Tuesday, April 26, 2011

One Hundred and Nine Fabulous Entries

One Hundred and Nine People who love to read entered the Hoppy Easter Eggstravaganza on this post. I'm eggstatic. Thanks for participating.

Aren't books just the best? Books have brought so much enjoyment and comfort to me. Every book I read has an impact on my life and changes me in some way. Books I write change me even more.

One lucky person is about to receive a $10.00 gift card to amazon/kindle. I will send it to your email. You can look for it this afternoon. And the winner is....(drumroll please) Lisa Peters. I will be sending The Book of Positive Messages to Awesome Niks who came in 2nd. Awesome, I will need a mailing address for that. Watch your email and you can send the address in a reply.

I had a great interview yesterday with the awesome Linda Adams. Click here to read it. It's on her blog.

Reading Rocks!
Linda Garner

Monday, April 25, 2011

Wisdom of the Story

I’m just reading Mulberry Project by Linda Sue Park (Newberry Winner for A Single Shard). At the end of each chapter, she has a dialogue between the protagonist and the author. It’s the cutest idea. This spunky little girl, Korean of course, stands right up to her author, wanting things to go her way. She doesn’t like her little brother and wants Park to change him to a sweet little girl that adores her big sister. She doesn’t want to have any problems, and she tells Park to make them go away.
Park tells her that the story is in charge, not either of them. When Park writes, sometimes she doesn’t know what will happen; she lets the story tell itself. Wisdom comes from the story, she says.
I like that concept. The last two days, I’ve been writing about boys in 1870 Utah stealing melons and girls hopping rides on the back of wagons. Neither of these scenes was fully developed in my mind when I sat down to write them. I knew the purpose of each scene and what I wanted to happen, but I didn’t know the particulars until I began to write. As I typed the words onto the computer, the characters came alive and filled in all the blanks I needed them to. Their fully little personalities appeared on the page–kind of like magic. I think my writing would be very stilted if I didn’t do it this way.
I’m sure each of you has a routine that works for you. I’d love to hear how you plan out your scenes as your story moves along. I’m always looking for new ideas.
Christy Monson

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Hoppy Easter Eggstravaganza Giveaway

Do you love books? Me too. That’s why I couldn’t resist this Easter Hop. It’s a great chance to win cool stuff. If you love books you’ll want to hop in. Here’s a list of all the sites offering great book giveaways for the next four days.

Every blog on this hop is giving away something fun. You might find books, you might find gift certificates, you might find fun, book-related swag. But each and every blog has something to offer you, and all you have to do is click on the links below, follow that blog's easy instructions, and poof! You are entered. Then you move right along to the next site, and you tell your friends how much fun you're having.

All you need to do to be entered in my giveaway is become a follower of Paper and Parchment and post a comment telling me that you’re wild about books. How easy is that? If you’re already a follower, just post a comment. Eggzactly what will you win? On this site, you can win A $10.00 gift certificate at Amazon/Kindle. How cool is that.

For an eggstra chance to win, copy the e-poster from last weeks post and pass it on. Think email, facebook, twitter, whatever. Be sure your comment tells me that you did this, so I can give you credit. Just to make it easier I’m reposting the e-poster so that you don’t have to hunt for it. Just right-click and copy or save. If you win, I’ll need an email address to send the gift certificate.

Click here to hop along to the next blog.

The Easter Hop ends at 11:59 p.m. on April 25.

Hoppy Easter.

Linda Garner

Writing for the Peanut Butter Crowd

Here's me in Ephraim at the Author's Extravaganza doing what I love most. Teaching. Teaching has always been my first love. I guess that's why I love public speaking and school visits.

I taught two writing classes at the Conference. Writing for the Peanut Butter Crowd was a primer for picture book writing. We had so much fun that they asked me to keep going, while the administration was knocking at the door and telling me to STOP.

I also taught about Writing on a Sensitive Topic and share some of my experience writing and publishing Some Secrets Hurt. Another topic I never tire of.

Friend-husband and I went early and did some school visits. We taught 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders about the writer's voice. I used my unpublished manuscript Grudge Rock and it was a hit. Some of the kids showed up at the conference, and asked where they could buy Grudge Rock. I think I'd better call my publisher.

If you love to read or write, stop by here tomorrow and join the Easter Hop. It's a chance to do a little blog hopping and win cool book prizes. It starts at midnight, tonight. Tell all your friends.

Linda Garner.

Monday, April 18, 2011

A Working Spring Break

Since I love writing every day, the road trips (Spring Break) are a bit difficult for me because I want to spend some time with my characters and their journey. But when Cousin Azalia comes calling with her three active kids, time gets away from me. However, I’ve found I way I can continue working while engaged in festive activities.
Number one kid, belonging to Cousin Azalia, ties his hair in a knot just over his ear. (His hair is long.) He’s knotted it so much that the ends are broken off and it sticks out. There are times when he can’t get the knot untied. What an interesting quirk to give a character.
Cousin Azalia loves to talk. Every sentence either begins or ends with, “Ya’ know, kid,” followed by a little giggle. It would take a unique character to give this idiosyncrasy to, but it’s an unforgettable trait. (Sometimes it does drive me a little nuts! Okay, a lot nuts if I’m around it too long!)
Grandpa Joe, who is nearing 100, loves to sit in the corner and watch the world of children and activity go by. Once in a while he’ll pull a family member aside to ask them if they can see Aunt Janet (who died 30 years ago) singing in the choir across the room. (Who knows, maybe there is a group of singers from the other side serenading us across the room. It may just be that we are the ones who can’t see or hear them.) An interesting addition to any story.
Now, I’m sure you can think of quirky little traits that your family members have. Jot them down and use them (in disguise of course) in your next story. Better still, share them with us, and I’ll use yours and you are welcome to mine. That way no one will ever trace them. :}
Happy Spring Break! Christy Monson

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Deadlines and Dead Socks

If you've noticed I haven't been commenting lately, it's because...*nervously looking away* I haven't.

