Monday, February 27, 2017

Survey Time - Social Media

Where do you hang out on social media?

Other (Please specify)

Please answer in the comments. If you could include a brief reason why you chose the particular platforms you're on, I'd appreciate it. I'm considering expanding my social media reach.


Photo Credit:  Craig Parylo

Friday, February 24, 2017

Cliffhangers/Twitter/Planned Parenthood/Devo/Birthdays

1.  Cindy Sproles posts at The Write Conversation on tips for using cliffhangers in our books. While they're effective, they can give the reader ulcers if they're overused.

2.  I love Facebook, but I have to admit some social media platforms leave me cold. Twitter is a fine example. When I saw Edie Melson, at The Write Conversation, wrote a post about using Twitter, I thought perhaps it would help me understand it better. She gives the Twitter ABCs.

3.  Breaking Christian News reports a Senate Committee has referred Planned Parenthood to the FBI for criminal investigation. The issue is the selling of fetal body parts, which is against the law.

4.  Lynn Simpson shares her word for 2017 and the challenges she's experienced.

5.  Since my birthday was yesterday, I thought about celebrations and how to make them special. When Sweetie Mom turned 75 quite a few years ago, I threw her a, "This Is Your Life," party. I enlisted the help of family members, and we surprised her with people she hadn't seen in a while - her father, sister, brother and sister-in-law all showed up as part of the festivities. Friends from her church in another state were also invited.

I googled for information about parties and found this site. The event planner gives tips on making those milestone birthdays extra special.

Writers:  Do you incorporate cliffhangers in your writing? Please share.

Readers:  Are you on Twitter, and do you connect with authors there? What are your thoughts about that Social Media platform?

Photo Credit:  Robb Kiser

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

On My Nightstand - Frayed by Kerry Nietz

Threadbare is a low-level debugger. He's relegated to a greasy garage and fixes heavy, rather uncomplicated bots (robots). The constant razing by fellow debugger, Bullhammer, irks him, and he wishes he could better his position.

This is definitely a watch-what-you-wish-for kind of story. He's eventually promoted and given a cushy position. He's got his own apartment, a great food producer, and exclusive access to almost every area of the estate. Things go downhill when he discovers everything is not as it appears.

I'm not a big science fiction fan, but Kerry Nietz managed to snag my attention. The Christian thread is subtle but definitely present. Frayed is Book 1 in the Dark Trench Shadow Series. You might want to read the Original Dark Trench Saga: A Star Singing Curiously, The Superlative Stream, and Freeheads. It will give you a foundation for this book.

I confess:  I'm hooked and will pick up the rest of this series as it comes out. If you like Science Fiction, these two series will capture your imagination. Five stars!

Disclaimer:  I won this book in a blog giveaway. The author did not pay me for a favorable review. All opinions are mine and mine along.

Writers: Have you ever tried to write science fiction? What books/TV programs have inspired your efforts. Please share.

Readers:  Do you like Science Fiction? What are some of the titles you've read? 

Monday, February 20, 2017

Presidents' Day Trivia and Thoughts

Today is Presidents' Day. When I was younger, we celebrated Lincoln's birthday on February 12 and Washington's birthday on February 22.

In the 1960's, an effort was made to combine the two holidays through the Uniform Holiday Act. The effort failed, but a piece of the legislation was passed in 1971. Presidents' Day was moved to the third Monday in February. Many patriotic groups use this date for reenactments and events honoring various presidents.*

I found a couple of quotes by George Washington which illustrate his beliefs:

"Let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion. Reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle."

"It is impossible to rightly govern a nation without God and the Bible."

The study of American History is critical to the future of our country. Our freedoms depend on each generation understanding what it took to secure them and how our government was designed to work.

While researching for a project, I was distressed to see government sites wiped clean of references to Christianity. Many of the history books and internet websites put forth a revised history that bears little or no resemblance to the truth. They don't back up their claims with original documents or simply omit whole chunks of information.

I'm thankful for David Barton, at Wallbuilders, and others who have original documents from the Founding Fathers and raise awareness of our true history. If we forget our roots as a country, we're in serious danger of seeing the type of scenario found in my novels (The Moses Trilogy and The Christmas Wish).

We remember George Washington (the Father of our Country) and Abraham Lincoln on this day. If not for these great men and so many others, America would not exist.

*Thanks to for the information on Presidents' Day.

Writers:  Does history provide inspiration for your writing? Please share.

Readers:  What is your favorite time period in American History? Do you look for books that are based on those eras? Please share.

Photo Credit:  Mana Media

Friday, February 17, 2017

Characters/Writing Goals/Confiscated/Memorizing/Flowers

1.  Character development has a strong impact on dialogue. Chip MacGregor, at MacGregor Literary, gives tips on developing character voice.

