Monday, June 29, 2009

Writing, Etc.

Writer and publisher Beth Erickson, the "Queen Bee of Filbert Publishing" has a nifty website with lots of offerings for writers. Writing Etc. is her ezine dedicated to freelance writers. Each issue contains "insider tips, top secret techniques, and valuable resources", and the best part is that it's free! I don't know about you, but I like free, especially when it's packed with good writing stuff. To check out Beth's website, or to sign up for the ezine, visit:

In addition, Filbert Publishing offers free e-courses for writers, and a nice inventory of reasonably priced books about freelance writing. The site also offers tips on fast cash for freelancers, back issues of the ezine, and helpful links.

Happy Writing, Etc. to all!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

2009 Best Websites for Writers

Brian Klems of Writer's Digest shares WD's 101 Best Websites for Writers for 2009 in the article at this link:

WD, one of the leading writer's periodicals, (and my favorite in print writer's magazine), shares all sorts of great sites, including agent blogs, jobs and markets, resources, and even fun for writers. Isn't it a blessing to have such wonderful tools at our fingertips?

Hope Clark's Funds For Writers e-newsletter makes the list again this year. Hope puts out one of my favorite online weekly offerings. Her breezy and friendly style makes you feel like you are talking to a friend, and she offers tips and markets and other writing goodies each week. Stop by and sign up for several of Hope's free and low cost newsletters at:

Also included is the link to Writer Beware, a site devoted to keeping writers informed of pitfalls, fraud, and other schemes targeted at writers. Visit: for more info.

I plan to tap into these great offerings for some summer learning. Care to join me?

As always, Happy Writing! :)

Monday, June 22, 2009

Book Review - She Still Calls Me Daddy

She Still Calls Me Daddy
Author - Robert Wolgemuth
Publisher - Thomas Nelson

I was curious as to what Mr. Wolgemuth would share about daughters getting married since our youngest, a 23 year old daughter, is the only one left at home. This book caught my eye because I know that it is probably only a matter of time before this lovely young woman meets her Mr. Right. I'm happy to report that Mr. Wolgemuth has a lot to say - and it all comes from his heart and his experience. Both of his daughters are married, and he shares his thoughts and practical advice on how to relate to a married daughter. Although aimed at fathers, I found this candid book offered great tips and insight that a mom can use too. One of our two sons is married, and I noticed that Mr. Wolgemuth's emotions and experiences with his daughters mirrored ours with our son. Chapters cover everything from saying goodbye to the way things used to be, to embracing the new son-in law, to parents and their conduct. He even covers special circumstances such as divorce and other issues. His friendly tone and humor addresses an important topic that helps parents to prepare for and/or deal with their married daughters (and sons!). I give it a definite thumbs up. :)

Do You Have a Back Up Plan?

I've learned the hard way over the years how important it is to back up documents. While happily typing, I've often thought, well, I'll save this on my flash drive tomorrow...Well, actually, tomorrow could be too late! With my recent computer adventures (for those of you just tuning in - the hard drive went on my laptop several weeks ago), I've thought a lot about my backup methods for documents, photos, and files.

Any time I complete an article and send it off to an editor, I send a blind copy to my email storage account. I also often send it to another email account for double backup. I'd rather have an inbox full of articles and other writing, than to risk losing my work altogether. I make sure that I check my email storage account regularly, too, so that it remains an active account.

Another part of my backup plan is my flash drive. This handy little device has been a lifesaver. It is easy to use and completely portable. If you've never had one, I highly recommend getting one. They have come down in price over the years, have various storage capabilities, and did I mention they were easy to use? I must admit, I thought they were a bit mysterious and high- tech when my oldest son got one for college years ago. But I've learned that they are super user-friendly and a nifty little technological treasure that fits into your pocket.

There are also numerous online storage sites. Most offer free storage for home users, up to a certain amount of space, and then charge a small fee per month above that. There are business options available as well; these have various fees depending on how much storage you need. I have yet to try an online storage site, but after my recent computer crash, am thinking I need to look into it. I know other writers who recommend them.

