Friday, March 06, 2015

Why your plot problems need to be life or death


(churchleaders.com)

I was reading a book recently and realized I was really bored with it.  This sparked me into trying to figure out why I get bored with particular books, and I came to the realization that it all comes down to the plot not having a big enough crisis.  The main plot problem in your writing needs to be a life or death situation, or it won't be compelling enough to keep reader's attention.  The crisis can't be that your aunt will lose all her inheritance if you don't find a certain locket.  It also can't be that your girlfriend kidnapped your dog and you have to get him back.  These things won't be compelling unless there is some worry that someone will die because of the problem.  I don't know why this is.  I just know that whenever I'm bored with a book, it's because the crisis isn't life or death.  So next time you're working on the plot of your next big novel....keep that in mind.  Give your characters some life or death problems to overcome.  Your readers will thank you!

Thursday, March 05, 2015

Love

(Author Debbie Macomber's facebook page)


I love this!  See the good in your children and your husband.  That's the recipe for a happy family!

Wednesday, March 04, 2015

Easter on a Budget


I loved these low cost ideas to make the Easter table special for the kids!  Click the caption to go there.

Tuesday, March 03, 2015

It's finally here!


It's finally here!  My new humor book is now available on Amazon!  I'm so excitied!  Click here to get your copy!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Why I love Dogs

(funny-pictures-blog.com)

Monday, February 09, 2015

6 Ways to Laugh with your Kids

(bestwallfun.com)

It's important to laugh with your kids.  It teaches them how to have a healthy perspective, to not take themselves too seriously, and to have fun.  It's also really great bonding time and is a great way to break up tense moments, and it can help a child lower their guard, so that he feels safe confiding in you.  Here are 6 ways we like to laugh together.

1. Tell your "Best, Worst, and Wierdest" moments of the day during dinner
2. Watch hilarious Youtube videos together.
3. Watch funny clean humor shows like Studio C.
4. Read comics like Calvin and Hobbes together.
5. Email each other funny internet pictures like the one above.
6. On Sunday nights, we like to read aloud from funny authors like Dave Barry or Patrick McMannus.

What are your favorite ways to share humor with your family?

Saturday, February 07, 2015

More Winter Humor

(bookworksbookshelf.blogspot.com)

Thursday, February 05, 2015

Funny!

(leewardreporter.com)

Tuesday, February 03, 2015

It's all about the Marketing

(learnit2earnitwithlynn.com)

When I first thought about writing a book, I had a lot of romantic visions.  I thought, if I write it well, publishers and readers will be bowled over, and clamour for more.  I found out that this was a complete fantasy.  It's not about the writing (although your writing has to be really good).  It's all about your marketing saavy.  If you want publishers to publish your book, you have to have a marketing plan before you even start on your project.  Who will your readers be, how will you reach them, what kinds of special marketing skills do you posess that would allow you to sell your book to many many readers?  Are you a good speaker, a fantastic cook?  Can you use this to your advantage?  Or are you good at one on one conversations, such as in a book signing?  Maybe you're an amazing blogger.

Publishers don't just want you to be able to write the book.  They want you to be able to sell the book.  So when you write your book proposal to publishers and agents, they will want to know your marketing skills and willingness to get out there and sell.  Unfortunately, most authors are introverts, so this presents a problem.  Luckily, a lot of marketing today is online through social media and blogs (i.e. blog tours), and that is one solution for authors who have trouble speaking in front of large groups.

Here is a great article about 3 Questions you should answer when writing a book proposal, which should help.  And don't worry if you're not saavy about marketing yet.  There are lots of articles online about how to market your book.  It's pretty easy once you get started.  One last word of advice...join an author group.  They will help you with the ins and outs of book marketing and also be willing to promote you on their blogs, once your book is published.  It's a great first step, and one you can tell your publishers about when you propose your book to them.  Good luck!

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Friday, January 30, 2015

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Our Cat



Ha Ha!  This is totally our cat!  You can see why if you look at the title of my next book on the right!

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Humor

(inkyanticsrubberstamps.blogspot.com)

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Ideas For Playing with Your Kids!



Need fun ideas for teaching and playing with your kids?  (Or for giving them the gift of "Time" with mom or dad?)  I've pinned almost a thousand pins on fun activities to do with your children.  Follow my "Kids" pinterest board here. 

Friday, January 16, 2015

Agent Query Letters


Loved this Article!  I wanted to share it.  Click the caption to go there!

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Where to Put All Your Books!


How cool is THIS?  I NEED a place for all my books!  Click the caption to find out 35 amazing places to put your books!

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Monday, January 12, 2015

Humor


Ha ha!  Animals are so cute when they are trying to figure out what happened!