2.  We're not too far off from the beginning of the year. Are you accomplishing your writing goals? I came across an article on Positive Writer on One Goal to be a Brilliant, Accomplished Writer (Are You Ready?) Be forewarned this isn't a Christian site, and he uses the term, "mantra," quite often. (Otherwise, it's okay - no profanity.)

3.  Christian Headlines reports on a Church Retreat Center being confiscated by the Iranian government.

4.  Jeanette Levellie, at Hope Splashes, shares 5 Ways Memorizing Scripture Can Enrich Your Life.

5.  Are you looking forward to spring as much as I am? Last year, I got such a late start on my garden. After I broke my wrist, it was impossible to finish. I've promised myself that I won't procrastinate in 2017. Here's a site to give you some inspiration.

Writers:  How do you make your characters different from each other in terms of personality?

Readers:  Are you longing for spring? Do you have a color palette in mind for this year's garden?

Photo Credit:  Filip George

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

On My Nightstand - Caught in the Current by Lynnette Bonner

Marie Sinclair and her three-year-old daughter are doing fine, thank you very much. She's learned to depend on herself no matter how tough her financial situation gets.

Reece Cahill returned to his hometown because of his father's illness. Has Marie changed or is she still looking for love at Pete's Bar?

I read the first book in Lynnette's Pacific Shores series and liked it so much that I purchased Book 2. I wasn't disappointed. There's a strong spiritual thread throughout the story. Little Alyssa is adorable although she sometimes sounds more like a teenager than a three-year-old child.

Taysia Sumner made a few cameo appearances from the first book, but I wished the author had included her more. After all, she and Marie were like sisters. It would have added to the story if she'd been supporting and advising her.

Throughout the book, I was reminded of the scripture saying those who are forgiven much love much. I think Marie displayed this, while certain characters seemed to forget they needed forgiveness as much as she did.

If you're a fan of sweet romance, you'll love this book. Five Stars for Caught in the Current.

Writers:   This is a series which focuses on a particular character. Have you considered writing about various characters from your original story? Please share.

Readers:  Are you a fan of the sweet romance or do you prefer an element of suspense/history?

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

Monday, February 13, 2017

Making Adjustments

As the years go by, I've made adjustments in how I do things and how I think. My knees protest if I want to scrub my floor by hand. While knee pads I use in the garden help, most of the time I reach for a sponge mop. My brain tells me, "I'm going to clean the entire house today," but my body reminds me to pace myself.

I've always looked forward to the future, which isn't a bad thing. With a birthday approaching later this month, I've learned to appreciate the here and now. One of my favorite verses is, "This is the day the Lord has made. I will rejoice and be glad in it."

When people learn I'm an author, they'll often say they want to write a book someday. I wish I'd started writing at an earlier age. Learning the craft takes time and never stops. Perhaps it wouldn't seem like cramming for an exam if I'd begun studying sooner.

Maybe your priorities are on a family, ministry, and career at this point. Why not pick up some writing books, read blogs, attend a writers group to soak up the knowledge you'll need when you're ready to seek publication? Take 10 or 20 minutes to journal or write down ideas for a devotional, short story, or the novel you have brewing in your mind.

Life has a way of changing in a moment. I don't want to miss the opportunities the Lord gives me to make a difference in any area.

Writers:  What steps are you taking to move forward as a writer?

Readers:  How do you balance your immediate responsibilities with your goals for the future?

Photo Credit:  Marius Largu

Friday, February 10, 2017

Multiple POV/Writer's Block/Big Brother/Devo/Cabin Fever

1.  Jerry Jenkins gives 3 Tips for Featuring Multiple Main Characters in Your Story. Since all of my novels are written this way, the article held a special attraction.

2.  Dave King, at Writer Unboxed, gives some unusual insights into writer's block and its remedies.

3.  Google on Steriods. Does that sound ominous? It does to me. Check out this article on further breaches in our privacy by the Feds.

4.  Andy Lee posts at The Write Conversation about The Cost of The Call. Many think if God called them to a specific task everything should go forward without a hitch. When difficulties arise, they get discouraged. Check out this important article.

5.  When winter weather forces you to spend a lot of time indoors, the resulting cabin fever can be debilitating. gives 6 Frugal Ways to Beat Cabin Fever.

Writers:  Have you ever used multiple point-of-view characters? What were some of the challenges you faced, and how did you overcome them?

Readers:  Besides reading, what are some of the ways you deal with cabin fever?

Photo Credit: Nico Van Diem

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

On My Kindle - Every Secret Thing by Ann Tatlock

Beth Gunnar returns to her Alma Mater, Seaton Academy, as a seasoned English teacher. Most of her memories are pleasant, but she's haunted by one life-changing event. It takes reconnecting with old friends and a bond forged with a bright student to finally put the past into its proper perspective.

