Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year! 

Is it possible that another year has come and gone?

Time - it's been on my heart and mind lately. What am I doing with the time God has given me? I cannot retrieve the time that has passed, but I can make the most of the time He's provided this new year.

In Psalm 31:15, David says, "My times are in Your hand..." Even though he was referring to his current trials, I think David's words apply to us now. We are nothing without God. What a blessing to know our lives and times are in His hands.

How do we make the most of our time? MaryAnn Diorio's Focus on the Majors over at The Write Power might help. MaryAnn's post outlines key points regarding time and priorities. It's a good breakdown to help focus goals for 2010.

So tell us, what will you do with your writing time this year? How do you order and set your goals? I pray 2010 will be a year of spiritual growth as He leads and guides us.

New Year's Blessings to you!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Kreative Blogger Award!

Imagine my surprise when 
Susan J. Reinhardt's post
announced that I had won the Kreative Blogger Award. 

What can I say? I am honored and humbled and just plain excited! Susan's blog, in my opinion, is a must read for writers. She shares great writing tips, interviews, and book reviews all while working to connect and encourage writers. It's a hard act to follow, but I aim to be a blessing like she is. Thank you, Susan! You are a treasure.

Now I have the privilege of passing this wonderful award on to these blogging friends.

Carol Alexander of Everything Home With Carol is one creative blogger. A Christian wife, mother, and homeschool mom, Carol shares everything from project and homemaking ideas to little gems that make me think. She's a blessing, and a special friend in the blog world.

Everyday I Walk with You features Raymonde Newman's thoughts about this and that and life in the United Kingdom. It's always a treat to stop by her blog. When I visit, it's like I get to sit and have a cup of tea with her! Raymonde is a kindred spirit from across the pond, and a brave soul who has tackled one of my writing prompts.

Kathleen of Sassy Granny  is one of my newer friends whose blog is always worth reading. I love her posts, full of stories and heartfelt, thought provoking insight. She makes me laugh, and more importantly, reflect on where my perspective needs to be.

Another new friend, Carla Gade of Writing to Distraction, has a lovely blog full of wonderful goodies. Carla wants us to come and "share the journey as we converse about the writing life." Indeed we do, and it is interesting, challenging, and a lot of fun.

Katt's Comments is penned by Kathryn Neff Perry. It doesn't take long to see that Kathryn has a servant's heart. She shares about writing, daily life, and the spiritual truths that connect them. It's always a pleasure to stop at her blog.

The Kreative Blogger Award encourages winners to share interesting facts about themselves. Bear with me; what I think is interesting may not appeal to you...but here goes.

I like chocolate. But if you read my blog, you know this already. Thought it was worth mentioning again, though. :)

I love hockey. Ice or roller, it matters not. My sons used to play both, so I was officially a hockey mom. I know quite a few rules and can name more professional hockey players than my husband.

When my sons played hockey in a local league, I considered volunteering as a referee. I decided against it because I don't skate very well. Kind of hard to referee while being concerned about falling down.

My daughter gave me the gift of being a swimming mom. She took lessons for years, so I went from one climate extreme - cold with hockey - to the other - warm with swimming. You'd think I'd remember not to wear a turtleneck during winter's lesson days. Sitting in the bleachers by the pool with a million percent humidity watching her swim was fun, except for the turtleneck part.

I love to blog. I started in early 2009 because I wanted to say I had 'blogging experience'. Well, I've gained a little of that and a whole lot more. I've met wonderful new friends (that would be you) and have been abundantly blessed getting to know you all. You are treasured friends, each one, who have enriched my life. Thank you!

What about you? Tell us some interesting, but little known facts about you and your life. We're all ears!

Blessings and hugs:)

Friday, December 18, 2009

A Vacation

I've made an executive decision; I am taking a short blogging break and will return on December 28. The fun part about writing your own blog is that you can make such decisions. But then, you are also in charge of the end of the year bonuses. Hmm, will have to give that some thought. Perhaps my bonus will include chocolate. What do you think? :)

Hope you take time to rest and refresh too. Enjoy family, friends, and fellowship. Have a blessed week. See you soon!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Tips on Writing for Children

A friend and I recently had a discussion about writing for children. We were comparing notes; she is nearly finished with a course from the Institute of Children's Literature, and I took two courses from ICL several years ago. Through our little meeting, we decided that writing for children is more difficult than writing for adults.

