Wednesday, July 30, 2014

A Few Ways to Beat Writer's Block

 Writer's block is an interesting thing. A friend of mine insists it does not actually exist, and sometimes I agree. But I think there is such a thing as writer's fatigue. It's when you feel like you can't come up with what's going to happen next, or you are just tired of writing. Everyone has probably experienced writer's fatigue/block at least once in their lifetime. So here are a few ways you can combat this so that you can start writing fresh.

Take a break. This is a pretty simple solution. I don't mean don't look at your writing for three months, I mean separate yourself from the computer. Stop staring at the screen, and relax a little bit. Watch a movie, read a book. Come back and you might have a fresh view.

Do something active. Taking a walk, or riding your bike can clear your head up. You may even find yourself inspired in the fresh air.

 Remember. Think back to when the idea sprung, or when you were so excited to get started. What was it? Did a character jump out at you in vibrant life? Did a plot come from nowhere? Think about why you are writing the story, and find that again.

Talk it out. It is extremely helpful to talk to another writer about your frustrations. Or to work out a plot point that is stumping you. This method has been helpful to me many times. If you're a teen, check Go Teen Writers for other writers your age. I've found many friends through the Facebook group, who are great to rant at... or rather talk out the plot with.

Work on another story. Having more than one project can be a good thing. If you need a break from a story, working on another project can help get you motivated again.

Read other people's work. I'm not talking about published authors. I'm talking writers who aren't there yet. Read your friend's book you were supposed to critique three weeks ago, or look up some stories you might like on a fanfiction website. Whenever I read someone else's work, it makes me want to write.

Push through. Sometimes you're in the dry spot between the two rivers of words. If you can just climb past the dry land, you'll find yourself in the words again. If that makes sense. If you push through the tough parts, you'll probably find yourself in a part of the story you enjoy writing more. And you can always go fix those dry areas later during revision. Things that help with writing through the dry spots are Word Wars/sprints. You can find them on Twitter sometimes, on the GTW group on Facebook, on a Word Wars group on Facebook, or you can just get with someone else, choose a certain amount of time to write, and see who writes the most words. Incredibly helpful. There is also a website called Write or Die where you have to keep writing, or there are consequences. That will sure make the brain work!

Keep writing. Whatever you do, don't stop. If you're taking a break, fine. But remember to come back. Your story calls. It needs to be written. Because no one can write this story like you can. You are a unique individual with a unique take. And your story needs to be told.

10 Authors I Own the Most Of.

 I saw one of my fellow bloggers do this, and thought it was really neat. It originates here. The idea is to list the top ten authors who you own the most books of. So I'm going to try it. Be aware that I constantly seem to have a string of books out on loan to close friends and family, but I will try to make this as accurate as possible. Many of these are tied, so if they are tied, they aren't listed in particular order.

 1. Wayne Thomas Batson. I own ten of his novels... the first ten. (Door Within Trilogy, The Pirates books, The Berinfell Prophecies, first two Dark Sea Annals.) I also have lots of short stories he wrote on my Kindle app, and plan to buy his newer books as well. He was probably the first current fantasy author I liked.

2. Jill Williamson. I own ten of her books. (Blood of Kings, Replication, first two Mission League, First two Safe Lands trilogy.) And the numbers are rising. Or will be. Technically, I also own an ebook that I haven't gotten the hardback copy for, but I also have two copies of two of her books, so...

3. Laura Ingalls Wilder. Besides owning most of the Little House books, I have a diary and letters she wrote, coming up with a total of ten.

4. Martha Finley. I own eight. One Elsie book, and the entire Millie series. Though these are the A Life of Faith versions that I read at a young age.

5. Shannon Hale. I own seven of her lovely books. (Princess Academy/Palace of stone, the Books of Bayern, Book of a Thousand Days.)

6. Coleen Coble. I think I own the same amount--seven--but some are on loan.

7. C.S. Lewis. I own the seven Narnia books.

8. Wendy Lawton. I own seven of her Daughters of the Faith series. Great books! I'm trying to collect them all, though they are aimed at younger readers. (I started reading them young.)

9. Dave and Neta Jackson. I own six of their trail blazer books.

10. Lois Walfried Johnson. I own several sets of American Girl books that have six books each, but I'm just going to list this author of five books because... I own the her five Viking Quest books which are great.

 So there's my top ten, even if it is a little edited. :P What about you?

 ~ a rambling author

Friday, July 25, 2014

Summer Reading List

 I have a bunch of books I want to read over the Summer... and though it's halfway through now, I still want to read these, even if I can't finish all of them. I just did not anticipate my Summer being this busy! So here are some of my "Summer Reading List" that will transition into the Fall.

 I wanted to read some classics, as well as some books I have on my shelf yet to be read.

