Saturday, December 28, 2013


The idea for my novel came to me back in high school. This was before the days of the Internet. I had a computer in my home but it was without a mouse and it was all DOS. And this was long before the movie The Matrix.

However people were expirimenting with virtual reality video games complete with huge clunky head gear and poor graphics. A guy took my sister on a date to one of these virtual reality games. I wondered about what the future might hold with this technology. What if there was a school where kids could attend class in virtual reality? Would the lines between realities become blurred? What if something sinister happened to a student within a virtual reality? Could the perpetrators be held accountable?

And so my story began. The main character, a young man, returned to this school after it had been shut down. He discovers that a person is still in a virtual world inside the building. He discovers it's the girl and rescues her. She remembers that something horrifying happened in the virtual reality.

The story was 30 pages long.

I resurrected it in my 20's and it grew to a 60 page story. I brought it to my writer's group and they suggested it be expanded into a novel.

I took their advice and expanded the plot significantly. Technology has exploded since I first drafted my story. Enter nanotechnology and Ray Kurzweil. I also had a little input from some of my students. I have enjoyed writing the novel and some of the rewrites. The sequel to the novel has also been rewarding even though it may never see the light of day.

Monday, December 23, 2013


My novel that my agent is currently shopping around has gone through a series of titles. Initially, when the novel was in short story form, I called it "Nature of Choice." It was without a title for a long time while I made it into a novel. I settled on Perception. This title earned me an audience with a couple agents and a contract with my current one. I don't know that I was a fan of the title and my agent wasn't either. For a very short time I called it Injected, only to be shot down again by my agent. Then it took on Uploaded for quite awhile and the title grew on me. But as I worked through another series of revisions with my agent, he wanted a better title before we sent it out to publishers. We brainstormed and came up with Infinite Worlds which I'm not a fan, but I realize it's a place holder. I'm sure if it does get picked up by a publisher (crossing my fingers, praying, wishing on a star), they'll want to change it again too.

A member of my writers group suggested, Undergrad God. I really thing that one was my favorite.

Out to Another Publisher

My agent contacted me about a week ago telling me that he sent my book off to another publisher for some Christmas reading. So cross your fingers for me!

The road to publication is long and requires much patience. And there's no guarantee that you'll find any success at the end of it.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Adam and Eve

After working on my novel about King David's wives for a year and setting it aside when the publisher rejected it, I started working on another novel about Adam and Eve. Could I have picked characters that were any more daunting? I wrote in first person, alternating between Adam, Eve and Satan's point of views.

Four hundred pages later and lots of patience and guidance from an awesome critique group, I came to realize that my Adam character was flat and boring. While Eve's voice was pretty good, I found myself  (and the readers in my group) becoming more interested in a side character: Abra, a daughter of Cain. I also kind of enjoyed writing from Satan's point of view.

For now, the novel sits on a shelf, awaiting major rewrites. I did rip a scene from the novel and made it into a short story that got published this fall in Write Place At the Write Time.

So, this novel may be doomed to dissection. I can take my favorite parts and make them into short stories while I return to Abra and give her the space for a novel all her own.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

The Publisher That Wanted More: Harem

It seemed like I'd at least made a break through with my Esther novel. A publisher liked my writing, based on the first three chapters. They just couldn't publish a second Esther novel.

So I jumped on this chance and pitched an idea to the publisher. What about a novel about some of King David's wives?

I received a positive reply. "Yes, send it when you finish. Take your time. Projects like these take a very long time."

So for the next year, I researched and wrote the 400-page novel, called Harem. Then I sent it off to the publisher.

She took a year before she rejected it.

And I found myself back at square one.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Queen Esther Novel

I wanted to write a novel about the story of Queen Esther from the Bible. I did quite a bit of research, drafted and polished three chapters, and pitched my novel idea to a publisher at a writing conference. I caught a couple of publishers' interest and they wanted to see the whole thing. So, for the next six months, I busted the novel out and sent it to the publishers

They both rejected it.

