Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Beginnings

I love beginnings. I love the start of a new month, a new day, a new year. I love goals. I love to try new things. I love to change things up.

I have some personal goals for the new year. Some involve health. Some involve simplifying, organizing, dejunking…that kind of thing. Others involve time and prioritizing. Prioritizing? It has a magical sound to it. Very business-like and powerful, but…

Prioritizing has always been a struggle for me. I love to do too many things. I want to do everything. As a young mother, I thought that prioritizing was a way to do more. If I just prioritized,I thought, I could fit everything in. It never worked, and I never knew why. That was a little insane.

Writing is a high priority for me. I have some specific writing goals for the new year, such as finding a home for three picture book manuscripts, and forging ahead on my first chapter book.

Our critique group is doing a remodel, too. Lately, we drifted into a comfortable stupor, where we did lots of visiting, but not much critiquing. We weren’t making much progress and thankfully we decided to do something about it. More structure was needed, and a few ground rules.

Change is good. I’m glad that we care enough about each other to hang in there, and I’m glad that we care enough about our writing to try new things. It’s just coincidence that we are making a new start at the start of a new year, but then again…

I love beginnings.

Linda Garner

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Hallelujah!

I don't know if anyone will read this post, since Christmas is just around the corner and you're probably doing the hundred yard dash, just like I am. I hope that your holiday is beautiful and happy and sane.(I hear that sanity is over-rated, but like you, I have grown attached to it.) I wish you joy. I wish you miracles. I wish you love. May your Christmas be meaningful and satisfying.

Now if you have two minutes to spare, click here and enjoy a Christmas laugh.

Linda Garner

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Note to self Repeat

IF you have read my personal blog, you have already read this post. Since Christmas is right around the corner and I'm behind on everything, I've reposted. I hope you like it. Merry Christmas! =)

(Sometimes I just have remind myself)

Hi self. I see you’ve been having a difficult time lately, not with just writing, but with everything that you are doing. I just wanted to remind you of some lessons you have learned, because it seems like you forget them and have to relearn them. I hope this will help.

1. Remember why you started writing. Was it for the competition? For the praise? Or was is just because it was fun and you enjoyed it? Don’t write for the wrong reasons. It will make you miserable.

2. Sometimes people will get mad at you for reasons you don't understand at the moment. But it would really help if you wouldn’t mess with those buttons on Blogger and Twitter that erase peoples’ comments and block people off the account. I know you were curious about what the buttons would do, but now that you know… Just don’t do it! (Sorry I erased some of your comments and if you were removed from twitter, I’m adding you back. I was just trying to figure out what the button meant. Yeah, I know now.)

3. Remember the things that make you happy. Cleaning the house while blasting the radio and singing off key to your favorite songs. The scent of fresh cut oranges. The pitter-patter of rain on a hot pavement. The laughter of your kids.

4. Relish in the accomplishments of others…without comparing yourself. Remember the feeling of how wonderful it is to have a friend sincerely be happy for something you have accomplished. Now give that back to others.

5. You will never be the skinniest girl in the neighborhood. I’m sorry to inform you, you just won’t. As long as you are healthy and happy, it doesn’t matter that you are the average weight for your size. Being super thin will not make you happier or make people like you more. You are okay, just the size you are.

6. Which brings me to #6. It is okay not to be popular. You would think after all these years you would have learned this. There is something special in each person. Some are the life of the party while other’s make friends easily and some people can do that cool Lord of the Dance thing. You are different with different talents that are important to who you are. Don’t be someone you aren’t. Just be yourself. Friends will find you, lives will be touched. Just enjoy the bumpy ride.

7. Let go of pride. Pride has only brought you misery and unhappiness. Let it go. It will try to find you and latch on to your hopes and dreams, causing them to crumble and fail. Don’t give in to it. Remember there are better things in store if you let your pride go.

8. Last but not least. Remember who you are and remember the destination. It is so easy to forget. Just keep your eye on the goal.

Self, if you take these lessons into your life you will find you are not constantly making these same mistakes over and over. You are a great girl, with tons of potential. I believe in you.

I just want to take a moment and wish everyone a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. I am taking a break from blogging/twittering/facebooking/…. To spend time with the people that matter most to me, my family. I hope the New Year treats everyone kindly and that you are all safe during these holiday seasons. Thank you for following my blog, it means a lot to me.

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

OOps!

I apologize to everyone who tried to contact me at lindagarner@somesecretshurt.com. Apparently that email is not working. Instead, please contact me at garners@xmission.com if you would like to receive the gift mentioned in the following post. Sorry for the mess up.

Love,
Linda

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

My Christmas Gift to You

Its true. I have a gift for you. Before I tell you about it, though, I have a favor to ask. Friend-husband and I are shopping for Storybook Night. If you recall, this is the night when we give our grandchildren their Christmas gifts. Each grandchild receives a book, especially chosen for them. They open their gifts one at a time so that everyone can admire each book. The rest of the evening is a filled with the reading and sharing of books. The favor? What is your favorite children’s book? That’s all. Just give me a suggestion or two. We need picture books, chapter books, and maybe even a little YA fiction.

Now, the gift. What do you do on Christmas Eve? In our family we stay up late playing games and watching movies, but first we gather for a Christmas Sing In. It’s an informal way to bring a special spirit to our Holiday celebration and reminds us of the reason for the season.

What’s a sing-in, you ask. Well, (thinking)…I guess it’s sort of an informal program. No preparation, no costumes, no fuss. One person reads, everyone sings. Choose your favorite carols, select a good reader, find a comfy chair, and the fun begins.

In our family, we use a script for our sing-in, which I wrote some years ago. I wrote it originally as narration for a musical Christmas fireside. It was well received and a few people requested copies. We liked it so much, that we adopted it as narration for our yearly sing-in. I think you’ll like it too.

I would like to thank you for your friendship and support. Thank you for your comments to the blog and your emails. I love hearing from you. Thank you for helping me celebrate the release of Some Secrets Hurt. Thank you for making a difference.

The script is too long for this post, but if you would like a copy of my sing-in script, just email me, garners@xmission.com and I will send the script as an attachment. Feel free to adapt it to suit your needs. I will send it in time for Christmas Eve.

That’s my Christmas Gift to You.

Merry Christmas.

Linda Garner

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Meme about Me

My awesome friend L.T. tagged me for meme! Thanks L.T. You can see her blog HERE. She is an amazing writer and a close friend. =)

Five North American Cities in Which I’d Seriously Consider Living:
1. A magical city where it is always the right temperature (except on Christmas - that's when it would snow, and then melt for the next day - And have just the right amount of rainy days so the air is clean and smells nice.) Besides that, I don't know.
2. Here, because I like here. It's a good place and all my stuff is here.
3. here
4. here
5. here

Five Songs to Which I know all the Words:
1. There she goes - The La's
2. A Million Ways - Ok Go (only because I sing this every time I go to the tooth man - sorry dentist guy).
3. Banana Pancakes - Jack Johnson (Love him!)
4. Dashboard - Modest Mouse
5. Hot! Hot! Hot! - The Cure (don't ask me why, I just love that freaky song)

Five Foods I’d Hope to have in Unlimited Quantities on a Desert Island:
1. Cookies
2. Ice cream (I'd have to have it frozen, growing from the trees)
3. Chocolate (all shapes and sizes)
4. Cheesecake
5. Ok, I'd better have something good for me, toss in a green salad - with a cherry tomato on top. =)

Five Chores I Should be doing instead of Blogging:
1. Cleaning the front room
2. Cleaning toilet (gross!)
3. Tidying up Kitchen
4. Sorting coats (why do we have so many coats? What are we? The coat barn?)
5. Taking out the stinky garbage (I never knew old lettuce could smell so bad.)

Five Childhood Friends I’d like to See Again:
1. Carrie B.
2. Cindy (I see her on facebook once in a while, but still not enough)
3. Debbie (although I do see her once a year, I would like to see her more)
4. Wendy (from H.S.)
5. Heather

(Why do I always have such a hard time answering questions like that?)
Now I get to name 5 people I’d like to know the answers to these same questions! Um... I pick: Oh, I don't know, this is so hard! Okay....I pick... you all! I pick you all. There I did it. Now you have to let me know where you posted your answers so I can read it! SWEEEET!
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Teach-er (noun) There is no greater word.

I just bought a t-shirt with that message on it. It’s got some bling on it—sparkly apples—one gold, one red. I thought it would be fun to wear. I needed a long sleeved shirt, and it was on clearance. Just my size. I didn’t think much about the message—not at first.

No greater word—so true. I am thankful for the teachers in my life. In many ways, I am a product of their work. They taught me diligence and respect. They taught me to love my country. They taught me to share.

No greater word—parents, my first and last teachers. In many ways I am a product of their example. They taught me obedience. They taught me excellence. They taught me that family comes first. They taught me that I am daughter of God.

No greater word—friends, old and new. In many ways I am a product of their touch. They have taught me to laugh. They have taught me to be myself. They have taught me to find joy. They have taught me to expect miracles.

