WPF: Boo!

First, thank you so much for sending questions. I love you all—but especially one of you who sent me a "book" of questions. I'll answer timely/urgent ones first, then answer the rest in the order they were received and/or the order I feel like answering them. So check back daily. You never know when I'll answer yours. :)

Remember a few weeks ago when our writing prompt was to describe a fantasy character using mundane details? Well, this one is similar.

Write a horror story or scene using every day items, people, props. No vampires or werewolves or other fantastical creatures, but you may use ghosts. Create the creepiness with your descriptions of common items, not with the unusual.

This is how Frankenstein by Mary Shelley was born. She, Percy Shelley, Lord Byron and some others challenged each other to write "ghost" stories. Maybe today's little challenge will spark a classic from you.

P.S. My NaNoWriMo name is LDSPublisher. Please come be my buddy.

P.P.S.: Is the NaNo site always incredibly slow? Or is it just because everyone is signing up at the last minute? I started to add Buddies and it's taking for.ev.er.


Not to Whine or Anything...

But I really need some questions to spark my posts here. I sit and think and think and think. And then I get tired of thinking and I go eat some chocolate.

PLEASE send questions.

I'm thinking of signing up for NaNoWriMo myself. Think I should?


Writing Tip Tuesday: NaNoWriMo

The most important step in writing a book is writing a book.

Seems obvious. But how many wanna-be writers never sit themselves down and actually write a book?

Lots. Most, in fact.

That's why writing groups, book-in-a-month challenges (BIAMs), and NaNoWriMo are good things to consider participating in.

NaNoWriMo happens every November and it's a fun writing challenge. If you've never heard of it, go check it out. Then come back here and let us know if you're participating. If you want writing buddies, leave your username in the comments.

And just to make this a little more exciting, I have a prize—a book (not sure which title yet)—I'll be giving away in a random drawing from everyone who lets me know they're participating in NaNoWriMo and who successfully completes the 50,000 word goal.


Starting with Dialogue

Is it true that it's amateurish to start a book with a line of dialogue? What's your opinion?

Depends on what that line of dialog is and where you go after that.

Starting a book with dialogue is difficult. On the upside, it puts you immediately into the middle of something live. On the downside, you have to then work a little harder to establish your scene, sense of place, character, etc.

Starting with dialogue is not really a right or a wrong. I've seen it done well (Ender's Game & others by Card) and I've seen it done poorly (too many to mention).

Amateurish is not so much what you do, but how you do it, like using something cliché or cheesy. (Although, Kerry Blair did it in Ghost of a Chance and I thought it was funny.) Or something that is an obvious fake-out just to grab your attention, but then doesn't follow through.

After writing this, I googled to see if I could find some examples for you and lookie here—Nathan Bransford agrees with me.

Unfortunately, I couldn't find a list of books that start with dialogue. If you know of some that do it well, list them in your comments.


Writing Prompt Friday

This was one of my favorite prompts from a writing class I took in college many years ago. I think it was because I really liked the story that came from it. Also, the teacher read it in class and praised me in front of my peers.

Hope you get a good story from this one as well.

Use the following bits of information in any way you like to create a short story: Renn (person's name), Seattle, divorce, tire iron, 3 inches.

If you post your story on your blog, feel free to leave a link in the comments section.


Writing the Synopsis

How do I format the chapter by chapter synopsis? Is it single or double spaced? Is the chapter title centered or aligned left? If I have a chapter number and title are the number and title separated by a comma? Are the two or three descriptive sentences on the next line? Do I put the same header on it as on my manuscript pages. Do I title it with the name of my book and the word synopsis? And finally, how do I make it not sound so boring? It sounds so contrived to list off the plot developments. I've tried to include the MC arc, but the emotion can't come through in a couple of lines. What is the most important part to convey in the chapter synopsis? Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

The reason for a chapter synopsis (or outline, they're similar) is to let the publisher know what happens in the book so that they don't have to read the whole thing to determine if it fits their criteria.

