Categories
Humor Inspiration for Writers

Tech Talk

I have a confession to make: I may have a slight tech addiction. And I’m not just talking about killing zombies or expanding my online Township empire. I’m talking about the rabbit holes I jump down on a regular basis that more often than not find their way into my writing. My current novel features a sixty-year-old protagonist living in the year 2060 with a limited vision for life after retirement.

In an effort to illustrate what addiction looks and feels like, I have her growing overly dependent on her A.I. companion, Carver. As the story opens, she prefers his company and their private world to “real” people. What will it take to lure her out of her head and into the real world?

Meaningful relationships, the beauty of nature as represented in my awesome mare Clara, my fabulous canine companion Christie, and the beauty of the Wisconsin world around me—all lure me into living robustly on a daily basis. Weaving these basic concepts into a future fictional world are forming the basic structure of my newest story world.

A tech addiction in the year 2061 may not look all that different from a tech addiction in the year 2021—sure, the toys will be cooler, but the basic human drives remain the same. Our need for connection, intimacy, safety and knowing and being known by others can help us build more satisfying relationships and communities in real life—or online.

What if the relationships we build in the future are with artificial intelligence (A.I.) entities? Will they still count? More to the point, will our minds, hearts and souls make distinctions between humans and A.I. entities in our online relationships? And if you build relationships online—what unique factors exist to differentiate between an A.I. friend and a human friend?

Integrating these concepts into my writing has led to a story world that keeps me coming back to the keyboard.

Catherine Finger

Catherine Finger loves to dream, write, and tell stories. Her newest novel, Capsized by Death, is the fourth book in her award-winning Jo Oliver thriller series. She lives in the Midwest with a warm and wonderful combination of family and friends. Catherine loves to interact with her readers at www.CatherineFinger.com

 

Categories
Humor Inspiration for Writers

Finding Inspiration in Unlikely Places

People often ask me where I get the inspiration for my stories. The truth is, I never know! Sometimes, it comes from anarticle in a magazine. Other times, it may be an interesting photo, a visit to a museum, or a treasure scooped up at a garage sale. I once got the idea for a historical romance while touring an abandoned silver mine in Calico, California! But one thing I can say for certain—the best ideas have always come from personal experience. That includes the inspiration for my latest mystery, Dairy Disaster, part of the Mysteries of Lancaster County series from Guideposts Publications.

I was very fortunate to have knowledgeable friends I could reach out to when researching this story. My childhood was spent in a very rural corner of Michigan, a fertile land ripe with fruit orchards and dairy farms. Though many of the circumstances were very different from those in my book, the staff at Country Dairy in Shelby, Michigan, were a huge help in getting some of the facts straight regarding the processing of milk and I am very thankful for their willingness to share information. For example, did you know that a cow’s diet can affect what the milk on your table tastes like? Or thatall females are called heifers until their first pregnancy? After birth they become “cows” and must be bred every year to continue producing milk.

Country Dairy is a family owned business whose history stretches as far back as the 1880’s. Today, the business employs about 125 people in the production of cheese, milk, ice cream and other dairy related products. In 2004, they opened their first retail store on the farm—an interesting tidbit that I incorporated into the writing of my story. Country Dairy’s Farm Store and Moo School have become field trip destinations for school children and a tourist stop for guests from around the world. If you’d like to learn more, please visit https://www.countrydairy.com/ and schedule a tour. Tell them I sent you.

 

Elizabeth Ludwig
Elizabeth Ludwig

Elizabeth Ludwig is a USA Today bestselling author and speaker. Besides writing, she enjoys skiing, cooking, and curling up with a good book. Recently, she was honored to be named a double finalist in the 2020 Selah Awards, one for Garage Sale Secrets, part of the of Lancaster County series from Guideposts and the second for her contribution to The Coffee Club Mysteries collection from Barbour Publishing. To learn more, visit ElizabethLudwig.com.

Categories
Humor Inspiration for Writers

The Story Behind the Story of. . . A Pink Lady Thanksgiving

It’s 1879, and the Oregon Trail is still ferrying emigrants west to California, Oregon, and Washington. Hundreds of covered wagon trains with thousands of people every year, all searching for something better than they left behind.

The first book, Kate, is a tale of adventure and love filled with secrets, threats, and narrow escapes as Kate and Tom head for Oregon City.

Now, they’ve safely put their past behind them. Or have they? Kate realizes her dream of working for the Pinkerton Detective Agency, and her first assignment is to find a local missing woman. When she begins investigating, however, she is threatened and their house is set ablaze, then her son is kidnapped.