No greater word—Jesus, the master teacher. In many ways I am a product of his love. He has taught me to serve. He has taught me to give. He has taught me to trust. He has taught me to love. He has opened my heart. He has given me a reason to live.

Today with thankful heart, I celebrate the teachers in my life. What wondrous gifts they have given. When I grow up, I want to be just like them.

Teach-er (noun) There is no greater word.

Linda Garner

Thursday, December 3, 2009

First Drafts, Chocolate and Moving Eyebrows

There is no great writing, only great rewriting.
--Justice Brandeis


“Can I read that?” *pointing to computer screen with little pictures of folders on it*

“Um…no.” *me with narrowed eyes, trying to figure out why*

“Oh come on Carolyn, it can’t be that bad.”

“Sorry. It’s locked away in my computer until the sun stops shining.”

“But it’s your first story. Ever.”

“No. it’s the first draft of my first story. Ever.”

“So, can I read it.”

“Um, did you hear me? No.”

“I’ll come and do your dishes for a week.”

“You said that last time you wanted to go to that thing with those people. It never happened. No.”

“How about your laundry? I’ll come do your laundry for a month.”

“Wow, you have me tempted, but still – No.”

“Why not?” *hands on hips, pouty look on face*

“Well, for one thing, it’s a first draft, which means it doesn’t have any cool flamboyant vocabulary added in. There is not as much humor in it as I would like and the detail…needs more. It’s just the bare bones of the story.”

“Bones, huh?”

“Yeah, crunchy first-draft dry bones.”

“You need some meat on those bones.”

“Exactly.” *eyebrows moving up in amazement because person finally understands*

“So…” long dramatic pause. “What if I give you some chocolate? Like a whole bag full?”

“You got yourself a deal.”

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Kidnapped!!!

Mable is missing. Kidnapped! Can you believe it? This is the sort of thing that you hear about on the 10:00 news. You read about it in the morning paper. It doesn’t happen to someone you know. It doesn’t happen to someone you care about. How could this happen to Mable? How could this happen to us?

I haven’t known Mable long, less than two years. In that short time she has become a trusted friend. We have gone everywhere together. Her familiar voice puts me at ease, and I enjoy her company. Mable does most of the talking when we are alone together. She is always thinking of me. She helps me feel confident and safe. She is great with directions, and since I can get lost in a parking lot, I rely on her whenever she is with me.

Friend-husband always knows where he is going, but my brain does not work that way. I have a wonderful brain, by the way, but I am (gasp) directionally challenged. For that reason alone, I am always delighted to have Mable with me.

Surprisingly, Friend husband made friends with Mable first. I wasn’t very interested in Mable, but he could see her strengths. To me she seemed a little transparent, and maybe a little cocky. I make friends easily, though, and before I knew it, Mable and I were growing close.

Friend-husband and I invited Mable along often. We introduced her to friends and family. They enjoyed getting to know Mable. She became their friend. She loves to travel, and was often invited along. They will be devastated to hear the news, but no one will miss her as much as I will.

Mable has gotten me out of many a tight spot. She was with me in every storm. Her vision was clear. Her advice was flawless. Well almost. I’m not sure how I will manage without her. I will make new friends, but can they take her place? I just don’t know.

You see, I’m on the road a lot, and Mable was our helpful friend. Mable was our Garmin GPS. She was stolen from our car yesterday. Kidnapped. I wonder if she put up a fight. I wonder if she is frightened. Will she feel lost and alone? Will she miss us?

I wish I knew where she was. I suppose she will make new friends. I hope they will take good care of her. Whatever will we do without her? I miss her already.

Recalculating. Recalculating.

Linda Garner

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Two Hands

I have loved all the great posts and thoughts on gratitude during the past few weeks. This is a great time to reflect on our blessings and choose to be grateful. It’s also a wonderful time to reach out. I hope that you will join me tonight with the Teddy Bear Ladies to reach out to abused children. You can make a difference. You can do it today. All you need is two hands and an hour or two.

The Teddy Bear Ladies meet the 4th Tuesday of every month to make bears for abused children. If you follow my blog on www.somesecretshurt.com you have read about them. They make 50 bears each month for the Children’s Justice Center in Provo. The Children’s Justice Center helps abused children. Most of the children they see have been sexually abused. They offer counseling and medical services for abused children, and everyone gets a bear. The Teddy Bear Ladies have been making bears for 18 years.

The T.B. Ladies meet tonight and they need to make 100 bears, so that they can take December off. Let’s give them a hand. They need our help, and we need a chance to make a difference.

You can show up tonight anytime from 3:00-9:00 and stay as long as you like. The Ladies meet at the Rock Creek Church at 2445 N. 650 E. in Provo. It’s right next to the Rock Creek Elementary School. Park in the back and join the bearmakers in the Relief Society Room.

You know the saying, Many hands make light work. The Teddy Bear Ladies could use your hands. Want to make a difference? How about today. I'll bring my hands. I'd love to see you there.

Linda Garner

P.S.

If you can't come, but would like to donate fabric or cash, call Ruth Brasier at 801-374-9482. If you can't come but would like to sew some bears, give Ruth a call. See you there.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving


Thank you Lord,
For each new day you give to me,

For earth and sky,
And sand and sea.

For rainbows,
After springtime showers.

Autumn leaves,
And summer flowers.

Winter snowscapes so serene,
Harvest fields of gold and green.

Beauty shining all around,
Lilac scent and robin sound.

Stars that twinkle high above,
And all the people that I love.

Amen.

~Printed from Hallmark cards, 1980


I found this poem on a large framed poster at a thrift store before I had my first child. I instantly fell in love with it.

As my children grew, I made sure I hung it in each of their rooms, hoping they would glean the joy of gratitude that was held within its meaning.


The frame is falling apart and the poster is splashed with marks of red punch and maroon colored scribble. But I still savor its happiness every time I read its words.

There is so much to be thankful for.

I will post again the first week of December. I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

What's On Your List?

“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.” Melody Beattie

I love this quote. I love what gratitude does for me. Melody’s list is beautiful and helps me think outside the box a little, but what gratitude does for me is more simple. It creates a sense of peace and well being.

Some years ago, I kept a gratitude journal. It was a small notebook, that I kept near my bed. Before settling down for the night I wrote 5 things I was thankful for. Reptition was okay, but I loved trying to think of something different. Some days the things I wrote were simple and predictable. Occasionally, I thought of something really profound. As I made it my habit to notice things that I was grateful for, I found that my attitude shifted, and with it my reality shifted too.

Being grateful creates abundance. It always does. I love abundance. I have heard it said that there is only abundance. We choose the type of abundance we prefer to focus on. We can focus on abundance of joy, or abundance of pain. We can focus on abundance of resources, or abundance of trials. It’s an interesting idea isn’t it? We can create the type of abundance that we focus on. We always get more of what we put our attention on. We can choose.

I choose abundance.

I am always surprised at the people I know who think in lack. There is not a more affluent country on the planet. There is not a more prosperous time to live than now. Sure we have problems, who doesn’t? When and where would you rather live than here and now?

Consider this thought from the book Raising Self Reliant Children in a Self Indulgent World by Stephen Glenn. “If you have more than one change of underwear, more than one pair of shoes, and more than one choice of what you will eat for dinner…fewer than 10% of the people who have ever lived have been as wealthy as you.” Does that make your eyes pop out?

I invite you to take a 30 day challenge. What have you got to lose? For thirty days, take a moment each night to be grateful. Before you turn out the lights list 5 things that you are grateful for. Why not start today.

I’ll go first.

1. I am grateful for my freedom, and for those who gave this gift to me.
2. I am grateful for dear friends, both old and new.
3. I am grateful for my eyes, and the beauty they bring into my life.
4. I am grateful for my ears and the meaning they bring into my world.
5. I am grateful for my hands, which serve me faithfully in so many ways.

What’s on your list?

Linda Garner

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Butterfly Effect (no, not the movie)

Fall term in school is just about over. I have read through many a textbook these last few weeks and am nearing the end. Whoop! (If any of my professors are reading this, I really do enjoy my classes. Love them).

So with that winding down, I am reading the last chapter of my text for my developmental class. This last chapter deals with outcomes of life and….(da da da – scary voice)…The Butterfly Effect. The Butterfly Effect is how environment and situations can change the outcome of one’s life and make a ripple effect (or something like that).

Have you ever been in the right place at the right time? Or meet someone wonderful because you were someplace you didn’t expect to be? Well, that’s kind of what The Butterfly Effect is. A brief experience that alters one’s life…forever (again, scary voice – or if it is a good thing, happy voice and a dance twirl to boot).

As I was reading this I couldn’t help think of movies (The Butterfly Effect – which no, I haven’t seen, Serendipity, Notting Hill – love that one! Or how about The Sixth Sense? scary).

Each one of these has an element of the butterfly effect (I’m just assuming The Butterfly Effect has a butterfly effect in it *fingers crossed*).

