Friday, October 31, 2008

Fun Friday!

I normally don't do these kinds of posts, but I needed a little break, so I decided to play. This is one of those "Get to Know Me" tag games, and I was tagged by Nicole over at Nicole's Writing Space. (If you haven't visited her, go check out her site - she's doing NaNoWriMo, and has some great tips for partipants, and lots of other tips for writers too!)

First, these are the rules:

1. Link to your tagger and list these rules on your blog.

2. Share 7 facts about yourself on your blog, some random, some weird.

3. Tag 7 people at the end of your post by leaving their names as well as links to their blog.

4. Let them know they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.

Seven Facts About Tracy:

1) I love - LOVE - to fly fish, and learned to use a flyrod by the time I was 5 years old. But I've never fished for trout - I've fished only in lakes in the South. (Bream are my absolute favorite fish - to catch and to eat.)

2) I signed my first book contract this week! Yaay! It's a travel book and will release next year.

3) I hate the winter time change. I wish it could stay the summer time change all year round. I've even written my Congressmen asking them to make it law - many times!

4) Critters seem to like me - beautiful, funky-looking squirrels in my yard entertain me daily, lizards like to come inside and visit, and even an armadillo stopped by for awhile this summer (thankfully he stayed outside.)

5) I think ocean water - real ocean water, not the fake stuff or the Sonic soft drink - is healing to our bodies, and I can never visit the ocean enough to satisfy!

6) I don't currently own a car. But we're thinking about getting me one. Maybe. (They're just too expensive.)

7) My two sons had a difficult upbringing, and I'm partially to blame. It's taken me years to use that word "partially" instead of "totally" but I eventually got there. Now my sons have reached adulthood and they are making smart, good choices for themselves, and for their lives and I am so incredibly proud and grateful to God for getting us all to this point. I'm also thankful to be friends with them - that's a rare gift, and I definitely don't take it for granted.

Now comes the fun part - tagging 7 more people!

Debra Ullrick - Christian Romance Writer

Rosebug Hive 40

Joy in the Mornings

Cheryl W - Life with Cheryl - Roll Tide, Woman, Roll Tide!

Roderick - Christian Life & Lessons

Christianity with Tracey

Christian Parenting

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Thursday, October 30, 2008

A Girl From A Small Town

I have commented before on my being a native Floridian. People are always surprised to meet someone who was born here and continues to live here. I am also a small town girl. Now, I say small relatively speaking.

Swans on Lake Morton, Lakeland, Florida
January 2001

A Beautiful Day, Lake Morton, Lakeland, Florida

I have been to smaller, less developed towns than where I currently live. But I have also been to big cities - Tampa, Atlanta. Frankly any building over 3 stories concerns me, not that we don't have a few taller than that here.

Ephraim M. Baynard House, 1894, Auburndale, Florida
August 2008

Ephriam M. Baynard House, built in 1894, Auburndale, Florida

The nearest town to me, Lakeland, Florida, was built in the late 1800's. Its downtown area has been preserved to have its original "turn of the century" feel. The Ephraim M. Baynard House, pictured above, is in the next town over. It was one of the first houses built there.

Old things fascinate me: old buildings, old furniture, old photographs. They tell the story of people's lives in days gone by. The family photograph below is always amusing to me when I look at it. One thing they teach you in Florida public schools is how old time Florida "crackers" lived. As you can see, my roots run deep!

The Combee Gang

the combee gang edit

Photography today is a product of all those who went before, all the Ansel Adams, Louis Daguerre's, and Matthew Brady's of the past. But it is also the events and people of the past: wars, presidents, and great disasters. Future generations will only learn from what older generations will teach them.

Your history, my history, no matter how insignificant it seems, is but a part of the fabric we all generate together. So go and take a photograph today!

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Suzanne Williams Photography

Suzanne Williams is a native Floridian, wife, and mother, with a penchant for spelling anything, who happens to love photography.



Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Entry #1: Recipe from Ohio

This recipe is submitted by Toni Star:

The following is a wonderful recipe that I learned from my grandma...It's stuffing that can be made, either around the holidays or anytime...

Break up about 10 cups of bread

Then heat up about a cup of butter or margarine, put in some chopped up celery and fresh white onion (about a 1/2 cup and simmer for about 15 minutes. Add the butter mixture to the bread, along with 2 cans of chicken noodle soup, and sprinkling of pepper and mix well. (The chicken noodle soup can also be substituted with mushroom soup, which adds a delicious flavor.)

Then, pour entire mixture into a greased pan and cook for about an hour. This dish can be topped with gravy or served by itself. It is delicious...



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E-Courses for Freelance Writers

An Interview with Janice Thompson

By Debbie Roome



We have a guest with us this week. Janice Thompson is a gifted author with over thirty books to her name. I asked her to tell us about the amazing selection of e-courses she offers through one of her websites. These courses are divided into six different groups: Fiction Writing, Non-Fiction, Professional, Creativity, The Christian Writer and Home School Package. Each group is further divided into individual topics, each offering a wealth of information. The price is great too. You can purchase one of these courses for as little as $10.

I know from experience that even a little professional training and advice can boost confidence, increase skill levels and open doors of opportunity. Read Janice’s interview and then pop over to her websites and see what she has on offer.


1) Tell us something about your journey to becoming a writer.

I started writing books in the 6th grade! (Seriously. . .I loved the Bobbsey Twins books, and when I ran out, I decided to write one of my own.) In high school I wrote a skit for a school production. Then, during my freshman year in college, I wrote a screenplay that was later produced in movie form. I started writing novels professionally in the late 90's and am thrilled to have over thirty books (fiction and non-fiction) now published, as well as 50+ magazine articles.

2) What type of writing do you do?

I write across the genres. I love inspirational romance, but also love comedy, so many of my books have a comedic flare. I've also written historical romances, cozy mysteries, chick-lit, juvenile fiction and non-fiction books (devotions and teaching books). On top of this, I've written multiple musical comedies for the stage. (My history is in theater.)

3) How did you learn to write?

I'm an avid reader, so much of what I learned came from osmosis. That said. . .I'm a firm believer in learning the craft. I can't say enough about writing conferences. I've been attending Mt. Hermon Christian Writers Conference (in northern California) since 1996. I'm also a long-standing member of ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) and attend/teach at their yearly conference.

4) What is the ultimate aim of your writing?

To glorify the Lord with the gifts He has given me and to tell compelling stories that will touch the hearts of my readers.

5) I see you offer a wide range of e-courses. What gave you the idea to write these?

I have a company called Writers GPS .Through that site I offer editing, e-courses and much, much more. I believe in stirring up the gifts, so anything I can do to help other authors, I love to do! I was prompted to write these courses in 2005 when my friends Eileen Key and Heather Tipton linked arms with me to start a writing-related service.

6) How long did it take you to set them all up?

I wrote the first fifteen courses in about a month's time (back in 2005). The rest have come in spurts. The more I learn about a particular subject, the more I have to share with others! (And trust me, I'm still on a learning curve, despite the publication of 30+ books!)

