Monday, April 27, 2009

Discouragement and the LDStorymakers Conference

So this last Saturday I attended the LDStorymakers Conference. It was a two-day event, but I am a mom that has massive guilt if I leave my babies longer than three hours at a time, so I only attended one day. I left for the conference at 7am before my 15 month old baby was awake and didn't get home until 6:30pm. It was strange to be gone all day. I had never done that before with any of my children. It felt like I had been in an alternate universe. My children actually still function when I'm not there. Strange feeling. Anyway the conference was fun. I got to see a friend that I haven't seen for over a decade. She is still as beautiful as ever and I felt like I belonged there just because I know her. Also got to meet the authors of a lot of blogs that I read and many published authors as well. It was awesome. I totally made an idiot of myself as I gushed over Janette Rallison author of "My Fair Godmother" - also very awesome. I played it cool when I met Julie Wright author of "My Not-S0-Fairytale Life" - great book and she is very nice. Tons of authors there that I didn't know, but they were all very accessible.

Now for the discouraging part
- There are a ton of talented and not so talented writers (me) in Utah. Also, the publishing industry is slow right now so not as many books are being published. Which is probably a good thing, but discouraging. Everyone at the conference was inspiring and encouraged all of us to never give up - but underneath that encouragement I felt an undercurrent that was actually encouraging me to give up. Writing is not for wimps. This is a true statement. Since I have been writing I am just beginning to understand this. I have done a lot of soul searching this weekend and there is a question that has been rolling around in my thoughts. The question is: Do I really want to keep writing even if I never get published?
3 months ago I might have said no. Now things are different. I have a story that won't let me stop. I have characters that are coming alive for me. I can see them. I hear their conversations in my head. I can't stop now. I only know the beginning of their story right now and like a book that I have been pulled into I now must find out whats going to happen next.

Even if my story is so three years ago, there must still be a place for it. Things like good versus evil, honor, glory and triumph over our heartaches and failures never go out of style. Themes like Faith, and there is a hero in all of us - are classic ideas needed now more than ever in this faithless, what's-in-it for me generation. So I am not giving up. If no one but my three boys ever read my story - it will be worth it.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Don't Always Judge a Book by It's Cover

Britain Got Talent - Susan Boyle

I can't embed this video so please click on the link of Susan Boyle and listen to her. I love this video. This older woman - not very attractive, but nicely dressed walks onto the stage of the "Britains Got Talent" show and the crowd immediately begins to laugh. The judges roll their eyes and can barely keep a strait face as they interview her. She is not beautiful and she is older and everyone has it set in their minds that she is going to be ridiculous. As she begins her song the judges chins drop and the entire audience boisterously begins to cheer and applaud this woman as she sings. She is fantastic. The moment is fantastic, made even more so by the fact that she isn't beautiful and no longer young.

I was walking my 4 year old son home from preschool a few weeks ago. We don't live far from the school and I walk him everyday, but sometimes when I walk a car with a group of teenage boys will drive by and yell something out the window at me. This time they yelled "It's not working" and drove off. I wasn't sure exactly what this was supposed to mean, but since I recognized these boys as the ones who had yelled rude things about my weight before when I was walking, I took it to mean that the walking wasn't working because I was still fat. When I was in junior high I was overweight and comments like these were a common occurrence as I walked down the road or through the halls of my junior high. I suppose the boys in the car have made comments that were much ruder on previous occasions, but this time what they said really bothered me. It cut deeper than just telling me I was fat. These boys wanted to make me believe that losing the weight was hopeless and that I should just give up. I know these are just jerks and the I should ignore them , but - who do these boys think they are? They don't know anything about me. Why do I have to endure this as a grownup woman. My weight problem has not kept me from having a good life and finding a nice husband who loves me. What I also want to know is - why is it that when an attractive person attempts to do something everyone expects them to do well - they even root for them and hope that they do well, but when an overweight person or unattractive person makes the same attempt - we automatically expect them to be horrible?
I do it too.

