Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Just Dance!

I hope you'll all forgive me for not posting this sooner. I'd forgotten I hadn't posted these drawings of dancers. I do have a reasonably good excuse. :) For starters I received an email from a publisher requesting six of my manuscripts to look over! I know! AWESOME! 
I've been a little silly and empty headed lately from excitement. I'm crossing my fingers that something excellent comes from it.
Another good excuse is I've been writing like a mad woman on caffeine. Funny thing is I don't drink caffeine. If I did you'd all be sorry.
I've written 31,000 words in six days and finished my first novella. All my other work ends up being full novels, but this character didn't have much to say. What she did need to say was intense and thrilling. Please stay tuned to learn what comes of my writing endeavors. Thanks for stopping by!
Here are the dancing beauties.

Thank you Kerianne and Eric Hoth, Alexandria and Ashley for your talent and inspiration. 

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Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Camera... roll... ACTION!

If you've been following me on facebook you'd know all about my newest adventures being on a movie set. Not only was I a fly on the wall, but my artwork was as well! An actor who portrayed an artist took some short lessons from me then he pretended to draw my picture while they filmed him. For those who don't know about the movie it's called 8 Stories (a film by Triad Media and Entertainment). Author, Stephanie Fowers, co-directs with Sandra Barton, and Jacqueline Fowers is the Director of photography. To follow progress on the film, click here.
I promised those on facebook that I would post pictures, but I didn't want to do that until I finished the drawing that was used in the movie. Now I have and I'm ready to share it with you wonderful people.

This is Ben Jarvis who plays the artist Ethan. Ethan has a crush on a dancer named Grace (Elizabeth Montgomery) and draws her in the film. He took a crash course from me on how to draw lips. We were both nervous about this little endeavor--he didn't want to mess up my drawing and I didn't want him to! Ha ha!
But I have to add how impressed I was of his skills. I think if the acting career didn't work out for him (there's no reason it wouldn't) he could become an artist.

Here's Ben showing off his new found drawing skills.

Stephanie Fowers and Ben going over the script. --Yes! They really do that! ;)

The artist's room. See my art! Mikey Brooks' art is there as well. Do you see my horse laughing at us?

Another view of our work.

You may ask, "Why is there sheets and blankets hanging from the ceiling fan?"
Well, it's to help with the sound of course! Otherwise the sound would be off.
It's ingenious.

Everyone crams into this tiny room to film Ben pretending to have a phone conversation while he draws lips then packs his books into a bag. No pressure, Ben!
Mike, the boom mike guy, (yes, his name is Mike) says that he can hear all kinds of things I couldn't, so I hardly breathed or moved while they filmed.

Here he is, getting into his character.

Awhh, I'm so proud. He did so great!

For kicks I asked if I could have my picture taken in the soon to be famous elevator.
All the junk at my feet is their props. After a few minutes the elevator was going nowhere, so I bailed. I could never imagine being stuck in such a tiny space with seven other people! Claustrophobia!

So, who wants to see the drawing of Elizabeth, the actress who play Grace, the dancer?
Well, okay. Here you go...

The scan they sent me didn't turn out as fantastic as I would have liked, but the prints turned out better.

I hope you enjoyed your visit! Please come again and leave a comment!

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Sunday, October 19, 2014

Dave and Febie

For my family, and those who ask, I like to give a drawing as a gift. My brother-in-law, Dave, had his heart stolen by the beautiful Febie. They were married over a week ago in China (no I didn't go... I wish). And let me say... IT"S ABOUT TIME!
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Friday, October 17, 2014

My Notes on How to Write a Short Story--lesson given by Paul Genesse

I want to start by giving advice to new writers that might happen by my blog...
If you haven't already joined a writing group, do so now. You won't regret it. If you're hesitant to, then put those boots on, pull up your britches and grab that bull by the horns. Not only will you learn a thing or two about writing and publishing you'll build friendships who are the glue that keep your sanity together. They will brighten your path along the crazy road to becoming an author.
Okay, maybe it's not so much a road as it is a roller coaster.

