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Posted in Inspirational, Personal

HOPE.

I’ve recently experienced a burden to share something with you all that has given me an enormous sense of hope while walking through everyday stress and uncertainty. We all go through that, probably often, and if you’re there right now, I hope this gives you the blessing it gave me:

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Mm . . . that gives me peace. 🙂

I hope it encourages you. I’ll be back later for a real post! In the meantime, I’m praying for you all to have a safe and blessed weekend.

“I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.” – Romans 8:10

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Posted in Bookish Things, Reading, Writing, Writing Tips

Punctuation Pantry: the Oxford Comma (To Use or Not To Use)

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Let me put forth a public apology to my faithful readers who have not heard from this blog in a few weeks. Wanna know why? No, you probably don’t. Suffice it to say, school happened, then driver’s ed happened, then editing happened, then a whole bunch of other stuff happened . . . 🙂 Blogs are wonderful, but they suffer when our schedules get stuffed. Who can relate?

But that’s not what we’re here to talk about. The Punctuation Pantry is back, and we’re here to talk about the Oxford comma. Heard of it? Oh, yeah, I bet you have.

Don’t know what it is? No problem – here goes.

I am sending Sally a get-well card, a potted plant, and a new coat.

(I’d like to have a friend who would think to send all that when I’m sick.) 😉

Did you spot the Oxford comma? It comes after the last item in a list. So, after “potted plant.” Now, the controversy surrounding this helpless little comma is that some style guides require it when others don’t. So you have people who like it and people who don’t.

Now, let’s look at that sentence again, without the Oxford comma.

I am sending Sally a get-well card, a potted plant and a new coat.

Not having the comma doesn’t make that sentence confusing. You can mentally insert the separation of the three items. But let’s look at a different sentence.

She took her cousins, Dominique, and Miss Helen to the local fair.

Got it? Now let’s take the Oxford comma out.

She took her cousins, Dominique and Miss Helen to the local fair.

See the problem? A reader might think her cousins are Dominique and Helen. Now, strictly speaking, you’d need a comma after Helen if those names were her cousins’, but that’s a story for another day.

Personally, yes, I use the Oxford comma. It just makes sense. In some sentences, it feels awkward, in some, it’s unnecessary, but in others, it literally makes the difference between a reader understanding and misunderstanding what you’re saying.

And no, you can’t use the comma in one sentence and not in another in the same story. 🙂 Sorry, but . . . no.

So, now that the Punctuation Pantry has been resurrected, tell me your ideas for what we should chat about in the world of grammar!

Your turn! What is your opinion on the Oxford comma? Do you use it? Let’s chat in the comments!

Posted in Blog Tag, Bookish Things, Personal, Reading

Welcome to the Kaleidoscope Tag!

So, if you’ve been around this blog for a while, you know I kinda like tags. And the Kaleidoscope tag will be the second I’ve created myself. This is a tag geared towards books and movies. Who can resist? So grab your favorite reading snack and pull up a chair.

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RULES

  1. Link back to the blog which started the tag and also share the graphic above in your post.
  2. Link back to the person who tagged you.
  3. Tag up to five people (or more, if you want).

THE QUESTIONS

BOOKS

1. Name the first book that comes to mind. 🙂

For me, that is A Little Princess, even though I’ve never read the book.

2. What is the first book that comes to mind when you hear the word, “Christmas”?

Actually, a movie comes to mind for me, but since that wasn’t the question I asked, I’ll say A Christmas Carol.

3. What is the last book you gave (or would have given) a five-star review?

I had to go to Goodreads to remember this. 😉 But it was Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand. If you read only one book this year, let it be that one. (I read the young adult version, so naturally, that’s the one I’m recommending.)

4. Which book (that you can think of right now) made you feel like you were there with the characters?

To the biggest extreme, also. I’d have to say Unbroken. Maybe it was the story itself, but there were many times that I was RIGHT. THERE. Which made it difficult to get through at times.

