Monday, August 31, 2009

A Contest!

I am celebrating Labor Day with my first book giveaway!

The prize is Love's Pursuit by Siri Mitchell. Click on the title if you would like to read my review of this book. To enter, leave a comment with your email address on this post. The drawing will be held at noon on Labor Day, September 7.

The winner will be posted here after the drawing, and notified via email.

Happy Monday and Happy Writing!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Book Review

Rick and Bubba's Guide to the Nearly Perfect Marriage
by Rick Burgess and Bill "Bubba" Bussey
Publisher - Thomas Nelson

I thought this book would offer a different take on the traditional marriage book. To say it did would be an understatement! Burgess and Bussey's lighthearted look at marriage was entertaining; they offered observations from the 'guy' point of view. These are real authentic guys who aren't afraid to laugh at themselves or their attempts at a happy marriage.

There are examples of how to/how not to do things when relating to your spouse. Comments range from the male vs. female views on getting directions, raising children, and family finances. One of my favorite chapters was about how important it is to respect your spouse. It contains a chart that illustrates ways wives can show respect for their husbands. Husbands don't get off the hook either, they address that side of it too. They tie it up with how important it is to have a God centered marriage. A chapter entitled "The Unthinkable" discusses living together for better or for worse. Here Burgess shares how they survived the loss of their 2 year old son. It was touching, and a good illustration of how to work through tough times.

At first I wasn't sure that I liked the angle this book took, but I can see now where it could relate to many couples with a humorous and down to earth approach. I don't know that I would buy it as a wedding gift, but I can see where it could minister to and encourage couples of all ages.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

A Writing Prompt

I think it is about time for another writing prompt. Ready to stretch those writing muscles? Here goes!

Write a flash fiction story (300-800 words), starting with this opening line:

"You did WHAT?"

If you'd like a little more info on what flash fiction is, click here to see a previous post about it.

When you are finished, email it to me at I can post it here, with your permission, of course, or if you'd rather not, that's okay too. Can't wait to see what you come up with!

Blessings to all, and as usual, happy writing:)

Monday, August 24, 2009

Coffee House for Writers

Coffeehouse for Writers

This is an interesting website that has lots of things for writers of all genres. Their Learn the Craft section offers online courses with topics like E-books, Fiction in a Flash, How to Quit Your Day Job, Writing for Magazines, Writing Historical Fiction, and more. These are priced at $80 for a four week course; all are taught by experienced, published writers. The courses are offered every month, so you can pick the time that works for you.

CHW also publishes a free e-newletter, and offers online critique groups and communities. Their Coffeehouse Corner Shoppe sells writing themed t-shirts, and of course, coffee mugs. They also have moderated book discussion groups. If you'd rather connect with a real live, in person writer's group, they have links to several regional groups.

There are all sorts of goodies out there to help us with our writing. What resources have you found to be helpful? Share them with us; we're all ears!

Happy writing:)

Friday, August 21, 2009

What Have You Learned This Week?

I came across this entry recently on Hope Clark's blog.

It seems Hope's finger had a mishap with her shrub pruners, and she was feeling a bit thoughtful. She shared some things that she learned during her eventful week. Reading the list gave me all sorts of ideas for writing projects, blog entries, and just some good old food for thought. The main thing I came away with, so far, was the idea to take a little time each week reflecting on events, personal revelations, emotions, and so on. For me, it could be a way to get my head together and help my writing, but it could also be a way to file the good and the bad and move forward.

So. what have you learned this week? Where will it take you? Share it with us; we'd love to hear about it!

Blessings to you, and of course, Happy Writing:)

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Superior Scribbler Awards

Superior Scribbler Award

I was honored to receive this blogger award recently, bestowed upon me by Susan Reinhardt of Christian Reader/Writer Connection. It is given to bloggers whose blogs are interesting, noteworthy, and all around nice to read.

The guidelines say that I am supposed to share a few things about myself that you may not know. So here goes.

