Monday, December 17, 2012

Peace on Earth

This is one of my favorite Christmas songs. I thought I'd share it with you today.

Sending my kiddos off to school this morning was harder than I expected. I told them I loved them and watched them walk down the sidewalk towards the school a little longer. My heart ached for the families affected by the terrible shooting last Friday. So many thoughts raced through my mind. The internet is obliterated with opinions on what we should do to keep this from happening again. The depression I had felt after the elections was back in full force. A feeling of hopelessness swept over me. The words from a famous Christmas song echoed in my head as I drove home.

 And in despair I bowed my head
There is no peace on earth I said
For hate is strong and mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good will to men

I don't want to argue gun control laws or tighter security at schools. Heaven knows the school in Connecticut was as good as you can get, but when evil is in force you cannot stop it. Maybe our teachers should be trained in combat and have a gun close by. But even then could you be certain that the perpetrator wouldn't gun down half the school by the time the trained teacher could reach them? You can't be certain that doing any of these things will keep crazy people from acting crazy. 

When I got home I turned on the news, something I hadn't done all weekend as I didn't want my kids to hear it. I cried again as I heard the childrens' names read  one by one. They were better than this world in many cases. It hits close to home. 

I have a six year old. She is special. She is full of love and kindness. I love all of my children, but even they would agree that she has an angel's heart. She reminds me of so many of the children that lost their lives.  She is amazing.  I often ask her where she came from? And she responds that she came from Heaven. And then I smile and laugh and say, "You're right. You came straight from Heaven" 

Those children and teachers who lost their lives lost them because they were in the wrong place at the wrong time. Or were they? I'd like to believe that God knows them and knew what was about to happen and was there to welcome them home. That is why he took only the best. Yes, I want to hear about a miracle.  I want to wake up and discover that it was just a bad dream.But the reality is, it happened, as will more evil in the future if we don't change our ways. 

The scriptures say that in the last days "the hearts of men will turn cold." With all the deliberate shootings out there I can say that the idea of cold and unfeeling hearts is happening at a rampant pace and no amount of law reform is going to change that. There is only one who can soften the hearts of man. And that is the only thing I am sure of today. I know there is a God. I know His son Jesus Christ was there to take those children and teachers into His arms and welcome them home to that heaven in which He resides. I know that He has a plan for us, and If we will obey his commandments, and welcome him back into our lives, and into our schools, and into our states, and into our country, he will protect us in our time of need. But if we continue to shut Him out, deny His existence, refuse His name on our lips-- He will stay his hand. And our tardy cries will be in vein.

But the bells are ringing
Like a choir singing
Does anybody hear them?
Peace on earth, good will to men

In light of the tragedy, some wonder if they should take down their Christmas decorations. I say "NO!" 

Do not let the adversary win! Do not let hopelessness rule our dark days. 

Christ was not born in a mere stable and then crucified on a cross just so  we could refuse His comfort and hope  when we needed it the most. The reason for Christmas is to celebrate His coming. It causes us to sing loudly the hymns that through Him we can have peace again. That death is defeated and that we will be with our loved ones again.

I am then reminded of the rest of that beautiful Christmas song. I want to sing it loudly through my tears.

Then rang the bells more loud and deep
God is not dead, nor doth He sleep
The wrong shall fail, the right prevail
With peace on earth, good will to men

Life is short. Our children our precious. I am so grateful for the five I have been blessed with. I am thankful for every day, even the hard days. But most of all I am grateful for the knowledge I have that God lives. That Jesus is the Christ. That even in the very darkest days we can find peace, hope, and yes, even, eventually, joy again. May each of you my friends have the love of Christ in your hearts this Christmas Season, and if you feel hopeless, please, take this time to turn to that creator that loves you and knows you by name and  wants to comfort you too.

Till, ringing singing, on its way,
The world revolved from night to day,
A voice, a chime, a chant sublime,
Of peace on earth, good will to men!

Merry Christmas


Monday, September 10, 2012

Help me with a book cover!

Okay, so it's been a while, but I've been busy. Life is busy. Sometimes too much so, but alas, that is our plight in this modern world.  This is the exciting part. I am very close to publishing my second novel. I have done about ten major rewrites and feel like it is finally in a good place.  But I have a problem. I can't decide on a name. In the beginning it was called, Bubble Land. If you read the story you will understand it. But most people who haven't read the story aren't going to get it. So I changed it to, Escaping Bubble Land. Still people don't get it. So then I went to A Broken Road. But there are lots of books with that same title. I want something a little more unique.  So this is where I need your help. I need your opinion. Just a quick answer will do.  What should the name be called? And what cover do you like the best?  After reading a small blurb about the book, check out the photos and let me know what you think.

