Thursday, October 1, 2009

Discount Link

Here's something that may interest you.

CFI Online Marketing to the MAX!

Here's a big announcement that even Sherilyn doesn't know about. I've just contracted with Christopher McDougall, the author of Born to Run, A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen.

He got published and landed on the bestseller list because of his online marketing. Now he's reaping the media exposure.

Christopher will be to our Online Marketing to the MAX--an added bonus. You've got to sign up today. This is the best information I can find for you. Don't let it pass you by.

Go Here:

Monday, September 28, 2009

CFI's Online Marketing to the MAX!

This is the greatest opportunity to get the straight information that I know of. Go here and sign up for CFI Authors discount.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Hi guys!

by Brittany Mangus

Here is a happy announcement from the Mangus household. :)

Monday, May 18, 2009

Attention CFI Authors

Cedar Fort Authors,

If you are interested in a new CFI team-building blogging opportunity, please email me (talleyrlAtyahooDOTcom)and let me know that you are interested.


Tuesday, April 28, 2009

When Are You Really Done With A Manuscript?

By Christine Thackeray

Recently I went to the LDS Storymakers writing conference and Julie Bellon taught a class on editing. It was fabulous. Here are the highlights.


Julie told us that the key to good editing is simply using the CLAW.
That stands for:

C - Check off basic editing checklist
L - Let someone else read it (actually, three someones)
A - Always print out a hard copy and read it
W - Walk away and leave it for a while before your final review

That's it! Then you're done. She told us to be careful not to edit our projects to death. Stop there, send it out and move on with your life.

So let me go over CLAW in a little more detail.


Checking off the basic editing checklist is made up of two parts- the copy edit and the content edit.

THE COPY EDIT includes these 10 items.
1. Don't trust spell check. Read for common spelling errors like your and you're (one of my favorites), there and their, or the and then (another I like to make.) A friend of mine never wants to conjoin "in to."
2. Check page numbers and blank pages. Sometimes hard returns don't cooperate at the end of a chapter. Flip through the file and see how the layout works on the pages.
3. Check for too many adjectives and adverbs. Adding narrative action instead of simply using an adverb or adjectve is usually a second draft activity. (Even Heather Moore does it.) You can really deepen your characters and improve your story this way.
4. Tense consistencies and verb/subject agreement. This normally shows up green in Word but really, check your green.
5. Avoid cliches. Not only in phrases and descriptions but in storylines. She calls that combo meal stories. You want to be delicious and unique.
6. Repetitive words are a huge issue for people who tend to repeat a lot of things in a repetitive way over and over.
7. We all have favorite words that really don't say anything. They are the "Um's" of writing. Some of these offenders are some, just, really, thing, that, there, one. (I read through my first book and am horrified by the really's and just's. Hey, it was really just my first book, give me a break.)
8. Too many dialogue tags or not enough. (I hate it when you get lost.)
9. Point of view changes.
10. Balance your narrative, exposition and action.

After finishing your Copy Review, you are ready to face the dreaded CONTENT review. For some reason Julie likes the number ten because there are ten of those too.