7) Tell us what is contained in a typical e-course.

I tried to choose really specific topics for my course. For example, two of the primary problems I see when editing manuscripts are 1). Passive Voice ("telling" when the author should be "showing") AND 2). POV issues (head-hopping). My course on POV gives very specific instructions for how to know if you've shifted POV's. It also uses examples to illustrate. I'm particularly thrilled to share specific information regarding sub-genres (cozies, for instance). There are some really specific rules for sub-genres and these courses help the reader understand those rules. . .and apply them.

8) What kind of feedback have you had from people who have done an e-course?

I have some amazing clients and many of them have offered comments/endorsements of my courses. Most would tell you that they like my easy-going, conversational style. And I'm tickled to say that many have vastly improved their writing after letting me mentor them (either through my courses or editing services).

9) How do we choose an e-course that meets our needs?

That will depend on your genre, primarily. I have a full set of courses for fiction authors and another for non-fiction authors. I also have courses for those interested in learning the "business" of writing. I'm particularly proud of my courses for homeschoolers. (I homeschooled my four daughters, so those courses are tried and true.)

10) What word of encouragement do you have for those just starting out in their writing careers?

Write what the Lord gives you and don't be discouraged. Learn the craft, but don't ever let the "teaching" of others supersede what the Lord is telling you.

Learn more about Janice and her books at Janice Thompson.





Debbie Roome works as a freelance writer from her home in New Zealand. Read some of her work at Suite 101 and Faithwriters.






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Monday, October 27, 2008

It's Another Carnival - Win GC & Books!

It's time for another BLOGGY CARNIVAL and this time we're giving away TWO prizes here at Pix-N-Pens, AND one prize each at my other blogs - Vacation Planning and Peace and Quiet.



Contest rules are simple - just look through the posts made here at Pix-N-Pens any time during September or October and leave at least one comment on at least one of those posts - other than this one. The comments must apply to the post, and consist of more than just "great post." (ENTRIES NOT ABIDING BY THIS SINGLE RULE WILL BE DISQUALIFIED.) You may enter up to 5 (five) times, but each entry must be on a different post and must apply to that particular post. This is a great way to explore our new look to see all that Pix-N-Pens has to offer. If you're interested in a particular subject, just click one of the tabs at the top, and those are the posts you'll see. You'll find Contests, Opinions (listed under Viewpoints), Freelance Writing articles, Photography tips and lessons, Editing Tips, Book Reviews, Featured Authors, and more. And we're having another fun contest this week too - a recipe contest - so check it out for another opportunity!

When you make a comment, please make sure to leave an e-mail address or post using your google account so I have a way to contact you if you win. If I don't have a way to contact you directly, I will choose another winner. Enter by midnight October 31st for your chance to win!

I'll draw two names this time - one winner will receive a box of 15 books (priced $10.99-$15.99 each) and the other will receive a $25 Amazon gift card. The winner will be announced the following week.

For more contests going on this week - check over a Bloggy Carnival for a HUGE list! And don't forget to check my other blogs, too! (Listed above)

We have another contest going on here this week - Virginia Smith's RECIPE contest - so check out that post for chance to win a copy of her latest book - a great mystery/suspense!

P.S. Two of my dearest friends are also participating in the Bloggy Carnival, so check out their blogs, too!

Amy Barkman

Vicki Tiede


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New Contest: Recipes!

This week, we welcome back one of our favorite Pixels, Virginia Smith, as we celebrate the release of her latest book. I'll give you my review and then I'll let her tell you all about the contest and the book.




Tracy's review of A Taste of Murder - it's one of my favorites of Ginny's mysteries. She gives us real characters we care about, plenty of suspense with lots of twists and turns, and the setting - well, let's just say that I keep LOOKING for festivals like this to attend, and I've decided I'm going to have to make it to Kentucky for the one she mentions below! But I do give one small piece of advice if you decide to attend one yourself - RUN if you're asked to judge a beauty pageant! You'll have to read Ginny's book to find out WHY!




Now, here's Ginny:


I love food. If you’ve read any of my books, I’m sure you know that. In fact, the theme of my first mystery was based on one of my favorite food items – Murder by Mushroom. And my latest mystery/suspense novel, A Taste of Murder, was also inspired by food.

Every year, Owensboro, Kentucky, hosts the International Bar-B-Q Festival, and they’re home to some of the most awesome barbeque in the world. I’m not kidding. But the festival also features another major attraction, one that you might not have heard of: burgoo.


For the uninitiated, burgoo is a sort of stew made with various kinds of meat. The origins of burgoo are undocumented, but most people acknowledge its roots from way back in the days of the early American settlers, who tossed various kinds of game into a pot and called it dinner. It has changed over the years, but burgoo still contains an assortment of meats. That’s where burgoo got its reputation of “road kill stew.” Here’s a quote from A Taste of Murder:



Liz wrinkled her nose as she, too, pushed into the room. “What is burgoo?”


Jazzy grinned at her. “Your Oregon roots are showing. Every good Kentuckian knows what burgoo is.”


“It’s sort of a stew,” Caitlin explained.


“It’s made with several different kinds of meat and vegetables and spices. People in Kentucky, especially in mountains and small towns like Waynesboro, are as proud of their secret burgoo recipes as Texans are of their chili recipes.”


“I like chili.” Liz tossed her suitcase on a bed. “What kind of meat’s in it?”


Jazzy followed them inside past the closed bathroom door.


“Well, here’s what an old guy from eastern Kentucky told me when I asked that question.” She affected a hillbilly drawl. “Hit’s got whatever road kill we pick up ‘at day. Coon. Squirrel. Possum burgoo makes good eatin’, long as it ain’t bin layin’ there more’n a day or two.”


Liz’s mouth twisted. “That is disgusting.”


(from A Taste of Murder)




The first time I heard of burgoo, that’s exactly how it was described to me. I knew that had to come into a book sometime, so I wove it into A Taste of Murder.

Now it’s your turn. I’d love to hear about the unique dishes around your home town. To enter this week’s contest, submit a description of a local dish along with the recipe. I’ll select a winner at random from among the entries, and when I announce the winner, I’ll also give you a recipe for authentic Kentucky Burgoo!


Submit your entries to Tracy by e-mail, and she'll post them here at Pix-N-Pens as they come in. Deadline is this Friday, midnight.

I’m looking forward to all those recipes!



TRACY here: I'm looking forward to them, too, so let's get busy! I may even make some of them myself, and post some photos. Too bad we don't have "Smell" button on our computers.



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Blog Tour: Distant Heart



This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Dangerous Heart

Avon Inspire (October 14, 2008)

by

Tracey Bateman




ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Tracey Bateman published her first novel in 2000 and has been busy ever since. There are two other books in the Westward Hearts Series, Defiant Heart (#1) and Distant Heart (#2).

She learned to write by writing, and improved by listening to critique partners and editors. She has sold over 30 books in six years. She became a member of American Christian Fiction Writers in the early months of its inception in 2000 and served as president for a year. Tracey loves Sci-fi, Lifetime movies, and Days of Our Lives (this is out of a 21 year habit of watching, rather than enjoyment of current storylines.)

