Monday, September 22, 2014

Love these guys!

Does anyone love minions as much as I do?

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Loved this Writing Quote

It's so true.  You always have to listen to your writing as if you were the reader, yet keep your creativity as a writer, and also be inside the head of your character.  You can do this all at once, but you can also take it one thing at a time.  That's what drafts are for.  You'll need maybe 10 drafts to get it all down...maybe more, but you'll get there.  Never give up.

Friday, September 19, 2014

The Good Kid Project


I was so excited to see in Better Homes and Gardens they are doing a year-long series called the "Good Kid Project," where they explore the twelve qualities children need to develop to succeed.  This month they are talking about perseverance.  In previous months they've talked about civility, compassion, and self-reliance.  You can read about it here.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Gray Characters

I loved this article about "gray" characters.  I hate it when I read a book with a "flat" villain which is all too common these days.  Read this article to avoid that type of mistake.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Amazing Voices!

My kids tell me this is an old video but, last night when I saw this I was in awe.  This is why I love children.  They are just so beautiful...and amazing!

Saturday, September 13, 2014

The Seven Ancient Story Archetypes


They say all stories can be divided into seven archetypes.  Have you analyzed which archetype your story is using?  It will help you to see if perhaps you are being too cliche in your writing.  It can also help you to decide if your characters are acting believably and in "character."  It can even help you create a new story.  Here are the seven archetypes.

1. Hero's Journey:  Example- Luke Skywalker.  A hero must save the world from certain disaster.

2. The Quest:  Similar to Hero's Journey.  A Protagonist travels and overcomes obstacles to obtain a desired object or treasure that will help mankind or his family.

3. Overcoming the Monster:  The hero must fight monsters to protect the innocent.  (David and Goliath)

4. Rags to Riches: Stories that tell of one character's struggle to overcome poverty or prejudice and achieve his dream.

5. Re-birth:  (Think Dr. Who)  1.. Hero threatened 2. Must fight 3. All is lost 4. Hero does an about face that saves the day.

6. Voyage and Return-  Going from innocence to wisdom. (Think Narnia)

7. Tragedy- A tragic flaw or moral flaw that causes disaster for the protagonist and his family.

8. Comedy- Characters thrown into bewilderment and having to resolve their issues in a comic way after it goes to the extreme.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

How to Query a Magazine

In addition to my humor books, I've gained a lot of experience writing for magazines over the years.  I enjoy the short format, and the challenge of changing dry information into a story.  One of the challenges of writing for magazines is that each one has its own voice.  So you have to change your writing to match whatever the style of each magazine is.  Before submitting an article you must write a query letter to see if they would be interested in your story.  Here are some tips I've gleaned over the years.

1. Read about ten of the magazines you want to write for before even attempting to think of what to write for them.

2.  Then go online on their website and look to see if they've issued a "call" for a certain type of article.

3.  Start small.  Sometimes in order to "break in" to a magazine you have to write for their smaller regular columns at the back of the magazine.

4.  Carefully look over the magazine and decide who their audience is, what kind of articles they like, and then see if you have a story or helpful tips that fit their customers.

5.  Write a short letter to ask if they are interested.  Find a "need" of their audience, and explain how your article will help solve their audience's "need."

6.  Look up statistics.  For some reason my queries always get accepted when I include statistics.

That's it!  Hope it helps.  Magazines are really marketing tools that are preaching to a certain audience, so if you keep their audience's needs in mind, and you write in their 'style', you'll probably have success.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Clean Family Comedy

It can be hard sometimes to find good clean comedy that the whole family can enjoy, so I'm going to share one of the shows we like to watch on Youtube as a family.

Have you seen Studio C?  It is really good, clean, funny, comedy that our family loves to watch when we have a few spare moments in the evening.  Having a good laugh together helps families bond with each other.  It also has been proven to reduce stress...and so can help your family in that way as well.  Just wanted to share in hopes that you enjoy it as much as we do!