   Twenty year old Cass gave up on life after the death of her little brother. Six years later she has made a mess of her life. A college drop-out facing her first DUI and six months of probation, she is forced to return home to live with her parents and get her life back in order. But Cass has secrets that keep her from believing change is even possible. When she meets James-- a former secret crush now working on her parents fledgling farm for the summer-- she is resigned to believe that with all the mistakes she has made her chance of winning James' affection is zero. But some things haven't changed: her love for James. Even when she discovers that he has a serious girlfriend, Cass can't help but fall in love with James' kind and nurturing ways as he works to bring the failing Wyoming farm back to life just as he encourages Cass to believe in herself again. But temptation lurks behind every corner and the possibility of her secret past coming to light forces Cass to choose if she has the will to change or if she will return to her life of alcohol abuse.

Here are a few cover possibilities:   Lights will guide you home

                                                Healing Hands, or Light to guide you home or Will to change or
                                                  Bubble Land, or Girl in a Bubble, Broken wings.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Another great blog review. Thanks Angieleigh!
A review of The Sand Bar. I have to agree on the idea of making it a movie. What a dream. Anybody want to take up the challenge of a screenplay?

Friday, July 13, 2012

Friday, July 6, 2012

Yesterday I did kind of a cool thing.  I recorded my first podcast!  I'm not sure how it all happened, but here's the short version. A guy named Jack sent me a message on facebook asking if I'd be interested in doing a radio interview on his am book club program. He gave me the web address and I checked out his previous recorded interviews with other new authors and found him to be a very good interviewer, not to mention a delightful human being. It's nice to know that there are great people out there, even in Florida!

 So I agreed to the interview. I was a little nervous that I wouldn't know how to answer his questions or worse that I would ramble on, but Jack, or John (as he goes by on the show) was the consummate professional. He praised my book, asked the right questions and moved the interview along quite nicely. He was amazing actually. Me? Well, I just wish I had a lower voice than I do. Maybe I should take up smoking...J/K. The podcast is called Book Club with John Austen and can be heard on Tuesday and Thursday morning on tan talk radio network in Tampa, Florida and also Little Rock, Arkansas.

To quote John, "I can't guarantee that you'll sell a million books, but I can guarantee you will be heard all over the world."

How can you turn that kind of offer down? So here it is, my debut podcast.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Since publishing The Sand Bar in April I have been very busy trying to keep the small tugboat a float and haven't had much time to keep this blog updated.The life of being a published author has been a better experience than I expected. People are kinder, more supportive than I imagined. It's been such an honor to meet so many of you and hear how you loved the book and shared it with your friends or kids. I've even had some men read and actually like it. The thing is, I know that they read it because they wanted to support me. I feel so blessed. I wouldn't have expected it. I want to let you know  how much I appreciate it.  Taking risks, stepping outside our comfort zones, putting stories on paper, or stories on film, or painting pictures or a number of other things that open ourselves up to criticism is scary but necessary if we want to live out our dreams or take a chance or grow and develop and create. I love to create! I love telling stories. Thank you for jumping out of your comfort zones and giving a new author a chance! And tell your friends about The Sand Bar. And if you liked it, click like on Barnes and Noble or Amazon. Every like counts!

Thanks again. Now I'm off to run in the Ragnar relay with some good friends. Have a great weekend!

Monday, May 28, 2012

An interview and a review.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Passion For Pages: Review for The Sand Bar

Passion For Pages: Review for The Sand Bar: Title:  The Sand Bar Author: Rebecca Bryan Publication Date: March 25, 2012 Source: Author Summary (from Goodreads): With nothing to...

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Former St. Anthony woman writes novel, ‘The Sandbar’ - Standard Journal: Features

Former St. Anthony woman writes novel, ‘The Sandbar’ - Standard Journal: Features: ST. ANTHONY — A woman who grew up in St. Anthony has written a novel with a title that city residents will recognize as quite familiar.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

The Sand Bar Book Trailer

Gee Whiz it's been a long time since I've written on here. But that doesn't mean that I haven't been busy behind the scenes getting ready for my first book signing, and the launch of my blog tour. Things have been hectic, crazy, and just your typical mad May-ness as everything comes to a close including dance recitals, band concerts, etc. But there is still time for the debut of my first book trailer. I will be the first to admit we had some issues getting it made, but over all I think it turned out well.

So sit back and enjoy a snippet of The Sand Bar!

Also, don't forget I will be having a book signing during Fisherman's Breakfast in St. Anthony on Friday, the Twenty-Fifth in the morning, and then from one to three I will be at Broulims Market. Come by and say hi, watch the video and get a book.

