Slayers three update

Eldest daughter got me this dragon for Christmas to use as writing inspiration. Perhaps that is why the dragon seems a lot nicer in Slayers: Playing With Fire. Isn’t this little beastie just sooo cute? Anyway, the novel is at the copy editors now. I’m hoping to have the book available as an ebook sometime in June.dragon

Bad souvenirs

I don’t know who came up with the tradition of buying souvenirs for family members. (Probably someone who didn’t get to go on a trip, and said, “I’ll forgive you for not taking me, but you’ll have to buy me a T-shirt and decorative mug.” Anyway, when I went on a Mediterranean cruise last month, I had five offspring to shop for. Five.

At first I thought, “No problem. I can shop. I’ve been doing it my whole life.” But it was harder than I thought, and that was because there were so very many bad souvenirs around. It was hard to find any good ones.

Case in point: Rome and Greece. What does the cradle of civilization have to offer? greek shopShops full of  little pale naked statues. Also scowling heads of long dead senators. I’m talking entire store walls. There must be a thriving industry somewhere of sweatshops turning out miniature armless statues and busts of angry men. I mean, I appreciate history as much as the next person–but whose decor matches with these? I’m thinking of all my friends’ houses, and nope, I can’t picture one of these fitting in anywhere.

If your taste runs to the racy, you can also find some interesting fresco reproductions involving acts that would get you arrested in real life.Stock up on those.

Also popular in Turkey and neighboring countries: evil eye jewelry.evil eye jewlery cropped It’s not just a fashion  statement, it’s multiple evil eyes, ready to ward off bad luck, or just, you know, creep you out.

For young history buffs, this looks like a great book . . .of course the content might be very different depending on what day they chose to depict. (Run, children, run!)pompeii book

Then we went to Venice, hands down one of the most beautiful cities in the world (even though I watched Casino Royale, that Bond movie where a building in Venice sinks into the water and I kept having panicky flashbacks of that scene.) Who wouldn’t love to receive one of these beauties? cat puppetWhat says: Wish you could be here better than a cat puppet dressed in Renaissance clothes? And I saw these in more than one store.

I consider myself an eccentric cat lady, and even I shook my head and said, “No. Just no.”

I was despairing of ever finding anything that was classy for my children, and then we went to the Vatican. Problem solved. Who doesn’t want Pope memorabilia?pope stuff

Or Pope dishes! pope dishes cropped(Really, I’m sure the Pope is a lovely man, but real people shouldn’t have their faces on plates–not Elvis or Scarlett O’hara or the Pope.)

This was perhaps my favorite, though. priest calendarA calendar of hot priests. I was so tempted to buy it. I bet Mr. October is divine.

(Why no, I’ve never worried about being struck down by lightning. Why do you ask?)


Last but not least, here is a souvenir that I actually did buy: a Pompeii t-shirt, because I’d run out of clothes and washing them on the cruise ship was way overpriced. pompeii shirtThis man may seem to be screaming in horror as he sees a Volcano destroy his city. I mean, that’s totally what I thought was happening in this picture.

But no, this is actually an image of a statue that they found in Pompeii, which means that this horrified screaming guy was actually just foreshadowing that the Pompeii-istas really should have paid attention to. And now it is my t-shirt. Ah, how I love travel.


Booksigning in Provo, Sat May 7

Hey Utah peeps, I’m teaching at the LDStorymakers conference which means that I”ll be at the mega-signing on Saturday, May 7 at 5:00

We’ll be at the Utah Valley Convention Center in Provo, Utah (next to the Provo Marriott).

I would love to see you there! Seriously, stop by and say hi.

See you there!

What would your statue look like?

I’ve been out of the country for the last two weeks. (But if you’re a burglar looking to break into my house, you’re out of luck. I left my children, all of whom are well armed and in a bad mood since they didn’t get to come. Just saying.) Anyway, I’ve seen a lot of statues. If you donated a lot of money to the church in Dublin, they put a statue of you in the cathedral. Ditto for citizens of Ephesus–except your statue was along the road. It’s made me wonder what my statue would look like, had I lived back then and been rich.

