Monday, May 31, 2010

Happy Memorial Day

 Happy Memorial Day!

Memorial Day reminds me of how much I appreciate living in a free country and how grateful I am to the men and women who serve or have served in the United States military. Without their sacrifices, my family and I would probably not enjoy the freedom to live and worship the way that we do. I appreciate too, those who've lost their lives in times of war and peace, and offer my sympathy and gratitude to the families and friends that they've left behind.

To all who serve, have served, and plan to serve in the future - you have my heartfelt thanks and prayers.



Thursday, May 27, 2010

Book Review & 100 Followers Preview

Book Review
Somewhere to Belong by Judith Miller
Daughters of Amana Book One
Bethany House Publishers

Johanna Ilg was raised in the Amana Colonies. Why wouldn't she belong there? It's a peaceful life in 1877, where a community of Christian believers work and worship together. She and her parents embrace the doctrine and cooperative style of living. Johanna expects to remain in Amana, perhaps even marry and raise a family.

In contrast, seventeen year old Berta Schumacher came to Amana thinking she was only visiting. Upon finding out that she and her parents will stay and not return to Chicago, Berta knows that she doesn't belong in Amana. She wastes no time throwing a fit, revealing her temper and spoiled nature.

Johanna is assigned to teach and monitor Berta at work in the Kuche, or community kitchen. Unaccustomed to work of any kind, Berta is not only slow to learn, but very uncooperative. This unlikely pairing tests Johanna's mettle as interesting situations unfold. Will Berta ever settle down? Can Johanna's faith survive her unruly charge?

Meanwhile, Johanna's parents think that it might be time for her to settle down and get married, now that she's reached her 21st birthday. Does Carl Froehlich, a newcomer from a neighboring Amana settlement, have anything to do with this plan? How does Wilhelm, Johanna's older brother who left  the colony to live in Chicago; factor into all of this? Johanna thinks she belongs in Amana, but does she really?

Miller's story unfolds in an entertaining and amusing way. I never knew what Berta might try next and how Johanna and the Amana community would react. I was pleasantly surprised at the layers of secrets that came to life through the course of the book. If you want to find out who really belongs in Amana, you will need to pick up this book. It's a good read for any day, rain, shine, or in between.

*This book was provided for review purposes from Bethany House Publishers. No compensation was received.

One Hundred Followers Preview

I passed the 100 followers mark quietly a bit ago, and I thought it called for a celebration. Watch for a special One Hundred Followers Giveaway next week. Many thanks to those of you who follow my blog. You are a blessing!

Elana Johnson's Book!

Hop over to Elana's blog to read the details of her upcoming book and to celebrate with her with a fabulous giveaway. Congratulations, Elana!

Happy reading and writing.



Monday, May 24, 2010

Business Card Winner!

The winner of the Business Card Giveaway is Alisa! Congratulations, Alisa! Thanks to all who participated.

Thanks also to the people at Uprinting for offering this great giveaway. Don't forget to check out my regular Monday post to share your thoughts on Fun With Words.

Have a wonderful day!

Fun With Words

Do You Have Fun With Words?

Having fun with words is a necessary thing for writers. It acts as cross- training, causing us to stretch our thinking and writing muscles. When we experiment with words and phrases, we expand our writing horizons.

I feel that the same is true for students. Word play can enhance any study, helping students learn and express themselves with words and fun. When I tutor students for writing or language arts, I always include a little word play. Any student can benefit from this, because if nothing else, it encourages creativity, making them think.

I'm working with a 6th grader for reading comprehension, and our current studies include a project about sharks. Why? Because this is something that she is interested in. (That's another key element, and a topic for another day.) For the writing side of it, I've had her write a short report and shark similes. This past week, we also reviewed how to write a limerick.

I got about halfway through my preparations for the limerick lesson and thought, what am I doing? I dislike writing any kind of poetry! I don't mind reading and appreciating it, but writing it is just not my thing. By then, it was too late to change my plans, plus I'd already told her we'd write shark limericks. So I plodded through, and guess what? I stretched myself in the process. I'm glad I took time for my own word play in preparing the lesson, and I plan to do it more often. I highly recommend it; it was actually kind of fun. But don't look for a book of poetry by Karen Lange to come out anytime soon...