As an LDS publisher, I asked for a synopsis to be included with fiction submissions. It saved me a lot of time in cases when the writing was good but the message didn't fit my target readership.

For example, a YA coming of age novel. I need to know that it ends in a way that supports LDS doctrine and principles. I don't want to read 350 pages of a good book only to find that the heroine decides to shack up with her boyfriend in the last chapter. No matter how good the writing is, that wouldn't be a book that I'd accept for publication. It doesn't match my criteria.

Your synopsis doesn't have to be hugely entertaining and filled with emotion. Yes, you want it to be interesting. You don't want to put the publisher to sleep. But it won't have the same intensity of description and place and characterization as your query or manuscript. A good synopsis is short and concise, but contains the nuts and bolts of your story. I want to know the major plot points, the twists and turns, who does what, and how the story ends.

Write your synopsis in third person and present tense. You don't need a final summary or to explain what I'm supposed to "learn" from the chapter. Don't insert dialog.

If the publisher hasn't posted guidelines on how to format the synopsis, go for readability. Make it as easy to read as possible. Use the same fonts and margins as with the manuscript. Single-spaced is fine, since it's concise (1 to 3 pages).

Yes, put your info header on it like you do with the manuscript—your full name and contact info on the top left of the first page; then your last name, and title on the other pages.

You can either break it up by identifying the chapters (see below) or you can write it in simple narrative style. As long as it's written well, polished, and succinct, it will be fine.

You can read a very good article about creating your synopsis HERE.

You can read some sample narrative style synopses HERE.

I couldn't find a sample of the chapter by chapter style synopsis, so here's one I just made up. Your's will be a little more clever and catchy, but you get the idea.

Pawns Synopsis by LDS Publisher

1. The Crash
It's Halloween night and Nancy, Tami, and Karen (college roommates) are planning to attend a party with their boyfriends, Marc, David and Jonathan—all dressed as pieces on a chess board. David is late. They receive the shocking news that David has been killed in a car accident.

2. Reunion
Ten years later, Karen is working as a research assistant for O.A. Williams, famed philanthropist. Olaf is setting up a new business for his wife, who designs specialty candies. In researching trade shows, Karen discovers that Jonathan, whom she hasn't seen in ten years because they broke up the day after David's car accident, will be introducing his "chocolate books" at the Denver trade show. Curious about Jonathan, Karen rents a booth for Olaf's wife, Anna, at the show.

3. Whatever
Yada, yada, yada.

[Nobody steal this idea. I've actually got this book partially written. When it's published, you'll all know my true identity. Hah!]


The Plot Thickens by Jordan McCollum

Jordan doesn't know I'm using her as a guest blogger here today. I got up really early to write today's post and started by reading comments on yesterday's posts. So I'm referencing her stuff without notifying her because I figure she's not likely up and at her computer at 6-freaking-a.m. and I need blog content NOW!

[By the way, please send questions. I'm all out again.]

Anyway, for those of you who did not read yesterday's comments, Jordan McCollum has a 22 part series on her blog about plotting, and The Snowflake Method is just one of the ways to plot that she reviews.

This is an amazing series. Go read the whole thing—or pick your post from the index I've included below.

  1. The Plot Thickens

  2. An "Organic" Story

  3. Making it up as she went along—The Winchester Mystery Story

  4. Becoming a Story Architect

  5. A Story in Three Acts

  6. The Story Question

  7. The Five Act Story Structure

  8. The Act Structure in Action

  9. Pros and Cons of the Three Act Structure

  10. A Quick Look at the Snowflake Method

  11. A 10-Step Snowflake vs a 5-Step Snowflake: Organizing a Manuscript My Way

  12. Pros and Cons of the Snowflake Method

  13. A Quick Overview of the Hero's Journey

  14. Archetypal Characters in the Hero's Journey

  15. Applying the Hero's Journey

  16. The Hero (and Herione's) Journey—Hero's Journey in Romance

  17. Cons of the Hero's Journey

  18. Overview of Larry Brooks' Story Structure

  19. Story Structure in Action

  20. The Hero's Journey with Story Structure

  21. Setting Up the Story Question

  22. The End


Writing Tip Tuesday: The Snowflake Method

If you're having trouble getting your basic novel idea worked out and expanded, you might consider trying The Snowflake Method.