She has been married to her husband Rusty for 18 years, has four kids, and lives in Lebanon, Missouri.


ABOUT THE BOOK:

For the past seven years, Ginger Freeman has had one goal: find Grant Kelley and make him pay for allowing her brother to die. Growing up motherless with a father who leads an outlaw gang, Ginger isn’t exactly peaches and cream. So when she finally tracks down Grant on a wagon train headed west, she figured providence had stepped in and given her the chance she’s been waiting for.

On the wagon train, finally surrounded by a sense of family and under the nurturing eye of Toni Rodde, Ginger begins to lose her rough edges. She’s made friends for the first time and has become part of something bigger than revenge. Not only has her heart softened toward people in general, but God has become a reality she never understood before. And watching Grant doctor the pioneers, she’s realized she can’t just kill him and leave the train without medical care. Putting her anger aside, before long, Ginger’s a functioning part of the group.

But when the outlaw gang, headed by her pa, shows up and infiltrates the wagon train, she is forced to question her decision. Only self-sacrifice and her new relationship with God can make things right. But it might also means she loses everything she’s begun to hold dear.

To read from the first chapter of Dangerous Heart, click HERE.



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Sunday, October 26, 2008

We have winners!

We had two comments on the "Do You Trust Me?" post, so Melissa and Stephanie, you'll both receive a copy of Cheryl's tremendous book! Please send me your mailing addresses, and I'll ship the books to you.

Congratulations!!



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Saturday, October 25, 2008

Welcome to Kathy Ide!

We're pleased and thrilled to announce that editor and writer Kathy Ide will join us here at Pix-N-Pens as a weekly columnist. Her posts will appear each Friday, and at first, she'll help us polish the PUGS in our writing, and later on, she'll share other editing advice, tips, and leads for freelance writers.

I'm posting Kathy's first article here today, but look for her column regularly on Fridays.


Pixels, please give Kathy a big WELCOME!!


PUGS POINTERS
BY KATHY IDE



In this column, freelance author, editor, and speaker Kathy Ide shares tips on Punctuation, Usage, Grammar, and Spelling (“PUGS”). She also explains why it’s important for writers to polish their PUGS.

Each article in this column will address one item in each area.

For more PUGS Pointers, see Kathy Ide’s Web site. Or purchase her book Polishing the PUGS here.

PUGS Pointers are based on the current industry-standard references in the United States.

For books:

The Chicago Manual of Style (15th edition, © 2003)
Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary (11th edition, © 2003)

For articles:

The Associated Press Stylebook (© 2004)
Webster’s New World College Dictionary (© 2002)

Many publishing houses have their own in-house style guides that may differ in some aspects from the standard references. However, unless you’re writing exclusively for one particular publisher, it’s best to follow the standard references and let the in-house proofreaders adjust to house style.


WHY POLISH YOUR PUGS?

Literary agent Richard Curtis wrote (in The Christian Communicator, June 2001):
It was not long ago that the prevailing attitude among editors was, “This book has some problems, but the author is so talented that I’d like to buy it and work with him.” Today such words are rarely heard. A book with problems is a book rejected.

Editors receive so many manuscripts from so many authors every day, they can afford to reject them for the most miniscule reasons. Don’t let PUGS errors cause your manuscript to be rejected!


PUNCTUATION TIP:

Capitalization of Family Relationships

“Kinship names” (father, brother, etc.) are lowercased when used generically (“the youngest mother in the group,” for example) or when preceded by a modifier (“my dad,” “your mom,” “our brother,” etc.).

When used before a proper name, or alone in place of the name, kinship names are capitalized.

Examples:

“I know that Mother’s middle name is Janice.”
“Will Aunt Becky be singing?”
“Will her uncle Ed be at the book signing?”
“Hey, Dad, are we going fishing today?”

(See The Chicago Manual of Style, Rule #8.39 and The Associated Press Stylebook, page 91-92.)


USAGE TIP:

any more/anymore

any more (adjective) means “any additional.”
“I don’t want to hear any more backtalk from you!” hollered Cindy.

anymore (adverb) means “any longer.”
“I don’t want to listen to you anymore,” cried Linda.

NOTE: Adjectives modify nouns. Adverbs modify adjectives, adverbs, or verbs.


GRAMMAR TIP:

each other vs. one another

Use each other when referring to two.
“Angie and Gwen discussed the book with each other.”

Use one another when referring to more than two.
“The critique group members discussed their manuscripts with one another.”


SPELLING TIP:

good-bye (with a hyphen) if you’re writing books (or short stories that will be included in books).

goodbye (without a hyphen) if you’re writing articles (for magazines, newspapers, or most newsletters).



AUTHOR BIO:

Kathy Ide has been a published author/coauthor/ghostwriter of books, articles, play and movie scripts, short stories, devotionals, and curriculum since 1988. She is a full-time freelance editor/proofreader for aspiring writers, established authors, commercial book publishers, subsidy publishers, and magazines. She also speaks at writers conferences across the country. She is the founder and coordinator of The Christian PEN: Proofreaders and Editors Network. To find out more, please visit her Web site.





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Saturday Soapbox

I've decided I'm going to start a new column called Saturday Soapbox - here I'll post random thoughts as a way to inform, or question, or learn myself. I won't post every Saturday, but at least I'll have an outlet when something arises.

This week, my thoughts are on the election - the longest election process in the history of mankind I think. I have ulcers and gray hair to prove it!

Instead of making feeble attempts to share my thoughts and opinions, I decided to send some links your way. These posts are much more eloquent and thoughtful than I could produce, and I ask that you give each your attention.

Posts from the writing community:

Read this letter by Orson Scott Card - a writer, Democrat, and Mormon: Would the Last Honest Reporter Please Turn On the Lights.

Randy Alcorn

Angela Hunt

Rachel Hauck

And some other links I've found recently:

Faith and Facts

Catholic Vote

Raging Rev

Be sure to check out this powerful, moving video. It's not long - just under 4 minutes - and well worth every second. As you think over the election, remember that ONE vote - YOUR vote - does count.



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Thursday, October 23, 2008

A Little Bit Of Orange

October is traditionally the month people everywhere begin to experience autumn. Temperatures turn cooler. Leaves begin to change colors. The world seems brighter and fresher. There's Thanksgiving and Christmas around the corner - holidays, friends, families, gifts, good food.

Here in Florida we dream of the same things, but we approach them a little differently because for the most part we don't have the traditional autumn. Any true Floridian knows how the air feels "different" when you get to the end of October. Our idea of a fall temperature is 73 (F) for a high and 59 for a low. (Trust me. When your summer temperatures are 95 (F) or higher with a humidity of 90%, then 73 feels pretty good!) Our fall color isn't usually leaves, but flowers, and we sigh realizing the grass has finally quit growing.

And then there's the decorations...