While this may not be everyone's opinion, nor the final word on the topic, many would agree that there is more to writing for children than meets the eye. Targeting specific ages, choosing the right market, keeping the appropriate tone and not being preachy, making the tight word count yet telling an appealing story - the list goes on. Sure, these are things that we must consider for adult writing, but writing for children seems to include more angles. One reason may be that the market is slim. The general children's market is large, but when you pare the age groups down, such as 8-10 year olds, it narrows the field. Writing for adults can include a bigger slice, like 30-45 year old women.

Another thought along these lines - some think that it's easier to write for children, for, after all, they are ONLY children. Only children? Yes, well, these children are tomorrow's parents and leaders. They grow up to be adults, and how these adults turn out affects how things go in the world. Writing for children provides the opportunity to have a part in that future, and to make a difference. A good difference! Now if that doesn't cause a writer to take care, then I don't know what will.

Other than approaching writing for children with prayer and discernment, there are basic guidelines that help put a good children's story or article together. 5 Tips for Writing for Children, written by Tracey Dils, author of You Can Write Children's Books is one example. Ms. Dils shares five key points that help a writer navigate these waters. Writing for children is an awesome opportunity, but like writing for any other group, we need to do our homework.

What are your thoughts, have you ever written for children? If not, do you plan to in the future? What tips have you found helpful? Share them with us!

Blessings, and Happy Writing!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Weekend Fun

Pardon me while I post something off schedule...
Check these out:

Giveaway Lady 
Silver Savings

These sites have all sorts of fun giveaways, freebies, and other nifty goodies. Found them through another blog. I'd give credit to this blog but I forget which one it was! It'll come to me eventually, and I'll try and remember to let you know which one it was:)

Happy Weekend!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

The Big Rocks

Christian Writer/Reader Connection's
Susan J. Reinhardt shares an interesting story about prioritizing. This thought provoking little treasure makes you think. Questions that came to my mind were, well, let's just say that you need to read the post first. I don't want to give it all away! No doubt some of you have heard the story before, but it is a good reminder of what's important.

Following My King shares similar thoughts in this post. It's an appropriate time of year to reflect and reassess goals, desires, callings, and priorities.

One of my favorite scriptures is Jeremiah 29:11, "For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope." (NKJV) One translation says "For I know the plans I have for you"; either way, it speaks so much in regard to our Heavenly Father's love and plans for us. May our priorities align with His calling for our lives.

What have you learned about your calling and priorities this year? We'd love to hear about it. Blessings to you:)

Monday, December 7, 2009

Novel Titles

A recent Writer's Digest ezine included a link to this interesting article:

7 Tips to Land the Perfect Title for Your Novel

Author Jacob M. Appel offers great tips for choosing the right title. Mr. Appel notes common pitfalls and encourages writers to think outside the box. In doing so, a title stands out and avoids the editor's reject pile. I'm all for standing out, in this respect, anyway. He also points out that our books are judged by the title, at first at least, so why not spend time making it great?

These tips are fabulous for book titles, but I think that they apply to articles too. Who isn't in need of a snappy title for that next article query or draft? I say we take advantage of things like this, no matter what we write. What fabulous titles have you come up with recently? Share your thoughts on how you find great titles. We're all ears!

Blessings to you, and Happy Writing:)

Friday, December 4, 2009

And the Winners Are....

Congratulations go to Sharon and Dee Dee! You are the winners in the Double Book Giveaway! Winners will be notified via email this afternoon. Thanks to all who participated.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Plays, Skits, and Scripts, Anyone?

I don't know about you, but I've never considered writing a play or script. Until now. A recent issue of Writing for DOLLARS! featured an article by Susan Sundwall that covers the topic. The title is Plays, Skits, and Scripts - Are They for You?

Ms. Sundwall shares great tips to get you started, and even adds some market links for good measure. That way you can get an idea of what each publisher prefers, which is quite nice.

This looks like a fun way to do something a little different. I'm thinking about giving it a try. How about you?

Happy Writing!

P.S. Don't forget, today is the last day to enter the Double Book Giveaway. Two winners will be chosen, so check out Monday's post for details.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Book Review

Though Waters Roar
by Lynn Austin
Bethany House Publishers
Christian Historical Fiction

Harriet Sherwood has a problem. She was arrested for transporting liquor in her grandmother's car. Grandma Bebe, or Beatrice Monroe Garner, just happens to be Roseton, PA's leading champion for Prohibition.

