28 February 2014


At the elementary where I work there was a reading competition for the kids. The class I work in was one of the winning classes and the kids were really excited. Their prize was they got to watch a movie . . . I am not even going to go there.

Now that the student competition is over, the teachers decided to have a reading competition. We were split into groups and our reading minutes are going to be averaged. It seems that everyone in my group has mentioned at one point "I'm glad you are a reader because you can make up what I don't." Considering more than half of our team has said this I am not sure that we are going to do very well. I guess it all depends on if the other teams are feeling the same way.

One of my coworkers asked me how come I have so much time to read. I told them it was because reading is a priority for me. I make time to read. Granted there are probably other things that might be better for me, but I feed my family every day, clean the house (the house is cleaner since Tech moved in, more on that later), and work part time. I teach piano lessons one night a week. Teach cub scouts one night a week. Attend religious meetings at least once a week. I also attend a writing group twice a month and whatever else happens to pop up. I also now help with homework and studying almost every night. (No wonder I have been sleeping well.) For me, reading is a necessity. It is me time. It is what relaxes me.

For me, reading is my reward for doing what I should be doing. Every night after Tech goes to bed I reward myself with a good book.

I don't know if we will win (I have over 1,100 reading minutes this week), but I love an extra excuse to dive into my books. Now excuse me, I have been lax in my reading duty today. I have to help my team.

(Oh, and a few minutes ago, I entered a short story in the contest my friend told me about. I don't know if it is what they were really looking for or not. Writing a hard science fiction piece in 500-600 words was dang hard. I wrote three stories and then ended up tweaking one I wrote over two years ago. Go fig.)

25 February 2014

Atrophied Muscles

Yesterday at work my friend told me of a great writing opportunity. She is really excited for me and really thinks I could win if I enter. The contest ends on Friday. The more she told me the more I realized that this would be a nice break for me. It is a hard science fiction story between 500-600 words.

The only problem is . . . I haven't written a short story in months. My time has been split so many ways I just haven't done it. I sat down with the intention of writing the first draft last night. As of this morning I have under 200 words that I am not even sure I like.

I am the first one to preach that coming up with ideas is a skill. It looks like I just need to use the "Writing Excuses" BICHOK approach. "Butt in chair, hands on keyboard." So enough with the blog. Time to go back to the story. I will be submitting something and I only have three days left.

21 February 2014

I Don't Know

Tech started school on Tuesday. That morning Moose and I were in the office doing the finishing touches. The secretaries were helpful. They are great ladies. Since Tech has gym he needed a gym uniform.

"What's his size?" One asked as she looked through the box of uniforms.

"I don't know?"

She glanced up at me. "Small or medium?"

I shrugged "I don't know. I've never bought clothes for him."

That got a raised eyebrow. They finally just had him hold them up and told him if they didn't fit to bring them back and change them out for something that would. A little while later while filling out more paperwork she asked if he was in the system.

"Yes. He moved in with us on Saturday."

That got a smile and I no longer looked like a completely ignorant mother.

Oh the story fodder I am already accumulating.

20 February 2014

Relatively Easy

This last week I embarked on a new journey. I am now a mother. I did not wait nine months and do not spend sleepless nights trying to cajole a child into sleep only to wake a few hours later to begin the process again. No. My husband and I are now the parents of a lively12-year-old boy. This boy, Tech, is smart, cheerful, and eager to please. We are excited to have him in our home.

As a new mother, every day I am learning something new about myself. I am learning that I actually clean more now that I have Tech here. I am also learning that I am bothered by things I never thought about.

I first noticed this particular peeve when I started working at the school. Some kids do well in school. Kids like me. For us, it seemed that traditional schooling was designed with us in mind. For others, like my husband, school is the best torture that could be devised to torment their every moment. Working in a first grade class the kids are proud of their accomplishments. They like to share with others their accomplishments. These phrases often include the words “It is easy.” As the year has continued that phrase has increasingly bothered me.

