Monday, December 31, 2012

New Years Rolls

Here's a great roll recipe for New Years.

Heat over medium-high heat in saucepan for 2 minutes, then set aside.

·       5 cups flour
·       2 Tbs. active dry yeast
·       1 tsp. salt
·       1 egg
·       ¼ cup sugar

Combine dry ingredients in bowl.  Add water/butter mixture and blend well.  Add egg, slightly beaten.  Knead for 6-8 minutes, until smooth and elastic.  Place in a greased bowl, turn once and cover with a clean cloth.  Let rise until double. Punch down and divide into thirds.  Roll out each third into a circle and then cut into 12 pie-shaped pieces with a rolling pizza cutter or knife.  Roll each pie-shaped piece into a crescent and let rise again on baking dish.  It also works to just make round balls of dough for the rolls.

Bake at 350o for 12 – 15 minutes or until golden.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Here's the Deseret News Review of my new book. I just had to share this review. It's good. This is a great Christmas gift if you're looking for adults and children.

"TEXTING THROUGH TIME: John Taylor and the Mystery Puzzle," by Christy Monson, Bonneville Books, $12.99, 176 pages (f) (ages 8 and up)
A new book by Christy Monson is a wonderful piece of fiction for young children. “Texting through Time: John Taylor and the Mystery Puzzle” is also a useful tool for parents who want to teach their youngsters about the history of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the sacrifices of the early Mormon pioneers.
Alicia and Micah are young children with a fascination for church history. Their father recently developed a cell phone that allows people to travel through time. The children have already used this tool to visit Brigham Young in the first book it the series, and they tell their father they would like to use the phone this time to visit the prophet and third president of the LDS Church, President John Taylor.
Their father is skeptical at first because he has learned of a few glitches the phone has. He tells his kids he will go with them. But when the phone is activated, it only takes Alicia and Micah to England, the place where John Taylor was born.
Alicia and Micah meet John Taylor as a child. After playing war games with him and his friends, Alicia and Micah decide they should go home and see their father. The phone will not transport the children back home, however, until they finish a puzzle.
The puzzle makes the children travel throughout the entirety of President Taylor’s life. They go with him to Canada where he was a Methodist preacher. They also go to Nauvoo, Ill., after he was shot in Carthage Jail.
The most poignant part of the book comes when President Taylor describes the death of the Prophet Joseph Smith to Micah and Alicia. Children reading the book will not only understand the gravity of the situation, but they will appreciate Joseph Smith and his sacrifices on a much higher level.
The combination of time travel, cell phones and church history makes this book appealing to young children.
Monson does an excellent job intertwining scriptures into the book as well. The scriptures are placed in such a context that children will be able to understand them easily.
Monson is also the author of “Texting Through Time: A Trek with Brigham Young.” Her works have been published in multiple church magazines, as well.
Shelby Scoffield has a bachelor's in English from Brigham Young University and a master's in rhetoric and composition from Stanislaus State University. She is currently working on her teaching credentials so she can teach high school English.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

To the Heroes

*I've been gone for a while from this blog, but I'm so happy to be back. I've missed you all.*

Last week was a rough weekend.

The news from Connecticut was very overwhelming. I couldn't watch the news without breaking down. There is real evil out there.

But there are also real heroes.

As I turned on my computer on Sunday, the news was filled with stories of heroic acts:

A janitor who had the courage to run through the hallways to warn others, a teacher who gave her life after hiding her children in cupboards, a young boy whose life was saved when a hand reached out and pulled him into a classroom, a parent who not only mourned for the life of his child but also the family of the shooter.

There are many more -  more than I think we all hear about.

The heroes.

My heart goes out to all of them: the families, the victims and the heroes.

Thank God for the Heroes.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Music Rocks My World

I'm a Suzuki Piano Teacher.  I have teacher friends who I work with. Together, we are planning a big Piano Party for our students in January.  The kids will have some fun workshops, then a pizza party, and a concert for dessert.

We have some wonderful performers lined up for our concert.  We have a large auditorium and our students won't begin to fill it.  Even if their families come there will be lots of empty seats.  So we thought, why not invite more people? 

The concert is on January 11 at 7:00 in the Auditorium at Summit Academy Junior High in Draper.  It will last one hour.  For $5.00, you can have one of those seats.  For $20.00, you can bring your family.  To see who's performing, and to find out how to get tickets, click here.

Music rocks my world.  How about yours?

Linda Garner

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

English Toffee, Quick and Easy

Toffee is one of my favorite holiday candies. I like to make it because it’s fast and easy. It’s also fail-proof once you know how to do it. You can make it with or without nuts, depending on your taste and allergies. I love it with sliced almonds, but my favorite is fresh chopped walnuts. We have a walnut tree in our back yard. (The squirrel and I have a contest each fall to see who gets the nuts. When I get there first, he scolds me soundly.)