Important note* 10% of the proceeds from this weekend will go directly to the Fremont County Search and Rescue. Plus I'll have a jar available for donations that will go directly to that organization so be generous! After all you are getting a free breakfast, and those folks just might be the ones to save your lives one day. Don't make them buy the cheap rope!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Sometimes you just need a laugh. I find the group Flight of the Concords to be one of the best comedic groups out there. They are extremely talented (note previous post about the muppets) The first time I heard this song I was running. I literally had to stop running because I was laughing so hard.   Even my six-year-old laughs at it.  

Happy rainy Wednesday.

Oh, and just a reminder, if you've read The Sand Bar, Please leave a review on Amazon or goodreads. Muchos Gracias!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

GReat NEws!

Happy spring break/Easter!!

We took the opportunity to travel to sunny Southern California for spring break. We spent all our savings at Disneyland (and that was just for the food), but we had a great time so it was all worth it. And after today's trip to Manhattan Beach, we are nicely baked to a well done and ready for the 11+ hours car ride home.

And here's the great news!

While we were zippidy do-da-ing at Disneyland, my book became available as a paperback!!!

This is super happy news. I am adding a link if you are interested in buying it. From the link you can also buy it from Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Copy and paste link to order a copy of The Sand Bar!

Leave a review if you liked it!

Friday, March 30, 2012

Crazy, Cougar-ess weekend!
(copy and paste link)
Update for those with Nooks like myself. The Sand Bar is now available on the nook. Outskirts still doesn't have the print version available. I am grinning and bearing it because what else can I do?

Another side note: My novel titled "Escaping Bubble Land" was just sent to a publisher as a "full" That means they are interested in buying the book. That was kind of a fun thing. And on days when you are waiting, waiting, waiting for a book to go live you have to look for the positives.

Tonight I get to play Mrs. Robinson down at BYU. Don't worry, it fades to black before they ever reach the "portrait". I think it is going to be so fun to play a cougar, if you know what I mean. Here's what I'll be playing for those of you not familiar with the movie. I am not going to watch this because I don't want to try and be just like her, but I will watch it tomorrow.

Fun, fun, fun!

Have a great weekend. It's General Conference tomorrow. That will be great after I've just played a horrible seductress. Hope I can handle it. :)

Sunday, March 25, 2012

5...4...3...2...1...LIFT OFF!!


It's happening!! I feel excited and sick in my stomach at the same time. I want to turn and run away, or cover my hands in my face and peek between my fingers. Either way, here it comes!

Today, Amazon, Kindle has my book available for download and the Barnes and Noble Nook version should be available by tomorrow. The print version should be available very shortly. Like any day.

Friday, March 16, 2012


I'm feeling bad about bashing Outskirts like I did. I really went after them the other day. I hate doing that. I try to keep negative views of other people or businesses to myself, or at least between me and my hubby, but I'd really had it...and I let everybody know.

There has been a change for the better so I wanted to let you know that all is not the devil over at Outskirts. I had to scream and shout, but they finally heard me and acknowledged their error. In so doing, I feel it only fair to recognized a few errors of my own. First, when I realized I did not get my free edits I should have immediately brought it to their attention. I didn't. I stewed and felt frustrated, but did not want to confront them. A miserable part of my personality that I detest. Secondly, I realize now that I could have cut and pasted the @ sign. Why didn't I do this? I don't know. That would have been such a simple solution. Instead, I panicked and thought, "I don't know where the copy symbol is. I'll just use this and they'll understand"

My assumptions get me into a lot of trouble. Like the time I assumed my husband knew that I had somewhere to be and he would be home in time to watch the kids, or the time I assumed the waitress heard me ask for more water and she ignored me and then I felt slighted. I could go on and on. But I won't. I just thought I should be fair. It's what I would expect from the other guy. I am trying to live by the golden rule. It would be nice if a few more people did the same.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Self-Publishing Pros and Cons

I am writing this morning with a lot of fire in my chest. Probably not the best time to put my thoughts out there in the blogger world, but to me it seems necessary.

First, a recap and update on the self-publishing journey.

Remember what I said about there being no perfect solution in the world of Self-publishing? Well that needs to be underlined. I've had a very bumpy road to say the least. I'm actually beginning to think that I'll try querying again after the experience I've had with Outskirts Press.

Here's the bad news.

I don't know about other self-publishing companies, but Outskirts Press has treated me like a number in some huge, gray and cold warehouse. When my representative submitted the wrong version of my story, she insisted that she was not at fault, and if I wanted to resubmit the correct version I could do so for an additional 100 dollars! And have a good day.

Why would I do that? She had the correct version, even she admitted that, but it was not the version that was used in the final galley review. I dug my heels in. I knew that she had made the mistake, not me and I wasn't going to pay the additional amount. All I wanted her to do was submit the correct version. She wanted me to resubmit and pay the money. "Cha-ching cha-ching" I had to take it to the president of the company, who was very gracious and promised to fix the problem right away.

