Thursday, June 28, 2012


I'm so excited to be able to spotlight Elana Johnson! She is one of the most amazing writers I have met and a truly sincere person. And her books... AWESOME!  

Check out her latest:

Raine has always been a good girl. She lives by the rules in Freedom. After all, they are her father’s rules: He’s the Director. It’s because of him that Raine is willing to use her talent—a power so dangerous, no one else is allowed to know about it. Not even her roommate, Vi.
All of that changes when Raine falls for Gunner. Raine’s got every reason in the world to stay away from Gunn, but she just can’t. Especially when she discovers his connection to Vi’s boyfriend, Zenn. 
Raine has never known anyone as heavily brainwashed as Vi. Raine’s father expects her to spy on Vi and report back to him. But Raine is beginning to wonder what Vi knows that her father is so anxious to keep hidden, and what might happen if she helps Vi remember it. She’s even starting to suspect Vi’s secrets might involve Freedom’s newest prisoner, the rebel Jag Barque...

AHHHH! Sounds so great!!! 

Bio: Elana's work including POSSESSION, REGRET, and SURRENDER is available from Simon & Schuster wherever books are sold. She is the author of From the Query to the Call, an ebook that every writer needs to read before they query, which can be downloaded for free on her website. She runs a personal blog on publishing and is a founding author of the QueryTracker blog. She blogs regularly at The League of Extraordinary Writers, co-organizes WriteOnCon, and is a member of SCBWI, ANWA and LDStorymakers.

She wishes she could experience her first kiss again, tell the mean girl where to shove it, and have cool superpowers like reading minds and controlling fire. To fulfill her desires, she writes young adult science fiction and fantasy.

Purchase your copy here:

Like I said before, Elana is great. 
To find out more about Elana, please go to:

You won't regret it. ;)

Monday, June 25, 2012

I had a wonderful time on vacation. I always seem to pick up little incidents that will make it into my writing somewhere or another.

My 10-year-old granddaughter was helping light the fire in the firepit so we could roast our hot dogs and make somemores. Her father asked her to bring him the matches. She picked up the box and tossed it to him. Ofcourse, the box opened as she threw it. You could see the delight on her face as the matches floated through the air landing in the grass. She had to pick them up the entire box full. I told her parents later that was as good as Ramona squeezing all the toothpaste out of the tube, or taking a bit out of every apple.

One of our daughters has a little brown terrier named Toby. He loves our cabin because he can run wild, chase squirrels and birds, etc. One morning the kids came to report that Toby was running around one of the out buildings where we keep our tools, chasing a skunk. The skunk ran under the crawl space of the building, and Toby went in after it. The skunk sprayed and sprayed and sprayed. Toby would not come out! He was in a face-off with the skunk. We hurried and looked on the internet to find out how to de-smell him. (Use hydrogen peroxide, baking soda and dish soap will a little Murphy's oil in it.) Toby came out the worse for wear: stinking to the high heavens with scratches on his belly and a bit in his side. After we washed him, a trip to the vet for stitches was in order.

What fun we had! Never a dull moment, and lots of writing material available! Have a great week. Christy

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Kiss Off

This was so cute that I had to share.

My friend Becca Wilhite's family helped write, direct, produced and semi-edited this awesome short.

Becca is one of the nicest people I have ever met. Thanks for letting me share this Becca! Enjoy everyone!

BTW - I will be spotlighting Elana Johnson  next Thursday! She is amazing and I can't wait! So drop on by. ;)

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Note to Self: Show, don't Tell.

Show, don’t Tell. It’s one of the first things I heard when I became part of a critique group. I didn’t really get it at first.

Over time it became clearer, and I began to see the difference. My writing improved.

Don’t tell me what happened. Show me. It’s a huge difference, and an important one. Put me right smack in the middle of the action and let me experience it.

Last week I critiqued twelve different middle grade manuscripts for WIFYR. It was educational. It’s easier to be objective about someone else’s work. As I noted things that could be improved, I began to wonder if I was making similar mistakes.

I was.

This morning I read the first critique of my own middle grade work called Way to Go Grace. No surprise. I was doing the same things that I had noticed in other author’s work. The notes on my paper closely resembled the notes I had made on their papers.

Show, don’t Tell. That was it. Well there was more, but that was the most repeated comment in my first ten pages. Wow. I guess I still don’t get it. I’ve got my work cut out for me.

Note to Self: Show, don’t tell.

Linda Garner

Monday, June 18, 2012

I'm on vacation this week at our cabin in the Tetons. We have to build a new entry way. The old one is falling down. (And I'm doing a book signing so I can write the trip off for income tax.) Have a great week. Christy

Thursday, June 14, 2012

I'm reading a Book, Man

“If you want to be a good writer, you must do two things above all others; Read a lot and write a lot.” ~Stephen King, On Writing

Last year I told a class on young adult writing/books. I had to read two to three books a week while analyzing the styles and craft.

It was amazing. I read classics, contemporary, award winning books, books from all genres.

 I have to admit that after the class was over, I got lazy and stopped reading as much.

So I’m picking the reading habit again. Not only has it kept me entertained, it helped me see what well known writers were doing to make their books amazing. 

Keep reading, that’s the goal. So if you see me reading a book, remember what Julian says:

Hee hee, I can never get enough of that video!
What books are you reading? (Tell me some good ones, I lost my tbr list.)
See you guys next week!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Maybe You Can Have Your Cake, and Eat it Too.

I'm getting excited about WIFYR. It's my favorite writers conference, and it's next week. WIFYR is the short version. Writing and Illustrating for Young Readers is the real title.

This is a week long smorgasboard of writing heaven. The morning classes are focused on a particular genre and give you instruction and personal help from a real live author. The afternoons are more cafeteria style with lots of classes to choose from.