Think about it, what would happen if Julie Roberts hadn’t bumped into Hugh Grant and get orange juice spilled all over her? It would have been a short movie, I’ll tell you that for sure.

The effect becomes the story, making a rippling effect through the plot line; something that will keep the reader (or watcher) interested in the story. How will the story end? What happens if they race to the top of the mall and meet each other? What if they don’t?

I had to think. Does my story have these kind of effects. And guess what? It did. And it was one of my fav. parts!

Being that I am so tried, I could totally be wrong about the Butterfly Effect (and not do so well on my quiz). Actually I think I'm thinking of serendipity, I'd better go study some more.

So what do you think about Butterfly Effect?

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Not About Elephants

Bobby: "Psssst. Don't tell anyone. It's our secret! There's an elephant in the living room, but we're pretending it's not really there and it's not really an elephant."

Billy: "But it smells and it's enormous!"

Bobby: "Just ignore it. Maybe it will go away."

Sounds pretty silly, doesn't it? Ignoring an elephant in the living room. How could anyone ignore an elephant in the living room?

Just think for a minute what it would be like. An elephant would take up most of the room. It would be difficult to watch TV, look out the windows, or see each other. Carrying on a conversation with an elephant in the living room would be tricky. And think what an elephant could do to the carpet.

How can you think of much else except how to clean up the mess the elephant makes? What do you do when company comes...put a doily on it? How can you even talk on the phone when there's an elephant trumpeting in the living room? And how do you convince the children, your friends, your family, and yourself there's not an elephant there?

Okay, so no sane person would keep an elephant in their living room.

The dialog about the elephant in the living room was written about alcoholism, but alcoholism isn't the only elephant, is it? An elephant in the living room is any problem that we don't want to talk about. It's the thing that we pretend isn't real, that we hide in corners and we sweep under the rug.

I chose to write a book about an elephant. My elephant is called sexual abuse.

This is the way I began my keynote address to the students who attended Wending Words, Journeying Toward Meaning. It was a great attention getter, and it set the stage for my topic, writing about a sensitive subject. I was able to share with the students my journey to publishing Some Secrets Hurt and why I write about sensitive subjects. I write to make a difference.

I shared with the kids my TV interview, we read my book together, and we talked about the statistics. As you may know, current stats indicate that one in four girls and one in six boys will be sexually abused before the age of eighteen. This is shocking for most people to hear, but the kids never batted an eye. What do they know that we don't know?

We talked about what those numbers might represent in their individual high schools. Given the stats, everyone knows someone who has been sexually abused. One third of those who have been abused will never tell anyone. I asked the students what they could do to help someone who has been abused, especially if they don't know for sure. I suggested that we all could be a little kinder to everyone we meet, especially the ones who don't seem to fit in. What if the reason they don't fit in is because they are carrying a secret; a secret shame, a secret hurt, a secret that has shattered their self-esteem? Some Secrets Hurt.

I talked about some of my favorite illustrations in the book, and showed them how Brandilyn brought Maggie to life. I told the students how Brandilyn and I met and shared our passion for making a difference. I highlighted some of the important ideas presented in the book: Sexual abuse is never the victim's fault. Teenagers as well as children are targets for sexual abuse. Abusers are rarely strangers. Whether you are a child or a teenager, you need help to stop the abuse. The only way to get help is to tell an adult that you trust. If the adult you tell does not believe you, or does not help you, talk to someone else. Keep telling until you find someone who helps you. You can heal if you get help. It's really hard on your own.

I told the young writers that point of view is a writer's secret weapon. Point of view is what allows us to get into a character's head and understand what he or she is feeling and thinking. Maggie is what makes Some Secrets Hurt real. She softens a difficult message. We identify with her. We cheer for her. We want her to tell. We want her to get help. We hope her parents will believe her. Maggie is my hero.

If you want to write about an elephant, it is important that you

1. Believe in your elephant. How big is your passion? Is your passion as big as your elephant?
2. Know your facts. This helps you to tell the truth and be convincing.
3. Create a believable character and allow them to tell your story. You can talk about anything, if you do it in a character's voice. Get inside your character's head.

When I wrote Some Secrets Hurt, I wanted to give children and teenagers a voice. I wanted to give parents a tool. I wanted a book that was simple enough for young children, yet meaningful enough for teenagers. I wanted to write a book that was informative enough for parents and teachers, yet powerful enough to promote healing for victims of all ages. How could I write a book that would cross age boundaries, gender boundaries, cultural and religious boundaries?

This would have been a difficult task if I had tried to do it alone, but I had help. I had help from a little girl named Maggie.

Linda Garner

P.S.

If you would like to read about my closing address, Making a Difference, visit http://www.somesecretshurt.com/ tomorrow.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

It's the Duration that Counts

A few months ago, I had plateaued on my weight loss. No matter how fast I tried to run, I wasn’t losing any weight. I was unhappy and at the point of eating a dozen chocolate donuts - the kind that is filled with delicious creamy filling and oozing with trillions of calories.

But being the stubborn girl I am, I went skirmishing through my basement in search of a weight lose/fitness book, and found one.

There on the shelf was my faithful yellow reference guide of exercise, Loose your Butt, Belly and Beagle all at the Same Time (not the real name).

Anyways, I thumbed through the pages until I got to the chapter on running, which I do a little of each morning (unless I stayed up late the night before and fall asleep on the couch after reading with my kiddos).

I read that it wasn’t how fast someone runs that helps control and lose weight; it’s the duration and distance they cover.

The duration?

I continued to read how it has been studied and proven that if you (me) run at the same speed over a longer duration, you (again, me) can continue to lose weight.

Really? I had been killing myself, getting to that speedy-speed each day, drenched in sweat and hyperventilating? You mean I can do it by just taking a steady pace and just….run?

So I took it to the test. I started to slow down my pace and run the duration of my time. And guess what?

It worked.

I found myself less winded and not dreading the treadmill run as much as I had in the past. Plus I have lost ten pounds. TEN POUNDS! (Plus I cut out my five chocolate candy bars a day- I miss those things).

Writing is the same way for me. I find myself trying to get things done at super speed instead of slowing down and enjoying the duration. Sometimes I skip days and feel like I have to catch up. All that does is burn me out and I find myself not writing at all.

What I have found is if I keep a steady pace of writing a little every day, soon I have thousands of words on a page (and a hilarious twist at the end of my book).

The duration, not the speed. Who knew? I guess I have to learn little by little each day. Thanks Loose your Butt, Belly, and Beagle all at the Same Time, book. Now if I can just figure out where that little dog went.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

I am just like a kid in a candy store.

By Linda Garner

If there is anything I like more than writing, it is talking. I love talking. I adore teaching. I think I was born to teach.

I am putting the finishing touches on my keynote speech for Wending Words, the Upper Valley Young Writers’ Conference in St. Anthony, and imagining what I will say when I talk to the teachers of the young writers. Talking the teachers? Me?

If you know a young writer, tell them about the conference. It’s only $20. and we are going to have a blast. They can register at http://www.sd215.net/uvyac/ They will get a signed copy of Some Secrets Hurt and they will rub shoulders with other young writers while learning their craft. What could be more fun?

The conference is on Saturday, and on Thursday and Friday, I will be doing book signings for Some Secrets Hurt. What could be more fun?

I will be signing books at BYU Idaho on Thursday from 12:00 – 2:00 so if you know anyone attending BYU Idaho, send them over to the bookstore to see me. On Friday, I will be signing at the Rexburg Deseret Book. I will be signing at the two Idaho Falls Deseret Bookstores at 3:00 both days. I can’t remember which one is Thursday, and which one is Friday, so if you live in Idaho Falls, call the store to see which day I am coming to you.

Please come see me. I would love to visit with you about Some Secrets Hurt, and sign your book.

You may love chocolate, but this is my candy.

Linda Garner

P.S.

Meet the Teddy Bear Ladies at www.somesecretshurt.com. You’ll love these women.

[This message was posted by L.T. Elliot on behalf of Linda Garner due to technical difficulties.]

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Bones, Creepiness, and a Cup of Chili


This is Halloween, this is Halloween, Halloween.


I can’t help singing, it’s a little creepy - my singing, not the song.


Happy Halloween everybody! ‘Tis the time for spooks and chills, skeletons and thrills…and chili (so good on a Halloween night – gotta have that chili).


Speaking about songs. I’m sure you have heard a creative piece by Camille Saint-Saens (1872), the Danse Macabre, or the Dance of the Dead. Spooooky!


But even more cool, is the story to this song (see, us writers love stories!). (BTW, I found this info on Wiki. Love wiki).

It opens up in a graveyard, at the stroke of midnight. From out of the darkness, chimes can be heard, echoing the tolls of the witching hour (I’m a little scared now).

Throughout the abandoned cemetery a new sound is hear, the Devil’s Cord (E-flat and A, for those of you musicians out there – my favorite part of the song). Death is calling the dead to arise and walk among the living for the one night allowed to them.

Eerie skeletons arise and begin their dance, if you listen close enough, you can hear their bones rattling (the xylophones). YIKES - hee hee hee hee. Sorry -nervous laughter.

