Friday, January 18, 2019

BookBub Ads/Realistic Characters/Child Euthanasia/Devo/Meat Loaf w/Bacon

Yellow flower


1.  For those of you who have a book published either traditionally or Indie, check out Anne Janzer's article on BookBub Ads to support your marketing efforts.

2.  Lori Freeland posts at Writers in The Storm regarding character development in your novel. She gives many tips on how to achieve this and bring your book to life.

3.  WND reports that Canada is embracing a culture of death. They are on the verge of passing laws permitting child euthanasia. They've already fully accepted adult euthanasia. This is where the slippery slope leads - the total devaluing of human life.

4.  Robin Lee Hatcher posts at Seriously Write on how to stay with writing for the long haul. The principles can be applied to any pursuit in life, so it's not a "writer only post." I loved the line where she said every one of her books is a book of her heart. I think you'll like this one.

5.  Brr, winter is here in the Northeast. Looking for some comfort food, I came across this recipe at Real Simple for meatloaf with bacon. It sounds good, and maybe I'll even try this one. (I can't begin to tell you how many recipes I clip and never make!) If you try it, please let me know how it comes out.

Writers:  How do you develop your characters? Do you have lengthy profiles or get to know them as you write? Please share.

Readers: What's more important to you: the characters or the plot? Why?

Photo Credit:  Sergey Klemkin


Monday, January 14, 2019

On My Kindle - A Heart's Gift: A Love's Road Home Novel by Lena Nelson Dooley

A Heart’s Gift: A Love’s Road Home Novel by [Dooley, Lena Nelson]

Lorinda Sullivan grew up in an abusive home after her mother died. When she married Mike Sullivan, her life took on new meaning. Her happiness came to an abrupt halt when news of his murder came via a neighbor.

Franklin Vine vowed he'd never give his heart to another woman. It hurt too much when she ran off with his best friend. The plight of the young widow touched his heart. He could help her get on her feet and then move on. Or so he thought...

I've been on Lena Nelson Dooley's blog and seen her around the Net. (The Christian writing community is a small world.) This is the first book I've read by this author.

The main characters were likable, and the touch of mystery added depth to the story. I wish the author had gone a little deeper with the suspense element. All in all, A Heart's Gift kept me engaged. I enjoyed the story, as well as the satisfactory conclusion.

Four starts for this novel.

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


Friday, January 11, 2019

Stumped/Red Flags/Homeschool/Devo/Fudge Recipe

Children's homes

1.  Have you ever been stumped on how to get your character out of trouble? Dr. Richard Mabry shares how he handles this problem. Check out his post at Seriously Write.

2.  Lisa Hall-Wilson gives us red flags for author intrusion in deep pov (point of view). Internal dialogue works only if it feels organic to the reader. This may seem like heavy stuff, but whether you're experienced or a newbie, you can get something out of this article.

3.  Lifesitenews.com reported on a Virginia county that wants to repeal a law allowing homeschooling for religious reasons. Homeschool families have long been under attack. This is just another example.

4.  Lynn J. Simpson has a devotional entitled, "Words Richer Than Gold."

5.  When that chocolate craving hits, you might want to pull out this recipe for fudge. Averie Cooks shares an uncomplicated version to satisfy your sweet tooth or treat the kids in your family.

Writers:  Do you ever get your characters into trouble and then wonder how to rescue them? Please share.

Readers:  Do you collect recipes online? Have you tried any of them? Please share your experience.

Photo Credit:  Jesus Manuel Nieto Bobadilla

Monday, January 7, 2019

Need Another Day!

Hi Everyone -

We've had a rough weekend on the homefront. Sweetie Mom pulled a muscle in her arm and has needed extra help. I've been doing what I can while nursing a migraine. Sometimes life is like that.

For those of you who write, you know how difficult things can become when life hits. If you're not on serious deadline, don't hesitate to put the writing aside for a brief time. If you are on deadline, factor in some downtime in your word count for emergencies.

My regular Friday posts are scheduled and ready to go. I'll need some grace with the Monday posts until my mother is better. Hopefully, I'll be able to keep up once we establish a routine.

Thanks for your understanding,
Susan


Monday, December 24, 2018

Jesus - The Reason For The Season

Nativity


As a child, I enjoyed everything about Christmas and the preparations for it. Lights were put around our living room window, wreaths were hung, cards written, and the biggest thrill of all - putting up the tree.