This method of writing fiction will not work for everyone, but I've had some success with it and I've talked to other writers who have liked using it.

Basically, you start with one sentence, and then expand—making it more intricate and detailed as you go.

You can find complete instructions HERE. (I am not endorsing this guy's products. This is a free info page and pretty much all you need to give The Snowflake Method a try.)

If you've tried The Snowflake Method (or decide to try it today), I'd really love to hear about your experiences.
  • Did it work for you?

  • What didn't work?

  • How did you tweak it to make it fit YOU?

  • Is there another method you like better? Why?


Book Wars! Currently playing at a Wal-Mart near you!

Did everyone see this article?

Book wars! Wal-Mart, Amazon slash costs

I'm proud to say that my first reaction was very professional: poo! poo! and double poo!

Wal-Mart and Amazon, in their fight to rule the world and having already killed a lot of the mom and pops, are going to bring down the rest of the smaller (by comparison) bookstore chains. Which, let's face it, is bad news for the consumer if you're looking for service-oriented bookstores with personality.

And bad news for authors, if you're looking for places to do book signings (which, although they may do very little for an author as far as selling books, they do a lot for helping to spread the word that they exist).

And bad news for small, niche publishers—because your books will never get a loss-leader designation. It will stay regular price.

And, IMHO, this is really bad news for the book buyer in the long-term. Even though those lower prices are tempting, eventually, you find yourself facing a monopoly which can jerk prices any which way they want.

[deep. breath.]

How will this impact the LDS market? In the short-term, since neither Wal-Mart nor Amazon carry a full line of LDS products, and since Deseret Book and Seagull carry little, if any, national titles, life will go on as it is for awhile.

But you can expect to see people wanting lower priced LDS books—which they're not going to get due to product volumes, unless publishers lower their standards yet again and do even less editing and marketing. (Bad, bad, bad idea.)

But in the long-term, things will work out. (Yes, my middle-name is Pollyanna, but that doesn't mean I'm not right.)

See, the entire publishing industry is in the midst of re-thinking everything. To survive as a small, niche publisher, we need to move away from tried and true, and toward cutting edge.

We need to start thinking digital and POD. Lower costs, lower returns, but you get to stay in business—and a serendipitous outcome could be pressure on some publishers to raise their editing and submission standards, moving the overall quality of LDS books from mediocre to superb. (Not that there aren't superb examples of LDS fiction out there; but if you line all the 2009 fiction releases in a row, IMO, we still have a lopsided bell curve that lists to average and below.)

Continuing on about digital and POD options, one quote from that news article is:
The price cuts come at a time when Amazon.com and other sellers have been charging just $9.99 for e-books, a price that publishers worry is unrealistically low.

What?? How is $9.99 unrealistically low for an e-book?

While pre- and post-production costs (editing, typesetting, design, marketing) remain the same for any book, the actual production cost for an e-book is almost nil.

If you connect your e-book to Print-On-Demand services, smaller publishers can produce books for much less of an upfront investment. Their net profits are less, of course, but so are the risks. A small publisher can make quality books available in both electronic and print forms at a reasonable price.

However, they still won't be able to compete with Wal-Mart and Amazon's loss-leader pricing strategies. With this being the case, it's even more important that LDS fiction is QUALITY fiction—and worth the price.

So what do you think?

P.S. I have an idea. And a business plan. But I don't have any money. Anybody interested?


WPF: Practicing Description and Word Choice

This writing prompt is taken from Fiction Writer's Workshop by Josip Novakovich. I really like this book because each chapter explains a concept, gives examples of it being done well, and then includes several writing exercises at the end of the chapter to help you practice the concept. I have the first edition in hardback which is now out of print, but there's a second edition available in paperback (which I am assuming is just as good).