Disappointed, but not wanting to give up on my book, I started shopping it around. One national publisher said they liked my writing, but they had recently published a fiction book on Queen Esther. The good news was that the publisher invited me to send more.

My Esther book is still sitting on my shelf. I let family and friends read it. My aunt loved it and wants me to make copies to share with some of her friends. I thought I'd clean it up and send it to her as an ebook. But then I read the first chapter and I see so many glaring errors that I don't even want to put my name on it! Guess it was a good thing that it didn't ever hit bookstore shelves.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

No Stranger to Rejection

During my college days, I wrote several short stories. Once I graduated, was married and working fulltime in a marketing department, I pulled those short stories back out, polished them up and even wrote a couple more. The I started shopping them around.

I lost count of how many places I sent them. I filled two or three printed sheets of an excel spreadsheet of where I kept track of it all. One by one, I recieved form letter after form letter of rejections.  "Thank you for thinking of us, but . . .," "not right for us . . .," "does not fill our needs at this time . . .," etc.

I did get an occasional "encouraging" rejection: a rejection with personal comment. Even though it was a "no," the editor had still taken the time to hand write a note or make some personal comment.

For years, that was all I had to hang on to, encouraging rejections.

I kept writing.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Roller Coaster

My agent contacted me earlier this week: one publisher rejected my book already. That was pretty fast. Never a good sign. You have to wonder, did they get that bored after only the first paragraph or what? This was discouraging. But I'm not a stranger to rejection. In this business, you get a hundred times more rejection than you do acceptance. So I have developed a thick skin to it. However, it penetrates my wall a bit when I'm closer than I've ever been before only to get yet another . . . NO.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Shopping My Book Around!

Two developments on the writing front during the last couple weeks:
1. My short story, "In Our Own Backyard" came put in the third volume of Garbanzo Literary Journal.

I have to say that working with the editors of this magazine has been a lot of fun. The magazine is created by hand and is really unique. I'm proud to be a part of the Garbanzo community!

2. My agent has sent my novel out to two publishers, so now I'm crossing my fingers and hoping hard! My agent says that it will probably be a few months before we hear one way or another.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Short Story Published Today! (See link below!)

My short story, "The Struggle" came out today in the online literary journal, At The Write Place at the Write Time. Feel free to go take a look!

It's the second story on the page. (You'll need to scroll down.) If you have some time, read it and let me know what you think!


Saturday, October 12, 2013

Love/Hate Relationship With Technology

When I was in college, I entered a poetry contest. This was back in the day when I didn't have a personal computer of my own. I had to go to a computer lab to type up my poem and I saved it on a floppy disk.

Months went by and I didn't hear anything about my poem, so I assumed it sucked and that it didn't place. Then one day a check for $40 showed up in the mail with a letter informing me that I won the contest! I was thrilled and of course wanted to make sure I had a copy of my winning poem. When I went back to the computer lab to print off a copy, I discovered that my disk had a virus. The computer lab guys had to clean off my desk and my poem went with it. And just like that, the only copy of the poem I had was erased.

I tried to rewrite it, but have been unable to get it just the way it was before. I talked with the professors that ran the contest to find out if they still had my hard copy. No luck.

It was a hard lesson to learn but I usually keep hard copies of my writing now. And with the invention of cloud storage, I've got my stuff out there too as well as on a thumb drives.

Sunday, October 6, 2013


My agent is happy with the re-writes I've made to my book. Now I've got to take another stab at the title. It's gone from Perception to Injected to Uploaded. Titles are really tough. A title should sum up your book and entice readers to buy all in a very few words. I've had some decent ideas, Empires of the Mind, Merge, The Immortality Proposition, to downright lame ones, Horrible Imaginings, Lucid Head. All part of the process.

Titles make my head hurt.

