Friday, September 21, 2007

I've been Tagged!

Tristi Pinkston tagged me with this meme about books, which is a good thing since I really needed something to jumpstart me this week. I've been a little under the weather, and it's Tristi's fault really. See, she started this BIAM (see post below) and I decided to try it. Well, my main character immediately came down with the flu. It may have been the power of suggestion, or a warning from my subconscious, but I got sick too, and sitting down to write just seemed to require too much effort. But I do need to get back in the rhythm of writing, so here goes.

My Reading: My mother claims that when I was a little girl I slept with a teddy bear on one side and a book on the other. After I learned to read I went to bed with a teddy bear, a book, and a flashlight (so I could keep reading after lights out). I was the 7th of 9 children and grew up reading the stacks of books accumulated by my older siblings. I also read my mother's Good Housekeeping, Reader's Digest, and National Geographic (just the captions). I was rarely to be found without a book in my hands. Things have not changed much, except now I can drive myself to Barnes and Nobel. If I didn't have a job and a husband and children I would live there. They have wall-to-wall books, Godiva hot chocolate, comfortable chairs and nice bathrooms. My kind of place.

Total Number of Books I Own: I'm guestimating over 500. That's counting the ones in plain sight, not the ones in a box in storage.

Last Book I Bought: Our local library has a book sale table where they put books that people donate but the library doesn't need or want or have room for. Last Friday I found 4 hardbacks and 4 paperbacks for a total of $1.40. Such a deal! They were:
1. "Off the Beaten Path, A guide to more than 1,000 scenic and interesting places still uncrowded and inviting." (Readers Digest Books)
2. "A History of England" by David Harris Willson
3. "A Distant Mirror: The Calamitous 14th Century" by Barbara W. Tuchman
4. "The Plague and The Fire: London 1665/1666" by James Leaser
5. "Do You Want to Know a Secret/Do You Promise Not to Tell" by Mary Jane Clark
6. "The Warriors of God" by William Christie
7. "Outwitting the Gestapo" by Lucie Aubrac
8. "Billy Straight" by Jonathan Kellerman

Last Book Read: "Billy Straight" by Jonathan Kellerman

Five Meaningful Books: I am interpreting this as books that made such an impression I will always remember them and would recommend them to anyone.
1. "Where the Wild Things Are" by Maurice Sendak. This was my favorite children's book when I was a child. I had the story memorized and the illustrations fueled my imagination.
2. "Love You Forever" by Robert N. Munsch. This is my favorite children's book now that I am a mother.
3. "The Romantic Obsessions and Humiliations of Annie Sehlmeier" by Louise Plummer. Sister Plummer was my creative writing teacher at BYU. She has captured teen angst so perfectly I died of humiliation right along with Annie.
4. "Street Sparrows" by Rose Ayers. This is a story of two street urchins in 19th century London. Fascinating! It is so well-researched and detailed that if I was caught in a time warp and found myself in that time period, I think I might be able to survive.
5. "The Street Lawer" by John Grisham. I like most (not all) of Grisham's books, but this one is something special. It's the kind of book that makes people think about helping someone less fortunate than they are. At least that's what it did for me.

And now the really fun part where I tag five people. I tag Michelle, Rachelle, "Joan", Shanna, and Stephanie (who really ought to meet my handsome, single nephew, David).

Thursday, September 13, 2007

It was a very good year!

I found this link over at Tristi Pinkston's blog. I'm as old as pantyhose. Who knew?

In 1962 (the year you were born)

John F. Kennedy is president of the US

John Glenn becomes the first American in orbit when he circles the earth three times in the Mercury capsule Friendship 7

Cuban Missile Crisis occurs when Soviet offensive missile build-up is discovered

Cuban Missile Crisis is averted when President Kennedy and Soviet premiere Krushchev agree to remove missiles

Maryiln Monroe is found dead in her Los Angeles home

The drug thalidomide is recalled when it becomes linked with severe birth defects in thousands of children worldwide

Pantyhose becomes available for sale in U.S. department stores

Jim Carrey, Sheryl Crow, Jon Bon Jovi and Tom Cruise are born

New York Yankees win the World Series

Green Bay Packers win the NFL championship

Toronto Maple Leafs win the Stanley cup

Lawrence of Arabia wins the Oscar for best picture

The Beatles release their first recording: the single "Love Me Do"/"P.S. I Love You"

Johnny Carson debuts as host of The Tonight Show

I'll Do Almost Anything for a Free Book

I am so psyched! I'm going to get a free ARC (advance reader copy) from one of my favorite authors! (If I jump through all the right hoops.)

