Tuesday, December 7, 2010
HERE and get your copy. Then check out Mr. Kundsen's website. It's a fun website and I highly recommend 'The Rogue Shop' teasers. So, on to the interview - which is the best part of this post:
PU What do you like best about your character Chris?
MK I like that he wants to redeem himself from the awful mistakes he made as a teenager. At age 20, he is still suffering mentally and spiritually due to a car accident he was responsible for at age 16. What hurts him the most is that his own parents were killed by a drunk driver when he was just 3. It's heroic that he tries to atone for this by improving his own life, but during my story he learns the limits of what he can do by himself.
PU A good lesson for all of us, too. What is your favorite line from the book?
MK "I scanned the contents of my cerebral quarry for the bedrock of my convictions and came up with a load of sand."
In writing that line, I was looking for just the right metaphor for Chris to realize that despite his efforts at walking a straight and narrow path, his refusal to find foundational principles and live by them is severely limiting his progress--and is also creating distance between him and the girl he's falling in love with.
PU Do you outline or let the fingers fly?
MK An outline is critical to start with, but after letting the "fingers fly" for a few thousand words, the outline is pretty much out the window and I wing it until I get stuck again. Then I revise the outline and take off for another flight. This process is repeated several times, and the finished product is never very close to what the outline was. Even the ending tends to change dramatically. I know, it sounds awful, but that's how it happened with The Rogue Shop.
PU I don't think it's awful. I think having a basic idea of where your story is going is valuable. Especially for me when the process is so long that I forget where I had originally gone with it even though, as you said, it changes as you go anyway. What are some ways you work through writer's block?
MK I see the presence of writer's block as evidence of 1 of 2 things:
1) I'm feeling lazy and don't really want to write a novel as much as I want to have written a novel.
2) I don't have a good enough story idea or outline and need to spend a little more time in preparation (but not too much).
The best block-breaking motivation for me is to go visit a bookstore or library, just browsing around. After about an hour of seeing all the millions of words other people have written and published, I am
anxious to get home and back to work.
PU What was your favorite genre and/or author growing up and has that changed?
MK I grew up on speculative fiction. Tolkien, Brooks, Mervyn Peake and his delightfully wordy Gormenghast Trilogy, tons of science fiction and horror. In college I enjoyed many of the classics of American literature, particularly Hawthorne and Faulkner. I learned a great deal from Shakespeare and Dickens. As an adult, I read it all. I like to go back to the fantasy and sci-fi, and when I get sick of that
I pick up a classic, or mainstream fiction. I've read a lot of LDS fiction lately and have loved what I've found. I also enjoy a wide range of non-fiction on many different topics.
PU Who has been your greatest influence as a writer?
MK #1 is my 12th grade English teacher, Ms. Argus. She is the first person (besides my mom) who read my papers and told me she thought I was talented and could be a good writer. I've never forgotten that.
PU Any words of advice for aspiring authors?
MK There are a million distractions these days that take away from your writing time. Even things we consider important like keeping up on a blog and maintaining your place in the writer's community can take away from what you really need to do, which is finish your novel. Just today I looked at my blog stats, and saw that in November 2009, I made zero posts and had zero visitors to my blog. How pathetic, I thought. Why was that such a lame month? Then I realized: November 2009 was the month I finally finished The Rogue Shop. I wrote over 200 pages that month. Sometimes the level of intensity required to finish something big requires the sacrifice of smaller things.
Thanks Peggy for hosting me today!
PU Thank you Michael and best of luck. Remember to check out Michael's cool website and order your own copy of The Rogue Shop.
Monday, November 22, 2010
I actually have two new books out, but the one I'm concentrating on right now is "True Miracles with Genealogy~Help from Beyond the Veil." Compiling it was an amazing experience.
I put out requests for stories on many social websites, including Facebook. Genealogists from all over the USA and from other countries responded. It amazed me to read so many unusual experiences—to learn of the many different ways researchers received the help they needed.
Yes, I created a website at http://www.truemiracleswithgenealogy.com to further the book's purpose of sharing research stories. I hope many readers will send in their experiences. I realize it's unusual for most people to have more than one or two genealogy miracles in a lifetime—and many have none—but treasuring and sharing these events is so worthwhile.