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Making Room

I'm not sure where we got the word combination flash mob.  Maybe because it happens without warning and it involves a mob.  I've seen some really great ones, but here's my new favorite.  I love the variety, and I love the surprise ending.  I don't want to give it away, but is tender, and it touched me.

I found myself wondering where Mary and Joseph would find shelter in today's world. Would they be welcome in my home?  In yours?

I think they would.

For now, I'm making room for them inside my heart.

Linda Garner

Thursday, December 6, 2012

That's What Makes You Beautiful

Flash mobs are so much fun.  I get a big charge out of them.  This one is extra special.  It was performed by special needs students.  They spent ten weeks learning this routine.  They practiced thirty minutes each day for the entire ten weeks.  You can see the joy of accomplishment in their faces.

How do we create joy?  Where can we buy accomplishment?  Maybe it has something to do with investment.  Maybe we work for it.  Maybe we invest our time and our sweat.  Maybe we invest our heart.

Click here to see something incredible.  Feel the joy.

That's what makes you beautiful.

Linda Garner

Monday, December 3, 2012

Grow Your Marriage by Leaps and Boundaries by Dr. Jerry L. Cook, CFLE

Dr. Cook believes that a happy marriage must have three things: equal power between spouses, communication focused on the resolution of the conflict, not the conflict itself, and forgiveness. None of us is perfect, and we all make mistakes.

He includes a questionnaire, assessing the boundaries in a marital relationship. Take the test to find the areas you need to improve. Boundaries help a couple draw the line between right and wrong and set expectations.

This book outlines many pertinent questions that couples need to talk about in their relationship, such as physical boundaries, emotional boundaries, social networking boundaries, and media messages.

Dr. Cook gives excellent examples of what a healthy discussion is like. Couples who read the book together will learn from his examples, and they will enhance their communication skills. He outlines how to change a conversation from attaching each other to sharing sensitive feelings on a difficult subject in a step-by-step manner.

I recommend this book to newlyweds and those who have been married for years. His techniques are very well outlined. It’s also a fun read with many examples throughout the book. This is a good tune-up for all of us.

Happy reading! Enjoy the improvement it will bring to your marriage! Thanks Dr. Cook!

Christy Monson, M.A., L.M.F.T., Retired

Dr. Jerry Cook’s New Book to be released: Grow Your Marriage by Leaps and Boundaries
Is your marriage out of bounds?
The art of creating life-long marriages is disappearing at an alarming pace, largely because couples do not fully understand where (or how) to “draw the line” in a way that strengthens the relationship. These lines drawn are the boundaries that, when created the right way, show each spouse they are more important to the other than anything or anyone else. Grow Your Marriage by Leaps and Boundaries provides the tools for you to effectively create boundaries with technology, words, and body language.”
Cook’s new book will inspire readers to evaluate how they prioritize their marriage, and to make changes when needed. A common theme is that the boundaries are most useful when decided upon by the couple themselves; dialogs are provided to help readers create, maintain, and negotiate boundaries with their spouse and others.
None of us are perfect, but our marriages can be perfect for us,” says Cook. “Sometimes we underestimate the power of a positive marriage, and outsource our best selves to those things that are least important.”
About Jerry Cook:
Jerry graduated with his doctorate in family and human development from Utah State University, and now serves as an associate professor of family and consumer sciences at California State University-Sacramento. Growing up on a farm in southeastern Washington state, and losing his mother to cancer at a young age, his passion is to help others recognize the basic skills that help families thrive. Jerry and his wife, Sarah, have been married for 19 years, are parents of three children, and co-authored The Parent’s Guide to Raising CEO Kids. Jerry has been interviewed by Fox 40 (TV, Sacramento), the Sacramento Bee (newspaper), and Sacramento Smiles (radio program).

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Winter 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 frosty winter air

With icy 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 for the clarity that mother nature brings..

It’s a time for winter solitude and for sweet memory,

A perfect time for pondering and for simplicity.

A winter bird chirps softly, a cheerful winter song

I feel a kind of winter calm; a winter kind of strong.

The voice of winter magic whispers winter’s softest sounds

When all the the forest ladies put on their royal gowns.
Linds Garner

Sunday, November 25, 2012

English Toffee

Since it's holiday time, I just wanted to share a candy recipe that's a favorite in our family.

