Tuesday, October 28, 2008

It's My Fault

There are many things that are important in my life. Among them is my church. I attend regularly and do many things to help those around me. I’m sure it’s not enough. My parents taught me the difference between right and wrong so I know what I should do, and if I goof up I have no one to blame but myself. I’m responsible for my own destiny.

It’s my fault if I don’t do service as often as I should, or if I’m a bad example to people. Often times I hide in my computer room and forget all about the world around me. Someday I may have to answer to my maker about my choices.

The one thing I hope I never do is drive someone away from my church by my actions. I strive to not let others push me away from the things I know to be true. People don’t always treat others the way they should. Sometimes they say hurtful things or act rudely towards others. My skin has grown tough over the years, and most of the time I let those unkind things slide away.

I’m sure most people aren’t cruel and spiteful on purpose. Today I want to encourage others to look the other way and ignore the insensitive things said to you. Rise above the cutting remarks and act as the Savior would.

If the hurt won’t go away, you need to talk to the person who offended you. I did that not too long ago, and the entire problem turned out to be a misunderstanding. She honestly didn’t know she had offended me. If I had let it go, and refused to talk with her about it, I think I’d have been upset for a long time. Instead, because I gathered the courage to call her, I won’t carry that burden any longer.

Don’t think calling her was easy, because it wasn’t. It took three days for me to pick up the telephone to call. She was surprised to hear from me, and even more amazed to discover she had offended me by her actions. Of course, since she was unaware I was the only one suffering. It’s great to have such a burden lifted.

My advice to anyone reading is to stand up for what you believe, and don’t carry unnecessary burdens.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

My Writing

I graduated from the Institute of Children’s Literature in March 2006, and in April, I became a staff member for LDS Writers Blogck writing a weekly blog every Wednesday. Beginning in 2004 and for four years I won several awards in the yearly contest for the League of Utah Writers contests. This year, I planned to enter again, but instead had pneumonia which zapped all my energy and I missed the deadline.

I enjoy attending writing conference, but sometimes can’t go because of my work. Those I’ve attended are the League of Utah Writers, LDStorymakers, Forum on Children and Literature held at Utah Valley State College, Association for Mormon Letters, and Life, the Universe, & Everything symposium on Science Fiction and Fantasy. It is through this networking that I have met many published authors, other aspiring writers, publishers, and agents.

Maybe networking is a new word to you. It just means that you will meet people, talk about your writing with them, listen to them talk about their writing, share ideas with one another, and you will do lots of brainstorming. Networking is important to anyone wanting to break into the publishing world.

I’ve also joined a writing group. I belong to the League of Utah Writer’s, which includes the local branch called the Oquirrh Writers Chapter. The meetings each month have given me a connection to other writers, and I’ve acquired many new friends who have the same interest I have. These people critique for me and I’ve helped them. I also went on a writing retreat with one of those friends. I’m also a member of an online writer’s group, Author’s Incognito. Sometimes I participate frequently and other times, like now, I’m not as active.

Since I started writing regularly I’ve belonged to several critique groups. The first one started at Barnes & Noble bookstore, moved to The Coffee Shop, and lasted for the biggest part of a year. The Oquirrh chapter started a critique group and we met for about ½ year. My blogging group is great at offering writing advice, and I now have a wonderful online critique group. I hope this one will last a long time. Everyone needs someone to critique their work. Its best if they are a writer, but friends and family can also be a big help.

10 things I have found helpful in my writing are:

1. Keep your mind and heart open.
2. Make opportunities.
3. Take all the opportunities given to you.
4. Never give up.
5. Yes you will find dead ends.
6. You will also find keys to open doors.
7. If one thing fails try something else.
8. When someone gives you advice they are usually trying to help.
9. Only take the advice that you feel will really improve your work.
10. Keep looking for ways to improve your writing.

Monday, October 13, 2008

About Me - Part 3

Since this blog is supposed to be about me I decided that maybe I should tell everyone something about myself. My given name is Connie and I was born on my grandparent’s farm, located on the canyon road in Spanish Fork, Utah. While a tiny infant I lived in my other grandparents home in Genola. Six months later we moved to Nevada on a mountain near Cherry Creek and lived in a tent. My mother tells about holding me while standing on a chair as my grandpa and father chased a skunk out of the tent. Another time a lizard was crawling across the ceiling. She watched it crawling and as it got over my crib she grabbed me as it was falling toward my bed. I still hate skunks and lizards.

