Tuesday, July 1, 2014

To Dream the Impossible Dream

I've recently decided to DREAM. Not a safe dream with boundaries I can control. Not the kind of dream with hazy edges and broad limits because I don't want to tell the Universe what I specifically want...because what if I don't get it? I have lower to fall if my hopes get too high, right?

I've heard lots of successful people tell other wannabe successful people, "Don't have expectations." Meaning work hard, do all you can, and expect nothing. Then you're not disappointed, and if it happens, it happens, right?

Well, I'm declaring right here, right now, I have expectations. I'm going to believe I'm the writer, the mom, the person I want to be because that belief creates it. That belief infuses a sprinkling of fairy dust over everything I touch, every relationship I have, every good thing I do.

I won't live lost in the future, in that miserable in-between of me staring in despair over what I don't have, of only believing I'll be happy when I get what I want. That's not what I'm talking about.

I'm talking about living in the present, knowing who I am--past, present, and future--and being who I am, reaching the full capacity of who I am, and glowing with it. I will BE. I will live. I will hope for the "impossible" without fear or the limits others might seek to place on me.

Perhaps it's a bit of madness--Don Quixote's "impossible dream." I accept that. Because I know what miracles have happened in my life when I finally dared to take a bold step into the darkness, not just a tentative tiptoe.

I will give myself to all that I do. I will be true to myself. And I will encourage everyone who crosses my path that they can do the same.

To truly BE is to let go. Of fear. Of the idea of failure. It's being grateful for what you have but knowing it's okay to want more. It's okay to want to embrace your life with every ounce of light within you and see how bright you can shine with what was given to you. If you think about it, it's insulting to want any less.

So who's going to dream with me?

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Storymakers & Vegas Recap & More

Here is my long overdue post recapping all my fantastic happenings as of late. I have been BUSY, to say the least! Right on the tail-end of my recovery from surgery, I went to LDStorymakers (which my agent, Josh Adams, also attended this year); the next weekend I performed in Las Vegas at my writing buddy Jessie Humphrie's book debut party/awards ceremony/concert extravaganza; and the next week I went on vacation with my extended family to Capitol Reef. Whew! Now that I'm back, I'm digging into the last stages of research for my epic new fantasy trilogy, which I should be able to begin drafting any day now. I tend to disappear off the planet once I start a new project, so here's catching up with me--through pictures--to tide the webiverse over until I resurface again.

LDSTORYMAKERS 2014



Sara B. Larson and I had such a wonderful time with our agent, Josh Adams, this weekend. We took him on a mini-tour of Salt Lake City and got to have fun going out to eat a few times around the conference.


Here we are on our "Agent-Author Relationship" panel, which I also moderated--both firsts for me.


Me, Sara, and our friend and roomie for the weekend, Jacqui Scott. BTW, my lovely friend, Erin Summerill, was the conference photographer and snapped these first four pics. Isn't she talented?!


All my roomies, including my fabulous CP, Ilima Todd, on the far right.


My first CP, Robin Hall. We were friends for three years before we even started writing in pursuit of publication, and we attended our first writers' conference together years ago. How time flies!


Las Vegas Weekend

Here I am, singing and chatting about writing and music. Believe it or not, this was my first time publicly singing and playing guitar. Thanks for having me,  Jessie!


Hanging with my glamorous friends, Sara B. Larson and Courtney Alameda, who I road-tripped with down to Vegas. Here we are across the street from the Inspire Theater, where Jessie held her event. Gotta love the wind in our hair for the added drama. This may be the last picture you see of me wearing high heels. Ouch!


The one-of-a-kind, Jessie Humphries. She epically thought out of the box for her book debut for KILLING RUBY ROSE, and as a result, she had an amazing weekend and not only became an overnight bestseller, but also greatly benefited the schools of her Las Vegas community.


And we may have had a little too much fun at this particular gas station on the drive back to Utah. I blame Erin Summerill, who drove back with us. ;-) She brings out the crazy in me!




Other Fun Things

A little glimpse into my vacation at Capitol Reef. This is just a smidgen of my extended family. My parents had ten kids, and now we're at 36 people and counting. I <3 them all.



