Friday, December 8, 2017

Scene Launch/Story Details/Cancer Therapy/Dream/Why Christmas?



1.  Jordan Rosenfeld guest posts on Jane Friedman's blog. She gives us 4 Ways to Launch a Scene. Take a look at these great tips for writers in all genres.

2.  It's easy to get bogged down with story details. Zoe M. McCarthy gives some concise ways to get the message across.

3.  Breaking Christian News reports on the FDA's approval of a new gene therapy that may treat deadly and formerly untreatable forms of cancer. For all of us who have been touched by this scourge either personally or a loved one, this is good news.

4.  Emme Gannon writes an encouraging posts to writers, but it can apply to anyone. Don't let anyone crush your dreams.

5.  I found a website called, "whychristmas." It talks about how various traditions began and how to create some new traditions for your family. I've included the page on the Christmas Story here for your enjoyment.

Writers:  Which writing tip was your favorite? Please share.

Readers:  Do you have any family Christmas traditions? Favorite foods/ornaments/events?

Photo Credit:  Dimitris Petridis

Monday, December 4, 2017

On My Kindle - Refuge on Crescent Hill by Melanie Dobson


When the magazine she's freelancing with goes bust, Camden Bristow is left without and income and few resources. She heads to the only place where she's ever felt at home - her grandmother's house.

Alex Yates still blames himself for his sister and young nephew's deaths. He abandons his up-and-coming career and takes a job in a small town. All of his efforts to bring companies and jobs into the area are hindered.

Sparks fly when they find themselves on opposites sides of the fence concerning the decrepit mansion. When an old mystery surfaces, they have no choice but to join forces.

Melanie Dobson is a new-to-me author, and I'll be looking up her other books. I'm a huge fan of Romantic Suspense whether historical or contemporary. This had all the elements I enjoy. Loved it - 5 Stars!

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

Friday, December 1, 2017

Bestseller Potential/Vintage Photos/Nativity/Devo/Colonial Christmas

1.  Chad Allen talks about developing a book concept with bestseller potential. The key is finding out the needs of readers and meeting them.

2.   I'm always looking for inspiration for my blog posts. How about you? Jean Fischer, at Something to Write Home About, shares some photo resources.

3.   WND reports that anonymous donors are behind a campaign to install nativity scenes nationwide. This story warmed my heart. It's about time we pushed back the darkness.

4.  Bonnie Leon's blog post struck a chord in my heart. Sometimes we're so focused on the weeds that we miss the good things happening in our lives. Don't miss this thoughtful devotional.

5.  Rather than the usual Christmas recipes, I thought you might be interested in what type of foods were served in Colonial and Early American times. This is an interesting article for young people doing school papers. Check it out at http://www.foodtimeline.org/christmasmenu.html#coloniachristmas

Writers:  Do photographs jumpstart your creative process for either blogging or writing? Please share.

Readers:  What types of food do you serve for Christmas? Have you ever tried something from another time period? Please share.

Photo Credit:  Antony Ruggiero

Monday, November 27, 2017

On My Kindle - To Wager Her Heart by Tamera Alexander


Times are hard in the South after the Civil War. Alexandra Jamison's parents want her future secured through an arranged marriage. She chooses to follow her heart and become a teacher at Fisk University, the first Freedman's School in the United States. Her decision comes at great personal cost when her father disowns her.

Sylas Rutledge, the new owner of the Northeast Railroad Line, is in town for a business deal. He comes from Colorado and isn't accustomed to the genteel ways of Southerners. He enlists Alexandra's help in learning how to conduct himself in Nashville business circles.

Can a romance between a man from the Wild West and a Southern Belle survive the strains of the post-Civil War South?

Tamera Alexander is one of my favorite, go-to authors. Her Belle Meade series is not only beautifully written but painstakingly researched. I spent many pleasurable hours reading this book. If you're a fan of Historical Christian Romance, I think you'll enjoy this story of finding love after unbearable tragedy.

5 Stars!


Disclaimer:  Neither the author nor the publisher paid me for a favorable review. All opinions are solely based on my reading of this book.

Friday, November 24, 2017

Anecdotes/Hiring Editor?/Founding Fathers/Devo/Christmas Decor



1.  Jerry Jenkins offers stellar advice on how to write an anecdote. Now that may not seem interesting, but non-fiction comes alive as we use stories to illustrate our points. Don't miss this great article.

2.  Jane Friedman talks about when you shouldn't hire an editor. With so many people asking questions about when it's appropriate/not appropriate, I thought it would be a useful link.

3.  Now, some people want to trash monuments of our Founding Fathers even though they died long before the South seceded from the Union.

4.  Kristen Hogrefe shares a wonderful devotional on the Hills and Valleys of the Writing Life. It could just as easily apply to any other endeavor.

