Star Wars Exhibit

I readily admit it. I'm a sci fi/fantasy geek. So when the original Star Wars props came to my home town, you know I'm there and taking my boys so I can hopefully convert them to sci fi fantantics.

The Sweetheart Tree

Hi all. I just made a trailer for my new book. It was fun.

Rhonda Penders

This is a link to an interview with the co-founder of The Wild Rose Press, my publisher. It's very interesting and makes me doubly happy that I'm one of their writers. View it here

Her Stories

In an on-going effort to self promote, I offered my help for an article about book trailers or book commericials. The article turned out nice, but my biggest thrill is there is my little ol book slipped in between some great writers like Alyssa Day and Laurel Bradley. Way cool company to be seen with. You can view the article at Her-Stories.

Edits and Second Contract

Editor Ami sent over the first round of edits for Upon Eagle's Light. Being my first edits ever, I stared at them for awhile, not knowing exactly how to go about inserting my own strikethroughs and such. Of course after I went through the trouble of finding the strikethrough function on the dropdown toolbar, it turns out I didn't need it as Ami had the document already set up so when I deleted something, it didn't delete, but struckthrough automatically. Duh. It also tracked the changes I made, not only in blue, but with a notation tracker that marked what time and day I changed it. I noticed some of her entries were made at 3:24 am. Now that's dedication. Or insomina.

I also stumbled on how to read her comments with the dropdown menu from the View toolbar. I can't even tell you what it feels like when your editor writes that she is crying at a particular part and that is a mark of a good writer. Yay, I made her cry.

Anyway, I had an entire month to go through the edits, though Ami suggested I take only a week so it could get released on schedule. It only took me two days, and yes I went over every word, every symbol, every sentence structure. Ami had already caught almost everything and she had some great suggestions. All in all, this was an enjoyable experience to see what she thought about it.

And while we were in the middle of that, I sent over a short story I had written. The Wild Rose Press is having a contest you can read about here.
The gist is it has to be a time/travel romance where the heroine travels back in time going through this particular garden gate in Bury, England. Well, I thought about it and came up with an idea about a girl who goes back to the Civil War, although unlike many characters who travel back in time, I wanted her to be someone who hadn't studied enough history to know much about it. You know like how the New Englander in King Arthur's Court knew the date of an eclipse. Had many people would really know the date of a eclipse?

Anyway, the story came at me fast, just flowed. I couldn't get it down fast enough. I even got cramps in my hand, no lie. I wrote it in 3 days in between work and then realized that the heroine was transported from a civil war museum. I'd totally forgotten that she had to go through a gate in England for the contest. And it worked so well the way I had it, I wasn't going to rewrite that part. So I bagged the contest and sent it in to Ami. She loved it and sent me the contract.

So now I have two books coming out. This one will be published as a short Miniature Rose. I'm very excited, esp. because now that I have more than one, I feel like maybe it wasn't just some quirk of luck, but that I really am a good writer. Now, I'm off to work on the eaglekin's sequel, which is not flowing nearly as fast as the time travel.

Here's a real short excerpt from The Sweetheart Tree:

“Oh, sugar,” a solider-reenactor-a tall, slender one cooed at her. “Did you think you’d be safer dressin like a lad? Is that why you cut your hair?”

“Did a poor job of it, if you ask me,” another said. “There’s no mistakin she’s a woman. You need something much baggier, miss, if you don’t mind me pointing out.” All eyes seemed to be taking in her jeans and T-shirt, which seemed to gleam in the darkness.

“I never saw attire like that,” the tall one said. “Where you from?”

“Montana,” she snarled it.

“Mont Anna? Is that in Prince Edward County?”

Oh, please. She had to hand it to these guys. They were sure staying in character, pretending they never heard of Montana as it wasn’t even a territory before the Civil War. They hadn’t missed a beat. None of them. What? Were they required to attend reenactment school?

She’d wasted enough time with them. “Please let go of me.”

The young lieutenant frowned down at her. “Ma’am, I can’t let a woman wander around out here alone. It’s not safe. Sheridan’s army is burning everything. Don’t you know what could happen to you?”

“Gee, let me think. You mean like being dragged into the bushes by several filthy men? Something like that?”

At least he had the decency to wince.

Flying with Dad

All my boys love to fly! Notice how I'm not there?


Got a call that some old family friends had suffered a tragedy. It's almost surreal. We knew them years ago, when both our families were young and we both had very young daughters close in age. They were the kind of people that barrelled into your life and affected it in big ways, both for good and not so good, but always affected it. We have a lot of dear mutal friends, even though we ourselves had to back off from the friendship, mostly because our husbands had business disagreements and there was a huge falling away.

