Sunday, December 16, 2012

#148 Plot Diagram for Jessie's Journey

     Welcome to our newest reading audiences from Chile and Italy.  You represent the 46th and 47th countries reported on the stats page for my blogs.  Thank you for joining us.     

     In this post I will be discussing the plot plan for Jessie's Journey, my current work-in-progress for young readers. 

     Since, by definition, the plot describes a story's action and the reader's emotional reaction to it, I think it may be  helpful to compare it to a roller coaster ride.

     A diagram of the plot to Jessie's Journey might look like this: 

     1. The Back Story gives the reader needed information about the setting and the main character. The action is moving along without too many bumps until...

     2. A Catalyst changes things. Suddenly there is a need for action.  

     3. Caught in the middle of the Rising Action, the main character tries several things in an attempt to stabilize the rocky situation, but nothing works. In fact, each seems to complicate it more. The reader's heart begins to pound as the main character races toward...

     4. A Climax. This is the peak of the action, and it is followed by...

     5.  Falling action.  The tension dissolves, but the reader still doesn't completely understand why things happened as they did.  That is revealed in...

     6. The Denouement.  The translation of this French word is something like "untying the knot".  Everything is cleared up, and the main character realizes...

     7. In the Conclusion, that she has changed in some very significant ways. 


     Next time I want to discuss some techniques for improving comprehension in young readers.  The post will not focus on any specific book, but will cover subjects such as adjusting readability and/or interest levels, shared and "mumble" reading, drawing, and mapping.

     And don't forget to visit my other blog at: I have offered some recommendations for Christmas reading on Amazon's Kindles and/or  Barnes and Nobles' Nook devices.     


     Until then, please keep reading.



Friday, December 7, 2012

#147 Characters in Jessie's Journey

     The following list contains most of the characters in my developing ebook entitled Jessie's Journey:

     Jessie is the main character.  She is a fourteen-year-old girl who trusts technology more than any of the people in her life.

     Jessie's mother has become increasingly ill and dependent on some kind of medicine.

     Rosie and Daisy are Jessie's four-year-old twin sisters.

     Granny Annie is Jessie's grandmother.  She sometimes takes the twins to her house because Jessie isn't able to care for them and her mother too.

     Cookie is Granny Annie's black and white cat.

     Agent C (Catalyst) takes the role of a worker from the Animal Control Department in Jessie's Journey.  (He takes different roles in other ebooks of this series.)

     Mr. Forester owns a used bicycle shop and also repairs computers in his back room.

     Ran is a sixteen-year-old boy who works for Mr. Forester.  His name is short for "Random".

     Mr. Wolf is the wealthy man who owns Jessie's house and many other buildings in town. He wields enough power to frighten most people.

     Percy is Jessie's friend. The girls have identical electronic journals and communicate long distances with the devices until Jessie's stops working.


     Readers can expect Jessie to change over the course of this story. Main characters do that.

     Secondary characters mostly support the activities of the main character.  They don't usually develop and change very much.

     This story follows the usual literary pattern with a conflict between the protagonist (in this case the "champion" is Jessie) and an antagonist ( the "bad guy" she opposes is Mr. Wolf).


     Next time I will discuss the plot structure of Jessie's Journey.  However, don't expect me to fill in too many details.  You will have to read the ebook when it is published to find out how everything turns out.


     I am able to offer you an opportunity to download a free copy of Pomegranate (Agent C Series) by Lynda for your kindle reading devices on December 8 and 9. Just log on to and enter the ebook title in the search window.

     Pomegranate is the book in which Jessie was first introduced as Percy's friend (in Chapter 5), and this book  will give you a nice connection to Jessie's Journey.


     Feel free to read the latest post in my other blog too.  I have recommended some Christmas ebooks for kids on

     And, as always, please keep reading.


Wednesday, November 28, 2012

#146 Setting of Jessie's Journey

     Before we begin to examine the setting of my latest writing project, Jessie's Journey, I want to extend a warm welcome to our brand new audience from Spain.  You represent  the 44th country in my pageview stats provided by Blogger for

     Learning to read is really a universal need. It's amazing, isn't it?

     The setting of a story is sometimes divided into three parts; time, place, and mood or atmosphere.

     The time element in Jessie's Journey was partly developed in my earlier book, Pomegranate (Agent C Series).  As I explained in the previous post, Jessie was introduced in that book as Percy's friend.

     The Prologue of Pomegranate reveals that Percy's story takes place nine years after the great Techno-Crash. In other words, it is futuristic.  In Chapter 13 of Pomegranate, we discover that Jessie has moved away from her friend, but now their stories continue in Jessie's Journey.

     We have also move forward in time a bit, perhaps a year or more.


     Jessie is living in a different place with her mother and her twin sisters.  Her only means of communication with her friend Percy is through their electronic journals that they call "Pomegranates".  That seems to indicate that they live some distance away from each other.

