Sep 23, 2011

Indian Graveyard

The brisk autumn air was sweet with the smells of apples and yellowed leaves. I remember Dad back in the garden, turning the fallen leaves into the soil with his shovel, sweat dripping from the tip of his nose. Leaving him to his work, I wandered into the front yard and plopped down onto the cool porch, hoping for some (unlikely) turn of events. I lived in a quiet neighborhood that only seemed to come alive when the stars peeped out, drawing out anxious children for a game of kick the can or hide and seek. I still had many hours ahead of me. It was a quiet afternoon, few cars humming their way up our street, so I eagerly turned when I heard a commotion coming from the back yard.

Dad’s heavy work boots clunked noisily as he jogged around the house.
“Come back here and see what I found in the garden!” he shouted. His voice was strangely tight.

I carelessly got up and made my way to the back. Dad had found many things buried in our yard over the years, but that was to be expected from the mischievous boys who had lived there before us. There was nothing thrilling about old army men with missing arms, rusted matchbox cars, or spoons that were bent but still useable. Golden BBs that peppered our yard and trees were nothing to get excited about, so I wondered what he could have possibly found that interested me. Money, maybe? That would be nice. No, more than nice. I made a mental shopping list of what I might buy as I followed him towards the garden.

Excitement began to build when I noticed that Mom was also out back, looking into the pit that Dad had dug. I walked through the mushy soil towards her. I was actually shocked at how deep the hole had become. I didn’t think we had that many leaves to bury. He pointed with his shovel, and my eyes followed.

“What is it?” I asked, squinting at a cream colored object.

Dad didn’t answer. He got onto his knees and leaned over, gingerly brushing the dirt away with his thick work gloves. Mom and I hovered closely, intently eyeing his work.

“I think I got it,” he finally said after minutes of silence, wiping his forehead with his sleeve.

He reached both hands into the hole and grasped the object. His body suddenly began shaking uncontrollably, as if being electrocuted. A scream of terror that chilled my blood came from him, the man who never showed fear or pain.

“Let go of it, Dad!” I screamed. I grabbed for his shirt, but Mom held me back.
With an awful moan, Dad stood up, arms trembling violently. His eyes were freakishly wide as he shoved a browned skull into my face.

I didn’t know whether to be more scared of the skull or of my father who had suddenly become psychotic. “We need to call the police!” I shouted, backing up onto the safety of the grass.

“No. We don’t need the police.” Dad said, his lips strangely turned as he grasped the human remains. What had happened to him?

“Yes we do!” I said, voice rising in panic.

“No, Kimberly,” Mom calmly said, standing next to Dad. “This isn’t something to call the police about.”

Were my parents crazy? Was some evil force from the skull holding them in its power? I felt like I was on a horror movie, a young child who saw things that their parents refused to believe.

“What if someone was murdered?” I challenged. Mrs. Burton, the previous owner, said that she had divorced her husband years earlier. What if they really weren’t divorced, but she settled things her own way?

“No, nobody would bury someone like this,” Dad said, eyeing the hole. Whatever had overcome him seemed to have disappeared.

“Like what?” I asked, shuddering. An unusual grave didn’t settle well with me.
“Whoever buried this didn’t dig a grave six feet deep. They dug a deep hole and slid the body down into it.”

Chills exploded down my arms. What an awful way to bury someone. No, not awful…creepy. Really, really creepy. Why weren’t my parents the least bit concerned? I felt angry, scared and alone. Hopelessness turned to terror as my father continued.

“Actually, it’s possible that this could be an old Indian graveyard, and the bodies are starting to rise to the surface. I’ve noticed that the garden is getting softer.”

I protested immediately. “No it’s not!” He was just trying to scare me now. “It’s soft because of all the leaves you’ve been burying! Besides, it’s probably not even human. Maybe it’s…” I bravely looked closer.

“No, it’s human,” Mom said. “Look at the teeth.” I shuddered as I thought of a person being buried in our yard.

“We really need to call the police!” I pushed again.

“Well, let’s at least look to see if there are more bones,” Dad said, getting his shovel ready. “If I find more, then we can call the police.”

It wasn’t much, but it was something. I felt a little better.

The relief I felt lasted only momentarily. I gingerly stepped back onto the garden, and noticed how much my feet were sinking. I swore it wasn’t that bad earlier this month. Maybe Dad was right. I walked towards the barren apricot tree, confident that Dad had never touched the soil there. My heart sank as my feet did, and I jumped back onto the grass. Horrible images flooded my mind of skeletons just inches beneath my feet, slowly rising toward the surface. I knew that it wouldn’t take long before bony fingers began poking their way out of the soil, snagging my pants and dragging me under. Scenes from “Poltergeist” tugged at my mind, reminding me of the decaying skeletons that floated in a backyard swimming pool.

“I’m waiting inside,” I said, holding back tears. I ran inside to my bedroom, shutting the door safely behind me. I peeked out of the window as Mom and Dad hovered over the hole. The afternoon sun had shifted, causing the shadows in our trees to creep over the garden. Mom left, and I waited for her to come into my room to comfort me. Instead, I heard her shoes clapping across the kitchen floor. A drawer opened, then shut, and after a moment, I watched as she returned with a flashlight. Had they found something else?

I slammed my head onto my pillow and sobbed with all the power my body possessed. If the bodies were to rise, I would see them out my window. What if hauntings were real?
I saw the rotting bodies climb out of their holes, and look up at my bedroom. I would be the first victim. They were going to come after me, and my parents didn’t even care!

Images of enormous construction vehicles filled my mind next, bright orange lights flooding my room at night as beeping machines dug into the earth. I saw piles of skeletons thrown aside, more and more uncovered as the men tore apart our yard. We were going to be thrown out of our home which was illegally built over a cemetery, and then where would we stay?

I couldn’t stop the hysterics that overcame me. My life was ruined!

I swallowed back my pathetic groans and sobs when I heard a light tapping at my door.

“Come in,” I said, wiping away my tears. I turned towards the wall so my face wouldn’t be seen.

Mom entered cautiously, making her way to my bed. She gingerly sat down.
“We didn’t think this was going to affect you so badly,” she began, soothingly brushing my hair with her fingers.

“Of course it’s going to affect me!” I shouted. “It’s out my back window! I’m going to see everything!”

Mom sighed deeply, and drew her hand away. I turned around to face her.
“Dad didn’t really find a skull in the garden.”

Great. She really was going nuts!

