Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Christmas on the Internet - Around the World, Peanuts, Mary Did You Know?

Here are a few links I thought might bring a smile to your face. As I hopped around the Net, it took on an international flavor.

1.  Belinda Letchford, of Australia, talks about celebrating Christmas in a way that reflects your Christian beliefs at her blog, Live Life With Your Kids. I discovered this blog by random searching, and was delighted with this 10-year veteran blogger.

2.  I'm a big Peanuts fan, so when I came across this post, I had to share it with you. gives some little known facts about the Peanuts Christmas Special we've all come to know and love. Linus' recounting of the Christmas story will forever stand out in my memory.

3.  How Do You Say, "Merry Christmas," around the world? This blog will tell you.

4.  At Things That Must Happen Soon, we have a list of Christmas celebrations from around the world.

5.  Finally, here's Mark Lowry singing his signature song, Mary Did You Know?

Writers and Readers: Do you have any special family traditions related to your ethnic roots?

Have a blessed Christmas and a Happy, Healthy New Year! I'll be taking a blogging break until Friday, January 2, 2015.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Friday, December 19, 2014

Internet Travels - Promo Materials, Inspiration, Cookies!

1.  Zoe McCarthy gives tips on how to purchase promotional materials for your book release.

2.  Jeanette Levellie, at On Wings of Mirth and Worth, shares some inspirational quotes.

3.  The Christmas baking extravaganza has started in many homes. Here's a recipe for sugar cookies compliments of

Writers:  What types of promotional materials do you purchase? Please share any tips.

Readers:  Do you go on a baking marathon during the holidays? What kinds of cookies to you make?

Photo Credit:  q83

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

On My Nightstand - Captured by Love by Jody Hedlund

Living on Michilimackinaw Island (say that 3 times fast) in 1814 during the British occupation means severe hunger. Angelique MacKenzie takes the early morning hours to fish and bring a meager ration to her blind friend, Miriam. She longs for the day when the war will be over, and she can get away from her merciless stepfather.

When her long-absent friend, Pierre, returns to the island, she's thrilled but wary. Fur trading and the wilderness are in his blood. Island life will never satisfy him. All she wants is a quiet life and a family.

Pierre is captivated by the little girl who has now grown into a beautiful woman. What they each want is so different. How could there possibly be a future for them, especially when his brother can give her the kind of life he cannot.

The number of twists and turns in this book makes The Twist king, Chubby Checker, look like he's standing still. Every time I thought, "Ah, now all will be well," Jody threw another problem their way.

Rich historical and setting detail, complex characters, and a heart-throbbing romance make a dynamite combination. This is a great gift idea for your favorite reader of historical romances. Five stars for this excellent, well-written story!

Disclaimer: I received this book as a gift from a friend. Neither the author nor the publisher requested a favorable review. All opinions shared are mine alone. I did not receive any payment for this review.

Monday, December 15, 2014

3 Tips to Purging Your Email and Your Mind

If you're anything like me, you're probably subscribed to a gazillion blogs and accumulate lots of articles. Now is a great time to clear out the old and make way for the new. My email needs serious editing, but how do I decide what to keep and what to delete forever? Here are some tips:

1.  Have I learned the lesson? Keeping 27 blog posts on social media might be overkill. If you've mastered Facebook, know how to navigate Goodreads, and tweet with the best of them, you can safely hit the delete key. Besides, all you need to do is plug the subject into a search engine to bring them back to life.

2.  Does this email require a response? If so, get it out of the way, so you can remove it from your to-do list.

3.  Is this information I'll need down the road? I do a number of guest posts and interviews throughout the year. They're scheduled way in advance, so I need to hang onto the emails with interview questions, guidelines, and contact names/addresses. These are keepers!

Another kind of computer needs some purging - our minds. A challenging year required changes in the way I do things and how I move forward. Funny, when I got those two words as my focus for the year, it never occurred to me they were preparation for a tough time. Some of the issues moved through like a brief rainstorm, while others lingered for months.

1.  Snowstorms and car issues. Record snowfall in 2014 meant parking difficulties, getting stuck, and greater wear and tear on my 14-year-old vehicle. With the 2015 winter season already making promises for a wild ride, I've made some decisions.

