Friday, December 29, 2017

Looking Forward

This is a time when many re-evaluate their lives and what they've accomplished over the past year. I'm certainly no exception to this.

I'm slowly learning to focus on the Lord instead of problems. Instead of viewing them as obstacles, they're now opportunities for miracles/blessings. Immersing myself in His Word, spending quality time in His Presence, and putting action to the Word that's become alive in my spirit has opened new pathways of joy and peace.

May 2018 be a year of great strides in our walk with the Lord and a new awakening to Him in our country.

Writers and Readers: What are you reflecting on as 2018 approaches?

Photo Credit:  Maurizio Sartore

Monday, December 25, 2017

May You Have a Blessed Christmas!

Luke 2:1-20King James Version (KJV)

And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed.
(And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.)
And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.
And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:)
To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.
And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.
And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.
And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.
And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.
10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,
14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.
15 And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.
16 And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.
17 And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child.
18 And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds.
19 But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.
20 And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.

Public Domain

Photo Credit:  Debbie Schiel

Friday, December 22, 2017

Newbie Writers/Publishing?/"Chlot"/Memoir/Silent Night

1.  Multi-published author Jody Hedlund gives sage advice to the novice writer. Don't miss these nuggets.

2.  So, you think you can make this publishing thing happen if you work hard enough. Ashley Clark shares her experiences at The Writer's Alley. There's much wisdom here if you'll read with an open heart.

3.  Wendy Paine Miller has an excellent post on "chlot." What is, "chlot?" Pop over to her  blog and find out. Hint: It will help you write your novel.

4.  LOL! This Weekend Potpourri is shaping up to be for writers. Readers, I promise the last link will be something for you.

In the meantime, I discovered a post at The Write Conversation on How Personal  Little Stories Become Big Bestsellers. If you're into writing a memoir, this is for you.

5.  Silent Night is one of the classic Christmas Carols. Like many songs, this one has a story. Janice Hayden submitted this article.

Here's a beautiful arrangement by Pentatonix on YouTube:

Writers:  What do you think is more important to a novel: character or plot? Please explain.

Readers:  What is your favorite Christmas Carol?

Photo Credit:  Michael Pohl

Monday, December 18, 2017

The Cookie Baking that Got Postponed

Dear Blogging Friends,

Last Friday, a friend and I were supposed to bake cookies together. Today, the results would have been shown here.

A scheduling conflict and a winter storm pushed that event to next Friday (12/22/17). When it happens, I'll be sure to share my pictures.

In the meantime, how are your Christmas preparations going? I'm finished with the shopping, cards, and wrapping. We're just waiting on those cookies!

Enjoying the journey,
Susan :)

Friday, December 15, 2017

Meaningful Punch/Former Plotter/Chip and Joanna Gaines/Finding Daddy/Cookies!

1.  Zoe M. McCarthy talks about ending paragraphs with a meaningful punch. Do your paragraphs excite the reader and urge them to turn the page?

2.  It cheered me to see a former plotter extol the virtues of pantsing (going with the flow of story without a rigid outline). Anna Elliott gives some tips on how to make the process easier, which I'm going to apply to my next book.

3.  I hope you enjoy this heartwarming story as much as I did. Chip and Joanna Gaines, stars of the hit show, Fixer Upper, made an elderly woman's day.

4.  Adelee Russell shares the stories she used to tell herself. Don't miss this real-life testimony of finding a father's love.

5.  We're at that point in the year when the yearning for past traditions kicks in bigtime. Cookie baking always triggers happy memories of Mom, Grandma, and I creating lots of yummy confections. Check out the Hershey website and the mouth-watering variety of cookie recipes.

Writers:  How do you keep paragraph endings moving the story forward? I sometimes use a statement that raises story questions or reveals some hidden thought process.

Readers:  During this time of the year, do you search for inspirational stories like the one about Chip and Joanna Gaines? Please share the type of books you like to read during specific seasons whether it's Christmas or some other holiday.

Photo Credit:  Iolela

Monday, December 11, 2017

Blessed Instead of Stressed

For too long, I allowed the pressures of a busy schedule to steal the joy of Christmas. It seemed like the celebration stretched my to-do list to the breaking point.

This year, I decided to focus on the meaningful items rather than trying to cram every activity available into a few short weeks:

1.  The birth of Jesus.
2.  Making the day special for the people I love.
3.  Thinking of those less fortunate through Operation Christmas Child and our church's annual toy/clothing giveaway.
4.  Shopping with an eye not only for bargains, but also for gifts people would truly appreciate.
5.  Baking cookies.

Instead of having to get it done, I get to do things that matter - giving with all my heart.

Writers and Readers: How do you keep Christmas blessed instead of stressed?

Photo Credit:  Jenny Erickson

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

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