Here are a few links for online storage:

So what's your backup plan? Just wondering....

Happy writing!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Summer Reading

I love to read! My favorite is Christian historical fiction, and I have many favorite authors, not only in that genre, but many others. My summer reading list currently includes several books for review, and I will post those reviews here in the coming weeks.

My reading stack includes She Still Calls Me Daddy, by Robert Wolgemuth, Love's Pursuit by Siri Mitchell, A Bride in the Bargain by Deeanne Gist, and The Adventures of Harwinton Bear series for children by Linda Machado. I look forward to reading them all. And if by any chance, you are looking for a reviewer for your book, let me know. I may just be able to work you into the summer reading schedule. :)

Happy Writing and Reading!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

A Literary Agent's Advice

A fellow member of my local writing group - the Clear Creek Writers of Shelbyville, KY - shared this link recently. It is the June 11, 2009 post from Literary Agent Nathan Bransford's blog. It includes links to writing topics and answers common (and not so common) questions that writers ask.

You'll find all sorts of info on everything from how or if you can turn a blog into a book, dialogue tips, handling writer's block and rejection letters, writing good fiction, and oodles more helpful goodies. Whether you agree with everything Mr. Bransford shares remains to be seen, but he does share a wealth of his experience worth taking a peek at.

Happy writing!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Word Processing Options

Ever find yourself in need of a word processing program while away from your computer? There are websites that offer word processing programs which could be helpful in these situations. Most online offerings I looked at were free, a few charge a small fee. Some offer options for businesses, such as spreadsheets, and finance and accounting software too.

Here are a few sites I found in my search, but many more are available.

These are great alternatives for setting up a low cost writing office, or in the event of a computer crash, or similar situations. It's nice to know that there are helpful options out there.

As always, happy writing!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

How About Another Writing Prompt?

I still say that writing prompts can be a fabulous way to get your brain in gear and help get thoughts on paper. I've gotten more mental digressions (as opposed to those verbal digressions I'm prone to) from a writing prompt session, whether it be for a student writing lesson, an article idea, or whatever. So here goes, another prompt to help you write till there's no paper left in your house...ahem, well, okay, we'll just settle for getting those creative juices flowing...

Write several paragraphs about an embarrassing or memorable moment in your life. But wait, there's a twist! Do not write it in first person, write it from the perspective of someone else - a trusted relative, a friend, a teacher or mentor, or a bystander.

I'd love to read it! Email it to me at

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Good Writing Style

"The Elements of Style", by Strunk and White, is a great little book loaded with writing helps. They state on pages 72-73:

“Do not overstate.

When you overstate, the reader will be instantly on guard, and everything that has preceded your overstatement as well as everything that follows it will be suspect in his mind because he has lost confidence in your judgment or your poise. Overstatement is one of the common faults. A single overstatement, wherever or however it occurs, diminishes the whole, and a single carefree superlative has the power to destroy, for the reader, the object of the writer’s enthusiasm.”

Need I say more? This little book is packed with insight and helpful tips for any type of writing. I highly recommend it.

Happy Writing!

Monday, June 8, 2009

More Writing Tips

Dan Case's e-newsletter Writing For Dollars has some great tips in the June 2, 2009 issue.

Check out the feature article Free Education, Free Money, where author Melissa Mayntz shares tips and resource ideas for continuing your writing education in different ways. Jeanine DeHoney offers some encouragement and ways to recycle those old rejected articles in Recycle Old Manuscripts for a Greener Literary Planet.

As always, Happy Writing!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Back in the Saddle!

The giant "Woo Hoo!" that you heard coming from the north central Kentucky vicinity was me. My laptop is fixed, thanks to the work of my computer savvy husband and advice from a computer expert-y friend.

I feel totally back in my element, with my trusty laptop sized keyboard and other familiar elements of the team of my laptop, desk, and I. Silly, I know, but I am surprised how accustomed I was to using my keyboard. When I had to make the temporary switch over to our desktop computer, I felt like I had about six thumbs, and they were all trying to type the wrong letters. Several times I found my hands shifted over by one letter, thus typing the wrong letters which amounted to a bunch of gibberish on the screen.