The car died, so when considering replacement I purchased an all-wheel drive model with an excellent reputation for reliability. It's also smaller, which might help with the parking situation. I can't stop the snow from falling, but I'm better prepared for it.

2.  Life messing up my plans. Sweetie Mom's broken hip threw my schedule out the window for a good four months. At times like this, I go into crisis mode and deal with each thing as it comes along. Our families take priority over our neat plans. By God's grace, we get through these times.

3.  Regrets. Did I handle everything right this year? No. I made my share of mistakes, but the Word tells us to repent from - not regret them. Regret wastes time and energy, while repentance wipes the slate clean.

Writers:  Do you have any writing issues that nag at you? What are you doing to resolve them?

Readers: Do you deal with computer clutter? How do you decide what to toss and what to keep?

Photo Credit:  sraburton

Friday, December 12, 2014

Weekend Potpourri - Marketing, Writing, and A Recipe!

2.  The Procrastiwriter suggests unique ways to help you develop more realistic settings. Using proper architectural and design terms can sharpen your reader's vision whether or not you're writing a book.

3.  If you're considering making your own cranberry sauce this Christmas, you might like to try this recipe.

Writers and Readers:  What are some of the traditional dishes you make for Christmas dinner?

Photo Credit:  ngosset

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

In The Spotlight - Christmas Grace by Rose Allen McCauley

Today, I'm welcoming Rose Allen McCauley to Christian Writer/Reader Connection. Her book, Christmas Grace, recently launched. It's the third book in the Smoky Mountain Christmas Collection. Below is a short blurb:

Grace Buchanan and Chris Fisher were best friends for sixteen years...until he fell in love with her other best friend, Terrie. Chris and Terrie married after high school, then she died three years ago.

A renewed friendship soon awakens stronger feelings in Grace and Chris. Can they both let go of the past long enough to claim the future God has for them?

Books are available online at in kindle now and soon in paperback.

Bio for Rose Allen McCauley:

Rose has been writing for over ten years and has been published in several non-fiction anthologies and devotionals. This is her second Christmas novella. Christmas books are her favorites. A retired schoolteacher who has been happily married to her college sweetheart for over four decades, she is also mother to three grown children and their spouses and grandmother to five lovely, lively kids! You can reach her through her website and blog at or on twitter @RoseAMcCauley and FB at

Congratulations, Rose!

Monday, December 8, 2014

Christmas Gift Ideas

Once upon a time, my Christmas gift-giving list covered more than a page. As my husband, grandparents, Dad, and some friends have departed for heaven, it has shrunk like a sweater placed in a hot dryer. Prices and less physical energy have also had a dampening effect on buying presents.

I've been thinking about creative ways to celebrate and bring joy into the lives of others.

1.  Since I'm an author, a Christmas letter tucked into a card helps me share events from the year nearing its end. I know it isn't original, but I still enjoy sending and receiving them.

2.  Silly, little gifts often show more thought than big, expensive ones. If a friend loves a certain type of chocolate or comments they love fuzzy socks, a package with a sweet note will bring a smile to their faces.

3.  A lot of older folks in nursing homes have lost loved ones. It's a stretch to think of something useful or enjoyable. If they like to write letters or send cards, a package of blank note cards and/or birthday cards along with a book of stamps might give them hours of pleasure. Crossword or word search puzzle books, lap robes, or a package of treats (taking into account dietary restrictions) are also good choices.

The gift of time is also appreciated by the elderly. A breakfast at an inexpensive restaurant, helping them with grocery/Christmas shopping, or inviting them over for a meal can be a welcome break from their routine.

4.  Books. Now you know I couldn't put a list together without including books! So many people have Kindles/Nooks and other e-readers these days, and you can get many Christmas novellas for $1.99 or less. If your friends or relatives prefer print books, many go on sale or can be found in the Bargain section.

5.  Gift Cards. Does your friend shop 'til she drops on Amazon? The perfect gift is at your fingertips. Find out what store they love - department stores, bookstores, small specialty places, health food establishments, movie theaters, and hair/nail salons. Almost everyone offers gift cards.

