Becca Wilhite Blog

February 25, 2010

About Name-Dropping and Book Blurbs

Filed under: books,character,reviews,RRO — becca @ 12:08 am

So I’m having a problem.

What? You’re not surprised?

Here it is. My publisher has been doing a good job of getting word out about MRRO, getting me lots of blog interviews and having the book listed on lots of buying sites. The problem is the blurb.

It mentions Mr. Darcy.

Why is that a problem? Because the book, well, doesn’t.

Sarah has a compulsion about romance novels. But not the Jane Austen kind. Not the, um, legitimate kind. The other kind. The busty maidens and pec-heavy pirates. She has sort of built an expectation for her world out of the pages of that kind of book. And it’s funny.* But the blurb says “Mr. Darcy” and so people are responding to That. To Mr. Darcy. Who doesn’t make a single appearance in the book.

In fact, at one point during our round of Titling conversations, my editor suggested the title, “Wanted: Romance, Jane Austen Style” to which I responded, “it’s so cute. I’ll be back after I rewrite the entire book.” This blurb may be left over from that epoch, but it feels wrong. I feel like I’m trading on Miss Jane’s name. Do you see what I mean?

So here’s the scoop. It’s a funny book. A romantic comedy. About a slightly crazy girl taking a chance and recognizing her worth. there is hotness (though not Darcy-related hotness. Just Bennish hotness – his name is Ben) and some pretty good kissing, if I do say so myself. I hope you will love it. It still makes me laugh (especially her inter-brain discussions) and I hope it makes you laugh. But it’s not about Darcy, because Miss Jane already did that, and nobody matches her brilliance. So pick it up because you love me, or because you love the cover, or because it’s short and you don’t have time for a long read. Or because my cousins are discussing it on Facebook. Or because you read one of the great reviews that have been sprinkled around blogland. But just not because you’re looking for a Jane Austen spinoff. Because I want you to lurve the book, and not be disappointed.

Because I lurve you.

You know.

*Feel free to disagree, you know, nicely.

February 23, 2010

About Things* Getting in the Way

Filed under: Uncategorized — becca @ 4:22 pm

So I’ve not been a great writer this weekend. Surprise! I had to do a little parenting instead. Which is just absolutely right. But the thing is, sometimes I beat myself up (just a little) when I fail to do the things I think I should. I’m a list-maker, and I love, love, love the feeling of crossing things off. So in a mainly “nurturing” weekend like this has been, nothing much gets crossed. Because even a fairly compulsive lister (like myself) isn’t going to write down, “Hold Kid 3 for an hour. Read to her. Comb the nest out of her hair. Sing her a song. Run her a bubble bath and hook up “Phineas and Ferb” on the laptop. Count the ounces she drinks. Rub her back. Make a dessert she’ll love.” It’s just not going to happen.

So I’ve been listless this weekend. (That was funny, unintentionally. But true, too.)

And here’s what I’ve decided: Sometimes I’m a writer. Sometimes I’m a speaker. But always, I’m a wife and a mama. And writing can get off the list for a while, but momming can’t and wifing can’t. I do those things, list or not.

And besides, those momming and wifing things are about Living. And if I don’t do some Living, what am I going to have to write about?

*Do you want to know that I typo-ed “thongs” in my title? I would get so many hits if I just let that stand…

February 22, 2010

Hospital Stay

Filed under: emotion,familyness — becca @ 1:33 pm

So Friday night was the


Night I can remember.

She was miserable, and the sweet

Staff, checking, poking, squeezing, returning,

Allowed no sleep longer than moments.

IV stings, head aches, tears come.

“You can sleep, Mom.”

Right. Sure.

Beeping. Humming. Dripping.

Calling. Measuring.

Saturday, the family together

Tender, watching,

Hands raised to help, to comfort, to Be There.

Cheering for Olympic Arialists.

Hoping she’ll eat something. Drink something.

She tries.

Doesn’t take.

Beeping. Humming, Dripping.

