Monday, October 21, 2019

On My Kindle - Finding Love at the Oregon Coast by Angela Ruth Strong

Finding Love at the Oregon Coast: A Romantic Novella Collection by [Strong, Angela Ruth, Coryell, Christina, Woodhaven, Heather, Phillips, Lisa]

This book is written by four authors, covering the romances of four friends.

Christina Lovejoy cancels her wedding to Eddie when she realizes he's not committed to the Lord. This isn't how a romance novel usually begins, so I was intrigued. Each friend moves on with their lives and wonders if there's truly someone special out there for them.

If you're looking for a simple, clean romance, you'll enjoy this book. It's a fast read, well written, and has a strong spiritual message.

5 Stars - enjoy!

Writers and Readers:  Do you enjoy writing/reading romances minus historical/suspense elements? Please share.

Friday, October 18, 2019

Agents/Scents/Right to Know Law/Devo/Herbs


1.  Getting an agent is akin to grasping the brass ring. So many publishers require agents to submit manuscripts. Rachel Pieh Jones posted at Jane Friedman's blog about, "What Happened After I Lost My Agent - Twice." This article gives specific suggestions on how to handle rejection, including our attitudes toward our writing and ourselves. (You'll see from our devotional below the tie-in. I needed this, and I'm sure many others do as well.)

2.  Zoe M. McCarthy talks about introducing scents into stories. Her posts always give me great ideas.

3.  WND reports on a judge's ruling that The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania forfeiture records are subject to the Right to Know Law. The government can take - yes, TAKE - property and money even if no criminal charges are filed. This is definitely a must-read article.

4.  Beth K. Vogt posts an encouraging word at The Write Conversation. While it's geared toward writers, the principles apply to everyone. What kind of words are you speaking - strong ones or weak ones?

5.  Winter is fast approaching. You can have fresh herbs by growing them indoors in pots. Check out this post at Easy  Balcony Gardening for instructions.

Writers:  Which writing post resonated with you? Please share.

Readers:  Do you have an indoor garden during the winter (things you'd normally grow outside in good weather)? Please share what types of plants you select. I'm especially interested in saving the beautiful geranium that graced my porch all summer.

Photo Credit: Gerson Ben David

Friday, October 11, 2019

Non-Fiction/Guidelines/Agencies Banned/Encouragement/Recipe

4 padlocks (locked)

1. Attracting an agent or publisher for a non-fiction book takes quite a bit of finesse. Chad Allen gives tips on how to make your proposal stand out.

2. Last week, I shared a post about Online Safety. This week, I found an article by Edie Melson, at The Write Conversation, about her guidelines for what to share online. If you're active on Social Media, writer or not, I think you'll find this valuable.

3.  WND reports on how the City of Philadelphia is banning Christian agencies from helping kids.

4. Audrey Frank posts at The Write Conversation about Encouragement. Although it's geared towards writers, everyone can use their words whether written or spoke to encourage others.

5.  Are you looking for an easy version of beef and broccoli? I found this recipe on Just A Taste and plan to try it soon. Does anyone have a suggestion on how to reduce the sodium content? I looked through the comments, but only found one person who said to use low-sodium soy sauce. It still has too much for us.

Writers and Readers:  Do you have personal guidelines on how much to share on social media sites? Please share.

Photo Credit:  Nick Benjaminsz

Monday, October 7, 2019

On My Nightstand - The Number of Love by Roseanna M. White

Margot DeWilde works as a crytologist (code breaker) during World War II. A brilliant mathematician, she's a great asset to the Intelligence community. Her life centers around logic and math even though her faith is strong. She doesn't see how matters of the heart and head can work together. She's about to get some big lessons.

Drake Elton is stationed in Spain, working undercover for Great Britain. His instincts and prayers have helped him successfully foil German plots. His opposite number in the German spy network manages to severely wound him. He's flown back to England, where he faces a long, difficult recovery.

He's fascinated by the beautiful, but unconventional, Margot. What chance does he have of capturing her heart when so many others have tried and failed?

The author created characters of such depth it was hard to believe this was a novel. I've read quite a few of her books, and this ranks as one of my favorites. It would be helpful for the reader to pick up the previous series before starting the Codebreaker Series. While a stand-alone novel, having the background from the other books made this a richer experience.

Roseanna M. White is fast becoming one of my go-to authors. I can't wait for the next book in this series. 5 Stars for The Number of Love.