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Breaking into the Magazine Market

(topmagazines.wordpress.com)

The magazine market is a great place to make some real money as you wait for your books to be published or royalties to come in.  Here are some tips on how to get started:

Typically, if a writer is trying to break into a magazine it takes a few tries to figure out the "hook" and style for each particular publication, and the hook and style will change with each magazine.  What a writer will usually do, is experiment a bit as they try to figure out the market.  They will send a "feeler" biece to a magazine to see if they get any interest.  Usually if the mag is intrigued by the subject they will respond.  Even a negative response is good.  If a magazine or newspaper isn't interested at all, they will not reply.

Typically, it takes a few tries to get it right.  But once you do, you then "know" that market and will be successful most often afterward.  Also, once you get it right, it behooves you to send more articles, so the publishers can become familiar with you, and you can build a relationshiop with them.  This is how I've become successful in the particular niche that I have written for previously.

Also, be aware that you have to repeat this whole process for each new mag, so it takes time and some experimenting and failing with each new market, until you figure it out.  Sometimes writers do get lucky and figure it out on the first try, but this is rare.  Usually a writer breaks in by writing for the small columns in the back of the mag, and once the publishers are familiar with the writer, they start accepting bigger pieces.

I hope these tips are useful as you try to break into the really exciting world of writing for magazines!



Thursday, January 08, 2015

My Kids' Favorite Series


If you haven't discovered this series yet, you should!  My kids LOVE these books by Shannon Messenger.  They can't get enough of them.  A new one just came out!

Wednesday, January 07, 2015

Back Cover Finished!


Cedar Fort has finished the back cover of the new book!  How do you like it?  I just finished all the editing and Cedar Fort Publishing will send it to the printers tomorrow.  It'll be on Amazon in March!  Can't wait!

Tuesday, January 06, 2015

New Year's Resolutions!



I LOVED this article!  This is also why I started writing humor books....because I think all moms should be happy.  Click the caption to go there!

Monday, January 05, 2015

What I want to Read Next!



Have you read this?  I hear it's so good!  Instant best-seller.  It's on my "read next" list.  I can't wait until it comes in the mail.  The author lives in Boise, ID and says he doesn't know why everyone likes it so much.  My sister said she tried to check it out from the library and was 101 on the waiting list.  Wow!

Saturday, January 03, 2015

I started yet ANOTHER Blog!

I know, I know, I already have two blogs going, a writing one and a parenting one, but now I've started a SEWING blog because my daughter got a new sewing machine for Christmas and I wanted to document our projects together.  Click Here to check it out!  Below is one of our first posts!


Here's a picture of my 12 year old daughter.  Together our first project was this zippered pouch below.  I think it turned out rather well!  What do you think?


Below is the tutorial we used. (Click the caption to go there)



Friday, January 02, 2015

What's for Dinner?

(pinkofperfection.com)

I LOVE soup in the wintertime, and tonight we are having one of my favorite dinners:  Ultimate Lentil Soup, out of Slow Cooker Revolution, by America's Test Kitchen.  Here is the delicious recipe!

2 onions, minced
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 T olive oil
1T tomato paste
(Cook the above in the microwave for 5 minutes to bloom the flavors, then place in crockpot)
1 can mushrooms
4 C chicken broth
4 C Vegetable broth
4oz. bacon, uncooked, chopped
3 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 cup brown lentils
2 bay leaves
8oz swiss chard, chopped (opt. I don't use this)
Salt and Pepper to taste

Add remaining ingredients and cook on low for 9-11 hours, or high for 5-7 hours.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

One important thing to do with your Family!

(http://livelikeyouarerich.com)

I LOVED this post about Family Meal Time and how you can make it work. I agree that our family meals together make a HUGE difference.  This is one way families bond together and family bonding helps kids resist peer pressure!  Click Here to read it!

Monday, December 29, 2014

Christmas Regrets

(death9death.deviantart.com)

I had to share another hilarious conversation my friend posted on facebook the night before Christmas.

Friend to her son in his bed:  Why are you crying?
Son:  Because... Santa is going to bring me a lump of coal tomorrow and then everyone will know I've been naughty!

Nothing like last minute regrets....

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Humor

(thechilderness.com)

Friday, December 26, 2014

4 Ways to Tell if Your writing is Good

(www.killadj.com)

How can you tell if your writing is good?  Here are three ways I use to make sure my writing is clean and that people will love it.

1. Get Beta-reader input-  This is essential.  You cannot see all the flaws in your own writing.  Get a tough skin and seek criticism.

2. Clean it up-  Omit flowery stuff, unnecessary descriptions, scenes, and words, such as "that" or "Really" or "Very".  Go over it and clean it up at least 7-10 times.  You'll be amazed how you find new things to omit each time.  Omit anything that doesn't advance the plot.

