Friday, April 29, 2011

Royal Wedding Hats - Fascinating Fascinators

I just couldn't resist posting about this!  As hats were required to be worn by the ladies at the Royal Wedding, there was a showcase of some extraordinary, dare I say bizarre, headpieces to gander at. This type of millinery is called a "fascinator" and there were many fascinating fascinators on display. Many of them had a flair that were difficult for many of us Americans to comprehend. Art? Origami? Well, we can give them much credit for their creativity. Festive indeed!

And here the princesses adorned hats for another occasion...

I love the butterflies, by I don't think I'd be caught dead
wearing a flock of them on my head.

If Marie Antoinette were a guest she might have donned this...

Did you have a favorite? Share a link if you wish.

Here's a blog post you will surely enjoy - Hat's Oh, My!

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Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Sticky Notes: Charles Colton

"Many books require no thought from those who read them, and for a very simple reason; they made no such demand upon those who wrote them."

~  Charles Caleb Colton (1780-1832)

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Promise of the Resurrection

Our Lord has written the promise of the resurrection,
not in books alone, but in every leaf in spring-time.
~Martin Luther

The Hope of Eternal Life

All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is by his great mercy that we have been born again, because God raised Jesus Christ from the dead. Now we live with great expectation, and we have a priceless inheritance—an inheritance that is kept in heaven for you, pure and undefiled, beyond the reach of change and decay. And through your faith, God is protecting you by his power until you receive this salvation, which is ready to be revealed on the last day for all to see.
1 Peter 1: 3-5

Friday, April 22, 2011

Considering the Resurrection


If my thoughts were more profound I would share them here.  As it is, I am sometimes overwhelmed by the simplicity of the gospel, yet awed by the complexities  that it contains.  This is one of those times.  So I offer a few words of others for reflection on the resurrection.

“Christianity is not merely a religion that was marketed well with just the right political spin by gifted writers. It is a living, breathing, ongoing conversation between God, humanity and all creation empowered by the resurrection of Jesus Christ.”
(William J. Carl, Living Pulpit, March 1998, p.6)
"Some religions, both ancient and modern, require no historical basis, for they depend upon ideas rather than events. Christianity is not one of these.”  (A Short Life of Christ by E. F. Harrison, 1968)

“In examining the evidence of the Christian religion, it is essential to the discovery of truth that we bring to the investigation a mind freed, as far as possible, from existing prejudice, and open to conviction.

“Jesus Christ alive from the dead is the answer to all the broken dreams, the collapsed hopes of your life and mine, the pressures that we feel from day to day, the sense of our failure and the inability to perform as we would like to perform.”
(Ray Stedman, The Living Hope, March 1976)

Oprah goes Colonial

I'd love to do something like this for novel research!

No phones. No toilets. Oprah and her best friend, Gayle King, go back to the 17th century on PBS's reality show Colonial House. What did they get themselves into?

Oprah Goes Colonial

PBS Colonial House

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Words Matter

This video has a profound impact on the power of words. The rearranging or restating your message can have the ability to bring about a better response from the reader. Have a stronger effect. Broaden the audience. Have a lasting impression.

In fiction and non-fiction alike we see this concept when we revise our content. It is also useful for persuasive letter writing and writing grants. For advertising and marketing endeavors. No doubt, the woman in the video was a writer or in advertising. 

The blind man had a message, simply put:
"I'm blind. Please help."

He stated a fact and what he wanted. The message that he felt helpless. People may have felt helpless also, that a small contribution would not make much difference for him.

The woman's revision stated:
"It's a beautiful day and I can't see it."

The new message drew the reader into the man's experience where they could contrast it with their own. It solicited something tangible that they could do to make an immediate difference in the man's life. While many folks were out enjoying their own beautiful day, he is restricted. Perhaps they could ease his burden with their generosity and make his day some how, in some way, more beautiful. And it made their day more beautiful as well.

This campaign applies to all, writers and conversationalists. Change your words. Change the world.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Colonial Fiction: Patriot's Day

Today, in honor of Patriot's Day I'd like to talk a little bit about the growing genre of Colonial Fiction. Often times the novels I'm working on play out like a movie in my head.  And like many novelists, I like to imagine what it would have been like to be transported to that historical time and place to see what it was like then and imagine my characters there.

I went online to see if I could find some video of historical reenacting events in honor of Patriot's Day and found these that were uploaded within moments of my search. It made me wish I could be there.  Seeing these scenes takes me back to a former time and spurs my imagination! 

