Monday, May 26, 2014

The Top Five List

I recently shared a post on Carol J. Alexander's blog about using a Top Five list to help get kids to write. I encourage parents to have a "Top Five Day" to build thinking and writing skills.

Students make a Top Five list on various topics, such as favorite foods, books, or movies, or a list like things not to do at a restaurant or when driving. Depending on students' ages, they can survey friends and family, compile, and compare and contrast the results.

It made me think (I know, seriously, what doesn't make a writer think?) about how a Top Five list might boost our writing. It could help with anything from goals to ideas, clarify a book's vision or structure that troublesome essay.

A Top Five list might generate an article on what new grads must know as they look for jobs, or which points to share in an article's sidebar. It might spark inspiration for a query, booklet, blog post, or speech you must share at the next writer's group meeting.

I've found it helpful to make a list (of any size) to gain clarity. It often clears out the clutter and brings the main point in focus. Do lists help you focus and stay on task?

This Week's Top Five Notable Points :)

If you'd like to read the original Top Five post on Carol's J. Alexander's blog, click here.

Congrats to Ruth Schiffman, winner of Cathy Bryant's book giveaway! Thanks to all who stopped by.

There's still time to enter the Writer's Digest Annual Writing Competition. Deadline is June 2. Genres include children and YA, memoir, poetry, articles, short stories, and more. Grand prize includes $3000 and a trip to the Writer's Digest Conference.

I am working on Volume One of my next book, Write for Life. If you'd like an overview and a peek at the cover, click here.

Happy Memorial Day! To veterans, those in active duty and who've lost loved ones in service, thank you for your sacrifice for our freedom. 

How can a Top Five list can help you?

Have a great week,


Photo credit: Stock Exchange

Monday, May 19, 2014

Blog Tour Stop & Giveaway with Cathy Bryant

It's my pleasure to host a stop on Cathy Bryant's blog tour - A BRIDGE UNBROKEN is a Christian romantic suspense novel that's part of the Miller’s Creek series. Congratulations Cathy!

I haven't had time to read this book yet, but I have read Cathy's first two novels. She creates genuine characters that have great reader appeal, so I suspect that this is another engaging story.

Cathy's giving away an eBook copy of A Bridge Unbroken to one of my followers, check out the details below. Also, click on the link for her Launch Party on May 22 that includes a $100 Visa Gift Card Giveaway.

Here is a peek at the story:

Letting go to build a bridge… 

Dakota Kelly wants her painful past to disappear. A plan to start afresh is derailed when she co-inherits her late grandfather’s farm with Chance Johnson, the man responsible for the scars on her heart. But Chance isn’t the only ghost from the past. Someone else is out to get her and will stop at nothing to get what he wants. Will Chance and Dakota lay aside their grudges to restore the old farmhouse and bridge, or will evil forces sabotage their attempt at forgiveness?

| Print Version | eBook Version |  Click HERE to read a sample chapter 

About Cathy
A native daughter of the Lone Star State, Cathy loves spinning tales about life in small town Texas. When she’s not weaving stories about the fine folks in Miller’s Creek, you’ll find her rummaging through thrift stores, feeding her reality TV addiction, or up to her elbows in yet another home improvement project in the mountain cabin she shares with her minister husband of over thirty years. You can find out more about Cathy and her books at

Find Cathy: Website| Facebook| Twitter | Pinterest | Goodreads | Amazon | Google+| 

Facebook Launch Party: $100 Visa Gift Card Giveaway


A Bridge Unbroken eBook Giveaway for Write Now Followers

  • You must be a GFC (Google Friend Connect follower) and leave your email address with your comment.
  • Open to residents of the United States.
  • Deadline to enter is midnight EST Thursday, May 22, 2014. Winner will be chosen by, notified via email, and will have 48 hours to respond or another winner will be chosen.

Have you read any of Cathy's books? What are you reading this week?

Have a great week,


Sunday, May 11, 2014

What Edith, Caroline, and Linda Taught Me

Since it is Mother's Day season here in the US, I thought you wouldn't mind if I shared this tribute to the influential women in my life. :)

When I reflect on how I became the woman I am today, I think of the women who were most influential in my life. These women were there from the beginning, from my infancy through high school, marriage, and beyond. They demonstrated class and style to my sisters and me as they loved, lived, and overcame obstacles. 

Edith Pearl, my paternal grandmother, surrounded us with the kind of attention and love us girls relished. I remember fondly time spent at her home, when my sister, cousin, and I got to dress up in Grandma’s clothes and fancy shoes. She arranged our hair, bought us pretty dresses, and played Canasta with us. With her encouragement, we tried new and exotic foods. Imagine the giggles that ensued when she introduced us to the pu-pu tray at a Hawaiian restaurant. When she and Grandad traveled, they brought us gifts, among them pearls from Majorca (which I still have and wear). She gave us the gift of knowing we were treasured and special.

Caroline Alicia, my maternal grandmother, wasn’t afraid to try new things. A family member told her that she wasn’t smart enough to learn to sew. What did Caroline do? She took a class and became the best seamstress around. My sisters and I would spend part of summer vacation with Grandma and Grandpa. Though this city-fied girl wasn’t keen on weeding their gigantic garden, she did learn a few things about the value of hard work.  How much did groceries cost in the summer of ’73? I don’t recall, but I do remember Grandma’s ability to stretch a dollar and still make good meals. Time with Grandma also included games – Scrabble, Canasta, and her all time favorite, Rack-o. Even my children now think of her when the Rack-o game comes out. Caroline’s caring and can-do attitude lives on. I often pause and wonder how she would handle a situation – sewing, gardening, family, or otherwise.

After I had my three children I told my mother, Linda Rae, that I owed her a million dollars. I now take that back. There isn’t enough money on the planet to pay her back for all she did for us. In addition to the sacrifices she made for my sisters and me, she was the best cheerleader a girl could ever have. As a slightly chubby preteen, she dried my tears in the dressing room at the clothing store, telling me “You just have broad shoulders like your father.” She’d make every effort to find something flattering and suitable for the occasion. While she couldn’t instantly remedy my figure, Mom helped make me feel valued and pretty. It wasn’t until I was in my 30’s that it occurred to me that my shoulders might not be so broad. No matter, Mom’s sentiment still makes me smile. She cheered me on through marriage and motherhood lending savvy, not meddlesome advice.

These dear ladies each hold a special place in my heart. They taught me to nourish the inner beauty and let special qualities shine, to learn and push through challenges, and to cherish and love unconditionally. Their legacies live on through memories and the generations of strong women they left behind. I miss them all.

What women hold a special place in your heart?

Happy Mother's Day!

Have a great week,


Photo credit: Stock Exchange