But to their credit, and ours as well I guess, even though we attended church together for many years, there never was any gossip or back biting and we were able to live in peace. Shortly after the disagreement, J's (the mom) and I happened to go to our mutual friend's house at the same time. It was uncomfortable for a few moments because I really didn't bear her any ill will, but I didn't want to be non-supportive of my husband because his feelings were really raw at the time. I also knew she was worried because we were very popular in that congregation and I thought she might feel like the church members might view them as the bad guys in all this. So I told her the one thing that I knew was true in everything that had happened. I told her that I knew without any doubt that if I or my children needed help, I could call her husband and he would come to my aid without question. And regardless to anything else that had gone on, that was what was important and that was the kind of character I knew he had. I remember how her face lit up with relief, and after that, she and I were good. We never really hung out again together, but we both knew we were okay.

It took a few years longer for my husband to make peace, but he eventually did, even went out for lunch a few times with him, but we moved, and they moved and contact was scare. The last time I saw them was a year or so ago at a distance during a large church conference. J was singing in the choir, seated next to one of the most beautiful girls I'd ever seen, which I learned was her daughter R. Seriously, this is one of those kind of girls that radiate so much beauty, you can't stop looking at them.

Anyway two nights ago, Pat told me J and her oldest son were killed instantly in a head-on collision, two of the younger children were in critical (One has already passed as well) and R, that beautiful girl the same age as my daughter, was also hurt
but will survive. The dad was not with them. I just don't know how he can survive this. How could anybody? In a mere moment, half your family is gone. It's devastating to even think about, let alone live through. It's such a helpless feeling to know there isn't anything that any of us can do.

Faith was one our mutual friends. It was her husband that called us. She has written a touching memorial here.

Disney World

I know it's a few months late, but thanks to my sis Alysha, I finally figured out how to make slideshows. This is from our trip to Disney World last November. Ah, the fun of it all. I want to go again. I also made a trailer for my book. You can view it here.

Tagged! I'm it.

I've been tagged by Lauri Robinson to tell everyone 8 things they didn't know about me before!

Hmm. I'm fairly blabby, so this may take a while to think of some things no one else knows. I may just have to go with things only a few people know.

1. When I was young, I would sit on Santa's knee and ask for only a jar of creamy peanut butter. Every year I got it.

2. I once ripped out half my eyelashes with an eyelash curler. Man, they take a long time to grow back.

3. When something breaks, I just make do for as long as I can before taking the time to get it fixed properly. I've had tupperware hold up my broken dishwasher door, weights keep my tv cabinet closed, I've traded the busted silverware drawer twice with lesser used drawers that I only taped together.

4. I once talked my dentist into fixing a cavity without pain meds cuz I thought I was tough and didn't want to be numb for a day. Once.

5. In high school, I went to "kidnap" this guy I liked, but barely knew, for a fun girl's choice date. It turned out I kidnapped a total stranger who just happened to have the same name.

6. I was raised in a house of girls, but am now raising a houseful of boys.

7. I love buttermilk.

8. While turning over this stupid fancy popcorn maker, I spilled boiling butter on myself. I still have a great scar on my inner thigh.

In case I tag you, here are the rules:
1) Each player starts with 8 random facts or habits about themselves.
2) People who are tagged need to write their own blog about their 8 things with a copy of these rules.
3) At the end of your blog you need to choose 8 people to get tagged and list their names.
4) Don't forget to leave them a note saying they've been tagged.

Okay, so I only tagged 7. It was hard to find any who weren't already taken. I apologize if there are any duplicates.

Tag you're it!
Anne Whitfield, Sandra Cormier, Jalena Burke, Michelle Chambers, Lauren Delaney, Sara Thacker, Allie Boniface

I'm getting published!

April 18, 2007. I went through my emails and was stunned to see the words, "I have reviewed your submission, Upon Eagle's Light, and was delighted with it. I would love to offer you a contract!"

Yes, yes, yes, and yes again! I jumped out of my chair, throwing my arms up, and exclaimed,"whoo hoo, yes, yes, yes!" Then jumped up and down, screaming a bit more. Problem was there wasn't anyone else in the house to scream with me except 11 year old C who merely blinked, then immediately started calculating how many DS games I could buy him. As if.

Then I called my husband, he didn't pick up, so I called my sister, Heather, but I was so excited and talking so fast, she could barely understand me. Not to mention, we had a bad connection. So I hung up, called back, the connection was better, but I was still talking a mile a minute, breathing rapidly like I'd just run 10 laps. Okay, maybe one lap since I'm that out of shape. She got chills and it was so fun telling her because she is one of the people who knows how long and hard I've been working for this.