Moving on...

Last night I had the privileged to attend my League of Utah Writers meeting where Paul Genesse, author of many Fantasy and Sci-Fi short stories and novels, spoke on how to write a short story.
Not only is Paul's big head full of knowledge, he's funny too. (Okay, his head is normal size, but I think it's because he's used some kind of magic trick to make it look that way, because someone so knowledgeable has to have a gigantic head.)
Anyway, here are my notes from the meeting. May we all learn enough to grow gigantic heads like Paul.

A short story is 7,000 words or less
7,000 to 12,000 words is novelettes
14,000 and over words is a novellas (until around 50,000 to 60,000, then they are novels)

*A short story needs to accomplish one thing... The reader needs to feel something at the end.
*Start in the middle of the action. Don't start before the semi crashes through the building. Start when the person wakes up below the bumper of metal beast with gasoline filling their nostrils.
*Use the 5 senses on the first page.
*Writer's need to be abusive--or in other words, take away everything the reader wants for the character. Make the character ache and wallow in misery until the resolution.
*Make the reader love the character right away.
*Show, don't tell!
*To learn how to write a short story, you must read short stories.
*There must be conflict or tension on ever page.
*Don't use the word WAS
*Don't go big. Don't put too much into a short story or you'll end up with a novel instead.
*When you're done writing it, put it down for a few days or a week, then come back.
*Stick with 2 or 3 characters

When cutting scenes ask the questions...
-Does it progress the plot?
-Does it have tension? Does it make the reader feel?
-Does it show characterization?
If it doesn't do any of these things, then get rid of it.

I'd like to say thanks to Paul for your time and talents. Thanks to Lauri Schoenfeld and Eliza Crosby for all you do for our group. Thanks to Nicole White for taking this picture of us on our adventure at Leatherbys afterwards.
Lauri, Travis, Paul, Eliza and me
(Travis Behunin, you weren't looking at the camera)

Write on!

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So my first contest didn't go so well. It could possibly be due to the fact that it was the wrong time of year to embark on such an endeavor. It could be because the word didn't spread as I had hoped (I blame facebook for that. Why they restrict post with links is beyond me).
All my writer friends I've talked with all have told me that the idea is something they're interested in and many wanted to enter but didn't have the time.
Perhaps I will try again, although I will wait until January or February after the hub bub of the holidays are over.
As a treat to you fantastic people I give you a taste of Neils Knudsen's writing. He wrote a short story based on my drawing of the Mountain man.
You'll find Neils blog by clicking here. Go stop by and say hi to him and tell him how entertaining his story is!