5.  Even though Thanksgiving marks the official start of the Christmas Season, we've been seeing decorations in the stores since September. I found a great site with DIY ideas for Christmas decor. It covers both indoor and outdoor, games for kids, and lighting.

Writers:  Do you use anecdotes in your non-fiction writing? Please share.

Readers:  Do you add to your Christmas decorations each year or do you use family favorites? Please share some pictures if you can. :)

Photo Credit:  Andrew Beierle

Monday, November 20, 2017

Some Thanksgiving Facts


The first Thanksgiving celebrated by the Pilgrims and Native Americans lasted for three days. Gratitude to God for their survival through a brutal winter and a great harvest made it a particularly joyful time. (See https://www.reference.com/holidays-celebrations/did-thankstiving-start-325864902047eae)

Thanksgiving did not become an annual event until President Lincoln made it official. Like so many of our holidays, the meaning has degenerated to food, football, parades, and long weekends. Let's not forget the freedom and abundance we enjoy come from honoring God in our daily lives.

This Thanksgiving, let's remember to thank God for His many blessings.

Writers:  Do you incorporate holidays into your writing? Please share.

Readers:  How do you celebrate Thanksgiving? 



Friday, November 17, 2017

Pressures/Writing Boo-Boos/Airline Security/Inspiration/Apple Recipe


1.  Zoe M. McCarthy is a fellow Hartline author. In this post she talks about the pressures of deadlines, platform, and life commitments. She also shares her method for staying on top of things.

2.  Lori Hatcher posts at The Write Conversation and reveals 4 Writing Boo-Boos You Don't Want to Make. The whole "pique/peek" thing is a pet peeve for me.

3.  An author friend recently posted about an experience going through security at an airport. I'm giving you a link here, so you know your rights when traveling via airline.

4.  Positive Writer shares 7 Inspirational Quotes That Could Change Your Life.

5. Recipe time! Here are apple pie baked apples. Yes, you can actually bake a pie within an apple instead of a crust. Check out Delish's recipe.

Writers:  Which writing boo-boo have you either struggled with in the past or still makes you confused?

Readers:  Airline security affects so many people. Have you run into any issues when flying? Please share.

Photo Credit:  Gurkan Kurt

Monday, November 13, 2017

On My Kindle - Protected by Vannetta Chapman


Erin Jacobs' work as an animal rescuer takes her into some strange situations. When she approaches a porch and looks inside a basket, she's stunned to see an infant. Her world is about to be turned upside down.

Travis Williams, a caseworker, has his doubts that Erin can handle this new responsibility. The one thing he didn't think would happen took him by surprise. It's not every day you fall in love with a gorgeous, but fiercely independent, woman.

This is the second book in The Jacobs Series. The author is known for her Amish novels, but I'm glad to see she's branched out to another genre. This heartwarming tale left me wanting more.

I'm giving this book 5 Stars. I'll be on the lookout for her future books.

Writers:  Have you thought about switching genres? Why or why not?

Readers:  When a favorite author moves in a different direction, do you still read their books? Please share.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Write Faster/Create Conflict/Occult/Devo/Recipe


1.  Do you want to write faster? Here are some tips from Grammarly.

2.  Janice Hardy posts at Writers in The Storm on 6 Ways Your Setting Creates Conflict. Setting challenges me, so this article gave me some ideas.

3.  When a nation turns away from God, they inevitably fill that vacuum with evil. We see this in the Old Testament accounts of Israel going into idolatry. The old Soviet Union promoted atheism, and its people turned to occult practices. WND reports on the growth of witchcraft in America. We don't like to think about such things, but we'd better re-affirm our own faith, live it, and pray for this nation.

4.  Dena Netherton, at My Father's World, My Father's Words, talks about, "Tiny, but Powerful."

5.  Many of us think about baking as the weather gets colder. I discovered a Banana Bread recipe at Mz. Witherspoon's Cottage. The steps are illustrated with pictures. Enjoy!

Writers:  How do you increase your productivity?

Readers:  What are some of the projects you save for colder weather?

Photo Credit:  Roger Kirby


Monday, November 6, 2017

Writer Starvation


When a person does not get nourishment, either through a lack of food or deliberate fasting, they eventually reach a point where they no longer feel hungry. The body turns on itself, devouring fat storage and anything else that can support the major systems. If food becomes available or is re-introduced, it must be done gradually with the help of medical personnel until a normal diet can be resumed.

Hunger for relationship with God is much the same. If we deny ourselves regular meals of His Word and fellowship with other believers, our desire will wane, and we become weak and feed on whatever strength we've developed. What once gave us great joy and peace will no longer hold appeal.

