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Screen-Free Activities? Is that Even Possible?

I’ll admit it; I’ve been glued way too many times to my phone and laptop. But is it possible to do something fun away from a screen? M Liz Boyle lists 35—yes, 35—things to do that don’t require a phone or computer. She includes activities like writing a postcard to a grandparent, designing a Coat of Arms for your family, planning your dream vacation, reading to an elderly person, and planning a menu and grocery list. Okay, we grownups do meal-planning all the time, but maybe you can give your kids a go at it.

Here are more of her creative ideas. Maybe I’ll try sketching a book cover for my current book-in-progress. *smirk*

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The Architect by Jonathan Starrett — Book Review by Lou Allen (Christian Faith and Fiction)

Hi, everyone!

To those of you who read and commented on my short story “Puma Claw” last Monday on Havok’s site, thank you! I appreciate your support and your passion for battling horrible monsters (even the monsters inside us).

Here is a review on the Christian middle-grade book The Architect. I haven’t read the book or written the review, but Lou Allen of Christian Faith and Fiction has given a glimpse into this adventure story. Take it away.

The Architect by Jonathan Starrett is a Christian middle-grade book. The story combines historical, dystopian, superhero, mystery and suspense genres, and it releases on the 7th of February 2023. Reading Vlog: Description: “There’s a golden rule in Phantom City: “No one about when the Zeppelin is out.” But one night, twelve-year-old Charlie Crane comes face-to-face […]

The Architect by Jonathan Starrett — Book Review and Reading Vlog — Lou Allen – Christian Faith and Fiction
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It’s Here!

Any readers of YA out there? Do you enjoy stories of love, monsters, and foreign countries?

Here is my short story “Puma Claw,” a tale set in Mexico and involves a troubled married couple and a shapeshifting menace.

It’s available for public viewing all day today. When today is gone, it’ll only be available to Havok Publishing members.

Enjoy! And feel free to comment on it. Your comments will help me increase my chances to be in Havok’s World Tour anthology.

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One More Christmas Story for the Holidays

Happy New Year, everyone!

How about one more Christmas treat before the holidays are over? Here is “When Angels Sing,” a story fitting for teens and adults, by Elizabeth McD. She also shares her inspiration for her tale.

Backstory on the inspiration for the story: One cold, cold evening earlier this month I stopped at a RedBox (movie rental kiosk) outside a grocery store. A young man was there with the Salvation Army singing “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” as I walked up. During the course of my business he sang quite a […]

When Angels Sing–A Christmas Story — Creative Wending
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Short Story Coming Soon…Written by Me

I have written a story filled with love, terror, and courage, and it’s friendly for teenagers and adults. It will be featured on Havok Publishing’s website, and it’s called “Puma Claw.”

It takes place in Mexico, and it involves a man on an emotional whirlwind as he searches for his missing wife. He then saves her from a ruthless shapeshifter. Guess what the shapeshifter changes into?

The story will be free for public viewing all day January 9. After that, you may only read it when you register as a Havok Publishing member. To learn more about Havok, click on the following button.

The following link takes you to where you can sign up for membership, and then you may read my and others’ short stories anytime you want.

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A Christmas Book Review and Music

Merry Early Christmas, everyone!

I wrote a review on a sweet story called Nick, the Christmas Coyote. You can find it on Jennifer Hallmark’s blog “Off the Beaten Track,” where you can read other reviews written by me and others.

What are your favorite Christmas carols? For an extra festive treat, here’s a version of one of my favorites, an underrated carol called “Patapan.”

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Writer and Reader Gift Guide 2022 (40+ Ideas!) by Kaley Kriesel

Are you scrambling to buy gifts for your family and friends? Kaley Kriesel has an extensive list of ideas, even last-minute ones and ones for non-readers and non-writers.

Words

Hey warriors! Welcome or welcome back to Words! Today I have a bit of a Christmas-y post for you, since it’s coming so close (How is it December? Really?!). Gift shopping is probably one of the most exciting and difficult parts of the season, so I wanted to lend a hand to you all, at least for your writer and reader friends! This will be divided into two main sections and beyond that, divided by where you can get the items. Let’s dive in!

Readers

It’s sometimes hard to know what to get a reader, especially if you don’t read their genre or they read more than they talk. Often slightly introverted, usually rather curious, and almost always read something about that topic in a book, they tend to live in the clouds as often as they live on earth.