Saturday, September 06, 2014

New Humor Story!

Thought I'd post another humor story written for my next book, but that I decided to take out so the book wouldn't be too long.  (Based on a true story...) Hope you enjoy!


Eels on Wheels

I try hard to be an example to others.  And sometimes, despite the fact that my library fines exceed the national debt and I re-gifted my best friend’s Christmas carrot cake last year, I’m even a good one.  This is why I decided to invite my mother to go with me when I signed up to take meals to the elderly.  I thought I might show her the great and marvelous things I do to help and lift people in need, and I also hoped it would erase the memory of the last time I tried to be an example by fixing her expensive venetian blinds so they no longer went up and down.

“Don’t worry,” I told my mother as I loaded all the meals in the car.  “It won’t take more than a half an hour.  I’ve done this hundreds of times.  I’m a pro by now.”

“Yeah.  And she’s not going to send any old ladies into diabetic comas either, by mixing up the desserts like she did last time,” said my teenage daughter, who had been recruited along with the other kids to help out.

My mother’s eyebrows shot up.

“She’s exaggerating,” I said.  “It wasn’t a coma, just a little bit of insulin shock that’s all, nothing that couldn’t be remedied with a piece of hard candy.” 

My mother cleared her throat nervously.

“Relax,” I said, shooting my daughter a warning look.  “Really…things are going to be just fine.  I know what I’m doing.”

My mother nodded, but sat stiffly in her chair.  She didn’t believe a word I said.  She had raised me and knew what kind of trouble I could be to society at large when I decided to be helpful.

I set out to prove her wrong.  

The first four deliveries went smoothly.  The kids fought over who got to carry what as we all stampeded toward the homes of the elderly.

“Just leave it on the porch,” said one lady, who took one look at the pandemonium coming toward her house with bowls of spaghetti and refused to open the door.

“Mind the flowers,” snapped another, fending my son away from her perennial beds with her cane.  

My mother chose to watch from the car.  She said she didn’t want to add to the confusion.

I tried to explain that there was no confusion when suddenly I got confused.  We were ready to deliver to the fifth house when I noticed we were out of wheat bread.  

“Oh no,” I moaned.  “This always happens.  I gave the last lady wheat when I was supposed to give her white.”

“Can white bread trigger diabetic comas?” my daughter asked my mother, tapping her on the shoulder.

“Hush,” I snapped, “I need to think for a minute.”

“Last time you just had the little kids take it to the door, so she would be distracted by their cuteness and not look at the color of the bread,” said my son.

“Oh, I did not,” I said.  “I’m sure I just explained the situation to her.”

“Yeah,” said my eight-year-old, explaining to her grandma.  “That’s because we believe in being honest, true, and chased by an elephant.”

My mother gave me a bewildered stare.

“She means chaste and benevolent, not chased by an elephant," I huffed. Okay, look,” I continued, chewing my nails, “Maybe she won’t care about the bread.  Let’s just take it to the door.”  I loaded everything but the bowl of spaghetti into the hands of my two youngest children.  

“Try to look as sweet and adorable as you can,” I whispered, shoving them down the sidewalk.  

My mother rolled her eyes and put her hand to her forehead.  

“It can’t hurt,” I said, shrugging.  Unfortunately my shrug was a little too enthusiastic, and I shrugged the bowl of spaghetti right into the juniper bushes.

I heard a groan from where my mother was sitting.

“No worries,” I called reaching down to grab it, “It’s still covered.  Oo. Ouch.  These bushes are prickly.” 

I smiled at my mother.   She sank lower into her seat.

“Aha! I’ve got it!” I cried lifting it from the place where it had become wedged.  But as I pulled it free it was knocked from my hand by another prickly branch.  It flew toward the street in what seemed like slow motion, and then landing on its side, it began rolling down the hill.

“Noooooooooo,” I yelled, running after it.