As writers, we can starve our creativity by not using the gift within us. For believers, losing our spiritual hunger will severely impact our ability to produce life-giving words. How do we avoid such dire circumstances? Here are some things to help us:

1.  We need daily meals to stay healthy physically. It's no different spiritually. The purpose of regularly gathering as the church is to both give and receive the particular ministry gifts of each person. The Word says, "As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the Word that you may grow thereby."

2.  Staying connected to the Vine (Jesus - see John 15) enhances and brings about greater understanding of the Word and the situations around us. Many of the scenes in my books have come through inspiration after prayer and Bible study. At times, I've gone to bed praying about a writing problem. Often I've dreamed the answer or had all the pieces fall into place upon waking.

3.  There are times in the writers life when it seems the creativity disappeared. Write anyway. Pray anyway. Read/study the Word anyway. Put something on paper. Prime that pump.

Like one physically deprived of food, the comeback is often gradual. Momentum takes time to build. The cobwebs in our hearts and brain tangle our words into incoherent sentences. Little by little, clarity will return.

I'm taking my own advice. Soaking in the atmosphere of praise and worship, taking in the Word of God both in my private times with the Lord and with the Church are all restoring what became dormant.

Writers:  Do you go through times where you have no desire to write? How do you stir up the gift within you?

Readers:  Do you ever  experience "reader fatigue?" What triggers it, and how do you recover?

Photo Credit:  Robson Oliveira



Friday, November 3, 2017

Writing Prompt/Memoirs/Ancient Worshop/Devo/Fall Decor



1.  Lynn Simpson is taking part in 5-Minute Friday. This particular segment used the word, "place," as the writing prompt. See what she does with it. Maybe you'll want to try it as well.

2.  We've heard it over and over again: "Memoirs don't sell." Marcia Moston gives some helpful hints on how to get your story out there. I enjoyed this article and discovered I'm already doing this on a small scale through blogging and guest spots.

3.  Breaking Christian News reports on the discovery of an ancient stone workshop near Cana where Jesus turned the water into wine.

4.  Jeanne Takenaka is also participating in 5-Minute Friday. Check out her post to see what she does with the word, "place."

5.  Whether your decorating style is sleek and modern or strictly country, HGTV has 66 ideas for fall decorating.

Writers:  Do you use writing prompts? Please share.

Readers:  Do you decorate for the various holidays? Do you change your items or keep the same ones year after year? Please share.

Photo Credit:  B S K

Monday, October 30, 2017

On My Kindle - Hidden by Vannetta Chapman



Dana Jacobs buries herself in her work with Homeland Security. She's learned the hard way not to get close to the people around her. When Ben Marshall joins the team, her carefully constructed defenses begin to crumble.

Ben Marshall knows how to survive thanks to battlefield experience. All his skills are put to good use as a killer stalks the person he's grown to love.

I've seen Vannetta Chapman around the web, but had never read any of her books. Oh.my.goodness. I can't believe what I missed. Her characters, her settings, her storylines are amazing. They kept me hungering for more, plus I had to remind myself the characters would be victorious. The author got them into some serious jams.

Five stars - I already grabbed the second book in this series.

Writers: Do you ever get your characters into so much trouble that you wonder how you'll rescue them? Please share.

Readers: Do you like nail-biters or do you prefer more sedate stories? Why?




Friday, October 27, 2017

Reading/Writing Tip/Charlie Gard Foundation/Devo/Autumn Scents


1. As writers, we're told to read a wide variety of books. I've wondered on occasion how reading as a writer is different from reading as a reader. Julianna Baggot, at Writer Unboxed, shares some techniques she uses. What do you think of these methods?

2.  Henry McLaughlin, at The Write Conversation, asks, "What Is Your Hero Pursuing?" Sometimes a simple question can clear the cobwebs. This nugget is worth the read.

3. Breaking Christian News reported that Charlie Gard's parents set up a foundation to help other children and parents in the situation they endured. They raised $1.5 million toward taking him to the U.S. for treatment. Unfortunately, a British court ruled the hospital could block their efforts. The constant delays made the chance of recovery fade, and the baby died.

4.  Beth K. Vogt posts at The Write Conversation about, "Stepping Out of the Shadow of Worry."

5. I found Homedit.com that talks about 11 different ways to bring the scents of autumn into your home.

Writers:  Do you consciously try to learn writing techniques by reading books? Please share.

Readers:  What's your favorite scent of fall and why? Is it linked to some childhood memory?

Photo Credit:  Griszka Niewisdomski

Monday, October 23, 2017

Spotlight - Times of Trouble Bring Rays of Joy - GIVEAWAY!


Product Details
Today, Cecelia Lester is visiting with us and spotlighting her new book, Times of Trouble Bring Rays of Joy.  Check out the PRINT book  giveaway at the end!

1.      How did you start on this writing journey?

As a young adult, I wrote notices for the newspaper about our church missionary society meetings. I found myself writing devotions when it was my turn to give devotions.