Toffee is one of my favorite holiday candies. I like to make it because it’s fast and easy. It’s also fail-proof once you know how to do it. You can make it with or without nuts, depending on your taste and allergies. I love it with sliced almonds, but my favorite is fresh chopped walnuts. We have a walnut tree in our back yard. (The squirrel and I have a contest each fall to see who gets the nuts. When I get there first, he scolds me soundly.)
2 squares butter (must be AA grade. Lesser grades of butter have water in them and the
                        candy will separate.)
1 cup sugar
5 T. water
1 t. vanilla
Chocolate – use good quality, your favorite
Nuts – any kind you wish.

Put the butter, sugar and water in a frying pan and turn the heat up high. Don’t turn it down. Stir the whole time. It takes about 10 – 15 minutes to make. Cook it until the color turns caramel. You can see little puffs of smoke coming from the caramel-colored bubbles. Take it off the heat and add the vanilla.
Pour the candy over the sliced almonds or chopped walnuts. I have a marble slab that I pour the candy on, but you can use a cookie sheet set on a bread board. The candy gets so hot, I wouldn’t put the cookie sheet directly on Formica. It might burn through. If you want the candy covered with chocolate, sprinkle pieces on top while it’s hot and let it melt. Spread it out.
Cool, break it into pieces and enjoy. Plan on making several batches. My kids can eat it faster than I can make it.
Christy Monson

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

The Mixing Bowl

Mother had a wonderful mixer.  To my delight she made yummy cakes and cookies with the mixer.  I was her shadow, and loved to help.  Licking the beaters was my favorite thing.

Once on a cookie day,  when the batter was done, Mom left the room for a moment.  She promised to come right back and get the beaters for me.

One minute is an eternity for a small child. 

I grew impatient and decided to get the beaters myself.  I dragged a chair to the counter and tried my luck with the beaters.  It was harder than it looked.  A small battle ensued, and the beaters won.  Mother’s lovely white mixing bowl lay on the floor broken in pieces.

I was heartsick.  I ran crying to some corner of the house, feeling terrible.  I knew that I was in serious trouble.  Mom loved that mixing bowl.  It was her favorite.

When my mother found me, I was a soggy mess of tears.  She gathered me in her arms and held me close.  She told me how much she loved me.  She told me that I mattered more to her than any mixing bowl.

I was surprised.  I had no idea how much she loved me.  Turns out, I was her favorite, at least compared to mixing bowls.

Mom told me that she could always get another mixing bowl, but she could never get another me.

Though my mother wasn’t perfect, her love for me was perfect, and that love continues to warm me to this day. 

Linda Garner

Monday, November 19, 2012

Delivering Hope by Jennifer Ann Holt
What an inspiring book this is! I loved reading it.
Olivia and Michael are unable to have children. Through years of waiting, anticipation, hope and prayer, the fertility doctors finally tell them there is no chance of them getting pregnant.  Olivia has a difficult time accepting this path until she reads her Great Aunt Elizabeth’s journal and finds that this grand lady walked the same road with honor and dignity, giving love and service throughout her life.
Allison is a model young woman, active in the Church and a good student with plans to attend college after high school graduation. A night of poor decisions changes her life forever, and she finds herself in the Bishop’s office, telling him that she’s pregnant.
The author has skillfully presented all the obstacles that line the paths for each situation. Her understanding of the issues for both parties is presented with depth and insight.
As a retired Marriage and Family Therapist, I would love to have had this book for my couples who faced infertility as well as the young girls I worked with who found themselves pregnant. My hat is off to you, Jennifer. This is a well-written book. I give it a great recommendation.
Jennifer says:
“I am donating my royalties for books sold during November (excluding e-books) to the National Council For Adoption's The Hope Challenge project ( My publisher has agreed to donate $1/book sold of their profits, and with the help of several other charitable foundations who will be matching these donations, $5 will be donated to this terrific cause for every copy of Delivering Hope that sells during November!

Christy Monson, L.M.F.T., Retired.

"Jennifer Holt" <>,

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Super Dang Good

I attended an interesting funeral last week.  Robin was the 48 year old daughter of my neighbor.  She had been very active physically, playing tennis several times each week, and running every day.  Her family and friends were shocked when she died suddenly of a heart attack which occurred after a tennis match. 

The funeral was packed.  We have a good sized chapel, and it was busting at the seams.  Most of the seats were occupied by Robin’s friends, who each thought that they were her best friend.  As I watched the chapel fill, I wondered how many friends will come to my funeral, not soon, of course, but someday.  As I listened to the speakers talk about the "best friend" thing, I wondered if anyone thinks of me as their best friend.

I love people and I have lots of friends.  I don’t really need anyone to  be my best friend or to say that I’m their best friend, but I can’t help wondering.   What did Robin do that made dozens of people feel that close to her?  It’s an interesting question.