Our next move was to Ely, Nevada. Later my parents bought a trailer and we moved between Ely and Magill. The next spring my father moved the trailer to Spanish Fork behind the home where I was born. Later that year they moved the trailer back to Genola so my dad could help work on the farm there. Before winter he moved the trailer to Orem, and my dad worked in a service station with his brother. The following year they moved the trailer to Salt Lake on 2700 South State.

They sold the trailer the next year and we moved to Santaquin. Our next home was in Payson and then we moved to Salt Lake on Richards Street between 7th and 8th south. Next we lived in Mount Pleasant for a couple of months before moving to Ephraim. Then we moved to Orem at 486 Emery Street. We actually stayed there for three years before moving back to Spanish Fork. Our stay there was longer – 8 years. After I graduated from High School my parents moved our family to Kearns. If you have been counting there are 17 places that I lived between my birth and age 18. I wonder if this qualifies me as a gypsy.

I know you are wondering why we moved so much. I don’t know for sure. My dad was a good man and always had a job because he was a top notch mechanic. Many times the jobs he did were to help out his family. We weren’t rich, but we never went hungry and we always had clothing to wear and a roof over our heads. I’ve never wished for a different dad, because he was the very best. He never raised his voice at any of us, and we laughed as we worked. He taught us good principles and excellent values.

I do sometimes wonder if my moving around so much as a child has instilled in me a desire to always want to go somewhere else. Traveling gives me lots of satisfaction. There is a great big beautiful world out there and I wish I could see everything there is to see. Every mountain, tree, and river is different. God’s creations are marvelous and I want to see it all.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Sleeping Under A Dino

When I wrote Part 1 of About Me, I said something about enjoying sleeping under the bellies of dinosaurs. I’m sure that left many of you wondering. So now I will explain.

I’m not a traditional person. In fact, the more different things are the better I like them. In 2006 my husband and I decided that we would take all the grandchildren out to eat on their birthdays. It was a fun thing to do. Of course, we aren’t able to do this with those that live out of state so when we went to Colorado that year we took the family out to eat.

The next year I wanted something more meaningful to happen. I chose to take each of the grandchildren to do something fun. I began the year by taking my three granddaughters who had birthdays during January and February to a play, Little Women. The next month I took two grandsons whose birthdays are less than a week apart to Thanksgiving Point to Dinosnorzzz to spend a night sleeping under the dinosaur. It really was fun and the floor wasn’t as bad as sleeping outside with rocks and sticks poking in your back.

We also saw a 3-D movie about sharks, and went on a tour of all the dinosaur exhibits. The boys dug in sand looking for dinosaur bones, dug in wet sand and built dams as they played with miniature dinosaurs. Before going to bed they went on a scavenger hunt following clues throughout the museum. The next day they built a dinosaur out of small pieces of wood, learned a paper craft, colored an egg, and did prep work in the Paleontology Lab drilling and making a fossil to take home.

During March I took two grandsons to see the movie Night at the Museum (about natural history exhibits coming to life). My husband and I took the next grandson to eat at the Red Lobster. The next one wanted to go to the Dinosaur Museum in Ogden for his birthday. It didn’t matter to him that it was outdoors and July. He wanted his picture taken in front of every dinosaur. I made an interesting sight as I ran from one to the other finding all the shade I could in between snapping pictures.

When the next granddaughter had her birthday I took her to see the princess skating across the ice during Disney on Parade. The next child chose to go to the Aquarium, then Jack and I took the next one to eat breakfast.

This year our family that lives in Colorado was coming so we decided to take the entire family, all 28 of us, to Lagoon while we were all together. It proved to be a fun day for all.
Now comes next year. I can’t even begin to imagine what new thing I can do. Does anyone have any ideas? Remember it can’t cost a fortune because I certainly don’t have enough money to take them all on a trip, but something inexpensive, fun and memorable would be good.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

About Me - Part 2

My second completed novel is called A Magical Journey to the Past, and tells what life was like for two modern-day children trying to find their great-grandpa during the war of 1812. It’s a short middle grade historical fiction story.

