Friday, July 13, 2018

Weasel Words/Romantic Hero/Archaeology/Devotion/Plain People


Amish


1.  One lesson drilled into writers involves banishing "weasel words" from their work in progress. Zoe M. McCarthy addresses the use of one of these words, "just." Is it always bad?

2.  Donna L.H. Smith gives tips on getting inside the romantic hero's head. If you're writing a romance, you'll want to read this post.

3.  Breaking Christian News reports on an archaeologist in Israel who uses the Bible as a guide for digging.

4.  Dena Netherton talks about how love needs memories. I hope you enjoy this beautiful devotion.

5.  Readers: If you're a fan of Amish/Mennonite/Quaker novels, check out this article o Pennsylvania Colonial Plain People. Christy Distler does an excellent job summarizing their beliefs and practices during pre-revolutionary times.

Writers:  What "weasel words" have a way of appearing in your writing? Please share.

Readers:  What effect does reading historical fiction have on your interest in various cultures?

Photo  Credit:  Mike Munchel


Monday, July 9, 2018

Pen Name or Real Name?


Last Saturday, Sweetie Mom and I jumped in the car and headed for one of our favorite places: Pennsylvania Amish country. Since mobility issues limit what she can do, we have a set routine. We always stop at the Bird-in-Hand Farmer's Market first.

While she rested on a bench, I checked out the souvenir shops. I found this cute keychain in purple (my favorite color) embroidered with my name. Sold! Sometimes the simplest things make me smile.

Looking at my new item, I started thinking about how something personalized attracts people. Growing up, there were so many girls in my class named Susan that it didn't seem all that special or unique. Nicknames seem inevitable and mine was Susie as a kid. Later, I adopted the moniker, Sue, and eventually returned to my original Susan.

As a writer, I decided to use my full name, Susan J. Reinhardt. After having a number of non-fiction pieces published, I discovered there was another writer with the same name in the general market. At first, people got us mixed up. The last several years it hasn't been much of a problem.

I wonder if I should have used a pen name. However, the foundation for my platform was already under my real name. All in all, I'm glad I didn't try to make any changes. After all, I'm rather attached to it. Like my keychain, it makes me smile to see it on a book cover.

Writers:  Did you research author names when you started writing? Did you ever consider using a pen name?

Readers:  Have you ever confused two authors because of a same or similar name? Please share your experience.

Photo Credit: Susan J. Reinhardt 

Friday, July 6, 2018

Indie Tips/POV/Persecuted Christians/Devo/Recipe

Paper people


1.  Erica Liodice posted at Writer Unboxed about avoiding publisher's remorse. With so many people choosing the Indie route, it's easy to get tripped up. The writer gives some excellent tips on what to NOT do when preparing your book for readers.

2. Lisa Hall-Wilson gives 5 Ways Deep Point of View Delivers a Punch in Action Scenes. This is for the more advanced writer. If you're unfamiliar with Deep POV, it would be good to study the basics first.

3.  Faith, Family America reports on Vice-President Pence's plan to aid persecuted Christians in Iraq.

4. Audrey Frank shares a devotional on, "Why  Writers Need Each Other." While directed at writers, it will speak to the heart of every believer.

5.  Be still my heart! Flourless, peanut butter, chocolate chip muffins are only 100 calories each.

Writers:  Are any of using the Indie route to publication? If so, what tip at Writer Unboxed helped you the most?


Readers:  What are your favorite go-to recipes? Please share.


Photo Credit:  Davide Guglielmo

Monday, July 2, 2018

Happy Independence Day!


fireworks 3


July 4th has been celebrated since 1776. After the War of 1812, the observance became more widespread. I found some fun facts on History.com. Did you know:

1.  Three  U.S. presidents died on July 4th?

2.  NY City has the biggest fireworks display in the nation?

3.  It was drafted by Thomas Jefferson?

Check out the website for more information. You might find some interesting conversation starters or even make up a 4th of July game for your family BBQ.

Most of all, I'm thankful I was born in the Land of the Free and The Home of the Brave. Happy Birthday, America!

Writers and Readers:  How do you celebrate the 4th of July?



Photo Credit:  tz


Friday, June 29, 2018

Saying Less/Motivation/Archaeology/Devo/Flowers

Archaeology 2


1.  Jane Friedman posted at Publishers Weekly on, "How to Network Better by Saying Less." With conference season in full swing, her timely advice can help us all when we meet editors and agents.