One last observation - Did anyone else notice Simon sigh like a love sick school boy as he watched Susan Boyle sing?

Saturday, April 11, 2009

The Jester King's Court

It's amazing what certain music can inspire one to do. This little piece is called the Jester King's Court. I hope you have as much fun reading it as I had writing it.

The time is now, come gather aroung
The fire's high, the sun's gone down
Friend and poet, come make anew
Gypsy, drummer, and lute player too
The blood red flames are dancing high
Kissing excitedly at the star draped sky
And close by, within the fire's hypnotic light
A bold and roaming passion is sweaping the night
Gypsies dance and singers sing
All performing for the jester king
And joining in, the drummers pound
Onlookers tap their feet upon the ground
The rhythm grows and oh so fast
As if bleeding into the future and the past
Guitars and lutes begin to strum
From somewhere off, the mountains quietly hum
The skies whisper encouraging chants
And swifter the gypsies begin to dance
Distant bells are softly swelling
We storytellers are storytelling
The night goes on, but we never slow
The pulsing music seems to flow
The time is now, come gather around
The fire's high, the sun's gone down
This is no place of challenge or sport
Only music and merriment in the jester king's court

Monday, April 6, 2009

Castaway Inn

This is the first chapter of my novel. My friend and english teacher have both read it, but it's been all sunshine and daisies, so I'm seeking a third oppinion. Comment please. I apologize if it's a bit long.

Chapter 1:
How it all Began

Sophia was a maid in the household of a count. Her parents had died many years before, leaving her with no home, no family, and no future. Before anything else could be done, the count took the orphaned, frightened child into his home. He brought tutors to teach her and educate her. When she was older, he gave her a job as a maid.
Sophia was very obedient which made her a good maid. She did not seem to mind the endless work in the count’s household. She had found friends among the other maids and was able to talk with them when she wanted to, but she felt very alone at night when the other maids when home to their mothers and their fathers and their husbands and their sons and daughters leaving her by herself in her little bedroom.
Her only friend, besides the other maids, was the count. The count had become very fond of Sophia. He had begun to think of her as a daughter. He thought highly of her and whenever guests came, he took the liberty of introducing her to them. However, lately there hadn’t been as many guests. A few came now and then, but always seemed to be in a rush. Soon, they stopped coming all together. One night she found out why.
The last of the maids was heading for home.
“Good night Sophia,” she said. “Get a good night’s sleep and I’ll see you in the morning.”
“Good night Evelyn,” Sophia replied.
Evelyn was in her mid thirties. She was slender and trim with straight blonde hair and stunning hazel eyes. A few freckles dotted her nose.
“Give my sympathies to the countess will you dear?” Evelyn pulled on her coat.
“Why,” question Sophia. “Is something wrong?”
“Haven’t you heard darling? The count is awfully ill. I thought you of all people would have heard. I mean, you are the count’s favorite.”
“The count’s favorite? Me? Oh, no, no, I’m not his favorite, it’s just that he—“
“He took you in after your parents died, raised you, taught you, and gave you work. Yes, yes, we’ve all heard the story deary. And now, if you’ll excuse me, if I stay any longer, Harold will worry. Ta, ta!” Evelyn walked out the giant French doors and vanished into the dark night.
Sophia had always thought of Evelyn as too elegant and sophisticated to be a mere maid. She carried the countenance of a duchess.
Sophia continued to bed, but not before giving Evelyn’s sympathies to the countess.
What happened the next day or the day after that, or the day after that isn’t important. What is important is what happened the following week, which brings us to the events of this evening.
Sophia had been asleep until the sound of footsteps and voices down the hall from her room woke her.
“Thank you for coming at such a late hour doctor,” came the voice of the countess. “My husband’s condition has only grown worse since you last visit and I felt in necessary for you to examine him.”
“No trouble at all milady,” answered a voice Sophia assumed to be the doctor. “You made a wise decision calling for me.”
Sophia swung her feet out of bed and onto the wooden floor before she listened to anymore of the conversation. Her door was already opened a crack, but she opened it more anyway. Peering though the doorway, she could finally see the doctor.
He was a short man with long lanky limbs. The dim candle light shone against his short black hair. His bag hung loosely from his left hand. His back was turned to the servant girl so Sophia couldn’t see his face.
Sophia crept out of her room and followed the two as the countess led the doctor down the hall to the count’s chambers. As he turned to address the countess, the doctor caught sight of Sophia out of the corner of his eye.
“Well hello there little one,” he said turning to Sophia. She could now see his soft rounded and clean shaven face. He then turned to the countess. “Your daughter I assume.”
“Heavens no,” replied the countess. “She’s just a little orphaned servant girl,” she turned to Sophia. “Who shouldn’t be out of bed.” She growled.
“I just wanted to know what was wrong,” Sophia said innocently.
“Nothing is wrong, now go back to bed.” The countess said stiffly. The last words were almost sneers. She and the doctor entered the count’s chambers and shut the door behind them.
Sophia waited and waited. No words reached her ears, not even a hint of a voice. The clock chimed one, still no sign from within. She waited more. The only way she could pass the time without worrying too much was by playing with the fringe on the cuff of her white nightgown.
Another half an hour passed and the fringe was not worth playing with anymore. The hallway remained silent aside from the constant ticking of the clock. Sophia turned to the chamber door. It remained closed. She curled and uncurled her bare toes nervously and waited some more.
As the clock struck two, the doctor finally reemerged. Sophia approached him.
“Well,” she asked glancing down to look him in the eye. “Is the count going to be alright?”
“The count,” he replied gravely. “Is dead.”