My mother's stories of how my grandfather made little scenes for under the tree inspired my own efforts. I'd cut people, houses, and winter scenes from old cards and prop them up on the snowy skirt surrounding its base. We also purchased miniature skaters, skiers, and a mirror that became a pond. One year, we found a cardboard village in the Sears catalog and added that to the collection.

There were some things that took center stage. The Nativity Scene which held my interest for hours, bringing to mind the true reason for the season. My mother always had records playing of beloved Christmas Carols. I knew every one of them by heart and probably drove everyone crazy as I belted them out non-stop.

Those early years and non-verbal lessons helped prepare my heart for the experience of knowing Jesus as my Savior. At the tender age of nine, I went to the altar and gave Him my heart and life.

I'll be taking a blog break until Monday, January 7, 2019. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Writers and Readers: I've never forgotten those precious times. How do you bring Jesus into your Christmas celebrations? Please share.

Here's one of my favorite Christmas songs:


Photo Credit:  Debbie Schiel

Friday, December 21, 2018

Non-Verbal/Cool Cat/Inspiring Child/Devo/Conversation Starters

Christmas kitten


1.  Margie Lawson posts at Writers in the Storm on subtext in your writing. Now, don't run for the hills, writers and readers. There's a fun quiz to see how much you know about non-verbal communication.

2.  Both non-fiction and fiction writers often get speaking gigs. Cathy Lamb, at Writers in the Storm, teaches us about "Being a Cool Cat While Making Presentations." I loved her ideas and think you will find them valuable as well.

3.  Faithwire shares the story of a young girl who lost everything in the  California fire. She held a toy drive for needy kids. Don't miss this heartwarming story.

4.  Christian Headlines shares an Instagram post by Joanna Gaines. It's a reminder from her daughter to have childlike faith.

5.  I found this post before Thanksgiving, but thought, "Hey, these questions would work well for Christmas dinners. Chad Allen gives 5 questions that are fun conversation starters.

Writers: Are you also a speaker? If so, how do you keep an audience's attention?

Readers:  Can you think of some dinner conversation starters that won't start a war? Please share.

Photo Credit:  Rachel Kirk

Monday, December 17, 2018

On My Kindle - To The Moon and Back by Kathi Macias

To the Moon and Back by [Macias, Kathi]

Rachel Beckwith cares for her disabled husband, but has a harder and harder time with the simple tasks of life. She becomes more reclusive with every passing day, afraid to venture outside for fear of becoming lost.

Her husband, Pete, blames Rachel for his condition. Bitterness and resentment mark his every interaction with her. He can't understand why she's become so inept at keeping house or taking care of him.

Author Kathi Macias does a masterful job at portraying this family and the challenges they go through dealing with Alzheimer's Disease. Her tender treatment of the relationship dynamics and the hope infused through relationship with the Lord and the community make this especially heart warming.

I highly recommend this book to everyone. Alzheimer's and dementia are  a growing problem in this country as the population ages. The story promotes both understanding and encouragement for those who act as caregivers.

Five Stars!

Disclaimer: I picked up this book on a free promotional day. Neither the author nor the publisher paid me for a favorable review. All opinions expressed, as always, are mine and  mine alone.

Writers:  Have you ever considered/used a character in your stories with a disability? Please share.

Readers: How do you feel about books that deal with real-life i

Friday, December 14, 2018

Writers Block/Editing/Heartbeat Bill/Devo/Reader Gifts

Spiral Bound Notebook 1

1. Tammy Karasek posts at The Write Conversation. Are you having trouble putting words on paper? She has some great suggestions on how to break through it.

2. Barbara Linn Probst gives us an excellent tutorial on how to eliminate unnecessary words from our manuscripts. She also gives examples of when to keep words that show up often. Check out her post at Writer Unboxed.

3. The Ohio House has voted to ban abortions once there is a detectable fetal heartbeat. There are enough votes in the Senate to pass the bill. However, Governor John Kasich has opposed the bill and will not sign it. The President of the Senate is considering holding the vote until the new governor, Mike Dewine, takes office. He has pledged to sign the bill. Check out the article at Breaking Christian News.

4.  Dena Netherton posts about healthy habits, which includes her daily quiet time. I'm always interested in how people like to study the Word.

5.  We've seen a lot of posts on gifts for writers, but what about readers? Besides the obvious gift of books, here are some suggestions at Best Products. (Note: I don't endorse all the products, but 98% are okay.)

Writers and Readers:  What is on your writer or reader Wish List for this Christmas?

