Monday, September 26, 2016

League of Utah Writers 2016 Writing Contest Results

Best in Show (prose): Dustin Earl “Kami No Itte”
Best in Show (poetry): Isaac Timm “Beast-man”

1.      Short fiction:
1st Amahl (Scott Tarbet)
2nd Aren’t You the Kid? (Denis Feehan)
3rd And Once She Could Fly (Chadd VanZanten)
Honorable Mentions:
            Dirty George (Jef Huntsman)
            The Right Note (Anne Stark)
            Just Wait for the Answer (Chadd VanZanten)

2.      Short genre fiction:
1st The Boy Who Could Not Sleep (Denis Feehan)
2nd The Half Door (Crystal Vail)
3rd Daphne, the Girl in the Armor (Amanda Luzzader)
Honorable Mentions:
            The Screensaver’s Footprints (Jeffery Bateman)
Lovecraft’s Pillow (Scott Forman)
The Albatross (Jennifer Stevens)

3.      Flash:
1st Initiation (Millie Tullis)
2nd The Thaw (Karla Jay)
3rd Ghost Herder (Emily Wheeler)
Honorable Mentions:
            Déjà Vu (Sherrie Lynn Clarke)
            Home (Sabrina Watts)
Road to Nowhere (Amanda Luzzader)

4.      Creative nonfiction:
1st Kami No Itte (Dustin Earl)
2nd Tete-a-Tete: The Secret Language of Hair (Felicia Rose)
3rd Shooter (Jeffery Bateman)
Honorable Mentions:
            My Pick-Me-Up (Lora Stead)
The Libertine (Felicia Rose)
            Klatch (Timothy James)

5.      First chapter (Novel):
1ST Pretender to the Crown (Melissa McShane)
2nd A Shot at Justice (Karla Jay)
3rd Camdon Cain (Christauna Asay)
Honorable Mentions:
            Memoirs of a Synth: Gold Record (Lyn Worthen)
            Clocking Out (Margot Hovley)
            The Passenger (Gregory Deluca)

6.      First chapter (YA):
1st The Runes of Rahmanhatenweep (James Beers)
2nd Snakes Are Terrible at Running Away (Abby Thorne)
3rd Killing Nightmares (Leah Garriott)
Honorable Mentions:
            Snotty’s Revenge (Robin Glassey)
            The Fox on Fire (Rosalie Ledezma)
            The Sea Child (Carol Nicolas)

7.      Romance:
1st Across the Lines (Emily Wheeler)
2nd Beyond Dracula (Kendra Ellis)
3rd Intersections (Lyn Worthen)
Honorable Mentions:
            Maple Mind Madness (Lori Parker)
            The Union (Dawnene Wilson)
            Rite of Passage (Linne Marsh)

8.      Media article:
1st On Writing: Never, Never, Never Quit (unless you should) (Jeffery Bateman)
2nd A Good Death (Marie Tollstrup)
3rd Surviving SIDS (Sherrie Lynn Clarke)
Honorable Mentions:
            Observation of an Apprentice (Lyn Worthen)
            Rows of Flags—Too Close to Home (Jeffery Bateman)
            Harnessing Your Design Personality (Sue Leth)

9.      Children’s book:
1st Blending (Christy Monson)
2nd Sawyer Grace Ropes a Calf (Jeffery Bateman)
3rd The Best Cheesy Sandwich Ever (Wayne Gledhill)
Honorable Mentions:
            Willowbee’s Workshop (Jeffrey Huenke)
            Bedtime Battle (Christy Monson)
            Everyone Up Front (Megan Jones)

10.   Encore prose:
1st The Thriller Book Killer (Shirley Spain)
2nd Living Pictures (Sherrie Lynn Clarke)
3rd Wordless (Emily Wheeler)
Honorable Mentions:
            The Scarlet Letter 2.0 (Julie Walton)  
Razor Wire (Lorraine Jeffery)
A Little Magic (Carol Nicolas)

