Coffee Shop Chat

Coffee Shop Chat

My friend Laura at Caffeinated Fiction found this neat little idea on Tessa’s blog and encouraged me to participate, so I decided I will participate here every other week on a Monday, since I already have specific things I post each day.  So now Mondays will be one Monday I post something about writing or my personal writing journey and the next Monday I will post a Coffee Shop Chat. I hope some of you will joins us in the Coffee Shop Chats as well. (I’m not a coffee drinker, so I’ll be drinking tea).

What’s a Coffee Shop Chat? 

There are a ton of writers out there in Blog-Land, and sometimes it’s just hard to connect. We are so focused on writing our next blogpost/ working/ schooling/ dealing with family stuff – we forget how much fun it can be to just sit and talk! 

Coffee Shop Chats are one way you can connect with other writers, readers, bloggers, whoever! It’s a time to just share, laugh and drink a cup of coffee or tea (or two.) You can share exciting events from the week, the latest book that’s inspired you, a great movie you’d like to recommend, or even share prayer requests. All the things you would share if we were sitting in a coffee shop together, spending an hour away from the cares of the world. 

You can post whatever, whenever you like! Don’t forget to add your ‘link-up’ to the bottom of the original post on my friend Tessa’s blog (listed above). That way we can all find one another and can respond to one another’s blog posts. Click here to go directly to her blog and scroll down to see the Guidelines section and the How to Post section, once you’re ready to participate! Don’t forget to comment on another blogger’s posts first (mine counts!)and to answer and include CONVO STARTERS!

Ready? Ok, let’s get together!

Music I’ve Enjoyed:

I am a HUGE Toby Mac fan and I LOVE his latest album, “This is Not a Test”.

Why do I love Toby Mac and his music? Because Toby is the real deal. He doesn’t just talk the talk, he walks the walk. He donates to charities, reaches out to communities, spreads God’s word through his music and in his concerts and helps other Christian artists reach their goals.  And there are many times that something that is said in our Sunday school class or  our Pastor’s sermons that brings a Toby Mac song to my mind because it applies.

What I did this week:

I started school with my youngest son. We are homeschoolers and we finished our 2015-2016 school year at the end of April and had off the months of May and June and the week of the 4th of July, and because we like extra time off at the Christmas holiday time, we start school while summer is still going on. This week we had one day of Physical Education and Science and three days of History, Math and English Literature.

Here’s what we are reading:

We are studying the Little House on the Prairie series by Laura Ingalls Wilder for history.

We are studying The Chronicles of Narnia for English Literature.

My son is doing lapbooks on these books. He is artistically inclined and loves doing lapbooking and notebooking.

I had to laugh the first day we started these books this week. I read from Little House in the Big Woods first and my son said, “This is a good book.” Then I sent him to complete two math sheets.

After math, I read from The Magician’s Nephew and when I stopped, my son said, “No, you can’t stop. You have to read more!” Yes, my son could read these books on his own, but one thing my boys and I enjoy is for me to read some of the main subject books out loud to them.

The two convo starters I will answer are from Tessa’s Christ is Write blog:

  1. Do you write more during the summer or take a break?

I write more during the summer because I have more time for writing.

2. Do you prefer summer or fall?

I prefer fall. Here in Pennsylvania, we get quite a lot of temperatures in the upper 80s to mid 90s that are accompanied by high humidity making the temperature feel ten degrees or more than the thermometer reports. I much prefer the comfortable temperatures of fall.

Now here are some Convo Starters for You:

  1. What’s your favorite book of all time?
  2. What’s your favorite hot beverage and your favorite cold beverage?
  3. Where is your favorite vacation spot?
  4. If you could have lunch with any author (alive or passed), who would it be and why?
  5. What is your favorite childhood memory related to reading or writing?


