Friday, October 20, 2017

Query Letters/Reviews/Rainbow/Devo/Recipe


1.  Writing query letters is right up there with the synopsis and book proposal in the dread factor. Jennifer Slattery guest posts at Zoe M. McCarthy's blog and gives some valuable tips on crafting a dynamite query letter.

2.  If you've put your novel or non-fiction baby out into the world, you'll eventually face the inevitable one-star review. Writer Unboxed shares the top two reasons a reader will leave a bad review.

3.  Anyone who has read the story of Noah and the Ark knows what the rainbow means. God put it in the sky after the great flood as a covenant never to destroy the earth again in this manner. To restore the original meaning of the rainbow, the ministry that owns the replica of Noah's Ark has lit it in these colors. Check out this article on Breaking Christian News.

4.  Susan Panzica talks about being a bride and relates it to us as the Bride of Christ. Don't miss this lovely analogy.

5.  Ooo, I want to try these Blueberry Galettes. They look yummy and easy. Check out the recipe at JoCooks.

Writers:  How do you process negative reviews?


Readers:  What did you think of the article on reasons for negative reviews? Do you have a policy when it comes to reviewing books?

Photo Credit:  zenek brzeszcz

Monday, October 16, 2017

How To Promote Without Being Obnoxious


We've all seen it:

1.  The author who turns their website or blog into a giant advertisement.

2.  A social media post for their book every waking minute of the day.

3.  Conversations somehow include the title of their newest book.

Advertisers are getting the message about soft selling their products. They engage a viewer/reader with a story and characters that make us laugh, show rather than tell the advantages of an item, and hold our attention.

While some writers avoid all mention of their work, the fact remains: marketing is necessary to make people aware of our offerings. How do we accomplish this without alienating the folks we want to reach?

1.  Name recognition is an important factor. By participating on social media, people are getting to know you as a person.

2.  Back in the day, I followed the local baseball team. One of the things that made the games exciting was knowing about the individual players, their families, and their careers. The same is true for writers. People like to know how we started this journey and what influenced us.

3.  Along with number two above, readers want to be able to relate to authors. They want to know we care about them as individuals and not a cha-ching of the cash register.

Be friendly, be nice, and be real!

Writers:  What are some of the ways you promote your books?

Readers:  What do you want to know about your favorite authors and writers?

Photo Credit:  Jamie Harris

Friday, October 13, 2017

Journaling/Obstacle?/Pro-Life/Writer Quote/Recipes


1.  Positive Writer continues with a post on Creative Journaling. It's geared toward novel writers, but I can see how it would be valuable to non-fiction writers. Readers: How about experimenting with this to help you write book reviews or just for fun?

2.  As writers, we've come up against detours toward publication. Kathryn Craft guest blogs at Writers in The Storm and examines the question, "Obstacle or Opportunity." It made me look at some non-writing offers in a different way.

3.   Missouri's governor recently signed a sweeping pro-life bill into law. One feature is that pregnancy centers will not be forced to counsel about abortion. Read the entire article at Christian Headlines.

4.   Edie Melson, at The Write Conversation, posted a Nathaniel Hawthorne quote for writers.

5.  Do you want some new recipes for the holidays? Why not give some of these a test run? Check out My Incredible Recipes.

Writers:  How do you handle opportunities that may not fit into your writer goals at this time, but could reap dividends down the road?


Readers:  What did you think of the quote for writers? Do you agree or disagree?

Photo Credit:  Justine FG

Monday, October 9, 2017

On My Kindle - Whitewashed by Amy C. Blake


Patience McDonough's plans for a perfect summer at Verity College get off to a rocky start and go downhill from there. She turned down full scholarships to Ivy League colleges because of a decision she made as a child.

She's dismayed not only at the emphasis on the sports program, but also on her grandfather's obsession with getting rid of the college president. Her work assignment turns into a nightmare as strange happenings crowd her days.

