Monday, April 27, 2015

Crooked House Blog Tour

 Someone is trying to kill Liz Johnson and it’s up to quirky private investigator, Erica Coleman, to find out who. Erica is no stranger to murder and mystery, which is why her best friend’s daughter, Megan, turns to her when unaccountable and potentially fatal “accidents” threaten her roommate’s life.

Once Erica arrives at the ramshackle old mansion known as Crooked House, matters go from disturbing to deadly as it becomes clear someone is trying to kill Liz.  As Erica begins to unearth secrets, she discovers a twisted web of love, money, greed, and deception. Although the police and friends sometimes find 

Erica’s OCD annoying, its those very traits that help her sift through evidence and see clues that others miss. Erica must draw upon her all her investigative prowess to keep Liz safe and unmask the killer before he can accomplish his deadly objective.

 With a dash of romance and surprising twists, this thrilling mystery will keep you on the edge of your seat until the very last page. As with all Erica Coleman mysteries, ten delicious recipes are included. 

Excerpt from Crooked House
“I’m scared.”

Erica’s heart turned over when she heard the quaver in her young friend’s voice on the phone.
Then Megan asked, “Can you come?”

 “Of course.” Erica’s reply was automatic. She would do anything she could to help. Although she often received emotionally-laden phone calls in her job as a private investigator, there was a difference when the call came from the teen-aged daughter of her best friend. The very fact that Megan—who was usually so calm and composed—sounded frightened out of her wits, put Erica on high alert.
“I think someone’s trying to kill my roommate, Liz,” Megan said.
“What makes you think that?”  Erica asked. “Has someone threatened her?”
“No, but Liz has had a couple of serious accidents lately—at least she says they’re accidents, but either one of them could have killed her.”
Erica made an effort to reel in her skepticism. “Tell me about them.”
“First, someone tampered with her car. The brakes went out and Liz ended up driving across someone’s yard and hitting a tree. Fortunately, she was okay. The second one happened downtown. Liz was on the sidewalk waiting for the bus when someone shoved her. She fell into the road. A truck was coming and if a guy hadn’t pulled her back, Liz could have been killed.”
Still, they could have been accidents, Erica thought, at least until the third one occurred—this time at Crooked House.

About the Author
Marlene Bateman was born in Salt Lake City, Utah, and graduated from the University of Utah with a BA in English. She is married to Kelly R. Sullivan.  Her hobbies include gardening, camping, reading, and enjoying her four cats and three dogs. 

Marlene’s first novel was the best-selling Light on Fire Island. Her next novel was Motive for Murder—the first in a mystery series that features Erica Coleman, a quirky private eye with OCD.  The next book in that line, (they do not have to be read in order) is A Death in the Family.

Marlene has also written a number of LDS non-fiction books under the name Marlene Bateman Sullivan. Those books include:  Gaze Into Heaven; Near-death Experiences in Early Church History, which is a fascinating collection of over 50 documented near-death experiences from the lives of early latter-day Saints, Heroes of Faith, and Latter-day Saint Heroes and Heroines.  Marlene also wrote three books about documented accounts in early LDS church history when a person either saw or heard an angel; Visit’s From Beyond the Veil, And There Were Angels Among Them, and By the Ministering of Angels.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

I'm Not Like You

I could see the hurt behind her eyes the minute the words were out of my mouth, but I could not recall them.  I wanted to, but I could not find the words.  They were stuck in my throat.

“I’m not like you,” I had said.

Even if I could have taken them back, I don’t think she would have believed me.  The damage was already done.

I had meant the words.  I suppose that’s why I couldn’t unsay them.

“I don’t think I’ll be the same kind of parent that you were,” I had also said.

We were having a discussion on parenting.  I was home from college for the weekend.  I was studying Child Development and Family Relations as part of my Early Childhood Education major.   I loved what I was learning. 

“It’s not that you did anything wrong…”  I tried to soften the blow.  “It’s just that we’re two different people.”

She gave me that look.  The look that said “You think you know everything.”
I suppose I did think that.  My Mom wasn’t perfect and I knew it.  I saw her flaws and I wanted to be different.   I didn’t want to repeat her mistakes.

“You’ll be surprised,” she said.   “You’ll be surprised to find out how much you are like me.”  It’s all the ammunition she had.

She was right about that, though I didn’t see it at first.

After the parenting classes, the real parenting began, and I was surprised at how often I opened my mouth and heard my mother’s voice come out.   I found myself repeating  her words, her methods.  I tweaked her methods some, but less than I had planned.
As I get older, I often see her in my mirror and I notice that I mirror her in other ways.   She passed her love of writing on to me and her love for music.  Like her, I love to make a difference, hate injustice, and often bite off more than I can chew.

I no longer question her parenting methods because I know that she did the best she could and loved me more than anyone else ever could.  Those are the first two laws of parenting.
Today is her birthday, and though I can no longer visit her, I can remember her with gratitude and hope that she is happy with the woman I have become. 

