Monday, October 31, 2011

Building a Website

I’ve traveled a magnificent road from writing to publication and loved every minute of it. But I’d like to share my experience of building my website. I’ve had such a fun time with it.
First of all, I don’t have the skills to build the actual site myself, so I found someone who has done a wonderful job with that part. I just told him what I wanted, sent him the information and pictures, and he provided.
Since my first book is about Brigham Young, I decided to give my website a pioneer theme. Researching children’s pioneer games, crafts, cooking took me back to my childhood. We have a cabin in the Tetons where my father grew up, and I had done many of these things as a girl. I wanted pictures of kids on the website, so I orchestrated craft and cooking sessions this summer when we were together with the children in Idaho.
The girls loved making paper dolls. They colored them and kept them together in chains at first. Then they ripped them apart and spent the afternoon playing house with them. I didn’t think they’d have much fun making forest creatures, but they LOVED it. They spent a couple of hours finding twigs and leaves and pinecones they could tie together with string, etc. I purposefully didn’t use little eyes and other craft materials of today because I wanted to be true to the pioneer period. Gathering wild flowers also appealed to the crafty kids.
Cooking was also fun. Shaking the cream jar to music until the butter formed, energized them so they continued the dance fest with dress-up clothes long after the butter hardened. Fishing was the boys’ favorite. They sat by the stream for hours casting and recasting.
I was also surprised at the games. We started playing hide the thimble outside. I thought they’d only play long enough for me to snap some pictures, but they continued for almost an hour. Jack Straws was another activity they loved. Each of them made their own set of straws, and that was as fun as the game itself. I wanted an activity for the smaller children, and follow the leader was the one they enjoyed. (Maybe tromping around in my cousin’s grain field added to the delight—they stayed on the edge so as not to damage too much wheat.)
Visit the website and have as good a time with the pioneer theme as we did.
I’d love to hear from each of you about great experiences you’ve had with old-fashioned ideas. If you’re willing I’ll share them on my site.
Take care! Christy

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Unplugging it

I forgot to tell you guys that I'm unplugged for a week or so.

I'm doing major edits (I have a deadline in November). So if you don't see me around, it's because I'm staring at the words on my compy screen.

Oh and Happy Halloween...Oooooooo (I know, I'm so scary).

Tuesday, October 25, 2011


I ignored my computer today.

I walked away from it, and exercised instead. About time. I did yoga and 104 sit ups. It felt great. No one reads this stuff anyway.

I could tell my computer wasn’t happy, so I took a quick peek at my email, and then hurried to the kitchen. “Just having breakfast,” I said loudly. “Normal people do that, you know.”

My computer didn’t argue, but I could tell she was upset.

“I’m having a normal day, today,” I said. “Normal people don’t spend 5 hours a day in front of their lap top. Normal people don’t check their email every five minutes. I’m going to be normal. I’m going to get a life.”

My lappie rolled her eyes at me. I swear she did.

“Don’t roll your eyes at me,” I said. “Agents don’t like me. Publishers don’t keep their promises. And besides that nobody buys books anymore. Didja ever hear of the public library?”


“Are you, like…humming at me? What’s up with that? Don’t hum at me, okay. I have nothing to write, okay? I’m out of ideas. Watch me be normal. Watch me…sweep the floor. Normal people sweep, okay.”

That floor was awfully dirty. Maybe I should sweep more often. What else do normal people do? Oh, yeah. “ I think I’ll make my bed.”

The bed was worse than I thought. I tossed the sheets in the washer. “Just act normal,” I thought.

“Whirrrrrrr. Click. Click.”

“Hey, don't whirrr at me. Remember last week when the doorbell rang and I wasn’t even dressed. It was almost noon and I was in front of my computer in my pjs. Normal people get dressed in the morning. I’m hopping in the shower. I can’t hear you.”

This is great. I'm clean. I'm dressed. I’m having a normal day. If somebody knocks on my door, I’ll be ready. Normal people don’t write every day. They don’t.


“What? Whatever? I mean, I can’t hear you. I’m running errands, just like a normal person. I’m out the door. I have two, six, maybe seven errands. I may be gone all day.” Slam. “Who does that computer think she is.”

Whew. Quiet at last.

Wait a minute. What’s that rustling in the back seat. “Who’s there?”

That’s better. Wait, do I hear whispering?

Oh no. It’s the words. They followed me here. They sneaked in the car and they’re trying to get my attention. This is crazy.

“Shh. No talking. Shhhhhhhh.”

“Whisper, whisper, whisper.”

“I’m turning on the radio.”

Dancing. "You're not dancing." They’re dancing. “Stop that. Don’t dance. I'm telling you, words are not supposed to dance. I mean it. Stop.”

So much for normal.


