Monday, October 21, 2019

On My Kindle - Finding Love at the Oregon Coast by Angela Ruth Strong

Finding Love at the Oregon Coast: A Romantic Novella Collection by [Strong, Angela Ruth, Coryell, Christina, Woodhaven, Heather, Phillips, Lisa]

This book is written by four authors, covering the romances of four friends.

Christina Lovejoy cancels her wedding to Eddie when she realizes he's not committed to the Lord. This isn't how a romance novel usually begins, so I was intrigued. Each friend moves on with their lives and wonders if there's truly someone special out there for them.

If you're looking for a simple, clean romance, you'll enjoy this book. It's a fast read, well written, and has a strong spiritual message.

5 Stars - enjoy!

Writers and Readers:  Do you enjoy writing/reading romances minus historical/suspense elements? Please share.

Friday, October 18, 2019

Agents/Scents/Right to Know Law/Devo/Herbs


1.  Getting an agent is akin to grasping the brass ring. So many publishers require agents to submit manuscripts. Rachel Pieh Jones posted at Jane Friedman's blog about, "What Happened After I Lost My Agent - Twice." This article gives specific suggestions on how to handle rejection, including our attitudes toward our writing and ourselves. (You'll see from our devotional below the tie-in. I needed this, and I'm sure many others do as well.)

2.  Zoe M. McCarthy talks about introducing scents into stories. Her posts always give me great ideas.

3.  WND reports on a judge's ruling that The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania forfeiture records are subject to the Right to Know Law. The government can take - yes, TAKE - property and money even if no criminal charges are filed. This is definitely a must-read article.

4.  Beth K. Vogt posts an encouraging word at The Write Conversation. While it's geared toward writers, the principles apply to everyone. What kind of words are you speaking - strong ones or weak ones?

5.  Winter is fast approaching. You can have fresh herbs by growing them indoors in pots. Check out this post at Easy  Balcony Gardening for instructions.

Writers:  Which writing post resonated with you? Please share.

Readers:  Do you have an indoor garden during the winter (things you'd normally grow outside in good weather)? Please share what types of plants you select. I'm especially interested in saving the beautiful geranium that graced my porch all summer.

Photo Credit: Gerson Ben David

Friday, October 11, 2019

Non-Fiction/Guidelines/Agencies Banned/Encouragement/Recipe

4 padlocks (locked)

1. Attracting an agent or publisher for a non-fiction book takes quite a bit of finesse. Chad Allen gives tips on how to make your proposal stand out.

2. Last week, I shared a post about Online Safety. This week, I found an article by Edie Melson, at The Write Conversation, about her guidelines for what to share online. If you're active on Social Media, writer or not, I think you'll find this valuable.

3.  WND reports on how the City of Philadelphia is banning Christian agencies from helping kids.

4. Audrey Frank posts at The Write Conversation about Encouragement. Although it's geared towards writers, everyone can use their words whether written or spoke to encourage others.

5.  Are you looking for an easy version of beef and broccoli? I found this recipe on Just A Taste and plan to try it soon. Does anyone have a suggestion on how to reduce the sodium content? I looked through the comments, but only found one person who said to use low-sodium soy sauce. It still has too much for us.

Writers and Readers:  Do you have personal guidelines on how much to share on social media sites? Please share.

Photo Credit:  Nick Benjaminsz

Monday, October 7, 2019

On My Nightstand - The Number of Love by Roseanna M. White

Margot DeWilde works as a crytologist (code breaker) during World War II. A brilliant mathematician, she's a great asset to the Intelligence community. Her life centers around logic and math even though her faith is strong. She doesn't see how matters of the heart and head can work together. She's about to get some big lessons.

Drake Elton is stationed in Spain, working undercover for Great Britain. His instincts and prayers have helped him successfully foil German plots. His opposite number in the German spy network manages to severely wound him. He's flown back to England, where he faces a long, difficult recovery.

He's fascinated by the beautiful, but unconventional, Margot. What chance does he have of capturing her heart when so many others have tried and failed?

The author created characters of such depth it was hard to believe this was a novel. I've read quite a few of her books, and this ranks as one of my favorites. It would be helpful for the reader to pick up the previous series before starting the Codebreaker Series. While a stand-alone novel, having the background from the other books made this a richer experience.

Roseanna M. White is fast becoming one of my go-to authors. I can't wait for the next book in this series. 5 Stars for The Number of Love.

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

Writers and Readers: What are your favorite elements in the Historical Romantic Suspense genre? Please share.

Friday, October 4, 2019

Online Safety/Character Emotions/Yale Prof/Perseverance/Coffee

Protection helmet

1.   Edie Melson, at The Write Conversation gives 8 Tips for Writers to Stay Safe Online. The cyber world has many criminals looking for an easy mark. Protect yourself by taking some simple steps.

2.   Jerry Jenkins tells us how to skillfully reveal our characters' emotions. I was unable to do a normal link, so I'm posting the entire one here.

3.  Finally, a Yale professor rejects Darwinism and points to Intelligent Design as a serious theory. Check out this article at Christian Headlines.

4.  Whether you're a writer or reader, there are areas in life where perseverance is required if you're going to succeed. Christopher Wells posts an inspiring word at Seriously Write.

5.   I learned something recently from a houseplant post on Houseplants love coffee! Instead of dumping leftover coffee down the drain, you can use it as a natural fertilizer for your plants.

Writers:  What are some measures you take to stay safe online?

Readers:  What topics regarding current events interest you?

Photo Credit:  David Guglielmo

Friday, September 27, 2019

Retain Learning/Terminology/Movies/Devo/Dessert Recipe


1. Margie Lawson posted at Writers in the Storm about using what you learn. She makes a good point about how reading blogs, etc. can teach and inspire us, but unless we use the information we won't retain it.

Having just come from the Greater Philadelphia Christian Writers Conference, this gave me more than a twinge. I need to go over my notes and the handouts and then apply the lessons I learned to my writing.

