Monday, December 29, 2014

My Writing Journey 2014 Highlights

This blog has seen four birthdays and I've worked at becoming an author for at least five years now. It's a slow process, yet each year in my writing journey seems better than the last. I've had some significant highlights and I hope you will reminisce with me.
2014 Highlights:

  • An article published in the Liahona put me into instant international publication status. (Yes, I'm calling it that.)
  • Posted an author Facebook page.
  • Attended LDStorymakers Conference 2014 in Utah.
  • Joined an awesome critique group that regularly submits.
  • Finished Bishop Stories. Will submit after Missionary Stories.
  • Signed a contract with Covenant Communications to publish Secrets of the King's Daughter. (Publishing date delayed until January 2016.)
  • Received wonderful back cover reviews from noteworthy authors.
  • Doing final revisions on Missionary Stories
  • Writing a draft of the sequel to Secrets of the King's Daughter.
In other words, I'm further along the path, seeing success, and staying busy. I've met some wonderful people, and I hope I have inspired or helped a few of you. May the year 2015 be your best writing year yet!

Monday, December 22, 2014

Witnesses of the First Christmas, and Book Review

Do you realize how many witnesses announced the birth of Christ? 

In honor of the true spirit of Christmas, I want to share a timely insight gained from my wonderful brother's wonderful book, Our Savior Jesus Messiah, Vol. 1 by Bryan Young Weight. The chapter entitled Events At Birth starts: "The Law of witnesses requires two or more testimonies before truth is established..." He explains how the following are all witnesses that God the Father announced the birth of His Holy Son:
  • Angels. Not only did an angel proclaim to the shepherds, a group of heavenly hosts shouted "Hosanna!"
  • Shepherds. The selected shepherds shared their new knowledge abroad.
  • Temple witnesses. The Holy infant was recognized by Simeon and Anna at the temple.
  • The Star. A new star shown as a sign and a witness.
  • Wise Men. The wise men came to worship the King of the Jews.
  • Scripture. Prophets foretold and four disciples retold the birth of Christ, recorded in scripture. Bryan uses scriptures for each of the above examples.

Here is my review: I loved this bargain-priced book and gained some new insights from reading it. The book is well-written, with logical content supported by multiple scripture sources and the perfect study for daily scripture time, for anyone of any religion who is confused about Jesus or the Messiah, and a useful companion to LDS Gospel Doctrine lessons. I highly recommend it and look forward to the next volumes coming out in 2015. I gave it 5 stars. 
Learn more insights and proofs of how Jesus Christ is our Savior and Messiah in this inspirational work. Find out more on
Merry Christmas, everyone!

Monday, December 15, 2014

This week I joined the frenzy of signing up on the first day for my favorite writer's conference, LDStorymakers. Being on Pacific time, I even set my alarm to make sure I had things ready to go on time. The system had an overload or something, but shortly after that was fixed I had registered and signed up for the pre-registration intensive class I wanted most. Hooray! (The regular sessions do not need pre-registration.) This was my main reason for signing up early--last year the intensives filled before I registered. Others scrambled to get pitch sessions or manuscript consultation.

Great things (including but not limited to) about having a favorite conference to attend each year:

  • Connecting. Seeing old friends and online friends in person.
  • Networking. Getting your face and name out there, finding collaborations, meeting agents and publishers.
  • Familiarity = Comfort. Being comfortable with the way things are run, fewer surprises, appreciating subtle changes.
  • Repeats. Taking the class(es) you missed out on last year.
  • Fun. Rejuvenation. Getting pumped up again.
  • Audience. Attenders at this conference are among who I read and who will read my books.

For more information on this wonderful conference held in Utah May 15-16, 2016, visit

Monday, December 8, 2014

The Bumpy Road to Publication

It's been a week of highs and lows for me. If I could have foreseen the bumpy road to publication, would I make the same choices? Before I answer that, let's take a look at my week. 

The High: I asked, on short notice, three authors to read Secrets of the King's Daughter for the back cover blurb reviews, and all three came through for me with wonderful reviews. Great news, right? Even better, was the fact that I just had to ask one of these authors for the favor because, well, it's H. B. Moore--as in the researcher and writer of LDS historical fiction and Whitney Award winner! How cool is that? I felt so grateful that I had the courage to ask a busy author who probably gets a lot of requests from unknowns like me. To have her endorsement is HUGE. Feeling grateful; feeling good.

The Blow: Friday I learned that my book's release date was moved back from February 2015 clear until January 2016. What? Eleven months later!?! Instant deflation. How can I wait that long?

But I understand the publisher's reasons. Scriptural fiction sells better if it's the Gospel Doctrine topic of study--three to four times better, some say. 2016 is the year for Book of Mormon study. It might make sense to wait. One who wasn't emotionally attached to the situation would have to agree. (Disclaimer: This is not to say they won't change their minds again. I'll keep you posted.) 

I've given up my control to a publisher who holds the best market niche for my type of book, rather than self-publishing how and when I want. Do I regret that decision? No. I don't need a psychic consultant; I'm trusting in a marketing team with experience and emotional detachment. I have a great editor that I didn't have to seek out. I believe that sharing the same publisher was a contributing factor to Heather Moore taking time to write a back cover review. I just need to be patient. It's kind of like preparing a glorious feast and then finding out the guests have been caught in traffic. Delay mode. Don't worry; I've got some things to work on in the meantime.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Puzzling Over Plots, Part 3 of 3: Middles

I've been using a puzzle analogy to talk about beginnings, ends, and now middles in plot planning. Just like a puzzle, the middle is often the hardest part when writing. The easy stuff is already done and the hardest pieces lay overwhelmingly in view, waiting to be connected. To keep your interest in the puzzle strong, narrow your focus to a specific section. Work on those trees in the shadow or that brown train car. Expand from there. Focus on the next complication that blocks the path to your main character's goal. Interesting stories must show struggles and how they are conquered, or how they alter the MC's route or his goal. What is at stake if they don't succeed? This creates tension and tension is exciting.

Sometimes we tire of looking for a certain puzzle piece and want to switch gears. If you are tired of writing a scene, work on something else. If you aren't feeling it, loving the scene, your reader's won't either. Come back later when you are fresh. In the meantime, what else excites you? Are you tired of putting train car after train car together? Break it up with a different setting or type of scene. Maybe it's time to throw in a little romance or mischief. Move the group to a different venue or introduce a new character. Just make sure that it connects somehow later on.

In writing Secrets of the King's Daughter, there is a middle part where the the people of Ishmael become converted to Nephite ways--except for princess Karlinah. Now no one wants to marry an unbeliever--no one except the worst possible candidate. It would be boring if I showed scene after scene of suitors rejecting the princess or her avoiding a certain someone. Middles especially need some variety along with the tension. Something new has to happen. The fun is putting something in that your readers won't expect.

No matter which part of your plot's puzzle you are working on, write those scenes that currently excite you the most. Other sections will generate new excitement for you as you see where and how they connect. Fill in the whole puzzle this way for as long as you can. Embrace your story. Go work on that exciting end, middle, or beginning. You need to have something to work from before getting specific help later, so go for it. Refinement comes later as you check the whole thing during revisions.