Last of all, I want to announce that my agency, Adams Literary, has a newly revamped website, which also sports a fancy author's page for yours truly. Check it out!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Vegas Performance & Conference Panel

Inspire Theater in Las Vegas
I have some very exciting upcoming events to announce! First of all, my fantastic agent, Josh Adams, is coming to Utah for LDStorymakers (April 24-26), a large annual writers' conference, and I've been asked to be on a panel with him and my agent sister and friend, Sara B. Larson. Our topic is the author-agent relationship. If you're coming to Storymakers, I hope to see you there! (Registration closes April 20th, so hurry!)

The next weekend I will be in Las Vegas for my friend Jessie Humphrie's mega two-day book launch/literacy awareness event. (Her book, Killing Ruby Rose, is debuting.) She's asked me to take part in the Saturday night (May 3rd) ceremony/concert, which will take place at the new Inspire Theater. I'll be one of a handful of musicians/authors who will be performing a couple songs and speaking a little about how music influences our writing. I'm absolutely thrilled to be involved in this event and have had my guitar attached to my hip for the last few weeks in preparation for my little moment in the limelight.

Many other exciting things are happening that weekend in Vegas in conjunction with Jessie's book launch, so be sure to stay up on reading her blog for all the latest details. And here's her blog post mentioning me and my upcoming performance. *cues giddy freakout*

Monday, April 7, 2014

My Writing Process

My critique partner and wonderful friend, Ilima Todd, tagged me for this bloghop, in which I answer a few questions about my writing process. I was supposed to have this post up 'n' ready a few days ago, but I experienced a nasty bout of unexpected cholingitis and appendicitis and had my gallbladder and appendix removed. So here I am with this post--better late than never!


What am I working on?
I'm in the plotting/researching phase of a new fantasy trilogy. It's all hush-hush right now. (I have to keep the magic going!)


How does my work differ from others of its genre?

I write YA fantasy that's usually epic in scope and very romantic. The plots are complex, and I'm drawn to tackling high concepts (not having a name, the inability to feel the sense of touch, falling in love with someone invisible, time-travel through dreams), and my style has a lyrical and literary bent while still being commercial.

Why do I write what I do?

An idea will take hold of me and won't let go. I'll wake up in the night with inspiration about it, songs will remind me of it--basically, it just consumes all my thoughts. Sometimes that initial spark of an idea is a character, sometimes it's a myth I want to play with, and sometimes it's a image that grips me.

So far my stories involve time periods in the past. I love history, mythology, and classical plays and novels, and I'm an actress who's done a lot of Shakespeare. So I naturally like to delve into writing novels involving the past, though I have some fun contemporary novel ideas I'd love to explore one day.

How does my writing process work?

For a few months, I let the idea percolate in my mind. Once I have a more tangible hold on it, I start researching. I read lots of non-fiction books, make a big binder with copies from library book pages (setting, customs, costumes, food, religion, etc.), and I watch films (mostly classics) that have elements in them that remind me of my story. Once I feel my brain will explode from research (a very frustrating feeling), I crack down and outline the book. This is usually a blend of the Blake Snyder Beat Sheet and some of James Scott Bells methods (I've done brainstorming scenes on notecards and then arranging them into a linear story, for example). I don't outline extensively, but I jot down a nutshell of what happens in the major scenes. Then I write! I'm not the fastest writer, but usually in about four months, I've completed my first draft (better than the first draft of my first novel, which took 1.5 years--ouch!). Then I revise, which goes quicker than the drafting for me. The slowest part is mincing words, since I tend to be an overwriter, but I've gotten really good at it. I cut 50,000 off my first novel. (Yeah.) Then I send my manuscript to beta readers and do more revising, and then send to my agent and do more revising if he sees fit. Finally, it's submissions time--and time for me to quickly get my mind onto something else!


If you write, tell me a little about your process. I've learned no way is the "wrong way." And for the bloghop, I'm tagging Emily R. King and Rosalyn Collings Eves. :-)

Monday, February 17, 2014

Dreamers

I don't have much time to play guitar these days, so I have this little tradition to keep the music alive in me: I write a song for every story I write. This one's for The Carousel Graveyard. The waltzy, carousel-like tune popped into my head in the middle of the night last August. I couldn't fall back asleep, so I got up and recorded a voice memo on my phone of me humming in a groggy voice. Then a few days ago, I found that memo and decided to put words and guitar to it and finish the song. I played it for my fifteen-year-old daughter yesterday, and with wrinkled brows she said, "Wait, this is a love song." (She hasn't read my story yet, but it does have "graveyard" in the title, lol.) "I know, this is just a happy moment," I replied. Next time I'll have to write a creepy song, but until then, let's all feel the sweet innocence of young love. :-)