The true history of colonial times (1607-1750) is a tremendous inspiration for fiction.  We discuss this growing genre on the Colonial Fiction Writers email loop that I belong to.  It is becoming an ever popular sub-genre of historical fiction, I believe, because of the times we are living in today cause us to reflect on our great nation's past. It's beginnings. Looking to the past to gain perspectives on the present, and future. During trying times we tend to become nostalgic.

As for me, I enjoy looking to the past partly because my ancestors played a significant role in our country as some of the first settlers in Massachusetts, Maine, and New Hampshire. My current work, for which I'm writing a proposal takes place in colonial Massachusetts. Next May, my second book, Carving a Future will be out in a 4-in-1 collection entitled Colonial Courtships.

And I love to read colonial fiction so here is a list of some of the great books from this intriguing era!

Early American Inspirational Fiction: (updated 4/24)

Mark Ammerman - Cross and Tomahawk series, 1750’s (2005. River Oak)
Barbara Blythe - Fire Dragon's Angel, 1676  (2010, White Rose)
T. Davis Bunn, Isabella Bunn - Heirs of Acadia series (2005, Bethany)
T. Davis Bunn, Janette Oke - Song of Acadia series (2002, Bethany)
Jamie CarieThe Duchess and the Dragon, early 1800’s (2008, B & H); Wind Dancer, (2010, B & H); Angel’s Den, 1808, (2008, B & H)
Carla Capshaw - The Duke's Redemption (2010, Steeple Hill)
Dorothy Clark - Beauty for Ashes, 1820 Philadelphia (2004, Steeple Hill); Joy for Mourning, 1822 Philadelphia (2005, Steeple Hill)
Elaine Cooper - Road to Deer Run (2010, iUniverse)
Dianna Crawford - The Reardon Brothers series (2002, Tyndale), Reardon Valley series (2003, Tyndale)
Susan Page Davis - Return to Love, A New Joy, Abiding Peace (White Mountain Brides), 1689-1696 New Hampshire (2009, Barbour), The Prisoner's Wife (2008, Barbour)
Lena Nelson Dooley - Pirates Prize (2006, Barbour), 1805 Spanish West Florida
Laurie Alice Eakes - The Glassblower (2009, Barbour), Lady in the Mist (2011, Revell)
Darlene Franklin - Beacon of Love, 1815 Rhode Island (2009, Barbour), The Prodigal Patriot, 1816 Vermont (2010, Barbour), Bridge to Love, 1777 Vermont (2010, Barbour)
Laura Frantz - The Frontiersman’s Daughter (2009, Revell), Courting Morrow Little (2010, Revell)
April Gardner - Wounded Spirits, 1813 Mississippi Territory (2010, Vinspire)
Rita Gerlach - Surrender the Wind (2009, Abingdon)
Deeanne Gist - A Bride Most Begrudging, 1643 (2005, Bethany)
Louise M. Gouge - Thine Enemy, 1775 East Florida Colony (2009, Steeple Hill); The Captain's Lady, 1776 (2010, Steeple Hill), At the Captain's Command (2011, Steeple Hill)
J.M. Hochstetler - Daughter of Liberty (2004); Native Son (2005); Wind of the Spirit, 1770’s Ohio Territory (American Patriot series) (2009)
Gloria Waldron Hukle Manhattan: Seeds of the Big Apple, Threads: An American Tapestry, 16th/17th century New York (2009, Author House)
Angela Elwell Hunt - Keepers of the Ring series (2000)
Amber StocktonPromises, Promises; Quills & Promises; Deceptive Promises (Liberty's Promise), 1739-1774 Pennsylvania (2008, Barbour)
Kathleen Kent - The Heretic's Daughter, 1695 Massachusetts Bay Colony (2008, Reagan Arthur); Wolves of Andover, 1600’s Massachusetts Bay Colony (2010, Reagan Arthur)
Susan Meissner -The Shape of Mercy, subplot 1692 Massachusetts Bay Colony (2008, Wa terbrook)
Siri Mitchell - Love's Pursuit, 1640’s Massachusetts Bay Colony (2009)
Gilbert MorrisHouse of Winslow series, 1620-1798 (1990, Bethany); The Liberty Bell series (2000, Bethany); Spirit of Appalachia series (2002, Bethany)
Nancy Moser - Washington's Lady, 1770’s (2008, Bethany)
Golden Keyes Parsons - Where Hearts are Free (2010, Thomas Nelson)
Marlo Schalesky - The Winds of Freedom series (2001)
Kay Marshall Strom - The Triumph of Grace (book 3, Grace in Africa trilogy), 1793 South Carolina (2011, Abingdon)
Mary Lu Tyndall The Red Siren, The Blue Enchantress, The Raven Saint (Charles Towne Belles trilogy) (2010, Barbour); Surrender the Heart, 1810 Baltimore (2010, Barbour); Surrender the Night, 1812 Baltimore (2011, Barbour)

