Monday, January 6, 2020

New Year Break

Hi, Friends,

Usually I take a blog break in December, but kept full steam ahead in 2019. Alas, I've run out of steam and need to get some other things done.

Christian Writer/Reader Connection will be on blog break until Monday, February 3, 2020. Have a great January!

Happy New Year,
Susan J. Reinhardt
Member ACFW
Represented by Joyce Hart, Hartline Literary Agency
Author of The Moses Conspiracy, The Christmas Wish, The Scent of Fear, and
 Out of The Mist

Friday, January 3, 2020

Theme/One Word/Land Grab/Breathe/January Gardening


1.  Erika Liodice, at Writer Unboxed, decided to try something different than the tired New Year Resolution route. She enlisted the help of fellow writers to come up with a plan of action. Her approach makes sense and doesn't put undue stress on an already burdensome to-do list.

2.  Tammy Karasek, at The Write Conversation, talks about her one word for the New Year. One word can focus your efforts.

3.  WND reports that the State of Indiana grabbed land owned by the Pavlock family for many years and did so without compensation. They are fighting this situation now in the courts.

4.  The word "breathe" seems to be popping up as I write today's post. Michael K.  Reynolds wrote a post with that word. Do you take time to "breathe?"

5.  The winter months are often a frustrating time for avid gardeners. Our Stoney Acres posts about the seedlings you can start in January.

Writers:  Do you ask the Lord or choose a word for each New Year?  Please share.

Readers:  What did you think of the Writer Unboxed article? Do you think this is something useful in your own life?

Photo Credit:  Jesper Noher

Friday, December 27, 2019

Time/Reality Check/Barna Study/Bible Reading Plan/Free Pattern

Shiro with Snowman

1.  Jael McHenry posts at Writer Unboxed. We've all heard we have to make time to write. She has an interesting take on this subject. Although Thanksgiving and Christmas are behind us, others will follow that place demands on our time. Good reading.

2.  Writing takes a lot of hard work. Cindy Sproles, at The Write Conversation, gives us encouragement as writers with a healthy dose of reality.

3. reports on a Barna study of a Biblical worldview of pastors and leadership. It's not surprising that many Christian adults follow this pattern. I'm reminded of the Bereans in the Book of Acts. They received the word gladly but then studied for themselves. Hat tip to my friend, Jean Fischer, for alerting me to this article.

4.  Tim Suddeth posts at The Write Conversation on, "Is a Bible Reading Plan for You in 2020?" With the New Year upon us, it's something to consider.

5.   Rescued Paw Designs has a free ear warmer pattern for people who like to crochet. It's easy enough for beginners and fast enough for those of us in a time crunch. Note: You have to scroll down quite a bit to get to the free pattern. It's a fun project for a snowy, winter night.

Writers:  What were some of your mistaken ideas about the writing business?

Readers:  What are your thoughts on Bible Reading Plans?

Photo Credit:  Seigo Nohara

Collage Outlining/Three Persons/Pro-Life/Speaking Truth/Recipe


1.  Barbara O'Neal posts at Writer Unboxed about the collage method of outlining a book. My writer friends will tell you I'm a pantser not an outliner, but this intrigued me. I'm thinking of giving it a try. The idea is to get out of your logical, left brain mode and over into your more creative right brain mode.

2.  Eva Marie Everson posts at The Write Conversation about the three persons you are - in public, at home, and alone with God. Applying this principle to our writing can help us avoid one and two-dimensional characters.

3.  Faithwire reports on Pro-Life podcaster, Allie Stuckey, as she destroys pro-abortion arguments at House Committee meeting.

4.  Tammy Karasek, at The Write Conversation, talks about Speaking the Truth in Love.

5.  Yes, I know Christmas is over, but there are plenty of other holidays coming up. This recipe for Fully Loaded Holiday M&M Cookie Bars is super easy. It requires only one bowl and no mixer. Check it out at Averie Cooks.

Writers:  Have you ever tried making a collage of your story? Please share.