Only one problem. I didn't get his email. It went straight to my trash box. Sometimes I think there is an unseen force out there trying to keep me from succeeding. In his email that I didn't receive, he suggested I make all additional corrections and then resubmit it for free. Well,by the time I discovered it, (he sent an additional email stating he hadn't heard from me and I went digging) I had already sent it back to his supervisor uncorrected.

Doing it his way would have been a great thing. You see, going through and making corrections would have saved me a lot of time and money in the long run, but I was trying to play by the rules. I didn't want them to think I was trying to cheat them. So I missed an opportunity to make corrections. Bummer. That wasn't anyones fault, except the unseen force that sent his email to trash. So I went to the Galley review to make the corrections and found that they had skipped ahead to the second Galley Review.

What is the significance? The first Galley review offered 25 free edits. Not only were we two weeks behind schedule because of this misunderstanding, but I also lost those 25 free edits! It was such a pain to get them to see my way the first time that I just gritted my teeth and paid for all the edits. (turned out to cost me an additional 200 dollars)

On the last edit (The Fourth Review) I discovered they had given the wrong person credit for the cover photo. I went ahead and paid for it and did not argue with them because again, it didn't seem worth it. Believe it or not I don't like confronting people. It makes me very uncomfortable. On the other hand, even I have my limits. Anyway, in making the correction, since I don't know where the copy sign is on the computer I used an @ sign as an example of what I wanted, thinking that they would clearly understand what I was getting at.

Wrongo! These people are not really people, they are computer robots. They must be.

Well, you can guess what happened next. They copied it exactly the way I had written it. So now instead of a copy sign it has an @ sign. Is anyone confused? So I fixed it and stated that it was their mistake and I expected to be credited for the cost.

This morning I got an email stating that I would not get a credit. That "they copy it exactly like I write it and to have a good day!"

Have a good day? Blimey! I feel like screaming!

When I corrected it I stated "Put copy symbol here" If they really do "copy it just like you write it" then that is going to look really stupid and I was better off with the @ symbol.

This has been a very frustrating experience. I ignored several of the editors mistakes, realizing that she was human, just like I was and ignored the fact that they gave credit to the wrong person and paid for the change myself, and it did nothing to help me.

Am I weird? Okay, don' t answer that, but really, maybe it's because I'm from a small town, but I assume that people have common sense,and will recognize that they make mistakes, and admit it when they do. For something so small I would expect a little neighborly kindness. But no. This company is all about the dollar. I mean, they are really all about the dollar. Every change, edit, whatever, comes with a price tag. And talk on the phone? Are you crazy? Time is money, and we've got to publish 100,000 books this year!

Plus I hate their logo! It is huge on the back cover. It looks like a self-published logo. I hate it. It's bigger than my name.

I'm so done with Outskirts Press. I will probably use Abbot Publishing with my next book because at least the guy called me on the phone. I didn't realize how RARE that was.

Here's the good news.

I am almost finished! Hopefully by today or tomorrow I will push the button that says "Go to publish" That is the good thing. That is the hopeful thing. No matter what has happened with the publishers, I am going to get my hands on my very own book. And then I will promptly turn to Createspace or Abbott Press and publish my second novel "Escaping Bubble Land"

So that's it. And now the real work begins, the marketing, and book launching parties, and signings. I have dreaded this part. Just so you know, self-promoting is way out of my comfort zone. I hate it. If I didn't I would be a famous movie star by now. But I really hate talking myself up. I hate it when other people talk themselves up too; Really get's under my skin.

Have a great day!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012


Hey! I'm an actress...or at least I pretend to be. I did this small film a few months ago and I'm excited to share my first debut film with you and whoever is willing to watch. My part is small, but hey, everybody has to start somewhere, right? The funniest thing was my kids all asked me if I knew I was the 'bad guy' in the film. I should have told them to get used to it. I think I like playing the diva. And I don't want to hear that this thing was type casted!

Fish-Free Church from LeGrand Fry on Vimeo.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Healthy, wealthy, and wise

When I was young,I spent too much time focusing on all the things that were wrong with me.

I remember praying to Heavenly Father that if he would just fix my nose and make it as pretty looking as the girl's nose down the street I wouldn't do anything bad ever again!

I was much like Anne Shirley, wishing her orange hair would turn a raven black.

Well, we know what happened to Anne's hair, and I didn't fare much better. God didn't fix it, therefore, I didn't hold to my end of the bargain either.

But that's okay because I've sort of grown into my blessed nose. And while it would be nice to have perfect features, I don't really care about those things anymore. Today, I am grateful to have my health, just as I am grateful for the blue of the sky and the white of the fluffy clouds overhead. Thankful that I have legs to run, heart that pumps, lungs that breathe.

I was reminded of that the other day when I went to my son's talent show. He played the drums. But it wasn't his performance that brought tears to my eyes.