Called hubbie next. This time he picked up. I thought I had my breathing under control and my pace back to normal, but as soon as I started talking, I was rumbling like a boulder running down hill again. I could hardly stand the excitement. This has been my dream since I don't know how long. I clearly remember swinging on my grandparents' huge swings, back and forth, back and forth, day dreaming about what it would be like to be an actual writer and have my stories read and loved by millions. (I dreamed big back then) I couldn't have been more than eight or nine.

Anyway it's been an exciting busy week. I signed the contract with The Wild Rose Press and have found them to be wonderful, gracious, and fun people. Not the scary big bad faceless judgemental editor types at all. I'm really looking forward to getting to know them all better. (No, I am not brown nosing, they really are.) So far, I've joined in on one of their author chats, picked out a good short excerpt from my book, figured out a blurb, which was too long so my editor condensed it. Thank goodness for good editors. Let's see. Wrote a short bio about me for the author page, which they put up today, joined their author blog, and a ton of their other forums, picked out a picture of me (that was the hardest, photogenic I am not, and the picture I picked looked ok on my screen, but on theirs, I look a little sarcastic- makes me laugh), um, what else. A few other things. It's been great! What a fabulous week. I am getting published. Me. Clover Autrey. Published Author. Doesn't that sound great?
my authors page

Book Report

THE SINGER'S CROWN by Elaine Issack

I admit it. I like fantasy books that follow the basic fantasy pattern, ie: young hero finds his true and mighty destiny and gets the fiesty girl on his way to saving the world. I do enjoy those. That being said, this book broke the patterns, and I immensely enjoyed it, partly due to the differences.

The hero isn't typical-- a castrate no less, nor does he have any designs on retaking his kingdom even when others drag him in to do it. And the rest of the characters follow suit, none of them are typical of the parts they play, a few are people who annoy you, yet you come to love and admire them as their own intervowen stories progress. Even the villian, surprisingly is somewhat likeable and truly loved by many of the other characters.

And to see his brother and sister mourn over the choices he makes and try to save him, even after he has done some horrible things in front of their eyes, is masterful true to life writing.

Definitely a book worth looking in to.

THAT neighbor is mee

So my neighbor stops by last night and says, "I'm returning something to your boys." He hands me a half eaten dill pickle, which my 13 year old threw over the fence into their pool. Of course he denies it, even though there are three witnesses (his brothers) that say he did it. I apologize. I make him apologize, even though he claims innocence, but then, he is ALWAYS innocent. I don't know how it happened but my house has become THAT house. You know, that house that always has a gang of boys hanging around it with weeds a mile high, that all the neighbors are just estimating the years til all the boys grow up and leave. All I really need is a rusty major appliance and the back seat from a truck to sit out on my front porch and I'm set.

But to at least make amends for my shabby yard, I went out this morning to mow the weeds. The grass doesn't need mowing yet, just the weeds since we didn't pretreat. But when the mower we bought just last year started smoking to high heaven, I had to use the old one. It works fine as long as you pull it backwards, until it just quits for an hour or so. So the yard is half-way done now, the tallest weeds gone. Oh, man, my reputation of being THAT neighbor is fixed. Oh well, maybe I should embrace it.

Feburary Crashed

So I pretty much crashed through February. Midway through, I realized what was happening as I'd seen my mom do it several times. She puts on these great weddings, pretty much single-handedly and for 3 to 4 months, she just goes, goes, goes, riding a crest of adrenaline. Then when it is over, she pretty much sleeps through the following month.

February for me was like that. I had no energy, no motivation, no desire. I pretty much went through the motions of getting the kids to their activities and going to work, and sleeping whenever possible. Even answering emails was too much of a bother. Isn't that terrible? Until I put it together and realized I was just crashing from doing soooo much November through January. Literally. One month isn't too much to just lay low and recover after all.

I have been myspacing, though, mostly as an attempt to network, so that when I do finally get that break into the publishing world, I'll have a base to start with. I put a free short story up there to garner some interest as well. To read it go here

Good Hook

"When Jake Matthews walked out the door for his early morning run, he had no idea he’d be dead in twenty-three minutes. Nor that it would begin the biggest adventure of his life."

I jotted this down this morning. I've been working on a book off and on for a couple of years. You know, it's that book, the one that won't go away, that you have completely plotted out and know it inside and out, yet it is just too big of an idea to throw yourself completely into at this time in your life, so it percolates, always there, but never quite right, even while I'm actually working on it between other projects. The beginning, those first few crucial lines have never been right. I've rewritten them a quintillion times, but today I thought I had something good. I didn't realize how right until my 15 year old daughter came in and saw my scratchy lines, lying on my desk and startled me by saying, "Is this a life after death thing? or does he have an adventure in only 23 minutes?" I had hooked her. She had to know. So much so that instead of running off to do her own thing, she sat down at my computer while I pulled up the first chapter (all that's written so far) and she read it right then and there.

