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My Top 5 Favorite Books

My Top 5 Favorite Books

1. Summer at theComfort Food Cafe by Debbie Johnson

As you may know by now, I love books with family, romance, and FOOD! 

That’s why, when I came across The Summer at the Comfort Food Cafe, I bought it immediately.

I was five pages in when I went out and bought the rest of Debbie Johnson’s books.

It’s that good!

There are more books in the series, and all of them are wonderful. This one is my favorite though. Probably because it was my first encounter with the author, and I wasn’t expecting all the humor and warm fuzzies that the book offered.

I’m going to include a warning to everyone. I read parts of this book in public. At one point, I was sobbing. Yes, sobbing. So for that reason, I recommend you read this in the privacy of your own home, or at least be prepared for strangers to stare as you use the pages of the book to dry your tears.

But seriously, I highly recommend this book! (Don’t worry, there are a lot of laugh out loud moments too!!)

 

 

2. The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles by Julie Edwards Andrews

My fourth grade teacher introduced me to The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles. She would read it to us after recess.

I loved it so much that once she finished it, I bought a copy and read it again and again.

It’s by Julie Edwards Andrews. I was very obsessed with The Sound of Music as a kid. Many of the more serious themes of the movie went right over my head, but I loved Brigitta, and I often wished that my parents would have had more children (and that I could actually sing worth a hoot) so we could have formed a singing group.  

This book is so much fun! Even though it’s geared towards a younger audience, it’s still a really enjoyable read as an adult!

 

 

3. Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine

Ella Enchanted is another book that may be geared toward a younger audience, but I love it so much!

Gail Carson Levine has a way of writing that draws you right into the world of the story.

This was turned into a movie, and the movie version is a lot of fun, but the book is even better! 

If you’re looking for some sweet romance and magic, I recommend this book!

 

 

4. The Nanny by Melissa Nathan

I first read The Nanny when I was living in England on a temporary work visa after I graduated from college.

After work, I would go to my favorite coffee shop and read. There were tables by the windows upstairs. It was the perfect perch to watch the bustling activity outside. Getting lost in stories was the best way to keep homesickness at bay.

The Nanny was my first Melissa Nathan book, but not my last. I searched the charity shops until I found every one of her books. 

Sadly, the author passed away from breast cancer. She wrote several lovely romantic comedies, and I highly recommend all of them.

 

 

5. Enchanted Inc. by Shanna Swendson

I love books with magic in a real world setting. Probably because I’m still waiting for a fairy godmother (or Merlin) to show up and tell me I have magical powers.

This book is set in New York City. The main character, Katie, is immune to magic and gets a job working for a company called Magic, Spells, and Illusions, Inc.

This series is full of fun characters and lots of adventure! Plus, there’s a little romance!

 

What are your favorite books? Please comment down below!

I Started a YouTube Channel!

I Started a YouTube Channel!

I started a YouTube channel!

After several months of thinking, planning, and panicking – I posted my first video!

Setting up the channel was easier than I thought.

I created a channel header on Canva. I use Canva to make a lot of promotional graphics for my books. Since I’m no graphic designer (though I know an amazing one, if you ever need one!), some of the things that I’ve created have never seen the light of day (and a few that I have posted maybe should have stayed in the deep dark “never use” folder). But they provide an option for YouTube Channel Art that makes it easy to create the perfect size image.

After I uploaded my channel art and a picture of my face, it was time to film the video.

I have an inexpensive microphone and ring light that also holds my phone. I set them up in a corner of the basement so they would be out of the way, and I could leave them up all the time. I want to make it as easy as possible to record videos.

I had an outline of what I wanted to say (as a writer, I love a good outline). But for my 3 minute and 43 second video, I probably have at least 30 minutes of footage. I would forget what I was saying mid-sentence or my chair would make a funny sound (it was the chair, I promise!).

So editing turned out to be the hard part as I sorted through trying to find where I actually said what I wanted to say.

I used iMovie to edit because it’s already on my computer and pretty easy to figure out. I think it has a lot more features than I used, but I’m learning.

I also made my thumbnail using Canva. I pulled a screenshot from the video, added some text, and voila!

I think the whole process will become a little easier and faster over time. For me, just getting the first video out there was a huge success. 

I’m excited to make more videos! Please subscribe to my channel if you want to be notified when I post a new video!

Do you have a YouTube channel, or are you thinking about starting one? Please share in the comments below!

Writing Faster

Writing Faster

I’m trying to learn how to write faster. 

I know faster isn’t always better, but I keep getting stuck in these drafts. I type fast. Often faster than my brain works, but I freeze up. I nitpick over small details. 

No, it doesn’t matter if she’s baking blueberry or blackberry pie. I constantly have to remind myself – you can always change it in the next draft!

So that’s why I’ve become fascinated with techniques on writing fast.

Get it done, then revise!

 

Here are 3 Tips for Writing Faster

 

1. Word sprints – I set a timer and then write, write, write! I don’t let my fingers stop typing until the time is up. I’ve had mixed results with this. 

Sometimes I feel like I’m Lorelai from that Christmas episode of Gilmore Girls (“Monkey, monkey, underpants” anyone?)

But sometimes I’m pleasantly surprised by the ideas that pop out when I don’t edit myself.

I usually set a timer for 20 minutes, but if I can push myself to do 30 minutes, I sometimes can get 1,000 words down.

 

2. Outline – You know that dreaded moment when you don’t know what happens next? That’s usually when I wander onto social media, or decide that it’s SUPER IMPORTANT that I get a load of laundry done IMMEDIATELY! (At least I’m a neat procrastinator, right?)

A complete outline can help prevent those “what happens next?” moments. 

Some people worry about stifling creativity, but an outline is a living document – ready for change at a moment’s notice. I’m on my fifth outline for the current Magic Pie Shop book. (I’ll probably need to practice fast outlining techniques next!)

A good outline is valuable because you can plan your writing day by seeing which scenes or chapters you want to write. It’s also a great way to see your story arc.

 

3. Directed daydreaming – When I’m walking my dogs, or taking a shower, or doing that laundry I so love, I think about my story.

As writers, we’re probably already good at daydreaming. 

But when I take all that imaginative energy and focus it on the next chapter I’m going to write, it can be a really productive use of my time. I can get excited about the characters and the scene. Sometimes I identify plot holes and how to fix them. That way, when I sit down at my keyboard, I’m ready to go full speed.

What are your tips for writing faster? Please comment down below!

Writing Update and Goals!

Writing Update and Goals!

I work seasonally as a parking lot striper. It’s a wonderful, but sometimes exhausting and unpredictable, job. Now that the snow has fallen here, I am fully focused on my writing projects and freelance work. I freelance as a developmental editor, and I’m taking on new clients now. If you know anyone who is looking for a developmental editor, send them my way!

I’m also working on the third book in The Magic Pie Shop series.

Book three feels like it’s taken a long time (probably because it has). I’m so close to wrapping it up now, I can almost taste it — and it tastes like blueberry pie!

December is also the month I begin to plot out my goals for the next year. I’m very excited about 2020. I have a feeling it’s going to be a wonderful year. I think this time I’m going to set both monthly and seasonal goals (with maybe a couple of daily goals sprinkled in).

I’m still working out what all of my goals will be, but I already know that one of my big goals will be to complete two manuscripts next year. I’m posting it here, so I have to do it. There are no take-backs once it’s up on the blog.

Comment down below, I’d love to hear from you! How do you set goals? What are your goals for 2020?

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