Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Picture Books Rock

Meet Amy. She is my new e-friend and she is part of my new e-picture book, A Valentine Disaster. You should be able to buy it by the end of the week. It will be available in the Kindle Store and a PDF version will be available on a new website called Picture Books Rock.

The talented Lilly Johnson created the illustrations for the book, and she and I are working on getting more picture books out. Look for us at picturebooksrock.com early next week.

E-books are changing the way we read,and they are changing the way we publish.

Amy has a list for everything, including getting ready for Valentine's Day. She planned for everything. Well, almost everything. She didn't plan on a Valentine disaster, and she didn't plan on starting over.

A fun book to share for Valentine's Day. Don't forget to get yours.

Linda Garner

Monday, January 30, 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.
Christy Monson, L.M.F.T., Retired.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

I Need a Hero

If you know me, you know that I love a good superhero (or maybe you didn’t know that).

But I’m not the kind of girl who likes your average man/woman in colorful tights, kind of superhero-girl. No. I like a superhero who adds a little twist and turn to their everyday lives. The quirky kind who make people think…or not think (say that part slow, in a menacing voice. Mwa ha ha!)

Take for instance, The Tick. Who needs “new superhero stuff” and uses “battle cries you always admit before leaping into battle.” The Tick is awesome. Funny, a little brainless, and yet, he still eats cereal like every other person.


Or Word Girl (She is so awesome. A superhero who knows her grammar? Beyond Priceless!)

I know...it's a kids show, but the writing is hilarious! 

And last, but not least…the villain who is really the hero, but is the most evilest villain around. *head shaking* (You have to see it to know what I’m talking about.) The writing in this is amazing.
Say it was Horrible. 

The main ingredient in all three of these shows/blogs/episodes is that the writing is fantastic. The characters are fun and they keep the reader wanting more. 

So as I’m editing/revising, I remind myself to keep my characters interesting. Color them up, make them easy to relate to, or give them funny nicknames. Do something to keep your reader in love with your characters.

Any thoughts? What kinds of things do you do to keep your characters interesting? And who's your favorite superhero and why? 

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

I Need a Face for that Voice

As a picture book author, I am keenly interested in illustrators. The illustrator is vital to the success of a picture book. It wouldn't be a picture book without pictures. The story would be incomplete without them. A talented illustrator can make a great story better.

I love making connections with illustrators, because I need them. I have a lot of picture books looking for a publisher. They have a voice, but they need a face.

One of my favorite illustrators is Will Terry. He has illustrated a bunch of picture books and has a fun and unusual style. You might recognize some of his books, such as Armadilly Chili, Three Little Gators, Little Rooster’s Diamond Button.

I recently stumbled across Will’s website where he blogs and teaches art classes. Seriously, art classes. He has three packages of art lessons on video, namely Acrylic painting, Digital painting in Photoshop, and my personal favorite, How to Illustrate Children’s Books.

I purchased the series called How to Illustrate Children’s Books. Can I just say “Wow.” Lots of great information. I found the video extremely helpful even though I am an author, not an illustrator.

Each Video Series is available on his website, willterry.com for...is it okay if I say it?...$29.99. Eight lessons. That’s hard to beat. His blog also has some great material. Stop by and visit Will, and tell him I sent you.

Thanks Will Terry.

Linda Garner

Monday, January 23, 2012

New Year's Resolutions

My writing room (den) is such a mess, there is no place for my husband to sit down when he comes in to talk to me. He offered to buy me a bookcase. Should I take him up on the offer? Absolutely! OK, I’m starting to clean up my piles. Here’s a questionnaire I got at an SCBWI workshop in October of 2011 with Emma Dryden. I’ve typed it up to save it and use it (if I don’t lose it in the electronic maze of writing on my computer.) I know my stories would be stronger if I had asked these questions of my main characters. So—New Year’s Resolutions—clean up my room and use these questionnaires. Happy writing! Christy
Getting to know your main character
Questions for the Author
Who is your main character?
What does he or she want?
What is the main character’s driving question?
What are your main character’s motives?
What emotions do you want to evoke?
What will happen in the story?
What do you want to accomplish?
What do you like or dislike about the main character?

Survey for your main character
What do you like/dislike? What do you love/hate?
What are your favorite foods, colors, school subjects, clothes, music, etc.?
Who are your best friends? Why?
Who are your enemies? Why?
What is your last relationship with love?
What is your relationship with your parents? Siblings?
What kind of girls/ boys do you date? Why?
 Where do you go to be alone?
Do you have faith? In what?
What is the worst thing that can happen to you? Has it happened?
What is your darkest secret?
Can your voice made a difference?
What is your definition of home?
Where to do belong?

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Things to Remind Myself this Year

I was told once that everyone of us has a little OCD (over compulsive disorder...you know, like that show Monk.)

