Tuesday, May 31, 2011

(dis)Abilities and the Gospel Book Release Party

Blogger has recently had some issues and wouldn't let me post on my blog. I've finally figured out I can write a post if I use Internet Explorer instead of Firefox. So, I apologize for not posting before today.

So much has been happening! The Ferguson munchkins had their last day of school last Tuesday. It was so fun to participate in our elementary school Clap Down as the kids exited at the end of their last day. It always makes me teary to see the 5th graders go through the school doors for the very last time. Next year, my daughter will be in 5th grade. ACK! So not ready for that!

Today the munchkins started Summer School. They were excited about their swim lessons, Lego Camp, writing, cooking, and computer classes. The house is eerily quiet this morning. So I threw Pink onto my iTunes on repeat and here I am. Updating my blog.  =)

Your first book only comes out once. Such a momentous occasion needs something special. Something big. Something loud.

PARTY TIME!!!

Saturday was my book release party. It was so, so fun! A huge thank you to all my friends and family who came. Extra huge thank you's to Lisa Swinton who hosted the party at her house & to Doug and Kelly Simpson for DJing the party. Everything was awesome! I was overwhelmed by the constant flow of friends! You all ROCK! I know I didn't get pics of everyone, but here are some fun highlights from the party.


 MJ and one of her best friends, Marianne.

 The totally awesome DJ's! Doug & Kelly from DNK Entertainment.
Need music for your party? Contact them at 816-589-0366.

Dancing with my awesome son, Rob. I wish I had pictures from the line dances.
The garage was packed full of dancers. So fun!

 The Player family, Gifford family, and Lisa. The food was delish!

It was incredible to see a cake with my book cover on it!

 Tamera Westhoff and her sister Kim - who's holding Ceclia the cute little chick!
They drove two hours to come to the party. Thank you!!!

 My totally awesome cousin, Erin, and her daughter Sarah. They came up from Oklahoma.
Having Erin there was like having a little piece of my mom there too. Such sweet memories!

 Signing a bunch of books!

 Kelly and her copy of (dis)Abilities and the Gospel . . .

 Lori Pierce and I taking a pic of us together with her cell. It was a Kodak moment.  =)

 Jason Fugett teaching his little guy in Mommy's tummy from my book. Whatever he said must have worked, cause the little guy was born the next morning at 10:30 am. Karina (Mommy) said it was all the dancing - especially the Macarena!  =)

 Karina all excited to finally have her hands on a copy of (dis)Abilities and the Gospel.

The sweetheart Julie Shaffer and me.

 My awesome Kansas Writers Group!
Karina Fugett, Lisa Swinton, Danyelle Ferguson, John Ferguson
Thank you for editing, re-editing, and supporting me! You guys are da Bomb!


 No party is complete without the Gifford family!


I'm missing good pics of so many other friends who came . . . Thank you to everyone who came. The party was such a total blast because each of you shared the day with me.


What's up next? The (dis)Abilities and the Gospel blog tour starts in June and I'll be in Dallas & Fort Worth, Texas for book signings. You can check out the dates on my website.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Summer Treasure Hunt: A Month Full of Giveaways!

Welcome to our 3rd Annual Summer Treasure Hunt:
Dig for Clues and Win Contest!

This has become an exciting tradition, both for our sponsors and hopefully for all of you! 29 writer friends and I have banded together to present a month-long contest where we will give away a prize a day for the entire month of June. That’s right! 30 awesome prizes, including books, Amazon gift cards, a Mary Kay gift set, a vinyl lettering gift certificate, a hand-sewn weekly planner with ribbon bookmark, a crocheted book tote with matching cell phone case, and again for you aspiring authors, TWO free edit/critiques of a partial manuscript. Many of the giveaways are open to International entries, though always check to be sure before you enter for a particular prize.

(Hint, hint: (dis)Abilities and the Gospel is one of the prizes!!!)

And how exactly do you enter for these amazing prizes? By following these rules:

 
SUMMER TREASURE HUNT RULES: 
You can send in one entry for each day’s prize, or only for those prizes that strike your fancy. The rules are simple:

(1) Go to the website or blog indicated for each day, find the answer to the question for that day, then email the answer with your name and AND MAILING ADDRESS to jdipastena@yahoo.com. I promise you will not wind up on any mailing lists. This is only to facilitate the receipt of your prize. All entries will be deleted at the end of the contest.