From what I heard she loved to serve, and she loved to have fun.  Sounds like she could have fun anywhere, doing anything.  Sounds like she could have made taking out the garbage into a party.

 One of her friends said that Robin had a standard response when asked “How are you.”

“Super Dang Good,” she always said.  I liked the sound of that.  It has been rolling around in my mind ever since.  Just yesterday the grocery store clerk asked “How are you?”

I responded without really thinking.  “Super Dang Good,” I said.   It just popped out.  It felt good.  The clerk smiled and I giggled. 
I hope Robin doesn’t mind if I copy her.  I should ask.  It would be the polite thing to do.  If only I had her new address or  phone number.  If only I could text her.  Should I try 1-800-HEAVEN?

She may not mind, you know.  Maybe she has thought of something new to say.  Maybe she says “Heavenly,” or “Out of This World.”  Maybe she says “Divine.”

 And by the way, I’ve been meaning to ask.  How are you?

I hope you’re… Super Dang Good.

Linda Garner



Sunday, November 11, 2012

Kris Kringle's Magic

Every year Diane Stringham Tolley comes up with another fun Christmas book. This would be a great family gift and something everyone would enjoy reading together.

Kris Kringle’s Magic by Diane Stringham Tolley is a fun family read.
In a world where elves are only slaves, one boy is determined to make things right. With the elves' help, Kris decides to begin with the children. But can a pile of gifts on Christmas Eve really change anything? This enchanting story is sure to captivate kids of all ages. An instant holiday classic you'll want to read again and again.
The author spins a magical tale full of fun, and suspense to explain how Kris Kringle and the elves got to the North Pole. This truly believable tale of love and charity fits right in with the Christmas Season and will fill your holiday with the spirit of good will.
Thanks Diane for sharing your magical creativity with us in this never-to-be-forgotten story. Reading it will make your season of love and joy a time to remember. I give this book a five-star rating.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

It's a Mixed Bag

I’m working on something new.  It’s called How Did You Get in my Mirror, Mom, and is mostly a collection of my blogs and articles. It’s really not about my mom, but I loved the title. Some of it does talk about things I learned from my mom, but not all.  It’s a mix of humor and quirky wisdom, things I’ve learned, and things I’m still trying to learn.  I’m having a lot of fun with it.

I look like my Mom, and mostly I like it.  I never thought I would act like my mom, but I often do.  Makes perfect sense, since she was my personal role model.  She was also my biggest fan.  I appreciate her for that.  My mom wasn’t perfect, but she was very good.  I learned a lot of good things from her.  I also learned a few things that I wish I hadn’t.  It’s a mixed bag.

I’d like to hear from you.  Are you like your mom, or totally different?  If you are, do you like it?  Why or why not?  If you’re totally different, do you like it?  Why or why not. 

In what ways would you like to be more like your mom?  In what ways would you like to be less like your mom?

I know you’re busy, but if you can, take a moment to respond.  I’d love to hear your thoughts on this, even if it's a mixed bag.

Linda Garner


Monday, November 5, 2012

Epic Tales of a Misfit Hero
            Epic Tales of a Misfit Hero by Matt Peterson is a fun read for kids. From passing the sacrament with his fly down to failing miserable at capture the flag, Andrew knows he’ll never be able to fulfill his duties as a deacon. But when tragedy strikes on his Boy Scout camping trip, Andrew’s whole troop must become stronger than they ever imagined. This hilarious coming-of-age story is bound to have you rooting for a misfit hero!
            Matt Peterson has hit a home run with this fun adventure. It’s sure to please the entire family—most especially those boys who are about to become deacons. The story rings true right town to the spilled cheerios on the carpet during Sacrament meeting.
            Andrew must reach down deep inside himself, with the help of angels, and find his inner strength. He comes through like a true hero. This is a great five-star read! Enjoy!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

A second Texting Through Time book is here, John Taylor And The Mystery Puzzle. It’s a fast-paced quick read—fun for kids and the entire family.
As Micah and Alicia get to know John Taylor, they find he is faithful, courageous, prayerful and loving. They must solve a mystery puzzle about his life before they can return home. While hunting for the puzzle pieces, they land in France with a dead phone battery—and Micah is in a dress! What else can go wrong?
This was such a fun book to write. I enjoy doing the research. It’s a blessing for me to learn about our modern-day prophets.
I am honored that Mary Jane Woodger, BYU Faculty and editor of Champion of Liberty, John Taylor, has written a forward for my book. Maureen Smith, International President of the Daughter’s of the Utah Pioneers has endorsed the book. And Mathew Buckley, author of Chickens in the Headlights, and Bullies in the Headlights has given it a thumbs-up.
If you like contests, be sure to join the book blast on November 13th. Order a book from Amazon and leave me a message on one of the following sites to win a $25.00 Amazon Gift Certificate.
My book launch will be at the Ogden Temple Deseret Book Store on Friday, November 23rd from 2 – 3:30 pm. Join the fun. Come for refreshments and a fun signing.
Check the websites for other scheduled signings.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Open Fire J. Golden Kimball Takes on the South is a debut novel by Scott M. Hurst. In this fast paced story filled with holy high jinks and missionary mayhem, J. Golden Kimball squares off with his characteristic cowboy sense of humor against everything from spiteful preachers to the threat of death at the hands of the terrible Ku Klux Klan. Join Golden as he takes on the South in these unbelievable but true stories.