I was given two deadlines, one for my house (we had a dump run and I tried to de-clutter everything...it didn't work out as nicely as I would have liked - there is still a huge pile for me hiding in the basement) and the second was my final paper for my YA reading class (can I just say, awesome class).

Deadlines come with most things - the dirty baby diaper deadlines (if you have not had a baby, this has to do with the stinkifying of good breathable air), work/school deadlines (to prove to the college professor that you actually understand the meaning of relativity...which I kind of don't - I never did take physics). And yes my friends with writing.

Once you get an agent, you will have to deal with edit deadlines, synop deadlines, and anything else your agent needs you to do. It is always a good idea to do this with a positive attitude (because no one wants to be known as the one who "is really hard to work with". Really...not a good title). So be forewarned, there will be deadlines.

And now I have a deadline to tackle that pile of dead socks in the basement. I'm totally calling Super Laundry Girl to take care of this one.

Any thoughts on deadlines? (p.s. I'll be back around next week to the commenting. Have a great week everyone!)

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Start Talking

April is Sexual Abuse Awareness Month and Child Abuse Prevention Month. No one really wants to talk about sexual abuse. We would rather pretend it isn't happening. However, if we want to protect kids, we need to start talking about it. Kids need to know what they're up against and how to fight back. Education is the key.

Sexual abuse is extremely damaging to kids and it is more prevelant than most people imagine. More than one in four girls in the U.S. today will be sexually abused before the age of eighteen. More than one in six boys today will be sexually abused before the age of eighteen. Some of that could prevented if kids were better prepared and if caring adults created relationships of trust where kids felt safe to talk about hard stuff.

What can you do?

1.Talk to the kids in your life about abuse. Be calm. Teach with clarity and avoid scare tactics. Remind kids that the only way to stop an abuser is to tell a trusted adult if someone tries to molest them.

2. Cultivate a trusting relationship. Talk to your kids about all kinds of things. Be a safe person for kids to talk to. Make it easy for your kids to come to you when they are worried or confused.

3. Copy the poster at the top of this post and pass it along. Email, facebook, twitter, whatever. Right click and copy or save. It's easy. Spread the word.

Click here for more detailed information. You can download a free Parents Guide and What To Do.

The only thing worse than finding out that your child has been sexually abused is not finding out.

Start Talking.

Linda Garner

Monday, April 11, 2011

The Library and Writing

My favorite kind of writing is historical fiction. I love researching a person’s life or a specific incident in the past. Far-away countries are fun to study about also.
It’s great to delve into the library stacks in depth, looking for a lost treasure. The librarians at the reference desk can be so helpful. Archivists at larger libraries love to help find the small details of a story, a picture that hasn’t been seen or other items of interest.
Then what pleasure comes from fitting the pieces of information together in plot form. It’s like sorting the pieces of a puzzle when you don’t know what the picture will look like or even the shapes of all the parts. There is an exhilaration that comes as each item falls into place and an exciting drama unfolds. It’s a challenge to put it all together, and I love it, as I’m sure a mystery writer does who hides the solution to the murder amidst a mountain of clues.
I’ve just been to a large library in Salt Lake City, looking for a picture that hasn’t been seen very often. The Archivist was so helpful in guiding to the people who have done research on the subject. I think the Archivist liked the ‘hunt’ as much as I did. Along the way he kept dropping clues that helped me find the articles I needed to go with the picture and guided me as to how I would end my new book.
Sorry I can’t tell you particulars. It would spoil the ending. These kids have to solve a puzzle, and I’ll give away the conclusion if I tell more.
I just want to say that I’ve had a wonderful day, doing just exactly what I wanted to do. Do you every have days like that? Sometimes I do, but not that often. So I really appreciate and relish one when I get it.
What about you? What’s your favorite day like? What’s your favorite kind of writing?
Christy Monson

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Join Us In Ephraim!

Authors Rock. It's so fun to get together. If you're anywhere Ephraim this Saturday you won't want to miss this one day mini-conference for writers and readers. Lots of information and fun. Tell all your friends and join us if you can.

I'm going early to do some school visits. Can't wait to meet those kids.

Linda Garner

Monday, April 4, 2011

Critique Groups – My All-time Favorite Soap Box

Wow! What a week I’ve had. Life has not been happy at my house! I’m trying to maintain my composure and dignity, and I want to handle things rationally. Well, I have! One of the reasons I’ve been able to do it is because I have so much love surrounding me.
This is my lucky week because two of my writing groups meet this week. My Wednesday night “Writing Divas” is such a supportive group. We can throw out ideas, explore thoughts, disagree with each other, laugh a lot, dissect a manuscript into small pieces, catch up on each other’s lives and, last but not least, hug and kiss. I always come away feeling full of warm fuzziness. AND my writing is improving. Next meeting it’s on to query letters (dastardly nemesis that they are). I know I’ll get through it, and maybe get back to querying  agents.
My Thursday night group is a highlight of my week. Nothing EVER interferes with Thursday night group. (My family thinks I’m a little compulsive, and I am.) The few pages we turn in every time get scrutinized, acted out (you should see the ninja-moves and swords that show up), reworded and praised. It’s one of the most synergistic groups I’ve ever seen. The pay-off is: two members with book contracts, one published author and one with an anthology publication. Soon everyone will be published. (You noticed that there were three 'publication' words in the last two sentences. I meant it that way.)
So, my advice (soap box): find yourself a critique group, enjoy the ‘bleep’ out of it and walk the path of love, support and publication.
Christy Monson