5. Think of a favorite author – what is your favorite of their books?

I have several favorite authors. But I’ll pick Nadine Brandes and I’ll say . . . five minutes later . . . Fawkes. Or maybe A Time to Rise . . .

6. What’s your opinion on love triangles?

I really don’t mind them when they’re done well.

7. What’s your opinion on cliches?

Cliches, on the other hand . . . yeah, no. You don’t want me to get started on cliches. Granted, you probably can’t write without at least a few small cliches, but to deliberately build a story off of a cliche and then keep the WHOLE THING embedded in that cliche . . .

 

MOVIES

1. Your all time favorite movie?

That would probably be Anne of Green Gables: The Continuing Story. It’s the only movie of the series not based strictly on one of the books, and it’s my favorite. The story was AMAZING.

2. Narnia or Lord of the Rings? (Movies, not books.)

Both. 🙂 Okay, Lord of the Rings.

3. Your favorite classic movie?

A Christmas Carolthe George C Scott version. We watch it every year!

4. Your favorite based-on-the-book-by movie?

Since I can’t say A Christmas Carol again, I’ll say A Little Princess. Just saw it recently for the first time in YEARS. I loved it. (The 1995 version.)

5. Your favorite movie you saw in the theater?

Unbroken: Path to Redemption. Or possible The Man Who Invented Christmas . . . (historical, again). Or possibly both.

6. How many movies have made you cry?

Officially . . . none. But that doesn’t mean there weren’t quite a few that could have.

7. What’s the first movie to come to find when you want a movie to make you laugh?

Moms’ Night Out. Enough said.

 

And that’s it! There you have it. Now to tag people . . .

The World Within the Wardrobe

Over the Withers

Lit Aflame

Life Without A Latte

Kate Flournoy

And Jane Maree

Have fun, guys! And spread the word. Also, if you weren’t tagged, consider yourself tagged. 🙂

Posted in Bookish Things, Personal, Stray Cats

When I Have Writer’s Block . . .

We were looking through some old photos today, and this one popped up. I wouldn’t normally write a post to share one picture, but, um . . . I think you’ll understand. 🙂

When I have writer’s block . . .

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Yeah, I think you’ll understand why I had to share that. This is our cat Lentil. The picture was taken a couple years ago, but that expression . . . and the notebook . . . and pen . . .

Priceless!

Thanks for tolerating this super short post. I’ll be back! Meantime, go pet a cat. They’re great therapy. 🙂

 

This is the same picture with some editing:

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Posted in Bookish Things, Writing, Writing Tips

Adjectives ‘n’ Adverbs – Friends or Foe to Your Writing?

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Okay, I don’t care if you just started writing a week ago, you’ve probably heard rumors of the dissension adjectives and adverbs cause between writers and editors. The plain truth is, every editor I’ve ever heard from speaks against most adjectives and adverbs. Look at this sentence:

The growling dog stalked slowly towards the boy’s house, eager for the tasty beef he knew was on the grill.

If you couldn’t tell, there are too many adjectives in that sentence. And the adverb “slowly” is weak. So how do you fix something like that? Or, more to the point, how to avoid it in the first place?

Well, there is a bit of a trick to this.

STRONG VERBS.

Let’s look at this sentence again.

The dog stalked towards the house, his mouth watering in anticipation of the meat he could smell sizzling on the grill.

Okay, that’s FAR from perfect. But we did chop out some adjectives. Now lets look at the verbs. In my opinion, “stalked” is a fairly strong verb in this instance, because it gives a good picture of how the dog was moving. “Mouth watering” is probably a little cliche. But compare it to “eager for . . .” and it does portray a slightly stronger image. Regarding nouns, “meat” is better than “beef” in this instance. If it’s on a grill, for one, it’s probably beef. Let the reader assume some things, especially if it is not essential to the progression of the story.

Now, don’t go chopping every single adjective or adverb out of your story. When used well (and probably sparingly), they’re just fine, and quite honestly, you can’t write anything without some adjectives.

