Friday, February 10, 2017

Time to say Good-Bye

I started this blog in 2008 as a way to show off my spinning and knitting projects, in hopes that I'd become the next Yarn Harlot (I know, so adorable). That was before I had kids, or writing goals. Now, 9 years later, I have (almost) five kids (yes, FIVE) and I handful of actual writing credits. I've presented at conferences (plural) and as my work is getting more recognition, my blog has become slightly more public. Most of the content on this blog is personal, so I think the time has come to take it down.

I'll leave it up for a bit longer, but then, sadly, as must come to pass with all things on the internet, this blog will go the way of all the earth and pass away.

But that doesn't mean I'm going to stop blogging. I set up a wordpress site ( and that will be my official author page, though it will deal with almost exclusively writing stuff. And, God Willing, I will be writing a serial novel hosted by Fiction Vortex starting later this year, so there's that.

Farewell, my blog fans (both of you!). You've been a great audience.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Pulling up The Roots

I've lived in my current house for seven years, and in my current town for 15 years. That's the longest I've ever been in one place in my entire life, by a long way. the next runner up is the five years we lived lived in the same house in Houston, and before that it was four years in New York. The six years in Saudi Arabia don't count because we lived in a variety of dwellings during that period, and I was just little, anyway.

My point is: I've gotten really attached to Provo. I know no place on earth is super perfect, but I sure like it here. I like our library, I like how the roads have become so familiar to me and I know my way around. I like that I've grown accustomed to the weather patterns. I like looking out my windows and seeing the mountains. I have a lot of extended family here. And it's nice to not be a religious minority for a change.

But nothing lasts forever. We estimate that we've got about two more years left in Provo, and then it will be on to bigger and better things. I am not looking forward to leaving my nice, cozy comfort zone that is Utah Valley, but growth and personal development are meant to be uncomfortable.

I always hated moving when I was growing up, but good things came out of every single move we made as a family. I got bullied for being a religious minority, but it there is a lot of value in being forced to defend your beliefs and decide what kind of person (and what kind of Mormon) you want to be. When we left New York, I swore an Holy Oath that I would never live on the East Coast again, not if you paid me a million dollars. But now that the possibility has arisen, I've been asking myself, "If I knew that living in Massachusetts was the best way forward for my family, if I knew there would be a lot of good to come from it, even if it meant experiencing a lot of culture shock and discomfort, would I do it?" When you put it like that the answer is always yes.

So for the next two years, I will be gently pulling up all my roots to prepare myself to leave this lovely place that I call Provo. Who knows where we will be in January 2019? The East Coast? California? Arizona? Germany? Japan? Oman? Two years sounds like a long time, but I know it will go by really fast.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

I'm a Writer Now. Ahoy

I've had two thingies accepted for publication this month. You can read them here:

Trump's Mormon Problem - Via

The Incredible Conjugator - Via Imperfect Fiction

I use the word "publication" very loosely here - it's more like stuff I've written has gone up on other peoples' blogs. Still, I am very pleased. I may not have a published novel out yet, or even have a finished novel, but I feel that I do not need to have that to enjoy being a writer and to call myself a writer.

A friend of mine made a comment like, "Wow! You must be so great if you're published!"

*Bows* Thanks, but that's not actually how it works. Wanna know how I got these tiny things published? I'll tell you all about it.

Step one: write stuff.
Step two: email it to the right people.

I will grant you it's slightly more nuanced than that, but only slightly. I get rejection letters all the time - that's part of it. I've gotten to the point, now, that a rejection letter doesn't ruin my day. A rejection doesn't mean you're a bad writer, it just means that the place that rejected you isn't the right home for your piece and that you should keep trying.

The fact that my stuff got published mostly just means I sent out the correct number of emails. 

The End.

Monday, September 26, 2016

I Got Out Alive: Tales From The LUW Conference

I didn't realize how much I was worried about my upcoming performances presentations at the League of Utah Writers Conference until after they were already over and I was finally able to sleep at night. I had spent about a month preparing notes and doing research and trying to decide which relevant information to include and practicing in front of friends.

Being a first-time presenter at a conference full of people with more writing experience, I had a lot to prove. Thankfully, (by the grace of God, I think) I came away victorious. Usually after social gatherings (even if they are family gatherings full of cousins who I love) I tend to slink back home and nurse a desire to hide in a cave for a week or so. Instead, I came away from all three of my presentations feeling very pleased with how they had turned out. I received many sincere compliments and gracious thanks.

