Thankful Thursday Two

Goal: 2018 things for which to be thankful in 2018Thankful Thursday 02

2018 divided by 52 equals 38.8.

Each Thankful Thursday post should contain a list of 39 gratitudes, an average of five or six every day.

1. My job
2. Twila
3. Treva
4. Judy
5. Jayne
6. Martyn
7. Jackie
8. Solitude
9.  Jack P
10. Julie R
11. Anne
12. Clementines
13. Bananas
14. Pistachios
15. Salted Peanuts
16. Raw Peanuts
17. Peanut Butter
18. Orange Marmalade
19. Rye Bread
20. Potato Bread
21. Sparkling Water
22. Ice
23. Lingonberries
24. Ost Kaka
25. Potatiskorv
26. Swedish Heritage
27. Lindsborg, Kansas
28. Gypsum, Kansas
29. Salina, Kansas
30. Old Friendships
31. New Friendships
32. Electricity
33. Clear Skies
34. Scotch Tape
35. Mailing Labels
36. Envelopes
37. Greeting Cards
38. Wet Ones Singles
39. Nick Harrison


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So You Want to Write A Book

If you are writing a blog, chances are you have friends and family who will encourage you to write a book. That is both flattering and tempting. But your friends and family who are not writers have no idea how much work writing a book is nor how to go about it.

So let’s take stock.

Say you have a blog that you’ve been writing weekly for a couple of years and you have a hundred and some entries. Is that enough material for a book? Well that depends on the kind of book you want to write.

My first publication was a devotional gift book. It could have come from a blog. (It didn’t, but it could have.) There were forty or so pages, each with a devotion running to about 200 or 250 words. Let’s see, 40 x 250 = 10,000 words.

It was a small book, about seven by seven inches and less than half an inch thick. Harvest House, my publisher, found an artist who illustrated it beautifully. Her name is Audrey Jeanne Roberts. Her art work is the main draw of the book.

Proverbs 29:18 – Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.

My original vision for the book was to have a small devotional book that one could pick up and read a page in about two minutes of a morning and have a scripture and thought to carry a busy woman through her day.

Having a vision of a finished product and its purpose was critical to getting published. It was also critical in keeping me on task as I wrote it.

If you want to write a book, step one is to develop a vision for what it will be when finished and what it will do for the reader. That vision will keep you focused as you work on the manuscript.

Part of that vision is to decide what genre your book will fall into. Will your book be similar in type to something else you have read? Are you writing a DIY how-to make specialty soaps; or a complicated, character driven novel about multiple generations in a single family; or a cozy mystery; or a breezy romance; or a sci-fi thriller; or… ?

Each genre has a standard word count – and they are all different. For a comprehensive list of word counts, the Writers Digest blog has a definitive post here.

Let me insert right here the recommendation that you find and follow some of the more helpful blogs available online. Writers Digest is just one of them. There are teachers’ blogs, agents’ blogs, and social blogs which can be helpful. At the end of this series of blog posts, I will post a list of those that I follow.

Now that you have a vision of your finished product, you can take stock of your blog. Some of your blog entries will be useful. (If you are like me, some of them will need to be saved for a different vision.)

Is your blog content enough for the book, or is it just a springboard for more writing? Either way, you have a head start on your book.

Remember that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. And you are on your way.

More to come next Monday.


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Thankful Thursday Number One

Goal: 2018 things for which to be thankful in 2018

2018 divided by 52 equals 38.8.

Each Thankful Thursday post should contain a list of 39 gratitudes, an average of seven or eight every day.

