Monday, December 28, 2015

More Ups Than Downs in 2015

Time to wrap things up... presents, projects, the end of another year. I'm reflecting on what I've accomplished, big and small.

Presents--Did you wrap or receive any books? It's a common time for reading. My reading habits this past year involved mostly library audio books and downloading e-books on my iPad. I also participated irregularly in a local book club group. Their choice of books has expanded my typical reading habits.

Projects--This year was devoted to working on the untitled sequel to Secrets of the King's Daughter. I finished the revised draft and just got feedback from my critique partners. Yep, there's a little more work to do, but I should have it ready for beta readers in a month or so. This big project was accomplished in many smaller chunks along the way and with the encouragement of my critique group. Some days went better than others. No surprise there.

Year's End--I've had to be patient, practically ignoring anything concerning publishing as I await the release of my debut book in March 2016. The delays will soon be a fading memory and I look forward to exciting things happening in the coming year.

How has your year been?

Monday, December 21, 2015

A Writer's Influence - No Greater Calling

Merry Christmas, friends! In the midst of this special time of year where Christians celebrate the birth of the Savior of the world, I'm led toward sharing a deeper personal level of my thoughts. At the heart of my writing, I've always hoped to inspire others spiritually--to entertain and make readers feel strong emotion, certainly, but I also want to give hope, courage to choose the right, a desire to build God's kingdom on earth, and discover one's divine potential. It might not be easy to achieve, but why not try?

My oldest grandchildren are getting to the age where peer pressure plays into their choices, where innocence peels away to expose the harsh realities of worldliness. I want them to experience as many good influences as possible. In my convictions, anything we can do to steer a single soul of God's children to choose His ways is worth the effort. Not that I expect to change the world. But one person can make a difference to someone. We don't always recognize our influence or impact on other people, similar to George Bailey in the Christmas movie It's a Wonderful Life.

I'm starting my writing career with scripture-based fiction (soon to be published) and LDS inspirational non-fiction (yet to be published). It's a niche market--not for everyone. Getting rich is obviously not my first priority. Writers have the blessing of reaching an audience with themes and memes for good or otherwise. If I can subtly send out vibes and show characters who make others want to do good and be good, what greater calling is there?

Not all writers need to have the same priorities, and you may or may not agree, but these are my feelings, and I intend to take ownership of them. Consider your own calling as a writer and how your reading choices influence you. Do they meet your current goals?

Monday, December 14, 2015

Book Signing Hype - Worth It?

I went to see Stephanie Black at the Sacramento CA Deseret Book store the other day. I was excited to get her latest book, Played For A Fool, but also to remind myself of things to do/not do for future reference. She had a smile on her face, a nice display, was interested in me, and had chocolate. All good things. Oh, and did you notice that she chooses great colors to wear?

Stephanie drove two hours to the closest DB store to her. Was it worth it? I don't know. Maybe it depends upon your criteria. (She didn't know ahead of time she would get my blog post out of it.) I'm sure authors have the most success when they're a local/people know them and word of their event was wide spread. Maybe it's something I will have to experience to know, but I plan to make mine fun and prepare however I can.

For now, I'd like to know what your feelings are about book signings. Please take a few seconds to help me out. Thank you!
Create your own user feedback survey

Monday, December 7, 2015

Mixing Business with Pleasure for My Writing Adventures

Many authors find writing pleasurable, but not so much marketing or other aspects of being a writer. This one tops my list for both work and fun. Enjoy.

The Mackleys, Konopnickis, and Lunds at Dinner
I recently went on my first cruise, enjoying it with an LDS group of 30. We went to see "Book of Mormon Lands" in the western Caribbean, with two shore excursions to the Maya ruins of Tulum and  Lamanai. In addition, I attended lectures aboard ship, given by author and motivational speaker Dr. John L. Lund, where evidence was presented about Mesoamerican sites as candidates for locations described in the Book of Mormon. If you know a little of my writing projects, you can see how perfect this was for me.

I not only listened to Lund for the entertainment and educational value, I hoped to glean some tidbits to insert into my sequel, Secrets of the King's Daughter: A Book of Mormon Romance. And I found a couple that I never would have considered on my own.

Things I gained on vacation for my scripture-based fiction:
1. A visual appreciation for the beauty and topography of my writing project's setting for my next two books.
2. Specific scriptural references which apply to my story, as presented by Dr. Lund.
3. Cool photos to share, educate, and use for promotional posts or contests.
4. I purchased some swag to give away. (Wish I could have found more!)
5. Increased education about the best candidate locations for Book of Mormon sites, including climate, minerals, river flow, use of "up" and "down" correlating to elevation (rather than compass directions), volcanoes, and religious evidences.
6. New friends who could become potential readers.

I'll leave you with a couple teaser photos.

Lund points to Mask Temple in Lamanai, Belize
Tulum, Mexico