Monthly Archives: November 2015

In Case You Missed It

This last week members of the Moonlight Bookreaders Guild helped me throw a book launch party for THE CENOTE. I had a lot of friends and family that couldn’t come (because of 2000 miles) so just in case you missed it, here are all the details!
I am so grateful to Angie, Erin, Nicole, M’Liss, Anson and especially Scott for making this all happen. Great people and great memories!
And I am especially grateful to the surprise V.I.P. who showed up at the last minute. You’ll have to scroll down to see who it was. ūüôā
Thanks for reading everyone! I am so glad so many people are enjoying Lark and Sandpiper’s story.

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Everyone was given a “cenote name” that was later used for a drawing for chocolate and a free book.

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The only beverage I was planning on serving was water with limes, but ¬†for some people that wasn’t enough so they had to bring their own drinks.

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Then, a couple days later, we had another magical evening at the Dorrance’s home in Chapel Hill.

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Everyone taking the “Which foods are native to America” quiz

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Here she is, the VIP and most honored guest of the evening. I am so glad that MY MOM was able to come out to see me and celebrate this exciting time with us. I only found out she was coming the DAY BEFORE. Someday I hope to be as cool as my mom.

 

 

 

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My Path To Publication: The Cenote

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It is September, 2010.

I am standing at my sink washing the dishes, thinking about two¬†things: a good friend with a troubled marriage, and a National Geographic article about Mexican cenotes (say-no-tays). While these two unconnected ideas are swirling around in my head I am also listening to my daughters playing upstairs (women can think of many things at one time, research shows). “Let’s pretend that these people can hear something, but these people can’t,” I hear them say. Suddenly, deep inside my brain there is a brilliant flash of light. I have an idea!

October: I type out a few sentences. Then a first chapter of sorts. I read it to my little sis over the phone. She says, You are going to change the world! Which is exactly what sisters are supposed to say.

October-December 2010: I check out and read every book about Maya and Aztec people that I can find from my library. I read a lot. I take notes. I start writing.

Christmas 2010: Husband gives me my first laptop. He might as well have given me my very own rocket.  I blast off.

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Jan-June 2011: I write. I write. I write.

Summer 2011: Kids are home from school. Writing stops.

September 2011: Kids¬†start school. Writing resumes during the baby’s¬†naps.

January 2012: Finish Draft 3, I print it out for the first time. I revise like mad. I am obsessed, burning the candle at both ends of the night. I never sleep. I’m never tired.¬†I never have¬†any “writer’s block” either, only floods of inspiration flowing from my brain and out of my fingertips like beams of light as they dance over the keys. I write, I write, I am like lightning. I am like thunder. I am a blazing chariot of writing fire!!

January 24: Not one friend remembers my birthday. I acknowledge that it is a direct result of the hermit-life I have created for myself.

Later in January 2012: Husband says, “Who is more important, here? Me or the book?” The chariot of writing¬†comes to a screeching halt.

Husband¬†and I pow-pow. A plan is formed: he makes breakfast in the morning, and I never write at night. ¬†We kiss¬†on it. All is well. But now I realize¬†a dilemma: No one will ever believe my story¬†unless I go to Mexico myself and research. Don’t you want to go to Mexico and swim around in a cenote, Husband? Husband¬†says no.

February 2012: I receive an email from my aunt, addressed to all of her nieces. It reads:

Aging aunt seeks short term female traveling companion in the time period of March 2-9, 2012 in Merida, Mexico. Will provide lodging and all the fresh fruit smoothies you can drink. Must be able to walk 8 miles a day, endure temperatures of 80+ degrees daily and be willing to immerse yourself in the climate, culture and customs of Mexico. Inquire or respond immediately.

Coincidence? I think not.

March  2012: I go to Mexico with my sister to visit my aunt. She takes us to temples, ruins, pyramids, lost cities, jungles and three cenotes. I savor every moment. I write down every detail. I swim in a cenote.

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March-May: Added¬†details from research in Mexico. My book is “finished,” but I keep working on it anyway.

June: School’s out. Writing stops. Instead I do research by planting¬†my own “Three Sisters” garden: Maize, beans and squash.

July: I discover I am pregnant.

August: My Three Sisters garden becomes a Two Sisters garden since my corn dies. I would not have survived long in pre-columbian Mexico.

September 2012-October 2012: School is back in. I start revising again. I’m on draft 7 now.

October 2012 Danny stops taking naps. No more writing for me for a while. Sad.

Sometime in early 2013: Breakthrough: my mother finally reads the book. She calls me. She says, Chelsea, this actually reads¬†like a real book! This is a good sign. ūüôā

April 7, 2013: Levi Scott Dyreng is born. (Best decision ever.)

April 2013-Jan 2014: No writing. Queried a little bit. Collected some rejections.

January 2014: A writer friend asks if I want to submit anything to her start-up publishing company. I say YES. I submit. They say KILL YOUR DARLINGS, so I get out my ax.

February 2014: I hack away at my beloved manuscript, taking it from over 100,000 words to 78,000 words. I send it back to the fledgling publishers. They accept my sacrifice.

March 2014: One of the editors of the fledgling publishing co. has to call it quits. The other editor (my friend) kindly tells me it would be wise to start querying again, so my book is once again homeless.

October 2014: I attend my first writing conference. I learn. I meet writers. I make a fool of myself in front of agents. I have a great time.

January 2015: Feeling daring again. I send my manuscript to a publisher called Cedar Fort.

March 2015: I get a phone call, “Hi, my name is Emma Parker from Cedar Fort Publishing . . . ” after which I have a heart attack and die.

