Halloween 2015

I know November is almost over - but I still wanted to post about our Halloween party!
It was crazy busy but so much fun!

Looking at this picture makes my heart happy. These are my adorable sisters and their kids. From left to right there is Cinderella, Barbie, a Flower Child, a Rodeo Clown and a little Bull. .

I love seeing how creative people are when they making their own Halloween costumes. They always turn out way better than the typical store bought ones!


I wish I would have had more time to take pictures of all the decorations. My husband and his family went all out transforming our front yard into a cemetery. You can see below that there are two coffins, plus hand made wooden-cross grave markers. At night my husband has a fog machine going and plays scary music to give it an even creepier atmosphere. 

I'm so grateful that both of our families love to get together and celebrate the holidays.  


Do you have a favorite homemade Halloween costume? I'd love to hear about it.  

Local Authors and You

Have you ever had a dream that meant so much to you that you were afraid to tell anyone about it? Well that's how I feel about writing. I want to be a published author, but even saying those words out loud is scary. Why? I'm guess I'm afraid of failure, or that people will ask what I want to write about and i'm just not ready to talk about it.
Ha! Silly huh?

Well, I'm so grateful I was able to attend Local Authors and You. This is an event where authors from Utah gather to sign their books and teach writing workshops.

I spent the majority of my time at the writing workshops because (I'm embarrassed to say) I didn't know any of the local authors before this event! *face-palm* But the authors I met were amazing! The were so kind and understanding about what it feels like to be an aspirating author. I seriously left feeling extremely impressed with our writing community.

In this post I'll be telling you my favorite piece of writing advice from six of the authors' workshops.

1. The first workshop I attended was given by Mette Ivie Harrison on "Writing Through Fear".
I found it comforting to know that other people experience the same fears that I have about writing. The workshop covered 13 different reasons why writing can be scary and what we can do to overcome those fears. My favorite quote from her is:
 "People choose for themselves whether or not they are going to get good enough to get published... Fear is what prevent you from practicing to get good enough. You will find the time to write if you remove the excuses, by removing the fear."
On her website, Mette has devoted am entire page to giving writing advice. You can find it here.
Mette has written a 2014 New York Times Notable Book titled The Bishop's Wife.

2. The second workshop was "The 10 Must Haves in Romance" given by Cindy Hogan.
Of course this workshop was full of only women. Ha! I won't list all ten items because I feel like that would be plagiarizing, but I'll share with you my favorite tip from her. (Which could apply to any genre.) Cindy said,
"The key to making one of your character's qualities stick with your reader is to show that quality three separate times. For example: if you have a character that you want your readers to believe is loyal than you have to show your character being loyal during three separate incidents."  
Cindy wrote "Winner of Best YA Novel of the Year 2013" titled Gravediggers. You can find Cindy's website here.

3. The third workshop was given by Ka Hanok titled, "Every Character needs a problem: Conflict with a side of turmoil." During this workshop, the few key points that stood out to me was how important it is to reveal your character a little-by-little as the story unfolds. The reader wants to learn something about your character that isn't obvious in the beginning. Ka also said:
"Sometimes you have a great idea and great conflict, but your not comfortable enough to write about it. You need to be honest in telling the story. Be fearless about telling the character's story."
Ka Hanok wrote the book Dancing on Broken Glass.

4. The fourth workshop I attended was titled "Character Development" and was hosted by Rebecca Ethington. The workshop was set up as a Q&A - where we could ask her any of our questions regarding characters. My favorite quote from her workshop was:
"If the reader is not connecting with your characters, they're not connecting with your story... When you write it, and you feel it, all your readers will feel it too." 
Rebecca wrote the Imadalind Series, starting with Kiss of Fire. Click here for her website.

5. Jo Schneider held a workshop called "Character depth: git rid of the water wings and let your characters soak up some substance." She based this workshop off of the book Getting into Character - Seven Secrets a Novelist can learn from Actors. She had very interesting suggestions and talked about "interviewing" your characters to learn more about them. It sounds kinda crazy, but it gets results! She said,
"Dig into your character until you find something interesting. Then keep digging." 
Jo wrote the book New Sight. Click here to find her blog.

6. The last workshop I attended was by Laura Bastian titled: "How to get over writers block."
She had some really great tips, like setting a timer and writing for 30 mins to see how many words you can get on the page. But I have to say that the biggest piece of advice that stood out to me was how important it is to have a writing group or at least a writing friend that you can bounce ideas off of. Each author had mentioned how influential their own writing group had been on the success of their careers. It made me realize that I need to find a support group with the same passion. I asked Laura if she had any suggestions for me and she gave me a list of online communities:

LDS Story Makers Conference
League of Utah Writers

Laura wrote the book Eye on Orion. You can find her website here.

I also won a book, from the raffle that was held, called Dead or Undead written by Angela Scott. It's a book about zombies in the wild west (which isn't a book I would normally pick up) but because I'm obsessed with The Walking Dead I gave it a chance. You guys, it was so entertaining!


Have you read any local authors? I'd love to hear about them.

More Than Beautiful

Our Instagram feeds (and the internet in general) are over saturated with beautifully staged, flawless pictures and posts.

Do you ever crave something more than just beauty? Does your heart ever seek for something more?

I know mine does.

Chantelystudios and I (together with you) are hoping to create a change.

We believe as women, we can offer more to this world than beauty; we can contribute to something more meaningful.

#morethanbeautiful is a new Instagram hashtag focused on opening our hearts and building a community of women who have something more than just beautiful pictures to share. Women who have something meaningful to share.

We want to see past your perfect pictures and read what your heart and mind have to say. Share something with us that's inspirational, educational, entertaining, or heartbreaking. We want our hearts touched and our minds opened. We want to know the real you.

How does #morethanbeautiful work?

Each Monday a prompt for the week will be posted on our Instagram accounts. It will be a single word to help guide you. Then you can post anytime during the week using the hashtag to share something with us that is more than beautiful. It doesn't have to be profound; simple messages often have the greatest impact. 

Everyone is invited to participate. This hashtag is about meaningful connections. 

Join us. Share with us. Contribute to something more.

(The first prompt will be given Monday November 9th)