1. Show don't tell. Do a search for the words feel, feelings or felt and replace it with emotive action.
2. Keep the voice active. Passive voice adds a form of to be. See how many was's you can get rid of.
3. Point of view shifts AGAIN. It's really important NOT to head hop. (Again, a rule I broke constantly in my first book but who's counting.)
4. Chapter Hooks!!! Go to the beginning and end of each chapter and make sure you start with something great and end with a cliffhanger. If you've ever read R.L. Stein's Goosebumps, he was great at this even though he totally cheated. Okay, so don't go THAT far, but it's still worth doing.
5. Does each character have REAL motivations? Sometimes readers won't notice motivations but many writers and ALL editors do. Don't cheat and manipulate characters into behaviors they wouldn't do. In another workshop someone gave a perfect example. If you have a babysitter who needs to go in the attic, and you just have a sound up there so they go to investigate, you have an idiot as a main character and we want to throw the book across the room. If, on the other hand, she is playing hide-and-seek with the kids and she hears a sound in the attic, thinking it's a child she is watching, we are there with you and want to read on. Motivations are REALLY important.
6. Does the setting contribute to the piece? Why have you chosen the setting? Looking at the whole, would a change make it better? You aren't stapled to what you've written yet. Also, do you really describe the setting or just assume we know where you are.
7. Is the timeline consistent? I know writers who use planners or calendars to track ther timelines. Use something because this can be an HUGE mistake.
8. Does the conflict continue to increase throughout the story? Sometimes we try to end the conflict too soon and then keep on writing. Things should get worse and worse for our main character until they are almost defeated. In the end they should have to reach in their heart and find a strength they didn't know they had to finally succeed.
9. Does it have a natural flow or is it too contrived? Could this really have happened? Are there scenes you have to give up or adjust to make it believable?
10. Look through each page at your white space. Are there any pages that are too heavy? If so, add dialogue. Don't make the reader want to skip pages. We are all natural eavesdroppers so use it to your advantage.
***11. BONUS POINTER- Lean up! Cut any scenes that doesn't further the plot, reveal important character points or add intrigue. Okay, so I added this one but I know it's true because I like to go on and on, touching on tangents that impact the story in a serious way and have very little to do with it, sort of like what I'm doing right now.


Now, if this seems like a lot to you, don't fear because the next step is easy. You get THREE other people to read it. Three is a great number, if they are the right three. You should get:
-one avid reader who loves your genre,
-one reader who is a strong technical editor and
-one who understands plot and characterization.

Almost everyone knows someone who loves to read. If you are on Good Reads, you might find a fan or you might have a friend who is a total read-a-holic. The gift of this review will probably be more general and the discussion with this person after they read your work may be more useful than what they write down in the margins. Oh, and remember to give this person a hard copy.
Your other two readers can be other writers. If you swap manuscripts, you can develop a nice pool of potential readers that will stay fresh for a long time. If you aren't willing to read other manuscripts, you may find that after a few projects, you've burnt out potential friends- so be careful. Give as much as you take.

When you get back their edits, go through each separately. This will provide three more reviews of your work. Remember, you are almost done.


With copy and content edits and the three reader's edits complete, it is time to print out the entire manuscript. No, you can't just read it off your computer. Actually spend the time and money printing the thing off, even if you have to buy a new ink cartridge. Then read it OUTLOUD. It doesn't matter that your neighbor thinks you've finally gone crazy because you're talking to yourself. You'll see things that may have worked on the page, that don't work in your mouth. Also, it's a great thing to do, if ever you get that book on tape (dream of dreams.)


Not forever. Just for a few weeks. Do something that totally takes your mind off what you've done. Start outlining a new project, clean out your garage or edit someone else's manuscript. When your brain has unraveled its tight grasp on your current project, you are ready to go over it one last time. Enjoy it. See if there is any part that bores you or doesn't sound smooth and clean. Catch the little typos you overlooked. Once you've made it through this final read, YOU ARE FINISHED!!!!

There are very few things in this world that feel better than writing those two little words - THE END. But it doesn't take long to figure out that they are really only the beginning of the editing process. Now, thanks to Julie, I finally know when THE END is really THE END.


Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Famous Family Nights by Anne Bradshaw

Be sure to add this book to your list of "must reads." It'll be available this fall. I can't wait to read it.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

My Interview with Troy Dunn of WeTV's 'The Locator'

By Brittany Mangus

Through Mormon Mommy Blogs I was given the chance to interview Troy Dunn, of WeTV's program The Locator. Troy works to reunite family members who have for various reasons been scattered and separated. Troy is also an LDS bishop.

I took this opportunity to ask him about his show, what he does and his opinions on openness in modern adoption practices. He spoke about birth mothers and gave some great advice for adoptees and adoptive parents. Check it out by clicking here!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Confessions of a Completely (In)sane Mother by Kersten campbell

by Rebecca Talley

Warning: do not read this book while drinking milk because the milk will definitely come shooting out your nose while you laugh at these stories (and who needs another mess to clean up?).