The author has captured the spirit, humor, and voice of this colorful character in Mormon history. This fast-paced missionary tale is full of suspense, wit and wisdom that will keep the whole family laughing. Everyone will identify with J. Golden’s humility and lack of pride. At times he surprises himself with his ability to solve a problem that he thinks is unsolvable. As a reader, that’s something we all wish for ourselves.
Hats off to the author! This is a great read!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Sudden Darkness

I have a dear friend that has just published her first novel. It is a great read, and I think her wonderful persona comes through in her writing. I did an interview with her this week, and here's the result. Enjoy the book!

Margot Hovley’s debut novel, Sudden Darkness, is a gripping story of a young girl, Amélie, caught in a world of terror and uncertainty. Since radiation is leaking from a nearby nuclear plant, Amélie, her immediate family, and her church family must walk to Utah from their home in Zillah, Washington. Not only is there physical danger lurking at every turn in the road, but personal struggle awaits— Amélie may lose her heart.
Margot says she had two ideas come together for her to create this book. She has always been fascinated with the idea of a trek. What would that be like? How would characters react to such an arduous task? Then one day, as she walked down the street, listening to Ryan Shupe, she knew the character in this book had to be drawn to people with talent. As these ideas formulated themselves in her mind, she wrote a short story about real versus fake.
The story grew into a novel-length chronicle when a friend, who did safety inspections for military installations, came to visit. He knew all about E M P, and as he told of his experiences, Margot began to write.
She finished the novel in about a year. The process from submission to publication took another two and a half years. She says she never guess the process from idea to publication would take so long.
This novel is not biographical, but she used a lot of situations from her early life in Washington to create a touch of reality in the book. There are even a few inside family jokes hidden in the plot that most of us will never find.
This well crafted, fast-paced novel will delight young and old alike, as they follow this tender story of personal determination to overcome physical challenges, heart-felt dilemmas, and societal trauma. The reader will relish the conflict and savor victory in the midst of defeat for a young girl and her stake in their modern day pioneer trek. Five stars, Margot! Great read!
Follow Margaret’s writing on her blog.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Throwing a Fit

My grandson can do 7 chin ups.  Is that right? Did he say chin ups or pull ups?  They’re probably not the same thing.  Either way, I am impressed because I cannot do even one chin up or pull up.  I tried once.  It was embarassing.
I exercise.  I walk.  I ride my bike.  I jump on the trampoline.  Sometimes I do yoga.  Still I’m not as fit as I’d like to be.  My muscles are a little flabby.
I’ve decided to work harder at the exercises I 'm really good at.  I’ve made a list.
1.        Jumping to conclusions
2.       Beating around the bush
3.       Stretching the truth
4.       Running around in circles
5.    Throwing a Fit.
6.       Pushing myself away from the table ( Still working on this one.)
7.       Pulling your leg
With a little effort, maybe I'll get those muscles in shape.  Or not.  What's your favorite exercise?
Linda Garner

Monday, October 22, 2012

I spent this week getting a blog tour organized and learning what a Book Blast or Book Bomb is. I had never even heard of a Blast or a Bomb before. Okay, here's what is it. I'm saying this for me, not for you because you probably already know what it is. You have a special day you ask everyone to buy your book on and then you sell enough books to make your rating go up.

Now, don't ask me about ratings on Amazon, because I don't know about them. But the publisher said I should do the Blowing up-thing so I will. Sometimes I feel like a complete noncom because I don't know these things. I'm trying to learn.

Sometimes I wish we didn't have to have ratings and be competetive. I like to enjoy everyone's work and read everyone's book. Everyone is different and I wish we could apprecaite each other for the gook in all of us, rather than have to find the best or be the best.

Anyway, that's my soap box for today. It's nice just knowing all of you are there, and I can say I don't know about something and you and I can laugh about it together.

I send beautiful autumn greetings to all of you. The earth is so beautiful right now. I do love it. Have a great week!


Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Autumn Haiku

Years ago, I wrote an autumn haiku.

     In early autumn,
     Color creeps ‘cross the mountain
     Crimson, orange, gold

Three lines, seventeen syllables. Line one, five syllables; line two, seven; line three, five. There may be other forms for Haiku. I'm not an expert.

Every autumn, that Haiku comes to mind. It whispers to me. It wants to say more.  I tinker with it every year, but it’s never satisfied.  Out of it have grown other poems, but the Haiku is still thirsty.

     In Early Autumn
     Color stains my mountain
     Blazing without fire

Today I watered it.  It grew two new stanzas.  In the end I changed the beginning too.  First one line and then another.  Autumn brings change, even for my Haiku.

     Just before winter,
     Nature changes mountain’s face;
     Multi colored stain.

     Discarding her brush,
     Nature tips her paint bucket;
     Impatiently spills.

     Brave new dress for earth,
     Rich, sassy, bold, outspoken.
     Don’t whisper, Earth.  Sing.

Linda Garner

Monday, October 15, 2012

Is Blogging Still A Viable Social Media?

Here's my two cents, for what it's worth.

This past week I've had two encounters with publishing companies who wanted to know the number of followers I had on my blogs. The face of blogging may be changing somewhat, but it is still an important part of social media.

I received a contract two weeks ago for a self-help book. (I'm a retired Marriage and Family Therapist.) When I signed the contract, the publisher ask what my social media numbers were. He also strongly suggested I work to increase my list of followers. His ideas are good, and I will be implementing them on my Connections Blog.

My new Texting Through Time book will be out on November 13th, and I have been keeping a fast and furious pace, emailing with that publisher. Before they will book the larger stores for a launch or signing date, they need to know my social media numbers. So it all matters.

I enjoy Facebook. I like connecting with friends and family and taking a few minutes each day to see what's going on in the world with everybody.

Twitter is kind of overwhelming to me. I don't use it much. But some of the people in my critique group love  it. They talk with many of their friends daily because it can be done in a such short time. I call them "abbreviated friendships."

Blogging is still a lot of fun for me because I can say what's on my mind.

What are your thoughts on this subject? Where are you with each of the social medias. Are there changes in blogging?

Since I need to increase my numbers, I'm open to any wonderful suggestions any of you have.

Thanks for sharing. Christy Monson

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Do You Want to be an Artist?

As a picture book author, I’ve often wished I was an artist too.

If I could create the art for my own stories, would more doors be open to me?  I wonder.  The publishing world is changing.  E-books have given us a new medium.  For this I don’t need a publisher, but I do need artists.  Finding an artist can be challenging. 

I am sixty years old.  Is it too late for me to learn art?  Is it even possible?  I know what I like, but I don’t know how to create it.  I’m not even good with stick figures.  Even with no obvious talent, I wonder.  Is it ever too late?

My awesome internet friend Will Terry, the amazing illustrator, has a bunch of cool tutorials and there are even some about learning to draw.  By blogging about Folio Academy, I can win a free tutorial, like Digital Painting in Photoshop, How to Use Color, Acrylic Painting, Painting on the I-Pad.  There’s also Beginning Drawing.  That’s the one I want.  Maybe it’s not too late for me.

 Even though I’m not an artist, I learned a lot from How to Illustrate Picture Books. I purchased it over a year again, and found it really helpful.   I’ve watched it over and over again.

Oops.   I could have received one of these cool video series for free, if I had made the deadline.  I just realized that I missed the deadline by two days.  Darn.  Still that beginning drawing tutorial is a steal at $12.95.

Want to be an artist?  Click here to see what Folio Academy has to offer.

Linda Garner 

Monday, October 8, 2012

I heard Dave Farland say once that after you are published, you spend more time marketing than you do writing. I disregarded that statement, and thought ‘that won’t happen for me. I’ll never spend more time marketing than writing.’
That thought has stayed with me as I’ve journeyed through the publication of my first book, and now my second. Little by little—like the story of the frog getting cooked a little at a time when the heat was turned up slowly by degrees—I am spending more time marketing.
I do enjoy the social media and book signings, but I love writing. Sometimes I just ignore the marketing and spend the day writing. I am so happy when I do that, but part of me feels guilty because I didn’t follow up on a blog post or a signing.
I look at those who are very good at social media and marketing and wish to be a little more like them. Sometimes I feel inadequate—nobody really wants to read what I have to say.
Do you every feel that way?
And then you have kids come up to you and say, “I loved reading your book.” I was signing at the DUP International Convention last week and a young girl was there with her mother. She bought “Texting Through Time, A Trek with Brigham Young.” She went to a corner and sat down to read it. In a little while she came back and said, “I love your book. It is great!”
That makes all the difference. That’s what it’s all about.
Thanks for listening to my rambles this morning. It’s nice to know someone is listening.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Am I a Loser?