Prompt: One page. Choose a fantasy figure--Dracula, Narcissus, Santa Claus, or one of your making--and convince us of his physical reality by using mundane details.

Objective: To learn how to "prove" the existence of fantastic characters.

Check: Have you mentioned enough real, daily stuff?--dandruff, toothpaste, a hole in the sock, bad temper, toothache, mosquito bite, bronchitis, whatever. If not, go back and do it.

So why did I pick a prompt dealing with a fantasy character? Should you do this exercise even if you hate fantasy? Yes! Because if you can make a fantasy character seem real to us, you can certainly make a human character seem real too.

If you post your story on your blog, feel free to leave a link in the comments section.

(Fiction Writer's Workshop. Josip Navakovich. Story Press, 1995. p 195)


A Suspense is a Suspense and a Romance is a Romance

In connection with yesterday's first page tip, use those first pages to firmly set the type of writing you intend your book to be.

I recently read a novel by an author I usually like. It was advertised as a suspense thriller, which I love. Chapter one started with a bit of a thrill in the form of a flashback but then it goes straight into romance mode. For eight chapters. I felt a bit cheated. It was chapter 9 before the antagonist and "thriller" part of the conflict was introduced. Somewhere around chapter five, I seriously re-read the backliner to make sure this was really going to be a suspense novel—eventually.

IMHO, that's just too long to wait before setting up the current conflict in a suspense novel. If I hadn't read and liked this author before, I'd have given up and quit reading long before chapter 9. If I'd wanted a romance, I would have bought a romance, but I bought a thriller, I wanted a thriller—and wading through nearly 90 pages of romance was ticking me off.

Now, I'm not saying you can't have romance in your thrillers. You certainly can. While not absolutely critical, mixing a developing romance in with your murder adds interest to the plot and gives the reader a little time to breathe. But if you're writing a thriller, you need to get to that story right away. It needs to be the main plot line—starting with chapter 1. Diverge to romance every other chapter or part of the chapter, but keep us on track with the suspense.

If you need some backstory and character development, that's fine but build the tension a little more in every chapter to keep us hooked and always remembering that this is a suspense novel. You don't want to lose your readers who thought they were getting one thing, but get so much of the other right at first that they never get to the good part.


Writing Tip Tuesday: The First Page

I cannot stress enough the importance of your first page, first paragraph, first sentence. It doesn't need to be perfect during your first draft. But when you go back to revise, put everything you've got into that beginning.

The beginning needs to draw the reader in, captivate them, intrigue them, grab them around the throat in a death grip and not let go! If you can hold that grip through the end of the first chapter, you've probably got a story that the reader is going to finish.

Take a look at some of the first sentences of your favorite novels. One of my favorites is:

"The early summer sky was the color of cat vomit."

Okay, I'm an adult and I was intrigued. Imagine a teenager reading this—they would be enthralled. Which is good, because it's from the very popular book, Uglies by Scott Westerfield.

Or how about this one:

"I'd never given much thought to how I would die—
though I'd had reason enough in the last few months—
but even if I had, I would not have imagined it like this."

Say what you want about Twilight, but that's a captivating opening line.

Or another of my favorites:

"Once upon a time, there was a woman who discovered
she had turned into the wrong person."

Having been there myself, I had to keep reading Anne Tyler's Back When We Were Grownups.

Want to see more cool first lines? Click HERE.

Okay, not everyone is going to be captivated by the same first line. What does it for me may draw a "meh" from you. That's okay. The point is, your first lines, paragraphs and pages need to start your target reader's heart beating a little faster.

So practice. Write some good first lines and first paragraphs. If you want, you can post them in the comments, or on your blog with a link in the comments here. Or just tell us some of your favorite first lines from books you've read recently.


WPF: Using Cliché the Write Way

I must have been looking at the wrong calendar because I forgot to post a writing prompt on Friday. Posted something else instead, which I'd intended to have post today. Ooops!