Big John
By Neils Knudsen
Austin came into the living room with a bowl of chocolate chip ice cream. His brothers Jordan and Nate followed with a side dish of frozen raspberries and a cold glass of fresh sun-brewed iced tea.
Austin dropped a spoon into the bowl and handed it to me. “Come on grandpa, tell us the story of Big John.”
“You drive a hard bargain.” I brought the back of my overstuffed recliner upright and set my book on the side table.
My son, Ryan, grinned sheepishly as he changed the channel to some western music. “Come on Dad, they’re old enough to know the truth about your days in the old west.”
“Ah, you put them up to this, didn’t you Guy?” I gave Ryan an accusatory glance. He dropped the controller on the coffee table, shrugged with a smirk and sat back on the couch.
I gave the boys a quick look and decided he was right. The youngest, Nate, the ‘tater’, was an avid historian for a twelve year old boy and loved real life stories. “Alright,” I said. “Hand me those raspberries, will you?”
Jordan set the frozen sour delights on the side table. Nate sloshed iced tea on my lap as he handed the cold tumbler to me.
“Sit down boys; this is a tale of dusty deserts, abject fear and giants among men.” I spooned some berries over my ice cream, took a savory bite of the sweet and sour delight and let the tension build.
I took a swig of tea to wash the dessert down.
“When I was a young man and new to Utah, I opened a saloon in the old mining town of Tooele. Back then it was just a dusty little town with gritty miners and hard mountain men. I was dumb enough to think I could handle them—I was wrong.” I watched my young audience as they sat on the floor in front of me. Their eyes were glued to me. I took a long swig of tea and then began.
The summer of 1907 was hot. Dry. Parched. Perfect. I walked out onto the covered front porch of my empty saloon with a tall glass of cool water. The view to the west was filled with the expanse of the Great Salt Lake desert—flat—white—salty—deadly.
I took a sip of water as I sat in a creaky wooden chair and leaned back against the wall waiting for some business. I fanned the heat from my face with a copy of the Tooele Transcript. Tiny dust devils curled up from the dirt street and wandered, heedless, like me, of the dangers about to befall the town which at the time seemed oddly vacant—ghostly.
A sudden breeze pushed waves of dust westward down the street and shutters clapped. A door slammed. My chair groaned as I pushed forward and came to my feet. The air calmed and I heard the loud clamor of footfalls on the rickety boardwalk somewhere to the east. I turned to see my felonious neighbor, Jim, laden with luggage heading my way.
The man was soon upon me. “Yeh got a horse?”
“Yes,” I said. “Where’s yours?”
“I’ll give yeh a hunerd dollars for it.” Jim was in a panic. He dropped his burden and dug a wallet from his baggy britches.
“Wait a minute.” I pushed the palm of my hand to Jim’s chest. “What’s wrong? What’s the hurry?”
“Where’s yer horse?” Jim waved my hand aside and shoved the money into my vest pocket.
“Out back.”
He yanked the money from my pocket. “No it ain’t. I already looked.”
“What?” I grabbed the ratty lapels of his vest. “You were going to steal it, weren’t you?”
“Don’t matter now, do it?” He glanced over my shoulder and then pointed. “See that? He’s coming.”
“Who?” I yanked him around and looked west.
“See that whirly-wind out there? That’s Big John comin’.” He ran his hand over his stubbly head wiping the sweat off. “The man’s insane. Comes around every couple of years, knocks everything down and kills them that get in his way.”
“That is such a load of crap.” I pushed him against a porch post. “You afraid of a dust devil?”
“Dust, no. Devils, yes.” He swept his arm, gesturing to the town. “How many folks yeh seen today, eh? None, that’s what. They all be gone south to Yerika.”
I let him go. It was true, I hadn’t seen anyone until he showed up. “You’re saying one man is making that cloud of dust out there?”
“Yep, and that big buffalo he rides.”
“Big buffalo, eh?” That piqued my curiosity. I had seen a few prairie bison on the Great Plains as I made my way to Utah and wondered what it would be like to see a really big one up close.
The cloud of dust grew bigger and closer as I watched. Jim gathered up his baggage and ran west down the street and then turned south on the road to Eureka. The cloud came closer.
I returned to the creaky old chair, picked up the town paper and made myself comfortable as I fanned warm air across my sweaty face. I glance westward. To my surprise he was almost here.
The rumble of stampeding hooves rose from the floor of the wooden porch. I lurched upright and stood. Jim hadn’t been gone five minutes and that cloud was just outside of town. For the first time I felt a bit nervous as a noise resembling thunder rolled up the street.
The porch shook. Shutters and doors clapped shaking loose grit, dust and paint from their edges. Glass cracked and shattered. I grabbed a porch post to steady myself.
A swirling devil peered through an angry vortex of dirt as it raced toward me. The massive head of a buffalo rose and fell as it led the way. Its eyes burned red hot, its nose snorted fire as the reins pulled up hard on the bit in its mouth.
The cloud of grit and dirt overwhelmed the shaggy beast, me and the world as a thunderous voice said, “Whoooaaa.”
When the dust cleared a man the size of a mountain sat upon the hump of the beast, his feet barely off the ground. In one hand he held a giant diamondback rattlesnake. In the other he held a massive puma by the back of its neck. He threw the snake down and thundered, “Staayy.” He threw the mountain lion to the ground and again thundered, “Staayy.”
He straightened his buckskin covered legs and stood, the beast still beneath him. He grabbed it by the shoulders, heaved it to the hitching post and then stepped to the front of it. A huge fist punched the fiery critter between the eyes. It fell to the ground in an instant, the eyes cooled and the fire went out.
Then he turned to me.
I gulped. Up to then I had been mesmerized by the scene, not realizing I was about to die.
He took the fur hat off his shaggy head and shook the dust away from both. The yellow eyes and white fangs of a skinned timber wolf formed the hat as two canine legs with huge paws hung down either side. The bushy gray tail swept over the big man as he put it back on.
He slapped the dust off the Indian blanket he used for a vest, ducked under the eaves of the porch and took a step toward me. He laid a hand on the big Hawkin .54 caliber flintlock pistol tucked in his belt. “Whiskey,” he said.
I pealed my fingers from the porch post and backed into my saloon. As I went through the swinging doors I turned and ran behind the bar. My shotgun lay on the shelf beneath. Before I could decide what to do with the weapon the giant was in front of me.
He slapped the top of the bar. “Whiskey.”
I forced myself to turn to the shelves of booze behind me and chose a bottle of “Robert Samuels Bourbon,” the best I had. The bottles clattered as I removed the prized spirits and picked up a shot glass.
When I turned he snatched the bottle from me, bit off the neck, chewed the glass and, with one gulp, washed it down with the whiskey. It was over too fast.
With a bar rag I dabbed the sweat and fear from my brow. “W-w-w-would y-you l-like another?”
His cold steel gray eyes stared at me for an eternity as he picked a shard of glass from his teeth. He leaned over the bar. His breath smelled of whiskey and fetid meat. I wet my pants.
“Nah,” he said. “I ain’t got time, Big John’s comin’.”

