Thursday, April 29, 2010

Dreaming to Myself

So self, what are your dreams? Just wonderin’.

Oh, I totally know this answer! To eat chocolate and never gain a pound! That would be awesome. *looking up at sky dreamily*

That’s your dream? You’re kidding?

What? That’s a good dream. Have you seen how many calories there are in a plain chocolate bar? Too many. *eyes rolling like you should have known*

I mean what do you want to accomplish out of life.

*nodding head as if to imply understanding* To get that pile of laundry down to size. Have you seen the size of that thing? It’s like climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro! It frightens me. *shudders*

Well, those are all great goals, but isn’t there something else?

Well, I did want to revise that book and send it out for query.

Now that’s a great goal. *nodding head in approval*

You think?

Yes, and you know what will make a dream reality right?

Lots of chocolate and tons of laundry soap?

*Looking at self with strange expression* Um…lots of hard work.

And chocolate right? Hard work and lots of chocolate.

Ahh…sure. Hard work …and chocolate. But more hard work than chocolate.

Sweet! So…I’m off to buy laundry soap and chocolate bars. *giggling while checking out to avoid hard work*

Okay, well…whatever. *waving at self from afar* I hate fighting with myself. I’ll go back to revising tomorrow. *sigh*

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Interview with Michael Young author of Canticle Kingdom

1. What would you most like your readers to know about you?

I guess that I will always try to write books they could read as families or that they wouldn't be ashamed to give to their kids. I want to write entertaining books that will leave you with a good feeling when you're done.

2. What is the silliest thing you have ever done?

Whew, that's a hard one in a life marked with a large degree of silliness. (I'm the oldest of eight children). A recent one is driving off with a bunch of library books still on the roof of the car. I had set them there to put my son in his car seat and forgot about them. Luckily, I realized my mistake soon and salvaged the books without any visible damage. Believe me, I can be a bit scatterbrained at time and there are many more stories like this. I'm working on it.

3. What is something unusual about you that most people don't know?

Well, at least a lot of people around here don't know that I'm "double jointed" in all of my fingers. I can bend them back ridiculously far, make them act as effective fans and win at every game of mercy I've ever played.

4. What made you decide to become a writer?

I love telling stories. I'm the oldest child in my family and was often tasked with tending the younger ones and entertaining them. I used to make up elaborate stories and 'quests' to go on. My brother and I would even ride our bikes and pretend we were flying spaceships going on missions that I made up. Good times.

5. Is this your first book?

It is the first one that I've published, but the second one that I've written. The first one is one that I wrote in high school and that still needs some work. I have some other things on deck, so I hope that it will be the first of a good number.

6. Where did you get the idea for Canticle Kingdom?

I'm not sure what corner of my brain I fished it out of. The idea just came to me one day while I was working at Target during my second year at college. I'll have to poke around that corner of my brain for some other ideas.

7. How long did it take you to write Canticle Kingdom?

The first draft took about a year, and many months more polishing things up. I had the idea in 2005, got a contract in 2009 and it's on the shelf this year. So, it was a long process.

8. Was there research involved?

A little. I draw a lot of the settings from places I've been, but I incorporated some characters based on actual people and in that case I had to do some date checking to make sure it fit. I'm actually holding a scavenger hunt contest to help readers figure out who those people are.

9. What was the hardest part to write?

The ending, by far. I was trying to strike a balance between tying up the story nicely and leaving myself enough space to continue the series if I chose.

10 What part was the most fun to write?

I loved writing the parts with little historical bits in them. I love history and I'm an educator by trade, so it gave me a little extra satisfaction.

11. Is there a character that you identify with?

Probably Johann. He's got big dreams for his future, but he sometimes trips over his own feet on the way. (See the library book incident above)

12. What do you hope your reader takes away from this book?

I hope that there's a lot of entertainment and that they learn a little something about Germany, music, history, anything.

13. What are your thoughts about polishing a manuscript?

I like to have a few other pairs of trusted eyes look it over. There are things as an author you won't catch no matter how many times you look at it because you know what you meant to say. I'm constantly surprised how much a good rewrite can boost the story. It's hard work, and often a bit nerve-wracking when you're forced to make changes you don't really want to for the good of the story.