2.  Publishing has its own terminology like any other industry. Zoe M. McCarthy defines some of these words and brings clarity to what publishers expect. Many of you are familiar with anthologies like the Cup of Soup series, but do you know what an Omnibus is?

3.  Like many of you, I've enjoyed faith-based movies like, "War Room," and "I Can Only Imagine." Faithwire highlights three movies for Fall. I missed the premier of Overcomer the weekend of August 23rd, but hope to catch it on video.

4.   Kevin Spencer posted on Christian Devotions about "Are We There Yet?"

5.  Chocolate! Most of us love it. I found this recipe for a 3-Ingredient Candy Bar that tastes like Mounds. Check it out at Points Kitchen. It's Weight Watcher friendly.

Writers:  When writing my first book, The Moses Conspiracy, I would go to a writers conference and soak up as much as I could. Then, I'd run home and immediately apply those lessons to my work in progress. How do you retain what you've learned online, from blogs, workshops, and conferences?

Readers:  What was your favorite faith-based movie? Please share.

Photo Credit:  Piotr Lewandowski

Monday, September 23, 2019

On My Kindle - Escape to the Biltmore by Patricia Riddle-Gaddis

Escape to the Biltmore by [Gaddis, Patricia Riddle]

Women doctors faced a lot of discrimination in the late 1800's. Dr. Anna St. James was fortunate that her wealthy father encouraged and supported her efforts to get training. His death puts her at the mercy of her father's business partner, and she soon finds herself without resources. She accepts an invitation from her dear friend to attend a party at the Biltmore.

Dr. Richard Wellington's encounter with the intelligent young woman rocks all his pre-conceived ideas about women doctors. As they get to know each other on a long train ride to Asheville, North Carolina, not only his respect for her grows, but also his attraction.

Anna isn't giving up her dream for anyone. Will Richard open his mind and heart or will he land on the side of tradition?

Patricia Riddle-Gaddis is a new-to-me author. The historical romance is heartwarming and the characters engaging. I sympathized with both Anna and Richard as they tried to work out their differences.

While I enjoyed the book, I did feel like I was being pounded with the whole discrimination thing. At times, I could almost see the author jumping on the page and lecturing. Please note this is my opinion. Others might find those parts of the book quite educational.

Still, it was a pleasant read with enough tension to keep me turning pages. I'll check out some of her other books. I'm giving Escape to Biltmore 4 Stars.

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

Writers and Readers: What is your opinion on books that seem more focused on a particular agenda than the story itself?

Friday, September 20, 2019

Memoir Pitfall/Comfort Zone/Cuba/Devo/Dairy-Free Substitutes


1.  Brenda Miller and Suzanne Paola guest post at Jane Friedman's blog about avoiding a big memoir pitfall. I haven't seen a lot of articles on the subject of memoirs, so I thought I'd share this one.

2.  Edie Melson, at The Write Conversation, talks about how we can step out of our writing comfort zones.

3.  WND reports on how Cuba sentenced a lawyer to jail for representing homeschool parents. This is what Communist/socialist regimes do. Watch out fellow Americans that you don't fall for the rhetoric of those who want to ditch our freedoms for a society (socialistic/godless) that will strip us of everything we cherish.

4.  Max Lucado talks about, "Tender Words to the Tired Heart."

5.  Alexis, at Chemistry Cache, gives information on The Best Dairy-Free Substitutions. When I first learned about my sensitivity to dairy products, it was overwhelming. How do you cook/bake without dairy? I found this site on Pinterest.

Writers:  How do you step out of your writing comfort zone?

Readers:  What are some subjects you'd like to see in our weekly link post? (Example: Recipes, gardening, decor, etc.)

Photo Credit:  Sara Haz-Hassan

Monday, September 16, 2019

Discovering New-to-You Authors


With limited time (and funds), I'm cautious about trying new-to-me authors. Yet, the rewards of locating that gem make the process well worth the effort. Here are some ways I find new favorites:

1.  Recommendations from friends. Yep, word of mouth is still one of the best ways to find a winner.

2.  Certain genres appeal to me more than others, so I'll often check out what's new in Christian Historical Romance/Romantic Suspense or Mystery/Suspense. Roseanna White, Tamera Alexander, Julie Klassen, and many others write wonderful books.

3.  Social Media is an important resource. I belong to Facebook groups, as well as Goodreads. It's a great way to connect with authors.

4.  Book signings/writers conferences. I've met several writers in person at these venues. Authors like Jeanette Windle, Cathy Gohlke, Carrie Turansky are a few examples. Their books have provided many hours of reading enjoyment.

5.  Blogs, websites - Numerous blogger friends became published authors along the way. Jody Hedlund, Jeanette Levellie, Karen Lange, and Camy Tang fall into this category.

The neat part of discovering a new-to-you author? They're often multi-published. Your to-be-read pile will grow so fast you'll never lack for reading material.

By the way, you might be interested to know I'm an author. All of my books are available on Amazon in ebook and print formats. The titles are in series order:

The Moses Conspiracy
The Christmas Wish
The Scent of Fear
Out of the Mist

Happy reading!

Writers and Readers: How do you discover new-to-you authors?

Photo Credit:  Guillermo Alvarez

Friday, September 13, 2019

Writing Break?/Caregiving/Banned!/Devo/Fall Veggies

Hope 1

1.  Have you taken a long writing break? I don't mean a week or two or even a month. I'm talking about a year or more. Whatever happened to get you off track, it's tough to get back into the groove. This article at Write by the Sea on how to start writing again will give you some ideas.

2.  Tim Suddeth, at The Write Conversation, gives advice to writers who are also caregivers.  

3.  Faithwire reports on how Apple News banned pro-life outlet for showing intolerance without any explanation. It's becoming more and more obvious that social media giants are censoring conservative news content.