“He thought he’d play a trick on you. I actually bought that skull last month from ShopKo, and Dad stained it to make it look old. He thought it would be a fun joke to bury it in the backyard. We’re really sorry, Honey.”

“He thought it would be funny?” I yelled. “That’s not funny at all!”

Mom quietly left the room, leaving me fuming at my own stupidity. Skeletons that rose from the ground? Idiot! My wounded pride prolonged my own apology, but surprisingly enough, after an hour of reflection, I felt a small smile trickle across my lips. Okay, it might have been a little funny. Still, it took a few months before I braved walking over the soft, leaf-filled soil of the garden…just in case.

The Man Next Door

I am always fantasizing about how my life could be made into a murder-mystery. Why? Who knows. Maybe because nothing exciting happens to me. Sometimes when I'm on a walk, I pass a garbage can that smells...strange. I suddenly notice the house it waits in front of, and wonder if someone has been murdered, chopped into tiny pieces and hidden in the garbage. I look down, half-way hoping to see a bloody finger sticking out of the dirt. The lawn is dead or overgrown, meaning that no one has been there to take care of it. Do I dare lift up the garbage lid, maybe pretending to throw away a wrapper? My heart pounds, and I rush away, glancing at each house that I pass to check if anyone suspicious is watching me through parted curtains.

A few blocks from where I live, a house sits vacant because someone was murdered there. I don't know why that scares me so much, because it's not like the house is haunted. The body isn't decaying inside the walls, nor is its ghost pacing the dusty hallway. But I get an eerie feeling as I pass, wondering if maybe the killer is inside, waiting for his next victim. Does anyone actually ever buy a house where someone was murdered? My husband thinks I'm crazy for thinking these things.

Despite these musings of murders, one aspect of my life that would make a great novel is my next door neighbor. I've never really liked him, but never for a good reason. He's very friendly, always willing to talk and share a smile. But what I think about sometimes is what if something changed when his wife left him? Living there alone with his dog and memories of marriage, what if something inside of him clicked, sending him off the deep end?

I picture him standing outside in his backyard under his strange red porch light, staring up at our house. His dog is inside so the barking won't wake the neighbors. He's watching our bedroom window, thinking, forming a plan. And then one day, he follows through.

"Hey, guys, wanna come in for a Popsicle?" he asks my young boys on a hot day. They're playing in the irrigation water up to their knees while I casually watch from my room as I fold laundry.

"Yeah!" they shout, tearing across his yard and darting into his house.

And then they're gone. I rush to the window, looking frantically in our yard, then burst out the front door, calling their names. Nothing. I run to the back, calling out to them, hoping that they're behind the shed digging for worms. A bird flutters away, and my cat rubs against my feet. I kick her away as I run back to the front and search the road. Don't they know better than that?

"Hey, Kim!" my neighbor suddenly appears, a strange gleaming in his eyes. "How's it going?"

"Have you seen my boys?" I ask, drowning in panic.

He removes his hat and scratches his head. "Yeah, I saw them playing out here a while ago." He pauses and puts his hat back on, backwards this time. A smile creeps across his lips. "I invited them in for Popsicles."

"They need to come home NOW," I say firmly, my heart beating faster. I already know what he's going to say.

"Why don't you come in and have one, too?"

"No. Get my boys. They need to come home."

He smiles. "Now, I can't do that. Maybe you should just come in."

I don't need to go in to know that he's got my children tied up.

I am careful to warn my children daily that they are never to leave our yard without permission. Not if Grandma comes over and wants to take them for a ride, or if Miss Donna wants to invite them over for a cookie. What they don't know is that I'm protecting them from the man who lives next door.

Not everybody in my life is a suspect for murder, but can you blame me for questioning the man with the strange red light? Nothing has happened yet, but then again, he's only lived there for a year...

How Do They Do It?

Writing has always been my passion. I love the feeling of creating a story, of immersing myself into someone else's life. But lately, I have been drowning in my own life. With three young children and a (surprise) fourth on the way, I have found myself completely exhausted to the point where writing feels like a chore. I once heard someone say that you are not a writer unless you write every day. Does this overwhelming stage of life mean I am no longer a writer? I know that in my heart, I will always be a writer, even if I am not one currently. Family will always come first. Always. My dear little sons, so full of energy and life, and a husband who is gone frequently with school, are my top priority, and with my current pregnancy, require all of my energy (so you can imagine the state of my house!). But I thought I would blog so the world knew that I was still alive over here.

I have been working on a one-page story for the last month, another near-death experience to add to my collection, but my mind has been otherwise engaged. I hope to have it posted soon. My friend, Stacy Carroll, a mother to two, somehow managed to complete and publish a story, "The Princess Sisters." How on earth did she do it? I find myself completely envious of her, wondering how she found the time and the energy. Sure, I feel inadequate sometimes, but then I look back on my life, and realize that I am living the dream I had since I was a young child. Someday, I, too will be published, and maybe, just maybe, someone might be wondering, "How on earth did she do it?"

Jul 10, 2011

The Man Without a Name

Most people don’t know when they are going to die. That significant day passes by without much thought until IT finally happens. But on this day, as I sat in the bed of the light blue truck, I knew that I was going for my last ride.
“What’s your name?” my friends and I had asked the man who wanted to be our friend as we played between the cars in Braywood Apartments.
“You can call me Mr. Nobody,” he smiled down at us, his eyes magnified by his oversized glasses.
We giggled at the man’s ridiculous attempt at naming himself, but knew that it wouldn’t do. “No, what’s your real name?”
He thought for a moment, smile wavering only slightly beneath his thick brown mustache. “My real name is Mr. Nobody. “ He eased our confusion with a pleasant laugh, his belly jiggling like jolly old Santa Claus.
“Do you kids like secrets?” he asked.
“We love secrets!” we giggled back, excited for some delicious news that would surely bring great pleasure.
“Let’s be friends, but don’t tell your parents,” he whispered slyly, winking and smiling with such great animation and playfulness that it wasn’t hard to promise.
We soon became familiar with his small apartment, playing on the computers he had arranged in the living room, our small ears covered by great ear phones. The special, older children were allowed to play in the back room. I couldn’t wait until I was old enough. He probably had some really cool toys back there that I might break.
Our familiar, exciting routine was interrupted one day as he entered his living room, clapping his hands to get our attention. “Who wants to go on an adventure?” he called out enthusiastically.
“I do!” the five of us shouted, thrusting our hands up into the air.
“Let’s go for a ride in my truck! Who wants to ride in my truck?” he asked as if we were a pack of eager dogs.
“I do!” we screeched, jumping up and racing towards the parking lot.
“Wait! We need to ask Mommy first,” I said, tugging on my older sister’s shirt.
“No, don’t ask your Mommy,” he sneered down at me. “Remember? This is our great secret! Nobody tells their mommy or daddy. We’re going on a secret adventure.” This time, his smile wasn’t as warm. Little pebbles of anxiety rolled around in my stomach.
I watched with pure envy as my ebony-haired sister with large brown eyes was given the privilege of riding shotgun with Mr. Nobody. My three friends and I climbed the tailgate and plunked down onto the bed of the light blue pickup. Everyone was laughing, but the pebbles in my stomach started shaking like dice in a cup. My head felt light like a balloon, and a fear I had never before encountered choked me.
“We need to tell Mommy!” I screamed at Jennifer who was sitting closely to Mr. Nobody. He turned around and glared at me. Jennifer glared, too.
The panic flared. “We need to tell Mommy!” I insisted. Mr. Nobody turned the ignition, and the truck rumbled to life.
My eyes were wide like a trapped animal, my heart pounding so fast I thought I would die. Why wouldn’t he let me leave?
In desperation, as Mr. Nobody switched the truck from park to reverse, I gave it my all. “We need to go home! Let me go home! Let me out!” I screamed until my throat burned. With a power I’ve never since been able to conjure up, I forced tears and made my body shake with a crying fit.
“We need to go home,” Jennifer tightly told the man without a name. He killed the engine, stomped towards the tailgate, and slammed it open. I clambered down and raced home with my sister, crying desperately as we ran down the stairs and into our apartment.

