Monthly Archives: August, 2014

Having Fun: Painting Pine Cones

We often walk to our post office and lately, we’ve been collecting pine cones along the way. Today, my daughter and I painted them. She loves painting. At three-and-a-half, she happily spent over an hour and a half working on them if that tells you how much she enjoys it. 
I really had a lot of fun as well. The best part, however, was spending quality time with my little girl who is getting big way too fast. 
I’m not sure what we’re going to do with these pine cones yet. For now, they are sitting on a paper towel on the counter drying, looking cheerful, and reminding me of my daughter’s equally bright smile. 🙂
 
 
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Book Review: Cork & Fuzz Wait a Minute

I am always on the lookout for a new reader for our son. He’s actually progressed past these level 3 readers, but when I saw “Cork & Fuzz Wait a Minute” by Dori Chaconas, I couldn’t pass it up. The cover, illustrated by Lisa McCue, is adorable and drew me right in. 
The book itself is about two friends – a possum named Fuzz and Cork the muskrat – who come across a yellow balloon. They don’t know what the balloon is and they go through a series of guesses as they try to chase it down. 
The characters are well developed for a story of this length. I found myself liking both of them. I also found the tale to be very original and it brought a smile to my face. Best of all, both of our kids enjoyed the book and we read it more than once. 
This is a series of readers that I plan to collect so that we’ll have them available for when our daughter, who is three now, is learning to read.

Book Review: Sleep, Big Bear, Sleep!

Our kids and I have been trying to go by the library weekly to do some school (we homeschool) and borrow some books. I decided to start reviewing one or two books a week. There are so many children’s books to choose from. I enjoy discovering which books our kids like so that we have ideas for gifts we might get friends and family. 
Last week, we found the hardcover version of “Sleep, Big Bear, Sleep!” by Maureen Wright and illustrated by Will Hillenbrand. 
The story is about Big Bear who can’t hear very well. Every time Old Man Winter tells him it’s time to sleep, Big Bear is just sure he heard something else. Big Bear keeps thinking that Old Man Winter is telling him to do something like sweep or leap until Old Man Winter finds a way to get his attention. 
The whole concept is adorable and I liked how the author used rhymes to make the story line flow. The illustrations are beautiful. For two of the pages, the book needed to be turned sideways to see the images, which is something our kids have always liked in picture books. Our kids (3 and 8) both enjoyed the book and have asked to read it several times this week. 
I definitely recommend “Sleep, Big Bear, Sleep!” if you’re looking for a new title to add to your child’s book collection. I saw that Maureen Wright has several other Big Bear books available and we plan to read them in the future. 

Banana Bread Galore!

We had 9 or 10 bananas that were getting incredibly brown. These were some bananas that weren’t fantastic when we bought them, so they just sat on the counter until they were way past their prime. Because I hate seeing any food to go waste, my daughter and I spent yesterday afternoon making banana bread. 
We had enough of the batter to make a large loaf and three small loaves of regular banana bread and then a large loaf and four small loaves of chocolate banana bread. 
I especially love this bread right out of the oven with some butter melting on the top. Yum!
Thankfully we had a get together with some friends last night so I was able to give away four of the small loaves. I left some out for breakfast the next couple of days and then froze the rest. I love being able to just reach into my freezer and pull out some banana bread when the mood strikes someone in the house! 
Are you hungry for banana bread yet? Let me share the recipe I have with you! For chocolate banana bread, use 1 3/4 cups of flour and 1/4 cup of baking cocoa powder instead of the 2 cups of flour. 
Enjoy!

Banana Bread 

2 cups flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt (optional)
1 cup milk
1 egg beaten
1/3 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup mashed banana
1/2 cup walnuts (optional) 

Grease the bread pan
Mix the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a bowl
Mix the milk, egg, oil and banana in a bowl
Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients
Pour the wet mixture into the well
Mix the batter until moistened – don’t over mix
Spoon batter into the bread pan
Bake at 400’F for approximately 25 minutes
Check with toothpick, bake an addition 5-10 minutes if needed