Early 1980’s, I went through a very deep depression. I took a 30 day leave of absence from my job. I resigned my job and started putting my thoughts on paper. I even saw a counselor trying to get through some of the issues we had faced as a family. Later, I got discouraged about writing. I was doing poetry at that time.

Later, at another church, I wrote devotions for the women’s group. This was a part of the office I held.  I submitted something to the denominational magazine, but it they rejected it. I again faced discouragement about writing. I did manage to submit some writing samples to another publication there and they picked up one of those samples to use in an adult take-home Sundayschool paper.

In the waning years of the 20th Century, I discovered a hobby that I liked but I didn’t feel satisfied. I asked a Christian friend at church to pray for me about how God wanted me to spend my life, either doing the other pastime or return to writing. God directed me to writing.


2.      What is your favorite part of writing? Least favorite?

My favorite part of writing is the actual writing. I find it frees me from my worries and the issues I face. I love the thoughts and comments I receive from those who read my blog entries.

I find the marketing phase of writing to be difficult. I don’t want people I know and see every week thinking “There she is. All she wants is to peddle her books to me.” I guess, I am not a ‘hard sell’ type of person.


3.      What is something readers might be surprised to find out about you?

As I go through life, I find I am more of an introvert than I used to be. Who knows? Maybe I always have been and I tried to overcome it in my youth.

4.      Please tell us a little bit about your self-publishing experience. Was it as hard/easy as you expected?

I chose to hire a professional editor. She saved me some future grief about the usage of the translation I had initially used. I had to change translations.

I chose a lady to design my book cover and to format my interior. She explained things she did as she went along.

Overall, my print on demand company has gone out of their way to work with me when I had an issue.

5.      What advice would you give other writers who want to go the Indie route?

My advice to other writers is taken from a blog post I did in August:

We need to learn to be:

*VIGILANT. Learn the importance of reviewing your work with the proverbial fine-toothed comb. If I had been more vigilant along the editing and format processes, my book would have been published a month earlier.

*PATIENT. Patient with yourself as well as those who read and edit your work, friends-local and online as well as professional people. We all had full lives and a lot of activities going on in our lives. Remember the King James Version of the Fruit of the Spirit was long-suffering.

*APPRECIATIVE. I have had lots of encouragement from online friends as well as from local ones. I have appreciated all of them.

*PERSISTENT. We have to learn the meaning of this word and apply it to our writing. For me, writing a blog three times a week and an online column once a week takes dedication. It takes a lot of that same dedication staying with writing a book. Some days nothing not go as we think it should. However, we have to stay with it until the end of the long process.


Book Blurb: Times of Trouble Bring Rays of Joy


            Have you even wondered if you fully understood what God tells you? Have you wanted assurance that God listens to your prayers? Did you ever feel you repeatedly failed God? Have you ever thought something was holding you back from serving Him? If you are like most Christians, you answered yes to at least one of these questions if not all of them. In this book, the reader explores six areas of the Christian walk that sometimes plague believers.

GIVEAWAY:  Cecelia has generously agreed to provide one print copy of her book to a single person who comments on this post. Deadline:  Friday, October 27, 2017. Please include your email address in the comments.


Amazon Link: https://www.amazon.com/Times-Trouble-Bring-Rays-Joy/dp/154827304X/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1506457004&sr=1-1&keywords=Cecelia+Lester



Facebook (Book page)
https://www.facebook.com/Times-of-Trouble-Bring-Rays-of-Joy-492882131051408/

Twitter:
https://twitter.com/quietspirit4

Peace and Blessings to you and yours.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Query Letters/Reviews/Rainbow/Devo/Recipe


1.  Writing query letters is right up there with the synopsis and book proposal in the dread factor. Jennifer Slattery guest posts at Zoe M. McCarthy's blog and gives some valuable tips on crafting a dynamite query letter.

2.  If you've put your novel or non-fiction baby out into the world, you'll eventually face the inevitable one-star review. Writer Unboxed shares the top two reasons a reader will leave a bad review.

3.  Anyone who has read the story of Noah and the Ark knows what the rainbow means. God put it in the sky after the great flood as a covenant never to destroy the earth again in this manner. To restore the original meaning of the rainbow, the ministry that owns the replica of Noah's Ark has lit it in these colors. Check out this article on Breaking Christian News.

4.  Susan Panzica talks about being a bride and relates it to us as the Bride of Christ. Don't miss this lovely analogy.

5.  Ooo, I want to try these Blueberry Galettes. They look yummy and easy. Check out the recipe at JoCooks.

Writers:  How do you process negative reviews?


Readers:  What did you think of the article on reasons for negative reviews? Do you have a policy when it comes to reviewing books?

