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Monday, April 30, 2007

No Blog for you!

Today I, put up 20 posters for my opening night part, sent out 250 postcards, and mailed off 8 books. I wrote two chapters, ran two miles and I smell like a zoo because I didn't have time to shower before running kids to a community play practice that will completely overwhelm the rest of my week. I still need to finish the laundry (we're out of underwear) get started on the new goat pen, and clean the my husband's weight room that has housed my two new chicks for a month and smells almost as bad as I do.

So, even though I had a great blog planned around having finally finished 100 pages on my current book, but I'm not doing it. Instead, you can read my synopsis blog at www.writingonthewallblog.blogspot.com

I'll see you in a few days. Pray for me....

Thursday, April 26, 2007

First Review of Sheep's_Clothing

So, when you write a book you get a certain number of free copies (this will be stated in your contract). Well, they might not be free, really, their payed for with your blood-sweat-tears-and many a hot dog dinner during the writing process. But they feel free cause you don't have to charge em to your visa. These books are called Author Copies.
Anyhoo, so I got my Author Copies on Monday. Score! And immediately I signed copies earned by those that also put their blood-sweat-tears and hot dog dinners into helping me out. My first copy is signed to my hubby who by far sacrifices the very most for everything I write, then I signed copies to Julie Wright, Bob & Shirley Bahlmann, Heather Moore & Tristi Pinkston--awesome freinds that edited for me and weren't afraid to tell me when parts of the story sucked. BJ Rowley did my final line edit and Crystal Liechty helped me pry off that rock I'd been living under and set up a page on Myspace. Then my Mama and my Mama-in-law get free copies because of that whole child birth thing they did awhile back.

I've now given away half my author copies (with six more slated for people helping with my Opening Night, more on that later), and on Monday my 13 year old daughter saw the books and asked if she could read one. For the next two days that's exactly what she did, finishing last night around 10:30 (I let her stay up cause I'm such a nice mom). I asked her to write me a review before she took off to school this morning--the first review of the actual bound book. And here's what she had to say:

I really like this book because the characters were easy to related to and I was able to understand their feelings really well. The book kept me thinking of the possibilities of the next page every second and I could hardly put it down.

So, there you have it. Out of the mouths of babes...

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Toastmaster

Yesterday I participated in a career fair for my daughters school. Because kids that age (12/13) are so visual I organized my notes into a power point. One of the the items I listed on "If you want to be a writer, you should..." was public speaking. I pointed it out because a) it's true and b) I had no idea it was true until a few books into my career.

As I've said many times, I approached writing with the assumption that within a few years I would have a cabin to write at. I'd disappear for days at a time and just write while gazing over meadows. My family wouldn't mind because I was a WRITER, my neighbors would think it was cool, not weird, and when people made comments I would say something incredibly profound that would change their tune in a heartbeat! As I've also said, this did not come to pass.

Instead I found out that there was a WHOLE lot more to this writing. There is also promotion, understanding contracts, negotiating contracts, knowing the market, knowing your audience, tax issues, etc. And, there is public speaking, something I have dreaded most of my life. I would not try out for concert choir in high-school because I'd have to sing a solo for the audition, I did not do debate or drama because the idea of talking in front of people terrified me. When I had to oral reports I stumbled over my words, turned red, and spent the next eighteen days beating myself with what I should have done better. When I spoke in church I was literally shaking--truly, the bishop bric would comment on my legs shaking like jelly--and my chest, neck and face would burn and be red to the extent that I could see my family trying not to laugh. It was awful and I was not good at it. I learned to wear long skirts so the shaking wasn't as noticeable and always wear a turtleneck--even in July. When I was asked to do my first few presentations as a writer I cried all the way home, embarrassed at my lack of skill.

However, things have changed and I've improved. I don't know that I consider myself a great public speaker, but I'm pleased with most of my presentations these days. As I've improved, my confidence has grown and it's become an essential part of my career. I do presentations to writing, church, school and book groups. I talk to fast, but I've learned to keep my voice low (people prefer a lower pitch to listen too), to make eye contact and to try and be funny. Some of this I learned simply by listening to other speakers and being determined to do better, but about a year ago I made a very good decision that helped me immensely.