14. Who were your mentors, editors, readers, support group as you wrote and polished your manuscript?

I have to thank my wife, Jen, and her mother Karen for reading it and giving me great feedback. My friend, Mattie Tanner, is an editor who gave it a once over and helped immensely. My parents and siblings always cheered me on as well. "So, Mike, when's that book of yours coming out?"

15. Do you use a critique group? Why or why not?

I've been using an online one at It's free and has given me great feedback. I like it because it's all people I don't know and thus I feel that the feedback is more impartial. I like having a mix of people I know and people I don't know read my work so I can get a better picture. Both groups give you different kinds of feedback: the people who know you are more invested in you and your story and thus are more eager to help, but the people who don't know, are more likely to give you unfiltered feedback that you may need to hear just as much. You have to grow thick skin, which I'm still working on.

16. Was there a discouraging moment along the way?

More than one. I wrote the book while I was going to school full-time and working full-time. Most days I would only get in a few paragraphs and many times, I thought "Is there really a point to this? I might finish by the time my kids are in college." Thankfully I was wrong.

17. What was the high point?

Fortunately, there were many of those too. Meeting with Cedar Fort at the BYU Publisher's fair, getting my letter of acceptance, seeing the first copy of my book on the shelf at Deseret Book next to Harry Potter. (A happy coincidence) It took a minute for it all to sink in- that it wasn't just a file on my computer anymore.

18. Do you have other books in process?

Yes! I've got two fantasy manuscripts not related to "The Canticle Kingdom" in the final revision phase, and I'm about three-fourths of the way through a sequel to "The Canticle Kingdom." And I've a few others in the works. Basically, I want to keep writing as long as I can. Writing is my stress-release activity, and a thrill every time I do it.

19. What have you learned from Canticle Kingdom that will make a difference for you on your next writing project?

If you have multiple storylines going on the same time, be sure not to switch too often between them. It kind of gives the reader whiplash. That was one of the biggest things I had to tweak before it was ready.

20. Where can we find your book and where can we go to check up on you and your next project?

My book is at Barnes and Nobles, Deseret Book, Borders,, and at You can read up on what I'm up to at

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Oh yes, We Made it!

Last week, L.T. and I spent out Saturday morning at this beautiful park attending the first annual No More Secrets run/walk-a-thon (along with music and food. Mmmm food). I'll give you a quick run down on the events:

1st we drove past the line of beautiful ducks (don't be fooled, they are a stinky bunch of birds).

2nd We searched and searched for parking. There were a ton of people!

3rd Linda rang her bell to begin the events.

4th We meet Nick Ryan the sculptor for A Healing Place. He was very nice, and look how talented he is! Amazing.
5th We finished! We have the wrist bands to prove it!
I just added this picture's super clean for a park bathroom. Way to go bathroom cleaning people. I'm impressed!
It was a great walk/run. Way to go Linda on this huge success. We wish you the best in all your future endeavors! Please see Linda's posts for future news of A Healing Place.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010


Thanks to everyone who participated in the No More Secrets Walk/Run on Saturday. We had nearly 250 participants. Awesome!!! We had a great time and we hope you did too. Thanks to those who walked and those who donated. Thanks to those who cooked and served the food and thanks to those who entertained. Thanks to our fabulous sponsors. We couldn’t have done it without you. Thank you for making a difference. We have more pics. We'll put them up soon on See you next year!

Linda Garner

A big thank you to S.A.F.E. Network for being our co-sponsors. Check them out at

Come back next week for an interview with Michael Young, author of Canticle Kingdom.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Math vs Writing = Walk-a-thons...sort of

Tomorrow, I take my final for my Statistics class.

Am I nervous???? Um…sort of. Why?

Okay, well, I have to give you the background for you to understand why. I took this stats class once before (online) and failed. I could just not grab the concept of p(1-p)2…/1/n! (I do so much better with 2+2.)

Right now I am earning a B out of the class (this includes my homework and exams). If I get a 50% on the final, I will still earn a C from the class, and you know what? I am surprisingly okay with that. Why? Because I worked my butt off for that C. I took extra time to study (sometimes into the late nights after I tucked my kiddos in bed). I anguished over homework assignments that I didn’t want to do (but did anyway and learned a ton in the process).

