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!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Freelance Writing Income

I found some nifty tips for writers at the Worldwide Freelance Writer site. WFW features lots of great topics, but this link connects you to their free and low cost writer's market databases. Their Free Data Market Database is free (!) and you can browse the list by topic, geographic region, or by multiple criteria. Each market listing contains a summary
of the publication, contact info and links, location, and pay info. What a convenient way to locate and target the markets you're interested in. This of
course, is a step in the right direction to generate
freelance writing income!

Another great place to search market offerings is at the Writing For Dollars Guidelines Database. You can search the WFD site and narrow the search by category, pay scale, simultaneous submissions, and whether the market pays on acceptance or publication. Their database includes all the key market info and is updated regularly. While at the WFD site, sign up for their free weekly newsletter, if you haven't already.

Some might think that writers have an easy job - after all, we get to sit at the computer all day, typing, dreaming, and collecting money, right? Well, maybe that happens sometimes, but more often we work hard for every dollar we earn, and these market resources help make it a bit easier on us. The time saved by using them at least allows us a small break to get up and stretch, get the mail, and dip into the chocolate candy before we head back to the desk.

Happy writing! :)

Monday, September 14, 2009

Book Review: Fields of Grace

Fields of Grace
Kim Vogel Sawyer
Bethany House

I love Kim Vogel Sawyer's books, so I was excited to get to read and review her newest, Fields of Grace. We meet Lillian and Reinhardt Vogt in the spring of 1872, right before they immigrate to America. Their plan is to escape their homeland of Russia before their oldest son, Henrik, is drafted into the military. Devout Mennonites, they cannot bear the thought of Henrik and his younger brothers being pressed into service. Reinhardt's adopted brother, Eli, decides to make the journey with them.

Their U.S. destination is Kansas, where others from their Russian village plan to make their home, too. But tragedy strikes while crossing the Atlantic, leaving Lillian and Eli with some unexpected choices. Do they continue on to Kansas and fulfill Reinhardt's dream, or do they return to Russia? How will their decisions affect Lillian's sons? And how will Lillian's heart fare through these trials?

Sawyer is one of my favorite storytellers, and there are no disappointments here. I liked Lillian immediately, and empathized with her trials - leaving her homeland, protecting her children, suffering hardship. The story, full of adventure and bittersweet moments, was a pleasure to read. I found a few surprises within these pages, but that's what made it so much fun to read. These surprises were all part of the plan for the heartwarming and satisfying conclusion Sawyer offers her readers. If you are a Sawyer fan, I think you'll like Fields of Grace. And if you've never read her books, I recommend that you give them a try!

Happy reading:)

Friday, September 11, 2009

A Favorite Homeschool Resource

One of my absolute favorite homeschool resources is a wonderful gem called The Homeschoolers Notebook.

Heather Idoni, the editor, is the homeschool mom responsible for putting together this e-zine. Twice weekly issues feature articles, resources, reviews, links, and answers to readers' questions. The high school issue, which comes out once a month, provides tips for homeschooling the high schooler. Articles cover every imaginable topic, from teaching pre-schoolers, creative writing, science labs, college prep and more. Heather features knowledgable and varied guest authors, such as Barbara Frank and yours truly. The best part is that HN is free! To subscribe, or check out the other great resources at the HN site, click here.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Contests of All Kinds

The Value of Writing Competitions, a recent post over at Pix-n-Pens expounds on the benefits of entering writing contests. Author Debbie Roome shares her thoughts on everything from how and why to enter, to the rewards of entering, and where to find competitions.

Over at A Florida Writer's Life, Donna Kohlstrom announced a new contest in the 9/9/09 post. The winner receives a copy of Julia's Kitchen Wisdom cookbook. To enter, you must correctly guess the items pictured in six photos. The photos contain things found in the kitchen, of course! Stop by for more details. Contest ends September 15.

Terri Tiffany
is offering an early holiday gift in her newest contest. Readers are invited to share their favorite Christmas story. If their story is chosen as the winner, they receive Christmas Traditions from Adams Media. Terri just happens to have a story in that book, so perhaps you can persuade her to autograph the copy if you win!

Deborah Vogt
, author of Snow Melts in Spring invites readers to leave a comment on her Facebook page for an entry in a book giveaway. Deborah shares her review of Just Between You and Me by Jenny Jones, and adds Jenny's book as the prize to sweeten the pot.

Happy contest writing, reading, book winning and writing! :)

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Query Letters

I don't know about you, but query letters are not my favorite things to write. In fact, I may skip over a publication if I see that a query is required. I know, this is not a great attitude! Writing a query letter brings back memories of writing an outline in school. I remember stressing over that too; I never knew which details to include and how to pare the info down into important points. With this in mind, I've decided it's time to brush up on my query letter writing skills. Care to join me?

The editors of Writer's Digest share their thoughts online in the article, Advice on Writing Query Letters. It contains all the commonly asked questions, such as what to include in a query letter, advice for unpublished writers, and info on writing a book query. They even include tips on proper query etiquette, which alone could make or break a sale.

Armed with and refreshed by this information, I am planning on sending some queries out soon. How about you? Share your query writing tips and stories, we'd love to hear them!

Happy writing!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Another Version of "You Did WHAT?"

Here is Cecelia Lester's version of the writing prompt from the August 27th post. Many thanks for sharing it with us, Cecelia! Click here to check out her blog, Following My King. Happy reading:)

The Conversation

“You did WHAT?” I knew I was going to be in trouble when I returned home with the police officer. My dad had left us a few years ago and we kids had to grow up fast. Mom worked two jobs to make ends meet.

