Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Come on Baby, Light My Fire

I couldn’t help giggling when I saw it.

It was my birthday present, a group gift from my kids and friend husband. I didn’t know what to expect. We have pulled back on birthday giving, because of the size of our family and the not always corresponding size of our wallets. They were looking at me expectantly, as I tore the paper, and then I saw it. A shiny new Kindle Fire. All I could do was giggle.

One son, was disappointed with my reaction. “Why are you laughing?” he asked. No doubt he had seen me salivating over the kindle ads.

I was speechless. It was a fabulous and unexpected gift. “It sure beats a macaroni picture,” I managed to say. You see, these are the same children who once gave me macaroni pictures and toothpick ornaments as gifts. Not that I didn’t love the gifts they made at school and scouts. I still have a few of them. I was never disappointed in the gifts of childhood. This however was a very grownup gift and it delighted me.

I’m still making friends with my Fire. It can do a lot more than I thought it could. I just wanted to read picture books in color. I can do that and more. It will take a while to get comfortable with each other, but I think we’re going to be great friends.

Now that I’m publishing e-picture books, having a Fire is handy. I can see exactly what my book looks like on the Fire. No guesswork. I discovered that the text on A Valentine Disaster is too small for my eyes. A revision is on the way. If you have A Valentine Disaster you may want to update your copy. Check in next week.

If you don’t have A Valentine Disaster yet, a free download will be available on March 14, an unvalentine present. It doesn’t have to be Valentine’s Day to share your love.

Hey, now that I have my own Fire, I can stop entering all those contests.

Remember the old song, “Come on baby, light my Fire.” Nah, it was probably before your time.

Linda Garner

Monday, February 27, 2012



          Here’s a sad, sad thing. I was looking back through my posts. I wrote this two years ago. And have I done what I said I would? No. So here’s a recommitment to myself to do what I’ve said I would in this blog.

Are you ever afraid? Well, I am. This entire week I have been arguing with myself about sending out query letters to agents. (I promised my critique group I’d start to send out a few letters for one of my books that’s finished.) I have now written about twenty-five drafts of my letter, and I can’t even tell if it’s good or not.

My letter and my synopsis are both ready to go, I guess. So what keeps me from pushing the SEND button? Well, for one thing, if I send the letter and am rejected then I can’t query that agent again. If I don’t send the letter, then maybe they would have accepted me if I had sent the letter. (Silly, I know, but it’s in my head.) For another thing, maybe my writing is not very good, and no one will want to read it. If I said this out loud at any of my three critique groups, they would massacre me on the spot. (So I keep quiet.) Here’s another great argument: I’m used to supporting others in becoming successful – like my husband, kids and friends, but not myself. (I know it’s a lame excuse.)

Okay, so I can identify my irrational thinking. But what do I do about it? Here’s my list:

1.      I run my letter and synopsis by my critique group and get their feedback. (Did it.)

2.      I set a goal and tell others about it so I’ll follow through. (I’m sending six letters this week.)

3.      I get support from my friends by letting them know how I feel. (Thanks for listening.)

4.      I keep positive thinking statements pasted on my computer so I can read them and turn my distorted thinking around.

“If you are lucky enough to find something you love, seek the courage to embrace it.”

 “Discouragement is not the absence of adequacy but the absence of courage.” Author unknown.

“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.” Nelson Mandela

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Thank You! =D

First I want to thank everyone for their comments last week. And I'm glad to see that most of us agree on the subject. Thanks everyone!

Second. I'm almost done with my revisions/edits/hair pulling and I'm so excited! Soon I will be on the query wagon. I'll let you all know how that goes.

Third, I want your opinions about what you think about social media. What do you like best, what is the hardest, and how long do you spend on them?

Okay, I know this is short for this week, but I'm off to finish. What are you guys up to this week? Drafting/revisions/edits? How's your writing?

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Coming Soon: Jeremy's Dragon

I'm super excited about my next e-book. I'm hoping for an April release. I have a wonderful illustrator. She has really captured the personality of Jeremy and his dragon. Here is some of the cover art she has created for the book. Please help us decide. Vote in the comments section.

Linda Garner

Monday, February 20, 2012

Cedar Fort emailed me the preliminary cover for my John Taylor book, coming out in the fall. I’m very excited to see it. I can’t even give you the title of the book yet because that hasn’t been completely decided.
I always stand in awe of artists. A picture is truly worth a thousand words. I love what an artist can do with their talent, whatever medium they work with, and a piece of paper. What a great gift.
It’s an exciting time for me. With the first book, it was kind of scary because I didn’t know what to expect. But with this one, it’s going to be lots of fun anticipation.
Hard work goes into marketing. It’s not easy, but once I get myself going it’s lots of fun.
I’ve just booked giveaways of “Texting Through Time, A Trek With Brigham Young.”
Watch for them and enter to win:
Boyds LDS Books in Orlando Florida (1st week in April)
Nephi's Books in South Carolina (1st week in April)
Book Nook Plus in Nampa Idaho (March 20)
Pritchard Book Nook in Oregon (May)
Book signings in Mesa March 29, Latter Day Cottage
Tucson, April 2, Book Barn
Also Books and Things Magazine has a special article about Brigham Young. It’s some of the funny things that didn’t make it into my book.
Happy writing! Christy

Thursday, February 16, 2012

What do you Think?