And think about it – as a reader, when you read a story with a ton of bland descriptive words, you’re going to notice it and it’s going to mess you up as you read.

Don’t just get my take on this. There are a lot of people with way more experience.

Remember, strong verbs will almost always convey what you want better than adverbs. And a mediocre adverb coupled with a weak verb is going to drag you down. So, make friends with a thesaurus.

Adjectives and adverbs are just one thing an editor (or a reader) is going to look at. Fortunately, they’re not that difficult to fix. I don’t really  recommend you worry about it in your first draft, because it will probably slow you down. But if you’re like me and you “edit” your first draft with a read-over, that’s a GREAT time to work on them. And don’t worry if you can’t catch all of them – an editor will. 🙂

Share your take on this! Do you find you struggle with adjectives and adverbs? What technique could you share for other writers? Let’s chat in the comments!

Posted in Highlights and Goals, Inspirational, Personal

Goodbye, 2018

Goodbye, 2018.

It’s hard to believe it’s over. Personally, it was a difficult year. There were a lot of changes. Good ones, I think. None happened overnight. More like agonizingly slowly. So I’m not sure whether to look at 2019 with hope or caution. Because things are still changing, and it’s always a battle between hope and fear.

I’d go into more detail, but I actually wrote a “story” on some of the more major events of the past year, and I might share it here later. Suffice it to say, I’m the kind of person who is always in a battle against doubt. But God gave me an important victory in that battle near the end of the year. Now my job is to hold onto it and to trust. God doesn’t want His children to doubt.

Funny, I seem to remember writing a post that talked about writers and doubt. 😉

Anyway . . .

There’s so much to look forward to in 2019. Maybe publishing Promised Land (yikes, I said it . . .), training a service dog, our dog Phoenix having puppies later in the year, gardening again. So, 2018, we’ll get along just fine without you.

Goodbye, 2018.

The New Year is about looking ahead, not behind. It’s about embracing hope, not fear.

So embrace it.

The time for fear and doubt was yesterday.

That’s not today.

This is the day the Lord has made. So we should rejoice and be glad in it! And rejoice with all creation and with all your might. With all the breathe in your lungs, sing praises to Him. He’s given you a New Year. It was never a guarantee. But here it is.

Now . . .

. . . what are you going to do with it?

Ask yourself.

What are you going to do with this New Year? What plans are on the horizon? Let’s chat!

Posted in Book Reviews, Bookish Things, Reading

7 Winter Reads To Chase Away the Cold!

Oh, winter is a time for reading! (So she says while she isn’t currently reading a thing.) Hey, I’m editing. That’s a valid excuse. 🙂

But you don’t have that excuse. So here are seven awesome books you should totally be reading this winter.

BITTER WINTER (Jaye L Knight)

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🙂

I haven’t read it yet, but it just came out, and seriously, that cover.

But it’s book five, so if you haven’t read the series, start with book one.

LACY (Jaye L Knight)

Lacy Cover

Now, while we’re on the subject of Ilyon Chronicles, this one I have read, and I LOVED LOVED LOVED it! It’s pretty short and perfect for a winter day read.

BEYOND THE BRIGHT SEA (Lauren Wolk)

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This precious book is middle-grade and perfect for any reader. Seriously. This story is so beautiful! And so is that cover . . .

The friend who recommended this book has also read it at least twice.

UNBROKEN (Young Adult Version) (Laura Hillenbrand)

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I haven’t talked much about this book since reading it, and I should have. This is a true story, and it’s the most powerful, inspiring story I have ever read, ever. Read it when you have time to sit down and not get up for a good long while.

DARE (Tricia Mingerink)

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What can I say? There’s snow on the cover. But aesthetics aside, it’s an awesome story that begins a terrific series. You won’t be able to stop at book one.

WINTER HAVEN (Athol Dickson)

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This book. This. Book. Twists, turns, suspense, and a totally logic explanation at the end that you never saw coming . . .  My kind of book. Prepare to be swept away.