“On top of spaghetti…,” my children sang at the top of their voices, “all covered with cheese.”  They collapsed into giggles.

“A little help, please…” I hollered, scrambling after the wayward bowI.  No one came.  They were too incapacitated by laughter.   I saw someone peering out of the curtains of the front window of the house we were supposed to deliver to as I sprinted past.

“Tell her I’ll be right there with the spaghetti,” I yelled at my youngest children who were still edging toward the door.

I madly chased the bowl, yelling insults at it, as it tumbled down the steep hill until finally, it collided with the tire of a confused motorist who had slammed on his brakes to avoid running over the crazy lady who was hollering and chasing a bowl of spaghetti .

“Doesn’t look much like spaghetti anymore,” said my son, eyeing the remaining contents of the bowl, when I returned to the car.  “Looks like a pile of eels.”

“Eels,” I said, between wheezes, clutching my stomach.  “We could try to pass it off as Japanese cuisine.”

“Oh honestly,” snorted my mother.

“Yeah, except she might break her teeth on the rocks,” yelled my teenager from the back seat.  “And you can’t fix that with hard candy.”

I looked at the sweet elderly lady, giving me puzzled looks as she tried to keep my youngest son from playing with the rocks in her Zen garden with her cane.  

“You like turkey and swiss?” I called to the woman, showing my mother that if honesty doesn’t work, at least I could be benevolent.   “I know a great sandwich shop just down the street.”

“That’d be fine, dear” she said, “As long as it’s on wheat bread.” 

“Wheat bread,” I muttered to myself as I stumbled back into the car, “I’ll give you wheat bread.”   I looked over toward my mother who was chuckling to herself. 

“What?” I said.  “She says she likes turkey.”

My mother continued laughing as she maneuvered the rear view mirror in my direction.  “It’s not that.”  Then she pointed to my head.  “It’s just…you might want to comb your hair before you come back,” she said.  “You look like you’ve been chased by an elephant.”

Friday, September 05, 2014

Writing Descriptively

Here is a picture taken by my daughter of the wheat fields by where I live.  When fall comes, many places have glorious autumn colors, but another one of my favorite scenes is the wheat ready to harvest.  How aptly these fields are described as "amber waves of grain."  Which brings me to my point of the day...comparing my clumsy description, "wheat ready to harvest," which sounds so blah, compared to "amber waves of grain," which is a gorgeous poetic vision.  How do you get from blah to beautiful in your descriptions?  Study and practice poetry.  Read a book about it and practice writing it.  It will really help!  It doesn't matter if you're not good at it yet.  Any amount of study and practice will make you better.  And you will begin thinking in terms of poetry when you describe things in your stories.

Being able to describe things poetically makes your book so much more satisfying to read and so beautiful.  It is part of the "art" of writing.  The craft of writing is definitely a "craft," which can be learned.  But there is art and finesse involved too, that you can only learn through practice and study of masters of the art.

One of my favorite writers recently has been Shannon Hale.  Her story "The Goose Girl," has descriptions that I can only describe as "delicious."  I often read parts of her book when I want to get in a poetic mood.  I'm sure you have your favorites as well.  Who are they?

Thursday, September 04, 2014

The Winner Is.....

FINALLY!  My sister-in-law came to the rescue and picked this one out for me.  So we ordered it!  I'm so excited!  She said I needed less cherry and a contrasting wood in my table to brighten the room up a bit.  I am so decorating challenged!  But that's great because otherwise, how would I have funny stories to write about?  

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Table Advice?

We are trying to pick out a new table for our kitchen since we have new traditional style cherry cabinets!  Our old table is yellow wood and quite country looking so it doesn't match very well.  Here are the ones we've been looking at.  Which one do you like best?  Which is practical for a family of seven?  I'm having a hard time deciding....  Sorry the pictures are blurry...they only had thumbnails that I could transfer to the blog.  But here's the link to the search I did if you want to see better pictures...  Are there any other good sites out there?