6.  Food gifts - cookies, small bread loaves, specialty spices all make delightful gifts.

7.  Collect items throughout the year for a basket gift. It doesn't have to be huge or even a basket. Mugs, mason jars, and pretty boxes can work just as well. If you need ideas, check out Pinterest.

Writers and Readers:  What creative ideas do you have for gifts that don't break the bank?

Photo Credit:  Muresan113

Friday, December 5, 2014

Weekend Potpourri - Libraries, Birthdays, Tips, Current Events, and COOKIES!

1.  Jennifer Slattery posts at Seekerville on how to get your books into libraries and bookstores. She gives some excellent suggestions.

2.  Since we're close to the date we celebrate Messiah's birth, this article by Jonathan Cahn, author of The Harbinger, caught my eye. He investigates the actual date of birth, and it's NOT December 25th. This is not to say we can't or shouldn't celebrate on December 25th. In my estimation, we celebrate His advent every day because of the impact it's had on our lives.

3.  Brian Hutchinson, at Positive Writer, gives 36 writing tips. He makes an interesting point that all the excuses we make for not writing are the result of doubt.

4.  I came across this article on World Net Daily about the one-child policy in China. One of the points made is how this contributes to human trafficking and sexual slavery. The situation in China is one of the things that prompted me to use this issue in The Moses Conspiracy.

5.  Do you need some Christmas Cookie Recipes? Check out this site.

Writers:  Do you have a tip for overcoming writer's doubt?

Readers:  What's your favorite Christmas Cookie recipe? Mine is a chocolate/almond cookie cut into various shapes.

Have a blessed weekend!

Photo Credit:  mzillekens

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Spotlight on The Heart of Humor by Jeanette Levellie

Welcome to a vacation from stress, worry, and global whining. Learn the secrets of how laughter can help you:

- Live healthier and longer
- deepen your relationships
- trust a God with a sense of humor that gives a 90-year-old lady a baby.

In her sassy, mocha-out-the-nose style, Jeanette Levellie takes readers on an entertaining journey of 45 short stories with titles like Quit Pinching my Fruit, Confessions of a Jailbird, and Swimsuit Shopping Stress.

Nestled among the stories are comical drawings by a professional animator, articles, and lists revealing the superpowers of humor such as Got Pain? Laugh it Away, Everybody Loves Dummies, and Ten Ways to Help Yourself Laugh.

"Jeanette Levellie has the spiritual gift of encouragement. She shares it in her conversations, her ministry outreach, and now in this entertaining and enlightening book The Heart of Humor. As you read, you'll smile and chuckle, but at the same time you'll gain insights on life, love, and relationships." - Dr. Dennis Hensley, author, The Power of Positive Productivity

"Whether she's writing about her "Maggie Moments," planting onions on top of onions, or her favorite sport--dining out--Jeanette Levellie's The Heart of Humor delights and inspires. Do yourself a favor and read it." - Bob Hostettler, author of Red Letter Life.

"You'll laugh. You'll learn. You'll be entertained. And, you'll be encouraged!" - James Watkins, author, speaker, threat to society

You can connect with Jeanette at or find her playing on Facebook or Pinterest. She loves hearing from readers.

Monday, December 1, 2014

5 Changes I'm Making in the New Year

Christmas preparations are in full swing. This year, I got a late start due to some major life events - Mom needing extra care, purchasing a car, a family wedding, and plumbing woes for starters. Some of the lessons I learned this year include:

1.  Get.It.Done.Now.  While I'm not usually a major procrastinator, this year I wasn't as disciplined and paid for it. Now, I'm playing catch up.

2.  I learned I need some space to refresh and re-group. I said "no" to several projects, and it paid off big time when life hit.

3.  Making random notes of interesting facts, comments, ideas, and news bits gave me material for blog posts and scenes in my latest book.

4.  Buy Christmas/holiday gifts throughout the year. I wish I'd done more of this. I wouldn't be fighting the crowds and traffic now.

5.  I could have carved out more writing time if I'd developed a better schedule. Social Media will be restricted to specific time periods. I love Facebook, but it nearly ate me alive this year.

Writers and Readers:  What changes are you making to your schedule in the New Year?

Photo Credit:  parylo00