Friday, May 27, 2011

Due to an all day internet outage at my house yesterday, I'm a little behind formatting the transcript for today's "I Need Friends Friday" interview. It will be up a little later today.

Here's the deal. Sometimes I do these interviews away from the computer... like at the grocery store or the library or stuff like that. I write them down and then transcribe them and just like magic they appear here every Friday. It's a little mini miracle.
I did an interview for this week's INFF and I can't find it! So not only do I feel like a moron, I don't have anything to post. Dumb!
Please tell me I'm not the only one who does stuff like this.

I'm going to go listen to "Mama Said There'd Be Days Like This" and console myself with ice cream or something.

Friday, May 20, 2011

(Every Friday I interview a different person and share that interview with you. Perhaps they will be a fellow author. Perhaps one of my neighbors. Maybe the bagger at the grocery store. A member of my family. A follower of this blog. Maybe it will be you! Hey, it could happen.)

Today's INFF guest is Robison Wells, author of the upcoming Young Adult novel, Variant, touted as "a modern-day Lord of the Flies." Personally, I like to think of Rob as "a modern day Lord of the Dance"--he can Dougie with the best of them.
Rob (it would feel weird to call him Robison, even though that's his name and the name he writes under and, way back in the day the first time I emailed him but hadn't met him yet, I addressed the email to "Mr. Wells" and the next one to "Robison." But I digress.) is a talented writer, one of my seven favorite members of my critique group and a generally great person. Variant has received fantastic press, including a great review from Kirkus. It is available for pre-order on Amazon.
And (wow, this is the longest intro EVER): He is currently running an amazing contest on his blog--he's giving away (5) $25 Amazon gift cards and a Kindle, preloaded with his fav 5 YA books. Entering is easy! Go check it out. Need the link again? Here you go: Click Here for the Robison Wells Amazing Contest
Find him on the web at and on twitter at: @robisonwells and over at The Appendix Podcast (yup, my Appendix Podcast: I let him share some of the glory).

SME: Welcome to INFF.

Robison Wells: Bueno!

SME: Hola. (We're being bilingual, right?)

Robison Wells: Taco! Crepe! I'm out.

SME: Frankfurter

Robison Wells: I have no response to that. Which will be the #1 response to most of your questions.

SME: Fantastic. Barbara Walters makes people cry. I leave them speechless.

Robison Wells: I don't like that I can't see if you're typing or not. It makes me wonder if I should be performing, or if I'm waiting for you.

SME: The pressure's on, punk. Keep the zingers comin.

Robison Wells: If there's ever a long pause from me, assume I'm playing video games.

SME: Any video game in particular?

Robison Wells: Are you kidding? I don't play video games! I write books! And I work hard!
But either Call of Duty, Blood Bowl, or Battlefield 2: Bad Company.

SME: This is a glimpse into your "research" that, frankly, kind of frightens me. I do my research at this place called a library.

Robison Wells: I write YA. I have to do what the teens do. I also hang out at the mall, and write angsty poetry, and ask my mom for money.

SME: I need to write about rich people, then I can do all the things rich people do.

Robison Wells: You write regencies. I assume you go to a lot of balls?

SME: And go for carriage rides. And contract communicable diseases for which there is not yet a vaccine.

Robison Wells: They don't get communicable diseases. They die of bad news.
Seriously: Austen, ****ens, Brontes: whenever someone gets bad news, they get sick and die.

*Note: The content filter on my chat box inserts 4 asterisks when it detects a word that might be objectionable.*

Robison Wells: HA! Charles ****ens
****ens ****ens ****ens
That's fantastic.

SME: heeheehee

Robison Wells: This interview has taken a turn for the blue. Maybe this kind of **** is fine in a regency, but I write for kids.

SME: Wow. This is the best interview. EVER.

Robison Wells: I have to agree. Best ****** interview ever.
Oops. Only typed in six asterisks. I wonder what word that is.
Let's think of all the bad words we know.

SME: I know quite a few Regency-era bad words, but I doubt the filter would recognize them.
Now that we have established your propensity for using semi-questionable language, what other deep-seeded character flaws are you hiding from the world?

Robison Wells: Laziness. My editor emailed this morning to kick me in the butt and ask where the next book is. I think she's getting antsy about my slothfulness.

SME: You mean you didn't mention that in your original query letter?

Robison Wells: My original query letter has been unfairly maligned. Everyone (even my agent) remembers it just being "Hi, my brother is Dan Wells. Can you be my agent, too?"
But it was better than that. Well, longer than that. Not much better.

SME: My query letter goes something like this, "Hi. I know Dan Wells' brother. Can you be my agent, too?"