Photo Credit:  zenek brzeszcz

Monday, October 16, 2017

How To Promote Without Being Obnoxious


We've all seen it:

1.  The author who turns their website or blog into a giant advertisement.

2.  A social media post for their book every waking minute of the day.

3.  Conversations somehow include the title of their newest book.

Advertisers are getting the message about soft selling their products. They engage a viewer/reader with a story and characters that make us laugh, show rather than tell the advantages of an item, and hold our attention.

While some writers avoid all mention of their work, the fact remains: marketing is necessary to make people aware of our offerings. How do we accomplish this without alienating the folks we want to reach?

1.  Name recognition is an important factor. By participating on social media, people are getting to know you as a person.

2.  Back in the day, I followed the local baseball team. One of the things that made the games exciting was knowing about the individual players, their families, and their careers. The same is true for writers. People like to know how we started this journey and what influenced us.

3.  Along with number two above, readers want to be able to relate to authors. They want to know we care about them as individuals and not a cha-ching of the cash register.

Be friendly, be nice, and be real!

Writers:  What are some of the ways you promote your books?

Readers:  What do you want to know about your favorite authors and writers?

Photo Credit:  Jamie Harris

Friday, October 13, 2017

Journaling/Obstacle?/Pro-Life/Writer Quote/Recipes


1.  Positive Writer continues with a post on Creative Journaling. It's geared toward novel writers, but I can see how it would be valuable to non-fiction writers. Readers: How about experimenting with this to help you write book reviews or just for fun?

2.  As writers, we've come up against detours toward publication. Kathryn Craft guest blogs at Writers in The Storm and examines the question, "Obstacle or Opportunity." It made me look at some non-writing offers in a different way.

3.   Missouri's governor recently signed a sweeping pro-life bill into law. One feature is that pregnancy centers will not be forced to counsel about abortion. Read the entire article at Christian Headlines.

4.   Edie Melson, at The Write Conversation, posted a Nathaniel Hawthorne quote for writers.

5.  Do you want some new recipes for the holidays? Why not give some of these a test run? Check out My Incredible Recipes.

Writers:  How do you handle opportunities that may not fit into your writer goals at this time, but could reap dividends down the road?


Readers:  What did you think of the quote for writers? Do you agree or disagree?

Photo Credit:  Justine FG

Monday, October 9, 2017

On My Kindle - Whitewashed by Amy C. Blake


Patience McDonough's plans for a perfect summer at Verity College get off to a rocky start and go downhill from there. She turned down full scholarships to Ivy League colleges because of a decision she made as a child.

She's dismayed not only at the emphasis on the sports program, but also on her grandfather's obsession with getting rid of the college president. Her work assignment turns into a nightmare as strange happenings crowd her days.

Although her name is, "Patience," she struggles to exhibit that trait. Yet, it's evident she desires to do the right thing and please God. Will her lack of patience be her downfall or will mercy and grace pull her out of a truly scary situation?

Amy C. Blake is a new-to-me author. The book started off a bit slow for me but soon picked up the pace. The unfolding mystery and potential love interest kept me engaged. A few red herrings made me wonder if I had the right villains nailed. She pulled off an exciting climax and a satisfying ending.

This book is suitable for the YA crowd, as well  as adults. I'm giving Whitewashed 5 Stars for story content and 4 for execution.

Disclaimer:  I received this book as part of a free promotion on Amazon. Neither the author nor the publisher gave this reviewer any remuneration for a favorable score. All opinions expressed, as always, are mine and mine alone.

Writers:  Have you ever focused on a character's struggle with a negative trait such as impatience? Please share.


Readers:  Have you read any YA (young adult) books? Do they interest you or do you find them too simple for your tastes?

Friday, October 6, 2017

Journaling/Marketing/Shocking Proposal/Impossibilities/Purple


1.  Nicole Gulotta, at Positive Writer, talks about 5 Very Effective Journaling Methods. If you've journaled in the past but stalled out, you might find her suggestions helpful.

2.  Marketing is a key part of an author's job these days. Zoe M. McCarthy shares some of the things she did to prepare for her first book launch and what she's doing for the second book.

3.  Newsmax reports on a Chicago professor's shocking proposal: Kill Deformed Newborns. Is it really so surprising this step from abortion to infanticide?

4.  Adelee Russell, at Rewritten, talks about God making a way when it seems impossible.

5.  I have a love for the color purple. I'm drawn to clothing, decor, and flowers in its various hues. Susan, at Writing Straight From the Heart, talked about her father's lavender irises. By the way, she has some really fun blog links on her sidebar.

Writers:  Do you journal? How do you go about it?

Readers:  What's your favorite color? Do you use it for clothing, decor, and plants? Please share.

Photo Credit:  vada0214

Monday, October 2, 2017

The Writer's Handbag

I tried. Really. Downsizing a purse is akin to squeezing my feet into size five shoes. Perhaps you'll have a bit of sympathy after you hear my story.