(2) Please send a separate entry for each day and type the day you are entering in the subject line. (Such as: Summer Treasure Hunt, June 1; Summer Treasure Hunt, June 2, etc).
 (3) Deadline for each day: Midnight PST
 (4) The winner will be contacted and announced on the day following the deadline.
 All winners will be drawn by www.random.org.
 You do not have to wait until the designated day to enter. You can start sending in your entries right now or begin entering at any point along the way. And check Joyce DiPastena's blog each day between June 2nd – July 1st to read the names of the winners.
 If you have any questions, please email Joyce DiPastena at jdipastena@yahoo.com.
 And now…let the treasure hunt begin!

 June 1

SPONSOR: Canda Mortensen

PRIZE: A $25 Amazon gift certificate

QUESTION: What is the title and artist of the Princess song on Newbie's playlist? (HINT: Scroll to the bottom of the blog and read “Newbie Teaser”. Match the number of “Princess” with the same number on the Playlist box (you may have to scroll down the playlist to find this, too). It will give you the title and artist.)
OPEN TO USA ENTRIES
 
 

June 2

SPONSOR: Jennifer Griffith

PRIZE: Delicious Conversation (LDS romance, an adaptation of Jane Austen's Persuasion, set in a chocolate shop in Salt Lake City), by Jennifer Griffith
QUESTION: Name at least 5 kinds of candy I ate at the last writers' conference I attended AND share YOUR favorite candy. (HINT: Read the April 20, 2011 post. Click on April under the Blog Archive in the right hand sidebar.)

OPEN TO USA ENTRIES ONLY

 

June 3

SPONSOR: Peggy Urry

PRIZE: Choice of book: Villette by Charlotte Bronte (romance, paperback); Airframe by Michael Crichton (thriller, paperback); The Body Farm by Patricia Cornwell (contemporary crime, paperback); OR The Mist of Quarry Harbor by Liz Adair (LDS romantic fiction, paperback); AND choice of Jelly Belly Gel Case for iPhone 3G/3GS or Jelly Belly Strawberry Cheesecake Gel Case for iPod Touch.
QUESTION: What is the name of my Work In Progress (WIP)? (Hint: It's the title of my March 12, 2011 post. Click on “March” under Blog Archive in the right hand sidebar.)

OPEN TO USA/CANADA ONLY

 

June 4

SPONSOR: Danielle Thorne

PRIZE: Josette (sweet Regency romance, E-book) AND Southern Girl, Yankee Roots (poetry), both by Danielle Thorne

QUESTION: Danielle supports what wildlife conservancy organization? (HINT: See right hand column of website)


OPEN TO INTERNATIONAL ENTRIES

 

June 5

SPONSOR: Bonnie Harris
PRIZE: Mary Kay Microdermabrasion Set
QUESTION: What are the names of my two WIPs? (HINT: Scroll to the bottom of the blog and click on “Work in Progress” under Labels)
WEBSITE/BLOG: http:// www.bonnieharris.blogspot.com
OPEN TO USA/CANADA
 

 

June 6

SPONSOR: Susan Kaye Quinn

PRIZE: Autographed copy of Life, Liberty, and Pursuit (YA love story), by Susan Kaye Quinn
QUESTION: How many days do David and Eliza have on the cruise together, before they’re forced to go their separate ways? (HINT: Click on the “About Me and My Books” tab and read the blurb for Life, Liberty, and Pursuit)


OPEN TO USA ENTRIES ONLY

 

June 7:

SPONSOR: Anne Bradshaw
PRIZE: True Miracles with Genealogy: Help from Beyond the Veil (non-fiction), by Anne Bradshaw – 1 print and 1 eBook – Print copy can be autographed. (Yes, there will be TWO winners drawn for this prize)
QUESTION: Which TV station interviewed Anne? (HINT: Answer is a short way down the middle column.)

OPEN TO INTERNATIONAL ENTRIES; PLEASE NOTE YOUR PREFERENCE FOR PRINT OR EBOOK, ALTHOUGH I CAN’T GUARANTEE YOU WILL WIN YOUR PREFERENCE.