This book is filled with hilarious stories. I'm sure, I think, that Kersten Campbell isn't actually insane--though I did wonder a few times. I laughed out loud at her stories, probably because I could relate to them so well (I still think she planted a video camera at my house and recorded the antics of my family).

I read the chapter, Older but Dimmer, out loud to my kids because it starts off, "It's a proven fact that once a child turns thirteen years old, a parent's IQ score suddenly drops ten points. It's true . . . just ask them." My kids totally believe that my IQ drops at least 50 points when they become teenagers. Oh, and I become very old-fashioned, too, doing everything the old way.

I loved the chapter about the Cub Scouts tying everyone up in knots. She hit the nail on the head when she described having a den meeting with a bunch of boys.

This book is a perfect gift for any mother, even for those who have "normal" families. (I personally don't know what it's like to have a normal family).

Buy this book for your mom, grandma, mother-in-law or any other woman who needs a good laugh. Laughter is the best medicine and for me, after all the things my kids do to me, if I don't laugh, I cry.

Fun and funny book--I recommend it!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Keep up your writing as an examiner

I have found a great new way to force myself in front of the computer everyday to write. I write for and I even get paid to do it. I applied a few months ago after learning about the website through a freelance writing site. I was intrigued and sent my personal information and writing samples to be considered as the "special needs kids" examiner for Utah. They hired me and now I write four articles a week that have to do with special needs kids. Since I am the mother of a child with autism, this was the perfect fit.

I also get paid to write. It is not a lot, but I look at it as a way to keep my writing fresh, current and it gets me the "writing mode" everyday. So if you think you are an expert on anything, check it out and make sure to use my name as a referral...I get paid for that as well and as you know writers need all the help they can get! So think about it. Are you an expert knitter, crafter, snowboarder, coin collector, boy scout? Join me and feel free to email me with any questions and make sure to subscribe to my site as well to get email alerts on my latest articles on special needs kids in Utah. And don't forget, if you have an idea, event or news story you want me to cover, send the information my way!

Check it out at:

Keep your words soft and sweet...

..because you may have to eat them!

Throughout this entire grad school application process I've been considering things I’ve said in earlier years about all the places I never wanted to live. I think I put myself in a nice little box where the only way out was to eat at least some of my words. Words like: "I hate Vegas and hope I never have to move there" or "I just don't want to move very far from home" or "I refuse to live in an area that is cursed by snow" or "I cannot stand living in a place where the summer temperatures are over 100 degrees" or "I hate the desert; I want to live somewhere green."

It's also ironic that I whined long and hard about Dixie State College's previous (ridiculous) mascot, the Rebels, since I may end up at UNLV. (Just for the record, I LOVE Dixie's new mascot, the Red Storm. "Dusty" is just too cute!) (Besides, trying to decide whether students should yell "go Red Storm" or "go Red Storms" at a game should keep the English department in heated debate for the next ten years.)

But I digress. As of about an hour ago, it looks like the words I'm most likely to eat are those of "I never want to move very far from home" because we were just accepted to school in Florida. Snowless, green, and temperate though it may be, close to home it is not. But it could be worse! (It could have been Wisconsin. Seriously.)

So yes, we will be going off to school this year. It's now a question of Florida or Vegas. (Why oh why did Vegas have to be 120 miles from St. George and Tampa have to be 2,000 miles? Why not the other way around?) *poignant sigh*

Sorry. I'm a little wound up right now. I hope you all have just as wonderful of a day as I'm having! :)

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Check Out My New Website

by Rebecca Talley

I've been hard at work on a new website that I've designed for writers. I'm hoping it will answer questions for new writers and even give seasoned writers a few ideas. If you have a chance, check it out Pursue Your Writing Dream. Let me know what you think.

I've also been working hard on the first draft of my next novel. I've written 35,000 words, but I'm not sure I like any of them so I've been rewriting it. Why can't the words on the page communicate what's in my head?

I also have a tagline for my novel, A Window Opens, an LDS romance that should be available this summer. "Abandoned at the altar, Caitlyn vows to never love again. Will Travis change her mind or will it be deja vu?" What do you think? Would this make you want to read the book?