Top Ten Tuesday

Today’s Top Ten Tuesday as suggested by The Broke and the Bookish is Ten Facts About Me, any kind of facts about me that I want to share.  I have decided to share Ten Facts About Me as a Blogger:

  1.  I began blogging just about eight years ago.
  2. My first blog was a blog where I shared about family activities and homeschooling.
  3. My second blog was all about homeschooling (this blog is still live at Blogspot.  It’s called Homeschool View.)
  4. My third blog, I attempted and failed miserably, was about being a Type 2 Diabetic.
  5. This is my fourth blog, and I believe, my final blog because it is about the things I love most: writing and reading, so I love writing and sharing on this blog.  Yes, I also share some of my photography, but that’s a hobby.  This blog has undergone changes a couple of times as I wanted to blog often enough in a week that people wouldn’t lose interest, and I think I have finally succeeded by posting five days a week — Monday through Friday.  Also, I was hoping to create blog posts that others would enjoy reading or viewing so that they would want to come back.  There is a possibility that this blog will undergo future changes as I seek to post things my readers want.
  6. I am hoping that I will be able to grow followers on this blog who will be interested in reading my novels when I begin to publish them.  So, if you’re a historical romance fan or know someone who is, I hope you will consider following my blog and tell your historical romance fan friends about it.
  7. As I get closer to time of publication, I will share some things about the historical period of my novel, something about the characters, and some other goodies to tempt you to read my novel.
  8. I love when visitors to my blog leave comments.  I like when you share your thoughts and experiences.  I like to get to know my readers this way.
  9. I do my best to read other blogs that have to do with reading and/or writing and leave comments when I do to let them know I was there.
  10. I like to connect with other bloggers with similar interests and would love to help other writers who blog by having guest posts here on my blog or doing guest posts for other writers’ blogs.  If this interests you, leave a comment or message me on Facebook and we can set something up.


Top Ten Tuesday

Today I get to choose what my Top Ten Tuesday list will be, since The Broke and Bookish have declared it Freebie Week!  So, I have decided to do a topic that The Broke and Bookish did before I began participating in Top Ten Tuesday.  Today’s list is “My Top Ten Bookish Confessions.”

  1.  I learned to read using the Dick and Jane books.
  2. I’m one of those who read everything I could get my hands on as a kid including milk cartons and cereal boxes.
  3. I used to read and record myself for an organization that provided books on tape for people with sight problems.
  4. I love to read to children.
  5. I love to use different voices for different characters when reading aloud to children.
  6. I wish I would have made a list of ALL of the books I’ve read since I started reading. (I’m still not as faithful at this as I should be.)
  7. My reading tastes have changed over the years.
  8. I regret getting rid of books I never read.
  9. I cannot resist a book sale, bargain book rack, a box of books at a yard or garage sale, or a discount book store.
  10. In addition to reading, I LOVE to write.  I am working on my first novel.  It is an historical romantic fiction book.

What about you?  What Bookish confessions are you hiding?  Leave a comment below and tell me one of your Bookish confessions.

A Thursday Tribute

I have never done this before, but I really feel like I need to do this.  I want to pay tribute to two people who mean a lot to me because of their support and/or contributions to my writing life.

First of all, my husband.  I just have to say how much I appreciate the way that he shows his support for my writing.  How does he do this?

He never complains about my attending all of the monthly LCW (Lancaster Christian Writers) meetings that I want to attend, which is all of them, (smile).  In reality, I usually end up having to miss one or two because of family things that come up that take priority.  He also never complains when I find a free or inexpensive one-day writing event that I want to attend, and he doesn’t mind when I leave two, sometimes three evenings a week for two or three hours to get together with other writers for critique group or to write, brainstorm and encourage each other along our writing paths.  He doesn’t complain that I spend so much time writing and participating in writing related things and yet am still not adding to the family income.  He understands that it is a long process.  I am blessed to have a husband who quietly supports me and I greatly appreciate him.

The second person I want to pay tribute to is a fellow writer who has become a very dear friend and is moving to the other side of the country, Laura Zimmerman.  I met her at LCW but our bond of friendship began when she and I both attended a one day writing workshop in the private home of a complete stranger.  We were surrounded by strangers, and I think, because we recognized each other’s faces and knew we were both part of LCW, we both felt more comfortable and we sat together for the workshop and had some time to talk a bit and start to really get to know each other.