Etsy

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“The Floor is Lava” Game is Ending Tomorrow

This round of “The Floor is Lava” is ending TOMORROW at 12:00pm MST! Be sure to join the group, “The floor is lava, come play” on MeWe, where I get to see all the neat stuff you come up with. Post whatever lava-themed post you wish (Just make sure they’re clean enough for a twelve-year-old to see.). Whoever receives the most likes, comments, and shares will win Kendra E. Ardnek’s young adult story Crown & Cinder.

Don’t forget to like, share, and comment on the other posts in the group. Here’s a video I nabbed from YouTube and posted, but I’m exempt from the game. 🙂

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“The Floor is Lava” Game is Still Going…Till Saturday

Don’t forget to play “The Floor is Lava,” a game I administrate on MeWe. You’ll get a chance to win a free book.

Join the group, “The floor is lava, come play,” and post whatever volcano-themed item you wish. Be creative as you make a lava-related meme. Or show off your sweet tooth as you share a lava cake recipe. Or express your geekiness as you post an article about volcanoes or a video of a lava-like science experiment, like the following video.

Whoever receives the most likes, comments, and shares on their post will get Kendra E. Ardnek’s young adult story Crown & Cinder, a mash-up of Cinderella and Pride and Prejudice. Here’s the blurb from Amazon.com.

It is a fact universally acknowledged that a girl, in possession of stepmother and stepsisters, must be in want of a fairy godmother to come whisk her away to some ball, where she might fall in love with a prince and live happily ever after…
Lizzy hated facts universally acknowledged.

Lizzy is a Cinder. However, conjuring fire at one’s fingertips isn’t considered appropriate in polite society, so she hides among her family’s servants. Besides, her ruse also serves to protect her country from the Mistress’s mad quest for power. No, it’s much better all around if she lets her stepsister live her life.
But now the Gardener has taken the Mistress’s throne, her motives unknown, and three royal balls have thrown Lizzy into the path of the most irritating king in the land. Meanwhile, can her beloved stepsister ever find a man willing to look past her farmer father? It’s a complicated mess and Lizzy only wants out.
Too bad the Forest doesn’t care what she wants.

Post as often as you want. Make sure your posts have no pornography, strong profanity, or anything you wouldn’t want your twelve-year-old to see. Don’t forget to like, share, and comment on other posts, too.

The game ends December 10 at 12:00pm MST. Have fun!

Featured

Black Friday Book Sale!

Hi, everyone. Want to fill up your Kindle app with new reads? There’s a Black Friday Book Sale happening online (even though Friday is over). Click on the button to see what’s available.

I myself bought the following books. I know, I may look like those people who take a picture of their food and post on Twitter, saying, “Look what I had at the café.” But it gives you an idea of what the book sale has. 😉

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Another Round of “The Floor is Lava” is Here

Get ready to play “The Floor is Lava” on MeWe and win a free book. If you’re on MeWe, join the group, “The floor is lava, come play,” and have fun!

Whoever wins will get Kendra E. Ardnek’s young adult story Crown & Cinder, a mash-up of Cinderella and Pride and Prejudice. Here’s the blurb from Amazon.com.

It is a fact universally acknowledged that a girl, in possession of stepmother and stepsisters, must be in want of a fairy godmother to come whisk her away to some ball, where she might fall in love with a prince and live happily ever after…
Lizzy hated facts universally acknowledged.


Lizzy is a Cinder. However, conjuring fire at one’s fingertips isn’t considered appropriate in polite society, so she hides among her family’s servants. Besides, her ruse also serves to protect her country from the Mistress’s mad quest for power. No, it’s much better all around if she lets her stepsister live her life.
But now the Gardener has taken the Mistress’s throne, her motives unknown, and three royal balls have thrown Lizzy into the path of the most irritating king in the land. Meanwhile, can her beloved stepsister ever find a man willing to look past her farmer father? It’s a complicated mess and Lizzy only wants out.
Too bad the Forest doesn’t care what she wants.

How do you play? Post a funny lava-related meme, an article about volcanoes, a recipe for a volcano cake, or anything lava-themed. I’ll make posts of my own, but since I administrate the game, I’m exempt. 🙂

Here’s something I lava-fied.

Make sure your post has no pornography, strong profanity, or anything you wouldn’t want your twelve-year-old to see. Whoever receives the most likes, shares, and comments on their post is the winner.