Harriet's story unfolds as she reminisces about the irony of her current state. The female side of Harriet's family tree includes strong, determined, and Godly women, and Harriet longs to make the same impact that these ladies did. But how can she, if she is in jail? Harriet knows that Grandma Bebe and the rest of the family will be less than pleased about her situation. Arresting Officer Tommy O'Reilly puts an interesting spin on things too. Turns out Tommy is the bully that a young Harriet stood up to in grade school. Whatever will Harriet do? Can she extricate herself from her situation without causing too much shame for her family? Will she live up to the legacy Grandma Bebe and the others left for her?

I love Lynn Austin's books! She tells a wonderful tale, leading the reader through history and the complexities of life, while keeping Biblical principles and priorities in line. I highly recommend this entertaining and stirring story of a young woman who wants to make a difference doing something right.

Happy Reading! :)

This book was a free review copy provided by Bethany House.

Monday, November 30, 2009

A Double Giveaway!

I thought it might be nice to make the final 2009 Book Giveaway a bit more interesting by giving away two books. To enter, all you need to do is to leave a comment to this post. Please include your name and email address in the following format: karenelange(at)gmail(dot)com.

The Giveaway ends this Friday, December 4, 2009 at noon. My lovely daughter will do the honors and draw two names. The first name drawn will get their choice of titles.

The first book is Dawn's Prelude by Tracie Peterson. To check out my review, click on the title.

The second book is Bride in the Bargain by Deeanne Gist. Click the title if you'd like to hear what I thought about the book.

Happy Reading and Writing to all:)

Giveaway open to residents of the U.S. only. Books are my very gently used review copies.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Thanksgiving Gifts

I am thankful for so many things, and this special holiday causes me to pause and reflect on the treasured gifts that God has given me.

I am grateful to live in the United States, to be free to worship and to live and travel freely. I appreciate the sacrifice that veterans have made and that active service men and women make each day for our freedom.

My many friends - whether online or near or far - are another special blessing. Thank you for being supportive and kind, and for just being there.

The church family who welcomed the Langes into their fold over five years ago are yet another treasure. We are truly blessed to be a part of Shelbyville Christian Assembly.

Special family - sisters Wendy, Robin, and Julie, brothers in law Michael and Jaman, my parents Wayne and Linda, and my grandparents, in laws Carolyn and Ralph, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, cousins and beyond have been a rich part of my heritage. For each one of you, I am grateful.

My children, son Tim, his wife Jessica, and their son Evan, and son David and daughter Becky, I have no words to express how thankful I am for you. Partly because I will cry if I think too hard on it, and partly because my love and gratitude for what you've brought to my life knows no bounds. Thank you Lord!

I am thankful for my sweet husband of 29 years. (I was a child bride:) Jeff has been patient and kind, supportive and loving; he is my true soul mate and lifelong companion. Words fail me here as well, as the depth of God's love for me is shown by giving me this gift.

Finally, my deepest gratitude goes to our Heavenly Father, who created us, loves us, and supplies the grace and mercy we need for each day. Jesus paid a debt we could not pay; what a precious and awesome gift!

What gifts are you thankful for this Thanksgiving? 

Happy Thanksgiving! Blessings to you all:)

Monday, November 23, 2009

Looking for Names?

Do you need a name for a character? Why not try this site for some ideas? Behind the Name is a site where you can learn the etymology and history of names.

One nice feature is the Random Name Generator page. This is fun! You may choose male/female, first name/last name/both, nationality, time period, and more. Once you make your choices, click on "Generate a Name" and it gives you a name, randomly chosen of course. This could come in handy if you want something creative and different, or are just plain stuck for a good name. The nice thing is, if you don't like the random name it gives you, you can go back and do it again.

Behind the Name's main page allows you to browse names by nationality, if you are in the mood for that instead. They also have a "Fun Stuff" page, where you can view name ideas for twins, look at anagram names from around the world, and find names with themes, such as 'strong' names, or 'fiery' ones.

When I visited, I wasn't looking for a character's name, but it was interesting to play around with the name generator, and to find out what names are 'red', and which ones are 'purple'. Anyone looking for names? Let us know what interesting ones you find.

Blessings, and of course, Happy Writing!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Loyal Friend Award

I was recently blessed with the Loyal Friend and Visitor Award! How exciting is that?

Maria Morgan of Life Lessons sent this blessing my way. I am humbled, greatly appreciative, and blessed to receive this honor. I now get to pass this award along to fellow bloggers, and I have chosen these three faithful blogging friends.

