Monday, September 29, 2008

Novel Trailer

So I've been playing on my Movie Maker program today to create a trailer for one of my novels. I had a ball and even used my daughter's eyes as one of the photos. The book's been out a while, but I thought it would still be fun to create a trailer and see what interest it generates. Check it out and let me know what you think!

Just click the link below, you know, the one that says Against My Will. Yeah, right there below this text.

Against My Will

Sunday, September 28, 2008


By Marcia Mickelson

I just reached 60,000 words in my manuscript on Friday. What a great feeling. This is the quickest writing I have ever done. I started this manuscript in March, took a few months off to move, and dug right back in a few months ago.

It usually takes me much, much longer to finish a manuscript. The last 2 books took me over 4 years combined. I'm not a fast writer. It's hard to carve out the time.

I am doing a (BIAM) Book in A Month in October, hosted by Tristi Pinkston. I'm hoping that I can finish the rough draft of this manuscript by the end of October. This will be the 4th BIAM that I do for this manuscript, and I don't think I'd be this close to finishing it if I hadn't participated in those. It really gives me accountability, like I have to write because you have signed up to write. I need accountability to help me make progress.

Anyone who is up for the challenge, sign up at Tristi's blog and write, write, write this month.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Good Reviews, Bad Reviews...ouch.

When you become a writer, you put your work out there for public scrutiny and you have to expect that not everyone will love it.

More often than not, reviews are positive. There are always a few bad reviews, though, and I do have to say it feels a bit like a slap in the face. Or a massive kick in the gut, depending on the tactlessness of the reviewer. You know, though, as a writer who aims for publication, you have to expect that you're opening yourself up for criticism and when people plunk down their hard-earned cash, they have a right to totally blast your baby to the nether regions of space.

So why is it that an author can get a gajillion good reviews, feel pretty good about things, and then get a few bad ones and feel absolutely horrible? Why is the bad stuff so much more powerful, so much easier to believe? Maybe it's the Eeyore in me coming out. It's a good thing I married a Tigger.

Well, when it's all said and done, I have this sage advice for new writers who are facing the harsh barbs of non-fans. Shake it off, read the good reviews, eat a pint of Hagen Daas, (throw it back up, depending on your level of guilt), and then get back to work.

In the excellent words of Judith McNaught (or perhaps I'll just paraphrase since I can't find the actual quote), you can't please all of the people all of the time, and you definitely cannot please those who don't want to be pleased. Some people don't want to be pleased by your work, and it's really ok. That's the beauty of multiple authors, multiple readers, multiple genres.

But a word to those who review- take a page from Jennie Hansen, reviewer extraordinaire for Meridian. You can be honest and still be kind.

My skin thanks you.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Did You See It?

by Elodia Strain

Last year, as far as I remember, September 25th passed without much fanfare.

Not so of this year. Because if the buzz at my local grocery store, doctor’s office, and library—not to mention hundreds of thousands of Facebook pages—are any indication, September 25th was nothing short of a holiday this year.

Why, you ask. Well, the Season Premiere of The Office, of course.

Yes, I watched it. And then as I read a book just before bed, I thought about the show. And I came to a very strange conclusion: I really should hate The Office.

I mean, in its four seasons (and one episode), the show has managed to make jokes about the elderly, the mentally handicapped, and those who don’t wear a size four. Plus, it’s included a number of degrading comments and storylines about women and minorities, and even poked fun at depression and suicide.

When I put it all down like that, I can’t help but wonder: Why the heck do I like this show? Why do millions of people like this show?

Is it because we live in a society where everything we say can get us into trouble? An age of political correctness that causes us to breath a sigh of relief that the ole’ First Amendment is alive and well.

Or is it simpler than all that? Is it the fact that, mixed in with all the non-pc humor, is sheer ingenuity? I mean, Jim sending faxes to Dwight from “Future Dwight”—I’m laughing just thinking about it. Do those moments sort of make us excuse the rest?

What do you think? Am I concerning myself over nothing? Or should I be worried that I’m willing to put up with so much that makes me cringe for those genius moments?

