Monday, July 15, 2019

On My Kindle - With This Pledge by Tamera Alexander

With this Pledge (The Carnton Series Book 1) by [Alexander, Tamera]


Lizzie Clouston works as a governess on a Franklin, Tennessee plantation when the Civil War arrives at their doorstep. Her employers open their home as a hospital for wounded Confederate soldiers, and she's pressed into assisting one of the surgeons.

Captain Roland Jones' wounds make survival doubtful, but he pleads with Lizzie to help him keep his leg. A friendship is forged under the most trying circumstances.

The attraction between them grows, but she's pledged to another soldier and thinks he's married. Slavery, a secret, and the uncertainties of war threaten to snuff out any possibility of a lasting relationship.

Tamera Alexander ranks as one of my favorite authors. Her historical romances are full of twists and turns. She captures the realities of war that can sometimes come off as gory. Yet there are many times of introspection, joy, and humor.

This book is part of a new series. I'll be reading the others as they become available. 5 Stars!

Disclaimer:  Neither the author nor the publisher paid me for a favorable review. All opinions expressed, as always are mine and mine alone.

Writers:  Are you interested in writing historical novels? How do you go about researching the time period?

Readers:  Does it bother you when authors write about the truly ugly side of war? Please share.


Friday, July 12, 2019

Beta Readers/De-stress/Opposing Views/Devo/Banana Bread


conference details


1.  Do you have someone read your manuscripts/articles before sending it to an agent or publisher? Check out this article on Beta Readers at Write Well, Sell Well.

2.  We're in the midst of conference season. Cindy Sproles posts at The Write Conversation about de-stressing your conference experience. This is a must-read if you're attending a conference this year.

3.  WND recently reported on a story about a student being arrested for stealing a pro-life sign. The exchange with the police officer gives a shocking view of efforts to silence opposing values.

Hmm, the police around here should be more vigilant around election time. Someone stole a political sign from my property. Yes, this is stealing.

4.  I was searching for a devotional and came across this older one by Lynn J. Simpson. She talks about how taking a different path led her to a better place.

5.  Do you have a multi-cooker like Instapot? I found this recipe for Banana Bread that I MUST try. Check it out on this blog. One of the great things about cooking in the multi-cooker: you can bake without turning the oven on.

Writers:  How do you minimize the stress of going to a writers conference?

Readers:  Have you or someone you know experienced a theft or vandalism of your property due to a political/morality issue? Please share.

Photo Credit:  Ronald Schuster


Monday, July 8, 2019

On My Kindle - Remembering Dresden by Dan Walsh


Remembering Dresden (Jack Turner Suspense Series Book 2) by [Walsh, Dan]


Jack Turner rents a cabin to work on his thesis. He's ready to settle down to a normal life after his hair-raising adventures. His research and a haunting discovery make his time at the cabin anything but restful. Fortunately, Jack is more prepared to handle the mystery sitting in front of him.

Rachel, his girlfriend, isn't crazy about the idea of another mystery. The last one almost got them killed. However, she agrees to help him translate a journal. What they find links the past and present in the most horrifying ways.

Dan Walsh's first book in this series, "When Night Comes," should be read to get the full effect of this one. Although many references are made to the previous story, I'm glad I read the series in order.

Once again, the book grabbed my attention and didn't let go until the end. The author knows how to write a compelling tale of tragedy, revenge, and political intrigue.  I'm looking forward to the next book in the series.

5 Stars! I can't wait to attend the author's Learning Lab at the Greater Philadelphia Writers Conference.

Disclaimer: Neither the author nor the publisher paid me anything to give a favorable review. As always, all opinions are mine and mine alone.

Writers:  Have you ever attended a workshop given by one of your favorite authors? Did it meet your expectations? What did you learn?

Readers:  Do you enjoy mystery/suspense novels or do you find them too scary/exhausting? Please share.


Friday, June 7, 2019

Backstory/Cliches/Free Speech/Puppies/Cranberry Glass

puppy


1.  Writers in the Storm often has thorough articles about the craft, and this is no exception. Piper Bayard tackles the bugaboo of many writers: backstory. She has a unique method for eliminating it.

2.  Zoe M. McCarthy gives One Important Reason to Limit Cliches in Your Stories. My critique partner always said that I loved cliches. It's taken quite a while to break that habit, and a few still appear in my first drafts. This is an excellent article for every writer: newbies to advanced. A refresher never hurt anyone.