I hope she smiles when she sees that I am like her after all.

Happy Heavenly Birthday, Mom.

Linda Garner

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Is Work a Dirty Word in you House?

Are you fun to do chores with? 

Are you too stern? 

Too Critical? 

Is work a dirty word in your house?

Your attitude about chores will influence your child.

If you can enjoy the process and appreciate your child’s efforts, your child will absorb your positive attitude.  If you are impatient and critical your child will absorb your negativity.  If you resent the time spent teaching your child how to do chores, your child may become resistant.

Being positive about work may not solve all your problems, but it will go a long way to creating an atmosphere where working together feels good.

Children don’t learn from criticism.  No one enjoys being criticized.  Criticism makes people feel bad.  Encouragement feels so much better.

Of course you will need to make corrections, but choose your words carefully. Careless words are hard to recall and can damage tender feelings.

Sincere praise can go a long way to making work more enjoyable.  Can praise be overdone?  Maybe, but I doubt it.  Not if it’s meaningful. When I notice that a child is not really doing their part, I swallow my criticism and look for something to praise.

I’m not perfect at this, but when I do it right, it makes all the difference.

It sounds like this:  I noticed that you worked really hard on the sink.  I noticed that you swept the floor without being reminded.  I noticed that you cleaned up after yourself. “I noticed” is a powerful way to start this game, which is really a form of validation.

We need our children to help around the house.  They need to feel validated.  They need to feel needed.  You can validate by noticing and appreciating their efforts, even when their efforts are less than perfect.

Don’t underestimate the value of teaching children to work.  Begin early and be persistent.  Kids who know how to work have an advantage over kids who don’t.

Linda Garner

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

The Kitchen Sink

First order of business today: Find the kitchen sink. Second: Find the kitchen table. I know they're under here somewhere. I posted that on facebook Monday morning with high hopes.

I am happy to report that I found the kitchen sink.  

Today is Wednesday and still working on the table.  I have made some progress, but the thing is I have to write this post, and answer some emails, and go to the store, and check my facebook, and fold some clothes.

I'm not kidding.  I really have to do all that stuff. and more.

It sounds like I'm stalling, but I'm really not.  I'm just a little buried.  My to do list went Crazy during Christmas, and I'm so far behind that it's hard to know where to start.  

I think I'll take care of ten things from the table, and then one thing from my to do list.  Ten things from my table, and one thing from my to do list.  It has a nice ring to it.  And I also need to go admire ...

The kitchen sink.

Linda Garner

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Piano Parenting 101

Almost a year ago, I was invited to teach at a Suzuki Piano activity.  I taught Suzuki Piano Parents about Suzuki philosophy and gave them some practice ideas and some information on how kids learn.

I am a Suzuki Piano Teacher and I love what I do.  I also love teaching parents how to make things work.  In Suzuki Method the parents are very involved.  They attend lessons with the children and practice at home with the children.
Suzuki Method is highly successful and is used on a variety of instruments.  The method is based on the philosophy that every child can learn and patterned after the way children learn their native language.  Shinichi Suzuki is the founder of the method.  Suzuki Method is for all ages and it is not uncommon for children to begin lessons as young as three years old.

Suzuki was an incredible man with vision and a deep love for children and music.  His philosophy involves respect, kindness, example, consistency, and many other virtues.  He believed that music could change the world.  If you would like to know more about Suzuki Method click here.

Teaching the class was fun for me and I had much more material than I could present in the time allotted.  Some parents wanted more information and I wondered how best to share my ideas with them.
It didn’t take me long to figure out that I had a book to write.  What a fun project that turned out to be.  It practically wrote itself.  Later I decided to add pictures,  photos actually.  Gathering the photos and getting photo releases was quite a process and actually took longer than writing the book. 

The formatting was daunting.  One of my computer-genius sons took pity on me and spent many hours formatting.  The result was this beautiful and helpful book for parents.  Though I wrote it with piano students in mind, I think that the information is helpful for parents of students on any instrument.  In the same spirit, even though it is written with Suzuki Method in mind, a parent of a student studying traditional method will find helpful tips.

You can get this book at the Kindle Store for use on any electronic device.  If you don’t have a Kindle, you can download a Kindle App for your phone, iPad, or computer.  Click here to see my book.  Click here to download a Kindle App.

Linda Garner

I Can't Believe It's Wednesday

I can't believe it's Wednesday.  What happened to Monday and Tuesday?

Remember when I used to blog every Tuesday.  Yep, every Tuesday without fail.  I blogged every Tuesday for years and never missed.  Never missed.

But, yeah, that's been a while, and lately I've missed a lot of Tuesdays, and now it's Wednesday.

I still love you, though.  I'm not breaking up with you or anything.  I just need a little time to figure things out.

Happy Wednesday.

I can't believe it's Wednesday.

Linda Garner