They dance until the sun rises; warning the dead their time has passed. Little by little, each skeleton returns to their place of rest, until next year, when Death will call them to arise again.

An awesome story, to an awesome song. Are you as freaked out as I am?

Happy Halloween everybody! Don’t eat too much candy, unless it’s delicious chocolate. That’s the best part of Halloween! And the apple cider, and donuts, and hot chocolate, and the chili. Did I mention the chili? Mwa ha ha ha


Here is a great interpretation of the song (HERE) , if you want to go check it out.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

How Do You Organize A Walk-a-Thon ?

I need to pick your brain. April is Sexual Abuse Awareness month and Child Abuse Prevention month. I have never personally seen an event organized arount this theme, and I think it would be wonderful to have a walk-a-thon next April. That's just six months away, and I think it would be smart to get started right now.

Where do I start? Who do I call? Where should it be? Who could we involve? What are the costs? How do we choose a date? How can we publicize it? Who? What? Where? When? How? So many questions. Do you have the answers? Do you have ideas? Do you want to help? This could be big.

I have a vision of lots of people coming together to show their support and love for children, for innocence, for decency. I see us showing up for teenagers, and kids of all ages, and helping them to have a voice. I see kids and teenagers joining the walk, joining the fight against sexual abuse. I see men and women, boys and girls, people of all ages, religions, and cultures, showing up and making a difference. I see a community of caring people standing together and saying enough is enough.

Education is the key. Awareness is where it starts.

Would you come? Would you walk? Would you help? Would you?

Linda Garner

P.S.

See the amazing sculptures of Nick Ryan at www.somesecretshurt.com. These are quarter sized models that are for the future Monument to Healing, called A Healing Place. I would love to hear what you think about the sculptures and the plans for this beautiful place.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Just Another Day?


Writing is a fickle beast, ready to consume you the moment you turn your back on it. ~Carolyn Vawdrey

It wasn’t that I didn’t love it anymore, I just was feeling rebellious. It had abandoned me once before and I wasn’t sure if I should put my trust in it.

I cared too much for it. How many nights did I wake up to check on it, make sure it was still breathing with life? Too many.

My eyes burned with lack of sleep, my curiosity begging to escape from the cage I threw it in.

I glance at the clock, time was fleeting. The selection would have to be made – or forsaken.

Half of me felt relieved to ignore it, the other dreaded the consequences of my actions if I cast it to the realms of the unknown.

Would I pay the price that so many others had if I paid it no heed? Where would it take me if it consumed me?

I had no answer. There was no answer. There was only choice.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

How Many Cans Does It Take To Buy A Goat?

You might think I’m nuts if you see me out on the street some morning before daylight. I leave the house just before 6:00 a.m. and meet my friend on the corner. We walk together for one mile in the starlight and then she has to get ready for work. I wouldn’t miss this for anything. No matter what the weather, nor how tired I am, or how warm and cozy my bed is, I roll out of bed and dress in the dark.

My friend and I love this early morning ritual. We get so much more than exercise, as we share our thoughts and ideas. Our time together is priceless. How can you put a pricetag on friendship. Sally is my confidante and my therapist. Sally is moving and I will miss her dearly, but I will still walk.

I walk for my health, but it’s also about sanity. I have found that exercise is a great mood booster and that stress, anxiety, and depression evaporate as I walk. I have walked for years. It is my exercise of choice. The price is right, it doesn’t require any special equipment, and it gets my day off to a great start. Sometimes people tell me that they are impressed with my dedication. I just tell them that it is cheaper than a psychiatrist.

When Sally leaves me, I wake friend-husband and he walks another mile with me. I love spending this time with him. He is my best friend and some days this is the only chance we get to talk. When friend-husband also leaves to get ready for work, I walk another mile on my own. Sometimes two. I walk longer because I have diabetes, and I want to live a long time, and keep my kidneys and my feet. I’ve grown attached to them. Walking is a present I give myself. I love and appreciate my body. It has served me faithfully. I return the favor.

There are other people out walking before daylight, so that isn’t why you might think I am nuts. You’ll notice me. I am the one carrying the cans. That’s right, I pick up cans along the way and carry them home with me. I also carry home any other stray metal I find. I have carried home broken muffler parts, curtain rods, stray spoons, screws and other odds and ends that I happen across. I find more in the daylight, but even in the darkness you’d be surprised what I find.

Whatever do I want with mangled metal, you ask. It’s for Jonah, Simon, and Luke. They are my grandsons and they want to buy a goat. They are recycling metal and saving the proceeds to buy a goat for someone in poverty. Someone they’ve never met. The goat will provide milk and maybe a little income for some family far away. I’m walking anyway and it doesn’t take extra time to gather the metal that I see.

The boys will buy a goat through Heifer International, who will make all the arrangements and see that the goat is delivered to just the right person. Jonah is 7, Simons is 5, and Luke is 2. I think they have the right idea.

You can buy other animals through Heifer International and make someone’s life a little better. You can buy a cow, a flock of geese, or a trio of rabbits. You can buy a llama or a water buffalo. The possibilities are varied. You can also give seeds. Your gift can be combined with others to make it go farther. You can even give an animal in someone else’s name as a gift to them. That’s a gift that gives twice.

Maybe you would like to send a gift to someone across the world. Check out Heifer International at heifer.org, and by the way… what are you going to do with those cans?

How many cans does it take to buy a goat?

Linda Garner

P.S.

Just for fun check out my interview with Michelle Ashman Bell at http://micheleabell.blogspot.com.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Hurry! Time Is Running Out!


For those of you haven’t heard, or haven’t submitted, Nathan Bransford (the literary agent of awesomeness) is having a first paragraph contest. And it ends TODAY!

Lady Glamis entered last year and was one of the top six finalist. Plus she has an awesome blog page with tons of advice for writers. If you write, you will have to check it out!

There are an awful lot of 1st paragraphs out there, but how fun is it to get your name out there, right? So if you have an awesome 1st paragraph, send it out!

I am #2099. Whew! That’s a lot of reading for someone to do. I read through the first page of entries and had to take a break - my poor tired eyes.

So thank you Nathan Bransford and Good Luck to everyone!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Wending Words

Wending Words; Journeying Toward Meaning. That is the name of a young writers conference that I have been invited to. I will be speaking at the Upper Valley Young Authors’ Conference, Wending Words, on November 7. Can you imagine how excited I am. I will have opportunitiy to speak to the kids and also their teachers. I have BIG plans.

I have been asked to share my interview on Studio 5 and to talk about writing about a sensitive subject. I will be sharing my experiences with Some Secrets Hurt. I have also been asked to talk about critique groups. When I talk to the teachers, I will talk to them about coaching young writers.

It’s a tall order, but I am very excited for the opportunity. I know that you all have great ideas that you would love to pass on to young writers. Please post them as comments to this post. I just may use your ideas. I am also looking for great quotes, so pass them along, too.

And, by the way, if you know a young writer that could use this great experience, pass along this info to them. Registration of $20 is due October 20. At the door registration is $5.00 more. You can register at http://www.sd215.net/uvyac/

The conference is November 7 at South Fremont High School in St. Anthony, Idaho. You can find out more by emailing Bonnie Warne at bonniew@sd215.k12.id.us. Teachers can attend for a similar fee. Do you have to be part of the Upper Valley to attend? Bonnie says they will take all comers.

Wending Words. Isn’t that beautiful? Journeying Toward Meaning. I’m all for that. Sign me up.

Linda Garner

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Just a Little Somethin'

So, I was on my way home from my awesome critique group when this song popped up on the radio. I thought it was very inspirational. =)



It's called Fireflies by Owl City. The embedding is disabled, so you will have to click on the link.

Click here. Click here. Click here.

Have a great week guys!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Ladies Night

When I arrived there was already a long line of ladies winding through the mall. I wasn’t late; It was ten minutes to six. This was my first time at Ladies Night. I had been invited to a book signing at Layton Hills Mall. I had heard Ladies Night was a big deal, but this wasn’t just big. It was huge.

There were four of us authors at tables in the center of Deseret Book. Helium balloons made us easy to spot. I couldn’t believe my good fortune. I was at a book signing with Josi Kilpack, Lisa Mangum, and Jennie Hansen. I was hangin’ with some high class ladies. I hoped some of it would rub off on me.

The place was packed with ladies of all ages--mothers, daughters, sisters; looking for bargains, and the 3 f’s; food, friends, and fun. The food was in the form of brownies and cheesecake. Mmmm. Some brought their friends, some met them there. The fun was…well the whole evening was funtastik. There was live music from Cherie Call, and all kinds of live chatter from the crowd. There were a ton of drawings for everything from shampoo to framed prints.

Those ladies were having a great time and they were also in the mood to buy. Deseret Book primed the pump by offering 20% off and you could just here that cash register ring. I had a great time talking to people about Some Secrets Hurt and signing their books. What could be better?