Somewhere along the interstate, past some trees where no one goes, the bodies of five young children do not lay there, mutilated by a stranger who called himself Mr. Nobody. We had been freed.

Jun 28, 2011


"I don't want to die!" I cried as I gently rocked myself. I was a prisoner, locked in a cold, white room with no way out. The pathetic moans that tore from my tortured body soothed me just a little.

I grabbed my stomach, shredded by the awful demons. The pain was excruciating. Hot tears soaked my face and my neck, drenching my shirt with ruthlessness. I was helpless and alone, shivering from agony and the knowledge that I wasn't going to get out of this alive.

"Help me, help me," I whispered to no one in particular, rocking myself and clutching my body. "Help..."

The exhaustion was setting in. I hung my head and let the cold perspiration drip from my forehead onto my lap. I only focused on the short, shallow breaths that were sure to be my last.

"Help," I pleaded with a weary mind.

My breathing quickened, my heart rate took off, and I found the strength to moan again as the pain cinched tightly around my organs.

"I don't want to die," I panted through clutched teeth, feeling the tears well up behind my bloodshot eyes. I rocked myself slowly at first, but as the pain increased, the movements became spasmodic jerks. Frantic, desperate moans pushed their way out.

When at last the pain became more than I could bear, my body exploded once again. "Why?" I gasped, wiping my mouth with a weakly crumpled piece of tissue. "Why? Never again. Never...I'll never eat at Chick-fil-A again."

Jun 27, 2011


The soft snow sank beneath my thick blue moon boots. It was a cold, miserable morning, the trees dripping icicles and frost. I took slow, heavy steps with my backpack weighed down by my spelling workbook and teddy bear I had brought for show-and-tell.

The path in front of me was smooth and pure, untouched yet by other school children. I carefully placed each boot in front of me, eager to leave behind perfect footprints instead of sloppy skids from dragging my feet. I ignored the chatter of my sister and neighbors, focusing solely on my task. My prints were the only ones that mattered. I hoped to see them in their perfect beauty when we walked home later that day.

As I took my next purposeful step, whoosh! I suddenly found the world shooting up above me. My body plunged into Earth's terrible jaws, sucking me deep into the cold, lonely earth. I watched in horror as the trees, houses and people disappeared. Up above, the pale blue sky closed up like the bottom tip of a funnel. I was trapped!

"Help!" I screamed frantically, turning in tight circles against the hard dirt walls. It was straight up, nowhere for me to climb.

How long was I going to be stuck here? I pictured my friends running for help, only to come back, unable to find me in the white wilderness. Was I going to freeze to death, starve, or even die of dehydration? Images of Baby Jessica formed in my head as I recalled the show about an 18-month old who fell down a well. It took workers over two days to fish her out. How long would it take to rescue me?

As terrified tears drenched my frozen cheeks, my sister's head appeared at the opening. "Take my hand!" she ordered.

I reached up, surprised, relieved, and somewhat disappointed. Her gloved hand grasped mine, and she easily pulled me out from the everlasting depths of a four-foot hole. Looked like I was going to have to go to school after all.

Night Intruder

Overall, my life has not been exciting. I've always been the type to sit on the sidelines and safely watch others brave life as I munched away on buttered popcorn. Skip school for a doughnut run? No, thank you. Bungee jump at Lagoon? I'll pass. But despite my cautious attitude, some danger still managed to creep into my life. The next several entries to this blog will contain life-threatening situations that I somehow managed to escape from...alive. Enjoy!

The Night Intruder

The silence that followed the humming of the television was thick with tension. It was late, way past bedtime, and we were downstairs in the basement. We shouldn't have watched that movie so late, we realized. The feeling of suspense lurked in the dark room, despite the protection Theresa's large black dog offered us.

"Let's go to bed," Dominique whispered, throwing her long, blonde hair behind her shoulders.

"Okay," my older sister, Jennifer, whimpered.

We tip-toed towards the bedroom, cautiously passing the darkened staircase that led upstairs. Why hadn't their parents come down to tell us good night? We watched in dismay as Sadie ditched her security job and made her way upstairs to find a better sleeping spot, her collar jingling as she left.

Theresa entered their room first, flicked on the lamp, and the rest of us charged towards the queen-sized bed, fighting for the safety of the middle. I lost.

"Good night," I forced out, trying to fight the feeling of impending doom.

"Good night," whispered the others, sensing the same. Dominique betrayed us by turning off the lamp.

I tucked the covers tightly beneath my chin, creating a protective barrier between myself and whatever lurked outside in the darkness. I tried closing my eyes, but I could hear better with them open. I searched the empty blackness, making sure that everything was alright before submitting myself to the mercy of sleep. Everything was silent. We were safe.

A wave of security washed over us, only seven and eight years old, and the excited whispers of girls at a sleepover gently emerged. We giggled about the movie, and our voices gradually grew louder as we talked about life and boys.

A gentle creak caused us to abruptly choke down our words. The covers flew to our noses as we strained to hear another sound. Our eyes were wide, trying to see what never could be found.

