Thursday, February 25, 2010

Book Review, Love Your Body

A friend of mine reviewed a book called Love Your Body. I read her post today and the book sounds like an excellent read for anyone who has a hard time getting on the scale or eating healthy. It isn't a diet book, in fact, it's subtitle is A Diet Free Approach to Balanced Eating.

Here's the link to my friend's review. I'd do my own, but I don't have a copy of the book yet. Still, it looked like such a good book when most of us are starting to think weight loss resolutions or swimsuit season (not that it gets warm enough here in Cleveland for swimsuits, even in July).

Go check it out! There's even a contest to win a free copy of the book!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Is It Possible?

If I deny myself of the needed hours of sleep, and write like crazy the next couple weeks, I think I might actually finish my first draft of my princess and the pea story before the Storymakers Conference. Maybe, just maybe it'll happen!

Word Count: 1,793

Phrase: Annalie took two ropes out of her pack and tied Kevin and Klaus each to a rope. She saddled herself on Gustav and led Kevin and Klaus out of their stalls toward the barn doors, placing the stolen keys on a window sill near the doors. Then she stared at the barn doors preparing herself for what would happen next.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

W is for Weird

Apparently something weird happened and a post was published on here that contained only the letter "w". It wasn't even capitalized, I don't think.

Very odd.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Daily Word Count Check In--Wahoo!!


Word Count: 939

This is a seriously awesome thing for me. I usually can't do more than around 600 in a night. I even got a late start tonight, so I'm really excited about this word count!

Phrase: Annalie realized she hadn’t planned anything to say to the guards. She’d forgotten they’d be an obstacle to reaching the city’s center and finding the right manor’s farm. She hugged herself tighter on her horse, squeezing his great, strong body with her thighs and wrapping the reigns around her wrists and arms.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Writing Stuff and an Update

So you may or may not have noticed that I haven't done my daily word count check in. You may or may not care. I've been exhausted lately and have just wanted to go to bed once the kids are asleep. I started to write a couple days ago and after getting 9 (yes, nine) words, one of the kids woke up and crawled into bed with me. Then she complained that my computer light was too bright for her to sleep. What an articulate 21 month old I have. Both Emma and Megan have to sleep in complete darkness. They hate light to be in their rooms when they sleep. Weird. Then there's Jeremy who will wake up, cry, and come in my room if I turn his nightlight off.

Anyway, I am working on the story tonight. As for my last question about names, I decided to not only completely change the names of the crazy medium spiritualists, but I took one of them out, too. When I looked back at the history I realized it didn't fit as well as I thought when I first read it and to avoid having Swedish history buffs hate me and denounce my book, I figured I'd change it so it was obvious I was going the I'm-making-this-up-but-it's-still-based-on-some-truth route. After all, the story is fiction.


Daily Word Count: 673
Sentence: "So there would be an hour or two before you go to jail. I still don’t see how this is helpful, Annalie,” Nee said, sitting down again on the bed.

Domestisity: Half-Way Reached

Chocolate Fruit Basket Cake. Well, I tried.

I think the people at the Taste of Home Magazine must have gotten a deal with the Kit Kat people to get the best looking Kit Kats, because their Kit Kats looked a lot better.

I also skipped out on the apricot preserves over the fruit because the recipe didn't say that I would need two cans of frosting because the stupid Kit Kats wouldn't stay without a ton of frosting. With all the Kit Kats falling off I didn't have time, or enough hands, to spread the preserves over the fruit.

Still tasted good, though.

The cake and this recipe was what we had for dinner.

I was expecting 7-8 adults and some extra kids for dinner. Only two showed up. I had doubled (almost tripled) the recipe and worked my butt off on the cake. Little disappointed. But now there are lots of yummy leftovers to last us the rest of the week.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Daily Word Count Check In and Question

Just a reminder, if you don't mind, leave your opinion on the last word count post where I asked about character names. Try to keep in mind that once introduced, the last names of the charaters in question won't be used often, if at all.

Word Count: about 180

I did some research today. Dang it. I didn't read well enough last time and I have some revisions to make. People who know their Swedish history are going to think I'm an idiot unless I fix some of this. Yes, it's fiction, but I'm using enough actual history to help the story along that I feel like I can't skip a generation of people, ya know?