Sorry, cute son, but I think he'd agree that the number that touched everyone's hearts was the dance performed by a boy named Gabe.

I don't know much about him. At first glance you can see that he has no arms and no legs. He has an amazing wheelchair that allows him to get around a school of a thousand students pretty easily. I have no idea how it works, but I'm sure he is as grateful for his wheelchair as I am for my legs.

I also know that he is the most courageous person I have ever seen in my life. He "stood" in front of all his peers and danced with pure inhibition. When he finished dancing the whole school stood and cheered. Tears filled my eyes and the eyes of everyone in the room. Even Junior High students. Who can say they have had that kind of affect on Jr. High kids?

And Gabe's face! Oh if I could put it in a bottle and bring it out whenever I am down or feeling sorry for myself. His face radiated pure,simple joy.
The joy of dancing.The joy of moving your body.

The joy of living!

Maybe he'd felt that way before, I don't know. But I hadn't. Thirty-seven and I'd never experienced that kind of joy watching someone else dance.

It was love without boundaries and courage without self-gratification. It was beautiful. And I was lucky enough to have been there. Oh, yeah, I can prove this because I'm at the very end of the video. I'm the one clapping. Funny, huh?

Next time you say you can't or that your not good enough, remember Gabe. You can do anything you want in life if you set your heart on it.

Happy Valentine's day to all of you. Love and hugs.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Believe, Believe, Believe!

This story is amazing! Prepare and amazing things come your way. Of course, you have to be brave and put yourself or your idea out there. I hate that part.

This interview is from Coldplay's website. Such a cool story.

After you've been inspired, go do something amazing.

Hi Jason, how are you?
I’m good, thanks. Just getting my head around what’s coming next with the Xylobands.

Let’s start at the beginning. How did you meet Coldplay?
The original connection came via buying tickets to go to the Crisis gig in Newcastle, because my son had always wanted to go and see them. There was an auction where you could bid for meet and greet tickets, and we had some of those. But we didn’t get there because of the snow.

Oh no!
Yeah, my son was absolutely devastated, so I got in touch with Crisis and asked if there was anything else we could go along to. And lo and behold I had an email from Phil Harvey and he asked if we wanted to come up and watch the band rehearse. So we did that and I decided I’d be brave and tell him about an idea I’d had a long time ago for Coldplay. Which was the wristband. And it all just went from there.

When did you have the idea?
In 2005, when Coldplay did the Glastonbury Festival. I remember I was going through a few down days and I saw them doing Fix You. And there was just such a feeling of it bringing everyone together, as well as the line “lights will guide you home”. That’s when the idea of a wristband came to mind.

So it was specifically invented with Coldplay in mind?
Absolutely. To this day, I still have my doubts that this would really work for anyone else. I feel Paradise, Charlie Brown and MX are almost too perfect for them, really. Like Chris said, it’s quite freaky how he wrote a lyric a long time ago about glowing in the dark and then all of a sudden it all comes together and we’ve got wristbands making people do exactly that.
What’s your background then? Have you always been an inventor?

Well, when I left school I went to work for the family vehicle repair business, but after 17 years I realised it wasn’t me, and that I liked making things, fixing things and creating things. So that’s when I ventured out on my own. And I managed to prove that I could have an idea and take it from my head to being successful. I’ve ended up working with people like Disney, Jim Henson, Sesame Street and Sony.

So, when you met Phil, was he immediately receptive to the idea of the wristbands?
Definitely. He’s someone who needs to be as praised in this story as anyone. He’s the one that saw the potential and took the chance. We were just talking and I was saying that I’d had a bit of a tough year and I could do with a break. But at that time the band were finishing the album and the priority was obviously to get on with that. And then all of a sudden one day I had an email from Phil saying he’d been chatting to Chris and that he had that break for me. He wanted to know when we could start looking at making the wristbands.

With the idea being that the Madrid UNSTAGED show would be their debut? Exactly. That was a nerve wracking situation. We had a product that was untried and untested. We knew what we thought it could do, but we had to put it on stage with Coldplay at this huge YouTube show and hope that it worked.

You didn’t have a dress rehearsal?
No, we jumped straight in at the deep end. Everyone said we were mad. The wristbands only arrived in Madrid on the morning of the show in a van which had brought them overnight from the UK the minute they landed there from China. Me and Phil walked down from the hotel to the venue carrying a huge bin of wristbands and I told him that I was shitting myself. He was great. He just said “It is what it is. We’ve done it now. Let’s see.” So it was a really scary night, but it worked.

That must have been a relief.
Absolutely. After the show, I had no idea what the band had thought of it. But when I got back to the hotel and charged my phone up there was a message from Chris saying well done, that it was the most beautiful thing he’d ever seen and that he wanted to do it again.