Oh yes, all the time. If I dwelt on doubts, I would never get anything written. But they do serve a purpose. My doubts make me continue to read about the art of writing. There is much to learn and relearn. I attend writing conferences, also. They are great for rekindling enthusiasm, and an excellent resource.
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
Then I thought about myself (let's call it introspection rather than selfishness, OK? That will make me feel better). Do I have any talents like this? Hmmm. None that I could think of. I can do lots of things but none really well. For example, I can design and sew clothes (I did my own prom dress), but I'm not a sewing genius. I can ride a bike, but Cycle Oregon? No way. I'll leave that to two of my sisters. I can cook, but will my children eat it? Sometimes. I can draw, but I'm more of a Picasso (maybe that's why his art appeals to me) than a Rembrandt. I can play the piano but not well enough to play in front of people. You get the picture.
So, what sets the Met Opera people apart from people like me? They have what it takes, but I'd like to think I do too. They have studied their craft. Perhaps this is where I've gone astray. Mediocrity comes easily. They have spent countless hours practicing and studying to the point of near perfection. Few of us are prodigies, but even they hone their craft for hours upon hours, day in and day out.
I am no prodigy, but I have resources available to me to excel in any area I determine. So, should I take up basketball? At 6' I'm tall for a female, but short by WNBA standards. I like basketball, particularly when I can sink a shot faster than my teenagers and husband. But, what I lack is the desire. If I had to go out and shoot hoops and run for hours on end, I don't think I would like it so much anymore.
So, what is something that I could do for hours and not get tired of it? The answer: Make up stories. I was about to go on a tangent about a Project Management class I took, but I will save it for another post. My point to all of this is that I have the resources and the desire to be a great writer, now I just have to put it all into action. Study my craft and minimize my distractions and work at it every day. Someday I hope you'll read something I've written besides this blog.
Is there a talent you are pursuing? Keep at it and for all you writers out there, Write On my friends!
Nicole Giles Contest
Donald J. Carey Contest
Here is a video teaser from Donald's book scheduled for release in January. Enjoy! (Can't wait to read this as it's set in one of my favorite places - Laie, Hawaii).
Friday, October 29, 2010
How about central air conditioning and heating. Living in Arizona I am very grateful for AC. I know some people don't use theirs or don't run it often. I am not one of them. Along with AC, we have homes built for energy efficiency so that we can live more comfortably. And then there's heating. I grew up in the mountains and sometimes it got down to forty below (I realize it's not as cold as some places, but waiting for the bus in the dark, very cold hours makes an impression not soon forgotten). We had an old enormous Heaterola wood burning stove. My dad spent a lot of hours chopping and we spent a lot of hours stacking, but it was all worth it when the chill of winter came.
There are so many things that make our lives easier. The writer's world is no different. There are so many resources we have to help make our writing better. Even the experts agree that they continually learn about writing - picking up a book on writing, attending writing conferences, critique groups, reading current books in the genre in which they are writing. So, don't be prideful or hold prejudice against those who are successful - use the information they offer, learn from them, let them help make your writing better, and as always, Write On my friends!
Friday, October 22, 2010
Guilt worked on me - I knew I should go for a few different reasons... a) time with my family, b) I really need the exercise, c) it might impress my husband if I went (yah, after knowing him more that 20 years, I still try to impress him - sometimes it even works!)
Friday, October 15, 2010
Monday, October 4, 2010
Friday night I met my sisters and mom in St. George, Utah. We met up at Poncho and Lefty's Mexican restaurant for dinner and then drove out to a house we rented in Santa Clara. It's a really nice place in a brand new subdivision.
It's so gratifying to cheer the runners on. They have worked and trained and prepared for this, but still need encouragement along the way. The thank yous and thumbs up that people give in return filled my bucket. So Write On my friends - I am cheering for YOU!
Saturday, September 25, 2010
- In a recent blog post Tamara Passey posed the question of whether we had ever wanted to re-write the ending of a book. I could only think of one at that time, Villette by Charlotte Bronte (a brilliant novel until I reached the end). I will now add Mockingjay to that list as I scream into my pillow in frustration.