I don’t know if I want to know.

Because I really want to watch next week.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Of Large Mammals and Inner Ears

by Marsha Ward

I almost hit an elk last night.

It was that time of evening when full dark hasn't come down but it isn't really light, either. That time when your driving lights aren't effective and you can't use your brights because of oncoming traffic.

That ghostly, dangerous time of evening when a big bull elk moving across the road in front of you looks like a dun shadow with brown markings, and you hit your brakes and swerve.

And miss it.

Your heart beats a rapid tattoo in your chest and you try to settle your ragged breathing. You pay stricter attention and drive a few miles per hour slower.


I'd been down in the Valley to the doctor's to check out some blood work. The nurse mentioned that I felt warm as she took my blood pressure. I mentioned my itchy ears and scratchy throat to the doc as he took my temp, so he checked them. 99.1 and the left ear and throat both red. That accounts for my logy feeling of late. He gave me a 'script to fill or not, if I prefer to try the rest-liquids-extra vitamins-gargling route. I'm going for the latter, and that's why I'm headed back to bed.

My head feels full of cotton, but a heavy variety of cotton. I'm a bit dizzy, from the ear infection, I'll warrant.

I'd feel a whole lot worse if I'd hit the elk.

Monday, September 22, 2008

On Waiting ... Interpreters ... Pagan Gods ....

First of all, I'd like to say welcome to our new Ink Lady! I look forward to reading your posts.
Ahh ... news? I'm still waiting, how's that? It's going to happen though. I can feel it.
I had a friend read my newest novel the other day, the one the publisher's still holding onto - he loved it - raved about it in fact. He did correct a few of my Spanish mistakes. No, I don't speak Spanish. Yes, I did use some Spanish in my new book. I also used some Nahuatl, but haven't found anyone who speaks that language to do any proofing yet. I believe I'm okay on that one as I used a pretty decent online translator for the words I needed.
I also used the names of a dozen Aztec gods. My mother's biggest complaint was that she couldn't pronounce any of their names. How do you pronounce Huitzilopotchli anyway?
Actually, I figured them all out and my friend, the one who knows Spanish, can pronounce them all!
Tomorrow ... yes, I believe I'll visualize an acceptance tomorrow. I do have to warn you that I may not wait for my scheduled blogging day to post my good news though.

Friday, September 19, 2008

A Newbie Again!

First of all, thank you Marcia! Bump St. James made your snoggable list and I am so thrilled. I love him too, shhh.

And now, for a little bit on me, here's some of what's been going on in my life.

Back in 2004, I was feeling pretty good about myself as a writer. I had just finished the fourth book of my Faith of our Fathers Civil War series. Life was good, the painful research was done, and I was ready to move on to something else for a while.

I had a baby.

Mmm hmm. No big deal, really. My husband I had two girls already, and they were 12 and 9. I figured I'd done it before, I could do the baby thing one more time. And it really did feel right, but cute as he was, he refused to sleep. So my writing came to a screeching halt.

Then husband went back to school for a Masters in School Counseling.

Mmm hmm. So with no new books out and royalties beginning to decline, I decided to fall back on that reliable degree and teach for a bit. I taught 4th grade and still didn't write. I knew if I ever wanted to be a writer again, I had to get back into the groove.So now I teach preschool three mornings a week and write while my almost 4-year-old son...still doesn't sleep much. But now he plays well while I type away.

The best news of all is that my newest book will be released in October. Isabelle Webb, Legend of the Jewel has been a long time in coming and it is, so far, my favorite of my 9 published books. The setting is 1865 British Colonial India, and the main character was a character in my Civil War series, so readers of those four books will recognize her.My website will be up and running soon- I'm putting the final touches on it now. To my readers who have been so incredibly patient, I say a million thanks and I hope you enjoy Isabelle Webb.


Welcome Nancy Campbell Allen

Welcome to the newest Ink Lady-Nancy Campbell Allen. She will be blogging soon to introduce herself. She is the author of nine novels with a new one coming out next month. I'm eager to hear more about that.

