Friday, August 28, 2009

This would be a Down

I feel a little sorry for myself tonight, sitting her under the influence of prescription painkillers and muscle relaxants. After over two weeks of being sick and trying desperately to get over it (2 rounds of antibiotics), I took my brilliant son--who read 10,000 minutes last school year--to Lagoon and rode all the spine rattling rides he could find. For the record, while I enjoy the thrill of the rides I actually dread them the whole time I'm in line.

The next morning I woke up with a horrible pain in my neck and shoulders, like I had slept wrong. Except it never went away. Yesterday, 6 days later, I finally stopped torturing myself and went to the doctor. I don't know why I waited so long to seek relief. I can't drive because I can barely turn my head to look around and I can't even stand to be hugged by my kids because of the pain. Sleeping has been next to impossible.

But I signed on to participate in a charity author workshop (not as a presenter) in Ogden at the Treehouse Museum, which sounds like a fascinating place. Actual authors will be there like Brandon Mull and Shannon Hale, and I really wanted to be able to go. Except now that's become impossible. I can't drive safely without my meds to alleviate my pain and I can't drive safely with my meds because they're so powerful.

I'm especially disappointed because I wanted to get another signed copy of Shannon Hale's newest book for my cousin Becca who lives in Indiana because she's such a fan. A copy of Brandon Mull's Pingo for her daughters wouldn't be amiss, either.

Oddly enough, either because the meds have alleviated my pain so I can concentrate on other things or they've made me loopy, I'm feeling really creative. Maybe I can get some actual writing done this weekend, since I'm not leaving the house for the next few days.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Do all LDS authors go through this?

I've hesitated posting this, because it is intensely personal, but here goes. Do all LDS authors face such spiritual adversity trying to get published? And does that adversity ease at all once you've published one or two books?

I've been on a roller coaster of highs and lows ever since accepting my place in Heavenly Father's plan last April. At least the role of my writing. It wasn't an easy acceptance. I've done a lot of kicking and screaming to get to this point. But finally I accepted what He has in store for me, and the blessings I've been getting all say it's going to be big.

I have a book on the cusp of publication and have been smacked down by direct opposition more times than I care to count. This is personal you guys. I'm talking misdirected emails, flagrant red herrings--and not just at me but at the people involved in seeing my book in print.

Case in point: A few weeks ago I got an email from the designer who did my cover and is also doing the interior book design. She wanted me to send her the most recent draft of the book. She didn't have it. A MONTH BEFORE I had sent it to my liaison who had then sent it to her and wrote me back saying she had. And it vanished into cyberspace. In utter exasperation I vented to my husband that it felt like I was being targeted, like little gremlins were purposely sabotaging my work. He immediately felt impressed to give me a priesthood blessing, during which I was told I was right. After that I started saying a little prayer every time I sent an email even remotely book related.

Three weeks ago my liaison started her final read-through of my book. She has to read it before it goes into print. Call her my editor, for these purposes. The next week I emailed her for an update and she said she was on page 200 and really liking it. She sent me a couple more emails saying she was really enjoying it and asking if another author could also look at it. After two weeks of silence I emailed again; she's still around page 200. Work and family keep distracting her. And I know why.

I'm fasting tomorrow. I've asked my kids to pray for the book to be published soon. I've got people asking almost daily when it will be available for purchase. And I've started responding by asking them to pray for it. There's nothing short of divine intervention that's going to see my book published now.

So I ask again. LDS authors, is it always like this??

Sunday, August 23, 2009

It's Just Me

I haven't posted in a while. I guess I haven't felt much like an author lately. Though it has been fun to post on other author's blogs (and win copies of books) and support and encourage them, it's been really hard for me to tap my muse lately. I'm even having trouble supporting the upcoming release of my book--because I have no idea when it will actually happen. I'm still waiting for the results of the final read-through and to find out what happens next. And it's very, very hard for me to keep hassling the very dear lady doing the read-through because I already feel like a horrendous nag.

I haven't felt more ready for this in my entire life. I've learned so much about promoting my own book from the wonderful authors I have met who've gone before me. I love the concept of the blog giveaway. Though I don't quite have enough followers to do what Heather Moore did with her 10 week giveaway, I think it's a brilliant idea. And Annette Lyon talking about all her chocolate successes via Facebook has probably increased the sales of the upcoming chocolate cookbook exponentially.

Connecting with LDS authors has been the single most brilliant thing I've done for my writing. Not only are they great friends and have created an unrivaled support network, but they have awesome marketing ideas and are generous to a fault. To any of you who happen across this post, "thank you" does not adequately express my appreciation.

Feeling like an author sometimes takes as much work as being an author. I can't call myself a writer if I don't write. And the world doesn't stop just because my book is slow off the presses.

We never stop learning. Not even when we think we know everything.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Well, I did it.

I had my 8 yr old daughter chase down the postal carrier this morning to get my LUW Roundup registration postmarked before tomorrow (the deadline). Seriously, I'm filling out the envelope and I hear the mail get dropped off. And they move so fast, so Kylie grabbed my completed registration, got on her bicycle and took off down the street. Because I'm who I am, I watched her from the doorway as she handed it off.