Readers:  Can you identify why a book captivates you or not? What makes it ring true for you?

Photo Credit: Franci Strumpfer

Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Friday, December 20, 2019

Memoir/Unknown Author/Amber Alerts/Devo/Christmas Decor

Christmas decor

1.  Jerry Jenkins talks about How to Start Writing Your Memoir. While I'm a pantser when it comes to fiction, I can see the benefit of outlining when writing non-fiction.

2.  What Makes Readers Give an Unknown Author a Chance? Barbara Linn Probst posts at Jane Friedman's blog.

3.  Amber Alerts do work! Breaking Christian News reports on the rescue of an 8-year-old girl, who was kidnapped in broad daylight.

4.  Most of us are on the hunt for last-minute gifts. Rhonda Rhea, at The Write Conversation, talks about, "Don't I Wish - Thoughts on More Presence Not Presents."

5.  Christmas decorating from timeless to modern designs are highlighted by Home BNC. Even small touches can give your home a holiday boost.

Writers: Have you ever tried to write a memoir? Please share your experience and any tips to accomplish this task.

Readers:  What influences you to read an unknown author's work?

Photo Credit:  Marius Muresan

Friday, December 13, 2019

Never Give Up/Character Goals/Preacher Ejected/Devo/Herb Gardening Mistakes


1. Elva Cobb Martin posts at Seriously Write on the subject, "Never Give Up." After 26 rejections, she put her manuscript in the attic for 20 years. Check out how this story ends.

2.  Jim Dempsey, at Writer Unboxed, talks about character goals and what drives them. It all boils down to their values, and what's most important in their lives.

3.  WND reports on a lawsuit filed by a Portland, Oregon preacher, who was ejected from a city park for sharing a pro-life message.

4.  Tammy Karasek posts a devotional at The Write Conversation about Writers as Harvesters of Righteousness. The truths expressed can benefit both writers and readers. I hope you'll take a couple of minutes to read her words of wisdom.

5. I've grown herbs both indoors and outdoors. Like other gardeners, I've had my share of failures. I came across an article at Plant Care Today about "10 Herb Gardening Mistakes," and thought I'd pass it on to you.

Writers:  What values drive your character's goals? Please share.

Readers:  Current events impact our lives not only as writers, but also as readers. When attacks on freedom of speech and religion occur, we can sit back and allow them to succeed. I much prefer this preacher's approach. What is your opinion?

Photo Credit: John Nyberg

Friday, December 6, 2019

Hair/Writing Obstacles/Kanye West/Devo/Cookie Recipe


1.  Language is so rich and provides many ways to describe hair. Yes, you read that right. I said, "hair." Writers in the Storm takes a post from their archives and shares it with their readers. Do you need help describing your character's hair? This is a good place to start.

2. Lynn H. Blackburn posts at The Write Conversation about moving past writing obstacles. Wow! She perfectly described what I'm going through right now as I'm in the early stages of my next book. I think this post will help a lot of you who are struggling to find that sweet spot in your writing.

3. Kanye West's acceptance of Jesus as his Savior and Lord has drawn much attention. While some have questioned whether or not he's indeed changed, I think his turning away from crude lyrics and commitment to preach the gospel speaks for itself. Let's rally around him with prayer and love. Check out this article on Faithwire.

4.Do you sometimes think what you're doing in ministry doesn't amount to much? Edie Melson, at The Write Conversation, shares her thoughts on being used by God.

5. While some of my friends get in the Christmas spirit in October, once Thanksgiving passes I'm all in. Yeah, the yearly cookie baking frenzy hits me full force around this time. With that in mind, I checked around for some cookie recipes. Enjoy!

Writers:  Which writing article helped you the most? Please share.

Readers:  When does the whole Christmas season take hold in your house? October? November? December? I'd be interested to see if I'm the only one who gets hit with cookie-baking frenzy. :)

Photo Credit: Kenneth Jones

Friday, November 29, 2019

Writing Dialogue/Real-Lie Intrusion/Infanticide/Prayer/Cupcakes

Tiny Feet 3

1.  Kathleen Neely posts at The Write Conversation on the Do's and Don'ts for Writing Dialogue. Newbies and seasoned writers alike can benefit from this post.

