Monday, December 30, 2013

Blog Branching Out

 I hope you have found some useful writing tips, book reviews, and encouragement from my blog over the past year. That has been my goal. Thank you to all who visit.
The end of the year causes me to ponder the direction my blog will go for the coming year. I want to add to my purpose of this being an uplifting place for writers and readers to land, and a way to share my writing journey. I ran a contest using Rafflecopter for the first time and want to branch out with other new or borrowed ideas. In order to do this, I plan to explore more of what is out there in blog land. So far, I've decided to:

1. Visit and make a comment on a new-to-me blog each week.
2. Visit and make a comment on a familiar blog each week.
What do you like to see from your favorite blogs?

Monday, December 23, 2013

Bearing Gifts Year Round

I found a great yearlong quote that holds added meaning at Christmas.
"Each day comes bearing Gifts. Untie the ribbons...." - Ann Ruth Schabacker
Do we look at each day with the same anticipation a child does when seeing presents under a Christmas tree? Granted, Christmas is a special time for both the reason we celebrate and the fact that it only comes yearly. But our participation also makes it magical and gets us in the proper mood.
It is my hope that we can look forward to each day's writing time with the expectation that magic will unfold if we simply untie whatever holds us back. The gifts are there, waiting. Even if you end up rewriting most of it, you have created something no one else has, and in the process, there is likely a magical phrase or two that are keepers. Put those efforts together and someday you can bear your gift to others.
Happy writing and Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Book Review - Copied

COPIED - Book Review to follow.
Author: S. M. Anderson
Publisher: Curiosity Quills
Release Date: December 11
Genre: YA Science Fiction
Target Audience: 14 and up
Book Blurb: Adopted off the black market, Alexander Mitchell, has no idea his DNA is copyrighted and property of military weapons giant Texacom Defense.
Nor that his DNA is being used to develop an army of clones. When the company discovers he was not properly disposed of 17 years ago, they send an assassin copy, BETA23, to terminate Xan and cover it up
After he narrowly escapes BETA23’s first attempt, Xan teams up with Lacey, a genetically engineered genius he’s surprised to find common ground with— only they’re awkward together. Half of the time she stares at Xan like the science project he is and the other half…let’s just say Xan can’t keep his eyes off her lips.
When they manage to capture a company copy by luck and sheer stupidity on Xan’s part, Lacey is determined to see the good in their prisoner to the point she believes BETA23 can be persuaded to give them the intelligence they need to keep the company forever off Xan’s back. Xan’s not sure if he can trust the darker version of himself, not when it means gambling with the lives of his family and the possibility of losing Lacey.

My Review: This amount of Sci-Fi was just right for me, not too heavy. I liked the YA contemporary setting with a few interesting sci-fi oddities placed in it. Anderson did a good job adding researched elements to make the plot plausible. The story makes readers think about the ethics of cloning and gratitude for individualism. She throws fun characters into the mix, some fight scenes and romance--something for everyone. I found the transition from shifting Xan's attraction off a popular girl to a geek-girl believable and refreshing--one that gives hope to similar adolescents. But Lacey has her own complicated emotions that leave the relationship unresolved and readers hungry for the next book. Anderson has a good thing going here, yet it didn't quite reach that amazing wow factor I hoped for. I'm thinking the best is yet to come. The writing is good, it kept my interest, and the direction held some surprises. A clean book that I am happy to recommend.

DSC_0304 Author Biography: S. M. Anderson (Sarah Anderson) was born in Lima, Peru. She has lived in seven different countries, on five continents, and speaks a smattering of languages. As a child and even young adult, writing and reading were difficult for her, so difficult that she received extra help outside the classroom and was diagnosed with a learning disability. However, she always loved stories, especially ethnic folktales from the countries she lived in. It was the desire to create stories of her own that fueled her determination to overcome the challenges that came with writing. She has a BA in Art Education from BYU, with a minor in Russian, and a love of power tools. She has a growing family of three kids and currently lives in Springville, Utah.
Find Sarah Anderson or watch her book trailer at:

Monday, December 9, 2013

Intellectual Property Copyright Permissions

Putting together a non-fiction book has allowed me to stretch with new experiences. Last week I worked on a new kind of permission needed for Bishop Stories. I'm not talking about a personal story release. I've been dealing with those all along. I need to gain intellectual property permission from the Church to use printed material like scriptures and quotes from general conference talks. I'd been putting off the unfamiliar task. It actually turned out easy enough, though a little time consuming--filling out a form and sending in the manuscript with highlighting markings of whatever was copyrighted. I had to re-look up some of the references so I could add them with the internet URL. The form was linked to the author submissions guidelines, making it easy to find. Interesting stuff. I never realized how many LDS non-fiction books must have sought permission.

This week's focus will be finalizing Bishop Stories permissions and finishing a book tour read for next week's review. And I'm certain some Christmas happenings will weave their way into the timeline. It's a tricky time of year to stay motivated. Keep up your good efforts, wherever they lead you. More often than not, those tasks we put off are usually quite manageable. Have a great week!

Monday, December 2, 2013

The Pace of Life

Hello December. Hectic or joyful? Maybe both. Today I'm thinking about pacing--not in writing but in life. Whether you are breathing a sigh of relief from a frantic finish to NaNoWriMo or you've been dragging your feet to accomplish year-end goals, December is a good month to think about life pacing. 

Step 1- Evaluate. Are there extra activities pulling you away from writing goals? Do you need more family time? Would a break invigorate you for those New Year Resolutions ahead or do you need a push to get into gear? Figure out where you stand. Don't be hard on yourself by analyzing it to death. It's just a place that you are currently at. A starting point to figure where to go from here.
Step 2 - Prioritize. Can the deadlines wait or does the family need more from you? In the long and short of it, what things will be important today, this week, and this month? I'm a list-maker and it feels good to cross things off, but a few things usually get pushed to tomorrow. Disruptions happen and usually I'm okay with that. I still see progress and some spontaneity makes life interesting. It can be tricky making sure the proper things get the most attention, whatever the amount of time we're dealt. If we have our priorities straight in our heads, it's easier to both implement action and go with the flow.
Step 3 - Work the Plan. Make those priorities happen to the degree of your abilities, whether you've decided to work hard or scale back. Put whatever it is that is your priority into action through step by step goals or keeping end-result focus. This is hard to do if you haven't completed steps 1 and 2. (That's the biggest tip here, folks.) 

May we all find a pace that makes us and those around us happy. Enjoy December!