After minutes of strained silence, we breathed again. Must have just been the house creaking. We whispered again, quieter this time, and gained confidence as the silence continued.


We gasped. This time, I could swear it was on the stairs. Nobody breathed.

I waited for Sadie to jump on our bed, but she never showed. She was still upstairs, wasn't she? Where were Mr. and Mrs. Richards? Would they hear us scream if...never mind. I wasn't even going to finish that thought. If I didn't think it, it wouldn't happen.

I waited for something to happen. Anything. The tension was too much. Why did my bladder wait until now to tell me that it was in trouble? Too bad. I swallowed hard. I tried to take small, quiet breaths. Why couldn't I be home in my own bed, safe and upstairs?

Another creak. Closer this time. It was so slow. It was so quiet. Whatever it was was listening to us. Smelling us. Breathing our air. Tonight, I was going to die. In the basement, in the dark. Mommy...

"Did you hear that?" I whispered.

Nobody dared answer. I regretted having made myself known. I tried playing dead, but my senses were crackling, keenly aware of the thick darkness and something that was coming for us.

This time, I heard something different. It was something worse. I heard breathing. It was quiet. Oh, so quiet. But I heard it, I know. I wrapped my covers tightly around my chin, too scared to be attacked blindly. I had to see what it was.

It waited outside our door, breathing its awful breath, thriving from the pure fear that emanated from our trembling bodies. The wait was eternal. My heart ripped at my chest, my lungs burned with deprivation, and my body was a frozen corpse, patiently waiting for the kill.

"Rrawrrh!" the beast exploded, charging into our doorway. The walls shook as Satan came to claim his souls.

An entire minute passed before I realized that the deafening screams were coming from our bed. Tears streamed down our faces as our lungs burst greedily for air, shrieking over and over as the panic was released. This was it. The last sound my mortal body would ever make.

And then a strange noise silenced us. It was unexpected. It was...their father laughing, grabbing his stomach and hooting at the perfectly awful joke he had just played.

"Good night, girls!" he laughed, making his way back upstairs.

We laughed at the second chance of life we had just been given. Our whispers were forgotten as relief and stories poured out, drawing us closer to one another. As we finally settled down, turning over and getting ready for sleep, our ears pricked up.

Did anyone else hear that?

Jun 24, 2011

Life After Rejection

I thought I knew all there was to know about rejection letters, because I have gotten so many of them. But that was before I sent in "Waiting For Cupid." This manuscript was my baby, and I worked long and hard on it, and actively improved it each time I went through revisions. It got to where I felt it was perfect. But what changed for me this time was not a simple rejection letter. I actually had TWO different requests for my manuscript!

I'll admit that I started feeling a little cocky, completely sure that this was my winning piece, and that I was going to become a millionaire. Overnight, of course. I greedily checked my e-mail in great anticipation twelve times a day for the invitation to publish, excitedly envisioning who was currently reading my words and drooling for the rights to publish. So when I got an e-mail saying that one agent was not as excited about my story as she had hoped to be, I was pretty bummed. Okay, I was angry. And annoyed. How could she not like my book? It wasn't geared for old farts like her anyway, but young adults who were going through the same things I had gone through...and was able to finally laugh about. THEY would appreciate it! Why couldn't she use her professional resources and see just how popular my book could actually be?

All hope was not lost, however. I still had another agent considering my manuscript, and I held my breath as more days passed by without a word. That was good, right? It meant that the first few words didn't make him toss it aside with disgust. Was it being passed among his co-workers, editors and book publishers? I stopped checking my e-mail so much, and then, that was when it happened: I received yet another rejection. Once again, my manuscript didn't get him as excited as he had hoped for.

Rather than anger and annoyance, I felt completely deflated. My writing was worthless, not good enough to sell, and why on earth had I been dumb enough to send it in to so many people? Talk about embarrassing. I was an idiot. And then my sweet husband told me something that I haven't forgotten. He said, "At least you got a couple of nibbles!" And in that moment, I knew that at least I had written an awesome query first one to get some invitations! Maybe my idea wasn't so awful after all.

Of course, following this fiasco, I had to put a lot of thought into what was wrong with my manuscript. What was it that made it seem like a promising story but ended up lacking a certain satisfaction? It's hard to go through this thought process, because you have to be willing to give up the "final masterpiece" and be willing to maybe try a new medium. It didn't take much fighting to realize what exactly needs to be done with my story. The hard part now is going to be starting over.

It's been weeks now, and I'll admit that I have been too scared to write. This blog is my first attempt to get things rolling again, and I know that it's going to help me get started. What is so intimidating is the knowledge of the long road ahead of me, all of the re-writes and editing and actual brainstorming that I have to do. Writing is hard work!

While I am scared to fail, I know that re-writing is going to build my writing and creativity skills. I remember my first writing project in my creative writing class my senior year of college. My short story ended up such an awful disaster that my instructor actually withheld sharing it for our class' critique. THAT was embarrassing. But what I'm grateful for is the amazing growth that comes from having stories critiqued, and shredded apart, and picked apart piece by piece, because it helps you to think of things in a different perspective. With a lot of critical feedback and ideas that differed from mine, it was amazing the things I was able to write! Writers need to maintain a healthy dose of humility and be willing to try new things in a different light, even if it is uncomfortable at first.

As I think of the editing process, a hilarious scene comes to mind from one of my favorite movies, "Pillow Talk."

Jonathon: What do you have against marriage?

Brad: Jonathon, before a man marries, he' a tree in the forest. He stands there independent. An entity unto himself. Then he's chopped down, loses his branches and bark. Lands in the river. Then he's taken to the mill. When he comes out, he's no longer a tree. He's the vanity table, the breakfast nook, the baby crib, and the newspaper that lines the garbage can.

Jonathon: No, no. If this girl weren't something special, then I'd agree with you. But with Jan, you look forward to losing your branches.

Editing and rewriting and getting critiqued feel a lot like getting your branches cut, turning your work from an ordinary tree into a beautiful creation. It's hard to have someone tell us that they don't like our story as much as us, but as painful as it is, we need to embrace it, and welcome the pain that comes as we create our art into even more amazing masterpieces.

I am going to start writing again, and I know that I'm going to learn new techniques and improve my storytelling. There is life after rejection, and it's going to be amazing.

Jun 6, 2011

Kids Say the Darndest Things

I've been collecting some quotes my children have said, and I am amazed at how absolutely hilarious my young children can be!