11.   Narrative poetry:
1st Beast-man (Isaac Timm)
2nd Mirror Worlds (Stephen Proskauer)
3rd They Dance to “Fly Me to the Moon” (Millie Tullis)
Honorable Mentions:
            Little Birds in Love (Shirley Manning)
            Beyond Icarus (Shirley Manning)
            Optimist Prime (Isaac Timm)

12.   Light verse:
1st Engaged or Not (Grace Jessen)
2nd Only in the Ditches (Lorraine Jeffery)
3rd Homonymium (Jef Huntsman)
Honorable Mentions:
            Unlocked (John Olsen)
            Computer Drain (Robyn Buttars)
            An Echo (Trish Hopkinson)

13.   Humor:
1st For Thumb’s Sake (Marie Tollstrup)
2nd Bray (Joshua Sorensen)
3rd Click (Lori McDonald)
Honorable Mentions:
            Sweetie (Millie Tullis)
Ode to Sills (Marie Tollstrup)
            Growling Toilet (Jef Huntsman)

14.   Word play poetry:
1st The Octopus (Denis Feehan)
2nd The Naked Me (Amanda Luzzader)
3rd Grand Canyon Canopy (Marie Tollstrup)
Honorable Mentions:
            Facing Despair (Jeremy Gohier)
            Mollusk II (Trish Hopkinson)
            Embraceable Me (Marilyn Richardson)

15.   Encore poetry:
1st Unsuspecting (Robyn Buttars)
2nd Hard Saddle on a Cold Day (Jeffery Bateman)
3rd Message from a Crow (Shirley Manning)
Honorable Mentions:
Embers (Marie Tollstrup)
White Peaches (Irene Hastings)
Raccoon Shuffle (Marie Tollstrup)

Sunday, January 17, 2016

One Bit of Advice

This weekend I had the pleasure of attending a panel put on as part of the Calliope Writing Course.

This is a no-holds-barred bare-knuckle writing course, put on by best-selling author Angie Fenimore and her husband Michael Sheen, that will strip away everything that's holding you back as a writer.

I attended a panel that they put on. After almost an hour of instruction from the panel, Michael ended it with this:

If you were to give one piece of advice . . . to these young budding writers, what would it be?

TJ Da Roza (editorial director for Jolly Fish Press) - Just write.

Lisa Mangum (acquisitions editor at Shadow Mountain Press) - This is the advice that I alway share from my good friend Rick Walton . . . quit. But if you can't, do the work.

Christopher Loke (executive editor and publisher for Jolly Fish Press) - Always be willing and ready to accept that your writing sucks. Once you acknowledge that, then you can improve.

Candace Thomas (young adult fantasy author) - Don't keep rewriting the first three chapters over and over again. Please just finish the book, because if you don't know how it ends, you don't know how to fix the problems. Just keep going. I know you want to re-write, but just keep going until you know the ending.

Johnny Worthen (author extraordinaire and tie-dye enthusiast) - 1) Finish what you start. 2) You can fix anything but a blank page. 3) Write your first draft as fast as you humanly can.

Bridget Cook-Burch (NY Times Bestselling author and Transformational Speaker) - Yes, you may suck as a writer, but you were meant to shine.

Heather Rubert (acquisitions editor at Future House Publishing) - I'm going to encourage you all to commit blasphemy, write in books . . . if you like something mark it. Pick it apart and see how it works.

This list is what we call a teaser. In the coming weeks, I'll add my own thoughts to each of these. Stay tuned!

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

The Finger Trap: A Tony Flaner Mystery

I'm please to offer a sneak preview of one of my favorite people and authors, MR. JOHNNY WORTHEN!

Johnny's got a new book coming out and you can pre-order it here.

When the only way out is deeper in, even slackers get ambitious.

Tony Flaner is a malingering part-time comedian, full-time sarcastic, who’s never had it hard, and never finished a thing in his life. He’s had twelve years to prepare for his divorce and didn’t. He had his entire life to choose a career and hasn’t. Now time’s up, and he’s in a world of trouble. But it gets worse. A first date and a drunken party ends with Tony facing prison for the murder of a girl he hardly knew.