Monday, September 01, 2014

My Favorite Cooking Website

I love the website because everything I've made from it is DELICIOUS!  And healthy!  My family loves it too! And the recipes are pretty quick to prepare. We just recently made this  Embarrassingly Easy Crockpot Salsa Chicken:

And it was AWESOME!  Have fun exploring and experimenting on the site!  You'll be glad you did!

Friday, August 29, 2014

Writing Articles


I'm on vacation until next week, but in the meantime, I thought I'd entertain you with all the writing articles from the web I've been madly pinning HERE.  There are some amazing articles to peruse and learn from, so have fun until next week!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Mom's Need to Support One Another!

I would write a post on this, but this video says it all!  I love it!  This is why I started writing humor books about motherhood, so that everyone would know that we all have problems, and our own way of fixing them....and it's okay.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Loved this video!

This is for all the mom's who work so hard every day!!  You are amazing!

Monday, August 25, 2014

Book Review: "Birthright", by Nicole Giles

Every once in awhile I like to do book reviews for my author friends and this time I am reviewing, "Birthright," by Nicole Giles.

I have to tell you this is secretly one of my favorite genres!  I really enjoy a love story going on at the same time as "save the world" suspense.  And this book doesn't disappoint!  It is riveting!  I couldn't put it down.  Nicole has done an excellent job creating characters you will love and embroiling them in nail chewing suspense.  

Here is the cover blurb so you can see what it's all about!  Great job Nicole!  I'll definitely be reading all the other books in this series!

Two months ago, Abigail Johnson saved the life of the boy she believes is her destiny and defeated an army of demons that have pursued her ancestors for centuries. Now, she and Kye should be taking their place as leaders of the new generation of Gifted. But the curse they thought was broken has returned, and every minute together brings them closer to death. 

When remaining shadow demons attack again, the Dragons send Abby to Mexico. Being apart from Kye is slowly killing her soul, and it turns out she isn’t any safer here than she was back home. The shadows have tracked her, the locals expect her to help with their own demon problems, and the more time she spends away from Kye, the more she doubts the destiny that ties them together. 

When the demons destroy her safe house, Abby has no choice but to take the fight to them. But the arrival of an old nemesis throws their careful plans into disarray, and Abby and her friends find themselves facing new adversaries in a battle that turns fatal. This time, not everyone will make it out alive.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

My Favorite Fiction this Year

I read mostly YA fiction because I like to preview stuff for my kids, and this year, I read some great ones!  But there are two trilogies that stand out as my recent favorites.  Maybe because they both inspired me to want to save the world!   Here they are!

The following books are called, "The Queen of Attolia," and "The King of Attolia"


The following books in this trilogy are "The Runaway King," and "The Shadow Throne"

I just LOVED the hero characters in these books.  They were funny, yet noble in a way that drove everybody crazy.  For that same reason one of my all time favorites is the "Bartimaeus" series.  I really enjoyed the humorous main character of the genie who tried to be ferocious but was really just a softie.

What's your favorite fiction lately?

Friday, August 22, 2014

Signs School Needs to Start Now

Ha Ha!  This is my life right now!


Wednesday, August 20, 2014

My most Embarrassing Moment

(photo from

I just read about being more free with your blogging and so I thought I'd try it.  Let me just tell you about yesterday.  Yesterday I decided to clean up my room a little while the piano teacher was teaching one of my kids in the living room.  I cleaned for awhile, but suddenly I had a funny feeling I should check on my youngest son, coinciding with some evil laughter I heard coming from the living room.

Yeah.  Good thing.  I came out to find him hiding behind the couch shooting the piano teacher in the back of the head with this plastic gun which shoots little bits of potato.  The piano teacher was trying to teach patiently while wiping bits of potato off of his shoulders and neck.  I thought I would die.   The piano teacher glared at me while I confiscated the gun and made my son apologize.