Then the strangest thing happened the other day. I heard a statistic mentioned on a commercial (I won’t say which one, because I don’t want to give the fun away for anyone else learning stats), and I said, “Hey. They are trying to fool us! Because….(again, can’t say or I would give away who it is – mwa ha ha).” After these words slipped from my mouth I thought, “Whoa, I learned something from my stats class! I’m a genius!” And then I jumped around the room a little bit singing at the top of my lungs until one of my kids walked in on me wondering if someone had gotten hurt.

But I have realized that after all that work, I learned something (I know…awesome).

It’s the same thing with writing. Sometimes it is hard, sometimes I want to yell at my characters, “Why did you do that? Don’t you know what you were supposed to do in the next scene? You are in so much trouble!”

But the more we write, the more we learn. We learn a purple prose is not just a cool color to paint your bedroom walls. A dangling participle is not just a funny word. Queries are not the same thing as quails, even though they both start with that same adorable qu-qu sound. We learn as we go.

So remember, never give up the learning process of writing and keep keeping on! One day there will be an a-ha moment when all the writing conferences, classes, late nights, early mornings…will all add up.

So I am headed back to my studying. Have a great week everyone! I’ll try to have a run down from Linda’s walk-a-thon next week. If I pass my test!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Sunny with a high of 70. Can't Wait!

I’m so glad it’s snowing today. I want to get it over with, so we can have fabulous weather on Saturday for the No More Secrets Walk/Run. Sunny is Saturday’s forecast, with a high of 70. Whoa! What a day for a walk.

Can I just tell you, I believe in miracles? We put this walk together in about two months, with no knowledge and no experience. Every time we ran into a roadblock we just stepped back and waited for a miracle to happen. We were never disappointed.

The walk is just the beginning. We have some fabulous entertainment and activities lined up. If you’re not into walking, come just for the other stuff. We have some great prize drawings, and some cool activities for the kids, along with some really awesome performers. You don’t want to miss this.

Here are some of the prizes that will be given away: A gift certificate to Olive Garden, A wardrobe consultation from Glamour Connection, A Harmon’s Gift Certificate, A windshield replacement, A Foot Zoning from Happy Feet (ooh, I love to have my feet zoned), plus lots of books and other goodies.

Here are some of the books that will be given away: Pingo by Brandon Mull, Mother’s Daze by Jane Still, Change It Up by Amanda Dickson, The Hourglass Door by Lisa Mangum, My Ridiculous Romantic Obsessions by Becca Wilhite, and Seven Miracles that Saved America by Chris and Ted Stewart.

There are also several dvds in the mix, including Forever Strong.

There will be animal balloons for the kids, along with face painting, an art project, and a game or two.

I can’t wait for you to see our fabulous entertainment. Elias Carress of Outlaw Entertainers will do a magic show, and we have some great musical talent as well.

Sons of Other Mothers will be giving us something to smile about. They will start us off, and send us home.

Carrie Wrigley will touch our hearts with her incredible voice and her unforgettable songs.

You’ll be mesmerized by a group from Notable Youth, and I’m so excited to introduce Kramer Morton to you. This fourteen year old boy has only been performing about a year. He’ll knock your socks off.

You can also meet Nick Ryan and see his sculptures for A Healing Place.

This is a non-competitive family friendly walk. You can run. You can walk. You can limp. You can push a stroller. You can stand on the side and cheer. You can wait in the pavilion and greet the runners as they come in. It’s all good. 5k is 3.1 miles, and it’s in three loops. The young, the squeamish,the frail,the lazy can choose to do only one or two loops. It’s all up to you.

Whether you walk, run, or sit it out, please join us for the kids, and for the fun of it.

Can’t wait.

Linda Garner

If you pre-register it’s cheaper. You can register at the park for $10.00 or you can register online through Friday for only $5.00. The first 200 to register get a free t-shirt. There are just a few left, so register today at

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Mission Possible...

Picture found at

Da...da, da...da, da, da (Mission Impossible theme). Do, do,, do, do...DO-DO.

I have dared to take the mission....the mission of possibleness. Possible-possibleness (repeated for dramatic effect).

Yes, I have taken the challenge and hope to pass it. Please see my personal blog for added details.