“Ah, grandpa, that can’t be true.” Austin licked the last of some ice cream from his spoon and tossed it into his empty bowl on the floor.
“Yes, it can.” Jordan jumped up and galloped around man-land on his imaginary buffalo. “I read about cowboys using buffalo.”
“No, they didn’t, Jordan.” Nate the tater uncrossed his legs and shot his jaunting brother with his imaginary buffalo gun.
Jordan keeled over, clutching his chest in a dramatic spill and rolled into his big brother.
“It still isn’t true.” Austin pushed Jordan away. “It was a fun story, though. Anyone want more ice cream?”
I held my bowl out to him. “More berries, too, please.”
“It is too, grandpa said so.” Jordan rolled over and got to his knees.
“No, it isn’t,” Nathan said. “Grandpa wasn’t alive in 1907.”
“Doh, yeh got me.” I clutched my chest. My empty tea glass tumbled to the floor.
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Thursday, October 16, 2014

No Sugar Buttermilk Pancakes

In an earlier post--like way earlier--I shared a recipe for my Buttermilk pancakes with Buttermilk syrup. If you've made them you'll know how delicious they are, but since changing to a no sugar lifestyle I haven't had the pleasure of eating them. Occasionally I will make them for my family and  I'll end up eat my usual eggs for breakfast.
Then I got a brilliant idea the last time I made them.
"I'm going to make them with honey instead of sugar!" I said with a snicker and rubbing my hands together.
Guess what! They turned out wonderfully perfect!
Here's the recipe...

No Sugar Buttermilk Pancakes
2 cups buttermilk
1 egg
1 Tablespoon honey
Mix the three ingredients together in bowl then *add:
1 rounded cup of flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
Dash of salt
*Mix dry ingredients together then add in with buttermilk.  ONLY STIR FOR 10 SECONDS.  DO NOT OVER STIR.  IT SHOULD BE SLIGHTLY LUMPY.  Then cook pancakes on pancake grill.
Pancake batter will bubble a bit and that's a good sign of great pancakes.
Yes these are fantastic, but I'm not so sure about the syrup yet. I made the syrup without sugar and added honey in its place. I liked it, but my husband and sister-in-law didn't. One of my kids liked it, but the other two didn't. So, I think it's a hit and miss. I'll give it to you and see what you think. I'd love to hear from you, so comment below.