Forthcoming -

Rosslyn ElliottFairer than Morning (Sadler’s Legacy trilogy), 1825 Ohio and Pennsylvania (5/11, Thomas Nelson)
Laura Frantz - The Colonial's Lady, 1779 Kentucky (8/11, Revell)
Mary Lu Tyndall - Surrender the Dawn (Surrender to Destiny trilogy), 1814 Baltimore (8/11, Barbour)
Margaret Daley - From This Day Forward , 1816 Charleston (9/11, Summerside)
Roseanna White - Love Finds You in Annapolis, Maryland (12/11, Summerside)

Eakes/Griffin/Taylor/Welborn - Highland Crossings, 1740-1815 North Carolina (1/12)
Jennifer Hudson Taylor -
New Garden's Hope (Quakers of New Garden novella), 1808 Greensborough, NC (2/12)
Siri Mitchell - The Messenger, 1778 Philadelphia (2012)
Eakes/Gade/Stockton/Richardson - Colonial Courtships, 1752-62 Connecticut River (5/12)
MaryLu TyndallVeil of Pearls, 1811 Charleston (6/12)
Laura Frantz - The Ballantyne Legacy, book 1, 1785 Pennsylvania (9/12, Revell)

Jennifer Hudson Taylor - The Forbidden Conquest (9/13) Scotland to the Carolinas 1760; The War Woman (2/14) North Carolina 1780; Imperfect Pieces (9/14) Lake Erie, Ohio 1813

Can you add to this list of Colonial Fiction? What are some of your favorite colonial reads?

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Sticky Notes: Madeleine L'Engle

We are encouraged only to do that which we can be successful in. But things are accomplished only by our risk of failure. Writers will never do anything beyond the first thing unless they risk growing.

~ Madeleine L'Engle

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Do you have a Lemonade Story?

Lemonade Anyone? 

Former Publisher Don Jacobson is collecting (and paying for) lemonade stories--real-life stories about the sour twists of life that are followed with sweet surprises of encouragement and inspiration. The Gunshot Wound That Saved My Life is Don's true lemonade story.

The former owner of Multnomah Publishers is on a mission to collect “lemonade” stories, a play on the old saying “When life hands you lemons, make lemonade”—or, as Don puts it, “Lemonade happens!” By his definition, lemonade stories are real-life stories about when life takes a sour twist but is followed with a sweet surprise. To borrow the words of Paul Harvey, a lemonade story tells the rest of the story.

Through personal experience, Don knows a little something about lemonade himself; The Gunshot Wound That Saved My Life is Don’s true lemonade story. In November 1980, after suffering a near-fatal gunshot wound in his side, he lay in the bitter cold for eleven hours before anyone found him. Miracle upon miracle saved Don’s life that day—from the friends who were led to search for him, to the fog that lifted at just the right time for a helicopter transport, to an on-call doctor who specialized in treating his type of injury. After spending nine days in critical condition and nearly a month in rehab, Don left the hospital a discouraged man, no longer able to physically provide for his family. But his story wasn’t over. God used the accident to get Don’s attention in a big way, and it would change the course of his life.

Don’s new project, God Makes Lemonade™, was born of his realization that everyone has a lemonade story. Some are more dramatic than others, but each has the power to transform lives. The book-in-process is aimed at collecting real-life lemonade stories through an interactive website and Facebook page. Readers can visit God Makes Lemonade to submit their account of a difficult circumstance and the lemonade that came from it. "God Makes Lemonade™" is due for release September 2011.

Each accepted story is paid $250. See website for details:

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Ultimate Blog Party 2011 Winners

I'd like to thank all of you who visited the 5 Minutes for Mom Ultimate Blog Party 2011 giveaway here at Writing to Distraction. It was nice to make some new friends, visit with current friends and hear some of your own precious memories.  If you missed my post about how I used poetry to preserve memories as a keepsake of my son's when they were little, please visit my post Recording Precious Memories.

