Monday, August 31, 2015

Now what are you reading? Writing? Editing? Watching? and Listening to?

Some of you may remember this feature from this post. And from that one other post when I did this that I can't find because . . . laziness.

Speaking of laziness, I feel like this is sort of a cop-out post because I'm too busy to write something real. Sorry, guys. Maybe I'll write you a real blog post after I finish my book (see below). But also it's not a cop-out because I genuinely have great answers to all of these questions right now.

So. Here we go.

1. I am reading The Glass Sentence by S. E. Grove. I found this book at Dolly's in Park City on Saturday.  I wasn't planning to buy anything, but I got sucked in by the premise. It's so cool! A world where every geographic area is in a different time period? There's something so Miyazaki-crossed-with-Phillip-Pullman about that. I just couldn't resist. And so far it's living up to the premise quite nicely. I'm not quite as instantly in love with Sophie Tims as I was with Lyra Belacqua, but I definitely want to know what happens to her.

I don't normally buy books without reading them first, but this one was only $10 and I like supporting independent bookstores. When you think about it, that's about the same price as a movie ticket and it'll take me longer to read this than it would've taken me to see a movie, so even if I only read it once and then give it to someone else, it's probably still worth it.

2. In case you missed all of my posts on social media lately, I am writing Time to Share. Sorry if that's been annoying, by the way. But I'm really grateful for the little bursts of support you guys have been giving me. All in all, I feel like it's going quite well. I think I'll finish in a week or so. Maybe a little longer. But I'm on the downhill slope now and I feel like I'm gaining momentum, or at least getting into the groove of it.

(Click here if you want to preorder it.)

3. I'm going to fudge this one. Instead of talking about what I'm editing (test questions for a healthcare management test at work), I'm going to tell you about a book I'm reading that hasn't come out yet. It's called That Girl Darcy  and I'm reading it so I can endorse it. I freaking love it, guys. It's Pride and Prejudice, but it's a gender reversal, so Lizzie is Elliot, a semi-nerdy skater boy whose cousin Jake (not Jane) looks like an Abercrombie model and is super nice. He's falling for this bubbly blonde. Meanwhile Elliot is trying to write for the school paper, but Christian de Burgh the editor and school president, has it out for Elliot, even though Christian's assistant Colbie Collins has a major crush on Elliot. But he's crushing on this super cute girl Gabby Whitney. And then there's Darcy. She's an enigma. She thinks "skateboarders" are lame. And all she and Elliot do is argue over their shared desk in advanced English.

Guys, I really can't do this book justice. I just wanted you to know about it because it's been rocking my week. I'll keep you posted when I figure out its release date and all that jazz.

4. What am I watching? Well . . . if your name is Kevin and you're my editor, then nothing. I have been dutifully writing my book with no breaks.

But in reality, the fourth season of Once Upon a Time got added to Netflix last week, and I'm weak, okay? I know I should be writing. But I forgot how addictive that show is. It's excellent for binge watching because it always ends in a cliffhanger. In fact, I've taken to watching until the middle of an episode and stopping right before the twist. There's usually a mid-point where everything is going pretty well and my attention starts to lag. I've found out from anguished experience that that mid-point is a much better stopping point than the end of an episode.

It's kind of ridiculous because it's really not high-quality television. Honestly, it takes no mental effort whatsoever to watch this. The dialogue is often clunky. The plots are formulaic. (Obviously. They're based on fairy tales. It doesn't get more formulaic than that.) Plus you get the general sense that the writers have at best a tenuous hold on their world and its rules. At any given moment, they may decide to bend some established principle for mere convenience. I'm just saying, I've definitely seen better. But for whatever reason, I still enjoy it. So something must be working for them.

5. What am I listening to? This week's song is The Wolf by Mumford and Sons.

I have this thing where when I'm writing, I like to listen to stuff on repeat. Like those ten hour long videos on youtube? Those are my fave. Sadly, there is no 10-hour version of this song, so I just have to keep hitting repeat manually.

But it's worth it.

There is, however, an hour-long version of this song, which was my fave a couple of weeks ago.

And before that it was Girls Like You.

All of these are great for listening to over and over and over again when you're writing. You know, in case you are just as crazy as I am and you need songs like that for your writing sessions.

And speaking of writing, I should get back to it.

Stay tuned for some exciting announcements about upcoming author events like Comic Con. (Who's excited?) I've also got a couple other signings in the works, so I'll post about them once I know what the actual plans are.

Monday, August 17, 2015

What do people think of 1, 2, 3 with Nephi and Me?