And last but far from least . . .

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Fawkes. What can I say? It was amazing. PERFECT for a winter read because you can just settle in and not move for a while.

Okay, today we’ve got to chat in the comments. What are your favorite winter reads? Have you read any of the books on this list? What’s your favorite kind of book to read when you’re cold- or snow-bound? (Or does that analogy not apply to your part of the world?) 🙂 Readers, let’s chat!

Posted in Blog Tours, Book Release, Book Reviews, Bookish Things, Reading

Ilyon Chronicles and Blades of Acktar Blog Tour! (and book review)

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This is going to be a crazy fun blog tour! Wanna know why? ‘Cause I’m totally panicking right now ’cause I totally forgot about this post today. Because two of my three favorite authors ever are releasing their new books together! So seriously, check out these awesome books. I’m so excited to be part of this.

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ISN’T THIS AWESOME??????

ABOUT BITTER WINTER

Already struggling with a harsh winter and the threat of food shortage, a catastrophic event leaves those in the Landale camps reeling. Just when things couldn’t get much worse, camp members fall ill with the same devastating sickness that’s sweeping across the country.

Determined to gain the cure, Jace sets off to Valcré. However, there are only two sources—the queen, or a powerful gang of smugglers who have made the dangerous city their home. When Jace gains audience with the gang leader, he finds the price of the cure is steeper than any of them imagined, forcing him to make an impossible choice—betray his conscience or let those he loves die.

Lacy Cover

ABOUT LACY

The last thing Aaron ever envisioned was falling for a prostitute. Everything about it spells trouble. However, he can’t help noticing the way her smile lights up when she sees him and how much brokenness she hides behind it. Neither can he ignore how desperately she needs rescue and protection.

When Lacy shares a life or death secret with him, Aaron is willing to risk everything to help her and to show her Elôm’s love. Yet, such a choice could destroy his reputation and maybe even cost him his freedom.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

JayeLKnight Author PhotoJaye L. Knight is an award-winning author, homeschool graduate, and shameless tea addict with a passion for Christian fantasy. Armed with an active imagination and love for adventure, Jaye weaves stories of truth, faith, and courage with the message that even in the deepest darkness, God’s love shines as a light to offer hope. She has been penning stories since the age of eight and resides in the Northwoods of Wisconsin. You can connect with Jaye on her websiteblogFacebookTwitter, and Etsy.

 

MY REVIEW OF LACY (Ilyon Chronicles Novella 5.5) ⭐⭐⭐⭐
This book is incredible. We finally get to see from Aaron’s POV. He was a likable character before. Now he’s a favorite. First off, the storyline itself is both difficult to swallow and really, really good at the same time. Jaye’s new character, Lacy, is a prostitute, so that’s naturally going to deal with difficult topics. However, it is handled VERY well, typical of Jaye’s books.
The love story woven in the pages is so beautiful. It unfolds so gently. It’s so real. And the characters! Aaron and Lacy . . . I could go on forever. I’m an official fangirl for their story. 🙂
My only complaint about this book is that it was so short. 😒 I could have read another hundred pages no problem. So the two of them had better be in the next book. 😊

 

 

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ABOUT DECREE

The Adventure Continues.

Discover more of The Blades of Acktar in this collection of novellas and short stories.

The Blades as They Should’ve Been
A test and the Gathering of Nobles will decide Leith and Martyn’s futures. Can they fight to become more than the Blades they were? Will Keevan accept what it means to have the man who attempted to kill him as family?

The First Mission
When Martyn visits Surgis, his past seems determined to haunt him. Can he figure out how to forgive, especially when confronted with an enemy in need of his help?

To the Far Great Mountains
A death sends Leith and Martyn far beyond the borders of Acktar. Will they be able to arrest their quarry before they are caught themselves?

