Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Whatcha' Readin? 2011

I put the year up there in the title because I asked you the same thing last year!
Can you believe it? And then I took all your comments and put the results in a nice, neat little post.
It was so much fun I'm doing it again this year. Only, I think I want to kick it up a notch. (Is that an Emeril Lagasse phrase, or does he just say, "Bam!") Sorry, back to the point.
I'd love to hear what you're planning to read this summer and where you're reading it - like at home, on vacation, or maybe if you're listening to it on CD, or on a kindle or nook- you know what I mean.
At the end of the summer, I'll take another poll to see what everyone finished.
And I think I'll throw in an Amazon gift card for someone to win because I really love supporting the reading habits of my awesome friends and followers.

So, since there's a little gift card involved, here are the rules:
1. Leave a comment letting me know what you plan to read (I'll post the results)
In ten weeks I'll have the wrap-up post.
2. Leave a comment (probably the first week of August) letting me know what you finished reading. will choose the winner, so, no,  I won't be stalking anyone to verify. This is for FUN!

So let's have it. Whatcha' Reading?

Thursday, May 12, 2011

LDS Storymakers 2011 - Highlights

Loving the LDS Storymaker's Conference is as easy as 1, 2 3 . . .

1. The People - One the of the hands-down highlights of attending the conference is getting to meet great people. Maybe it's just me, but I love hearing the stories of other writers. Yes, the stories they're writing, but I mean their personal stories of how they started writing or why they have kept at it. I met a few soon-to-be or recently published authors that were open-hearted enough to share their journey and it was inspiring. An unexpected highlight came as I met up with a lot of the people I met last year. I remembered them and they remembered me! Another was getting to meet new writers everywhere I went. Lunch, workshops, dinner, the ladies room! I'm not going to elaborate on the last one, except to say what else are you going to do when waiting in line but talk to other writers about their book? And finally, if you caught my last post about running into an old friend, then you already know what a highlight that was. And, of course, seeing friends from AI, or Author's Incognito is a real treat. Being a non-Utah resident, it's fun to get in on the AI fun at Storymakers. :)

2. The Events - I participated in Boot Camp last year when they held it at the crack of dawn (kidding). And I loved it - the small group, sharing our writing, invaluable feedback. So this year, I'm not sure what part of my brain I allowed to make the 'no-boot-camp' decision, but it has left a deep, dark void in my life. I'm already planning on signing up for it next year.
The First Chapter Contest - This is the THE event of the conference for everyone who enters. The ballroom was the quietest it had been all weekend in the moments before they began announcing winners. No, I didn't win, but I didn't enter. (I'm pretty sure that was an AZ lottery ad campaign 'you can't win if you don't play', eeek.) But - here is the highlight - I had two friends that took FIRST PLACE in their categories. I was cheering for them like I was at a sports event and probably embarrassing my table-mates. Anyway - meet Renae - she won first place in Historical Fiction and I met her last year at Boot Camp (see why I was missing boot camp?). She's a GREAT writer. After reading a chapter from her book last year, I wasn't surprised at all when they called her name for 1st place. My newer friend is Lisa. She and I are on the team over at MMW and I'm so glad to know her. We were also sitting at the same table for lunch & the announcing of winners and can I tell you, she was incredibly composed after they called her name! She won first place in Romance. Way to go, Lisa!

3. The Ideas - So many workshops, so little time! Here are some of my 'take-away' messages.

Description - "Is it what your character would notice? Can you use it to reveal something about him/her? Make it do double duty." - Thank you, Sarah Eden
Romance - "They have to fill a need for the other person that no one else can fill." - Thank you, again, Sarah Eden.
The Awesome, Motivating Video courtesy of the Storymaker's - no quotes, just me feeling totally inspired.
Eschler's Class - "A metaphor is to help us understand the unfamiliar. If it's familiar, don't give it a metaphor." - I needed this.
Sara Megibow - "Is it well written?" -So, maybe you had to be there for the context of this quote, but suffice it to say, it was her answer to many of the questions raised. I think I might have to put that in vinyl letters above my computer.
Rob Wells - "Keep Writing. Keep Writing" - part of his answer to the 30 second writing advice question.

Okay, let me hear it. Why do you love Storymaker's?

A Tale of Two Laurels

Remember that little saying (I learned it in Girl Scouts)? "Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver and the other is gold." Yep, that's right. Gold. Anyone who has lived a while on this earth (ahem) can tell you what a treasure it is to have an old friend. They are hard to come by. But, oh the comfort of spending time with someone "who knew you when. . . " Less explaining, more reminiscing.

You know what else is hard to come by? Writer friends. Which makes the upcoming point of my story all the more amazing. But you know what I'm talking about. Writers work mostly in the confines of their home and even if they are social and have lots of friends, what are the odds any of them will be writers, too? It is better for writers in this day and age of internet, critique groups and wonderful writing conferences, but any writer out there will tell you how nice it is to have a friend that also writes. Who else can understand you when you're crying over killing off one of your own characters?

So imagine my surprise at the LDS Storymaker's Conference last weekend, I had just walked into the ballroom when my friend Sally recognized me. A friend I hadn't seen in say, 20 years. And who happens to be writing books! How cool is that? We were Laurels together in the same ward in Massachusetts. And now? We are both living in the Southwest (read desert). Some of our children are the same age. We are both writing books and I suppose to top it off - we both married men with the same first name! (Sally, is there a book in this somewhere?)

This was the first of many highlights to this year's conference. And I will be blogging about the rest soon. Meanwhile, for more on the story, check out my friend's blog here. And have a great writing day!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Coming Soon

The Post-LDStorymaker's Conference Report.
I will tell you how amazing & motivating  the last two days have been.
Right after I sleep.
And spend Mother's Day with my family.
And sleep some more.
Because even though Storymaker's is a lot of things
It is not a sleep-aid.


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