Les Miserables by Victor Hugo is one. A friend was sweet enough to give me this and I've been wanting to read it.

Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maude Montgomery I kind of want to re-read this if I have a chance.

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott I need to actually read this.

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen Same with this one.

The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgston Burnett Need to read this.

The Last Sin Eater by Francine Rivers I want to re-read this. One of my favorite books.

The Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis I want to re-read the entire series.

The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R Tolkien I've already started 'Fellowship' but it somehow got sent back to the library so I shall be purchasing it.

The Extraordinary Education of Nicholas Benedict by Trenton Lee Stewart A prequel to one of my favorite series.

Unlocked by Karen Kingsbury Another gift that I need to (and have been wanting to) read.

Prelude for a Lord by Camille Elliot A review book

The Merchant's Apprentice by C.F. Barrows Written by one of my friends, it needs reading.

Cascade by Lisa Tawn Bergren What I'm reading right now. 

And there are several others I may fill you in on later. But these are plenty I think to focus on right now.

 What are you reading? Any classics you recommend?

~ a rambling author

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

The Word War Challenge.

 So I've been writing a lot this week. I've been taking part in this...

I got this from Go Teen Writers.
  Come join us!!!

~ a rambling author

Tuesday, July 22, 2014


 So I was at camp last week. It's our church camp. It's wonderful. Kids come from all over the state (and sometimes other states) to worship the Lord and fellowship. I arrived Thursday, got checked in, went to my cabin (I was Assistant Cabin Leader for the youngest age group of girls), and then went to the staff meeting after getting my bed made.

 After that, I went back to the cabin to meet up with the leader, Chelsey, and meet the girls. We quickly got acquainted and it was time for dinner. We had a delicious dinner, went to church that night, and while Chelsey went to bed with the girls, I spent a bit of time with some of the staff.

 Here is a basic understanding of how the next three days went. We got up early in the morning, went to devotions, then breakfast, then class, then crafts, then music, then lunch, then organized recreation, then swimming, then free time until dinner, and then we had cabin devotions and service, and after service we had fun time and more free time until bed. And there were breaks in there somewhere. And yeah. That was a long (possibly run on) sentence.

 But I just wanted to let you guys know a little bit about camp. It was great. I had fun. I remembered to wear sunscreen, so didn't get turned into a tomato like previous years. The air conditioner stole my voice on like the first night. I fell off a swing and got covered in reddish dirt. I also got smeared with peanut butter and had fish crackers thrown at me. Also, apparently my frog died. (I was in a skit.) I was also a little girl. (In another skit.) I convinced several boys to pick pink yard for a craft by telling them about the historical origin of the color pink. I FAILED at kickball. I mean, for real. I tripped while KICKING the ball. So I was basically caught before I even started running. This is why I do not like playing sports. Except volleyball and softball. Which reminds me, I played volleyball, but didn't do so well thanks to it being dark out. Yay. I also got bit by sweat bees. I had the sweetest little girl who seemed to really like me. I got to pray for all of my girls. I even shared a devotional with them. I ate so much good food. And dessert. Oh. My.Word. I also fell after hanging up something on the clothesline, which was witnessed by some little girls and a teenaged boy. IT was a mini landslide. The ground slipped out from under me, okay? I got attacked in the pool by many people. I got asked to the bonfire by an old friend, I ate too much, tried to stay hydrated, and had a pretty awesome time in general. I even got to have a couple of "girl talks." Mwahaha.

 So yeah. I'm probably forgetting something. Camp was pretty great.

 ~ a rambling author

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Grammy: Let's Learn some Grammar!

I've been writing a long time. Well... technically. I've been trying to write little stories for years. But I really got serious about it in the last five years or so, and even more serious within the last three. Even though I did language arts in school, I've learned that there are still some grammar things I need to learn. I think everyone does. So I'm learning. And with that thought, I've decided to introduce a new thing to the blog. Every so often, I'll share a bit of grammar I've learned, but I can't do it alone! You can suggest ideas for me to cover next time, and also, I'd like to introduce someone to you...

This is Grammy Grammar. She's wise and knowledgeable about grammar facts, and I think she'll keep me straight. (Also, I'm not much of an artist, but such is life.)

So Grammy is going to introduce our lesson today.

Grammy: We'll start with something simple for you youngins. Homophones. And before you ask, no I didn't say telephones. Homophones are words that sound the same but mean different things... and sometimes are spelled differently! If you want your grammar to be classic and stylish, you've got to use those homophones right!

Here are examples of some homophones:

 One of the most popular, as in often used wrong is... They're/their/there. They're meaning 'they are,' (They're pretty cool!) their meaning it belongs to someone (that's their notebook,) and there meaning a location (she sat there.)

 Some others are:

 Right/Write/Rite/Wright - The first meaning either the direction, or something is right, the second meaning to write something, the third meaning a ceremony or something of the sort, and the third meaning a certain kind of occupation.

