Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The New Year


Wow, I am flabbergasted at how fast this year has gone. I remember it went by at snail's pace when I was still in high school. After I graduated, that's when I realized that the world spun a whole lot faster than I could've ever imagined.

I decided to do some research on the history of the new year and its celebration. I was not pleased with what I found. It has to do with an ancient pagan holiday, Julius Caesar, later on an anti-Jewish campaign among other things . . . *Sigh.

I was actually hoping on something spiritual, uplifting, inspiring. The only way I think I can get all those elements down is to pray.

Bringing in the new year is very personal. It is the time when many of us set goals for bettering ourselves. A fresh start like a fresh day.

Though Easter is the celebration of life, Christ's resurrection, I don't think it would be wrong to liken Christ's atonement to the new year. The Atonement is a fresh start. It is a chance for us to repent of our sins. To shed the darkness from our spirits. To look to the future with hope and love and happiness.

I feel we should think of the same thoughts that cross our minds during Sacrament Meeting (a time to review our faults the past week and how we could improve upon them). These are mine every Sunday, depending on my struggles as I think to renew my baptismal covenants: I will practice better patience with my children, I will do my best to NOT suppress a generous thought, I will work harder on reading my scriptures on non-school days . . .

The most desired thing is to be charitable. Anything you can think of that reaches out to others is charitable. Saying hi to someone in church, especially someone you don't talk to on a normal basis. Sitting by someone you never had before, volunteering in school for your kids--if you are a grandparent, I don't think the school will turn you away. Bringing in someone's garbage can after pick up day. Smiling at someone. Making your child's bed as a surprise.

To throw in a few writing aspects maybe dedication to helping others with their manuscripts, query letters and/or synopsis with total honesty? Being a mentor? Reaching out to aspiring writers and help them understand that there is always hope in becoming published?

Going out of our comfort zones is one of the hardest things I know any one of us can do, but that is what being charitable is all about--if we are complacent in our lives, we need to reevaluate it.

This one of my favorite quotes by Souza:

DANCE--as if no one is watching you,
LOVE--as though you have never been hurt before,
SING--as though no one can hear you,
LIVE--as though heaven is on earth.


What are your goals for the year 2010? I would love to hear them!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Ready for Him

I was asked by Christine from my Mormon Mommy Writers blog to be the guest blogger today. I found it very fitting to write this poem here by an unknown author given to my daughter from YW. It is so sweet. Let me know what you think and how you feel about Christmas!

"Ready for Christmas," she said with a sigh,
As she gave a last touch to the gifts piled high.
Then wearily sat for a moment and read,
Until soon, very soon, she was nodding her head.
Then quietly spoke a voice in her dream,
"Ready for Christmas, what do you mean?
Ready for Christmas when only last week,
You wouldn't acknowledge your friend on the street?
Ready for Christmas while holding a grudge?
Perhaps you'd better let God be the judge."
She woke with a start and cry of despair.
"There's so little time and I've still to prepare.
Oh Father! Forgive me, I see what you mean.
To be ready means more than a house swept clean.
Yes, more than the giving of gifts and a tree.
It's the heart swept clean that He wanted to see.
A heart that is free from bitterness and sin.
So be ready for Christmas--and Ready for Him."

I spent about an hour searching for a painting of the ten virgins because
I feel it would fit perfectly. Will we be ready for Christ when He comes again?
I came across the video below from LDS.org. It left me crying because it fits so
well both messages that I have written for this very special day.

The Christmas Spirit

Merry Christmas, my friends.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

In Honor for He who gave His life for Us . . .



On Sunday, I helped conduct Sharing Time for the Sunbeams. I had gone through many of my Ensigns and removed appropriate pictures of Jesus Christ. As I prayerfully prepared the lesson, I felt the sweet and tender strength of God's love for His Son. My heart was so full that I cried. I brought my chosen pictures to my team teacher and she played the primary songs I chose to go with each picture. We both felt the Spirit so strongly it brought tears to our eyes.

I want you to know how much I love my Father in Heaven and His son, Jesus Christ. I am so ever grateful that God loved us very much He was willing to show us mercy by allowing His only Begotten Son to come down to Earth to die for us. I have a testimony of the Atonement and am forever indebted to Him for His great love He has for me.