DREAMERS

Holding your hand in the moonlight
Waves dance, stars bright
Waltzing in time inside your dreams
Hearts beat, it seems

I’m falling in love
Falling in love
With you
With you, with you, with you

Stepping through sand by the black sea
Night birds calling
Lips touching lips, breathing your name
Feeling the same

We’re falling in love
Falling in love
It’s true
True, true, true

And you say we’re spinning
‘Round the carousel
And I say we’re drifting
in the spell

Sea breezes swirling through your hair
Soft sighs, no cares
Wandering dreamers, we’re soul bound
Time lost, we’re found

We’re falling in love
Falling in love
It’s true
It's true, it's true, it's true
True, true, true
True, true, true

Monday, February 10, 2014

I Have Fan Art!

To say I'm artistic is a huge understatement. Ever since I was a little girl I've been drawing, singing, acting, writing--basically doing anything I can to create, create, create. So when I saw my first piece of fan art, I completely flipped out!

My critique partner, Ilima Todd, recently asked me if she could let her fourteen-year-old daughter read my latest manuscript. I said yes and a few days later, Ilima told me how much her daughter loved my story--that it's one of her top five favorite books (and she's a voracious reader). This made me all kinds of happy. I write YA stories, but I've never had someone in my target audience read anything of mine. So to see such a positive reaction was thrilling.

Then to make things even more wonderful, Ilima's daughter (Emma) sketched a drawing of the love interest in the story, Gabriel Stonebrook. She told her mom she'd been a little depressed ever since finishing my manuscript because no boy at her school will ever compare to Gabriel. :-) Happy sigh. Can I just tell you much I love Emma right now?

So without further gushing over Emma, here's how she sees Gabriel:


Look at his suspenders! His lopsided dimples! His sweet, but haunted expression! And my favorite, the hearts around his name. Oh, and I didn't see this until now--very faintly on top it says, "for Kathryn Purdie."

<3 <3 <3 <3 <3

Thanks, Emma, for making this author's day--week--year. And here's hoping you find your own Gabriel someday (and with any luck his mom isn't trapped in the purgatory of his dreams and he lives in your own time dimension). ;-)

Have any of you authors received fan art? Did you have a similar reaction? Or for you readers, have you ever loved a book so much you made your own fan art for it?

Monday, December 30, 2013

DEFY-An Interview with Sara B. Larson

Me 'n' Sara at a Writers' Conference
I'm absolutely delighted to have author Sara B. Larson here on my blog today. Sara is not only a very dear friend of mine, she's also the author of Defy, which debuts on January 7th, though I've learned it's already in the wild at Barnes & Nobles stores. Run!

Defy is a very special book to me. I beta read it over a year ago and fell madly in love with everything about it. Okay, that's a HUGE understatement. I told Sara back then that next to Shadow & Bone (I have to be honest), Defy is my favorite book--and I still stand by that. So I've felt like sort of a "Defy champion" throughout the journey of her querying it, obtaining a fantastic agent because of it, and ultimately selling it--all of which happened very quickly because this book is AMAZING!

Sara showed me an advanced reader copy a few weeks ago, and I was deeply touched to see she'd written a whole paragraph to me in her acknowledgements. WOW. Being in someone's acknowledgements at all is a first for me, so seeing that was totally surreal.

Anyway, Sara was sweet enough to let me interview her. (This even got approved by her publicist. I feel so cool.) I tried to ask Sara questions that would capture the magic of Defy and induce everyone out there that they MUST BUY THIS BOOK NOW! Then we can all swoon and gasp and huzzah (what a great word; I had to throw it in there) together! So here we go...

You’ve been writing for many years and have written many wonderful stories. What sets DEFY apart from the others? Why do you think it’s the book that finally sold?

Sara: I’m not 100% sure, to be honest. I’ve loved all of my books and felt confident in each one. But I did feel like something was special with DEFY. I felt like I’d taken all the feedback I’d received on my other books and tried to apply it to this one as I wrote it. I tried to make sure to keep the pace up, to keep the reader guessing, to amp up the stakes and to be true to my characters. This book came from a place of deep emotion, and hopefully that shined through. Maybe that’s what made the difference. When I wrote the ending, the emotions I felt were nearly overwhelming. Not only from the actual ending (which brought me to tears and had my heart racing with adrenaline), but I also had a very clear impression that this book was different. That was a very powerful moment that I’ll never forget.