  1. Arietta (Cathy’s new dog)
  2. Joe (friend-husband’s cattle dog)
  3. Clean water in the faucet
  4. Fingernails (growing stronger)
  5. A new book from a friend
  6. Oranges
  7. Myrtle (my new roomba)
  8. Finding the Thank You notes
  9. Brisk, cold air
  10. Gloves
  11. Infinity scarves
  12. Light bulbs
  13. Flecainide acetate (anti-arrhythmic)
  14. Friend-husband’s smile
  15. The laughter of a friend
  16. A call from daughter Number One
  17. Ami
  18. Mona
  19. Luke
  20. Isaiah
  21. Elijah
  22. Eric
  23. Memories of Dr. H. W. Graves
  24. The joy of watching clouds when I was a child
  25. My mother
  26. My grandmother
  27. My grandfather
  28. The library in Gypsum
  29. My friend Sally
  30. My friend Shirley
  31. My friend Marion
  32. My friend Shadia
  33. My friend Sandra
  34. My friend-husband
  35. BitOHoney
  36. Chocolate
  37. Dr. Bothwell
  38. The art of acupuncture

This list is by no means comprehensive. Just some of the things I thought about this week. Leave a comment with one thing you are thankful for today.

See you next Thankful Thursday.


Aarrgghh!!  My apologies. I thought I had scheduled this to post yesterday. I goofed.


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Happy new year to all my friends and family. This post is the beginning of a new resolution for me. I have neglected this blog for far too long.

During 2018, my goal is to post twice a week, Monday and Thursday. Thursday’s blog will simply be a list of things for which I am grateful. This is part of my participation in Shirley Corder’s challenge for Thankful Thursdays.

The idea is to find 2018 things for which to be grateful in 2018. That figures out to about 39 items per week or 7 or 8 items per day. The most challenging part is to make sure there are no duplicates.

That’s right – NO duplicates. These need to be narrow and specific, not broad and general. Good health is not a particularly good choice. That my tinnitus is not so loud today is a better one. Narrower and more specific.

The other portion of my resolution is to be more disciplined in my writing. I have several large writing goals on my desk. Without constant attention, they will never be completed.

I’m asking that you help me become accountable for this blog. If you are following it and don’t see a post when there should be one, please nudge me – on Facebook, in an email, or just holler.

So what is your current goal for the new year?  Perhaps we can help keep each other accountable and on track. Leave a comment, please.



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“When you fall, don’t get up empty handed. ”  — Unattributed

My morning session with cryptograms is quite prolific with writing prompts.  These quotes always make me stop and think. Most of them are long years of experience distilled into the fine wine of wisdom.

This one is particularly thought-provoking.

First it says “When you fall…”  It doesn’t say if you fall, or should you fall, or maybe you’ll fall.  It says WHEN!  It assumes you will fall. The only way not to fall is simply to sit still, not moving, not attempting anything, just vegetating.

My grandmother used to say “You cannot stub your toe unless you’re moving forward.”  Think about it. You’ll not stub your toe lying in bed or sitting in your recliner. You won’t even stub your toe if you’re walking backward or sidling crabwise around the corner. Only when walking forward can you stub your toe.

We humans seem to have trouble with walking forward. We tend to take side trips and fall down rabbit holes. We walk into things we know we should avoid and do so with our eyes wide open. Then we are confused and surprised when we are knocked flat on our kiesters. In our perverse arrogance, we seem to think we can do anything we wish and do it without negative consequences.

Balderdash! I’ve been a farmer’s wife too long not to recognize that aroma.

We’ve all seen this desk toy called Newton’s Cradle.  The prime law of physics states that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.  Every thing we do has a consequence.

 Even no action is an action. Doing nothing is a choice. And there are consequences for doing nothing, also.

So what are the likely consequences of our current action – or inaction?  That is the question.

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Last Week

Last week was most eventful.

Monday was our fifty-third wedding anniversary.

Tuesday was my seventy-eighth birthday.

Wednesday, I lost a daughter.

At least that’s how I thought of Patsy Terrell. When I told her I adopted daughters and wanted her as one, she didn’t seem to mind at all. We were in touch via Facebook as often as I was in touch with my eldest daughter in Florida.

Patsy and I met at a memoir workshop hosted by the Hutchinson Library, I believe in the fall of 2010, if memory serves. I was amazed that this beautiful young woman would choose to spend time with an old lady. But she approached me about having lunch together, which we did at Jillian’s.

When I asked her what made her want to know me, she said she liked having a wide range of friends. She knew that not everyone is like everyone else and that having friends of all persuasions can beautifully enrich one’s life.