Clichés and idioms are bad, bad, bad. Most of the time. As a general rule, don't use them in your writing—especially in your narrative. It's okay to sometimes include them in dialog, because that's how people talk. But it's better to come up with something fresh and new, and not to use them at all.

Except as writing prompts, where a good cliché can go a long way. (heh)

Okay, so the prompt is:

Find a cliché or idiom that suggests a story line to you. Then write a short story or a few paragraphs using the cliche as either the title, the first line, or the ending punch line.

For example, you might start with, "It was a slip of the tongue, I promise!" or "Jason stared at me with cold, dark eyes. This was my friend. I couldn't believe it. He was going to throw me to the wolves." (Or if you're Melanie G, you could say, "...he was going to throw me to the werewolves..." :)

For lists of cliches and idioms, click HERE or HERE.

If you post your story on your blog, feel free to leave a link in the comments section.


Vampires and Werewolves and Demons, Oh My!

I have a vampire novel I'd like to submit nationally. Does it have the proverbial snowball's chance at being accepted? Or is that trend totally dead.

From a reader's viewpoint, that trend is still going strong. Just notice what books women are reading at the airport or the doctor's office. And if you check out the fantasy best sellers, at least half of them are paranormal—meaning, they deal with vampires, werewolves, demons and such.

From a publisher/agent viewpoint, the trend is done. Probably.

I say, "probably" because really there are only about a dozen or so plot lines in the world—which are constantly being recycled with a twist. A good book with a twist still has a chance at acceptance, even if the trend is on the downturn.

The questions you have to ask yourself are: 1) have all the vampire twists been used up?, and 2) does my novel provide a twist that's new, unique, and captivating?

Just off the top of my head, here are some of the unique spins put on the vampire legends that have made them feel new and fun:
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer (Joss Whedon)—a vampire with a soul.

  • Twilight Series (Stephenie Meyer)—Good, "vegetarian" vampires vs evil vampires. They glitter in the sunlight.

  • Peeps (Scott Westerfield)—vampirism is an enhancement to prepare the world for what is to come.

  • Morganville Vampires (Rachel Caine)—Vampires have taken over a town where they "sponsor" humans. A vampire illness creates a war between bad and not-so-bad vampires.

  • Sookie Stackhouse/The Southern Vampire Mysteries (Charlaine Harris)—Synthetic blood allows vampires to come out of hiding and join society, sort of.

  • Vampire Academy (Richelle Mead)—There are good, mortal vampires (Moroi) and bad, undead vampires (Strigoi).

  • Vampire Diaries (L.J. Smith)—Cain and Abel, but vampires, both in love with the same woman. They can go out in the day if they have a special ring.

  • Angel Falling Softly (Eugene Woodbury)—"LDS" vampire story. Vampirism is the result of a virus. (This book would have been much better if that had been explored more deeply.)
So, anyway, back on topic. Does your manuscript have a chance at publication? If you can create a unique spin, perhaps. Polish it fast and start submitting it. Be sure to emphasize your unique concept in your query. If no one accepts it because the trend is over, put it in a drawer and wait a few years. Most trends eventually come back around again.


Just Breathe

Covenant likes my novel and asked for specific revisions. I worked out the revisions and was very pleased with the result, then sent the mss back to them. They were excited to receive it, especially when I let them know it was part of a trilogy.

Then, two days later, I went back and re-read, finding errors, words left out (from the cutting and editing), I was horrified. I kept reading, and it cleaned up after the first few chapters. I think in my excitement I was more careful with the main body and end of the work, where most of the major cuts had been made, and hastily scanned over the beginning, which didn't need so much revision.

Here is my concern: It has been six weeks and I haven't heard from them. Since the first time around took nine months, I really don't have a time-table of expectation, but with the errors, I am anxious. I have already gone through and edited again, double checking, and have a much cleaner mss now, but do I tell them that? Do I just wait it out? Is it professional to contact them?

I have learned a valuable lesson. But I am still learning. And I can't seem to focus on anything, worrying about this... and I am usually pretty level-headed and patient. I would appreciate any advice.