I tried bouncing some title possibilities off my husband and he just stared at me. This creative stuff baffles his engineer brain and he's no help. He reminded me that I've got this awesome writer's group, people with very creative minds, who could help me with this process. So I guess I'll create a list of possibilities and see what my group says later this week.

Second Story Published

Hooray! More good news on the publishing front! A few days ago, I received an email from a publisher of an online magazine, The Write Place at the Write Time. I was expecting yet another rejection, but instead found that they wanted to publish my story, "The Struggle". This will be my second story that comes out this fall!

This story has biblical roots. Two of the main characters are Cain and Abel. An aging Adam and Eve make an appearance. But the story is told through the eyes of Cain's twin, Labuda, given in marriage to Abel. She loves both of her brothers, but Abel expects her complete fidelity and Cain wants her for his own. Cain eliminates his competition and Labuda is left with a heart-wrenching choice.

"The Struggle" will be posted around October 22. I will put the link to their website on here at the end of the month. It's a free online journal, so feel free to go have a look!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Why I Write

So after my first attempt at a novel (and it failed to get published), I still continued to write novels through high school. None of them really saw the light of day, and it should stay that way. I still wrote a lot of romance. I also took my first stab at speculative fiction. I wrote a post-apocalyptic novel where a comet hit the earth and destroyed civilization as we know it. The story was about the survivors. My creative writing teacher may have read parts of this book.

I also liked writing notes to friends, like most teenagers. Sometimes I would write stories in my notes serially. One story would take five or six notes to get through the whole thing. I would end each note on a cliff-hanger in the story and my friends would beg for the next installment.

I loved that I was entertaining my friends and that they got so wrapped up in the story and were interested in the characters.

I still believe that writing is a communication, an interaction, and hopefully, a connection between writer and reader. Making that connection, providing some new insight into humanity that is ultimately my goal through story telling.

I write to entertain. I write to expose. I write to raise questions. I write to invite people to think. I write to stir emotion. I write to relate.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Revision, Revision, and More Revision

I talked with my agent again today about my book and he had some more suggestions to polish the ending. So, I'll work on it this weekend and send it back his way.

I'm also going to replace a scene I cut out because I've had second thoughts on my initial hacking.

Despite this very long process, I am sill excited to say that I've got an agent. Some people are never even able to say that. During the times I get frustrated and discouraged, I need to remember how far I have come.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

First Publication Experience

In high school, I became aware of the school's literary magazine, Expressions. The funny thing is, my first piece published in that magazine was a photograph I took my sophomore year. This was back in the day when we still used film so I developed the film and printed the picture in the darkroom and everything.

My junior year, I took a creative writing class and produced a bunch of writing. I got a couple of poems published in Expressions that year.

My senior year, I was co-editor of the magazine and I had a few poems and a short story appear in it. I also gained a valuable learning experience. If I steal my characters from real life, I should probably make them unrecognizable. I didn't do that in this story. I was so accurate with these characters, that my friends all recognized them. And I endured a fair amount of ribbing because of it.

The upside: I was published and read . . . by many. Everyone's reaction? I suppose that was ultimately outside my control.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Matthew Kirby's Double Book Launch

Walt, James, Carolyn, Matt, DaNae, Jane, and me.

I attended Matt's book launch tonight at The King's English in Sugar House, Ut. He actually launched two books, one from the Infinity Ring series and the other was The Lost Kingdom. He also has another book coming out in January. This guy is on fire!

Matthew Kirby's Blog

In my writer's group meetings, I read some parts of a very early draft of The Lost Kingdom. I am looking forward to read it and see how it has evolved.

Congrats, Matt!

The King's English is a great place for a launch. It is truly part of a dying breed: independent booksellers. But if you are a book lover at all, you can't help but fall on love with the place.

