubin reminded me that I need to "shield my own joyous ones." For me this is my mom. I vent to her ALL THE TIME because she is encouraging and uplifting and kind and sweet. I am very negative to her because it seems like I just let everything I've held in pour out to her. I need to work on buoying her up and being more positive to her.

4. My favorite parts of the books were two of Rubin's thoughts on happiness.
~That happiness comes from increasing our feeling good, decreasing our feeling bad, feeling right, and having an atmosphere of growth. You have to read the book to really understand this statement, but I agree with her.
~I also loved her statement that The days are long, but the years are short. If you have young children, you KNOW this is true. The monotony and hardship of every day seem to go on forever, but when you look back, the time has passed so fast.

As part of the Be Maggie idea, I have really pondered what makes me happy. More specifically, what really makes me happy--not the cliche answers, and not what makes someone else happy, but me. Here are some I've come up with:

1. Holding a finished book I've written in my hands.
2. Laying with my kids in their beds at night.
3. How I feel AFTER I've ran.
4. The inside jokes Dan and I have that would only be funny to us.
5. Hottubbing with my girlfriends.
6. Letting my mom make me a cup of hot chocolate or a sandwich.
7. Watching my children succeed at a goal.
8. Watching Dan improving at wakeboarding.
9. Sitting in a bookstore all alone.
10. Sleeping on my stomach.
11. Closing my eyes and listening to music really loud.
12. Watching fireworks.
13. Surprising my kids.

*I think my happiest single moment of 2011 was one night before our friends moved away all of us adults who are best friends (9 of us) put the kids to bed and laid outside on the trampoline laughing and talking.*

This book taught me happy can be simple. We just have to recognize it.

Have you read this book yet? If so what did you think? If not, what are some of your thoughts on being happy? A "happiest moment"? What really makes you happy?

Monday, November 21, 2011

Jingle Bells--rejection style


Oh jingle bells, jingle bells

jingle all the way
Oh, what fun it is to ride
In a one horse open sleigh....

I hit the snooze again,
Sleep calls a little more.
But then I clamber out;
Author's got no time to snore.
I wipe my yucky eyes.
Hunker down at my chair
And oh what fun do I find?
Three rejections await me there.

Oh rejection time, rejection time
Those agents must hate me.
Rejection time, rejection time
Maybe I'll query another three.

I open up the first,
The words I'd heard before.
This novel isn't right for us,
But please, oh please try more.
Number two is the same.
"You're really not our fit.
But don't give up, you're really great,"
It seems so filled with it.

Oh rejection time, rejection time
Those agents must hate me.
Rejection time, rejection time
Maybe I'll query another three.

The third one is a form,
They just filled in my name.
They really think my book could work,
But not for them the same.
I close my sleepy eyes,
Bury my head in my hands.
Why oh why am I doing this?
Maybe I should start a band.

Oh rejection time, rejection time
Those agents must hate me.
Rejection time, rejection time
Maybe I'll query another three.

I put the rejections on the stack.
It's really getting high.
Thirty something no thank-yous,
I often wonder why?
I think of all the pros,
Who faced rejection too.
I imagine eating lunch with them
And laughing at those who are new.

Oh rejection time, rejection time
Those agents must hate me.
Rejection time, rejection time
Maybe I'll query another three.

So I straighten in my chair.
Query Tracker I look up.
I research another 53,
and hope we can hook up. (in the metaphoric/rhyming sense, that is)
Ms. Smith looks so cool.
Mr. Jones seems so neat.
I hope they will love my book
And then they can compete.

Oh rejection time, rejection time
Those agents must hate me.
Rejection time, rejection time
Maybe I'll query another three.

But Jones and Smith say "yuck".
I swear this is high school.
They can only pick the best.
I just wanted to be cool.
I try and try again,
And I hold out for that day,
When Mr. Perfect (agent that is)
Rings the door and says.

No more rejection time, rejection time
That agent sure loves me.
No more rejection time, rejection time
I won't query another three!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

My TBR pile

I am currently reading Deep West which is a literary collection by Wyoming authors like Annie Proulx.

Here is what I put on hold at the library recently:

*Divergent by Veronica Roth

*Variant by Robison Wells

*Glass Castle by Jeanette Wells

*Matched by Ally Condie

*The End Of Normal by Stephanie Madoff Mack

*The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

Reading is so important to me. I truly believe the wisdom that a writer MUST read. In fact I met an author recently who said she hadn't read a book in ten years. I was shocked!

What book are you waiting to get your hands on? Have you already read all of the ones I listed?