     The mood and atmosphere at the beginning of our story might be described as desperate.  After Jessie finds herself alone, she returns to her love of technology. Unlike the people in her life who always seemed to let her down, computers have remained consistent and undemanding. However she has trouble feeling the same kind of trust for people.

     Two of these three, the place and mood or atmosphere will begin to shift and change as our story progresses. 

     And of course, time marches on.


     Now for a bit of business. I have made some changes to the availability of my eBooks.  All eight titles are now offered exclusively for Kindles on  I signed an agreement with them for at least 90 days, and after that I will decide whether or not to resume sales through Barnes and Noble for their Nook. 

     I will notify you if I make any further changes around the beginning of March, 2013.

     My current eight eBook titles on for Kindles are:


     In the Mind of a Cat, by Lynda, a picture book about my cat, Topper


     Circles in the Wind, by Lynda, a picture book about the life cycle of a dandelion


     Monkey Tales, by Lynda, for a beginning reader


     Margaret's Christmas Cookies, by Lynda, a short chapter book for middle-grade readers 

     Tiny Others (Agent C Series), by Lynda, a chapter book for middle-grade readers


     Pomegranate (Agent C Series), by Lynda, a chapter book for middle-grade readers

     Lucky Alana (Agent C Series), by Lynda, a chapter book for middle-grade readers

     White Rabbit Time (Agent C Series), by Lynda, a chapter book for middle-grade readers


     Next time we will examine some of the characters in Jessie's Journey.

     Until then, please keep reading...






Thursday, November 22, 2012

#145 Progress Report for Jessie's Journey

     My newest project is another "Agent C" chapter book entitled Jessie's Journey.

     The art work has progressed through four steps.  All of them involve either the cover or the inside title page.

     This one is an early sketch for the cover design:

     Initially, I had thought that the following image of the cover was finished.  Do you notice anything missing?

     It was missing a sticker that all of the books in my "Agent C Series" have on their covers.  This is how it looked with the sticker added:

     Then using the same basic design without some of the detail, I created the following inside title page:

     If I follow my current plan, the book will have eighteen chapters.  Each will have its own illustration, but my text guides me in the decisions about artwork, and the text is not finished. Thus, the illustrations have to wait.


     Let me tell you more about the text...  

     It begins with the idea, then progresses to one simple statement called the story line:

     This story is about ________ (name of main character) who wants _______(what)  more than anything, but can't get it because _______ (what prevents her?)

     The story line for Jessie's book would read something like:

     "This story is about Jessie, who passionately wants to become more involved with technology, but she can't because there are real people who depend upon her."

     I have written a chapter-by-chapter outline which I may not follow completely. However, it includes most of the story details I plan to use.

     The short prologue that I've written might not be used either. That's another decision for later.  

     Chapter 1 has been finished (?) as a rough draft. 


     So that's where I am with this project.  It all takes time, and I can't hurry it.  From this point on a story seems to have a mind of its own.  It speaks to me when I'm taking my daily walks.

     Jessie's character first appeared in Pomegranate (Agent C Series) as Percy's friend. 

      After Percy described her as a "joyful rebel", I decided that Jessie was a character who deserved further study. When she moved away from Percy, I was determined to find her again and allow her to tell her own story.  Jessie's Journey is the result.

     Next time I will begin to discuss some additional  writing approaches that I use with story elements, starting with an explanation of the setting (time and place) in Jessie's Journey.

     Until then, please keep reading...  

Saturday, November 10, 2012

#144 Source of ideas for White Rabbit Time

     The obvious source of the ideas for my chapter book, White Rabbit Time, is Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass. If your contact with Alice is limited to the Disney movies, please let me remind you that a ninety-some minute film cannot tell the entire story. (However, movies usually do have music and popcorn.) 

     Carroll's real books offer exposure to additional characters like Humpty Dumpty.  Did you know that HH is in the original version?  HH also appears in White Rabbit Time.

     An "Imagining Connections" page follows the story text in WRT and provides a list of thirty-one elements found in both Louis Carroll's books and mine.

     Of course, the story is very different.  Where the original Wonderland setting is either at the bottom of a rabbit hole or in a mirror's reflection, the setting of WRT is Wondermart, a huge "anything and everything" kind of a store. (Do you recognize a connecting element there?)

     And my own eBook's message comes from my experiences. As a child, I was given lots of time to explore my interests and abilities.  I loved creating things, and remember making tiny doll-house dishes from mud.  When they were dry, I painted them with an inexpensive watercolor set--the kind with eight or ten pads of paint in a tin box.

     I didn't take classes to learn the correct way to do things. I just followed my curiosity and interests.  I also wrote my first "novel" in sixth grade on theme paper. I kept it hidden away on a high shelf in my bedroom. I sometimes wonder what ever became of it.  As I recall, the chapters rambled a lot.