Floridians make up for their lack of autumn color by redecorating the front stoop. Out come all the plastic and silk autumn flower wreaths saved from last year and the years before that. The truly creative Floridian will buy an actual pumpkin from a church pumpkin lot or a potted mum from the grocery store. Outwardly nothing has really changed. The oak trees are still green. The sky is still blue. But there is now that little bit of orange to make it "feel" like autumn.

So I went out this year to find my spot of orange, and in my quest I came across a butterfly. Butterflies are plentiful here. Certain species can be seen year round. If you plant the right flowers, you can have fluttering wings of a multitude of colors right in your garden. But the butterfly I found this day was orange.

Phaon Crescent Butterfly

Phaon Crescent Butterfly


It was no matter to me that it was only about 2 inches across, that it was in the green grass, underneath a blue, sunny sky. It was orange, and I am now satisfied. Winter can come with it's 50 degree temperatures because I will just bundle up in my sweater and smile. Autumn came for me in the form of a small orange butterfly.

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Suzanne Williams Photography
Florida, USA

Suzanne Williams is a native Floridian, wife, and mother, with a penchant for spelling anything, who happens to love photography.


Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Finding Freelance Work on the Internet

Sourcing Work on the Internet

The internet has revolutionized the world of freelance writing and opened up an amazing range of opportunities, even for the newest writers. The biggest question asked is where can I source work? Without having some understanding of the internet and the way websites operate, it can be a very confusing business.

Common Terms
The first step is to understand some of the terms that are used in connection with the internet.

· Domain – A domain name locates an organization or other entity on the internet. For example, http://www.suite101.com/ is the domain name for Suite101, an article directory.

· URL – Uniform or Universal Resource Locator. This is the address of a resource or a file available on the internet. The following is the URL of one of my articles in Suite 101.
http://research-writing-techniques.suite101.com/article.cfm/dialogue_spices_up_fiction

· SEO – Search Engine Optimization. This is the process of improving the quality and flow of traffic to a website. When doing a search, the articles that pop up first on the list, are those that rank highest on the search engine. This optimization is achieved by a combination of keywords and content. Keywords are important when writing for the internet as they bring your article up when people do a search.

· HTML – Hyper Text Markup Language. This the computer language used to create documents for display on the World Wide Web.


· HTTP – Hyper Text Transfer Protocol. This is the set of rules that governs the transfer of documents and files across the internet. It appears at the beginning of every internet address.

What are People Looking for
There are websites that analyze the most common word searches of the day/week/month. It can be helpful to look through these as they give you an idea of the type of thing people are reading. Some subjects may be a short-lived trend and others are stable favorites. If writing web content, it will be useful to keep an eye on these sites.

http://www.nichebot.com/
http://www.wordtracker.com/
http://www.top-adsense-keywords.com/
http://www.google.com/trends/hottrends

Searching the Internet

There are dozens of websites that offer links to freelance work opportunities. The best way to find suitable sites is by doing a word search relating to the type of work you are seeking. For example, if you want work that involves writing articles, you could enter the following words: freelance writing jobs articles. Placing inverted commas around the words will narrow the search to links that contain the words in that order only. I entered this search on Google, and without the commas, it listed 631,000 results. With the commas, it listed only 72.

Metasearch Engines

These link several search engines and run a search over all of them, saving time and effort. Here are a couple for you to try out:

http://clusty.com/
http://www.dogpile.com/
http://www.ixquick.com/

What Do Job Sites offer

There are several different ways that they operate. Some provide the information for free and others charge a monthly subscription. Some offer low paying market information for free and charge a fee for accessing the higher paying markets. Others act as a go between and charge commission on all work that is done through them. A variation on this, is sites that allow writers to bid on projects and the most suitable gets the job. There is normally a fee involved. Article databases accept articles from writers and the writer is paid according to the number of clicks made on the adverts that accompany their article page.

How Do I Choose What Suits me

The best way is to set aside a morning or an afternoon, and browse through some websites. Make notes on how they operate and how many jobs are on offer that would suit you. Decide whether you want to join up to a paying membership or would prefer to stick to the free resources. Then narrow your search down and find some work.

Links

Below are some links to get your started on your search.

Freelance Writing Gigs

job leads and advice posted daily and article markets posted on Monday. One of the best sites online for freelancers.

All Freelance Writing

job listings and advice columns

Journalism Jobs

mostly jobs with a physical location, but there is a search option for telecommute position in the drop-down menu

Media Bistro

paying membership to display your profile to prospective clients

Write Jobs

listings of all kinds of writing jobs

Funds for Writers

newsletters, lists of grants, and jobs for writers, including a separate listing for children and college kids

ProBlogger

blogging tips and resources

Writers Gazette

online writing community. Free newsletters and resources.

Writers Weekly

lots of stuff for writers including free job listings

Worldwide Freelance

free links to low paying markets. Subscriptions from $1.25 per month for access to higher paying markets

Odesk

work is monitored through odesk and a commission is paid to them. Offers free and paid memberships

Freelance Writing

links to freelance writing jobs and writing contests

Freelance Switch

resources and links to freelance writing job sites

Elance

free and paid membership

Writing for Dollars

Offers free ebook – 83 Ways to Make Money Writing, weekly job listing, newsletter

Freelance Jobs

job links and advice

Article Directories

The following sites accept articles on virtually any subject and payment is according to the number of reads and ads clicked on. It’s a slow process but the articles remain online indefinitely, creating a passive stream of income. Most of the sites purchase all rights, so read the fine print before you sign up.

Suite 101
Helium
Triond
eHow

Demand Studios

Have a browse and let me know if you pick up any work through these sites. It’s always encouraging to hear success stories. Happy hunting!


Debbie Roome works as a freelance writer from her home in New Zealand. Read some of her work at Suite 101 and Faithwriters.



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Monday, October 20, 2008

Do You Trust Me?

First things first, this morning. My younger son turns 20 today - Happy Birthday, Jonathan! We love you!

Now back to the regularly scheduled post.


Many of you know that I make my living as a freelance editor and writer. A few weeks ago, I received a package in the mail, from one of my clients. It was a copy of her first book - one that I edited! I was so thrilled - holding Do You Trust Me? was like holding a newborn in my hands!


Today, I want to tell you a bit about her book, and we're going to give away 2 autographed copies!


Cheryl Cunnagin has a powerful, heartbreaking, joyful story to share of her faith journey. God posed this question to her "Do You Trust Me?" and then her life took some unexpected and painful turns. Cheryl is a mother, minister, speaker, and former police officer with a beautiful heart for people worldwide. I'm honored that I had the opportunity to work with her, and my life has been changed because of her book. I'm sure it will change yours too.


This week, we're going to make the contest easy. Just leave a comment below, sharing an experience when YOU had to trust God. Everyone leaving a comment, sharing an experience, will be registered to win a copy of Cheryl's book in a random drawing. We'll draw two names this week!


We'll announce the winner Saturday.


