Saturday, July 14, 2018

Six Reasons to Get a Writing Partner

If you're a writer, chances are that you've got someone (or someones) close to you from which you gain input for your stories.  That way you don't have to rely on your own biased opinion.
Y'know what? Acquiring a writing partner was probably the best writing decision I've ever made.
If you're not a writer, I guess you can just ignore this whole post.  I'll be back next week with a post that isn't writing-related (yes, Chowboy & Kordell, something 'interesting')!
And if you don't have a writing partner, I strongly suggest you get one.  Why?  Well...

1. Epic Advice
So, yeah, it's super hard to let others read your writing.  At first.  But then it gets easier.  And boy, is it worth it.  Advice for stories is invaluable.  I can't tell you how many times I've sent my partner a message screaming about some plot idea or a different character background or new plot twists.  And she's always ready to laugh at my enthusiasm, and give her always-epic opinion on my thoughts.

2. Inside Jokes
C'mon, you gotta admit that inside jokes are amazing.  Someone says something offhand and you and your partner both think of the exact same thing about your writing and you both just start laughing.
Or you say something random that happens to strike your partner as hilarious so you bring it up every once in awhile, or you put it discreetly in your stories.
Just don't kill your characters, okay?  You can maim them.  Or change their name.  Just don't kill the poor things.

3. Honesty
I guess this could be lumped under the 'advice' category... but this is a critical point of writing partners.  I'm so grateful that my partner isn't afraid to tell me when she thinks my ideas could use a little help.  Thankfully, it doesn't happen too often.  But often enough to keep me humble.

4. Encouragement
Just when you're ready to toss your manuscript across the room, out the window, or into a fire, your partner is always the one ready to calm you down and give you a pep talk.  Because while you're convinced that your work is a piece of trash, they're the ones that see the potential and convince you that, even though you're ready to curl up in a ball and make the thing write or edit itself, they do need this story and you'd better get the finished product to them quickly.
Or else.
Or they might just grin and say "you can do it!" but what's the fun in that when screaming at you and threatening you with the death of your favorite character in their story is more effective?
But... well... either way, you really should write the thing.  Because then you can get it over with once and for all.  Which is the best and worst thing for a writer.

5. It Goes Both Ways
Not only do you get advice on your own work, but you get to give advice on your partner's!  You get to both read a free story and give your opinion to your heart's content.  It's a win-win!
And you get to try to convince your partner to publish.  Because it's what partners do. *smirks*

6. Friendship
Since this person is already used to you going on and on and on about things, they're naturally trained to listen to you.  So if you ever need anyone to talk to, they're always available.  And they just might be able to relate more than you think.  Advice in more than just writing happens to be one of their many levels of expertise.

So yes.  Get a good writing partner, someone you trust.
But sorry, I already took the best one, and I wouldn't trade her for the world.
Livi, you're amazing!

Sunday, July 8, 2018

The Mindless Things

Have you ever wondered who designed the engraving on your clock?

Or the stickers to go on candles?

Or how about who decided what size and shape to make your radio buttons?

Did you ever take for granted that someone had to design the colors and fonts on your toothpaste tube?

That someone had to determine the size & shape of your lampshade?

That your wall decor really did take some ingenuity?

How about the fact that someone designed your earbuds to fit more comfortably in your ears?

Or that a person had to figure out just how many inches in diameter the perfect doorknob would be?

How about the device you're reading this on?  It took a lot of programming.

Never take the mindless things for granted.

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

God Bless America

"Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery?  Forbid it, Almighty God!  I know not what course others may take, but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!" ~Patrick Henry

"Freedom is not the right to do what we want, but what we ought.  Let us have faith that right makes might and in that faith let us, to the end, dare to do our duty as we understand it." ~Abraham Lincoln

"There is a certain enthusiasm in liberty that makes human nature rise above itself in acts of bravery and heroism." ~Alexander Hamilton

"Patriotism means to stand by the country.  It does NOT mean to stand by the president or any other public official save exactly to the degree in which he himself stands by the country.  It is patriotic to support him insofar as he efficiently serves the country.  It is unpatriotic not to oppose him to the exact extent that by inefficiency or otherwise he fails in his duty to stand by the country." ~Theodore Roosevelt

"We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." ~Thomas Jefferson

"Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction.  We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream.  It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same." ~Ronald Reagan

To all who have fought, and continue to fight, for our freedom—thank you.

Saturday, June 23, 2018

I Don't Dance: Blog Tour {Spotlight}

A happy summer to the lot of ya!
I'm super excited to be a part of the blog tour for Jesseca Wheaton's newest release, I Don't Dance!
It was released on the 21st (in honor of the beginning of summer), so you can pick it upon Amazon here.  Or, you could just add it to Goodreads here.