March 2015: “My” editor says I need to do some revising. I say,¬†Yes, ma’am!¬† By now I’m not sure what draft I am on any more… 9? 10? 25? One character is troubling me,¬†so I kill him.

April¬†2015: Editor sends me the cover of my book. I am actually sitting under the moon by a campfire when I receive her email. I can’t open it. I hand my phone to my husband. “You look at the cover first. I can’t.”

He looks at the cover.

And grins.


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I look at it all night while I swing in my hammock under the stars.

May 2015: The cover has to be modified a little because there is no seaweed in cenotes. They find a different aquatic plant and send a new cover:

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Excellente.

May 2015: Editor sends me the substantive edit. I have one month. Lucky Scott is back to making breakfast for everyone again!

June 2015: I finish the sub edit the day before school gets out. I find out my book is ready for pre-order on Amazon and Barnes and Noble. They even say how much the books weighs. (Don’t tell anyone, but¬†the book¬†doesn’t even exist yet!)

July 1, 2015: I meet my editor in person. She is just as nice in real life as she is in her emails!

August 2015: I go over several different copy edits. I add the dedication and acknowledgements (perhaps your name is there!)

Sept 2015: I approve the proofs and finally the book goes to press.

October 10th, 2015: After a long day of waiting this man finally shows up in my driveway:

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It’s been a long, wonderful ride. Thank you to everyone who has been a part of this experience. Hopefully it is not once in a lifetime!

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Study it Out in Your Mind

There are many ways to study the scriptures. One way is to read through them cover to cover. Another way is pick a topic and study on that topic. Topics like¬†“prophets” “apostles” “children” and “division” are all things that come to mind.

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We all have an obligation to take what the prophets tell us and then meditate and ask the Lord about it for ourselves. Here¬†some thoughts from my personal scripture study, over the past few months. ¬†I usually don’t share my scripture notes online, but I thought this might be a good time to¬†show how I try to reach my own conclusions.

Prophets

MosesРmocked, disregarded, mistrusted.  Led an unrighteous and obstinate people who constantly complained and yearned to return to their life in Egypt.

Abinadi–mocked, demeaned, hunted, chained, burned. ¬†Now it came to pass that when Abinadi had spoken these words unto them they were wroth with him, and sought to take away his life. Mosiah 11:26

Stephen- told the people how they were disregarding the prophets.  And When they heard these things, they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed on him with their teeth. Acts 7:52 Soon after, Stephen was stoned to death.

Lehi- mocked, hunted.  And when the Jews heard these things they were angry with him; yea, even as with the prophets of old, whom they had cast out, and stoned, and slain; and they also sought his life, that they might take it away. 1 Nephi 1:20

Nephi- mocked, abused, ridiculed and persecuted by his own family members.  Behold thy brothers murmur, saying it is a hard thing which I have required of them; but behold I have not required it of them, but it is a commandment of the Lord. 1 Nephi 3:5 Later his brothers say Thou hast declared unto us hard things, more than we are able to bear. 1 Nephi 16:1

Amulek- rejected by his friends and family for believing in a prophet. Was publicly tested and ridiculed by Zeezrom, and physically and verbally abused by judges.  And many such things did they say unto them, gnashing their teeth upon them, and spitting upon them, and saying: How shall we look when we are damned? Alma 14:21

Jesus РNot believed, publicly humiliated, put on trial, crucified. During His life He gives the parable of the rich man and the steward: And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead. Luke 16:31 (If people do not believe the prophets, they will not believe in Christ, even if he died and came back to life)

Samuel the Lamanite- cast out of the city, shot at with arrows. He said:  If a prophet come among you and declareth unto you the word of the Lord, which testifieth of your sins and iniquities, ye are angry with him, and cast him out and seek all manner of ways to destroy him; yea, you will say that he is a false prophet, and that he is a sinner, and of the devil, because he testifieth that your deeds are evil. 

But behold, if a man shall come among you and shall say: Do this, and there is no iniquity; do that and ye shall not suffer; yea, he will say: Walk after the pride of your own hearts; yea, walk after the pride of your eyes, and do whatsoever your heart desireth‚ÄĒand if a man shall come among you and say this, ye will receive him, and say that he is a prophet.¬†Yea, ye will lift him up, and ye will give unto him of your substance; ye will give unto him of your gold, and of your silver, and ye will clothe him with costly apparel; and because he speaketh flattering words unto you, and he saith that all is well, then ye will not find fault with him.¬†Helamen 13:25-28

Division

When I studied the word “division” I found this, which was said by Christ:

Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, Nay; but rather division:For from henceforth there shall be five in one house divided, three against two, and two against three.The father shall be divided against the son, and the son against the father; the mother against the daughter, and the daughter against the mother; the mother in law against her daughter in law, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. Luke 12:51-53

Children and Baptism:

Moroni asks his father about a controversial topic in the church: baptizing infants. His father writes back and tells him that baptizing infants is wrong because small children cannot be held accountable. He tells Moroni to instead teach parents that they must repent and be baptized, and humble themselves as their little children, and they shall all be saved with their little children. Moroni 8:10

My conclusion:

In all periods of time, when the Lord has called a prophet, it has been because the people needed direction and guidance. Every prophet has met with resistance. We should not be surprised that this is still the case. I would be more concerned if the modern day prophet did not trouble the waters.

As I am sharing with you my own private scripture study I will not be opening up this to comments. We should not spend our precious time arguing with each other. But I would encourage you to chose a topic, open your scriptures and study it out for yourself so that you can draw your own conclusions. Nothing can replace personal scripture study.

Especially social media.

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