Real/Reel - Something is the opposite of fake or a fishing instrument.

Sea/See - The big blue ocean or to use your eyes.

Pray/Prey - To talk to the Father or something that is hunted.

Waist/Waste - Between the stomach and the hips or to not use something for no reason. (Basically.)

 And there are lots more.


The list could continue. Homophones abound. Which I suppose is why the English language is so hard!   But I'm confident with some good ol' fashioned practice, you'll be using those homophones proper in no time!

 Thanks Granny! I hope you guys liked today's post. Did we miss a homophone you like? Share yours in the comments.

~ a rambling author

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Visible Threat: A Book Review

I took a break yesterday because I was, and still am exhausted from camp! I'll try to make it up to you and post Friday as well as tomorrow. Also, I'm mixing up today and tomorrow's days again because I realized I have a book that I haven't reviewed yet! So... that's what I'm doing today. So I am reviewing Visible Threat by Janice Cantore. I received this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

Back cover: Officer Brinna Caruso wants perfection—perfect justice and a perfect world. She wants to save and protect all the innocents in the world, no matter the cost.

Orphaned and struggling to get by, Ivana and her sister left Bulgaria for America with dreams of a better life. But since they arrived in Long Beach, everything they were promised has turned out to be a lie.

After a dead girl is found in the river with a mysterious tattoo on her hip, homicide detective Jack O’Reilly asks for Brinna’s help. Unaware of the depths of evil that will be uncovered, Brinna finds herself flung into a dangerous frontier—an organized human trafficking ring.

I liked the characters in this book. Brinna was a compelling protagonist who kept the pages turning with her crusade to protect children and the innocent... something that seemed to get her in trouble throughout the book. Jack was also a good character, sort of the moral compass of the story, and also the detective investigating a mysterious murder. My heart hurt for Ivana as I read about her struggles, and I even liked paramedic Dave. Hero the dog was also pretty great. Because, who doesn't like a good dog?

 The plot was really good. I enjoy suspense/thrillers every now and again, and this one was no disappointment. I read it pretty quick once I started it, constantly turning pages to see how the story would unravel, and how our characters would fare against the evils they faced.

 If you are looking for a tight suspense book with believable characters and action (It's written by a former member of law enforcement) that will keep you reading to find out what happens next, this book is for you. It deals a lot with one something that I want to help stop--human trafficking--and makes you think about what happens in that house with a lot of traffic. This one was really good.

Buy it here.

 ~ a rambling author


Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Week break

Just a heads up. I probably won't be posting this week. I'm busy preparing to be staff at my church's youth camp, and preparing for my sister and niece and nephew to visit. See you guys next week!

 Love, Bethany.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Just Write

 When I'm not writing I wish I was. Which is what I'm doing a lot right now. Wishing I was. I guess that's what happens when you do a bunch of other stuff, and "run out of time to write." But I guess I haven't really run out, I just don't take the time. I should though. I may have excuses like "I need to finish this book I have to review!" or "I have to finish cleaning my room." But the fact is, I have to write. Because if I don't then I'll feel like something very important is missing. So when I get a random idea, I write it down. Because you never know when you might want to expand it. And when I get a scene in my head, I write it down. Because it might be the perfect thing later. So, all this is to say, even if you're writing something that is completely random and has nothing to do with your current WIP, write it if you get the inspiration. I mean... don't start another novel, but if you have a sentence, a quote, or a scene, write it down and store it to use later. You won't regret it in the future when you need a funny line and realize that quirky comment you wrote down six months ago fits perfectly. Because, who knows? It could happen.

 Recently, while cleaning my room I had an idea. Well, in actuality, I found an old notebook with old ideas in it. I read an old idea and BANG! I got a scene in my head. So I sat down and wrote most of that scene down right there. And I'm glad that I did. It may not be perfect, and it may not be a project I'm going to take up for a while, but it is something, and I feel like it has potential. Here is is.