About the Book:

Ty and Jen have been friends for nearly as long as anyone can remember. But when Ty goes off to college and leaves her behind, he has to face the reality that he cares for her as more than just a friend.
As graduations approaches and with only one summer left before he begins basic training, Ty must make a decision. Military life is never easy; is it fair to force it on the one he loves?
In the midst of wrestling with the question and coming to the realization that summer is quickly drawing to a close, Ty struggles to face questions he cannot answer, and is forced to examine his own heart.
Is it possible that God has a future for him with Jen? Or will the summer close with only memories of days gone by?

Their relationship would be old fashioned. But that was okay. Because old fashioned and whimsical fit perfectly with a southern summer.

About the Author:

Jesseca is a daughter, sister, and a child of God. Her days are spent reading, cooking, spending time with siblings, or playing piano. And writing, of course! At an early age words fascinated her, and her love for the printed page has only grown. She lives with her parents and seven siblings in the sunny state of Kansas, and she’s convinced there’s no place like home.

1st place: Paperback copy of I Don't Dance + Scotty McCreery's Clear as Day album (US winners only)
2nd place: E-book copy of I Don't Dance + $5 Krispy Kreme gift card

Blog Tour Schedule:

Wednesday, June 20th
Libby May//Review - Geoturtle
Allyson Kennedy//Author Interview, Review  - Authoring Arrowheads
Liz//Author Interview, Review - Home with the Hummingbirds
Victoria Goodbrand//Author Interview - Victoria’s Book Nook

Thursday, June 21st
Soleil Bourdon//Review, Book Spotlight - Reviews By Soleil
Faith Potts//Review, Book Spotlight - Stories by Firefly
Janelle Martin//Review - The Ramblings of a Bookworm

Friday, June 22nd
Laura//Review - Beautiful Things
Chloe//Review - Purely by Faith Reviews
Rebekah Eddy//Review, Author Interview, Book spotlight - Rebekah’s Remarks
Molly Anne//Review - Set Apart for Him
Abigail McKenna//Review - Novels, Dragons, and Wardrobe Doors

Saturday, June 23rd
Angela Watts//Book Spotlight - The Peculiar Messenger
Kaylee H.//Book Spotlight - Keylee’s Kind of Writes
Kellyn Roth//Review - Reveries
Kate//Book Spotlight - Twin Thoughts

Monday, June 18, 2018

A Special Announcement {Calling all Indie Authors}

I love graphic design.  It started when I made a mock cover of a book for a friend of mine, then realized that it's actually super fun!  So I've thought about starting a business of sorts for some time, and now it's become reality!
A friend of mine—who happens to be epic at formatting books—and I decided to go into business together!  You can find our website here (Inside Out Designs).  Hope to see you there!

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Mercy Said No

I was just a child, when I felt the Savior leading
I was drawn to what I could not understand
And for the cause of Christ, I have spent my days believing
That what He'd have me be, is who I am

As I've come to see the weaker side of me
I realize His grace is what I'll need
When sin demanded justice for my soul

Mercy said no,
I'm not gonna let you go
I'm not gonna let you slip away
You don't have to be afraid
Mercy said no,
Sin will never take control
Life and death stood face to face
Darkness tried to steal my heart away
Thank You, Jesus, mercy said no

For God so loved the world, that He sent His son to save us
From the cross He built a bridge to set us free
Oh, but deep within our hearts, there is still a war that rages
And makes a sacrifice so hard to see

As midnight fell on crucifixion day
The light of hope seemed oh so far away
As evil tried to stop redemption's flow

Mercy said no,
I'm not gonna let you go
I'm not gonna let you slip away
You don't have to be afraid
Mercy said no,
Sin will never take control
Life and death stood face to face
Darkness tried to steal my heart away
Thank You, Jesus, mercy said no

And now when heaven looks at me
It's through the blood of Jesus
Reminding me of one day long ago

Mercy said no,
I'm not gonna let you go
I'm not gonna let you slip away
You don't have to be afraid
Mercy said no,
Sin will never take control
Life and death stood face to face
Darkness tried to steal my heart away
Thank You, Jesus, mercy said no

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Five Tips For Every Vegetable Gardener

Living on a farm, we naturally grow a lot of food.  I mean, farmers feed the world, right?
We also feed ourselves (imagine that!).  But we don't eat the heads of wheat or ears of field corn (field corn is field corn, not the kind of corn you eat at a barbecue) often associated with farmers.  We grow gardens.
Of course, this is more of the ladies' project at our house while the guys work on the farming on a larger scale, but it's the produce that we eat as opposed to the stuff that comes out of a combine.
For as long as I can remember, my mom has annually grown a garden, and I've slowly begun to take over more and more in that aspect—I'd much rather be outside in the garden than cooking supper!
While I know that growing a vegetable garden is a different experience for everyone, I've got five things that everyone can practice and benefit from.
Especially people that live in 'deserts' like Kansas.