Well, that was my day yesterday.   I thought I'd write about it to show, that no matter how badly you think your children behave, it could be worse.  Hope you're having a great day today!  I bet you are now!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014


Ha ha! Loved this picture going around on facebook.  I feel like I'm senile already sometimes!

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Breaking News!

The publishers just sent me a copy of their design for the cover of my humor book coming out in March 2015.  So excited!

Read samples of some of my other humor essays here!

Friday, August 15, 2014

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Humor from my Family

Conversation I overheard in the back seat as I was driving today:

11 year old daughter:  You know Michael, you can do anything if you believe!

9 year old son:  Yeah?  So if I believe hard enough, I can jump off a cliff and fly?

11 year old daughter:  Well there ARE exceptions.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014


This is totally me!


Saturday, August 09, 2014


Ha ha ha!!!


Friday, August 08, 2014

How to write Faster and Better


I've got one rule for you!  And that is:  Don't edit your rough draft until it's done!  This really works to help you write faster and better.  Just get it all out.  Editing can be done later.  Many people get stuck writing the same paragraph over and over and over, fiddling with words and sentences.  This will stall your creativity.  It's really important for you to get it all out before your analytical brain takes over.  Your analytical side will stifle your creative side, so you really need to write and write and write while creativity is flowing.  Afterward, go back and edit.  And then edit some more.  First fix the plot.  Then add sensory details, then character.  You can play with it all you want.  You should spend 30% of your time writing the piece, and then afterwards, about 70% of your time editing.  I promise you will write faster and better if you follow this rule!  Good luck!

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Family/Book Update

I just had to share what a great photographer my 15 year old daughter is turning out to be.  She took these pictures of her sister in our backyard amongst our field of daisies.  I'm so proud of her!

Also an update on my new humor book:  I just got word from the publisher that it will be out in March.  So I will keep you posted on the details as I get them!  I hope you're having an awesome summer and having lots of fun and funny times with your loved ones!

Monday, July 28, 2014

Best Teen Parenting Book Ever!


In regards to family ups and downs, which most of my readers are interested in, I have to share my enthusiasm for Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish.  I just finished reading, "How to talk so TEENS will listen and listen so TEENS will talk", and it is the best book ever!  If I could buy this for every parent of teenagers I would.  If you read this book your life will be MUCH easier.   These are the methods I use on my teens and they are the ONLY things that work, along with the 5 languages of love.  I know because I've tried it all.  Hope it helps with your teens too!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

How to Start your Novel


I just read this great article  on this awesome website and thought I'd share it!  It's great advice about conflict versus world building!  Read other posts too on this website.  They're really good!  This website also will send you daily writing prompts to practice.  It's a great tool for getting better at writing!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Moments That Matter Most

Loved this video about focusing on your family in life!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Self Editing Tips


I finally have some time in between vacations this summer to post!!  I wanted to talk a little bit about self editing tips I have learned over the years.  Self editing can be problematic because once you've stared at your work over and over for weeks and months, you tend to lose objectivity.  I've learned some methods, however, that help you read with objectivity, even if it is your tenth time editing!

1. Read out loud.  This is the best tip I use.  I always find things I've missed, even if I'm reading out loud for the second or third time.  Grammatical errors, pacing, awkward sentences, character and plot inconsistancies are all easier to catch this way.

2. Read the manuscript backwards chapter by chapter.  This is especially helpful for catching grammatical stuff and awkward writing.

3. Put your scenes and sequences on sticky notes and stick them up on the wall in order to check your structure and pacing.  

4. Wait a week or two before picking it up to edit.  This also is the best advice ever.  Once you've had some distance from the manuscript you'll be surprised what pops out at you.

These are the self-editing tips I use all the time.  But after you do all these, it's STILL very important to let other people read your work.  There are things that they will notice that will be very valuable to you as you craft your story.  You need the opinions of others to produce the highest quality product.

Hope you all are having a great summer!