Linda Garner

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Yet again

I am sitting on my couch, surrounded by mounds of papers and articles, trying to organize my research papers this semester. I have two of them, and they both need ten journal articles to support their empirical wisdom. So empirical…so wisdom-matic.

So again, I must sing praises to my beloved Thesaurus. I love you thesaurus, you are the beacon in my mountain of articles.

Click here to read thesaurus praise #1.

See you next week! I hope I’m out from this heap of documents.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Happy Autumn

Don't you love autumn? I love it all. I love the gorgeous colors, the fall scents, the sound of whispering leaves, and the hint of change that's everywhere. Today, I'd love to share an autumn poem with you. I hope you enjoy it.

Song of Autumn

I love a touch of autumn and the crispness in the air,
when winter’s icy fingers leave a message here and there.
The emerald days of summer begin to melt away,
and nature’s finest paintbrush is invited for the day.
Rich color spills across the earth and sings a song of change,
while summer takes a final bow and dances off the stage.
Soft color enters shyly and just winks to us at first,
then gathers courage, begins to sings, and finally just bursts.
At touch of gold, a hint of rust, a smattering of yellow,
a bit of pink, a dab of red, and just a smidge of purple.
All those color voices make a chorus for our eyes
with melody and harmony completing the surprise.
An autumn wind hums softly. There is music in the breeze.
There is singing, and there’s dancing, and there’s magic in the trees.
The color song crescendos, and the autumn dance begins,
and the forest ladies shimmer in the music of the wind.
Their leafy bodies tremble to the rhythm of the day,
as they curtsy in full color, and they pirouette and sway.
Oh, I love the dance of autumn and the music for my eyes,
the symphony of color under smoky autumn skies.
I am dazzled by the yellows and the crimsons and the browns,
when all the forest ladies put on their dancing gowns.



Happy Autumn!
Linda Garner

P.S.
If you missed my Studio 5 interview, you can see it now on http://www.somesecretshurt.com/.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

So Here's the Skinny on the Fat of it

I’m at 31,000 words on my first draft and very happy about it. New ideas are pouring in, there’s a dead body, a mysterious guy, a first kiss, and a gruesome doll with a handful of mayonnaised corncobs (the kind on the stick that are good for defense – like the corn in Nacho Libre). I would have added the video, but my daughter told me it wasn't funny at all - and too too gruesome. Corncobs in the eyes? Ewww.

Yes, things are rolling along.

My awesome critique group and I spent the afternoon the other day, laughing it up and plotting my character’s next move. Those characters are so dang funny! Plus they always surprise me (Why did that girl write that poem in the first place? I mean …really?).

My goal. To have my ms finished by the New Year. Revise and hand it over to my gay-not-gay agent man. Hum…he might not like me calling him that. It’s okay, he is awesome…and destined to by my agent (he doesn’t know that, so don’t tell him). Hee hee hee hee. Oh I mean, mwa ha ha ha. Really, he is an amazing agent.

*sigh - wiping a tear from the corner of my eye from mwa ha-ing too much*

Yes, things are moving in the right direction and I hope they keep going that way. I just have to keep on writing.

Woo hoo for greasy corn on the cob! Sorry, that just came out of nowhere.

OH I forgot to thank everyone for their help last week (finding time to write). That's why I got so much done! Thanks, thanks, thanks!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Poor, Poor Hannah

Recently Friend-Husband’s brother Rich, and wife Andrea told us that their 8 year old daughter Hannah loves to write stories.

I was excited. “Really?” I said, “You need to nurture that.”

“Well,” they continued, “There’s a problem.”

“A problem?” I asked.

“Yes, a big problem. She would rather write stories than do her chores. She would rather write stories than clean her room or help out around the house.”

I was shocked. I was aghast. “Oh no,” I wailed. “Tsk. Tsk,” I mourned. “She has it bad, doesn’t she? Poor Poor Hannah.”

“Yes,” they said with heads bowed low.

“Maybe she could marry someone like Friend-Husband, who actually enjoys cleaning house (go figure),” I said hopefully, “but what are the chances?”

We all shook our heads in silence.

“There is one other thing,” I mentioned cautiously.

They looked at me expectantly.

“Shock Therapy” I said.

They looked concerned.

“It’s her only hope,” I whispered. “It’s drastic, though.”

“Tell us more,” they said with hope in their eyes.

“It starts with dinner dishes,” I began.

“Dinner Dishes?” they asked. Now they were excited.

“Exactly. Do not let her anywhere near the dinner dishes.” “Mopping floors is bad,” I continued. “She must not be allowed to sweep or mop floors.” The list continued, “No yardwork. Banish her from bathroom duty. You get the idea."

“What?” Our tearful relatives looked surprised. “Are you sure this will help?”

“Wait, there’s more,” I said. “You must surround her with good books and encourage her to read a lot. Her future is at stake.”

“Read a lot?” they queried.

“Oh, yes, of course, and notebooks. She must have many, many notebooks and pens and pencils of all colors and sizes.”

“Notebooks, pens, pencils?” they wondered.

I nodded solemnly. “A dictionary and thesaurus are a must,” I added. “Believe me, she will soon be begging for mercy. She will be dying to clean toilets.”

“She will?” they asked, with tears in their eyes.

“Absolutely,” I answered, “either that, or…she’ll become a writer.”

Linda Garner

p.s.

I love you, Hannah, and if you haven’t guessed, I’d rather write than clean house, too.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Supermom and a Slice of Toast

“Let me see your shirt.” My youngest son said as I took his cup to fill it with milk before he fell asleep.

I turned and showed him my awesome blue shirt with the red and yellow “S” on the front.
“Hey, that’s a Superman shirt!” He smiled at me.

“Yup.” I didn’t think much of his words as I walked to the kitchen, just a few feet away from his room.

“I have a Superman shirt too, but my shirt has a belt on it.” It’s true. His shirt does have a cool iron-on belt with funky imaginary gadgets on it. I'd love to have one of those rings that the Wonder Twins had...Carolyn an Ice cube (do you notice they were either monkeys or ice cubes? What's up with that?)

“I love ya honey.” I handed him the cup and gave him a quick smile before heading out of his room into the hallway.

“I love ya too, Supermom.”

I took a deep breath as I stopped in mid-step, a little stunned at such a great thing coming from his mouth. I placed my hands on my hips and whispered to myself, “I am Supermom.” Somehow a burst of wind threw my hair back behind me (even though the windows were all closed and the a/c was off).

I felt like I could do anything, except getting that stain out of the bottom of the toilet. Nothing could get rid of that, not even raiser beams shooting from my eyes (that would be so cool).

Now if I could only make time stop (and finish that laundry...man why do I always have laundry?).

Have a great week everyone. Keep on keepin' on!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Today!

Today is the day I get to start talking to parents about sexual abuse. Today is the day I get to empower kids to honor and respect their bodies. Today is the day that I tell parents to teach their kids about sexual touching and to tell them that no one has the right to touch them in this way.

Today is the day that I tell parents that the only thing worse than finding out that your child has been sexually abused, is not finding out. Today is the day that I ask parents to be a safe harbor for their kids, to be there for them, to stand up for them, and to be a safe person for them to talk to.

Today is the day that I tell parents that the best time for kids to hear this information is before they experience abuse. Today is the day that I tell them that the best day to start is today. Today is the day that I ask them to talk to their kids, whether they are boys or girls, teenagers or toddlers. Today is the best day to start.

Today is the day that I offer parents a tool and children a voice. Today I will be talking about Some Secrets Hurt on Studio 5. It airs at 11:00 a.m., on KSL (channel 5).

I hope you'll be watching. And, if today is not a good day for you, how about tomorrow. The Studio 5 segment will be available on my website, www.somesecretshurt.com, later this week.

Linda Garner

Monday, September 14, 2009

Set Your TiVo

It's not my day to blog, but some of you asked for a reminder, so...here it is. The day is tomorrow. I will be on Studio 5, tomorrow. (That's Tuesday, September 15.) The show airs at 11:00 a.m. on KSL which is channel 5. Watch if you can, or Tivo (that's probably not how you spell it...sorry) it. And if all else fails you can catch it on www.somesecretshurt.com in a day or two.

I'm very excited, and just a little scared. Please send lots of happy thoughts and positive energy my way. We're all connected, and we can support each other, even when we're not together.

The segment will be really short, but it's a start. Let's all start standing up for kids. Keeping kids safe is everyone's job. Let's spread the word.

Linda Garner

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Help Me Out Here

Okay, I know it's Thursday. I really do. And it is my day to post. So here I am planning a birthday, funeral, the babysitter for the wedding. Oh, and I have to make cookies for the writer's group. I have one hour to peel and freeze two bushels of peaches. To top that off, I think I just saw something move in my dirty clothes (please be a mutated old sock...) Oh man, jury duty is tomorrow.

But no need to worry, that's just today...and a little bit of tomorrow.

So here's my question for you. When do you find time to write? Morning, evening, afternoon- midnight with a flashlight in the bathroom with the door locked tight with a box of Twinkies by your side?