Other than that, it was a pretty great party.

To save himself, wise-cracking Tony must discover who the mysterious girl was, what she was involved in, and what the hell she saw in him in the first place. Their lives are linked together at the ends of a Chinese finger trap, like life and death, friends and enemies, arugula quiche and pigs knuckles.
Genre: Detective Mystery/Comedy
Words: 135,000
Status: Coming November 10, 2015 from Jolly Fish Press.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Family Talk: How to Organize Family Meetings to Solve Problems and Strengthen Relationships

I'm happy to introduce you to a great new book, a manual of sorts. Family Talk is a practical guide to having real conversations with family members, primarily through organized family meetings. Christy's book is packed with real life experiences addressing real life problems, drawing on her own family and forty years of practice as a Family Therapist. 

In fact, Familius editor, Christopher Robbins, came to her and asked her to write this book. Christy says: 

"At first I felt a little overwhelmed by the task, but as I got into it, I had a wonderful time remembering all the funny things, the problems, and challenges our family and other's in my counseling practice faced as they raised their children. I could feel something greater than myself helping me write this book. So, as I got into the manuscript, I began to have a great time. It is one of the most fun writing projects I've done in a long time."

Nobody teaches you how raise children, it's primarily on the job training and by the time you've got it kind of figured out, your kids are mostly grown. This is a nonfiction book about strengthening family relationships and increasing the love in your family. I've read it and I love it.

Praise for Family Talk

The Family Council Guidebook is a vital and necessary addition to every home. In this day and age when emails, chat rooms, and staring at computer screens are rapidly replacing real-time human interaction, what better corrective could there be than a guidebook to how to talk with one another in meaningful, productive and healing ways. Christy Monson knows what she is talking about. It is a great blessing that she is sharing it with all of us.

—Ben Bernstein, PhD, Author of Test Success! and A Teen's Guide to Success

Check out the great reviews already coming in on Amazon!

Links to buy Family Talk:


About the Author: Christy Monson established a successful counseling practice in Las Vegas, Nevada, as a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. Her books, Love, Hugs, and Hope: When Scary Things Happen and Becoming Free: A Woman's Guide To Internal Strength are published by Familius. 

Sunday, August 31, 2014

10 Books That Left a Lasting Impression

Recently a friend tagged me with one of those Facebook challenges.

10 books that have touched me or changed my life in some way.

Anyone who loves books can’t possibly be expected to name only ten books that are particularly significant to them. Most of us who’ve done this challenge tend to list the ones that first come to mind. Given some time, we could come up with many more. The fact that these particular ones came to mind first though is also telling.

I tagged a couple of author friends who I greatly admire because I wanted to know the books that they found significant, the books that helped mold them into who they are (Josi Kilpack and Luisa Perkins). What a great way to peek into someone’s make-up and find some new books!

After I made my list, I really wanted to add why all of these books are significant to me, but that’s too much for a FB post. Predicaments such as this are why I have a blog.

My books (not in any particular order)

1. To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee

When I was in the 8th grade, my junior high was still doing those classroom book order forms. I’d heard of the book To Kill a Mockingbird, but I didn’t know anything about it. I just knew it was considered a classic and it had an intriguing title, so I ordered it. My copy had the yellow cover with red block lettering. It was a seminal moment for me because it was the first (what I considered) adult book I voluntarily read and it was the first time I realized a book could be about more than one thing. Yes, it’s about the trial, but it’s about so much more.

2. The Fault in Our Stars - John Green

I’m not a big YA reader, but if one catches my attention, I’ll give it a shot. A lot of my friends who are YA enthusiasts had talked about this one, and to be honest, the cover and title were intriguing, so I tried it. Okay, confession time, I’m a sucker for quirky romances. For Love of the Game is one of my favorite movies, because it’s a love story disguised as a baseball movie. A book doesn’t have to have a happy ending for me to love it. All it has to do is move me in some way, and this one does just that.