Jacob (4 years old):

“I have a frog in my throat. What kind of frog is it? A boy? A girl?”

“Mommy! If you don’t put your seatbelt on, a policeman will take you out and spank you!”

Mommy: “Good night, four-year-old! I love you.”
Jacob: “Good night, big girl Mommy!”

“You’re welcome, Mom, for doing that!”

“I have bones inside that make me really good talking.”

Mommy: “You’re my special Jacob.”
Jacob: “Did the other Jacob break?”

Jacob: “Stupid cat!”
Daddy: “Don’t say that word. It’s naughty.”
Jacob: “Oh, only Mommy can say it?”

“When I get bigger, I’m going to buy a girl costume, and I’m going to marry myself!”

“Mom, I sneezed again! What do you saaayyy?”

“So…how’s it doing, Mom?” (trying to make small talk)

“When I get bigger, will my ears fall out and I’ll get bigger ears?”

“Bye, Daddy! Have a good dream at work today!”

(Jacob was rubbing his nose with his finger) Mommy: Do you need to blow your nose?
Jacob: Nah. I'm just playing the violin.

Gabriel (3 years old):

“I don’t want a hug or a kiss…you can just kiss my hand.”

“Don’t kiss my owie! You’ll get an owie on your face.”

Mommy: “How did you get so strong? Did you eat your vegetables?”
Gabriel: “Oh, no. I ate my popcorn!”

Gabriel: “Can I have more marshmallows?”
Mommy: “No, that’s too much sugar.”
Gabriel: “Can I have more sugar?”

“Oh! Don’t kiss my hand! I’ll put hand sanitizer on your kissing!”

Jacob: “Who are you going to marry?”
Gabriel: “Ummm…I’m going to marry Grandpa Frye!”
Jacob: “You can’t marry Grandpa Frye! He’s a boy!”
Gabriel: “Then I no get married!”

Jacob: “Mommy, how tall are you?”
Mommy: “I’m five feet, six inches.”
Gabriel: “I have five feet, too!”

Mommy: “Let me clean your hand.”
Gabriel: “I was washing it with my tongue!”

“I look like a monkey when I got undressed!”

“Are you Mommy, Mom?”

Jacob: “Mommy is asleep.”
Gabriel: “No, her head is awake!”

Gabriel: “You make me sooo mad!”
Jacob: “I’m mad, too!”
Gabriel: “Then I’m not mad. I’m happy.”

Jun 4, 2011

My Peg Leg

I'm going to say right off that I do not condone lying. But that's because I'm now an adult with children. When I was younger and life was hilarious, so was lying. I never told any harmful lies, because I knew that it was wrong. But funny lies I embraced.

I was out with my friends late one night, cruising Main Street in the lonely town of Centerville. We decided to look for adventure, and went to the only logical place in town: the grocery store. Hoping to spice things up a bit, we thought it would be hilarious to park in the last stall of the parking lot. I know, we were totally living it up, right? Anyway, as we skipped towards the store, we were stopped by a group of guys. Jackpot! We flirted and smiled, and then one of my greatest dreams came true: I was asked for MY phone number! Nothing could have topped the excitement I felt, and I was going to fulfill the rest of my dream. I pulled out a paper and pen, wrote down some digits, and colored little hearts around them. I smiled as I handed the boy the paper, and seductively said, "Call me!"

"I can't believe you just did that!" my friends laughed as we skipped away, invigorated from love.

I laughed even harder. "I didn't! It was the number for time and temperature!"

I always knew that I wasn't the type who guys actively singled out from a crowd, so what I did really didn't matter. My sister, a genuine guy-magnet, took me along with her and her friends one day. Meeting a guy was just going to happen, there was no denying it. And so, we came up with a brilliant plan. For the night, my name was going to be Bertha.

Excited butterflies fluttered in my stomach when we were finally approached at the mall by an adorable guy. Whether he wanted to or not, he was going to ask me my name. Forget the gorgeous girls when an ugly duckling has the audacity to be named Bertha! I held back the laughter as he forced polite conversation with me, obviously intrigued by my unusual(and can I add hideous?) name. It was unfortunately the most attention a guy ever paid to me when out with these super models. No one would give a hoot to a girl named Kim. See how brilliant our plan was?

When I got to college, I decided that I needed to change my last name. Frye was so, well, gross. I needed something that shouted, "Look at me!" After much contemplation and tons of practice, I occasionally introduced myself as Kimberly Alzerezgredeldedski (pronounced Al-zerez-gredel-ded-ski). "No way!" guys would laugh, knowing I was full of it. But I smugly spelled it as fast as the letters could be spoken, giving the full letter count as additional proof. (Nineteen, in case you were wondering, even though now you're probably going to count. Aren't you?) "I thought your last name was Frye!" they would protest. Luckily, I was getting good at making up stories on the spot.

"My Mom is Polish, and married my step-dad. Technically, my name is hyphenated, but it's way too long, so I just go by Frye." I smiled. And then, after a week, I would laugh and confess the truth. It was too good a lie to be prolonged. The funny thing about this is that my roommate told her younger brother about my fake last name, and he loved it so much that he ended up naming his hamster Alzerezgredeldedski. Isn't that wonderful?

I'm convinced that lying for fun was genetic. When I was in high school, my parents went to Subway to pick up some dinner. They came back ecstatic. "We just met the perfect guy for you!" my Dad gushed.

"He was so cute!" Mom interjected.

"We told him all about you," Dad continued with an enormous grin. "We told him to look for you at school. I told him you were single...and had a peg leg!" He and Mom screamed with laughter, and I considered whether or not I should be annoyed or delighted. I'd have to wait until I went to school.

When I found my best friend before school, I told her the drama my parents had lovingly created for me, and we decided to play along. We searched the halls, and when I finally found Subway boy, I made sure to hobble a little as we passed. Life and lying were definitely wonderful.

So what brought about this random post, you may be asking yourself? As I was cutting our lawn today, I noticed that I wasn't cutting in straight lines, but curved lines. I ended up having a conversation in my mind about what I would tell someone if they questioned my "method."

"Oh, didn't you know?" I'd ask while looking at them as if they knew absolutely nothing about landscaping. "When you cut with a curve, it actually makes your yard look bigger!" And then I'd anxiously look around the neighborhood for the next several months, and smile as everyone's lawns were cut at a curve.

Maybe I need to start lying again, and see what kinds of fun I can create. But if anyone asks, it's all true. I promise.