Robison Wells: Is this interview about me or about that hack, Dan Wells??? I hate him.

SME: So if I asked you who your favorite brother is, what would your answer be?

Robison Wells: Brother Bear, from Hollywood's Brother Bear. Followed by Brother Brigham (and his gold)

SME: Perhaps Big Brother?

Robison Wells: Yes, but the dictator, not the TV show. I mean, you have to draw the line.

SME: Absolutely. Now that we've put Dan in his place, let's put someone else in their place. Tell me honestly. Who's your favorite co-host of The Appendix?

Robison Wells: Well, of the three of us, I'm obviously the best.

SME: And second place goes to....???

Robison Wells: Our guests

SME: Dang. Third place?

Robison Wells: The microphone

SME: ********

Robison Wells: Followed by, I guess, you. Marion's in last place.

SME: Take that, Marion Jensen!!

Robison Wells: (But last of all the game!) Also: it's opposite day.
Maybe I should write for a younger groups of kids than teens.

SME: Yah. Opposite Day was really popular when I was like 5.

Robison Wells: By which you mean it wasn't popular when you were five? I hate your logic puzzles!

SME: If you did actual research, logic puzzles would be so much easier.

Robison Wells: I do actual research. For example, for this book I totally Googled some things. I don't remember what.

SME: *sigh* You make me sad.

Robison Wells: I watched YouTube videos about paintball

SME: It's a good thing I'm around to make our profession respectable.

Robison Wells: And, after the book was accepted and being revised, we discovered that a crucial paintball-related plot element was physically impossible and I had to make big changes.
So: Research. After the fact.

SME: But research, nonetheless. I am inexplicably proud of you in this moment.

Robison Wells: I didn't go to a library, though. I think it was watching a video of a guy in his backyard shooting paintballs at a broken ping-pong table.
So, yeah, pretty respectable.
(The plot point, by the way: contrary to popular opinion, it's impossible to freeze paintballs and turn them into makeshift bullets.)

SME: There goes my plans for the weekend.

Robison Wells: So, now the book gives step-by-step instructions about how to make pepper spray out of household materials. A recipe I also got from YouTube, come to think of it. Gosh, research is great.

SME: Niiice. When does this book come out, because I know I have readers who need this information!

Robison Wells: October 18. Or you could Google it. But buying my book is better.

SME: "Buy my book." --Robison Wells
I'm going to quote you on that.

Robison Wells: How about "Buy my book, *******."

SME: Even better.

Robison Wells: What was really lacking from that pepper spray video is characterization.

SME: And I bet it was just horribly info-dumpy.

Robison Wells: Oh, yeah. It was all tell, tell, tell.

SME: Probably too heavy on dialogue.
I have a very important question for you.

Robison Wells: Hit me.

SME: What's your favorite continent?

Robison Wells: Oooh, good question.
I mean, Europe's great and all, because that's where almost all of my foreign rights have sold. We're in 8 languages now, baby!
Like how I got the plug in during an unrelated question? That's SALESMANSHIP.

SME: So continents can buy your love, is that what you're saying?

Robison Wells: Africa's fine, I guess.
South America: meh.

SME: Harsh.

Robison Wells: And don't even get me started about Antartica! Sheesh
I'm going to have to go with the lost continent of Atlantis. It's pretty terrific.
Australia, Asia, North America: talk to me when you're lost, sunken and mysterious.

SME: You are the very first interviewee to choose Atlantis. I don't know if that makes you really cool or really lame.

Robison Wells: Really cool.

SME: I think we'll leave that for the readers to decide in the comments.
Let's see... we've plugged your book, insulted your brother, mentioned the podcast. What else is there to cover?

Robison Wells: My charm and good looks? Both: pretty terrific.

SME: And we've made a trip into the world of Rob's ego. Also important.

Robison Wells: Covering all the bases.

SME: I am nothing if not a very thorough interviewer.

Robison Wells: "I interviewed with Sarah Eden, and I covered all the bases." --Rob Wells

SME: Another quote? Not sure I'm going to use that one.

Robison Wells: That's censorship.

SME: Deal with it.

Robison Wells: Dealt.

SME: While we're on the subject of horrible things: Why am I not mentioned first in the acknowledgments of Variant?

Robison Wells: Were you in the writing group when we read it? I honestly don't remember. You could tell me you were an important beta reader and I'd believe you and get you added.

SME: Oh I did absolutely nothing to earn a shout out, but I want one anyway.

"I interviewed with Sarah Eden, and she exploited my largesse." --Rob Wells

SME: Also not using that quote.