- In a "Daily Kick in the Pants" by David Wolverton the title is "Killing Your Babies." (side note and off topic: my daughter walked in while I was reading this and a horrified expression crossed her face - she thought I was plotting to kill her. I did laugh out loud and then I explained what he was talking about) Back on topic. So we have to be careful about killing off our babies (aka our characters). He talks about readers getting attached to our characters and becoming offended when we kill them off - some so much so that they will no longer read anything by that author. One reason for eliminating characters is that it is necessary to motivate or to reach a particular end. Ms. Collins does a lot of eliminating in these two books - some of which I think could have easily been avoided.
- David Wolverton also talks in several "Kicks" about dream sequences or misleading your readers. Your readers don't like it. Yah, we don't like it! Maybe I missed some clues, maybe I read things into the story that really weren't there, but in the end I felt misled and I'll repeat it: we don't like it!
- I think Ms. Collins is incredibly creative - right up to the end of Mockingjay. Really? Didn't I just read this in the beginning of book three? Plus, the character arc works through book one, but I think it falls flat in two and most of book three and then suddenly in the epilogue we're supposed to think it all works out. It wasn't very believable for me.
- I look at this as similar to George Orwell's '1984'. It has political allusions. I would say it's not futuristic, but current. The 'capitol' to me is no different than our governments, both local and national. They continue to reach deeper into our pockets and control more and more of our lives - and like the people in the districts we continue to let them. How will it end for us? Will we make a stand before our children are 'sacrificed'? Oh wait, I almost forgot the trillions of dollars of debt we are hefting on their shoulders. Their standard of living will be hard pressed to live up to ours.
- Would I recommend the series? After book one: Yes. After books two and three: No.
Friday, September 24, 2010
I need to get to know my character better because I'm struggling with this. What motivates him? Why does he care? What things does he dislike/hate/fear? What is his biggest strength? What is his biggest weakness? Because we know him for such a short time, his growth will be less than that of the main characters, but we still need to see either a way he grows or a way he digresses - because we like him, I'm choosing growth. He will have to overcome an old and bitter grudge and come to realize that he was wrong.
Now, how do I give him a unique voice? That's a dilemma because I don't personally know anyone like him. I guess I need to dig a little deeper. Arrogant, always right, strong willed, justice-oriented (wait, I do know some attorneys...)
It's true, my characters are all bits and pieces of people I know or have known. It's so fun to people watch and use things we do or reactions we have - you know, truth is stranger than fiction...
These are just some of the ways I create my characters and I do hope they are compelling.
*LeFue and Gaston, Disney's Beauty and the Beast
Friday, September 10, 2010
It's difficult to rely on others when you are accustomed to doing things yourself. Believe me, I really wanted to get in the car and drive this morning. That being said, I am such a newbie writer that I definitely depend on the many resources that are out there to improve and learn this fabulous craft. I love writing and I love telling stories. I am so glad there are good writers and knowledgeable people out there who are willing to share what they know.
And although I really like being independent, I've learned that the writing world is not a place for that. We depend on others to get through the entire process. Think of all the books you've picked up with the little blurb in the front dedicating and thanking and acknowledging the many people who made the book possible. Just last night I was texting my childhood best friend and resident horse expert with questions. She texts me right back and never makes me feel like an idiot for not knowing the simplest things about horses. Love her and will certainly acknowledge her expertise in the front of my novel - I've just got to get it finished! So, Write On, my friends!
Friday, September 3, 2010
Monday, August 30, 2010
I attended a class in April taught by Ms. Bell and found it engaging and wonderful so I am excited to read her Butterfly Girls series! The back of the second book Hometown Girl says,
Jocelyn Rogers’s life is in a rut. Maybe she should step outside her comfort zone and move to Milford Falls, where she has inherited her grandmother’s house. With the encouragement of the other Butterfly Girls, Jocelyn musters her courage and starts a new life.
However, when she arrives in the small town that holds both good and bad memories for her, she discovers the house in worse shape than she expected, and getting repairs done is anything but easy — especially when it comes to dealing with Jack Emerson, a man who seems to be agitated by Jocelyn and everyone else within a fifty-mile radius.