I've read four of her novels a few year ago, and I think they're fabulous. I even referred to one of her characters in this post on snoggable male characters.

Nancy, it's so fun to have you join us.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Freecycle Rocks!

It seems like these days everyone is looking for a way to save a buck. Recently I found a really cool group online called The Freecycle Network, and I thought I’d share it with you blog readers.

Basically it works like this: people who don’t want things anymore are paired with people who do (and vice versa.)

For example: I wanted some tote bags to use while grocery shopping, and I found a woman here in Provo who was giving some away. I have a really nice brown wool peacoat that’s too big for me, and I saw a woman looking for a winter coat and offered it to her.

And if you’re thinking, “Oh they’d never have the kind of thing I need,” I’ve seen people giving away washers and dryers, televisions, children’s Halloween costumes, even used MP3 players!

So if you’re looking for a fun way to save cash and the environment at the same time, check out your local Freecycle Network! It’s like a garage sale where everything is free!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

We're very grateful

Here is an update on Ink Lady Tamra Norton, who lives in the northwest Houston area. Her family also owns a rental property near Galveston. She was able to get a text message to a friend, and said: We’re STILL without power, but managing. Tell everyone HI for me.

Another friend reported about Tamra: Her rental got water right up to the front door, but is okay. They had some leaks in the house but no trees fell on the house or cars. They are currently boiling water and waiting for electricity to come back on.

We're very grateful that Marcia and Tami came through Hurricane Ike without loss of life or limb.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Being Prepared

By Marcia Mickelson

I'm a bit of a procrastinator, not always prepared. It takes something like Hurricane Ike to see the importance of preparation. We live in Corpus Christi, Texas, and the hurricane looked like it was coming right toward us last week. We just bought our house 3 months ago, and luckily the previous owner already had plywood cut to the size of all our windows. The plywood is used to cover windows to protect against harsh winds and rain. The previous owner had never used them, but she was prepared. She had them just in case. We were lucky, through no preparation of our own, that we had the plywood ready. On Wednesday, we went to The Home Depot to buy screws to put up the boards.

There was a huge line of 20-30 people in line for plywood. Home Depot was all out of plywood, and the people had been waiting for 2 hours and would likely wait for 2 more hours for the truck to come with more plywood.

We also went to Wal-Mart to pick up items for our 72 hour kit. No, we did not have one. I know we're supposed to, but now we have it. When we first moved to Corpus, one of the first things people at church asked is if we had our plywood. That's how important it is to be prepared here. We also had a lesson in church on being prepared, what to do in a hurricane, what to have in a 72 hour kit. Preparedness is really stressed here. It's very important to be prepared, as we found out this last week. I hope to be more prepared and less of a procrastinator in the future.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Inter-Library Loan

By Marcia Mickelson

I love Inter-Library loan. It’s the best. If you love LDS fiction, like I do, but don’t live in Utah, it is the way to go. Here in Texas, there isn’t much LDS fiction available at the libraries, so if you want to read LDS fiction, you’ll have to buy the books. Or, you can check out Inter-Library loan. I think it is available at any library throughout the U.S.

If you’re interested, check with your local library. Most likely, if you live outside of Utah and you’re looking for LDS fiction, it won’t be available in your library. So, find the titles you want, call your library and ask them to check the availability of those books through ILL.

You might not be able to get books that have recently been released, but I was able to get a few titles that came out earlier this year. I ordered three books, and on Friday, they called me to tell me all of them had arrived. Hooray. One of them comes all the way from BYU-Hawaii. The other two are from Shelley, Idaho. There is no cost for checking these books out. So, look into ILL loan. It’s the best. I just love libraries. I don’t know what I would do without them.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Black Mark Bloopers

In the book, Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation, author Lynne Truss uses her sharp wit to discuss the “disastrous state of punctuation in the modern world.” (

The book’s cover features a drawing of a gun-wielding panda bear. And then inside, the book explains that the bear—thanks to some misplaced punctuation—“Eats, shoots, and leaves.”

It’s a hilarious look at the difference a black mark makes. And so, just for fun, I thought I’d list a few of the "black mark bloopers" I’ve seen lately.