Toastmasters. If, like me, you don't' know what toastmasters is, let me explain. It's an international group dedicated to helping it's members improve in confidence and specifically in public speeches. There are clubs everywhere, and I do mean everywhere--there are 12 within 20 miles of my home. I was only a member for six months, which isn't very long, and I hope one day to go back. However, even though my membership was short, what I learned was endless. I have no doubt that I'm a better presenter than I was before I started. I see speeches differently, I hold myself different, I prepare my presentations different and I don't shake or turn red like I used to because I'm more confident of myself than I ever was before. I'm much more aware of my audience and how to read them. Not only does Toastmasters allow you to prepare and presents speeches, they also train you to talk off the top of your head, how to use different elements of public speaking such as gestures, humor, timing, writing notes, stance, and other professional details. It was truly a fount of knowledge that I will always be grateful for. It's also a wonderful networking opportunity, as you will be surrounding yourself with people of similar goal and desire.

I know we're all busy, I know that one more thing is more like ONE MORE FREAKING THING, YOU'VE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME! but consider this an important aspect of your career. Even if you only give it six months, it will be worth the investment. Look up your local club and attend a meeting--you can do that without signing up, and see what Toastmasters might be able to offer you.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Pager or Wordy?

Most writers track either word count or pages as they. They often say “I’ll write three pages a day”—these people I call pagers. Or a wordy will say— “I’ll hit two thousand words this week”.

I have always been a pager, the reason being that a 12 point New Times Roman font double spaced 300 page manuscript will be within about a dozen pages of a 300 page novel. Since I write 300 page novels, I know exactly how long to make my manuscript. Now, it’s not an exact science. If your publisher chooses a smaller type for the book, or if you have blank pages in between chapters, obviously, that’s going to be different. But typically it’s a pretty good gauge of things. However, this pager has hit a snag and been thrown into the dismal abyss of having to…gulp…change!.

I got a Mac laptop a few months ago and I love it, but despite my specific instructions to the salesman that I did not want a machine with quirks, he sold it to me anyway. The quirk that is currently making my eye twitch is that it’s stopped recording pages when I’m in “Normal” view. I can go to “Page Layout” or “Print layout” and it shows me how many pages I have, but I prefer to type in “normal” view and I’m stuck at 55 pages despite the 3,000 words I wrote last week.

So I am forced against my will to be a wordy and ya know what…it’s kinda cool. Now 50 pages is a nice round number, but likely 10 of those pages aren’t full pages because I ended a chapter, hence it’s kinda cheating. With word count it is what it is and if my goal is, say 80,000 words then I know exactly how close I am to that goal. So yesterday I determined I was going to get to 20,000 words and as I’m typing I’m watching the word count grow. I liked that…and yet I still miss my pages. It might take some time to get used to all this.

So, I’m curious—what do other writers do? Are you a Wordy or a Pager?

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Welcome to the Island!

Before panic ensues let me assure you that this island is NOTHING like The Beach, The Cay, Lord of the Flies, or Lost. In fact there is nary a polar bear or eel in sight.

In fact, it' s not much of an island at all, rather it's actually called a planet, or in geek terms, it's a Feed Aggregator--not an alligator, silly--AGGREGATOR. What that means is it's a one stop shop for a specific collection of blogs. And who is on this island? Well, I'm glad you asked.

Annette Lyon--this was her brain child and her hubby's honey-do. Three cheers for Rob Lyon! She's a great writer, a fab editor and if she doesn't share her chocolate we'll lock her in the hatch and make her push the buttons until she starts seeing horses. Everyone knows the horses didn't get here until the Spaniards brought them.

Tristi Pinkston--What's an island or planet or feed aggregator without a Haloed Harley Hoochimama? Not, to mention she can build bombs out of coconuts thanks to all the research she's done for her wartime fiction novels.

Lu Ann Brobst Staheli--Editor extraordinaire--Teacher extraordinaire--Writer extraordinaire--looks great in stilettos and makes great sushi. "The kitty like the fishy!"

Heather Moore--She's kind of like the Brother of Jared of our party except that her name is easier to say. She wrote a novel based on 16 versus of the BOM, I mean, who in their right mind wouldn't take her along?

Julie Wright--Quite frankly I wouldn't dare be on an island without my Julie. She'll keep us all from killing ourselves by the sheer joy she finds in everything. "Hey everybody, I made us matching Mouseketeer hats out of clam shells--I love this place! Let's sell some on eBay."

Janette Rallison--She always knows the right shoes to where and whether than shirt goes with those earrings and she's nationally published. We're not worthy! we're not worthy! We'd be lost without her (she brought the GPS).

Me--I'm there because...I...uh...yeah. Let's just say that I live by the theory that you are who you hang out with. And I'm hangin!

Precision Editing Group--several of us are also editors for PEG, who recently launched their own daily blog on editing tips.