4.  Jeanette Levellie posts on the subject of Trading Places or Problems.

5.  Do you think it's too late to plant veggies in September? Check out this post at Garden Therapy for speedy fall vegetables.

Writers:  Are you a caregiver and also a writer? How do you balance the two?

Readers:  What are your favorite fall activities?

Photo Credit:  Eduardo Schafer

Monday, September 9, 2019

On My Kindle - The Silver Suitcase by Terri Todd

Benita and Ken struggle with putting food on the table for their two kids. When she loses her part-time job, things get even tighter financially and put a strain on their marriage.

The death of Benita's grandma and two others adds sorrow to the mix. Gram leaves an old silver suitcase (really a trunk) to Benita. The contents aren't valuable, but the diaries provide a peek into Gram's early life. A shocking secret and a transformed life lead to some soul searching.

This is the first book I've read by Terri Todd. It took me a while to get into it, but I'm glad I persevered. The strong spiritual thread and theme of trusting God won me over. I would have liked to see more suspense, but that's my preference.

Four stars for The Silver Suitcase.

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

Writers:  The author had an angel in her story. Have you ever written something with an angel?

Readers: What do you think about an authors including supernatural events in their stories? Please share.

Friday, September 6, 2019

Isolation/Platform/Intelligent Design/Devo/Progress Report

1.  Frank McKinley, at the Positive Writer, talks about why writing in isolation is good for you. My own experience mirrored his. I get too distracted if the Internet, email, music, or other things are vying for my attention. Check it out. You may find a tip that makes your writing life more productive.

2.  Platform is one of those words writers love to hate. Publishers demand Social Media numbers most of us can only dream about. Lisa Hall-Wilson addresses how to build a platform on Facebook. She has a unique way of approaching the subject that I found helpful.

3. Christian Astrophysicist offers a brilliant reply to Richard Dawkins criticism of intelligent design. See the article on Faithwire. Home school people - you might find this valuable for your curriculum.

4.  Rhonda Rhea's devotional on The Write Conversation tells us about "Scratching Where It Itches." I'm sure that captured your attention. LOL! She uses humor to talk about a serious subject.

5.  You may recall that I've started a modest succulent collection. I'm not a great photographer, but the photo at the top of this post shows that I haven't killed any of them yet! My Jade plant is growing so fast that it will need a bigger pot soon. 

Can anyone identify the plants in the pictures below? I know one of them is  an  Echevieria (Sp?). There are so many varieties that I'm having a hard time locating their names. The one in front is so pretty with green leaves tipped in red.

Writers:  Please share some of your platform-building hacks.

Readers:  Are you a gardener/houseplant lover? What was your favorite project this summer?

Photo Credit:  Susan J. Reinhardt

Friday, August 30, 2019

Excellence/Dialogue/Life Begins/Devo/Veggie Gardening

Five golden stars isolated

1.  Tammy Karasek posts at The Write Conversation about giving your best when you write. Do you allow a deadline, a bad mood, or anything else to prevent you from giving your best to the reader?

2.  Zoe M. McCarthy gives us a delightful blog post on writing dialogue. Have you ever read a book where the character uses a word of phrase that doesn't fit their age or time period? It pulls you out of the story, right? All skills levels will benefit from this post.

3.  WND reports on a survey of biologists concerning when life begins. This article nails it.

4.  Michael K. Reynolds writes about the easiest way to thank God. I often link to his devotionals because they resonate with me. Perhaps they'll bless you as well.

5.  Plant Care Today has an article on 8 Things Not to Do in the Vegetable Garden. Years ago, a relative created a massive garden plot when they wanted some lettuce, tomatoes, and cucumbers for summer salads. The resulting crop necessitated a crash course in canning.

Writers:  Which writing post helped you the most? Why?

Readers:  Do you have any examples of characters saying things that didn't fit their time period or age? Please share.

Photo Credit: elementa1

Monday, August 26, 2019

On My Kindle - The Edge of Mercy by Heidi Chiavaroli

The Edge of Mercy

Sarah and Matt's marriage teeters on the edge of a cliff. After a less-than-perfect start, they'd settled into a routine. Now, Matt is looking for all he thought was missing from his life.

A neighbor dies and leaves Sarah instructions to find her daughter. She wants Mary to know about her heritage. In the process, Sarah learns a lot about herself through the diary of a woman who lived in the Colonial days.

Although I'd heard of the author, this was the first book I'd read by her. Her characters jumped off the page, their struggles, emotions, and actions all strong and truthful. I'll be looking for more of her books.

5 Stars.

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

Writers:  If you write novels, have you every considered doing a time-slip story? (A time-slip story is one with characters from the past and present.) Please share.

Readers:  Do you enjoy stories than meld the historical with the contemporary? Please share your thoughts.

Friday, August 23, 2019

Reviews/Marketing Myths/Chick-fil-A/Speakers/Drying Herbs

Books design

1.  Amazon reviews affect readers' buying decisions. How do you get those reviews for your book? Check out Penny Sansevieri's article at Jane Friedman's blog.

2.  Lisa Hall Wilson talks about 6 Marketing Myths That Harm Fiction Writers. The Internet and the publishing industry seem to be changing at warp speed. Methods that were the gold standard years ago do not necessarily apply today. Check out her post.

3.  Faithwire tells how Chick-fil-A almost shut down in the 1980's. See what turned their business into a success. They are now the third largest restaurant chain.

4.  Yvonne Ortega posts at The Write Conversation on Spiritual Preparation for Speakers. Whether you're an author, minister, teacher, or counselor, this article can benefit you.

5.  If you use herbs in your cooking, you might like this article on how to dry them without sacrificing flavor. The Backyard Garden Lover gives several methods that produce excellent results.

Writers:  Which marketing myths surprised you? Please share.

Readers:  Do you review books on Amazon or other sellers? Please share.