Robison Wells: I want you to know that I'm laughing myself silly over here.

SME: "I interviewed Rob Wells and he laughed himself silly." --Sarah Eden

Robison Wells: It doesn't have the same ring.

SME: No. No it doesn't.
Perhaps we should just move right to the "Sarah reveals her portrait of Rob" part of the interview

Robison Wells: I'm excited.

*draws a portrait so amazing that Rob, frankly, doesn't deserve *

SME: I think you look like a redheaded hobo. Or the young Santa Clause in that claymation Christmas special that Mickey Rooney did.

Robison Wells: I think I look like I'm naked and only wearing shoes.

SME: Did you notice they are running shoes? Not because I think you ever wear them, but because the kids on your book cover are wearing them.

Robison: Also: I look inebriated.
What kind of interview is this?

SME: What kind of interview? Did you not notice all the ****** in it?

Robison Wells: So, here's a question:
In that picture I have no hands, just stumps. Is that also the case with my feet? If so, how do the shoes stay on? Are they only on because I'm standing inside them (ie, they'd fall off if I tried to walk)?
I guess the question is: did I lose my hands in an accident? Or do I not have appendages at all? Because, either way, horror show.

SME: It's meant to be artsy, Rob. No one ever complained to Picasso about their portraits.

Robison Wells: Picasso never painted MY portrait.

SME: Lucky him.

Robison Wells: He would have heard complaining to put his ear back on his head.

SME: That's Van Gogh, you oaf.

Robison Wells: Same person!

SME: Dude.

Robison Wells: Picasso Van Gogh. He's very famous. Surprised you haven't heard of him.

SME: I think I read about him on Wikipedia.

Robison Wells: Maybe your lack of art history knowledge is why your portraits are so "artsy".

SME: Since you obviously have no taste for fine art, we'd best just move on.

Robison Wells: Fine then.

SME: Final question of the interview: Top 5 reasons this is the best blog interview you've ever done. Ready. Go.

Robison Wells: #1 Because there was more swearing in this one.
#2 Because I'm sitting in my pajamas eating mini-donuts while I'm being interviewed.
#3 Because I've never been asked about my favorite continent before. Honestly, what are those other interviewers even THINKING! Am I not a man?
#4 Because I'm glad the hierarchy of importance in Appendix hosts has been officially put on the public record. About time.
#5 Because you should go buy my book. (What do you mean that's not a reason? Want to fight?)

SME: "Buy my book." --Robison Wells. I said I would use that as your quote.

Robison Wells: Perfect

SME: The Appendix always ends with a listener challenge. We'll end this interview with a reader question: Is Rob really cool or really lame?
Well, thanks for being on I Need Friends Friday.

Robison Wells: I hope this interview worked. I was much more flippant than usual.

SME: Really? I didn't notice.

Robison Wells: Oh, stop.
I could go back and re-answer being more professional.

SME: There is nothing about this interview that is supposed to be professional.

Robison Wells: "Oh, I think that literacy is important for the youth of America and blah blah blah."

SME: We'll end on that quote (not that I think it'll fool anyone).

Robison Wells: Deal. Thanks! I'm excited to see how stupid I look.

SME: You'll probably look really stupid.

Robison Wells: Perfect

SME: *cue exit music* Well, this has been "I Need Friends" Friday. Come back next week when I will make another friend!!

If you'd like to be interviewed for "I Need Friends" Friday, shoot me off an email: friends at sarahmeden dot com!
I am looking for anyone and everyone, whether or not you think you are interesting. You'll get a fantastic stick figure portrait of yourself, a little promotion (if you're looking for that sort of thing) and the opportunity to tell your friends and family that you've been interviewed by SME, er... by ME!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Enjoy some inspirational and entertaining quotes on writing!


"Whether or not you write well, write bravely.” -Bill Stout

"Writing is the hardest way of earning a living, with the possible exception of wrestling alligators." -Olin Miller

"Writing only leads to more writing." -Sidonie Gabrielle

"Writing is a socially acceptable form of schizophrenia." -E. L. Doctorow

"The important thing in writing is the capacity to astonish. Not shock - shock is a worn-out word - but astonish." -Terry Southern

"Be yourself. Above all, let who you are, what you are, what you believe, shine through every sentence you write, every piece you finish.” -John Jakes

"A synonym is a word you use when you can't spell the other one." -Baltasar Gracián

"Writing is a struggle against silence." -Carlos Fuentes

"The best time for planning a book is while you're doing the dishes." -Agatha Christie

Monday, May 16, 2011

Here's another fabulous video from the 2011 LDStorymakers Writers Conference. We showed this Friday morning to introduce the "Ultimate Giveaway Prize"! On Saturday, we gave it away and much jealousy was felt by those who did not win.



Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The web is littered with blog posts about the 2011 LDStorymakers Writers Conference and how fabulous it was. We had some amazing agents and editors (Becca Stumpf, Sara Crowe, Sara Megibow, Marcia Markland, Kirk Shaw and Lisa Mangum) and Larry Brooks as the Keynote Speaker. The classes were absolutely stellar. We reached nearly 500 attendees--a new record. The MC was, ahem, fantastic!

But, what are all those blogs not telling you?

  1. The bookstore was 100% drool worthy. I don't think we've ever had a bigger bookstore at the Storymakers conference. The room was packed with books from every genre and, more often than not, filled with eager readers. (This picture ----> was taken at the Emormous Book Signing of Awesomeness on Friday night. The photographer is Heather Gardner. Go check out her work, she's so talented!)
  2. The agents/editors were, without exception, friendly, personable and professional. I spoke with each of them at least once during the conference and was struck by how nice they all were. Beyond that, each shared an impressive amount of industry knowledge and practical advice I think every attendee benefited from. I had the opportunity to go to dinner with Marcia Markland Thursday night before the conference and the group talked about books and changes in the publishing world, as well as life in general. I pitched a manuscript to Sara Megibow and left, not only feeling great about the pitch and her response to it, but with a book in hand she gave me to read. (Plus Sara recommended a toy that my son is going to LOVE!)
  3. The conference committee never stopped moving. This was my first year on the conference committee and, until now, I had no idea how much constant work goes into running one of these things. We rocked. Just saying.
  4. I spent the conference in agony. That was really dramatic, wasn't it? I had ten stitches in my back through the entire weekend. For the most part they didn't bother me too much, but every once in a while I would move just right or pick up something a little too heavy and the pain just about knocked me over. Also (because, let's face it, #4 is all about me), I slammed my toe into a table leg on Saturday morning and sliced it open, then it swelled so much I could hardly get my shoes on. I'm sure there's a book in all that somewhere, I just need to find it.
  5. The do-it-yourself James Dashner Shrine Kit. First off, James knew nothing about this. Watching him watch the "sales video" was hilarious. The only thing funnier was when he drew the winner from the golden cup on Saturday afternoon. I had been joking with others on the committee that we should pretend to draw James' name from the cup. In the end we didn't have a lot of time, so I just called him up to draw. He drew his own name. I completely lost it. I am not sure I laughed that hard the entire weekend. So very, very funny.
  6. I had three more funny bits prepared to use at Storymakers just in case we had extra time to fill. Deciding to axe those bits felt rather like having to edit out a favorite scene from a manuscript. You know it has to be done, but it still hurts. Maybe another year, right?
  7. The Whitney Awards Gala ended the weekend with class! I felt like the awards were, once again, a celebration of the contribution of LDS authors to the publishing industry. The winners were gracious and humble and truly honored to be recognized. Those who didn't win were, across the board, happy for those who did. The whole evening felt like a gathering of friends and I love that. (This picture ---> is a tradition every year, by the way. The "losers" get together and ham it up for the cameras, making a big show of drowning our sorrows in dessert. Don Carey took this shot in which I have decided to skip the fork all together and just shove the slice of cheesecake into my mouth. We had so much fun!)

The conference was so fantastic. I have used at least 6,000 adverbs and adjectives in this post--Storymakers was that great! Am I going again next year? Yes. Yes I am!

PS, if you are looking for the videos I shared as part of my MC-ifying, they can be found under the "2011 Storymaker Conference" tab at the top of the page."

Monday, May 9, 2011

When asked to explain the following book genres, my (then) 7 year old, gave these answers...
(you may have to pause the video if you run out of time to read the answers)


For the 2011 LDStorymakers Writers' Conference, I played this video in which two kids attempt to match up 10 authors with their respective genres with varying degrees of success.


For the 2011 LDStorymakers Writers Conference, Stephanie Fowers filmed a scene based on my "If Every Story Were Told Like a Cliche Romance" blog post. I wrote the screenplay and my husband and I took on the starring roles.

Here's that scene in all its glory!

Love's Secret's Passion from Stephanie Fowers on Vimeo.


Wednesday, May 4, 2011

In the spirit of my recent post, If Every Story Were Written Like a Cliche Romance, I'm tackling another genre: Dystopia. 

How would stories be different if they were all filled with all-powerful overseers? Or violently enforced, extremely controlling rules? Forced conformity? I'm getting all creeped-out just thinking about it.



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