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Thursday, October 16, 2008

Moonglow

I don't know when it happened, but at some point in my life I quit going out after dark. It could have been when my daughter was born. Her early bedtimes meant no more late nights for mom and dad. I distinctly remember the first time my husband and I went out to dinner without her. We sat across the restaurant table and stared at each other thinking the same thought, "What was she doing right now?" Parenthood is a grand thing. Children will always amaze you. But your lifestyle does alter to accommodate those small lives.

Yet once in a while, I am given an opportunity to go out after dark. I find the world at night to be an amazing place. As the darkness removes what my eyes can see, I am forced to use my hearing instead. And it is a great way to develop listening skills. Bernie Krause, a professional nature recordist, once put a twist I liked on a famous saying. He stated, "If a picture paints a thousand words, then a sound paints a thousand pictures." Perhaps that is it, the mystery of what is out there that I cannot see that appeals to me. It is all those pictures the mind generates.

Photographing the moon can be a fun project for you to do with a child. It helps to be able to zoom in, but it is not a prerequisite. By making use of the sweep of the clouds, this tiny pinpoint moon gives scale to the scope of the sky.

It Must Have Been Moonglow
September 6, 2003

It Must Have Been Moonglow

Also, notice in the above image that it was not quite dark. Surprisingly, photographing a full moon requires a faster shutter speed than is commonly believed. You will need to eliminate some of the light from the moon to capture its details. I usually spot meter on the moon itself. This last photo was hand-held. The addition of some drifting clouds gives it an eerie feel, but actually, it was quite peaceful and silent.

A Full Moon Night
October 14, 2008

Moonglow



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Suzanne Williams Photography
Florida, USA

Suzanne Williams is a native Floridian, wife, and mother, with a penchant for spelling anything, who happens to love photography.



This book has perfect timing!

I waited until today to post my review of A Beautiful Fall because I was still reading it yesterday and wanted to let you know about it. I LOVED IT! I kept thinking as I read it that it reminded me of someone or something, but couldn't figure out what until this morning. And the reason it's such good timing - fall temperatures finally arrive here at my home TOMORROW! :-)



If you liked Rachel Hauck's books - Sweet Caroline and Love Starts with Elle - then you'll love this book too. It has the same sort of "flavor" - great characters with depth, a small town charm, an enjoyable story that keeps you turning pages to see what happens next.




This week, the


Christian Fiction Blog Alliance


is introducing


A Beautiful Fall


David C. Cook (October 2008)


by


Chris Coppernoll




ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Chris Coppernoll is the founder of Soul2Soul Ministries, with his interviews with Christian artists airing weekly on 650 radio outlets in thirty countries. He has conducted hundreds of interviews on faith issues with personalities such as Amy Grant, Max Lucado, Michael W. Smith, and Kathie Lee Gifford. He also serves as a Deacon at The People’s Church in Franklin, Tennessee, and is currently working toward a Masters in Ministry Leadership degree through Rockbridge Seminary.

His "Inspirations" column is published monthly in the mid Michigan newspaper, The Jackson Citizen Patriot. Chris Coppernoll is the author of four other books including Soul2Soul, Secrets of a Faith Well Lived, and God's Calling. Providence, his first novel, is his fourth book.

ABOUT THE BOOK:

High-powered Boston attorney Emma Madison is celebrating her latest courtroom victory when she gets a call from a number she doesn't recognize. Area code 803 home. Juneberry, South Carolina eight hundred miles, twelve years, and a lifetime away from Boston. Emma's father has had a serious heart attack. Emma rushes to his bedside, and a weekend trip threatens to become an extended stay. She has to work fast to arrange the affairs of his small-town law practice so she can return to her life and career in Boston.

And then Michael Evans shows up. They'd shared hopes, dreams, and a passionate love as young college students during a long-ago summer. But Emma walked away from Michael and from Juneberry to finish college and start a new life. Michael has never forgotten her.

Enveloped in the warmth of family and small-town life and discovering that she still cares for Michael Emma knows she'll have to make a choice between the career she's worked so hard to build and the love she left behind.

To read the first chapter of A Beautiful Fall, click HERE.



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Wednesday, October 15, 2008

How to Choose a Subject to Write about

I Don’t Know what to Write

Many new writers find that one of their biggest problems is choosing what to write about. There are several ways to overcome this and they all center around what you know. As you grow in skill and experience, it becomes easier to write on different subjects, but to begin with, it’s best to stick with topics that are closer to home.

What are Your Interests
Sit down and make a list of your interests. Include everything you can think of, even if you’ve never actually pursued it. Now make another list of five article titles to go with each interest. For example, if you are passionate about dogs, possible articles could include:

· Breeding Jack Russell Terriers
· How to Choose the Best Kennel for my Dog
· What should a Vet Check Include
· Common Illnesses in Dogs
· Exercise Routines for Large Dogs

Then make a list of resources that you could use to write an informative article about each of these. Think of every angle and you’ll be surprised at how many ideas come to mind. For the above topics, I thought of the following: libraries, kennel clubs, dog breeding associations, veterinarian offices, SPCA, dog agility classes, council operated dog parks, pet shops and pet food manufacturers.

What are Your Qualifications
What college courses, degrees, diplomas and training do you have? Even if it’s something you’ve never pursued a career in, you still have a solid foundation of knowledge in those areas. That knowledge can be the starting point for a whole array of features and articles. Let’s say you did a year-long catering course. Possible articles could include:

· Food Preparation and Safety
· Catering for Christmas
· What Vegetables Work Together
· Sweet and Savoury Sauces
· Baking the Perfect Cupcake

What are You Experienced in
People sometimes fall into a career and learn as they go, without the benefits of formal training. In many cases, job experience is just as important as a paper saying you can do it. The same applies with writing. If you know a subject, you can write on it. If you worked as a shop assistant for ten years, there is a wealth of information waiting to be drawn out of you. Think along the lines of:

· Customer Service with a Smile
· How to Recognize a Potential Shoplifter
· Working in the World of Retail
· Is the Customer Always Right
· Maintaining Stock Levels

Possible Subjects
There are hundreds of publications and websites that accept freelance work. Some are highly specialized and others cover a wide range of subject matter. Here is a list of possible topics to kick start your creativity:

· Allergies
· Animals
· Advertising and Marketing
· Architecture and Building
· Armed Services
· Art, Music and Entertainment
· Boating
· Business
· Cars
· Childcare
· Christianity
· Computers
· Education
· Environment
· Farming
· Food
· Health
· History and Genealogy
· Home and Garden
· Lifestyle
· Property
· Science
· Senior Citizens
· Sport
· Travel and Tourism
· Weddings
· Women’s Interests
· Young People

This is just a brief overview of some topics of interest. Each can be subdivided into dozens of other categories. The main thing is to be aware that there’s a huge market out there and plenty of writers are needed to produce the words. Make a list of subjects you can write about and next week we’ll look at how to find the correct market for them. I’ll be including lots of links to get you going, so be sure to come back for a look.


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Debbie Roome works as a freelance writer from her home in New Zealand. Read some of her work at Suite 101 and Faithwriters.


Tuesday, October 14, 2008

New Publishing Company

J.M. Hochstetler, our special guest judge for this week's contest, recently founded a new publishing company and I'm thrilled to share information about her unique company.