 

June 8

SPONSOR: Cheri Schmidit
PRIZE: Autographed copy of Fateful (YA paranormal romance), by Cheri Schmidt
QUESTION: Who is the prince of darkness? (HINT: Click on “April” under Blog Archive in the left hand sidebar and read the April 12, 2011 post)
OPEN TO USA ONLY
 

 

June 9

SPONSOR: Mary Fremont Schoenecker

PRIZE: Moonglade (a sweet cozy mystery, Book Two in the Maine Shore Chronicles series), by Mary Fremont Schoenecker The prize is an autographed First Edition hard cover print book.
QUESTION: What special skill does character Tante Margaret use that puts her in danger during Remi's murder investigation? (HINT: Click on the “About Her Books” tab and read the Publisher’s Weekly Review.

WEBSITE/BLOG: http://www.maryschoenecker.com

OPEN TO USA/CANADA

 

June 10

SPONSOR: Shaunna Gonzales

PRIZE: FREE edit and/or critique of first 50 pages
QUESTION: What do his lips taste like? (Hint: click on “Sizzling Kiss” under Post Subjects in the left hand sidebar)

OPEN TO USA/CANADA


 

June 11

SPONSOR: Donna Hatch

PRIZE: The Stranger She Married (Regency romance), by Donna Hatch

QUESTION: What poses the greatest danger to Alicia’s heart? (HINT: Scroll down underneath the book cover of The Stranger She Married, and read the paragraph directly below.
OPEN TO INTERNATIONAL ENTRIES FOR E-BOOK VERSION; US/CANADA FOR PRINT BOOK OR PAPERBACK VERSION

 

June 12

SPONSOR: Cindy R. Williams & Planet Play Productions, LLC.
PRIZE: Award winning glossy cover children’s snuggle, giggle picture book, Chase McKay Didn’t Get Up Today, signed by the author and the real Chase McKay.
QUESTION: What is the name of the dragon in the upcoming fantasy, Thundertail’s Tale: The Legend? (HINT: click on the Blog tab)
OPEN TO USA/CANADA
 

 

June 13

SPONSOR: Larry Hammersley

PRIZE: Motorcycle Woman (sweet contemporary romance, E-book), by Larry Hammersley

QUESTION: What kind of motorcycle does Tess, the motorcycle woman, ride? (HINT: Read the blog post “Motorcycle Woman from Red Rose Publishing”, May 5, 2011)


OPEN TO INTERNATIONAL ENTRIES


 

June 14

SPONSOR: Cheryl Cory

PRIZE: Autographed copy of Must've Done Something Good (romantic comedy), by Cheryl Cory

QUESTION: What is Sylvie's all-time favorite movie? (HINT: Click on the "Info" link in the left-hand column)
OPEN TO INTERNATIONAL ENTRIES
 
 

June 15

SPONSOR: Valerie Ipson

PRIZE: $15 Gift Certificate for Vinyl Lettering  (http://vinylsignsanddesigns.blogspot.com)

QUESTION: What is Valerie's writing goal for 2011?  (HINT: Look in the right hand sidebar)
WEBSITE/BLOG: http:// valerieipson.blogspot.com 
OPEN TO USA

 

June 16

SPONSOR: Rachel Rager

PRIZE: Wednesday Romances - romance (obviously), ebook, by Rachel Rager. This is a compaliation of three different love stories, A Season for Love, The Tiger Unleashed, and The Feather Kiss. (All sweet romances)

QUESTION: Every week I have post a new chapter of a book on my blog. What are these posts called? (Hint: These posts are featured every Wednesday.)
OPEN TO INTERNATIONAL ENTRIES
 

 

June 17

SPONSOR: Danyelle Ferguson
PRIZE: Autographed copy of (dis)Abilities and the Gospel: How to Bring People with Special Needs Closer to Christ  by Danyelle Ferguson & Lynn Parsons, M.S.
non-fiction/self-help, autographed book

QUESTION: What is the name of the non-profit Danyelle co-founded? (HINT: Check out Danyelle's author bio)


OPEN TO USA ENTRIES ONLY

 

June 18

SPONSOR: Teresa Thomas Bohannon

PRIZE: A Very Merry Chase (Regency Romance novel), by Teresa Thomas Bohannon. AND a $5 Amazon gift certificate. Winner's Choice: PDF with personalized dedication, or Ebook format for Kindle or Epub format for Nook. (HINT: Read “A Very Merry Chase Excerpt” under “A Very Merry Chase” in the right hand sidebar)