2.  Glenn Haggerty posts at Seriously Write about motivation. Having been on the proverbial hamster wheel the first six months of 2018, I needed the reminders he provided - like filing the to-do list for the day.

3. It makes my heart glad when I read about archaeological discoveries that validate the Bible. Not long ago, U.S. Christians unearthed the seals of King Hezekiah and the prophet, Isaiah. Check out this report by Breaking Christian News.

4.  Lynn J. Simpson's devotion, "Let's Talk About Romance," touches at the core of our longings - to be loved and to love. No matter what our marital status, we can experience the love of God.

5.  I love flowers, but these knees don't like kneeling to plant them. I've been searching for perennials, so I can put them in and see them come up every year. I have astilbes with a pretty, feathery bloom. Better Homes and Gardens recently posted an article on the 15 Most Underused Perennials. Maybe you'll get some ideas as well.

Writers:  Are you attending a conference this year? How do you prepare for your editor/agent appointments?

Readers:  Do you have perennials in your garden? Which ones do you have?

Photo Credit:  Vicky Johnson

Monday, June 25, 2018

On My Kindle - The Wedding Dress by Rachel Hauck

The Wedding Dress by [Hauck, Rachel]


Charlotte Malone loves matching brides to their dream wedding gown. When it comes to her own, she runs into trouble. Could it be the doubts plaguing her about her whirlwind courtship are the cause?

At 32, Tim Rose wants to settle down - in theory. Is his reluctance a sign that Charlotte isn't the one for him or just wedding jitters.

A mysterious trunk and a wedding gown from 1912 may provide the answers to their questions.

I'd read Rachel Hauck's book, "The Writing Desk," not long again and picked this one up on Amazon. It didn't take long before her tale of a wedding dress and four brides over a century grabbed my imagination.

The strong spiritual theme throughout the book added great subtext about our relationship with the Lord. I've seen miracles and unusual experiences belittled and mocked in some Christian fiction, but Rachel handled them with great respect. It set her apart, and I'll be reading more of her novels.

Rating: 5 Stars on both content and craft.

Disclaimer: I did not receive any payment for a favorable review. As always, all opinions are mine and mine alone.

Writers:  How do you handle delicate subjects? Are you "in the reader's face" or do you come in gently?

Readers:  Does it turn you off  when an author mocks the beliefs of others? Please share your thoughts.



Friday, June 22, 2018

Finding Time/Writing Prowess/NASA Scientist/Devo/Dairy-Free Recipe

book

1.  Are you having trouble finding time to write? Edie Melson, at The Write Conversation, gives tips on how to keep moving forward with your projects.

2.  Sarah Cy posts at Writers in the Storm on powerful ways to increase your writing prowess  besides reading and writing.

3.  Breaking Christian News shares how a NASA scientist sees God's glory every day.

4. I recently met Sherry Carter on LinkedIn. As I read this former NASA engineer's blog, I  knew I wanted to share her devotional with all of you.

5. A Dairy-Free Banana Cream Pie? It must be a dream. I found this on Pinterest, went to the Meaningful Eats blog, and printed the recipe. I can't wait to try it!

Writers:  What steps do you take to keep moving forward with your writing projects?

Readers: Do the occupations of writers/experts have a strong influence on the credibility of their articles/books, etc.? Please share your thoughts/opinions.

Photo Credit:  Justine FG

Monday, June 18, 2018

Go Back to the Well

Well

A poem I wrote years ago popped into my head the other day. It was about going back to the well and seeking the Lord, the great Creator. All the methods in the world to break writers block/discouragement can't compare to spending time with Him.

I believe with all my heart He called me to write. It hasn't been a easy road. From rejections to broken bones (elbow, wrist - just try writing when you're in a cast and your fingers look like sausages), the enemy has thrown everything possible in my path to sabotage that ministry.

You'd think after four published books and numerous devotionals and articles I'd be all set and have clear sailing. My experience has not followed that pattern. Other authors have also run into difficulties after publication: their publisher closes its doors, no one seems to want their next book, sales don't measure up to a publisher's expectations, etc.

All of this points to one key thing:

Without Him, we are nothing. It is by guarding our heart and mind and treasuring our relationship that infuses us with the strength, resilience, and the creativity we need no matter what our calling.