From the story of how Leith and Martyn met to Ranson’s search for a life outside of the Blades, these stories will answer plaguing questions and expand the world of Acktar.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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Tricia Mingerink is a twenty-something, book-loving, horse-riding country girl. She lives in Michigan with her family and their pack of pets. When she isn’t writing, she can be found pursuing backwoods adventures across the country. You can connect with Tricia on her blogFacebookTwitter, and Instagram.
PaperbackGiveaway
 Share in the excitement of the release and enter to win a full signed set of the Ilyon Chronicles and The Blades of Acktar! (Giveaway is open to US residents only. Cannot be shipped internationally.) Be sure to stop by each of the character chats (links in the blog tour schedule) for additional giveaways throughout the tour! Follow this link to enter.

Tour Schedule

Friday – December 14 – Release Day for Bitter Winter & Lacy!

Saturday – December 15

Monday – December 17

Tuesday – December 18 – Release Day for Decree!

Wednesday – December 19

 Thursday – December 20

Friday – December 21

Saturday – December 22

 

Posted in Blog Tag, Personal

50 Things That Make Me Happy – a Tag

Thanks, Ann, for this cool tag! (You all, check out her take on this tag. It’s great!)

So, I had to come up with fifty things that make me happy. And that took a while. But here goes!

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  1. Living for Jesus. Nothing makes me happier. 🙂
  2. Family. Especially doing things together, like going for a drive or just chatting.
  3. Friends!
  4. Cats. They always make me smile.
  5. Dogs. When they aren’t stressing me out, they make me smile. 😉
  6. Going for walks! I LOVE walks to the garden, to the woods, to the field . . .
  7. Music. Albert Schweitzer said, “There are two means of refuge from the miseries of life: music and cats.”
  8. Youth group on Sunday and Monday nights at church.
  9. Springtime.
  10. Fall.
  11. Summer.
  12. Winter.
  13. You notice the order I put those in, right?
  14. Writing! Of course! 😉 Writing makes me happy. Need I say more? Of course, it’s stressful, backbreaking, painful . . . but I love it.
  15. Snow!
  16. Rain. I love the rain. NOT thunderstorms. Let’s just clear that up.
  17. For King and Country’s music. (Check out their song, Control)
  18. Puppies. 🙂
  19. Pumpkins in the fall.
  20. Apples.
  21. Christmas.
  22. Christmas lights.
  23. Can I just say writing again?
  24. Dolphins. Why not?
  25. Fish. They’re pretty.
  26. The book Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand. Read it, you’ll see what I mean.
  27. The movie Unbroken: Path to Redemption. Seriously, watch. that. movie. But read the book first.
  28. Christmas movies. Good Christmas movies.
  29. Reading! Especially books by my favorite authors. Somehow that’s like chatting with an old friend.
  30. Training service dogs. 🙂
  31. Piano.
  32. HISTORY. THE BEST SCHOOL SUBJECT EVVVVVEEERRR.
  33. Geometry (way better than algebra).
  34. Can I just say history again?
  35. American history. 🙂
  36. Gardens. Especially when I’m not pulling weeds out of the tomato beds.
  37. Goats. Beautiful, lovely goats.
  38. Wrapping presents.
  39. Sunshine.
  40. October.
  41. Sleeping in.
  42. Going grocery shopping with my mom.
  43. The ocean!!!!
  44. The ocean again . . .
  45. Summer vacation = trips to the ocean.
  46. Hanging out with cousins.
  47. Star Trek.
  48. Thrift stores (sometimes).
  49. A cat sleeping at the foot of the bed.
  50. Astronomy!

Wow. I did it. 😉

I hope you weren’t bored.

Now I gotta tag some folks.

Kinsey at Over the Withers

Anna at A Storynerd’s Life

Esmeralda at Writings From A Farm Girl

Have fun guys! And if you weren’t tagged but you want to do it, here it is. Leave a link in the comments???

Let’s chat! What are a few things that make you happy? Or fifty things, if you prefer. 🙂