I'm not into poetry. Philosophical discussions - uh, no. I kept reading this book, hoping for a payoff. At Chapter 26, I almost gave up. Then, a funny thing happened. The characters started doing stuff instead of talking/musing, and it all came together.

If you haven't figured it out by now, this wasn't my usual kind of read. I'm glad I stuck with it. When all was said and done, this book finally made sense to me. The end reached a satisfying conclusion.

A lot of people have difficulty finding meaning in life. The characters' search for truth, values, and worth make it a good choice. I'm giving this one four stars.

Disclaimer:  I received this Kindle version during a free promotion. Neither the author nor the publisher paid me for a review. All opinions are mine and mine alone.

Writers:  How do you keep a reader's attention?

Readers:  If a book isn't "grabbing" you, do you continue reading or abandon it? Why?

Monday, February 6, 2017

Inspiration in Unlikely Places

Before Christmas, I was praying about what to write for my blog. The book review and Friday link posts don't demand as much creativity as the Monday posts. The answers came bit by bit.

While shopping for gifts at Kohl's, they had a display of products they sell for charity. A Madeline doll caught my eye, and I was smitten. Both Sweetie Mom and I collected dolls for years until they threatened to take over the house. I'd managed to resist the appeal of these cuties for a long time, but this little girl wouldn't let me go.

After several trips to Kohl's, Sweetie Mom bought Madeline for me. I later picked up the book that went along with her. After unwrapping her on Christmas Day, I sat down and reread the book. I was struck by Madeline's adventurous spirit. When a tiger roared at the zoo, the other girls cowered behind Miss Clavel, but not Madeline. She stood in front of the cage and studied him without a trace of fear.

Madeline made me smile - not a hint of a smile but a big ol' grin. Then the grin turned into a giggle and finally an old-fashioned, tears-running-down-my-face laugh.

She reminded me of David in the Bible. As a youth he killed a lion and a bear to protect his father's sheep. He trusted God to protect him against Goliath. He, too, was fearless.

I admired David and Madeline - one real person and one fictional child. For the millionth time, I wished I had more courage and an adventurous heart. Unfortunately, I resembled the Cowardly Lion in the Wizard of Oz more than them.

The Lord reminded me of several times when I exhibited bravery. Perhaps it was the accounts of young David and Madeline that planted that seed of trust in God's protection and care.

Words on a page can inspire people to greatness. Who would have thought seeing a simple doll and reading her book would dig up memories from long ago. Up to that point, I didn't know what my word for 2017 would be. Now, I know:


It's about trying new things, being adventurous, and not allowing fear to keep me from experiencing all that God has for me in the New Year.

Writers and Readers: Do you have an inspirational word for this year? Please share.

Friday, February 3, 2017

Advanced Tips/Dialect/Free Speech/Loneliness/Winter Safety

1.  Laura Drake, at Writers in the Storm, gives some advanced writing tips. Her examples help illustrate what she's teaching. It's an article that you might want to bookmark and reread more than a few times.

2.  At one time or another, every writer wants to communicate the dialect/accent of their characters. Chip MacGregor, of MacGregor Literary, talks about writing effective dialogue without distracting your readers.

3.  Public universities are designating areas as, "free speech zones." Not long ago, students were threatened with arrest over a beach ball with a message. Our freedoms are under attack. Raising awareness is the first step toward protecting them.

4.  Dr. MaryAnn Diorio wrote an excellent blog post on how to get free of the secret sorrow of loneliness.

5.  Winter Safety Tips from Did you know floor mats could get you out of a dangerous situation? Veggies are not only good to eat but can fight frost on your car.

Writers:  What was your favorite tip on writing dialect/accents? Please share.

Readers:  Dr. MaryAnn Diorio made several points about loneliness. Which one spoke to your heart and why?

Photo Credit:  Jyn Meyers

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

On My Kindle - Wings of Glass by Gina Holmes

Take one young woman with a distant father and a handsome, but abused, man and you get a volatile relationship. Penny and Trent Taylor live their lives in a haze of alcohol and co-dependency.

If I had to choose words to describe this story, they'd run along these lines:


Gina Holmes paints a picture of the physical abuse and mind games that leave the victim in perpetual confusion. Her powerful writing and hope infusion left this reader wanting more stories.

5 Stars for Wings of Glass.

Disclaimer: I can't recall how I got this book - perhaps a free promotion. Neither the author nor the publisher paid me for a favorable review. All opinions expressed are my honest evaluation of the story.

Writers and Readers:  Do character-driven novels give you that strong, emotional reaction? Please share.