Cassie gulped back the tears trying to escape her eyes. There wasn’t time for crying. She held her oldest and youngest brother hands. They, along with their other brother, created a link that was not meant to be broken.
 “This way,” Tom said, his sixteen-year-old voice full of authority. He led his younger siblings to what looked to be an abandoned barn at the edge of the trees. Once they reached it, they nodded and released each other’s hands.
 Tom looked at all of them. “You guys know the drill. Cassie, you and Terrence scout the building. Samuel, you scout the East perimeter, and I’ll take West. All of you remember: if you hear voices don’t let yourself be discovered. If you can, regroup, if not, stay hidden. Understand?”
 They all nodded, and twelve-year-old Samuel gave his older brother a mock salute. Tom pushed his curly head in one direction, and took off in the other.
 Cassie grasped her eight-year-old brother’s hand. “Come on Terrence. Inside.”
 She placed a finger over her lips, just in case there was someone inside the dilapidated building. They reached the doors. A broken chain hung to the ground. Maybe they weren’t the first to use this place. She pushed on the decaying wood, and the half door swung open easily.
 “I don’t hear anything,” Terrence whispered. She shushed him, and pulled him inside. It was dark, but darkness was good. If there were light she would be afraid.
 They waited, shadowed in the dark for several minutes. But they were used to waiting. When Cassie was satisfied that the silence was evidence of no one being there, she flicked on her flashlight.
 As expected, wooden beams, a ladder to the upper story, and dust met her eyes. There were a couple of draped lumps in the back corner, but she decided the only signs of life were the giant spider webs spanning the ceiling.
 Deciding it was safe enough, she smiled at Terrence. “Shall we take the loft?” He grinned, and turned on his own flashlight. As he scrambled away she shouted after him, “Make sure the ladder is safe!”
 She watched until he had made it to the top of the ladder, and then turned to the lumps in the back. She pulled the coverings off, realizing they were tarps. Beneath was an old tractor, and some other farming equipment, but she was more interested in the tarps. She folded them into two smaller squared, and secured them under her arm. She ascended the ladder in search of her younger brother.
 “Over here!” The boy waved his hand in excitement, and she found him sitting on a small stool. “I have my own chair!” He rocked back and forth, showing that one leg was shorter than the others.
 Cassie raised an eyebrow, setting the tarps down. “Well, be careful.” 

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

A Place in His Heart: A Review

 Today I'm reviewing A Place in His Heart by Rebecca DeMarino. I received this book in exchange for my honest review, which I have given.

Description: Anglican Mary Langton longs to marry for love. Puritan Barnabas Horton is still in love with his deceased wife and needs only a mother for his two young sons. And yet these two very different people with very different expectations will take a leap of faith, wed, and then embark on a life-changing journey across the ocean to the Colonies. Along the way, each must learn to live in harmony, to wait on God, and to recognize true love where they least expect to find it.

This heartfelt tale of love and devotion is based on debut author Rebecca DeMarino's own ancestors, who came to Long Island in the mid-1600s to establish a life--and a legacy--in the New World.


 I have mixed feelings about the review today. And you'll soon see why, I suppose.

 As far as characters go... I loved Mary. She was wonderful. She tried so hard to be a good wife and mother, and worked without complaint even as she was dragged around everywhere. I really cared about this character who loved deeply. Barnabas... was a different story. I mean, he lost his wife, and went through some pretty sad stuff, but I just didn't... care for him. And some of his behavior made me think he was a bit detestable. You'd have to read the book, but Barnabas did not leave a good impression on me, and some of his changes in character sometimes felt a bit too quick. I liked the character of Winnie, and Indian woman. She was a bit of a standout, and I liked Barnabas' sons, Ben and Jay.

 The plot and story were pretty good. I picked this book to review because the story intrigued me. I probably enjoyed the earlier chapters better than later chapters, but that was just me. It was interesting to read about old practices, like the village baker baking everyone's bread, and different things such as that. The story did tend to drag in several places. I intended to read this book in a week, but it took me three. There was a piece missing from the story for me. I can't quite say what it was. Some of my favorite parts were Mary interacting with the boys is various ways, and some of my least favorite were when Barnabas was being a meanie.

 All in all, this was a pretty good book. I'd probably rate it 3 to 3 1/2 stars. The author did an excellent job with looking up historical facts, but the love story that was advertized wasn't really there for me. One thing of interest is the fact that this is based on a true story, something I didn't realize until I completed the book. That added an extra ounce of interest, to be sure. If you would like to read the book (because you should judge it for yourself, you might like it a lot!) you can buy it from Amazon, or wherever books are sold.


 Hey everyone! My days are going to be a bit mixed up this week. Here's a quick update on what's been happening in my life. Sunday I graduated from High School! What a weird feeling... I suppose I should do a more in depth post on it later, but for now... My parents and pastor's wife put together a wonderful party/graduation. The program went well, and the food was delicious. I even got to sing a little bit. I'll upload some pics later on. Today, we pulled up the carpet in our living room. It's been there for years... 18 years to be exact, just like me! That's weird too. There's wood flooring underneath, but I think we're going to put something over it since it isn't super nice. But it's much better than an old carpet! Tomorrow I'm going to be reviewing A Place in His Heart because the review is due, so expect my writing post on Thursday. Though... since Rathelm doesn't have enough questions asked of him yet, it may be a different type of writing. Remember to ask him here! I hope you enjoyed this quick post. I'm not reading Lord of the Rings and thinking about a devotion for youth camp. See you soon! (Like, tomorrow.) Bye!

~ a rambling author