Once upon a time, yours truly threw out her back - that nasty sciatic nerve thingy. My chiropractor lifted my handbag and glared at me. "This is part of your problem." While my back cried for relief, my mind screamed, "Nooooo, not my purse!"

Many of my friends carry something the size of a credit card, but not me. Where would I put my driving glasses, reading glasses, the extra pairs of said glasses, my wallet (which qualifies as a mini purse by itself), my car and house keys, the extra set of each, assorted aspirin, cough drops, hard candy (for that dry throat), tissues, my smartphone, my digital camera (yes, I still use one), my Kindle, my notebook for church, and an assortment of odds and ends that would fill this page. Whew! Let me catch my breath.

Around Christmas, Sweetie Mom and I trekked through the mall, using her walker to carry our heavy purses. This worked great until I needed to go shopping for her Christmas gifts. Without the walker, that 15-pound monster threatened to double me over.

A brilliant idea struck me at that moment (did you hear the angels singing?). Carry a lighter version and put the remainder of the items in another bag. The tote could stay in the trunk when the contents weren't required, and the essentials could stay with me.

What I didn't count on was the tote bag acting like a bigger closet or an extra room in a house. More space? Fill it up. An umbrella, a sweater, a paperback book, a water bottle, an extra pair of shoes...you get the picture.

The recent addition of a tablet (the computer kind) now rests in the tote bag. If one of my characters gets chatty, I can whip it out and jot some notes.

I'm now lugging around a purse AND a tote bag (because I need everything in it). What's a girl to do?

Writing Gals:  Do you carry around more writing gadgets, etc. since you started on this journey?

Reader Gals:  Do you carry books with you? How do you keep your purse from becoming your home away from home? I need serious help here.


Hat tip to my blogger buddy, Rhonda Schrock, who adds a whole other dimension to this issue with a husband an four sons. Check out her post.

Photo Credit:  Brano Hudak

Friday, September 29, 2017

Mystery/Facebook/Creation Scientist/Devo/Recipe


1.  Heather Webb guest posts at Writer Unboxed. How do you keep someone reading? She says, "Every good book is a mystery even when it's not."

2.  Do you need suggestions on how to optimize your time on Facebook? Kathleen Gage talks about engagement and how to develop a following.

3.  Breaking Christian News reports the National Park Service has reversed its decision and will allow a creation scientist to study the Grand Canyon.

4.  Rhonda Rhea, at The Write Conversation, shares her thoughts on "Unforgetting." Yeah, that grabbed my attention as well.

5.  I saw this recipe for Chocolate Brownie Cake. You KNOW I had to share it. Enjoy!

Writers:  How much time do you spend on Facebook or other social media platforms? Do you have a plan or just wing it? Please share your thoughts.


Readers:  What was your favorite link this week and why?

Photo Credit:  Melodi2

Monday, September 25, 2017

On My Kindle - Healing Love by Jennifer Slattery


Brooke's dream of becoming a news anchor is a step away from fulfillment. So, why isn't she turning cartwheels? When her sister, Aubrey, begs her to go on a mission's trip to El Salvador, she envisions all kinds of disasters.

Ubaldo agrees to translate for another American mission's team. Past experiences have left him skeptical of their motives. They'll probably make promises they won't keep and break the orphans' hearts.

I can't say enough good things about this book. Jennifer Slattery is a new-to-me author, and I'm so glad I finally read one of her stories. Her skill drew me into the  lives of Brooke, Ubaldo, and the orphans. Their hopes for the future, fears, and growth as people inspired me.

Five Stars all the way!

Disclaimer: I can't recall how I got this book. I believe it was a freebie. Neither the author nor the publisher paid me to give a review. The opinions expressed here are mine and mine alone.

Writers:  This book managed to capture me and turn off any internal editor. When was the last time you read a book for pure enjoyment? Title/Author? I'd love to hear about it.

Readers:  Do you enjoy books that take place in another country? What are some of your favorite titles?


Friday, September 22, 2017

Foil in Fiction/Permissions/Pro-Life/Tree Lessons/Boredom



1.  Zoe M. McCarthy talks about a foil in fiction - a character who emphasizes the protagonist's qualities. Check out this excellent article.

2.  Jane Friedman talks about Permissions and Fair Use. When is it okay to directly quote, excerpt, or reproduce someone else's work in your own writing?

3. Christian Headlines reports that the Oregon State House killed a bill that would have allowed mentally ill patients to be dehydrated and starved to death. Fortunately, strong pro-life members fought it and won. When we dehumanize the unborn, that attitude will extend to other "inconvenient" people like those with disabilities and the elderly.

4. Lynn Simpson shares the lessons of trees in a recent blog post. What a great analogy!

5. It's midsummer, and the excitement of summer break is wearing thin for both parents and kids. Here are some suggestions to fight boredom compliments of Wiki-How.

