Friday, October 31, 2014

Weekend Internet Stew

No, I'm not going to give you recipes today. Instead, I've got an interesting mix of posts that taken together make for a well-rounded Internet Stew. As we say in Italian, "Mangia!" (Eat!)

1.  Carol Garvin, at Careann's Musings, talks about Facts or Fiction in writing a novel.

2.  Tony Perkins, at The Family Research Council, talks about focusing our eyes on the real threat.

3.  Amber Schamel guest posts at Michele Huey's God, Me, and a Cup of Tea. If you like devotionals, I think you'll find this one especially meaningful.

4.  Hillsdale College has online courses. I'm currently taking a free, not-for-credit course called, "The Presidency and the Constitution." If you're interested, you can contact them at

5.  One of the delights of Fall is the colorful display of "The Burning Bush." Susan, at Writing Straight From the Heart, shares her pictures of this feast for the eyes.

Writers/Readers: Have you ever taken an online course of any kind? Please share your experience.

Have a blessed weekend!

Photo Credit:  allergyfre

Monday, October 27, 2014

How Do You Learn?

Not too long ago, our office purchased a new copier. This machine can perform an amazing range of functions, including scanning, collating and stapling, and two-sided copying.

The trainer zoomed through the various functions until my mind screamed, "overload." There was no way I could retain that much information in a short time. I'm thankful she left a booklet with instructions for each function.

In the beginning we referred to it often. Some of our staff members pick up new technology at lightning speed. They helped the rest of us nail down the features on an as-needed basis.

Knowledge in the writing arena comes much the same way for me:

1.  An initial dive into the details and almost drowning.
2.  Step-by-step instruction in each segment as needed.
3.  Prayer for wisdom and clarity of mind.

Each one served a purpose. The first gave me an overview of the craft and the business, while the second zeroed in on specific tasks I needed to master. The most important one - prayer - gave me the understanding I needed.

I could have thrown up my hands in despair after the first step. Yet, experience has taught me to single out what I require to accomplish my daily goals.

Writers and Readers:  What type of learning suits you best? Visual, hands on, written? Please share.

Photo Credit:  Igoghost

Friday, October 24, 2014

Handy Tips and News You Can Use

1.  Angela Ackermann, at Writers Helping Writers, gives 5 steps on finding your book's audience.

2.  Follow trends or write from your heart? Christine Lindsay guest posts at Seriously Write.

3.  News you won't hear on the mainstream media - keep abreast of what's happening regarding religious liberty. I subscribe to the Family Research Council's newsletters. Get the real scoop and make your voice heard.

Writers:  Do you research the trends prior to starting a project or do you follow your heart? Please share.

Readers:  Do you have a favorite book review site? I'd love to hear about it and visit.

Have a blessed weekend!

Photo Credit:  Pulpdtp

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

On My Nightstand - Currently Reading

Historical Romance attracts this history-loving reader. Tamera Alexander obliges with To Whisper Her Name, a novel in her Belle Meade Plantation series.

I'm almost halfway through the book at this point and carry it with me everywhere. I've got two other books in various stages of completion (reading), but I grab this one when I have a spare moment. That should say something about how involved I am in the story.

Here's the scenario:

1.  Ridley Cooper, Southern man. fights for the Union - then returns home.
2.  Olivia Aberdeen, a Southern woman, ostracized because of her late husband's dealings with the North.

While my favorite genre is action/suspense, these characters have me wrapped around their pinkies. Tamera Alexander knows how to appeal to readers with deep emotion, impossible odds, and real-world problems.

Five stars for this one, folks!

Writers and readers:  What's on your nightstand these days?

Monday, October 20, 2014

We, The People

We treasure freedom of speech. From that platform, we can share all that God has put on our hearts. This isn't about politics or political parties. It's about the very foundation of our country.

We've had unparalleled freedom for over 200 years. Unlike most other countries, we can practice our religious beliefs, share them, and not have to fear retribution from the government. With God's help, our Founding Fathers gave us a Republic - a government by the people and for the people.

Today, most Americans speak of our country as a democracy.  Emphasis is put on our ingenuity, our own efforts, and little recognition that it's God who has made this nation great. We have become proud, independent, and arrogant.

With everything I'm seeing around me, there's a growing sense that we're on a collision course with judgment. We cannot afford to ignore the signs of the times.

Come back to your roots, America. Return to the God of your fathers and to Judeo-Christian values.

Come back. Please. Come back.

Writers: How can we protect the rights we've taken for granted?

Readers:  How can we stand up for freedom? I'd like to hear your opinions on the subject. Let's keep it civil with no personal attacks on individuals/parties.

Photo Credit: freshchje

Friday, October 17, 2014

My Reference Shelf - Writing for Life by Karen Lange - GIVEAWAY!

The Author:  Karen Lange is a homeschool veteran and consultant, freelance writer, editor, and online writing instructor for teens and adults. Her articles appear in parenting, homeschool, and other publications. Homeschool Co-ops 101, her first book, was released in 2013. She and her husband homeschooled their three children for grades K-12 in southern New Jersey. They now live in north central Kentucky where Karen enjoys reading, walking, and playing with her grandson. She is a fan of dark chocolate, hockey, and historical fiction.

The Book:  Write for Life:  Volume One:  Writing the Research Paper 

Find it Here.

This book offers ready to use lessons for grades 7-12 that guide students through the process of writing the research paper. Suitable for homeschool families, co-ops, or other student groups, these eight lessons break down the process from start to finish with helpful instruction, encouragement, and practice.

Lesson topics include:

*  MLA style research paper basics, topics, and sources
*  Thesis statements
*  Outlines
*  Developing content
*  Rough and final drafts
*  Citing sources

My review:

As always, I'm so impressed with Karen's thoroughness and knowledge. The research techniques are valuable not only for doing papers, but also for those writing novels or non-fiction pieces. I wouldn't limit this book to teaching teens.