The Fun Part

Now you have permission to laugh at my attempt at a shark limerick. Bear in mind that this is not my forte, but I thought if I were brave enough to share it, it might encourage you to engage in some word play too. Here goes:

The Shark From Cancun

There once was a shark from Cancun,
Who could jump as high as the moon.
One night he took flight,
And had quite a fright,
When he leapt in a hot air balloon.

Okay, now it's your turn. Who is brave enough to write a limerick and share it here? Quick refresher:
  • A limerick has five lines
  • The rhyming pattern is AABBA
  • I trust you will keep it clean, as this is a family friendly blog :)
If you don't want to write a limerick, please share your thoughts on playing with words. What do you do for cross training to develop your writing muscles? Feel free to elaborate!

Don't forget that the Uprinting Business Card Giveaway ends today at noon EST. If you catch this before noon and would like to enter, leave your name and email address in your comment. Click here for ways to earn additional entries. Winner will be announced later today.

Happy writing!


Copyright 2010, Karen Lange. All rights reserved. No portion of this may be used without prior written permission from Karen Lange.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Story Contest


Story Contest

In the mood for another writing contest?  Narrative Magazine has announced their Spring 2010 Story Contest. Deadline to enter is July 31, 2010. They are accepting unpublished works of fiction and non fiction up to 15,000 words. Essays, memoirs, photo essays, and short stories are among the literary works they are  accepting. Visit their website for further details.

Business Card Giveaway

Don't forget to check out Monday's post, if you haven't already, for Marketing Tips for Writers and the Business Card Giveaway. This nifty giveaway is sponsored by, and all you need to do to enter is to leave a comment with your email address on one of this week's posts. Complete details for additional entries can be found here. Deadline to enter the giveaway is Monday, May 24 at noon EST.

Speaking of writing contests, congratulations to the Genesis finalists! Can you imagine what a difficult task the judges must have had? Oh my.

What contest entry advice do you have to share? Have you ever won a writing or other contest? Please tell us about it!

Have a blessed weekend!


Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Comment Note

Having trouble commenting on Monday's Marketing for Wroters and Business Card Giveaway post?

It has come to my attention that the comment option sporadically appears on the post; I am looking into correcting the problem. If you want to enter the giveaway and cannot comment, email me at or comment on another recent post, such as Are You a Writer? and I will add your name to the list. I will accept entry comments made on any post through Monday, May 24 at noon EST.

Be sure and let me know that you'd like to be entered, and leave your email address so that I can contact you if you win. 

Have a wonderful day!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Marketing for Writers & Business Card Giveaway

What's Your Marketing Strategy?      

Do you cringe when you think of marketing? I must admit, it isn't one of my favorite parts of the writer's life. But it comes with the territory, whether sending a query or promoting copywriting services to local businesses. In order to be successful, we must market ourselves. How do we do this? Well, I'm no expert, (my name hasn't reached household word status yet), but I can offer a few tips.

Build a platform. What's a platform? It's as simple as a following or fan base, as Jennifer Brown Banks shares in her Writing for Dollars article, Five Ways to Start Building a Platform. Banks includes tips such as boosting your online presence and teaching workshops to get your name and talents out there.

Connect with other writers. Christina Katz elaborates on the importance of this in her article, How to Build a Marketing Platform. Blogging and social networks like Facebook and Twitter are other great connectors.

Write, write, and write some more. Makes sense, after all, we are writers, aren't we? Both Katz and Banks tell you that this is a wise move. It gets your name out there and polishes those writing skills.

Attend a writer's conference. It doesn't have to be a big one; regional groups often sponsor workshops that provide wonderful info, great speakers, and opportunities to meet other writers.

Promote yourself professionally. Having business cards, a logo, and a clean letterhead go a long way. Meet another writer? Stopping at local business to offer writing services? Hand them a business card. Now people have a tangible way to get a hold of you. Don't forget to include your contact info, such as phone number, email address, website or blog address.

Thoughts? Tips? Share your marketing strategies with us!

Business Card Giveaway!

Speaking of business cards, the nice folks at have offered to give away 500 Business Cards to one of my readers. What a great way to start your marketing plan! offers Business Cards Online and other Print Online products such as letterheads, calendars, greeting cards and more.