Congratulations to the 3 winners, chosen at random through the ever-reliable  I'd like to  encourage you all to visit them on line to give their great blogs a boost and get to know these fantastic ladies!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Book Addiction Justified

Today I'm taking a turn around the Regency Era. I'm working on a proposal for a book series set in this delectable time period. I've already written the first chapters of the first novel of the series. And over the past few days have been inspired to plot one of the successive novels.  Today I received a box of books I ordered set in this period. I love it when books arrive in my mailbox - it feels like I'm receiving a gift, albiet to myself! I endeavor to enjoy all of the books I ordered for that sake alone, but they will also be of great use to me.

Georgette Heyer's Regency World by Jennifer Kloester is "The definitive guide for all fans of Georgette Heyer, Jane Austen, and the glittering Regency period" and will be of great use for my research. I also have been investigating Regency novels old and new for research material and inspiration. The Bluestocking on His Knee by Regina Scott (Zebra, 1999) and Mandy Goff's The Blackmailed Bride (Steeple Hill, 2011) struck my fancy.

Of course, I'm already well read in the Regencies of Ruth Axtell Morren, Catherine Palmer, Kaye Dacus, Julie Klassen, and others. Oh, and I would be remiss to neglect our dear Miss Austen. And as a side note, the not nearly enough Regency movies I am sure to watch over again for the umpteenth time.

To round off my book purchase, I bought a copy of Noah Lukeman's The Plot Thickens. As I am a firm believer that one should always continue growing in the craft of writing, whatever genre you choose.

What genre is your favorite? And what historical period to you enjoy most?
For me, you must already know that my favorite genre is fiction and I am smitten with the historical periods in range from the 17th through the 19th centuries.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Lucy Writes a Novel

"A writer's words are sacred." - Lucy Ricardo

Here's something that really tickled my funny bone! I hope you'll enjoy it as much as I did. I love Lucy!

Lucy takes it upon herself to write a novel titled "Real Gone With the Wind." Ricky, Fred , and Ethel are none too pleased to find that Lucy has based her main characters on them ("Nicky Nicardo," "Ethel Nurtz," "Fred Nurtz").  They try to burn the manuscript, to no avail. Then, much to everyone's amazement, a publisher evinces interest in Lucy's masterpiece ~ or at least that's how it seems to the euphoric Lucy. However, things don't quite turn out as expected.



Ethel: What are you writing about?
Lucy: I’m writing about things I know.
Ethel: That won’t be a novel that will be a short story.

Ethel: [Fred enters] Why don’t you find out what makes him tick?  He creaks a little, too.

Lucy: Ricky, that’s what writers do.  They take the truth and twist it a little.
Fred: Well, if your novel doesn’t sell, you can always get a job making pretzels.

Sticky Notes: The Act of Writing

The act of writing is simple in and of itself, but the endless possibilities it offers are what makes it so compelling. It's a yielding art, conforming itself to whatever niche--large or small--we wish to give it in our lives.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Ultimate Blog Party: Recording Precious Memories

To help celebrate the 5 Minutes for Mom Ultimate Blog Party 2011 I thought I'd share some precious memories with you of when my sons were young. I'm also giving away THREE prizes!

When my boys were little I wrote a few poems to journal what they were like at that particular age and what my priorities were as their Mom.  Now I look back and have sweet reminiscences and wished the years hadn’t passed by so quickly. I am so glad I did, as now they are 24 and almost 23. Perhaps this will encourage you to jot down some of the memories of your own little ones or the special children in your life.

SPEND a quantity of quality TIME
CELEBRATE special occasions,
and EVERYDAY occasions

Justin Bradford (1992)

Brandon Michael (1993)


While He’s Still Two (Brandon 2yrs. old)
Looking for bugs.

Now is the time to get things done . . .
sit on a blanket
in the warm sun.
Laugh at the monkeys
on a trip to the zoo -
Enjoying precious moments while he’s still two.

Now is the time to discover books . . .
Sesamee Street,
how a bug looks.
Sow seeds of laughter,
learn how to pray,
learn his own language,
And cuddle my little one at the end of the day.

On the slide at the zoo!
Later there’ll be time
to talk on the phone,
read my own book,
have time alone.
Organize closets,
and polish the copper
so it looks new -

Later on . . . when he’s not still two.