Carol Alexander of Everything Home...with Carol has a wonderful blog. A sweet and regular visitor to my blog, Carol writes about farm life, homeschooling her children, and lots of other insightful and spiritual goodies.

Some of you are already acquainted with Susan J. Reinhardt of Christian Writer/Reader Connection. Susan is my go-to gal for blogging questions; much of what I've learned about blogging I've gleaned from her. Susan is an all around faithful peach of a friend. Her blog never fails to bless, inform, and challenge me.

Following My King's Cecelia Lester, also known as Quiet Spirit, is another gem of a friend. Her blog encourages and provides much food for thought. Cecelia was one of my first followers, for which I will be ever grateful. She has also been one of the talented and brave ones who has allowed me to publish her version of one of the writing prompts on my blog.

My heartfelt thanks goes to each of these wonderful ladies mentioned, and also to all my other readers. You are all treasured friends, and I count you among my richest blessings!

Happy writing:)

Monday, November 16, 2009

That Bunch of Carrots

I was delighted when Raymonde Fauchard Newman of Everyday I Walk With You sent me her story that used my November Writing Prompt. I was even more pleased when she granted me permission to print it. Here is her wonderful story.


"How much is this bunch of carrots? Lydia asked.

"Seventy-eight cents," answered the farmer smiling at her, with a quizzical look on his face.

"I also need 12 figs and 3 pomegranates, how much are they?"

What he was looking at was totally out of his ordinary. This beautiful woman was radiating joy, but whilst she was counting her coins, he spotted her hands, they were out of place so totally different to the rest of her face in colour, they were purple. He was intrigued and puzzled.

Lydia was unaware of the attention of the stall holder. She just had a single thought in her head: I must be ready. She had had this thought for a while now. Actually ever since her meeting by the river with the little short wiry man named Paul and his companion Silas...

She stopped for a second, reviewing in her head her shopping list. She had everything else she needed. She just wanted to hurry now, get home and prepare her meal. Today was the day.

Her thoughts drifted whilst she put the various items in her basket. One quite ordinary day by the river, had turned her world upside down. She was there that day to wash her cloth, her purple cloth and also praying with other women from her village and suddenly after hearing this man speak, she later learnt his name was Paul, her heart had opened and what happened she can only describe as if scales fell from her eyes, her ears heard words of life: God had made a way for her, she was saved. That same river which minutes before had been a convenient place to wash her cloth had become the place of her baptism; she had been plunged in a dye of purple, colour of royalty, to rise up the daughter of the King. The same could be said of her daughters, her maids and her younger sons. They all had heard the same good news and had become followers of Jesus of Nazareth, Son of God.

So after the initial excitement of the baptism, she had invited Paul and Silas back to her home. And nothing had happened yet, she had heard rumours of troubles and arrests, but each time she was trying to find out more, no actual news were coming forth, it had been weeks now, it certainly felt even longer.

Till today, she had woken up with a new certainty: today was the day, so she had jumped out of bed, cleaned the house, made sure everybody knew what they were doing, but she wanted to go and get the best produce from the market and bring them back to prepare.

On the way she was going to pick up the warm bread, bread she had kneaded herself very, very early this morning and dropped off at the common bakery in the centre of the village. She knew she had enough wine and oil in her cellar, this is the day... Was she ready enough? The excitement she had felt since the day of her salvation was contagious. She had always worshipped the God of her Fathers, so knew the Old Book well and in her mind kept going over her favourite passages, now making even more sense to her, especially about the Messiah. She felt so blessed.

She rushed back to start on preparing her meal and lay the table and suddenly they were there Paul and Silas leaving prison and entering Lydia’s house... just in time for a delicious meal and to see the brethren, they encourage everybody and left. Lydia felt even more thankful to God.

I hope you enjoyed this as much as I did. Thank you Raymonde!

Blessings and Happy Writing:)

Carrots!! Copyright Raymonde Newman, 2009.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Are You a Poet?

Do you like to write poetry? If so, this contest may be just for you. Writer's Digest is sponsoring their 5th Annual Poetry Contest.

Deadline is December 15, 2009 and prizes range from $25-$500 for 10th through 1st place. Eleventh through 25th place winners get a $50 gift certificate for Writer's Digest Books, which is not too shabby a prize either.

If you'd like to enter, visit the Contest site for details. You have to promise that you'll let me know if you win so I can post some congratulations here too:)

Happy Writing!

