Monday, February 27, 2012

My Secret Project and More Alliteration Entries

I'm letting my "secret" out. That's right. I'm risking that someone might steal my idea because I need your help! Okay, so most wouldn't want a project like this anyway. But I'm excited about it. (Drum roll.) Here's my request :

   I am hoping you can help me with a book project that will honor LDS bishops through positive stories to uplift readers and show those things bishops encounter in helping members. I am collecting stories around the world from or concerning bishops. These can be informational, inspirational, or amusing, but not too sacred to share. No names or other recognition will be used, and I cannot compensate you for your time. Please know that whatever you can send is greatly appreciated.
   Don't worry about the writing--just get enough details down to tell the story. Any length is appropriate since I am combining shorter submissions of similar topics. I will edit your submission to fit the needs of the book. If you prefer to tell me your story, please leave a contact number and I will call you. If you know of someone who might wish to contribute, please forward this information on to them. I hope to receive all submissions by March 30, 2012 or soon thereafter.
   I am happy to answer any questions you might have. Thank you for your time.
I've had some awesome entries sent to me and I really believe people will enjoy reading these uplifting and amusing stories. It will be an eye-opener. As you can see by my word count meter on the sidebar, I have a ways to go. The problem is that, unlike fiction, these real stories have to come from people's experiences. If you can share a submission or pass the word on, you will help to further my dream. Wouldn't that be so cool of you?
Last week I had so much going on my blog post that I forgot to share the alliteration entries from my contest so I'm going to share the rest with you today. You can also view the winning entry here.
By Wendy Swore: Audacious Alligators actually acclimate acceleratedly after adorning argyle aprons and animal arms artistically altered, acutely arranged, and affixed against apexes along all appendages. 
By Lisa Asanuma: Wicked, wild, witty witches waft wily wares Wednesdays wondering why witless wahoos would want winnowing wastewater without winter washstands.
By Carolyn Frank:  (She's written hers as a book review for the old classic, She Sells Sea Shells.)
She Sells Sea Shells by the Sea Shore sold seventy seven sizzling sagas sometime in September, satisfying selected socialites with several sanguine, saucy stories, soaring storyteller, Sally Sue Stevens sales somewhat skyward, sorry to say. Sadly, such sappy sequels should stay secret.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Whitney Awards, Book Review, and More

At this time of year, judges are voraciously reading finalist entries in The Whitney Awards. LDS Authors whose books have been nominated then whittled down to five of the best in a genre are now competing for the coveted top spot. Or, in the case of the 2010 entries, a tie. Winners will be announced in early May at the conclusion of the LDStorymaker Conference. Today I will review a YA Speculative Whitney finalist whose cover was also a Reader's Choice Best Genre Cover winner in a contest last week through LDS Publisher: Variant by Robison Wells.
The book blurb: Benson Fisher thought that a scholarship to Maxfield Academy would be the ticket out of his dead-end life.
He was wrong.
Now he’s trapped in a school that’s surrounded by a razor-wire fence. A school where video cameras monitor his every move. Where there are no adults. Where the kids have split into groups in order to survive.
Where breaking the ruled equals death.
But when Benson stumbles upon the school’s real secret, he realizes that playing by the rules could spell a fate worse than death, and that escape—his only real hope for survival—may be impossible.
  With a flavor reminiscent of Hunger Games, Wells creates a believable story of survival hidden within the familiarity of our own world, but Maxfield Academy is anything but safe and familiar. In the words of Wells, it's a "modern-day, real-world, with a sci-fi twist". I personally like that better than most way-out fantasy or sci-fi books. 
  The characters are intriguing and unpredictable. Both character and plot causes Benson Fisher not to trust anyone but himself. This page turner kept me guessing. Book #1 leaves us with a few questions answered and new ones sparked in cliff-hanging circumstances. Can’t wait for Feedback, the next and final installment.
  Variant is surprisingly clean with maybe three or four swear words, less violence than Hunger Games, and no sex. I highly recommend it for young adult and adult male and female readers.

