Thursday, January 29, 2009


This is a first for me. Yes, I have never been tagged before (thanks L.T.). Well, not on a blogger before. So, seven things you don’t know about me. Okay, here it goes:

1. When I was little, I use to have a pet spider that lived in my closet. I named him George and talked to him everyday. Then suddenly, without a good-bye, he was gone. Nobody really knows what happened to him, I think he sold his stuff and joined a circus. Mom said he needed to be with his ancestors before him. I never quit knew what she …. OH….Oh no! Poor George

2. I once serenaded L.T. in my sister-in-law’s bathroom. Now before you jump to any conclusions… we were helping my wonderful sister-in-law clean her house. You should have heard the song, it was awesome…Oh I’m cleaning the toilet, yes I’m cleaning the toilet….Then there were some talk about helping third world gypsies get toilets, some type of fundraiser or something.

3. I have a terrible fear of throwing-up. It’s true. I will lay on the floor for hours staring up at the ceiling (not moving) for fear that one ounce of vomit may choose to slither its way up my throat. My mother-in-law, bless her heart, tells me I should just march around the house until all that stuff begins to blow. I politely say, “Um…No thanks,” and continue to count the water marks on the sky above me.

4. I can’t scream. When I try my voice gets all squeaky and everyone gets all giggly. So there isn’t much screaming that goes on in my house. But look out! If I sound like a doggie’s squeaky toy, you’ll know - I’m in a really bad mood!

5. Cold syrup makes me high. Even just a little and I’m feeling might fine. I once took cold syrup before church services (and it was testimony meeting). Let’s just say I’ve gone down in history as the only person who was crying and blabbering so much that no one could understand what I was saying. I don’t take cold medicine before church anymore.

6. I am not a funny person. I would like to be someday. One day I would love to spout something completely funny off to someone who’s made me mad. But until that day, I will just stare at the offender with my mouth hung open, or mumble something about my pet spider getting squished.

7. I love yams. I know, you can stop gagging now. You see, I have this great recipe, a couple cups of brown sugar and about 20-30 marshmallows. Mmmmmm. Love it! Oh, but be forewarned – Don’t …what ever you do…Don’t warm them up in the microwave! It just doesn’t work! (Remember my old post about marshmallows?)

Okay, so I hope you didn't know that about me, and if you do “SURPRISE” rerun!
Now I get the great opportunity to tag seven other people….and I don’t know if I actually know that many, but I’ll do my best:
First, I have to choose Linda! I’m dying to find out seven things we don’t know about you! Hee hee.
Brandilyn, if you can get to the lappy.
Tony T.
Cindy T. Cindy H, Debbie M., one more….one more….Okay, I’m reaching, but how about Stephen King. Never read your scary books, but maybe you can scare us all with seven things we don’t know about you! Sounds pretty spooky just thinking about it!

Have a great week guys! See ya next Thursday ;p

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

A Winter Kind of Magic

There’s nothing like the stillness of a quiet winter day,
When nature’s temper tantrum has blown itself away,
And all that’s left of anger is the biting winter air,
And frosty white reminders painted everywhere.
Just yesterday my forest friends stood shivering in the cold
Their spindly arms stark naked; their noble trunks stood bold.
Today those same bare twigs are plump with winter’s finest lace
Sparkling in the winter sun, who shyly shows her face.
Each forest lady wears a crown of diamonds and pearls.
Each royal beauty nods and winks at other stately girls.
There’s a special kind of quiet when the earth is robed in white.
Peace whispers to us softly as we marvel at the sight.
A thoughtful kind of silence fills our thoughts with gentle things.
We listen to the stillness as our hearts begin to sing.
It’s a time for winter solitude and for sweet memories.
It’s a perfect time to ponder; time for simplicity.
A winter bird chirps softly a cheerful winter song
And I feel a kind of winter calm; a winter kind of strong.
There’s a winter kind of magic and a winter kind of sound
When, in winter, forest ladies put on their royal gowns.

I tried writing a winter poem in Arkansas, but with no snow, I didn't get very far. This morning as I looked out at the breathtaking beauty of a snow covered earth, I knew that today was a perfect day for writing a winter poem.

