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

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