I don’t want this post to be a statement of the obvious (reference the title). But rather I think that this phrase is just as harmful to the person saying it as it is to the people who are hearing it. I have come to understand that just as kids are quick to say “This is easy. I can do that.” They are just as quick, or even quicker to say “This is hard. I can’t do it.”

Maybe you are expecting some remark here about how I have come to help the children work through these difficult times and uplift them. Nope. Maybe in a year or two I will have insight as to how to help children with this. For now, Moose and I sit up at night to devise ways to trick, cajole, plead, and reward Tech into doing what he should be doing. Tech is one that has had few intellectual challenges due to his situation. As I talk to my friends they just nod and welcome me to motherhood.

I just hope as a mother I can teach him that he can do hard things. And eventually I hope that I can do it without the tricks, cajoling, pleading, or additional rewards.

19 February 2014



While fighting over who had to have the bookmark on their pillow, the bookmark slipped between the headboard and the mattress. When the husband and wife finished reading the wife makes the husband look for the bookmark.

Husband, looking under the bed: I can't find it.

Wife: I am sure it fell.

Husband: Maybe.

Wife: You know there is a black hole under the bed. I stuff things under there all the time and it always remains clean.

Husband: It's not a black hole.

Wife: Are you sure?

Husband: Yeah. Kitty sells the stuff she finds under the bed on Ebay.


15 February 2014

LTUE 2014

I know it has been some time since I have written. My family life is changing, in a very good way, and it has taken up the free time I've had. I am hoping things will be more stable, though not calmer, in the next week or two.

This weekend I attended the LTUE Symposium in Provo. This is my favorite conference. Once again my awesome dad and I presented a research paper and lo and behold people other than our family and friends came to it. I even had people stopping me in the hall later that day telling me that we did a good job.

What I really want to get to, while I have a minute to sit in front of the computer, is a particular experience I had. I was able to sit on several panels and offer advice. The people on the panels have an opportunity to promote themselves. I don't have a book out yet but my friend, who is with the same publisher, does. I would tell people I have a book coming out but while they wait for mine they should read this other awesome book and then I would hold up my friend's book and put it in front of me. On one panel, the person sitting next to me told that I shouldn't do that. I asked why. She said because it wasn't my book and people might think it was mine. I just thought it was kind of odd that she didn't think I was doing the right thing.

I really don't know if I helped out my friend. I really don't know if I helped myself in the long run. But truthfully, I don't think I did anything to hurt me. I just found it interesting that another author didn't think I should be promoting someone else's book.

By the way . . . While you wait for my AWESOME Urban Science Fiction "Future of Lies" you should read my AWESOME Friend's Book "The Plague Legacy: Acquisitions." It is available on Amazon or from Fox Hollow Publications.

My Amazon Review:
I know Christine and had the chance to be a Beta reader for this particular novel. The first time I read it I thought, "This is a good story." When I read the final draft I sat back on my heels and said "Wow. Crap. Now I have to wait for the next one."

Acquisitions takes place in our future. A virus has decimated the world and the the survivors are put into two categories, Mutants and Immunes. The story follows a teen-age boy who learns that he doesn't fit into either category. As a No-Code he has to fight for his survival more than the others. No-codes aren't suppose to exist and therefore they are killed ASAP.

This book is an apocalyptic sci-fi. There is potential for dystopic, but at this point it is really more about the survivors trying to clean up the mess. I think it would be great for any teenager who is into Hunger Games, Maze Runner, Divergent or any of those type of books. Christine brings the characters to life and makes you care about them. We aren't just cheering for Cam we are cheering for all the characters. We don't want them just to survive but we want to see them actually get a chance at a life without violence or fear. There isn't anything in the books that I would consider inappropriate language, physical, or violence wise. All-in-all it is a well written book and I am ready to pound the door to get the next one as soon as I can.