Although her name is, "Patience," she struggles to exhibit that trait. Yet, it's evident she desires to do the right thing and please God. Will her lack of patience be her downfall or will mercy and grace pull her out of a truly scary situation?

Amy C. Blake is a new-to-me author. The book started off a bit slow for me but soon picked up the pace. The unfolding mystery and potential love interest kept me engaged. A few red herrings made me wonder if I had the right villains nailed. She pulled off an exciting climax and a satisfying ending.

This book is suitable for the YA crowd, as well  as adults. I'm giving Whitewashed 5 Stars for story content and 4 for execution.

Disclaimer:  I received this book as part of a free promotion on Amazon. Neither the author nor the publisher gave this reviewer any remuneration for a favorable score. All opinions expressed, as always, are mine and mine alone.

Writers:  Have you ever focused on a character's struggle with a negative trait such as impatience? Please share.


Readers:  Have you read any YA (young adult) books? Do they interest you or do you find them too simple for your tastes?

Friday, October 6, 2017

Journaling/Marketing/Shocking Proposal/Impossibilities/Purple


1.  Nicole Gulotta, at Positive Writer, talks about 5 Very Effective Journaling Methods. If you've journaled in the past but stalled out, you might find her suggestions helpful.

2.  Marketing is a key part of an author's job these days. Zoe M. McCarthy shares some of the things she did to prepare for her first book launch and what she's doing for the second book.

3.  Newsmax reports on a Chicago professor's shocking proposal: Kill Deformed Newborns. Is it really so surprising this step from abortion to infanticide?

4.  Adelee Russell, at Rewritten, talks about God making a way when it seems impossible.

5.  I have a love for the color purple. I'm drawn to clothing, decor, and flowers in its various hues. Susan, at Writing Straight From the Heart, talked about her father's lavender irises. By the way, she has some really fun blog links on her sidebar.

Writers:  Do you journal? How do you go about it?

Readers:  What's your favorite color? Do you use it for clothing, decor, and plants? Please share.

Photo Credit:  vada0214

Monday, October 2, 2017

The Writer's Handbag

I tried. Really. Downsizing a purse is akin to squeezing my feet into size five shoes. Perhaps you'll have a bit of sympathy after you hear my story.

Once upon a time, yours truly threw out her back - that nasty sciatic nerve thingy. My chiropractor lifted my handbag and glared at me. "This is part of your problem." While my back cried for relief, my mind screamed, "Nooooo, not my purse!"

Many of my friends carry something the size of a credit card, but not me. Where would I put my driving glasses, reading glasses, the extra pairs of said glasses, my wallet (which qualifies as a mini purse by itself), my car and house keys, the extra set of each, assorted aspirin, cough drops, hard candy (for that dry throat), tissues, my smartphone, my digital camera (yes, I still use one), my Kindle, my notebook for church, and an assortment of odds and ends that would fill this page. Whew! Let me catch my breath.

Around Christmas, Sweetie Mom and I trekked through the mall, using her walker to carry our heavy purses. This worked great until I needed to go shopping for her Christmas gifts. Without the walker, that 15-pound monster threatened to double me over.

A brilliant idea struck me at that moment (did you hear the angels singing?). Carry a lighter version and put the remainder of the items in another bag. The tote could stay in the trunk when the contents weren't required, and the essentials could stay with me.

What I didn't count on was the tote bag acting like a bigger closet or an extra room in a house. More space? Fill it up. An umbrella, a sweater, a paperback book, a water bottle, an extra pair of shoes...you get the picture.

The recent addition of a tablet (the computer kind) now rests in the tote bag. If one of my characters gets chatty, I can whip it out and jot some notes.

I'm now lugging around a purse AND a tote bag (because I need everything in it). What's a girl to do?

Writing Gals:  Do you carry around more writing gadgets, etc. since you started on this journey?

Reader Gals:  Do you carry books with you? How do you keep your purse from becoming your home away from home? I need serious help here.


