Requisit Respite

Saturday, September 29, 2012

The Next Big Thing

I have been tagged to answer ten questions about my WIP (work in progress) by Cindy Christiansen. This challenge is through the Jane Austin Fan Fiction group.

Ten Interview questions for The Next Big Thing:

Question #1: What is the working title for your book?

"Connected in Love"

Question #2: Where did the idea come from?

About 25 years ago, when my friend, the new Relief Society president, called me to take a meal to someone and my car was in the shop. I thought about writing a short story for the then contest in the "Ensign," but, alas, that never came to be. Then someone in my Book Borrowers club challenged me to write a novel, so I used this idea.

Question #3: What genre does your book fall under?

I would say Women's Fiction/Romance

Question #4: Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie?

I have no idea who would fit the descriptions. I don't visualize my characters as actors that are around. I make them up in my head and put the pieces of their appearance together. It's fun. I hope my readers (one day) will also envision them in their own way, so I don't want to give them any preconceived notions.

Question #5: What is the one-sentence synopsis for your book?

Mary Margaret O’Brien Gallagher is a new Relief Society president for a small branch in southeastern Pennsylvania who thinks she has a lazy day ahead of her, until a telephone call from a sick young mother spurs her into compassionate service mode, only to find out that another sister is in desperate need of help and counsel due to the secret life she leads. (That's the Core Conflict)
BTW, I want everyone to know that my MC was given her name in 2009 and is not a rip-off from "Once Upon a Time," whose main character is also named Mary Margaret. My MC goes by just Mary.

Question #6: Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

I pitched the idea to an editor and she wants to see the first three chapters and a query letter. I'm hoping it will be published by a publishing house.

Question #7: How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

I got three-quarters of it written in about two months, then life happened for a year or so.  I finally got back to it and have been polishing it ever since, but it just doesn't seem to end. I give the excuse that I'm a reporter, not a novelist. I've got a lot to learn--and am learning a lot.

Question #8: What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

"Twelve Sisters" by Leslie Beaton Hedley. When I read that book I put my idea away because she pretty much wrote it. Then my friends in book club said I needed to write my own story, regardless. So I am. I love that book. I have bought it and given it away at least three times.

Question #9: Who or what inspired you to write this book?

My Book Borrowers Club in PA.

Question #10: What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

Mary's car is in the shop, so she can't help her sisters. She makes frantic phone calls all morning. As she hangs up from each phone conversation, the Point of View switches to the sister she just spoke with, and that new sister’s life is shown, including her family life, conversion story, love story, and spiritual uplifting elements of membership in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

The setting is in present day southeastern Pennsylvania. The love stories and conversion stories of this handful of converts in the mission field are sub-plots, shown via flashbacks, which introduce the reader to the way converts in the mission field live with the difficulties of the vast geography of their congregation. Not many books are set outside of Utah, Idaho or Arizona.

Also, not very many books have focused on the woman’s point of view as a victim of verbal abuse, addiction and pornography, as happens in the life of one or two of the characters. This book will show that even the most seemingly perfect family has flaws and troubles unimagined.

Luckily, Mary is the comic relief as she battles with attention challenges and we see a part of her personality through dialogue that goes on in her head during each scene. Even when she is in the scene of another POV, we can imagine what she is thinking.

I wanted to write about the challenges many sisters in the church face and how they are overcoming them. Mary isn't sure if she can handle her new calling, but by the end of the book, we see her strength and know she is perfect for the job.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

It Can't Be True!?

After all my blogs about St. Cecilia's and going to Catholic School, I just got word that the church had its last Mass last Sunday.

I was totally shocked. I had no idea. I'm still flabbergasted. My brother John emailed me. He said parishoners are to go to Holy Rosary now.

I am a member of the "You Might Be From Coatesville If" Facebook page and I posted it on there and got several comments. I guess it's money and politics. There are a lot of eighty-year-olds who are mad about it, I'm sure. It's the only Catholic Church right in the heart of town. There are two or more on the West End and Holy Rosary is on the East End. I don't know what those poor old people are going to do now.

My mom said it's in a bad part of town and it's not safe to go there. She also said the school moved to Route 82 outside of town and isn't a functioning school anymore.

Before I left for Utah, I drove all around Coatesville and made picture stops at St. Cecilia's, both church and school. I hope they don't tear it down. It was built with some native green stone.