So there was a chance they could have gone no further than Madrid?
Yes, exactly. We were ongoing with talks, but nothing was concrete and agreed before that.

But you obviously ended up doing the whole tour.
Yeah. Which has been such a rush. What we did and how quickly it was done is pretty unheard of, really. It was beyond madness. But we did it.

How were they manufactured?
You get your team of people here to design them and do a prototype and spend a little time testing and then you turn it over to a Chinese manufacturer.

So how do they work?
Basically they’re an RF-driven wristband. They’ve got a receiver in them which receives data and that data tells them how to flash and when to flash, basically.

How far can you transmit?
I think at the moment we can go to about 300 metres. Hence the story of the lady who lived near the Charlie Brown video shoot who’d been to a gig and suddenly found that her wristband was flashing again!

Ah yes, the Xylobands feature prominently in Charlie Brown video.
Yeah, and I think that video’s going to look amazing. They had about 20 dancers with neon paint and we put like four or five wristbands on each arm. So they were definitely glowing in the dark. It looked really cool.

Could you do it over a bigger area?
That’s a good question. We’ve not really tested that yet. 300 metres is quite a long way. But we’d love to be able to do it over a big festival site one day. Somewhere like Glastonbury is the dream. But you could always have multiple transmitters. It’d be amazing to see that moment of unity that the Xylobands seem to create on that kind of scale.

It’s amazing to hear the roar the moment they kick in at the start of each show.
Definitely. Even if you watch the footage of the X Factor show - you can hear a massive roar when they first come on. It really does seem to blow people away.

Have there been any problems with them?
No, they’ve generally been fine. You get the odd faulty unit - you get that with any electrical item - but that’s not been a big problem at all. And the feedback has been incredible. It’s almost hard to imagine Charlie Brown live without the wristbands now. They just make it seem so alive and bouncy.

The X Factor performance must’ve felt like another big moment.
Oh totally. It was a production dream, how they shot it. It looked amazing.

A lot of fans have been asking if they could make the wristbands work at home?
Not at the moment, no. We are looking at a product which does work at home, but the main concern is that if you make it possible to activate them at home, then you’d get people trying to set them off at a gig, and spoiling the effect.

Is it theoretically possible for someone to make a transmitter like yours which matches your signal?
Possibly. But we put code and other stuff in there too, to stop that. But it would be possible to change your battery if it’d run out and bring it back to another show.

There’s a lot of dates in the diary for 2012. Is the idea to take the wristbands to the entire tour?
I believe so. The order is a big number. We’re looking at more than a million pieces.

Will you be there for the whole thing?
We’re sorting that out at the moment. I’m a family man, so I’ve got to balance all that out. There’s a lot of dates. We’re discussing that now.

But you enjoyed being on tour in December?
Oh, it was brilliant. It was just nice to see people having fun with what we’re doing - the band and the audience. I loved it.

Have you got plans for future tweaks and changes to the wristbands?
Yeah, we’d like to do something that’s a bit more tailored for home. We’re looking at that for the future. The dream would be to create a global event with the wristbands - almost like a global Mexican wave. Just bring people together and let them have fun for a little while. Another dream would be that the band could do a gig on the net and we could provide people with a small, low-cost device that would flash in exactly the same way as people who were at the gig. We’re also trying to look at zones with the wristbands, to see if we can do different shapes within the crowd and that sort of thing. There’s definitely a lot of possibilities.

And are you marketing the Xylobands to other companies?
Well, the band don’t want the experience diluted for Coldplay, so we’ll see. But I think we will see some organisations using them for other kinds of events.

Do you guys have some kind of patent on them?
Yeah. The band and I have an agreement which covers the design trademark on them, patent protection and the intellectual property rights. So we’re pretty covered. We believe it’s a product that belongs to Coldplay and us, so if people want to do it themselves, they’d have to find a different way to do it.

It sounds like 2011 was a pretty crazy year for you.
Well it started with no notion of what was going to happen at the end, that’s for sure. If you’d said to me I’d be flying on a jet with Coldplay and feeling like I'm the happiest man in the world, I’d have said you were off your head. When I had this idea, I was sat in a dark room, I’d split up with an ex, with all these doom and gloom feelings, and there’s Chris singing, “When you lose something you can’t replace, stuck in reverse”. That was certainly how I felt! And then “lights will guide you home” was the line I really hooked onto for the wristbands. Actually, the first show we did the Xylobands, they suddenly started flashing of their own accord just as he did that line. That was pretty freaky! A lot of this whole thing has felt like fate, to be honest. But I’m incredibly grateful and thankful to Phil and the band for giving me this chance.

Do you have any top tips for aspiring inventors?
Believe, believe, believe. Don’t ever give up on the belief in yourself and if you try hard, you’ll get there eventually, for sure.