Sunday, April 5, 2009


I wrote this for a writing class that I took a few months ago. Also shared it with the writing group.

Accusing, tear-filled eyes greeted me as I opened the door. My guilt burned like the scorching heat of the sun and my face grew hot with shame. This was a familiar scene that had been played out between us many times before. I love him. I loved him from the first moment that I saw him. His dark brown hair so soft to the touch and his pale blue eyes, penetrating and persistent, left me powerless to resist him.
He needed me, and that need filled me with importance. I loved him so much that I couldn’t help but dote on him. He wanted me constantly at his side. Ordinarily he was devoted and sweet, but at times he could become distraught and I grew weary of the squall of emotions that could come without warning. Soon the storm would pass and I would be drawn to him again, dazzled by his smile. We did everything together. He couldn’t bear to be away from me. Usually, I didn’t mind; I was so happy that he loved me and needed me. Sometimes though, I felt smothered. Sometimes, I was desperate to get away.
Patiently, I would pick my moment, and covertly slip away when I thought he would be too busy to notice. This time I was unsuccessful and he followed me. With the stealthy moves of a jungle… elephant, I escaped his grasp. His cries of anguish haunted me, but I had come too far to give up now. The pounding of the water drowned out the sound of his voice and for a little while I was free.
With my spirits renewed I was ready to be with him again. I opened the door and there he was, waiting. Consolingly, I kissed him on his flushed cheek. He laid his head on my shoulder and gazed adoringly up at me with his amazing blue eyes and smiled. Melting in the radiance of his love I returned his smile and kissed him again. All was forgiven.
Yes, I had betrayed him before and I know that I will do it again, but even the most devoted mothers - need to take a shower.

Friday, April 3, 2009


We had our first meeting and I think it was a success. Five out of the seven showed. It was a dreary snowy evening so it did require dedication and better communication (on my part) for everyone to come. It was a planning meeting more than anything, but a few people brought some of their writing to share. Tawnni our teenager shared a vivid poem called "Gardens After Dark."
Jenny had the great beginnings of a children story and I read the first 13 lines from my two WIPs. I read on Orson Scott Card's website that he feels that most people know if they want to continue reading a book just from the first 13 lines. I think everyone liked mine. It was a rough draft so it will probably change anyway - I just wanted to see if I was on the right track.
Our group so far has seven women - all of whom are amazing. I can't wait for our next group to see what incredible things will be written over the month of April.