Do people change after they get published?

This question has popped up in both my critique groups and it got me thinking. Do they?

I think published authors definitely have more demands in certain areas because they deadlines. Does that make them less likely to visit others blogs? More likely to change how they handle things?

I personally, have seen some of my friends change and others stay just as they were when I first met them. But it's an interesting topic of discussion.

So tell me, what do you think? What have you seen?

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Just the Way You Are

Happy Valentines Day, dear reader. I appreciate the time you share with me. I appreciate your comments and your support. I hope you have a wonderful day and that you share it with someone you love. Today, remember that you are loved, and that I like you, just the way you are.

Just the Way You Are

I like your eyes. I like your nose.
I like your elbows and your toes.

I like the way you laugh and shout.
I like your insides and your out.

I like the happy way you walk.
I like to listen when you talk.

I like the way you think and feel.
I like the part of you that’s real.

I like you when you’re on the go,
And even when you’re movin’ slow.

I like to see you jump and run.
I like you ‘cause you’re so much fun.

I like to watch you sing and dance.
I join you when I get the chance.

I like the spunky clothes you wear.
I like the way you wear your hair.

I like the sparkle in your smile.
I like your attitude, your style.

I like you when you’re happy,
and even when you’re sad.

I like you when you’re snappy,
and even when you’re mad.

You’re gentle, brave, and helpful, too.
You’re funny, cheerful, honest, true.

You’re talented and very smart.
You have a kind and loving heart.

And even on the worst of days
When nothing goes quite right,

I like you in the best of ways.
I like you day or night.

And though you’re always changing,
You don’t have to change for me.

I like you just the way you are.
Be who you want to be.

Linda Garner


Hey this would make a great picture book, wouldn't it.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Thoughts on Writing

You have to write the book that wants to be written.
And if the book will be too difficult for grown-ups,
then you write it for children.
- Madeleine L'Engle

I love this quote. I keep it in a place where I can see if often.  This week has been somewhat harried for me. I’m trying to do the marketing I need to for my book (social and otherwise). It’s taking a lot of time. Time I’d rather spend writing. After I’d contacted book stores, tweeted, connected with lots of bloggers, posted on facebook, etc. etc. etc., I could feel myself becoming irritable and frustrated.
I love doing these things, but it was too much.
I decided to take a few days and just write. My goodness, I had a wonderful time inventing a story. I LOVE being creative. My characters got themselves into a lot of trouble. They worked to get themselves out, but then ran into more problems that seem unsolvable right now. What fun!!!
So I’m happy again, and the lesson I have learned? . . . Is that I need to take time for the things I love. Yes, there will always be my “to-do” list, but I must do the things that fulfill me.
You would think I would have learned that by now, wouldn’t you. I guess we all need reminders, and I got a wake-up call this week.
Happy writing! Take care! Keep in touch. Christy

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Wow. It's Free.

I have good news. A Valentine Disaster is free today. Just click on the button the sidebar for easy ordering.

I joined Kindle Select and it gives me the opportunity to promote my book by giving away free downloads once in a while. Since I want to test the process, I'm giving away my book today.

If you don't own a kindle, don't worry. You can get a free kindle app to use on your phone or your computer. I just got mine and it was easy. Click here to download your kindle app today, and then click on the button to get your first e-book, all for free.

Free. It's my favorite price.

Linda Garner

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Let the Conferences Begin!

This is it....the week all conferences begin!  Yes, LTUE is this week and I will be there stalking my writer friends and their agents. I can't wait. Since I'm in a bit of a crunch on packing time (okay, and laundry time...there is so much to do before I leave), I am re-posting my annual conference post:

Yes, it's the kickoff of many fine conferences. So I'm unplugging this week (only half the week) to prepare and mingle with other writes. I'm way excited. 

Here are a few things I've packed in the past, and highly recommend to anyone attending a conference this year: 

MnMs (because I have a noisy stomach and really, no one wants to be startled by that thing!) 

Pencils (even a pen, because I have broken a pencil a time or two and writing with plain wood just doesn’t work well. I did try to chew off the wood, but I had wood shavings stuck in my teeth for a week!)

Paper (To write on… and make spit wads to launch at people who are making me jealous). (j/k I would never do that, and that incident in New York last year - Not me.)

Crackers (Please see MnM’s above).