James Dashner (a tremendously talented LDS author) is having a contest over at his blog The Dashner Dude, which involves saying something nice about him on my blog and posting a comment on his blog with a link back to my blog. The first 30 people to do this get a free copy of his latest book, The Journal of Curious Letters.

As proof that I am a longtime Dashner/Jimmy Fincher fan, I refer you to my first ever blog entry, back in August, in which I recommended the Jimmy Fincher series to anyone suffering from Harry Potter withdrawals. (Hmmm, reminds me of another author whose first initial is J.) James has a talent for writing stories that are fun and engaging for middle grade readers and yet also entertaining for adults. I've read all four books in the Jimmy Fincher Saga and plan to give a set to one of my nephews who is now in grade school. (He is a smart kid, but thinks reading is boring.)

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Never Forget

(This was my comment over at Six LDS Writers and a Frog in reply to Rob Wells question about how 9/11 changed people's lives.)

In the days following 9/11, I found myself reassuring my children (who were still in grade school) that Ashton is so small no terrorists would ever find it and they were safe. And I found myself thinking of all the ways terrorists could cause havoc in small towns if they really wanted to.

One of my nephews had moved his family to Florida where he was to attend school to become a commercial pilot. His school was the one that trained the terrorists. The school declared bankruptcy and he lost the $50,000 tuition he had paid. (Yes, they really charged that much.)

Then another nephew, Jacob, joined the Army. He scored high enough on his entrance tests that they offered to train him as a war correspondent. But he wanted to stay with the infantry. He was a gunner. On April 22, 2006, he was in a convoy on a road outside Bagdad when his Humvee hit an IED. He and several others were killed.

At his funeral there was a brigadier general, the interim govenor of Idaho, and a member of the Seventy. The stake center was crammed to capacity with all kinds of military personnel and local police and firefighters. (My brother-in-law was the city fire chief.) Many of them had probably never stepped inside an LDS church building. That day they were taught the plan of salvation, disguised as a funeral sermon, by a general authority, in a beautifully simple way.

When it was over and we all left the chapel, my brother-in-law was interviewed by television crews, and he was able to talk about how his religion gave his family strength during that difficult time. A man in a much-decorated uniform stopped my sister to ask who that man was that spoke (the member of the Seventy), because he had never heard anything like that before. A friend of my sister's had always refused invitations to hear more about the gospel, but after the funeral she wanted to speak to the missionaries. I'm sure there were a lot of other seeds planted, but we may never know how many.

A few weeks later, another soldier who had been a good friend of Jacob and was riding in the vehicle behind him when he was killed came to visit Jacob's family. He was distraught about Jacob's death. My sister and brother-in-law were able to share their testimonies with him and reassure him that they knew they would see Jacob again one day. They were able to tell him a lot about the gospel. He later wrote to thank them for helping him find God.

And that is how 9/11/2001 has affected me and my family.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

The Book in a Month Challenge (BIAM)

Tristi Pinkston, one of my favorite authors, is hosting a Book in a Month challenge over at her blog, The idea is to write as fast as you can without going back to edit anything, and hopefully come out at the end with the first draft of something you can use. I'm temporarily shifting my focus to that, and "Forever" will be shifted to the background. (It's been hovering in my mind for two years. Another month won't hurt anything.) I'll track my progress on the BIAM challenge over on the sidebar.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

I thought it would be fun to chart my progress on my novel. 50,000 words is a good, average length for a novel, so I'm starting with that goal. My work in progress is tentatively titled "Forever." It's in the romantic suspense genre, aimed at the LDS market.

(Please ignore the Exercise Ticker title. I couldn't find a ticker for writing a book, so I went to and customized one.)