The basis for this book came from an article I read about an unsolved stagecoach robbery in 1878 in Deadwood, South Dakota. The robbers were all caught and hung, and all the gold dust, gold nuggets, and the gold ingots from the Homestake Mine were recovered, except for a gigantic five-pound gold brick. I started asking those pesky what if questions, and. . .

Then I read about Kate Warne, the first Pink Lady detective.  As a young widow in the 1850s, she marched into the Pinkterton office and said she wanted a job. Alan Pinkerton thought she meant a clerical job, but no. Kate wanted to be a detective. And she turned out to be one of his best “men”, paving the way for many more female detectives in the coming years.

Kate Warne was a feisty woman with definite ideas of how she wanted her life to go, and so is my Kate. While Kate Warne never remarried, I wanted my Kate to balance family and a professional career, a relatively new concept in the 1870s.

Watch for more books featuring Kate and Tom in the future, but for now, check out the first two adventures and my other books at https://www.amazon.com/s?k=donna+schlachter&ref=nb_sb_noss 

Donna Schlachter:aka Leeann Betts
Donna Schlachter

Donna writes historical suspense under her own name, and contemporary suspense under her alter ego of Leeann Betts, and has been published more than 30 times in novellas, full-length novels, and non-fiction books. She is a member of ACFW, Writers on the Rock, SinC, Pikes Peak Writers, and CAN; facilitates a critique group; teaches writing classes; ghostwrites; edits; and judges in writing contests.

www.HiStoryThruTheAges.wordpress.com

Facebook: www.Facebook.com/DonnaschlachterAuthor

Twitter: www.Twitter.com/DonnaSchlachter

Books: Amazon: http://amzn.to/2ci5Xqq and Smashwords: http://bit.ly/2gZATjm

 

Categories
Humor New Releases

An A-Muse-ing 2021 Wall Calendar Available Now!

An A-Muse-ing 2021 Calendar based on cat comedy sketches between Muse and Writer
An A-Muse-ing 2021 Calendar based on cat comedy with Muse and Writer a.k.a Angela Breidenbach. Order yours at AngelaBreidenbach.com

An A-Muse-ing 2021 Calendar

Series: A-Muse-ings, Calendar/Book 1

Author: Angela Breidenbach

ISBN: 978-0-9980847-1-8

Publisher: Gems Books

Calendar/Cat/breeds/Humor & Comic Calendars

Description:

An A-Muse-ing 2021 Wall Calendar by Angela Breidenbach features the wry wit and humor between Muse and Writer. Sure to delight your entire family creating smiles and laughter all year long. 

Each month Muse matches wits with Writer in full-color wall calendar showcasing a candid, beautiful image of Muse and his highly expressive fe-lion personality that came from fun social media posts like this one:

Muse and Writer cat comedy developed from candid photos of fe-lion antics told on social media.
Muse and Writer cat comedy developed from candid photos of fe-lion antics told on social media.

Writer: Weren’t you on the other side of the sofa?

Muse: Just checking out my comfort level.

Writer: Great. If you’re all settled, I’ll join you.

Muse: That’s outside of my comfort level.

Writer: (Facepalm.) Oh, brother.

 

 

 

For you, it includes:

  • 12-month calendar
  • Space to add reminders
  • Opens to 11 inches x 17 inches
  • Includes widely celebrated holidays (including International Cat Day, of course)
  • Tips to lesson holiday season stress
  • Laughter
  • Each calendar is personally autographed

A few of the monthly humor pages in full color, click each for a larger view:

Look for more A-Muse-ings from Muse and Writer including Christmas planners, social media, and themed books at AngelaBreidenbach.com. Other books by Angela include historical romance, contemporary romance, and non-fiction.

Visit AngelaBreidenbach.com for A-Muse-ing News direct to your email. Follow @AngBreidenbach on your favorite social media like Bookbub, Goodreads, Twitter, Facebook, & Amazon for new release announcements.

Watch for An A-Muse-ing Christmas Planner 2021 and A-Muse-ing Tails coming in 2021!

Muse and Writer bring you fun Fe-lion Fan Family gear to create smiles wherever you go. Choose something fun and spread the laughter with A-Muse-ing treats from Muse and Writer for everyone.

Who are Muse and Writer?