John and Mary visit their great-grandpa’s ancient dugout and find an old diary. They wish they could see where he lives, and the journal takes them there. Once there they discover they are dressed differently than the people around them, and they are in the middle of a war. In their trek to locate their ancestor, they meet new people and encounter adventures such as rescuing an injured British soldier, and surviving a storm at sea. Finally, at the fort where their great-grandpa is they surrender so they can get inside. Even after meeting him, the story doesn’t end. They continue to watch the war all around them. They all make promises to one another before he returns to the fighting and Mary and John return home.

I hope this book will soon find a home.

My next book is also a children’s historical fiction and has two parts, and is called Waves of Change. The first part is about my Mayflower ancestor, Henry Sampson, who came to a new land with an aunt and uncle searching for religious freedom. It tells of the hardships he had to overcome after being left alone when those he came with died. Henry was strong and healthy, and learned to build houses, hunt, plant gardens, and gather the harvest. Henry made friends with the feathered people. Someday he would be old enough to own land, and was glad he had stayed here in a free land. His life changed after sailing across the ocean on the Mayflower.

The second section of the story starts two-hundred years later in up-state New York with Henry’s fourth great grandson, Silas Hillman. After Silas’s parents join a new church the persecution starts with the children at school teasing him. Soon the people in the town turn against the family and they are unable to sell their crops. They move west, going by way of the Erie Canal to Buffalo. Then they visit an uncle in Napoli, New York before heading to Kirtland, Ohio. The persecution doesn’t end and they move to Missouri. Several times, the militia called Silas to help protect the mobs from attacking Joseph Smith. The family was forced to move to Illinois. Silas became a commandant in the Nauvoo Legion, but couldn't stop the murder of Joseph and Hyrum.

I have not finished the edits on this book, but know it will be hard finding a home for it. I wanted to write some more back in time books to other historical scenes, but have found that children’s historical fiction books are hard to sell. I’m thinking of changing my writing techniques – maybe I need a different genre. Or maybe I need to write for adults, or about something different than history. It’s hard to make such a decision. If anyone has any ideas they would like to share, I’d like to hear them.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

About Me - Part 1

I’m the mother of two boys, and two girls, and a grandmother to 18. I currently live in Kearns, Utah with my husband, a dog and a large collection of fairies, including a fountain. Besides writing I enjoy sleeping under the bellies of dinosaurs, building parade floats, traveling and spending time with my family.

When I strike it rich I want to buy a yacht and sail around the world. I want to see first hand all the many different historical sites that I’ve read about in books so I can write more stories about magical adventures.

Martha’s Freedom Train is a historical fiction story written for those above the age of 10, and it will be my first published novel. It isn’t easy, but Martha and her parents escape slavery with the help of many kind conductors for the Underground Railroad—an escape route set up by people of all colors. After many weeks, they find an entrance to a station hidden securely in a hill. A station is where caring people help the slaves hide from those who would keep them captive. They finally have a safe place to stay. Mamma can go no farther. She has caught pneumonia because of the rainy weather and the many cold rivers and streams they crossed.

Papa learns about a wagon train of Mormons traveling west, and he takes Martha to meet them. Martha’s heart almost breaks when Papa promised to come find her when her mamma is well, but insists she must go west with these strangers.

Those in charge decide that Martha will travel with an older woman who is kind and caring and will take good care of her. It isn’t long before Martha calls her Grandma. Since Martha has walked for weeks escaping slavery, it isn’t hard for her to adapt to the situation of traveling with these people. Martha meets a girl, Laura, who is near her age and they become good friends.

Martha encounters many exciting adventures along the way. They cross rivers, see Indians and buffalo. She helps put out a fire, and after falling asleep beside the trail, they accidentally leave her behind.

Once they reach the Salt Lake valley, she still has choices to make. She wants to stay in Salt Lake with her new grandma, but Laura’s family wants her to travel south to help them build a new home. She longs to go with her new friend, but if she leaves, she wonders how her papa will find her.

I hope you will watch for my book in the spring. Also watch for the second part of About Me.