Monday, November 9, 2009

I Love to Write Day

Did you know that November 15 is
I Love to Write Day? Author John Riddle is the creator of this little known celebration, which is now recognized by the governors of nine states. That’s right, if you are a resident of Delaware, New Jersey, Kentucky, Maryland, Louisiana, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Texas, or Florida you will be pleased to know that this day has been officially noted in your state.

Mr. Riddle came up with the idea in 2002, thinking that it would be a good way to celebrate the art of writing, and to hold the “world’s largest party for writers.”
He goes on further to say, "My goal for I Love to Write Day is simple; people of all ages are encouraged to write something. A poem, a letter, an essay, start a novel, finish a novel...the possibilities are endless!" Visit the I Love to Write Day website at

I love Mr. Riddle's idea! Even though I am a writer, it sparks an extra measure of enthusiasm and thankfulness for what I am called to do. How will you celebrate this special day? Writing for NaNoWriMo, blog posts, an article, a journal, or flash fiction? I invite you to share your writing adventures, big or small, with us.

Happy Writing, and Happy I Love to Write Day!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

How About...?

How about a writing prompt? It's been a little while since we've had one, so thought I'd post one today:) It's always fun to see what my writer friends come up with. Everyone's perspective is unique and it generates a nice assortment of stories. So here goes:

Write a flash fiction story using this line as the opening:

"How much is this bunch of carrots? Lydia asked.

After you write it, please share the story! My email is karenelange(at)gmail(dot)com. Perhaps you won't even mind giving me permission to share it in a future post...but only if you want to, of course.

Happy Writing!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Dawn's Prelude Book Review

Dawn's Prelude by Tracie Peterson
Bethany House Publishers

Recently widowed Lydia Gray is not sad; she is actually relieved that her late husband Floyd cannot torment her any longer. Lydia's marriage was a business arrangement between her father and Floyd, a practice not uncommon in 1870 in Kansas City. She is surprised to learn that she inherited Floyd's entire estate. Determined to break free from any ties to Floyd's greedy and insensitive adult children, she secretly makes plans to move to Sitka, Alaska, where Aunt Zerelda, her only remaining relative, lives.

A bit of intrigue ensues as Lydia makes her way to Sitka where she finds herself in the arms of Kjell Lindquist. Literally! Kjell catches Lydia right off the boat, sick and worn from her travels. The plot thickens as Lydia fights her way out of a web of bitterness and distrust from the treatment she received at Floyd's hands. Will Zerelda's gentle faith speak to Lydia? Will Lydia accept this new land as her own? Will Kjell have any part in Lydia's future? And what of Floyd's family, will their greed drive them to drastic measures?

The beauty of the Alaskan territory comes alive in Ms. Peterson's latest book. I have yet to find a book of hers that I disliked. She is a wonderful story teller; her stories have depth and an eternal message. Check this one out; adventure and surprises await!

Happy Reading:)

Bethany House provided this book free of charge for review purposes.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Email Adventures

I recently got locked out of my hotmail account. Apparently it was a widespread glitch, as others encountered the same problem. One minute I had access to my account, the next, I did not.

My hotmail account is a primary email address that I have used for over 10 years. Let's just say I did not weather this storm without a measure of frustration, and yes, a bit of anxiety. I tried all the help options, spent hours on the net trying to find solutions, and changed my password, cleared my cache, cookies, and checked for viruses. Still locked out. The automated responses from the help desk sent me in circles. I scrambled to remember addresses and touch base with contacts through my other email addresses. Finally, after four days, they said that they'd verified my account and gave me access again. They apologized for the delay, as they normally respond in 24 hours, but with a high volume of other users experiencing the same issues, they were backed up. I was back on, hooray!

Thankfully, I did not miss anything monumental while I was locked out. I had to wade through over 300 emails, but got back on track in a short time. I have to admit that I learned some valuable lessons - like keeping a list of my email contacts elsewhere. I also learned that it's a good idea to change passwords every so often, using these tips for a more secure password. I was also reminded that you shouldn't use the same password for every account you have, whether email, for online shopping or banking, or other kind of account.

Finally, I was reminded that this was just a little thing in my life's big picture; I managed to get through the week without using that account. Funny how the Lord uses little things to teach us things and smack some perspective back into our lives. I'm thankful that He was patient with me while I scaled this little trial. He is good!