Muse and Writer a.k.a Angela Breidenbach and her fe-lion personal assistant, Muse create A-Muse-ings on social media and now a new line of cat comedy products at AngelaBreidenbach.com
Muse and Writer a.k.a Angela Breidenbach and her fe-lion personal assistant, Muse create A-Muse-ings on social media and now a new line of cat comedy products at AngelaBreidenbach.com

Writer’s Bio: Angela Breidenbach is a bestselling author, screenwriter, and genealogist. Hobbies? Writer has trained her Muse, a fe-lion, to shake hands, roll over, and jump through a hoop. Surprisingly, Angela can also. Muse has managed to entertain friends and followers on social media with his wry wit and humor. All social media including Facebook/Instagram/MeWe/Twitter @AngBreidenbach

Muse’s Bio: A highly trained fe-lion personal assistant to Writer, he’s a Somali-Cross rescue. At nine, he has many years left to train Writer in the ways of fe-lions. Able to leap tall sticks in a single bound, lunge through hoops, and stop-drop-and-roll, Muse will either high-five you or shake hands as long as you pay him in treats. He’s quite mercenary, but very lovable. He creates laughter in his Fe-lion Fan Family and loves to stymy his Writer daily. He takes over Writer’s social media just to cause chaos.

 

 

Categories
Humor New Releases

An A-Muse-ing 2021 Calendar — cat comedy

Eye-catching cat comedy shines in this new release of An A-Muse-ing 2021 Calendar based on the witty humor of Muse and Writer on social media. Get your autographed (by both Muse and Writer) copy at AngelaBreidenbach.com

An A-Muse-ing 2021 Calendar by Writer and Muse (Angela Breidenbach) Humorous 12-month wall calendar
An A-Muse-ing 2021 Calendar by Writer and Muse (Angela Breidenbach) Humorous 12-month wall calendar

An A-Muse-ing 2021 Wall Calendar by Angela Breidenbach features the wry wit and humor between Muse and Writer.  Each month Muse matches wits with Writer in full-color wall calendar showcasing a candid, beautiful image of Muse and his highly expressive fe-lion personality: For you, it includes:

  • 12-month calendar
  • Space to add reminders
  • Opens to 11 inches x 17 inches
  • Includes widely celebrated holidays (including International Cat Day, of course)
  • Tips to lesson holiday season stress
  • Laughter

Look for more A-Muse-ings from Muse and Writer including Christmas planners, social media, and themed books at AngelaBreidenbach.com. Other books by Angela include historical romance, contemporary romance, and non-fiction. Visit AngelaBreidenbach.com for A-Muse-ing News direct to your email. Follow @AngBreidenbach on your favorite social media like Bookbub, Goodreads, Twitter, Facebook, & Amazon for new release announcements.

Pick up a few copies as gifts to see the laughter and sparkle your present creates.

Visit https://AngelaBreidenbach.com today for autographed copies.

Bio: Angela Breidenbach is a bestselling author, screenwriter, and genealogist. She’s the president of the Christian Authors Network. Hobbies? Writer has trained her Muse, a fe-lion, to shake hands, roll over, and jump through a hoop. Surprisingly, Angie can also. Muse has managed to entertain friends and followers on social media with his wry wit and humor. All social media @AngBreidenbach

Categories
Humor

The Write to Expire

The first day of the writer’s conference, my daughters and I crowded onto the elevator with several other conferees making their way to the morning keynote session. Fifteen-year-old Holly and 17-year-old Leilani were the only teen attendees that year.

“I just love to see expiring new writers,” spoke up an elderly lady. She nodded and smiled at my daughters. Of course, she meant to say aspiring. Not expiring. I think.

Quick-witted Holly didn’t miss a beat. “You must mean my mom.”

During the process of writing 29 of my own books and many titles for clients in addition to countless articles, some of the funniest moments revolve around what I meant to say compared to what I wrote. When those two elements align, writer and reader communicate. More like writer, editor, and reader communicate. Then there are the occasions when what I intended to write is different from the words on the manuscript.

“The plane began its decent” is more accurate as “The plane its descent.” Sigh.

“Her eyes rolled around the room” was supposed to be “She glanced around the room.”

“His face flew down the stairs” is better described as “I watched him come quickly downstairs.”

“The fallen woman lay at the bottom of the trail” or “The woman fell at trail’s end.” There is a world of difference between a fallen woman and a woman that fell.

Leilani went on to become a full-time writer and Holly’s writing skills keep communication clear and flowing in her career. And, okay, while half of my kids are writers, the others are allergic to reading and writing. But we all enjoy a good misplaced word or clever turn of a phrase. Leilani and Holly still occasionally refer to me as the expired writer.

