Reflections In Hindsight

Grace in the Rearview Mirror…it's closer than it appears

  • Ephesians 4:29

    Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. (NIV)

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      A-ZE is for Evil Parents and Rotten KidsI present you Jimmy Kimmel's annual "I Told My Kids I Ate All Their Halloween Candy" video montage. It's an artful mixture of cruelty, humor, and ghastly awe. My favorite is Drawer Boy. Now there's an ax murderer in the making.Which is your favorite?
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  • BLOG NEWS

    Thank you for your encouragement and support for the past three years. We've had fun connecting with you and hope you've found useful material here on Reflections. And here's the but... Reflections In Hindsight is closing on December 21, 2012. Elaine and Sophie and I can be found over at http://authorculture.blogspot.com; April can be found at Clash of the Titles, http://www.clashofthetitles, http://www.aprilgardner.com and watch for news for more novels from her!; Janet is ever-present on the Internet with her very special words of wisdom and grace at http://www.janetperezeckles.com, and Luther--who knows where he'll show up next, but I'd watch my back if I were you... Book Reviews are always important, so I, Lisa, will continue to offer them through my blog, as well as those promotions for your new books or book launches, or your news.
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Archive for the ‘Authors’ Category

Guest authors

Final Frodo Farewell

Posted by elainemcooper on December 21, 2012

Posted by Elaine Marie Cooper

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With so many farewells this last week at Reflections In Hindsight, it’s beginning to feel like the ending of The Lord of the Rings trilogy movie.

Remember the multiple finales? I’ll recap for you:

• Frodo recovers and is reunited with his friends.

• Arwen comes back from the brink of death and is reunited with Aragorn just as he is crowned king.

• Sam is reunited with Rosie and—voila!—they have a family!

• Frodo finishes his book (a HUGE accomplishment as any writer knows!).

• And just when you think you couldn’t go through one more tissue…Frodo and Bilbo both sail away into eternity.

Oh my word, I couldn’t take any more sadness! I looked like I’d been to a funeral when that third movie ended.

Well, I am also saddened by this, the last post, at Reflections. It has been an amazing journey for several writers as we’ve come together from various backgrounds to reflect on so many aspects of writing and life. It has been a joy.

But, alas, it is time to move on as our writing paths have been drawn into numerous lanes of opportunity at other blogs and in other ventures. It is time to bid a final farewell to Reflections In Hindsight. Just as Frodo finally sailed into the Havens, we are doing our last journey together today.

Unlike Frodo, however, you can still find us in other venues to follow our writing. Please keep in touch.

You can reach me at several group blogs:

http://authorculture.blogspot.com

http://colonialquills.blogspot.com

http://www.novelpastimes.com

I’ll be there at least once a month at each blog.

You can also follow me on Facebook at:

http://www.facebook.com/elainemariecooper

http://www.facebook.com/ElaineMarieCooperAuthor

At the end of the book The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkein, Frodo prepares to leave with Gandalf into eternity (the “Havens”). Gandalf speaks to the three friends left behind: “Well, here at last, dear friends, on the shores of the Sea comes the end of our fellowship in Middle-earth. Go in peace! I will not say: do not weep; for not all tears are an evil.”

Posted in Authors | Tagged: , , , | 4 Comments »

Off Into the Sunset

Posted by Lisa Lickel on December 19, 2012

It’s my last post here at Reflections in Hindsight…a good time to Reflect.

Since we started this blog back in May of 2010  we’ve had roughly 850-some posts, 65+ thousand page views, fourteen contributors that have come and gone and lots of guests. The most popular contributor still is Ben Ehrlichman, who left a while back. Shows you what great headlines do for posts…and fun, thoughtful posts. The obituary of Mr. Squirrel is still a favorite of mine.

Our most popular post was one this past fall; an author visit by Carmen Peone outswamped all our former stats for a visit. Elaine’s insightful shares on her colonial research have been very popular and helpful.