Daily Phrase: “Yes, and now he’s forcing his son to follow in his footsteps, to never make a choice himself, not even who he marries,” said Annalie.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Mother's Little Experiment

Do things ever yell at you? I promise I'm not schizophrenic, but things yell at me all the time. I was listening to the radio a few weeks ago and the radio host had a woman on the air who was a relationship expert. She said the dirty dishes and garbage yell at her. They don't yell at her husband, but they yell at her. That was when I realized why my dirty dishes and garbage bug me so much and not my husband--because that's what they've been doing, too. The house chores yell at me, but not Nathan.

How many people function well with inanimate (not to mention voiceless, so you know it's all in your own head) things yelling at them? Then there's the kids, who really do yell--at me and each other.

How do we fix this? Well, I have a plan. Find a text to speech site that offers a free download, or a friend whose voice your husband won't recognize immediately, and record these phrases on a small voice recorder. The link above is a text to speech site. You can download a a great voice (which may cost, but don't you think it would be worth it?) and type in this, or have your friend record it.

"This is your pile of dirty dishes speaking. Wash me NOW!"

Hide the recorder in your kitchen near the sink. When your husband enters the kitchen press play and walk away. When he hears it you have to go about whatever you were doing. DO NOT act like the voice is anything new. Remember, you hear it all the time. You can act surprised that he heard it, but it is something you hear all the time.

See how quickly he gets those dishes sparkling.

The next week, do the same thing, but have the voice (or another friend whose voice your husband won't recognize) record this:

"This is the garbage. I'm full. And I stink. Take me out now! All the way out. To the outside garbage can. Please, I reek."

It might be a good idea to make this voice sound like it's being muffled, you know, because it's in a container, or under a cabinet.

I'm betting he won't take half the time he did getting outside with the garbage as he did getting started on the dishes when they yelled.

Then you can move on to having him clean the toilet and change baby diapers.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Daily Word Count Check In

Word Count: 525

e: She glanced down at the paper in her hands, reading the names again, willing them to change. Finally, Inga brought her eyes up to look Nee and then Annalie full on. “Ulrica Arfvidsson. I saw her. And also Henrik Gustaf Ulfvenklou. I saw him, too. They were together with the King quite often while I was there and my sister, Rose said they are frequent guests to the king. They huddle together in various rooms of the castle, muttering and whispering, performing séances late into the night.”

Here's something new for the Word Count Check In, A Blog Reader Question section. Sometimes I have questions about how something sounds or should be.

Blog Reader Question:

The names of the two people mentioned by Inga, Ulrica Arfvidsson and Henrik Gustaf Ulfvenklou, these were real people who really did have great influence over King Charles. Do I keep their real full names, or make them easier? Like Ulrica Avidsson and Henrik Gustaf Ulvenklou. They are still crazy names, but are more pronounceable. Or should I leave them alone because they are real people who did some of what I'm saying they did?


Daily Word Count Check In

Word Count: Um. I don't know. I did some research today and then was bad and let myself do some editing. I read it out loud to Megan and saw all these places that needed fixing. Aagh. So sorry.

Sentence: Annalie hadn't even had time to try to look innocent before Eugenie knew it all.

Monday, February 8, 2010

City of Enoch

Sunday we played catch up with our Sunday School lessons because we had ward conference the week before. I've been thinking about the lesson almost nonstop since then. First we talked about Cain and Able, then Enoch and the his city that was translated, how God showed Enoch the vision of Noah and the flood, and then the actual events before the flood where Noah is told to prophesy and declare repentance. All of these really hit me.

If you don't mind, I'm going to go out of order here and start with Enoch.

God told Enoch that he needed to go to the people and tell them to repent. Enoch replied by saying, Why is it that I have found favor in thy sight, and am but a lad, and all the people hate me; for I am slow of speech; wherefore am I thy servant?

Of course, he went forth with the promises of God that his mouth would be filled by his spirit, that mountains and streams would move for him, and with the promise of safety. He had great success obviously--his City of Enoch, or City of Zion, was translated and taken up to heaven.