Linda Garner

Thursday, January 22, 2009

They Shall Call me the Giver of Clean Clothing

That will be my new superhero name. I love superheroes, their mighty powers, their incredibly good-looking looks, and let’s not forget their unbelievably noble stances (fists on hips, legs slightly angled with the wind blowing their super capes behind them).

I decided I shall be called the Giver of Clean Clothing. I shall fly from place to place delivering folded bundles of freshly laundered clothing, smelling of lavender and sea breezes (how do they capture the sea’s breeze? Magic?)

But I regress…superheroes, who thinks of those beings? Word Girl (created by Dorothea Gillim. Airs on PBS Kids) cracks me up with her charming use of words. I love when she fights Toby and his giant robots with her beloved sidekick, Captain Huggyface.

Then there is The Tick, written by Ben Edlund. A family favorite, I must confess. With his mighty war-cry, “Spoooon,” he attacks his foe with his beloved moth sidekick, Arthur. With enemies as The Bomber-what-bombs-at-midnight, and Chairface, how can one get bored?

"I'm Karri the BABYSITTTER." *Twitching eye* Oh, such great quotes from The Incredibles by Pixar. I mean, who thinks of that?

So, I’ve learned how to get writing ideas from my writing classes. I’ve listened to authors tell their stories of dreams, riding on trains, eating bad food, all for a great idea that has taken them places.

Unique ideas are fair and few between (at least right now for me). I tried to write down what I dreamed about last night, but I had the flu and it was kind of gross, if you ask me.

So, as I fold my second load of laundry for the night and breathe in the scent of warm flowers, I shall dream of flying…flying and calling out my mighty war cry, “LINT!”

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Letting It Go

Choose Again Part 2

It was at a piano teachers’ workshop that I heard the words, “If you’re hurting somewhere, that’s where you’re holding on.” Our instructor was talking about the correct use of the body. She was teaching us how to relax our bodies and let go of tension in order to improve our sound. When I heard those words, I was not just thinking about playing the piano. I was thinking about my life, and I felt electricity go through my body as I recognized the kernel of truth in her statement.

You see, I was hurting in lots of places, but not physically. I was hurting emotionally. I began to consider the possibility that I was in charge of my pain. I began to consider the possibility that I could release pain, by letting go. I began to question myself about things I was holding on to. Was it time to let go?

I discovered that I was holding on to anger, grief, sadness. I discovered that I was holding on to control and unrealistic expectations. I discovered that I was holding on to judgment, disapproval, and blame. These emotions were no longer serving me and they were making me tired, anxious, and depressed. Even worse, the negative emotions I was addicted to were making me sick.

Over time, I have learned more about releasing negative emotions. At first, it was difficult to let go. For one thing, I didn’t really know how. Also I was afraid to let go. I was addicted to being right. I was addicted to fixing things, and people. I can really only fix one person and that is me. It turned out that fixing me involved letting go.

Letting go has been a journey. I want to stay on that path. I have come a long way. There is more to do, but for today, I no longer need to be right. I no longer need to fix people. I love letting go of things that no longer serve me. I love letting go of anger, grief, sadness, and unrealistic expectations. Letting go turned out to be more powerful than holding on. The negative emotions I was carrying were hurting me; holding me back.

It’s interesting to note, that as I have learned to let go of emotional baggage, I have also been able to let go of physical debris. You see, I am a world class saver. I am surrounded by stuff that I no longer need. I am constantly dejunking. I have piles that are older than your children. The more I let go of emotional stuff, the more I am able to let go of physical stuff. It seems there is connection between emotional dejunking and physical dejunking.

As I let go of emotional baggage, my body is beginning to heal. I feel better. I have more energy. I am more content. I love myself more. My body took a big hit from all the emotional garbage it was forced to carry for me. My body showed up for me 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year. I never had a better friend.

What’s holding you back? If you’re hurting somewhere, that’s where you’re holding on. Is it time to let go? Maybe it’s time to Choose Again.

Linda Garner

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Finding Your Voice

What is a writer’s voice – you ask? The writer’s voice is a person’s writing style, the way they form words on paper. They can dazzle or destroy. That is the writer’s voice.

If you’ve been reading our blog, you have probably noticed that all of us writers have a different voice. Plus, most of us write in different genres.

Linda writes for children
L.T. writes for adults
Tony writes for adults
I write for YA & dabble in children’s
Brandilyn is our illustrator (an excellent one at that, too).