The top search words this morning at 8 am:

Search Views
james bond 2
colonial school 2
books pen 2
lutherd samson 1
sorcerer’s apprentice mickey mouse 1
moving animations someone on the phone 1
elisha bible 1
ingredient card 1
kleenex 1
Other search terms 4

We offered hundreds of book reviews, a lot of marketing advice gleaned mostly from the best of the ‘net; enjoyed a lot of promotions with new friends and old.

Most of all, we’ve tried to encourage you, the readers and authors out there who want to see something positive on the Internet. It’s been fun and a challenge for me, but it’s time to move on. Thank you! Merry Christmas and many blessings in the New Year.

Posted in Authors, Encouragment, Friendship | Comments Off

Final Market Monday, Best of MM: Influencers

Posted by Lisa Lickel on December 10, 2012

I’m grateful for the support of our various teams and supporters through the years. We’ve all learned things about blogging, expectations, a little of who we are, promtions that work and don’t work, and scheduling our time. For our final Market Monday piece, I’ll share this popular post from June 2011, with a few updates.

Thank you again, and look for Elaine, Sophie, and me over at Author Culture.

What An Influencer Does

By Lisa J Lickel

 

There are book reviewers, there are promotion team members, there are posse and tribe members and cheerleaders for authors…but how does it work? What should they do for and with you to help you promote your work? Here are some examples; few of which you need to be a writer to do.

 

AN INFLUENCER WILL do many or all of these activities:

 

Recommend the book as club selection to your book club; visit the author’s interviews and leave comments.

 

Mention the book when you visit online book club or chat sites. I like to quote a passage or make a comment on Facebook while I’m reading the book.

 

Offer the author a guest spot on your blog or web site. Add the book to a sidebar on your blog, at least for a while.

 

Regularly contribute to an online book review site, and online retailers to post a review. If you’re in a chat room, an online forum, wherever, and the topic comes up, talk about this relevant book you read.

 

Offer to write a book review for your local newspaper. Offer to write (or use one from the author) an article or press release.

 

Add the book to your list of favorites on social networking sites such as Facebook, Shoutlife, Author’s Den, and Goodreads, and post about the book to your friends.

 

Ask your public library to order a copy of the book for their shelves. If your church has a library, ask the librarian to add it to the acquisitions list or offer to donate a copy.

 

When you shop at a bookstore see if they are carrying the book. If not, ask if they’ll order a few copies.

 

If you belong to a writer’s group with a newsletter, ask if you can contribute a book review or give some other plug.

 

Help create a buzz about the book by mentioning it in any groups you might belong to: small group studies, women’s ministry groups, health club, MOPS, civic organizations, Scouts, PTA, etc.

 

Tell friends, family, other people in your social circles about the book and the author. Talk about it when you’re in a waiting room, in line at a store, or at the coffee shop.

 

Make book gifts at holidays and birthdays a regular habit.

 

Hand out author cards, bookmarks, or other promotional materials. Leave a copy in a waiting room (ask), the book shelf at the retirement/assisted living center near you, at that lodge or campground you visit that has a share shelf, at the little neighborhood library.

 

Always remember: Word-of-mouth recommendation is still the number one reason book buyers buy specific books.

 

Posted in Author Marketing, Authors, Encouragment | Comments Off

Christmas Commercialism

Posted by Lisa Lickel on December 5, 2012

Man nails Santa to cross to protest commercialism

 

My pastor showed a picture like this during his sermon, after he shooed the children away for Sunday School. I wavered between confusion, shock, amusement, guilt, dismay, being creeped out. Even now I’m just not sure about it. Pastor Dave’s point was that we treat Santa too much like God. He used the words of “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” to show similarities in what we profess about Christ, and what we expect Santa will do, and I have to admit I was impressed at the eerily similar spin.

 

Santa might be the only Jesus some kids know. How bad would that be?

Here’s the article that goes with the picture. http://www.katu.com/news/12774337.html

I have had an ornament like this one below for many years. It’s ceramic, colorful, reverent. I remember the first time I saw it, I was entranced. Yes, I thought—that’s it! That’s exactly it.

