May 142012

Shanda, Sheila and Mindy summarize their 2012 LDStorymakers Conference experience. They discuss a few points from classes that helped them most improve their writing and how they plan to implement what they learned. Whether or not you attended this year’s conference, we hope you enjoy this installment of the LDSWBR podcast. It really is great to be back!


Listen to the podcast here:


(click here to download, or right-click and select "Save as")



Related Posts:

May 112012

At the conclusion of the 2012 LDStorymakers Conference, we were able to attend the 2011 Whitney Award Gala on Saturday night. Sheila, Mindy and I had the honor of presenting the 2011 Whitney Award for General Fiction to Rachel Ann Nunes for her book, Before I Say Goodbye. After the Gala, Sheila and I interviewed several people, including Jack Weyland, Josi Kilpack, Tess Hilmo, Brandson Sanderson, Dan Wells, Stephanie Black, Rachel Ann Nunes, Gale Sears, Don Carey, and Kirk Shaw. Enjoy!

Listen to the podcast here:


(click here to download, or right-click and select "Save as")

Sister Weyland, Sheila, Jack Weyland, Shanda, Mindy

Sheila, Julie Wright, Mindy

Mindy, Stephanie Black, Sheila, Shanda, Tess Hilmo, Jenni James, Josi Kilpack (and that's Karen Hoover on the far left trying to sneak up on us. Nice try, sweetie!)


Related Posts:

May 092012

We had a great time at the 2012 LDStorymakers Conference this past weekend. It’s like a big family reunion every year. The presentations were educational and the M.C. was as funny as ever. (Feeling any better, Sarah? Curse that construction dust!)

The signing Friday night was huge. SO many authors were in attendance. Sheila packed her rolling suitcase full of books. No, I’m not joking. :)

Here are several photos from this past weekend. Most, if not all, of these were taken with my new iPhone, so I make no claims about their quality or lack thereof due to poor lighting. :)


Krista Lynn Jensen, Shanda, and Danyelle Ferguson


Sheila, Kimberley Griffiths Little, and Shanda


Sheila and Kelly Nelson


Lani Woodland, Amber Argyle, and Kathi Oram Peterson


Becca Wilhite, Shanda, and Krista Lynn Jensen


Jenni James and Shanda


Josi S. Kilpack, Shanda, N.C. Allen, and Sheila


Melanie Jacobson, Don Carey, Diony George, and Jennifer Ann Holt


Julianne Donaldson and Nicole Giles


Shanda and Melanie Jacobson


LuAnn Staheli and Sarah M. Eden


Shanda, Stephanie Black, and Sheila


Shanda, Lani Woodland, and Sheila


As you can see, we had so much fun. We can’t wait until next year!


Related Posts:

May 052012

I look forward to LDStorymakers Conference almost as much as Christmas. Maybe more.

Even though I live only 45 minutes away, I book a hotel room and show up Thursday and stay until Sunday. It’s the only time each year my kids get the chance to miss me. Or not. :)

The craziest dinner I’ve ever attended was Thursday’s dinner at La Dolce Vita. There was such a good turn out that we couldn’t hear the person sitting next to us without yelling. Oh yes, we might all be writers, but we are excellent talkers, too.

There were easily 50 or 60 or 75 or more people packed into that large room. See for yourself…



Sheila and I were next to Lisa Mangum and Sheralyn Pratt and we had a great time with these amazing women. I snagged a pic with Lisa, Sheralyn and Julianne Donaldson, author of Edenbrooke (which I loved!)


We also found our sweet friend, Chantele Sedgwick.


There were so many great people at the dinner that we didn’t get a chance to get photos with so we’ll try to fix that over the next two days of the conference.

I’m already looking forward to next year’s dinner. And maybe I’ll bring earplugs, lol.

Related Posts:

Apr 272010


Hillary and I arrived at the Provo Marriott on Friday morning, relieved to find a parking space on the top level of the parking garage. The rain was steady and that particular level was exposed to the elements, but even sloshing through several deep puddles in sandals couldn’t dampen my excitement. (Sorry, couldn’t help myself.)

As soon as we entered the front lobby, we could feel the energy surging through the hotel. Hillary and I made our way to registration through a crowd of faces; some were familiar and greeted with an ecstatic “Hi!”; others were unfamiliar, though they wouldn’t remain that way for long.

Welcome and Introduction

I was amazed at how packed the ballroom was as I made my way to the table where Hillary was waiting for me. We flipped through the binders discovered in the handy green bags provided for us, marking the classes we wanted to take and reading syllabuses.


While we waited for the conference to begin, Hillary and I traded cards with the other ladies on our table. We all introduced ourselves and I realized that sitting next to Hillary was Paulette Inman from Pendragon’s Book Binding. I had seen Paulette’s work when Karen Hoover brought a book Paulette had made for her to the podcast recording in April. I made my first book purchase of the day- an adorable fairy-tale themed book I intend to use as my youngest daughter’s journal once her baby journal is full.


Once the conference began, first-timers at the conference were asked to raise their hands. I was blown away by how many people were there for the very first time. So many newbies, just like me and Hillary, ready to learn and be inspired. I knew I was going to have a great time at the conference, but the video they played during the introduction confirmed that these people were my kind of people.

The Classes

A few more comments and then we were off, a mass of students intent on getting a seat in the classes we most want to attend. For Hillary, Sheila and I, that first class was Heather (H.B.) Moore‘s How to Avoid the Common Mistakes of a Novice Writer. This was the ideal class with which to begin, setting the stage for everything else I was to learn that day.

I sat next to Sarah M. Eden in Janette Rallison‘s class on self-editing (major cool moment for me). I learned that I over-use the word “as.” I think I better double check this entry before I post it.

I already knew that authors can be the best manipulators when it comes to their readers. I learned in Jeff Savage‘s class, Villainous: Creating Characters We Love to Hate, that writing an excellent bad guy is one area in which an author’s skill at manipulating their readers’ feelings can really shine.

I finished up my first day of classes with Krista Marino and The First Five Pages. This class was beneficial to me both as a potential author and as a book reviewer. I hadn’t fully realized just how important those first five pages of a book are, not just in getting a publisher’s attention, but the reader’s attention as well. Of course there’s the hook that snags the reader, but what amazed me in the examples Krista shared was how much information, and how many unanswered questions, can be packed into those first five pages.


After classes had finished for the day, everyone gathered in the ballroom once again to listen to Dave Wolverton‘s keynote address. The amount of knowledge and experience Dave has is impressive, but even more than that is his willingness to share those things with everyone around him. His speech was encouraging and motivating.

Hanging Out

After a delicious dinner, Hillary and I headed over to the south hall to chat with old friends and make some new ones. We recorded our first set of interviews that will be available in upcoming posts. The first day of my first LDStorymakers Conference was done, and it was awesome.

Related Posts:

Apr 262010
Dear LDSWBR Followers,
You have so many goodies coming your way. I wanted to give you a peek at the fun that was LDStorymakers Conference & 2009 Whitney Awards. Keep watching this blog and the podcast website for photos and podcasts of the conference and Whitney Awards.
We had a great time at the Whitneys, especially announcing the winner of the 2009 Whitney Award for Mystery-Suspense. I’ll never forget the look on Stephanie Black‘s face when she realized Methods of Madness had won. Congratulations, Stephanie!
(L to R: Howard Tayler, Dan Wells, Sheila, Julie Wright, Hillary, Shanda)

Related Posts: