Wednesday, December 26, 2012

I Cry the Day I Take the Tree Down (I hate endings)

         I hate cleaning up after Christmas. Even more than the disposing of mass quantities of wadded Christmas wrapping paper and cardboard boxes, is the taking down of the Christmas decorations. It's not that I'm afraid rolling up my sleeves, greasing my elbows, and doing a little work. I just hate endings. The anticipation, the festivities, and warm-fuzzy feelings with family members are over. For now. It brings a lump to my throat.
           A week before Christmas we picked up my son from the airport after serving an LDS mission in Alaska. The experience was bitter sweet--just like taking down the Christmas decorations. While I was thrilled to see him again, and I love having him home, it was an ending of a great experience for both he and I. And I hate endings.
          I guess I don't hate all endings. I don't get choked up when I've come to the end of a dentist appointment, or after completing year end financial crap from my business.
          As I have contemplated "endings" it has brought me to think about another kind of ending: the ending of a novel. Some endings are anxiously awaited. Some endings leave a lump in my throat similar to the one I get when I take my tree down. These are the stories I have enjoyed with a similar relish as the basking in warm-fuzzy feelings of holiday festivities. Thus I hate to see it end. I even mull it over and over in my mind for several days after I turn that last page.
          As a writer, I pose this question to all of you other writers out there: how do we write a novel/story with a powerful ending that will have our readers feel that lump in their throat? I think the key is to have the previous two-hundred-or-so pages be full of meaning. Good meaning, (a trip to the dentist office or doing one's taxes have meaning).
          We must speak to our readers' hearts and stir their souls with truth and good story. Follow that up with a satisfying ending that makes sense and doesn't disappoint, we will have our readers thinking about our book long after they finish it. Readers will then hate endings as much as I do--not because it was a bad experience, but because they are sad that it is finished.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Spotlight: Texting Through Time series by Christy Monson

A second Texting Through Time book is here, John Taylor And The Mystery Puzzle. It’s a fast-paced quick read—fun for kids and the entire family.
As Micah and Alicia get to know John Taylor, they find he is faithful, courageous, prayerful and loving. They must solve a mystery puzzle about his life before they can return home. While hunting for the puzzle pieces, they land in France with a dead phone battery—and Micah is in a dress! What else can go wrong?

Christy said this was such a fun book to write. She enjoy doing the research. It was a blessing for her to learn about our modern-day prophets.
She felt honored that Mary Jane Woodger, BYU Faculty and editor of Champion of Liberty, John Taylor, had written a forward for her book. Maureen Smith, International President of the Daughter’s of the Utah Pioneers has endorsed the book. And Mathew Buckley, author of Chickens in the Headlights, and Bullies in the Headlights has given it a thumbs-up.
If you'd like to purchase or learn more about her Texting Through Time series, check out  the following links:
Her book was launched at the Ogden Temple Deseret Book Store on Friday, November 23rd 
Check the websites for other scheduled signings.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

I've completed my first picture book!

I just finished uploading my first picture book onto the web for sale and ordered me a few copies to give as presents. It feels great. Now I can begin my Christmas shopping and housecleaning.

I have written several manuscripts for picture books, but they have remained untouched on my computer collecting cyber dust for a number of years. It seems the publishing world doesn't have a big demand for picture book authors, especially ones who don't illustrate their own work. Because I really wanted to get my picture book stories out there, a few months ago I began learning how to use Adobe Illustrator to help my marginal sketches come to life.

After I created the first few pages of one of my favorite stories, Crook and Nanny, I decided it might be best to test the POD waters by creating a personalized picture book for my grandson for Christmas first. This way I could work out the kinks before I got serious about picture book publishing. I really had fun making it and I learned a lot. I plan on having Crook and Nanny out by next Christmas.

I hope my grandson, Hunter will enjoy it.

If by chance you'd like to buy a copy, it is available on Lulu  (I found Amazon/Createspace was not as conducive to printing picture books as Lulu).