2.  Julia David urges, "Writers Beware. Your Real Life May Intrude on Your Creativity." See her post at Seriously Write.

3.  Virginia's governor made some outrageous comments in an interview regarding infanticide. It's no surprise he got his talking points from Planned Parenthood. Check out this article.

4.  Lori Hatcher shares a Writer's Prayer at The Write Conversation. Readers can relate by simply substituting whatever gifts God has given them.

5.  Christmas is right around the corner. Check out these cute cupcakes at Preppy Kitchen.

Writers:  What kind of difficulties do you experience when writing dialogue?

Readers:  What would you substitute for writing in The Writer's Prayer?

Photo Credit: Benjamin Earwicker

Friday, November 22, 2019

Book Publishing Trends/Speaking/Illegal Seizure/Devo/Thanksgiving Decor


1.  Know how the book publishing market is trending can provide helpful information to authors (both fiction and non-fiction). Jane Friedman gives an extensive report.

2.  Cathy Fyock posts at The Write Conversation about how to generate more speaking engagements.

3.  WND reports on a major U.S. city facing claims from 35,000 people as a result of confiscating cars, land, and homes without reason.

4.  Rhonda Rhea's humorous devotionals always make me laugh. She recently posted at The Write Conversation, "Persona Non Au  Gratin." What does cheese have to do with it? Hop over there and see.

5.  CountryLiving's website has some cute ideas for Thanksgiving decorations.

Writers:  Do you have a speaking platform? If so, what are some of the ways you get additional gigs?

Readers:  Have your reading tastes changed over the past couple of years? What new genres have you explored?

Photo Credit:  Gabriella Fabbri

Friday, November 15, 2019

Hugs/Write Boldly/Homeless/Legacy/Turkey Recipes

Sleep Tight 2

1.  Respected writing teacher, Margie Lawson, posts at Writers in the Storm about, "Fresh Writing Sells: Make Hugs Carry Power." A simple hug can turn into a powerful statement that grabs the reader. Please note this isn't a Christian website, but there are only minor things that might make you wince.

2.  Heather Webb posts at Writer Unboxed on, "Writing Boldly, Without Fear." Are you afraid to give your character flaws?

3.  WND reports on Kentucky's law that makes it illegal for a ministry to help the homeless.

4. Harry McLaughlin posted on The Write Conversation about what kind of legacy are we leaving. He's not only speaking to writers but everyone.

5.  Do you have a pressure cooker? With Thanksgiving approaching, I thought you might be interested in some turkey recipes. I found some on Pinterest and decided to share the website, Berry and Maple, with you.

Writers: Which writing link interested you the most?

Readers:  Do you ever check out the writing links? What information did you find surprising?

Photo Credit:  A Syed

Monday, November 11, 2019

On My Kindle - Mayflower Bride by Kimberley Woodhouse

The Mayflower Bride: Daughters of the Mayflower - Book 1

Mary Elizabeth Chapman's world is turned upside down when her father announces they are going to the New World with their congregation. Things are not easy for the Separatists in Holland, but it's home.

William Lytton is urged by his mentor to travel to the New World where his carpentry skills will be a valuable asset and his past will be unknown. He's been taught well and has an excellent reputation, but he wants nothing to do with God.

When the two young people meet on board the Mayflower, sparks fly. Yet Mary  Elizabeth feels guilty because he's not part of their congregation. Her father would never agree to a match with those they call, "Strangers."

Will they ever have a chance at love? For that matter, will they survive the journey to the New World and the troubles that await them?

Kimberley Woodhouse is a new-to-me author. I thoroughly enjoyed the mix of history and fiction. It made me grateful for those hardy souls, who braved unspeakable hardship to settle this country. She also shared her research and how she went about writing this book. It was a fascinating behind-the-scenes story.