I'm excited to attend the LDStorymaker conference later this month. I can't wait to see my old friends and make new ones. I'm looking forward to all of the great classes, too. I'll even be one of the panelists for online marketing. If you're thinking about going, don't hesitate, it's a fabulous conference and you won't regret attending.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Turn it into a book?

There is a lot more to this story. I did a one pager to see if there is interest. We haven't had many posts on this site lately. What do you think?

Seventeen-year-old Kim Price lived in Duttonvile, the slum area of Idaho Falls, Idaho, when he was called to be the first assistant in the priest’s quorum in his LDS ward.
Duttonville wasn’t really a slum. How could a town like Idaho Falls have a slum? But everyone knew where Duttonville was, and what it was, even though the name had no official designation. There was no pavement, no curbs and gutters, not even any gravel—just houses and yards, a few marked by fences, with open areas of dirt surface for the streets.
Armed with a mandate from the bishop, Kim set out to insure that every priest in the ward boundary was accounted for and properly fellowshipped.
That’s when Kim met Ritmo. His real name was Richard Simpson, but somehow, through the twisted maze of Richard’s mind, his name came out of his mouth as Ritmo. In fact, all the words that Richard spoke came out twisted. When his mother had tried to enroll him in the first grade the principal had sent them both home, saying Richard was unteachable. So Richard remained at home, uneducated and for the most part unnoticed. Until Kim came along.
Kim liked Richard immediately. Ritmo had an easy smile and once Kim got used to the strange language, he began to understand it. As Kim included Ritmo in an increasing number of ward social events others learned to understand and speak the strange language too. Simpsonese, they called it. It seemed, all the kids, in a very friendly way, wanted to speak Simpsonese. Ritmo really didn’t mind. He knew they weren’t making fun of him. Speaking his language became the cool thing at High School. Ritmo never did go to High School but his language made it there.
Ritmo especially liked being taught to read by Sister Frandsen, Kim’s mom. She was a school teacher, and a good one.
After a while Ritmo decided that what he really wanted was to say the sacrament prayer like Kim and the other priests. How could he get all the tangling between his mind and tongue untangled?
The priests’ quorum spent hours helping to build the new church. One of their favorite jobs was shingling the huge roof. It took days of sweaty work in the glaring sun. Soon the boys were swinging hammers and throwing shingles in a soft rhythm. And soon Richard and Kim were repeating over and over and over the words to the sacrament prayer in the same rhythm. O God, tap-bam, O God the Eternal… tap-bam, tap-bam. O God the eternal Father. tap-bam, tap-bam, tap-bam. Hour after hour after grinding hour…. sliding shingles into place, holding them, holding nails, swinging the stubby roofing hatchets; tap-bam, tap-bam, tap-bam, tap-bam as the four nails for each shingle went into place.
More than a little apprehension filled the congregation the day Richard finally sat at the sacrament table. With superman concentration and probably the aid of unseen angels, Ritmo began carefully, “O God the Eternal Father, we ask thee….”
It’s unlikely that there has ever been a sacrament prayer in all Mormondom listened to more carefully than was that sacrament prayer that day. Each syllable had the right sound and exactly the right emphasis. Crystal clear, the words echoed into the halls of heaven, piercing every heart that heard them.
Two years later, Kim stood in front of the same congregation—his family and friends, Ritmo’s family and friends— and explained to them that he had received his mission call.
Ritmo had wanted a mission call too. After saying the sacrament prayer correctly, he wanted more than anything to go on a mission—to do everything that Kim did—to be like Kim. But untangling Richard’s mental maze enough to memorize six entire discussions seemed insurmountable to church leaders.
But Kim wasn’t standing in front of the congregation to talk about leaving on his mission to Atlanta, GA.
This was not a farewell for the newly-called missionary, but a funeral for a close friend. Shortly after Kim received his mission call, Ritmo had died in a horrific car accident. Kim explained, his words hesitating with emotion, that Ritmo had also received a mission call and both of them would be enterting the MTC on Wednesday. But on different sides of the veil.
©2009 Lyle Mortimer

Monday, March 9, 2009

Mock Temple Ceremony on HBO

By Christine Thackeray

This is real. I couldn't believe it, but it's true.

