Quote of the Day -5/5/09

"I became insane, with long intervals of horrible sanity."
— Edgar Allan Poe

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Who's on Facebook & Twitter?

I've done a better job staying in touch with my 2nd WIFYR group than my first one. A few of us convinced several in the group to join Twitter. It's been fun and educational for me to keep tabs on their lives, but mostly it's been motivational. Since this group has withered a bit, I was wondering if perhaps you folks have moved on to Facebook and Twitter.

Here's my contact info. Please post yours in a comment. Let's try to stay in touch.

http://twitter.com/DouglasCootey - My creative stream and the one I recommend you follow. My writing centric stream. Low traffic.
http://twitter.com/SplinteredMind - A blog stream full of all the kinetic links and thoughts of my world. For some reason 820 people follow it. Mental health & politics color this stream considerably.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Go Brandon!

Wow! Our teacher from two years ago has knocked Dan Brown off the number one spot on the best-seller list! Of course Mr. Sanderson is benefiting from the reputation of Robert Jordan, but I still think it's really cool.


Monday, October 19, 2009

Creative Writing Exercise to Get Your Week Going

I'm launching a new creative writing feature on my blog called 'Musing Mondays. Nothing too time consuming. I post a picture I found or took & then I ask a question about it. I could use your input, even if you contribute just a silly paragraph. It'd be a great way to touch base with some of you again and hear from your wonderful minds. Thanks!

Douglas Cootey
☆ @DouglasCootey on Twitter
A Splintered Mind

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Finished Another Book

While I was waiting to hear back on the rewrite of Earthcrosser, I drafted an entire new novel, 67,000 words long.

They told me publishing moves slow.

At the workshop I had a few words with Martha. She said I could call her if it got to be too long before I heard from her. At the time I thought - no way am I ever calling a real editor from New York on the telephone! I'm way too chicken! Three months later. . . it's getting tempting.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Summer Time

Summer time! Writing season! I always get more writing done in the summer than during the school year. Sure, the kids are all here, but they play with each other and leave me alone. During school I have PTA, volunteering in classrooms, and a bored pre-schooler to contend with.

What's your writing season?

Friday, June 12, 2009

So Long WIFYR 2009

It was great to see lots of you again at the workshop this year! I found I really missed the comraderie of being in a morning class. Next year I'll sign up earlier. And I'll have a new book done, I hope.

So what was the most interesting thing you learned this year? I think I learned that if you want to win the daily writing contest you had to write something about Carol and Cheri.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Warbreaker Release Party

Sanderson Sensei's new book is coming out the week of WIFYR! We should all go crash the release party on Tuesday evening June 9th at the BYU Bookstore.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Reunion Lunch

Hey everyone!

Shall those of us who will be in Provo get together for lunch one of the days of this year's WIFYR? I'd like to see everyone again.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009


I just had to share with you guys my awesome news. I recently attended the LDStorymakers Conference where they hold a first chapter contest every year. I entered the story I wrote for our class last year, Newtimber, and I won the GRAND PRIZE! How cool is that?

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

When's the Book Coming Out?

When was Dene's book coming out?

Monday, April 13, 2009

So When Do You Write?

One of the breakout sessions at WIFYR this year is called "How to finish a novel when you can't even finish the laundry" or something like that. That is so me. I am going to that one.

Exactly one year ago I started blocking out time to write every day. I did it because Elder Faust said in his talk at General Conference that women should set aside time to develop their talents. Before that I guiltily snatched time here and there, and occasionally gave in to bouts of binge writing. These days I write between lunch and when the older children get home from school. I still have one child at home, so I use my writing time to expose him to high art, like "Blue's Big Musical Movie" and "Kiki's Delivery Service." I consider my writing time "going to work" and I give it the same priority I would give a part-time job.

Friday, April 10, 2009

I Woke Up to the Absurdity of it All

Yesterday I woke up to the absurdity of it all. I sprang up from my afternoon nap with the firm conviction that I can't do it. I can't write a book. Those shiny, plastic covered things with words inside that I pick up from the library every few weeks - I can't make one of those! What was I thinking?

"You don't have to make one of those. The publisher will make it. You just supply the words." My husband tried to encourage me.

"But I can't supply the words! What was I thinking?" People like me don't write books.

People like me take their kids to the park and sit on a bench and watch to make sure they don't get kidnapped or climb up the outside of the playground equipment and fall off and break a bone or beat up the smaller kids or play with the drinking fountain and get their clothes soaked when it is windy and sixty degrees outside. Well, I did let them play with the drinking fountain. I felt too despondent to intervene unless it was a life-or-limb-threatening situation. When one of my major life goals suddenly seems like an utter sham I don't care what the kids do so long as it doesn't cause permanent damage.

Gradually, watching the older ones fly kites and the younger ones roll down the grassy hill softened me up enough to laugh with them. We went home and built a fire in our new fire-pit in the back yard, toasted hot dogs and marshmallows, and then I sat out by the dying coals with a book in my hand.

