League Flash Fiction Prize Winner

image_1I almost forgot – In all the hustle and bustle of the last few weeks I won a prize! Yay! Someone out there actually likes my work, and it’s not my mother (although she likes it too…I think).  The League of Utah Writers holds several conferences and events throughout the year. In their big Fall conference they hold a large writing contest for anyone who wants to participate.

There are a ton of categories to choose from including first chapter, whole book, short story, article, etc. I usually end up doing flash fiction because of time constraints. I can finish and polish a 1000 word or less story much faster than say, a novel.

My story “Mundane Chores” centered around a playful interaction of mother and young child. The mother is trying to fold laundry and the child is doing his very best to distract her from it. It’s not really a story, but rather a vignette meant to capture a moment of childhood and parenthood. Had I managed to make it a story with an inciting incident and clever ending I might have taken a higher prize than third place.

I’m not complaining. This was a piece I wrote in a car driving to Yellowstone with my family, which includes several young children. I’m ecstatic to take home anything.

Winning is a huge confidence boost. I hope to write and enter more contests in the future.

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Salt Lake Comic Con 2015

Hello friends!

I’ve been off on hiatus for a while, but I promised to come back if anything interesting happened, so here I am.

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This last weekend was the 3rd annual Salt Lake Comic Con held at the Salt Palace Convention Center in downtown Salt Lake City, Utah. My husband and I took the weekend to go live it up with 120,000 other creative and devoted fans of fiction. One of the unique parts of any comic convention is that the participants are encouraged to dress the part of a favorite character, and boy did people dress up. By far the most popular characters to copy this year were the Joker and his plaything Harley Quinn, with Doctor Who coming in a close second with different iterations of the various doctors, especially Matt Smith in that deplorable fez.

Where's Waldo?

Where’s Waldo?

This was an opportunity not to be missed. Hubby and I pooled our creative talent and created the power duo of Ming the Merciless and his fabulous General Kala, using the imagery from the 1980 Flash Gordon movie. 12063892_1130999466927661_4069948762659839179_n

We were stopped by adoring fans everywhere in the con and counted 115 different people asking for our picture. It’s easy to see why people love to come, the inner narcissist in me was having a hay day. My inner introvert, on the other hand, cowered in the corner and waited for it all to be over.

We entered the Cosplay Competition and made it to the semi finals, which meant we got to walk the stage in front of hundreds of people and strut our stuff. There’s a video out there somewhere… We didn’t win, but we had fun.

Another reason to attend the conference is to see celebrities. We attended panels with Marina Sirtis (counselor Troy on Star Trek), Sean Astin (Samwise Gamgee on Lord of the Rings), James and Oliver Phelps (Fred and George Weasley on Harry Potter), Jenna-Louise Coleman (Clara Oswald on Doctor Who), and Anthony Daniels (C3P0 on Star Wars). We signed up for photo ops with the Phelps twins and Anthony Daniels who was delightfully friendly.

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There were also hoards of local authors in attendance, including many of my friends, which made wandering the vendor hall that much more fun.

Supporting that Writer in your Life

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Chances are one of your friends or family members have decided to take the path less traveled and have started to write seriously. They work from their home office or a laptop on the kitchen table and work on their ideas during every spare minute they can get. They might have another job that pays the bills or the support of a loving spouse that enables them to pursue their dream.

Writers come in all varieties, ranging from the uncommitted hobbyist who maybe spends a handful of hours a month or less on their craft, to the professional who writes full-time.  I fall in the middle somewhere. Most of my day is spent trying to squeeze in a few hours of writing work between caring for my 3-year-old who likes lots of attention, keeping the house fed and the family clean. When I am writing, that work is divided between blogging, drafting new ideas, manuscript editing, beta reading, book reviews, and self promotion.

While I can’t find any balance between my writing and normal life, perhaps you can help the writer in your life find theirs.

Here are a few helpful articles to help you with that writer in your life:

LDStorymakers in Review

11244904_10205537467848961_7298393372357348081_nI survived the writing conference. I know it was a good one because I didn’t want to leave and return to real life, which is my litmus test of choice when evaluating an event. While I can wish all I want for more, that would be selfish. There are little monsters angel babies at home that miss their momma.

Of all the conferences I’ve attended, this one comes close to being the best. Local writing celebrities and NYT Bestsellers came and taught some of their delicious trade secrets, including James Dashner, author of the Mazerunner series; J Scott Savage, author of the FarWorld series; Brandon Mull, author of the Fablehaven series; and several more.

By far the most influential class I attended was a two-hour intensive by the effervescent and talented Margie Lawson, a psychiatrist by trade, and a guru of teaching the art of making mundane prose sing. She made a personal study of the best books out there and boiled out the different literary devices that made the reader feel that much desired emotional punch. Then she shared those juicy tidbits with us!

The two keynotes were from celebrated authors Anne Perry and Martine Leavitt who both emphasized the importance of perseverance and also spoke about how writing is a gift to the writer. Both addresses fed and enriched the audience.

Perhaps the most important part of any conference is the feeling of being with your tribe. Fellow writers and geeks are my tribe and being able to spend a weekend with hundreds of them is the equivalent of gassing up the motivational tank. They share the same struggles and frustrations as I do as well as the joys. They know exactly what a big deal it is for a publisher to request a full, they know what a crushing defeat it is to receive a rejection. They understand how to talk about stories and characters in a deep meaningful way.  They make it hard to come back to the real world where the people around you don’t.

With these new tools under my belt, and my tank full, I’m hoping to embark on a new level of writing and find even more joy and success in doing so. That is if my little angel baby (who is currently bashing his head against my leg) will permit me to do so.

Live From LDStorymakers

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This weekend is the annual LDStorymakers Writers Conference in Utah and writers from around the midwest and further have congregated in brute force. Over 600 of us are milling around the Utah Valley Convention Center attending lectures and intensive workshops to improve our craft.

Last night I attended a Publication Primer workshop, which is six hours of combing through the first 10 pages of  the manuscripts of the members of your table finding ways to make prose stronger (and more likely to be picked up by an agent or publisher). My table was moderated by the talented Amy Winehouse of Eschler Editing.

I’ve already brushed shoulders with writing super star and NY Time Bestseller David Farland, we shared an elevator on the way out.

Should you happen to be at the conference come find me and say hi! I’ll be wearing a grey fedora.

Expect a full report on Monday!

I’m looking forward to the rest of the weekend and will give a full report on Monday.

My New Feathered Babies

IMG_3323In place of a fascinating post about fantasy or science fiction, here is a picture of my new feather babies.  I’ve always wanted to have a pet and because of allergies it hasn’t been an option. With chickens, they can stay outside, they are smart and loving, and in time they will give fresh eggs.  What could be better than that? My kids are head over heels in love with their chickies and each are in charge of one. My oldest named his buff orpington Nacho (after Notch in Minecraft, and, well, nachos.) My daughter named her black star Active Black, but then was talked into calling it Twila instead (like twilight – not sure the best way to spell that yet.) My youngest named his tiny Rhode Island red Poopy Butt, and was talked into Petey, but now wants it to be Umizoomi Pete. I’m sure it will change again. Mine is a silver wyandotte named Millie, which is secretly short for Maleficent.

Happy Easter Weekend to all!