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

My Favorite Humor Writing Book

I can't remember if I've posted this before, but I have a favorite book on writing humor that I refer to over and over. It really taught me all I know about putting humor into my books. The funny thing is....writing humor is actually not fun and games.  It's quite a lot of work using a lot of different tricks. It is definitely something you can learn. You don't have to be naturally "funny" to put humor into your books. I REALLY enjoy humor, but I'm not that witty when I'm talking to people. I just happen to know a lot of tricks that make people laugh when I write...and you can find out about them too. They are all in this book, called, "Comedy Writing Secrets," by Mel Helitzer.

I hope you enjoy this book as much as I did! 

Monday, July 07, 2014

Kid Humor

Ha ha ha!  I love kids!


Thursday, July 03, 2014

Ahhh! Vacation!


We're on vacation for the 4th!  Check back next Monday for more fun!  Hope your family has a happy 4th of July!!

Wednesday, July 02, 2014

Guest Author Humor Essay

Today I'd like to welcome author, Rebecca Jamison, to this blog about many random author thoughts.  Rebecca has written THREE awesome novels called, "Persuasion:  a Latter Day Tale", "Emma: A Latter Day Tale," and "Sense and Sensiblitiy: A Latter Day Tale".    Her website is, if you want to check her books out and read her blog.   I am so excited to have her here!

Just for Life on the Funny Farm, Rebecca has composed a humorous family essay about her own family life that I wanted to share with you!   Here it is:  Enjoy!

Homework and the Child Abuse Hotline
By Rebecca H. Jamison

My son, Owen*, wasn’t much for doing homework. Every afternoon after school, I’d sit with him, coaching him through the hour-long ordeal. I tried setting timers, giving rewards, and withholding privileges. Nothing seemed to help, but I stuck with it. For three long years—from first through third grade—Owen completed every homework assignment.

I knew Owen was smart enough to do the work on his own. What I didn’t know was that his mind was occupied in a much grander scheme—a way to get out of the homework hassle altogether. Everything clicked for him one fateful day when a police officer visited his school to talk about child abuse and said these magic words, “If an adult ever does anything that makes you feel uncomfortable, call the child abuse hotline.” He then handed Owen a little pamphlet with the hotline number.

That afternoon, Owen came home with a gleam in his eye and the pamphlet in his fist. When I asked him to sit down with me for homework time, he quoted the police officer, “Officer Murphy said that if you do anything that makes me feel uncomfortable, I should call the child abuse hotline.”

“He didn’t mean homework,” I responded.

“Officer Murphy said that if my parents did anything to make me feel uncomfortable, I should call,” Owen said. “The way you force me to do my homework makes me uncomfortable.”

This tactic wouldn’t have worked on most parents, but Owen knew my shameful history. I had already been accused of abusing him. It all had to do with his sister drawing a fake purple birthmark on his bottom (because, you know, every child should have a birthmark.) Someone thought the “birthmark” was a bruise and called child protective services. The officer had cleared me immediately, but I still lived in fear of another report.

So we had a long, psychology-based discussion about how my son felt about homework. I concluded that maybe I was being too hard on him. “Okay,” I said. “I’ll try to be nicer about it.” Because of our long discussion, my son got very little homework done that day.

The next day went about the same. My son wanted to discuss how homework made him so uncomfortable, and I found myself wishing there was some sort of parent-abuse hotline I could call to report Officer Murphy.

A week later, I still hadn’t convinced Owen that making him do his homework was simply good parenting, not abuse. “You know what, Owen,” I said, going out on a limb. “Why don’t you call the child abuse hotline and ask them whether making you do your homework is abusive?”

Owen’s eyes grew wide. “I lost the number.”

Without much effort, I found the pamphlet in a drawer. “It’s right here. Just call and ask them whether making you do homework is abusive. I really want to know.”

I handed him the pamphlet. He didn’t move.