Had any little perspective aligning adventures lately? :)


Thursday, October 29, 2009

Christian Short Story Contest

Sunpenny Publishing is sponsoring a Christian Writers' Short Story Competition. Contest is open to all writers, no matter what experience level. Entry fee is $8 per story, and cash prizes will be awarded for first and second place. Entry deadline is April 30, 2010. Click here for contest submission guidelines and details.

Based in the United Kingdom, Sunpenny Publishing is also looking for writers of good Christian fiction, poetry, children's books and more. They happily accept new authors from all over the world. They work with printers in the UK and US to produce a professional product aimed at being a witness to the world through the written word.

Who's up for writing a good contest story? Go ahead, we'll cheer you on!

Happy Writing:)

I am blessed to pass contest and other info along here; please note that I cannot completely vouch for each company represented.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Blog Readership

Promoting Blog Readership, a recent article in an online Writer's Digest newsletter, offered five blogging tips for writers. This article was linked with another, 22 Essential Elements of Sharable Blog Posts. The latter, written by Chris Brogan, elaborates further on what things catch the blog reader's eye.

Even though I was familiar with many of these tips, these articles made me pause and consider my philosophy and blog writing and visiting habits. What are they? Well for starters, I like to comment on my favorite blogs because I want to show my interest and support. If I can, I also like to comment on reader's comments to my posts. I appreciate their interest and the time that it takes to stop by the blog and say hello. Another initial thought was about my blogging goals. My desire is to share helpful and interesting info for writers, things that have been helpful in my writing journey.

What blogging tips and habits have you found helpful? What kinds of blogs capture your attention? Share your thoughts with us!
Blessings to you all, and of course, Happy Writing! :)

Friday, October 23, 2009

And the Winner Is...

Congratulations to Susanne Dietze, who is the winner of this wonderful book by Kim Vogel Sawyer. I'll contact you, Susanne, to work out the details. Thanks to all who participated!

Happy Reading:)

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Blurbing for Structure

What exactly does Blurbing for Structure mean? I wasn't sure, but I was curious when I saw the article title in the Long Ridge Writers Group's enewsletter recently. Long Ridge Writing Instructor and author Mary Rosenblum is kind enough to explain what she means by this phrase. Ms. Rosenblum shares how to remedy issues with story lines by using a blurb to identify exactly what the plot is and where it is headed.

She starts out by explaining how this is a helpful tool for novice writers, but I think that she outlines a good method for all writers, novice or not. She compares blurbing to the description on the back cover of a book - the interesting, yet brief summary of the story. I liked her suggestions and think that they will be useful for all types of writing. Check it out, I'd like to hear what you think. What structure will you be blurbing today?

Happy Writing!

P.S. Last call for the Fields of Grace book giveaway. It ends tonight, so if you'd like to participate, click here for details.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Getting Your Book Reviewed

The Writing for Dollars site has a harvest basket full of great archived articles. I read one recently entitled:

Getting Your Children's Book Reviewed.

Author Kathryn Lay enlightens us on this topic by giving insider tips from librarians and other publishing industry sources. While the tips are aimed at children's authors, some of what Ms. Lay mentioned applies to those writing for adults, too. She includes links and helpful background info for a well rounded, informative article. While at the Writing for Dollars site, sign up for the weekly newsletter if you are so inclined. It's a great resource.

Happy writing! :)

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Book Giveaway

Cooler temperatures and gorgeous fall colors have inspired me in many ways, including offering a new book giveaway. Simply comment* to this post, and include your email address, and you will be entered to win a copy of Kim Vogel Sawyer's newest, Fields of Grace. To read my recent review of this gem, click here.

This giveaway runs through midnight Thursday, October 22, 2009. My lovely daughter will do the honors and draw the winning name. The winner will be posted on Friday, October 23. Blessings to you, and happy writing!

(*My apologies; open to residents of the continental United States only.)

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Book Review

That Certain Spark
Author: Cathy Marie Hake
Publisher: Bethany House
Genre: Historical Fiction/Romance

Readers won't be disappointed; sparks certainly do fly in Cathy Marie Hake's newest book. We find ourselves in the pleasant little town of Gooding, TX, the place that acts as the setting for many of Ms. Hake's stories. Taylor and Enoch Bestman have signed contracts to serve as the town's local doctors. Taylor is the medical doctor, and Enoch is a veterinarian.

The twins aim to rescue Gooding from a serious shortage of good medical care. But will they? Upon the Bestman twins' arrival, townspeople learn that Taylor is a woman. Some of the residents are happy about this fact, but others, including the mayor, are not. Seems Mayor Cutter overlooked the portion of Taylor's paperwork indicating that she is indeed, a woman.