Then when I started the weekly writing group for those of us homeschool moms who often struggle with finding time to write without interruptions in our own homes, Laura soon became a regular part of that writing group, Scribes Oasis.  She has rarely missed a night of Scribes.  Laura also encouraged me in my ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) membership, as I was debating renewing my membership.  You see, ACFW is a national organization, and though we have a local chapter, most of the best resources of ACFW happen online, and for the first entire year, I didn’t really get involved in that online community.  Again, lack of time, as family takes priority.  Laura encouraged me because she was involved in a couple of the things that the online ACFW community offered.  So, I renewed my membership and have jumped into getting involved with both feet, and I’m loving it!

Through all of these wonderful writing groups, Laura has also encouraged me in my writing.  She has offered me great advice on my writing.  She has gotten excited about stories I have written or am writing.  She has helped me talk through some issues that came up in my writing that I wasn’t sure how to improve or write well.  Laura is a little bit ahead of me in the writing world, as this year, she obtained an agent and she has submitted three story proposals to this agent already.  He has already gone over the first one and told her what she needed to do to edit the story and improve it, and she literally pulled her story apart and put it back together again, and she believes it is better than the original.  It broke my heart to see her go through that, but her positive attitude through the whole thing and the happiness she shared about the finished edited product was quite an inspiration to me.  Also, the fact that she is a homeschool mom who still homeschools three children and still finds time to crank out stories, and now, devotionals and articles, amazes and inspires me and makes me believe that I can obtain those things too.  I just need to keep working.

So, when Laura leaves after Memorial Day weekend, I will miss her so much, but I am so thankful for today’s technology which will help us to be able to remain close friends who will still be able to encourage and help each other in our writing.  Thanks Laura for your friendship and your encouragement and support in my writing.  I know God has good things in store for you and your family wherever He leads you.

How about you?  Who is a big support and encouragement to you in your writing journey?

Writers’ Retreat #2

On Saturday, we held our second writers’ retreat.  One of the ladies from our PA chapter of ACFW held it at her house, but it wasn’t strictly for ACFW members and we had a nice turn out.  There were nine of us this time.  If I’m not mistaken, that’s two more than last time.

I led another creative exercise in the morning to get our creative juices flowing.  Then we had a brainstorming session to talk about our current work in progress or any other writing project we thought we could use some brainstorming.  At first, I didn’t think I had anything I needed help with.  I don’t have any short projects in the works right now and I don’t seem to be struggling for blog posts either.  However, Lisa, the hostess, asked me questions that got me to thinking, and I decided to ask a question and share a scene from my current novel.  I’m glad I did because even though it was hard to hear something negative about the scene, it ended up being a big help, and the fact that we had a free writing session immediately following the brainstorming session gave me an immediate opportunity to rewrite the scene, making it much better.

After lunch, we had a lesson that Donna led about self editing.  I don’t mind saying I did not enjoy this lesson.  It was very difficult.  I know that self editing is important, and I also know why she had us do the lesson she had us do, but I still didn’t like it.  She had us choose a long paragraph from our current work in progress and count the words in it.  Then she gave us five minutes to cut that word count in half.  After that, she had us count the words again to see how we had done.  Then she gave us another five minutes to cut that number in half.  This exercise was an epic fail for me.  You see, I don’t have very many long paragraphs in my work in progress.  I struggle with including enough description to properly set my scenes, but am talented at writing good dialogue and action to keep the story moving.  Therefore, I am not an overly wordy writer so it was extremely difficult to cut a paragraph without removing important information.  I do understand the need to do this, though.  I watched a friend struggle through having to make a lot of cuts to her first novel according to her agent’s guidelines to attempt to find publishers who might be interested in publishing that novel for her.  She is extremely happy with the final results but she struggled and worked extremely hard to get there.