1) I was born in Lancaster, PA.

2) When I was born I had so much thick, dark hair that many of the nurses thought I was an Amish baby. (I was not:)

3) My favorite sport is hockey. Ice and roller hockey, to be exact, and my sons get the blame. They became interested when they were younger, and yes, I became a hockey mom. I was not aware that I could yell so loudly until I started attending their games. It was nice yelling of course, things like "Woo hoo" and "Shoot the puck!"

4) I know more hockey rules than Susan Reinhardt.

5) My favorite beverage from Starbuck's is the Green Tea Frappucino. My second favorite is the Strawberry Frappucino.

Now I have the honor of passing the Superior Scribbler Award to five other bloggers. It was a hard choice, for there are so many wonderful blogs out there!

1) I pass this award along to MaryAnn Diorio of The Write Power blog. MaryAnn is a dear friend and writing mentor, whose kind words never fail to challenge and encourage me. I would not be where I am today as a writer without MaryAnn's support, advice, and love.

2) Barbara Frank, of Barbara Frank Online, has a wonderful blog for homeschool parents. Barb's contributions to the homeschool community are numerous, and she never fails to provide insightful commentary, great links, and general encouragement.

3) A newer favorite of mine is Michelle Sherlin's A Few Minutes with Michelle. Michelle shares lots of goodies about everyday life complete with spiritual insight and applications. Her sons, who provide many topics for her blog, sound positively adorable.

4) I also enjoy stopping by at Rose McCauley's blog. Rose lives in KY, like me, and offers her thoughts on writing and how it ties in with spiritual things. Her candid thoughts about her life and writing journey always provide food for thought.

5) Finally, (and perhaps I am just biased here), my daughter Becky Lange's Inside Out is at the top of my list of favorites. It has been a blessing to see her grow into a young woman, and now, a bit of a writer too. She sometimes seems to see life from a different angle than I do; this is a good thing! I enjoy her perspective on spiritual and other matters. Plus I just think she's cute:)

Congratulations ladies, and thanks for blessing and enriching lives in so many ways.

Click here for more info on the Superior Scribbler Award.

Happy writing!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Homeschool Teen Writing Courses

I've had a few people ask about the online writing classes that I teach, so I thought I'd share the info here.

The Homeschool Online Creative Writing Co-op for Teens is an online writing co-op for homeschooled teens, ages 13-18. It is designed to stretch skills and imaginations to help students write and think more creatively. It provides interaction with peers and personalized feedback and guidance from the instructor.

The co-op is designed to develop and reinforce good writing skills. I like to think of it as cross- training for writing. Using a variety of lessons, assignments, suggested activities, and peer and instructor interaction, students are encouraged to develop their skills. My theory is this: No stress allowed! Writing is a process - with practice and the right tools anyone can improve.

The Fall 2009 Session offerings are:
  • Writing the MLA Research Paper
  • Creative Writing
  • Flash Fiction 3
I do still have spots available in each of the sessions, if anyone is interested. For more info, visit the Co-op website at

I'm also happy to answer any questions; email me at

As always, happy writing!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Writing for Free?

I came across a great article by Jan Fields in a recent Institute for Children's Literature enewsletter. Jan's article, entitled Can You Profit From Writing for Free? made some great points about writing for free markets. Most of us, of course, prefer to get paid to write. Jan agrees, but she offers a few good reasons why writing for free can be a plus.

We all may have favorite places where we write for free - for a ministry or charity, or a low budget or friend's publication, among others. And of course, these and others are the places where we sometimes write to gain clips and get our name out there. Some places swap advertising for articles, not actual money perhaps, but not a terrible deal, either.

Pardon me while I step up onto the soapbox for just a second or two...

I agree with Jan, and am happy to gain more writing credits, but I still have to work to overcome my attitude about those markets that could, but just don't, pay. My thought is this: if it weren't for the writers, they would have no publication. I know, we make the choice to submit to these markets, but the injustice to writers still gets to me a bit. My husband, who is a self-employed finish carpenter, puts it this way, "What if I decided not to pay my subcontractors?"