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: What are your favorite elements in the Historical Romantic Suspense genre? Please share.

Friday, October 4, 2019

Online Safety/Character Emotions/Yale Prof/Perseverance/Coffee

Protection helmet

1.   Edie Melson, at The Write Conversation gives 8 Tips for Writers to Stay Safe Online. The cyber world has many criminals looking for an easy mark. Protect yourself by taking some simple steps.

2.   Jerry Jenkins tells us how to skillfully reveal our characters' emotions. I was unable to do a normal link, so I'm posting the entire one here.

3.  Finally, a Yale professor rejects Darwinism and points to Intelligent Design as a serious theory. Check out this article at Christian Headlines.

4.  Whether you're a writer or reader, there are areas in life where perseverance is required if you're going to succeed. Christopher Wells posts an inspiring word at Seriously Write.

5.   I learned something recently from a houseplant post on Houseplants love coffee! Instead of dumping leftover coffee down the drain, you can use it as a natural fertilizer for your plants.

Writers:  What are some measures you take to stay safe online?

Readers:  What topics regarding current events interest you?

Photo Credit:  David Guglielmo

Friday, September 27, 2019

Retain Learning/Terminology/Movies/Devo/Dessert Recipe


1. Margie Lawson posted at Writers in the Storm about using what you learn. She makes a good point about how reading blogs, etc. can teach and inspire us, but unless we use the information we won't retain it.

Having just come from the Greater Philadelphia Christian Writers Conference, this gave me more than a twinge. I need to go over my notes and the handouts and then apply the lessons I learned to my writing.

2.  Publishing has its own terminology like any other industry. Zoe M. McCarthy defines some of these words and brings clarity to what publishers expect. Many of you are familiar with anthologies like the Cup of Soup series, but do you know what an Omnibus is?

3.  Like many of you, I've enjoyed faith-based movies like, "War Room," and "I Can Only Imagine." Faithwire highlights three movies for Fall. I missed the premier of Overcomer the weekend of August 23rd, but hope to catch it on video.

4.   Kevin Spencer posted on Christian Devotions about "Are We There Yet?"

5.  Chocolate! Most of us love it. I found this recipe for a 3-Ingredient Candy Bar that tastes like Mounds. Check it out at Points Kitchen. It's Weight Watcher friendly.

Writers:  When writing my first book, The Moses Conspiracy, I would go to a writers conference and soak up as much as I could. Then, I'd run home and immediately apply those lessons to my work in progress. How do you retain what you've learned online, from blogs, workshops, and conferences?

Readers:  What was your favorite faith-based movie? Please share.

Photo Credit:  Piotr Lewandowski

Monday, September 23, 2019

On My Kindle - Escape to the Biltmore by Patricia Riddle-Gaddis

Escape to the Biltmore by [Gaddis, Patricia Riddle]

Women doctors faced a lot of discrimination in the late 1800's. Dr. Anna St. James was fortunate that her wealthy father encouraged and supported her efforts to get training. His death puts her at the mercy of her father's business partner, and she soon finds herself without resources. She accepts an invitation from her dear friend to attend a party at the Biltmore.

Dr. Richard Wellington's encounter with the intelligent young woman rocks all his pre-conceived ideas about women doctors. As they get to know each other on a long train ride to Asheville, North Carolina, not only his respect for her grows, but also his attraction.

Anna isn't giving up her dream for anyone. Will Richard open his mind and heart or will he land on the side of tradition?

Patricia Riddle-Gaddis is a new-to-me author. The historical romance is heartwarming and the characters engaging. I sympathized with both Anna and Richard as they tried to work out their differences.

While I enjoyed the book, I did feel like I was being pounded with the whole discrimination thing. At times, I could almost see the author jumping on the page and lecturing. Please note this is my opinion. Others might find those parts of the book quite educational.

Still, it was a pleasant read with enough tension to keep me turning pages. I'll check out some of her other books. I'm giving Escape to Biltmore 4 Stars.

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

Writers and Readers: What is your opinion on books that seem more focused on a particular agenda than the story itself?

Friday, September 20, 2019

Memoir Pitfall/Comfort Zone/Cuba/Devo/Dairy-Free Substitutes


1.  Brenda Miller and Suzanne Paola guest post at Jane Friedman's blog about avoiding a big memoir pitfall. I haven't seen a lot of articles on the subject of memoirs, so I thought I'd share this one.