“Ma’am, your son had a wreck this evening.” The policeman sat down in the chair.

“What happened?” Mom’s face blanched as she spoke.

“He came down the hill on Jackson Street and couldn’t stop for the stoplight. He had several choices. He could have hit the car coming toward him. He could have turned onto the side street and crashed into a truck. But he chose to run into the newspaper building.”

All I could do was think about what would have happened if I had hit that other car or that truck. I couldn’t talk for a while.

After the policeman left, Mom and I talked.

“Joey, I’m glad you weren’t hurt. How much damage was done to your car?”

“Mom, this is strange. I felt a hand on my shoulder as I headed toward that building, like someone was guiding me through the intersection. The grill is bent into the radiator. The head lights are broken. That’s all I could see.”

“You need to see about the brakes. Let’s get some sleep and tomorrow, when you come home from school, call Uncle Max and ask him to go with you to see about getting it fixed. I can take you to school in the morning but you’ll have to ride the bus home.”

“Thank you,” I was glad she understood how the wreck happened.

“That feeling you had might have been God’s hand guiding you through to safety. I pray for you and your brother and sisters every night.”

I went to bed that night so many years ago, thankful for a mother who prayed for her children. That car, my first, survived two more wrecks while I owned it. My brother and I felt we had lost a friend when we had to sell her. I know we aren’t supposed to think of our possessions as defining who we are but that old car still holds a spot in my memory. But my mom has a very special place in my heart. I knew she loved me and my brothers and sisters. That wreck happened over 20 years ago. Tonight, different things happened. My mother called me after we retired for the evening. She barely mumbled into the phone. I went to check on her and found her unresponsive. By the time the ambulance arrived and transported her to the hospital, she was gone.

We hurt for a while because we missed her. But we knew she sat at the feet of our Savior, and told Him about her family whom she loved so very much.

Copyright 2009, Cecelia Lester, A Quiet Spirit Writing Ministry. Used with permission.

We Have a Winner!

I am pleased to announce that Cecelia Lester is the winner of the Labor Day book contest! Congrats Cecelia, it seems you are the flavor of the day:) I hope you enjoy the book. Thanks to all who entered. My plan is to offer several giveaways per year, so stay tuned for the next one later this fall.

Happy Labor Day! Hope everyone, no matter what their schedule, can get a bit of rest and relaxation in today.

Blessings for your day, and as always, happy writing!

Psalm 32:8

Friday, September 4, 2009

Final Reminder for Book Giveaway!

Check out Monday's post for info on the Labor Day book giveaway. I'm giving away a copy of Siri Mitchell's Love's Pursuit. Post a comment on Monday's blog, and you will be entered! Drawing will be held at noon on Monday, September 7.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Another Contest

Donna Kohlstrom, over at A Florida Writer's Life, is offering a $20 gift certificate to Barnes and Noble. Check out the details here: A Florida Writer's Life. But hurry, the contest ends tomorrow, September 4!

A Writing Contest

Do you like writing contests? If so, C. Hope Clark's Funds For Writers recently announced their annual contest.

This year's theme is Invisible Writing. Cash prizes await the winner; the amounts vary depending on which entry fee you choose. The $5 entry fee first place winner wins $200; the no entry fee winner wins $50. There are second and third prizes too. Check out the link above for more details.

It sounds interesting - I think I may enter! Will you?

Happy contest writing:)

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

You Did WHAT?

Carol Alexander wrote this flash fiction story using the writing prompt from Thursday's post. She kindly allowed me to share it here. Hope you enjoy it as much as I did. Thanks Carol! If you have a minute, check out Carol's blog, Everything Home...with Carol.

Don't forget to stop and comment on Monday's post (8/31/09) if you'd like to enter the book giveaway. I'm giving away Love's Pursuit by Siri Mitchell.

The Vase

by Carol Alexander

“You did WHAT?”

“I stopped at a few yard sales on the way home. Wait till you see what I got!”

“You bought something? Where did you get the money? I don’t even have money for groceries, for crying out loud!”

“Awe, come on, honey. I didn’t spend much. Look, ain’t it a beaut?”

I could not believe my ears and eyes. My unemployed husband goes to yard sales when I’m scraping coins together to buy groceries. And now, he’s spent that on the most hideous looking vase I’ve ever seen in my life. I’m sure my face screamed everything I was thinking.

“Aww, come on, Carol. You’ve got to love it.”

“Is it for me?”

“Do you want it?”

“No. It’s ugly. What did you spend on that thing?”

“Not much, I tell ya’. It’s something special. I just know it is.”

“Special, my eye. What did you pay for it?”


“Five dollars.”

“NO! I got this exquisite piece for only 35 cents.”

“Thirty-five cents!?! Do you know what I could do with 35 cents? I can’t even buy groceries, for crying out loud, and you’re spending good money on this worthless junk!”

With that, I stormed into the house and left him in the garage, with his exquisite piece, combing through his antique books.

Weeks passed and I eventually calmed down. Tim stashed his vase in some safe place where I didn’t have to look at it. Eventually, the entire incident was forgotten. Until…

“What are you all smiles about?” I asked as Tim came in from the car.

“This,” he replied, cracking a brand new $100 bill in my face.

“Where’d that come from?”

“I sold it! He didn’t even bat an eye. I told you it was special.”

“Sold what? What are you talking about?”

“The majolica.”

“The what?”

“That vase I bought for 35 cents. I told you it was special. I was right. The dealer told me it was what you call majolica…some kind of pottery or something. Anyways, it’s worth a lot of money. He’s gonna put twice that on it.”

“What are you gonna do with the money?”

“After I take you out to dinner? Why, buy groceries, of course.”