3  WND reports on a court case that compromises free speech.

4.  Bonnie Leon talks about how God used her puppy to teach her an important lesson.

5.  Susan, at Writing Straight From The Heart, shared her cranberry glass collection with readers. They are stunning. Then again, most glassware makes my heart skip a beat. I thought you might enjoy this post.

Writers: What kind of craft challenges bother you the most? Backstory? POV? Cliches? Anything else? Please share.

Readers:  Which link was your favorite this week? Why?

Photo Credit:  Rasto Belan

Monday, June 3, 2019

Blog Break


With the many demands on my time this month, I've decided to take a blog break. There will be a post on Friday, June 7th.

I'll return from my break on Monday, July 6, 2019. Have a wonderful month!

Photo Credit: Susan J. Reinhardt

Friday, May 31, 2019

Changing English/Memoir/Conception/Devo/Miniatures


Drops Of Rain


1.  Tim Suddeth talks about how English is always changing and writers must keep up. While he's talking about current/future changes, I wince when I see modern verbiage used in historical novels. Check out his article at The Write Conversation.

2. Some of you write memoirs. Margaret McMullan posts at Jane Friedman's blog about her experience getting her book published. It's in a pleasing Q&A format.

3. Check out this video at Faithwire. There's a stunning flash of light at the moment of conception - awe-inspiring!

4.  Michael  K. Reynolds talks about the Healing Power of Rain. Are you feeling dry spiritually, check out his devotion.

5.  One of my friends loves miniatures and dollhouses. I had a simple one as a child and have always been attracted to the detail involved. Although I don't get involved in creating these wonders, I appreciate viewing the efforts of others. Recently, I discovered a blog called, "My Miniature World." I hope you enjoy this post and explore the rest of the site.

Writers:  Can you name some words that have changed meaning? Please share.

Readers:  What hobbies capture your interest even if you don't actively participate in them?

Photo Credit:  Jan Mocnak




Monday, May 27, 2019

On My Kindle - The Wedding Chapel by Rachel Hauck

The Wedding Chapel

Taylor Branson and Jack Forester eloped after a whirlwind courtship. Neither reckoned with how their past hurts would affect their marriage. Would they find their way back to each other or was this union doomed?

The story switches back and forth between the late 1940's-early 1950's to modern times. Jimmy and Colette declared their love for each other and planned to get married. When Uncle Sam called Jimmy and sent him to Korea, their relationship fell apart. Could love survive decades of secrets and misunderstandings or was it too late to recapture what they once enjoyed?

I've been fascinated with Rachel's character-driven stories, and this one was no exception. She digs deep into their feelings and motivations. Themes of repentance and forgiveness are woven throughout like a silk thread.

Five stars for this romantic offering that reaches into the heart and pulls you in.

Disclaimer: Neither the author nor the publisher paid me for a favorable review. All opinions expressed are mine and mine alone.

Writers:  What type of stories do you craft? Plot driven and/or character driven?

Readers: Do you enjoy books that go beyond surface relationships? Please share.


Friday, May 24, 2019

Writing Tight/POV/Conscience/Devo/Succulents

Writing


1.  Audrey Frank posts at The Write Conversation about the Spiritual Practice of Writing Tight. I highly recommend all writers with newbie or published authors to read this. We can all benefit.

2. Zoe M. McCarthy deals with that sticky Point-of-View issue. How do you stay in a character's point of view? She gives valuable tips in a clear, concise manner.

3.  Breaking Christian News reports on the President's announcement of new "Conscience Protections" for Healthcare Providers.

4.  Michael K. Reynolds encourages us to "Breathe." Are you living at the speed of sound?

5.  I'm really into succulents these days. Their shapes, colors, and easy care are a big draw for me. Hip2BeHome shares some tips on how to make these delightful plants thrive.

Writers:  What do you find confusing about Point of View?

Readers:  How do you keep up with Christian News? Can you recommend a particular site? Please share.

Photo Credit:  BSK

Monday, May 20, 2019

On My Nightstand - A Song Unheard by Roseanna M. White

A Song Unheard (Shadows Over England Book #2) by [White, Roseanna M.]

Willa Forsythe loves music and playing the violin. She's also an accomplished thief. When she's given an assignment to locate a key to unlock coded messages, she's ready for the challenge. Others are also looking for the mysterious key and danger stalks her every move.

Lukas De Wilde is a world renowned violinist. Wounded from his narrow escape from German-dominated Brussels, he's frantic to get news of his family. When he meets Willa, she captivates him with her quick mind and phenomenal talent.

Even while drawn to each other, Willa knows they're on a collision course that will doom the relationship. She must steel herself against getting too close or her family could be destroyed.

I can't believe I let this book sit on my To-Be-Read pile for so long, especially after reading the first book in the series (Shadows Over England). Wow! With my limited reading time, I couldn't wait to get back to this story.

Roseanna M. White knows how to create many-layered characters. The conflict and emotion leaps off the page, leaving one breathless for more. There's no way to guess how things will turn out for these two people.

If you haven't already figured it out, I'm giving this book 5 massive stars. This author is fast becoming one of my favorites.

Disclaimer: I purchased this book on Amazon. Neither the author nor the publisher paid me for a favorable review. As always, all opinions are mine  and mine alone.

Writers and Readers:  Who are some of your favorite Christian Fiction authors? Why?


Friday, May 17, 2019

Purpose/Refuel/Chik-Fil-A/Devo/Pinterest Tip

gasoline nozzle


1.  Newbie alert! Zoe M. McCarthy teaches on characters saying and doing only things that have purpose. Her examples are stellar. Don't miss this learning/refresher opportunity.

2.  Kathleen Rouser posts at Seriously Write about taking time to refuel. One of the things I did when beginning this journey was to give up most of my hobbies. I dabbled at a few here and there, but I devoted all my energies to writing. I soon found myself drained. Check out this post and give yourself the opportunity to refuel.

3.  Breaking Christian News reports that Montana's Attorney General invited Chik-Fil-A to open more restaurants in his state. Other states have openly tried to ban the fast-food giant because of their Biblical values. (I've noticed that many stores do not carry gift cards for this restaurant. The culture wars are real, people!)

4.  Rhonda Rhea, at The Write Conversation, gives a humorous analogy on grace.

5.  I'm always looking for ways to make both cooking and cleaning easier. I found this cleaning hack for the bathtub on Pinterest (of course). One Good Thing shows how Dawn Dish Detergent and a clean broom (a cheapie one from the Dollar Store) can be a game changer for those with aching knees and backs.

P.S. I tried this method with mixed results. Maybe I didn't let the Dawn Dish Detergent sit long enough, but I wasn't overly impressed with how well it cleaned my circa 1950's bathtub. I'll read the article again and give it another go. Let me know how it works for you.

Writers:  What is the most challenging aspect of dialogue for you? Please share.

Readers:  What is your favorite part of reading? The researched items? The dialogue? The storyline? Some other part? Please share your thoughts.

Photo Credit:  Michael Lorenzo

Friday, May 10, 2019

P.R.A.Y./Productive Writer/Persecution in China/Devo/Flowers

allium christophii plants


1.  Being stuck for words is a real bummer. I'm a writer. So how do I get past this? Tammy Karasek posts on this subject at, "The Write Conversation," using the acronym, P.R.A.Y.

2.  Julianna Baggott, at Writer Unboxed talks about three clues to be a productive writer.

3.  Christian Headlines reports on a Chinese official's statement that the government is determined to wipe out Christianity in that nation. As believers, let's remember to pray for our brothers and sisters facing persecution and death.

4.  Edie Melson, at The Write Conversation, talks about learning the difference between her will and God's will.

5.  Last year, I couldn't do any gardening due to a shoulder injury. Now that it's healed and spring is here, I'm ready to plant FLOWERS! I'm thinking of trying some new varieties. Look at these gorgeous alliums on Plant Care Today. They're even my favorite color.

Writers:  What is your secret to being a productive writer?

Readers:  What was your favorite link this week and why?

Photo Credit:  Michael & Christa Richert


Friday, May 3, 2019

Writing Zone/Resolutions?/Pro-Life/Devo/Upcycling


write a note


1.  How do you start the writing journey? I've heard this question multiple times. Edie Melson, at The Write Conversation, asks, "Have You Entered the Writing Zone?" Newbies, you'll find this helpful, and it's a good reminder to those of us who are further along in our journey.

2.  Did you make New Year's resolutions about your writing? How's that going? If you're stuck, Positive Writer gives 7 Writer Hacks.

3.  Faithwire reported in January on Ben Shapiro's address at the March for Life in Washington, D.C. Science shows that life begins at conception. All the arguments for abortion are based on when life matters.

4.  Rhonda Rhea posts at The Write Conversation about Cut and Dry. There are some things you don't want to DIY!

5.  Everyone's into recycling these days. Here are some cool ideas for upcycling milk jugs. The last one caught my attention. I'm always searching for something to use as a saucer under my plants.

Writers:  Did you make any writing resolutions at the beginning of the year? How are you doing?

Readers:  Do you have any upcycling ideas? Please share.

Photo Credit:  Odan Jaeger




Monday, April 29, 2019

On My Nightstand - The Sky Above Us by Sarah Sundin

The Sky Above Us (Sunrise at Normandy Book #2)


Violet Lindstrom longs to serve as a missionary, but a broken engagement and WWII put a damper on those plans. The closest she can come to her heart's desire is joining the Red Cross. There's no way she will allow a romance to get in the way of her calling.

Adler Paxton, a brash but hurting pilot, vows never to love again after a tragedy took his sweet fiancee, Oralee. His focus is on becoming an ace and helping the Allied forces defeat Hitler. The only thing he didn't factor into his equation was a pretty, blond Red Cross gal and his fighter pilot friend, Nick.

The author's research on WWII is impeccable. I marvel at the detail put into this story. The characters are realistic and their growth and the development of relationships make you forget this is fiction.

The Sky Above Us is Book 2 of the Sunrise at Normandy series. I've read many of Sarah Sundin's books and each one gets better. I'm looking forward to the third book.

5 Stars all the way!

Writers:  Have you considered writing historical fiction? If so, what kind of research will you do or have you already done?

Readers:  What time periods are you drawn to in historical fiction? Why?



Friday, April 26, 2019

Writers Conferences/Story/Heaven/Healing Relationships/Yard Sales


Vintage Books


1.  Does it really pay to go to a writers conference? I can answer that with a resounding, "Yes!" Zoe M. McCarthy gives a detailed rundown of the benefits in her post, "Why Spend Money to Attend Writers Conferences."

2.  Beth K. Vogt posts at The Write Conversation about, "It's Important to Tell Our Readers a Story." Sometimes we get so wrapped up in the mechanics of writing that we forget the bottom line: story.

3.  Breaking Christian News reports on a young boy who died three times after being in a horrific traffic accident that killed his father. All three times he went to heaven. He and his mother now share their experiences through GriefShare. We don't have to stay stuck in grief, but we can move forward with our lives.

4.  Michael K. Reynolds writes about "Four Painful Words That Heal Relationships."

5.  It's yard sale season! What are the best and worst items at yard sales? I found this article at Household Tips.thefuntimesguide.com

Writers:  Have you been to a writers conference? Please share your experience whether positive or negative.

Readers:  I went to GriefShare after my husband died. It was during that time I was able to accept that while I missed him, I was still here and God had a plan for my life. What stood out to you when reading the story at Breaking Christian News?

Photo Credit:  Renaude Hatsedakis



Monday, April 22, 2019

On My Kindle - Hazardous Duty by Christy Barritt

Hazardous Duty: Squeaky Clean Mysteries, Book 1: An Amateur Sleuth Mystery and Suspense Series, Christian Fiction by [Barritt, Christy]

Gabby St. Claire's unique job as a crime scene cleaner stirs her curiosity about the murder of a politician's wife. From there, it's one wild and dangerous ride.

This is the first book in a series, so there's a tantalizing ending in relation to her love interest. Christy Barritt is a new-to-me author, and I'm so glad I picked up this book. Her writing voice and these characters sent me into giggles one minute and heart-stopping suspense the next. It's written in first person, and the author did a great job with it.

I could see this book being a great beach read. It's light enough to read in a day and has enough meat to hold your interest throughout.

5 Stars for this delightful tale. I'll be picking up Book 2 in this squeaky-clean series in the near future.

Writers:  Have you ever written something (fiction or non-fiction) in first person? Please share your struggles/joys with using this tense.

Readers:  Do you like reading books written from a first-person perspective? I'd be interested in your thoughts.