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.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

On My Nightstand - The Shadow of Your Smile by Susan May Warren


Noelle and Eli Hueston deal with their grief and lose their relationship in the process. An accident causes her to lose all memories of the last 25 years. She struggles to relate to the man and the children that say she's their wife and mother.

Eli sees this as an opportunity to repair their marriage and be the kind of husband Noelle needs. As she discovers pieces of the past, will it destroy their new beginning or will they deal with the problems the right way - together?

Susan May Warren once again nails the story. She's not one to offer platitudes or gloss over problems. The situations are real-life, and I could relate to the characters' struggles.

This is a Deep Haven novel and well worth your time and money. 5 Stars!

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

Writers:  Do you tackle difficult relationship issues in your writing? Please share.

Readers:  What is your opinion of Christian Fiction? Do you relate to the various themes? Please share.




Monday, July 17, 2017

Ebooks vs. Print - Fast Food or Fine Dining?


Sweetie Mom and I grab our purses and fly out the door when an opportunity to eat out comes along. To a great extent, our level of enthusiasm depends on where we're going. Friday night means Wendy's. We've become regulars, and the staff knows us. It's fun when they plug in my name for the order without asking who I am.

A special dining experience for a birthday, Mother's Day, or to use a gift card (love gift cards!) results in discussions on what to wear, as well as what to eat. Certain restaurants have menu items that make us salivate thinking about them. I'm not a fan of sweet potatoes, but drowning a baked one in honey butter and maple syrup makes me swoon.

Reading an ebook or a print book are like selecting between fast food or casual/fine dining. Lately, I've been reading a lot of books on my Kindle Paperwhite. The last two books I've read, however, are print versions. Here are some of the pros and cons of each:

1.  Fast food places don't require a lot of thought, while other restaurants take more planning. A print book takes up a lot of space, while you can carry around hundreds of books in a Kindle or other e-reader.

2.  Seeing the percentage finished in an ebook doesn't give the same perception as looking where your bookmark sits in a print version. Like fast food, there isn't the savoring of the overall experience.

3.  With an ebook, I sometimes forget the title and/or author of the book I'm reading because it's not on every page. With a print book, I see the title and author. They become linked with the story in my brain because of the repetition. The ambiance of a more formal restaurant creates a memory not easily forgotten.

4.  When I order an ebook, there's no waiting. Zap! It's in my Kindle in a flash. By the time my print books arrive, I've sometimes forgotten what I ordered. The positive side is the excitement of opening a box of books. Fast food is - fast. When you're hungry and you've got a ton or errands, it's the way to go. Casual/fine dining takes planning and more time.

5.  The cost factor plays a big part in this equation. I can afford a lot more ebooks than print books, and the way I blast through them that's a big deal. Library, you say? Our local library doesn't have the kind of selection I can find online. Fast food restaurants don't cost as much as casual/fine dining. I can go there once a week, but my purse can't handle higher-end eateries that often.

So what do I prefer? I love the whole print book experience. The ebook is an economical and convenient choice. It depends on what I need at any given time.

Writers and Readers:  What are your preferences and why?

Photo Credit:  Susan J. Reinhardt

Friday, July 14, 2017

Description/Blogging/China/Motivation/Dispose


1. Les Edgerton posts at Writers in the Storm about character descriptions and the lack thereof. I'll have to pay closer attention to this when I'm reading a book.

2. Wow! The Write Conversation has a super post on 7 Things to Remember When You Host a Guest on Your Blog. For anyone who blogs, this is a keeper.

3.  Christian Headlines brings us an interesting article on the state of religion in China.

4.  How do you handle disappointment? Andy Lee shares her mother's wisdom on the subject.

5.  Do you want to get rid of some stuff, but don't know how to dispose of it? I discovered this post that will tell you.

Writers:  How do you handle character descriptions in your writing?

Readers:  Do you like detailed character descriptions? Why? Why not?