Okay, so I've explained it and you're still confused. Think of it this way--Instead of checking out 8 individual blogs, you look up one, see what's been added and choose accordingly. There are no comment trails, but you can click on the link and be routed back to the original blog.

So check it out yourself www.writersinheels.com

If you have any questions, let me know. I've got my "Planets for Dummies" ready to go!

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Politics, Priestcraft & Purple Pansies

As a general rule I don't discuss politics except with my husband and a few select people that don't make me pine for the squishy cucumber at the bottom of my crisper. Over the last day or two there has been a flurry of discussion in regards to what to me sounds like politics of LDS film. One guy telling another guy he's horrible, the other guy saying the first guy wasn't just horrible but his mama was horrible too. If you want to read up on the current LDS film debate, Jeff Savage did a great job of pointing it out on the frog blog. Read up and get your fill.

In 2 Nephi 26:29 it reads:
"...for, behold, priestcrafts are that men preach and set themselves up for a light unto the world, that they may get gain and praise of the world: but they seek not the welfare of zion."

I mean this as no insult to anyone. I am also not passing any judgement, only pointing out that anyone who creates Art based on matters of religion needs to tread carefully. I think there is a real threat to us when our creativity--career--and testimony all end up on the same plate. It's very difficult for one thing to not influence the other, hard for us not to think "I'm using the gifts God gave me, and anyone that doesn't see that is a sinner".

I'm not immune to this. I write what I consider an edgier type of LDS fiction than many writers in this market. I confront matters of LDS culture that I personally find squishy-cucumber and it's too much for some people. I know, because they e-mail me and tell me so :-). When I get these e-mails I immediately wonder what is wrong with THEM. Why don't they appreciate ME? What kind of mote is in there eye that they don't recognize truth when they see it? On the same vein I get frustrated when I can't find the time I need to write such brilliance. Shouldn't my children be less demanding? Isn't hot dogs four nights in a row okay since I need to change the world with my next book? Go make yourself a freaking kay-sa-dila! (spelled wrong on purpose. Gosh!) Thoughts like this have created a tug of war within myself over why I do this and what I expect to come of it.

Do I want to be rich and famous? I can't answer that with a no and be considered truly honest, and yet I'm embarrassed to admit it because I know where my treasure ought to be. Do I want to change people's lives? I can't answer that with a yes and not feel pompous. And without those two things, why else do I do this? Truly I'm not sure. I love to write and feel my Father in Heaven gave me gifts that I've developed into talents that allow me to do so--so why aren't my novels just lined up on my own bookshelves bound in a trapper keeper? If all I wanted to do was write, why bother with publishing which then puts me in the wanting-to-be-rich-and-famous-and-change-people's-lives club.

Again, I have no difinative (I know I'm spelling this wrong but spell check won't help me and wants me to say innovative) answer. But I read Chris Heimerdinger's article today and there was a line that stood out to me. In his article he said "...if LDS filmmakers are going to succeed, they cannot forget that their first priority is entertainment. First and foremost, a movie must thrill, surprise, enchant and keep people on the edge of their seats."

THIS resonated with me and brought me back into a more comfortable chair. Yes, I want my books to be a good influence, and yes I'd like to pay for my kids braces with royalties instead of shoe money, but the very first job of an LDS writer, filmmaker, playwright is to entertain--in my opinion. If an LDS artist pursues their own gift and leaves out the entertainment quality of their work, then they are just preaching. And preaching for temporal gain is defined as priestcraft. Don't do it! As you write, as you delve into issues of religion and culture put a sign above your computer that says "I am an entertainer". Not only do I believe this will keep us on the right track, it will also hopefully keep us from getting our testimony tangled up with our financial goals. I started reading LDS fiction because I wanted characters I could better relate to, and being part of that for other readers is a good thing, right? I hope so because it's about the purest motive I can find within myself.

I wish Dutcher the best, I will miss his films. I hope he finds the happiness and peace we all deserve in this life. Though I don't know him personally, I have followed his career with interest and people that do know him personally speak very highly of him and his family.

I wish Merrill the best as well. I have boiled up my own vents and then in hindsight wished for a strong roll of duct tape. He has taken a great deal of flack for his films from Dutcher and others, movies I also enjoyed very much. I wish him the best as he picks his way through the aftermath of this. I don't know him personally either, but have heard only good things about him from people that do. We watched The Testaments on Easter Sunday and it will be a tradition from here on out.

