I am thrilled and delighted to announce that I have officially signed my publication contract with Deseret Book. My women’s fiction, A Way Back To You, will be released on May 1st!!
My friends and family helped commemorate this milestone. That’s my darling niece in the background.
Here is the back cover copy:
For two-and-a-half years, Annabelle, a young widow with three small children, has been stuck in the past. Numbed by grief and overwhelmed by the responsibility of raising her three small children alone, she agrees to let them spend the weekend with a friend while she tries to get some much-needed rest at her parents’ home. But the next morning, Annabelle is suddenly sixteen again—and it just happens to be the worst day of her teenage years. As she relives the drama of high school life, Annabelle realizes that her future husband, Mitch, has just returned from a mission and is living on the other side of town. While getting Mitch’s attention is more complicated than she imagined, Annabelle discovers that she is stronger than she has been willing to admit, and there just might be a future for her after all.
This particular book has been such a delightful project and I still love it even after reading 800,000 times. I think that’s a good sign.
I’ll be sharing my gorgeous cover shortly and that means a GIVEAWAY!! So check back soon and you could win something yummy and nostalgic.
I was so excited today to find out that I’ve been featured in the Deseret News! Things Hoped For is a project that’s close to my heart. I decided to write this series when my daughter (now 14) was approaching her twelfth birthday. I was so full of hopes and fears for her, well, I still am. I just wanted some way to strengthen her as she embarked on the terrifying and exciting years ahead.
I was surprised to see that there wasn’t a fiction series already out there, at least that I could find, that was based on the Young Women Values. We all know what a huge market young women are in the book world. This project just seemed needed.
It’s been a slow, quiet process, much different from my experience on A Sister’s Witness: The Powell Family Tragedy. I’ve really been able to explore my own testimony and the ways in which it was tested during my teenage years. I hope that it can find its way into the hands of young women who are in need of a pick me up.
Each of these books is designed to be a quick read, more a novella than a novel. They are good for an afternoon curled up with chocolate (of course) and a desire to feel the Spirit while being engaged with a great story.
Thanks to Melissa DeMoux for the review!
I love a good page turner. You know, one that you pick up and four hours later you realize you just read the entire thing in one sitting? When a book grabs you by the navel on page one and yanks you through to the end at lightening speed it can be an exhilarating thing. Not every book (or every genre) is meant to do that but there are lessons we can all learn from a good page turner that will make our writing stronger and more engaging.
Probably the biggest skill to learn is how to keep up the tension.
One of the common mistakes that we writers make is thinking that to keep up the tension, we have to keep up the danger. And a book that stays at a 10 all the time can leave the characters two dimensional, the reader exhausted and the book ultimately gets abandoned for something less, well, boring. After all, if something stays at a 10 for chapter after chapter, pretty soon that 10 starts to feel like a 2.
The key is to vary the tension in different plot lines. This keeps the writing fast paced but still gives it a rhythm and your reader a chance to breathe. One scene can escalate the mystery while the next may bring some resolution to the mystery yet escalates the romantic tension. This way we get the little payoffs that help the reader trust the author, stay emotionally engaged and still eager to turn the next page.
Music has always been one of my great loves. I was a musical theater major in college and I’ve taught voice lessons for years. One of the things any good musician understands is the need for dynamics. If a piece is sung at forte (loud) the entire time, it has nowhere to build. But if I’m singing quietly, I better be sure to keep the intensity in my voice. I do this by emphasizing consonants (especially ‘K’ sounds at the beginning of words) and keeping my diaphragm actively engaged. Think about the sound of an urgent whisper. That’s the effect I’m going for. This way I alternate the volume of my voice but the quiet moments can be even more enthralling than a big crescendo.
Even as I’m writing this I’m thinking of a scene I just worked on. It’s a quiet moment with a solitary character sitting at home alone after getting off the phone with her mother. The call was intense emotionally for her but she was pretty much in a stationary position during that time. Now that she’s off the call, the emotional tension needs to diminish for a time. We need some breathing space. But I don’t want my reader thinking, “Oh, this is a great time to go watch that Downton Abbey finale.” NO! I want them to keep reading so I’m going to jump immediately into getting her in an awkward and hilarious predicament. There is very little deep, internal angst that will develop but it will help us laugh and still wonder how she’s going to get out of the situation.