While He’s Still Small (Brandon 3-4 yrs. old)

Feeding his bulldozer obsession.
Now is the time to get things done . . .
Make new friends
with wee little ones.
Build stuff with Legos,
making green bread -
boys will be boys;
teach him how to share his toys.
Learning good manners,
little sticker charts.
Do craft projects and have lots of fun.

Now is the time to do things our own special way -
Read favorite stories
His favorite "Piggy" puppet!
and then read them again,
line things all up
so they all look the same.
Sit upside down,
reciting his numbers,
Kisses times two
goodnight prayers.
Count all the blessings at the end of the day.

Caught a big one!
Later there will be time . . .
for adult conversation,
taking a bath,
eating hot meals.
As for keeping the house neat
and sorting my stuff,
time right now there isn’t enough.
Yet, these moments are precious
I wouldn’t trade them at all;

These things will come later . . . when he’s not so small.


A Boy Only Three (Justin 3 yrs. old)

 Now is the time to get things done . . .
consider the lilies
with my little one.
Admire the moon
and the fish of the sea -
Share the adventures of a boy only three.

Now is the time to learn something new -
crafts for children,
making costumes.
To cherish the sparkle
Fishing like Dad and Grampa.
of his eyes so blue.
Dinosuar puzzles,
A B C’s,
Bible verses for him and for me.

Later there’ll be time to do my own thing,
maybe write a book -
something inspiring.
Arrange some flowers,
do something for me -

Later on . . . when he’s not only three.


Dubbing him a knight.
Sir Justin Jumps Alot
A Boy Just Four (Justin 4 yrs. old)

Now is the time to get things done . . .
wade in the water,
sit in the sun;
squish my toes
in the mud by the door -
Explore the world of a boy just four.

Now is the time to study books,
how a cloud looks;
to ponder “up”,
where God sleeps at night,
And why mosquitoes take such bites.
First Lobster "Up in Maine"

Later there’ll be time
to sew and clean,
paint the hall
that soft new green;
to make new drapes,
refinish the floor -

Later on . . . when’s he’s not just four.


Mom’s turn . . .

Now They Are Grown (Reflections of a Mother)

Now is the time to consider what’s done . . .
Affirm the good choices
of my two sons.
Now young men -
they are finding their way.
faithful sons,
best friends,
loyal brothers.
So hard to believe
how time has passed.
Living and working out on their own.
The Lord lent them to me, now they are grown.

Now is the time for a mother to ponder. . .
Recall motherhood years
of blessed wonder.
Pour through pictures
happy memories I greet;
Cherishing memories,
so very sweet.
Hold in my heart
with a sense of pride -
Nurturing spirits,
shaping character,
maturing steps,
Every drop of love . . . hoping all will abide.

At last I have time to do my own thing . . .
Read favorite books,
talk on the phone,
spend time writing,
enjoy time alone.
Organize keepsakes,
reminisce over tea -
Give up the guilt;
free to be me.
Persue my own aspirations,
reach for my dreams -
After all of these years, I’ve many many it seems.

Now is the time, I’ve plenty to spare . . .
So I remind my sons that I’ll always care.
Occasional guidance,
wisdom for the way,
these things remain devoted to prayer.
One thing they learned
that no matter how old,
a secure place remains
in the heart of their mother.
Yes, now my little boys
have flown from my nest.
And later is here . . . I am so blessed!


To celebrate with 5 Minutes for Mom

I'm offering prizes to three winners who comment
on this post from now until April 8th.
(Chosen with

To be eligible to win please share one precious thing about a special little one you know: a favorite toy, a quirkly little thing they do, something funny they said, something that warms your heart and will warm mine and those who read the comments. And you can also share something about a pet, if you wish!
Extra entries for those who sign up to follow my blog (or already do), follow me on facebook, follow me on twitter, retweet this post, repost this on facebook. INCLUDE THESE IN YOUR COMMENT.
{When tweeting use hash tag #UBP11}

That's a lot of chances to win!

All entrants must include their email addy as such:  myname [at] mymail [dot] com
And now for the prizes . . .


Postcards with verses/quotes about mothering,
"Heartstrings" inspirational book and book mark -
enclosed in a beautiful book box.
Scrapbooking stickers and papers for
your family pets!

A journal to write down your special memories!
Your choice, pink or blue.

Thank you for visiting! I do hope to see you again!
Be sure to drop by 5 Minutes for Mom for more of
the Ultimate Blog Party 2011!