3. Let it sit-  I have to let my humor writing sit for like a week or even a month and then read it again.  Fresh eyes really help to see if it is as funny as I thought the first time.  I do this several times.

4. Map out your Scenes and Sequences-  This is to make sure you have your pacing right.  Put each scene and sequence on a sticky note and place them in a line.  Try to determine if you need to speed up or slow down the pace in any area.  Remember scenes speed up the pace and sequences slow it down.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Merry Christmas!

(happythanksgivingpictures-2014.com)

Merry Christmas blog friends!  I hope these holidays are wonderful for you and your family.  We've had almost 24,000 visitors since this blog first started a few years ago.  I feel blessed by so many of you who also consider parenting, humor, and writing your passion!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Should you Write a Christmas Novel?

(amazon.com)

I've always wanted to write a Christmas novel.  I fantasize that my novel will become a Christmas classic like, The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson.  Singers like Andy Williams have albums that are played over and over every year, why not a novel?  How to achieve it?  I think the hook has to be humor or something really touching.  But since there are already so many touching Christmas novels it has to be a really fresh idea.  How about a sci-fi take on Christmas?  Or a Steampunk twist on the Grinch story? You can search titles on Amazon to see what books on Christmas are out there, so you can determine what has been overused, and determine if your idea could be the next Christmas classic.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Our Simple Christmas Traditions

(anorak.co.uk)

Since we have 5 kids, we need simple traditions.  Here are the simple things we've done to make Christmas seem special that don't take a lot of time or money.

1. Secret Santa-  We always find a needy family and give them a special gift, left on their doorstep anonymously.  The kids LOVE to do this.  The gift doesn't have to be expensive, it's the thought that counts.  One year the kids each gave up one of their own presents.  This was our most special year ever.

2.  Nativity Play-  We do a nativity play every year.  Costumes are just bathrobes and towels.  You can read it out of the bible, or if you have a children's book that works just as well.

3.  Santa Letters-  The kid write Santa letters and put them in their stockings on Christmas Eve.  Then that night, Santa writes them a letter back.  They love to read what Santa wrote.

4.  Extra Present-  We give an extra present to the child who has been the most helpful throughout the WHOLE year.  They know this and always work for it.  It is usually a coupon for a lunch out with mom.

5.  Reindeer Food-  We mix oats with glitter (if we have it...sometimes we just use oats) and spread it on the lawn for the reindeer before we go to bed.

6. Bethlehem Dinner-  On Christmas Eve we eat cheese, crackers, grapes, and olives and things they may have eaten in Bethlehem.  We do this by candlelight to make it special.

7. Read "The Best Christmas Pageant Ever" by Barbara Robinson.  We read this out loud every year for laughs and tears.

What are your Christmas Traditions?

Thursday, December 18, 2014

30 Hilarious Kid Letters



Click the caption to read 30 hilarious letters written by children. These had me laughing so hard I was in tears!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

How to Avoid Creating the Same old Characters


I loved the above article (click the caption to go there).  My personal preference is to use the Meyers-Briggs personality types.  There are so many combinations!  You can read about them a little bit in the comment section of the above article.  But Meyers-Briggs will give you endless possibilites.  Do a google search to find out about these personality types that you can base your characters on.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Loved this!


And this is why we need humor too!  It's a healthy way to deal with the ups and downs of kids!

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Thursday, December 11, 2014

My Favorite Meatball Soup


(www.tasteofhome.com)

My family loves this fast to prepare Crockpot soup in winter.  Here's the recipe from the book: Taste of Home Slow Cooker Classics:

Meatball Soup (Serves 4)

3 cups beef broth
1 can diced tomatoes (I usually blend these up)
3 bay leaves
1 can green beans
16 frozen meatballs (We like Costco brand)
2 cups uncooked corkscrew noodles (Boil these and add them at the end of cooking time)

Add everything except noodles to the crockpot.  Cook on low 6-8 hrs. or high 3-4 hours.  Cook noodles separately and add at the end

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

More Christmas humor

(www.susanoyesandersonpoems.com)

I had to share what happened to my friend the other day, because it's so cute and funny.  When she walked in and found her son had broken a Christmas tree ornament, he looked up at her with tears in his eyes and said, "Mommy, PLEASE don't tell Santa!"

Monday, December 08, 2014

Christmas Humor

(www.petpremium.com)

Ha ha ha!  I'm totally getting this stocking for my youngest son!

Tuesday, December 02, 2014

Monday, December 01, 2014

My New NEW Favorite Series

Have you read these?  They are AWESOME.  I loved them.  Such a great example of what you can do with great characterization and a new setting to put a fresh spin on old stories!  Really great reading!