Dianne Gardner is both an author and illustrator living the Pacific Northwest. She's an active member of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, and the National League of American Pen Women. She has written Young Adult Fantasy novels as well as articles for national magazines and newspapers. She's also an award-winning artist.
Dianne spent many years living out in the desert wilderness of the American Southwest, lived in a hogan made from adobe and cedar for thirteen years, co-owned 25 horses both pure bred and Native American ponies, traveled horseback and by wagon throughout the Navajo reservation, herded sheep and goat, worked in the forest planting trees and piling, farmed on barren soil and even lived in a teepee for a short while. She spent many long years using survival skills as a way of life.
Later she studied pastoral counseling and was a Pastor's apprentice at a mainline church. She and her husband have been feeding the homeless for over twelve years. Today she draws on both her survival experiences and her love for people, especially young people, into her writing, seeking not only to give her readers a firm understanding of her stories' characters, but a rich appreciation of nature.
I thought we would have a fun interview in honor of the season and get the skinny on how Dianne celebrates Christmas as she has told me already that Christmas is what she celebrates.
How do you celebrate the holidays?
We feed the homeless every Sunday, so for Christmas we gather from donors and from our own funds and get warm things for them, and toys for parents to give to their children. We have many homeless dads/vets come in who only see their kids once in a great while and feel really bad that they have no gift for them for Christmas. We'll give them the present to give to their children.
What is your favorite Christmas tradition?
I love the family getting together and having a nice meal. I also love watching the grand kids open presents early in the morning while we have a cup of coffee and a good breakfast with them.
What is your favorite Christmas song?
Oh Holy Night, especially the second and third verses. I love the chorus "Fall on your knees, oh hear the angel voices..."
What food do you always make or get for Christmas?
I'm allergic to dairy, so my daughter always makes me a dairy free chocolate truffle cake. It's the best!
What is the best present you have ever received?
I got a banjo when I was young. I loved it! Also, the book Black Beauty. I read it many many times and I still have that same copy..
What is the worst present you have ever received?
I hated getting clothes that matched my sister's
Do you put up a real tree or artificial?
I used to swear to a real tree when the kids were young because I love the fragrance. But we have a small house now and I found this really cute 'real pine' artificial table top tree. So I use that now. I might decorate a tree outside this year. We live in WA and are surrounded by fir on our property.
Can we find mistletoe at your house hanging in a doorway?
No. My husband kisses me all the time anyway.
What is your favorite Christmas candy?
The only candy I really eat any more is dark chocolate. I can't have dairy and I don't like hard candies, although a butterscotch once in awhile is still nice.
What is your favorite pay it forward idea or tradition?
Wishing each other well, even in the face of adversity.
That was a fabulous interview Dianne. I loved your answers and capturing yet a small glimpse into the your life and the lady behind the wonderful imagination.
Thank you so much. I really enjoyed it.
Ian's Realm Trilogy by Dianne Gardner
Hydra Publications Ian's Realm: Deception Peak
Teenage Ian Wilson follows his father through a portal into a deceptively beautiful Realm, where horses run free, the wind sings prophetic melodies, and their computer avatars come to life. But separation from his dad puts Ian in peril as he’s abducted by a tribe of dragon worshipers and forced to find his courage. As he struggles for his freedom and embarks on a perilous search for his father he meets the true peacekeepers of the Realm, and learns of a greater purpose for his being there.
Ian's Realm: The Dragon Shield
release date Feb 2013
As a young man, Ian returns to the Realm to search for his father, and to fight against the tyranny that has befallen his friends. But the Realm is a different place, the forest is dying, the Kaermperns have lost the shield that protected them from the dragon, and Ian has a hard time proving his allegiance when trouble follows him through the portal. His struggle to do right buries him in confusion, and he must fight his own will to prove his integrity.
Ian's Realm: Rubies and Robbers
release date 2013
Ian has proven his abilities as a warrior and now the most dangerous battle begins, the battle against the power of evil. Ian must unravel the secrets of the mountain and discern who his real enemy is, the enemy both without and within. He tackles with the twelve year old boy who seems to hold the fate of the entire Realm in his hands, and yet the pressing Songs of Wisdom call for compassion in his dealings. Ian leads his men in the fight against the powers of darkness. But he must also be willing to sacrifice everything he ever hoped to have in order to save those he loves.