Hat tip to my blogger buddy, Rhonda Schrock, who adds a whole other dimension to this issue with a husband an four sons. Check out her post.

Photo Credit:  Brano Hudak

Friday, September 29, 2017

Mystery/Facebook/Creation Scientist/Devo/Recipe


1.  Heather Webb guest posts at Writer Unboxed. How do you keep someone reading? She says, "Every good book is a mystery even when it's not."

2.  Do you need suggestions on how to optimize your time on Facebook? Kathleen Gage talks about engagement and how to develop a following.

3.  Breaking Christian News reports the National Park Service has reversed its decision and will allow a creation scientist to study the Grand Canyon.

4.  Rhonda Rhea, at The Write Conversation, shares her thoughts on "Unforgetting." Yeah, that grabbed my attention as well.

5.  I saw this recipe for Chocolate Brownie Cake. You KNOW I had to share it. Enjoy!

Writers:  How much time do you spend on Facebook or other social media platforms? Do you have a plan or just wing it? Please share your thoughts.


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

Photo Credit:  Melodi2

Monday, September 25, 2017

On My Kindle - Healing Love by Jennifer Slattery


Brooke's dream of becoming a news anchor is a step away from fulfillment. So, why isn't she turning cartwheels? When her sister, Aubrey, begs her to go on a mission's trip to El Salvador, she envisions all kinds of disasters.

Ubaldo agrees to translate for another American mission's team. Past experiences have left him skeptical of their motives. They'll probably make promises they won't keep and break the orphans' hearts.

I can't say enough good things about this book. Jennifer Slattery is a new-to-me author, and I'm so glad I finally read one of her stories. Her skill drew me into the  lives of Brooke, Ubaldo, and the orphans. Their hopes for the future, fears, and growth as people inspired me.

Five Stars all the way!

Disclaimer: I can't recall how I got this book. I believe it was a freebie. Neither the author nor the publisher paid me to give a review. The opinions expressed here are mine and mine alone.

Writers:  This book managed to capture me and turn off any internal editor. When was the last time you read a book for pure enjoyment? Title/Author? I'd love to hear about it.

Readers:  Do you enjoy books that take place in another country? What are some of your favorite titles?


Friday, September 22, 2017

Foil in Fiction/Permissions/Pro-Life/Tree Lessons/Boredom



1.  Zoe M. McCarthy talks about a foil in fiction - a character who emphasizes the protagonist's qualities. Check out this excellent article.

2.  Jane Friedman talks about Permissions and Fair Use. When is it okay to directly quote, excerpt, or reproduce someone else's work in your own writing?

3. Christian Headlines reports that the Oregon State House killed a bill that would have allowed mentally ill patients to be dehydrated and starved to death. Fortunately, strong pro-life members fought it and won. When we dehumanize the unborn, that attitude will extend to other "inconvenient" people like those with disabilities and the elderly.

4. Lynn Simpson shares the lessons of trees in a recent blog post. What a great analogy!

5. It's midsummer, and the excitement of summer break is wearing thin for both parents and kids. Here are some suggestions to fight boredom compliments of Wiki-How.

Writers:  Have you used a secondary character to highlight the good points of your protagonist? Please share.

Readers:  What are some activities you use to combat your kids'/grandkids' boredom?

Photo Credit:  Eric Pseja


Monday, September 18, 2017

I'm Back!


Blogging can drain the life out of you. I've had to rethink how I manage this task.

My buddy, Karen Lange, over at Write Now, gave me some wise advice. (Thank you, Karen!)
Instead of three posts per week, I'm cutting back to two. The Monday posts will be a mix of book reviews, writerly thoughts, and some devotionals. I'll continue sharing links on Friday.

What would you like to see here? After all, this blog is about connecting the dots between writers and readers. Now that's a catchy phrase - connecting the dots between writers and readers. I'll be adding it to my header soon.

I'm looking forward to a fresh start.

Writers and Readers:  What changes have you made in your lives to spark your creativity/interests?