Some great resources on the topic:
Also, just read James Dashner’s The Maze Runner Trilogy (especially the first book) for a great example of how to do this well.
Best of luck!
On Tuesday night I took a struggling little seedling of a manuscript to my critique group and prayed for mercy. This manuscript was written fast (in 2 1/2 days) and then I was ill for quite a while so I didn’t get back to it right away. That meant that much of the emotional connection I’d originally felt for the characters and their struggles had gone out. Well, it showed. By the time I got through the first revision I was left with an unlikeable MC, a weak secondary conflict and a whole lotta telling, not showing.
But I have these two great critique partners, Julie Bellon and Jordan McCollum (they’ve both also blogged about our group so check out those links). I knew that if anyone could help me, they could. It took several hours but we got through all of their notes, with more in writing that I’m still going through, and I feel a renewed sense of purpose in this project. I remember what it was I wanted my readers to think and feel and I have the ideas and tools in place to help that come to pass.
This is the value of a great critique group! I think it’s a must-have tool for any successful author. Having readers who aren’t writers is a valuable way to find problems, but having talented critique partners is one of the best ways (in my opinion) to find solutions.
Jordan, Julie and I met a year ago at a pitiful seminar. All three of us were frustrated with the time we’d wasted being there but then we met (again, for some of us) and got to talking and we decided to try working together. Now, a year later, our group has gone through several different models from a few chapters each per meeting to workshopping entire novels for each one of us. Now we have come to a great place where we are able to burn through one project at a time, doing line edits on our own and then coming together twice a month to hash out those pesky plot holes and weak characters, etc. We brainstorm together and I find that we all have different strengths and weaknesses, so we fill in each other’s gaps nicely.
I have learned so much from both of these talented ladies and I urge all other authors out there to keep working on finding that group that can help you improve. It took me three failed groups before finding this one but I
So, sometimes you are just going along through life and taking care of business – you know, doing dishes and wiping noses and driving carpool and releasing your very first book ever. Just every day sort of stuff.
Then all of a sudden you are flat on your back for ten days wondering what on earth is the matter with you. Are you just tired? Are you depressed? Are you making it all up? Or is it possible that there is a real physical problem that is causing you to be unable to even sit upright for more than a half hour at time due to extreme exhaustion and near fainting?
It’s like you’re standing on a hill and the ground gives way beneath you and then WHOOSH you are skidding downhill at incredible speeds until SPLAT you land at the bottom wondering what on earth just happened.
O course – I’m talking about myself. I finally went to the doctor on day 7 last week. Lab results should be back today or tomorrow but the suspicion is that I have adrenal fatigue, my thyroid is low again, I’m insulin resistant AND I have pernicious anemia. Oh, I could also have celiac disease. In other words, it’s probably NOT just in my head, I’m NOT just tired and I’m NOT just depressed.
Anyway, all of this information is strictly meant to inform you of why I suddenly dropped off the face of the planet the same day I released Things Hoped For.
Thanks for all of the prayers and sweet comments that have been left for me on facebook and in texts and so on. I’ll keep you posted on what I find out. In the meantime, I hope you are enjoying the book!
This is the day that I’ve been waiting for for years! My first book release! I’ll be finishing every sentence in this post with exclamation points!
Okay, maybe not. But at least there will be a lot of them.
I guess this is the scary part – waiting to hear what you think of it!
And now for our winners from yesterday’s giveaway.
1st Winner – for their very own copy of Things Hoped For . . .
. . . drumroll . . .
Angie Lofthouse!! (now I’m REALLY intimidated – I hope you like it!)
2nd Winner – for the beautiful mosaic necklace from Artfully Broken . . .
. . . drumroll (again) . . .
Congratulations to my two winners! I’ll be contacting you directly to arrange getting you your gifts.
Now, go buy my book (if you want to). Go on.
My next VERRRRYYYY exciting giveaway will start on Monday and involve a fun challenge. So stay tuned and happy reading!
!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (just for effect)
I am so grateful to family, friends, other writers and everyone else who has been so supportive in the process of releasing Things Hoped For. I can’t believe that it’s only two more days until it launches!
As a Thanksgiving gift to you, I’m doing a giveaway. I’ll be awarding two prizes.
The first winner will receive this beautiful, handcrafted necklace.
