Monday, July 30, 2012

I just got home from Philadelphia yesterday. My husband and I have had a wonderful month visiting our children throughout the country: a sweet little family of girls in Irvine, CA, for a baptism; a loving rough and tumble boys in Phoenix, AZ just for fun; an awesome teens in Pasadena, CA for an ordination; and up and coming young adults in Philadelpha, PA for a missionary homecoming. What a joy it's been.

But in the middle of all this, my husband's sister passed away. We interrupted our plans to be with the family. Her children gave a sweet, touching memorial to memory her at the funeral. A spiritual feast was had by all.

Having done this, we had to get from the funeral in Bountiful, Utah on Saturday, to Philadelphia on Sunday for the homecoming. So, we hopped the red-eye and arrived in time. As we winged our way across the country, I kept thinking of the pioneers. (They would have questioned our activity big-time!)

What a blessing for us to live in this time with the modern conveniences we enjoy! Sometimes I think I am not grateful enough for what I have. I look at the sacrifice of those who have gone before me, and I am humbled and grateful.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Call for Submissions

Did you ever experience a moment with your mother or father that changed your life--a lesson that influenced all other decisions and helped you become who you are today?

That’s the question that Familius is asking?  Familus is a new family oriented pubisher.  They produce e-books primarily and are passionate about strengthening families.

Familus is inviting content for a new book called  Lessons from my Parents: Silent and Spoken.  That's right.  They want your experiences. You can submit them here.   This book will be released in both e-book and print form.

I applaud Familius for standing up in support of families.  I can’t think of a nobler cause.  I hope for their success. I encourage you to submit, and while you're there check out Familius.  There's a lot going on.

Have a great lesson to share?  Want to pass on the legacy your parents left you.  Share that story at Familius today.  Maybe the lesson your parents taught you is just what I need to hear. Maybe that lesson will part of a new book.
I wonder what experience I should share. My parents taught me a lot. Thinking.

Linda Garner

Monday, July 23, 2012

I found this in some of my old writing notes. It was good for me to read. Hope it's helpful for you also.

Unfocused structure

This is the biggest reason manuscripts get rejected. You’re telling a wonderful, powerful, gripping, complex story... but you’re the only person who actually knows that. Everyone else sees a long, rambling, uneven tale of various events happening to various characters. Why? What makes these things happen? And, most important to your reader, why are you telling us this?

Every novel needs a focus. What’s your point? What is it that you want the reader to know? That focus is your Climax, the one part your story simply could not do without. “I died of romanticism.” “I almost got et by a whale.” “I pretty nearly wrecked my life being a selfish grinch.”

At the same time, every novel needs a really good reason for the reader to care. That’s your Hook. The reader may have picked your book up for its snazzy cover, but you desperately need them not to put it down.

And every novel needs a series of intriguing, hair-raising, addictive events carrying the reader from the Hook to the Climax. You could just tell us the Climax. “The butler did it.” But long fiction is all about the wonderful, rollicking adventure building upon why that matters.

The hardest thing for aspiring writers to believe is that all this is holographic: what’s essential for the novel is also essential for the chapter, episode, even scene. Every single one of them needs a Climax, Hook, and some type of events leading from one to the other.

Read that again. Every single one.


Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Picking up Pieces

"Your success or failures in life will not be decided by the number of setbacks you encounter, but rather how you react to them. We cannot change our past, we cannot change the fact that people will act a certain way and we cannot change the inevitable. Life is 10 percent what happens to us and 90 percent how we react to it."  Doug Westmoreland

This quote came to me this morning in an email.  I don't know who Doug Westmoreland is, but his quote is spot on today, for I am dealing with the pain of a broken agreement, and the shock of twisted blame.

I know that everyone has setbacks, but sometimes it would be nice to get a break.  I'm not a "why me" sort of person, it okay if I whine for a minute.  Enough is enough.  Isn't it?

Yeah, I had another setback.  I lost ground, I lost a friend, and in the end I was blamed for things I couldn't control.  I've seen this before, but I still don't get it.  Why would someone who didn't keep their committments blame me, when their interest fades? 

Does blaming me make it easier to walk away?  Does whining make it easier for me to pick up the pieces and move on? The word "integrity" comes to mind.  Does whining compromise my integrity?

My disappointment is deep, but I will move on.  According to Doug, disappointment is only 10%.  Moving on is 90%. 

Moving on stinks, but it's really my only option.  Whining helps a little, but not that much.  How do you deal with disappointment?  I welcome suggestions.

Picking up pieces.

Linda Garner

Monday, July 16, 2012

When we read a story, we inhabit it. The covers of the book are like a roof and four walls. What is to happen next will take place within the four walls of the story. And this is possible because the story's voice makes everything its own.

- John Berger
I love this quote. This is how I feel when I write. I hope my readers feel the same. Happy writing, Christy

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Every Line is a First Line

If you’re not a writer you may not understand the thrill of going to a writer’s conference. It’s a heady experience. Everyone there loves what you love. Everyone there is focused on improvement. There is a strong sense of community, and everyone wants you to succeed.

When I go to a writer’s conference my senses are heightened. My skill enhanced. New ideas are everywhere.

Once in a while, I hear something that changes everything for me. An epiphany. A paradigm shift. That happened for me at WIFYR when I heard these words. “Every line is a first line. Every line is the first line of the rest of your book.”

As a picture book writer I am used to weighing words, but this thought brings it to another level. Is this sentence a good first line for the rest of my book?

Every sentence in a picture book is prime property. Every sentence costs me something. Every sentence must pay rent. No matter how much I love the words, if they don’t move the story forward in a meaningful way they have to go. Eviction.

