Sunday, July 29, 2012

#138 Origin of Lucky Alana

     Welcome to our newest reading audience from Israel.  You represent the forty-second individual country listed on the combined stats from my two blogs, this one and my other at

     Our world is full of young readers and those who encourage them.

     Lucky Alana (Agent C Series) by Lynda ($3.99) has recently joined my other ebooks for sale on Barnes&Noble for their Nook.  All of seven are also sold on Amazon for their Kindle devices.

     In this story, ten-year-old Alana tries to control her difficult life by using "lucky systems" such as finger snaps.  She eventually learns that luck is not very dependable when compared to her collection of personal powers such as home and people, hard work, health, and a positive attitude.

     At ten-years-old, I was Lucky Lynda.  I entered my drawing in a contest and won a doll buggy.  Shortly after that, I won $5.00 for my original costume ("a modern artist") in the Kids' Day parade, and then was recognized publicly for my Veteran's Day poster.  My mother was fond of saying, "Lynda, you are always so lucky."  

     I continued to win contests and awards in high school--my poem was published in an anthology of student work, I was selected to be drum majorette, I was elected state president of our church youth group, offered scholarships to three colleges and universities, and on and on...

     I was so lucky.

     But was it all due to my luck?  Film producer Samuel Goldwyn is often quoted as having said, "The harder I work, the luckier I get."

     My daughter introduced me to Tom Rath's earth-shaking little book called Strength Finder 2.0.  Its premise is that we spend too much time and effort trying to fix our weaknesses when we should be making more use of our strengths.

     Using a short computer test, I was able to identify five out of a possible thirty-four strengths that were natural personal "powers" for me, and I continue to use this information to drive my efforts every day.

     In Lucky Alana, I have used my writing, art and knowledge about ebook publishing to interpret Rath's Strengths Finder concept for kids.

     Next time I will discuss the origins of a second one of my ebooks.  Will it be...?

     Circles in the Wind by Lynda
     Monkey Tales by Lynda
     Margaret's Christmas Cookies by Lynda
     Tiny Others (Agent C Series) by Lynda
     White Rabbit Time (Agent C Series) by Lynda
     Pomegranate (Agent C Series) by Lynda

     Please join me.







Sunday, July 8, 2012

#137 My Story Ideas

     In my ebook, Tiny Others, Savannah Allen was inspired to write her chronicle of the forest spirits when she was given a strange ream of very old paper by Mr. Pippin, the little shopkeeper in a country market.

     Savannah's story-within-a-story was actually my own creation though, wasn't it? 

     I am often asked where I find the ideas I use in my ebooks.

     It has usually been a lengthy process, and no two stories have been exactly alike.  The ideas and titles have evolved over time, but I have developed a few techniques that seem to tap into my creativity.

     First of all, I keep a notebook of "story seeds"-- a list of ideas from which a story might grow.  Each of these might be only a word or two or they might be several complete sentences.  I read over this list once in a while, and use a colored pencil to star anything that jumps out at me.  I also add to it whenever I think of anything new that might be useful at a later time.

     I like to take a long, quiet walk after I review this notebook.  At first, I actively think about any project that might be worth developing, and then I try to dismiss the idea(s) and think about something else for a while.  

     That's right, I deliberately put the writing ideas into the back pocket of my brain and continue to walk.  That lets my subconscious take over, and often before I finish my walk, I find myself cooking up the bare bones of a  idea.

     When I get home, I try to sort it out.  Does it have an obvious problem or conflict?  Are there several ways it might be solved?  What important message does it offer to my reading audience?

    I write down those loose ends, then try to use this template: 

     (name of the main character) wants more than anything to_________ , but can't because_______ so he/she tries ______, and _____, and ______. Finally he/she tries _______ and it works.  At the end everyone _________.

     I loved teaching my students to use these writing processes that I find so useful.  I hope you can use some of them, too.    

     Next time, I will begin a series of posts about the way seven of my stories developed into published ebooks.

    Please join us, and meanwhile, keep reading and writing.