Buttermilk Syrup Without Sugar
1 cup of honey
¾ cup buttermilk
½ cup butter
Bring to boil over medium high heat then take off heat and add in
2 tsp vanilla
Serve over pancakes
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Monday, September 22, 2014

Calling all writers!

It's contest time!
First of all, thank you for those who've stopped by to check out my very first contest on this fabulous blog! For those who'd like to participate, here are the details . . .

Below are different drawings of people. Pick at least one drawing (you can pick as many characters as you'd like) and write a short story based on that drawing. The story needs to be no more than 3,000 words. Keep the content of your writing clean (No sexual content or foul language). It should go without saying, but no plagiarizing allowed. Only one short story per person.
Fellow writing friends and avid readers will judge the short stories based on entertainment, characterization and if it's well written. Any genre is welcome.
I will post the top 3 winner's stories on my blog giving others a chance to vote on their favorite.
The Prize?
The favorite will win either a large (11x14) or two small (5x7) pencil drawing(s) of one of their own characters from your own original works for you to gawk at (a value of up to $200). (Sorry for the more free spirited folks, I will not draw nude images). The prize does not include the images below.
Rest assured that I will not use the drawings of your characters in any of my own novels/stories. I will only post the drawings here on my blog and in my personal portfolio. The original drawing will be yours to keep. I will mail it to you.

This will all be done anonymously by emailing your story, title and name to then Jared will pass on your story only (leaving out your name) to my email where I will divvy them out to be judged.
This is for US participants only. (Sorry Canada).
In the body of your email please include your name and title of your story. Attach your word document to the email, leaving out your name on any part of the document. Please add a header with your title. If a name is left on the document it will be disqualified.
The deadline for your entries will close October 10th at midnight.
I will have to put a limit to how many I can read through, so only the first 25 stories will be entered. I will post the winners as quickly as I can. Hopefully I'll be though by the end of October so I can participate in NANOWRIMO.
If things go well and we get a lot of participants then I will do this again. :)
Please share this blog with others and I'll love for you to follow me.

Here are the characters to choose from . . .

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Friday, September 5, 2014

Sugar Free Peach Cobbler

Wouldn't you like to sink your teeth into a plate of this? I know I would. My mouth is watering just looking at it. Would you believe me if I told you this didn't have any sugar in it?
Well, believe it. It was made with honey. It's heavenly. Try it for yourself and see.

No Sugar Peach Cobbler
Peach mixture:
1/2 cup raw honey
1 tablespoon of corn starch
1/4 tsp cinnamon
5 cups of sliced peaches
1 tsp lemon juice
1 cup flour
3 Tablespoons raw honey
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3 to 4 tablespoons of butter
1/2 cup milk
Mix your peach mixture together and pour into a baking dish (9x13). Mix topping ingredients together until well blended and a bit sticky. Spoon clumps of it over the peaches. It won't spread over the entire peach mixture and you don't need it to. It will puff up and the peaches will boil around the puffs of dough to caramelize and look tasty. Bake at 400 for 20 to 30 min. (My oven cooks hotter than most, so you may want to check it after awhile).
I've found that cooking this with honey creates the topping to be crispier. It's divine and I know you'll love it.

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Open Wide, Mr. Ed.