That is not to say that I am not willing to struggle and work hard to put out a really good final product, but I don’t think I will go about it the way that Donna had us do.  I know I will start by looking for all of the “over used” words.  You know, words we use over and over again because we tend to write like we talk or think.  I know I will have to change, cut and find synonyms to correct this problem.  I’m sure there will be other things I will have to cut as well, but I’m not really ready for that stage just yet and I need guidelines to be able to determine what really needs to be cut and what doesn’t.

How about you?  What have you experienced with self editing?


To procrastinate is to go against the old saying, “Never put off until tomorrow what you can do today.”

The Merriam-Webster definition of procrastinate is “to put off intentionally and habitually”; “to put off intentionally the doing of something that should be done”.

I am constantly battling procrastination when it comes to my writing.  I make time to post here on my blog.  I make time for Facebook and Twitter.  Why do I keep procrastinating writing my novel?

I WANT to write my novel.  I LOVE the characters I have created for my novel.  I LOVE my plot line.  I LOOK FORWARD to having people read my novel.  I even have a plan that seems workable to create a schedule that would allow me to write 5 or 6 days a week.  So, what’s my problem?

I think I still have a mental block that I thought I had conquered.  When I was younger and braver and more confident in my writing I never procrastinated.  I finished every story I started back then.

It’s not that I’m not finishing stories now, but I’m taking much longer and it’s not just because I have other responsibilities.  However, I never received the encouragement I wanted or hoped for when I wrote without procrastination in my younger years.

Now, I have others who are encouraging me.  However, I wonder if I subconsciously take their helpful critiques as negative criticism, even though I seek their critiques.  Consciously I don’t feel like they are being negative or mean in any way.  I find their advice helpful for the most part, and I have learned when it is necessary to disregard advice that wouldn’t be helpful for improving my writing (I received good advice on how to tell the difference).

I really want to conquer this procrastination!

Have any of you struggled with this?  What have you found to be helpful to getting past your procrastination?  Please leave comments.  They will be greatly appreciated.

My Writing Life

Okay, so I am working on an historical romance story that takes place in the old west.  I have ideas for at least two more books, possibly three, to create a series.

I’m part of several writing groups that offer critiques or are strictly critique groups.  Also, a couple of weeks ago I attended a writers’ conference where I had two appointments for one-on-one conferences with published authors to get input on part of my story.  Of course, I have things I need to work on and am very grateful for the two writers who were kind enough to give me advice.

Being a visual learner, one of the writers, my friend, Mike Dellosso, gave me some great advice that he worded in a way that created a picture in my mind, which I know I will not forget and will be able to apply to my writing.  You see, I am struggling with setting the scenes because I’ve been told not to write too much description.  Therefore I had swung to the opposite extreme and wasn’t writing enough description.  Mike told me to put myself in my character’s shoes and use my five senses and describe what my character is seeing, hearing, smelling, etc. as he walks down the street in that old, dusty western town.  He also gave me some examples which made this advice come alive for me.

A few days after that, I shared a piece of this same story with the critique group I recently joined.  I was extremely nervous and afraid of what might happen in this group.  I was pleasantly surprised that there were many positive things said (One lady really likes my main character) and they also offered some great advice.

Therefore, on Thursday night when I met with my weekly writers’ group, I was feeling overwhelmed about how to go about sorting through all of the advice and applying the needed changes to my story.  I just didn’t know where to begin.  My friend, Laura, who just finished edits on her first novel had great words to help me.  She suggested that I get rid of any advice that I didn’t believe was helpful, which I had already done.  Then she said to go through the ones who offered the least amount of changes and work toward the one who offered the greatest amount of changes.  She said that by the time I get to the one with the greatest amount of changes, I probably will be surprised to find that I’ve already taken care of many of those changes from things the others suggested.  Ahh, thank you, Laura, you gave me a workable plan that I can handle.

I am so thankful to have met and made connections with writers who have gone before me who are willing to help me on my journey.  As writers, we spend a lot of time alone working on our craft, but we need each other.  We need the help and encouragement of others and then we need to pass that on to those who come behind us.