Sheaf House Publishers is an independent small press based in the Nashville, Tennesee, area that publishes fiction exclusively. Sheaf House focuses on publishing entertaining, out-of-the-ordinary inspirational stories that offer positive, uplifting themes.

Sheaf House is a proud member of the Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA) and of Christian Small Publishers Association (CSPA). Sheaf House books are distributed by APG Sales and Distribution in Nashville, Tennessee, and are available in bookstores and online as well as at Sheaf House.

The 2008 Sheaf House releases are:


April 2008
One Holy Night
By J. M. Hochstetler
Contemporary Women’s Fiction
ISBN 978-0-9797485-0-9
$12.99

On this bleak Christmas Eve God has in mind a miracle. As on that holy night so long ago … in a world torn by sin and strife … to a family that has suffered heart-wrenching loss … there will be born a baby …

Destined to become a classic for all seasons, One Holy Night retells the Christmas story in a strikingly original way—through the discovery of a baby abandoned in the manger of a church’s nativity scene. This moving inspirational story will warm readers’ hearts with hope and joy long after they finish reading.

September 2008
It’s Not About Me
By Michelle Sutton
A Second Glances Novel, Book 1
Young Adult Contemporary Romance
ISBN: 978-0-9797485-1-6
$12.99

Annie has it all. She’s attractive, graduated with honors, was accepted at the college of her choice, has supportive parents, good friends, and a steady boyfriend who loves her. But one night Annie’s safe world is shattered. As she fights to put the pieces of her life back together, against her will she is caught in a war between two brothers, both of whom claim to have her best interests at heart. Who will Annie choose? And will she finally come to know the One whose love will never fail, even in her darkest hour? Will she learn the truth about life—that it’s not about “me”?

October 2008
The Case of the Bouncing Grandma
By A. K. Arenz
A Bouncing Grandma Mystery, Book 1
Cozy mystery
ISBN: 978-0-9797485-2-3
$12.99

Reduced to watching new neighbors move in as a form of amusement, Glory Harper is stuck in a wheelchair with a broken leg, bored and itching for excitement. She just doesn’t expect it to come in the form of a foot dangling out the back of a carpet being carried into her new neighbor’s house—and a detective who could pass for Harrison Ford.







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Monday, October 13, 2008

Contest: It's Christmas in October!

This week, I'm pleased to welcome J. M. Hochstetler as our special guest judge. Joan is a busy person these days - as writer, editor, and publisher - so we'll share some of her bio today, and information about her publishing company tomorrow.


Here are the contest details:

Submit a scene or short story, 1500 words or less, with a Christmas theme. E-mail your entries to me by Friday for your chance to win an autographed copy of Joan's latest release. I'll post the entries as they arrive, and we'll announce a winner over the weekend.


About the book:


On this bleak Christmas Eve God has in mind a miracle. As on that holy night so long ago … in a world torn by sin and strife … to a family that has suffered heart-wrenching loss … there will be born a baby …

Destined to become a classic for all seasons, One Holy Night retells the Christmas story in a strikingly original way—through the discovery of a baby abandoned in the manger of a church’s nativity scene. This moving inspirational story will warm readers’ hearts with hope and joy long after they finish reading.







About the Author:


J. M. Hochstetler is the author of One Holy Night, a modern-day nativity story that retells the story of Jesus’ birth for today’s readers. Joan’s previous books are Daughter of Liberty and Native Son, books 1 and 2 of the American Patriot Series set during the American Revolution. Book 3, Wind of the Spirit, will release in January 2009.

Born and reared in central Indiana, the daughter of Mennonite farmers, Joan graduated from Indiana University cum laude, with a degree in Germanic languages. She currently resides near Nashville, Tennessee, where she was an editor with Abingdon Press for twelve years. In 2006 she founded her own independent small press, Sheaf House, to publish out-of-the-ordinary inspirational fiction.

Joan’s interest in the American colonial and Revolutionary War eras grew out of the experiences of her Anabaptist ancestors who immigrated to America from Europe seeking religious freedom. With her cousin, author Bob Hostetler, she is writing a novel titled Northkill that is based on the massacre of three of their Amish Mennonite ancestors on the Pennsylvania frontier during the French and Indian War, the Indian captivity of the attack’s survivors, and their eventual return home.

Learn more about the books at these blogs: One Holy Night , and The American Patriot Series .

You’ll also find Joan online on the Favorite PASTimes Historical Fiction blog, the Middle Tennessee Christian Writers blog, Edgy Inspirational Fiction Lovers , and Historical Fiction Books.


Tomorrow, we'll share information about Joan's publishing company, Sheaf House.


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Friday, October 10, 2008

Entry #1: Starting Over

Starting Over Again When Your Life has been Shattered

by Marie Wactor



When I was 24, I was divorced and then a year later my father died. I lived with my parents at the time when all of this happened. You talk about a challenge! How do you explain the loss? Everything changes. So many questions enter your head, what happened, why, what is God doing, etc.

Then I thought about how nothing is tangible except the love of Jesus. I cried about everything that I had lost and how things change, friendships, family, careers, etc. Everything WILL CHANGE except the love of Jesus. That was when it hit me! The reality of life, IT WILL CONSTANTLY CHANGE AND THAT’S ALRIGHT! As long as I can have one thing that is tangible, that won’t ever change, we will be alright! That moment changed my life forever. I’ve learned to embrace change and not fear it so much.

All of us have only one life, but God gives us a chance to live it differently and that is a blessing in itself. I know that one day I will see my father again, and even though I have no contact with my former husband, I hope and pray that he will be heaven. Because that is more important than anything, the Love Of Jesus. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart …” (Proverbs 3: 5-6)


Submitted by

Marie Wactor


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Why I Can't Vote for Obama

Tuesday morning, I received an email with a letter purportedly written by Huntley Brown, a renowned, award-winning Christian pianist. With all the garbage floating around, I did some research and contacted Mr. Brown myself to confirm that he did indeed write the letter. I asked for permission to print it here, and he graciously agreed. I also encouraged him to submit it to some local newspapers - his words are filled with a wisdom this country sorely needs to hear.

Warning - there is one portion of this that is EXTREMELY graphic, and will easily make most of us sick to our stomachs. I have put a warning just before it, and a notice afterwards, and made the text a little smaller, so that if you want to avoid it you may do so. Just scroll past it. I felt it important to leave intact, because of the message Mr. Brown is conveying. We do not want to offend anyone, so please be advised.


Why I Can't Vote For Obama
By Huntley Brown



Dear Friends,

A few months ago I was asked for my perspective on Obama, I sent out an e-mail with a few points. With the election just around the corner I decided to complete my perspective. Those of you on my e-list have seen some of this before but its worth repeating.

First I must say who ever wins the election will have my prayer support. Obama needs to be commended for his accomplishments but I need to explain why I will not be voting for him.

Many of my friends process their identity through their blackness.

I process my identity through Christ. Being a Christian (a Christ follower) means he leads, I follow. I can't dictate the terms he does because he is the leader.

