Monday, July 11, 2016

A Writer's Validation Process - Time to celebrate!

We have to celebrate each step of success rather than each step toward success. Once a goal is met, there is always another mountain to climb. I may not have "made it", but one more box is checked. Secrets of the King's Daughter has officially been nominated for a 2016 Whitney Award, an awards program for novels written by LDS authors! It will be entered in the Historical Romance category. Thank you to those who felt it worthy of nomination. The nominees will be whittled down to five finalists in each category. As a first-time published author and if I become a finalist, I am also eligible for the Best Novel by a New Author.

Judging: Nominees are "voted on by an academy of industry professionals, including authors, publishers, bookstore owners, distributors, critics, and others."
According to the Whitney Awards website, "We do not give a rubric to our judges or to the Academy awards because this is a reader based award rather than a literary one. We choose judges who are sophisticated and critical readers and allow them to make their own judgements on writing quality and content. Doing otherwise (screening nominees based on content and writing quality) would be both time-consuming and based on subjective reasoning, therefore we have only required that the author be a member of the LDS church. All other factors such as content, language, and craft, are to be judged by each individual person voting in the award process."

It's moments like this that keep us less-experienced authors pushing forward toward success and validation for the many hours spent on our craft. We might write for months or years with little feedback until that big moment of public sharing. Any encouragement you can give to your writer friends is greatly appreciated. Thank you to those who organize and recognize a writer's efforts with awards such as this. I must wait until next February before finding out who the finalists are, but this step of my dream is realized. It's time for a little chocolate and then I'm pumped to write some more. 

Monday, May 30, 2016

Honoring War Heros and More

Product DetailsI've been researching Book of Mormon warfare for my third novel, and found David E. Spencer's insights into Captain Moroni interesting and helpful. It covers the perfect time period I need. He adds to my scriptural knowledge with his military expertise through insights and analysis.

Early in the book, Spencer points out that Mormon, the compiler and abridger of the ancient records, was a great admirer of Moroni. Mormon's inserted comments, intended or not, influence the reader toward his inclination of great respect. Mormon states that the devil would not have power over the hearts of men such as Moroni (Alma 48:17). The surprising (to me) insight Spencer gives is that Captain Lehi was also a great commander in that time period, and could just as easily have been the one readers were led to so admire rather than Moroni.

I make two points here: 1) Writers do sway/impact their readers, and 2) Those whom we honor publically often become heroes.

In conjunction with the Memorial Day holiday, let us honor the memory of those soldiers who volunteered to serve and fight for our country and freedoms, and remember other heroes in our lives. Make your great respect known of the good people around you. Tell them. Write to them. Show them the impact they have had on you. There are heroes all around us. You are probably one of them to someone.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Book Clubs and Book Buzz

Here's what's been happening in my writing world:

I'm going to be posting more sporadically on my blog to concentrate on other writing-related things. The time is right and it feels freeing. 

I had a blast hosting my first Book Club discussion group, about 10 of us. I first gave some insights into both my writing process and my publishing journey. Having the author there (me) to say more than what we liked/didn't like about the book of the month was a first for these book club members--a special treat. There are always some who want to talk more than others, keeping the discussion going. It amazes me when people get excited that they know an author. I don't feel any different, but it's a thrill to hear when people tell me they loved my book. It would be a pleasure to participate in other book club groups, either locally or as a live online presence. Please contact me for more information.

On a separate occasion, I was asked about the setting of my book by a member of another faith. He was confused to learn that my story takes place around 90 BC, because he expected a Book of Mormon story to take place during the time of Joseph Smith, the 1800s. I explained that the Book of Mormon is a compilation of records written by early prophets on the American continent. His wife loved the book, and they asked about the progress of its sequel. Though my target audience is LDS, I'd love to hear more buzz about my book from members of other faiths. Secrets of the King's Daughter is a story about finding faith as well as love. Anybody out there have any feedback on my book from non-Mormons?

Have a great week!

Monday, May 9, 2016

The Whitney Awards

Finalist Titles for 2015
Named for Orson Whitney, who stated that "We will yet have Miltons and Shakespeares of our own...",  the Whitney Awards celebrate the achievement of LDS Authors and literary excellence. This was my first year to attend the awards banquet. The five finalists in eight genres, three best-of-the-year categories, and two Achievement Awards were honored. What a wonderful accomplishment to all candidates who got that far.

It all starts with LDS authors who write exceptional books. Any reader can nominate a book that impressed them or they loved by going to whitneyawards.com. A book needs five separate nominations to be considered. Then a committee of readers narrow down the field, who become the top five finalists. Lastly, a group of publishers, agents, and authors who read all finalists in that category can vote for a winner.

Have you read a book by an LDS author that you deem worthy to be considered as a candidate for the Whitney Awards? Do your part and nominate! This is a reader-based award.


Finalists gather for a group photo
Congratulations to the 2015 finalists and winners! You are all awesome!

Monday, May 2, 2016

Putting My Brave Face On for Writer's Conference Time

I'm getting excited to attend my favorite conference, LDStorymakers. It's always fun to see blog/Facebook friends in person, learn from great teachers, and get new inspiration. Additionally, this year I have the opportunity to attend a pre-conference dinner given for authors and artists by my publisher--a real chance to rub elbows and clink water glasses with many whose books I know and love. It still amazes me that I am part of the Covenant Communications family.

What, if any, opportunities might come from conversations at either the dinner or the conference? I might overhear a couple speaking of a collaborative project, be privy to someone's next great idea, or make a new friend. Personally, I'm looking for a few at the conference who might be available to become beta readers for me and test-read my next book.

None of these scenarios will pan out if I don't get brave enough to instigate or participate in conversations with strangers and pedestal-topping well-knowns. Yes, we writers and wannabes have to occasionally leave the comfort and security of our desks to get bold and mingle!

Remember: Folks are typically downright friendly and interesting. Let's get the full experience and benefit from writer conferences and events by putting on a brave face. It gets easier each time we do. One day, we might score a big networking connection or a fast friendship, but if not, we probably had more fun by stretching and growing than listening in from the corner.