I don’t like to think of myself as a loser, but the truth is I do lose things.  Car keys being at the top of the list.  I have lost my purse.  I have lost important papers.  I have even been known to lose the car, especially in large parking lots.

I haven’t lost any of the children, at least not for an extended period of time, and I haven’t lost anything that is nailed down or too heavy to move.   At least my Grand Piano is safe, and fortunately also my bed.  I’d hate to be without either of those things.

For my birthday the kids gave me a Kindle Fire.  This was a delightful and cherished gift.  I couldn’t think of anything I wanted more, yet I was unwilling to pay the price. 

Unfortunately I had only had the Fire for a few weeks when it disappeared.  I had taken it on a trip, and it didn’t come home with me.  I was heartsick.  Where could I have left it?  I tried everything.  I called my traveling companions, and the places we had stayed.

Eventually, I found my kindle in the bottom of my tote bag.  I had been using the bag—had unpacked and repacked it a number of times.  The kindle is small and lightweight and very black.  The inside of my tote bag is black—very black.  It was the perfect hiding place.

The next time I went on a trip, I packed my kindle in my suitcase.  I wasn’t about to make that mistake again.  When I unpacked after the trip, I was pleased to find my kindle there.  I decided to find a good place to keep it, so I would never lose it again.

That was the last time I saw my Kindle.  I was busy with a writer’s conference for about a week, so I didn’t miss it right away.  After the conference, though, I realized I hadn’t a clue where I had put my kindle.  Did I find a good spot for it?  I wasn’t sure.

This time I didn't panic, because I knew it was somewhere in my house—probably in my bedroom since that was where I had last seen it.  I cleaned out all of my drawers, several times.  I organized and reorganized my book shelves.  I dumped every book on the floor and reshelved them.

It has been over two months since then, and I have started saving for a new Fire.  Today, I started unpacking a suitcase that my granddaughter has been using.  She has been using it for a little over two months.  It has a black interior.  In the bottom of that very black suitcase was a very black kindle fire.

I couldn’t believe my eyes. 

It’s going to be a great day.  First item on my “to do” list: Buy a cover for my Fire.  Something colorful.  Something bright. Anything but black.

It’s entirely possible that I’m a loser, but today I’m okay with it. 

Linda Garner



Monday, October 1, 2012

Saving Savannah by Sara Fitzgerald is a tender Christmas story that will bring tears to your eyes and a smile to your heart as you read. Devan Smith clings to the bitterness he feels at his wife’s death. The innocent sweetness of his daughter Savanna wedges itself into every fiber of his being. His family tries to love and support him. But neither can chip away at the hate he feels for the drunk driver that killed his beloved—until something surprising and unnerving happens at the Nativity program on Christmas Eve.
This book will make a wonderful Christmas gift, and the memory of the story will keep on giving throughout the year.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

What am I bid for this Bubble Tape?

It's finally here.  Auction Day.

I teach piano lessons.  All summer the kids earn auction bucks and save them in our Love Notes Bank ( a shoe box full of labeled baggies).  Each student has their own bank account (a baggie with their name on it).

Basically I pay the kids exhorbitant amounts of play money for practicing, learning new songs, and stuff like that.  We start in May and end in September.  Most kids have more free time in the summer, but less motivation, and no routine.  I find that having an auction helps them have a more productive musical summer

Every student will bring two items for the auction, plus I have been stocking up.  I hang out at the dollar store and I have been known to visit garage sales.  My good friend plays auctioneer.  One of the older students takes care of the bank, and everyone has a blast. 

We usually have quite an assortment of auction items.  There is a fair amount of candy.  Toys and games are big sellers too.  Our biggest seller ever was a package of bubble tape.  As I remember it sold for $19,000.00. 

Most of the kids this year have somewhere between $6,000 and $10,000, so  they would have to get together to spend that much.  If it's the last item on the auction block and they have money left in their bank accounts, it could happen.

Once I had a Grandma come to help her grandson spend his money.  He had several thousand dollars, but she held him back on the bidding. She wouldn't let him buy anything. I was getting worried. The auction was nearly over and he hadn't bought anything.  We had to have a little talk.

This year I have six teenage boys.  They are really great piano players.  Teenagers are insanely busy, but somehow they still find time for piano.  I'm not sure what they are going to bid on. Of course they'll bring interesting stuff, but what can I add for them.  Teenagers are tricky, but I'm thinking about auctioning off a big plate of my incredible brownies, and maybe an I-Tunes gift card. 