Writing Tip Thursday: Stop When You’re On A Roll

I want to start giving some writing tips each week. I am, by no means, an expect when it comes to writing fiction or anything else. I have, however, discovered some things along my journey that has made my writing life much easier. I want to share those realizations with you. Whether they give you an “ah ha!” moment or you simply respond with a /facepalm, welcome to the first installment of Writing Tip Thursday. 
Stop When You’re On A Roll
No matter how excited you are about what you write, it’s still a roller coaster ride. I know this is true with my own writing. There are parts of my book that I could work on for hours, words flying onto the page as fast as my fingers can type. These are the parts that make it easy to write and these are the parts that I always look forward to. 
Then there are the sections of my book that are a little harder. Not because I dislike what I’m writing about, but because it might be an area that needs more research. Or I may have to rewrite a section of dialogue, over and over again, until it has the right feel. Whatever the reason, it’s easy for me to get distracted, to call it an early night, or just drag my feet about getting started in the first place. 
Here’s the trick about a roller coaster ride. Zooming down those exhilarating sections of track is what makes it possible to climb up the next hill. You’ve got to gain some speed or you’re just going to sit there. 
That’s something I finally figured out about my writing. When I get to a point in my work where I’m really focused and writing easily, I work for a long while and then I stop before I’m finished with that section. Why? Because it makes me look forward to picking up my laptop the next day and continuing where I left off. I’m building up speed at the beginning of a writing session so that it’s easier as I approach the next hill. 
It’s not always possible to time it like that. However, I have found that if I can begin and end a session racing down that track, full of enthusiasm, I get a whole lot more accomplished. 

Calming the Storm in Print!

Calming the Storm is now officially available in paperback! I’m so very excited about this. I personally buy most of my books on Kindle, but there are just some books I have to have in print. I won’t deny a certain satisfaction seeing a print copy of my book on my desk, either. 😉

Titles, Tuesday, and Tooth Pain

Happy Tuesday, everyone! 
I’m experiencing some tooth pain today and that has me struggling to keep any real focus in my day so far. I actually broke a large section off of a pre-molar over two weeks ago. I’ve been very thankful that I’ve not had pain up until yesterday. Now it’s just enough to be distracting and is causing my sinuses to feel congested as well. It could be worse – at least I will have relief after tomorrow when the tooth is extracted. 
Between tooth pain and refreshing my Amazon author page (the paperback version of Calming the Storm should be available any day now), I’ve been working on my next book. It’s the first of a series called “State of the Heart.” I have a lot of ideas for the cover of this first book and will be taking photos for it next week. It is my goal to have a cover as well as a title to share with you all by September 5th.
I want to thank you all again for your interest and support. I hope you find today to be a blessing!

Happy Friday!

I am very excited that it’s Friday. This last week has been one of those weeks where I really wanted to get a lot of progress made on this book I’m writing and it just didn’t happen. The reasons were all good ones, but I sure am happy to have a more laid-back weekend coming up!

I’m also looking forward to being able to share more about this next book with you all. It’s the first book in a series of three. I am still working on the title and the cover. It’s a little more of a challenge, simply because I’m working on the covers and titles for all three books so that they go well together. As soon as I have that figured out, I’ll start sharing more details. 

In other news, there are three more reviews up on Amazon for Calming the Storm. Thank you so much! I appreciate your taking the time to read the book and sharing your thoughts! 

The newest reviews about Calming the Storm:

Enjoyable Christian romance … by Sue Reviews  This was a very enjoyable Christian romance story. I enjoyed watching the relationship between the character blossom and grow. I found all the characters to be very likable. I’m not giving it five stars because some of it seems a bit far fetched to me. I also wasn’t sure about how I felt about the marriage considering they were unequally yoked yet his family all encouraged him to go for it. That’s actually unbiblical, Yet the story does play out in a way that really glorifies God. Overall I enjoyed it and would read another by this author.  


Great read … by Crystal B.  I loved the book. Great characters and setting and I loved how the romance developed. I would definitely recommend it.  


Five Stars … by Crystal J.   I loved the book! Very Good Clean Christian Book! 

Calming the Storm – The First Two Reviews!



I received my first two reviews for “Calming the Storm” on Amazon over the weekend. It was so exciting to see some feedback. Many thanks to the people who took the time to post those reviews, I appreciate it!

Here’s what people are saying about Calming the Storm: 


Just Finished It….by Gvolstad
I bought it because a good friends daughter-in-law wrote it. I started reading it right away and forced myself to put it down to go to bed last night! It met and exceeded my expectations…I want a continuation of the story to see where God will take the characters next…Please write another! 


beautiful by mommy2threereads 

Brought tears to my eyes and was a wonderful read! Truly one of a kind inspirational love story about trusting in God and in others! 

Welcome!

Hello and welcome to my new blog! I’m trying to get everything set up so please be patient with me. I want this blog to be a place to post information about my next book, from sneak peeks at the cover to excerpts. I also want to be able to talk about some of my favorite books that I’ve read lately, provide some links that might help whether you are a reader or a fellow author, and more.

Much like the characters in the books that I write, I have a feeling this blog’s personality will grow and change as it progresses.

I appreciate your support!

Blessings,
Melanie