It was created by Melody Marino of Artfully Broken. It’s a beautiful piece and would make a great gift – or you could just keep it for yourself. AND it has a special connection to Things Hoped For. Fran is an artist. She is working on a tile mosaic during part of the story and I absolutely loved researching how mosaics are made. It really inspired me to want to try it out myself. I haven’t actually done it yet but I’ll get to it eventually (maybe once I’m done editing book 2?)
The second winner will receive a copy of Things Hoped For! This will be the very first book given out to a reader and it’s totally scary but exciting, too!
All you have to do to enter to win these awesome prizes is leave a comment on this post and I’ll select the winners tomorrow.
Do it now, before you forget. And then go get busy baking and roasting and dicing and whatever else you are doing to prepare for Thanksgiving. I’ll be making pie crusts galore today.
Thanks in advance for your entries and HAPPY THANKSGIVING!
I guess, technically, this countdown should have started yesterday, but I was busy celebrating my 18th wedding anniversary (I can’ REALLY be that old!) so I waited until today.
There are only four days until Things Hoped For will be available on Kindle and Createspace! I am so excited to share this story with you. First, a reminder of how lovely the cover is.
I absolutely love it! I am so grateful to have Tamra Hyde of Modern Expressions Photography to work with on this project. And my model, my friend “M,” really portrayed the feeling of this book.
And here is the back cover copy:
16 year-old Fran Jensen has been a member of the LDS Church all her life. But her faith is deeply shaken when she loses her best friend, her sister Anna, to a horrible accident. Suddenly everything she has always believed isn’t so easy anymore. Her faith is rocky, at best, and her relationship with her family starts to crumble. Only her friendship with Seth, a handsome young sculptor, offers her some comfort. But Seth has his own tragedy to deal with. He has his own secrets and his own questions. As he begins his quest for answers, Fran wonders if their friendship can survive their changing attitudes toward faith. When Seth’s awful secret is revealed, Fran suddenly finds herself without an anchor. She has to decide to find out once and for all what she believes or risk losing everything . . . and everyone that matters to her.
Things Hoped For is the first book in the Of Great Value series and focuses on Faith. Each book takes a girl on a journey as she discovers her testimony of one of the Young Women values.
I’m planning an exciting give away for this weekend. You won’t want to miss it. I can’t tell you all the details but it has to do with a great gift for the Holidays – and you could win!! So check back soon for more details!
. . . that is how I felt after the wonderful writer’s retreat I attended this weekend.
The AH was for three days with no children – no fighting, no arguments or refusal to do chores. No running errands or picking up carpool. It’s also for getting to talk plotting, character arcs, setting and just the general craft of writing with other people who know what I’m talking about. That is such a satisfying thing.
The WHOOSH is for 30,000+ words finished in three days. I wrote the entire first draft of my new short novel A Divine Inheritance – the second book in the Of Great Value series. There is plenty of revision and editing to be done but the story is there. I even cried as I wrote the last couple of chapters. I LOVE a book that makes me feel that way. I really love the characters and the message and I hope you will, too!
When my husband picked me up on Saturday night he kept laughing at my enthusiastic description of the event. I couldn’t stop raving about the friends I’d met, the work I’d accomplished, and just how inspired and revived I felt. This was a much needed event for me.
A special thanks to Karen Hoover for putting the even together. Thank you for all your hard work!
Now, back to work on the final touches for the release of Things Hoped For on the 23rd. I can’t wait for you to read it!!
First I have to thank all of you for helping me to share my excitement! I’m especially happy to hear from many young women who are looking forward to reading. I have a great love for the youth that I work with and I hope that Things Hoped For will help to strengthen you amazing young women!
So now for the fun!
We have two winners! Each one will receive a gift card from Amazon. You could choose, of course, to save it to buy my book. 😉 Or some Christmas presents or . . . maybe some CHOCOLATE!!!
Whatever you choose, I thank you for supporting me!
So . . .
drumroll . . .
Winner #1 is – Nicholeen Peck!
Winner #2 is – Kiirsi Hellewell!
Congratulations to both of you! I will be contacting you to get your mailing addresses!
WAIT – there is good news if you didn’t win!!! I’ll be doing another giveaway at the end of November to celebrate the release of Things Hoped For!! I can’t tell you what it is yet, but this one will be even bigger and better so you have another chance!
Thank you again for your support!
Now, join me in congratulating our two winners!