Photo Credit:  Janusz Hylinski

Saturday, September 9, 2017

We Interrupt This Blog Break...



I'm guest posting at Elaine Stock's blog from 9/8 - 9/15/17! GIVEAWAY.

God has a plan for us - a good one. I hope you'll stop by and comment.


Friday, July 28, 2017

Dual Timeframe/Chapters/Former Terrorist/Defeating Fear/Re-Purpose


1.  I saw the phrase, "dual timeframe book," the other day. I did a search and found this article by K. M. Weiland. It's a technique I've seen in a few books and thought you might want to give it a try.

2.  Greer Macallister guest posts at Writers in the Storm on, "The Art of Chapter." She gives spot-on advice regarding length, powerful opening sentences, and the need for mini-closure for the reader.

3.  Julianne Hale wrote a novel based on the real-life transformation of a former terrorist. This is a perfect example of how fiction can impact and inform readers. Check out this article at Christian Headlines.

4.  Lynn J. Simpson posted, "The Call - Part 2 - The Present." It spoke to my heart.

5.  Susan, at Writing Straight From the Heart, talks about new uses for old things. Hmm, what can I do with some of the stuff I have around my house?

Writers:  How do manage your chapters? Do you have a particular plan you follow?

Readers:  Have you ever re-purposed an item in your house? Please share.

Photo Credit:  Mario Alberto Magallanes Trejo

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

On My Nightstand - Come to the Table by Neta Jackson


Come to the Table is the second book in Neta Jackson's new SouledOut Sisters series. She introduces new characters to the cast from her previous books.

Kathryn "Kat" Davies and her friend, Nick, are the focus of this book. Both get involved in SouledOut Community Church. Nick is doing his internship as a pastor, while Kat desires to feed the hungry.

I always enjoy Neta's characters. They're so realistic you almost want to visit their Chicago neighborhood and pop in for a cup of tea and a friendly chat. The love story adds a sweet touch to their growth as believers.

Five stars for Come to the Table. If you like character-driven novels, you'll love all her books.

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

Writers:  How do you make your characters unique and interesting?

Readers:  Do you like books with a large cast of characters or do you find it confusing? Please share.


Monday, July 24, 2017

Summer Fun


Unlike last year, I'm enjoying the summer. My flowers provide a splash of color, making me smile every time I look at them. Neighbors hang out on their porches or in their backyards and chat. Being outdoors is the order of the day.

My heart simply wants to drink in the beauty of God's creation and share the lives of the people I love. I need to regroup and be refreshed. After the post on July 28th, I'll be taking a break until Monday, September 18, 2017.

Have a wonderful summer!

Writers and Readers:  What are you doing for fun this summer?

Photo Credit:  Aki_fukaki




Friday, July 21, 2017

Settings/Parallelism/Prayer/The Call/Glass Blowing


1.  Creating settings challenge me. When I saw this article at Writers in the Storm, I jumped on it. Tasha Seegmiller gives some excellent advice.

2.  Zoe M. McCarthy talks about Faulty Parallelism. Yes, that's a mouthful, but it's simple to fix.

3.  Breaking Christian Headlines ran an article on Science and Prayer by Dr. Don Colbert. Did you know that folks who pray for as little as 30 seconds a day, acknowledging God and giving thanks for their blessings see a powerful effect on their mind, body, and spirit?

4.  Lynn Simpson shares The Call on her life and relates it to Abraham. I especially liked the part about Abraham being 75 years old at the time God told him to leave his country and all he knew.

5.  A post at Colonial Quills caught my attention because my cousin is a glass artist. Author Jennifer Hudson Taylor shared, "The Art of Glass Blowing at the Jamestown Colony." If you're a history buff, you'll enjoy this fascinating story.

Writers:  What part of writing is difficult for you? Setting? Characterization? Dialogue or some other facet?

Readers:  What effects has prayer had on your physical body?

Photo Credit:  Wrhoana R.