3. Ender's Game - Orson Scott Card
Growing up, I never read SciFi or Fantasy. I read plenty, but those genres didn’t interest me. As an adult, I finally read Ender’s Game, based on the recommendation of my wife. I’m now a freelance editor working primarily in SciFi and Fantasy. Ender’s Game was a gateway novel for me (followed immediately by Enchantment, also OSC).

4. Mistborn: The Final Empire - Brandon Sanderson

Had I never read Ender’s Game, I would have never read the Mistborn series. I love the magic system, it’s so unique and creates scenes that I’ve yet to see equaled. The MC, Vin, is a strong, smart, sassy girl who grows into an amazing woman. I really connected with her. One of my reservations about reading Fantasy was the sheer amount of pages. How could someone create and then maintain a compelling story over eight hundred pages (in just one book)? Brandon showed me how.

5. Wild Seed - Octavia Butler
Octavia Butler is unique among writers. She is one of the few African-American female science fiction writers. Another story of a unique female main character, both Octavia and the MC, Anyanwu. I love her defiance to Doro and her commitment to family. I love her spirit across different lands and times. I love her devotion to family, and I love the fantasy magic elements: Doro’s ability to posses other bodies. Anyanwu’s shape-shifting and healing abilities. The book gives a fascinating look into colonial life and plantation slavery, examining themes of control, freedom, family, and hope.

6. The Time Traveler's Wife - Audrey Niffenegger

Because Henry can be yanked out of any moment and thrust  into any other moment in time, the book is written in a similar construct. It is not sequential. It’s unlike any other novel I’ve ever read and it works. And it’s a deep passionate quirky love story. The main characters are faced with an existence none of us could possibly experience, but it also says, if they could do it, so can we. On a side note, it also has one of my favorite movie scores.

7. A Million Miles in a Thousand Years - Donald Miller

This one is non-fiction. It espouses the idea that we need conflict in our lives, that we are the main character of our own life. We seek out conflict in our entertainment—it’s at the core of our favorite movies and books, but in our own world we try to avoid it and bemoan our state when confronted with it. Donald Miller says, hey, conflict makes for a great story and a great life. Every great story has conflict, struggle, and triumph. God is the author and we are the characters, and he has written a story for each of us. Every book has difficult scenes, but those aren’t the entire story, just a few chapters. Our story can be so much greater and fulfilling if we trust in His story-making abilities.

8. Blood Bound - Rachel Vincent

This is a three book series. I love each of them, but Blood Bound is the first book. It is Urban Fantasy and has a very cool magic system that exists in our world—not a far off fantasy world, but right here on Earth in our modern time. The plot is deliciously complicated but not confusing. An ongoing theme is free will and how we are figuratively and literally bound by our choices.

9. The Gingerbread Girl - Stephen King

It wasn’t until I read On Writing by Stephen King that I realized he isn’t just a horror writer. He is a writer—period. Many people don’t realize the scoop of his work, until you mention The Shawshank Redemption or The Green Mile and they tell you how much they love those movies. The Gingerbread Girl is from one of his anthologies. I have it on Kindle and audio and I’ve listened to it probably half a dozen times. The characters are so strong, but especially the voice of the main character and how she sees the world, how she deals with her grief, and comes to accept it. Stephen King deftly weaves backstory and flashback into a novella without distracting the reader or affecting the pace.

10. Suspect - Robert Crais

Opening scene. A squad of Marines in the Middle East. Part of their squadron is a German Shepard. The scene is told from the perspective of the dog. It’s amazing.

I had to add one more:

11. Drawing Out the Dragons - James Artimus Owen

This is also non-fiction. It’s essentially a memoir and there are two things that stand out for me: a) never give up what you want most for what you want most at the moment and, as an extension of that idea, b) never give up, not even when things are so bad that no one would blame you if you walked away. When I think of what he endured and overcame to make his dream a reality and compare his life to mine, I have no excuses. I have it on my phone so I can read it any time I want or need to.

Honorable Mention: 

The Shining - Stephen King

The first book that actually scared me while reading it. 

So there you go. That’s my initial list. Any of these resonate with you? What are some of your favs and why?

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