QUESTION: What did Lady Bethany do and why?
OPEN TO INTERNATIONAL ENTRIES
 

 

June 19

SPONSOR: Diane Daniels

PRIZE: Autographed copy of Over the Moon (YA fantasy romance, print copy), by Diane Daniels

QUESTION: Who is Andrew's evil x-girlfriend, Sonya, named after? (HINT: Read the May 14, 2011 blog entry)


OPEN TO USA

 

June 20

SPONSOR: Margaret Larsen Turley

PRIZE: critique for up to 5000 words

QUESTION: Margaret Larsen Turley is administrator for ______________________________ group. They hold fund-raising events for Cancer Research. (HINT: You’ll find the answer in one of her website tabs)


OPEN TO INTERNATIONAL ENTRIES/ENGLISH LANGUAGE ONLY


 

June 21

SPONSOR: Anna Arnett

PRIZE: Autographed copy of Lolly's Yarn: a memoir (older YA to adult), by Anna Arnett, with a hand-crocheted bookmark

QUESTION: What was the verdict regarding Anna's radar photo speeding ticket? (HINT: Click on the Blogs tab and read “I Fought the Law and Guess Who Won?”
WEBSITE/BLOG: htt:www.annaarnett.com
OPEN TO USA
 
 

June 22

SPONSOR: Joyce DiPastena

PRIZE: Autographed copy of Loyalty’s Web (sweet medieval romance), by Joyce DiPastena

QUESTION: How do people win Joyce’s “Light Bulb Award”? (HINT: Answer is found in the right hand column of the blog)


OPEN TO USA

 

June 23

SPONSOR: C. Michelle Jefferies

PRIZE: 52 page hand-sewn weekly planner, with ribbon bookmark.

QUESTION: What rank is Michelle in martial arts? (HINT: Look in right hand sidebar under “MY TANG SOO DO PROGRESS”)


OPEN TO USA/CANADA


 

June 24

SPONSOR: Valerie J. Steimle
PRIZE: Choice of two books:  Home Is Where The Learning Is (home school how-to book, non-fiction; autographed print copy) OR Dogs, Blogs and Hobbits: Writings from a Widows Perspective ---(non-fiction articles about everything from being single and single moms to inspirational stories; autographed print copy), both by Valerie J. Steimle
QUESTION: How many children does Valerie have? (HINT: Look in the right hand column in "About Me")

OPEN TO USA/CANADA

 

June 25

SPONSOR: Karen Adair

PRIZE: Crocheted Book Tote with matching cell phone case.

QUESTION: What commenter recently called me (Karen) "The Queen of Sugar Land?" (HINT: Select “January 2011” under Archives and read the COMMENTS on Karen’s January 6, 2011 post on “The 20 Minute Sprint”)


OPEN TO USA


 

June 26

SPONSOR: Jaimey Grant (www.jaimeygrant.com) and/or TreasureLine Books & Publishing (www.treasurelinebooks.com)
PRIZE: Winner's choice of 1 of 5 Regency romance eBooks by Jaimey Grant (Honor, Betrayal, Deception, Spellbound, or Redemption. Please note: Honor contains some marital "heat".)
QUESTION: Which of Jaimey's previously self-published titles has recently been picked up by a publisher? (HINT: Click the "Purchasing Options" tab)
WEBSITE/BLOG: http:// www.jaimeygrant.com
OPEN TO INTERNATIONAL ENTRIES
 

 

June 27

SPONSOR: Heidi Murphy

PRIZE: Autographed copy of Small Deceptions (sweet Regency/Georgian romance), by H. Linn Murphy

QUESTION: In what country is the bridge found over which 'we' were fighting? (HINT: Find “Blog Archive” in the right hand sidebar, click on April and read the post titled: “The Far Bridge”)


OPEN TO INTERNATIONAL ENTRIES


 

June 28

SPONSOR: Kenneth Rosenberg

PRIZE: One e-book copy of my new romantic comedy, Sweet Ophelia and the Tinseltown Blues, any format

QUESTION: What instrument does the character Warren August play? (HINT: Click on the cover image for Sweet Ophelia and the Tinseltown Blues.  Read the first few paragraphs of the excerpt.)
WEBSITE/BLOG: http:// www.kennethrosenberg.com
OPEN TO INTERNATIONAL ENTRIES
 
 

June 29

SPONSOR: Michael Young 

PRIZE: Autographed copy of The Last Archangel (YA Urban Fantasy, print copy - Release date July 14th)
QUESTION: What is the name of the fallen angel who is the main character in "The Last Archangel"? (HINT: Click on the Reviews tab. Frank Cole thinks this character “rocks!”