Oh, were once a wonderful town to live grow up in. St. Cecilia''s where I was baptized, received my First Holy Communion, was confirmed. I was married there, and so were my parents. My grandparents' and my father's funerals were there.

My dad was Treasurer of the Holy Name Society and used to count the money from the collection baskets after church. I used to go over to the rectory afterward to get a ride home with him. I used to fold the church bulletins for Theresa Pahira in the rectory with Mona Trace and Nancy Antol after school on Fridays.


I'm glad I took those photos.

St. Cecilia's Church in background and rectory in foreground. 2010
This is the only one I can find. I'm going to have to do some digging in other places.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

My Mish

Tim got off his mission June 20th. YAYYY!!!!
He went back to PA first and got released and gave his homecoming talk, which I heard through the grapevine was very good.
He's coming here July 12th.  I can't wait to see him. We are all abuzz with fussing and fretting and waiting and gnashing of teeth. He's going to give a talk in my ward July 15th after he gets here.

♫♪Anticipation ♫♪

That's the  Home Alone house in the Chicago suburbs, by the way.


Guess what!
A call from my writer's group went out for a new bi-weekly blogger and my fingers typed, "I'll do it!"
What have I done?
It's a commitment!
There's a deadline!

I'm writing every other Thursday, starting July 5th. I already wrote it. It's on schedule pending.

Check it out:

What have I done?

Monday, May 28, 2012

It's been so long since I blogged. It's really a good thing. I've been working on my book. I went to the LDStorymakers conference at the beginning of May, pitched to Lisa Mangum of Deseret Book and she wants three chapters and a query letter.  I have to work on that!
I'm not saying Deseret Book will publish it, but it's an LDS fiction, so some LDS publisher will have to pick it up, if any.  Better to pitch to the best, right?

After my last PT session my back went out. I did some therapy that had me pulling something from side to side. I totally forgot I can't do anything side to side because of my bulging disk problem. Yeah, it was a problem. I even missed a day of work.

So, today, on this glorious Memorial Day, sun shining, 76 degree, perfect day, I decided to do some gardening. I planted three plants and as I stretched to do something, the disk bulged again. Yuck. I'm spending this day on ice, whoozy from pain killers and muscle relaxer. I did go outside, trepidly, and sat in my anti-gravity chair and just let the sun shine on me.

I said to my son, "Why do I always have to be in pain?  What is this curse?"  Then I realized, "Hmm...I'm experiencing something that hurts more than my foot!"  Revelation!

So, before I was able to do a little planting and the side garden looks nice and the front garden reseeded itself. I have pansies and Johnny-Jump-Ups all in a row as if they were planted that way.

It actually looks better now. I don't know if I have an updated picture.

I hope all my followers don't get impatient with me for posting pictures of my garden again this year. I can't help it. I love flowers and they make me happy--and I'm all about being happy :)

I must have been in a pink/purple mood when I planted these gardens. I found that almost everything that's blooming this year is pink or purple. The miniature lilac bush is a little different from a normal lilac. The flowers are very lacy--and the perfume!!! I only had three stems in a vase and I had to move it out into the garage. The fragrance was so overwhelming. That never happens to me with a normal lilac. But I put it in the guest bathroom and that seemed to downplay the scent in the rest of the house.  But aren't they lovely?

Gotta get back on the heating pad now. I hope I can write later.

Thanks to HF for all my blessings. I am not forgetting.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

General Conference

This morning when I woke up, I prayed that the prophet and general authorities would give talks that I needed to hear. Not only that, but I prayed that, if they did, I would hear them.
It was funny to hear Elder Uchtdorf start out by telling about a letter he received from a sister who asked him to talk about something specific. Are we allowed to do that?! I'll have to try it.
However, his talk hit home with me. Let those that have ears to hear...
I just love Elder Nelson. He is one of my favorites. I love how he talked about the body and all its organs and parts. It really made me realizee how my life--my body--is a miracle. I am thankful for all my working parts.
And our prophet, Thomas S. Monson, is just so precious to me. I love his stories and that he does all the gestures. I caught his eye at one point and he seemed to be peering directly into my soul. I have choices I can make that will steer my life.
I am grateful for all the talks that were given. I wish we could have General Conference every week...or at least every month. I so look forward to it.
And when the Mormon Tabernacle Choir sang, "Oh, Thou Fount of Every Blessing," my absolute favorite hymn, tears couldn't be restrained from falling down my cheeks. I was so moved.
I look forward to the last session in a few hours.
I know I will be uplifted. I will also be sad to see it end.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Spring is Here!