And I am stoked for Passageway to Zarahemla to come out. I love Heimerdinger's books and I'm excited to see the movie come to fruition. He made another comment I liked: "
I've been a storyteller my whole career, but I would be the first to confess that what I do is totally expendable. The LDS Church would progress just fine without LDS films or novels. No movie experience should ever compare with that of taking the sacrament. And no story will ever be more influential in changing someone's life than the efforts of a good-hearted bishop, a loving parent, a caring seminary teacher or a dedicated Scoutmaster."

So, for all us storytellers out there. Tell a story first. Chances are your own testimony will come through, but tell the story first. If we take this challenge, we will tell better stories, our readers will be entertained, and therefore they will come back of their own accord--not because they feel shamed into it, or feel the need to support US--and we will not have invested more than we can afford to lose in the outcome of our efforts (i.e. testimony). Honestly, what a relief it is to know it's not my job to convert anyone. That the weight of this gospel is not on the shoulders of my paperback novel. I leave that to you seminary teachers and scoutmasters :-)

As for purple pansies--my goats are currently free ranging because I haven't fixed the coop door and they have eaten all my flowers EXCEPT purple pansies. I have no idea why, but the idea intrigues me. What's wrong with purple pansies? They eat roses and lilies, and columbines, and tulips, even yellow and white and orange pansies but not purple pansies. Wierd huh? Weirder still, why didn't I fix the coop in time to save my spring flowers? I leave it all up to you to relate this to politics and Preist Craft. Good Luck (I couldn't do it)

Sunday, April 15, 2007

My history...

I was just tagged by Tristi Pinkston with this history game, very fun! After I'm done, I'll tag five more bloggers and may I say how glad I am to have been tagged so quickly—it means I still have people to choose from--bummer for the rest of you :-) Here we go:

1. Go to Wikipedia and type in your birth date only -without the year.

May 26


2. List 3 events that occurred that day:

1830 - The Indian Removal Act is passed by the U.S. Congress; it is signed into law by President Andrew Jackson two days later—Sad day with disasterous results, IMO

1992 - Charles Geschke, co-founder of Adobe Systems, Inc. was kidnapped at gunpoint from the Adobe parking lot in Mountain View, California for $650,000 and is held hostage in a rented house in Hollister, California. The FBI rescues him four days later. Would that not make a great book?

2004 - The New York Times publishes an admission of journalistic failings, claiming that its flawed reporting and lack of skeptism towards sources during the buildup to the 2003 war in Iraq helped promote the belief that Iraq possessed large stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction. I remember this one.


3. List 2 important birthdays:

1907 - John Wayne, American actor (d. 1979)—I don’t think my mother knows this or I would be her favorite child!

1948 - Stevie Nicks, American songwriter—I love Fleetwood Mac so this one I’ve known for many years.


4. List 1 death:

My pet parakeet Zepplin when I was in the 7th grade. I’m a little offended Wikipedia didn’t have this reference.

And, no one I’ve ever heard of died on this day except for 1948 - Theodore Morell, Hitler's personal physician (b. 1886)

5. List a holiday or observance:

National Sorry Day in Australia, so whatever I did, I’m sorry mate.

Now I get to tag five other bloggers-Bwahahahahaha

Julie Wright

Katie Parker

Marsha

LDSpublisher (she can use the day she started her publishing house ☺

Rob Wells

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Quirky, Quirk, Quirk

Everyone talks about writers being eccentric and quirky, right? Well, I'm a writer and I'm not quirky. I'm a very very very very very very very normal individual.

So, knowing how normal I am, I don't know where those funky writers-are-weird rumors come from, hence I've developed the theory that it's just what un-creative people say. Kind of like those girls in high-school mom said only talked badly about people to make themselves feel better. However, I have to admit that I do know of some writers that are down right weird, but in the spirit of 'saying something nice' we'll use the word quirky. For example:

Julie Wright checks her word count every few paragraphs and hits save after EVERY sentence. She says she's a paranoid obsessive compulsive--do we want to raise an argument to that? She's also worn only one color of lipstick for the last ten years. AND, she's blown up a computer. She has a weird electrical thing going on and has a bit of a current running through her. She's always shocking people--not by what she says, but the shock you used to give when you'd shuffled your feed on the carpet. If she wears her hair down, it starts floating like when you put your hand on that electro-ball thing in science class. I kid you not.

Steven King "I have a glass of water or I have a cup of tea. I have my vitamin pill, I have my music; I have my same seat; and the papers are all arranged in the same places." And yes, he's the guy that wrote The Shining. "All work and no play makes Jack (ur, Steven) a dull boy."