I hope you can feel the Spirit as you watch this special clip. Imagine being one of the people in any one given scene and feel the Spirit touch your heart. It is my prayer that the love of Christ abides you this wonderful time and forever after that.

Merry Christmas! :)

Saturday, December 19, 2009

The Writer's Block Bane


On December 18th Mormon Mommy Writers' post, Nikki wrote about having split personalities as a writer--I am sure we all have experienced this interesting little phenomena at one time or another right? Oh yes. It is called . . . writer's block! Tada!!!

Well, I had lots to say about it and left a comment there for her. I thought it would make a very interesting topic to discuss on my blog (thank you Nikki for the idea!).

Her post was about our creative selves conflicting with our logical selves, hence, resulting in writer's block. Gotta love it. Well, for the first time I suffered major writer's block. I was so worried and sad that I couldn't and wondered if I would ever be able to write again. I asked for blessings galore. I prayed tons. I fasted lots. I even attended the temple seeking answers.

Do you know what it really was when it came down to it? The simple fact that my logical side did not agree with my creative side.

It was over the urban fantasy romance I had finished the first week into November for NaNoWriMo. My problem was that I had never written just a plain story without a villain. There has to be a villain to taunt, torment, tease my MCs at all costs! This particular novel has no villain like that. It doesn't. It is a normal romance with internal conflict. Whoa! So new for me, that's for sure.

My logical self argued with me that it could not be done because I have never done it and that it would be so borrring without a villain. My creative self mulled and batted and debated just how I was going to accomplish the never-done-by-Elizabeth feat!

After much thought and prayer, NaNo came around and I decided to take the challenge full force. I have never done this crazy thing of writing 50K words in one month and was even afraid of the task. (My problem is that I always underestimate myself but have learned that I usually excel to my surprise!)

Well, with NaNo, I told myself it can be done and I won't stop to contemplate the difficulties of writing a story without a solid villain. I simply gave myself permission to write the novel with pure internal conflict.

As I mentioned a few paragraphs above, I finished that novel the first week into November and started another book (the one I mentioned in my last post and I am nearly done with it! I am on my last chapter and it ends with a Viking wedding!) Well, ahem, their wedding night actually! ;)

I now know that writer's block is as simple as what Nikki had said. It is logic conflicting with creativity. The angel and devil on each of our shoulders screaming opposing thoughts and sending conflicting messages--our brains don't work that way. It's very hard to serve two masters!

Well, tell me how you deal with your writer's block? Maybe it is not as simple as I had just defined it. What is your opinion and thoughts on it?

Let me know!!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Accomplishments

I have been struggling with the idea of writing blogs--it just doesn't come natural to me. I find it interesting that I can always come up with ideas on my other blog but for this one!

I thought it might be nice to write about what I am writing about, and what interests me.

Right now I am in near completion of my 8th novel. Several of my other novels which have been revised to death and others still in their first draft stages. Who would've thought that I still have a long road ahead of me to have them submission-worthy? It feels intimidating and a bit overwhelming, but I know that it is what Heavenly Father desires of me so I will not stop here.

My current MS is about a man from a different world where his queen rules unjustly but he does not realize that until she sends him on a mission to slay an ancient colony on Earth. After destroying a small hunting party, he finds a village and falls in love with a human woman. Everyone is scared of him but for the woman. Her love changes his heart and he vows to right the wrong.

The thing that I found most challenging in this story was having the two MCs communicate without knowing one another's languages. But as I wrote, it flowed and clicked into place. :) The most I have enjoyed about writing this story is the journey. It is such a joy to create new worlds and governments and people for me.

Three of my novels are fantasy romance(can't stay away from it!), two are historical romance (one taking place in the Victorian ages and the other sometime in the distant past of Vikings), two are urban fantasy romance, one contemporary romance and the one I am currently working on with probably a thousand words left would be considered science fiction/fantasy/historical romance (LOL! It involves all those elements, but I am not sure its exact genre).