Little known fact about me; I've only been on a horse once. They set me on one without much instruction and sent me off into the woods to help look for a Christmas tree. Not long after I was thrown from the horse and never set my butt on one again. I've wanted to. I love horses, just never had the opportunity to return to the saddle.
But, hey, I'm good at drawing them. :)
Say hello to Mr. Ed.
Copies of this 11x17 drawing are available for $20. Just email me at

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The Rendezvous Experience

This last week my family and I attended the Fort Bridger Mountain Man Rendezvous up in the prairies of southwest Wyoming. If you've never attended you should look into stopping by next Labor Day weekend to see what it's all about.
Rendezvous across the country are much the same. People dress up in period clothing (from the late 1700's to the mid 1800's), sleep in tipis (or teepee, depending on how you want to spell it), and hold shooting contests, buy and trade goods and have a merry ol' time. You might wonder what kind of goods they sell, well, anything you'd find during the nineteenth century. Nothing modern. The rules are strict and clearly stated. No plastic. Only items found during the time period.
Because of the strict policy it makes for a historical environment. It smells, looks and feels old.
Nearly every canvas covered shop you enter will hold the scents of metals, leathers, wool and wax. And it's not just a few shops you'll see. Trader's Row is what they call the dirt road that circles around next to the fort and you can meander all day to look over everything the shop owners have to offer and you'll still miss something.
Along with the shops and black powder shooting, hatchet throwing, and arrow shooting contests there are old homes to tour and of course the museum and fort itself. Several times a day over the weekend they have representatives from different Native American tribes show us a thing or two about their heritage by dancing in their traditional costumes. It's a sight worth seeing.

The only downfall of this trip was my camera didn't work as I needed it to. I had planned on taking loads of pictures to share with you all. My camera only worked for an hour before it decided it didn't like me anymore. Here are a few of my pictures worth showing . . .
As you can see we are all dressed up in period clothing. My daughters are wearing the wool cloaks I had made for them. I've spent all summer making an entire wardrobe for my family and because my camera pooped out on me I don't get to show you the rest of our costumes.

Here's my two little ones watching their Uncle made a leather pouch for my son. I wish I could have snapped a shot of his handy work.

Nothing would be right about this until someone wielded a pitchfork.

Stop on by soon and I'll have a drawing posted of a laughing horse I drew.

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Friday, August 22, 2014

Talks Funny

Here is another from my Rendezvous collection. His name is Talks Funny. I'd forgotten the reason why he has this mountain man name. I'll have to ask him when I see him next week.

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Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Native American Dancer

Tah dah! It's done!
Last year I attended the Fort Bridger Mountain Man Rendezvous and had a fabulous time taking pictures and enjoying the festivities. For fifteen years I would mention and or beg to attend this rendezvous and my husband would always answer, "Why would I want to go camp with a bunch of people wearing loincloths."

Well, there are men with loincloths, but it's a whole lot more than people dressing up.
This awesome colored pencil drawing is one of the Native American dancers that entertains and give us a gift of their ancestors. It's one of my favorite pictures I took and I knew I needed to draw him. So I did. :)
All summer long I've been preparing to return to the rendezvous by sewing my family an entire wardrobe and drawing work that I hope to sell. When all is done I'll post more pictures.

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Thursday, July 24, 2014

A Mountain Man named . . . well, see for yourself . . .

I met this man last year at Fort Bridger Mountain Man Rendezvous. If you haven't heard of such a thing, click here and consider attending. It will be worth the trip.
Anyway, these rough and tough mountain men don't exactly go by their given names. Here they are known as a name they earned or nicknamed. For example, my grandpa's name is Wayne Mendenhall, but when he attended the rendezvous he was known as Snowy Owl.
When I asked the man above his name, I wasn't surprised to learn his name is Dammit.
Just as he and Bill Cosby explains, throughout his childhood he thought his parents had called his name every time they spoke to him. "Dammit, get over here!"

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Thursday, July 10, 2014

Easy No Sugar Ice Cream

Yeah, it's been a while since I posted. For that I'm sorry. I've had issues with my camera (it doesn't work), therefore I can't take pictures of artwork or the food I make to post them here. And because I'm a very visual person I have to have pictures, so I don't post.
I've made several recipes that I would love to share, but I question whether you'll even look at it if it doesn't have a picture to it.
This is my test . . . I will post this recipe I came up with on a whim without a picture to show how divine it is and see how many people check it out. Leave comments if you'd like or share. It always helps me out if you share.

The most important thing you need to be able to make ice cream is an ice cream maker. If you don't have one, buy or borrow one, then come back and follow the recipe.