Linda Garner

Monday, October 24, 2011


I’m grateful for my husband. Right now he is my proof reader. I have my next book ready to go to the publisher. I’ve been over it carefully, looking for mistakes; and he is my final reader (after my critique group). He’s great to find typos!
He is also great to support me in attending luncheons with other writers, my critique group every week, weekend workshops, and sometimes, just spur-of-the-moment get together with an author who is in town. He never complains, and he’s always happy for me to go. (Maybe he likes me out of the house? Just kidding!)
Anyway, I’m feeling thankful for him.
Do you have support in your writing? Join the gratitude fest, if you like. :}:}:}
Book Signings: November 4th, Hastings Book Store, Ogden
Book Launch: November 5th, Deseret Book Store, by the Ogden Temple
Book Signing: November ?, Wisebird Bookery, Ogden
Christy Monson’s book will be in book stores and on Amazon after the first of November, 2011. Title: Texting Through Time, a Trek with Brigham Young.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The Nominations Are Open

The Nominations for the Whitney awards are now open.

The Whitney awards were created to recognize quality work and to help readers become more aware of the fine literature being published by LDS authors. They were named after Orson Whitney.

There are seven different categories: general fiction, historical fiction, romance, mystery/suspense, speculative (sci-fi/fantasy), young adult general and young adult speculative fiction. A book must get five nominations to be considered.

Last year, was my first introduction to the Whitneys. I read all five nominees in two different categories. It was delightful. I enjoyed branching out to new authors and new genres. This year, I hope to start earlier and read more categories.

If you’re looking for something to read that is clean and well-written, take a look at some of last year’s finalists, or previous years. I’ll bet you’ll like them. Last year's winners are listed here.

Anyone can nominate a book for the Whitneys. All books nominated go through a complex screening process to select the five finalists in each category. Members of LDS storymakers are eligible to vote along with a panel of experts who are invited to participate. We can only vote in categories where we have read all five finalists.

If you have read a book you’d like to nominate, it must have been published in 2011 and must have been written by an LDS author. Only full length fiction is eligible. To find out more click here. To nominate a book, click here.

Happy reading!

Linda Garner

Monday, October 17, 2011


Right now I’m steeped in the middle of the marketing business. Since my book will be out the first of November, I’m setting up a book launch, writing a press release, and organizing book signings.
Marketing is kind of a fun thing to do. These are all new skills for me. And after I get over being scared, I know I’ll have a good time. People are so kind and helpful. Book stores love to have you come in. All the ones I’ve been to are anxious to put up a poster, let me bring in refreshments and willing to accommodate me in any way. After all, it will bring business into their store.
I’ve come up with a fun idea. Since my book is about Brigham Young, I got a top hat, coat, cane and black bow tie for kids to try on when they are in the store. I think it will be great for kids to have their mother’s take a picture of them in the outfit. They can really try on the persona of Brigham Young and see how it feels. (I’ll let you know when the signings are, and if you’re in the area, bring your kids in :})
Brigham was just an ordinary young boy growing up in the backwoods of New York. He was lonely at times and hungry, just like all of us are. I think kids will identify with him.
I have two weeks to get myself ready. I’ll keep you posted on how it goes. I’m sure there will be times when I’m having fun and times when I wish I were home alone at my computer writing a new scene.
Keep me in your best positive thoughts!  And I’ll do the same for you.
Christy Monson’s book will be in book stores and on Amazon after the first of November, 2011. Title: Texting Through Time, a Trek with Brigham Young.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

What's in a Name?

Naming a baby is an important job. We want a name that sounds just right and one that will still sound good when the baby becomes as adult. We want a name that isn’t easy to make fun of. We don’t want our baby to be the brunt of jokes because of the name we picked. We don’t want a name that’s all used up. Different is good, but not too different.

Naming a book is another important job. The title needs to sound just right and tell us something about the book. The title needs to speak to you. It should say pick me up, read me, buy me. We don’t want a title that’s already worn out. Different is good.

Because a book title is so vital to the marketing of a book, most publishers reserve for themselves the final say on a title. My publisher told me that they only use about 5% of submitted titles. Most titles are changed. I have heard that big name national publishers run their titles past Barnes and Noble and Borders for approval. If they don’t like the title, it’s a no go. I guess Borders is out of the running now, so maybe only Barnes and Noble holds such power.

I love short snappy titles. Some that have caught my attention lately are The Help, and Speak. A one word title that is loaded with meaning is an attention grabber. I named one of my picture books I’m Not Scared, and later changed it to just Scared.

What are some titles that speak to you? Have you ever grabbed a book just because the title was intriguing? Did the book live up to its title? Have you ever rejected a book based on its title, and later changed your mind?

Choosing a great title is an art form. What’s in a Name? A lot.