Photo Credit:  Ana Labate

Monday, August 19, 2019

On My Kindle - Perilous Treasure by Dan Walsh

Perilous Treasure (Jack Turner Suspense Series Book 4) by [Walsh, Dan]

Trouble has a way of finding history professor, Jack Turner, much to his wife's chagrin. His friend, Detective Joe Boyd, discovers a great way to de-stress and get some exercise - metal detecting. The surrounding property in Culpepper, Georgia provides many opportunities to discover Civil War relics.

Jack goes to a club meeting with Joe and meets other metal-detecting enthusiasts. His meet-and-greet speech includes his specialty of WWII history. When two old codgers in the group make a startling discovery during one of their outings, they 're reminded of Jack's expertise.

They're not the only ones interested in the treasure. Inquiries on the Internet put them in touch with a fine arts dealer, but they get more than they expect - a boatload of trouble.

Dan Walsh has a knack for creating likable, interesting characters. Both Jack Turner and Joe Boyd are the kind of people you'd want for friends. A peek at Joe's family gives the reader insight into his family life, as well as his professional life as a detective.

The author's other talent is creating heart-stopping suspense. You can see the tension building and know you're in for one wild ride once everything breaks loose.

This is the fourth book in the Jack Turner series. While it's helpful to read the other books, it's not essential. This is a stand-alone novel.

Five stars!

Disclaimer: Neither the author nor the publisher paid me to give a favorable review. All opinions expressed are mine and mine alone.

Writers:  If you write fiction, do any of your characters have an interesting hobby? Please share.

Readers:  Do you enjoy the suspense genre? Who are your favorite authors?

Friday, August 16, 2019

Word Genius/Vocabulary/Hospice/Devo/Rare Succulent


1.  Words - both writers and readers love them. I found a site called, "Word Genius." I get an email daily with a specific word and its definition. On the website, you'll find a blog, a daily quiz, and a lot of words.

2.  Tim Suddeth posts at The Write Conversation on, "5 Tips To Grow Your Vocabulary." (I think we have a theme going on here!)

3. Do you think unborn babies and infants are the only ones in danger? Think again. I saw this article on Life Site News about a 103-year-old woman detained in a hospice against her will.

4. Edie Melson, at The Write Conversation, talks about recognizing God's provision. In the article she mentions her gratitude journal. It reminds me of a game a friend and I often played. We'd list all the things we were grateful for. The one who had the most items at the end won.

5.  I've always been drawn to succulent, my first being a Jade plant. Hip2behome ran a post about a rare succulent that looks almost exactly like a rose. There's also a link to where you can buy one. I.Must.Check.This.Out.

Writers:  How do you improve your vocabulary?

Readers:  What effect has reading had on your vocabulary/general knowledge?

Photo Credit: Brenton Nicholls

Monday, August 12, 2019

On My Kindle - Beguiled by Deeanne Gist and J. Mark Bertrand

Beguiled by [Gist, Deeanne, Bertrand, J. Mark]

Spooked by burglaries in a wealthy Charleston community, Dogwalker Rylee Monroe calls the police on two men in the park. Her mastiff doggie friend charges one of them, and he escapes by climbing onto a monument.

It's all a big misunderstanding. The man, Logan Woods, is a reporter for the local paper. The detective responding becomes suspicious of Rylee and sets out to prove she's the burglar.

This story started off slowly for me, but then took off like a bullet. The authors kept the tension high through the balance of the story. I did guess whodunit, but there was some doubt along the way. If you enjoy romantic suspense, you'll find this a satisfying read.

I'm giving Beguiled five stars.

Disclaimer: Neither authors nor the publisher paid me for a favorable review. As always, all opinions expressed are mine and mine alone.

Writers:  Two authors of different genres teamed up to write this book. Have you considered co-writing a book with another author? Please share.

Readers:  Have you read books with two authors? Did you like them or not? Please share.

Friday, August 9, 2019

Opening Scene/Staying on Track/Supreme Court Judge/Devo/Alternative Housing

Hot type

1. The hardest part of writing a novel is the opening scene. Janice Hardy, at Writers in the Storm, gives insight regarding this process. The opening scene will either hook a reader or send them running away.

2. The publishing industry can often be frustrating. Martin Wiles posts at The Write Conversation and shares tips on how to stay on track.

3. Supreme Court Judge, Clarence Thomas, speaks out against abortion. See the entire story at Christian Headlines.

4. I enjoyed Rhonda Rhea's post entitled, "No Other Name." Many of us can relate to a Mom or Grandma going through a whole list of names before hitting on  the right one. However, there's  one  name for which there's no substitute.

5.  I came across this blog post on Hip2Save about homes made out of shipping containers. They're an affordable alternative to traditional housing. Right now, they're only available in Texas, but the company plans to expand to other states. (P.S. It's actually on Hip2behome, but I didn't want to mess up the link I'd already inserted.)

Writers:  The opening of any article or novel makes most writers break into a cold sweat. What are some of the ways you craft a great hook?

Readers:  Please share your thoughts on how a first page affects your desire to read the entire article/book.

Photo Credit: Andrew Bierle

Monday, August 5, 2019

On My Kindle - Unintended Consequences by Dan Walsh

Unintended Consequences (Jack Turner Suspense Series Book 3)

Jack Turner and his bride, Rachel, include a stop at his grandmother's house during their honeymoon trip. He's unexpectedly called away on an emergency, so Rachel stays with his grandmother for a couple of days.

Renee Turner shares the amazing love story that took place during WWII in England and France. Dan Walsh knows how to tell a good story. I blasted through this book in record time.

Unintended Consequences is the third book in the Jack Turner suspense series. It's different from the other books because it focuses on Jack's grandparents. However, you can see where the younger man got his thirst for adventure and love of history.

5 Stars - You'll be fine if you pick up Book 3, but it's so much better to read a series in order. I just picked up the next book in  the series and can't wait to dig into it. :)

Writers:  Have you ever thought of writing a series? Please share.

Readers:  How do you approach series books? Do you wait for all of them to be available before starting or do you read each one as it's released?