Easy No Sugar Ice Cream

2 quarts of whipping cream or half and half
1 cup honey (raw is better)
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
Fruit (raspberries, peaches, strawberries, whatever you like) *optional

Stir together with whisk then add to ice cream mixer. Mix until desired thickness then pop it in the freezer for at least three hours. Heaven in a bowl.

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Monday, May 26, 2014

Memorial Day

I wanted to show my appreciation to those who served our country, so I drew this up last night. I knew I would have a busy day today and wouldn't be given the time to draw something spectacular or have the opportunity to spend an hour writing something heartfelt to post on my blog, so this is all I can give.
Thank you to all those who serve and have served for our country. You are loved by many.

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Thursday, May 15, 2014

I left her hanging...

For nearly a week I've left my character screaming.
18 year old, Booke, was pulled into a van. Bullets popped all around her, muffling her screams and shouts to her loved ones. The moment the van jerks forward into a hasty get away she crawls to the back of the empty utility van with just enough time to take in what they had left behind in their brutal assault. Her last glimpse; her big protective brother lying motionless on the ground.

There I stopped writing. There I left her for a few days.
It was a cruel thing to do, I'll admit. I hate leaving my character's hanging, but in all honesty, she needed it.
She now needs the time to cry and hurt before she can speak to me again. I already know what will come of her. I already know what her next words will be, but I need to wait until she finds her voice again.

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Monday, May 5, 2014

Conference notes

Most everyone knows the excitement that builds during the Christmas season. It's something we think about all year long. Well, LDS Storymakers Conference holds as much anticipation for me as Christmas does. Since the last Storymakers I attended I began working toward the next. So much is learned from all the talented authors, editors and agents that you can't help walk away with your brain so full of knowledge and ideas that it's turned to mush, yet you still can't wait to park your butt in front of your laptop and create.
I attended all three days. The first day I sat in the Publication Primer with Stacy Henrie, author of Lady Outlaw.Then the next two days I hurried from class to class, lugging my huge laptop around to take notes. I took as much notes as I could or felt I needed and I'm going to share some of them with you. :)
Keep in mind that they are notes written in a hurry and might not make sense. If you have questions leave a comment and I'll answer as soon as I can.

Notes from Stroymakers
 Writing Voice
Taught by Lisa Mangum

The power of voice is when we write a story that readers will want to hear--a story only from us

What is voice? Quality that makes your writing unique
Writing that conveys authors personality and attitude
Characteristics speech and thought patterns of a narrator

What it isn’t

What’s the difference?
Voice is what you have to say
Style is how you choose to say it

My voice says love is eternal and the choices you make matter
I can say it in the style of a YA paranormal romance or a horror novel about a serial killer
Same voice, different styles
There is a lot of theme that goes into your voice

While voice and style are different they are more powerful when used together
Voice = lyrics
Style= melody
Changing the style can help change how people hear your voice
The style and voice is driving to make the same point

Be selective…
About the words you give the voice to
The words you use to showcase your style

Gary Provost quote . . .
This sentence has five words. Here are five more words. Five-word sentences are fine. But several together become monotonous. Listen to what is happening. The writing is getting boring. The sound of it drones. It's like a stuck record. The ear demands some variety.
Now listen.
I vary the sentence length, and create music. Music. The writing sings. It has a pleasant rhythm, a lilt, a harmony. I use short sentences. And I use sentences of medium length.  And sometimes, when I am certain the reader is rested, I will engage him with a sentence of considerable length, a sentence that burns with energy and builds with all the impetus of a crescendo, the roll of the drums, the crash of the cymbals--sounds that say listen to this, it is important.

Why the details matter
Choose wisely

Evoke strong emotions
A book is based in emotion. A good book will inspire strong emotions in the reader. (both good and bad)
It’s hard to inspire strong emotions when you say what everyone else is saying or when you sound like everyone sounds.