I really need some help here. ..

Oh, and Thanks for the help! =)

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Studio 5: Can you believe it?

Can you believe it? I am going to be on Studio 5. One week from today on September 15 at 11:00, I will be on the air. Have you seen Studio 5? It’s a neat show with lots of features about current trends and new ideas. I am so excited to be able to share Some Secrets Hurt on such a great show. Spread the word.

Am I nervous? That’s what everyone wants to know. Should I be? I am not the least bit nervous about my message. I love talking to people about Some Secrets Hurt. I love talking about protecting kids and empowering them to take control of their own bodies. I love giving parents tools so that they can talk to their kids about sexual abuse. I love getting teachers and other adults on board. Keeping kids safe is everyone’s job. I envision a caring community that is committed to kids and works together to protect them.

So, I think I’m not nervous. On the other hand, though, I am a little bit OCD about what to wear. Does this make me look fat? Is this color good on me? Should I wear dressy or casual? I have been spending a lot of time (and money) at Christopher Banks, my favorite store, and I have been experimenting with my hair and makeup. I changed to brown mascara like that Dressing Your Truth lady said I should, and I tried some of her very expensive products, so that I could look good.

I know that this is not about me, or my clothes and hair; it’s about the message. I just want to be a good messenger.

This is not my message; this is Heavenly Father’s message. He wants Some Secrets Hurt in every home where it can make a difference. He wants adults everywhere to teach kids about the sacredness of their bodies. He wants them to be able to stand up for themselves. He wants us to teach them how to say no. He wants us to stop abuse from happening so that his kids can heal. He wants us to stop the epidemic and be part of the solution. He wants us to reach out to teenagers who are at risk, and to wounded adults who don’t know how to heal.

I am honored to be a voice for children. I am not afraid to talk about sexual abuse. I am not nervous about teaching truth. I am excited to represent kids on T.V. I just want to look good, so that I can represent them well.

Hey, what are you doing later today? How about coming over and helping me figure out what to wear? We could experiment with my hair, and you could tell me if my new makeup looks orange. We could even talk about making a difference for kids.

Be sure to watch Studio 5 next Tuesday at 11:00 on KSL. If you can’t watch it, maybe you can record it. There is strength in numbers. Though we won’t be in the same room, I’m sure I’ll feel your strength. Together, we can make a difference.

Linda Garner

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Need Thou not be Afraid

I have a strange fondness for Napoleon Dynamite.

Maybe it reminds me of how awkward I was in high school, or perhaps it has something to do with Deb’s puffy sleeves. (I have a picture of me in high school with some wicked puffy sleeves on my prom dress…and the hair-wall…Bodacious!)


And who can forget the touching moment when Nacho Libre looks at Chancho with feeling and says, “Chancho, when you are a man…sometimes you wear stretchy pants…in your room…It is for fun.”

Jared & Jerusha Hess have done it again.

Gentlemen Broncos is coming to a theater near you (October 2009).

The first time I watched this hilarious preview, milk spewed out from my nose. It was that good. Take a look.




Being a writer and attending many conferences, I couldn’t help but fall down in laughter when Jemaine Clement, who plays Ronald Chevalier, quotes the line that I’m sure will be quoted for many years to come:

“I assuming you love to write fantasy fiction, except the character names in your stories are suffering. Need thou not be afraid. We can add –onius, -ainus, or…-anous, to just about anything and it becomes magical.”

I wish I would have had this information before writing that YA fantasy fiction. I could have changed my character names to Deronius and Kathainus.

Maybe I can just change my name to Carolonius. It sounds so magical.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Spray, Tug, Smooth, Hang to Dry

How do you feel about ironing? I am not a big fan of ironing, so I got a little excited when I saw something new in the detergent aisle at the grocery store. Well, it was new to me, but it may be old to you. I think it was called a wrinkle releaser. You spray it on your clothes (Hmmm, is that wet clothes, or dry clothes?) then you tug and smooth and let the article hang dry. Sounds great, doesn’t it. I was almost salivating, but then I wondered…Does it really work?

I’ve spent a lot of money over the years on stuff that was supposed to be fabulous, and really wasn’t, so I was a teeny bit suspicious about investing my $3.59 on an unproven product. Has anyone ever used this stuff? Does it work?

My second thought was, if it works…is it only for clothes? Is there a chance it could work on skin? Could I spray some on my face, then tug, smooth, and air dry. What a fun thought. No more crow’s feet. Smile lines begone. It’s a great idea, don’t you think.

And why stop there? I could use a little help ironing out the wrinkles in my life, couldn’t you? Family problems? Spray, tug, smooth, hang to dry. Personal problems? Spray, tug, smooth, hang-dry. Kids giving you grief? Spray, tug, smooth, hang…dry. Tempting isn’t it.

And what about that writing glitch? The plot that won’t plot? The dialogue that’s stuck? The never ending story? A wrinkle in time? You know what I’m talking about. You’ve been there. How’d you like some magic spray? Quick run to the grocery store and grab a bottle. Spray, tug, smooth, and hang to dry.

Linda Garner

P.S.
Scroll down to see me having breakfast with Erika Hansen. Erika Hansen is the former Miss Iron County. She entered the pageant on a platform of preventing sexual abuse. She is awesome. Read about her tomorrow, on my website blog at www.somesecretshurt.com.

Breakfast with Erika Hansen

Here I am having breakfast with Erika Hansen. Erika was Miss Iron County until a few weeks ago. She has an amazing story. Get the scoop tomorrow on somesecretshurt.com

Thursday, August 27, 2009

It's Gonna Getcha!

Can you feel it in the air?

It's been happening for a few days now. Even with my headache, it's close by.

I think they call it happiness. Yes, that's what it is.

Yesterday I was able to break out of my funk and write a chapter in my book. I cannot tell you how happy I am. *sigh*

25,000 words. I'm half way there.

Opp, I've gotta run...I feel a creative thought heading my way.

Happy writing everyone!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

www.somesecretshurt.com

Unbelievable. It was my name. Linda Garner. My name was hanging from the ceiling on a placard, right next to Brandilyn’s. Brandilyn Speth. Could it be real? I had been waiting for this day. Now it was here. I was in the BYU Bookstore, standing under physical evidence that my book was a reality. Some Secrets Hurt was on the shelves waiting to be placed in the hands of those who need it most. Children. Parents. Families.

I wasn’t the tinyest bit nervous, but I was a little awe-struck. I couldn’t wait to start talking to people about my important book. I want my book to make a difference. I want it in every home. I arrived early to set up what I hoped was an eye-catching display and to strategically place my cinnamon bears…and my chocolate covered cinnamon bears. Can it get better than that?

I talked to other authors at the book signing earlier. “Brutal,” they said. “People are in a rush. They don’t stop to talk…or look.” I was prepared for the worst. “Still, it’s good exposure,” they said. The moment of truth arrived. We didn’t just sit at our table and wait. We mingled. We handed out cards. People were in a rush, but they did stop to talk, and they loved our book. They loved our book. I think the bookstore was surprised when we nearly sold out. Only two copies were left after the book signing. Only one copy was left at the end of the week.

Word of mouth. That’s our advertising for now. Shadow Mountain is holding off for the official release date. Then they’ll uncork all their magic. For now, though, we’re depending on you to spread the word. Please tell all your friends about this special and important book. You can get it today at any Seagull Book or Deseret Book Store. You can get it online at DeseretBook.com, Amazon.com, or BarnesandNoble.com. You just might be able to get it at BYU Bookstore, if you hurry.

And, drumroll please.... please visit our brand new website http://www.somesecretshurt.com/ . It is beautiful and has lots of helpful information. Brandilyn and I will both blog on the new site. We will blog about the fight against sexual abuse. Won’t you join us in that fight. We hope you will. Keeping kids safe is everyone’s job.

Linda Garner

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Book Signings and Chocolate Bars

Yesterday, L.T. and I had the great opportunity to go to Linda and Brandilyn’s first book signing at BYU education week. It was Awesome! ( I would have posted pictures, but then I realized all the pictures I had taken were not on my camera. When I get them, I’ll try to post them.)

We parked our car and pushed through the crowd of people to get to the book signing tables.

There in the middle of authors sat Linda (Brandilyn was passing out cards – which were almost all gone). The books were gone too, they had to have some more brought out to the table (Whoop! *cry of excitement*)

L.T. and I screamed like the groupie fans we are, got our books signed, and waved good-bye as more people lined up for the signing. (We were actually pushed out of the way by a mob of other groupie fans. Rude.)

We snuck around the corner where they had a whole corner dedicated to candy…a whole corner! Had I died and gone to heaven? I told L.T. “No, I don’t need any delicious candy made from the hands of angels on earth. Nope. I’m good.” But L.T. being the wise woman she is, bought us both caramel covered in thick chocolate. (Oh look, I did have a picture of the delicious chocolate bar. Hum…that’s funny.)

I ATE THE WHOLE THING IN ONE SETTING! I giggled like a crazed mad scientist, it was so good.

