Friday, November 30, 2018

Your Song/Research/Pro-Life/Devo/Christmas Cards


1.  This is not the usual writing advice found in this section of Weekend Potpourri. Emme Gannon's post at The Write Conversation resonated with me, and I wanted to share it with all of you. I hope it inspires you as much as it inspired me.

2.  Research is a vital part of writing a book, whether fiction or non-fiction. Dan Koboldt posts at Jane Friedman's blog, giving some examples of research gone wrong. He then provides advice on how to make sure you're information is accurate.

3.  Breaking Christian News highlights the theme of this year's pro-life rally, "Pro-Life Is Pro-Science." This thorough article shows the science behind the pro-life position.

4.  Whatever creative endeavors you enjoy, there comes a time when it seems to die. Take heart as you read Dena Netherton's post, "The Source of the Harvest."

5.  I'm nostalgic for the Christmas celebrations of my childhood. I found this site that offers information on vintage Christmas cards. My mother would collect all the cards and then tape them around the large mirror over our couch. We used any additional cards to decorate the opening between the living room and dining area.

Writers and Readers: Are you sending out Christmas cards this year? Please share.

Photo Credit: Irenels

Monday, November 26, 2018

On My Kindle - Coyote's Revenge by Vannetta Chapman

book cover of Coyote\'s Revenge

Madison Hart takes a job in another state to fulfill a promise made to her dying mother. A harrowing plane ride ends with meeting a mysterious Good Samaritan. While she finds him attractive, his strange disappearances make her wary. He's probably like all the other men she's dated, abandoning her when life gets tough.

Aiden Lewis is a government agent trying to prevent a massive terror attack. His cool head during dangerous situations earned him the nickname, "Iceman." For years, he's tried to make up for his perceived failure to save his father's life. Madison is the first woman to reach his heart. Can he convince her of his love even though his mission must remain a secret?

I've always associated Vanetta Chapman with her Amish novels. When I saw she'd branched out into Romantic Suspense, I decided to give her books a try. Wow! This lady knows how to write an excellent suspense story. After finishing Coyote, I started her second book in the series.

5 Stars for this book - you won't want to put it down.

Writers:  If you write fiction, have you considered tackling another genre? Please share.

Readers:  When one of your favorite authors switches gears and presents a new type of story, do you give it a try? Why? Why not?

Friday, November 23, 2018

Setting/Subtext/China/Dating Advice/Leftovers

food 2

1.  For me, setting is one of the most difficult elements of writing a novel. I came across an excellent article on the Writer's Digest website. It's great for writers at all levels.

2.  Lisa Hall-Wilson writes on, "4 Ways To Replace Dialogue With Subtext." This article gives valuable tips on how to strengthen deep point of view. Newbies, don't be put off by the title. You can master this even as a beginner.

3.  Christian Headlines reports on a crackdown of religious expression in China. 300 Chinese schoolchildren were instructed to fill out a form and specify, "no religion."

4.  Lynn J. Simpson not only provides sound advice on dating, but also shares some of her exquisite photos.

5.  Yesterday was Thanksgiving here in the United States. Many of us enjoy the turkey and stuffing (or dressing, if you prefer to use that term), but how do we make it appetizing day 2, 3, and 4? Food Network  gives some interesting recipes. I particularly like the one with stuffing bites and cranberry pesto. 

Writers:  Which writing article did you find most helpful and why?

Readers:  What special holiday foods were on your Thanksgiving table this year?

Photo Credit:  Elvis Santana

Monday, November 19, 2018

We Gather Together

Thanksgiving Dining Room Table

Growing up, I remember the public school plays we did to celebrate various holidays. For Thanksgiving, we dressed as Pilgrims and Indians and sang songs like, "We Gather Together."  The Word of God was honored and kids grew up knowing right from wrong.

My late husband went into the Navy during the Vietnam era. He recalled the teachers having a Bible on their desk, as well as prayer and the Pledge of Allegiance being a normal start to the day. Even though he wasn't a believer back then, he was shocked at how things had changed when he returned years later. The Bible and prayer had been kicked out of the public schools. He couldn't comprehend how Christians had allowed such a thing to happen.

Today, there's a ray of hope. The Sleeping Giant (believers in Jesus) is finally waking up. They're no longer silent in the public square and exercising their right to vote.

It's time to return to God - each individual and ultimately our nation. Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord.

May you have a blessed Thanksgiving.

Writers and Readers: Do you set aside part of your Thanksgiving celebration to express your gratitude to the Lord? Please share.

Photo Credit: David Sinofksy

Friday, November 16, 2018

FB Groups/Pantsers/Christian Athlete/Devo/Thanksgiving Crafts

Thanksgiving Table

1.  Book promotion is a tough job for most authors. If you're about to launch your book, whether traditionally published or self-published, Edie Melson, at The Write Conversation, has some tips on using Facebook groups.

2. As a "pantser" myself, this article caught my eye. Donna LH Smith posts on, "Plotting 4 Pantsers-Part II."

3. Christian Headlines highlights Clemson quarterback, Trevor Lawrence. It's refreshing to see a young man open about his faith.

4.  Edie Melson, at The Write Conversation,  posts on "The Truth About the Size of Our Prayer Requests."

5.  I found some unique and fun ideas on Martha Stewart's website for Thanksgiving. Check out the clip art and templates for place cards, etc.

Writers and Readers:  What do you think of Facebook groups for readers and writers? Are they interesting, helpful? Have they influenced your purchasing decisions?

Photo Credit: monmart

Monday, November 12, 2018

On My Kindle - Stones for Bread by Christa Parrish

Unlike most of the Christian Fiction I read, this story is character driven rather than story driven. Christa Parrish does a fabulous job exploring the internal struggles of Liesl McNamara, an expert bread maker.