Final question, did you put any wristbands on your Christmas tree this year?
Haha! Well, we’ve certainly had some fun with them at home, yes.

For more info on the Xylobands, see

Tagged As: interview xylobands

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The ART of SELF-Publishing mingled with singing and dancing

Yesterday was a very happy day for me. ( Me kicking my heels) Why? Well, I'll tell you. Yesterday the preliminary cover of my debut novel, "The Sand Bar" was sent to me. I squealed in delight when I saw the mock-ups. I did. I admit it. I squealed. This book has been a long time coming and to see it was very exciting to me. To celebrate, we watched an Indian movie called "Lagaan" and danced to all the Bollywood songs. Even Dan, the husband. The guy who moans and groans when I ask, beg, plead for him to dance with me. It was amazing. And now he is going to be embarrassed that I've just published the fact that he enjoyed dancing.

Anyway, with the dancing and singing behind us I can move on and describe my journey towards self-publishing.

It hasn't been an easy decision. I've written several books, sent queries out, gotten a few nibbles and then nothing. Crickets. It's a horrible way to live. Always hoping, waiting, waiting and waiting. Send ten queries out, wait, check your email. Wait.

Get excited when one asks for more,
wait some more and then have your hopes dashed upon a sharp rock when they later respond that it just didn't work for them.

Then there are the horror stories;I have a friend who got an agent, the agent then left the agency and took my friends book with her, so then she had to fight to get her book back. What a mess. Don't get me wrong. There are many who have gotten an agent, sold the book to a publisher, and then had it published and distributed to thousands of book stores, like my friend and former classmate Jen Wolf is about to do. It can happen. And to those who succeed down this path I cheer emphatically for them. But I decided that I needed to take my books future in my own hands, and make it happen.

So I spent several months comparing self-publishing companies. It was painful and confusing because somewhere along the way the publishing company is going to make money off you, whether it is on the front end, making your actual book or on the other end, distributing it to bookstores online and the brick and mortar type. I was so confused I asked my father-in-law, whom I consider to be one of the smartest people I know, to help with the research. I actually felt better when he made the comment that "This is very confusing." as he studied the different plans. I knew then that it wasn't just me.

I finally decided that there wasn't one golden company out there. You just have to find the one that works best for you, and good luck!

One great reference for comparing companies is They do a great job comparing several different self-publishing companies and helping you think of questions that might come up later. I didn't end up using their services and I'll explain why in a second.

So it came down to four companies: Dog ear, Create space, Outskirts publishing, and Abbott Press. Dog ear and Abbott were a little more expensive on the front end, but touted cheaper book publishing costs on the other end. Abbott is affiliated with Writer's Digest. This, to me, is a good thing as I take a lot of classes from Writers Digest and read their blogs and get their newsletters. What I didn't like was the royalty package. I think after all the costs I would make 50% of what was left in the kitty. I was going to make literally pennies unless I sold the book for more money than I knew even my mother would spend for it. Not an option since my name isn't Nicholas Sparks or Jodi Picoult. The next company, "Create Space" seemed like a great option if you want to take out the middle man or do things on your own. I mean, they're Amazon; seems like a no-brainer, right? You can do it all yourself, or buy into one of their packages.

In the long run you make more money per book with Create Space, but I didn't feel like they were interested in marketing my book beyond putting it on their site. And to be honest, I have a soft spot for the little guy. And Amazon is nothing if not gargantuan.

This leads me to Outskirts Publishing, located in Parker, Colorado. Cheaper on the front end, Outskirts leaves a little more money in your pockets so you can buy into their plethora of marketing packages. They have thought of everything from putting your cover choices on their blogs for people to vote on, thereby building buzz about your upcoming book, to sending your book on a worldwide book tour, to creating your own book trailer (all for a price, of course). They do most correspondence by email, but you can call them if you have a concern. I'm not much of a phone person so this works great for me.

So far they have been very attentive, punctual, and have honestly surpassed my expectations. On Friday, my Representative, Colleen asked me to send any photo's I hoped to use for the cover, and to give the ideas I had about the look of the book. By Friday afternoon I had sent off my ideas. When I received an email Monday afternoon with two Great mock-ups all ready to go I was shocked and so excited!

They listened to everything I said, maybe to their detriment, as the one I had imagined in my mind was not the favorite of those I polled late last night. The looks are very different. A reminder that designing a book cover is an art form in itself.

Anyway, I am very excited. And now, showcasing the winning cover (minus a few changes to be made) May I introduce my first novel titled "The Sand Bar" YIPPEE!!!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Sweet Sixteen...I remember when...