Taylor sets out to prove her worth and skill. Her first test involves saving Karl Van der Vort's life. Karl and his brother Piet are the local blacksmiths who are surprised to find a woman doctor in their midst. Karl, especially, doesn't think it's proper for a woman to work as a doctor, but cannot deny Taylor's skill, and more importantly, his debt to her for saving his life. Karl wrestles further with his feelings as he admires Taylor's spunk, and finds himself with feelings for Taylor. How will Taylor respond? Will sparks fly between the two? And what of the sparks that fly between Taylor, the mayor, and the others opposed to her practicing in town?

Hake provides an entertaining journey with unexpected events and colorful characters. True to the title, That Certain Spark really does make a difference in the resident's lives. I enjoyed reading this; can't wait to see what Ms. Hake cooks up next. I hope it finds us in Gooding once again!

Happy Writing:)

Monday, October 12, 2009

A Call for Help

Many of you know that I teach online writing classes for homeschool teens. In addition to lessons, assignments, and forum interaction, I provide the students with additional tips and provoking thoughts about writing. This is the part where you come in; I could use some tips from my writer friends. Do you have any to share? My students seem to enjoy getting feedback from us real writers:)

Any thoughts are welcome, such as grammar tips that you've found helpful, character development techniques, article/essay writing thoughts, ways to overcome writer's block, things that inspire your writing, and so on.

The sessions that I offer include general creative writing (fiction & non-fiction), writing the research paper, essays, and flash fiction. Thoughts do not have to be long, even a line or two would be great. One tidbit that I share with my students is a short list that a reporter from The Press of Atlantic City (NJ) gave me. He basically told students to keep their writing tight, consult a good grammar guide such as The Elements of Style, and to have fun.

If anything strikes you, I would welcome and be blessed by your comments. The tips would include your name, and your website or blog address if you like. Thanks for your help! Blessings to you, and of course, happy writing! :)

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Because I Said So!

A recent Writer's Digest Questions and Quandaries segment asked this question:

Can you start a sentence with 'Because'?

Brian Klems, an online editor for WD shares the rhyme and the reason behind this burning question. I like his reasoning, and it is interesting to see the true grammar logistics behind this puzzling dilemma. Makes you think, have we been sold any other grammar myths and traditions over the years?

Most grammar rules are good ones, and exist for a reason, such as clarity and order for reading and writing. I just have to chuckle, though, when I think of things like this. I was raised in an era where if you did anything wrong at school it would "Go on your permanent record!" Hmm, let's see, I am thinking that my permanent record from the Philip Baker Memorial School doesn't really mean anything any more. Unless of course, all my grammar mistakes were somehow stored in a database somewhere. And someday, when Karen Lange is a household name, one of my teachers of days gone by will drag out this permanent record and show the world that I am not a perfect grammar student...Well, you never know, it might happen.

So what grammar myths, traditions, and stumbling blocks have you tackled over the years? Which ones caused you to run for The Elements of Style to double check your prose? And okay, while I'm on a roll, what's on your permanent record??

Thanks for tolerating my ramblings. Blessings to all, and of course, happy writing!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Live Author Q & A Sessions

The WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group is featuring a series of livestream Q & A sessions this fall/winter. Christian authors such as Cindy Woodsmall, John Bevere, and Joshua Harris, to name a few, will be featured. Topics will correlate with the author's books and will include diet/health/exercise, marriage, theology, teens and more. The first session will be held tonight, October 5, at 7 pm EST, where Bruce Wilkinson talks about his book, You Were Born for This. Stop by WaterBrook Multnomah's site for more info.

The company also has a blogging for books program. If you have a regular blog, you may qualify. Visit the program page for info and to fill out the required form. If you are eligible, you can participate in their regular blog tours.

Happy writing to all:)

Thursday, October 1, 2009

A Writing Prompt

Thought it might be interesting to have a writing prompt that involved a wild animal. Let's see what ideas this one generates:

An ad was placed in the local newspaper that only said “Wanted: Tame Elephant, call 555-1234.”