Funny you should ask. As it happens, we're nearly at the end of a blog tour for this book! That means I can bring you lots of completely unbiased opinions in addition to my completely biased opinion. :)

Here's what a few reviewers have said so far. (Click on their blogs for a full review.)

From Reidhead Randomness:
Board books are the BEST for wiggly little kids in Sacrament meetings!  This new book; 1,2,3 with Nephi and Me! will be your newest favorite, 'go-to' book!  The pictures are so fun as you count from 1 Liahona to 10 Jaredite kings.  The scripture references are included for each story referenced, so this book would be good for many ages.  I would love to use this in a sharing time or Family Home Evening....Read the book to the Junior Primary, and have the Senior Primary look up each reference!  That way, it is adaptable to many ages.  The illustrations are darling!  Being a board book, it will stand up to the worst chewing, drooling, and just plain enjoying.
From Inklings and Notions:
From the first time we opened this book, my toddler decided this is her new favorite book. Not only is it a fun, lyrical book that teaches counting, it also backs each number up with a verse out of the Book of Mormon. 
The illustrations are adorable! This is a new favorite at our home.
 From Little Red Reads:
This board book has been traveling in our church bag for the past three weeks and all of our children loved it. With ryhming text, vibrant illustrations and scriptural references on each page, it is a great way to teach the gospel. I love the sturdy board book format. Five thumbs up from five little readers.
From The Hand that Rocks the Cradle:
Smiles*This book was very well thought out. It was not overly simple or predictable. I even learned some new things! *Each number representation comes with scripture references for further learning and connection to the Book of Mormon.*It uses rhyming. *The illustrations are colorful and appealing.*I like the matte finish on the inside pages. 
And finally, from Wishful Endings:
1, 2, 3 with Nephi and Me! was a really cute read. All my kids enjoyed the rhyming as well as the illustrations. I liked that for some of the numbered items there was actually a list of what those items were. Some of them were pretty creative as well. For this type of book and the age it targets, I thought it was pretty much spot on with its simplicity. It's definitely a book we'll be keeping on our shelves. 

There's one last stop on the blog tour, but it won't be posted for another couple of days. In the meantime, if you've read the book and enjoyed it, you can help spread the word! I would really appreciate any reviews or feedback you want to leave online.

It shouldn't take too long for you to review, and you really have no idea how much it helps.

Here are some helpful links . . .

To leave a review on Amazon, click here:

To leave a review on Deseret Book's website, click on this link and then scroll down to the "Write a Review" button on the right.

And keep spreading the word to your friends and family too. Thanks so much for your support! It means the world to me.

Monday, August 10, 2015

What's it like in the [basement], Mickey?

First off, if you got the reference in the title of this post, we can be friends. If not, that's okay. But you should probably watch this clip to make up for it. Also, you should probably just watch it because it's awesome.

So I had a realization the other day. I mentioned to someone that I'm currently living in my grandparents' basement and from the look this person gave me, it occurred to me that basement living sounds less than optimal. Of course, no one who has actually been in my grandparents' basement has given me this look. That's because they know how nice the basement in question actually is.

To set the record straight, I am not living in some dark hole in the ground.

In fact, I'm living here:

That's my room. It used to be my dad's room when he was in high school. Look how bright and sunny it is! That's because it's got a big window looking out onto the backyard.

See my grandparents live on a hill. Well, it's more like the side of a mountain. So the backyard is a full level below the front yard. That means I don't really live in the basement. I just live downstairs. And it's a big downstairs. This is the TV room.

Note the awesome shag carpet. I love it. Not joking. I love that I can remember it being this way since I was a tiny kid. And this is the kitchen I'll be using while I'm here.

Well, the kitchen's in the background. In the foreground is a ginormous office table that used to be in the LDS Church Office Building. I still don't understand how the table got into the basement. It just appeared there around the time I was ten or eleven. But it's massive. The fact that it got inside defies all the laws of physics.

Next to the huge table is the skittles board. It's sitting on top of the xylophone, because where else would you put it?

Plus ten friendship points if you've ever actually played skittles. It's really fun.

Here's a shot of the backyard.

That white thing is the Tea House. It's a nice place to write (or blog) in the evenings.

And here's the balcony I was telling you about.

And the piano.

I'm pleased to report that I'm already getting better at the piano again. In just a few short practice sessions I've managed to level up from truly awful to only somewhat awful. Don't laugh. It's progress.

Oh, and here's the view of downtown SLC I mentioned. (Through some power lines.) I made it big so you can see better.

And now we'll head down the spiral staircase . . . (Don't worry, there are two staircases, so I don't have to use this one in the middle of the night or anything.)