Then when I got feedback on it, I started to let myself hope. I had some truly amazing responses to this book (including a certain someone’s who may or may not currently be interviewing me…), and that’s what helped give me the courage to query DEFY (because I was pretty nervous to do it). And I’m SO incredibly grateful I did.

Can you describe your writing process, especially with DEFY?

I usually get an idea and start writing it without an outline or anything, although I usually do know the ending. I will write between 10-20k words with a separate document where I write any notes, thoughts, or ideas that come to me for the rest of the book or series as I go. Once I hit that point, I usually write an “outline” of sorts, using my notes and ideas. Basically, it’s more like an informal synopsis, where I just get the main plot out and make sure it’s going to work.

With DEFY, I didn’t know how it was going to end, because when I started, I didn’t know it was going to be a book. I wrote about 8k words, hit a wall, and put it aside to finish a different book. But the characters wouldn’t leave me alone, so I went back to it eventually. After I figured out that a character was keeping a BIG secret from me, the plot clicked into place and the rest of the book flew out in about two weeks!

The road to publication is often long and difficult. What helped you get through that?

The number one reason I made it through it was my husband. His support and belief in me was unwavering, no matter how low I got, no matter how many rejections I racked up. Having someone like that in your corner was invaluable and truly got me through the worst of it. I also have some amazing family and friends who have been there for me, cheering me on, always believing I’d make it and doing what they could to help—be it critiques, long phone calls, emails, or any number of things. And finally, my own stubbornness. My unwillingness to quit. Once I set goals for myself, I just can’t let myself fail. No matter how much I doubt myself, ultimately, I believed in my dreams and I didn’t give up.

Describe your main character, Alexa, with ten adjectives.

Alexa’s pretty complex, so I’ll do my best to convey that in ten words or less:
Determined, strong-willed, vulnerable, kind, loyal, indomitable, protective, dedicated, and fierce.

Describe Prince Damian (swoon!) with ten adjectives.

Damian is probably even more complex than Alexa, ha! But some of their traits do overlap. Let’s see…I may have to cheat just a tad with this one:
Seemingly arrogant, spoiled, and petty, but he’s also very secretive, surprisingly empathetic and guarded.
That’s all I dare say. There’s much more to Damian than immediately meets the eye….

What do you have in common with these two characters, and what about you is very different from them?

Well, I’m definitely very stubborn and determined, which are traits both Damian and Alexa possess. But Alexa and Damian are both much more guarded about themselves (and their secrets) than I am. I tend to be pretty open about my emotions…usually. And there’s the obvious fact that Alexa could totally kick my butt without even breaking a sweat.

Without spoiling anything, what hints can you drop about your favorite scene/moment in DEFY?

Wow, that’s a tough one. So many moments in DEFY were very emotional for me, and have deep meaning, for different reasons. I’m not sure I can pick just one. My top favorites would be too spoilery, but I can think of one scene that was WAAAAY too much fun to write…it involves a tent and Alexa literally being stuck between two hot guys. The awkwardness and tension that arises from the situation was pretty dang fun to explore.

Thanks for having me here today! You were an integral part of my journey with DEFY, and I’ll forever be grateful to you for that!

********************

Wasn't that great?! I need to do interviews more often. Fun, fun, fun. Want to learn more about Defy? Read on!

Gorgeous cover, right?
A lush and gorgeously written debut, packed with action, intrigue, and heart-racing romance.

Alexa Hollen is a fighter. Forced to disguise herself as a boy and serve in the king's army, Alex uses her quick wit and fierce sword-fighting skills to earn a spot on the elite prince's guard. But when a powerful sorcerer sneaks into the palace in the dead of night, even Alex, who is virtually unbeatable, can't prevent him from abducting her, her fellow guard and friend Rylan, and Prince Damian, taking them through the treacherous wilds of the jungle and deep into enemy territory.

The longer Alex is held captive with both Rylan and the prince, the more she realizes that she is not the only one who has been keeping dangerous secrets. And suddenly, after her own secret is revealed, Alex finds herself confronted with two men vying for her heart: the safe and steady Rylan, who has always cared for her, and the dark, intriguing Damian. With hidden foes lurking around every corner, is Alex strong enough to save herself and the kingdom she's sworn to protect?