Thursday, September 3, 2020

Yet Another Plot Twist

 A few years ago, during a long heart-to-heart with my husband, he asked me what I needed to become a better writer. I told him I needed time. Time to myself, to write more, instead of grabbing an hour of computer time after the kids were in bed and the dishes washed.

"August 2020," I said with confidence. "When Amelia starts kindergarten. I'll have eight hours a day by myself, and I'll be able to write so much more."

I had been counting down to my youngest child entering kindergarten pretty much ever since we decided we weren't having any more kids. All that time! I was going to accomplish so much!

Well, 2020 has changed everyone's plans, hasn't it? My daughter started kindergarten last month, as scheduled, but over Zoom, not as scheduled. Our district allowed parents to choose whether their children would attend school in-person or online, and I opted for online. Juggling 3 kids' Zoom schedules is not easy, to say the least. It is not a perfect solution, but it was the one I felt was best for us right now. We're all trying to do our best. It's okay if that doesn't look the same for everyone (unless you're refusing to wear a mask in public; you're not doing your best you're just an a-hole).

I'm not getting the extra hours of writing time that I've been dreaming of for years. And I'm sad about it. Some days are harder than others. Some days aren't so bad. I keep reminding myself that this won't last forever, and I will eventually get the time to myself that I need. I managed to write a bunch of books in the small space between the kids' bedtime and mine, and I'll continue to do so. For now. 

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

What I'm doing lately

Someone shared something on Twitter recently that basically said, "We must not ever invent time travel, because if we did we'd have time travelers here trying to warn us about the mess that is 2020." And then someone replied that maybe the time travelers already came back and fixed things, which would mean that this timeline is actually the improved version. Both of those comments simultaneously made me laugh and cringe with fear. My current WIP is a time travel book, and one of the tenets of time travel in the book is that you can't mess with the past because the created paradoxes render it impossible to do so. But even my time travelers warn the people in the past to stock up on toilet paper in January 2020!


Something exciting that I'm currently working on is the 14th Annual Whitney Awards. I was on the committee last year, which I loved, even though our gala in May had to go virtual. I was asked to serve as the committee president this year, which is keeping me busy. But busy about books, and busy working with my awesome committee is a type of busy I love.

I mentioned in my last post that I was hoping to finish the first draft of my time travel WIP for April's Camp NaNoWriMo, and I'm happy to say that I accomplished that goal. Now I'm using all the awesome things I learned during this year's virtual Storymakers conference to finish the second draft during July's session of Camp NaNo. Hold me accountable!

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

It's been... a year

I love the New Year. I love resolutions, even if I don't keep them, and I love feeling recharged and empowered to achieve my goals.

I started January 2020 feeling exactly that way. And then I got sick. And then a different kind of sick. I had corrective eye surgery, which was a YAY but took about a month before my eyes healed. The medicine I took for one of the sicks in January caused a different type of sick in February. My whole family had the flu. Then we all had a 24-hour stomach bug, one after the other. I started wondering if our new house was cursed.

But we started March healthy! I was so excited to shake off the funk and get back to work on my current book project. And then of course the pandemic made its way to the US. For now, everyone in our family is healthy, and I'm so grateful for that. Social distancing sucks (I just had to tell one of the neighborhood kids that my kids couldn't come out to play), as we all know. It's very important, and will hopefully pay off, but it's draining on the soul and creativity.

I have been making at least some progress on my book, however, and I think the first draft will finally be done at the end of April. I'm doing Camp NaNoWriMo for the extra accountability.

I hope you out there in the Internet are doing well, staying healthy, and are able to be creative in some way every day.

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

NaNoWriMo Interview

I participated in an interview for NaNoWriMo's 20th Anniversary, talking about my experiences during my first NaNo. You can check it out here:

Saturday, September 28, 2019

Time to start something new!

It took a lot of work, but I've finally finished outlining and plotting my time-travel novel. I've started writing the actual words--you can follow my progress on Twitter.

I have always wanted to write a time-travel book, but never felt like my skills were up to it. Now, with several books under my belt, I think it's time for the challenge. I hope my science women dynasty of inventors can come to life on the page the way it has in my head! Here's a brief summary of what I'm working with:

Maria Wallace hates science, which is unfortunate given she's the heir to the Wallace family dynasty, four generations of female inventors who have been pioneers in their respective fields. The only thing she likes about being a Wallace is the fame that comes from being a member of her family.

When a prominent historian claims that he has evidence that the original Wallace inventor faked her way into college, and therefore through her whole career, Maria is determined to clear her family's name. She steals her mother's time machine prototype and heads back in time to prove that her great-great-grandmother really was a genius. Using the time machine leaves it vulnerable on the return trip, however, and someone is waiting in the wings to take control of the machine. When Maria returns with the needed proof, she delivers the time machine right into the enemy's hands.

Friday, August 16, 2019


I am pretty much completely back to normal post-pneumonia, and that means it's time for a writerly-update on what I've been doing lately.

As you know, I love the Storymakers writing conference, and got to teach a class at the 2019 conference. For the 2020 conference, I am involved with Storymakers in a different capacity: I'm on the committee for the 2019 Whitney Awards. The Whitney Awards are held in conjunction with the Storymakers conference, and they honor fiction writers who are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I am the judging coordinator, so I liaise with our volunteer judges and send them books as they are nominated. It's really fun, and of course my TBR pile has grown a ton since we started taking nominations! And speaking of nominations, we are taking them until October 31st! Anyone can nominate a book, so check out our nomination form here.

I have also started writing a short weekly feature for a local Facebook page. Writing on a deadline is a good exercise for my writing muscles. The feature is called A Slice of Laramie, and it appears Tuesday mornings on This Is Laramie's Facebook page. It's fun to find the humor in small-town living. That must be why so many writers before me have done it!