Photo Credit: Doctor-a


Monday, December 10, 2018

On My Kindle - Roswell's Secret by Vannetta Chapman



I recently reviewed the first book in this series, Coyote's Revenge. Both of these books come under the heading of, "Thriller." The second book, "Roswell's Secret," follows Agent Dean Dreiser.

He's more than a little perturbed when his boss assigns Dr. Lucinda Brown to work with him on a case of biological attack. He sees her as a newbie agent with zero experience in the field. How is she ever going to help him without getting them both killed? He also didn't figure on her being an attractive Latina, brilliant scientist.

Lucinda Brown is on a mission to prevent a biologic attack. She'd seen close up what it could do to a person. When she's paired with Dean, she views him as the exact kind of person she didn't want to love.

The research that went into this book had to be staggering. Vannetta Chapman sure did her homework, and the results are apparent in the vivid details.

I would have liked to see a stronger spiritual thread. Lucinda had what the author called, "second sight." She would see things before they happened. Other than that and some references to the characters praying (even though they weren't sure they believed), the story was skinny when it came to God being involved. It is a clean read, but did have one mild expletive.

If you're into heart-stopping suspense, this series is a winner. I'm giving it five stars for technical excellence and four stars for story content.

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

Writers:  How involved is God in the life of your characters? How do you strike a balance between making them realistic in their struggles yet strong in their faith?

Readers:  When reading Christian fiction, does it bother you when there's minimal spiritual content? Please share your thoughts.

Friday, December 7, 2018

Tips for Pantsers/Blog Ideas/Archaeological Find/Devo/Peanut Butter Cookies

Keyboard 3


1.  Donna L. H. Smith gives some great tips for non-plotters (or pantsers). If you keep these basic story elements in mind, you can write a novel that will capture the interest of readers.

2.  After blogging for over 10 years, it's sometimes hard to come up with new ideas. Katy Kauffman posts at The Write Conversation about 30 Ideas for a Blog Series.

3.  I'm fascinated by archaeological finds that support the Biblical record. Breaking Israel News reports on an inscription with the full name of Jerusalem.

4.  Sometimes we take this gift of the written word for granted, whether we're writers or readers. Audrey Frank posts at The Write Conversation. My heart melted reading this encouraging devotion. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

5.  Wow, Christmas is right around the corner. Are you ready? I'm getting there. Tomorrow, my friend and I plan to bake cookies. Here's a video recipe for gluten-free, dairy-free peanut butter cookies from Allrecipes.

Writers:  I think Donna L. H. Smith's tips for non-plotters are excellent even if you are a plotter. She goes over basic story elements that are valuable for every writer. Which tip was your favorite and why?

Readers:  Do you have a favorite cookie recipe that you make every year? Please share. (We'd be grateful for a link if it's available on the internet.)

Photo Credit:  Michael Faes

Monday, December 3, 2018

My Writing Process: Looking Through The Eyes of a Pantser

computer keyboard


I'm working on the second book in my newest series. As I wrote the first book, I saw the possibilities for the continuing story. An interesting character and situation grabbed my attention. Ideas began forming and taking shape. As I started, everything seemed fuzzy and I wasn't sure how they'd work out.

I'm still not sure!

You see, I'm what is called, "a pantser." I don't have elaborate outlines, character sheets, or plot points. Instead the story plays out as I write and ask myself:

1.  What if my character's greatest desire is out of his/her reach?
2.  How does he/she overcome the obstacles thrown at them?
3.  And, of course, "God, where do I go from here?"

While I may not have the whole story embedded in my brain, I do have more than an inkling of what I want to communicate. The blurb for the first book is:

"A runaway preacher and a runaway boy discover there's no place like home."

As a writer, there are several things I keep in mind:

1.  No backstory for the first 30 pages or so.
2.  Raise story questions in the reader's mind.
3.  What is the character's goal and what is trying to stop him/her from achieving it?
4.  When is the "big reveal - the story climax?"
5.  What is the takeaway for the reader?

Whether you plot every line or fly by the seat of your pants, writing a novel is:

1.  Exciting
2.  Exhilerating
3.  Exhausting.

Writers:  Whether fiction or non-fiction, what does your writing process look like?

Readers:  What do you consider is the most important element in a story?

