Tuesday, June 18, 2013

So I Married an Editor

It all began rather innocently. He took me to a bookstore on our first date. Then he lured me in with his shelf of classic novels. We joked about James Thurber and Jane Austen. He understood me in a way most men didn't. Of course, I married him. I'm very blessed. His editing skills have provided a good income for our family, and it's great to get his advice about the technicalities of writing. There are times, however, when his editorial impulses try my patience. Here's what you should expect if you're going to marry an editor.

My husband has a way of editing my words in his brain so they mean what he wants to hear instead of what I meant. Case in point: one day in the fall, I asked him to "please take care of the leaves in the front yard." I came home later to find he'd chopped down our dying maple tree, the tree I'd been trying to save. This was his explanation: "You asked me to take care of the leaves in the front yard. When I chopped down the tree, I got rid of half of them."

Another drawback is that sometimes editors just can't stop editing. Take the birth of our last child. While my husband should have been photographing our newborn baby, he got distracted by the hospital footprint certificate. There was a mistake on it, and he could not rest until someone knew about it. When he finally took the picture of our baby, wouldn't you know, he included the offending document in the picture?

If you're going to marry an editor, be prepared to have every printed document covered with editing marks. This includes, but is not limited to birthday cards, your grandma's Christmas letter, your child's 100% spelling test, motivational quotes, and wedding invitations from your best friend. And just because you think it's error-free doesn't mean there isn't an extra space, a missing em dash, or--Heaven forbid!--an error in capitalization. That's my man, making the world a better place, one semi-colon at a time.

I have to confess that he's rubbing off on me too. There's a sign in our neighborhood that says, "Sale Your Home." Every time I see it, I itch for a sharpie. How about you? Any editing impulses?

Thursday, June 13, 2013

YouTube: Professional or Fun?

Before I became an author, I never thought I'd post a video on YouTube. Now, I have my own "channel." I guess it's the teenage spirit inside me who thinks it's fun to play around with Windows Movie Maker. I really have no other excuse. I've even heard it's a bad idea to make video book trailers because they don't always look professional. That should have discouraged me, I know. But my husband, a former film major, declared that my video is "sort of okay." So now it's out there. Have at it.

This time around, I asked my brother Randy Latimer for help with the music. He's a very talented musician, who plays with the group 40 thieves. They play Irish-inspired rock and are a popular group in the DC area. Randy is the fiddler for the group, but he also plays piano, drums, guitar, etc. The music he made for the trailer sounds a little bit country. Here's Randy playing with his band. He's on the left:

I got this picture from the Washington Post.

I won't tell you how he recorded it . . . unless you ask. Or maybe you can guess.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Which is the Real Cover? Cover Reveal

There are two different covers floating around the internet for Emma: A Latter-day Tale. Here's the right one:

(Have you seen enough Emmas on my blog yet?) Here's the wrong one:

***Okay, a little update here: The publisher did a little magic, so all the old covers on the internet are now the new covers. The old cover used to have brown straight hair. Sorry you can't see it anymore.***The second cover is the one my publisher used for the Advanced Review Copies. Emma's hair wasn't red enough in this version, so the designer made some changes. 

Jane Austen doesn't ever mention the color of Emma's hair, only that her eyes were hazel. When I started writing Emma, I chose to make her hair red because I didn't want people to confuse her with Emma Smith, the most familiar Emma in LDS culture. However, the more I got to know her, the more her red hair seemed to suit her. She's the type of person who stands out whether she wants to or not.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Writing about Breast Cancer

My mom got breast cancer during my first year of college. While my mom had surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation, I was 2000 miles away. My mom is now a twenty-year survivor. My roommate's sister, whose cancer returned the same year, did not survive.

Since that time, I've had many friends and relatives who've had breast cancer. One of my friends was Anita. We were the same age and had daughters the same age. Though she passed away when we were both in our early thirties, I have learned so much from her. I'm thankful that Jolyn Brown has let me share the story of our friendship in her book, A Circle of Sisters. Isn't the cover so pretty? I love roses (at least I think they're roses. Tell me what they are if you know.)

Anyway, it'd probably be a violation of copyright to share the story I share in the book, so I'll share something I didn't already write about. As a young mom, I often felt exhausted and overwhelmed. The sleepless nights, frequent illnesses, potty messes, and fighting were sometimes too much to take. But having a friend who was dying gave me a lot of perspective. When I felt like whining about the crazy world of parenting, I'd think of how my friend would do anything to be as healthy as I was and to know she'd be around as her children grew.

Life is a gift. I'm grateful to be here, being a part of my crazy family world. I'm grateful for friends. Each one of you teaches me something.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Emma's coaching tips

My version of Emma is a life coach. I thought it'd be fun to give you a sneak peak at some of her coaching wisdom. Here are four of her tips from my upcoming book:

Now that I'm reading through these, I see that I've chosen the quirkiest tips. Yeah, I have a weird sense of humor. And, in case you're wondering, I created these on picmonkey.com, my new favorite photo editing place. No more photoshop for me! Have you tried picmonkey yet?

Saturday, June 1, 2013

My Summer Bucket List

My kids have big plans for this summer. Me? Not so much. So, I'm coming up with my own big plans. While my daughter's going to Europe with her grandma, I'll be trying out recipes from the countries they visit. While my boys are at camp, I'll be having my own personal Shakespeare festival at home with dvds from the library. Here's the rest of my list:

Write! (I'm working on my version of Sense and Sensibility.)

Drive with Luke and help him get his license.

Have an Eagle court of honor

Swim Lessons for the little kids

Work on merit badges for my 11-year-old. 
(The fitness merit badge always whips me into shape.)

Help 13-year-old get going on his Eagle project

Take teenagers down to the church employment office and help them apply for jobs.

Hike Donut falls (because I still haven't done it.)

Do the library summer reading program.

What are your plans for this summer?