Monday, January 4, 2021

Why Brandon Sanderson Owes Me $13.95 for a 105 Fish Sticks

 Fiction is powerful and persuasive. If you don't believe me, ask me about why Brandon Sanderson, a well-known fantasy writer owes me for a bag of fish sticks.


So, here's the story. My youngest son is a big protein eater. He loves hot dogs, corn dogs and I would buy them in multi-packs just to keep him fed. He's going to be tall, I can tell by the grocery bill. If only he played basketball, I might get some of my money back, but alas, he's not. Up until recently, he also liked fish sticks. I would buy them in the big 105 count bags. And I had just bought a brand new bag and a bottle of ketchup expecting them to be consumed within the week. But then they sat there. And sat there. I finally asked him what was wrong. He said he doesn't like fish sticks anymore.

WHAAAAAA?

I mean, granted fish sticks when microwaved leaves the whole house smelling like a dock, but two days ago he was inhaling those things. What had changed? 

I had to do some detective work. Turns out, my husband had been reading Brandon Sanderson's Alcatraz and the Evil Librarians to my son. I had read the book before and in fact, despite reading nearly everything else he'd written, A and EL  was one of my favorite Sanderson book. But... Brandon Sanderson does not like fish sticks, I'm guessing, from his description of them in this book and describes them as craptastic or some sort. The description was so powerful, my young impressionable son decided he didn't like them either, leaving me with a over-sized bag of fish sticks. 

And that, my friends, is how powerful fiction is and why Brandon Sanderson owes me for fish sticks.

Tuesday, December 15, 2020

5-Star Review from InD'Tale Mag

 There is one distinction I have been coveting for a while in my writing career: the Crowned Heart of Excellence bestowed upon all the 5-star reviews at the Indy and Small Press Reviewing site.  


I got the email telling me about the review, but I didn't pay much attention to it. Until they send the second. I was like, Summer of Sundaes got a 5-star review from a literary magazine? Wow! So then I had to Google it. After finding the review online, I was even more in awe! The review is stellar! I'm just going about my daily life saying "wow" to myself. "Wow! Someone really liked my book!" It always pleases me when people connect with the people and places I write about. They are all apart of me. The reader is enjoying a bit of my shared soul and in turn we share something together. It's really amazing.

Here's part of it:

"This fast-paced novella drops a resplendent meal on the reader’s mind. With the storyline unfolding very quickly, the characters' traits are poured in an equally fast and furious manner. This gives the reader a chance in the characters’ minds to know why they behave the way they do and why their conflict escalates to such a high note in a very short time. Hot and spicy it is. The scenes are very well orchestrated, thus, leaving nothing for the reader to feel bored about. From splendid descriptions of a world against the main characters to a ‘boiling’ sea, the reader experiences nothing short of pure entertainment. The suspense factor keeps the storyline flowing smoothly. “Summer of Sundaes” is indeed a reader-holding magnet for all young adults."


Anyway, here's the link in case you wanted to read the rest. My mother read it a few times for good measure. I read it a few times myself. I might wear it out!



Monday, November 9, 2020

Third Place from Book Buyer's Best Contest

A sweet romance wins third place

Sweet romances can compete and win! I'm super excited for this honor.  I want to tell you, please keep going with your dreams! Success comes by hard work, persistence, consistency and focus. I'll have to say when I first started writing, one of the authors of the books I read said that if you write for ten thousand hours or one million words you'll get published. That sounds simple, but not easy. YOU CAN DO IT! KEEP GOING!


 Just to add a bit of backstory about why I wrote The Swiss Mishap, I'll tell you how this book came to be. I served as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in my twenties in Switzerland and France. I had some life-changing experiences there that changed the way I viewed the world. Here are some interesting things that made it into the book:

My friend and I dragged a recliner up four flights of stairs.

I did talk to people on the bus and ask them questions. Usually the questions were about God and family not pets, though, which is really hard to do.

I did learn to speak French while there and still try to keep it up.

I did live in Vevey for about three months in the winter. Nestlé headquarters was in Vevey and was the inspiration for Alpine Foods. 

I did eat dinner in a small Swiss chalet on the mountains near Monthey. And it was as magical as it was in the book. 