How do you feel?
How do you feel while writing? If you’re not experiencing a strong emotion while writing, then you’re doing it wrong.

Exercises –
Emma D. Dryden
*Rewrite scene as a play
*Write 200 words utilizing 3 different emotions each
*Interview all characters (main, secondary, minor)
*Write a letter as your character to a loved one you’ll never see again.

Characters are helpful and kind
No one is a moron
Characers are polite
Conflict should never come from a desire to be cruel or mean
Do not fear nuance. Comedy from avoiding conflict not instigating it

What are you known for?
Jot down 5 books you like to read… how are they different? How are they alike?
What is it about them that intrigues you?
Describe yourself in three adjectives
Does your writing reflect that?

Notes from Storymakers
Character Building
Brandon Sanderson

Characters are always what drive readers
Character drive plot and setting

What draws the character?
3 groups engaging and connect with reader

1. How proactive they are
If they are working toward something. What are they passionate about. How do you define them=passion.
2. Likability. How like us are they? Give them a flaw (handicap and flaws are too different things) Flaw is too shy, prideful, egotistic (something they can change). Things the character can’t do. (overlap with conflict). Show them being nice. Show them suffering. Humor. Being loyal. Self-aware. Show another character liking the character.
3. Competence /skills. Making them good at something will make them likable. Direct competencies. He can do the things only he can do. Whatever they have that we wish we had. (Attractive, talents)

Villains have lots of proactive and competence and low on sympathy and likability.
Harry potter has more likability and competence, but not a lot of proactive

Another aspect of Character…

In the first page… Ability to invoke character setting and plot without telling us.
Let the character tell us in descriptions. Motion and character from the start.

 (This next part is a exercise that we did as a class. We came up with 4 different people in different ages. We gave them characteristics and interests then introduced a setting and event. Then we had to write the setting and event through their eyes)

31 man-zoo keeper (Gamer) (bed wetter)
50 woman-newpaper deliverer (loves cheese) (reality show addict)
94 woman-piano tuner (loves African violets) (killed her first husband)
10 boy-banana collector (loves bugs) (eat the bugs he catches)

Walk theses four people through the same situation.
Point of climax for scene

Going into a political convention Center. Bomb goes off. Man next to the bomb is unaffected.
Connect the character to the setting/event/affect
Character through description

When I get to the end could I write it in a different characters’ eyes and have it completely different? If it is the same, then I’ve not accomplished my character building goals.

“Train yourself to be a writer, not a person who wrote a book” -Brandon Sanderson


Notes from Storymakers
The Power of Subtlety
J. Scott Savage

When you’re telling, you’re interrupting the story.
As an author, you don’t want readers to stop.

80% of what a reader gets from a book is not in the book

Plant little seeds and the readers will make them grow.

Do not write through verbs
Thinks, knows, understands, realize, believe, wants, remembers, imagines, desires

Do not name the emotion!!! Show it!!!

Do a search in manuscript for emotions… anger, sad, upset…

Get rid of SO

Instead of writing... 
Mike Smelled bad.
I had to hold my breath the moment Mike meandered by. The words to Ray Steven’s BO song came to mind and I couldn't help but shake my head. Oh, I think I'm gunna die!


If you describe a gun on the wall in your setting, then later in the story it needs to go off.
 In other words...
Don’t add things that don’t apply.

*Good foreshadowing does not draw attention to itself.
*If the reader notices it at all, they don’t know what is being foreshadowed.
*It increases the power of the story when the event occurs.
*May have circularity

Make this better…
Mikes dad is a thief, and mike hates crime. But he will soon be forced into a life of crime himself.

Do I set things up first?
Do I start with a laser-shooting dinosaurs?
How long before I jump into the main conflict?

Make a good beginning
Create a minor conflict then go into the main conflict

Enter the scene late… leave it early

Make the reader expect one thing then something else jumps out and smacks them in the face.
What can my character believe that might not be true?

I have more notes, but I might save them for later. Enjoy what I've posted and leave a comment if you have questions. It's always good to hear from you. :)

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