I can't vote black because I am black. I have to vote Christian because that's who I am. Christian first black second. Neither should anyone from the other ethnic groups vote because of ethnicity. 200 years from now I won't be asked if I was black or white. I will be asked if I know Jesus and accepted him as Lord and Savior.

In an election there are many issues to consider but when a society gets abortion, same-sex marriage, embryonic stem-cell research, human cloning to name a few wrong economic concerns will soon not matter.

We need to follow Martin Luther King's words don't judge someone by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. I don't know Obama so all I can go off is his voting record.

His voting record earned him the title of the most liberal senator in the US Senate in 2007.

NATIONAL JOURNAL: Obama: Most Liberal Senator in 2007 (01/31/2008)

To beat Ted Kennedy and Hilary Clinton as the most liberal senator, takes some doing.
Obama accomplished this feat in 2 short years. I wonder what would happen to America if he had four years to work with.

There is a reason planned parenthood gives him a 100 % ratings.
There is a reason the homosexual community supports him.
There is a reason Ahmadinejad, Chavez, Castro, Hamas etc loves him.
There is a reason he said he would nominate liberal judges to the supreme court.
There is a reason he voted against the infanticide bill.
There is a reason he voted No on the constitutional ban of same-sex marriage.
There is a reason he voted no on partial birth abortion.
There is a reason he voted no on confirming Justices Roberts and Alito. These two judges are conservatives and they have since overturned partial birth abortion. The same practice Obama wanted to continue.

Lets take a look at the practice he wanted to continue.

TRACY WARNING - THIS IS VERY, VERY GRAPHIC. IF IT WILL OFFEND YOU IN ANY WAY, PLEASE SKIP THIS PART. YES, IT IS UPSETTING, AND SHOULD BE, SO I CHOSE TO LEAVE INTACT. Scroll quickly to the next bold text, and begin reading from there.





The 5 Step Partial Birth Abortion procedure


A. Guided by ultrasound, the abortionist grabs the baby's leg with forceps.
(Remember this is a live baby)
B. The baby's leg is pulled out into the birth canal.
C. The abortionist delivers the baby's entire body, except for the head.
D. The abortionist jams scissors into the baby's skull. The scissors are then opened to enlarge the hole.
E. The scissors are removed and a suction catheter is inserted. The child's brains are sucked out, causing the skull to collapse. The dead baby is then removed.


END OF GRAPHIC PORTION. YOU MAY CONTINUE READING BELOW.





God help him.

There is a reason Obama opposed the parent notification law.

Think about this you can't give a kid an aspirin without parental notification but that same kid can have an abortion without parental notification. This is insane.

There is a reason he went to Jeremiah Wright's church for 20 years.

Obama tells us he has good judgement but he sat under Jeremiah Wright teaching for 20 years. Now he is condemning Wrights sermons. I wonder why now?

Obama said Jeremiah Wright led him to the Lord and discipled him. A disciple is one in training. Jesus told us in Matthew 28 v 19 - 20 Go and make disciples of all nations. This means reproduce yourself. Teach people to think like you, walk like you, talk like you believe what you believe etc. The question I have is what did Jeremiah Wright teach him?

Would you support a White President who went to a church which has tenants that said they have a:

1. Commitment to the White Community
2. Commitment to the White Family
3. Adherence to the White Work Ethic
4. Pledge to make the fruits of all developing and acquired skills available to the White Community.
5. Pledge to Allocate Regularly, a Portion of Personal Resources for Strengthening and Supporting White Institutions
6. Pledge allegiance to all White leadership who espouse and embrace the White Value System
7. Personal commitment to embracement of the White Value System.”
Would you support a President who went to a church like that?

Just change the word from white to black and you have the tennants of Obama's former church. If President Bush was a member of a church like this, he would be called a racist. Jessie Jackson and Al Sharpton would have been marching outside.

This kind of church is a racist church. Obama did not wake up after 20 years and just discovered he went to a racist church. The church can't be about race. Jesus did not come for any particular race. He came for the whole world.

A church can't have a value system based on race. The churches value system has to be based on biblical mandate. It does not matter if its a white church or a black church its still wrong. Anyone from either race that attends a church like this would never get my vote.

Obama's former Pastor Jeremiah Wright is a disciple of liberal theologian James Cone, author of the 1970 book A Black Theology of Liberation. Cone once wrote: “Black theology refuses to accept a God who is not identified totally with the goals of the black community. If God is not for us and against white people, then he is a murderer, and we had better kill him.

Cone is the man Obama's mentor looks up to. Does Obama believe this?

So what does all this mean for the nation?

In the past when the Lord brought someone with the beliefs of Obama to lead a nation it meant one thing judgement.

Read 1 Samuel 8. When Israel asked for a king.

First God says 1 Samuel 8 v 9 Now listen to them; but warn them solemnly and let them know what the king who will reign over them will do."

Then God says
1 Samuel 8 v 18 When that day comes, you will cry out for relief from the king
you have chosen, and the LORD will not answer you in that day."
19 But the people refused to listen to Samuel. "No!" they said. "We want a king over us. 20 Then we will be like all the other nations, with a king to lead us and to go out before us and fight our battles."
21 When Samuel heard all that the people said, he repeated it before the LORD. 22 The LORD answered, "Listen to them and give them a king."
Here is what we know for sure

God is not schizophrenic

He would not tell one person to vote for Obama and one to vote for McCain. As the scripture says a city divided against itself cannot stand, so obviously many people are not hearing from God.

Maybe I am the one not hearing but I know God does not change and Obama contradicts many things I read in scripture so I doubt it.

For all my friends who are voting for Obama can you really look God in the face and say Father based on your word, I am voting for Obama even though I know he will continue the genocidal practice of partial birth abortion.

He might have to nominate three or four supreme court justices, and I am sure he will be nominating liberal judges who will be making laws that are against you.

I also know he will continue to push for homosexual rights, even though you destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah for this.I know I can look the other way because of the economy.

I could not see Jesus agreeing with many of Obama's positions. Finally I have two questions for all my liberal friends.

Since we know someone's value system has to be placed on the nation,

1 Whose value system should be placed on the nation?

2 Who should determine that this is the right value system for the nation?

Blessings,
Huntley Brown



Thursday, October 9, 2008

My Mentor

I have to dedicate this blog to my mentor, the late Mike Ash. Mike and I met via the web when he emailed me with photography advice. I was so very green. At the time, I had a Polaroid PDC 640 digital camera that I had bought used from my brother, and I took it everywhere. With the enthusiasm of the inexperienced photographer, I snapped everything in sight. Then I met Mike. I was immediately dazzled by his amazing macro images of wasps, bees, and butterflies. How did he get in so close? I wanted to do that!

Mike was ever the humble guy. He was never ashamed to share with others his secret. I chuckle sometimes now at people with thousand dollar cameras and lenses. You see, Mike had a point-and-shoot and a really old computer. He was pre-DSLR, pre-Photoshop, pre-flat computer screens and even non-Mac or Windows. And Mike got noticed everywhere on the web. He won contests and prizes.