OPEN TO USA/CANADA


 

June 30

SPONSOR: Joan Sowards

PRIZE: The Star Prophecy: a Book of Mormon Adventure (LDS novel), by Joan Sowards
QUESTION: Why do Enoch and his friends sail to Jerusalem? (HINT: Read the blurb under The Star Prophecy book cover in the right hand column of the blog)


OPEN TO USA

Thursday, May 19, 2011

What's Up With Those QR Boxes?

Everywhere I go, I see these doohickies:



Today I saw one on the side of my Mountain Dew cup. Then I found one while I was looking through a book catalog. I've even seen them on my church bulletin boards embedded with links to go check out pictures from youth activities.

Seriously?

Okay, my friends - what's so great about QR Codes? What do you love about them? What do you hate about them? I think I'm in a love-hate relationships with them right now.  =)

Ironically, whenever I see them, I can't help but think about Elana Johnson's Tagged system in her upcoming book, Possession.

Freaky co-incidence? Or is our society becoming a living dystopian novel?

Monday, May 16, 2011

Debate Homework: Are Bionicles the Coolest Toy Ever?

Today's Lesson: How to use something your kid loves to help him understand his homework.


Today, my 6th grader (who has autism) came home from school and his homework was about debate, the terms and how it all works. He was having a difficult time understanding it all. So I decided to create a mock debate between the two of us. Here's how it all played out:

"So Isaac, let's have a debate. First, we have to pick a topic. How about Are Bionicles the coolest toy ever? What do you think?"

"Yes!" Isaac, of course, was totally excited and laughing.

"So the topic is the Resolution. What's our topic?"

"Are Bionicles the coolest toy ever?"

"Right! The topic is the Resolution. Say that again." Mom believes in the power of repetition!

"The topic is the Resolution," Isaac repeated, like the good son he is.  =)

"Okay, so there are two teams. One team that says Yes! Bionicles are the way coolest toys ever to be made! They are called the Affirmative team because they say YES."

"Awesome!" Isaac replied.

"The other team says, No, Bionicles are not the coolest toy out there. They are the Negative team because they say NO. Got it?"

"Got it. Affirmative team - Yes, Bionicles are coolest. Negative team - No, Bionicles are not the coolest."

So far, so good. Isaac's still hanging out with me & beginning to understand a bit.

"Great! So now, we're going to each be a team. I'm the YES team and you're the NO team."

"Noooo!" Isaac yelled.

Oh yes, the wailing and the howling continued. How could mother dear possibly put HIM on the Negative team? It just wasn't fair. Blah, blah, blah. It all got settled and we moved on.

 "So, we're going to start out the debate. Pretend this ice cream scoop is a microphone. The YES team goes first."

I take the ice cream scoop and stand. "Bionicles are the most awesome, coolest toys ever made. They have swords, shields, and represent the elements of the Earth. They even have movies made about them. They are definitely, hands down, the coolest toys ever."

Then I handed the ice cream scoop to Isaac. At this point, he stood there looking at me like, What? You want me to disagree with that? It's all TRUE!

"Okay, bud, now you need to tell me why Bionicles are not the ONLY coolest toy out there. You can tell me that you think Bionicles are awesome, but also tell me three other toys you love that you think are just as cool."

LIGHT BULB MOMENT!!!!

Now Isaac totally got into it. He realized that it was okay to not be on the YES team and that there actually was a way to still say he loves Bionicles, but that he loves other stuff too.

"Bionicles are cool. But other toys are cool too. Like Mario on the Wii. I love to play other games on the Wii, too. And I like to build with other Legos. There are lots of cool toys." He then bowed. Yes, my son is a performer.

"Awesome, dude! Now we need to pause. Did you see how we took turns using the microphone?" Son nods. "That's called Rebuttal. Rebuttal is when each team takes turns using the microphone to tell why they think their side is right. Got it?"