The game ends December 10 at 12:00pm MST. Be creative, post as many as you want, and don’t forget to like, share, and comment on other posts.

Featured

A Dog Snatcher and an Exalted Dragon Warrior

Did you play “The Floor is Lava” last week? Another round of the game is coming next week. Keep an eye for it. 🙂

Remember Kandi J. Wyatt’s giveaway I announced two weeks ago? Congratulations to whoever won it! However, I made a mistake. Exalted and The Dog Snatcher weren’t books that were being given away, but they’re available on Amazon.

To learn more about these stories, check these links out.

And here’s a fun story posted on Kandi’s blog. It’s a mashup of her characters from Exalted and Phyllis Wheeler’s characters from The Dog Snatcher. It was a collaboration of their creative powers plus that of fellow author K.A. Cummins.

Featured

“The Floor is Lava” is Ending Tomorrow!

The game “The Floor is Lava” is ending TOMORROW at 12:00pm MST. If you’re on MeWe, take part of the fun by joining the group “The floor is lava, come play.” You might win a free book!

Post a funny lava-related meme, an article about volcanoes, a recipe for a volcano cake, or anything lava-themed. Just make sure there’s no pornography, strong profanity, or anything you wouldn’t want your twelve-year-old to see.

Don’t forget to like, comment, and share others’ posts, too. Whoever receives the most responses on their post will win Kandi J. Wyatt’s book Uprooted.

Have a blast, everyone! A volcano-sized blast, that is.

P.S. Did you know that there’s a matcha lava cake? It’s true. Check out this video.


Featured

“The Floor is Lava” Game is Still Happening

There’s still time to play “The Floor is Lava,” where you may win a free book!

If you’re on MeWe, join the group “The floor is lava, come play.” Then post a funny lava-related meme, an article about volcanoes, a recipe for a volcano cake, or anything lava-themed. Just make sure there’s no pornography, strong profanity, or anything you wouldn’t want your twelve-year-old to see.

The game ends THIS SATURDAY at 12:00pm MST, so make your posting soon. Whoever receives the most likes, shares, and comments on their post will win Kandi J. Wyatt’s book Uprooted. Here’s a trailer for the book.

Have fun, and be brave like this fox. Hope he outwits the lava!

Featured

A Giveaway of Middle Grade and YA Books!

Need to fill up your bookshelf? Author Kandi J. Wyatt is hosting a giveaway of books on her site. It’s happening for three more days, so don’t delay in signing up! The following are the books in the giveaway.

(Fun fact: I had the honor of reading Vincent in Wonderland and To Slay a Curse before they were published.)

The giveaway also includes this dragon trinket box and this stuffed toy that looks like the dog in The Dog Snatcher.

Here’s the link. Click it!

Featured

“The Floor is Lava” Game is Still Going!

Check out these pumpkins withstanding the lava!

Want to share a picture of pumpkins floating on lava? And maybe win a free book? Join the group “The floor is lava, come play” on MeWe.

Post a funny meme of a person or animal keeping their feet off the floor (or a pumpkin avoiding lava, ha ha). You can also post a link to science facts about lava, books about volcanos, or even lava cake recipes. Just be sure they’re family friendly, please.

Then like, share, or comment on your favorite posts. The post that receives the most responses by November 12 at 12:00pm MST will win a free copy of Kandi J. Wyatt’s young adult novel Uprooted (Four Stars over Ardtaz: Sovereigns Book 1).

Here’s the blurb:

Hest’s dad taught him all he knows about horses, but when the most magnificent stallion he’s ever seen walks through his stable, 18-year-old Hest’s life changes as drastically as it did the day his parents died.

Now in the service of the warrior who owns this fabulous creature, Hest travels far from the only home he’s known and into the world of kings, princesses, and court intrigue.

If only life was as simple as working with a horse, but people are more complex and want more than fresh straw and some oats. If Hest isn’t careful, he’ll end up on the wrong side of a sword or worse—betraying the very people who have taken him in. (Amazon.com)

Post as many posts as you want. I’ll post my own stuff too, but I’m exempt from the game. 

Have fun!

Featured

“Tales of the Chawnsa Corps: Beginnings” by Joseph Ficor

Have you ever seen haiku intermingled in a story? Joseph Ficor demonstrates that in his “Tales of the Chawnsa Corps: Beginnings.”

This short story is fitting for a high school and adult audience, as it shows a character undergo a major operation to become a cyborg. It isn’t too graphic, though, and the story overall contains engaging emotion, a right amount of tension, and out-of-this-world battle action.