While it is very important to make sure you send a clean, typo-proofed manuscript, it's not the end of the world if a few mistakes slip through.

First, take a deep breath. They know this is your first novel. They know you're going to make mistakes.

Second, e-mail your contact and request a status report. You could mention that after you sent the revisions, you found some cut and paste errors, and would they like you to send them a cleaner copy.

Last, relax already. If they like the story, they'll say, "We like the story. Fix all those typos."


Guest Post: Enjoy the Ride, Avoid the Wreck by Krista Lynne Jensen

Today's guest post comes compliments of Krista Lynne Jensen who blogs at Krista Lynne Jensen.

In her own words, Krista is, "an outdoor loving, garden-craving, cuisine enjoying mother of 4, living and loving in Wyoming."

Krista is currently working on a novel titled
The Orchard. You can read a very short excerpt HERE.

Do not put statements in the negative form.

And don't start sentences with a conjunction.

If you reread your work, you will find on rereading that a
great deal of repetition can be avoided by rereading and editing.

Never use a long word when a diminutive one will do.

Unqualified superlatives are the worst of all.

De-accession euphemisms.

If any word is improper at the end of a sentence, a linking verb is.

Avoid trendy locutions that sound flaky.

Last, but not least, avoid cliches like the plague.

~William Safire, "Great Rules of Writing"

Writing a good story, or even a great one, is a kind of train ride: an adventure, an escape, with momentum and trudged hills and breathtaking descents, worrisome ledges and delicate bridges, some stops to refuel, passengers to board, some to depart, and some to throw off. Sometimes it is sad to reach your destination, sometimes it is a relief... but then the brakes squeal with effort, there is a tremendous lurch, and you are thrown into the re-write.

The ride has been an effort of one kind, but now you must start at the beginning, and tear it apart, piece by piece, becoming a conductor instead of the engineer, making sure everyone has the proper tickets, seeing that the right compartments have been found, that safety precautions are met, that the ride is enjoyed as it is meant to be.

I found the following list of words to avoid in 10 Easy Steps To Strong Writing, by Linda George, The Writer, Jan 2004. When writing that first draft, let 'em fly... then throw 'em from the train.

a little
at the present time
began to
by means of
considering the fact that
in order to
in spite of the fact
in the event
proceeded to
owing to the fact
sort of
started to
such that

Using these words in narration draws the reader another step away from the story, pulls them out, reminds them of the author lurking behind the pages. Of course, some of these words would be used by characters in dialogue... it is, after all, language. But, find some, and try to rework the sentence, the scene, with as few as possible.

Here is an example of an edit from The Orchard.

“Naughty Jane”, Alisen whispered and smiled wryly as she opened the door and let the cat into the long, narrow mudroom. This was as far as the cat was allowed. She purred around Alisen’s legs as she opened a cupboard and scooped out some food to place in a dish, and filled the water bowl from the utility sink. She crouched down and rubbed Jane’s neck. The purring grew a little louder.

“We should have named you Motor,” Alisen observed.

Now, edited.

“Naughty Jane,” Alisen whispered and smiled wryly as she opened the door to the long, narrow mudroom, as far as the cat was allowed. Purring rose around Alisen’s legs as she scooped cat food into a dish and filled the water bowl. Alisen crouched down and rubbed Jane’s neck. The purring grew louder.

“We should have named you Motor,” Alisen observed.

There are numerous ways this could be edited, but this is the combination I chose. The editors may have other ideas.


WPF: In This One, You Are. . .

An acquaintance who attended The Book Academy last week told me that Brandon Sanderson talked about two different types of writers—the single drafter (writes from an outline; aka "left-brain" writer) and the multi-drafter, or discovery writer (sets the characters loose; aka "right-brain" writer). The multi-drafter apparently loves these writing prompts, while the single drafter does not.

So this is for the Multi-Drafters. (Single Drafters, just go work on your book.)