Seen on a local massage therapist’s advertisement: Two Massage’s For the Price of One
Seen on a Christmas card: Love, The Taylor’s
Seen on Lorelei Gilmore’s T-shirt on an episode of Gilmore Girls (the season in the purple box): Love the One Your With
Seen in a high school yearbook: Love, you’re friend Janet
Seen in an Iowa Airport: See photo above found on

So, tell me, have you seen any black mark bloopers lately? Let's get a list going.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Review: Servant to a King

by Marsha Ward

I signed up for the Summer Book Trek 2008, and read four books. My final read was Sariah S. Wilson's Servant to a King. The back cover gives the thread of the story:

When Isabel's father offers her hand to a Nephite, she's shocked and angry—and when the offer is refused, she's utterly furious. How dare this Ammon refuse to marry the beautiful eldest daughter of King Lamoni! There could only be one explanation for this unforgivable dishonor: Ammon must be a spy.

Isabel closely watches her enemy, expecting to find evidence of treachery, but instead she finds evidence of loyalty, bravery, and kindness. Afraid to admit her growing affection for Ammon, Isabel hides her true feelings behind a headstrong fa├žade. Yet when the vile Lamanite prince Mahlon threatens to take her as a bride and wrest the kingdom from Lamoni, Isabel must choose between her pride and her life. Meanwhile, the risks of love test Ammon's faith and courage as never before.

Will Ammon thwart the marriage of Isabel and Mahlon before it's too late? And could a Lamanite princess and a Nephite prince really live happily ever after?

Sariah Wilson wanted the title of this book to be The Nephite Who Loved Me, but her publisher chose Servant to a King. I think the author's preferred title is in line with the light-hearted and humanizing approach she took to the life of this Book of Mormon icon. That is certainly not to say that she demeaned his character or mission in any way. She simply brought Ammon to life for me in a way that I've never experienced before. For that, I am grateful to her.

Despite the author's preference in titles, there are no James Bond-esque immoral escapades in this book. Quite the contrary is true. This is about true love, hard work, and faith in God conquering fear and cultural differences. There are, however, adventures galore. Maybe I should say aplenty. Sariah kept to the true-life Book of Mormon account, skillfully weaving romance and emotion into the history, and ending in a satisfactory way.

Well done, Sariah!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

I'm So Happy!!!

By Tamra Norton

See this picture? This is how I feel. "Why?" I hear you ask. Well, because for the last several months I've been working my tail off on a certain project. Basically the entire month of July I did nothing but write, and (aside from a quick trip to Utah) the entire month of August I did nothing but edit. It was crazy and hectic, and wonderful. I'm not sure I've ever been as deeply absorbed in a project as I have been in this one. But it's done! And best of all, the entire manuscript is in the hands of "The Publisher-Of-My-Dreams."

After nine long months of evaluation over the first three chapters of this project (including one requested re-write), I finally received a letter from "TPOMD" in mid August asking for the entire manuscript--music to my ears (and hysterical shouts for joy from my big mouth to my family's ears). I was still in the midst of editing however, so I dug in deeper. But on August 31st, I said a quick prayer and pushed the "send" button. My manuscript was on it's way through cyberspace to "TPOMD." This morning I received an e-mail stating that my manuscript (this time the whole pie) is in the review process.

...and the angels and Tami rejoiced!

Now maybe you're thinking I'm being too happy, too soon. Too optimistic. "Aren't you worried you're getting your hopes up?" I hear you say. Well, honestly, I'm just so in love with my little story right now, and believe in it so much that I don't think anything could change that. And I'm the type of person who has to look forward 100% with the belief that THIS STORY WILL SUCCEED! It WILL make it into book form! It WILL make it into the hands of children...and they will love it too. Sure, there's still room for improvement--there always is. But I'm looking forward. And the view from where I'm jumping-for-joy (because I'm too excited to sit) is incredible!

Stay tuned...

Oh yeah--click here to read the review and interview I did with Lu Ann Staheli for MAKE ME A HOME!