“Here,” I said, picking up the phone for him. “I’ll dial for you.”

Before I got three numbers punched in, my son grabbed the phone from me. “Don’t make me call them, Mom.”

I paused, watching my son. Trying to be as sensitive as possible, I asked, “You mean calling the child abuse hotline makes you feel . . .uncomfortable?”

“Yes,” he answered.

“Well,” I responded, “I wouldn’t want you to do anything that makes you feel uncomfortable.” I hung up the phone. “Get to work on your homework.”

Owen sat down, pencil in hand, and did his homework without argument. Thanks to Officer Murphy, I’d found a solution to the homework dilemma.

*Name changed to protect the not-so-innocent.

Monday, June 30, 2014


Oh my goodness, I usually don't like to laugh at other people's expense.....but this one really had me chuckling!  The poor man!

(source: original 106 FM)

Friday, June 27, 2014

Favorite Pins Friday

I'm in a rush and only have time to post one writing pin, but it's a great one!  All kinds of FREE DOWNLOADABLE SOFTWARE for writers!  Check it out here!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Author Interview with C. David Belt

C. David Belt is the author of a paranormal series called, "The Children of Lilith.  

We are so excited that he took time out of his busy schedule for an interview!!

Welcome, David. What made you start writing?

Thank you, Kersten!  

What made me start writing?  The voices in my head, of course!  (One of them just happens to be a 270 year-old Scottish penitent vampire who lives in Salt Lake City.)  Seriously, though, I get an image in my mind—a tableau, if you will—that won’t let me go until I turn it into a story.  Story ideas can haunt me for years.  The image that inspired “The Children of Lilith” possessed me for a decade before I finally gave voice to it.  My current work-in-progress has been tickling my brain since I first read “King Lear” in high school.  

How long have you been writing? When did you sell your first book?

I’ve been writing short stories most of my life and some (really awful) poetry.  When I was a twelve, I remember writing a dreadful werewolf story of which I was particularly proud at the time.  I didn’t start my first novel until 2009.  I finished that one about a year later.  It took another year before it was published.  The first copy sold almost immediately.

How do you decide what topics to write about? 

I write whatever’s screaming loudest to escape my noggin.  I love stories of redemption, selfless bravery, and the courage to stand firm in the face of evil.  Stories of personal sacrifice and pure love make me weep like mom at a missionary farewell.  

How do you research your topics?

I’m a member of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.  If I need an expert on just about any subject, chances are I know one.  We’ve got doctors (of various specialties), lawyers, rocket scientists, criminal psychologists, professors of ancient scripture, Greek, Latin, and Hebrew.  We’ve got people who are fluent in just about any language spoken on Earth.  We’ve got engineers, nurses, pilots, sailors, soldiers, and homemakers.  I once needed to research details about intubation during emergency surgery.  All I had to do was wait for Thursday night’s rehearsal.  I needed to understand the mind of a serial rapist.  We’ve got an expert on that in the Choir, believe it or not!  I also do a ton of research online.  I do hands-on research.  A variety of swords are featured prominently in “The Children of Lilith,” so I had the perfect excuse to expand my sword collection.  “Honestly, sweetheart, I NEED that German bastard sword so I can write about it accurately in my latest novel!”  (Truth to tell, that works more often than you might think.  I have a wonderfully indulgent wife, at least when it comes to swords and armor!)  

What type of writing schedule do you have? 

Mostly, I start writing at 11:00 PM after the family goes to bed.  About 2:00 AM, I look up, notice the time, reluctantly acknowledge that snoring in my office at work the in the morning might not be the best idea, and slink off to bed.  I also take my laptop with me and write anytime and anyplace I can find a free moment.  I even put the manuscript on my Kindle and take it into the Choir loft at the Tabernacle or the Conference Center and write there if I can find a free moment.   

How do you handle life interruptions?  