Photo Credit:  Ned Horton



Wednesday, July 12, 2017

On My Nightstand - The Air We Breathe by Christa Parrish


Molly Fisk cannot bear to go outside. She views the world from the windows of the wax museum she  and her mother run for a local businessman.

Although she longs to be free from the fears that hold her prisoner, it seems impossible. Even the handsome young man, Tobias, can't break through her fears and coax her outside. One day, a woman arrives at the museum with her family. It's the beginning of a new life for Molly.

Christa's books have a depth that's rare in most fiction. She digs deep into her characters' innermost thoughts and motivations. I ached for the terrified little girl, closed off from the world around her. I grieved with the woman, who filled her life with crossword puzzles and avoided love. This story got inside of me.

5 Stars all the way. This book and any of Christa Parrish's books are highly recommended.

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

Writers:  How do you get inside your characters' hearts and heads?

Readers:  What's more important to you: characters or story? Or both? Please share.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Built-In or Add-Ons?


Houses that have built-in bookcases or cabinets attract me. They're a permanent part of the architecture. Sure you can add on these things with free-standing items, but there's something special about the seamless construction of built-in units.

We're a lot like houses. God builds into each person certain gifts, so they can fulfill their purpose in life. They're not add-ons or after thoughts. No, they are original construction and essential to the structure. Whether or not we discover our purpose or use those gifts properly, they are part of us.

We recently had a special speaker at church. He'd done numerous things in life, but he always ended up teaching others. He pointed out God put leadership within Joseph. He had charge of Potipher's household, then the prison, and finally the entire nation of Egypt. No matter what you do or where you go, your gifts will help point you to your purpose.

Gifts are not your purpose but rather the equipment to fulfill your destiny. Joseph didn't learn how to lead, it was part of him. Yes, he still had to do the work, but it brought satisfaction and joy.

Throughout my life, writing and teaching have popped up wherever I go. Operating in God's purpose has never been easy. The enemy of our souls will do everything to stop us from succeeding. Paul often became discouraged, but he was following God's plan for his life.

Whether you're a writer or a reader, ask God to show you His plans and purpose. Are you a whiz at organization? Are you an encourager? Does writing seem as important as breathing? He wants you to know why He gave you these gifts.

Writers and Readers:  What are some of the gifts God has built into you?

Photo Credit:  Iraine

Special thanks to Pastor Noel Willis for inspiring this post.






Friday, July 7, 2017

Writing a Book/Excuses/Abortion Ban Upheld/Fear/Summer Decor


1.  I hear so many people say they want to write a book someday. Jerry Jenkins (of the Left Behind Series fame) tells us how to write a book in 20 steps. So, what are you waiting for?

2.  While looking at the previous article, I spotted this one: 7 Really Bad Excuses for Putting Off Writing Your Book. I think there's a theme in this week's links. Perhaps someone out there is struggling.

3.  Breaking Christian News reports on Iowa's 20-week abortion ban being upheld by the court.

4.  Beth K. Vogt posts at The Write Conversation on "Lose the Fear." For anyone with a creative bent, whether writing or some other area, fear can kill our dreams.

5.  Better Homes and Gardens has a slide show with tips on how to brighten your house for summer. Even if you don't use their exact ideas, it might jumpstart your own creative juices.

Writers:  If I had a dollar for everyone who told me they wanted to write a book someday, I might not be a millionaire but I'd sure have plenty in my piggy bank. Are you a "someday" person or have people said this to you?

Readers:  Do you love writing, photography, painting, or some other creative activity? Are you pursuing it or putting it off into the future? Please share.


Photo Credit:  Kia Abell

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

On My Kindle - Swept Into Destiny by Catherine Ulrich Brakefield


Maggie Gatlan, the quintessential southern belle, meets Ben McConnell, an Irish immigrant. She's fascinated by his view of life and loyalty.

When the Civil War breaks out, Ben fights for the Union. Maggie's people hold fast to the standard of the Confederacy. After the war, will they be able to find common ground?