Yves was named after some hot guy I met there. I'm still trying to convince myself to use Loïc as a name of one of my characters but the dots above the 'i' make it really hard to write. (Loïc was the hotty who developed our pictures and boy did I take a bunch of pictures ;)

Living in a foreign country was actually really stressful for me so it helped to keep a sense of humor. I still have more stories to share and I'm working on my next book "The Swiss Mistletoe and Macarons" that should be coming out for next Christmas!


Friday, September 11, 2020

Release Day for Summer of Sundaes!

The ice cream war is on!

Already this books has some a-mazing reviews! 

"It was funny, sad, romantic and steamy all rolled into one. Great book!!"-- Shannon, Goodreads


"This was a sweet, fun romance, and I enjoyed reading it."--K, Goodreads

"A wonderfully cheerful love story with all of the right ingredients." Claudia, Goodreads

 

So grateful to my readers!  They make sharing this fun!

Tonight I'll be sharing the story behind the story about how Brahms and Bailey came to be. Join me on YouTube Tonight at 7pm CT.  YouTube

 

Here's the blurb:

After dropping out a semester short of college graduation, Bailey Madison inherits the management of her family's struggling ice cream shop in Seward, Alaska. When Kingsley Tours needs her prime location to expand their business into the Last Frontier, Bailey must use her wits and creative ice cream recipes to save her shop.

Usually carefree and self-centered Brahms Kingsley must prove to his father he can buckle down and lead Kingsley Tours as the company grows. But how can he close Bailey's shop when she still holds a place in his heart?
Brahms must choose between pleasing his father and earning the love of a woman he never forgot.
 

 Kobo

Apple Books 

Amazon US 

Amazon UK 

Thursday, July 2, 2020

YouTube Series

Hello!

I've decided to start a YouTube channel and talk about all the things I've learned about writing. Please check out my videos and subscribe if you feel so inclined to my channel.  Click the link or view below!


I'd love any suggestions for topics you'd like to see me cover for writing, publishing or life as an author!

Monday, May 18, 2020

5 Habits Every Writer Must Develop

Writing requires talent. Writing requires skill. If you don't have much talent, you can develop your skill.

There is however a third component to writing that every writer can develop and that is forming good habits. What habits do you need to become a writer?  Glad you asked.

1) Write every day.

You want to be a writer? You have to write. You can talk about your plot all day long. You can map character arcs and tell me about your world building, but unless you sit your bum in the chair, you are not a writer.

Don't talk about it. Write it. And try to write every day. Now, notice I didn't say write on your WIP every day. I don't do that. Some days are tough, but I try to write something, a letter, a journal entry or a note even when I can't get to the keyboard to work on a project. Why write every day? Writing something will keep you in the habit of remembering why you are here.


2) Keep a writing notebook. (Or two or three...)

Ideas come in a flash. Sometimes in the mid-night wakings, I have brilliant ideas. I don't need to writ them down, I tell myself.  I'll remember them. They're too awesome to forget. Sure enough, morning dawns and I've forgotten. Keep a journal. Jot down ideas. Keep it by your bedside. It can be digital. It can be a recording device. But I promise you, if you don't record these ideas, they will be lost.

3) Read.

I know this sounds intuitive and what writer doens't love to read? But sometimes I get so caught up in my life that I forget to read. Reading is fuel for your writing. I've heard to read twice as many words as you write. If your word count is 10k for the week, read at least 20k. (For me it's not about reading enough, it's about having the self-discipline to stop reading.)

4) Analyze, analyze, analyze.

Now that I've written it three times, I will never forget how to write it. But I'm serious. While you're reading, try not to get sucked into the story and try to see it as a writer instead of a reader. What is working for you and why? Did something prick at your emotions? What did the author do? If a story isn't holding your attention, what went wrong? Pick things apart. It's okay to critique something just don't be critical. You can do this with writings in your genre, out of your genre, or even movies. I like movies because it's a shared experience and I can talk with family members about what worked for them. Sometimes I get too in my analytical brain and I miss a key emotional point so it's good to get feedback from others.

5) Eat humble pie.

Get ready for rejections. Get used to critical feedback. Be prepared negative reviews. Many things are difficult about being a writer, but the best habit I think you can get into is to not take things too personally. Rejections will happen. You'll get negative feedback on your work, at least I hope you have someone honestly evaluating your work. And not everybody will love your work, even after it's been published. If you get into a habit of positive self-talk, you'll be so much happier. The world is an ugly place. You don't need to be ugly to yourself.