1. Water.
This is a no-brainer, I know, but keeping your garden watered is crucial to a healthy supply of produce.  "I know," you might be saying.  "That's obvious."
Actually, it's not as obvious as you think.
Unless you live in North Carolina or Ohio or some other such rainy state that requires you to water your garden just once a week or less, it's difficult to keep your garden watered.  I don't know how much produce we've lost just because we didn't realize just how much water the plants need.
Then again, if you water it too much, you can either drown the poor things or rot their roots.
Don't worry, I've never done either of those.  It's kind of hard to in Kansas.
We have two gardens—a big one and a smaller one.  While watering them both, I'll often spend four hours or more out there.
"I don't have time to water everything that much," you might say, or "it's to tedious."  Well, that's where soaker hoses and sprinklers come in.  Set them going and then go enjoy your air conditioning, congratulating yourself on the genius-ness of your watering system.
Which brings me to my next point.

2. Trenches.
So this is kinda pointless if you have a sprinkler or soaker hose, but DUDE IT'S A LIFE-SAVER.  If, for some reason, you don't have any soaker hoses or sprinklers, stick the corner of your hoe into the dirt and dig a trench directly beside the row you're wanting watered.  Or, if you're wanting to water a single plant, just dig a trench in a circle around it.  This keeps the water at the base of the plant instead of running everywhere and watering weeds instead.
In order to really soak the row (see above reason), have the water running slow.  I don't mean less-than-fire-hydrant slow.  I mean barely-above-a-trickle slow, depending on how large the plants are.  This allows the water to soak into the ground, reaching the roots of the plants.  This works especially good with corn, which needs a lot of water to produce well.
The downside to all of this, though, is that sometimes the water will find a breach in the dam and run everywhere.  Or rain will come and wash most of the trench away.
Just roll with it, you'll be fine.

3. Plant your vines in circles.
Confused?  First of all, when I say vines, I don't mean cute little sweet pea vines or any of those fancy vines climbing a trellis.
I mean any vegetable (or fruit, for that matter) that grows on a vine—cucumbers, squash, pumpkins, watermelon, cantaloupe, etc.
Because, dear peoples, not only will this cause the vines to grow outward in a circle (I don't know if that's even a legitimate reason or not but oh well), when they're big enough you can dig a hole in the middle of the circle and fill it with water, thus watering all the plants at once.  Once again, a time-saver.

4. Always carry a hoe.
I don't know how many times I've found myself in a predicament in which I needed a hoe but didn't have one closer than across the yard.  Granted, almost every time it's because water leaked out of a trench that I dug, but the principle is still there: always have a hoe nearby.  You never know when a trench needs repaired.  Or a weed needs killed.
Just be careful not to whack yourself, okay?

5. Freeze.
So, after taking all of my lovely gardening advice, you're bound to be overflowing with produce, right?  Think positive!
And what are you gonna do with all of this produce that you're overrun with?  Sure, you could sell it at your local farmer's market, or set yourself up on the tailgate of your truck on the side of the highway with a sign that says "COME GET YOUR VEGGIES."
Or, you could slave over a hot stove canning.
Orrrrr, you could freeze it all.  Honestly, I don't think I've ever canned once in my life.  We've always either eaten all the produce, or frozen it.  Not only does it keep you from heating your house about a million times warmer, but it keeps the food.  We've eaten frozen produce over a year old.
Of course, the food doesn't have the shelf life that canned food does, and takes up freezer space, but if you're anything like us, you'll be using it up pretty much as fast as you're stocking it.
One thing that has really come in handy for us is tomato juice.  Or is it sauce?  Whatever you want to call it.  Just grind your whole tomatoes up in a blender, pour it into freezer baggies (don't forget to put the year on the bag—might be kinda important), then stick it in the freezer!  We'll use this all year long for spaghetti sauce, tomato soup, enchiladas... pretty much anything that requires tomatoes.  And it's healthier than store-bought!
Onions also freeze super well.  Once again, grind them up (just don't puree them like tomatoes; that's kinda gross) and put them in the freezer, and whenever you need to cook with an onion yet don't have any fresh ones around, break off a chunk and throw it in the pot.  Works like a charm.
However, I definitely wouldn't recommend freezing green beans.  Yeah, we tried that once.

Well, have you done any of these?  Or all?  Great minds think alike!