This intricate story had a strong spiritual theme running throughout, as well as some thoughtful ideas regarding unity versus division. The parallel to what's going on today in the U.S. is worth noting.

I would have liked the villain to have even one redeeming quality, maybe even a change of heart toward the end. He seemed devoid of any humanity or caring.

I'm giving this book 5 Stars for story content.

Disclaimer:  The author provided an ARC for my unbiased review. All opinions, as always, are mine and mine alone.

Writers:  How do you keep your characters from being totally good or totally evil?

Readers:  Do you enjoy stories set in the Civil War era? What's one of your favorites?


Monday, July 3, 2017

Newbie Corner - The Writing Pool


When most people begin writing, they have an idea they want to get on paper. Funny stories about their kids, devotionals, stories, news items, promoting others, technical knowledge all serve to set off the writing itch.

Here are some categories of writers:

1. Non-fiction - Whether you write articles, books, or blog, this can relate to ministry subjects, how to do something, biographies, memoir or various other topics pertinent to life.

2. Fiction - Storytellers spin their yarns in various genres. Romance is by far the most popular. Other areas include Amish, Science Fiction, Suspense/Thriller, Mystery, Fantasy, etc. There are many sub-genres as well such as Historical Romance and Romantic Suspense.

3.  Journalism - Newspapers, TV, radio, the Internet can all be outlets for this type of writing. This type of writing generally focuses on current events.

4.  Freelance - The Freelance Writer can encompass all these categories. I know people who will be working on a devotional one month and a novel the next.

5.  Ghost Writers - These folks write books for other people, many times celebrities or ministry leaders, who lack the time and/or ability to write their own. Depending on their contract, their names may or may not be on the book.

6.  Technical Writers - These folks write textbooks, tests, technical manuals, etc. They usually have expertise in a specific field.

7.  Bloggers - Yes, bloggers are writers. :) They usually write about topics of interest to them. This blog is called, Christian Writer/Reader Connection. I enjoy encouraging writers, reviewing books, and pointing out blog posts that might appeal to both writers and readers. I connect the dots between the writer and the reader. Since I write Christian Fiction, this is the audience I serve.

8.  Advertising Copy - With the demands of running a business, many people turn to writers who specialize in this area. A friend writes blog posts and handles social media interaction for a neighborhood store. There are also writers who work for big ad agencies and write commercials/advertising copy for TV, magazines, and radio.

This is by no means an exhaustive list, but will give you a skeleton to identify your interests. I recommend searching these categories on the Internet.

Writers:  What is your writing specialty?

Readers:  Have you considered dipping your toe into the writing pool?

Photo Credit:  Joanie Cahill

Friday, June 30, 2017

Wordiness/Workout Writer/Adoption/Motivation/Summer Fun


1.  Is your writing plagued by wordiness? Zoe M. McCarthy gives concrete examples of how to correct this, but also shows times when it's appropriate.

2.  Katherine Magendie guest posts at Writer Unboxed about the Workout Writer:  Perceived Weakness. Warning: This is not a Christian site, and there is some mild language. However, the advice was so good that I decided to include the link here.

3.  I'm a big supporter of adoption. When I was younger, I considered single-parent adoption, but it wasn't as common or easy as it is today. When my husband and I married, we looked into adoption, but our combined ages ended our hopes.

Breaking Christian News shares the heartwarming story of seven siblings adopted from foster care by a Georgia couple. It brought a smile to my face, and I hope it blesses you as well.

4. Fellow-blogger, Dena Netherton, wrote a post on Slugs and Motivation. I'm pressing on. How about you?

5.  I came across this list of 50 Fun Summer Activities on Real Simple. Picking berries attracted me right away. I'll have to see if there are any berry farms in my neck of the woods.

Writers:  Do you allow your perceived writing weaknesses to stifle the creative flow? How do you overcome negative self-talk?

Readers:  What fun activities are you planning for the summer besides reading?  :)

Photo Credit:  William Stadler