I'll be looking for more of her stories. 5 stars for the Mayflower Bride.

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

Writers and Readers:  Do you find historical fiction educational? Who are some of your favorite authors?

Friday, November 8, 2019

No Unsolicited Manuscripts/Writing Time/Student Forced/Inspiration/Panic Attacks

Liberty Bell closeup

1.  If newbie writers don't know how publishing works, they soon find out. Checking publishers' websites, they'll see, "no unsolicited manuscripts." Cindy Sproles, at The Write Conversation, takes on this subject and gives suggestions on how to break through this barrier.

2.  We hear so much about time management and how we can carve out enough to write. Lynn Blackburn, at The Write Conversation, urges us not to despise the writing time you do have. This article hit close to home for me. I'd be interested in what you think.

3.  Breaking Christian News reports on the possibility the Supreme Court may take on the case of a Christian student being forced to recite an Islamic conversion prayer.

4.  Do you ever wonder if your writing impacts others? Lucinda Seacrest McDowell shares how God showed her He wanted her to continue writing. Check out her post at The Write Conversation.

5.  Usually I reserve this spot for fun stuff. However, this week I'd like to share a post by Dr. Caroline Leaf on dealing with panic attacks. Dr. Leaf is a Christian and an expert on the human brain. Her posts are informative and practical.

Writers:  What kinds of discouraging thoughts plague your mind about your writing, and how do you deal with them?

Readers:  What book (other than the Bible) spoke to your heart about a personal situation? Please share.

Photo Credit:  R L

Monday, November 4, 2019

On My Kindle - The Fiddler by Beverly Lewis

The Fiddler (Home to Hickory Hollow Book #1)

Amelia, a successful concert violinist, has a secret passion. As Amy Lee, she enters contests and plays the fiddle at major venues. It's her way of breaking free from the control of her father and agent. She's tired of the constant traveling and a romance that has grown stale.

Michael, a young Amishman, still sits on the fence whether or not to join the church or walk away from that life. He still honors God, but the restrictions of his community leave him frustrated and unhappy.

On her way home from a fiddling gig, Amelia/Amy gets lost in a raging storm. She happens upon a cabin in Amish country and meets the kind Amishman. There's no way their worlds can intersect unless...

It's been years since I read a Beverly Lewis Amish novel. After sampling a number of other authors in this genre, I moved on to explore other books. Out of all the Amish authors, Ms. Lewis has been my favorite.

"The Fiddler," was a happy choice. The storytelling, characters, and setting captured my imagination, and I spent many hours enjoying Hickory Hollow. I might even pick up the next book in the series. It was a pleasant change of pace for me.

Five Stars!

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

Writers and Readers:  Have you every grown tired of the genre you prefer and moved on to other types of books? Would you consider going back and sampling the latest offerings in that favorite genre?

Friday, November 1, 2019

Emotions/A Hiding Plot/Christians Banned/Devo/Geraniums

Country Geranium

1.  Lisa Hall-Wilson, at Writers in the Storm, talks about writing emotions in deep point of view. Don't let that frighten you. She's an excellent teacher, and I've learned a lot reading her articles. :)

2.  Janice Hardy, at Writing in the Storm, posts on, "Getting Lost When Your Plot Hides Behind the Details." Sometimes we have an idea for a story, and it isn't working. She gives a great example and then dissects it.

3.  When a Christian band was excluded from a concert on public property, they asked the ACLJ for help. The lawyers met with the organizers and pointed out that the Supreme Court has repeatedly upheld the free speech rights of individuals. Check out this informative article on WND.

4.  Peggy Sue Wells posts, at The Write Conversation, about Cec Murphy and how his experience on the mission field impacted his writing.

5.  Geraniums add so much beauty to a garden.  Instead of buying new plants every year, why not try overwintering them?  I found these instructions at Nikki Lynn Design.

Writers and Readers: Which link resonated with you this week? Please share.

Photo Credit:  Kym McLeod