Monday, November 25, 2013

Support For Your Writing Addiction

And the WINNER of the wall hanging is . . .

Thank you to all who participated in my Gratitude Contest!

The last post for this month of Gratitude is that I'm grateful for the support of my family. Support is crucial. Writers who go it on their own can go months or years without getting a single pat on the back or hearing the words, "Well done!" In my case, I imagined it would take a year to write and revise a book. Maybe another year to get reader feedback, tweak some more, submit, and hear from the publisher. That's a long time to go without any encouragement. In reality, it took me double that amount of time. My husband allowing me to use my time writing and giving financial support toward writer conferences was a great boon to me, as was having a good critique group.

But what if you don't have support close by? 
You have to find/create it. Either that or have super-human inner-strength.

Suggestions: Find a critique group that gives positive feedback as well as suggestions for things that don't work in your manuscript. Recognize that the latter is a gift--someone else telling you the spots where you can make your story better. Learn to enjoy the process of getting your best story out there. Seek out blogs and writer friends for help and encouragement. Pin up an inspiring quote. Make some goals and reward yourself for steps along the way to achievement. If you thrive on competition, find a writing buddy to 'sprint' with or participate in contests like NaNoWriMo. Involve those in your household by having them brainstorm ideas with you or read short segments. Respect their time by not pushing too much on them, but keep them informed through tidbits of what you achieved that day. If they can't take the smallest amount of interest, seek another source. Search online or ask your librarian to help you connect with writers. Attending a workshop can give you face-to-face connections that may lead to just what you need. The road will have some bumps but keep your eye on that destination! You can do it!

Got a suggestion to share?

Monday, November 18, 2013

Author Interview and a Gratitude Contest

Let me introduce you to my talented friend, Lori Nawyn. I'm grateful for friends who inspire. You will certainly be touched by this heartfelt interview. Lori 'taught me the ropes' as a member of my first critique group. Meet Lori:

The wife of a fireman, mother of four, grandmother of four, and mentor to three opinionated dogs she's training for urban mushing, Lori enjoys running, hiking, kayaking, and reading, and growing tomatoes, peppers, and herbs for her fresh salsa.

2. What does gratitude mean to you?

Lori: To me gratitude means seeing with my heart; consciously seeking to understand the purpose in all I experience and determining to appreciate the wonderful times as well as the difficult and challenging times for the opportunities they afford me to learn and grow.

3. Eloquently said. Please name something you are grateful for.

Lori: I am most grateful for the examples of friends and family members who have taught me that the quality of our lives has everything to do with our attitude, not our material possessions or social status. In particular the example of my Grandma Esther is a beacon in my life. I recently wrote about her for one of my publishers (

4. I'm big on attitude myself. Great article, BTW. Tell me about the Gratitude Journal Project.

Lori: Three years ago, I was going through a very difficult time. It seemed the harder I worked, and the more success I attained, the more miserable I became. I realized I was trying to fill some deep voids left by my growing up years. I felt inferior in many ways, that I would never measure up or be of value. In my childhood, a trusted adult had often expressed to me that I should never have been born. I came to see how much, throughout my lifetime, I had subconsciously internalized that sentiment, and how to a frightening degree I had embraced it as truth.

A good deal of soul searching led me to see that I needed to consciously shift my focus away from feeling and acting like a victim. Indeed, I saw I was blessed: I had physically survived many circumstances that others had not. Following the example of my Grandma Esther and those I knew like her, I determined to find something to be grateful for in each day.

At the time, a couple of relationships in my life were unraveling. Betrayal and distrust left me feeling vulnerable and hurt. In addition, I needed to deal with emotions I had not processed when I lost both my grandparents (who were effectively my parents) in 2006, and the deaths of many close friends–several who had committed suicide. Every stress, worry and fear in my life seemed amplified. When my husband, a fireman, responded to emergency calls, I became obsessed with feelings of trepidation that he wouldn't return.  Often it would take much conscious effort to surmount emotional challenges and find the strength I needed to face each day.

I kept a spiral notebook–my gratitude journal–with me at all times. I wrote down anything and everything I could remotely think of to be thankful for. Sunlight, my own breathing, the bite of cold on my face on a snowy day, challenges that had reinforced my determination to do my best, the love of friends and family who I could trust, the power of love, the hope of healing. One day I focused on the tedium of household chores, the certainty of aging, and my fear of making mistakes (Renae, see attached) and came to understand that it was my privilege to choose happiness. Over weeks and months, writing down what I was thankful for became habit. I began to see my stress and worries lift. I felt happy and hopeful. The practice of gratitude has become a life-sustaining influence that I never want to lose sight of again. 

5. Wow! So glad you pulled through. This gives personal meaning to the effort in this book. Lori graciously shares one of the Gratitude Journal pages with us. How does it feel to be inspirational and give encouragement to others?

Lori: I meet those who tell me, "It must be so cool to see your name in print." Or, "It must be great to be famous." Really, what is wonderful about being an author and illustrator is the chance it gives me to share what I've learned with others and hopefully touch their hearts and lives for the better. Just last night a dear friend, a great-grandmother in her nineties, related to me how the book I recently illustrated (Love, Hugs, and Hope: When Scary Things Happen) has helped her. Her daughter died unexpectedly a few weeks ago. "I know you illustrated that book for children," she told me, "but I picked it up and went through all of it. I held it close to me. I embraced the message of hope." Hearing that meant more to me than words can express.