Starship Chi-Rho Studio

This is the first of an experimental series of stories written in the haibun style. Haibun is from medieval Japan in which a haiku was written after a section of prose. I learned of the style when I read an English translation of the book Oku no Hosomichi (“The Narrow Road to the Deep North”) by the Japanese poet Matsuo Basho.

I have taken more than my share of liberties in writing this style in this work, but I hope that you can enjoy it nonetheless.

The Kwanje Galaxy has been terrorized by the dreaded cyborg race, the Daregei, for centuries. The six-tentacled monsters of mysterious origin send their “harvest groups” to gather children to be converted to Daregei. The Kyasan Empire fears that they will be next. Their scientists have developed a desperate and bold plan to halt the monsters, but the individuals volunteering must forfeit humanity itself.

Beginnings

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In the Mood for Poetry?

Here is a poem written by Kaley Kriesel from her blog Words. Don’t think this is a Halloween poem. This poem causes you to think and feel for those who may be cold on the outside but are wounded on the inside.

Hey warriors! I recently realized I’ve been trying too hard to create helpful posts when this blog isn’t just for writing tips but for my writing! So here’s a poem I wrote. I hope you enjoy it! The Dark House The sound of beating hoovesPound across the cobblestonesCracked and coated in dirt.From years of heavy […]

The Dark House: A Poem — Words
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“Daddy’s Job” by Joseph Ficor (Starship Chi-Rho Studio)

Hi, all.

Want a short story that’s fitting for teens and adults? Something that’s sci fi and dystopian? Look no further than Joseph Ficor’s “Daddy’s Job.” Here, a little girl finds out that her dad’s job may not be so amazing. Rather, it involves murder. Ooo, that sounds dystopian right there, doesn’t it? Take it away, Joseph.

Here is the first story in my story a week challenge. It is a revision of a rough draft that I wrote last year. Please enjoy.              Daddy’s Job Nine-year-old Amarisa nearly ran into a wall when her little brother popped out of his hiding place behind the power junction near the hatch of their […]

Daddy’s Job — Starship Chi-Rho Studio
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On MeWe? Come Play “The Floor is Lava” With Me!

Hi, everyone!

I’m hosting a game on the MeWe page, “The floor is lava, come play!” Join the page to post a lava-themed meme or article, and you can win a free copy of Kandi J. Wyatt’s young adult novel Uprooted (Four Stars over Ardtaz: Sovereigns Book 1). Here’s the blurb:

Hest’s dad taught him all he knows about horses, but when the most magnificent stallion he’s ever seen walks through his stable, 18-year-old Hest’s life changes as drastically as it did the day his parents died.

Now in the service of the warrior who owns this fabulous creature, Hest travels far from the only home he’s known and into the world of kings, princesses, and court intrigue.

If only life was as simple as working with a horse, but people are more complex and want more than fresh straw and some oats. If Hest isn’t careful, he’ll end up on the wrong side of a sword or worse—betraying the very people who have taken him in. (Amazon.com)

Have fun!

Featured

Dog Stories for Young Kids

You may have detected my obsession with canine stories. *smiles* If you share my love for them, here’s a couple of adorable tales for younger children. This here is Pupunzel, a retelling of Rapunzel for emerging readers.

Like Rapunzel, this cute golden pup has super long hair and is stuck in a tower. I do wonder why Pupunzel doesn’t chew her hair off and make a rope out of it. Then she can escape the tower that way. Maybe only scissors and razors can easily cut dog fur, and hers would be a lot of fur to chew through.

You may remember my review on Laika: Astronaut Dog. It’s based on the story of Laika, the first dog to orbit Earth. If you haven’t read the review, you can read it through this link, but be warned. I do share the sad ending of Laika’s real story and explain how the retelling’s ending does her story a disservice.

But here’s a happier story about dogs who went into space.

The following link is Ruth Gilmore Ingulsrud’s reading of Dogs in Space, the story of Belka and Strelka. And she’s joined by her adorable canine puppet, Jones.   

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Exciting Adventures for Middle Graders

Looking for an adventure story for your 8 to 12-year-olds? Try S.D. Smith’s The Green Ember series. I’ve only listened to the first audiobook of the series, and it was great. It can be compared to the Redwall series.

You can download the first audiobook for FREE when you sign up for S.D. Smith’s newsletter, where he shares news, giveaways, printables, and art created by kids.