May 28, 2011

Empty Nest Syndrome

I remember when it all started, just nine months ago. I was on bed rest at the McKay Dee Hospital in Ogden, hoping not to deliver my baby too early. The idea suddenly struck while I was lying in my hospital bed, having just finished one of Patrick McManus' books. "I can do something like this!" I thought as I pondered how he turned simple life memories into an entire series of humor books. "Now...what's something funny that's happened to me?"

I remembered the time when, as a young child, I sneaked an egg from our refrigerator in hopes of rescuing a cold, dying chick. I carefully wrapped it in warm blankets, and kept my soon-to-be pet tucked safely away in a hole in the back of our brown velvet sofa. Every day, when no one was around, I would crawl behind the sofa and peek in, anxious for the day when I would soon hear those gentle chirpings of a newly hatched chicken. I would finally have my own pet!

"What's that smell?" Mom suddenly asked one day, face hideously scrunched up. My stomach dropped when her search led her to my makeshift incubator in the back of the sofa. "What is THIS?" she angrily asked.

I cowered as she carelessly unwrapped my precious egg.

When the egg was revealed, she was livid. "Who put an egg in the sofa? It's rotting!"

I could take the guilt no longer. "I did," I meekly answered. "I was trying to hatch it."

Laughter suddenly exploded from her, and I was luckily saved the agony of punishment because I had been so gosh darn cute and naive.

Yes, that was a funny enough story to put in a book, I thought, but did I have enough of them to make an entire BOOK? I didn't know if I even had enough to write ten PAGES. I needed to find something in my life that was ridiculous, and that had been ridiculous for many years. Wait a minute! Of course! My infamous problems with boys! I had more than enough experiences, and with my incredible journal-keeping from my youth (I had eleven of them), I had plenty of resources to draw from.

As I started to write my book, I relived my youth, cringed through my awkward years, and rolled my eyes as I recalled the love blunders I encountered in my early adult years. I revised my book several times, each time creating a new feel to it. Originally titled, "Confessions from the President of the V.L. Club," my story lacked a certain air of humor, and reeked of, well, pathetic woe-is-me stories. I needed to make it Patrick McManus funny. My title then changed to "Glass Slippers Don't Go With My Shirts," strewn with references to a Fairy Godmother, and ending on a note that left the reader feeling a little sorry for me. Nope. It had to be funny. I next re-titled my book, "The Incredible Misfortunes of Love," and decided that no one would buy a book with THAT title. It made me sad to take out all of my beloved Fairy Godmother and Cinderella references, because I have always been fond of Cinderella love stories. It just was not the right fit for my book.

Finally, after playing around with some words I myself would look for when searching for this type of book, I settled on the title, "Waiting For Cupid." It was perfect, because it doesn't automatically imply a happy ending, but definitely the type of book this would be. I was finally content with my story. I revised again, this time adding references to Cupid (I luckily already had mentioned him a time or two), and was able to add humor to my ending. (If you want to read parts of my book, check out my blog archive "Waiting for Cupid excerpt" as well as the link that says "Read some of my stories"!)

Once I was completely satisfied, I took the scary step and submitted it for publication. Maybe not scary in the sense that I'm afraid of rejection, but scary as in I'm now giving up my baby. Nine months of my life went in to this book, lovingly developing each chapter, each sentence, each word. And now that I'm finally done with it, I feel like my mother who is suffering from Empty Nest Syndrome: empty, alone, and without much purpose. Am I alone in this, or is this feeling common among writers? I know that I need to take several days off from writing to catch my breath, relax, and allow myself to be open to embrace another writing project that will require my full love, attention and devotion.

May 23, 2011

Getting Creative

Every writer wants their books to be popular, right? I know that I secretly dream of fame and living in a nice house with more than one bathroom, and a front door that doesn't let in the wind. So what is it that makes books sell like hotcakes? One (which really doesn't help ME at all) is fame. Ever heard of a guy named Obama? He's written a book, which of course has made New York Times Bestseller list. Another, perhaps more feasible, method is writing an old fable with a twist. Ever heard of "The Three Little Pigs"? What about "The True Story of the Three Little Pigs"? What makes these so much fun is the creativity of taking a familiar tale and learning of another character's point of view.

During the 2011 LDStorymakers Writer's Conference, I took a class from Liz Adair who taught us about changing point of view up a little. Ms. Adair gave us a synopsis of the story of Noah and his ark, and challenged us to create a new story from someone else's point of view.

The story ideas were endless: Noah's wife had a crazy husband, and needed to choose between him and her friends. Ever consider how a wealthy daughter-in-law's life would change from working in successful career with an enormous wardrobe to living in a wooden box stuffed with animals? How would that affect her relationship with her new husband? Ideas also included the introduction to a giraffe who never experienced his true height until he stretched his neck up far enough to watch the dove return with the olive branch. It was an exercise I think I will always treasure.

Coming up with new, fresh ideas doesn't need to stress us out. With a little creative writing exercises, I think we'll be able to find ways to see new stories within existing ones. I know that I sometimes feel intimidated by staring at a blank Word document, or tapping my pen on an empty page. I think that my idea needs to be perfectly original, something that no one has ever thought of before. The time that I do find for writing is precious, and I feel like it's wasted if I don't jot down the perfect idea. I guess what I'm getting at is that we should take time for writing exercises, something that gets the creative juices flowing. Maybe, if I'm motivated, I might just start posting writing exercises. It would be good for us!

May 16, 2011

Waiting For Cupid Excerpt

Chapter 15
First Impressions

Trying to learn the art of impressing boys was hard work, I quickly learned. Unlike my younger years, juggling, and even shaving for that matter, just didn’t cut it in college. Older boys needed a lot more convincing.

I tried my best to be mysterious and even a bit sexy around Josh, my friend’s boyfriend. It was going well, too, until he said something so hilarious that I belted out a laugh. A long-winded snort that immediately followed prompted him to call me “Wilbur” for the rest of the day. Note to self: avoid situations that may involve laughter.

I tried again second semester in my business class. Our first-day assignment was to stand and introduce ourselves, an activity that is created to weed out the weak. They almost got me, too. Across the room from me was a handsome man in his early twenties who was a sign language interpreter, and I knew that I needed to say something amazing if he were to ever notice a little freshman like me. When my turn came, I made the mistake of looking at him.

“My name is Kim, and my English is major,” I squeaked out. My face colored into a deep shade of crimson when little alarms sounded off inside my head. “I mean, my major is English!”

I miserably fell down into my seat, and avoided looking at his half of the classroom for the rest of the semester. So much for knocking his socks off.