 

PeggySue Wells
PeggySue Wells

History buff and tropical island votary, PeggySue Wells parasails, skydives, snorkels, scuba dives, and has taken (but not passed) pilot training. Writing from the 100-Acre wood in Indiana, PeggySue is the bestselling author of 29 books, translated into eight languages, including The What To Do series, The Slave Across the Street, Slavery in the Land of the Free, Bonding With Your Child Through Boundaries, Homeless for the Holidays, Chasing Sunrise, and The Ten Best Decisions A Single Mom Can Make. Radio talk show host, author, and speaker, she interviews industry experts, entrepreneurs, and exceptional voices to help people live better, together. Connect with PeggySue on Facebook, Linked In, and at  www.PeggySueWells.com

Categories
Humor Inspiration for Writers

A Frightening Proposition

What is your greatest fear? What would it take to face that fear, and make the shift from from fear to love?

Halloween, El Dia de Los Meurtos, All Hallows Eve—these traditions offer a great opportunity to reflect on our faith walk and the extent to which we are allowing the Holy Spirit to move us away from fear into His perfect love. The journey itself could spark a great story.

Anytime I notice myself living a little smaller, a little less joyfully, a little less confidently—I know it is time for me to stop, pray, and reflect. I ask God to show me His truth and to lead me back into His light—and to allow His perfect love to cast out all fear. And then I take the time to backtrack and acknowledge the crooked thinking, or soul woundedness that made me vulnerable to breathing in fear or lies, instead of basking in His love and peace.

This process of uncovering distortions and moving away from fear toward love is embedded in the lives of the characters in the novel I’m currently working on. Asking myself how fear shows up and holds my protagonist back strengthens my writing and creates space for growth and personal renewal as a result of my characters’ struggles. Tonight, as I set up individually bagged candy offerings for my neighborhood goblins, I’ll be thinking about how the Word of God can lift off the mask of our distortions and bring us into the clarifying light of His love.

Catherine Finger
Catherine Finger www.CatherineFinger.com

And tomorrow morning, I’ll be back at my computer, weaving suspenseful tales as my characters move away from fear and back onto the path of His glorious love.

Catherine Finger loves to dream, write, and tell stories. Retired from a wonderful career in public education, she celebrates the ability to write books, ride horses, and serve others through her emerging coaching practice. She lives in the Midwest with a warm and wonderful combination of family and friends.

 

 

 

 

Categories
Humor

What’s In A Name?

I’m fascinated with names. Maybe all of us writers are.

I like creative names and creative spellings. I’m intrigued with old-fashioned names that come back in style, and I like unique names I’ve never heard of.

I’ve chuckled at names, like one of my college friends, whose first name was “Holly” and she married a gentleman with the surname “Wood.” She said she had trouble cashing checks with the signature “Holly Wood,” so she eventually stuck her maiden-name initial between the two words.

My brother had a friend named William Williams, but at least he went by the name “Bill.”

A convenience store in my hometown was owned by Billy Joe Deal who married a woman named Billie Jo.

When I became pregnant with our first child, David and I decided we liked the name “Jeremy.” I told my husband I thought it would be fun to give him a “J” name for me and a “D” name for him, so child number one became “Jeremy David.”

We stuck with the plan for child number two, and she became “Jenifer DeeAnn.” Yes, only one “n,” because my husband likes creative spellings, too.

Child number three answers to the name “Jeb Daniel.”

And then when God said there would be four, my husband and I pondered briefly abandoning our nomenclature method for fear of giggles from our new west coast friends.

Julie, we’re not in Georgia anymore,” fretted my Navy officer husband, who was serving a billet in California.

“Well, everyone out here thinks we’re tacky rednecks, so let’s do it anyway,” I joked. And our dear, California friends welcomed “Jessica Danae” to the mix, shortened to “Jessi” on occasion.

What my husband and I hadn’t thought about was that all of our kids would have the exact same initials, so their water bottles or snacks or other belongings were often labeled J1, J2, J3, and J4. We feared they’d grow up to tell a therapist: “We were just a number in my house.”

My favorite thoughts about a given name, however, come from Acts 4:12 (ESV) and says, “And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.

I am so thankful for that Name.

Lavender FieldOh, and I did forget to mention – my parents named me Julie Anita Bland when I was born. So, when I married, my name changed from Julie Bland to Julie Lavender. My husband loves it when I say, “I went from dull to colorful when I got married.”