I will be happy to post any elephant stories here. Looking forward to seeing what your great minds come up with. Blessings to all. Happy writing!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Book Review

A Surrendered Heart
Series: The Broadmoor Legacy Book Three
Authors: Tracie Peterson and Judith Miller
Publisher: Bethany House
Genre: Christian Historical Fiction

I have been looking forward to the release of this third book in the series for some time. It all started when I got hooked on Book One and met Amanda, Sophie, and Fanny, three of the Broadmoor cousins of Rochester, NY. Naturally I was anxious to see where this book would take these young women. Amanda is still unattached and wishes to pursue a career in medicine. She has been assisting Dr. Blake Carstead at a local mission for the poor. Her parents, however, have been trying to discourage Amanda's desire to become a doctor, and would rather see her maintain her place in society by marrying well and raising a family. Despite their wishes, Amanda continues her work and risks her health by helping Dr. Carstead during the 1899 cholera epidemic that's sweeping across the city.

Amanda's father's business is in deep financial trouble, and he resorts to extreme measures to recover and save face in their affluent community. What will Amanda's role be in her father's ill-fated scheme? Can Sophie and Fanny rescue Amanda from any dreadful consequences? And what of Dr. Carstead's growing feelings for Amanda? Does Amanda return these feelings?

I enjoyed the journey that Peterson and Miller provide for the reader. It was much more than a physical one from Rochester to the lovely Thousand Island Broadmoor family vacation home. It was one that tried each cousin's heart and convictions, and was full of surprises and a bit of mystery. If you've enjoyed the team of Peterson and Miller in the past, I don't think you will be disappointed with this one. Go ahead, grab a cup of tea, find a cozy spot, and jump right in. Adventure awaits!

Happy reading:)

Monday, September 28, 2009

Food for Thought

Someone in my local writer's group shared this post from the Sterling Editing site. The post is entitled What Kind of Writer Are You? This was an interesting series of thoughts and questions aimed at making us examine exactly what kind of writers we are.

What kind of writer am I? Favorite books came to mind as I considered what I liked and what in them inspired me. I think I am a writer with a little diversity, writing non-fiction articles, a bit of fiction, student lessons, and how-to kinds of stuff with a liberal sprinkling of this and that. What kind of writer I am now might be different than the writer I'd like to become. My aim is to continue writing this way, and also to someday write historical fiction, which is my favorite genre. Above all, I want to be the kind of writer that trusts the Lord to use me to inspire and encourage readers.

So, what kind of writer are you? I'd love to hear what you think. Your comments always serve to give me food for thought, encourage, and inspire me. Thanks for stopping by. Blessings to each of you.

Philippians 1:3

Happy writing!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Writing an Action Scene

I came across this helpful article, Writing the Action Scene,
in a recent Long Ridge Writer's Group e-newsletter. Since I have
written more non fiction and would like to eventually write
more fiction, articles like this always catch my eye. Article
author Mary Rosenblum shares practical how to tips with self
checking questions to help as you write your very own action scene.
Her advice is to keep it simple for greatest impact.

So anyone in the mood to write an action scene? I think I'll give one a
try soon. How about you? Care to join in the fun? If you want to share your
action scene, email me. I can post it here too, if you like.

Blessings, and of course, happy writing!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Where Do You Write?

Do you write at a desk, at the kitchen table, on the porch, or in the car? If you have a laptop maybe you do a little of each. Do you have a comfy little writing niche where you keep your writing resources and supplies close at hand? I usually write at my desk in my office. Although I rarely call it my office - it still goes by the name of 'Dave's room' since it belonged to my son David before he moved out. All my supplies are here, and I have a few stacks of current projects. It's my writing comfort zone, and although I often write elsewhere, this is where I like to work.

How do you like to write? Do you write things out in longhand or type it on the computer? If you're like me, this is dictated by where you are. I carry a little notebook with me all the time in case an idea strikes. I used to prefer to write things out by hand, then type them into the computer. But in recent years my preferred method is to type on my laptop. Easier to make revisions as I go, and less work, I suppose.

Does your writing niche inspire you? Do you have a wonderful view, or family photos on the wall? Or are you of the opinion that a wonderful view is too distracting?

Tell us about your writing comfort zone! What writing place inspires and keeps you going?

Happy writing!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Book Giveaway and Interview

Stop by Susan Reinhardt's Christian Writer/Reader Connection for an interesting interview with author Jean Fischer. Jean has worked extensively in children's publishing and shares great info on writing and the publishing industry. She shares some good inside tips to finding freelance markets. Leave a comment on the blog and you will be entered to win a signed copy of Jean's latest book, Kids' Bible Dictionary. Sounds good, Susan! I'm definitely entering this one:)

Happy writing!