2.  Edie Melson, at The Write Conversation, talks about how we can step out of our writing comfort zones.

3.  WND reports on how Cuba sentenced a lawyer to jail for representing homeschool parents. This is what Communist/socialist regimes do. Watch out fellow Americans that you don't fall for the rhetoric of those who want to ditch our freedoms for a society (socialistic/godless) that will strip us of everything we cherish.

4.  Max Lucado talks about, "Tender Words to the Tired Heart."

5.  Alexis, at Chemistry Cache, gives information on The Best Dairy-Free Substitutions. When I first learned about my sensitivity to dairy products, it was overwhelming. How do you cook/bake without dairy? I found this site on Pinterest.

Writers:  How do you step out of your writing comfort zone?

Readers:  What are some subjects you'd like to see in our weekly link post? (Example: Recipes, gardening, decor, etc.)

Photo Credit:  Sara Haz-Hassan

Monday, September 16, 2019

Discovering New-to-You Authors


With limited time (and funds), I'm cautious about trying new-to-me authors. Yet, the rewards of locating that gem make the process well worth the effort. Here are some ways I find new favorites:

1.  Recommendations from friends. Yep, word of mouth is still one of the best ways to find a winner.

2.  Certain genres appeal to me more than others, so I'll often check out what's new in Christian Historical Romance/Romantic Suspense or Mystery/Suspense. Roseanna White, Tamera Alexander, Julie Klassen, and many others write wonderful books.

3.  Social Media is an important resource. I belong to Facebook groups, as well as Goodreads. It's a great way to connect with authors.

4.  Book signings/writers conferences. I've met several writers in person at these venues. Authors like Jeanette Windle, Cathy Gohlke, Carrie Turansky are a few examples. Their books have provided many hours of reading enjoyment.

5.  Blogs, websites - Numerous blogger friends became published authors along the way. Jody Hedlund, Jeanette Levellie, Karen Lange, and Camy Tang fall into this category.

The neat part of discovering a new-to-you author? They're often multi-published. Your to-be-read pile will grow so fast you'll never lack for reading material.

By the way, you might be interested to know I'm an author. All of my books are available on Amazon in ebook and print formats. The titles are in series order:

The Moses Conspiracy
The Christmas Wish
The Scent of Fear
Out of the Mist

Happy reading!

Writers and Readers: How do you discover new-to-you authors?

Photo Credit:  Guillermo Alvarez

Friday, September 13, 2019

Writing Break?/Caregiving/Banned!/Devo/Fall Veggies

Hope 1

1.  Have you taken a long writing break? I don't mean a week or two or even a month. I'm talking about a year or more. Whatever happened to get you off track, it's tough to get back into the groove. This article at Write by the Sea on how to start writing again will give you some ideas.

2.  Tim Suddeth, at The Write Conversation, gives advice to writers who are also caregivers.  

3.  Faithwire reports on how Apple News banned pro-life outlet for showing intolerance without any explanation. It's becoming more and more obvious that social media giants are censoring conservative news content.

4.  Jeanette Levellie posts on the subject of Trading Places or Problems.

5.  Do you think it's too late to plant veggies in September? Check out this post at Garden Therapy for speedy fall vegetables.

Writers:  Are you a caregiver and also a writer? How do you balance the two?

Readers:  What are your favorite fall activities?

Photo Credit:  Eduardo Schafer

Monday, September 9, 2019

On My Kindle - The Silver Suitcase by Terri Todd

Benita and Ken struggle with putting food on the table for their two kids. When she loses her part-time job, things get even tighter financially and put a strain on their marriage.

The death of Benita's grandma and two others adds sorrow to the mix. Gram leaves an old silver suitcase (really a trunk) to Benita. The contents aren't valuable, but the diaries provide a peek into Gram's early life. A shocking secret and a transformed life lead to some soul searching.

This is the first book I've read by Terri Todd. It took me a while to get into it, but I'm glad I persevered. The strong spiritual thread and theme of trusting God won me over. I would have liked to see more suspense, but that's my preference.

Four stars for The Silver Suitcase.

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

Writers:  The author had an angel in her story. Have you ever written something with an angel?

Readers: What do you think about an authors including supernatural events in their stories? Please share.

Friday, September 6, 2019

Isolation/Platform/Intelligent Design/Devo/Progress Report

1.  Frank McKinley, at the Positive Writer, talks about why writing in isolation is good for you. My own experience mirrored his. I get too distracted if the Internet, email, music, or other things are vying for my attention. Check it out. You may find a tip that makes your writing life more productive.