Being up on a fourth floor in Murray during spring is a treat. I can look down on the west side of the valley and see ‘popcorn popping’ in all different colors on the trees in the area.

I can’t believe they are blooming this early. I started to notice all the colors coming to work on Monday.

My drive to and from work provides me time to see all the trees that bloom in Utah. Mostly everywhere are flowering pear trees with their white blossoms. Flowering plums are also prevalent with small pale pink blossoms. I’ve seen quite a few redbuds, too. That’s one of my favorites.

I haven’t seen any Japanese cherry trees around here. Maybe they don’t do well. I think I spied one weeping cherry. I think I saw a flowering crabapple tree, too, with dark pink blooms.

Until my unfortunate accident, I had big plans for my yard. There were no trees and so far I only planted one pear tree. It’s not quite blooming yet. Real estate is scarce in my small yard, so I will have to be judicious in what I choose.

I think I would like a Redbud. I love how the neon purple buds turn into big heart-shaped leaves. And they grow too tall.

I would also like to have a hydrangea tree. They grow small and compact, but I’ve seen them twenty feet in circumference in Perkasie. Beautiful. It turns from white with green tint to brownish-beige-ish in the fall. I tried to grow one in Perkasie, but there was a drought that year I planted it and it died—I thought! Apparently the roots were saved and I had lots of limbs come up and it turned into a weeping hydrangea ‘bush’ that bloomed profusely and hung over the picket fence. I loved it! I measured time by it the year I left. I said to myself, I will have to leave before my hydrangea blooms or I will want to stay. It started blooming in August, right before I left. *sigh* I can still picture it in my mind, and, thankfully, I took lots of pictures. It’s probably not even there anymore.

I also want to put a lot of butterfly bushes in my yard to attract, not only butterflies, but humming birds. They are prevalent here in the Salt Lake Valley. I can’t wait.

Unfortunately, things might have to wait this year. I don’t have a working foot to bear down on a shovel. I have scads of doctor and physical therapy bills to pay. I’d also like to get some kind of island into the kitchen. I don’t know what ‘they’ were thinking when they designed my kitchen. Everything’s in a straight line and the oven/stove and frig are far away from the sink. Having an island might help transport things, if I get one on castors.

There are still buku repairs to make. I need new doors, front and back. That will be in the $1,000’s.

I am so blessed to have my job. God is good to me. I know he watches out for me in all I do. I am his daughter and He loves me like a Father should love His children. I have seen so many tender mercies in my life since 2010. Yes, it was the worst year of my life, but out of the ashes of tragedy came the conquering phoenix.

I love Utah. I’m glad I live here. I’m having fun making friends and seeing old friends—and renewing old friendships.

I am blessed. I know it. I am thankful. I am happy. I am healthy.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Rachel Harrie's First Campaigner Challenge

Rachel Harrie's blog had a challenge to write a short story/flash fiction in 200 words or less, excluding the title. We had to begin with the words "Shadows crept across the wall."
As an additional challenge, we could do one or more of the following:
  • end the story with the words "everything faded."
  • include the word 'orange' in the story
  • write in the same genre I normally write
  • make the story 200 words exactly
I tried to do all four, but I don't have a 'usual' genre. I don't even know what genre I used. It just flowed out of me. I didn't know where I was going to go.

If you like it, please go there and see how I'm doing. I'll be in the 150 numbers, I think. That is, if I posted correctly.  If not, oh was a challenge.

It Just Happened
Shadows crept across the wall of my back yard this evening as the sun retreated slowly to the west.
I considered the day, a beautiful one to garden, with low humidity and dense white clouds to veil the bright sunshine; so unlike my former home in the east.
I had forgotten how much I loved to get my hands in loamy earth.
It had been years since I endeavored to wield a shovel.
I didn’t want the night’s coming darkness to end my gaze on climbing climatis, yellow-orange rudbeckias and crimson roses.
The move to Utah, land of towering mountains and arid climate, was perfect for me.
I rediscovered myself here after my unfortunate divorce and realized I actually like myself, I like spending time with my inner child, and, oh, I love my gardens.
I carved out a few in my small plot of land.
My land.
My house.
These things are now of one.
There is no twain; no more vows or sharing.
The more I ventured toward my new horizons, the more I acquired a semblance of place and present.
I discovered my life is new.
What was is past.
I hardly noticed when everything faded.