Each week I am surprised how different each post sounds.

L.T. has beautiful words and has a talent of mixing images on paper.
Linda is caring and loving. This comes through in her posts and in her writing.
I’m a bit corny when it comes to writing (and love it, thanks).

Each of us has a different voice. Finding your voice is what will pull you through your writing. It will help you to either love what you are writing, or dread what you are writing.

I’ll give you an example (if you’ve heard this before, just remember I’m getting over a cold and still a bit groggy).

I went to a writer’s conference with a focus on children and YA writing. The author that I worked with (who is AWESOME) has written many children’s books. So, I thought I should take a children’s chapter book with me.

Okay, here is the secret, I had never written a children’s chapter book. Picture book, yes. Chapter book, no. Therefore, in the darkness of the night, I threw together the beginnings of a chapter book. I made copies and took them with me to the author’s critique.

Let’s just say, my book got a warm greeting, but not an enthusiastic jumping up and down, let me grab the agent, kind of welcome.

After we had gone through everyone’s first pickings of critiques, we were invited to bring more to the table. I brought my YA book. It wasn’t that good, and I knew it, but I brought it anyway.

That’s when the author pointed the sharp side of her pencil at me and said, “This is your voice.”
Jabbing my finger to my throat I asked, “Isn’t this my voice?”
“No, you have the voice of a teenager. That is the genre you should be writing.” (Honestly, does that sound like a compliment?)

So, I have been writing YA and love it. I do have some children’s pieces on the table, but find YA to be quite rewarding.

If you think about it, it makes a lot of sense. Could you imagine Edgar Allen Poe writing comedies? Or how about Dr. Seuss writing horror stories. Yeah, just doesn’t fit.

So that is what the writer’s voice is. Finding it may take a bit of work on the writer’s part. Having someone (besides the writer) take a look at the work is a great way to tell what voice you may have.

Once you find your voice, the next step is learning your craft. I’m not talking about the cheesy kind with noodles, although I am a bit hungry. So, until next week, don't forget the rigatoni (I should’ve had lunch).

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Choose Again

How do you feel about the start of a new year? The start of anything new fills me with excitement and anticipation. I love the start of a new year, a new week, a new month, a new project. I revel in it. I think about what is working for me and what is not and I get excited about trying something new. My creative nature jumps with joy as I think of ways to reinvent myself.

Some people call this New Year’s Resolutions. I prefer to call it Choose Again. New Year’s Resolutions has received a lot of bad press over the years, but Choose Again is something we can use every day if we choose. For 2009, there are just two ideas on my list. I’ll share the most important one today. I’ll save the second for next week’s post.

In 2009, I am choosing to be gentler and kinder to myself. I am choosing to show up for myself 365 days of the year and to be in charge of my own well-being and happiness. I am choosing to love and care for myself with the same tenderness I share with the other folks I love. I am choosing to be my own best friend, my own support system. Here are some of my ideas on the subject.

1. I believe in myself. I trust my judgment. I enjoy my gifts. I appreciate my life. I trust life to bring me wonderful experiences and opportunities to grow.

2. I totally love and accept myself, just as I am today.

3. I completely love and accept my body. I thank my body for showing up for me each day. I appreciate my body for absorbing all the pain and sorrow in my life. I show my appreciation by making choices that support my body in big ways.

4. I am open to new experiences and opportunities.

5. I do something special for myself every day, such as:

Take time for something I enjoy. Stop when I’m tired. Take more naps. Breathe Deeply. Meditate. Listen to my favorite music. Take bubble baths. Stop saving the good stuff for later. Have a massage. Cuddle up with a great book. Watch the sun rise. Enjoy nature. Light the candles I’ve been saving. Plant something and watch it grow. Accept myself. Accept others. Cherish relationships. Cherish myself. Enjoy the night sky. Hug more. Laugh more. Hold hands. Take long walks. Write something profound. Write something simple. Write something. Simplify.

It’s a short list, but you get the idea. Why not make your own list. There must be 101 things we can do to show kindness to ourselves. Why not make 2009 your year to show up for yourself? Why not start today? Maybe you are already kind to yourself, but if not Choose Again.

Linda Garner

Thursday, January 8, 2009



Yes, they warned me, they all warned me. But I had already sat down next to them thinking, “Can’t be rude. Must sit next to infected.”