"So what was his big secret?" you ask. Mike's secret was small, stacked, plastic magnifying glasses, toilet paper tubes, and masking tape. "Oh, come on!" you say. Ah, but I have proof. Friends of Mike keep his memory alive and you can read about his technique in his own words and view his work at the following website. I encourage you to do so.

http://www.macrophotos.com/mike

Mike showed me that you didn't have to have the best equipment to take good pictures, but that good photography was the product of a dedicated photographer. He taught me to learn what my camera could do and use it. And most of all, he gave me a love for the subject matter. For me it's no longer a matter of just the photograph, but of learning what's in the photograph.

Tragically, Mike was taken from everyone far too early. But his memory, his photography live on. And I am ever in his debt for what wisdom he gave me.

"Go in Peace," Mike.

I took this image with my first digital camera and a hand held magnifying glass. I entered it in an online contest and won. It was my beginning, and I owe it to Mike.

Green Drops
8-14-2000

Green Drops

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Suzanne Williams Photography

Suzanne Williams is a native Floridian, wife, and mother, with a penchant for spelling anything, who happens to love photography.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Keeping Editors Happy

Working with Editors

Whenever local papers publish a piece of my work, I compare it to the original to see how many changes have been made. Very seldom does a piece survive intact. Sometimes changes are made so the story fits the allocated space. Other times they may involve corrections of punctuation and grammar, or a sentence may be rephrased to bring clarity. I don’t mind the changes so long as my message is retained. My aim is to learn from my mistakes and what better way than a free lesson from a professional?

Here are some of the important things I’ve learnt along the way:

Word Count
If you are given a word count, keep to it. Exactly. If they want 800 words or less, don’t write 815. This is a sure way to annoy editors and stories will be disqualified from competitions for exceeding the word limit.

Deadlines
Set yourself a deadline that is several hours before the publication’s deadline. Editors appreciate it when a writer consistently produces quality work that arrives on their desk or in their email a few hours before the cut off point. It alleviates stress as they don’t have to wonder if you will come through with the story or if they will have to scramble around looking for something else.

Accuracy
Check your facts and make sure your sources are reliable. A rash of letters about inaccuracies will not endear you to any editor. If appropriate, include phone numbers or addresses for the people concerned so the publication can verify facts.

Making Changes
If your work is returned to you with suggested changes, do as requested. Don’t rewrite it completely so that it needs another edit once you’re done.

Spelling
Watch your spelling and don’t rely on your computer’s spell check. Editors get annoyed when words are spelt incorrectly or the wrong word is used. Check for things like there/their, desert/dessert, loose/lose, and here/hear. Words that are commonly misspelled include focused and buses. Both have one “s” not two. It’s surprisingly easy to use the wrong word by mistake, or even type one wrong letter that changes the meaning completely. Check each piece of work thoroughly – after leaving it for several hours or a day if possible.

Avoid monster sentences
My daughter is studying to be a social worker and brings me long academic essays to check. Her biggest weakness is writing long rambling sentences that could easily be divided into two shorter ones. Editors want work that is easy to understand after one reading. Things that need to be read several times to be understood will be rejected.

Don’t be arrogant
Editors prefer to work with writers who are flexible and teachable. If they want a comma, put a comma. If they cut a paragraph that you spent hours on, accept it. In the long run, a submissive attitude will be more helpful than egotistical demands.

Learning the craft of writing is a life-long process and the best teachers are generally those who are further along the path than we are. If you have the privilege of working consistently with editors, cherish those relationships and give them your best. The benefits will follow you for many years to come.


Debbie Roome works as a freelance writer from her home in New Zealand. Current projects include a contract for writing devotionals, contributions to the local paper, editing and production of a community newsletter and compilation of her church’s year book. Read some of her work at Suite 101 and Faithwriters.


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Blog Tour: Hometown Favorite

I'm still behind on my reading schedule, but this one's up for this weekend. Perfect time for a football book - no Bama football this weekend!




This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Hometown Favorite

Revell (September 1, 2008)

by

Bill Barton and Henry O. Arnold


ABOUT THE AUTHORS:

Bill Barton is a business partner with Compass Technologies. An active member and volunteer at his church, Hendersonville Chapel, Barton is a regular speaker at services and other events. He lives in Hendersonville, Tennessee, with his family.



Henry O. Arnold has been a professional actor, writer, and director in theatre, film, and television. He co-wrote and produced the film The Second Chance starring Michael W. Smith and wrote the screenplay for the first authorized film documentary on evangelist Billy Graham, God's Ambassador. Arnold lives in Portland, Tennessee.





ABOUT THE BOOK:


Talented, handsome, and personable, Dewayne Jobe rose from humble beginnings in rural Mississippi to play college football in Southern California and beyond. One of the best wide receivers in college ball, Dewayne is assured a promising career in professional football as one of those rare athletes whose exceptional abilities place him in a league of his own.


He easily finds success both on and off the field. Dewayne's got a beautiful, intelligent wife running his lucrative endorsement business and carrying his child and the pristine white picket fence to boot. The only thing lacking is a road sign confirming his address on Easy Street.


But catastrophe looms right around the corner and ultimately strikes with a crushing vengeance. Will Dewayne's faith and character stand the test of such tragedy? Or will he lose everything--including the love of his life?

This modern retelling of the story of Job will capture readers with the age-old question of why bad things happen to good people--and how good people can survive.

Combining realistic sports action and a deadly serious challenge to faith, Hometown Favorite is a story that won't let you up off the turf until the game clock hits zero.

To read the first chapter of Hometown Favorite, click HERE.


"An amazing story of betrayal, forgiveness, redemption and hope. The characters are vibrant and alive. Barton and Arnold have a rare and keen understanding of human nature, making the spiritual truths of this story both profound and compelling."

~Michael W. Smith, recording artist

"Like a close game and a score that just won’t turn around, Dewayne’s true fans and Hometown Favorite readers will appreciate the daunting odds fate doles out and this story’s hard-won outcome."

~Darnell Arnoult, author of Sufficient Grace











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Tuesday, October 7, 2008

I have a new job!

I am now an officially paid BLOGGER! :-) Times two!

I hope all you Pixels will drop by and see me at my two new blogs. Business here will continue as usual, with a few fun surprises in the coming days! (No, you're not getting rid of me - we're just adding another columnist to provide more value for you!)

At Vacation Planning, we discuss, um, I bet you can guess! Most of you know how much I love to travel, and plan travel, and talk about travel - and now I'm getting paid to write about it! We'll discuss destinations, saving money, travel tips, vacation themes, and more. I'm still building the site, but I hope you'll drop by and check us out. New content is added daily.

At Peace and Quiet, I share a Bible verse and a little hope. Each day, I'll provide a quick breather for someone who needs a short break - Scripture and a few paragraphs to think about as you go through your day. Looking around the cyberworld lately, there's so much bad news, so much negativity, so much busy-ness. I hope P&Q will become a respite for you at some point each and every day.

I hope I'll see you over there!



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