We were very different – and very alike – in many ways. She was in her forties; I in my seventies. She was outgoing, attending virtually every public event in her reach; I was (and still am) constrained to a much narrower social life for a variety of reasons.

But we were both curious, life-long learners, with teachers’ hearts. She loved to travel, and I traveled with her vicariously, as she wrote about it and shared pictures on line.

Shortly after we met, Harvest House published my devotional gift book, As Grandma Says. Patsy asked if she could make a trailer for it. She wanted the practice. Just like everything she created, it was beautifully done.

Patsy enriched my life immeasurably.

I know that I am not the only one who misses her dreadfully.



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ACFW New Releases for April

American Christian Fiction Writers

April 2017 New Releases

More in-depth descriptions of these books can be found on the ACFW Fiction Finder website.

Contemporary Romance:
Sandpiper Cove by Irene Hannon — When a police chief and an ex-con join forces to keep a young man from falling into a life of crime, sparks fly. Given their backgrounds, it’s not a promising match—but in Hope Harbor, anything is possible. (Contemporary Romance from Revell [Baker])

Oh Baby by Delia Latham — Dawni Manors seeks peace in Angel Falls, Texas. What she finds is a cowboy, an abandoned infant, and emotional chaos. If the Heart’s Haven angels really are there, what in the world are they thinking? (Contemporary Romance from White Rose Publishing [Pelican])

A Fragile Hope by Cynthia Ruchti — Where does a relationship expert turn when his wife leaves him and carries a tiny heartbeat with her? (General from Abingdon Press)

Waiting for Butterflies by Karen Sargent — When tragedy strikes, Maggie discovers a mother’s love never ends–not even when her life does. Longing for her family after her sudden death, she becomes a lingering spirit and returns home where she helplessly witnesses her family’s downward spiral in the aftermath of her passing. Her husband is haunted by past mistakes and struggles to redeem himself. Her teenage daughter silently drowns in her own guilt, secretly believing she caused her mother’s death. Only her five-year-old, full of innocence, can sense her presence. Although limited by her family’s grief and lack of faith, Maggie is determined to keep a sacred promise and save her family before her second chance runs out. (General from Walrus Publishing [Amphorae Publishing Group])


Sunset in Old Savannah by Mary Ellis — When a philandering husband turns up dead, two crack detectives find more suspects than moss-draped oaks in charming old Savannah, including a scheming business partner, a resentful mistress, and a ne’er-do-well brother. (Mystery from Harvest House Publishers)

Above Rubies by Keely Brooke Keith — In 1863, young teacher Olivia Owens establishes the first school in the remote settlement of Good Springs while finding love. (Historical, Independently Published)

Historical Romance:


A Rose So Fair by Myra Johnson — Caleb Wieland would give anything to win farm girl Rose Linwood’s heart, but Rose’s stubborn independence is proving as thorny as the flower for which she’s named. (Historical Romance, Independently Published)

Under the Same Sky by Cynthia Roemer — In 1854 Illinois, Becky Hollister wants nothing more than to live out her days on the prairie, building a life for herself alongside her future husband. But when a tornado rips through her parents’ farm, killing her mother and sister, she must leave the only home she’s ever known and the man she’s begun to love to accompany her injured father to St. Louis.
Catapulted into a world of unknowns, Becky finds solace in corresponding with Matthew Brody, the handsome pastor back home. But when word comes that he is all but engaged to someone else, she must call upon her faith to decipher her future. (Historical Romance from Mantle Rock Publishing)
The Pony Express Romance Collection by Barbara Tifft Blakey, Mary Davis, Darlene Franklin, Cynthia Hickey, Maureen Lang, Debby Lee, Donna Schlachter, Connie Stevens and Pegg Thomas — Nine historical romances revive the brief era of the Pony Express. Join the race from Missouri, across the plains and mountains to California and back again as brave Pony Express riders and their supporters along the route work to get mail across country in just ten days. It is an outstanding task in the years 1860 to 1861, and only a few are up to the job. Faced with challenges of terrain, weather, hostile natives, sickness, and more, can these adventurous pioneers hold fast, and can they also find lasting love in the midst of daily trials? (Historical Romance from Barbour Publishing)