Decades ago, as a B-52 pilot in the USAF, I developed the ability to refocus quickly after a distraction.  When you’re flying at more than 400 MPH at 200 feet off the ground (in a jet with a 192 foot wingspan) through mountainous terrain at night, you must always snap back to the task at hand… that or die.  Handle the interruption, take a deep breath, and get back to work.  

What have you always dreamed of writing, but haven't yet? 

Something that will actually be sold at Deseret Book.  For some unfathomable reason, they don’t carry LDS horror… yet.

What one thing do you like most about writing? Least?   

The most?  It is that unexpected moment of pure delight when a character speaks up in my head and says something like, “I would nae ever say such a thing, laddie.  Here’s what I’d say…”  

The least?  Writing action scenes!  I’d much rather write dialogue (especially if the character is dictating it to me).  And action/fight sequences in zero-G are the WORST!

What is your next project? 

I have two projects in the works: one, a standalone science fiction novel with a main character who is LDS, and the other, non-fiction.

“Time’s Plague” borrows themes and character names for Shakespeare’s “King Lear” and is set roughly a century and a half in the future. It starts out on a penal colony on Callisto (one of the moons of Jupiter). The story centers on Edgar, an innocent man, who has been sentenced for life (there can be no parole and no escape from the Hades Penal Colony) for a murder he did not commit. He was framed by his ex-wife, his best friend/business partner, and the cargomaster on the interplanetary freighter that he captained. The prison has no warden and is ruled by the prisoners, all of whom are male. The only non-prisoner is an android doctor who resides in the infirmary, separated from the prison by a secure airlock.  Hades is literally a hellish place populated by murderers and rapists—the worst of the worst. New prisoners and supplies are dropped from orbit and no ship ever lands on Callisto… that is, until a shuttle crash-lands. There is only one survivor—Edgar’s ex-wife, the one person in the universe he hates more than any other. No woman can survive on Callisto. Edgar has to figure out a way to get her off-world and protect her from the other inmates.  And he wants to know WHY she conspired to condemn him to hell.  

I’ve finished the first draft of an untitled non-fiction book on “the whole armour of God”, using the Roman imagery that Paul and his audience would have been familiar with at the time.  I still need to do a reference pass to provide sources for the information I present, and we need to do the photo shoot.  All the photos in the book will be of my son wearing the armor of a Roman officer.  (Yes, I do own all the weapons and armor.)

What is your advice for other writers?  

Be honest.  Don’t cheat.  Do your homework.  Research.  Research.  Research.  Get feedback early and often.  (I get feedback after every chapter.)  And above all, tell the story that YOU want to tell, regardless of whether you think anyone else will like it. 

Thank you so much for that interview David!  I love your advice about getting feedback on every chapter!!  David's website is Here, if you'd like to check out his vampire series!!!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014


This picture made me laugh...because my teenagers get so mad at me for doing this!


Monday, June 23, 2014

My Favorite Recipe Book


You may have been wondering why I never post any fast recipes anymore.  Probably not, but I'm going to tell you anyway because it's going to CHANGE YOUR LIFE!!

The reason I haven't been posting fast recipes for the busy writer and mother is because I no longer NEED them.  Because I found the greatest recipe book on earth. (That may be the humorist exaggeration taking over in me, but it's how I feel.)  The book is called, Slow Cooker Revolution, by America's Test Kitchen.

I do not exaggerate when I say I cook out of this every day.  It is full of slow cooker recipes that do not look and taste like mush at the end of the day.  They use real ingredients and the spices they use give it amazing flavor.  My kids LOVE everything I have made from this book, as does my husband.  No, this is not an infomercial, this is just a mother saying to all of you people like me who struggle to get dinner on when we are so busy parenting and writing;  this will solve your problem!

I just put it on in the morning and go.  One less thing to worry about....and there are tons of recipes for every taste, which is why I can cook out of it every day.  I hope it helps your family as much as it helped mine!

Happy writing!  You'll have much more time to do it now!