I'm looking forward to Roundup. I've been a member of the League of Utah Writers for a few years now but I haven't been able to attend Roundup. Now I get to go and I'm thrilled. I'm not doing any extra classes and I didn't enter any contests. I just want to go and soak in what they have to offer and maybe next year I'll take a bigger bite.

It's funny, though, because I committed to sharing a hotel room with another author and have told everyone this year that I'm going--I hadn't registered yet. Fortunately I have a very wonderful and conscientious chapter president (Dorothy Crofts) who emails us procrastinators with a deadline reminder. Whew.

So now all systems are go. And I'm going to have an incredible time.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

I love Conventions!

As an author, the most fun I have--aside from creating really awesome plots or characters--is going to author conventions and sitting in a large room with a group of people who also hear voices. Where else outside of an asylum can you have that experience? It's fantastic!

Financially I've had to make some hard choices this year about which conference I can attend and which I will have to miss. The biggest chunk in my budget was taken by BEA in NY, but it was an experience like none other. And even though Storymakers wasn't as fun as I'd anticipated I really learned a lot. That was an enlightening weekend.

I'm not the person who calls attention to myself or, in the case of Storymakers, speaks to anyone (except Tristi), but I love soaking in the atmosphere and hearing how much alike we all are--which makes the fact that we all come up with different, original story ideas all the more amazing.

But really I'm still just a novice at this whole thing. There's so much to learn, and I'm grateful to all of those who have gone before me and let me soak up their wisdom.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

To be or not to be...

...What a question!

Our entire household was hard at work Friday cleaning the house for company, when I heard my oldest son quote the opening of Hamlet's soliloquy. And, literary nut that I am, I almost opened my mouth and recited the rest of it. But I stopped myself. It was a close one, though.

I'm pretty sure he got "To be or not to be" off of some cartoon or show, and has no idea that it's part of Shakespeare's tragedy--even though I have the complete works of dear William downstairs in the office and a copy of the movie on a shelf under the VCR. I'm not quite ready to pull Hamlet out for a family movie night, being fairly certain the kids' minds would have glazed over by Act II.

There's a place in the US where you can buy a modest, 3 bedroom house for around $20K. It's even near family. And more than once I've considered chucking it all and moving back there to pick up a quiet life, because I'm fairly certain our family could exist reasonably well on my husband's income alone so I could write. But then reality sets in. I know in my soul UT is where I'm supposed to be right now, and even though I have to have a job to help support the family--a job that takes me away from said family and significantly reduces time I have to write--this is a situation I'm going to have to slog through in order to fulfill my part in The Plan. The curve in the tunnel is just ahead, I can see the faintest shimmer of light beyond; I just have to get there.

My 5 yr old wanted me to play outside with her yesterday. She asked, but before I could answer said, "Oh, you won't want to go outside. You're on your computer." Bam! I want to go play with her, but if I don't steal those moments here and there to pound out the next great novel, when do I do it? In all fairness, though, it IS a laptop, and if it hadn't been for the pounding headache I may have thought that far ahead.

I have a deep desire to ask published LDS authors if they face specific types of opposition when trying to get that book written, edited, published, printed and/or distributed. I've been facing some very steady opposition and downright craftiness in an effort to stop my work from being in print. It's scary, and at the same time a little stupid because I hate saying I'm being picked on. It sounds like whining and I don't want to come across as whiney.


so there...

Sunday, August 2, 2009

I wanna be an author!!

Ok so I'm stubborn. And independent. And kind of a loner, despite being surrounded by people almost constantly. My spelling is excellent, my grammar clean--but I don't use enough commas and don't apologize for it. I think commas are overused and hate having to pause a hundred times in a sentence just to get through the thought.

Conformity challenges me. I was never taught to stand out and in fact have no desire to, yet I resist blending in. I have no intention of being like everyone else. When I'm told something has to be a certain way, my knee-jerk response is, why? What's wrong with a little deviation, to add variety and color to this concept?

I have many talents, but all of them are creativity based. I don't sew like normal people; I piece together from existing patterns something I see in my head and sew it to my own specs. I steer well clear of scrapbooking; I know I would get lost in that world. I do love to take pictures. If I had any musical talent there would be creating there, too.

Really, though, the other things I do to satisfy the urge to create are merely substitutes for the deep-seated need to write. My mind works independently of my body. If only I could type as fast as I think. But then that would likely bring down a whole new set of problems.

The reality of it is that I barely have time in my day to write anything. The day care babies take opposing naps, so that someone is always awake and needing attention. I keep trying to become a morning person, but so far that's been a wasted effort. People say if something is important enough then you'll make time for it. But what's that saying? You can't squeeze water from a turnip or something?

I do have to admire the eternal optimism of my children, though. 5 kids who still don't know how to swim are in there right now trying to make their own goggles and snorkels to take to the lake. Why? They'll never get in deeper than their knees.

I could use some of that optimism.