Heather Moore (H.B. Moore from my pen name blog) will turn off the lights if she has a chunk of time to write, she's also been known to close her eyes and type. She didn't give me a reason for this but I wonder if it's like those times as a child when you would cover your eyes and think no one could see you. If only it were that easy...

Hans Christian Andersen put a sign next to his bed that read “I am not really dead.” And I have to wonder, was it the ugly duckling or Little Mermaid that knocked his rocker over?

Jeff Savage...oh where to start. For firsts, he LIKES Disneyland, secondly, he met his wife with a bag over his head. That explains a lot. And he didn't get back to me with his quirks so I think whatever his quirks are have to do with tomato soup and Peter, Paul, and Mary. He's welcome to correct me in the comments trail.

Annette Lyon, who has all kinds of education and credentials freezes when someone is looking over her shoulder. Doesn't matter who, she can't physically write if someone is reading as she goes. She also names rocks.

Charles Dickens walked twenty to thirty miles a day. He also placed objects on his desk in exactly the same position, always set his bed in north/south directions, and touched certain objects three times for luck--quite frankly, having read a little Dickens, this does not surprise me.

Rachel Nunes Always signs books in black or gold ink, never never never blue because she doesn't like the way it looks in books. She also has a nervous reaction to
people that misuse lay/lie and she will correct you (I know this because I don't know the difference between lying on a test and laying under a bus:-) And whenver she's on TV, she wears red.

Stephanie Black is also a closet book whisperer. She whispers while she writes and her face begins to contort into her 'writer's face'. I wonder if this is like when the dog bares his teeth in order to get you to BACK OFF. I might need to look into this one.

Carole Thayne always wears socks when she writes. Warm feet, warm fingers perhaps.

And me? I told you, I don't have any. I'm a very very very very very very very normal person. Good thing too, someone's got to throw off the curve.

Are you a quirker? Or is it time to make good on the blackmail material you have on someone else? I'm all ears (or eyes since it's a blog and all)

(Portions of this blog gleaned from Judy Reeves)


Monday, April 09, 2007

Pen Names

Back in the day when I felt sure being a published author meant scads of people calling my house at all hours of the night and the need for ten foot wrought iron fencing to protect my children's privacy, I decided that I needed a pen name.

It had to be something mysterious and easy to pronounce. I wanted it to sound smart and yet sassy, yet just like naming my children I wanted it to have meaning. Deep, sacred meaning. So, I thought and thought and decided that I wanted the name June Snow. This is actually my grandmother's name, it's one I was familiar with and since this woman died when my mother was still a teenager, it was very mysterious to me. I told my husband. "You don't want to use my name?" he said. I tried to console him by explaining how miserable the paparazzi would make our lives if I dared use my real name. He finally patted my shoulder and said he was okay. Then I told my father, "You won't use your husband's name but you won't even use my name?" I tried to explain my reasons to him as well but later that day I found him and my husband snickering. I asked what was so funny and they acted like they didn't know what I was talking about. Weird.

Fast forward a few months to when my book HAD been accepted and I told my publisher that I wanted a pen name. He said "Uh, why?" so I explained my romantic notions and he said. "Uh, not necessary. We want to sell books and the fact is that your real name will sell books when people recognize you as the lady they used to Visit Teach". Well, I hadn't thought about that and I didn't argue, but I did look into how to make my phone number an unlisted one should we get hounded.

Fast forward another seven years and I have no telephone call problems and no need for fencing. Now and then I get a "Hey, are you Josi Kilpack the author?" but that's usually in the small town I live in from people who saw the posters I put up myself. So why do some authors have pen names?

Janette Rallison writes YA for the national market. When she decided to write for the LDS market she didn't want to confuse her already established fans by having them run into religious stories. So she came up with a pen name to keep her books separate. It's not a secret--which is what I thought the whole point of a pen name was. She's very open about it and at the recent LDStorymaker conference she taught one class as Janette Rallison and one as Sierra St. James.

Dr. Suess was a pen name for Theodore Suess Giesel simply because Dr. Suess is much more fun and easier to say.

Mark Twain was really Samuel Longhorn Clemens--I don't know why, he just was.

Ninteenth century English Novelist George Eliot was really Mary Ann Evans--how many men would have read a woman's book back then?

My good friend writes under the name Carole Thayne, which is her maiden name. Her married name, Carole Warburton, was already taken by another LDS writer so she had to get creative.