     As was the case with many girls at that time, I wasn't particularly enchanted with athletics, though I shared a boy's bicycle with my brothers. My parents purchased a "family ticket" to our city swimming pool every summer, and I loved to climb trees. I took one series of tennis lessons at the city park before deciding that it was not a biggie for me. However, I was not inactive either, and my weight was never a concern in those days.

     I read a lot of books (also comics and newspapers), and the books mostly came from our city and school libraries. I explored every corner of those magical "transports of the mind".

     So when I grew up, I had a healthy imagination, a creative spirit, and a wealth of naturally acquired knowledge; the tools I needed to write, illustrate, and publish eBooks for kids.

     Others will find different paths in life, but the point is, each of us needs have the time and opportunities to seek our own way. Structured classes may help, but they need to be balanced and limited to children's interests. Kids need time to "dabble".

     Am I ranting? I won't apologize for my passion about this.  It is too important.


     Margaret's Christmas Cookies is currently offered as a free download for your Kindles on This promotion is only effective November 10 and 11.  MCC is a short holiday chapter book for middle-grade readers (reading level 4.8), but it would also be a nice early holiday gift for families. Time is short, but if you miss this promo, the book will still be available on for $2.99. 

     I think that concludes this series of posts about where my story ideas come from.

     Next time I will give you a progress report on my next eBook, Jessie's Journey. I am just getting a good start on it. 

     In the mean time, please feel free to click on the following link to my other blog.  The current post is about my recommended eBooks about strong, independent children. My own Margaret's Christmas Cookies is one of the featured recommendations.

     And, as always, please keep reading.




Wednesday, October 31, 2012

#143 Cat Book Published

     Welcome to our new readers from Venezuela.  The stats pages of my two blogs about children's reading now indicate that we have audiences from a total of forty-three different countries. Learning to read is certainly a universal need, isn't it. 

     This is the big news that has caused me to digress from my announced topic for this post.

     Topper's eBook is now out on Amazon for Kindle!  I have a very special pride in this one and feel like a mother hen with her chicks.

     Here is more information about it:
     When you go to , click on the word "Kindle" on the left side of that home page. Then enter the title and author in the little search window (In the Mind of a Cat by Lynda). The eBook sells for $2.99 in the United States. 

     Amazon currently has seven internet stores world-wide, and my books are available on all of them. They are (includes India), (United Kingdom), (Germany), (France), (Spain), (Italy), and (Japan).  Small world, isn't it? 

     Please feel free to visit my profile on Amazon's Author Central as well.  Its link is:

     I also have a second blog about children's reading at the following link:

     Topper's book is the eighth eBook I have published, and I appreciate all of my readers' wonderful support.

  My other seven titles are:

     Monkey Tales by Lynda, a beginning reader
     Circles in the Wind by Lynda, a picture book for young children

     Margaret's Christmas Cookies by Lynda, a short holiday book for middle-grade readers

     Tiny Others (Agent C Series) by Lynda, a chapter book for middle-grade readers

     Pomegranate (Agent C Series) by Lynda, a chapter book for middle-grade readers

     White Rabbit Time (Agent C Series) by Lynda, a chapter book for middle-grade readers

     Lucky Alana (Agent C Series) by Lynda, a chapter book for middle-grade readers

     (The Agent C Series books need not be read in any specific order.) 

     All of the books except my most recent one about Topper are available for Barnes and Nobles's Nook reading device as well as Amazon's Kindle.

     In my next post I will get back on schedule and tell you about where I got the ideas for my book, White Rabbit Time.

     Until then, please keep reading... 


Sunday, October 14, 2012

#142 The source of my Ideas for Pomegranate

     I wrote Pomegranate (Agent C Series) with a careful concern for balance.  

     The very old story of Persephone and her mother Demeter from Greek mythology was used as a basis to create a futuristic story set nine years after a world-wide Techno-Crash in which twelve-year-old Percy's father mysteriously disappeared. A summary of the Greek tale is offered as an attachment at the end for the purpose of comparison to Percy's story.

     Thus, the balance of ancient and the modern settings exist in the the story's structure.

     Percy's father firmly believed in the importance of redeveloping the world's technology while her mother feared it and supported the earth's life forces instead.

     This is a necessary balance in our world today, isn't it?

     It might be compared to the balance of the seasons in the Greek myth when Persephone lived the summer months with Demeter and winter months away from her.

     And when Percy's judgement became clouded by her obsession with the missing password for the electronic journal sent by her father, the story offered a clear rationale for a solid set of guidelines and rules for the use of technology.

     In other words, Percy's life was out of balance, and had to be re-established by a new understanding and agreement among her family members before they could all move forward.