On page 48 of the TV guide this week there is a person wearing the sacred ceremonial temple clothing. Go look.
Big Love is planning on depicting parts of the endowment and sealing ceremonies on HBO.

If this horrifies you as it does me, you can send a complaint to HBO and the FCC. It will only take a few minutes. Please take the time. If there is any way we can stop this desecration of what we hold so sacred, I think we should.

To write HBO, click

To File a complaint with the FCC go to:

-Choose "Broadcast (TV and Radio), Cable, and Satellite Issues" and then click "NEXT."

-Choose "Broadcast programs showing obscene, profane, and/or indecent material" then click "NEXT."

- Click on "ONLINE FORM" Fill out the form with your complaint and submit.

Big Love airs on HBO on 03/15/2009 at 9:00 pm

Here are two things your want to RESPECTFULLY say in your own words to HBO:

-I believe it is wrong for HBO to publicly air portions of sacred ceremonies of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints without permission from the church and based on information given you by someone who has left the church and may harbor bad feelings toward the church and wish to do it harm.


- If you air such an episode, I will cancel my subscription to all HBO channels (if you have them), and will not purchase HBO DVDs or any other HBO entertainment products or packages ever again. Furthermore, I will encourage my friends and associates to do likewise.

Tell everyone you know.

Sister Beck reminded us in the October 2007 conference,

President Hinckley said in a worldwide leadership training meeting: “If [we] will be united and speak with one voice, [our] strength will be incalculable. … It is so tremendously important that [we] stand strong and immovable for that which is correct and proper under the plan of the Lord.”

Maybe this is one of those times.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Learning from Jason Wright

I reviewed Recovering Charles by Jason Wright on my blog yesterday. I was pleasantly surprised, and impressed, to see that Jason Wright left a comment.

He's a busy man. A NY Times bestselling author. A husband. A dad. He has plenty to do, but he took the time to read a review by some unknown blogger and then went a step further and left a comment.

What does that say to me? He cares about his readers. He's willing to take the time to contact readers even though he's a popular author. He's putting forth an effort to connect with his audience.

As we seek to build a readership for our books, we can learn from Jason Wright. We can put forth the effort to connect with readers. We should be diligent in supporting those who read and review our books. We should listen to what our readers say and apply what we learn from them to our works in progress. And, even when we're on the NY Times bestselling list, we should always be humble enough to realize that it's our readers who put us there.

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Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Poll: favorite place to move...or not favorite

PLEASE COMMENT!! IT'S A MATTER OF LIFE OR DEATH! (Well, not really, but I feel like being melodramatic. The threat of a move to Wisconsin will do that to you, you know...)

I’m taking a poll. (Editors: remember how we used to do that all the time for random things? Ah, the memories…)

Here are the questions: If you had to move to one of the following cities, which one would you pick and why? Which one would you avoid at all costs and why?

Las Vegas, NV
Phoenix, AZ
Tucson, AZ
Denver, CO
Tulsa, OK
Atlanta, GA
Bradenton, FL
Miami, FL
Philadelphia, PA
Portland, ME
Milwaukee, WI
Lawrence, KS
Columbus, OH

…yep, I think that covers it.

In case you’re wondering, I dislike snow, big cities, and flat terrain, in that order. I realize that at least one of those applies to each city on the list, but I’d appreciate any info on how bad those or other conditions might be in the above locations.

Any input would be appreciated. Thanks!

(Oh, and for those of you who are wondering, no, there are no cannibal neighbors in my near future. Tornados? Maybe. Hurricanes? Possibly. Snow in the winters and giant mosquitoes in the summers? Unfortunately, quite likely. But no cannibals.)

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

How Did You Celebrate?

by Rebecca Talley

It was wonderful having a long weekend. A break from school, seminary, fixing sack lunches, and trying to beat the school bus to the end of my driveway is always a welcome relief.