"Got it."

"What's Rebuttal?"

"When the teams take turn using the microphone."

Works for me!  =)

"Now there's someone else in the room with the teams. He's called the Judge. What does the Judge do?"

"He tells us who the winner is." Man, he's got that one down. Woot!

"Perfecto! High five!" Yes, the smacking of hands occur. Then we move on.

"So, we both got to talk once on the microphone. Now we start our Rebuttals again. This time, we're going to talk about some things we can say and what those things are called during a debate, okay?"

"Okay," Isaac says, nodding his head up and down several times.

"I'm going to come back and say Bionicles are the coolest because they are sold all over the world. Now let's pause. Isaac, do you know Bionicles are sold all over the world?"

"Yes."

"Do your friends know they are sold all over the world?"

"Yes."

"When you say something that everyone knows, it's called Common Sense. Let's say that together."

Together, we said, "When you say something that everyone knows, it's called Common Sense."

"Awesome! Now, what if you wanted to say You've played with Bionicles and Mario and the other Legos, and you know they are all cool. Do you know what that's called?"

"What?" Isaac asked.

"It's called an Example because it's your own experience. It's something you did. What's an Example?"

"Something I did like playing with all the toys."

"What's Common Sense?" I asked again. Got to throw in those terms for review.

"Something everyone knows like Bionicles sold all over the world."

"Awesomeness!" See, lots of praise. I'm big on praise. We all love to know how awesome we are. "Now there's two more things to know. And these two are tricky. Ready?"

Isaac nods his head, ready to show me just how not tricky they are. Cause mom may be fun, but he's totally smarter than me. (Or at least he thinks so!)

"Okay, so one is called an Expert Opinion. An Expert is someone who wrote an article and it was published in a newspaper or book. Then if someone on the debate team reads something the Expert wrote, that is called an Expert Opinion."

Isaac still struggled with this concept. But I tonight I had another idea to help him understand it. On with the story.

"The last debate word we need to learn is Statistics. A statistic is a number that shows how many people like something. For example, I could go to the elementary school and have an election. We know there are 400 kids at the school. In the election, each of the kids could vote for which toy they think is the coolest: Bionicles, Mario, or Barbie. After the election, we would tally the votes. If 150 kids voted for Bionicles, the YES team could use a Statistic saying that in an elementary school, 150 kids liked Bionicles the best. But the NO team could also use the election and make a statistic that said almost two-thirds of the kids liked other toys better than Bionicles."

Isaac actually thought it was pretty cool how we could take the same election results and make them work for both teams. It's all about how you tweak the information.

"So, what's a statistic?" I asked Isaac.

"It's numbers to show what people like."

Once again, works for me. We reviewed the terms a few more times. It was fun to see how he referred back to them using examples from our mock debate.

Then I wrapped up. "So Isaac, we just had a mock debate. What is a Debate?"

"It's when two teams argue about who's right."


And the winner of the mock debate gold cup is Isaac!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

The Worth of a Writers Group

For the last seven years, I've been a part of an amazing writers group, Authors Incognito. This group is made up of attendees of the LDS Storymakers Writers conference.



There are many things that make a writers group awesome. Here are a few you should look for:

Authors Incognito 2011
Common Interest

What links the group together? For Authors Incognito, it's the shared experience of attending the LDS Storymakers Writers conference. For other groups, it could be a certain genre, living near each other, or personalities that just mesh.


Experience

Consider what type of experience you want the people in your group to have. Are you okay with beginners who have never edited for anyone before or, if you are a seasoned author, you may want feedback from others who are published and know exactly what types of points to nit-pick about. I know writers who belong to multiple groups, each varying in experience so they can receive different point of views on the same manuscript.


Attitude

Are you and the other members of the group willing to take feedback? I'm not just talking about the "I LOVE this part!!!" feedback, but also the, "This just didn't jive for me and it needs a lot of work" feedback. Is there anyone in the group who's too sensitive? Because if there is (or even if it's you), they need to either grow thick skin and not be offended or search for another group. Did that sound harsh? I've been in a writers group where we all tiptoed around one person who only wanted to hear how awesome his writing was. It's not fun for anyone in the group - unless you happen to be the one person getting all the praise. So be willing to do the work and take the feedback. Have a good attitude. It's important to share the things you love about the chapter, as well as what you think needs to be improved. No bashing allowed. You should all be there to help each other become better writers and cheer each other on to publication.