Well, it's food for thought, but there's no use getting worked up about it. Either I trust the Lord to prosper me in my writing or I do not. How about you?

(Note that I've stepped down off of the soapbox:)

If you'd like to take a peek at Jan's article, here is the link.

As always, my friends, have a wonderful and blessed day.
Happy writing!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Deadline Troubles?

Do you have trouble meeting deadlines? In a recent issue of Dan Case's Writing for Dollars, R. Matthews shares five steps to help you stay on deadline. Ms. Matthews' sage advice is simple but doable, and provides motivation to help us stay on course.

While there, you may want to peruse the rest of the issue. It has info on 14 potential writing markets, ranging from low to high paying publications. Also included is another article, Five Ways to Start Building a Platform, by Jennifer Brown Banks. Ms. Banks article provides even more thought provoking gems to get us going.

Deadlines await, so I'll close for now. :)

As always, happy writing!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Building a Bio

Penning your writer's bio can be a scary thing, especially if you don't feel like you have many published credits. Christina Katz shares a few quick tips for writing a bio in a recent online Writer's Digest article.

Christina's advice is simple and encouraging. I particularly like the point she makes about using what you have and letting that be enough. She points out that even famous writers didn't have many credits when they started. Check out her wise words here:

Keep writing, because there's no other way to get those writing credits, nor improve your skills. And no matter what your skill level is, there is always something to learn.

Blessings to you all and happy writing!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Writing for Children?

Are you interested in writing for children? The Institute of Children's Literature has a free newsletter full of great articles, links, and other goodies. One recent issue contained market info and an article about cover letters. It also included details about an upcoming open forum, their Q & A sessions where writers can ask ICL experts questions, or participate in an interview with published authors.

To sign up for the ICL e-newsletter, visit:

ICL also offers several writing courses. These are correspondence courses, so they can be done at your convenience around your schedule. I am a happy graduate of two of their courses, and I highly recommend them. When I first enrolled, I was a bit skeptical. The brochures looked good, but I wondered how good a correspondence course could be. What a pleasant surprise it was to find comprehensive materials that covered everything from A to Z that pertained to writing for children. Their staff was friendly, professional, and helpful, and my instructors were knowledgeable, published authors who were truly interested in my success. It was a great experience, and a great springboard into my freelance writing endeavors.

Hope you have a wonderful and blessed day.
Happy writing!

Monday, August 3, 2009

An Award!

I am flattered and pleased to have been awarded the Superior Scribbler Award by Susan Reinhardt of
Christian Writer/Reader Connection.
What an honor! My thanks goes to Susan, who is a wonderful friend, blog mentor, and all around treasure.

I'll write more details about the award and what it means in a future blog. so stay tuned.

Happy Monday writing, and blessings to all!

"but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst.
But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water
springing up into everlasting life." John 4:14 NJKV

News U

Poynter's News University is a website for journalists that offers online courses and webinars. Their courses, taught by seasoned journalists, are designed to provide affordable and convenient continuing education for writers.

Recent offerings include the free, self directed course, "The Writer's Workbench: 50 Tools You Can Use". Another freebie is entitled "Cleaning Your Copy" and provides tips on editing, grammar, and AP style. Access to these courses simply require free registration with News U, and an updated Flash Player. Course completion time varies, ranging from an hour and up.

Many courses, or modules, as News U calls them, can be done at your convenience. Others, such as the webinars, have specific times. Some require a fee, but still seem reasonable. Several I looked at were around $24.95 - $29.95 for a one hour live class.

There are dozens of topics, such as advertising, graphic design, reporting, interviews, and secrets to powerful prose. Some courses cost several hundred dollars, but the nice thing is that you can pick and choose what suits you. Why not try a free course before committing to a paid one? Doing that could help you decide whether News U's style suits yours.

For more info, or to register, visit:

Happy summer writing!