Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Can't Stop Writing

Why do I write?

Do you ever ask yourself that question? As the rejections pile up, the royalty checks disappear (I'm sure they got lost in the mail), and publishers change their minds, I find myself wondering, why am I doing this to myself.

I try to stay away from my computer. I clean closets and practice the piano. I exercise and clean the fridge. (Ew, gross. How long has that been in there?) I pull weeds and pick tomatoes, and I call a friend.

Who needs it? I ask myself. Who needs to check their email every fifteen minutes? Who needs to be connected to facebook 24/7? Who needs author central? Who needs one more nice rejection letter? (You're a talented writer, but...)

But wait, I have voices in my head. Ideas are knocking around in there. Stories are bubbling all around me, inside of me. I'm all for clean closets, sonatas, tidy gardens, and good friends, but something inside me loves to write.

Rejection stinks, but writing clears the cobwebs from my mind. Writing feeds me. Writing is my dessert. (sugarfree of course)

Who needs it? Apparently I do. I can't stop writing.

Linda Garner

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Word Pictures

I enjoy creating pictures with words. Finding just the right words to paint a picture is fun and satisfying.

As we traveled home from a vacation that began with a visit to a beloved daughter, adorable new baby, and proud new father, friend-husband and I created word pictures from the scenery. Here are some of our favorites.

Fluffy cloud boats sailed across a sea of blue.

A thick blanket of gray hung expectantly in the afternoon sky.

Angry clouds spilled buckets of moisture.

A gash of light ripped the sky in two.

The clean smell of summer rain tickled my nose.

Nature’s hammer had chiseled rugged mountains into the giant face of rock.

The emerald days of summer called to me, teasing me to come out and play.

A ribbon of highway snaked its way around the mountains.

The peaceful curtain of night fell silently.

An orange ball of fire plopped lazily behind the mountains.

A hint of blue sky peeked shyly between the clouds.

The twisted river frothed and foamed at each dip and turn.

Heavy Arkansas air pasted itself to my once dry skin and clothes.

Waves of green rolled across the countryside like a gentle roller coaster.

A patchwork of farms lay quilted in fields of corn, cotton, soybeans, and rice.

Proud forest ladies crowded themselves across the mountain in gowns of green.

Get out your canvas. Paint me a word picture.

Linda Garner

Monday, July 18, 2011


Hi everyone. I’m in the middle of website development, of which I know nothing about. But I’m learning. Sometimes I’m slow at it, but I’m baby-stepping along. Any advice from those of you who have set one up would really be appreciated. I’d also like to know what you like to see on different author sites. What are some of the things that impressed you? What turns you off? What is very clear? What is confusing? I guess I’m feeling insecure enough that I would really appreciate feedback.
This week I’ve been getting together pioneer games, crafts and cooking for kids. I learned some things setting it all up, and I think there will be a number of fun things for kids to do on my site. I think pictures are with a thousand words, so I am going to take lots of pictures when my grandkids are here. We’ll try out all the recipes and crafts so I’ll have some kid pictures to go with each experience.
I know I say I don’t know what I’m doing, but I’ve really had lots of fun learning how everything works. I have a great guy that’s setting everything up for me. He is so nice to work with and so willing to listen to suggestions and offer advice. That also keeps things lots of fun.
So ‘happy week’ to everyone! I’m off to establish my website titles and Google Adwords. Please write me back with and suggestions and advice you have. Thanks for listening.
Christy Monson

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Out of the Office

Yup, I'm out of the bloggy office until August. There are too many scout camps/family reunions/spider sightings to take care of.

But I'll be back in August ready to comment away!

Until then, have a great rest of July everyone. ;) 

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Isn't that Ducky?

I'm on vacation. Friend-husband and I spent the last week or so with daughter number three, and her first baby. What a sweet family. The new mom and dad are totally devoted to the little one, and we were glad to be invited to share their joy.

Their happy home is part of a community surrounding a pretty pond complete with birds, rabbits, muskrats, and ducks. It was fun to sit on the patio and rock my new granddaughter while enjoying the water. The ducks were especially entertaining.

Watching the little duck families reminded me of this post which I wrote some time ago. I hope you enjoy this repost of Ducks in a Row.

Ducks in a Row

One sunny afternoon the kids and I were at Liberty Park watching the ducks swimming around in the lake. One mother duck was out for a swim with her ducklings. They glided around on the silky water in a little cluster. One adventurous little duckling wandered off. He (no doubt it was a boy) swam farther and farther away until he panicked and quacked for his Mom. Mom instantly swam to his rescue and brought him back to the family, with a stern tongue-lashing.

After rejoining the family, the little duckling stayed with the group just a short while before wandering off again. He again called for help and the Mama duck rescued him with much scolding. We watched this scene repeated over and over again and I thought to myself that ducks aren’t much different than people.