 

I was one of those parents who taught my kids that Nicholaus was a real person, and told them his story and the reason we give gifts to others today, to show our great love to each other because of the gift Jesus gave us. If other kids want to believe that Santa Claus brings them presents Christmas morning, they shouldn’t make fun or say anything mean. Someday they’ll learn the truth.

 

Some kids already know where their presents come from: Social Services or some other charity. No illusions there. The gifts I most want to give the kid whose name I pluck from the giving tree is hope, passion, grit, compassion. I pick out a t-shirt and a couple of toys, and a candy cane with the Christian story of what the stripes mean tied to it. Someone you’ve never met wants to give you a dream, and someone you’ve never met will pray for you, and love you. This anonymous child has a story for sure. Characteristics to add to my file, make up a story about how we influenced each other. Imagination amok—beware, writer on board.

 

So, what do you believe about commercialism, telling children about Santa, gift giving, enjoying family time, showing love?

Posted in Authors, Encouragment | 3 Comments »

Deep Thinkers and Curious Space Travelers

Posted by Lisa Lickel on November 26, 2012

Deep Thinkers

by Tom Blubaugh

We are all travelers on this space ship we call earth. Oh, yes! It is a space ship! As I sit at my computer, writing and sipping a bottle of flavored water, I have a mental awareness, but not physical one, of movement. This planet, although it seems to be perfectly still, moves at a speed of 67,000 miles per hour around a sun that is 100 times as big and 93,000,000 miles away. Every 365.25 days in our year, we travel 587,322,000 miles through space while rotating at 1,000 miles per hour. This planet is 8,000 miles wide – the sun we circle is 800,000 miles wide. It takes 8.3 minutes for the light of the sun, which travels at 186,285 miles per second, to strike the earth’s surface. It would take the earth 57.8 days to reach the sun’s surface if this were possible. The sun travels at a speed of 491,832 miles per hour around the galaxy and it’s estimated it would take 220,000,000 years to complete one orbit.

If the previous paragraph causes you to be in awe – you are a deep thinker. If it makes you wonder how we know this information and creates a desire to dig deeper – you are a curious space traveler. I am both.

What I am going to share with you is of an intimate nature. I keep a journal of many of my conversations with God. I started this in March 2004. I often say something like “I wish I had done this years ago” but I hope I have learned that everything comes in God’s time. I love the statement “when the student is ready, the teacher will appear.” I do not write in my journal every day and not all of my transcription is done in my journal. Sometimes I type in my word processor. Where I write is not important. The process is my most effective means of communication with God.

Some of what I share are things from a very small portion of these conversations. Others are experiences I have had when God has taught me life lessons. Some are things I’ve heard others say and their words have stuck with me.

One day when I was having a conversation with the Lord, He said, “Write. Don’t stop. Communicate.” I have written for a long time so I didn’t really think too much about it. A few days later, He told me again to write.

“You want me to write?”

“Yes. You have a lot to say. It will help many.” I told Him I didn’t know where to start or on what.

“I will show you.” At that time my website, The Genesis Project was under construction and I felt I had done a fair amount of composition so again I didn’t change anything.

A few days later, we were having a talk and I said, “This is so neat Lord. I had no idea communication with you could be like this”.

“Share it,” he said.

My writing is an attempt to follow His command. It is not inspired as the Bible is inspired. It is a collection of some of my personal communications with God.

We are very fortunate to be writers at this particular time. It is an awesome time and one I believe God is using mightily to promote His kingdom. For years, a verse in the Bible has intrigued me—“And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.” (Matthew 24:14). Although I know this verse is true, I’ve wondered how this was going to happen. Now I believe I know—via the Internet. We Christian writers are part of His awesome plan.

My office is a twelve by fifteen foot room in the middle of the United States. Only God knows how many countries my writing reaches through my blog, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other channels.
Connect with Tom:

Tom Blubaugh, Author of Night of the Cossack and other works

 

Night of the Cossack historical fiction ebooks available at Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble

Night of the Cossack historical fiction signed paperback at Night of the Cossack  FREE shipping to address in USA.