Photo Credit:  Shamseer Sureash Kermar

Friday, November 30, 2018

Your Song/Research/Pro-Life/Devo/Christmas Cards

Butterly


1.  This is not the usual writing advice found in this section of Weekend Potpourri. Emme Gannon's post at The Write Conversation resonated with me, and I wanted to share it with all of you. I hope it inspires you as much as it inspired me.

2.  Research is a vital part of writing a book, whether fiction or non-fiction. Dan Koboldt posts at Jane Friedman's blog, giving some examples of research gone wrong. He then provides advice on how to make sure you're information is accurate.

3.  Breaking Christian News highlights the theme of this year's pro-life rally, "Pro-Life Is Pro-Science." This thorough article shows the science behind the pro-life position.

4.  Whatever creative endeavors you enjoy, there comes a time when it seems to die. Take heart as you read Dena Netherton's post, "The Source of the Harvest."

5.  I'm nostalgic for the Christmas celebrations of my childhood. I found this site that offers information on vintage Christmas cards. My mother would collect all the cards and then tape them around the large mirror over our couch. We used any additional cards to decorate the opening between the living room and dining area.

Writers and Readers: Are you sending out Christmas cards this year? Please share.

Photo Credit: Irenels

Monday, November 26, 2018

On My Kindle - Coyote's Revenge by Vannetta Chapman

book cover of Coyote\'s Revenge


Madison Hart takes a job in another state to fulfill a promise made to her dying mother. A harrowing plane ride ends with meeting a mysterious Good Samaritan. While she finds him attractive, his strange disappearances make her wary. He's probably like all the other men she's dated, abandoning her when life gets tough.

Aiden Lewis is a government agent trying to prevent a massive terror attack. His cool head during dangerous situations earned him the nickname, "Iceman." For years, he's tried to make up for his perceived failure to save his father's life. Madison is the first woman to reach his heart. Can he convince her of his love even though his mission must remain a secret?

I've always associated Vanetta Chapman with her Amish novels. When I saw she'd branched out into Romantic Suspense, I decided to give her books a try. Wow! This lady knows how to write an excellent suspense story. After finishing Coyote, I started her second book in the series.

5 Stars for this book - you won't want to put it down.

Writers:  If you write fiction, have you considered tackling another genre? Please share.

Readers:  When one of your favorite authors switches gears and presents a new type of story, do you give it a try? Why? Why not?

Friday, November 23, 2018

Setting/Subtext/China/Dating Advice/Leftovers

food 2


1.  For me, setting is one of the most difficult elements of writing a novel. I came across an excellent article on the Writer's Digest website. It's great for writers at all levels.

2.  Lisa Hall-Wilson writes on, "4 Ways To Replace Dialogue With Subtext." This article gives valuable tips on how to strengthen deep point of view. Newbies, don't be put off by the title. You can master this even as a beginner.

3.  Christian Headlines reports on a crackdown of religious expression in China. 300 Chinese schoolchildren were instructed to fill out a form and specify, "no religion."

4.  Lynn J. Simpson not only provides sound advice on dating, but also shares some of her exquisite photos.

5.  Yesterday was Thanksgiving here in the United States. Many of us enjoy the turkey and stuffing (or dressing, if you prefer to use that term), but how do we make it appetizing day 2, 3, and 4? Food Network  gives some interesting recipes. I particularly like the one with stuffing bites and cranberry pesto. 

Writers:  Which writing article did you find most helpful and why?

Readers:  What special holiday foods were on your Thanksgiving table this year?

Photo Credit:  Elvis Santana

Monday, November 19, 2018

We Gather Together

Thanksgiving Dining Room Table


Growing up, I remember the public school plays we did to celebrate various holidays. For Thanksgiving, we dressed as Pilgrims and Indians and sang songs like, "We Gather Together."  The Word of God was honored and kids grew up knowing right from wrong.

My late husband went into the Navy during the Vietnam era. He recalled the teachers having a Bible on their desk, as well as prayer and the Pledge of Allegiance being a normal start to the day. Even though he wasn't a believer back then, he was shocked at how things had changed when he returned years later. The Bible and prayer had been kicked out of the public schools. He couldn't comprehend how Christians had allowed such a thing to happen.

Today, there's a ray of hope. The Sleeping Giant (believers in Jesus) is finally waking up. They're no longer silent in the public square and exercising their right to vote.

It's time to return to God - each individual and ultimately our nation. Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord.

May you have a blessed Thanksgiving.


Writers and Readers: Do you set aside part of your Thanksgiving celebration to express your gratitude to the Lord? Please share.

Photo Credit: David Sinofksy