Thursday, October 27, 2016

If I Only Had a Brain

I’ve been so scatterbrained lately that it makes it hard to read anything or write. It’s even harder to plot my outline for NaNoWriMo. I have six different projects I want to work on and about six first chapters that don’t have plots to go with them. All I want to do is write, but I can’t do that do that without direction.

I go through periods of mental disarray. But it’s even more frustrating because I want to be productive.

I also want to focus and read my scriptures, but that has become increasingly difficult. I can’t set mind to one task, develop a habit, and follow through.

As I sat in church this past Sunday, I pondered my dilemma. The topic in church was the Book of Mormon, and once again, I was frustrated over my scriptural study habits. But as the first speaker dove into her talk, a feeling washed over me, confirming that, no matter how often I do or don’t have an opportunity to read the Book of Mormon, I still know it’s true. I still have a strong testimony of the words, even though my memory might be lazy and I don’t always remember the chapters and verses I read. But I know the words testify of Christ and of his visits to America.

My thoughts brought to mind something I saw on a T.V. series. I am paraphrasing the actor’s words, but she said to another character, “I feel sorry for you because you can’t believe in something you can’t see.” That’s exactly how I feel. I can’t begin to understand those who don’t believe in God. I cringe when God and Jesus Christ are called myths. I feel sorry for those who cannot believe in something they can’t see. Do these people believe they have spirits? Do they believe there is a purpose to life? What do they believe about when they die? I’m sure they all believe something different, and that’s fine, but at least I know who I am, where I came from, and where I am going after die. I know this because the Holy Spirit speaks to my spirit and confirms a witness of the truth. This is something that can’t be seen, but is felt.

So back to my scattered brain. Even though I have a hard time lining up my priorities in life, and keeping my mind clear, I know and have a core base of truth to hold me steady.

My encouraging words? Hold on to what you do know, and life’s purpose and direction will eventually be clear. That’s the hope.

by Lisa Rector

Monday, October 24, 2016

I Love Having a Large Family

            Let me say at the outset. Not everybody has the privilege of having children by choice or not. We all have our own path to follow in this life. As long as we are doing our best to live a righteous life, that’s what counts in the end.
Life was hectic when my husband and I were raising our 8 children. I had a saying I heard once that kept me going. “What doesn’t get done—doesn’t get done.” I made the children a priority. Playing games with them was more important than mopping the floor daily.
            Some of them haven’t followed the path we would like. They don’t go to church, they have developed habits I don’t approve of, but they are good law-abiding people. They earn their own way and are doing a good job of raising children of their own.
            One of the blessings I have is that all of my children love each other. No matter what path they have chosen, they are siblings and help one another when needed. Holidays are a joy whether all of them gather together or not. I’ve heard it isn’t so with some of my friends. That’s sad. As adults my children help me in many ways.
            When I needed to set up a program to keep track of my writing expenses, my son, who works with figures in his job, set one up for me. He even created a small spread sheet so I can figure out what size my counted cross stitch projects will be if I use a different size of fabric than the pattern calls for.
            When I was on a mission in Thailand, I asked my daughter that’s into photography why my red flowers came out faded. She told me to stand so the sun wasn’t directly on them. That cut down the glare, and my reds were much better.
            One son works in the computer field, so I use him a lot. When he comes into town, he fixes issues and gets my computer in order. A son-in-law lives in the next town over, and he also fixes computer stuff.
            A daughter is in marketing, and helped me create a marketing plan for my writing. She’s going to help me get started on Twitter before I send out my novel Hidden Heritage in the next couple of weeks.
            I recently moved into the 21st century and now have a smart phone. Our youngest daughter has been invaluable in getting that going.
            This post isn’t long enough to tell you about all of the things my children help me with today. Each one has helped in many ways. Those things are only a side benefit. More important are the memories of camping trips, hiking together, trips to Disneyland and other amusement parks. Quiet evenings at home sharing spiritual thoughts are dear memories. I miss Christmas caroling neighbors and friends with a plate of cookies, but I carry those memories in my heart. I’m thankful we went to sporting events together. We were there, and stayed to the end of the Miracle Bowl. (Look it up on U-Tube. It’s always mentioned when sports enthusiasts mention the top 5 comeback endings in college football.) We once sang “Silent Night” in Spanish for a church Christmas program. I could go on and on, but I won’t.
Most important is the love we share with one another.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

RONE Awards

Vocal Crush won a 2016 RONE award for  Best Contemporary Sweet Romance!!!

I'm super grateful to have my efforts recognized by In D'Tale Magazine and a hefty piece of glass to set on my desk. :)

My trip to Burbank to the In D'Scribe Con was a new experience and education in the various genres of romance authors write. I had the opportunity to attend some excellent classes and meet some wonderful writers. Romance genres don't create boundaries, people do. I roomed with some amazing women, Lindzee Armstrong and Jaclyn Weist. Both are excellent authors. Go get their books!

Lindzee Armstrong
Jaclyn Weist

I wore a fantastic costume to the first ball. I added the wig and mask for pennies. Thank goodness all the stores are stocked with Halloween fare!