I later discovered that I wasn’t the only one who struggled with impressing the opposite sex. Lois, Jan and I had established our homework spot at the base of Old Main Hill. Trees spilled their shade over the warm grass, giving us a feeling of comfortable confinement. As we glanced over our heavy reading assignments, a boy with thick, curly hair and black wire glasses approached us. His looks shouted geek, but when he spoke, our hearts fluttered in excitement.

“Hello, Ladies,” he said cheerfully in a thick accent.

A real live British boy had actually approached us to talk! This was definitely going in my journal. We giggled with delight, and tried to speak maturely to this suddenly handsome foreigner. His name was Alan, and we discovered that he was from Tooele, a small Utah town eighty miles south of where we sat.

“No, where are you from originally?” I clarified with a grin. How adorable was he?

“Tooele,” he answered sheepishly, smile and accent suddenly gone. Our formalities disappeared, and it wasn’t much later before he, too, left.

I quietly pined over the British scam for the next several days. I had never realized the possibility of a foreign romance until that experience. Would it be possible for me to ever meet a handsome Brit? I didn’t think my chances were very high, but after several days, fate offered me a surprise.

“Hello,” a stunning guy greeted me, British accent smooth as silk. His coffee-colored eyes pierced my own, and I backed against a brick wall from the force of his stare. His wavy black hair was slicked neatly back, and a small, seductive smile crawled across his lips. “How are you today?”

“I’m fine, thank you,” I smiled shyly. My heart pounded in my chest, and beads of sweat banded my forehead.

“Oh, pardon me, my name’s Jason,” he grinned with electrifying intensity.

“I’m Kim,” I proudly offered, trapped against the wall. His sweet cologne brushed my lips, and my knees grew weak.

The conversation was pleasantly uncomfortable, and we spoke for several minutes. Finally, I could stand it no longer. “Where are you from?” I asked, anxious to get every tiny detail from this striking guy. I nonchalantly wiped my forehead and tried to take a deep breath.

“I’m from far away,” he answered with sexy mystery.

“Oh really? Where?” I pushed. I wondered what part of England he came from, and daydreamed of spending spring break with him.


Oh, brother.

May 11, 2011

The Darndest Thing Happened...

There are many lessons we can learn from books, but what is really enjoyable is when we find the stories coming true in our lives. Earlier today, I read Max Lucado's "You are Special" to my boys. If you are not familiar with this story, it is about wooden people called Wemmicks who feel that it is their job to hand out either gold stars or gray dots, depending on others' accomplishments. Later, as I placed my baby in his high chair to eat some lunch, I was surprised to find a little gold star right on his shirt!

My three-year-old, Gabriel, is learning his alphabet, and doing a pretty good job, if I do say so myself. As we were reading an alphabet book together, he excitedly pointed to the letter "O." "Look, there's an O. Like, 'Gabe-ee-OH'!" I guess it's time to work on pronouncing his name.

My two older children (Jacob-4 and Gabriel-3) were reading a book together about the first Christmas. Gabriel proudly pointed to a picture and explained, "There's the angel Gabriel!" To that, Jacob sadly whined, "I wanted it to be angel Jacob!"

May 10, 2011

Making Memorable Characters

Have you ever read a book, and fallen completely in love with a character? Have you ever known them so well that you felt like BFFs? What was it about them that made them so memorable? Here is a list of attributes that make your characters both believable and likeable.
1. Someone you can relate to. You understand this character, because you know their problems. You react the same way they react. In children's stories, the most popular characters (such as Olivia the pig) demonstrate traits that children themselves exhibit, namely mistaken beliefs, exaggerated emotions, pretending and small things that are important.
2. Someone you can sympathize with. Readers need to get inside the character's head. Inner dialogue really helps with this. You know their goals, fears, loves, strengths and weaknesses. By caring about the character, the reader is going to care about what happens to them.
3. Humor really helps. In children's books, we find it funny when a young character, such as Olivia, freaks out over trivial little things. Characters who are witty or who have funny character flaws, someone who makes us laugh out loud are those we want to read more about.
4.Experiences growth upon solving a major problem. If a character learns from his mistakes and grows from overcoming a problem, we are going to remember him/her.
5.Don't just write about your character; become your character. By understanding their background, you're going to know how they are going to react. If you know your characters, your readers are going to know them. Fall in love with your characters; if you're not in love with them, your readers will be able to tell. Take the time to get to know your characters.

May 9, 2011

The Dreaded Query Letter

I have written my fair share of query letters, and let me tell you, they are NO FUN to write. There is something so horrifying about it that I'm almost tempted to hide under my bed until the rejection letter comes. Optimism isn't my style, if you couldn't tell. I researched some query letters online, and found some ideas, but I never felt quite comfortable. The problem I faced was my lack of publishing credits. When I finally got my story "Harvey's Joke" published in the Herald Journal, I felt I had something under my belt.

According to Sarah Megibow, Literary Agent for the Nelson Literary Agency, writing a query letter is super simple: Paragraph one: I have a completed [genre] manuscript, 4,000 words. (Also, this is where you write the hook of your book, a one-sentence summary that is eye-catching and that makes your book seem irresistible to read.)
Paragraph two: This is the pitch paragraph, essentially what you would envision to be the book's summary on the back cover, written in about four sentences. This paragraph should NOT be rushed. Are you sitting down for this? Once the agent receives your query and likes it enough to accept your manuscript, they then show it to their editor. If the editor approves, then it is submitted to the sales agent. If they feel like they can make a profit from it, your query letter is then shown to a book buyer. If the book buyer feels that this book will be successful, then will your manuscript be accepted. Kinda scary, huh? Yeah, query letters are super simple.
Paragraph three: This is the author's bio. Any writing awards you've won, anything that's gotten published, this is the place to put it. Just make sure it's relevant.
Closing paragraph: Thank them for their time. If you saw them at a writing conference, let them know.
Whew. Done. Sit back, relax, and make sure you've got plenty to eat and drink while you wait out a response from under your bed.

Oh, wait, before you start hoarding chocolate and cheese for your little hide-away, I have a little piece of advice you might find as valuable as I did. If you are about as famous as I am, you might want to consider getting a name for yourself out in the electronic world. Start a blog for yourself, get on twitter or facebook. They are excellent places for you to eventually market your works. Sarah Megibow claims that before accepting any manuscripts, she cyber-stalks potential clients to make sure that they have networking capabilities on such sites.