Monday, November 14, 2011

Five reasons Friday's book signing was awesome

1. When I got out of my car at the bookstore I heard a very young-girl-meets-rockstar shriek. And it was directed at me! One of the bookstore owner's daughters is one of Growing Up Gracie's hugest fans and she was really excited to meet me.

2.Wow, signing with another author is about a jillion times better than signing alone! I had so much fun with Cedar Fort author Wendy Paul. She is the lady behind the 101 Gourmet Cupcakes; 101 Cookies; and 101 Cake Bites cookbooks. Her books have been super successful and she's a rockstar when it comes to publicity!
For instance I attended a Relief Society function she hosted on Saturday and there were 70 ladies there! Talk about getting the word out.

3. I sold a lot more books than I had anticipated.
4. A couple old friends I hadn't seen in a long time stopped by.
5. Duh, a few hours of being Maggie instead of being somebody's Mom/slave can be really exciting!

I also had to post this and give my friend Jolene Perry a little shout out. She lives in Alaska, and I know when you're far from Utah (LIKE I AM UP IN WASHINGTON STATE), the occasion of seeing your own books on a shelf is few and far in between. What's even better? I overheard this in the store "Oh my gosh, Next Door Boys was such a good book! You have to read it!" I swear! Hope that puts a smile on your face Jolene.

Friday, November 11, 2011


I will be signing copies of

Growing Up Gracie

today at

The Brass Plates Bookstore

with author Wendy Paul.

Spokane Valley

Come see me!!!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The writer who wasn't writing

I'm so mad at myself for this lack of writing I've been having lately. The things from the writing books I always read just keep coursing through my brain (you MUST write every day or you will fail. Fail. Fail.) Okay, maybe not in those words exactly.

But I just can't at this moment. I am still buried in photo editing. I am helping husband with school every night. And I think a good mommy also knows when she has too many irons in the fire and her family is taking a back seat.

I will get there. I promise!

For now though, The MOMMY part is outweighing the WRITER part.

Are you a strict, strict writer? Do you write every day no matter what? Or are there periods in your life where this talent/hobby/profession must take a backseat. You can be honest with me here. If you think I'm losing it forever by being a slacker, I can take it.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

So I was thinking...

~I should charge pay-per-view for tantrums like the one Daughter #2 had today. It was pretty impressive!

~I'm done with these run of the mill trials. I am ready for the bigger trials. (But ONLY these two in particular: 1. That trial where you have so much money you have to be humbled. 2. That trial where you're so pretty you're not sure whether people really like you for you or just because you're pretty).

~I'm so happy the Halloween Hoopla is over with. Bring on the mashed potatoes and Christmas music!

~Little #4 now copies every word we say and thankfully no one at this house has dirty mouths. Still, he's learning how to mimic some funny stuff. Like this: "Go away!" "Oh shoot!" and "In a minute!" He also tells birds on light poles to "Get Down!"

~I'm missing my bestie (who moved away a few months ago). And I'll give her a big shout out today because she ran her first half marathon this weekend and killed it. Way to go Shalie!

~I will admit it. I'm kind of excited to see the last Twilight Movie. I'm so tired right now I can't even remember what it's called and I'm too lazy to find one of the eleventy billion websites dedicated to it. But yes, I'll be there. (Not at the freezing cold-middle-of-the-night one though).

~Since babies wake up based on their bodies--and could care less about Daylight Savings Time--we got an extra hour to get ready for Church today. And you know what? It was the first time in ages we weren't late. Yahoo.

What were you thinking?

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Did you know?

Did you know I have a whole other hobby/business/thing-that-takes-up-tons of time?

No... I don't do tight rope walking
No... It's not breastmilk selling
No... I'm not an envelope stuffer who makes thousands "from the comfort of my own home."

Are you out of guesses?

I will give you a hint. Here's my baby (and yes, it cost more than my first several cars... Combined.)

I'm a portrait photographer. I have been for close to ten years. I learned the skill in college and as a reporter at community newspapers during and after college. (WOW, writing and photography came from the same place!)

Just like my writing, my photography business goes in phases. When I'm in the mood I'll take on lots of sessions. When I'm too busy I pass my clients on to other photographers.

And why do I bring this up now?

Because during the past thirty days I did 20 mini sessions and one full newborn session, so it's very much on my mind right now as my rear sits in this chair and edits, and edits and edits until my eyeballs threaten to explode. You thought novel revisions were annoying? Try successfully Photoshopping a pesky hair out of a woman's eyeball.

So, if you want to check out my other thing. Go here.
For now I'll give you a little sneak peek into that other world.

What else keeps you busy? An etsy shop? Genealogy? The PTA?