      The Giveaway Details:
  • 500 Business Cards for One (1) Winner
  • Sizes:  2 x 3.5”, 2 x 2” (square card) or 1.5 x 3.5” (skinny card)
  • Paper: 14 pt gloss cardstock, 14 pt matte cardstock or 13 pt recycled uncoated cardstock
  • Specifications: Full Color Both Sides; Offset Press; 3 Business Day Printing
  • Shipping: FREE UPS Ground Shipping 
  • Eligibility: Limited to US Residents only 

      Entry Instructions:

  • Leave a comment to this post, include your email address like so: karenelange(at)gmail(dot)com. Entries without email address are not eligible.
  • Receive an extra entry by becoming a follower, or by reminding me that you already follow.
  • Receive a bonus entry by posting about this giveaway on your Facebook page. Please leave a comment telling me so.
  • Receive a bonus entry by posting about this giveaway on your blog. Please leave a comment with the link.
  • Remember, this is only open to US residents. For those of you who follow outside the US, I apologize!
  • Deadline to enter is noon eastern standard time, Monday, May 24. Winner will be announced here, and notified via email, and have 24 hours to respond or another winner will be chosen.                          
Don't forget to leave a comment sharing your marketing tips and thoughts, and to enter this fabulous giveaway. Many thanks to the people at!

Happy writing!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Are You a Writer?

Are You a Writer?

I suspect that if you are reading this you are a writer, blogger, lover of words and books, or all of the above and more. What a wonderful thing it is to be able to express thoughts, ideas, stories, adventures and beyond via the written word. A blessing for sure, for many of these products of our minds and hearts will be captured for others to read, now and in the future.

Shannon McMahon, at Somewhere Between Fact and Fiction, recently 'cataloged her behavior' in the post, You're a Writer If. I nodded and laughed as I read the list. Yup, that's me, I'm a writer too! I'm curious to see if anyone sees themselves in this list too.

I've heard people call themselves aspiring writers and it reminds me of a fabulous piece of advice that I received years ago from a friend and writing mentor. She knew I felt called to write and advised me to "Call myself a writer." It took me a little while to take her advice, but I'm glad I did, because I am a writer. My post Call Yourself a Writer shares more about this and the impact it had on my life.

So tell me, what are you called to do? Is writing among those things? What was your first indication that this was your calling? If you are a writer, do you ever shut off the writer's voice in your head?  Please share!

Have a lovely and blessed weekend,


Monday, May 10, 2010

Agent Advice


Agent Advice

The world of agents - it is a mysterious place for many writers. Just hearing the word agent brings words to mind like book deals, contracts, rewrites and of course, great fame and fortune. Great fame and fortune? Well, maybe that's a stretch, but why not dream big? I'm up for dreaming big, care to join me?
Chuck Sambuchino's recent post at Guide to Literary Agents shared his choices for the five Best Agent Blogs for 2010. Looks like some good stuff; I plan on checking out the ones I don't already follow.  I'm open to learning as much as possible about the process. I don't need an agent yet, but it never hurts to be prepared. And to dream big, of course.                                  

What agent blogs do you follow? Do you have an agent? Are you seeking one? What advice, experience, and aspirations do you have to share?

Blessings to you,


Thursday, May 6, 2010

Need a Retreat?


Retreat and Refresh

Kathryn Haueisen Cashen's article, Create Your Own Mini Writing Retreat offers wonderful tips and encouragement for carving out time dedicated to writing and refreshing those creative juices. Start small, she says, for it isn't always about attending the week long, amenity packed retreat centers. Time can be had in the normal routine if we are determined to find it.

The article above is featured at the Writer's Digest site, and also is linked in a recent post by Jean Fischer at The Walrus and the Carpenter. The post is a must read if you need a good chuckle and some encouragement. Jean shares her amusing adventures while attempting a writing retreat. Her perseverance and ability to go with the flow are quite evident as she heroically tries to salvage the day. Does she succeed? Hop over and see!

So what about you? Have you taken a writing or other kind of retreat lately? Was it refreshing? Do you have any retreat tips to share?

Have a wonderful weekend. Blessings!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Relief Efforts for Nashville

Help for Nashville

Below is a portion of an email that I just received from Elana Johnson regarding a way to lend a hand to the Nahville, TN area. Click on the links for more info.
So Nashville has had a HARD time of it these past few days, and several Nashville authors - Myra McEntire, Amanda K. Morgan and Victoria Schwab - have come together to host an auction.