This morning I woke up and knew what to do. Before my nap yesterday I'd been re-writing chapter ten and had taken a wrong turn. One of the characters had done something completely contrary to his personality that threw a wrench in the rest of the plot. Easily fixed, now that I realize what the problem was. I'm back to work!

Friday, April 3, 2009

I Just Couldn't Stand It

I told myself and told myself I couldn't make it to WIFYR this year. My kids would still be in school, I thought. Then I looked at the calendar and realized that NO THEY ARE NOT!!!! I CAN GO!!!

Husband laid off from work - short on $ - signed up for afternoons only. See you there!

Thursday, April 2, 2009


I am so happy! People are posting here again! Hooray!

It has almost been a year. I wonder how everyone is doing. I'd like to e-mail everyone and see what they're up to!

Monday, March 30, 2009

Writing Motivation

So what tools do you guys use to get yourself to write? Or, more specifically, to stop dilly dallying and move closer to publication?

Is it the money? The fame? The fear of ridicule from your peers who know that you've been working on that "silly" novel for months on end?

For me, I have a novel written, two half-written, three other novels to start, and one that I just started today. I need help. So I've decided that when I sell my first novel., I'm going to buy myself a puppy.

It is the ULTIMATE PLAN!!!

What about you?

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Passive detailing

I'd like to ask everyone about passive detailing. What I mean is: When you read a book and it spends four or five paragraphs describing the layout of a place without mention of character, that is what I like to call passive detailing. I hate it. I am of the opinion that if one were to describe a place, one must make it more interesting than simply laying it out. I think using character reaction to their surroundings is much more interesting. Not too lengthily, because that can get boring. I guess my point is, setting is not nearly as important as plot and neither are as important as character. I just finished Lord of the Rings again, and decided that while, yes it is very prose-y, the only really great thing about it is the plot. There is waaaaaaaaaaaaayyyyyy too much passive detailing. Don't get me wrong, it is still a great story. A better example would be the Eragon series. I tried to read the third one recently and found I couldn't get past the first two chapters. I wasn't too impressed with the first two books anyway, so maybe I didn't try as hard as I should have, but those books definately have too much passive detailing. Do any other books come to mind? Or do you disagree?

I'm being somewhat negitive. Here, I'll try something else. I love fairytale retellings. I love Ella Enchanted, I love Beauty. (incedentally, these were voted the best fairytale retellings recently)
I also like Goose Girl. None of these authors are my favorite. In my opinon, the books I just listed are thier best and the only ones I would read multiple times. (no, I don't adore Shannon Hale *gasp*) I will say that Gail Carson Levine did a good job with her little fairytale books. (cinderellis and the glass hill, the fairy's mistake, ect.) Her characters are interesting and fun . That will make me love a book immediately. Beauty, by Robin McKinley (truly her best book) Is so beautiful. The whole thing is written with a rosy glow over it, and *swollowing my words* may have used lots of passive detailing, but it was so lovely, it seemed that the book was about the descriptions rather than actually telling a story. In a good way. I realize that sounds bad, but she pulled it off, and I commend her for it. I don't care much for her other books at all. I just finished reading Princess at the Midnight Ball, by Jessica Day George. It's a twelve dancing princesses story. It was good. Interesting and all. with a happy ending and no plot holes. it wasn't confusing and it was consise....ready?......here comes the part where I tell you all what I didn't like......ready?........The Lady had TWELVE PRINCESSES and I was only able to distinguish two of them from the others. They were flatter than a peice of paper. Besideing the main character, (who was very heroine-like in the way: I'm supposed to like her because she's the main character, and no other reason) There was The second oldest, Lily, who I liked, but who was mentioned five times in the book, and one of the twins, Poppy, who was fun. Maybe I'm just cynical, maybe I'm a bad reader, but I want characters to woo me into liking them. I don't want a list of qualities shoved in my face (Which, incidentally, she did when describing the soldier, literally a list) and to be expected to like them.

GAAAAA!!!! I'm being negitive again. I really did like the book. It wasn't bad.

Apparently, if you write an authors name on the internet, they can track you and read what you have to say. I'm in biiiiiiiiiiiig trouble.

Jessica Day George, I didididididid like you book. You can't blame me for having an opinon. Or for having a bad week, as I just did. Or for disliking you ending, but I mean, come on, resurrection is going wayyyy too far.

Anyway, sorry for being so negitive, I hope I didn't offend any of you. However, if I did, you can just leave me a comment telling me to slap myself with a fish, and I promise I'll do it!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Pump up our blog!