Writers:  Have you used a secondary character to highlight the good points of your protagonist? Please share.

Readers:  What are some activities you use to combat your kids'/grandkids' boredom?

Photo Credit:  Eric Pseja


Monday, September 18, 2017

I'm Back!


Blogging can drain the life out of you. I've had to rethink how I manage this task.

My buddy, Karen Lange, over at Write Now, gave me some wise advice. (Thank you, Karen!)
Instead of three posts per week, I'm cutting back to two. The Monday posts will be a mix of book reviews, writerly thoughts, and some devotionals. I'll continue sharing links on Friday.

What would you like to see here? After all, this blog is about connecting the dots between writers and readers. Now that's a catchy phrase - connecting the dots between writers and readers. I'll be adding it to my header soon.

I'm looking forward to a fresh start.

Writers and Readers:  What changes have you made in your lives to spark your creativity/interests?

Photo Credit:  Janusz Hylinski

Saturday, September 9, 2017

We Interrupt This Blog Break...



I'm guest posting at Elaine Stock's blog from 9/8 - 9/15/17! GIVEAWAY.

God has a plan for us - a good one. I hope you'll stop by and comment.


Friday, July 28, 2017

Dual Timeframe/Chapters/Former Terrorist/Defeating Fear/Re-Purpose


1.  I saw the phrase, "dual timeframe book," the other day. I did a search and found this article by K. M. Weiland. It's a technique I've seen in a few books and thought you might want to give it a try.

2.  Greer Macallister guest posts at Writers in the Storm on, "The Art of Chapter." She gives spot-on advice regarding length, powerful opening sentences, and the need for mini-closure for the reader.

3.  Julianne Hale wrote a novel based on the real-life transformation of a former terrorist. This is a perfect example of how fiction can impact and inform readers. Check out this article at Christian Headlines.

4.  Lynn J. Simpson posted, "The Call - Part 2 - The Present." It spoke to my heart.

5.  Susan, at Writing Straight From the Heart, talks about new uses for old things. Hmm, what can I do with some of the stuff I have around my house?

Writers:  How do manage your chapters? Do you have a particular plan you follow?

Readers:  Have you ever re-purposed an item in your house? Please share.

Photo Credit:  Mario Alberto Magallanes Trejo

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

On My Nightstand - Come to the Table by Neta Jackson


Come to the Table is the second book in Neta Jackson's new SouledOut Sisters series. She introduces new characters to the cast from her previous books.

Kathryn "Kat" Davies and her friend, Nick, are the focus of this book. Both get involved in SouledOut Community Church. Nick is doing his internship as a pastor, while Kat desires to feed the hungry.

I always enjoy Neta's characters. They're so realistic you almost want to visit their Chicago neighborhood and pop in for a cup of tea and a friendly chat. The love story adds a sweet touch to their growth as believers.

Five stars for Come to the Table. If you like character-driven novels, you'll love all her books.

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

Writers:  How do you make your characters unique and interesting?

Readers:  Do you like books with a large cast of characters or do you find it confusing? Please share.


Monday, July 24, 2017

Summer Fun


Unlike last year, I'm enjoying the summer. My flowers provide a splash of color, making me smile every time I look at them. Neighbors hang out on their porches or in their backyards and chat. Being outdoors is the order of the day.

My heart simply wants to drink in the beauty of God's creation and share the lives of the people I love. I need to regroup and be refreshed. After the post on July 28th, I'll be taking a break until Monday, September 18, 2017.

Have a wonderful summer!

Writers and Readers:  What are you doing for fun this summer?

Photo Credit:  Aki_fukaki




Friday, July 21, 2017

Settings/Parallelism/Prayer/The Call/Glass Blowing


1.  Creating settings challenge me. When I saw this article at Writers in the Storm, I jumped on it. Tasha Seegmiller gives some excellent advice.

2.  Zoe M. McCarthy talks about Faulty Parallelism. Yes, that's a mouthful, but it's simple to fix.

3.  Breaking Christian Headlines ran an article on Science and Prayer by Dr. Don Colbert. Did you know that folks who pray for as little as 30 seconds a day, acknowledging God and giving thanks for their blessings see a powerful effect on their mind, body, and spirit?

4.  Lynn Simpson shares The Call on her life and relates it to Abraham. I especially liked the part about Abraham being 75 years old at the time God told him to leave his country and all he knew.

5.  A post at Colonial Quills caught my attention because my cousin is a glass artist. Author Jennifer Hudson Taylor shared, "The Art of Glass Blowing at the Jamestown Colony." If you're a history buff, you'll enjoy this fascinating story.

Writers:  What part of writing is difficult for you? Setting? Characterization? Dialogue or some other facet?

Readers:  What effects has prayer had on your physical body?