And back to my room . . .

So I can show you the best part. . . . Check out this amazing wallpaper in my bathroom!

Isn't it cool?

Ladies and gentleman, this concludes our tour of my new abode.

Please take your belongings with you as you exit the train. And don't forget to wish my parents a happy anniversary on your way out. Thirty-two years today! Good job, Mom and Dad. ;)

But in all seriousness, I'm really grateful that my grandparents are letting me stay with them. I love their house, and I love being able to spend time with them. I'm really enjoying getting to know Salt Lake City and feeling like I'm settling in here. It's a great place to be, and life is good. Happy Monday!

Thursday, August 6, 2015

So how's the new job?

Hello, bloggy-type-people! I feel like I've been neglecting you all lately. I guess that's what happens when you decide to move and start a new job and buy a car all at the same time. Not to mention hanging out with my parents while they were here and, you know, trying to write a book and stuff.

Anyway, life is really good. I LOVE my car. I know I said I wanted to go car-less, and I think someday if I ever live in a big city or a really small town, I might try it again. There were some definite benefits to all that walking. And it was nice how I hardly ever spent money because it would involve getting to the store and then trying to get all the stuff I bought home. It always seemed like so much effort that it was easier to just stay home and make do with what I had.

But yeah. Cars are good. I guess they were invented for a reason.

And my new one is a lot nicer than any car I've ever owned before, which is good because hopefully I won't have to pay as much to maintain it. But it's also bad because I'm so paranoid about messing it up or getting in a wreck or something. Also, I had to get a loan to afford it, and I hate going into debt. So that just makes me feel all kinds of blech.

It's okay, though. I'll get over it. Or pay off the loan soon. I hope it's the latter.

Back to the original question. My new job is great.

In case you missed it, I'm now an assessment editor at Western Governor's University. (You can learn more about the school on their website if you're interested.)

I really like the people I'm going to be working with, and I'm already learning a ton. Basically this whole first week has been training, which when you're an editor involves a lot of reading—or at least skimming—style guides. For the non-editors out there, a style guide is pretty much like a dictionary but for really specific things that would only come up based on the kind of thing you're editing. Most places follow a bigger style guide like Chicago, APA, or AP, and then they also have their own house style guides for specific stuff or for areas where they decide to veer away from the more generalized style.

Wow. How did I just talk about style guides for an entire paragraph? Ahem. Sorry. That was probably really boring. To be honest with you, even for editors, reading style guides is pretty boring but it's very necessary so that you know what's in there and can search for it later, when you need it.

This is all to say that while I'm really liking my job so far, I'm pretty sure I'll like it even better once I work through all my training and get to start actually editing. I've only done a little bit of that so far, but what I did do was good.

Besides the work, there are other things about this job that I already love.
1. I work on the sixth floor of an office building. That means I have a nice view and I get to ride the elevator every day. Multiple times a day. I like elevators.
2. There are lots of people to meet, and I'm enjoying getting to know my new coworkers.
3. I already scored some sweet WGU swag: a polo shirt, a cup, a mouse pad, a pen, and a little notebook. Pretty awesome.
4. The benefits are nice.
5. There's a gym in our building. It's under construction right now, but it will be available sometime in the future.
6. I've been eating lunch out on the balcony, which still has the great view and is nice and quiet. And sunny. Maybe I should take some pictures of the view to show you all. If I were a good blogger, I would've done that. But sadly, I am not.
7. They have fairly flexible hours, which means I can come in at 7:00 and leave at 3:30. I haven't actually done that yet, but I've gotten close. Yesterday I came in at 7:15.
8. It's nice being close to downtown SLC. Again, I haven't actually been downtown since I moved here, but if I wanted to get there, I could pretty easily.

I do miss my old coworkers, my friends from my old ward, and living in the Hidey Hole. I miss my super short commute and riding my bike, Daphne. But I'm really enjoying living with my grandparents for now. They have a piano, so I've been practicing on it the past few days. I forgot how terrible I am at the piano. Somehow I still enjoy practicing, though. They also have a balcony with a nice view of Salt Lake City. I ate breakfast out there this morning. That was fun.

Sorry this is such a long rambly post. I'm not really sure what the point was except just to update you all on the fact that I've mostly settled into my new life and I think things are going to be great.

Shout out to everyone who helped me move, went car shopping with me, let me borrow their car, and gave me rides before I bought a car. You guys are the best! I couldn't have made it through this summer without you. Seriously. You know who you are, and you know that I love you.

Happy almost-Friday, everyone! Here's to a great weekend!