Even though nothing has changed in my circumstances (injuries as a result of falls and increased family responsibilities), keeping my focus on Him is top priority. The breakthrough will come. The answers will come.

Writers:  How do you stay plugged in to The Power Source?

Readers:  How do you keep the fire of your first love for the Lord burning even when life's challenges seem relentless?

Photo Credit:  Valentin Santarosa

Friday, June 15, 2018

Solitary Writers?/Setting/Testimony/Dena/Summer Activities

hands color


1.  Tim Suddeth posts at The Write Conversation on, "Writers Shouldn't Write Alone." I skipped a writer's conference last year and realized how much I missed interacting with others on this journey. Tim reminded me of all the reasons I need to stay in touch.

2.  A couple of weeks ago, I reviewed Love Finds You in Lahaina, Hawaii and raved about the author's use of setting and description. I just came across Lisa Hall-Wilson's post on, "3 Ways to Ramp Up Setting And Description With Subtext." She gives excellent examples and teaching on the subject.

3.  Testimonies increase our capacity to believe God for the miraculous. Breaking Christian News shared the story of a Gospel singer, who was healed of uterine cancer and then got pregnant with her son.

4.  Dena Netherton, at My Father's World,  My Father's Words, shares how words and reading affected her as a child. I always enjoy learning more about authors and bloggers.

5.  Whether you're a parent, grandparent, babysitter, or Sunday School teacher, it can be a challenge to keep kids occupied during the summer. The Activity Village, from the U.K. has some fun craft ideas to keep the little ones smiling.

Writers:  In what ways do you interact with other writers?

Readers:  What kinds of crafts do the children in your life enjoy? I always liked coloring. :)

Photo Credit:  Felipe (Aladim) Hadler


Monday, June 11, 2018

God, The Ultimate GPS

Barricada

As I traveled a familiar road toward home, a detour sign warned me it was closed. Uh-oh, it was a one-way street, and I couldn't backtrack. My only option was to follow the detour. Hitting the panic button would only hinder my progress. Instead, I prayed: "Lord, please help me find my way to the main thoroughfare."

The detour signs were confusing. I decided to make a left and ended up on a highway I didn't recognize. I again prayed, "Lord, please direct me."

Often we come across detours in life. They can be marked, "illness, injury, family problems, job loss, and many other things." As writers, the different path can come in the form of rejection, negative comments, and discouragement. How do we handle them? Do we react in fear or turn our focus on the One who is never lost?

My detour saga? Within a couple of minutes, an exit sign came up for the road I needed to reach. I didn't care if it was going in the right direction or not. I could always turn around. Sure enough, the road headed south instead of north. A simple course correction resulted in seeing landmarks assuring me I was on the way home.

We sometimes seek the Lord's guidance as a last resort. How about reversing that order? A detour doesn't have to be a disaster. It can be an opportunity to build our faith and trust in our loving God.

Writers and Readers:  Please share an experience or insight about handling those detour moments.

Photo Credit:  Cristian Jungwirth

Friday, June 8, 2018

Lessons/Write/Reunited/Devo/Old Blogs

Writing lessons 2


1.  Cindy Sproles talks about, "The Value to a Writer of Learning Difficult Lessons." I've had my share, and I'm sure you have as well.

2.  Jo Eberhardt posts at Writers Unboxed about the oft-repeated line, "Writers write." Her words encouraged me as I've been going through a season of caregiving, job demands, and just plain exhaustion.

3.  Breaking Christian News reports on the reuniting of a man with the woman who rescued him from certain death as a newborn.

4.  Lynn J. Simpson uses her photos of orchids to illustrate a beautiful devotion.

5.  Recently, the European Union's new privacy law went into effect. When reviewing my blog, I remembered I still had an old blog called, "Susie's Sandbox."

My computer guy asked  me if I wanted to delete it. Even though I hadn't posted since 2010, I couldn't bring myself to erase some sweet memories. I did turn off the comments, but thought some of you might want to visit. Maybe I'll do a whole blog post on the subject. :)

Writers and Readers: Do you have any blogs that are no longer active? Did you delete them or let them remain in cyberspace?