I had a doctor point it out to me once as I sat in her office; fixing all the picture frames so they matched up. (Hey, they were crooked.) (lol. Okay, I wasn't really doing that. I was washing my hands over and over...It's a doctors office, they have germs. Ew.)

Anyway, I met last week with my writing buddies and we had discussed changing things up in our daily routines to get more writing done.

But there are things I keep forgetting.

So this is my list of things to remember when I'm sitting at my computer screen, thinking about the laundry that needs to be washed:

      1.  DON'T think of the laundry while you are writing (unless your characters are being strangled by dirty socks. Then by all means, think of laundry).

     2. The dishes can be washed anytime during the day. Or night. (You've got that button on the washer that lets  you run it at night...remember? Doing dishes while you sleep. Awesome.)

     3. Turn off the phone ringer. (Two or three hours away from the phone isn't a crime. Plus you have that awesome answering machine message that needs to be used. Okay...it's not awesome, but it's there. Now turn off that ringer.)

     4. Last but not least. Just sit down and do it. Those stories aren't going to write themselves. (There is no button on my computer for auto-pilot. But that might be cool for those writing block days.)

Okay. There is my list of OCD things I need to not worry about. (But probably will anyway.)

What OCD things do you deal with? Come on, everyone has some. Now stop straightening up those frames and let me know. ;) Have a great week everyone! Good luck with the writing.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

What if?

The power was out yesterday. Doesn't happen very often, but it gave me a chance to think about what if?

If there was a disaster, could we keep warm? If we couldn't cook our food, what would we eat? If we couldn't go to the store would we have enough? How long would our toilet paper last? That's one thing I never want to run out of. Seriously.

I was able to use my laptop, but not the internet. It was inconvenient. What would I do without the internet, and more importantly, what would I do when my laptop battery ran out. If I couldn't use my laptop, could I still write?

I used to write with paper and pencil, and used to prefer it, even when I got my first, second, and third computer. I don't prefer it anymore, but in a pinch I could do it again.

I'm spoiled. I love electricity. An extended blackout would be inconvenient and uncomfortable. I wonder what we would miss the most. I wonder what we would run out of.

I hope I never run out of ideas. I have extras, but where can I store them.

My laptop?

Linda Garner

Monday, January 16, 2012


We traditionally set goals this time of year. Sometimes I rebel against doing it, but I know that what I think about and plan, I become. All of us participate in goal setting whether on a conscious or subconscious level. 
We are shaped by our thoughts. We become what we think. Buddha 
Even if I never set goals, I still invite things into my life by my thoughts.  So I do set goals and have a plan because I don't want my life to be run by default.
One of the things I struggle with is consistency. I can start out with really good intentions and then forget about them after a few weeks. All it takes is for me to have to get a lesson or meeting ready and before I know it, I've thrown my whole energy into that project and forgotten all about my other goals. Summer is also a very bad time for me to be consistent. With kids and family, everything goes out the window for a few months.
So one thing I know about myself is that I won't be consistent all the time, and I now I set a time of reestablishing my goals once a month just to check to see if I got off the track. I ALWAYS have to recommit myself in September after everyone is back in school. 
Be flexible in goal setting. Be willing to change your goals over time. (You may not have to be, but I do.
Let me tell you the secret that has led me to my goal: my strength lies solely in my tenacity. Lois Pasteur
            So here’s to flexibility, change and tenacity in your goal-setting!
            Share your ideas with me. I’d love suggestions as to what works for you.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

I'm Moving!

Well, not exactly.

I'm moving my blogging day from Thursday to Monday. Thursday seems to come way too fast.

So those of you who visit Checkerboard Squares, I will be here on Monday. Those of you at Paper and Parchment, I will see you still on Thursdays, but I will be posting the same thing I posted on Checkerboard Squares from Monday (just so we're okay on that).

I'm thinking about only checking out other's blogs three days a week. (Because let's face it, I'm a procrastinator when it comes to writing and I need all the time I can get!)

On a different note...you won't believe this. Really. Sit down. 

I solved the Rubik Cube! I did! Woohoo! *hands up in the air running around like a kid*

For those of you not knowing what I'm talking about...Click Here for my New Year's resolutions. ;)
Thank You Photobucket
I actually did it twice...okay...*blushes* Three times!  (It's all in the algorithms or math-like stuff.)

But the thing is - I did it! If I can do that, I can do anything right? Right? (okay, maybe I still can't  open my eyes when I'm on a Ferris wheel. *shrugging shoulders*)

The thing is...(I really will get to the point here) If I can sit down and do that, I can accomplish my writing goals. And so can you. So tell me, what are they? What is going to happen with your writing this year? Are you writing one book, two? Querying? Revising? Spill the beans, what's happening in your writing world? 

See you Monday/ Thursday! 