Here's the scoop:

On May 1st and 2nd, Nashville, Tennessee received a record amount of rain—nearly 13.5 inches.  By May 3rd, huge portions of our city were under water, including the The Grand Ole Opry, Opryland, The Nashville Symphony Hall, the downtown area, and countless homes.  Families, many of whom did not have flood insurance, have lost everything.  One of the hydro plants is flooded, which means we’re running short on water.  Many lives have been extinguished and more bodies are being recovered each day.

And yet, Tennessee continues to be largely ignored by the national media.  A large portion of the local media, including Fox News and CBS, is flooded.  They are doing their best to work without proper equipment.  Nashville is not getting the exposure it needs, which means not receiving the aid that our city so desperately requires. Our city is drowning.  Will you help us? 

Victoria Schwab, Amanda K. Morgan, and Myra McEntire --all Nashville authors-- have come together to host an auction.

We're auctioning off critiques, signed books, and more from authors, agents, editors, and other industry professionals. ALL proceeds to:

If any of you can donate ANYTHING, please please let me know. We've already got some items, a trailer by Vania Stoyanova among critiques and signed books, but we need ANYTHING you can give.

Thanks guys. It's always amazing to see the writing community come together, and this has been no exception.
The blog where the auction will take place (emails are there too if you have something to donate):

Monday, May 3, 2010

That Awesome Blogging Experience

 Cape May, NJ
Photo courtesy of Rebecca Lange of Inside Out.

That Awesome Blogging Experience

In last Monday's post, I posed the question, 'What elements are key to a successful blog?' Your answers were great, and I appreciate your input and the dialogue that came about. I gained valuable info, and I hope that you did too. Some highlights from what you shared include:
  • Blogs that make you come back again
  • Make them an enjoyable and productive experience
  • Catchy titles and interesting openings
  • Not too long
  • No preachy blogs
  • Like to hear the writer's voice
  • Helping others is your success
  • Quality and interesting content
  • Good presentation
  • Faithful posting schedule
  • Short loading time
  • Topics that generate dialogue
  • Weekly features and links
If you haven't had time to check out the original post and comments, take a peek here. Please also feel free to add your two cents, even if you did before. Reading your comments sparked more thoughts and ideas for me.

As I've mentioned before, I started a blog so that I could add blogging to my resume. I didn't mean it as impersonal and generic as it sounds, truly, I just wanted to see how it all worked, get some experience, and then maybe I could apply for one of those ads for bloggers and gain extra income. I realized that I needed a focus, so I decided to create a blog for writers, offering encouragement, links and other good stuff. I have a writing mentor/friend who has encouraged and supported me for years. I figured if I could help someone else, even just a fraction of how this friend has helped me, it'd be a good thing. So that's where I started.

I had no clue, NONE, that such an extensive community of writing bloggers existed. I know, you're thinking, where did I live, a cave? Okay, so pretty much. Anyway, here we are now; my blog is over a year old, and I've gained all these wonderful blogging friends. That would be you:) I've learned a lot from all of you on this journey, thank you! I am looking forward to continuing the ride; I hope that you will join me.

More Fun Stuff

Benedictions is the place Emily Benedict calls home in the blogging world. A fellow writer and chocolate lover, she surprised me with the Blogger BFF Award. What a treat! Thank you, Emily, I needed the boost this week. Benedictions is a great place to stop and gain great writer-ly information, moral support, links, and other goodies. Check out Emily's book, Only Angels Are Bulletproof while you are there.

Tyrean Martinson of Tyrean's Writing Spot is the source of of another surprise, the Blogger Buddy Award. Thank you, Tyrean! Tyrean's Writing Spot is "A Place to write, think, pray, and hum like Winnie the Pooh." Now how can you go wrong with that? Tyrean shares her writing journey in an honest and fresh way and gives me food for thought.
I offer these awards to you, my Awesome Blogging Experience friends. You know who you are, the faithful ones who stop by and comment on a regular basis. I appreciate that commitment and sacrifice more than you know. Please choose one and if you like, pass it along.

What about you, my Awesome Blogging Experience friends? Care to share thoughts about your ABE with us?

Have a wonderful and blessed week. Happy Writing!                                                                                         
Cape May, NJ, photo courtesy of Rebecca Lange of Inside Out. Copyright 2010, Rebecca Lange. Thanks, Beck! :)