And he has an exciting new book coming out, which he cowrote with his son. It’ll be available for pre-order October 4. To learn more, check out the following link (and the book trailer is awesome!).

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Why I Read More Kids’ Books Than YA Books: A Casual Conversation Post — Words

Note: I shared this post from Kaley Kriesel’s blog Words.

Read on to find encouragement if you’ve ever felt silly for reading kids’ books as an adult or teen. Or even for writing more children’s stories than YA stories. I myself dabble in YA writing here and there, but I’ll probably be writing more children’s stories than YA. 😉

Hey, warriors! Welcome or welcome back to Words! Today’s post will be pretty casual since I’d like to just have a sort of conversation with you, and first up on the agenda is an explanation as to why I just called you warriors and why I’m going to keep it up. Ready? *makes a cup […]

Why I Read More Kids’ Books Than YA Books: A Casual Conversation Post — Words
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More Homeschooling Materials for Language Arts

Looking for homeschooling lessons that have students study the classics? Try out Teachers Pay Teachers. Yes, they offer lessons for homeschoolers, too. Lessons list their appropriate grade levels. They include novel studies, comprehension bundles, study guides, read-alongs, and so on.

You can study classics like…

Frankenstein

Treasure Island

Robin Hood

Anne of Green Gables

Peter Pan

and more

Click on the button below to see samples of lessons for Call of the Wild by Jack London. Topics include…

dogs vs. wolves

Jack London himself

the Klondike Gold Rush

dog sled history

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Fiction Illuminates Truth – Author Interview with Courtney M. Whitaker — M Liz Boyle

You may have known that I’ve written reviews of kids’ picture books, but I do keep my eye out for great middle grade and young adult books. Here is M Liz Boyle interviewing middle grade and young adult author Courtney M. Whitaker. Here they discuss how fiction can show characters shining their light in the darkness and even help us have empathy toward the hurting.

Please welcome Christian YA author Courtney M. Whitaker to the blog today! Courtney’s first novel, Faith Under Pressure, released in July (hip hip hooray!), and she’s in the throes of grad school and another writing project, so I’m glad she made time for an interview 🙂 LB: In Faith Under Pressure, lifelong missionary kid Katie moves […]

Fiction Illuminates Truth – Author Interview with Courtney M. Whitaker — M Liz Boyle
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Literacy Lessons for Homeschool

The new school year is just around the corner (or maybe it has already arrived for you).

Are you looking for ways to have your children analyze their favorite books? University of Cincinnati Speech and Hearing Clinic has a YouTube channel that reads books and teaches lessons related to the books.

This here is Little Wolf’s Song by Britta Teckentrup. When you click on the link, it’ll take you to UC’s video where they read the story and teach children synonyms and antonyms of the words in the book.

Fun Fact: I wrote a review of this book on Jennifer Hallmark’s blog. Check it out on the following link:

Here is an old Disney book, Peter Pan and Wendy, where UC teaches how to compare and differentiate the characters.

For more homeschooling curriculum ideas, check out my post on K.A. Cummins’ teaching materials. Happy New School Year, everyone!

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The Importance of Fiction in a Christian’s Life by Teen Writers’ Nook — M Liz Boyle

Is your teen a reader? If so, awesome! This post, re-blogged from M Liz Boyle’s blog, shows the benefits a teen can gain from reading.

This post is also a reminder for us writers to incorporate these benefits into our stories.

Today I have the privilege of introducing Teen Writers’ Nook to the blog. Let’s see what these creative sisters have to say about the importance of fiction in a Christian’s life! Heya, readers!! Huge shout out to Liz for letting us borrow her blog for this post!! We’re SUPER excited to be here. So who […]

The Importance of Fiction in a Christian’s Life by Teen Writers’ Nook — M Liz Boyle
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A Feathery Book Review and a New Puppy!

Hi, all.

A new book review, written by yours truly, is posted on Jennifer Hallmark’s blog. It’s Birds of the Air by S.E.M. Ishida. You may recognize Ishida’s name, as I re-blog some of her posts here on this site. And here’s a fun fact: she and I used to be in the same writing critique group.

If you haven’t seen my updated bio yet, here’s what happened in my life. I now have a cockapoo puppy! His name is Benny, and he is a much-needed playmate for my hyperactive Corgi, Maggie. And he’s a sweet cuddle-bug for me. 🙂

Take a look at my four-legged cuties! It looks like they’re planning something, huh?