But hoo boy, it was an exhausting weekend. Exhausting. I do not think I could make this a lifestyle. Plus my kids missed me a lot. I met some people there who "conference hop" and attend lots and lots of conferences all across the intermountain west.

When I came home on Saturday night, I told my husband that I wasn't going to do this again for a very long time and that I would stay home next year.

And then I found out that Kevin J. Andersen, who is one of my most favorite authors, is going to be there next fall. Dangit. This will really mess with my desire to stay home...

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Something Cool I'm Doing This Weekend

Remember how I mentioned a few weeks ago that I was going to present at a writing conference?Well, check this out!
I have an officially official graphic that they made just for ME!

Back in 2011 when my short story "George Washington Hill and the Cybernetic Bear" was accepted into the Monsters and Mormons anthology, I felt really small and humbled to have my name next to the names of other people who were so much more experienced and talented than I was. I am experiencing a lot of those same emotions now.

I'm going to spend my weekend rubbing shoulders with people who have a lot more experience in the field than I do, and I find this exciting as well as terrifying.

If you'll be in Provo this weekend and can find the time, you could do a lot worse than coming to watch me ramble on about spinning wheels (3:30 on Friday), short stories (1:30 on Saturday), and fight scenes (6:30 on Saturday).

Monday, September 12, 2016

Making Spinning Pay

In addition to that spinning demonstration I'm doing at The League of Utah Writers Conference in a few weeks, I managed to land a gig teaching spinning to the kids at The Engineer's school. (Tangent: it's this school.)

It is very well received. The kids like it, and I like teaching it.

This weekend I ran into a fellow spinner when I was out and about and she asked me how the class was going. "How did you land that gig?" She asked (I'm paraphrasing.) "You managed to make spinning pay!"

I didn't really think much about her words until a day or two later (that is, today). Then it hit me. I did manage to make spinning pay! The great ray of hope that belongs to all spinners and I did it! That was most of the reason I started this blog in 2008. The goal has been achieved. Does this mean I can stop blogging, now? At the very least I think it means if I die tomorrow, I am guaranteed to die happy.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

I Am Presenting at a Writing Conference

Yes, I am doing that.

It's this one, from the League of Utah Writers. If you are or will be in Utah on September 23 and 24, and like to write, I hope you will stop on by.

I'm kind of excited about it. I've been hesitant to advertise it much in public for fear of it all being a dream and somehow not real. But my name is on the schedule and has been for about a week, so that's a good indication that it is really happening.

I'm actually presenting on three separate topics. I submitted three proposals because I really wanted to go to the conference, and I guessed that presenters would be able to attend at a steep discount. I figured I would increase my odds of getting chosen. According to the schedule, they accepted all three of my ideas! (I have to keep referencing the schedule, because I'm geeking out about it so much I have to make sure it's all really true.)

Class #1 - A spinning wheel demonstration. The spinning wheel plays a really big role in fairy tale literature, but since it's been a couple of hundred years since it was replaced with factory machinery, knowledge of its workings has faded from the public consciousness. I have given so many spinning demonstrations in my day I could give this one while only partially conscious.

Class #2 - How to track down itty bitty online magazines and submit your short stories to them as a means of expanding your publishing credentials. This is how I've managed to publish every single thing that I've published, from my bit in Monsters and Mormons to the personal essay I did for Sukoon Magazine. I don't have a published novel (yet?) but I've got these, plus my gig over at The Survival Mom, wherein I talk about food storage and sometimes people think I'm funny.

Classs #3 - The Anatomy of a Fight Scene, wherein I create a marriage between my writing prowess and my knowledge of the martial arts.

My hometown has become a total writing hub. We have like a million writing conferences every year. Just a couple of days after the League of Utah Writers conference there is the Book Academy at Utah Valley University in the next town over. Earlier this year we had the Life, Universe, and Everything conference; a conference devoted to writing horror; and the LDS Storymakers conference. I think there's one more that I'm missing. The Provo City Library hosts one devoted to children's literature - Ann M. Martin came this year! I was really sad to miss it.

So if you are an aspiring author, instead of moving to New York City where the rent will make you homeless, consider moving to Provo instead, where we have mountains and drinkable tap water and BYU creamery ice cream.


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