How about you?  Who’s been helping you on your writing journey?


Checking In

Wow, I can not believe I didn’t get a single post done last week.  That’s quite frustrating and disappointing to me.  I enjoy blogging and I like to keep all of my readers reading!  Unfortunately, sometimes life gets in the way and other things take precedence.

I wear many hats.  I am wife, mother, taxi driver, homeschool mom and writer, and currently contest judge.  We will be finishing our homeschool year at the end of this week!  Then I have to prepare for our end of the year evaluations, which will take place on May 11th.  Next will be my middle son’s homeschool high school graduation — there are three activities planned for this on three different days.  We will have a private graduation ceremony at our church on May 29th with family and friends, and my son will be a graduating class of one.

I am planning on decluttering my house during our homeschool break as well as making some items to put in the freezer to make dinner on busy evenings easier and some of our other favorite items that I don’t have time to make more regularly.  I also plan to create a schedule that will include a schedule for all of my writing and writing related things that I hope to put into place and into use before the new school year begins.  I hope to have become disciplined and successful at it so that when the new school year begins, I will be able to keep it flowing.  I will only have one student in my homeschool this year, our youngest son, which should make having the time for writing easier as well.

I have made some wonderful writing contacts/friends over the past three years as I have been writing, some online and some in real life and I appreciate each and every one of them/you.  I completed a novel in November, but am not happy with it and have no intention of publishing it.  However, I will not throw it away because I have learned that a writer should never throw away or delete any writing, no matter how bad they think it to be because you can always go back and fix it, change it or use part of it in another writing project.

I began a new novel in January 2016.  I am still working on this one and am very excited about it.  I have enough ideas to write at least two more books following it that will create a trilogy or series.  I have completed five chapters and recently had the first chapter and part of the second chapter read by some people whose opinions are important to me, and I need to take some time to go back and edit these five chapters before writing more, so that is my new goal on my novel.  In addition to that, I hope to be posting regularly here on my blog again, and looking for some shorter writing projects that I can do in hopes of bringing some earnings into my writing life.

How about you?  Do you find life getting in the way of your blogging at times?  What are your current goals?

A Taste of Fame or a Future Fan

I  had a very interesting, kind of exciting and embarrassing experience last Tuesday night.   Blue Moon Thinker and I went to a library to see what the writers’ group that meets there is like.  It was a good sized group and is well run.  They focus on critiquing each other’s works, so basically, they’re a critique group.  They do a good job of critiquing without making anyone feel like they’re being beaten or really put down.  They are very matter of fact.

Anyway, after that, we went to Barnes and Noble, where I purchased one of the books on my Spring TBR list, Mr. Penumbra’s 24 Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan.  Then we went to Ollie’s, where you can always find good books at good prices.  (Of course, Ollie’s sells lots of other things reasonably priced as well, but I rarely get past their bookshelves.)  In the book area, I located the Short Story and Novel Writer’s Market Guide (2014) and the (2013) Writer’s Market Guide and decided to purchase them.

Here’s what happened at the checkout:

I laid the books on the counter and pulled out my wallet to find my Ollie’s discount card, when suddenly the checkout girl exclaims quite loudly, “Are you a writer?  Are you published?  What do you write?”  I answered her questions and then she proceeded to tell us how she had written a story when she was in high school but never did anything with it.  She said a friend told her she should do something with it, but she said that she would just keep it in it’s little box in her room forever.  I told her she should let another writer read it and give her feedback.  She then gave me my receipt and said, “You ladies have a blessed evening.”

Being an introvert, like most writers, I was greatly taken aback and embarrassed at the unwanted attention of all of the other people in the front checkout area staring at me when she made her exclamations, but after we left the store, it also kind of made me feel good that someone would get so excited over simply learning that I am a writer, without even having read anything I’ve written.

When I shared this story with another friend last Friday night, she said, “You better get used to it.  You never know how many people will ready your books when they become available.”

How about you?  Have you had any fan-type incidents in your life yet?