I still have a few bugs to work out, and a few programs to install, but I am thrilled to be back in my comfy writing saddle again. Here's to all the wonderful blessings of life, great, small, technological, and electronic!

Have a fabulous and blessed weekend:)

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Switching Gears

My laptop's hard drive went recently. Many of you computer owners can sympathize, I'm sure. Thankfully most of my writing documents were backed up, so I didn't lose too much info. We did lose some of my husband's business accounting info, but most of that can be retrieved. We've had computer adventures before and I've learned the hard way to back most everything up and keep a good paper trail.

I was pretty bummed at first, for you see, besides my family and my Bible, my laptop is one of my most treasured earthly gifts. My husband and kids bought it for me some years ago so 'Mom could have her own computer'. In those days, it seemed like I was always in line waiting for the computer - the kids had schoolwork or some other project that needed to be done, and my turns were limited. So imagine my excitement in having my very own computer...

This incident has required me to switch gears, something I do not always easily do. But I'm learning, and confess to be a wonderful work in progress. We do have another computer, which is a huge blessing, even though I must share it with my husband and daughter. I have had to adjust my mindset; I cannot just sit down and type away like before. In some ways it has been a good thing; I've worked on other projects around the house, cleaned off my desk (with the laptop sitting right there in the middle, patiently waiting to be fixed), and gone back to writing some things in longhand.The good news is that I will live, and that my laptop can be fixed, and I've gained a few more topics to blog about, such as the importance of backing up your info.

While I may not be "Keeping at It' (see May 18, 2009's blog post, at my normal level, I am learning to switch gears and make adjustments. I'd say that's moving forward, wouldn't you?

Thanks for reading, and have a blessed day!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Writing Prompt, Anyone?

Have you ever tried using a writing prompt to get those creative thoughts flowing? I have, and they can be quite useful. You never know where it will take you, writing wise, that is, and if nothing else, it gets you thinking and writing. And thinking and writing are good things!

I also like to use writing prompts for my online writing co-ops. I teach writing to homeschool students in grades 9-12. (For more info, visit the co-op website at Writing prompts often offer an opportunity to write from a different angle, providing some cross training to stretch our writing muscles.

The following prompt is borrowed from a recent co-op lesson; I've also included some general info about Flash Fiction that might be helpful as you write.

No doubt you've heard of Flash Fiction. In case you haven't heard of it - Flash Fiction has various definitions and interpretations (just as poetry or a novel can). There is no big secret to Flash Fiction; it is merely a type of short story. It has been around for a while, and has been made more popular through the Internet.

Flash Fiction contains certain components that set it apart from longer works of fiction. The first, of course, is that it is short. Average Flash Fiction word counts range from 100 to 1500 words. Some are even shorter, and some slightly longer. The idea is that the story is written tightly and efficiently. The writer makes the most of their word choices.

Another important component to Flash Fiction is that it provides a snapshot: small flashes of life, events, thoughts, and so on. They can provide different perspectives: a bird’s eye view, a fly on the wall, a first person experience, and more. The focus is on the action. Readers are enlightened about a particular slice of life, an angle on an event that they may not have considered before. Surprising plot twists are not uncommon with Flash Fiction. They may be short, but they can pack a punch.

Some Flash Fiction stories have even been written in unlikely forms, such as a quiz, a biography, a survey, character sketch, or an advertisement. Flash Fiction tones and styles are as varied as their authors are. They can be funny, serious, surprising, cynical, ironic, philosophical, etc. They reflect whatever the writer wants to convey to the reader.

**Here is the actual writing prompt...

Begin a Flash Fiction scene using this question,

"How much is this bunch of carrots?"

Use the question as your opening and move from there. Feel free to do whatever you like, using it in context or using it in something completely out of context. Shoot for a word count of 300-700 words. I'd love to see the finished product; feel free to email it to me at

Happy writing!

Writing prompt info copyright 2009, Karen Lange.