Now that I'm not sick anymore I've started querying again. I appreciate all the good vibes you can spare on my behalf!

Saturday, July 27, 2019

Getting Sick is the WORST

This has been an eventful summer for our family. We sold our home, and bought another fixer-upper about a mile closer to town. Our oldest son turned 10--having a kid who's a decade old is a sobering thought! We visited my parents at their home, where the younger 2 kids and I got the flu. It kind of ruined the end of our vacation. The kiddos got better, but for some reason my flu turned into pneumonia! I've been mostly out of commission for three weeks now. I'm starting to get some energy back, but doing normal things like going to the store wipes me out for hours. On top of that, we have boxes and chaos everywhere from the move. Disorganization is a big anxiety trigger for me, so I'm trying to ignore the mess and do what I can, a little at a time.

Being so sick means I've put querying GHOST GIRLS on hold for a little while. I'm hoping to get it back out there in August. I would appreciate all the good healing vibes you can send me!

Friday, May 17, 2019

Storymakers Recap!

Here's the tl;dr: I had a great time at Storymakers 2019.

My CP, Taryn Skipper, picked me up so we could road trip together. The weather had been sketchy all week, and I was afraid the highway would be closed, but it cooperated! We had about six hours in the car to talk about books and writing and our families, and just everything. Taryn and I have been friends for thirteen years, so a) we're old, and b) we have a lot to talk about.

One of my favorite things about Storymakers is the top-notch education it offers. There's a wide variety of classes, and people at all levels of ability can find something to help them improve. I took two psychology-type classes, two worldbuilding classes, and a handful of random others. For the most part, Taryn and I went to different classes so we could cover more ground and exchange notes afterwards. The highlight for me was teaching my Genetics 101 for Writers class. I was so afraid that no one would show up, but people did! My Powerpoint worked fine, even the embedded clip. I went over time, which I felt bad about, but in my defense the presentation was ten minutes short when I practiced it at home!

I had a query letter critique for my new book, and I was thrilled to hear from the literary agent I met with that my query letter was good to go and that he wanted to read the book! Even if nothing ends up coming from it, it was a nice confidence booster.

Taryn and I met up with some of our writing friends who weren't at the conference to do an escape room. That was a blast, and we DID escape, even though Taryn and I had melty brains from thinking about writing all day. The escape room was within walking distance of the conference hotel, so I think we'll definitely have to try another room next year.

Yes, I'm already planning next year. That's how great the weekend was!

Saturday, May 4, 2019

Storymakers is coming up FAST!

I can barely contain myself every day that I wake up and am one day closer to leaving for the Storymakers conference.

It's gonna be amazing. I'm going to learn new things, see old friends, and hopefully not pass out from nervousness when I teach my class on incorporating genetics into fiction. Only 5 more sleeps until I leave!!!

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Tidying Up Tuesday: Ryan's Stuff

We are casually getting ready to sell our house, which has meant a mad rush to finish up the renovation. Ryan has been working his butt off to paint and put up trim in our bedrooms this week, but he took the time to go through his stuff before he did the reno in our bedroom.

Here are the before photos. You'll notice our walls were not completely painted when I took these:


Bedside table

Ryan had a lot of papers and random items on his side of the room that he had to go through. Here's his pile:

It doesn't look like much, but once he started sorting it... exploded!

We recycled a lot of things, and made storage plans for the others. I need to get him a photo album and some boxes for mementos, plus a paper tray like the one I have in my drawer.

After sorting, Ryan put the finishing touches on our room. And a few days later...

The walls are all brown! And there's room for Ryan's table to face out, so he can use the drawer!

My next project is moving my clothes into the closet now that the bar is up.

My next project really should be the kitchen, but since Ryan will be tearing it apart for the renovation, I feel like maybe I'll just discard stuff and not worry too much about organizing it? I dunno...

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Tidying Up Tuesday: My Stuff

Once again, my Tuesday got away from me and I had to do my tidying on Wednesday. It was time to tackle my side of the master bedroom.

My dresser, a catch-all spot for things I want to keep. The floor in front of my dresser is also a storage place.

The closet is just full of stuff piled up, as is the floor space between the closet and the table.

My bedside table is another catch-all spot. I'm sensing a theme here. And perhaps an explanation for why my room is so untidy.

Ryan was at work, and I knew he'd be busy with a renovation project when he got home, so I didn't bother with his stuff. Hopefully we'll get to it later this week.

You know the drill by now: I took all of my stuff out of the bedroom and piled it up in the living room. 

When I was about halfway through I had convinced myself that it wasn't so bad; I didn't really have that much stuff, it was just unorganized. But by the time I'd gotten it all out to the living room it was clear that I just had a ton of stuff. That also happened to be unorganized.

I swept the floor and dusted after getting everything out. The closet had legit cobwebs in the corner. So gross. 

After sorting and discarding, I put the things that I had a place for in their spots right away. The stuff I didn't know where to put got sorted in the living room.

The "keep, but where?" pile

My biggest priorities were to have an assigned spot for my purse, nothing in front of my dresser, and to get the printer out of the hallway into our bedroom.

Ta da! Room for the printer!

Look at that closet!

Nothing in front of the dresser! Those bags are on the side, they don't count. And the top of my dresser is so much tidier!

You might not be able to tell, but my purse is on the lower shelf of the table instead of on the floor in front of it. SUCCESS!

I am really happy with how tidy my side of the room is. If we weren't planning on moving out of this house soon, I would get some shelves for the closet to make it more manageable, but for now it is fine. Having the floor clear makes such a difference in navigating the room. I can't wait to help Ryan with his half!