Spend a little time centering, turning from busyness back toward your own inner reflections. Then call up from your memory a snapshot or photograph of someone important to you. ... Usually it is a good idea to take the first one that comes to mind. ... If you feel some resistance, that may be an indication that there is a 'knot' to be unraveled. ...

When you have the picture, begin writing with these words: "In this one, you are..." (You are writing to the person in the photograph.)

(Exercise from Writing Alone and with Others by Pat Schneider, p. 36)

If you post your story on your blog, feel free to leave a link in the comments section.

P.S. If you're uncomfortable writing about someone you know and posting it on the web, then go for fiction. Do a Google image search, find a photograph that speaks to you, and go for it.


October 2009 Prize Sponsors

Last month's prize winners announced HERE.

Please take a moment to learn more about our wonderfully generous sponsors.

Shudder by Jennie Hansen

Darcy and Clare grew up as best friends, sharing trials and triumphs from preschool through college graduation. Now they’re sharing an apartment in Boise, Idaho, where Clare just landed a great job and Darcy is pursuing a teaching certificate. There’s only one problem: Blaine, Clare’s boyfriend. His chauvinistic, know-it-all ways set Darcy’s teeth on edge. Darcy vows not to let Blaine ruin her lifelong friendship with Clare, but when Blaine insists on moving in, Darcy suddenly finds herself alone. The estranged friends forge ahead on seemingly separate paths.

Engaged to Blaine, Clare becomes trapped in ugly family politics and vicious treatment from her fiancé. Darcy finds a temporary home with Karlene, an accident victim seeking live-in help, but a twisted plot soon threatens their safety. Clare’s wedding briefly reunites her with Darcy, yet the friends have never been farther apart. And when Clare finds herself in mortal peril and finally calls on Darcy to help, it might be too late.

Jennie Hansen was born in Idaho Falls, Idaho. She lived in many farming and ranching communities in Idaho and Montana. Her family moved more than 20 times as she grew up. Born the fifth of eight children, Jennie had a ready supply of playmates during her childhood. Her brothers and sisters are still among her closest friends. She married Boyd Hansen of Rexburg, Idaho, and over the next ten years they became the parents of five children. They have made their home in Utah since their marriage.

Jennie graduated from Ricks College in Idaho then continued her education at Westminster College in Salt Lake City, Utah. She has been a receptionist, a model, a Utah House page, freelance magazine writer, newspaper reporter, editor, library circulation specialist, mother and grandmother.

She has nineteen published books to her credit, three stories in compilations, and has two more books currently under contract. Her published books include: Run Away Home, Journey Home, Coming Home, When Tomorrow Comes, Macady, The River Path, Beyond, Summer Dreams, Chance Encounter, All I Hold Dear, Abandoned, Breaking Point, Some Sweet Day, Code Red, High Stakes, Wild Card, The Bracelet, The Emerald, The Topaz, and The Ruby. She is one of three contributors to The Spirit of Christmas along with Betsy Brannon Green and Michele Ashman Bell. Jennie also writes a monthly review column for Meridian Magazine.

No Going Back
by Jonathan Langford

A gay teenage Mormon growing up in western Oregon in 2003.

His straight best friend.

Their parents.

A typical LDS ward, a high-school club about tolerance for gays, and a proposed anti-gay-marriage amendment to the state constitution.

In NO GOING BACK, these elements combine in a coming-of-age story about faithfulness and friendship, temptation and redemption, tough choices and conflicting loyalties.

Jonathan Langford is a freelance informational writer and editor with over 20 years of experience, mostly in the areas of education and educational technology. His first novel, No Going Back, is published with Zarahemla Press (official release date: October 5, 2009).

Langford grew up in western Oregon, but now lives in western Wisconsin with his wife and three children. He has a BA and MA in English literature from Brigham Young University. For several years, he moderated AML-List, an email discussion group sponsored by the Association for Mormon Letters. Other interests include herbs, gardening, and science fiction/fantasy.

You can read a sample chapter of No Going Back HERE.

Click here for details on sponsoring this LDSP blog.

Click here for details on winning one of these books.