I have to admit that writing can be very isolating when one does not have a group of friends that all share the same love for it. I am grateful for my writing group, Scrawl, and everything they have done and are yet to do to help me out the door into the wild blue yonder.

Thank you, guys!

OH! PS--I'd like to thank all of you who are following my blog, it feel so nice to have fans! (hugs) :)

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Who are you?



I just had a good friend of mine pass away. I was so shocked to hear the news this morning at Sacrament meeting. (I write my MMW posts every Sunday). I was devastated to hear that and did my best to keep my wits about me as I led the music during sacrament meeting.

She was a part of our ward choir and a faithful member of our ward. Long before, she was a primary teacher and my children loved her. It was only last Sunday I gave her a ride home after choir and she commented on how she missed being my kids's primary teacher and how fun it would be to be in the primary again.

She had made a great impression upon me. She embodied strength, faith, courage. Those were her qualities that I will always treasure.

Bearing this in mind, I prayed on how I could turn this into a valuable lesson. What kind of impact do you want to have on others? What about as a writer? What kind of writer are you now? What kind of stories are you weaving?

How will your readers remember you? Fulfilling? Thoughtful? Inspiring? Will they put your book down after finishing it and say, "Wow, she is an awesome writer! I can't wait for her other book to come out," while she gazes at her bookshelf lined with your books?

We have a wonderful opportunity and privilege as writers to make an impression with people everywhere. We are leaders in chaos. We are the light in the darkness. We are the voice of the Lord as we create our stories with His help.

I know without a doubt that if we live the way God desires, He will bless us beyond measure and surely we will touch the lives of many through the written word. Our qualities will leave an impression.

That's how we will be remembered.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Making New Friends


I got this from a fun little handout about friends and friendships for my kids. You can print it up and have it for Family Home Evening, think about all your friends in your life and see where they fit. OR, (I like this) you can have this as a checklist for a your main characters as you write. You choose! Here it goes!

Wheeeee!

Here are a few helpful hings to making new friends:

1. Listen when someone is talking to you.
2. Ask questions to find out more about the person.
3. Give sincere compliments to others.
4. Don't be afraid to speak in front of a group. This is a good way to share with lots of people at once.
5. Share your ideas with others. Don't be afraid to speak up.

Are Your Friends Cool or Cruel?

Cool kids: ............................................................Cruel kids:

Keep secrets ....................................................... Share your secret with others
Keep promises.....................................................Don't listen to you
Really listen to you..............................................Talk behind your back
Stand up for you.................................................Leave you out
Include you in a group........................................Are jealous when you do well
Are happy when you do well................................Complain about others
Are fun to be with...............................................Are not aware of your feelings
Think of your feelings.........................................Want to get you into trouble
Care about what happens to you..........................Make fun of you
Are nice to you.................................................... Are stingy
Are generous

I honestly feel that these traits apply to adults as well. I hope this has been helpful and fun as well! :)

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Test of Character



"...the crisis doesn't create one's character it reveals it."--Lynn G. Robbins. Guess what the first thing was when I heard this quote given on Sunday on tithing? I thought writing! I was so impressed by it I pulled out my program and jotted it down. Wow. Isn't it powerful? How does your character react to crisis? Does she wilt? Does he flee? Does he become stronger? Does she hold fast? Does she weep? I would be remiss to continue on without mentioning how the quote really fits. There is an article in the 2005, May Ensign about paying tithing. Tithing is for the rich as much as it is for the poor. It is not unkind of our Heavenly Father--or leaders of the church--to expect that out of us even with our economic crisis! In fact, do you remember the story of the widow's mite? She gave her all. I ask myself, how can I not? With all the blessings the Lord has so generously bestowed upon me? Giving the Lord ten percent of our earnings will bless us beyond measure. Here is the quote again: "...the crisis doesn't create one's character it reveals it."--Lynn G. Robbins.

Bearing this in mind, what strengths will a crisis bring out in you? Or perhaps even weaknesses? Will you panic or crumble or weaken? Will you be calm, hold tight, and stand firm?

I know one thing is for sure, the closer to the Lord you are, the stronger you will stand during the crisis--I promise.