Hmm…what mischief can we make today?
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Book Review — The Captive Maiden by Melanie Dickerson

Looking for books for teen girls? Melanie Dickerson’s fairy tale retellings would be the choice for you. I’ve listened to the audiobook version of The Merchant’s Daughter (a Beauty and the Beast retelling). It is a beautiful story, and Jude Mason does a wonderful job narrating it. I read “The Huntress of Thornbeck Forest” a long time ago, and I find it unique that the heroine is Odette and Robin Hood rolled into one.

Here is Lou Allen’s review of Dickerson’s retelling of Cinderella.

Lou Allen - Christian Faith and Fiction

I just finished reading The Captive Maiden by Melanie Dickerson.

Description:

Gisela’s childhood was filled with laughter and visits from nobles such as the duke and his young son. But since her father’s death, each day has been filled with nothing but servitude to her stepmother. So when Gisela meets the duke’s son, Valten—the boy she has daydreamed about for years—and learns he is throwing a ball, she vows to attend, even if it’s only for a taste of a life she’ll never have. To her surprise, she catches Valten’s eye. Though he is rough around the edges, Gisela finds Valten has completely captured her heart. But other forces are bent on keeping the two from falling further in love, putting Gisela in more danger than she ever imagined.”

Review:

I would rank this book as one of my favourite in this series so far. I enjoyed the references…

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Writing Chapter Books by CAYUGA ISLAND KIDS Author Judy Bradbury

Hi, fellow writers!

Are you looking for tips on how to write a chapter book for seven to ten-year-olds? That is, kids who are moving beyond picture books yet are not quite ready for in-depth novels? Children’s author Judy Bradbury shares what goes into a chapter book for younger children on Tara Lazar’s site, which I’m reblogging here.

Writing for Kids (While Raising Them)

by Judy Bradbury

Thanks, Tara, for inviting me to your blog space to offer a few tips on writing chapter books! I’m honored to be here.

A bit of background: THE CAYUGA ISLAND KIDS is chapter books series is contemporary fiction featuring five diverse friends who embark on backyard adventures, solve mysteries, and grow as a result of their experiences. The kids are resourceful, kind-hearted “fact detectives” who use their varied interests, their smarts, kindness, and humor to overcome hurdles and solve problems. Above all, these are kids who value friendship and community. The stories feature history, community service, respect for the environment, brainstorming, teamwork, misinformation, disinformation, and the importance of gathering all the facts—from more than one source—when tackling a problem, seeking a solution, and before landing on an opinion or drawing a conclusion.

The first book in the series, THE MYSTERY OF THE BARKING BRANCHES AND THE SUNKEN…

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Trying to Get Your Kids to Read?

Are you looking for ways to get kids reading during the summer? Children’s author Diane Davies has tips on encouraging young people to read⁠she has experience with teaching, after all. Click on the bottom link to access ways to have kids get access to books while being adventurous and having fun.

Below are books Davies has written. Look at the vibrant colors in the covers!

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The Importance of Writing for Yourself

Do you write for personal enjoyment while wanting to be published one day?

If you’re working towards publication, you may know the pressure in pleasing your future readers. If you’re wishing to find freedom from this pressure—or at least some of the pressure—author S.E.M. Ishida illustrates how you can write for personal enjoyment while still aiming for publication.

S. E. M. Ishida

I don’t think I realized until recently how important it is to write for yourself. Let’s face it—writing and publishing can feel like work. You close your day job laptop and open your personal laptop to reply to an editor’s email and post to your author social media accounts. Then there’s writing a new manuscript or editing an existing draft. It’s all part of a dream coming true, but it’s still work.

What doesn’t feel so much like work? Giving yourself a place to play. To be cheesy, even cringey. To ramble to an extent that would bore anyone but yourself. The kind of writing for yourself that I’m talking about here is like singing in the shower. No one’s listening, and that is a beautiful thing.

When I write with the intention to publish, I want to write a story that I’d like to read, but publishing means keeping…

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The Purpose of Fiction in Real Life – Guest Post by Shalynn Mellerup — M Liz Boyle

The following post is from M. Liz Boyle’s website. Enjoy reading about the benefits of fiction by Shalynn Mellerup, and be sure to check out her picture books.