Pacing Your Story

I learned a lot at the LDStorymakers Writer's Conference that I am anxious to share. Have you ever read a book that was just so intense at parts that when you turned the page for the next chapter, you found yourself breathless, exhausted, and heart pounding a mile a minute? I thought I was crazy, and scolded myself for reading so gosh darn fast. Well, as it turns out, I was NOT crazy after all. There is actually a trick to writing that literally speeds up your story. The shorter your paragraphs, the shorter your sentences, and the more bang each word can dramatically increase the intensity of your story!

In moments of intensity, nobody cares what the character's eye color is. This is the time where all the action happens, and the reader needs to be as concerned about the problem as the character is. Can you imagine checking out that hottie's smile over there across the street as a murderer is chasing you down with a large, bloody butcher knife? Yeah, I didn't think so, either. The moment needs to be completely focused and quick-paced if you want your reader to keep interest. Word of warning: if you go too fast, you're going to lose your reader. I've read some books where I've been so breathless and anxious to reach the conclusion of the chapter that I've had to actually go back and re-read a paragraph or two because I didn't know everything that had just happened.

On the other hand, slowing down your story so your readers can catch their breath and process what they've just read is just as necessary. Internal thoughts, descriptions, and mellow words can slow it down. Long, compound sentences also do the trick.

When reaching the climax of your story, don't rush it. What's taken maybe hundreds of pages to reach should not be finished in a paragraph or two. It needs to be long enough to deliver the emotional impact a reader is looking for.

The best piece of advice that was given during the conference was to become a critical reader. Recognize the pace that is written, and see what works and what doesn't. By becoming familiar with and critical of the pace of other authors, it will soon be demonstrated in your own writing.

May 8, 2011

My picture books

Writing is something I have done since I was a young child. My very first book was entitled "Puppy Love" about a young girl who desperately wanted a kitten, but discovered joy when receiving a puppy, instead. My book was professionally bound by cardboard and staples. It was my most prized possession. I also carried around a pocket-sized notebook that contained my stories, usually inspired by a summer storm. I remember sitting in the darkened living room with my pen and pad, listening to the thunder and writing some story of impending doom. Those stories usually began with, "It was a dark and stormy night" and ended with a cemetery scene. To this day, I still crave stories with cemeteries.

Publishing a book never even occurred to me until I submitted "Duck Feet," a picture book I created for my eighth grade English class.

After it had been graded, my student teacher boldly left a note encouraging me to submit it for publication. Out of the question. I was holding onto gold! There was no way I was going to part with my millionaire-dollar story! Too bad I didn't know that you don't actually mail in the book itself. That teacher, however, did instill a desire to keep creating picture books, and years later, a desire to submit my work for publication.

The first story I ever submitted was in 2004 entitled "The Shepherd and the King." It tells the story of how a young shepherd boy gives bread to a homeless man, only to discover that he has just fed the king. As a token to remind the boy to always do what's right, a silver ring is placed in his care. Years later, when the boy as a man meets the king once again, he cries that he has failed to do his job. The king embraces him, and explains that those who have known the shepherd have also known the king. "You have proven worthy by living by your ring. You're not just a shepherd; you've grown into a king."

I later submitted "Harvey's Joke" about a squirrel who hates April Fool's Day.

Harvey was notorious for playing pranks, but this year, Maurice was going to put a stop to them once and for all, only to get the prank of his life.

After several rejections, this story was finally printed in the Herald Journal in 2007. Unfortunately, since this story was not accompanied by any pictures, I'm sure that the readers were left to wonder why this "Harvey" character ate Bark Crunch for breakfast!

"Pirate ABC's" is a rhyming picture book that was also rejected, although it is lovingly read by my children (bound, of course, by cardboard and twine). In this book, a pirate's adventurous life is revealed from treasure hunting to sending men to the plank. "W is walking the plank bound and blind; X marks the spot that we sailed here to find."

The next story I submitted was "Waiting for Halloween."

Anxious for Halloween, Baby Bear asks his mother when his favorite holiday will come. She responds with, "First, it has to get cold. Then, the leaves will turn yellow, orange and red, and they will fall from the trees. After that, we’ll put pumpkins on the front porch. Once we carve them into jack-o-lanterns, then Halloween will be here.” Can you guess what happened with this manuscript? Yup. Rejected. But at least my son actually ASKS specifically for that book to be read to him.

"My Day With Dad" is my latest submission. I actually sent it in for the Cheerios New Author's contest to be printed as a book to be given away with each box of cereal. It's about a young child who spends a windy day with his father exploring the adventures that blow with the wind.

Lastly, the current story I am getting ready for submission is a humorous account of my past dating experiences. I am still working on the title and changing things around a bit to get the feel I'm looking for. The titles I have used so far are "Laughing at Love," "Glass Slippers Don't Go With My Shirts," "Cupid For Hire" and "The Incredible Misfortunes of Love." I'm thinking of using something with "Mr. Wrong," but I'm not quite sure exactly. Who knew that the title would be so difficult to come up with?! Do any of those titles sound appealing to anyone out there?

What's important here is that trying to get published is not an easy task. Each year, I check out the Writer's Market book and search for literary agents and publishers who are looking specifically for the type of writing I do, and I send in about twenty different queries (not easy on the wallet, in case you were wondering). Do not send in a query letter for a genre they are NOT looking for, because it is the fastest way to get rejected. There's nothing wrong with sending in several manuscripts in a row to the same literary agent (after each rejection, that is). Literary agent Sarah Megibow advised us to "just pretend that you are new, because I'm not going to remember you." I always felt awkward sending in my same query letter (with the pitch paragraph different, of course)because I thought they would think I was a loser for trying with them again. Fear not! We won't be remembered! (That IS good, right?) If you love something enough, keep trying. Success won't come if you wait for it to find you. Good luck!

Embrace rejection letters!

On Saturday, I attended my very first writer's conference. I'll admit that I was a little nervous, because for some strange reason, other writers intimidate me. I suppose I feel inadequate because I am fully aware of the large pile of rejection letters that sit in my drawer, and have yet to receive my first acceptance letter. During the LDStorymakers Writer's Conference, an award for the most rejection letters was given out. Yay! Rather than feeling shame, we should embrace the fact that we ARE submitting, and we are taking the chance of succeeding one day. That made me feel pretty good.

Writers, we were told by Literary Agent Sarah Megibow, are artists. I loved hearing that because I've always wanted to be an artist. I knew she was right, though. I imagine that the satisfaction that comes from typing that last, heart-pounding sentence is equal to putting that last brush stroke onto a masterpiece painting. I am an artist with words.