Romantic Suspense:
Plain Target by Dana R. Lynn — Horse trainer Jess McGrath only wants to clear her disgraced brother’s name, but enemies keep coming out of the woodwork and danger only gets closer. Jess soon learns that no place is safe—and no one can be trusted…except for the last white knight she’d ever expect to ride to her rescue. Paramedic Seth Travis was the boy behind her high school humiliation, but he’s also the man keeping her alive. When they find sanctuary in the Amish community, can they uncover answers in time to stop a killer—and resolve their past in time to build a future together? (Romantic Suspense from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

Dangerous Testimony by Dana Mentink — Four weeks before she’s set to testify at a gang murder trial, someone is determined to make sure that Candace Gallagher Andrews never takes the stand. When nowhere is safe for the private investigator or her little girl, Candace turns to the only person she can trust—longtime friend and former navy SEAL Marco Quidel. For Marco, protecting Candace is not just another duty. As the trial date nears and the killer stalks ever closer, Marco knows fear for the first time—the fear of losing Candace and her daughter. But while Marco begins seeing Candace as more than just a friend, her late husband’s memory is never far from her mind. So he must keep Candace alive—and not get emotionally involved—long enough to put away a killer. (Romantic Suspense from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

Deep Extraction by DiAnn Mills — Special Agent Tori Templeton is determined to find who killed her best friend’s husband. Tori finds an unexpected ally in the newest member of the task force, recently reinstated Deputy US Marshal Cole Jeffers. As Tori and Cole dig deeper into Nathan’s personal and business affairs, they uncover more than they bargained for. And the closer they get to finding the real killer?and to each other?the more intent someone is on silencing them for good. (Romantic Suspense from Tyndale House)

Final Verdict by Jessica R. Patch — When Aurora Daniels becomes the target of someone seeking their own twisted justice, Sheriff Beckett Marsh is the only one who can rescue her. As a public defender, Aurora has angered plenty of people in town—and in her past. And while Beckett constantly clashes with the feisty lawyer professionally, it’s his duty to protect and serve. Guarding her 24/7 is now his sole assignment. He may not have been able to save his fiancée from a dangerous felon, but he’ll do whatever it takes to keep Aurora alive. Even if working with her to catch and convict this ruthless killer puts his heart in the crosshairs. (Romantic Suspense from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

Guardian by Terri Reed — When a fellow FBI agent is kidnapped and a protected witness vanishes, Leo Gallagher will stop at nothing to find them both. So when he discovers a link between the case and a single mother in Wyoming, Leo and his trusty K-9 partner rush to question Alicia Duncan. Could she be the key to locating the missing persons? Not if a killer has anything to say about it. Someone is determined to keep Alicia from talking, so Leo and his chocolate Lab must keep her and her little boy safe on their family ranch. With danger lurking around every corner, Leo must work overtime to not lose another person who’s important to him. (Romantic Suspense from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

Witch by Denise Weimer — Having restored Michael Johnson’s ancestors’ house and apothecary shop and begun applying the lessons of family and forgiveness unearthed from the past, Jennifer Rushmore expects to complete her first preservation job with the simple relocation of a log home. But as her crew reconstructs the 1787 cabin, home to the first Dunham doctor, attacks on those involved throw suspicion on neighbors and friends alike. And while Jennifer has trusted God and Michael with the pain of her past, it appears Michael’s been keeping his own secrets. Will she use a dream job offer from Savannah as an escape, or will a haunting tale from a Colonial diary convince her to rely on the faithfulness of his love? (Romantic Suspense from Canterbury House Publishing)

Speculative Romance/Fantasy:The Fairetellings Series (Books 1 through 3) by Kristen Reed — Discover a trio of enchanting novellas inspired by three beloved fairy tales: Cinderella, Snow White, and Beauty and the Beast. (Speculative Romance/Fantasy, Independently Published)

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