With all the worthwhile non-fiction available, do we really need fiction stories? Today we’re welcoming my friend Shalynn Mellerup to the blog! Read on to see her thoughts on the importance of fiction. I’ve always considered myself to be an optimistic person. I want to be the kind of person who smiles in the rain […]

The Purpose of Fiction in Real Life – Guest Post by Shalynn Mellerup — M Liz Boyle
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Last Chance to Win a Book

DON’T FORGET!

Tomorrow at 12:00pm MDT is the last day to post your lava-themed posting to “The Floor is Lava” game. If you haven’t joined the group “The floor is lava, come play” on MeWe yet, do so right now and make your posting there. For the rules, click on the following button:

If your posting receives the most likes and shares, you will win a free copy of the young adult novella Toothbreaker by M.H. Elrich. Have fun!

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“The Floor is Lava” Game Ending June 4

DON’T FORGET!

This Saturday is the last day to post your lava-themed posts on MeWe’s group “The floor is lava, come play.” Keep your posts family-friendly and lava-related, whether they’re science posts, lava cake recipes, lava-themed art, or funny memes surrounding the childhood game “The Floor is Lava.” Post by 12:00pm MDT on June 4 for a chance to win M.H. Elrich’s young adult novella Toothbreaker.

For game rules and the summary of Toothbreaker, click on this link:

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Books About Spiritual Warfare for Middle Graders

Are you looking for a middle grade novel or series that features kids facing spiritual warfare head-on? Allen Brokken’s books Light of Mine and Still Small Voice are out on Amazon’s Audible Audiobook. They’re books one and two of Brokken’s Towers of Light middle grade series, and books three and four are available in Kindle and paperback form.

Looking for more middle grade books? Coming May 26 on Facebook, Brokken will host the Still Small Voice Audiobook and Unit Study Launch Party. It’s open to both Facebook and non-Facebook users, and it includes a giveaway of the following prizes:

Christian Middle Grade Author
Summer Reading Bundle:
* Melanie on the Move by J.D. Rempel
* The Snow Globe Travelers: Samuel’s Legacy by K.A. Cummins
* An Echo of the Fae by Jenelle Leanne Schmidt – Author
* Light of Mine by Allen Brokken – Author
* Vincent in Wonderland by CE White Books
* Diana Alderoot and the Gilded Mage by Trista Shaye
* Wolf Soldier by James Hannibal
* Iggy and Oz and the Plastic Dinos of Doom by JJ Johnson
* An Unexpected Adventure: Myth Coast Adventures, Book 1 by Kandi J Wyatt

3 – Light of Mine Audio Book Codes for Audible.com

Towers of Light Series Boxed Set
* Light of Mine – Do Lauren, Aiden, and Ethan have the faith to take up the armor of God and protect the Tower of Light from the forces of the Dark One?
* Still Small Voice – As defenders of the light, Lauren, Aiden, and Ethan embark on a journey to stop the dark forces invading their land.
* Fear No Evil – Will the darkness overtake Lauren, Aiden, and Ethan? Or will they prove their faith is stronger and that they fear no evil?
* Armor of God – Their Father has become the Dark One’s Champion. Can Lauren, Aiden, and Ethan retrieve the Lost Armor of God to stand against him?
* Access to download the Light of Mine digital 4-week Unit Study

10 – Armor of God Posters

To learn more about this giveaway, go to the following link:

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On MeWe? I’m Still Hosting the Game “The Floor is Lava”

Join the group “The floor is lava, come play” and escape the lava with me!

Post a funny meme of a person or animal keeping their feet off the floor, or post a link to science facts about volcanos, books about volcanos, or even lava cake recipes. Just be sure they’re family friendly, please.

Then like, share, or comment on your favorite posts. The post that receives the most responses by June 4 at 12:00pm MST will win a copy of M.H. Elrich’s Toothbreaker. It’s an amazing story involving people with special talents, wolf companions, forgiveness, and redemption. The following link gives a summary of the book.

Post as many posts as you want. I already made posts for examples (like the one below), but I’m exempt from the game. 

HAVE FUN!

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Fight Dragons by Reading Fiction

Did you know that reading good, God-glorifying fiction can allow spiritual truths to resonate clearly, or even point out the seriousness of sin in our lives? Kelly Keller shows how that can be in her article, “On Christians Reading Fiction: Stealing Past Watchful Dragons.”