To make matters worse, she has begun to worry that moving back to the place where she once spent a troubled summer will expose the deep personal secret she has kept hidden for fourteen years. But Jack also has a hidden secret that has prevented him from getting close to anyone in a long time. And now it seems that interfering neighbors may prevent both Jack and Jocelyn from moving forward with their lives.
Join the Butterfly Girls in this charmingly romantic story that shows sometimes it takes a leap of faith to land on your feet.
Doesn't it sound like a fun read?
Saturday, August 28, 2010
If I wanted to be an alligator hunter in Loosiann, what would I need?
Equipment would include a flat fishing boat (sorry all you boat experts out there, I have no idea what kind of boat it is, I'm just trying to describe it), large pieces of decomposing chicken on enormous hooks (aka bait), a strong pole and line, and a hand gun and/or shotgun with ammunition.
Non-equipment essentials would include a guide/mentor, knowledge of alligator hangouts and a great aim (or a sharpshooter).
The bait is hung just above the water along the banks of the swamp lands. After baiting several hooks and setting them out along a route, the team returns and checks the lines. Sometimes bait is missing, but when they're lucky, a 'gator is on the other end of the line. They carefully reel it in and it puts up one mother lode of a fight. This is where the sharpshooter comes in. As soon as that 'gator's head is above water the shooter is firing. If the first shot doesn't do the trick, he fires off another round into what they call the 'sweet spot'. The 'sweet spot' is about the size of a quarter and unless you hit that spot Mr. Alligator is not slowing down. Next they load the gator - head first (very important) - into the boat. Then they move to the next bait spot. They have 30 days to hunt their license limit.
One thing that really struck me was the mentors - the older men - passing their skill and knowledge on to the next generation. They were so patient, guiding the younger men through the whole process and a few mistakes. Who had taught them? Their fathers and grandfathers and so on, going back generations and generations. When those young men followed the lead of the older ones success and safety followed.
Our writing is much the same. There are so many generous and talented 'mentors' out there helping those of us who are just starting out. They encourage us and guide us and give us little tidbits of wisdom. Our writing is better because of them. I am grateful for past generations of wonderful writers. Thank you and Write On my friends!
Friday, August 20, 2010
But, I love to read. I love a good story - in almost any genre. For example, I don't care for westerns, they would be one of my last resorts to read. However, my brother-in-law convinced me to read one of his favorites, a Louis L'Amour novel titled Last of the Breed. Devoured and loved - but it wasn't a typical western. A great book that, like usual, I became completely absorbed in.
There are only a handful of books that I have picked up and walked away from. What was it about those books that I couldn't get into? They were books that just didn't engage me as the reader. Is this a bad thing? Does it mean it wasn't well written? Probably not, for me, it just didn't click. As a writer, I want to tell a good story, have it be well written, and I want everyone to love it. Will everyone love it? No. It's just the way things are. Not everyone will have the same opinion or feel the same way about a book. Just like in life, we all experience things differently. We look at the same mountain and my heart may warm and fill with nostalgia while someone else's would revolt.
So, ignore the critics, write what you love, write your story, but most of all, Write On!
Friday, August 13, 2010
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
Thursday, July 15, 2010
My father-in-law has a saying: "Pay me now or pay me later." Essentially, you have to pay one way or the other. I can either take the time now to plot and plan the basics or I can free write like crazy and spend a serious amount of time editing and re-writing and figuring out plot holes and what does/doesn't work in the end.
Why do I avoid it? I don't know the answer to that because the character bible class I took at LDStorymakers Conference was so much fun. Plus, I want a really strong character arc and I think that takes more planning than I have put in so far and I think it will be an aspect that is easier knowing up front. So much for being excited about my increasing word count... This week I'll be doing some of the "behind-the-scenes" stuff and hopefully it will turn an average story into a classic.
Dream Big and Write On!
*Check out the blogs of two of these writers: Tamara and Valerie. They rock!