2.  Platform is one of those words writers love to hate. Publishers demand Social Media numbers most of us can only dream about. Lisa Hall-Wilson addresses how to build a platform on Facebook. She has a unique way of approaching the subject that I found helpful.

3. Christian Astrophysicist offers a brilliant reply to Richard Dawkins criticism of intelligent design. See the article on Faithwire. Home school people - you might find this valuable for your curriculum.

4.  Rhonda Rhea's devotional on The Write Conversation tells us about "Scratching Where It Itches." I'm sure that captured your attention. LOL! She uses humor to talk about a serious subject.

5.  You may recall that I've started a modest succulent collection. I'm not a great photographer, but the photo at the top of this post shows that I haven't killed any of them yet! My Jade plant is growing so fast that it will need a bigger pot soon. 

Can anyone identify the plants in the pictures below? I know one of them is  an  Echevieria (Sp?). There are so many varieties that I'm having a hard time locating their names. The one in front is so pretty with green leaves tipped in red.

Writers:  Please share some of your platform-building hacks.

Readers:  Are you a gardener/houseplant lover? What was your favorite project this summer?

Photo Credit:  Susan J. Reinhardt

Friday, August 30, 2019

Excellence/Dialogue/Life Begins/Devo/Veggie Gardening

Five golden stars isolated

1.  Tammy Karasek posts at The Write Conversation about giving your best when you write. Do you allow a deadline, a bad mood, or anything else to prevent you from giving your best to the reader?

2.  Zoe M. McCarthy gives us a delightful blog post on writing dialogue. Have you ever read a book where the character uses a word of phrase that doesn't fit their age or time period? It pulls you out of the story, right? All skills levels will benefit from this post.

3.  WND reports on a survey of biologists concerning when life begins. This article nails it.

4.  Michael K. Reynolds writes about the easiest way to thank God. I often link to his devotionals because they resonate with me. Perhaps they'll bless you as well.

5.  Plant Care Today has an article on 8 Things Not to Do in the Vegetable Garden. Years ago, a relative created a massive garden plot when they wanted some lettuce, tomatoes, and cucumbers for summer salads. The resulting crop necessitated a crash course in canning.

Writers:  Which writing post helped you the most? Why?

Readers:  Do you have any examples of characters saying things that didn't fit their time period or age? Please share.

Photo Credit: elementa1

Monday, August 26, 2019

On My Kindle - The Edge of Mercy by Heidi Chiavaroli

The Edge of Mercy

Sarah and Matt's marriage teeters on the edge of a cliff. After a less-than-perfect start, they'd settled into a routine. Now, Matt is looking for all he thought was missing from his life.

A neighbor dies and leaves Sarah instructions to find her daughter. She wants Mary to know about her heritage. In the process, Sarah learns a lot about herself through the diary of a woman who lived in the Colonial days.

Although I'd heard of the author, this was the first book I'd read by her. Her characters jumped off the page, their struggles, emotions, and actions all strong and truthful. I'll be looking for more of her books.

5 Stars.

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

Writers:  If you write novels, have you every considered doing a time-slip story? (A time-slip story is one with characters from the past and present.) Please share.

Readers:  Do you enjoy stories than meld the historical with the contemporary? Please share your thoughts.

Friday, August 23, 2019

Reviews/Marketing Myths/Chick-fil-A/Speakers/Drying Herbs

Books design

1.  Amazon reviews affect readers' buying decisions. How do you get those reviews for your book? Check out Penny Sansevieri's article at Jane Friedman's blog.

2.  Lisa Hall Wilson talks about 6 Marketing Myths That Harm Fiction Writers. The Internet and the publishing industry seem to be changing at warp speed. Methods that were the gold standard years ago do not necessarily apply today. Check out her post.

3.  Faithwire tells how Chick-fil-A almost shut down in the 1980's. See what turned their business into a success. They are now the third largest restaurant chain.

4.  Yvonne Ortega posts at The Write Conversation on Spiritual Preparation for Speakers. Whether you're an author, minister, teacher, or counselor, this article can benefit you.

5.  If you use herbs in your cooking, you might like this article on how to dry them without sacrificing flavor. The Backyard Garden Lover gives several methods that produce excellent results.

Writers:  Which marketing myths surprised you? Please share.

Readers:  Do you review books on Amazon or other sellers? Please share.

Photo Credit:  Ana Labate