I like this guy’s shoes. I mean, he was clearly not only rich, he had style. cropped statue 1 small

This guy must have been one of those philosopher types who was busy thinking great thoughts, or he was a bird watcher, one of the two.cropped statue 3 small





I’m not sure whether this next guy is calling someone specific to repentance or maybe just hailing a cab–see, those are the sorts of things the little plaques should tell you.cropped statue 2 small

Here is a statue of one of the vestal virgins in Rome. Not only did they get their own house, they got their own statue too. Which would have been cool. I guess having five children would have prevented me from having a statue at this place . . .cropped statue 5 small






The last statue is the one I most relate to. Yeah, this is probably what my statue would look like.cropped statue 4 small

You find inspiration everywhere

Here in Ireland getting my writing battery recharged. It’s so nice to laugh and commiserate. I’m surprised how many writing reminders I’ve seen here.

Always good advice. (Dublina tower)

mind your head












Okay universe, I know, I know, I need to work on Slayers . . . (Christ Church)

dragon slayer










Work is always the great reality . . . (The Writer’s museum, Dublin Ireland)


work is the great reality

Why my house will never be chic

I appreciate a well decorated house. I really do. But here’s what happens when I try home

  1. I consider that my wooden kitchen chairs are fifteen years old and I’m even older, so it would be awesome if I bought some comfortable chair cushions.
  2. I search five different internet sites that sell cushions. I find some that are darling, but would require I repaint the house and buy new curtains, and possibly new painting too. Sadly, I dismiss those cushions.
  3. I find some that might work, but I’m not too sure. Maybe they’re too casual.
  4. I consider that buying new cushions would cost about three hundred dollars. Sheesh. For that price, I probably could just find cushioned chairs on Craigslist.
  5. I go to Craigslist and do indeed find some cushioned dining room chairs, but would they match? How would I know if they’re comfortable? I would have to drive an hour to see them and then it would be awkward if I didn’t buy them . . .
  6. I decide that maybe I just need new chairs.
  7. I look online at a couple of furniture stores and find some I like but they’re 150.00 each. (Uncushioned) Do I want to spend 900.00 for new chairs?
  8. I consider repainting my chairs.
  9. I go to youtube and watch videos about chalk painting. Do I have the time for this? I have lots of books to write. And what if they didn’t turn out cute?
  10. And I still have to buy seat cushions to make them softer.
  11. I decide that this is all too overwhelming, so instead I hope a decorating fairy–or one of those nice people on remodeling shows–will magically stop by my house and fix my problems.
  12. Until then I have a tacky regular pillow on my kitchen chair.

Repeat for just about any home improvement item

Can you come up with a better line?

I’m in the never-ending process of editing. Which, par for the course, was supposed to be done two weeks ago. Sigh. Anyway, one of the things on the editing list is a rework (probably) of one of the jokes. Two beta readers mentioned that they didn’t think it was funny. (Although when I showed it to my humor writing friend, Susan Curtis–who is hilarious–she thought it was fine. So maybe you just have to have a quirky sense of humor. I don’t know. Humor is hard to judge because it’s so subjective.) I’m putting it out there to you all. In this scene, Bess and Ryker have picked up Tori in the van and brought her to the rest of the Slayers who have just boarded a plane.


“I told you Bess wouldn’t crash the van,” Willow said to Rosa. “They’re all in one piece.”

Ryker dropped into a seat behind them. “We would have been here faster if Bess had let me drive.”

Bess sent him a patient smile. “You’re not allowed to drive the van again until you understand the difference between the beltway and a Nascar racetrack.”

“I understand the difference,” he said with mock offense. “One has more traffic to get around.”

Rosa shook her head at him. She was petite with pretty, doll-like features and dark brown hair that hung loose at her shoulders. She was also the gentlest of the group and had the habit of worrying about the rest of them. “You know,” she said directing her gaze to Ryker, “you won’t be much help to the rest of us if you’re in a body cast.”

Willow nodded in agreement. “And if you do something stupid that puts you in one, I’ll be the first to sign your cast.” She made the shape of name tag on her chest. “Hello, my name is: Can’t-Be-Trusted-With-Four-Wheel-Drive.”

Willow was Ryker’s cousin and had no problem ribbing him. Which, Tori decided, partially made up for the way the rest of the girls acted all deferential and flirty around him.


Okay, Janette here again. The lines that my beta readers didn’t like were: I’ll be the first to sign your cast.” She made the shape of name tag on her chest. “Hello, my name is: Can’t-Be-Trusted-With-Four-Wheel-Drive.”