Schedule

We all have busy schedules, which is sometimes what dictates which group you attend. My writers group here in Kansas meets on a specific day in the evening. The only problem is I'm so not a night owl. Personally, I'm a "Bed by 9 pm" person. Our group usually lasts until about 10 pm and everyone knows that between nine and ten, I start to yawn, blink, and snack a lot so I can stay awake. Some weeks I'm much better than others, but, thankfully, my group is awesome and willing to put up with my sleepiness. I know groups who meet for lunch once a week, or who email chapters back and forth each week, then meet in person once a month because they need to travel farther to get together.


Format

Super Edits 2011: My awesome online critique group.


Every writers group I've chatted with has something different that works for them. Some groups pass out chapters to be read before the next meeting, others read and review during the meeting. Some set timers to stay on time, others just talk and talk and talk . . . until they feel everything has been covered for that chapter. Some groups expect the author to sit quietly while his chapter is critiqued and don't allow for feedback from the author. Ahem - that's one I'm against. For me, talking with my group about points in the manuscript helps me to brainstorm what might need to be tweaked to make it stronger. No matter what "rules" are put into place, be sure they are agreed upon by all the members of the group.


Fun, Fun, Fun!

Writers group should be fun! Because if it's dreary, what motivation would you have to go back or to finish your manuscript? Enjoy each others works-in-progress, different point of views, as well as your friendship. I highly recommend celebrating together when someone finished their manuscript, gets a partial or full request, signs with an agent, or sells a book. Encourage each other and enjoy the topsy-turvy roller coaster ride of writing!


I would love to hear about your writers groups. Tell me what you love, what you wish was different, or if you don't have a group, what you're looking for. You never know who you'll connect up with!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Exploring Utah

Aha! I finally have internet access! I have so must to catch you all up on. Right now, I'm at the LDStorymakers Writers Conference. Boot camp was yesterday . . . where lots of writers got their tushes kicked and manuscripts revamped. Today starts the first day of the workshops and pitch sessions. My own pitch session is today and yes, I'm quite nervous!

But for now, I'm going to share a few pictures from our vacation here in Utah with our munchkins.

After two days of driving (which went quite well actually) we finally reached our resort in Eden, Utah. It's so gorgeous there! The kids love being in the mountains and quickly discovered a few things at the resort they begged to do every day. Little Anna kept asking if she could go fishing in the pond. The poor Koi. The rest of the kids played tetherball, basketball, and tennis each day.

The day after we arrived, I drove down to my publisher's warehouse and picked up my books. Yeah!!!

 This is what greeted me when I walked into my publisher's office building. I wasn't expecting to see my book so soon! I got very teary-eyed.

 The opening of the first case back at the resort. So cool to see a huge box filled with my books!
The kids cheered when I pulled out the first book. I read them the dedication. Isaac got a huge smile on his face when he heard I dedicated the book to him. Everyone else was happy that mom sent them big hugs and love at the end. I got lots of hugs for that.  =)

There were a few unexpected adventures . . . such as our youngest daughter kicking our six-year-old son's tooth out. Ahem. Yep. They were wrestling around and bam! I will acknowledge the tooth was already pretty loose, she just helped the tooth fairy visit a little earlier than anticipated.

One of our very favorite places we visited was Dinosaur Park. We spent a little over three hours exploring all over the outdoor park, reading signs about all sorts of dinosaurs. Then we checked out the museum. The kids loved the mechanical dinosaurs on displays. There was also a gorgeous gem collection, which MJ and I drooled over. There are a ton more pictures, but hey, if you want to see them. You'll just have to check out the scrapbook later.  =)






We've had a really great time so far on vacation. We've learned a lot of interesting things about our Earth's history and shared lots of laughter. Now it's time for me to get ready for my writers conference. I'll update again soon! Have a fabulous day everyone!
Review Disclaimer: Sometimes a book I review has been sent to me for free by a publisher or an author. This in no way effects my review, which is my own opinion about whether the book was a good read for me, fit my tastes, and if I would recommend it to others. Other than possibly a free book, I am not compensated in any way for posting a review.