Monday, February 13, 2012

To Honor a Special Friend

Today I honor someone whom I will never forget in guiding my writing journey and to all those online and in person friendships that were created through the world of writers. Happy Valentine's Day! 
I started writing a novel after reading one that struck me as being something within my capabilities. Just give me a computer and enough time and the ideas I find exciting can turn into publish-worthy pages. Ignorance is bliss. Rejections came but I had proved to myself I could complete such a project and my skills should only improve with practice.
After I had started a second novel, I moved to a new area and met a friend who also wrote. She encouraged me to join her critique group. What an eye-opener! She and another woman did their best to find good things to say about my writing while guiding me through reasons why a sentence or paragraph needed changes or why a character felt flat. I quickly learned and improved both through writing and critiquing. The process of growth felt exhilarating.
This woman and I developed an unlikely friendship. She has a busy household full of children and my caboose was heading to college. She's a bit high-energy and I’m more organized and low-key. But we needed one another to improve, to fulfill our dreams.
Though I credit her with my real start to writing, showing patience and believing in me, there came a point where my friend grew frustrated with her lack of success.
“Why spend so much time when nothing comes of it?” she asked.
The answer was evident. “Because you love it.”
            An artist needs another artist to buoy them up, give encouragement, praise when deserved and give helpful criticism as needed. Our husbands may be supportive, but they really don’t understand our drive and all that it takes to do what we do. Only other passionate writers can fill those shoes of support through the ups and downs of going after our dreams. I am grateful to have such a friends in my life. Here's to my critique group--Melissa, Shannon, Rich, and Brock. Love you guys!
            And now I'd like to share this special friend's entry in my alliteration contest:
            Melanie Martineau meandered merrily, moving magic marbles over her  milky mandibles. Madness marred the machinery of her mind as she marked Mary Malcom's mansion on a map. Maybe she'd make a magpie munch on the mannerless Mary's marshmallows. Moreover, maybe a mallet to the martyr's magnolia tree might make the manager of her meat-market the malevolent witch of Oz. Moving her magnet of a mirror, Melanie munched on mildewed macaroni. A marvelous mouth-watering meal, and mentally measured the miles to Mary's mansion. Muah ha ha ha! -- by Melissa Cunningham
           To learn more about the contest and winner, click here
           Who inspires you?

Monday, February 6, 2012

Book Review and Alliteration Entry

For the next five weeks I will be posting entries to my alliteration contest one at a time, along with my regular post. So look for Matthew Tandy's great submission below. First, I have a book review for anyone interested in learning to make better decisions for their financial future. In other words, this book is for adults of all ages.
View RetirementQuestCover.jpg in slide showView John Hauserman pix.jpg in slide show
The 124 page book is RetirementQuest: Make Better Decisions by John Hauserman. The back cover states the book's purpose as showing how to get unbiased advice and avoiding costly mistakes."If you want to build a secure financial future, this is the book that will help show you how." I agree that this novice-friendly book is an aid and covers these purposes, but not meant to be all inclusive. It is a good starting place.
Mr. Hauserman begins by pointing out how there is a greater need for financial planning to meet one's goals than ever before. People live longer now and investments needs a vigilant eye. Mr. Hauserman goes through information step-by-step with understandable examples and explained graphs or charts. You don't need to be a rocket scientist to read this book, though for me, it did take a quiet atmosphere and slow reading to absorb the information. The book is orderly and logical with certain points bolded or highlighted with a side bar for emphasis.
The introductory chapters gave me the feel of relevance for most reader's situations. I found the section toward the end where history affected spending trends and philosophies especially interesting. Some of the middle made me want to turn investing over into the hands of one more competent. This acceptable avenue could find you seeking Hauserman's or another's services or at least checking out the free interactive financial map on his website. Books like this one are important to read because ultimately, we are all responsible for our own financial decisions.
If you would like to order a copy of this book, go to:  You can also visit the author's website here:
     Check last week's post or scroll down for the winning entry to my alliteration contest. Here's another great submission by Matthew Tandy:
Two tanned tee tolling Tandy's tangoed tremulously towards tight tightropes taped to towers. Taking time, teetering, tottering, teasing, together to topward tiers. Tonight, tangoing Tandy's Tatianna, Thomas, tempered terrifying, terminal tittering, toes turned tactically, teeth terrific, talking tall tales, tender truths, tavern tales.