I had a difficult time choosing this year. I am a picture book writer at heart, but have become frustrated with the picture book market. I decided to branch out and try to reinvent myself as a middle grade writer. I have a fun middle grade piece that I would love to develop.

I signed up for a Middle Grade Class with the incredible Tim Wynne-Jones. I started reading his books, and became excited to learn from him.

Then, I started hearing about Trudy Barnes, the picture book author who is teaching the picture book class. Trudy is still publishing picture books in this incredibly hard picture book market. I was intringed. Could she teach me how to find a home for my 26 picture book orphans?

Indecision. Soul Searching. Waffling. Doubting. Thinking. Wondering. Rinse, dry, repeat. I just wasn't sure.

I know that both classes will be fabulous, and I could learn from either teacher, but what was my heart telling me? Why did I feel so torn?

If I could be two places at one time, I'd do both classes, but since I can't I made a difficult decision. I transferred into the picture book class, but I had already submitted ten pages of my middle grade ms to the class for critique, and received ten pages from each of them for critique.

Since the ms had already been sent, I offered to exchange critiques with the attendees of Tim's class, even though I won't be in his class. Most agreed. Some have offered to share their notes with me. I hope this isn't breaking some rule. I am having a lot of fun reading their stories and offering feedback. I can't wait to hear what suggestions they have for me.

Maybe you can have your cake and eat it too.

Linda Garner

Monday, June 11, 2012

People who claim that they're evil are usually no worse than the rest of us... It's people who claim that they're good, or any way better than the rest of us, that you have to be wary of. Gregory Maguire (Author of Wicked) Found this quote last week on Goodreads. It's the premise of the musical Wicked, which I thought was a great show. I've been thinking about this. I read the quote two ways: 1. I need to be careful of those around me who think they are better than me. 2. Do I ever think I'm better than others? The second one gave me pause to wonder. When I am critical of others, do I inadvertently think I am better than them? If I look for the good in those around me, I won't think critically of them or think I am better than them. How am I at always being positive? Sometimes I'm good. Sometimes I'm not. I don't have a problem with friends and acquaintances. I can mostly always be positive. It's with my family that I need to adjust my attitude. I work on it--like a character in a book, struggling to be better. What's my character arc? How am I doing? I guess that's why I liked Wicked. Sometimes I can be good or not so good. I just keep working on it. Have a great day! Christy

Thursday, June 7, 2012

We've Been Waiting for so Long

It finally happened. It’s summer!

We’ve been counting down the days. Watching the calendar for the morning when we could actually sleep in on a weekday (well…when the kids could sleep in). 

We have plans. Swimming, hiking, fun classes, picnics. Yes, we are planning it all. 

Not my pool, but kind of wish it was (Thanks PhotoBucket)
Last year, we didn’t plan. I kept myself locked up inside a dark room, polishing up my final product while finishing up my college classes. 

I was miserable and it showed up in my writing. *shaking fist at dark room*

I read an article about a writer who took seven years to publish her first book. When asked why it took so long, she said this was the first book she actually had passion for - and it came out in her writing.

That’s why things are changing this year. I’m making room for my writing and my other plans. I won’t kept myself locked inside the dungeon. I’m making a break for it. 

And I can’t wait. (I hope it shows up for the best in my writing!)

What about you? Have you ever found yourself without passion for the writing? Did you over tax your time and the creativity flew away? How did you change it?

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

She's a Character

Ever said this about someone? He's a character, or She's a character. What do we mean when we say that? Maybe we mean that they are unique, or a little bit quirky. Maybe they are special, different, fresh. I want my characters in my books to be fresh and unique. Quirky is fun, too. In a picture book, that's a bit of challenge. We have to count our words religiously, and we can't waste a single one. How do we paint an interesting character using words sparingly. This question weighs on me today, as I work on my Christmas piece, The Innkeepers Daughter. This is a fresh approach to the Christmas Story. I like the way it is turning out, except for one thing. My character is a little flat. I need to flesh her out. I can't add many words, so I have to make my words meaningful. I've received several critiques on this piece, with interesting thoughts, but none of them really focused on my character development. I want my readers to identify with Leah. I want them to see through her eyes. I want them to love her. What can I do to make her more real? The best stories are often character-driven. Creating a meaningful character isn't easy. I'm gearing up for my favorite writer's conference, Writing and Illustrating for Young Readers,(WIFYR). One of the take-aways I'm hoping for this year is some great ideas on character development. In the meantime, what works for you, in your reading or your writing. What makes a character stand out? What makes you want to meet them? What pulls you into their story? I'd like to know? I need to know. I need to get back to Leah. She's a character, or she will be...before I'm through. Linda Garner

Monday, June 4, 2012


I have had a couple of fast-paced weeks. Between critique groups and book signings, I've hardly had a chance to catch my breath. The laundry is behind and our meals have been less than stellar! My humming birds ran out of juice twice! (They're little lunch-mouths) The upside to all this is the wonderful friendships I've made with my writing. When my critique group slaps me up side of my head and tells me something doesn't make sense, I love it. We laugh over some silly phrase. (This week it was praying to the phone.) I do NOT know how I did that. But it's fixed because of their generous donation of time to my manuscript. I met friends and new acquaintances at the book signing at Union Station in Ogden last night. The event was a book launch for "Tales from Two-Bit Street and Beyond." (I have a ghost story in it.) I saw old friends I haven't seen for a year, and we picked up as if we'd never been apart. I made new relationships that will flower and blossom. What a privilege it is to connect with others. It makes our worlds go around. I send a hug to all of you who take time to read my ramblings. Off to another book signing to meet new people and create new friendships. Life is great. Isn't it! Love, Christy