I have nothing against welfare. Maybe in a novel, some sentences can live for free. Not all, of course, but some. In the world of picture books however, there is no free lunch.

Every line is the first line of the rest of your book.

Linda Garner

Monday, July 9, 2012

Carnival Girl
Searching for God in the Aftermath of War
By Sonja Herbert

The only life Sonja has ever known was on the road. Now she must choose between the carnival and her convictions, between her family and her faith. This beautifully written memoir of growing up in post-war Germany and meeting the Mormon missionaries will remind you of how much God loves each one of us and how his power can make anything possible.

Sonja Herbert and her five siblings were raised in a caravan, traveling the carnival circuit from town to town in post-World War II Germany. Sonja converted to the LDS Church, later married, and immigrated to the United States, where she received a bachelor of arts degree at Southern Utah University in Cedar City, Utah, and a master of arts degree from Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. You can find more about her unusual life at

I felt drawn to this story because I come from similar roots. I have Polish ancestry as does Sonja, and my grandmother spent time in a German orphanage just like Sonja. My grandmother had funny little nicknames for all her children just as Sonja’s mother did. I love reading memoirs like this because they seem to fill in missing pieces of my family.

The reader watches Sonja grow from a toddler to a young adult who knows her own mind and what she wants out of life. Her mother consciously chose the exciting carnival life, but Sonja’s choice was a very different path than her mother’s. Sonja seems to be born with a testimony of Heavenly Father, and she began to recognize it even as a small child when she was taught to pray in the orphanage. Even though Sonja’s family rejected God, she found comfort in her constant belief in a Divine Being, which ultimately led her to the gospel’s light and love. Thank you, Sonja, for sharing yourself in this heart-warming story.

This is a great read! Take time to enjoy it this summer.


Saturday, July 7, 2012

Lend a Hand

My friend is a part of a team working to raise funds on behalf of special needs kids in Nicaragua. The Los Pipitos School in San Juan del Sur helps educate and enrich the lives of children who, due to their limited abilities, would be otherwise unable to take advantage of a regular classroom education. In early August, volunteers are going to Nicaragua to bring school supplies and funds to help keep the school running.

About The School

This special needs school provides an educational experience for the mentally and physically disabled that a regular school cannot. Their goal is to help their students develop to their full abilities and be able to live as normal and independent lives as their disabilities will allow. Disabilities range from cerebral palsy to Down syndrome to mental retardation and brain damage. Beyond the classroom, they provide activities that these children would not otherwise be able to do, including teaching them to surf, dance, and make music.

What they need

It costs the foundation $150 per month to pay for the teacher’s salary and $200 per month to pay for bus transportation for the students at the school. Many of the students are confined to wheel chairs and live in communities with dirt roads; therefore if the foundation does not transport them to school then they will not be able to attend. Also, they desperately need school supplies. Unfortunately they cannot rely on the postal system to receive the supplies so they rely on visitors to bring supplies with when traveling to Nicaragua.

How you can help

All children deserve an education, and too often special needs children are overlooked. In order to keep the school in operation for another year, it's our intention to raise $4,200 to go toward teacher's salaries and the cost of transportation for the children. The remaining portion will be used to buy and transport school supplies as well as help the school to buy new chairs, desks, and chalkboards for the classrooms. Help these children by being the change you want to see in the world. No contribution is too small: $1, $5, whatever your can give; every dollar counts. Time is short and we need your support to give these children hope for a brighter future!

The link to my friend's blog is:
The Twitter handle is:
Lend a Hand.

Linda Garner

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Dear America,

I just wanted to thank you today for everything you've given me. 

The ability to run down to my local grocer and pick up the freshest fruits and veggies around (and yes, even an occasional chocolate bar). 

To have the choice to read any book I want, even the books that people want banned (I totally read Harry Potter more than twice). 

Thanks for giving me the ability to do whatever I want with my life. To be a lone drifter on the calm and quiet roads or an outspoken activist stirring up the hearts of those around me. 

I'm grateful for the rights I have as a woman that I see so many others deprived of. 

Thank you for giving me a chance to speak my mind without the worry of unmerited retribution.

Even though I know we may have had our differences from time to time, I find myself indebted to you for all you do for me and all those who have helped make you who you are today. You know…the real heroes that are out there. 

I guess what I'm trying to say is, Happy 4th of July America. 

You mean a lot to me. 


Tuesday, July 3, 2012

God Mend Thine Every Flaw

I was planning on waxing writerly this morning, but my flag waving heart won’t let me pass up the 4th of July without a small salute.

I love America. I love being American. There’s no place like it on earth. I don’t know what I did to deserve to live here, but I will be eternally grateful for the privilege.

We have our share of problems, but they are all first class. We have our share of turmoil. We have our share of conflict. Everyone has an opinion, and everyone thinks they’re right.

My Dad often said “When I want your opinion, I’ll give it to you.” He said it mostly to be funny, but there’s a grain of truth in his quip. I think everyone should think like me. You think everyone should think like you. It’s hard to be humble, when you know you’re right.

It isn’t easy to find harmony among diversity, yet diversity is one of our strengths.

In church we recently sang America the Beautiful. Don’t you love that song? God mend thine every flaw. I had never really noticed those powerful words before. I loved the feel of them in my mouth and I loved the sound of them in the air. They gave me hope.

We do have flaws. Lots of flaws. As long as people are in charge there will be flaws. Someday God will take charge and there will be no flaws. For now, though, I love this thought, and maybe it should be a prayer.

America, America, God mend thine every flaw.

Hope is a beatiful thing.

Linda Garner

Monday, July 2, 2012

Been working on a new book. Here's a list of questions I found that I'm going to use to flesh out my characters.
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?

I hope this helps you as much as it did me. Happy writing! Christy