And my little black dress to the second. Where I got snagged by Debra Holland to pose with the male models. That is a story all it's own.

These people are serious about their parties. I dressed up every night. The last night was the black tie/red carpet affair: The RONE Gala.

I took a pic with the sweetest writer: Rachel Jones. She is truly a Georgia Peach!

And that's when I became an award winning author. I hope that doesn't give me writer's block!

I had the opportunity to share this moment with my sister whom I hadn't seen in 9 years as we live on opposite coasts. Love this woman! She inspires me. I loved having 4 days to spend in San Diego with her and her family after the conference. I hope it won't be 9 years before I see them again.

It's time to gear up for National Novel Writing Month aka NaNo in the writing community. Not sure I'm going to succeed this year with so many days unavailable to write for really good reasons: family. Plus, I'm having trouble deciding what to write about! More contemporary? A series? Regency? A modern twisted fairytale? So many options! Time to pick one and get outlining.

Please submit my latest book, On the Corner of Heartache and Love, for a Whitney Award: 
Whitney Nomination 

Thanks for all the support!

Saturday, October 15, 2016


by H. Linn Murphy

I have been very lax lately. This is only two months and two weeks late. Life has taken a much busier turn. End of excuses...;o)

So I went to a class on dialogue when at ANWACon16. I'm always up for better dialogue. However, there's at least one point I hope to contest:

The lecturer said, "You need to dump all accents and slang of the period and use only the way a person says something to indicate that person's difference."

What? I asked myself while pondering all the work I'd just done on my brand new d├ębutante work.

She somehow missed my look of abject horror amidst the sea of faces and blithely continued her journey, which otherwise offered some outstanding ideas.

"We're supposed to get, from sentence length, that Juan is from Ecuador and not Minnesota?" I asked myself under my breath.

"I think that's absurd," I told my seat partner (SP), later. "When I read a book with a handsome Scotsman in it, I hope to find a few dinna's and oots. I think portraying a Regency belle with completely modern language is silly. It makes no sense to me to have my valley girl speak the same way as my starship ensign. A character needs to have their distinct way of speaking, or it isn't believable."

SP agreed. "Of course you don't use the same words for a child as you would an adult, among other things." 

I might have plowed into the runway in a massive conflagration if not for her acknowledgement, and that of several editors and other great books I've read.

"There are, however, exceptions," I said. "Or maybe I'm taking exception and this isn't part of it. Don't use language that takes the reader out of the book. Read your work out loud to someone who doesn't think the sun shines from each of your orifices. If they get confused or lose interest, think of a better way to convey what you want to say."

SP's smile warmed my heart. "I like that. I too was worried about this problem."

"Your words have to work," I said. And it's true.

Friday, October 7, 2016

It's Going To Be Okay

Valerie J. Steimle

I just sat there watching.  Watching the garbage men throw all of our trash into this humongous collector’s truck with a big claw.  The contents were the sum of the past 24 years living in Alabama. It was piled pretty high. My husband and I raised nine children there until he passed away at fifty leaving me to raise the last five on my own for the past ten years. I became contemplative as I watched all of this mess go into the big bin and my youngest, now 17 asked, “What are you thinking?”  He knew by the look on my face that my brain was off in deep thought.

It seemed that our whole life was in the contents of that trash. There were old puzzles with missing pieces, twenty years of homeschool work, my writing drafts on paper, old bills, old clothes unfit for humans, and other stuff that no one would be interested in keeping.  Just twenty-four years of life. Though, all is not lost to me it was quite the pile and made me realize that I am sliding into the empty nester stage.  I still have those memories in my head as I have filled 10 journals and 5 photo albums with all the good we have done together.

I am moving out of this house now which pushed and shoved me into cleaning out the attic and getting rid of the clutter from nine children and two husbands.  I remarried after Bob passed but now I find myself single again. It will take some adjusting back to just me with Henry along side.  He has a year to go until his LDS Church mission so in one year I will really be on my own. That’s a scary thought. I have never really been on my own. Oh sure, I spent four years at college but I didn’t consider that on my own. I
always had roommates and I was so involved with the lives of many people around me like family and close friends, I didn’t feel on my own.  But now I am (although I am moving closer to my oldest with her four children and that will help to have family).

I have little regrets as I think about the years I have lived so far.  There are a few but for the most part of I have tried to always make the right decisions. Not only for myself but for my children and husband. I haven’t been writing lately because I just can’t find the gumption. It left me somehow. Although every so often I find myself pounding out an article that moves me and feel passionate about.

Our life here on earth is a great learning experience but sometimes I just can’t see it that way.  When I have my senses around me then I can put everything in perspective. Just recently The Piano Guys came out with a new song and video to go along with it. Listening to this song has an amazing effect on my mood and psyche. 

I had the worst Friday recently probably in all of my life (except in losing both husbands) and listening to this video lifted my spirits in an amazing way. When we are in the midst of a trial it is difficult to see the sun through the clouds. If we just hang in there, eventually everything will be okay.

Click to watch Video: It's Going to Be Okay..