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The Importance of Fiction by JPC Allen — M Liz Boyle

Today I’m excited to have my author friend JPC Allen on the blog discussing fiction. Let’s get to it 🙂 Sometimes, when you are too close to a subject, it’s hard to describe or appreciate it. When Liz asked me to write a guest post about the importance of fiction, the request stopped me cold. […]

The Importance of Fiction by JPC Allen — M Liz Boyle
Featured

“The Floor Is Lava” Game is on MeWe Again

I’m hosting “The Floor Is Lava” game on MeWe again! If you’re on MeWe, join the group “The floor is lava, come play!” and join the fun.

Here’s how the game works. Post a funny meme of a person or animal keeping their feet off the floor, or post a link to science facts about volcanos, books about volcanos, or even lava cake recipes. Just be sure they’re family friendly, please.

Then like, share, or comment on your favorite posts. The post that receives the most responses by June 4 at 12:00pm MST will win a free copy of M.H. Elrich’s Toothbreaker. It’s an amazing story involving people with special talents, wolf companions, forgiveness, and redemption. The following link gives a summary of the book.

Post as many posts as you want. I’ll post a few on MeWe for inspiration, but I’m exempt from the game. 😉

Most importantly, HAVE FUN!

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Japanese Poetry

You’ve probably heard of a haiku, but have you heard of a style of poetry called the tanka? The following is an introduction to haikus and tankas by Joseph Ficor.

Starship Chi-Rho Studio

Japanese poetry is very unique. It does not depend on rhyming as much as Western poetry forms. I enjoy this because I am not very good at rhyming to begin with.

The two styles that I like experimenting with are the haiku and the tanka. The haiku is composed of three lines with a syllable count of 5-7-5 for a total of 17 syllables. It must contain a seasonal word. Otherwise, it is called a senryu. I have used it as a tool to write science fiction haiku, aka scifaiku.

Here is an example of one that I wrote several years ago:

Black haired girls
Riding on red black hoverbikes
Travel New Tokaido

Tanka is similar except that it has a longer syllable count: 5-7-5-7-7.

Here is an example that I composed just for this blog (don’t you just feel so special inside?):

I feel bitter now
Circling a black…

View original post 43 more words

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Writing Tips From Kevin Lovegreen

Are you hoping to write your own middle grade novel but don’t want to create bland scenes? These tips by Kevin Lovegreen will give you the basics on how to create vivid descriptions of your characters’ world.

M Liz Boyle

If you are (or know) a reader of middle-grade adventure stories, you’re probably familiar with award winning author Kevin Lovegreen. His series, Lucky Luke’s Hunting Adventures, is a big hit among the families in our neighborhood.

Lovegreen gives presentations to promote the love of reading, writing, and the outdoors. I’m so happy that he agreed to contribute a blog post with some pointers for youth who dream of becoming an author (or simply passing Language Arts).

Take it away, Kevin!

“think about painting pictures with your words”

Do you want to become a better writer?

If you’re looking for some advice on becoming a better writer, think like a painter. What!? Yep, think about painting pictures with your words. As you are writing, and more importantly, when you go back and edit your writing, try to be as descriptive as possible. Remember, you are always writing to two…

View original post 444 more words

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Be Gritty? Or Be Optimistic?

It’s good to be realistic about how corrupt our world is. But how realistic is too realistic, particularly when it comes to writing stories? Should we be as gritty as today’s news and reveal all the world’s evils? Or be the opposite extreme, too optimistic?

My book review on Laika: Astronaut Dog shows a book giving a tragic historical story a happy ending, even though that ending never happened. I do address the problem of cleaning up history for the sake of avoiding its upsetting elements.

Hannah Mae discusses the dilemma of being too gritty or too upbeat on her FlyingFaith Talks! She shows how the Bible and being ministry-minded guide us on finding that balance.

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New Book Review: Fluffy Fox and The Little Turtle

I wrote another book review for Jennifer Hallmark’s blog! This time, it’s about a fox with a big problem but helps someone else in the midst of it. What is this fox’s problem? Hint: it has to do with her tail.

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Short Stories, Please

Looking for a quick read for your young children? Try “Children’s Adventure Stories by James Reeves.” It’s a Facebook Page that’s open to the public, and it’s loaded with short stories along with colorful and fun illustrations.

Story Warren also has short stories for kids, and I just read a clever one called “TellUsClope.” It’s about a giraffe who wishes for a short neck but later learns that a long neck does have a benefit. Want to know what that benefit is? Read more by clicking on the following link: