Monday, October 20, 2014

We, The People

We treasure freedom of speech. From that platform, we can share all that God has put on our hearts. This isn't about politics or political parties. It's about the very foundation of our country.

We've had unparalleled freedom for over 200 years. Unlike most other countries, we can practice our religious beliefs, share them, and not have to fear retribution from the government. With God's help, our Founding Fathers gave us a Republic - a government by the people and for the people.

Today, most Americans speak of our country as a democracy.  Emphasis is put on our ingenuity, our own efforts, and little recognition that it's God who has made this nation great. We have become proud, independent, and arrogant.

With everything I'm seeing around me, there's a growing sense that we're on a collision course with judgment. We cannot afford to ignore the signs of the times.

Come back to your roots, America. Return to the God of your fathers and to Judeo-Christian values.

Come back. Please. Come back.

Writers: How can we protect the rights we've taken for granted?

Readers:  How can we stand up for freedom? I'd like to hear your opinions on the subject. Let's keep it civil with no personal attacks on individuals/parties.

Photo Credit: freshchje

Friday, October 17, 2014

My Reference Shelf - Writing for Life by Karen Lange - GIVEAWAY!

The Author:  Karen Lange is a homeschool veteran and consultant, freelance writer, editor, and online writing instructor for teens and adults. Her articles appear in parenting, homeschool, and other publications. Homeschool Co-ops 101, her first book, was released in 2013. She and her husband homeschooled their three children for grades K-12 in southern New Jersey. They now live in north central Kentucky where Karen enjoys reading, walking, and playing with her grandson. She is a fan of dark chocolate, hockey, and historical fiction.

The Book:  Write for Life:  Volume One:  Writing the Research Paper 

Find it Here.

This book offers ready to use lessons for grades 7-12 that guide students through the process of writing the research paper. Suitable for homeschool families, co-ops, or other student groups, these eight lessons break down the process from start to finish with helpful instruction, encouragement, and practice.

Lesson topics include:

*  MLA style research paper basics, topics, and sources
*  Thesis statements
*  Outlines
*  Developing content
*  Rough and final drafts
*  Citing sources

My review:

As always, I'm so impressed with Karen's thoroughness and knowledge. The research techniques are valuable not only for doing papers, but also for those writing novels or non-fiction pieces. I wouldn't limit this book to teaching teens.

Karen includes great Time and Stress Saver Tips. All in all, I'm keeping this on my Reference Shelf. It's a great resource.

You can connect with Karen on her Amazon Author Page.
Facebook Author Page:
Twitter:  @KLELange

Giveaway Information:  One winner will receive a $10 Amazon Gift Card and a copy of the Write for Life ebook.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclaimer: The author provided a copy of her book for my honest review. I did not receive any payment. All opinions expressed in the review section of this post are mine alone.

Writers: What topics from your school days would you like to revisit? Please share.

Readers:  Do you purchase how-to books for yourself or your kids? Please share.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Confessions of a Techy-Challenged Author

Formatting. The very word makes me quake. My friends, publisher, and editors all run for the hills when I ask questions about making my manuscript look pretty.

Some of my difficulties included:

1.  Getting solid or broken lines across my pages.
2.  The case of the disappearing header.
3.  Wonky spacing.

What's a techy-challenged writer to do?

1.  Hit the search engines - whatever you use will work. They've steered me to solid answers on how to use my Microsoft 2003 program. (Yes, 2003 - not a typo!)

2.  Ask questions. Someone eventually takes pity on me and unscrambles my brain.

3.  Improvise. With my current WIP, Out of the Mist, I got around the formatting problem by saving a correct document with the next chapter number, deleting the content, and then proceeding to write the new chapter. (Each chapter of my book is initially in separate documents.)

I'm hoping when this manuscript is ready to be sent to my publisher that it will be pristine. Maybe he and the editors will eventually forget my past formatting woes.

Writers:  What areas of formatting trip you up?

Readers: This is more of a plea than a question. When you see a formatting mistake, please extend some grace. This process isn't an easy one, especially for the techy challenged among us.

Photo Credit:  miljan

Friday, October 10, 2014

Internet Variety

My travels landed me on a variety of practical, serious, and funny posts. For your reading pleasure, here are a few of my favorites:

1.  Amanda G. Stevens shares 6 enemies of deep point of view on The Write Conversation. Since I try to incorporate these principles into my own writing, this article was a great help.

2.  Cathy Gohlke shares some of the insights she received during the research for her latest book, Saving Amelie. What she discovered has great relevance to current events in our nation. By the way, if you haven't read this book yet, I highly recommend it.

3.  My friend, Sandie, a.k.a. Chatty Crone, always gives me a chuckle. The captions on her pictures are hilarious and many times thought provoking. I particularly like the one that instructs a man on what a woman's mind is like. :)

Writers and Readers:  Do you like to mix it up when it comes to reading blog posts? What are some of your favorite subjects to read about?

Have a blessed weekend!

Photo Credit:  ba1969

Monday, October 6, 2014

The Spice of Life

While milk is my beverage of choice, I also enjoy a spot of tea from time to time. Growing up, our local grocery store carried basic brands. Today, as with many products, there's a dizzying array of teas. Decisions, decisions.

Someone once said that variety is the spice of life. I like variety, but often get into a rut. Recently, I've tried some new flavors of tea. Green tea - blech. Cross that one off my list! A friend sent me some yummy teas:  Sleepytime Vanilla and Honey Vanilla Chamomile.

If I'm not careful, my writing can get into a rut. Every now and then, I find it helpful to produce something totally different from my work in progress. October 22, 24, and 25th, I'll be guest posting on Shannon Vannatter's blog about my real-life romance. Jotting down these happy memories revved up my creative side and gave me some fresh ideas - like this blog post.

Hmm, what new tea shall I try tonight? Here's a fruit tea sampler. Black Cherry Berry sounds interesting.

Writers:  Do you ever switch it up with your writing? Please share.

Readers: What's your favorite coffee or tea flavor? Have you tried something different lately? Please share.

Photo credit:  ba1969

Friday, October 3, 2014

Abundance on the Internet Trail

Sometimes you hit it just right - like when you go to the store and find the perfect shoes to go with an outfit. This Internet trip yielded an abundance of tips and inspiration. Enjoy!

1.  Elaine Stock hosts author, Joan Leotta. She talks about the magic of writing and gets down to the nitty-gritty of what it takes to be productive.

2.  Recently, Americans remembered the awful events of 9/11. Pamela Christian asks a probing question:  Is a moment of silence enough?

3.  Phyllis Wheeler posts about Five Ways to Compel the Reader Into Your Book. Great tips!

4.  Dena Netherton lists some of her favorite things about fall.

5.  Susan Panzica, at Eternity Cafe, shares a wonderful devotional on taking one step at a time.

Writers and Readers:  What are some of your favorite things about fall?

Photo Credit:  locutusest

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

On My Nightstand - The Dancing Master by Julie Klassen

Alec Valcourt, his mother, and sister move from London to Devonshire after a major setback in their fortunes. As a dancing and fencing master, he's distressed to learn that his chosen profession is prohibited in the village of Beaworthy.

Julia Midwinter, restless and longing for the love of her father, wants nothing more than to escape the confines of Buckleigh Manor and her overprotective mother. The new man in town intrigues her, but he's far below her station in life.

Both discover the loyalty of friends and the value of truth. Julie Klassen creates another Regency Romance that will tug at your heart. Her attention to detail from the period costumes and dances to the local customs add a richness to her books that I appreciate as a reader.

Although I'm not a Jane Austen devotee, Julie Klassen may just convert me!

Disclaimer: Neither the author nor the publisher requested this review or gave me any payment for it. I received the book as a gift from a friend.

Writers and Readers: Did you enjoy Jane Austen's books? Reading them in high school was an ordeal for me, but I'm thinking about re-visiting them. What do you suggest I add to my reading list?

Monday, September 29, 2014

You May Have Noticed...

I'm blogging more about books I've read. While I can't keep up the pace of a book each week, I will also be featuring guest posts and new releases from fellow authors. These posts will show up on Wednesdays, and I hope you'll pop by whenever you have a free moment.

For those of you who are bloggers, please share the features you offer in the comments. I'd love to know what you're up to these days. :)

Have a blessed week!

Photo Credit:  dinny

Friday, September 26, 2014

Finding the Good Stuff

There's a lot of stuff on the Internet, but finding the good stuff is sometimes a challenge. When I discover quality blogs, I subscribe to them or put a link on my own site. Here are some valuable posts I discovered recently:

1.  Getting into a productive routine/mindset is often one of the hardest tasks for a writer. Lynn Blackburn recommends a book and gives some tantalizing tips to jumpstart your writing day.

2.  Dena Netherton talks about the best way to refresh your soul in this noisy world.

3.  I just completed the first draft of my latest novel, so Lisa Carter's guest post about Quick, Down, and Dirty Edits caught my eye.

Writers:  What tricks/tips do you use to boost your productivity?

Readers:  How do you de-compress from this noisy world?

Have a blessed weekend!

Photo Credit:  topfer

THE WINNER OF MARIA MORGAN'S GIVEAWAY:  Congratulations, Terri Tiffany! Maria will contact you to arrange delivery.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

On My Nightstand - Rebellious Heart by Jody Hedlund

Susanna Smith, daughter of a minister, and endowed with a quick mind and sharper wit, faces a challenge to everything she's ever known. Will she choose the safe path or stand up for those less fortunate.

Ben Ross is a firebrand lawyer. His passion for justice and his attraction to the beautiful Susanna send him into serious turmoil. Her traditional views and loyalties endanger his cause, but he notices something special about her: she's not afraid to speak her mind or consider the facts.

Jody Hedlund once again gives us a wonderful tale of romance, danger, and suspense. I loved the timeframe of the pre-Revolutionary War period and the birth pangs of a new nation. At the end of the book, she noted this story was loosely based on letters between Abigail and John Adams.

Five stars for this one!

Disclaimer:  Neither the author nor the publisher requested a review or gave me any money for it. I received the book as a gift, and all opinions, as always, are mine alone.

Writers and  Readers:  Have you read any of Jody's books? Which one is your favorite?


Monday, September 22, 2014

Reality Check

A few weeks ago, I completed the first draft of my latest novel, Out of the Mist!

After the initial jubilation, the next phase hit me between the eyes. Ah yes, EDITING. It's where I find all those nasty little gremlins that typed, "job" instead of "jog," and "there" instead of "their."

I already know that my memory failed me on one of the character names. Poor Josiah became Jared. Thank God, for Search and Replace in Word.

Several scenes are already screaming at me for re-writes. Some I could condense, while others need more detail. There are a few questions I forgot to answer and another name change issue.

Seat-of-the-Pants writing is the way to go for me, but does present some difficulties. I'm sure plotters would have all their characters lined up in a neat row with their histories, their likes and dislikes, and, of course, their names. I've never been good at that sort of thing, so I have to do a bit more editing than the average writer.

I've printed out my pages, sent an email copy to a critique partner, and I'm ready to dive in. Now, the real work begins.

Writers:  What is the toughest aspect of editing for you? How do you handle it?

Readers:  Can you guess how long it takes me to write 1,000 words (on average)?

Photo Credit: sri grafix


Friday, September 19, 2014

Here We Go Again!

Stretch those hamstring muscles. Put on those running shoes, and let's get on the Internet Road.

1.  Jody Hedlund writes historical romances. She addresses the question of how important talent is in reaching success as a writer.

2.  Jean Fischer, from Something To Write Home About, gives an encouraging word to writers waving bye-bye to their youth.

3.  Martha, at Martha's Favorites, calls herself, "A Serial Collector." She loves teacups, which I also enjoy. This post shows some of her recent finds. Unfortunately, the giveaway is probably over by now, but I thought you might like to explore her website.

Writers and Readers:  Which link was your favorite this week and why?

Photo Credit:  MEJones

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Louie's Big Day by Maria Morgan - Giveaway!

Please welcome my friend and fellow blogger, Maria Morgan, to Christian Writer/Reader Connection. Here's the story of her delightful children's book. Giveaway!

Do you remember when you were really young? Were you afraid you would have a hard time making friends? Maybe you were anxious about trying out for the soccer team. You might have been concerned you wouldn’t be invited to a classmate’s birthday party.
It doesn’t matter how old you are, we all face fears. The question is whether we let those fears prevent us from doing what we were made to do – or we persevere in spite of them.
Passing along truth
The Lord has a purpose and plan for each person He has created. And part of His plan includes relationships with others.
It’s never too early to begin teaching our children biblical truths like these. Here’s how Moses put it:
And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. Deuteronomy 6:7
A fun option
Teaching godly truths can be done throughout the day in a variety of ways. If you enjoy reading to your kids, my new children’s book, Louie’s BIG day! will help you convey these concepts through a fun storyline:
Louie is a bright red lawnmower who used to live at the hardware store with his friends: Ruthie Rake, Eddie Edger, Bobbie Blower, Terri Trowel, and Henri Hose. Recently he was purchased by a man and his wife and now he’s on his own.
Louie misses his friends, but it’s time to find out if he can do the job he was made to do. Join Louie for his BIG adventure and discover the surprise that awaits him at the end of the day!
Louie the Lawnmower series
The first in the Louie the Lawnmower book series, Louie’s BIG day! wraps up with questions to engage you and your child in conversation and help you re-emphasize biblical truths.
Louie even has his own website where you can download a free copy of the audio version of Louie’s BIG day! Louie’s adventures are just getting started. Keep your eyes open for the second book in the Louie the Lawnmower series: Louie & the Leaf Pile, due out later this year!

About the author
Maria I. Morgan was born with an active imagination that shows up in her endearing 
stories for children. Originally an inspirational author and speaker for adults, Maria has 
widened her circle to include kids. She lives in the muggy South with her husband, two 
retrievers, and two Maine Coon kitties – the perfect mix to fuel her creativity for years to 
(You can find her devotionals and download a free copy of her eBook, God Speaking, at 
Connect with the author:
Connect with Louie:
Giveaway! Leave a comment with your email address (required). Must be a U.S. resident and follower of this blog. Deadline: September 25, 2014, midnight. Winner to be announced September 26, 2014. Void where prohibited.
Disclaimer: I did not receive any payment for this recommendation/post. The author provided a pdf copy of her book for my unbiased review. 

Monday, September 15, 2014

On the Fast Track

When I appeared at the ER several years ago with a broken elbow and a face that was rapidly turning purple, the triage nurse put me on "the fast track." They whisked me off to X-Ray and into an examination room, bypassing the crowded waiting area.

I've often thought there should be a fast track for writers and championship readers. Get those two together without delay. Skip all the usual publication boards, print that baby out, and hand deliver it to the reader.

Ah, but that's not the way it works, is it? We must jump through the hoops, dot all our i's and cross all our t's. It took The Moses Conspiracy eight long years to reach the reader's hands. The process is long and arduous, but it gives us time - time to hone our craft, polish that story until it shines, and appreciate the opportunities we're given.

The fast track doesn't always end up being fast. After patching me up, they sent me home to wait for the swelling to go down. Surgery, occupational therapy, and a long recovery followed.

Hmm, maybe the fast track for writers and championship readers isn't a good idea after all.

Writers and Readers:  Has the fast track ever turned into a less than pleasant experience for you when it comes to writing and reading? Please share.

Photo Credit:  Bubbels

Friday, September 12, 2014

Hitting the Internet Highway

1.  Bruce Brady, at The Write Conversation, asks whether it's better to outline or not outline. Hmm, it seems like I've heard people argue about this one. See what he says about the matter.

2.  A government agency rewriting your pastor's sermon? Impossible? Think again. World Net Daily reports on the IRS' intentions to interfere with religious expression. We are truly living in the end times.

3.  Do you need some fun? Check out my friend Sandie's blog, Chatty Crone. She does a regular feature called, "Fun Friday With A Little Help From My Friends."

Have a blessed week!

Writers and Readers: Can you suggest some blogs you'd like to see me visit on my next Internet Road Trip?

Photo Credit:  svilen001