Heather Moore writes the "Out of Jerusalem" series but her publisher suggested the pen name H.B. Moore, thinking it would broaden her audience and keep men from assuming her books were romances. And apparently it's worked since most people assume she's a man (including me until I was introduced to her). She is in fact very very female but people seem to stereotype women as not being scholarly enough for scriptural novels. Joke's on them.

Nora Roberts is known for her romance novels. When she decided to write futuristic suspense, she took on the pen name of J.D. Robb. Again, it's not a secret. But women that love Nora Roberts romances, won't pick up a futuristic suspense by mistake and feel let down. Similarly, forty two year old Blake Cartney hates romance novels and it's a cold day in Disneyland when he's gunna pick up a book by that blasted Nora Roberts. Now J.D. Robb, boy can he hanker on a good scheme.

And I bet you didn't know that Japanese novelist Natsume Soseki is really Natsume Kinnosuke--sly, very very sly.

So will I ever use a pen name? I might need one already. At a recent book signing a woman asked me what my books were about. I said "Well this one is a suspense, this one is more of a romance, and these ones are more family drama" and it gets me thinking, should I have different names for different books? Will Sue pick up a romance thinking it's a suspense and be disappointed? Will Lou-Lou be hungry for a romance and end up with a mystery? I don't know, and I guess it's too late anyway. In this market a 'brand name' is important. You want people to buy your book because they recognize your name, and I can only hope that they end up liking all the genres I write as much as I like writing them.

So, if you were going to have a pen name what would it be and why? I already told you mine, though lately I've thought Jezabell Pierce would have more of a kick.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Oops, I did it again...

So, my WIP is in time-out for bad behavior and with nothing better to do (other than the continual dishes, yardwork, personal hygene--yada, yada, yada) I'm pondering Themes. Not the "This book is about the pursuit of happiness despite decades of self-hatred" kind of themes, but the author kind of themes.

Like how Mary Higgins Clark always has pasta, wine, and cheese in her books, and how John Grisham's characters are always cynical men who if not single, wish they were. You know what I mean.

Since I'm an egotistical writer, that thought came back to my own themes. What do I tend to repeat within my books. I have seven novels, one will be out in 26 days, though who's counting, and one other is Star Struck which broke all of my molds and didn't sell, which makes me want to leave it out. So I'm leaving it out, because it's my book and my blog and I can do that kind of thing if I want to, and hence I'm only counting my six women's novel in this highly intellectual discussion.

I have a hospital visit in every book--except maybe Sheep's_Clothing, but it's implied and summarized later.

All of my women have long hair. Weird huh? I mean, I am partial to long hair on myself, but that's mostly because I have a neck like a giraffe (truly, I have one more vertebrae than most women between their skull and their collarbone--which also explains why I'm short waisted and have to have tapered shirts to prove I still have a waist)

All of my women and men are Caucasian. That's pretty typical for LDS fiction though, but it shouldn't be.

Most of my women are divorced. Now, my last two aren't--but Maddie in Unsung Lullaby thought about divorce and Kate, my Sheep's_Clothing woman, would never consider it--but they aren't romances either. So I have to wonder, do I believe that romance can't happen for single people, or do I find it cliche? OR, do I find divorce Romantic?

Strangely, only one of my male leads has ever been divorced (Allen in Earning Eternity)

All of my books take place at least in part in Salt Lake--big shocker there, another LDS fiction trend I've been sucked into through no fault of my own! Yes, I'm from Salt Lake.

All my male leads are educated white collar--I've had a psychiatrist, a teacher, an accountant, a developer, an investment banker--oh wait, Tally from Tempest Tossed isn't necessarily white collar, but he's independently wealthy.

All my women are average. Not too tall, not too short, not too heavy, not too thin--though Emma in To Have or To Hold is pretty thin. but still are all in the 'normal' range of things. I like that though and don't think I'll change it. Now Janet was a little super modelish in Tempest Tossed, but that was okay cause she was a pain and no one really liked her (Well, I did)

What I don't want to have happen to me, as I've seen happen to too many writers, is they get a certain amount of books come out and all their characters start sounding the same, or the storylines are copy-cats. I hate that. So, in order to combat it I need to write about a short haired, non-average-sized woman of ethnicity who hasn't been married, has no ties to Utah, never went to college, but that Mormon women can relate to. Hey, she sounds more like the average Mormon than any of the women I've written about before! I might be on to something.

If you've noticed any other themes in my books let me know, or if I need to look for some in your books, tell me that too so I don't feel so bad :-)