Friday, August 2, 2019

Writing Focus/Character Building/Supreme Court/Devo/A Blogger's Thoughts


1.  Edie Melson, at The Write Conversation, gives 7 tips on how to focus your writer's eye.

2.  Zoe M. McCarthy gives such easy-to-follow advice about writing. In this post, she talks about building a protagonist's character.

3.  WND reports that Justice Clarence Thomas (Supreme Court) is urging that "Demonstrably Erroneous Precedents" be overturned.

4.  Fear is a paralyzing, tormenting emotion. Brook Espinoza, at CBN Devotions wrote an excellent devotion on victory over fear.

5.  Linda O'Connell shares pictures of her grands and has some excellent advice for all of us.

Writers:  If you write fiction, how do you build your protagonist's character?

Readers:  Which link was your favorite this week? Please share.

Photo Credit: Erik Dungan

Monday, July 29, 2019

To Review or Not to Review - That Is The Question

business graphics

You're all excited. An author you've read before released another book. You plunk down your hard earned money and wait by your mailbos or open your Kindle.

The first half of the book pulls you in and you're on a wild ride. Oh, there are a few troublesome things, but you think to yourself the author didn't mean it THAT way.

And then, it gets weirder  and weirder.

The author crosses a line you've drawn in the sand - your, "I-can't-read-this-type-of-book" line. What do you do?

1.  Hope it will get better?
2.  Finish the book to see how the author justifies a foray into forbidden territory?
3.  Walk away and never look back?
4.  Write a scathing review?
5.  Try to find some redeeming lesson in the story?

This happened to me recently. I know how it feels to be so disappointed and upset after investing so much time reading a book.

I chose Option 3 - Walking away and never looking back. Options 1 and 2 didn't work for me since I'd already been trying to justify the storyline. Option 4 - I don't write this type of review - ever. Why?

1.  I don't want to bring attention to a book I feel might be detrimental to another person.
2.  Negative reviews sometimes have a positive effect on sales. Go figure.
3. As an author myself, I understand the hard work that goes into writing a book. This tale was outside my normal genre. It was better to pray for the author than tearing the story to shreds (a strong temptation - let me tell you).

The last option didn't work either. The story was on such a downward slide that I doubted it could be rescued.

And, no, I'm not naming names or titles!

Writers and Readers: What are your thoughts on this subject?

Photo Credit:  DaVinciS

Friday, July 26, 2019

Book Abandonment/Writing Could Kill You/Freedom Attack/Devo/Bruschetta Chicken

Brushed steel container

1.  All the marketing in the world won't help if readers abandon your story. H. R D'Costa posts at Jane Friedman's blog about, "5 Ways to  Ensure Readers Don't Abandon Your Book."

2.  Jenny Hansen writes a sobering article at Writers in the Storm. As writers, we often sit for hours on end. Blood clots are a real threat to our lives. I know. I lost a dear friend to a massive  blood clot in her lung. Find out about 5 Habits that Help Everybody (not just writers!).

3.  California lawmakers want to control what pastors preach about LGBT beliefs. Our freedoms are under severe attack. Check out this article at Christian Headlines.

4. Michael K. Reynolds tells us, "What You Have Is What The World Needs."

5.  I'm a huge fan of bruschetta. When I saw this Bruschetta Chicken recipe for the Instapot, I had to save it. I will be trying it this summer. Enjoy!

Writers: What tactics do you use to combat being too sedentary? Please share.

Readers: What causes you to abandon a book?

Photo Credit: Brandon Blinkenberg

Monday, July 22, 2019

On My Kindle - And You Came Along - Elaine Stock

And You Came Along by [Stock, Elaine]

After losing her job and being evicted, Jacey and her young son pack up and head for a friend's house. On the way, a blizzard and an accident delay their progress.

Zander is headed to see his family and relocate near them after a horrific on-the-job incident. When he's involved in the crash with Jacey, he worries that his painful injuries will worsen.

A Good Samaritan helps them and urges them to stay in the cabin on his property. As the storm rages outside, Jacey and Zander deal with their own internal storms. Each day, their attraction grows stronger.

They're about to make some big decisions, when a revelation threatens to turn this fairytale romance into a, "no deal."

Elaine Stock does a nice job with her characters and their story. The novella-length makes it a fast read, while the sweet romance is perfect for an afternoon at the beach.

4 Stars for this light romance.

Disclaimer: The author did not pay me for a favorable review. All opinions, as usual, are mine and mine alone.

Writers:  Have you tried writing a novella-length book? What challenges did you encounter?

Readers:  Do you prefer novellas or longer books? Why?

On My Nightstand - The Medallion by Cathy Gohlke

The Medallion

After reading all of Cathy Gohlke's novels, I knew The Medallion would be a great story. I was totally unprepared for the effect it had on me.

Based on true events from WWII in Poland, it alternately horrified and inspired me. There's something about hearing of war in abstract terms and quite another thing when the lives of people are highlighted. It reminded me of 9/11 and the individual stories of death and survival.

Throughout the story, Cathy wove in how faith affected the characters' decisions. The escapes from desperate circumstances reflected the hand of God on their lives. In the midst of the worst situations, they made sacrifices to preserve the lives of their fellow man.

The underground went to great lengths to rescue children. Each person did what they could, and together they made an impact that will echo into eternity. Can we do any less than speak out for infants, who modern pharoahs look to exterminate? Can we do any less to protect the elderly, those with disabilities, and those battling serious illnesses?

Five stars.

Disclaimer:  Neither the author nor the publisher paid me for a favorable review. I pre-ordered this book on my own, and all opinions expressed are mine and mine alone.

Writers:  Have you ever written something after being inspired by a true story? How did you discover the story?

Readers:  Has a novel ever moved you to become more involved in a cause? Please share.

