Friday, March 30, 2012


I just read that sitting is bad for your health. Amazing! Who knew?
Problem is that writers tend to sit while working at the computer. AND, this sitting, whether sitting to be creative, or sitting to watch television (or sitting to sleep) can increase obesity, diabetes, cancer—and cause early death.


Talk about a major threat to the whole writing profession!

What can we do? Well, according to an article by Elizabeth Pope, the answer is right there in the closet—not as in “coming out of the closet,” but more like—taking the vacuum, or broom out of the closet, and getting to work. Take a five (5) minute break each hour. Stand up. Look at housework as your [free] opportunity to prevent disease—your disease—and start vacuuming, sweeping, dusting, washing windows. It’s a lot cheaper than a visit to the doctor.

There is no longer a need to plead, “writer’s block” in order to get a break. Now we can plead, “writer’s break” and take a run around the block.

Get to it. Your doctor will thank you. So will your loving family.


Friday, March 23, 2012


Unbroken Connection, by Angela Morrison, is book two in a three-book series. I reviewed book one, Taken By Storm, last year.

Book two: Unbroken Connection. Michael has moved half way across the world, is studying to take his Captian's liscence, gives scuba diving lessons to tourists, and emails Leesie almost every day. In other words, he moved away, but he didn't move on. Michael rekindled his relationship with Leesie after meeting her briefly before the book starts.
Leesie is at BYU living her dream, except that she can't hardly look at another guy. She loves Michael. But, her rule is still the same, she won't get married until she can marry in the Mormon temple. She is delighted when Michael ends up with a couple of month's free time because of a scuba diving mishap, and Leesie finally strikes a deal with him: she will take scuba diving lessons—something that terrifies her—Michael will have the missionaries over and listen to them.
This trilogy is written through a series of email chats, poems, and dive logs, and it seems like an unlikely format for a gripping novel, and yet it works. Michael and Leesie, and their star-crossed romace got under my skin in a similar manner as Bella and Edward. In otherwords, Morrison develops the characters well.
The missionaries were jerks, so Leesie sympathises when Michael doesn't fulfill his part of the bargain. But, when he returns to work, pictures of Michael with a sexy native girl surface on the Internet. One picture shows him kissing her, and Leesie's insecurities confront her head-on. She doesn't believe that Michael could love her when he has a native beauty in his arms.
Although Michael denies any wrongdoing, she cuts all ties with him and tries to move on. When her missionary, Jaron, comes home, he forces his way into her life, says he loves her, and says they’re engaged, her family hopes she finally has.

It's when Leesie and her brother, Phil, are on their way home from BYU that tragedy hits her life. She feels evil, and fallen. Gone is her dream of making it to heaven, and she can't bear to look at her mom or dad.
Before she wakes from her injuries, Michael is there, holding her hand, convincing her that he's real and that he loves her and always has. Jaron rushes to the hospital to comfort her, but it isn’t Jaron that she needs. Michael is her only salvation, and at her insistance, he whisks her away from her family, her friends, and anyone who might learn the truth.
This book was engaging from start to finish with little plot twists to keep me guessing what would happen next. Now I can’t wait to read book three, Cayman Summer.
To learn more about Angela Morrison or to order her books, go to:

Friday, March 16, 2012


Welcome, welcome, blogging world. Today I’ve got Valerie Steimle, multi-published author and all around great gal. [Whispers over shoulder, “she doesn’t know what’s coming. Moah-ha-ha.”

Tina: Valerie, Val, now that you’re comfortable in the hot seat—you are comfortable, aren’t you?

Valerie: I’m fine. [Perspiration beads on her forehead.]

Tina: Before you melt, tell us your favorite bit of writing advice.

Valerie: Every writer should find time to write every day in some way so you can practice, practice, practice.

Tina: I wrote my grocery list today—does that count?

Valerie: Um? How long is it?

Tina: Never mind, darling. Tell us what you like to do in your spare time.

Valerie: Reading, baking or gardening.

Tina: My, my, precious—you are wordy aren’t you. It’s all good though, because I see the method behind your madness—grow the vegetables, read the recipes, then cook ‘m up. Can I come over for dinner? I hope you’re a good cook. [you guess it, I’m starved]

Tina: What do you do when you’re feeling stumped? (This is my delicate way for asking about writer’s block.)

Valerie: I play with a slinky while I stare at the screen or go for a bike ride.