I have been wondering since Sunday, What did those mothers of Zion do to keep their tempers when little Mahujeal or Zillah wouldn't eat all their dinner or go to bed on time? How did they teach Zillah not to hit or bite Mahujeal. How did they keep harmony in the family when Mahujeal doesn't want to share, Zillah missed her nap, and mom and dad are fasting? HOW?

Next, Enoch couldn't understand why God planned on sending the flood. He saw God and the heavens weep for the loss of His children who wouldn't repent and were so caught up in sin.

Then there are six times that the Lord speaks about why He is destroying the earth by flood. He is upset because the daughters of man have sold themselves, violence, pride, evil thinking, violence, violence, and violence. The violence of man is, from what I have gathered from these scriptures, a huge factor as it was mentioned four times.

I'm not a violent person. I don't think of myself as someone who enjoys watching violence (I like the X-Men movies, but have to look away anytime a movie has Natives all painted and shooting little poison darts, and I had a hard time with Cinderella Man). Still, I know there's room for improvement. There are times when I feel like kicking or hitting something. I've seriously considered buying a punching bag just for these moments which happen almost daily. I need to learn to control myself better. Also, I don't think all violence is physical. I think sometimes when I lose my temper at my kids and yell, that could count as violence--an emotional violence against them. I need to learn to keep my temper better.

I also need to rid myself of pride. I don't think I have "evil thoughts" and I've never sold myself, so I think I'm good on those, but the pride and need to kick are things I need to work on.

Lastly, after studying the section on the Lord's reasoning for the flood, I thought back to Cain and Able. The first real sin (Eve's taking of the fruit and Adam's following suit were not sins.) of the world was murder--violence. Just an interesting thought I had.

Anyway, this post is more of a journal thing for me. I don't imagine it will be of much interest to y'all, so sorry if you read through the whole thing and are disappointed. Maybe I should have written a little warning at the beginning of the post. It's also kind of long for a post with no pictures. Oh well.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Daily Word Count Check In

February 6, 2010

Word Count: 516

Phrase: "Don't let yourself look like you're lurking in the corridors or listening in on any conversation that might be going on around you," Nee said, "but if you can be in the same room as the King or Queen, or the Prince and Marie and her lady in waiting, stay as long as you can and look inconspicuous." Inga paled and looked at Annalie for help. Then Nee added, "And try to stay within earshot."

Friday, February 5, 2010

Daily Word Count Check In

Word Count: 450

Phrase: She was dressed in fine clothes, but her jewelry was not ornate. The workmanship was delicate and expensive, but instead of being made from gold or silver, it was all cast iron. She held a small, red velvet purse that jingled as she walked up and down the booth, purveying the goods.

Brother and Sisters

Jeremy's preschool class does yoga once a week. I knew it was on the schedule for today, so when he got home I asked him, "Jeremy, did you do yoga today?" And he said, "Yes! Mom, this is tree pose!" So this picture is for Grandma Mary.

Blocks and trains are all the rage.

And we are slowly training Megan to smile without tilting her head in the
"Disney Princess Pose."

Emma is still at the age where we can't really get a good picture because she gets too excited, grabs the camera and squints as she yells "Cheese!"

Jeremy is now realizing he is the protector of his sisters. This was the best picture of Emma, but Jeremy was starting to walk away so he could see the last picture I took. Dang digital technology. When I was his age, we not only had no idea if the picture turned out or not, we didn't know if we'd lose the film before we could develop it.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Daily Word Count Check In

Tonight was another word count zero day. Last one for this week, I promise. (Except Sunday, I don't write on Sundays.) I have another excellent excuse though--a great writer's group critique meeting.

We did a writing exercise in which I practiced by writing a back cover blurb for one of the other books I'm working on (the one on the right with the highest percentile bar) and another fun one where I wrote about a falling star from the star's perspective. Then we read them out loud and it was a lot of fun. After that we discussed the chapters that had been submitted to critiquing and of course got off subject a ton :o)

It was great and the writing exercises and critiques gave me some things to think about with the manuscript so far.