Like that little duck, we sometimes repeat the same behavior over and over again, even though it isn’t really working for us. Like the Mama duck, we who are mothers never stop trying to rescue and we continue to deliver the same message even though no one is really listening. Like the little duck family we know that the family is our greatest security and we put up with each other in spite of all our quirks and we try to be there for each other no matter what.

Oh I know that every family has its measure of dysfunction along with the great stuff. The trick is to let go of the negative stuff and hold fast to the postitive. The family is at its finest we can build each other and strengthen each other in spite of our differences and the stormy weather that often comes.

The family I grew up in has had its challenges getting along. Learning to love each other in spite of painful disagreements isn’t easy. As we have grown older I feel we need each other more. We are separated by physical distance as well as emotional distance, yet we share some common ground. DNA, memories, values are some of the things that unite us. Now that our parents are gone, we see each other less and I sense that time is marching on.

My mother’s siblings quarreled bitterly at times. They left this life with much mending left undone. I do not want to take anger or bitterness with me when I go.

My mother was a wizard with a needle and thread. She could mend anything. She even mended rags. She darned socks until her dying day. I would rather do almost anything than mend clothes. I have to love something a lot to actually mend it.

If only relationships could be mended with a needle and thread. If it only it were that simple. Though the tools are different, maybe the thought is the same. Maybe we have to love a relationship a lot to want to mend it.

The threads that tie us together can be wear a little thin at times. Family can be the source of our greatest joys and our greatest sorrows. What irony. What contrast.

I better go now. I need to catch up on my mending.

Linda Garner

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Just Writing

As I continue through the process of becoming a published author, I find myself having second thoughts at times. I fantasized that I could spend my days writing and creating all that I wanted, and everything else would be taken care of. Wrong!
A lot of time and energy is spent in other areas. For instance, I have worked hard to find an artist to do the drawings for my book. I met with her this week and am so happy to have such a talented person to work with. I’ve also had to follow the process of getting permission to use photographs in my book. Copyright laws are such that there is permission to ask, photos to be digitized and copies to be made. That process takes many weeks.
I have someone helping me set up a web site. Now for a person, like me, of little or no aptitude for internet networking, it has been a challenge. How much or how little should I put on the web site? What will interest parents and children? Crafts? Games? Pioneer cooking projects? Things that interest me may not interest them. In other words, I’m kind of in a quandary as to how to set things up. And the bottom line is: I don’t really know what I’m doing.
I guess I’m really just blowing off steam. I will learn what to do, and I will become more experienced in the process. I’m baby-stepping along. (Baby-stepping always keeps me humble.) And that’s good for me.
Any comments or suggestions you have about author web sites you like or things you look for in an interesting site would be appreciated. Thanks for your support and help.
Christy Monson

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Happy Birthday America

I love my country and wish to bid her a happy birthday. What a privilege it is to grow up free in the land of opportunity. I am a flag waving, hand over heart, stand up for the Star Spangled Banner, kind of girl. I love America.

Problems? Yes we have a lot of them. I hope for change, like many of you. Change has many faces, and it can be good or bad, so be careful what you hope for.

I believe that change can happen one person at a time, as we become accountable for our behavior and quit hoping for government to fix things. I believe that change can happen one person at a time as we reach out to one another in love. I believe that change can happen one person at a time as we honor truth and virtue in our personal lives.

Wasn't it Ghandi who said, “Be the change you want to see in the world.” What beautiful and wise words. Imagine the possibilities of millions of Americans living their personal truth and embracing a more beautiful way of life.

Today, I honor my heroic country and give thanks for her. I honor the brave men and women who created her, and who have defended her. Thank you just doesn’t seem to be enough. Perhaps I can honor her and them by making brave choices and living a life of truth and possibilities.

I can be the change I want to see, and so can you.

Happy Birthday, America, and thank you, thank you, thank you.

Linda Garner


To see a picture of our beautiful new granddaughter, click here.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Creating a Series

This is my last blog about Kathleen Duey, but I think this information is important. She has written over fifty books—many of them historical fiction. I have found a pattern in her series. She picks an historical setting and places a character in it and then writes a short vignette about the time. She weaves in as much information as she can about what’s happening.
The time frame of the book may only be a few days, or it may be a few months, but it’s not long. For instance in her American girl Dairies she gives a glimpse into the lives of children who had to flee the South at the end of the Civil War. They were on a river boat coming up the Mississippi. The boat was overloaded with Northern soldiers returning home, and the engine exploded. The voice of the young protagonist was well done and the action was suspenseful with high drama. In one of her Hoofbeat books about the American Revolution, the time period took in only a few months before the war started, but we had an inside glimpse of the Boston Tea Party and the British troops infiltrating the countryside. It also had good voice and fast action. That series has young girls who love their horses. Can’t go wrong with that combination!
So my thoughts are: When writing an historical fiction book, an author doesn’t need to capture an extended period of time. It can be short and concise. Just make sure the voice is well-defined and the action fast-paced.
Thanks for listening. I love writing for this blog because it makes me think and dig a little deeper than I otherwise would. Happy summer! Mind’s crazy. How about yours?
Christy Monson