Yeah, I'm smiling.

So what's been your favorite first lines that hooked you?

Book Report

I finished reading Eragon at the hospital. It was better than I expected. It followed the standard fantasy pattern. Young farmland hero becomes the only person who can save the land (this time via being chosen by the dragon to be the Rider). Said young hero is taken under the wing of an aged and knowledgeable master/wizard type who teaches him a few things about magic, yet partway through the book will leave (usually being killed - as were Gandalf and Obi Wan), which forces the young hero to muddle through and carry on the quest without any guidance, except for the aid of companions who gather round him (be it elves, wookies, droids, cargo smugglers, dwarves . . .) In Eragon's case, it is elves, dwarves, and the son of his enemy.

Nothing entirely new. However, I'm going to defend that very aspect by saying, "Who cares?" I, for one, like this format. It works. Don't throw the baby out with the bathwater. And as far as changing the bathwater, Christopher Paolini has enough fresh cultures and ideas to make Eragon worth reading. It is enjoyable.

The aspects of this book that I truly find admirable and soaring above the rest are 1) the fact that it is a 15 year old boy writing about a 15 year old boy. The thoughts and feelings that come through are fascinating. Incredible true-to-life characterization on that part. Aspiring writers should read the book just to glean insights on how to build a character well, alone.

The second aspect is Mr. Paolini's courage in having his character ask and ponder huge moralistic questions and then leaving them without having answered them. Because in truth, these were the type of questions that there really is no answer for. A good example comes when Eragon, Murtaugh and Saphira are evading an army of their enemies and are attacked by a smaller party of bandits. Murtaugh consisely kills the bandit leader while he is on his knees. Eragon argues that that seemed like murder. Saphira councels the result would have been the same had Murtaugh, being a superior swordsman, fought the bandit again and killed him, and that they couldn't let the bandit go and tell the approaching enemy army of their whereabouts. Eragon mulls it over for quite some time, but what I love about it is the author never intrudes and stamps his own moral answers into it. He allows it to be one of those questions in life that each individual and situation has to answer for itself.

I can cite some adult writers who haven't been able to constrain themselves on that point. One of my most favorite authors comes to mind, not to name names, but it starts with a "G" and ends with a "oodkind" When Richard was standing on that slab of rock on that mountain, lecturing, it was as though Richard took a step back and the author jumped right into his body. I've never felt author instrucion so blatantly in my life. Though Mr. G knows the Wizard's First Rule well, he had forgotten the Writer's First Rule, which is: Readers are not stupid. We got your point. When good people do nothing, they are really allowing evil to prevail. We got it. We got it the first time Richard pointed it out. We got it when Kahlan conveyed it. We got it when Nicci realized it at the statues. We got it again when Nicci lectured about it in the stables. We got it when Zedd restated it. Believe me, we did not need Richard to go on and on and on for three chapters or more on that mountain. I love G's books. I will read anything he writes, but I am begging him to please remember the Writer's First Rule. We got it. Terry Goodkind's page Christopher Paolini's page


Chase is home. No more dragging myself to the hospital every other day that I don't work. I can actually spend a few moments time with my other children. It is such a relief, such a release of tension. I never want to go through this again. C's liver better keep healthy.

No more spleen

It's been a long two months, but finally, Chase has had his surgery and his spleen has been removed. He made it off the ventilitor, something the docs in Dallas feared wouldn't happen, but it did. He is fine, his lungs are fine, and without that big bloated pain-inducing dying spleen, he is looking wonderful.

Right after surgery, though, he looked terrible. DH and I got to go in right as C was having a coughing spasm, and he had tubes coming out his nose and throat. As strong as I was trying to be, I couldn't. I lost it right there. Thank God DH volunteered to stay with him those first couple of days. I really couldn't do it. The only consolation was that I knew with the meds he was on, that he wasn't in pain, nor would he remember any of it. In fact, he doesn't remember anything from those first three days. I always will though.

When he did wake up, I was talking to him, telling him how strong his body was, what a miracle he was, when I realized he was responding with his fingers. He could barely move, couldn't speak because of the tubes, but we figured out how to communicate. I kept reasurring him that I was there, mom was there, that he'd never be left alone, and I watched his body relax. It was heartbreaking. But fortunately he doesn't remember any of that either.