One beta reader suggested either:  “You won’t be much help to us in a body cast, although it may improve your looks.” Or something about how she’s not going to be the one to fetch him things if he gets in a cast.

Angela Fox, who hasn’t beta read the book, but whom is naturally snarky so I asked if she could think of a better line, said, “But if you end up in a body cast, we can use you as a battering ram. Hey, finally a team player!”

So readers, any of those? Something different? Cast your vote or make a comment.


Ten Things Published Authors Won’t Tell You

  1. writing-923882_960_720We don’t live glamorous lives. Sure, there are those handful of celebrity authors who are going to their movie premiers and live in mansions. That’s not life for the other 99.99%. Most writers either have another job to support themselves or a spouse who contributes greatly to the income. Although surveys differ on the average author income, they all seem to agree that it is well below the poverty level. (Somewhere between 1,000-6,000 a year.)
  2. Bad reviews hurt our feelings. Many authors don’t even read their reviews because they can read ten glowing reviews, but the one cruel review will ruin their day. Writing that book was our best effort. We put our heart and soul into it. How can it not feel personal when someone criticizes our writing–or almost as bad, our story or characters? That’s not to say that every negative review leaves us in tears. Some we pass around to other authors and laugh about. Others we shrug off because we know not everyone has the same taste. And some we even listen to and use to improve our writing in the next book. (I’m planning to rewrite a novella and turn it into a full length novel because so many reviewers said they felt it was too short.)
  3. Our villains, yeah, those are frequently based on real people. If you’re a jerk to a writer, you may very well end up in a book being viciously decapitated. So don’t say you haven’t been warned.
  4. That cover you didn’t like–we didn’t like it either. In traditional publishing, the author has no say about what the marketing department puts on the cover. Some we love, some we hate. The publishers don’t care what we think. This is also why the cover doesn’t always match the story. (I reminded the publisher for Slayers that my main character had brown hair, and the cover model they were using was blonde. They told me blonde hair looked better against the dark background.) Likewise, picture book authors don’t usually get to choose their illustrator.
  5. Publishers censor our writing. Publishing is a business, and although editors often would love to let us write whatever we feel is artistic, true to the story, or meaningful, they always have to think about what will sell. I’ve known authors who were pressured to put more sex in their stories, and other authors who were told to steer clear of sensitive subjects like abortion. I’ve been asked to take out mentions of religion in several of my books. (In a time-travel book, I said something about people in the Middle Ages being Catholic. It had to go.) Political correctness is alive and well in traditional publishing.
  6. We feel like our characters are real people too. Readers will often comment that they’ve connected with our characters. We feel that way ten-fold. We’ve been living with and talking to these people for months or maybe years. I once met a guy named Scott, and I started to tell him, “I have a friend named Scott,” and then I realized I didn’t. I had a character named Scott who’d I’d made up and pretended was my friend.
  7. We love being with other writers. Writers are our tribe, and there will always be a special bond with those who’ve felt the thrill of creating an unexpected plot twist–and the aggravation of realizing you just wrote a week with eight days. There are exceptions, but most authors want to help their fellow writers succeed.That said, we may not have time to critique aspiring authors’ novels, even though we wish we did. We write books in addition to all of our other daily tasks, and so most of us are busy people.
  8. Most authors don’t have their first book published, or their second, or their third. We write a lot of manuscripts that publishers reject before they buy a book from us. And having a book deal doesn’t guarantee that the next book we write will be published. We worry a lot about our sales numbers. So if we come off as pushy when we’re trying to market our books, well, that’s why.
  9. We want to quit. A lot. Writing is a hard business and one in which most authors only see minimal success. We get a lot of rejection from agents, editors, and readers. Sometimes writing feels like you’re constantly singing in concert halls in which no one comes to hear you except your mother.
  10. We love writing anyway. There’s something magical about creating stories, and that magic keeps drawing us back to the computer. We laugh when our character does something clever, and we can’t wait to share our latest offering to our readers.There’s a saying, “If you want to know if you’re really a writer, try and quit.” Most of us just can’t quit.

Win an audio book of My Fairly Dangerous Godmother

I have to say, the narrator did an excellent job. I laughed a few times when I was approving the files–and trust me, authors don’t laugh at a book they’ve already gone over a dozen times.

Leave a comment to tell me what you’d ask for from a fairy godmother, and I’ll choose three winners.

Or if you’d rather not wait and want to buy it on audible, here’s the link: best book ever