Since it was the end of the trimester (yes, we have trimesters. Why? Couldn't tell you, but it makes for much confusion when transferring credits from college-level classes at the high school over to a college on the semester system) on Thursday, we also had Friday off. After doing chores, of course, some of my kids went to their cousin's to celebrate birthdays. My husband and I went to the temple (which is in another state) and attended an endowment session. The cool thing (well, it's always great to go to the temple) is that we had family names. The person for whom I was a proxy was not a direct ancestor, but I knew her and I could see her face throughout the session. This is when genealogy work really feels personal. Afterwards, my honey and I had a nice dinner for our Valentine's date.

Saturday involved basketball games and a Valentine's celebration. My younger girls and I put on facials. I think the boys all wondered why green-faced women were walking around the house. We then all made pizza and watched a family movie. My son wanted to watch a "boy" movie, but I insisted we watch something Valentineish so it was, "Sabrina," with Harrison Ford. A very romantic movie.

Yesterday I tossed my pride aside, donned a bathing suit, and we all went swimming at our public pool. We had a a great time. Though I wished I looked better in a swimsuit, sometimes it's just more important to please the kids than myself.

All in all, a fun weekend. The only downside? We all had to go back to work, seminary, school, fixing sack lunches, laundry, and cleaning today. How long until spring break?

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Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Manic Monday on Tuesday

by Rebecca Talley

I always liked the song, "Manic Monday," probably because that's how I feel every Monday. Actually, I don't even know most of the words, I just feel like Mondays are always nuts.

When we were leaving for church my kids all said, "Hey, we can see the dirt in the field now. The snow has finally all melted." Wrong thing to say. When we got out of church it was snowing and by late Sunday afternoon we couldn't see any brown in the fields. Yesterday it snowed so much my daughter stayed in town with a friend so she didn't have to traverse the dangerous roads. It snowed again during the night and we have about 6-7 inches on the ground now. The roads seem to be clear, but my driveway (1/8 mile long) is treacherous at best. The cleared roads don't so us much good if we can't even get out of the driveway.

And, I ended up having the flu and am finally now feeling better. I hate being sick. I'd much rather take care of sick kids than be sick myself. And, just when I was feeling totally barfy, my youngest decided to have an exploda-diaper all over the place. As if I weren't sick enough, cleaning that up about did me in. Good thing I love him so much.

Yes, I realize it isn't Monday today, but I feel like it is because all that I usually do on Monday to make up for a wild and crazy movie-watching, popcorn-eating, game-playing, kids-chasing weekend was put on hold while I was sick and I did all that make-up work today.

I'm looking forward to a Wonderful Wednesday!

Friday, February 6, 2009

AML Meeting

Saturday, February 28, 2009
Association for Mormon Letters Annual Meeting
Utah Valley University
Orem, Utah
For more information visit the AML website:

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Naming Characters

by Rebecca Talley

I was asked in an interview, "Where do you come up with the names of your characters?" I answered that I usually choose names I wanted to use with my kids but my husband blacklisted.

It's interesting to read almost the same response from other women. Perhaps, our writing is a way to use those baby names after all?

In order to come up with contemporary names, I've looked through my children's yearbooks, asked them to name off kids in their classes, and I've even looked through the phone book to find last names. For me, once I name a character, it's hard to rename him/her. It's almost like trying to change the name of one of my kids.

I'm not very good at naming characters. And, I'm always afraid to use a name of someone I know just in case it offends that person. I'm working on a middle grade novel that has a bully in it and I so want to use the name of the girl who bullied me all through school, but I'm thinking I better not, even though it's a perfect name for an ugly bully.

I've also found that certain names conjure up certain images in my mind. Some names seem pretty while others seem ugly. Some names just seem to shout "nerdy" or "cool" or "ultra-intelligent." It's hard to imagine a rocket scientist with the name of Bambi or a beauty queen named Agnes or Gladys (no offense, but those are just "old lady" names to me).

So, I'm curious--how do you choose names for your characters?