We left feeling exhilarated and a little lost because we couldn’t tell where we parked the car (but the really cool girl from guest services let us ride in the education week’s van, where she dropped us off by our car. Thanks guest service girl).

As we drove away I turned to L.T. and said, “That was so awesome. Are you going to come to my book signing when I get my book published?” She said yes. I’m holding her to it.

Congratulations Linda and Brandilyn! What a great way to start the beginning for your fantastic book! Here is the web site for their book (just click on the little underlined line). What a great day!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Cinnamon Bears or Chocolate

I am away from my computer, having a wonderful time at BYU Education Week. Be sure to come see me tomorrow. I will be signing Some Secrets Hurt in the BYU Bookstore tomorrow from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. I can't wait to see you. And just for fun we'll have some treats on the table. I'm thinking cinnamon bears because BYU bookstore has some really yummy cinnamon bears, but on the other hand, it's hard to beat chocolate. Cinnamon bears? Chocolate? It's a hard choice. I guess we'll surprise you.

You'll definitely want your own copy of Some Secrets Hurt, but you may want to buy some as gifts. I know a woman who is giving them as gifts at baby showers, and a grandma who is buying them as gifts for her grandkids. Another lady I know is giving them as birthday gifts for nieces and nephews. What about a back to school gift for someone you love?

Come see Brandilyn and I and be sure to bring your friends. Think cinnamon bears.

C U soon.

Linda Garner

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Hoot, Hoot...chugga chugga - chugga chugga... Hoot, Hoot

That my friends is my new song of the day!

Why? Because finals are over! Now back to the important things of life...




Oh, and I got to see an awesome movie.

Well, kind of awesome.

You can read about it HERE if you click on the HERE letters that are red...or blue...or purple, I can't tell yet, but anyway, they're underlined. HERE.

I need some sleep. Studying all night makes me a little loopy. Now back to the writing! Whish-crack (That would be the sound of the whip I’m using to get me back to my book… woo hoo, can’t wait

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

R U Coming? I hope to C U there.

R U going to BYU Ed Week? I love BYU Ed Week. I have been going for years. It gives me a big boost. Friend-Husband and I take the tent trailer and camp out in the Fieldhouse parking lot. We buy showers at the rec center across the street. We stock our little fridge with portable meals and pack a tote bag with notebooks, pencils, snacks, and our indispensable class schedule. Good walking shoes are a must.

There are hundreds of classes on a variety of topics. The presenters are the very best. After spending a few hours in their classes, we feel like we know them personally. The classes are awesome and we meet the greatest people. We are a bit insane about the classes. We run from class to class until we literally drop, sometimes nibbling our lunches on the run. Sometimes we stop to nap on the grass beneath a friendly tree.

Friend-Husband and I love spending this time together. We get new ideas and lots of time to talk things over and make plans. We breakfast on the “veranda” and plan our schedule for the day. We share thoughts about our day over a late night supper in the twilight. It’s more than a nice vacation. It’s a chance to fill our buckets. We highly recommend it.

This year at Education Week, I get something new. I get my very first book signing. Even though our official book release is almost a month away, Brandilyn and I have been invited to participate in the BYU Ed Week book signing. We are so excited. We would love to meet you and sign Some Secrets Hurt for you. Please come see us. Tell all your friends.

We will be signing books in the BYU Bookstore on Wednesday, August 19th (one week from tomorrow) from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. We will be right after Gerald Lund. (Yes! Can you believe it, right after Gerald Lund.) Gerald finishes at 1:00 and we start at 1:30. Come visit Gerald just before 1:00. After he signs your brand new copy of The Undaunted, hang out in the bookstore for a bit. You’ll have just enough time to grab a fabulous mint chocolate brownie, a bag of those nummy cinnamon bears, and Some Secrets Hurt. By the time you circle back to the signing table, Brandilyn and I will be waiting for you.

C U there.

XX OO

Linda Garner

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Late Night Funeral Chicken Dances

I spent my afternoon yesterday, attending a funeral of my good friend's father. He was a good man. He loved his family and spent time with them, and they in turn, loved him.

When ever I came over to the house, he never yelled at us when we got in trouble. He always had kind words of advice. His wife was much the same.

At the end of the funeral, the bishop asked us to take a good look at our lives and reevaluate them. Were we doing what we should be with our lives?

I couldn't help think of writing. Writing is something that is done alone, sometimes in the middle of the night (when it's quiet- and the kids aren't doing that weird chicken dance), and always up for ridicule (well, only if you want a really good piece of work). But very rewarding. It inspires others to do good, face fears, and conquer evil.

Is writing a worthwhile thing? I think so. I love writing funny things, even if I'm the only one laughing at it - although, I look kind of funny when I'm hysterically laughing by myself (please don't ask the mail guy about it, I think I frightened him once with my mwa ha has, why do I keep doing that?).

So as I reevaluate my time, my life, my choices, I'm happy with what I have and hope to become a better person as I do so. I only ask for one thing. More late night writing time when the kids aren't dancing and I'm not dozing off.

Is that too much to ask for? If it is, I'd be happy to settle for chicken dances, late nights, and no dozing. And maybe a gigantic large cookie... Sprinkled with those big bits of sugar...Or covered in pink frosting...Now I'm really hungry...must find cookie...Maybe if I check the fridge...

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

The Top of the World

Have you ever been on top of the world? I’m not sure where the top of the world is, but Friend Husband and I have found a spot that must be close.

We had heard of a spot in the Oquirrh Mountains with a spectacular view; a spot where you could see four temples at one time. No one told us how to get there, so we just started looking. By googling Oquirrh Mountains, Friend Husband found a spot that sounded interesting, and we were off.

An hour from our home we found the most glorious view that you can imagine. At an elevation of 9,200 feet we had a sense that we could touch the clouds. At our feet was the Bingham Copper Mine. It was a giant crater, bigger than I had imagined. We were so high, and the crater was so deep that it seemed we were looking into a dollhouse version of a working mine. Miniature trucks moved slowly along toy roads. Tiny buildings were scattered on the rim.

The Salt Lake Valley spread before us in a huge panorama, bordered by mountains on every side. The view was dazzling and gave us a sense of our own nothingness by comparison. We could see the edge of Utah Lake and a Y painted mountain on the South. To the far north we saw a group of lights which we imagined might be Lagoon. Behind us lay Toole and Grantsville, another amazing view. With binoculars we could see the capitol building and a group of tall buildings at the heart of Salt Lake City. We could never have guessed that Salt Lake City would look so small in the middle of this sea of civilization.

Could we really see four temples we wondered. The Jordan River Temple was easy to spot. The Oquirrh Hills was more difficult because it was smaller and darker in color. With binoculars we were able to locate the Draper Temple nestled in the hills across the valley. Was the fourth temple the Timpanogas or the Salt Lake? We could certainly pinpoint the location of the Salt Lake Temple, but could we see it? With binoculars we could see what we thought was the East spire peeking out between buildings. Next we located what we thought was the Timpanogas Temple. That made five temples. We were elated.

I was puzzled by the shape of the Timpanogas Temple, because it looked more like the Provo Temple. Could it be? It was near Utah Lake and close to that Y on the mountain. Yes! It was the Provo Temple. Soon we had located the Timpanogas Temple midway between Draper and Provo. Six Temples. We had found not four temples, but six temples. Unbelievable.

We liked this place so much that we returned three days later at dusk so that we could see the valley at night. Spectacular. Dazzling. Breathtaking. A sea of lights lay before us. We now saw the same six temples glistening in the night, standing out against a background of many tiny lights. To our great surprise, at night we were able to locate a seventh temple. Quite by accident we found the Bountiful Temple shining through the darkness at the north end of the valley. Seven temples. Amazing.

We wanted to share this experience with friends and last evening we took two other couples up the mountain. They were excited. We told them about the spectacular view, but didn’t mention much about the steep, narrow, winding mountain road. Friend Husband is an awesome driver, but that didn’t keep the other ladies from closing their eyes and hanging on for dear life. The men acted brave, but who knows what was going on inside their heads. Maybe their hearts were racing, too.

We made it up the mountain safely, but once there, getting down was the biggest thing on some folks’ minds. We had planned to sit and visit, share a story or two, and even sing some songs. We had camp chairs, and one friend brought a guitar. Doesn’t that sound fun? To sit on top of the world and sing and chat, bathed in moonlight, against a backdrop of twinkling city lights.

Alas, I’ll have to save that dream for another day, with braver companions. We enjoyed the view for a short time and retreated to the safety of city streets and city drivers; a different kind of adventure. I must be braver than I thought.

Our transmission was acting funny on this trip, so it may be a while before I return to the top of the world. Oh how I’d love to watch the sunrise from there. It’s hard to imagine anything more glorious. Would you care to come along with us to the top of the world? Do your dare?

Linda Garner

P.S.
The top of the world is in Butterfield Canyon and you can find directions on the internet. Maybe I’ll see you there.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

This is Why I am a Writer and not a Dryer repairman/woman

The last screw was placed into the back of the dryer. The dryer repairman smiled at me and said in his New York accent, “Do you want me to hook up the lint dryer hose thingy.”