     Next time I will explain how I developed the ideas for my eBook White Rabbit Time (Agent C Series).

     Please feel free to transfer to my other blog at  My current post offers some recommendations for eBooks about time travel.

     And please keep reading.





Thursday, October 4, 2012

#141 Three Sources of the Ideas for Margaret's Christmas Cookies

     There were actually three sources of my ideas for Margaret's Christmas Cookies.

     First, in 1979, I submitted essays to our local newspaper for Mothers' Day and Fathers' Day.  They were both published in the "Lifestyle" section of the paper, and I felt like a real writer.

     Later that year, the same newspaper sponsored a contest.  We were invited to submit an idea for an original Christmas character, something like Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer or Scrooge, only with a word count limit.  

     I was sure I could win when I invented a little old lady who brought nice (though a bit soggy) presents to children in a needy family one rainy Christmas Eve.

     I didn't win, but the little old lady later became Mrs. King in Margaret's Christmas Cookies.

     The second source was a real Margaret who was a fourth grader in my classroom in the late 1990's, and I'll never forget her.

     Fourth grade is a unique age anyway.  Ten-year-olds are remarkably self-sufficient (they can all tie their shoes),  but they still manage to stay centered and grounded.  Girls can be friends with boys and vice-versa, and they usually like school, teachers, and parents. Their minds are capable of both soaking up knowledge and producing ideas.  In short, they are very nice. 

     Margaret was one of those exceptional individuals who arrived in fourth grade as a nice little grown-up already. She was the one who organized the clean-up after art projects.  She helped the slow cleaners finish organizing their desks.  She begged to help correct papers at recess time.  When I scooted her out to the playground, she organized a school beautification committee to pick up trash or befriended new students and educated them about school rules or the school song.       

     Margaret moved away at the end of fourth grade, and I never actually got to observe what became of her the next year, but I'm sure she was doing more than her share to ensure that everyone else would love getting through it.

     I kept thinking of that Margaret as I created my character of the responsible older sister in Margaret's Christmas Cookies.

     The last idea source was my own mother.  The recipe for sugar cookies in the story came from the recipe card in the box in my cupboard.  Mother always added a bit of pancake syrup to her sugar cookies for just the right touch to make roll-out cookies soft and chewy.

     Next time I will tell you where the ideas for my Ebook entitled Pomegranate came from.

     Please feel free to visit my other blog at  I currently have published a post recommending Ebooks about kids who move to a new place.  Please click on the link above to transfer to it.

     And please keep reading.



Thursday, August 23, 2012

#140 The Many Sources of Monkey Tales

     In this post I want to tell you about the long and winding path that my little beginning reader called Monkey Tales took in becoming the eBook for Nook and Kindles that it is today.

     The current book was once three separate manuscripts about the monkey family.  They each had their own source; a bit like the tributaries of the Missouri River where I grew up in South Dakota.

     The first manuscript was once called Moekey the Monkey.  Most of the ideas in it were based on the dynamics I was observing every day with my growing children.  You see, we have two daughters who are six years apart in age. Younger Daughter was once very resentful of the fact that the rest of us were allowed to do some things that she was not. For instance, we could all stay up later at night, watch certain  television shows, and drive cars.  It didn't seem fair to her.

     When I wrote about the monkey family, I was creating a fantasy world in which a mother (me) might solve our problems in a loving and wonderful way--a world in which I could be a hero. 

     Of course, it was time that eventually fixed everything.  Younger Daughter grew up, and the age difference no longer mattered so much to anybody.

     The chapter about the ant tunnels came from a second manuscript called "Ant Tunnels for One".  The idea for that story came from an event in my own childhood.  One day when I was a third-grader and my brother was a first-grader, we noticed a large ant hill on the sidewalk in front of a church near our house.  We hurried home, collected some big spoons from the silverware drawer, and returned to dig up the ant hill.  

     The ants were not happy!  We raced home with biting ants crawling all over our legs and feet.  Our mother hurried to run water in the tub so that we could wash the angry ants down the drain. It was a tough lesson, and I'll never forget it.

     My story ideas about swinging on vines and losing teeth came from experiences as a mother and a first grade teacher.  Sometimes lunch money and other things were also lost in the sand under the school monkey bars, but I couldn't think of a way to work those concepts into my stories--at least not yet.

     Monkeys are funny animals.  I have always loved those silly brown sock monkeys with the big red mouths.  I even made one for a family member who was celebrating his high school graduation after finishing a successful high school basketball career.  Of course I dressed the monkey in an appropriate team uniform.

     My point is, the ideas for our stories can come from anywhere.  

     Next time I will discuss the two starting places for Margaret's Christmas Cookies.

     On my other blog, I have made recommendations for eBooks about animals. Remember to check it out by clicking on the following link:


     And keep reading...