Friday, July 19, 2019

Synopsis/Indie Publishing/Challenge/Devo/Lists

Old books

1. The Synopsis. These two seemingly innocent words send most writers running for cover. Bill Ferris, at Writer Unboxed, gives tips on how to produce this document required by publishers. Take a deep breath. You can do this.

2.  Many writers are choosing to Indie Publish their books. Tari Lynn Jewett, at Writers in the Storm, shares 10 Lessons she's learned about Indie Publishing.

3. Evangelist Alveda King, niece of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., challenges the reproductive rights argument as a civil wrong. (Breaking Christian News)

4.  Michael K. Reynolds recounts the story of how he almost died on Mount Whitney. We can learn many lessons through our life experience.

5. I'm a "List Person." It eases the stress of trying to remember all the stuff that has to be done from daily chores to major projects. Unexpectedly Domestic shares on the subject of making lists.

Writers:  What is the worst writing task you face? Why?

Readers:  Which link was your favorite and why?

Photo Credit: Zsuzza N.K.

Monday, July 15, 2019

On My Kindle - With This Pledge by Tamera Alexander

With this Pledge (The Carnton Series Book 1) by [Alexander, Tamera]

Lizzie Clouston works as a governess on a Franklin, Tennessee plantation when the Civil War arrives at their doorstep. Her employers open their home as a hospital for wounded Confederate soldiers, and she's pressed into assisting one of the surgeons.

Captain Roland Jones' wounds make survival doubtful, but he pleads with Lizzie to help him keep his leg. A friendship is forged under the most trying circumstances.

The attraction between them grows, but she's pledged to another soldier and thinks he's married. Slavery, a secret, and the uncertainties of war threaten to snuff out any possibility of a lasting relationship.

Tamera Alexander ranks as one of my favorite authors. Her historical romances are full of twists and turns. She captures the realities of war that can sometimes come off as gory. Yet there are many times of introspection, joy, and humor.

This book is part of a new series. I'll be reading the others as they become available. 5 Stars!

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

Writers:  Are you interested in writing historical novels? How do you go about researching the time period?

Readers:  Does it bother you when authors write about the truly ugly side of war? Please share.

Friday, July 12, 2019

Beta Readers/De-stress/Opposing Views/Devo/Banana Bread

conference details

1.  Do you have someone read your manuscripts/articles before sending it to an agent or publisher? Check out this article on Beta Readers at Write Well, Sell Well.

2.  We're in the midst of conference season. Cindy Sproles posts at The Write Conversation about de-stressing your conference experience. This is a must-read if you're attending a conference this year.

3.  WND recently reported on a story about a student being arrested for stealing a pro-life sign. The exchange with the police officer gives a shocking view of efforts to silence opposing values.

Hmm, the police around here should be more vigilant around election time. Someone stole a political sign from my property. Yes, this is stealing.

4.  I was searching for a devotional and came across this older one by Lynn J. Simpson. She talks about how taking a different path led her to a better place.

5.  Do you have a multi-cooker like Instapot? I found this recipe for Banana Bread that I MUST try. Check it out on this blog. One of the great things about cooking in the multi-cooker: you can bake without turning the oven on.

Writers:  How do you minimize the stress of going to a writers conference?

Readers:  Have you or someone you know experienced a theft or vandalism of your property due to a political/morality issue? Please share.

Photo Credit:  Ronald Schuster

Monday, July 8, 2019

On My Kindle - Remembering Dresden by Dan Walsh

Remembering Dresden (Jack Turner Suspense Series Book 2) by [Walsh, Dan]

Jack Turner rents a cabin to work on his thesis. He's ready to settle down to a normal life after his hair-raising adventures. His research and a haunting discovery make his time at the cabin anything but restful. Fortunately, Jack is more prepared to handle the mystery sitting in front of him.

Rachel, his girlfriend, isn't crazy about the idea of another mystery. The last one almost got them killed. However, she agrees to help him translate a journal. What they find links the past and present in the most horrifying ways.

Dan Walsh's first book in this series, "When Night Comes," should be read to get the full effect of this one. Although many references are made to the previous story, I'm glad I read the series in order.

Once again, the book grabbed my attention and didn't let go until the end. The author knows how to write a compelling tale of tragedy, revenge, and political intrigue.  I'm looking forward to the next book in the series.

5 Stars! I can't wait to attend the author's Learning Lab at the Greater Philadelphia Writers Conference.

Disclaimer: Neither the author nor the publisher paid me anything to give a favorable review. As always, all opinions are mine and mine alone.

Writers:  Have you ever attended a workshop given by one of your favorite authors? Did it meet your expectations? What did you learn?

Readers:  Do you enjoy mystery/suspense novels or do you find them too scary/exhausting? Please share.

Friday, June 7, 2019

Backstory/Cliches/Free Speech/Puppies/Cranberry Glass


1.  Writers in the Storm often has thorough articles about the craft, and this is no exception. Piper Bayard tackles the bugaboo of many writers: backstory. She has a unique method for eliminating it.

2.  Zoe M. McCarthy gives One Important Reason to Limit Cliches in Your Stories. My critique partner always said that I loved cliches. It's taken quite a while to break that habit, and a few still appear in my first drafts. This is an excellent article for every writer: newbies to advanced. A refresher never hurt anyone.

3  WND reports on a court case that compromises free speech.

4.  Bonnie Leon talks about how God used her puppy to teach her an important lesson.

5.  Susan, at Writing Straight From The Heart, shared her cranberry glass collection with readers. They are stunning. Then again, most glassware makes my heart skip a beat. I thought you might enjoy this post.

Writers: What kind of craft challenges bother you the most? Backstory? POV? Cliches? Anything else? Please share.

Readers:  Which link was your favorite this week? Why?

Photo Credit:  Rasto Belan

Monday, June 3, 2019

Blog Break

With the many demands on my time this month, I've decided to take a blog break. There will be a post on Friday, June 7th.

I'll return from my break on Monday, July 6, 2019. Have a wonderful month!

