Friday, August 31, 2012

Friday Round-Up - #216

Phyllis Zimbler Miller guest posted at Joylene Nowell Butler's blog on the subject of producing an ebook. She gives some great tips in an easy-to-digest form.

Writers: Have you considered publishing an ebook? If you have already done so, please share your experience.

Readers: Do you own a Kindle or Nook? Again, please share.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Stretch Your Muscles

"Ouch." Yes, that's me suffering because I didn't stretch before and after my workouts. Oh, I got away with it for a season, but it caught up with me. My hamstrings shortened and affected my back. When one part is out of whack, it messes up other areas.

My quiet time with the Lord is like that stretching. It loosens muscles tightened by intense writing sessions. When I spend time with Him, my brain processes thoughts better. My mind doesn't cramp so easily when my characters get themselves into a jam. Creativity leaps and does a happy dance over my keyboard.

The chiropractor said things wouldn't go back to normal overnight. Yet, every day there's improvement. When I've been in a rush or just plain lazy about hanging out with the Lord, it takes effort to regain lost ground.

Writers:  Do you talk to the Lord about your writing? How does your quiet time strengthen you?

Readers: How do your values affect your reading choices?

Photo Credit: lundeholm

Friday, August 24, 2012

Friday Round-Up - #215

Laurel Garver, over at Laurel's Leaves, gives a great tip on how to fix long, dull descriptions.

Writers: How do you hand setting descriptions?

Readers: Do you skim over descriptions?

Have a blessed weekend!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Is Anyone NOT Writing a Book?

Whether it's Christian TV or regular TV, all the guests seem to be promoting a book. From How to Lose 40 Pounds in a Week to 10 Steps to a Deeper Walk With God (both titles I made up), it's like one long-running infomercial.

Are people writing because of:

1) A bad economy?

2) A me-to, let me jump on the bandwagon mentality?

3) Easy access to training via Websites/Blogs?

4) A desire to leave a legacy?

5) A passion for a cause?

6) They feel called of God to write on a particular subject?

7) A combination of the above or something else?

Writers: Why do you write? We're fond of talking about inciting moments in fiction. What was your inciting incident that catapulted you into the writing arena?

Readers: Do you get overwhelmed with the number of books out there? How do you decide what books you'll read and what books you'll pass on?

I'm choosey about what I read. I want material that's wholesome, has a Christian worldview, and a great story.

Photo:  lusi

Friday, August 17, 2012

Friday Round-Up - #214

Michael Ehret talks about goal setting for the organizationally challenged. Confidence is built one small success at a time.

Writers:  What kind of intermediate goals have you set for your writing journey?

Readers: This can apply to other facets of life, but what goals have you set for reading? Will you try a new genre this year or several new authors? Please share.

Photo credit:  4seasons

Monday, August 13, 2012

Floating Along

Growing up, we had a small pool in the backyard. A tube provided lots of daydreaming possibilities. I would imagine myself arriving on a tiny island or as a grown-up with a family of my own. Maybe I'd be a Candy Striper, volunteering in a hospital or become a nurse.

Once I got out of the pool, I put feet to my dreams. I investigated hospitals with Candy Striper programs, but the only one was too far away from my house. After research into the nursing profession, my interest waned. 

Some of our dreams have little substance. They're passing fancies that flit into our minds like a butterfly and then float away. Others imbed themselves in our hearts and never let go.

Like writing.

Like ministry.

Like family.

Have you put feet to your dreams and explored whether they're a flighty idea or a God-breathed pathway?

Writers: What were some of your ideas that didn't pan out? How did you decide they weren't for you?

Readers: How did you find your life path?

Friday, August 10, 2012

Friday Round-Up - #213

Janice Hardy guest posts at the Bookshelf Muse. She gives examples on how to smooth the flow of your prose.

Writers: Do your paragraphs sound like lists? How do you detect the problem and fix it?

Readers: Do you prefer books written in first person or third person?

Have a blessed weekend!

Monday, August 6, 2012

Broken Habits

I removed my glasses and rubbed my eyes. Daily tasks called for my attention, and my mind re-focused.

Hours later, I sat in the parking lot at work. I went through my ritual of putting away my driving glasses and saw the case to my reading glasses gaping at me. How had I missed the clues before leaving home? My heart sank. No reading glasses equal an inability to perform my job. I called my boss and retraced my steps.

They were right where I left them: on top of my Bible. Somehow I'd broken with my habit of returning them to their rightful place.

Distraction is my enemy in the early morning hours. I'm accustomed to operating on auto-pilot for repetitive tasks, while my mind is occupied with important issues like world peace. If I miss a step in the regular sequence, I'm sunk. The whole routine can turn into a nightmare of forgotten glasses, inside out socks, and lunches sitting on the counter.

My writing life functions in much the same way. Turning on the lamp, firing up the computer, and gathering my papers are familiar procedures. Alas, a stray note or a telephone call can sidetrack me and knock out my best intentions.

While auto-pilot works great on optimum days, a little extra attention doesn't hurt.

Writers: How do you keep your writing time from slipping away unnoticed?

Readers: Do you have automatic routines? How do you keep them from spinning out of control?

Photo Credit:  lgowerf

Friday, August 3, 2012

On My Nightstand - Band of Sisters by Cathy Gohlke

When Maureen O'Reilly's mother dies, her aunt insists she take her sister and move to America. A letter from an old friend of their father promises a start in the new world. 

Her hopes are dashed when she discovers that the old friend has died, and the family disavows any knowledge of the promise. Olivia Wakefield, the daughter, decides to honor her father's commitment even though her family disapproves.

Maureen finds a job at a high-class department store. Women begin disappearing, and she wonders if she hasn't stepped from the proverbial frying pan into the fire. When several people offer their assistance, her trust issues make it difficult to accept.

Cathy Gohlke hits the target with her latest book. She has a way of putting a face to historical issues. Intricate family and friend relationships drive the story forward, and the decisions made can open the doors to love or slam them shut forever.

The author has a wonderful talent for creating realistic characters and situations. Their actions were always understandable even when I groaned at some of their choices.

I highly recommend this panoramic view of an female immigrant's life in the big city. If you want to see first-class writing, read Cathy's novels.

Disclaimer: The author provided an Advanced Reader Copy. As always, the opinions expressed are completely mine, and I received no payment for this review.