Well, guess what!? Now I am the infected! This is just like that movie Outbreak! Yes, my friend, it is coming for you. Instead of nuking us, they should drop vitamin C throughout the land by the airplane full. But we would be…to…sleepy…to…take.

Why am I talking about my cold instead of writing? Because, every time I sit down to type, read or critique, those pesky ZZZZZs fill my brain, causing me to fall into sweet slumber. Sweet, sweet slumber.

So, I have a cold that is filling my sinuses and my senses. My creative thoughts are somewhat lacking. Whatever shall I do? There is no need to fear my friend; a cold only lasts seven days. Seven days! Then my creative mind should be at top notch again, and you will be ogling over my awesome post. But for now, I am wrapped up in my favorite sweater drinking steaming hot chocolate with a roll (okay, who am I kidding?), two rolls of toilet paper for my runny, runny nose. Makes me tired just thinking about it. I think I’ll take a nap, besides, I can’t taste the fudge anymore. It takes like a block of glue.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Pass It On

“If a man were to die, and then return, what message might those from the world beyond send back to us?” That is the question posed on the cover of The Message by Lance Richardson.

Six years ago, just after my father died, I came across The Message. It’s a compelling story and was a timely message for me in the shadow of my father's death. The story resonated with me and reinforced my own feelings and beliefs, but Lance's message was profound. The message of the book is not revealed until chapter sixteen. It took me by surprise.

Six years ago this book was hard to find. A friend first loaned me her copy. Later I ordered my own copy off the internet which I then loaned to others. The last person I loaned it to moved away with the book in her posession.

This year, just before Christmas, I noticed stacks of The Message at various bookstores. I decided it was time for a second read. I loved it all over again and decided to share it with my children as Christmas Gifts. Friend-husband and I went to two of the stores where earlier I had seen stacks of The Message and was told that they had just sold the last one. Six years ago The Message was a well kept secret. This year they are flying off the shelves. Better get your copy today.

We ordered nine copies of The Message and gave them to our children and two of our grandchildren. We invited them to read The Message and then pass it on to someone else. We suggested that they write their name and email address in the front with a little note about passing the book on. Everyone who reads the book could add their name and email address. Wouldn’t it be fun to track the books? Wouldn’t it be fun if some of the readers respond to the givers of the gift?

Lance had an amazing experience; one which you will never forget. He also had a miraculous recovery and the chance to share a daring message with the world. Lance Richardson died in 2004, but his message lives on. Put The Message on your Must Read list for 2009 and then share it with someone you love.

Linda Garner

Thursday, January 1, 2009

When Mosters Walk Among Us

WARNING: Scarlet is going on a rant today and is in a very, very foul mood. So beware reader. You enter at your own risk.

As a writer, when I work on my antagonist (the bad guy), I try to make him as evil as I can. If he is a thief, he not only robs the bank, but he takes the money, all the free pens, and the entire fish tank with him. He needs to be REALLY evil to make my book.

Let’s face it, if my bad guy is saving kitties from trees, eating pink cotton candy as he skips down the sidewalk with his school uniform on, he isn’t going to seem like much of a bad guy.

In writing, your bad guy can do and be anything. He can stomp on all the new spring daffodils, eat the heads of cute gummy bears, or grow fifty feet and roar at oncoming traffic.

But in real life, such situations are disturbing. A close friend’s daughter has just left her husband, running away with her two small children. Not because her husband didn’t make enough money or because he squeezed the toothpaste in the middle of the tube, but because he was hurting her and her children. The details are horrifying, which I dare not pass on. This week he has taken the children hostage in his own home. There is nothing the mother or the police can do…yet. It breaks my heart to see any child placed in such danger and sit helplessly by.

This is one of the reasons I am so pleased that Linda & Brandilyn’s book is coming out to help people in certain abusive situations. They deserve a medal! They are heroes.

So, as I sit here writing out of frustration, because in real life - retaliation is not a good thing, I can’t help contemplating what I can do to him with my pen and paper. I can make him the next victim in my book; run him over with a steamroller, place him in Hell with flaming pokers coming out of his eyes, or make him eat one of Mrs. Linthall’s casserole dishes with the buttery corn flaked topping. That’s sure to do him in.