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Pinky Promise

I am happy to say that I am typing with all ten fingers today. My pinkies, both injured recently at different times, are finally healing. The first pinky was injured nearly a month ago, the other, not quite a week. The healing on pinky #1 was really slow, but the second injury was not quite as bad.

Interesting, how much I depend on my pinkies. They are the smallest fingers and definitely the weakest. Still a lot of things are harder to do without pinkies. For example, opening a jar, opening a can, chopping vegetables, turning a doorknob. And what about shifting gears, holding a baby, writing a check, to say nothing of playing the piano or typing. Last week I was making handwritten notes for my tax return. My pinky was not happy.

Little things make a difference. Not just pinkies, either. We don't always notice them, but when they are gone, we can clearly see it. Today I thought about lots of little things I appreciate in my life. Things, like clean socks, hot water, reading glasses, windows, forks, hand lotion,...you get the idea.

In writing, little things make a difference too. You may have big ideas, but a lot of little things have to work right for those big ideas to fly. We can't afford to ignore things like punctuation, spelling, sentence structure, grammar. Those little things provide the framework for bigger ideas like voice, point of view, dialogue, plot.

Improving our writing is really a lot of little things. If we are serious about improving we need to take a closer look at the basics. I'll do it. Will you?

Pinky Promise?

Linda Garner

Monday, January 9, 2012

Two Souls Are Better Than One

This delightful middle-grade novel is a great venture of dueling wizards and kids. Twists and turns in the story keep the reader guessing what’s coming next.
Bullies attack JJ at school, causing a fight and leaving him suspended. But JJ has plenty of things to keep him busy. He accidentally steps through a portal into another world, looking for his father and ends up with an old guy sharing his body, which can be very annoying at times!

JJ discovers he has ‘special’ powers. Is he a wizard? His life turns topsy turvy when he discovers some of his friends and neighbors are associated with worlds beyond his own. He even has a very ‘cool’ grandmother.

Join JJ and his twin sister Jessie as they race to rescue their dad from a power monger. Will they succeed against the evil that’s spilling from another world into theirs?

Fast action, humor, zany ideas and out-of-the box thinking keeps the reader on his or her toes for a fun adventure in good reading. Enjoy!!!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Some Miracles Take Time

It hurt like crazy. Tears stung my eyes.

My husband helped me up. “Are you okay?” he asked.

I shook my head. “Not really.”

“Where does it hurt?”

“I’m not sure yet.” I wrapped my left hand around my right and pulled it protectively to my chest. “I think it’s my hand.”

“Is it broken?”

“I hope not.”

Awkwardly, I opened and closed my hand. I winced as I flexed my fingers, biting my lip with the effort. My whole hand hurt, but thankfully, my fingers were moving.

Since it didn’t appear to be broken, I took something for inflammation and tucked myself in bed, so that time could begin to work its magic. It was nearly midnight after all. My hand was beginning to swell and a blue stain was spreading across my palm.

It happened so fast. We had returned home late from traveling, and I had dashed to the mailbox to retrieve the mail. The toe of my shoe caught on an uneven seam in the concrete. I went down hard, catching myself with my hand.

I was grateful that nothing seemed to be broken, but the healing took time, and it wasn’t just my hand that hurt. My body seemed to be in shock. I needed extra sleep and I felt awful. I had limited energy and tired easily. I was moody and a little depressed.

That was about three weeks ago. My hand looks and feels a lot better. The rest of me feels better too, at least most of the time. I still type with only two fingers on my right hand, and play only with my left hand on the piano. I still tire easily.

I appreciate my body more each day. What would I do without hands? The body has a miraculous power to heal itself.

I love miracles, even the miracles that take time.

Linda Garner

Monday, January 2, 2012

Creating a Moral Dilemma for your characters

            For the holidays I got the DVD’s of Lark Rise to Candleford. It’s a BBC production that had four seasons. I have really enjoyed the series. The actors are great and the setting is well-defined, but the thing that draws me to the series is the writing. Each episode is set up for character definition, character insight and character growth. Protagonists are faced with moral dilemmas that push them toward personal change.
            For instance: Dorcas, the postmistress, knows the secrets of the two dress-maker sisters that keep the shop next door. Should she continue to keep the secrets as each sister confides in her or should she reveal the truths so that the sisters can work out their problems together?
            Daniel, an out-of-town journalist, has written a slanderous story about the people of Lark Rise. He has promised the Lark Rise parents of the girl he loves that he will not see their daughter until he apologizes to the town folk he has offended. Can he keep that promise?
            Our characters do not grow and change unless we give them hard things to overcome. Linda Garner has written an excellent children’s story about a little girl who is the victim of bullying. She grows and changes as she solves her problem.
            I have to keep this idea constantly in my mind because I’m the queen of dropping tension and solving the protagonist’s problems for them. I need to let them face their moral dilemmas and work through their own troubles. I must trust that they will come through. And, you know what! They always do!
Hope you had a great holiday. Christy