Linda Garner

Monday, October 10, 2011

Failure vs. Success

Book Signings
On Thursday night, October 6th, I went to a book signing party at the King’s English Bookstore in Salt Lake City, Utah. The occasion was a book launch for Robison Wells’ new book, Variant.
Rob spoke at the beginning, telling everyone his story. He experienced times of struggle, times of failure and times of success. We all identify with those who work hard, fail, battle back again and finally succeed. It was nice to find someone who has given his all, fought through hard time and found triumph.
His victory was made all the sweeter because he was able to speak. Rob said that he has suffered from panic attacks and didn’t know if he’d be able to even come to the book launch. He not only came, but was able to share his story with those in attendance. (And that bookstore has small rooms and was full of people. He did great!!!)
Failure is the condiment that gives success its flavor.
- Truman Capote

I love this quote. It helps me remember that all is not lost if I don’t succeed the first time. Victory is all the sweeter if there has been a time of trial beforehand.
Share your times of trial and your times of success. We gain courage from each other.

Christy Monson’s book will be in book stores and on Amazon after the first of November, 2011. Title: Texting Through Time, a Trek with Brigham Young.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

I Think we have a Communication Issue Here.

This week I am going over my Beta reads and fixing...well...words.

I had no idea words could cause so much havoc! I had some words added where they shouldn't be and a few sentences that weren't finished. (I have a really funny one that was pointed out to me, but I can't mention it on the blog. Let's just say it had something to do with big ones. Opps, I said too much. It's not what you think Mom...I promise).

Words can really mess up your story. For example...check this out:

So funny. Thanks Rhett and Link. 

So next time you are writing a novel, short story, essay, etc..., make sure all those words make sense, or else you'll have a story that is just all over the place.

Have you ever had issues with your words in your ms? Has anyone ever found a sentence that didn't read right (hello, big ones).  What was the funniest or scariest one you've found?

I'm off to my edits. Have a great week everyone!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

A Boy with a Mission--and a GREAT need

I am pleased to repost this message from Betsy Love. I hope that you enjoy it, and that your heart will be touched. I don't know Isaac, but I wish him well. May you be blessed for your generosity. Linda Garner

I know a boy, a very handsome boy,

who happens to be a miracle. His name is Isaac Sneed. He just got his mission call for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. My family got to be there when he read the letter that explained where he will be serving. He is going to the Romania Bucharest Mission and reports to the Mission Training Center in Salt Lake City on Dec. 14, 2011.

Let me back up about 11 years, a time I remember well. Isaac's mom, Theresa Sneed is my best friend. Her son started complaining about his "tummy". You know, the kinds of complaints all kids have. Only his ache never went away.

Long story short--he was diagnosed with neuroblastoma, a rare form of cancer. This cancer is almost always fatal, and most children who get this kind of cancer are diagnosed by the age of 2. By the time it is discovered, the cancer usually spreads to the point of no return. Through a miracle, his tumor was completely intact and the doctors were able to remove it. Isaac was 8.

As a result of his treatment (chemotherapy, radiation and stem cell transplant), Isaac's suffers from significant hearing loss.

So why am I writing today? Because Isaac needs hearing aids to be the best missionary he can be. Learning a new language is challenging for a normal missionary with a set of good ears, so you can imagine what Isaac's challenge will be with significant hearing loss.

The cost of hearing aids is approximately $6500. His parents are currently without health insurance and cannot afford to purchase them. If you have a heart, and I know you do, would you please make a donation to get them for him. Every little bit helps. So far $110 has been collected in his behalf. But that's a long way from the total we need. Even small amounts add up. You can go to any Chase bank and deposit funds. The account number is: 2996079725.

Thank you for your generosity and Christ-like love! Your donation may remain anonymous if you'd like.

Monday, October 3, 2011

The Myth of Writing

I’ve been mistaken all along about writing. I thought I could just sit at my computer day after day, create what I wanted and know that everything else would be taken care of. Wrong!
Once I signed a contract with the publisher, my world changed. There are decisions to be made about the art work and proof reading that has to be done. Along with that comes the worry that you may have missed a typo or a period. (I always want things perfect.)
After your book as gone to the printer, then the marketing team takes over a big chunk of your life. What? I have to have a Launch party? Book signings? I have to sit at the table in Costco and meet the public?
Well, this has gotten entirely out of hand. I’m a shy sort of person who loves to be in the background. What happened to my sitting at the computer all day?
Maybe I’m like a rose, ready to explode into bloom. The bud is small and tight at first, but as it grows, the pressure increases for it to break out of its confinement—burst its constraints. That’s not an entirely comfortable process. At times I feel scared; other times I’m shy; but mostly I wish for my background status to return.
I know that won’t ever happen, and it’s really okay that it doesn’t. We all need to keep moving forward creating and making the world a better place. I want to do that more than I want to stay in a tight undeveloped bud.
I can make it. I can do it, but it’s scary. And then everyone around me is loving and supporting and caring for me. Would I miss that time of connection with others? Not on your life! What a blessing! Writing becomes a ‘happily-ever-after’ tale.
Christy Monson’s book will be in book stores and on Amazon after the first of November, 2011. Title: Texting Through Time, a Trek with Brigham Young.