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
My parents had a pink over-stuffed chair that sat on the covered front porch. I loved draping my legs over one arm and lounging there for hours in far-away places with fantastic characters. Of course, none of that could be done until all my chores where finished. We lived on a small farm, so there was plenty to do, but I had great motivation for getting it done. It's hard for me to understand not loving books! I hope that what I write will someday inspire someone to read more and at least like reading. So for now, read on!
Saturday, June 26, 2010
First the process of refinishing the pool from start to finish. Our salesman was fantastic and very knowledgeable - hence the choice of his company over a few others. We signed all the papers and went down to the showroom and picked out our color and our tile. They came and chipped out the old plaster. Then we waited. And waited. A worker showed up one morning to place the tile turtles on the step. This was fine except that I wasn't home and my husband kept sending pictures as I drove. Then we waited and waited some more. We called. They looked into it and I guess there was some confusion about who was installing some anchors. They finally came out and did a blue pebble-sheen finish.
So what does this have to do with writing? It's a long process, from rough draft to polished copy, but in the end we aim to have something wonderful that people will enjoy.
Wednesday, June 23, 2010
Clearly this is a cause that is dear to my heart and I was so impressed when my cousin Lauren decided to get involved. She is raising money for Special Olympics in Utah. Special Olympics Utah is a non-profit organization that receives no local, state, or federal government or United Way support. They rely on donations of time and money to provide these great programs.
Please click here to learn more and join me in supporting Lauren and Special Olympics Utah.
Thursday, June 17, 2010
Get copyright permissions HERE
Using trademarks in fiction - a publishing and intellectual property attorney's point of view
More trademarks in fiction - from a publishing company point of view
A chart of copyright terms and public domain in the US
An easy to use site with tons of links and resources.
Remember, citing a source is not "permission" to use someone else's work. Good luck and write on!
Tuesday, June 8, 2010
Then I had lunch with a dear friend whom I met at the LDStorymakers Conference in April. She is such an inspiration. I truly believe that God puts people in our path from whom we can learn. Connie is one of those people for me. It's a little (OK, a lot) unfair - it's as if I am feasting at this great banquet and all I've provided is the cheese plate. I've started her LifeChange Program - a simple way to set goals and make simple but effective changes in your life - love it! I am currently listening to her Get Organized CD (yes, I need to get organized!) So, you can see, I am nibbling on this fabulous table of goodies thanks to her.
After a long and wonderful lunch, I went to see my best friend from high school. It had been way, WAY, too long since we'd gotten together (like 10 years). How does that happen? I guess it doesn't help that we live in different states - about 11 hours by car from each other. But still. I should be better at the keeping in touch thing, after all, she's another amazing person in my life - and I love her! She's had to face some incredible trials throughout her life.
But what does this have to do with writing you ask? Well, creating characters in our books that are believable and real sometimes comes as a challenge. What kind of attributes do I want my protagonist to have? These ladies are my heroes and the strength of their amazing character is a great example of the kind of women I want to write about. They have profound faith and true courage. Even when the pain blurs minute into minute and day into day, they reach deep inside, lean on the Lord - God is an integral part of their lives - and work through it. Thank you my friends for your friendship and your example and for being women of God.
Tuesday, May 25, 2010
LC Lewis typically writes historical novels but has switched gears with her just-released novel "Awakening Avery." The following is an excerpt from an interview with her.
Laurie, why did you switch genres and write “AWAKENING AVERY?” It’s not historical is it?
No, ”AWAKENING AVERY” is current, so it’s a nice diversion from my historical work.
What is the message behind the title, “AWAKENING AVERY?”
Our lead character is an LDS author/wife and mother who gets catapulted from her comfortable support role in the family to the lead after the untimely death of her wonderful husband. Although her husband, Paul, had been slowing fading for a long time, Avery had closed her eyes to the toll his illness and death had taken on her and her family. Her oldest son tells her he needs to get away to deal with his grief, and she is forced to face some hard truths—things are falling apart in her once perfect family, and instead of preparing for the eventuality of Paul’s death, she has been shriveling away. Avery needs to step up and take action, a daring thing that requires her to grow and stretch in ways she never imagined.
So is this story primarily about handling grief?