And then Sunday. Oh, Sunday.

Laughing, giggling, joking.

Her gentle irony returning our hope,

Bringing relief to our hearts.

Latex-glove Volleyball

(Go, Team!)

Never bothering the guy next door

With his TV cranked up,

Or the lady on the other side,

Who really couldn’t be bothered by our noise

(Because she couldn’t hear it),

But making the nurses laugh

And stop in to hit the glove a few times, too.

Grandma and Grandpa brought


(Because, never underestimate the healing power of Snickerdoodles)

And she ate one.

Her tongue turned blue from

Overdyed sports drinks, and we could see

That blue tongue poking out when she


She laughed.

February 20, 2010

Absolutely the Most Dramatic

Filed under: Uncategorized — becca @ 6:01 pm

This is by far the most dramatic thing I’ve ever done to get out of something that scares me. I admitted Kid 3 to the hospital. All to avoid skiing!

Okay, not really. Hospital? Yes. Avoidance? No. Kid 3 is suffering a moderate Kidney infection, and she will be fine. But I’m out of here for a little while – at least until she’s fever-free for 24 hours. Until then, I pray, I try to sleep (not in the hospital, what a joke) I cross my fingers, I do the puzzle Grandma and Grandpa brought her last night, I watch really bad TV cartoons, and I read to her. She breathes in and out and accepts the IV drip. We proceed.

Hope you’re carrying on, too.

February 19, 2010

Face Your Fears

Filed under: anxiety,dumb things I do,losing it — becca @ 7:51 pm

So there are two main kinds of fears: Rational ones and Pathological ones. Rational fears are things like being afraid that the lion running toward you with his rabid spit foaming through all those sharp fangs just might, you know, want to eat you. Pathological fears are things like, well, being afraid of raisins.

The thing is, to a person with Pathological fears, all his fears are completely rational. (Have you ever seen a kid with a raisin stuck up his nose? It’s totally scary.)

Experts on this* say that a person with pathological fears should face those fears, confront them, and (theoretically) come out on top.

Becca, you ask, why are you telling us this?

Well, because I’m about to face my fear. The fear of sliding down a steep mountain slope in uncomfortable and ugly shoes while strapped to a slick board or two. That’s right, friends. I’m going skiing.

On a mountain. Wearing skis. In the snow.

Is anyone else shuddering?

Husband tries to keep his sense of humor about this. But we’re a little different, Husband and me. He grew up in Utah, skiing his winters into oblivion. He loves to ski, and it comes as naturally to him as, well, swimming in a dirty lake comes to me. And if roles were switched, and we were heading to a summer vacation at some midwestern pond, that might be a little tricky for Mr. Hand Sanitizer to handle. But we are doing it. Skiing. Tomorrow. At the world-class Deer Valley resort in Park City. (Yeah, I know. Big deal. But it IS! — think of raisins.)

My adorable friend Heidi, a fantastic ski instructor (from what she tells me), will take me to, and I quote, “Kiddieland” for a morning of lessons. She will use all her mad Teacher skills to whip me into perfect ski shape. Then after an overpriced cheeseburger and a steaming mug of what better be very good hot chocolate, I’ll hit the hill with Husband, at which point Heidi and her equally adorable husband will use all their mad Politeness skills not to laugh out loud.

Do I really have to tell you what could go wrong?

I didn’t think so. Because now it’s time to Think Positive. To Face my Fears. To strap on the skis and go out with my boots on. Wait, maybe not that last one.

(What are you afraid of?)**

*As far as I know without doing any actual research. Because research cuts into my precious blog-post writing time. So just take my word for it, m’Kay?

**Heidi is afraid of writing something someone else will read. I didn’t laugh at her. That’s a totally rational fear.

February 18, 2010

Just Keep Writing

Filed under: Uncategorized — becca @ 5:17 pm

You know that part I love in “Finding Nemo” where Dory sings “Just keep swimming, just keep swimming…”?


I’m in the “Just keep writing” phase. And that means something different to me on different days.