Liesl's entire identity is wrapped up in her love for the craft. It's her way of avoiding the deeper issues of life and connecting with the people around her. When Seamus and his six-year-old daughter, Cecelia, enter her life, she senses the stirrings of true caring.

Just when her life seems to be taking a positive turn, a revelation concerning her past nearly destroys her. Will she move forward or be forever stuck in the past?

The author's insightful dialogue, both external and internal, made me think about how we process our life experiences. There are strong spiritual threads throughout the book as the character searches for her purpose in life.

In addition, Christa gave a delightful view of running a bakery and the art versus the business of food. Readers drawn to the foodie world will find delight in the many intricate recipes for bread.

If you're looking for a change of pace from romantic suspense, this story will provide some different views on life and love.

5 Stars for an excellent, well-written story.

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

Writers: Have you every considered writing a character-driven novel, short story, or article? Please share.

Readers: This book has other characters, but everything is seen through Liesl's eyes. Do you enjoy this type of story or prefer more action/adventure with multiple character point of views? Please share.

Friday, November 9, 2018

Unmet Need/Settling In To Write/Program for Kids/Coffee and Faith/Recipe


1.  Here's an excellent post by Angela Ackerman at Writers in The Storm. "What's Stronger Than Your Character's Fear? Their Unmet Need."

2.  Kristi Holl writes about her experiences of Settling in to Write. This is dear to my heart since I'm breaking out of the doldrums and writing my next book.

3.  Breaking Christian News reports that Samaritan's Purse (Franklin Graham's ministry) has a special program for kids in warn-torn Iraq. Many of them have seen their parents and their playmates murdered. I hope you'll take a few minutes to read this story to learn more about the ministry.

4.  Rhonda Rhea posts at The Write Conversation about Coffee and Faith - Sweet and Strong.

5.  There's nothing quite like the smell of chocolate chip cookies baking on a chilly, Fall day. Averie Cooks has a recipe for cookies made with cake mix. Two things attracted me to this recipe: 1) It's easy. 2) I can make it lactose free.

Writers:  Do you set aside time to write? How do you remain consistent?

Readers: How do you set your priorities in life?

Photo Credit:  se hui Kim

Monday, November 5, 2018

Kitchen and Blogging Adventures

Picture - Roasted Red Pepper Soup

Over the past year, I've taken on preparing the main dish for Sweetie Mom and me. It's not that I dislike cooking, but the kitchen isn't my natural habitat. Some of the things that present a challenge are:

1.  A less than functional kitchen. Small appliances are the name of the game around here, i.e., microwave, George Foreman Grill, toaster oven, electric frypan, and slow cooker. (I've got my eye on one of those Instapots.)

2.  Time. Cooking takes way too long in my opinion, and don't even get me started on the clean up.

3.  Special diets. Sweetie Mom needs low-fat, low-sodium food, while I need lactose free.

Thankfully, the internet provides an easy way to get recipes. I'm enjoying the journey these days. We've tried new foods (Roasted Red Pepper soup, coconut muffins to name a couple) and explored new stores for ingredients.

To deal with the time factor, I cook in bulk for the week. Neither of us mind leftovers, so it works for us. If your family doesn't like eating this way, setting aside one day a month to do a massive cooking can reduce your daily/weekly cooking tasks. 

Years ago when I was commuting two hours each way to work, I followed this plan. A big pot of sauce, a pot roast, chicken cutlets, and a couple of other meat dishes were cooked, put in separate containers, and frozen for weeknight meals.

Blogging is a lot like cooking. What am I going to write for tomorrow's post? Since the whole food thing is taking up a considerable amount of thought, why not use that as an analogy? Daily life is great fodder for the blogger.

Like so many life events, new responsibilities (and old ones) move me to pray. I've been sitting here in front of the computer, asking the Lord to give me ideas for this blog. This subject is one that popped up.

I've discovered my life goes a lot smoother when I stay in close touch with The Greatest Creative Genius of all, my Lord. Whether cooking, working, blogging, writing, etc., He's my constant source of inspiration.

With the holidays fast approaching, make time for Him, and He'll show you how to remain at peace and experience joy whether or not the tasks are easy for you. Dive in and give it all you've got, praising Him and loving your family.

Writers and Readers: What are some of your greatest stress points during the holidays? How do you cope with them?

Photo: Roasted Red Pepper Soup - Copyright@Susan J. Reinhardt

Friday, November 2, 2018

Editing Tips/What It Takes/Christians in China/Devo/Vintage Doilies


1.  I'm always looking for ways to improve my writing. Julie Glover, at Writers in The Storm, give some easy edits to make your story flow better.

2. Are you a wanna-be-writer or newbie writer? You'll want to read this honest and blunt post by Edie Melson, at The Write Conversation, on what it takes to reach your publication goals.

3.  Christian Headlines shares the latest news on what's happening with Christians in China. I never want to take for granted the freedom to worship. We are truly blessed and need to protect that right vigorously.

4. MaryAnn Diorio posts on, "Is Fear Quenching Your Faith."

5. Susan, at Writing Straight From The Heart, shares the beautiful vintage doilies she found at a recent sale. These made me so nostalgic. I still have some my Mom crocheted years ago. A friend made one for a wedding gift, which I have on one of my nightstands. They're so pretty, and I appreciate all the hard work that goes into them.

Writers:  Which editing tip helped you the most (either in this article or elsewhere)?

Readers:  Do you have any vintage pieces from your family? Please share.

Photo Credit: Zsuzsa N.K.