Wednesday, November 18, 2015

New Book Spotlight: Banished, by Christy Monson

Banished is a new book by a dear friend and fellow author, Christy Monson. To celebrate it's release, it's Kindle edition will be free on Amazon November 20-22. You'll want to snag yourself a copy for sure. I am looking forward to reading this book and I hope you will too.

Banished Author Interview

Christy Monson
I was born in Medford, Oregon, but I now live in Ogden, Utah.
I love writing. It's my way to relax, escape from the stresses of daily life, and put the things I'm passionate about down on paper.
While I was working as a Marriage and Family Therapist, I had two Native American boys come for counseling. I suggested that they write a story about their culture. They began their narratives and told me that if they had to write a story, I should write one also. Long after the boys finished their counseling and their anecdotes, I was still working on mine. Dre (the main character) and I have been companions ever since.
I finished this manuscript about seven years ago and couldn't decide what to do with it. After it won 2nd Place in the Utah Arts Council Writing Contest, Children's Division I put it on the shelf because I was asked to complete several self help books on women's issues, children who have difficult life events, and family communication.
At the League of Utah Writer's Conference one September a couple of years ago, someone handed out applications for the Marilyn Brown Writing Contest at Utah Valley University. On a whim, I sent Banished in. It won first place, so I decided I had left it on the shelf long enough. It is available now on Amazon.
Back Cover:
Dre has waited twelve summers to become a man, but the chief banishes his uncle, his mother, and even Dre himself. Thrust into the desert, he struggles to protect himself and his mother from his drug-addicted uncle—and certain death in the barren land.
With only a golden eagle to guide him, Dre battles to find a source of food and water. Abuse from his uncle and trouble with a neighboring clan could destroy his chance for survival and keep him from finding his place in the world.  Dre must learn what real manhood is if he hopes to survive in the harsh environment.
Praise for Banished
"Monson well deserves the title of storyteller, for she has truly captured the music echoing from Hopi tradition and culture." Marilyn Brown Award
Utah Valley University Marilyn Brown Award, 1st Place Winner
Utah Arts Council, 2nd Place Winner

About the Author: Christy Monson loves a good story—especially historical fiction. She established a successful counseling practice in Las Vegas, Nevada. Her books, Love, Hugs, and Hope: When Scary Things Happen and Becoming Free: A Woman's Guide To Internal Strength are published by Familius. Texting Through Time, A Trek with Brigham Young, and Texting Through Time, John Taylor and the Mystery Puzzle are published by Cedar Fort.

Where to buy:

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Theme: Writing Tips

I recently ran into some writing tips on Theme on a blog an author friend, Rashelle Workman pointed me to, and though I basically had heard this before, it seemed to click with me this time. Clicked so much that it's given me the insight I need to fix the pesky problems that has seemed to plague me concerning two of my works in progress. I'd like to share them with you here, and then share how I'm going to incorporate them in my works--as much for my benefit as yours.

When we teach writers how to write a novel or a memoir, we emphasize how crucial theme is in the process. The best novels and the most life-changing memoirs you will ever read are the ones that help you discover a truth about the human condition.

A theme in a book should never be stated but should be developed through character changes and plot escalation.

In The Art of Dramatic Writing Lajos Egri says well-defined characters drive plots. He emphasizes the consistency of change in life. Characters have to adapt, evolve and ‘synthesize’ new philosophies. They do this after facing many overwhelming obstacles.

What is a theme?
Theme is the central idea of the story.
It is better if it is a full statement, with a subject and a verb.
It sums up what the story shows us about the human condition. It is not a moral. It is simply a statement.


Crime pays.
Honesty is the best policy.
Who dares wins.
Fools rush in where angels fear to tread.
Home is where the heart is.
The past is a foreign country – they do things differently there.
You never really know anybody.
People are predictable.
People with nothing to lose are dangerous.
Love conquers all.
What does not kill you makes you stranger.
Blood is thicker than water.
You can choose your friends but you can’t choose your family.

The best novels and the most life-changing memoirs you will ever read are the ones that help you discover a truth about the human condition.

So, what is theme in relation to stories?

· The underlying message of the story or the main idea.

· What the story means.

· It is a belief or idea that goes beyond culture and is universal, touching on the human experience.

The theme of a story is the lesson or message about life that is learned from a story.

Basically, if you know what your story is about, what its meaning is, and what the lesson is, you know your theme

That said, I know now why my two works in progress are giving me fits: they don't have well defined themes. I sort of knew what they were about, and because of that my stories were just stories, moving from one scene to the next. Though each scene was fairly interesting, and the characters engaging, the story lacked the substance needed to stick each component together and give purpose to each scene. That was THEME. 

So here are the newly established themes for my books:

Sprout- a middle-grade magical realism book about a twelve-year-old science geek who finds a giant seed in the forest and sprouts himself a little brother.
THEME: Life is not always black and white. 
problem: Pete has always believed that science can explain everything, but he has to let go of his scientific thinking as his new brother proves him wrong.

The Big Bang- A YA inspirational teen novel with historical and fantasy twists

THEME: The best way to find if God is there, is to follow Him.
Problem; Josh wants to know for himself if God is really there, but everywhere he turns it seems people have taken God out of the equation, so how can he learn and decide for himself about God.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Join My Fellow Authors and I in the Fight Against Child Slavery

Where authors unite to raise funds for Operation Underground Railroad (O.U.R.), a nonprofit that organizes undercover operations to free many of the 2 million children being trafficked as sex slaves around the world.

Participating authors are donating their books in exchange for donations

  • Donate $20 to receive a free book from a participating author (book prizes selected at random).
  • Donors of $40 or more will receive two free books, a series, or a bundle (selected at random as well). 

Nearly 200 books have been donated by generous authors to help raise funds for this great cause--see the list of participating authors/books below!

Give freedom, get a book


Donate directly to O.U.R. through the Authors United Against Child Slavery Campaign

Authors and book bloggers who wish to help, please fill out this online form


Participating Authors/Books