Karen includes great Time and Stress Saver Tips. All in all, I'm keeping this on my Reference Shelf. It's a great resource.

You can connect with Karen on her Amazon Author Page.
Facebook Author Page:
Twitter:  @KLELange

Giveaway Information:  One winner will receive a $10 Amazon Gift Card and a copy of the Write for Life ebook.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclaimer: The author provided a copy of her book for my honest review. I did not receive any payment. All opinions expressed in the review section of this post are mine alone.

Writers: What topics from your school days would you like to revisit? Please share.

Readers:  Do you purchase how-to books for yourself or your kids? Please share.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Confessions of a Techy-Challenged Author

Formatting. The very word makes me quake. My friends, publisher, and editors all run for the hills when I ask questions about making my manuscript look pretty.

Some of my difficulties included:

1.  Getting solid or broken lines across my pages.
2.  The case of the disappearing header.
3.  Wonky spacing.

What's a techy-challenged writer to do?

1.  Hit the search engines - whatever you use will work. They've steered me to solid answers on how to use my Microsoft 2003 program. (Yes, 2003 - not a typo!)

2.  Ask questions. Someone eventually takes pity on me and unscrambles my brain.

3.  Improvise. With my current WIP, Out of the Mist, I got around the formatting problem by saving a correct document with the next chapter number, deleting the content, and then proceeding to write the new chapter. (Each chapter of my book is initially in separate documents.)

I'm hoping when this manuscript is ready to be sent to my publisher that it will be pristine. Maybe he and the editors will eventually forget my past formatting woes.

Writers:  What areas of formatting trip you up?

Readers: This is more of a plea than a question. When you see a formatting mistake, please extend some grace. This process isn't an easy one, especially for the techy challenged among us.

Photo Credit:  miljan

Friday, October 10, 2014

Internet Variety

My travels landed me on a variety of practical, serious, and funny posts. For your reading pleasure, here are a few of my favorites:

1.  Amanda G. Stevens shares 6 enemies of deep point of view on The Write Conversation. Since I try to incorporate these principles into my own writing, this article was a great help.

2.  Cathy Gohlke shares some of the insights she received during the research for her latest book, Saving Amelie. What she discovered has great relevance to current events in our nation. By the way, if you haven't read this book yet, I highly recommend it.

3.  My friend, Sandie, a.k.a. Chatty Crone, always gives me a chuckle. The captions on her pictures are hilarious and many times thought provoking. I particularly like the one that instructs a man on what a woman's mind is like. :)

Writers and Readers:  Do you like to mix it up when it comes to reading blog posts? What are some of your favorite subjects to read about?

Have a blessed weekend!

Photo Credit:  ba1969

Monday, October 6, 2014

The Spice of Life

While milk is my beverage of choice, I also enjoy a spot of tea from time to time. Growing up, our local grocery store carried basic brands. Today, as with many products, there's a dizzying array of teas. Decisions, decisions.

Someone once said that variety is the spice of life. I like variety, but often get into a rut. Recently, I've tried some new flavors of tea. Green tea - blech. Cross that one off my list! A friend sent me some yummy teas:  Sleepytime Vanilla and Honey Vanilla Chamomile.

If I'm not careful, my writing can get into a rut. Every now and then, I find it helpful to produce something totally different from my work in progress. October 22, 24, and 25th, I'll be guest posting on Shannon Vannatter's blog about my real-life romance. Jotting down these happy memories revved up my creative side and gave me some fresh ideas - like this blog post.

Hmm, what new tea shall I try tonight? Here's a fruit tea sampler. Black Cherry Berry sounds interesting.

Writers:  Do you ever switch it up with your writing? Please share.

Readers: What's your favorite coffee or tea flavor? Have you tried something different lately? Please share.

Photo credit:  ba1969

Friday, October 3, 2014

Abundance on the Internet Trail

Sometimes you hit it just right - like when you go to the store and find the perfect shoes to go with an outfit. This Internet trip yielded an abundance of tips and inspiration. Enjoy!

1.  Elaine Stock hosts author, Joan Leotta. She talks about the magic of writing and gets down to the nitty-gritty of what it takes to be productive.

2.  Recently, Americans remembered the awful events of 9/11. Pamela Christian asks a probing question:  Is a moment of silence enough?

3.  Phyllis Wheeler posts about Five Ways to Compel the Reader Into Your Book. Great tips!

4.  Dena Netherton lists some of her favorite things about fall.

5.  Susan Panzica, at Eternity Cafe, shares a wonderful devotional on taking one step at a time.

Writers and Readers:  What are some of your favorite things about fall?

Photo Credit:  locutusest

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

On My Nightstand - The Dancing Master by Julie Klassen

Alec Valcourt, his mother, and sister move from London to Devonshire after a major setback in their fortunes. As a dancing and fencing master, he's distressed to learn that his chosen profession is prohibited in the village of Beaworthy.

Julia Midwinter, restless and longing for the love of her father, wants nothing more than to escape the confines of Buckleigh Manor and her overprotective mother. The new man in town intrigues her, but he's far below her station in life.

Both discover the loyalty of friends and the value of truth. Julie Klassen creates another Regency Romance that will tug at your heart. Her attention to detail from the period costumes and dances to the local customs add a richness to her books that I appreciate as a reader.

Although I'm not a Jane Austen devotee, Julie Klassen may just convert me!

Disclaimer: Neither the author nor the publisher requested this review or gave me any payment for it. I received the book as a gift from a friend.

Writers and Readers: Did you enjoy Jane Austen's books? Reading them in high school was an ordeal for me, but I'm thinking about re-visiting them. What do you suggest I add to my reading list?