Tina: What a daredevil! And coordinated! I’m sure I wouldn’t be able to play with a slinky while riding a bike. I need both hands to keep me rolling.

Tina: What do you snack on when you write?

Valerie: Trail mix.

Tina: [makes a face] All I’ve ever found on the trails in AZ is rabbit pellets and Javelina droppings—I’d never mix it together and make a snack out of it. Not even with mesquite beans. I’d never be that hungry. [Whispers into the blackness, “This is going well. Not. She rides a bike while playing with a slinky, and she eats trail mix—ug!] Turns back to Valerie and smiles. So, tell me about your books.

Valerie: I’ve published four.

Tina: Oh, we’ve got a bonafide show off in our midst. [fingers drumming table] Don’t keep it a secret—What is it that you’ve published, then?

Valerie: My first book, Home is Where the Heart Is, is non-fiction.

Tina: whispers, and my head, and my feet, and my stomach. [growl] Oh, was that me? [smiles sheepishly]

Valerie: [scowls] My other books are: Home Is Where The Learning Is: Homeschool Lifestyles from Homeschool Moms; Of One Heart: Being Single In The LDS World; Dog, Blogs and Hobbits: Writings from a Widow’s Perspective—they’re all non-fiction.

Tina: Well, okay. I guess we can go to your blog, or somewhere, to find out what they’re about. [shrugs shoulders] Did you publish traditionally, or did you go Indie?

Valerie: I decided to independently publish my books for several reasons. 1. No publisher would accept what I wrote. It was too cliché, and most publishers thought it would not sell, so I did it myself and have found a very nice market. 2. I do not have to give up the rights of what I write. I have full control.

Tina: [Turns and looks sideways at Valerie] Your favorite flavor of ice cream?

Valerie: [leans over table; stares me in the eye.] Chocolate chip mint

Tina: Your favorite writer’s memory?

Valerie: When readers gush over my books. It’s so much fun.

Tina: I can only imagine. [drums table] No. Really. I can only imagine. So, let’s move on. What’s your favorite way to get the word out about your books?

Valerie: Word of mouth is my personal favorite, but also online in blog events and positive book reviews.

Tina: Do you have another book in your future?

Valerie: I do! I have a WIP, and I’m hoping for a 2012 publication.

Tina: Well, okay. (Showoff.) I guess you write more than grocery lists. What’s the name of this new book?

Valerie: A Funny Thing Happened On the Way to the Synagogue: A Conversion Story—From Judaism to Mormonism.

I was baptized when I was almost ten, and my parents told us to keep it a secret. We lived a double life for eight years before the rest of the family found out.

Tina: I only need one more thing before heading out the door for a scoop of ice cream—pistachio nut. Creamy green goodness speckled with salty pistachios. [mmmm. Eyes close, and a wistful sigh is heard]

Valerie: Tina?


Valerie: Oh, well. To purchase one of my books and to learn more about me, go to my blog or my website:

Friday, March 2, 2012


I say in the clouds because I came home on cloud nine--me and about a hundred others. I promise that the results of my attending the ANWA writer's conference were similar to other's.
I did not get an agent interested in my fairy story, but that's okay. My asking about it was last minute. I like the story, but it's a cross-genre type of tale and agents have a tendency to shy away from that sort of thing.

What I did do is put myself out there. I talked to agents and editors. Not to try and sell them on my book, but perhaps just to get them thinking about me in a possitive way. Having no pressure to "sell" was a freeing experience. "Hi, I'm Tina. What kinds of things are you interested in?"

At other conferences, the pressure to "sell" myself or my book paralyzed me. I could barely breathe let alone carry on a conversation. This time I introduced my sister and my friends, and also had time to share a bit about myself and my writing.

It was an intense two and a half days of learning the craft of writing and self promotion, and stealing moments here and there to go write an inspired thought or two. From sunup to sundown we were living and breathing our writing dreams.

And, BTW--I WON FIRST PLACE IN THE ROMANCE CATEGORY OF THE BOB (BEGINNING OF BOOK) CONTEST!!!!! Funny, because that particular entry was sent in as an after thought.

The conference was life-changing in more ways that just my winning a contest, however. I plan on this being a year of changes. And it all started with my going to a writer's conference.

Way to work on your dreams, Tina! Good job!
See you next week. (figuratively speaking, of course.)