Friday, August 28, 2015

Bumpy Landings Book Signings

Ah, Bumpy Landings book signings. What a mixed bag.

I had some great book signings. 

Look: My name on a book store marquee!

Mass signings at conferences.

Signings with awesome fellow authors. 

Not every signing was worth the time and effort - especially the ones where nobody showed up. I didn't take any pictures of those.

But I have noticed that most of my book sales - especially now that we’re in the “long tail” - all come when I have made a personal connection with a reader.

And that really is what book signings are all about - making that personal connection.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Hawaii Trip!

Since Bumpy Landings is set in my hometown of La’ie, Hawai’i, I wanted to do a release there as well. Any excuse to go home, after all.

I spoke to English classes at my alma matters, Kahuku High School and BYU-Hawaii. I also met up with fellow Cedar Fort author and Big Island resident Susan Corpany Curtis. We did a signing at the BYU-Hawaii Bookstore and the Kahuku Library.

Some friends of mine formed the musical group Vaihi, and I used their song Ananahi as the background music for my book trailers. I had a great time going to their performance down in Waikiki.

And while I was there, I did a ton of research for my next book, Into The Wind. I especially enjoyed seeing back stage at the Polynesian Cultural Center, and several pivotal scenes are set there.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Bumpy Landings - Launch!

I will not lie - launching a book is exciting. It was a heady experience to have family and friends come to show their support. It was especially meaningful that everyone had to brave a near-blizzard to find their way to the Hawaiian Cultural Center in Midvale, Utah.

Back home in Texas, some friends of ours also threw a book launch party for me.

Yes, launching a book really is a celebration.

And then the work begins.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Bumpy Landings - Path to Publication

I don’t even remember the year, but I know it was a cold Utah winter when I started the story that would eventually become Bumpy Landings. Probably 2003 or 2004. It was a long time ago, that’s for sure.

The story evolved as I picked at it through the years. While there are a few autobiographical elements in the final version, Jordan MacDonald and his story were much closer to my own personal reality in earlier drafts. Letting Jordan have his own life and adventure was an important shift in my writing, as I had to develop ever increasing empathy in order to look outside myself for character motivation and understanding.

Finally, in 2007 I decided to get serious about my writing. I began following following a number of author blogs, and shared my writing for the first time while attending my first LDStorymakers conference in 2008.

I pitched the story to Covenant at the 2009 Storymakers Conference. They didn’t take it, but gave me valuable feedback that I used to strengthen the story.

That fall, I submitted the re-worked manuscript to Cedar Fort. They accepted the book in the spring of 2010, for publication in January of 2011.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Bumpy Landings - A Recap

My debut novel, Bumpy Landings, was published by Cedar Fort in January 2011.

While becoming a published author was an exciting, amazing experience, it wasn’t quite the blue skies and tailwinds I had imagined.

However, I’ll save those challenges for next week. This week, the posts are all about the good stuff. And there’s a lot of good stuff. Stay tuned.

When Jordan MacDonald goes behind his mother's back to get his pilot's license, he soon finds out that a life full of dishonesty attracts more turbulence than he's ever faced in the air. Set against the majestic backdrop of the Hawaiian islands, this heartwarming story of romance and self-discovery will take you to new heights with each turn of the page.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

The College Girl

You know those mid-life transitions I mentioned? Yeah, this is one of the biggies.

This past week, we took my oldest daughter and best friend to start her freshman year of college. And no, we didn't fill that trailer. Not hardly. But since the whole family spent the week in a hotel, we had stuff.

I am so proud of my girl. She's following in my footsteps, majoring in Computer Science. And by specializing in Computer Game Development, she's following a dream I didn't . No, I didn't push her into it as a way to relive my youth. Although I must admit that, as we learn about this program she is doing, I am just a wee bit jealous.

I think I was born thirty years too early.

This has already been a major change in all our lives, and we won't know the full impact for several months. Fortunately, our college girl is off to a great start, with a super roommate and a fantastic support network in the Honors College and LDS Institute. 

It's going to be interesting to see how those of us left at home adjust to her absence. I'm optimistic we will see some positive changes in our younger daughter as she becomes an only child, and that we as a family will all grow closer.

Hopefully that optimism will prove to be more than just some of my delusion.

Saturday, August 8, 2015


I feel like this is the right time to do a reboot; to make some changes in my life that have needed to be made for a long time. Call it a midlife transition.

These changes are large and small. A few are private, but many I’m willing to share, and this is where I'll be reporting my progress.

Some of the most significant changes are coming to my writing career. No, I'm not going full time. I happen to love my day job, and it will be many, many years before I have the experience and income needed to make writing my sole profession.

But I am making the changes that will help me get there eventually.

First step: I have parted ways with my publisher. This means my next book will be self-published. It also means I am free to pursue an agent and the national market for the book after that. I'll write future posts about those books, as well as the impact of these decisions and how I made them.

For now, I am drawing from the Delusion Tree to give me the courage I need to move forward into a fairly daunting future.

Hang on. It's going to be an amazing ride!

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Welcome to The Delusion Tree

Delusion might seem like an odd choice for a defining character trait, but it has served me well over the last decade.

You see, I have such strong internal critics, and they are impossible to ignore. They point out my many faults and weaknesses as proof that I have no business trying to succeed as a writer, as a speaker, as a person. They tell me I am crazy to even try.

And of course, they are right. For me to believe that I can succeed, despite their overwhelming evidence to the contrary, is nothing short of delusion.

I tried to fight that delusion at first; to prove to myself and the world that I really do have what it takes. But I ended up spending far too much time fighting, and nothing ever got done.

Better, it seemed, to accept the delusion; to concede that I really do have no business trying to be a writer or a speaker. To admit that I am nothing more than a pretender; a wannabe; a fake.

Once I embraced my delusion and accepted myself as a fraud, an interesting thing happened: The negative voices no longer mattered.

When they said I was a hack, I agreed. And then I kept on writing.

“Fake it ‘til you make it.” That is delusion in action.

And you know what? In some ways I have made it. Little by little I’ve been proving those voices wrong. Proving that maybe, just maybe, I do have the right and talent to succeed after all. And whatever abilities I lack, I can develop.

I’m by no means where I want to be, in life or my writing career. But I’m determined to keep going. There are so very many books to be written, after all.

Sooner or later, I’ll get there. And I'll do it with courage, hard work, and patience.

And, of course, a little bit of delusion.