6. Can you leave a writing tip for us?

Lori: Don't give up! I used to think that if I couldn't turn out award-winning writing in the first draft I should quit. But writing is like painting. You do some sketches, you move things around, rearranging the composition. You put down some bold strokes of paint; you add subtle nuances, fine details. You work to find a pleasing balance of contrast and color that feels right to your heart, mind, and eye. It's the same with writing.

7. I'm grateful she didn't give up on me as a new writer! She has such a way with words and many wonderful books out. Please tell us what you are working on now and how to contact you.

Lori: Right now I'm working on compiling a book of pear recipes. I'm also writing a children's picture  book about my grandfather and rewriting a middle grade novel. In between I'm working on layouts for a line of gift books. 
Here is the brand new cover of her book coming out in January. So pretty!

Twitter: @LoriNawyn

Thank you, Lori. More warm thoughts: Enter to win this wall hanging. Contest ends November 22.

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Monday, November 11, 2013

A Book Review and Two More Contests!

Gratitude is November's theme. I am grateful for Christmas with all its spiritual meanings and fun traditions. I'm grateful for new stories of Christmas to read. The stories so far have been enjoyable and sometimes inspiring. I plan to finish them all and believe that you would like this book too. The best part is that the proceeds go toward Autism programs. I'm grateful for the charity of these authors. Don't forget that I'm grateful for my followers and those who stop in to make comments. For you there is a special giveaway below.

Carol of the Tales and Other Nightly Noels: An Advent Anthology, Volume 2

Christmas carols capture the spirit of Christmas, and Carol of the Tales and Other Nightly Noels brings beloved carols to life like never before. Throw your cares away with the tales from sweet silver bells. Find out how Santa Claus dabbles in time travel, and feel the redemption of a dying wife's parting Christmas gift. Experience all this and more in these heartfelt, entertaining tales donated by a team of authors from across the country, working together for a good cause. The proceeds from the sale of this book will be donated toward Autism research and advocacy.

Anthology authors include: Shirley Bahlmann, C. David Belt, Rebecca Carlson, Loretta Carter, Madonna D. Christensen, Danyelle Ferguson, C. Michelle Jefferies, Theric Jepson, Ryan Larsen, Angie Lofthouse, Betsy Love, J. Lloyd Morgan, Janet Olsen, Teresa G. Osgood, Brian Ricks, Jennifer Ricks, Peg Russell, and Michael Young.

Carol of the Tales is the 2nd book in the Advent Anthology series. Both anthologies are available in paperback and Amazon Kindle
formats from 

Purchase “Sing We Now of Christmas”:
Purchase: “Carol of the Tales”:

To kick off the release of the second anthology, a Christmas
concert will be held at American Fork Junior High on December 7th,
2013. The concert will feature the Saltaires Barbershop Chorus. All proceeds from this concert will be donated to charity as well. Purchase: Tickets for the Concert:

Blog Tour Giveaway!
Use the rafflecopter below to enter to win wonderful prizes, such as tickets to the concert and copies of the anthology

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Blog Followers Appreciation Giveaway!
Be a Follower and make a comment for easy entry to win this wall hanging.

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Monday, November 4, 2013

Book Review and Two Contests

My focus for November is Gratitude. I am grateful today for those with the courage to write or speak out against ills that plague them in an effort to make changes for the better. That is what the following book is about.
Blurb: In December, 2009, Susan Cox Powell was reported missing from her home in West Valley City, Utah. As law enforcement tried to piece together what had happened to Susan, her husband, Josh Powell, became the only person of interest in the case.
For Jennifer Graves, Josh’s sister, the nightmare started long before Susan’s disappearance. From her experiences growing up in the Powell family to the terrifying moment when she first started to believe her brother was a killer, she relied on her faith to stay strong. She devoted herself to the safety of Susan’s boys, Charlie and Braden, whom she hoped to be able to raise as her own. When the boys were murdered by their father in February, 2012, Jennifer was more than devastated, but she had to believe there was a reason for it all—including the deaths of her beloved nephews.
In A Light In Dark Places, Jennifer shares her struggles and her triumphs. In coming to terms with such tragedy she finally was able to embrace the truth that we all have the power to choose our own path—and there is always hope, no matter how dark things may seem.
Wow. It's a privilege to tell you about A Light in Dark Places. This is a personal account from the viewpoint of Josh Powell's sister, the man who is suspected of killing his wife and later blew up himself and his two young sons. What a hard story to tell. But one with a purpose. Jennifer Graves and co-author Emily Graves Clawson write this biographical account in sequential events that kept me turning page after page. A fascinating read that grabbed my emotions, tastefully done with the right amount of details to portray an accurate account from her viewpoint, but without getting too disturbing. This book is meant to give hope to others locked in abusive relationships, but I would recommend it to any but the most sensitive adult reader. 5 Stars.
The blog tour sponsor is giving away a $25 Amazon gift card or Paypal cash. Enter a Rafflecopter giveaway 

More fun:

To show appreciation to my followers, I am giving away this cute wall hanging in an easy contest! All you have to do is be a follower and make a comment. Yep. That's it! The contest runs through November 22nd and the winner will be announced November 25th. Earn another entry by commenting each week until the deadline.
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