Photo Credit:  Wrhoana R.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

On My Nightstand - The Shadow of Your Smile by Susan May Warren


Noelle and Eli Hueston deal with their grief and lose their relationship in the process. An accident causes her to lose all memories of the last 25 years. She struggles to relate to the man and the children that say she's their wife and mother.

Eli sees this as an opportunity to repair their marriage and be the kind of husband Noelle needs. As she discovers pieces of the past, will it destroy their new beginning or will they deal with the problems the right way - together?

Susan May Warren once again nails the story. She's not one to offer platitudes or gloss over problems. The situations are real-life, and I could relate to the characters' struggles.

This is a Deep Haven novel and well worth your time and money. 5 Stars!

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

Writers:  Do you tackle difficult relationship issues in your writing? Please share.

Readers:  What is your opinion of Christian Fiction? Do you relate to the various themes? Please share.




Monday, July 17, 2017

Ebooks vs. Print - Fast Food or Fine Dining?


Sweetie Mom and I grab our purses and fly out the door when an opportunity to eat out comes along. To a great extent, our level of enthusiasm depends on where we're going. Friday night means Wendy's. We've become regulars, and the staff knows us. It's fun when they plug in my name for the order without asking who I am.

A special dining experience for a birthday, Mother's Day, or to use a gift card (love gift cards!) results in discussions on what to wear, as well as what to eat. Certain restaurants have menu items that make us salivate thinking about them. I'm not a fan of sweet potatoes, but drowning a baked one in honey butter and maple syrup makes me swoon.

Reading an ebook or a print book are like selecting between fast food or casual/fine dining. Lately, I've been reading a lot of books on my Kindle Paperwhite. The last two books I've read, however, are print versions. Here are some of the pros and cons of each:

1.  Fast food places don't require a lot of thought, while other restaurants take more planning. A print book takes up a lot of space, while you can carry around hundreds of books in a Kindle or other e-reader.

2.  Seeing the percentage finished in an ebook doesn't give the same perception as looking where your bookmark sits in a print version. Like fast food, there isn't the savoring of the overall experience.

3.  With an ebook, I sometimes forget the title and/or author of the book I'm reading because it's not on every page. With a print book, I see the title and author. They become linked with the story in my brain because of the repetition. The ambiance of a more formal restaurant creates a memory not easily forgotten.

4.  When I order an ebook, there's no waiting. Zap! It's in my Kindle in a flash. By the time my print books arrive, I've sometimes forgotten what I ordered. The positive side is the excitement of opening a box of books. Fast food is - fast. When you're hungry and you've got a ton or errands, it's the way to go. Casual/fine dining takes planning and more time.

5.  The cost factor plays a big part in this equation. I can afford a lot more ebooks than print books, and the way I blast through them that's a big deal. Library, you say? Our local library doesn't have the kind of selection I can find online. Fast food restaurants don't cost as much as casual/fine dining. I can go there once a week, but my purse can't handle higher-end eateries that often.

So what do I prefer? I love the whole print book experience. The ebook is an economical and convenient choice. It depends on what I need at any given time.

Writers and Readers:  What are your preferences and why?

Photo Credit:  Susan J. Reinhardt

Friday, July 14, 2017

Description/Blogging/China/Motivation/Dispose


1. Les Edgerton posts at Writers in the Storm about character descriptions and the lack thereof. I'll have to pay closer attention to this when I'm reading a book.

2. Wow! The Write Conversation has a super post on 7 Things to Remember When You Host a Guest on Your Blog. For anyone who blogs, this is a keeper.

3.  Christian Headlines brings us an interesting article on the state of religion in China.

4.  How do you handle disappointment? Andy Lee shares her mother's wisdom on the subject.

5.  Do you want to get rid of some stuff, but don't know how to dispose of it? I discovered this post that will tell you.

Writers:  How do you handle character descriptions in your writing?

Readers:  Do you like detailed character descriptions? Why? Why not?

Photo Credit:  Ned Horton



Wednesday, July 12, 2017

On My Nightstand - The Air We Breathe by Christa Parrish


Molly Fisk cannot bear to go outside. She views the world from the windows of the wax museum she  and her mother run for a local businessman.

Although she longs to be free from the fears that hold her prisoner, it seems impossible. Even the handsome young man, Tobias, can't break through her fears and coax her outside. One day, a woman arrives at the museum with her family. It's the beginning of a new life for Molly.

Christa's books have a depth that's rare in most fiction. She digs deep into her characters' innermost thoughts and motivations. I ached for the terrified little girl, closed off from the world around her. I grieved with the woman, who filled her life with crossword puzzles and avoided love. This story got inside of me.

5 Stars all the way. This book and any of Christa Parrish's books are highly recommended.

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

Writers:  How do you get inside your characters' hearts and heads?

Readers:  What's more important to you: characters or story? Or both? Please share.