Tomorrow I will have a word count for the Arlie book. Promise.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Daily Word Count Check In

Wednesday January 3, 2010

Word Count: 0

So, sorry. No phrase or sentence since I didn't write. I actually did write, just not on this story. I wrote something that I submitted to be included in a collection of stories. I'll let you know if it gets accepted. If you want to know a little more about what I'm writing, I included some information about it in the last post's comments.

Catch ya tomorrow!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Daily Word Count Check In

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Word Count: 583

Phrase: "Erik, that doesn't matter. You should not have taken it. You could have fallen and hurt yourself, or Victor could have woken up and seen you. They'll know what happened, Erik," Arlie said as she sat down on his bed next to him.

One More Time?

Ok, you might remember this post in which I said that it would be really cool to go to the MMB Blogging Conference. Well, it would be cool, but I can tell you what is cooler. (Sorry, MMB. I love you, but this really is cooler.)

I'm going to the LDS Storymakers Writing Conference!!

I thought I'd already blogged about this, but I couldn't find it in my archives, so here I am doing it now. Plus, they have a Show the Love for LDS Storymakers Conference Contest going on which requires that I blog about it:)

I've attended the Conference since, um, I think since just after Megan was born. I've lost count. Last year and this year I was certain I wouldn't get to go, but last year I was able to save up enough babysitting money to go--and trust me, babysitting these kids nearly every day for less than I would pay a teenager to babysit my own kids wasn't easy. But it was completely worth it. Every single hard day of it.

This year I thought I would never get to go because I haven't been babysitting much and finances have been tight. Plus, what to do with the kids? Who wants to take Jeremy to school, watch Megan and Emma, pick Jeremy up, feed the kids lunch, turn right around to take Megan to school, go home with Jeremy and Emma, and pick up Megan three hours later? Really, I mean it's amazing I don't get whiplash.

But, Nathan, the wonderful husband that he is, emailed me a couple weeks ago and said I should go to the conference and take the kids to his parents in SLC for the week. He said if I could pay for the conference, he would pay for everyone's airfare. SWEET, isn't he!

The conference is a place that I have felt accepted as a writer, where I have learned not to hide who I want to be as a writer (or who I am now as a writer), to accept rejections (because they happen), and to look forward to acceptances (because they will come too). I have had opportunities to mingle with literary greats and literary newbies who will be considered great soon. I have grown as a writer, becoming better and developing the love, if not talent, that God has given me for the written word.

I'm excited for another year's conference where I can soak it all in, learn more, make more friends, more connections, gain more inspiration . . .

I hope some of y'all who enjoy writing think about attending. It would be great to see you there!

The Battle Between Taste Buds and Gut Just Got Harder

I just made these cookies. They are most delish. And so far, Megan and Emma don't care for them. That means the odds of Jeremy liking them aren't that great.

That means more for me. My tongue thanks my children. My gut doesn't.

Monday, February 1, 2010

A Post In Which I'll Attempt To Force Myself To Record My Writing In a More Specific Way, Thus In An Attempt To Make Me Write More

I saw on a writer's blog that she was keeping track of how many words a day she was writing. She also included a sentence or phrase from her day's work in the post. I thought this would be a good way to keep me active in my writing and share a bit of what I'm working on with you. A few of you have expressed interest in wanting to know what it is I'm writing.

I'm not sure if this was something she updated every single day, or every week. The post looked to me like it was a bunch of days on one post. We'll see what I decide to do. I think I would write more if I had to post it every day. I would feel more responsible for making sure I wrote something each day.

So here is my first entry.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Word Count (approximate, I'll have actual word count next time): 303 (I spent most of today's work doing research on Sweden in the 1840s. Apparently, there's a lot of reading I still need to do.)

Phrase: She could see his manor. She'd climbed the tallest hill in her village to look down and see the collection of manors surrounding the castle. The king liked to keep his workers close to him and refused to let any political worker live outside a mile radius of the castle. She didn't know which one was his, but she could see most of them.

Anyway, I hope you will enjoy getting little sneak peaks at what I'm working on and please, if you would be so kind, comment and 1)give me feedback on what you think of the phrases/sentences, 2) encourage me to keep writing, and 3) If you're a reader, but not a commenter, please comment now:) I would love to hear what people who don't actually know me think.