Photo Credit: Susan J. Reinhardt

Friday, May 31, 2019

Changing English/Memoir/Conception/Devo/Miniatures

Drops Of Rain

1.  Tim Suddeth talks about how English is always changing and writers must keep up. While he's talking about current/future changes, I wince when I see modern verbiage used in historical novels. Check out his article at The Write Conversation.

2. Some of you write memoirs. Margaret McMullan posts at Jane Friedman's blog about her experience getting her book published. It's in a pleasing Q&A format.

3. Check out this video at Faithwire. There's a stunning flash of light at the moment of conception - awe-inspiring!

4.  Michael  K. Reynolds talks about the Healing Power of Rain. Are you feeling dry spiritually, check out his devotion.

5.  One of my friends loves miniatures and dollhouses. I had a simple one as a child and have always been attracted to the detail involved. Although I don't get involved in creating these wonders, I appreciate viewing the efforts of others. Recently, I discovered a blog called, "My Miniature World." I hope you enjoy this post and explore the rest of the site.

Writers:  Can you name some words that have changed meaning? Please share.

Readers:  What hobbies capture your interest even if you don't actively participate in them?

Photo Credit:  Jan Mocnak

Monday, May 27, 2019

On My Kindle - The Wedding Chapel by Rachel Hauck

The Wedding Chapel

Taylor Branson and Jack Forester eloped after a whirlwind courtship. Neither reckoned with how their past hurts would affect their marriage. Would they find their way back to each other or was this union doomed?

The story switches back and forth between the late 1940's-early 1950's to modern times. Jimmy and Colette declared their love for each other and planned to get married. When Uncle Sam called Jimmy and sent him to Korea, their relationship fell apart. Could love survive decades of secrets and misunderstandings or was it too late to recapture what they once enjoyed?

I've been fascinated with Rachel's character-driven stories, and this one was no exception. She digs deep into their feelings and motivations. Themes of repentance and forgiveness are woven throughout like a silk thread.

Five stars for this romantic offering that reaches into the heart and pulls you in.

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

Writers:  What type of stories do you craft? Plot driven and/or character driven?

Readers: Do you enjoy books that go beyond surface relationships? Please share.

Friday, May 24, 2019

Writing Tight/POV/Conscience/Devo/Succulents


1.  Audrey Frank posts at The Write Conversation about the Spiritual Practice of Writing Tight. I highly recommend all writers with newbie or published authors to read this. We can all benefit.

2. Zoe M. McCarthy deals with that sticky Point-of-View issue. How do you stay in a character's point of view? She gives valuable tips in a clear, concise manner.

3.  Breaking Christian News reports on the President's announcement of new "Conscience Protections" for Healthcare Providers.

4.  Michael K. Reynolds encourages us to "Breathe." Are you living at the speed of sound?

5.  I'm really into succulents these days. Their shapes, colors, and easy care are a big draw for me. Hip2BeHome shares some tips on how to make these delightful plants thrive.

Writers:  What do you find confusing about Point of View?

Readers:  How do you keep up with Christian News? Can you recommend a particular site? Please share.

Photo Credit:  BSK

Monday, May 20, 2019

On My Nightstand - A Song Unheard by Roseanna M. White

A Song Unheard (Shadows Over England Book #2) by [White, Roseanna M.]

Willa Forsythe loves music and playing the violin. She's also an accomplished thief. When she's given an assignment to locate a key to unlock coded messages, she's ready for the challenge. Others are also looking for the mysterious key and danger stalks her every move.

Lukas De Wilde is a world renowned violinist. Wounded from his narrow escape from German-dominated Brussels, he's frantic to get news of his family. When he meets Willa, she captivates him with her quick mind and phenomenal talent.

Even while drawn to each other, Willa knows they're on a collision course that will doom the relationship. She must steel herself against getting too close or her family could be destroyed.

I can't believe I let this book sit on my To-Be-Read pile for so long, especially after reading the first book in the series (Shadows Over England). Wow! With my limited reading time, I couldn't wait to get back to this story.

Roseanna M. White knows how to create many-layered characters. The conflict and emotion leaps off the page, leaving one breathless for more. There's no way to guess how things will turn out for these two people.

If you haven't already figured it out, I'm giving this book 5 massive stars. This author is fast becoming one of my favorites.

Disclaimer: I purchased this book on Amazon. Neither the author nor the publisher paid me for a favorable review. As always, all opinions are mine  and mine alone.

Writers and Readers:  Who are some of your favorite Christian Fiction authors? Why?

Friday, May 17, 2019

Purpose/Refuel/Chik-Fil-A/Devo/Pinterest Tip

gasoline nozzle

1.  Newbie alert! Zoe M. McCarthy teaches on characters saying and doing only things that have purpose. Her examples are stellar. Don't miss this learning/refresher opportunity.

2.  Kathleen Rouser posts at Seriously Write about taking time to refuel. One of the things I did when beginning this journey was to give up most of my hobbies. I dabbled at a few here and there, but I devoted all my energies to writing. I soon found myself drained. Check out this post and give yourself the opportunity to refuel.

3.  Breaking Christian News reports that Montana's Attorney General invited Chik-Fil-A to open more restaurants in his state. Other states have openly tried to ban the fast-food giant because of their Biblical values. (I've noticed that many stores do not carry gift cards for this restaurant. The culture wars are real, people!)

4.  Rhonda Rhea, at The Write Conversation, gives a humorous analogy on grace.

5.  I'm always looking for ways to make both cooking and cleaning easier. I found this cleaning hack for the bathtub on Pinterest (of course). One Good Thing shows how Dawn Dish Detergent and a clean broom (a cheapie one from the Dollar Store) can be a game changer for those with aching knees and backs.

P.S. I tried this method with mixed results. Maybe I didn't let the Dawn Dish Detergent sit long enough, but I wasn't overly impressed with how well it cleaned my circa 1950's bathtub. I'll read the article again and give it another go. Let me know how it works for you.