There are more habits. Any writers out there want to share what habits they've developed?  What's worked for you? What doesn't work for you? Do you have a routine you love?

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Ten things I wish I could tell myself when I just starting out writing

As my kids get older, they are more interested in writing. At least, my two older ones. They are the ones who always have a nose in a book. So, my daughter asked me for some writing advice. I thought I'd share it here as some of you are writers in addition to readers.

#1) Finish a first draft before starting new.

When I first started writing, I had all these cool ideas. I'd start writing on the first one, then I'd jump to the next idea when the first idea became hard or when  newer, fresher ideas--ideas that hadn't been tainted by hard work and despair--came along, I would drop the story I started and worked on the newer idea.  When you actually sit down and finish something and it has a beginning, a middle and an end, you will feel so good about yourself. Then you know you can do it and you can replicate it.

#2) Don't talk, write.

If we are writers, we write. I hear a lot of people talk about their novel. I hear a lot of people saying they want to write a novel. I'll tell you a little secret about writing a novel, you have to sit in the chair and write it. Eventually, you will get there. It may be a mess, it may need to be revised a few times, but you have to write it out.  And as I always say, you can't rewrite nothing.

#3) Learn your craft.

I've said it before on my blog and I'll say it again: continue to learn your craft. Nobody knows everything and even people with several titles under their belts can learn something. But if you're starting out, you need to read books, take classes, go to conferences whatever you can do to learn.

Some of my favorite books: Story Genius by Lisa Cron and Save the Cat Writes a Novel by Jessica Brody.

#4) Get feedback.

There will come a point where you rework a piece until you can't tell if it's good anymore. Great! Send it to someone who can read it with fresh eyes. Beta readers, critique partners, workshops are great places to have someone read your work.

#5) Listen and don't be hard on yourself.

Be humble. Set aside your pride and your ego and let people look at your work. There will be flaws in your writing. People will point them out. Thank them. Take note. Don't get defensive, don't try to explain. Let your writing speak for itself. Also look for patterns in comments/feedback. If something is confusing over and over, then maybe you need to go back and rework it. If one person says it, decide how much you trust that person before changing anything.

#6) Have enough confidence in your writing so other people can't high jack your story

Not all suggestions are great ones. Like I said, I look for repeated feedback. But there are also people who see your work differently. Just like we all appreciate different artists, music and taste in clothing, not everyone will love your story (even after it's published). But if someone tries to get you to see a different vision for your book, thank them.

#7) Have enough humility to listen and take advice

Sometimes what people say cuts to the quick, the very heart of your soul. This is expected when you put your heart out there. Set that work aside for a few days, weeks or even years. Let the suggestion percolate. Then ask yourself this question: Could their criticism be valid? Is there any merit to their words? If you decide no, that's fine. But you might find that with time, you can see the flaw that was pointed out.

#8) Have courage to change something

Words are written in ink, pencil or by computer. They are not written in stone. Even if someone points out a huge plot hole that will make you go back and reconsider the whole foundation of your story, realize that all the work is to help you to have a better story. Have the courage to change what needs to be changed.

#9) Writing takes patience and time

Most people didn't become Olympians in a year, or two or even three. Everything that is hard requires work. And writing is hard. You have to write for a long time often before you even learn the craft. Then you have to send out your work to people to publish or perhaps you'll self-publish and you have to help draw people to your book. All of this takes time. Be patience with the craft and with yourself. When I was first writing, I was curious as to why things got rejected. Knowing what I know now, I understand why things got rejected. My story was either not good enough yet or I was not a good enough writer. It takes time and experience to see clearly what was so frustrating at the time.

#10) Send out your work

Eventually you will want to share your worlds your words with those around you. This takes courage. Hit the print button, hit the submit button, write the query letter. You'll be so glad you did. Writing is a journey of discovery. You discover yourself in your writing, you discover other truths in writing.


Why Brandon Sanderson Owes Me $13.95 for a 105 Fish Sticks

 Fiction is powerful and persuasive. If you don't believe me, ask me about why Brandon Sanderson, a well-known fantasy writer owes me fo...