My oldest son turned sixteen. It was just yesterday that I was looking forward to my own first date, and getting a drivers license, and having more freedom. It was also just yesterday that I gave birth to a squirmy little boy who moaned for twenty-four hours like he'd just been through the most traumatic experience of his life...Ok, I guess in some ways, he had. Even the nurses didn't know what to think of it. I remember they came to me and asked me what I thought the problem was. And I remember thinking, ' You're asking me? I have nooooo idea what is wrong with him. All I want to do is curl up under a blanket and sleep.' He eventually stopped moaning, but I didn't get much sleep for the next... twelve years. But sixteen! How can it be?

I think back to what I was doing at sixteen. Well, at least the things I can share. I remember my first date: swimming at Green Canyon Hot Springs, picnic, burgers,"bubbly" and then proceeding to soak the blanket with our drinks. Then we went to Rexburg where all my friends were waiting to surprise me with a party at the Botanical gardens. What a fun time. So much has changed. Or has it, I wonder? I'm not sure. So I've made a list of all the things that were happening that wonderful year. See if any of these are familiar:

#1 song on the billboard the week of my birthday was Sinead O'Conners,
"Nothing compares to you",

but I had the tape single of the #1 song from the previous week called, "I'll be your everything" by Tommy Page.

1990 was also a great year for movies, like Joe Verses the Volcano and Gremlins II. No, it really was a good year for movies. It included one of my all time favorites, "Ghost"

Hunt for Red October, Pretty Woman, Edward Sissorhands. (The beginning of my Johnny Depp crush.)

Dances with wolves, and my personal favorite, Misery, 'Mr. Man' Wow, that was a good year.

Some other fun facts for 1990 are:

Cost of bread=72 cents

Cost of a gallon of milk=$2.78

Cost of a dozen eggs=$1.00

Cost of a new car=$9,437.00

Cost of a gallon of regular gas=$1.16

Cost of a new home=$149,800.00

Cost of a stamp=25 cents

The average income=$29,943.00

The Dow-Jones market reached a high of 3,000 and a low of 2,365

Minimum wage was $3.80 in 1990.

TV shows were Days of our Lives and Cheers and Seinfield. It was also the first year of Prince of Bel Air.

I could put five bucks in my blue sprint and drive for a week.

There was no such thing as the internet or cell phones or mp3 players or even DVD's. Especially in my red neck of the world, (Idaho). But I did learn that 1990 was the year http was invented. In 1990 our texts consisted of notes we wrote to each other in class.

I never locked my locker, which might explain why money was constantly stolen from my jacket. I also found little presents like cookies, candy bars, M&M's, love notes. Roses, teddy bears, and other surprises. I'd talk on the phone for hours! And because the phone was attached to the wall, I'd stretch it as far as I could and lay on the living room floor, making the whole family step over me. (As a mom, that would drive me CRAZY. My parents were so patient!)

I was crazy for Madonna

and in love with Brad Pitt and
Patrick Swayze's "Ditto"

not to mention Johnny Depp and Tom Cruise. So many choices.

I listened to the Princess Bride Soundtrack every night before I went to bed and wished I were twenty-something living a dream life on an island in the Caribbean with a tall gorgeous man. Poor 16 year-old me would be appauled that I have yet to put my feet on Caribbean soil. Boo! Boo! Putrescence!

So that's about it. And the answer is, yes! Things have changed, but some things haven't changed: the desire to be loved, respected, cared about, and for. The hope that you'll do something big, and be somebody important. In the wise words of my favorite movie of 2011, "You is smart, you is kind, you is important." 16 years ago one of the good ones joined our family. I hope he knows he is all of those things. I thank my Heavenly Father for sending him to us. Happy Birthday, sonny boy.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Three Cheers for Parenthood!

You probably know by now that I love movies, T.V. shows, and just a great story in general. Today I want to give accolades to the best TV drama on the tube right now.

Parenthood. Tuesdays @ 9:00

This show is a diamond among thorns. I love the characters, I love this family. They get it. They really get it. I'd love to have a family this connected. It would drive me crazy and wouldn't probably work in real life as well as it works in T.V. Land, but the idea of family helping each other, being there for the highs and lows, knowing you, caring about your humdrum, every day, and sometimes wild life would be nice. I think. It's not exactly a "family" show. It's more of a "Parent" show that deals with a few adult themes, so watch it alone and then decide if it is something your kids are mature enough for.

So three cheers to Ron Howard and Brian Grazer, for creating a heartwarming, loving, crazy, real family that loves, fights, and then forgives. Which only grounds them deeper, creating a solid foundation. If you care about the quality of shows on T.V. you should really give this show a fair shake. I've had to say goodbye to a few shows I liked, but my conscience couldn't support. I'm hoping this show stays the course. We can't complain about anything if we aren't doing our part to support the few quality programs out there. I can support this one. So, please don't let me down, Ron! Just keep on going. And maybe if you could use an extra, or a surprise new sister, or something, give me a call. :)