Notebook (At the conference last year I brought home piles and piles of notes! I expect the same today). I'm actually thinking of using my Alphasmart this year...Hmmm. 

Deodorant (this one is pretty self explanatory).

Couple of chocolate bars (because chocolate is the magical food made by tiny magical creatures from a magical land *sigh * and it’s so, so good!) 

A little extra coinage (for silly things like, food, bottled water, gas for car – stuff like that).

Antacid (There is a funny story behind this, I promise, but just not enough time to disclose. So sorry, and if you’ve heard the story * head hung low * you have my deepest sympathies). Next year I'll tell you about it...next year (say really raspy with lots of air...)

So there you have it! My list of stuff that I will be dragging through the halls with other devoted writers, breathing in the fumes of excitement and hope. If you see me, feel free to ask for a handful of MnM’s, hopefully I haven’t eaten them all yet, but it is very possible that I still have a few good sheets of paper left for spit wads.

Are you planning for any conferences this year?
See you all next week! 

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

That's the Way the Publishing Cookie Crumbles

I've had a lot of disappointments in publishing this year. Picture books are a hard sale at the moment. They are expensive and time consuming to produce. Editors are hesitant to take on picture book projects and agents are wary. I get the nicest rejection letters from agents.

Earlier this year, two different publishers changed their minds on picture books they had promised to publish. I was surprised and sad, but I moved on quickly. No sense in wallowing in it. I sent a new manuscript right away. Back to the waiting game.

The biggest loss when publishers change their mind is the loss of time. It takes a long time to get that manuscript through the acceptance process, and another long time to get the book illustrated. If the process gets short-circuited along the way, the time loss is huge.

It was this level of disappointment and frustration that led me to take a serious look at publishing an e-picture book. E-publishing for picture books is in its infancy. There are some commercially produced e-picture books available, but only a handful of indivually produced e-picture books. There is not a lot of accessable info about the process, and the tools that commercial publishers use to produce an e-picture book aren't available to Joe Author.

Still with a little bit of help (okay, a lot of help), I was able to get A Valentine Disaster up on kindle. It was a rush job, because we wanted it out before Valentine's Day. It went live on Kindle some time last Friday. We've had a few sales already.

It will make a great Valentine Surprise for someone you love. Ordering is one click away on the sidebar of this blog. If you don't have a kindle, you can get a free kindle app for your computer or phone. Click here to download.

We will also have the pdf version available on our website soon. We're still under construction. Check back in a couple of days. http://www.picturebooksrock.com/

I love picture books. I love the kind you can hold and touch. If you're like me, you can almost smell the flowers and taste the cookies. E-books have a different feel, but they have some advantages. They take up less room. They are less expensive. They are not limited by publisher's imagination.

I have more e-picture books on the way. Hang on for the ride.

Linda Garner

Monday, February 6, 2012

Foreshadowing in your First Lines

I’m reading a book called Hooked by Les Edgerton. It is a great read about hooking your reader in the first few lines of your book. I’m just learning about foreshadowing trouble in the first part of your book.
He quotes Jeffrey Deaver’s The Coffin Dancer
“When Edward Carney said good-bye to his wife, Percey, He never
thought it would be the last time he’d see her.”

Trouble ahead? I think so—especially with a title like Coffin Dancer.
Think of the first lines of some of the things you have written. Do they foreshadow trouble?
I’ve just rewritten the beginning of a middle-grade novel I’m trying to finish. At LDS Storymaker’s Boot Camp I got enough feedback to let me know I was doing a lot of telling and not much showing, so I’ve been editing. I’ve changed the first scene completely.
How does this sound?
Dre curled under the wool blanket woven by his father. Worry
darted back and forth in Dre’s belly like a scared rabbit.
He waited for sleep to come, but angry voices from the next
room chased it away. Thundering words bounced back and
forth across the adobe walls of his family dwelling.

I don’t know if this is better or not. I know I tell you all the time that I’m baby-stepping, and I really feel like it. I’d love you to share some of your first lines with me that foreshadow trouble ahead. Maybe you have good advice for me. I’m always up to learn something.
Happy foreshadowing! Christy

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Huh? Really? I don't Believe it.

Is your story believable? I mean really believable.

Take for instance this:

(Okay, this movie was fun to watch, but HISHE makes a good point.)

(That's so awesome) When someone reads your work and they say, "Why didn't (insert name here) just do (insert action here)?"

That's when a writer usually says, "You just don't get it," while shaking head... "I'm a writer, this story can be anyway I want." (No...*uneasy look* I don't know that from experience. *nervous laughing*)

Okay, this is a big mistake (see video above for reference). When someone says a part of your plot won't work, believe them, revise, and move on. Because you want your book to be better.

Have a great week writing everyone! I have to go change that one scene on my book...you know...the one that I thought was cool, but ...my character can't conveniently fly...but it would be cool! Have you ever had to change your plot because something just wasn't working?