Photo Credit:  Edwin Pijpe


Monday, June 4, 2018

On My Nightstand - Love Finds You in Lahaina, Hawaii

Love Finds You in Lahaina, Hawaii by [Thoene, Bodie]


Sandi Smith flies to the exotic location of Lahaina, Hawaii, to interview an old woman who lived through the many changes in the islands. Her personal life on hold because her husband is Missing In Action in Vietnam, she seeks to be closer in case he's on a list of prisoners soon to be freed.

She becomes engrossed in the story of Victoria Kaiulani Cleghorn, Crown Princess of Hawaii and the next royal heir to the throne. The tale of intrigue and betrayal helps keep her mind occupied as her own life seems to remain in limbo.

I borrowed this book from a friend. It's an old title, but I've always wanted to read something by Bodie Thoene. Wow!  I was impressed with the way the author described the settings. Woven seamlessly throughout the story, they could easily have been another character. I could see, smell, and hear the Hawaiian Islands and England.

The characters were as diverse as the settings. From ancient Auntie Hannah in the present day portion to the young princess, who desired the wisdom of Solomon to rule her people well, they each showed a level of growth and maturity.

I've  heard rave reviews about this author, and I can see why she's a favorite of readers. Five stars for this book.

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

Writers:  Crafting a great setting is a tough skill to master. Do you find it helpful to read books that get it right? Please share your experience.

Readers:  How important is a novel's setting to your overall reading experience? Please share.


Friday, June 1, 2018

Fresh Faces/Editing/Epidemic/Optimism/Summer Salad


Hot type


1.  Margie Lawson posts at Writers in the Storm about writing fresh faces and beyond the cold, hard stare. Even without her comments, the examples are enlightening. Don't miss this excellent article.

2.  If you're like me, the initial writing of an article or book is exciting. Editing - not so much. Eva Marie Everson posts at The Write Conversation and talks about the importance of the editing process and how it can turn your book into a bestseller.

3.  The addiction epidemic in this country affects every level of society. Breaking Christian News reports that Dr. Jerome Adams, the new Surgeon General, is tackling the problem by reaching out to law inforcement, the community, and churches.

4.  Helen Keller's story always inspires me. She accomplished so much even though she was blind and deaf. Beth Vogt posts at The Write Conversation about optimism.

5.  The official start of summer is still a few weeks away, but the warm weather makes a refreshing salad appealing. Check out this watermelon salad. Yes, I said, "watermelon." Allrecipes has many other examples, but this one caught my eye.

Writers and Readers:  What phrases do you see in books that seem worn and tired? Please share.

Photo Credit:  Andrew Beirle

Monday, May 28, 2018

Lest We Forget


Memorial Day was originally called, "Decoration Day." This is the day we remember  those who died in all wars. Veterans Day honors all who served in the military, but this day is set aside for those who gave the ultimate sacrifice.

Recently, I reviewed a book by Sarah Sundin (The Sea Before Us) about the Normandy invasion during World War II. The high stakes of war has always attracted both writers and readers. There's something about bravery, sacrifice for our fellow man, that resonates with us and stirs the emotions.

When reading books about the Revolutionary War, The Civil War, and the World Wars, I realize what our freedom cost in terms of human lives. I'm so thankful people had the courage to challenge the bullies of the world and stop them in their tracks.

As we have picnics and hit the Memorial Day sales, I hope we'll take time to pray for those serving in war zones and their families.

Writers and Readers: How do you celebrate Memorial Day?

Photo Credit:  Melodi2

Friday, May 25, 2018

Critiques/Coincidence/Evangelism/Keep Paving/Recipe


1.  Andy Lee posts at The Write Conversation on, "How to Receive and Give Critique with Grace." I've made my share of mistakes in this area, especially as a newbie writer. My heart has also been shredded by well-meaning colleagues. This article is a must-read for anyone in a critique group or doing book reviews.

2. Zoe M. McCarthy shows how a coincidence in a story can be a good thing provided it's used in the right place.

3. Christian Headlines reports on a study done by Barna regarding evangelism. This is truly a sad state of affairs.

4. If you're anything like me, writing can often become overwhelming. Katy Kauffman posted at The Write Conversation on how to "Keep paving" when you feel overwhelmed.

5. With Memorial Day coming up, Food Network gives a recipe for Classic Strawberry Shortcake. It's labeled, "easy." Ah, my kind of recipe. :)

Writers:  Have you used coincidences in a  story? Please share.

Readers:  How do you react to coincidences in a story? Love 'em? Hate 'em? Please share.

Photo Credit:  Helmut Gevert