 

365 Ways to Love

BIO: Julie’s favorite color as a child was purple, so she loved adding “Lavender” to her name when she married. Julie Lavender’s newest book, 365Ways To Love Your Child: Turning Little Moments Into Lasting Memories (Revell), releases this month. It’s on sale right now, 40% discount, at Baker Book House with no shipping cost and is also offered as a giveaway at Goodreads.com.

Categories
Humor Inspiration for Writers

The Writer Who Almost Wasn’t

Linore Rose Burkard
Linore Rose Burkard

Proof of God’s power and sense of humor are both evident in my story of getting published.    Readers would probably be surprised to learn that despite majoring in English Literature and graduating magna cum laude, I was too afraid to take a Creative Writing class. It wasn’t that I didn’t have story ideas—I just lacked the confidence and, I believed, the time, to write them.  (I worked full time and was convinced it would take an enormous amount of time to do it well, if I could indeed even do it.)

But story ideas wouldn’t go away. And after waiting years for someone to write a Christian Regency romance, I realized it wasn’t going to happen.  So I wrote the book I wanted to read. Knowing nothing about the publishing industry, I only queried two publishers. One was interested (a major house), but then passed. With my usual ultra-confidence, I accepted that I wasn’t good enough to be published.

But God wouldn’t let it go! He kept nudging me. But I kept procrastinating. And here’s the humorous part. He used a line from Shakespeare’s Hamlet to do it. Whenever I thought about it, he would remind me of “thine almost blunted purpose.”   Finally, I self-published the book—I thought I had no other choice—which led to  Nick Harrison, then a Senior Editor with Harvest House Publishers, contacting me, which led to HHP publishing it (Before the Season Ends), and then two more regencies.

Why that line? Why from Hamlet? I often wondered. It took years for me to understand. Like the troubled prince in the play, I was being a great procrastinator! God nudged me to action in time for Nick to find the book and ask to see it.  And thus began my career.

Forever, Lately by Linore Rose Burkard
Forever, Lately by Linore Rose Burkard

Bio: Linore Rose Burkard is a serious watcher of period films, a Janeite and hopeless romantic.  She writes heartwarming historical romance and YA/Suspense (as L.R. Burkard). Raised in NY, she now lives with her husband and five children in southwestern Ohio.

Categories
Humor

The Tree of Not-So-Good

Like finding Easter eggs in each novel, I include unique places the reader probably has not visited, adventures my reader most likely has not experienced, and unique facts about our zany world that were not in our textbooks.

In suspense novel, Chasing Sunrise, I take the reader scuba diving along the wall off the coast of St. Croix. Much like an elevator shaft, the majestic formation drops some 3000 feet below the ocean surface.

With the island as the setting, I included the historic sugar mills, rum production, the seven flags that flew over St. Croix, World War II sonobuoys, sea glass, how to crack open a fresh coconut, mocho jumbies, Alexander Hamilton, and crab races.

Native to the island, the manchineel tree is deadly to everyone except a species of land crabs. St. Croix is the only United States-owned soil where Columbus landed, and he quickly discovered the danger of the manchineel after several of his men ate the fruit and died.

Michael examined the extent of the damage. “If it’s so dangerous, why not get rid of the tree?”

“That’s just as dangerous.” Jake shook his head. “Maybe more. Standing beneath the tree during rain may cause blistering. Cutting the tree gets the poisonous sap everywhere. Burning the tree causes blindness if the smoke reaches the eyes. Inhaling the smoke blisters the nose, mouth, and respiratory system.”

“Nuisance,” Michael groused.

Discovering the tree and its parts contain strong toxins, what’s an author to do? Of course, I let our military pararescueman leverage the tree as a weapon against the unsavory bad guys.

Exploring, learning, and researching are perks of being an author. The fun is multiplied by sharing the adventures, discoveries, and places with my readers.

 

PeggySue Wells
PeggySue Wells

History buff, and tropical island votary, PeggySue Wells parasails, skydives, snorkels, scuba dives, and has taken (but not passed) pilot training. Writing from the 100-Acre wood in Indiana, PeggySue is the bestselling author of 29 books, translated into eight languages, including The What To Do series, The Slave Across the Street, Slavery in the Land of the Free, Bonding With Your Child Through Boundaries, Homeless for the Holidays, Chasing Sunrise, and The Ten Best Decisions A Single Mom Can Make. Radio talk show host, author, and speaker, she interviews industry experts, entrepreneurs, and exceptional voices to help people live better, together. Connect with PeggySue on Facebook, Linked In, and at  www.PeggySueWells.com