The Thompson family’s grief is the vehicle we use to address the major theme of the book, which is family vigilance. Their grief opens cracks in their spiritual veneer that weakens them, and makes them vulnerable, but hopefully readers will recognize that all of our families are vulnerable if we lower our vigilance for whatever reason. But another lesson from the book is the power available to us as we draw upon our families and friends for strength. The book is very hopeful.
The themes are serious, but you call "AWAKENING AVERY" a chuckle-out-loud and grab-a-hankie read. Why?
Avery is grieving, but she goes through a summer of self-discovery where she opens her narrow world up to receive a host of quirky new friends. They all have life experience and strength she can draw from, and she discovers she has a few things to teach them as well. So it’s not a sad book. Parts are very tender—happy tender and sad tender— and parts are a riot. We’ve got some fun, crazy characters in here.
Like Teddie and Rider Davis? They’re hilarious!
Yeah, I love them! They remind me of kids playing dress-up, but they have already been through the fire, and under all their designer duds, they are people of great substance. They have been tested in the crucible of faith, and they are stronger because of it.
And George? I hear the dedication of Awakening Avery is also very personal to you.
It is. It reads, “To my father, Allen K. Chilcoat, the chef behind the magic of slumgolian and peanut-butter balls; and to my mother, Bernice, who kept us alive despite his kitchen exploits.”
Of all the books I’ve written, or that I will ever write, this one probably best reflects my childhood memories of my father. He is the model for George because when Dad went into the kitchen to cook we knew it was going to be an adventure.
So Slumgolian is a real dish? You actually ate it?
Oh yes! I think the recipe had its beginnings in Iceland where my father was stationed for a time. The men threw whatever they had into a pot and called it Slumgolian. One evening when we were camping, after a long day of crabbing in the Chesapeake Bay, my dad offered to make dinner. Mom was horrified at what was being thrown together—baked beans, chicken noodle soup, corn, peas, you name it—but Dad insisted we’d love it. It looked dreadful, but Dad’s presentation and sales pitch transformed it from slop to Slumgolian, a very exotic foreign dish.
And the Kool-Aid pancakes and Peanut Butter Balls?
Yeah, they were all my dad’s recipes.
Avery is an author. Was that meant to be another biographical element?
No . . . I needed Avery to have a career that made her mobile enough to take this journey, and to provide her with a tool with which she could measure her personal growth. Writing her as an author fit that bill, and I already understood that industry. For Avery, her writing and the writings of another author—Axel Hunter—provide an outlet for expression . . . of her grief, her fears, her hopes. I think we all need an outlet. Hopefully one of our outlets is good friends.
Axel Hunter figures critically in this book.
Neither Avery nor Gabriel sees any personal life for themselves after their spouses die. Axel’s books open their eyes and hearts to possibilities they had shut out. As a writer, I’d love to think my books made a difference like that in anyone’s life.
That’s powerful, but there is also great power in humor. I love the story of the Carson sisters and the pink flamingo rug!
That was the most fun scene to write! I hope to begin a new pink flamingo trend in home décor!
The Thompsons are LDS but the Carsons are not. That becomes a major theme in the book as well.
“Awakening Avery” explores the additional tensions that arise in a marriage when religious differences exist, and the devastating consequences that occur when partners allow that to build a wedge in their family. The absolute essential nature of strong families is the underlying theme of “Awakening Avery.”
So what other projects are you working on?
I’m still promoting my Free Men and Dreamers series. Volume three, “Dawn’s Early Light,” debuted in December, and I’m hoping we’ll see book four on the shelves by late summer.
Thanks for the interview, Laurie Lewis. “Awakening Avery” sounds like a great gift for mothers and wives.
Reviews. . .
Readers will love the journey that Avery takes them on and will find themselves transformed in the process. —Martha Adams
“Teddie and Rider are most delightful, and they immediately find a place in Avery's heart and in the reader's heart as well.”
“I had to chuckle out loud.”
“A very . . . compelling read.”
“[This] author has a definite knack for making her characters' voices distinct.”
“I love Avery . . . a middle-aged woman being the heroine.”
Click on this link to reach chapter one: Awakening Avery Chapter One or click here to go to Ms. Lewis' website.