You can find her books here on Amazon:
You can find Dianne in her many wonderful places full of adventure:
Go to her website for a Christmas Party going on now until Dec. 15, 2012 and while you are there check out her book trailers. They are awesome.
She is very generously giving away where four people will win a signed copy of Deceptions Peak http://dragontargeseries.blogspot.com/
FREE: Just In time for the holidays my new book is FREE on Amazon today and tomorrow Dec. 6 and 7th!
SupaGurl Super Awesome Tours:
Dec. 3 - Mind-Ventures *Review, Giveaway
Dec. 4 - Oh, The Books You'll Read! *Review, Giveaway
Dec. 6 - Just A Booklover * review, Giveaway
Dec. 11 - My Seryniti *Review, Author Interview, Giveaway
Dec. 12 - Readings and Things *Review, Sneak Peek Chpt. 1, Giveaway
Dec. 16 Dec. 17
A HEART FOR THE OCEAN
It’s raining cats and dogs, thought 15-year-old Madison McKinsey. At least it’s summer and warm out, not the cold of January. The summer rains in Florida usually last for 20 minutes or so. Today was going to be different—we have a tropical disturbance in the Gulf and it should be raining the rest of the week.
I have a younger brother who’s three years younger than me, and a mom and a dad. We have no pets like a dog or cat or hamsters. But my brother, Jared, has two snakes that are kept in aquariums. He and I are tight as thieves and would do anything for the other.
We moved here two years ago from Minneapolis, Minnesota. Dad worked with Honeywell for 15 years, but lost his job there. Government contracts were down, so the company downsized. He found a job after one year in the town of his birth: Winter Haven, Florida. I’m so grateful he has a job. WOOT! He’s been working as an assistant principal at Winter Haven high school (WHHS). He’s also the coach of the boy’s and girl’s tennis teams. Dad and I are pretty close when he’s around. Because of his job, he’s gone much of the time. Dad loves to exercise and is disciplined about it. One of his favorite hobbies is collecting precious gems and stones. Once he has the stones, he polishes them. He had a dresser bureau filled with collections separated by drawers.
My mom is five years younger than my dad. Most people would call her sexy, with long legs and red hair. It’s
hard for me to see her as ‘sexy’. She’s a stay at home mom, makes all our meals and after school treats. Mom’s favorite child is my brother, Jared. Relatives tell me that she loves me too, but it is so clearly evident that the sun rises and sets on top of his little head. Ugh. Anyway, she’s very religious and strict. She reads a lot, sews and gardens.
I’m getting ready to hop on the wet golf cart and start my paper route. I have 50 customers in a gated community. I started out with 35 customers and have grown my business over the last 7 months. I’ve been saving my money and hope to have a new used customized golf cart in another month. It’s a rather easy job to deliver the papers 7 days a week and to collect monies once a month from all the customers. The papers are delivered to my house. Usually, three times a week, I have to stuff the paper with inserts before I band/bag the papers to deliver. Mom and dad let me use their golf cart to deliver the papers.
It’s a pain to drive the golf cart in the rain and deliver them. Halfway through the route today the rain slowed to a drizzle. I’ll have to take a shower when I return home. Both my right and left arms are pretty strong from aiming and throwing the papers to the doorstep from the road. Haven’t broken a front glass window yet. However, I’ve had to replace papers when I threw them in a puddle of water by mistake. Mondays through Fridays, I deliver the papers in the afternoon. Saturdays and Sundays, I deliver them in the early morning.
Last week, the New Moon Rising Gated Community enforced the new law that all homes had to have cylindrical rounds attached to their mailboxes for all newspapers to be placed. One had to have a cylindrical round whether you currently received a newspaper or not.
New Moon Rising Companies provided generic cylindrical rounds, but they offered other choices and of course, people in the community wanted their special cylindrical round. It sure made delivering papers easier for me. Just drive the golf cart to the cylindrical round, place the paper in and on to the next customer. My left and right arm won’t be building any more muscles since I won’t be throwing the papers any longer.
It usually takes me 45 minutes to deliver them all. The 15 minutes of prep work that I need to do before I start delivering makes the job take an hour a day. The battery to the golf cart was connected today, so all I had to do was disconnect the cables. There’s a front window to the cart, but nothing on the sides or back of it. The rain is free to come in at every angle. Because of the rain today, all the papers are in bags.
I placed my MP3 player at the front of the golf cart on the left side so I can jam as I deliver the papers. The player hangs on one of those command hooks that I put there months ago. My Droid is placed in the front part of the cart where golf balls are to go if you’re playing golf.
Part of my wardrobe is wearing a baseball cap when delivering papers. I have a collection of about 100 different caps, all with different logos. I usually wear an Atlanta Braves baseball cap to keep my hair from blowing. When it’s raining, the cap keeps the pounding drops off the top of my head. Being in the rain without a baseball cap or another hat is very aggravating as I can’t stand to feel the raindrops on my head. I must admit that it’s not feminine to be wearing a cap all the time but I feel very comfortable wearing one. My mother thinks it’s not proper for a lady to be wearing a baseball cap. To complete my wardrobe, I wear my capris jeans, tank top or
T-shirt and my dock siders or flip-flops. I’m very particular about my flip-flops. They’re the kind that you slip your feet in without having that center thong between your big toe and the next toe.
Because it’s hot out, I usually carry a Coke with me for the ride. I would like to think the reason is because it’s hot out, but the truth is, I love to drink Coke; it’s so refreshing and sweet. Of course, the ride wouldn’t be complete without some sour apple Dubble Bubble gum.
Besides getting drenched today, I only had to deliver 45 papers. Five of my customers were on vacation. My memory is pretty good about remembering dates and phone numbers. The dates for when my customers go on vacation are stored in my Droid calendar. That’s checked before I do my prep work for the day and before I drive the golf cart out of my driveway. Sometimes, I deliver the extra papers to homes that don’t subscribe. I’ve picked up customers that way once they’ve read a few free papers.
Now, whom will I select to deliver free papers to today? A new family moved into a home on Oleander Street. Their home was three stories, had a large pool in back and the house had been vacant ever since I had the route. Hadn’t met the family yet, but I’ll deliver my first free paper to them. Their cylindrical round was custom made. When I placed the paper inside the round, calmness took over my body. Harp music played in my mind, peacefully outplaying my MP3 player. My hand was then touched by another hand. I pulled my hand back and I shook all over. I looked into the cylindrical round; there was nobody and no hand inside, just the paper I’d just placed. This was not right. What had happened? With pure courage, I placed my left hand in again. The calmness took over, the harp music was playing and my left hand was touched by another. I quickly
pulled my hand out of the round. What was happening? I just shook my head, my arms and my whole being. Guess I’ve been in the rain too long today.
The next house I chose was the Remington’s. They had three children and their dad worked with mine at the high school. I placed a free newspaper in the generic cylindrical round. No harp playing music or calmness or hand touching mine. I must just have imagined it at the last house.
Two houses down from the Remington’s on Oleander Drive would be where I delivered the third free paper. No unusual occurrences there. The other two free newspapers I delivered were at the end of Oleander. Both of their cylindrical rounds were custom made as well, one in the shape of a Florida Gator and one in the shape of a pelican. My hand remained untouched in both of them. No more harp music, just Adele playing on my MP3. Okay, now I can deliver the rest of my route and head home. Soon, that experience would fade away.
Once I got home, I connected the cables to the golf cart. Then I took off my wet windbreaker and my soaked Atlanta Braves cap, went into the house and headed straight for the bathroom where I took a nice, hot shower. Oh, the hot water felt good on my body. I toweled off and put on another pair of caprice jeans and red T-shirt. Then I realized I’d left my Droid and my MP3 player in the golf cart. I went to go get both and bring them in the house. I’d received five text messages while I showered. I responded to all and then had to rush to set the table for dinner.
Jared and I are supposed to go fishing in the morning. Can’t wait. Last time we went fishing, he beat me with four fish to my two. Even though I didn’t catch as many as he did, I did have the biggest fish, a bass, weighing in at 1
pounds. My aunt lives down the road from us and has a jonboat with a trolling motor. She lets us use it any time we want. We have to care for it and promise to wear our life jackets. We bring the tackle, bait and our great dispositions.