But just in case, do they still make Bubble Tape?  Where can I get some?

Linda Garner

Monday, September 24, 2012

Perspective on Life

We just got home last night from Portland, Oregon. We have two families living in that area, and it's wonderful to be with the grandchildren. We don't live close to our kids so our contact is through phone calls, letters and the internet.

We went to a Saturday morning volleyball game to watch our granddaughter play, and then hurried over to a soccer game for another grandchild. What a fun morning it was!

Saturday night our daughter was in charge of a daddy-daughter party where young girls and their fathers came for a special date. They learned a Jewish dance, the Mexican Hat dance, and the Virginia Reel. It was so much fun for everyone. The last activity the girls broke several pinatas. I think the dad's had as much fun as the girls.

On the way home, I reflected on the lives our children and grandchildren are leading. The two families living there are very different. Their talents and abilities are not the same. But they are good people, making good choices in the way they raise their children--with the same basic values. What a great blessing that is in our lives. There is nothing better.


Thursday, September 20, 2012

The Future of Blogging

(So, I posted something that I wasn't done working on. Sorry about that.)

Since we're talking about it, what do you think about blogging?

I had the opportunity to hang out with a group of amazing blogging ladies last week. There was talk about the different social medias out there (blogging, fb, twitter).

But the center of conversation was if blogging was dying.

There was mention that there weren't as many comments or people connecting anymore. Yes, blogging helps us connect with people all over the world, we can speak our minds, and we can inform others of things that are happening not only in our professional lives but also our personal lives.

But then there was talk about time. (Being a writer has taught me how important time is to my career.) Blogging involves writing posts and connecting with other people, but people didn't have time to put in four hours a day into blogging or searching for people with common interests.
There was talk that FB was faster. It only took a few minutes to leave comments and posting only takes a few seconds. Twitter was the same, plus that's where the agent talk is. The cons to twitter is that it can be confusing.

In my personal opinion, I don't think blogging is dying, but slowing down (most of my writing-blogging friends aren't posting each day like they did when they first started blogging). But blogging offers a unique outlet for information. It allows more than a 140 letter message, permitting us to really speak our minds, let other's know what's happening, or post a volume of pictures to embarrass our kids when their older (okay, you can do that one on FB too).

So put your two cents in. What do you think about blogging? Is it on it's way out?  Slowing down? Outdated like an old broken down Gremlin (you know, like that old car my friend used to pick me up for high school in). What do you think?

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Can You Count the Cost?

It’s been out for a while. Mother Had a Secret by Tiffany Fletcher.  It’s a true story.  It’s been on my "to read" list for a while, but I didn’t make it a priority, until someone loaned me the book.  I was fascinated by the subject matter.

Tiffany’s mother had multiple personalities and was pretty dysfunctional.  The cause was sexual abuse at the hand of her father.  Tiffany and her siblings took care of their mother most of their lives.  It must have been a nightmare. 

Tiffany’s dad worked many hours, and so he was only so much help.  The house was a wreck and so were the relationships.  The kids struggled to make things work and resented their mom much of the time. 

When the kids grew up and left home, their lives became more normal, yet the shadows of the past were always with them.  Mom with her many personalities never got enough of the right kind of help to heal, and they always worried about her.  Always did what they could to protect her.

The story is disturbing on many levels, but most of the family eventually find healing.  For Tiffany’s mom the healing does not come in this life. 

The story of sexual abuse is always tragic, and unfortunately it is a common tale.  One in three girls is sexually abused before her 18th birthday.  For boys, it is one in 5.  Most are abused by a family member.  Not everyone who is sexually abused develops multiple personalities, but some do.  The personalities develop to protect the injured child.  Healing is difficult.

Many families have some dysfunction from time to time, yet this story is painful, because there was no reprieve.  Things never changed. 

I suppose the most disturbing thing to me as that no one reached out to them.  The children were made fun of because of their clothes, their mom, their home.  They longed for normalcy.  They longed for acceptance.  Acceptance was difficult to find.  They clung together, because they had nowhere else to go.

Children can be cruel.  So can adults.  Why do we find it easy to judge one another, or to turn on backs on those in need? Why do we withhold acceptance?  What are we thinking? What are we afraid of?

We need each other. 

Tiffany’s mother is not the only one in pain.  Everyone has secrets.  Everyone has pain.  Everyone is fighting their own battle.   What does it cost us to reach out to another person? 

Perhaps the more important question is this.  What does it cost us to withhold the comfort and acceptance we might offer, if we weren’t too busy, too judgmental, or too afraid?

Can You Count the Cost?

Linda Garner