(I have decided to take the extra time to do some writing. Yay! I hope to have a ton of writing done by the time my mission has ended.)

Have a great week of writing everybody. =)

This message will self-destruct in two minutes (okay, not really, But it would make for a great effect!)

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Bring the Whole Family!

I am excited to tell you about the fabulous entertainment at our No More Secrets Walk on Saturday April 17 at Sugar House Park. The 5k walk/run begins at 11:00, but the fun is just beginning. We will have free food and drawings until 3:00 along with great entertainment.

First let me tell you about Kramer Morton, an amazing 14 year old. He has been singing about a year and I'm telling you, he's incredible. Kramer is from a family of ten children and attends Indian Hills Middle School. You won't want to miss him.

If you haven't heard Carrie Wrigley perform, you are in for a treat. Carrie, who is a counselor by day, sings her own original music, guaranteed to melt your heart. Carrie has three CD's out. You may want to pick one up

You'll be tapping your toes when you listen to Sons of Other Mothers. If you like a folksy sound and light rock, these upbeat folks will give you something to smile about. I think you'll be hearing a lot more from them.

We'll also enjoy a magic show by Elias Caress of Outlaw Entertainers and a group of talented performers from Notable Youth Foundation coached by Dan Whitley.

Don't forget the free food and a whole bunch of giveaways. Gather the kids and come on over to Sugar House Park for a great time. Register early to save $5.00. The first 200 to register will get a free t-shirt. Register at Do it today.

Linda Garner

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

And the Winner Is.........

Thanks to everyone who has spread the word about the No More Secrets Walk. This is going to be a fun day. Following the Walk/Run which starts at 11:00 we will have free food and entertainment, interspersed with drawings for some great prizes. There will be face-painting, balloons, and games for the kids. You won’t want to miss the magic show, or the fabulous entertainment. The fun lasts until 3:00. If you can help us with the weather, we would really appreciate it.

This morning friend-husband and I had a private drawing for those who entered our advertising contest. Thank-you, thank you for spreading the word. And the winner of a $25.00 Barnes and Noble Gift Card is….(drumroll please)…Stacey. Thank you everyone. Stacey please send me your address, so that I can send you the gift card. You can send it to

I hope that y’all have marked April 17 on your calendars and that you will join us in preventing child abuse. You can still register for $5.00 at On the day of the walk, registration is $10.00, so be sure to register early. We still have a few t-shirts, so hurry. When they’re gone, they’re gone.

Check back tomorrow for details about our fabulous entertainment.

Remember: Together, we can make a difference.

Linda Garner

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Dear Lucky Agent Contest

We interrupt this spring break for some important news.

For those of you who read my personal blog, this is a rerun, plus I usually post on Thursdays here, but for those of you who are writing and trying to get their names out there, I wanted to share this contest with you ...before it was too late. =)

How do you get your work out there? How does anyone find out who you are?

You need to take a few risks. Have people look at your work, see how people feel about the writing. A great way to do this is through agent contests. Here is one I feel is worth sharing (plus I'm considering entering):

The "Dear Lucky Agent Contest" for middle grade and YA writers (with Regina Brooks).

The first 150-200 words of your unpublished, book-length work of middle grade or young adult fiction. You must include a contact e-mail address with your entry and use your real name. Also, submit the title of the work and a logline (one-sentence description of the work) with your entry.
(paragraph copied from Guide to Literary Agents)

Top 3 winners all get: 1) A critique of 10 pages of your work, by your agent judge. 2) A free one-year subscription to (paragraph copied from Guide to Literary Agents) *squeal!* Why not try!

If you write for middle grade or YA, I suggest jumping on over and taking a look! The contest ends April 14th, so time is running out! Yikes, I'd better get my stuff on over! Good luck guys!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Playing with Words

My kids happen to be listening to Weird Al on YouTube yesterday when they ran into this. It took us two times watching it to catch on the play with words. As a writer, I found it insightful and inspiring (plus just super darn cool)!

But once we found it... we were amazed. (we laughed, we cried, we concurred.) Anyway, take a look and tell me:

Can you find the play on words?

Let me know if you get it.
*hee hee hee*
This was just too AWESOME!