I smiled back and said, “I’m a writer. I can hook it up.” I gave him a thumbs up and a wink.
He gave me a thumbs up too. “You go writer ma’am” He didn’t say that, but I could totally read this thoughts (even though his eyes were narrowed and he had a confused look on his face.)

I led him upstairs and to the door assuring him I was a writer and could take care of the lint hose thingy and clean it out too.

I scrambled downstairs, broom in hand and towel in the other, ready to scrub that hose clean.

I cleaned that thing in record time.

Now the easy part, putting the hose thingy on the back of the dryer and the other end to the tube that led to the outside vent. Piece o’ cake.

I reached down and shoved the first end of the lint hose to the back of the dryer. It was tight as a nickel. My job was almost done. I just….had…to…*reaching up to tube that lead to outside*

I slid metal against metal.

The bottom of the tube popped off the dryer, banging against my leg. Not a problem. Maybe the dryer wasn’t close enough to the wall. I’d just crawl over the dryer and push the dryer closer to the wall.

I jumped up, doing a super hard gymnastic move to get out of my cramped hole and push the dryer towards the wall.

Getting back down the space was entirely different experience, but I did it, despite the electrical wires in the way.

I clutched the tube, with more determination. The aluminum slipped back into the dryer. I wiggled up, barely reaching the top and shoved it onto the tube above me. The bottom popped off again.

Twenty times I tried with sweat ran down my back and spiders crawled up my pant legs. I threw up my hands in the air and yelled, “I am a writer not a dryer repairman/woman! And I’m stuck!”

When I looked down and noticed the lint hose snug against the dryer. As fast as I could, I climbed out from behind the dryer (in 20 minutes flat) and placed the other side of the hose on the outside vent. It stayed.

That’s when I realized, I would have made a terrible dryer repairman/woman. It’s a good thing I like to write. *whew*

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

A Big Surprise!

Brandilyn and I got a big surprise last Saturday. My son called and asked if I knew my book was out. “Of course not,” I said. “It won’t be out until September 16.”

“I know that’s what you’ve told us,” said Nate, “but it is out. It is on the shelves at Deseret Book, and it is available at deseretbook.com.”

“Are you sure?” I asked.

“Positive,” he said.

Well, you can imagine what happened next. I made a flying trip to Deseret Book and found that Some Secrets Hurt is indeed on the shelves. Next we checked websites. Besides deseretbook.com, we found it available on barnesandnoble.com. Amazon.com and borders.com have it available for preorder with the September release date. BYU Bookstore has it on their shelves, but not on their website.

I called the local Barnes and Noble to see if they have it in stock. “Not yet,” I heard, “but we can order it in.” The South Town Barnes and Noble has ordered one. It will be here Friday. You could be the one to get that book.

Curiosity got the better of me, so I asked my Shadow Mountain friends, “what’s up with that?” Of course I am crazy with delight, to see my book on store shelves, but how did it happen, and when does the publicity start?

It seems the book was ready early and Deseret Book was already shipping early for Education Week, so they decided to ship early to their stores as well. The publicity will wait for the official September 16 release date, but in the meantime Some Secrets Hurt is on store shelves now.

Why wait? Get your copy today. Today is the perfect day to share it with someone you love. Remember that keeping kids safe is everyone’s job.

Linda Garner


Friday, July 24, 2009

I did it!

Okay, I know I posted yesterday, but...I did it...I started my own blog. It's very scary, but I hope you come and see it. =) Thanks!

www.checkerboardsquares.blogspot.com. Thanks guys!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Here's to Harry

Saw the new Harry Potter Movie last week. It was awesome, as always.



If you haven't seen the Harry Potter Puppet Pal's Mysterious Ticking Noise (not the movie, but just as entertaining). Take a look. It is hilarious. Those talented puppet people.

My eleven-year-old introduced me to this. We sing it as a family now. She's Harry Potter. Lucky.



Have a great week everybody! You'll hear more from me next week (when my research papers are bound and ready to turn in. Hooray!)

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Hot Off the Press


Some Secrets Hurt is hot off the press. Though it will not be released until September, the printing is done and the copies are beautiful. I can't wait for it to be in the hands of children everywhere where it can make a difference.

Here are some photos of my grandkids looking at Some Secrets Hurt. Kids are the reason I wrote Some Secrets Hurt. I wrote it to keep them safe.

Some Secrets Hurt is not just for girls and it is not just for small children. It is for boys and girls of all ages.

Some Secrets Hurt is a great tool for parents, teachers, aunts, uncles, friends, neighbors, and anyone who cares about kids. We all want to keep kids safe, but aren't always sure how to make it happen.

I'm excited for you to see it too. If you can't wait until September to get your copy, I have great news. There will be an early release at BYU Education Week in August. That's right, you can get a copy at BYU Bookstore during the week of August 17-21. Brandilyn and I will be available sometime during the week to sign your copy. We'd love to see you there. Watch the blog for details. Tell your friends.

See you there.

Linda Garner

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Are You Teachable?

I believe this is called a rant. Please beware!!!!!

Have you ever been in a critique group where a person wouldn’t take the advice from someone because they weren’t as good of a writer as they thought they should be?

When I first started out, this happened to me with a group of writers (not my current critique group-they rock). I didn’t know the grammar rules as well as I should. I didn’t know plot structure or what an antagonist was (*gasp* I know, scary).

But I did know something…I knew how to read. I knew what sounded right and what sounded…tedious. I could pick out the sentence structures that sounded wrong. I also knew how to put down a bad book. Yet, my advice was counted as nil.

Over the years, I have taken many classes to learn the semantics and syntactical use of language (I actually know what those mean :) Well, kind of. I may have used those wrong in that sentence, but you get the gist. Right? *fingers crossed*). I’ve learned language development, usage of grammar and punctuation (yes, I still use my spell-check. Much to the dismay of my critique group-they helped me critique two research papers last night. I made lots of mistakes. LOVE YOU GUYS! I owe them big…I owe them big), I’ve taken creative and non-creative writing…the list goes on, but that is not my point. This is my point…

Even though I have and am taking all these classes that hopefully will help me…I still don’t know everything there is about writing. I may never know everything. I may be getting A’s in my English classes in college, but that doesn’t make me–wise.

As writers, we work our baloganas off to create a work of art. We learn the craft of writing, we learn how to become better. To a point. Sometimes we work so hard, we think we know it all.

When someone less learned than we points something out to us, do we ignore them, just because we know better? *mwa ha ha ha – throwing hair back behind head like some evil villain of villainy* Or do we stop and think, “Hum…maybe they have a point.”

I do understand that some things critiqued can be laid aside. And that’s okay. But if we are letting our smugness get in the way, well, that’s a different matter.

Our readers are not writers, yet… they know a good book. They will be able to pick out plot holes, find grammar errors, and yes…even be bored with our writing. We shouldn’t blow them off, because “they just don’t understand writing.”

We need to be teachable. We need to learn from the advice from others.

It’s the only way we can get better and reach our dreams.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The Price of Freedom part 2

Remember The Message? That was the book I wrote about in late December or early January. Lance Richardson spent several weeks in a medically induced coma while his body was healing from a terrible injury. While in the coma he had a life-changing experience beyond the veil.

While on the other side he visited with soldiers who had given their lives in battle for the freedom of our nation. They taught him that liberty is a precious gift from God. They explained to him that few nations had ever experienced such freedom as we enjoy. Very few people have ever known true liberty. They asked Lance what he was doing to further the cause of liberty and asked him to return to mortality with a message.

The message which Lance was to bring to us was about Liberty. These soldiers are depending on us to carry on their work. They ask us to appreciate and defend our liberties, and not just on the battlefield. In words of soberness and pleading

1. They ask us to return to the values and morals which once made us strong.
2. They ask us to believe in truth that is eternal and unchanging.
3. They ask us to turn back to God, as a nation.
4. They ask us to safeguard the family.
5. They warn us that God will protect America so long as we serve Him. They warn that if we as a people do not turn back to God, family, and country, we will self-destruct and be destroyed.
6. They plead with us to replace selfishness with service.

These valiant men, who sacrificed so much for the cause of liberty, admonish us to take action. Love is the greatest power in the world. It is often in short supply these days. They explained that if the citizens of the Unites States would love and serve, it would do more to heal our nation than any other thing that could be done. Healing begins in the hearts of our citizens. To change a nation, we must change hearts.

As we serve our families, we will love them more, and we will become closer. Our hearts will be changed. As we serve our neighbors and communities, we will break down barriers which divide us. We will cause peace and love to enter our cities. Love and peace are contagious. We can create a day this world has never seen.

This is the message Lance brought to us from beyond the veil. We can self-destruct through selfishness or we can create change through love and service. The choice is ours.

I love America. Americans have a wonderful way of re-inventing themselves. I vote for this kind of change. Where do I sign up? See you there.

Linda Garner