Writers:  What is the most challenging aspect of dialogue for you? Please share.

Readers:  What is your favorite part of reading? The researched items? The dialogue? The storyline? Some other part? Please share your thoughts.

Photo Credit:  Michael Lorenzo

Friday, May 10, 2019

P.R.A.Y./Productive Writer/Persecution in China/Devo/Flowers

allium christophii plants

1.  Being stuck for words is a real bummer. I'm a writer. So how do I get past this? Tammy Karasek posts on this subject at, "The Write Conversation," using the acronym, P.R.A.Y.

2.  Julianna Baggott, at Writer Unboxed talks about three clues to be a productive writer.

3.  Christian Headlines reports on a Chinese official's statement that the government is determined to wipe out Christianity in that nation. As believers, let's remember to pray for our brothers and sisters facing persecution and death.

4.  Edie Melson, at The Write Conversation, talks about learning the difference between her will and God's will.

5.  Last year, I couldn't do any gardening due to a shoulder injury. Now that it's healed and spring is here, I'm ready to plant FLOWERS! I'm thinking of trying some new varieties. Look at these gorgeous alliums on Plant Care Today. They're even my favorite color.

Writers:  What is your secret to being a productive writer?

Readers:  What was your favorite link this week and why?

Photo Credit:  Michael & Christa Richert

Friday, May 3, 2019

Writing Zone/Resolutions?/Pro-Life/Devo/Upcycling

write a note

1.  How do you start the writing journey? I've heard this question multiple times. Edie Melson, at The Write Conversation, asks, "Have You Entered the Writing Zone?" Newbies, you'll find this helpful, and it's a good reminder to those of us who are further along in our journey.

2.  Did you make New Year's resolutions about your writing? How's that going? If you're stuck, Positive Writer gives 7 Writer Hacks.

3.  Faithwire reported in January on Ben Shapiro's address at the March for Life in Washington, D.C. Science shows that life begins at conception. All the arguments for abortion are based on when life matters.

4.  Rhonda Rhea posts at The Write Conversation about Cut and Dry. There are some things you don't want to DIY!

5.  Everyone's into recycling these days. Here are some cool ideas for upcycling milk jugs. The last one caught my attention. I'm always searching for something to use as a saucer under my plants.

Writers:  Did you make any writing resolutions at the beginning of the year? How are you doing?

Readers:  Do you have any upcycling ideas? Please share.

Photo Credit:  Odan Jaeger

Monday, April 29, 2019

On My Nightstand - The Sky Above Us by Sarah Sundin

The Sky Above Us (Sunrise at Normandy Book #2)

Violet Lindstrom longs to serve as a missionary, but a broken engagement and WWII put a damper on those plans. The closest she can come to her heart's desire is joining the Red Cross. There's no way she will allow a romance to get in the way of her calling.

Adler Paxton, a brash but hurting pilot, vows never to love again after a tragedy took his sweet fiancee, Oralee. His focus is on becoming an ace and helping the Allied forces defeat Hitler. The only thing he didn't factor into his equation was a pretty, blond Red Cross gal and his fighter pilot friend, Nick.

The author's research on WWII is impeccable. I marvel at the detail put into this story. The characters are realistic and their growth and the development of relationships make you forget this is fiction.

The Sky Above Us is Book 2 of the Sunrise at Normandy series. I've read many of Sarah Sundin's books and each one gets better. I'm looking forward to the third book.

5 Stars all the way!

Writers:  Have you considered writing historical fiction? If so, what kind of research will you do or have you already done?

Readers:  What time periods are you drawn to in historical fiction? Why?

Friday, April 26, 2019

Writers Conferences/Story/Heaven/Healing Relationships/Yard Sales

Vintage Books

1.  Does it really pay to go to a writers conference? I can answer that with a resounding, "Yes!" Zoe M. McCarthy gives a detailed rundown of the benefits in her post, "Why Spend Money to Attend Writers Conferences."

2.  Beth K. Vogt posts at The Write Conversation about, "It's Important to Tell Our Readers a Story." Sometimes we get so wrapped up in the mechanics of writing that we forget the bottom line: story.

3.  Breaking Christian News reports on a young boy who died three times after being in a horrific traffic accident that killed his father. All three times he went to heaven. He and his mother now share their experiences through GriefShare. We don't have to stay stuck in grief, but we can move forward with our lives.

4.  Michael K. Reynolds writes about "Four Painful Words That Heal Relationships."

5.  It's yard sale season! What are the best and worst items at yard sales? I found this article at Household

Writers:  Have you been to a writers conference? Please share your experience whether positive or negative.

Readers:  I went to GriefShare after my husband died. It was during that time I was able to accept that while I missed him, I was still here and God had a plan for my life. What stood out to you when reading the story at Breaking Christian News?

Photo Credit:  Renaude Hatsedakis

Monday, April 22, 2019

On My Kindle - Hazardous Duty by Christy Barritt

Hazardous Duty: Squeaky Clean Mysteries, Book 1: An Amateur Sleuth Mystery and Suspense Series, Christian Fiction by [Barritt, Christy]

Gabby St. Claire's unique job as a crime scene cleaner stirs her curiosity about the murder of a politician's wife. From there, it's one wild and dangerous ride.

This is the first book in a series, so there's a tantalizing ending in relation to her love interest. Christy Barritt is a new-to-me author, and I'm so glad I picked up this book. Her writing voice and these characters sent me into giggles one minute and heart-stopping suspense the next. It's written in first person, and the author did a great job with it.

I could see this book being a great beach read. It's light enough to read in a day and has enough meat to hold your interest throughout.

5 Stars for this delightful tale. I'll be picking up Book 2 in this squeaky-clean series in the near future.

Writers:  Have you ever written something (fiction or non-fiction) in first person? Please share your struggles/joys with using this tense.

Readers:  Do you like reading books written from a first-person perspective? I'd be interested in your thoughts.