First Novel

I wrote my first book in 7th grade with a pen and a notebook. Then I typed it up on a typewriter. I don't think my parents even owned a computer then. It was 125 pages long. I slipped the manuscript into an envelope and mailed it off to Scholastic. They were good enough to return it with a letter explaining that they didn't accept unsolicited manuscripts. My parents had to explain what that meant. The idea that I needed a literary agent in order to approach major publishers seemed like an insurmountable obstacle. I could look and see publisher's names on the books I read. Their address was printed inside. But how would I even begin to search out a literary agent? This disappointment seemed like a dead end to my writing and publishing dreams.

The subject of this book is a little embarrassing. Please keep in mind that I was only 13 years old. I will admit that it was a romance and it may or may not have included a couple of long blond-haired rock stars that produced one album and experienced a brief moment of popularity in the early 90s.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

The Daydreamer

I was always sort of a day dreamy kid. I feel like much of my childhood was spent in two worlds--reality and the fantasy world in my head. I created disaster plots for paper dolls to survive, romances for Ken and Barbie, adventures in the old west for me and my sister to dress up and act out. We were mermaids, teachers, Olympians and circus performers. My backyard trees spoke to me, my dolls were actually alive and I believed Peter Pan would one day take me to Never Never Land. In fact, one night as I was trying to fall asleep, I swore I saw Tinkerbell's glimmer in my closet. Imagine my disappointment when I realized it was only the street lamp reflecting off my closet rod. Occasionally reality collided with the fantasy world and I had to acknowledge it.

Drifting off to other worlds continued into my elementary years. In third grade, I decided that I was adopted and that my long lost twin sister was my best friend. I also decided that my pretty teacher was my real mom.  I put pen to paper (several papers actually) and wrote a small book about my discovery. The book had chapters, a couple pictures (although drawing has never been my strong point), and I put it in a binder.

I still think I have it in a drawer somewhere.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Story Ideas

"Everybody walks past a thousand story ideas every day. The good writers are the ones who see five or six of them. Most people don't see any."
Orson Scott Card

If this is true, I think I miss a lot of them. It's so easy to get lost in the whirl of "to do" lists and daily regiment that my mind isn't free enough to see things creatively. There have been times when I've been in that relaxed and creative mindset that ideas just come like crazy. History, the news, hypothetcals all are great places for ideas. And everyday life and everyday people work too.

In fact, one of my first published short stories in high school was about everyday people I knew. The story was fictionalization, of course. But the characters were so accurate that my friends recognized them and that got me into a little trouble.

The story that's currently getting published is also a story I noticed one regular, regimented day. I have dozens of stories sitting in my drawer that I've mined from days like these. So maybe there is something to what Card said.

Lesson learned: see the stories everyday, and exercise care in choosing which stories to tell.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Novel News

I sent my revised novel, Uploaded, back to my agent late Sunday night. It was my goal to get it off to him before school started again on Monday. (So I barely made my goal.) He'll take a look at it next week. He discussed my book with a publisher who expressed interest. So I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

In the meantime, I need to keep up my writing during the school year. It's tough to find time. I've been working on the sequel to Uploaded, but I don't know if it will ever see the light of day, so I'm wondering if I should set it aside for a little while and focus my energies on another project. I may return to my book about Abra, Cain's daughter.

Thanks for all of your comments and support!

Sunday, August 25, 2013

First Story Published!

"The secret of our emotions never lies in the bare object but in its subtle relations to our own past: no wonder the secret escapes the unsympathising observer, who might as well put on his spectacles to discern odors."  George Eliot, Adam Bede

Welcome to my blog! Writing is part of who I am, and I will probably write forever, no matter what. You can check out my bio page to read about how long I've wanted to be a published writer. I'll get a photo up on that page soon.

For now, my biggest news is that my short story "In Our Own Backyard" is going to published in the third edition of the Garbanzo Literary Journal this October. ( The link to their website is below.) Since this is my first real publishing credit as an adult, I am ecstatic. I hope that this is the beginning and that there will be more to come.

They only make (by hand) 300 copies of each edition. The rest is sold as an ebook. Typically the magazine is $20 plus shipping. I can buy a few for $12, so if you are interested in buying one at a discount, let me know!