Some days, it means, “Please don’t forsake this hobby altogether and take up quilting. That was an expensive mistake last time. The computer is paid for. Just keep writing.”

Some days, it means, “Yes, you’ve hit 500 or 1000 words, but you’re not needed anywhere. Just keep writing.”

Some days, it means, “It’s fine that your words are c-r-a-p. They will get better. Just keep writing.”

Some days, it means, “Don’t answer the phone. There is voicemail for that. Just keep writing.”

Some days, it means, “It’s okay to let yourself do this purely selfish thing, for nobody but you. It’s fine that you’re not folding or washing or scrubbing or baking anything. Just keep writing.”

Some days, it means, “Don’t worry that these words are completely unpublishable. Just keep writing.”

Some days, it means, “You are here, at the keyboard, and the words won’t come, but you can still keep trying. Just keep writing.”

Some days, it means, “This is an exercise. The act of writing will make you a better writer. Flex the muscle. Do it again. And again. And then tomorrow. Don’t get flabby. Just keep writing.”

Some days, it means, “Remember these characters that you love? Let them out. Just keep writing.”

Some days, it means, “God gave you this little gift. Make something of it. Just keep writing.”

February 15, 2010


Filed under: reviews,RRO — becca @ 4:45 pm

MRRO is reviewed here, at Bloggin’ ‘Bout Books. Go check it out!


Filed under: books,bookstores,character,events,irony,visiting — becca @ 4:33 am

I did a fun event this weekend – at the lovely Purple Cow bookshop. Loads of cute families, and even one of my favorite families from Many Years Back! The crowd was delightful, and the women who work that shop LOVE their books and the kids who read them. Thanks, Isa, for having me! *Sigh* It was lovely.

And something funny happened.

By funny, I mean… odd. Strange. Well, I’ll just tell you.

This really nice lady who was there being an author talked about being a young girl and wanting to write. What she loved was Historical Romance. Swoony period stuff. She was so excited to write and share that she took a manuscript to her grandmother. She was in sixth grade. The writer. Not the grandma. So her grandma read over her work and said to her, “Why in the world are you writing this kind of trash?” I know, right? Heartbreaking, soul-crushing, disastrous. But what this woman learned (eventually, I’m guessing) is that you can’t listen to critics. Criticism kills. I’m totally with her at this point. Nodding my head and everything.


She introduced her daughter, also working at  being a writer. And she said that this daughter (maybe she was in High school, at least that’s how old she looked to me) is really into paranormal romance. Actually, she said “vampire love fiction” and she said it with a Very Noisy Sneer in her voice. And then she actually said, “I hate that stuff. Hate it. I won’t read what she’s writing.”

And didn’t even seem to sense the irony.

Part of me wanted to laugh. Because, duh. She is her own grandmother. But another, bigger, maybe more sensitive part of me said, wow. That is so, so sad. She has no idea what she is doing. She has no idea that she is criticizing a whole genre, and more importantly, a very important person (hello, her own child!) for participating in it. She sneered at her for reading it. For writing it. I had to sit on my hands to keep myself from walking over to that daughter and saying, “Hey, guess what. Lots of people like the thing you do. And maybe it’s a phase. But write it anyway if it’s in your head and in your heart, because maybe you’ll come out of this phase a better writer than you went into it, and someone (even if it isn’t your mom) will read and like some of the work you do.”

But of course, I didn’t say any of it, and that’s probably because it’s none of my business. But hey, writers? If you’re writing something someone thinks is dumb, or overdone, or lame, or copy-catty, or fluffy, or too pop-u-lar, here’s what to remember.

1. Writing (writing anything) makes  you a better writer. Write. Write. Write.

2. Criticism kills. Don’t let it kill your important relationships.

3. If you love it, write it. Because nobody else’s love is going to validate your writing like your own love will.

End of lecture. But I just have to wonder, what am I doing that I totally miss on a regular basis? What deep ironies of my character are invisible in the mirror?

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