Hey guys! Guess what? It has nearly been a year since we got together and created literary magic. And this blog is still in motion. sort of. That's really great, and we should do better. I have found that I don't even check the blog every month now. I am going to change that. Vive la resistance! I am going to post something new at least once a week (hopefully). If anything, I will suggest a story, a character (whether it be fictional or non fictional), and a prop. These can either be good or bad, it matters not. I will state my opinion and I hope you will comment. If I don't get comments on the first four I try, then I'll just give up, no hard feelings. I just want to pump us up, thats all. I think it's really great to have a blog where I can talk to other aspiring authors, AND PUBLISHED AUTHORS (I can't wait to go to a book store and casually tell my friend 'Iknow her, and dang this lady and I are tight like sprite') You all had great stuff, so of course it'll be published. So, participate if you will and if you dare. I'm feeling devilishly enthused, so you might not get rid of me if you give me any encouragement.
Right here I'd like to pause and pay homage to cookies. Girl scout cookies, specifically. I'd like to kiss whoever had the idea to make these deliciouse bits of heaven and share with us lowly commoners. Kiss them on the mouth. Unless it's a woman. Then a firm handshake seems in order.
If I ever use the term 'kiss them on the mouth' again, slap me. That sounds so gross.
Anyway, my point of writing that was to convince you to support your local girl scouts and taste heaven, for it may just inspire the greatest love scene of your life, whether or not there is a good looking cookie maker involved.
How are you all doing on your stories? Anything exciting happening? I just had another explosion, so I'm good on my quota.
I hope that you'll all join in on this revamp of our only form of communication.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Rebecca's Recommended Reads

Hi Everyone!

Looking for a good book? I've launched a book review blog for YA, MG, chapter books and picture books. I'll be posting short and snappy reviews of both recently published books and old favorites every week, so drop by often.


I'd also like YOUR recommendations for titles I can add to my ever-growing list of reviews. See you there!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Some good news for Laura

Just got news that my bug book has been picked as a Junior Library Guild sort-of book of the month for July and it's not even out yet. My editor says I should be very excited. The Junior Library Guild has been around since the 1920s and chooses what they consider the best books of the year and then sells them to school libraries and municipal libraries all over the USA. Some other authors I know say that my publisher will then need to increase the number of books printed to accommodate the increased number of sales, which is way cool. In accordance with my editor's instructions, I am excited.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Stacy Whitman

Stacy Whitman is holding a writer's workshop March 21 at the Provo Library. I think the time is 1-4p, but I can't remember exactly. It's $40/person, but if you sign up in a group of 5 or more, it's only $30 per person. I'm attending -- is anyone else interested?

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Life, The Universe, and Everything Symposium at BYU

This is a bit of a late notice, but anyone who can 'drop everything' and attend, there is the Life, The Universe and Everything Symposium going on today through Saturday at BYU.
This is a free event, and they have some fabulous presenters this year, including Brandon Sanderson, Tracy and Laura Hickman, Brandon Mull and Dave Wolverton.

More info can be found here: http://ltue.byu.edu/2009Home.html
including the schedule: http://ltue.byu.edu/2009schedule.html

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Blogger on Petronella

I hope you aren't tired of me--I googled my book and found that a blogger (Chasing Ray), who is a book reviewer for Booklist and others, checked out the Houghton Mifflin catalog and chose my book as one of the books she is looking forward to. She says,

The Entomological Tales of Augustus T. Percival: Petronella Saves Nearly Everyone by Dene Low, illus by Jen Corace. Okay, the tagline "a mysterious and lively romp through Edwardian England in 1903" caught my eye as well as the charmingly retro cover but this description - this description is one of the best I've seen ever: "You would think Petronella’s sixteenth birthday would be cause for celebration. After all, fashionable friends are arriving at her country estate near London, teas are being served, and her coming out party promises to be a resplendent affair. Everything is falling nicely into place, until, suddenly—it isn’t. For Petronella discovers that her guardian, Uncle Augustus T. Percival, has developed a most unVictorian compulsion: He must eat bugs. Worse still, because he is her guardian, Uncle Augustus is to attend her soiree and his current state will most definitely be an embarrassment.
During the festivities, when Petronella would much rather be sharing pleasantries with handsome Lord James Sinclair (swoon), important guests are disappearing, kidnapping notes are appearing, many of the clues are insects, and Uncle Augustus is surreptitiously devouring evidence. It’s more than one sixteen-year-old girl should have to deal with. But, truth be told, there is far more yet to come . . ."

That is not a description that can be resisted, no way, no how.

So you can see why I'm excited.

Friday, January 16, 2009

My book is now in the Houghton Mifflin catalog

It gave me the shivers to open the mail and find the newest Houghton Mifflin catalog for spring and see my book with a full page ad right smack in the middle. I can hardly wait for the June release. Remember, it is coming out under the nom de plume of Dene Low. The title, as we all went over, is Petronella Saves Nearly Everyone and the series name is The Entomological Tales of Augustus T. Percival.

As for my other writing, I haven't worked on the sequel in the last few months because I'm trying to finish an academic book. I just spent a week on the indexing and have another week to go on it. Ugh. Can't wait to get back to the creative writing.

Monday, January 12, 2009

And the Editor Says . . .

She asked for a re-write! That's what I'd hoped for. And she gave me suggestions! That's incredibly helpful. Number one, now I know what she's looking for, and number two, I completely agreed with everything she said! That's a good sign.

So, back to work!