Night of the Cossack historical fiction pdf file will be available soon.

Facebook fan page

The Write Trail Scribbling from the sometimes creative/sometimes scattered mind of Tom Blubaugh

Twitter @tomblubaugh

Info-line for writers promotion

Linkedin to join my network

Genesis Project my ministry site

Follow me on Pinterest

Posted in Author Marketing, Authors, Encouragment | Tagged: | Comments Off

AutoCrit Editing Wizard, a useful tool for writers

Posted by April W Gardner on November 14, 2012

Last month, someone on the John 3:16 Marketing Network recommended the website AutoCrit.com. Today, I looked into it, and so far, it has all the appearance of being useful tool for writers.

In the company’s own words, “The AutoCrit Editing Wizard is an instant book editor. With the click of a button it shows you the problems in your manuscript.”

Copy, paste, click “analyze.” That simple.

The free version analyzes 1,500 words each day. It will check for overused words, sentence length variation, and clichés and redundancies.

The paid version increases word count to 3,000 per day and adds on repeated words and phrases, phrases summary, pacing, dialog tags, initial pronouns, readability, and homonyms. The repeated words and phrases alone is worth the $47/year!

I put the first scene of my latest novel through the wizard. Mind you, it had already undergone four critiques, but I was still shocked at what the wizard caught. It’s mostly nit-picky stuff, but since I’m a nit-picky author, AutoCrit has potential to become by bestest buddy.

With a 30-day money back guarantee, it was a no-brainer to fork over $47, but I plan to test-drive it hard over the next month!

Swing by there now and pop 500 of your latest words into the wizard. Just for fun. Then come back and let me know what you think!

April W Gardner is an award-winning author and the founder of Clash of the Titles.

Posted in Authors, Working from home, Writing | Tagged: , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Writing Challenge: Group Anthology

Posted by elainemcooper on November 9, 2012

Posted by Elaine Marie Cooper

I have done all kinds of writing—novels, short stories, magazine and newspaper articles, poetry, blogging, devotions—you name it and my pen has likely visited that format. But this week, I participated in a brand new venture: A group anthology.

As a writer of Colonial American fiction, I belong to a group known as Colonial American Christian Writers. About two dozen writers interested in Early America participate in this group, where we share research, support, and enthusiasm for each other’s work. Our fearless leader, Carrie Fancett Pagels, has also started a blog called Colonial Quills, which features a variety of posts including virtual tea parties for book launches (sorry, you must provide your own tea!), research info, and other pieces of interesting facts with that consistent theme of Early America. I love participating with this great group of ladies. You may have even read some of their novels. ;-)

This year our creative Carrie came up with an idea that has apparently been her dream for sometime: An anthology of chapters from several different authors who are following the same central story line with recurring characters. Talk about both intriguing and challenging. At first I thought, “How fun!” but then I panicked.

How was I going to do this?

The first thing that had to be established was the year and location. It turned out to be in the South (I write about New England) and set in 1753 (a year I had not yet researched).

Gulp! What did I get myself into??

Well, it turned out to be a challenge but really enjoyable. I was already used to researching history, so I just had to search out information about the particular time and place. In doing so, I found some treasure chests of information. I, personally, learned more about the important role (then) Major George Washington had in the initiation of the French and Indian War. He was all of twenty-one years old at the time.

With Carrie setting up the central location in a fort called “Providence,” she introduced her characters that would be recurring in the chapters that each of us writers would add to the anthology. It has been a cooperative and amazing effort and I hope that this innovative work blesses our readers!

The first segment written by Carrie ran on Monday, November 5, and subsequent chapters will run every Monday through the holidays. If you’d like to read the first segment, here is the link: Part One of “A Forted Frontier Holiday.”

If you sign up for the Colonial Quills blog, the chapters will be e-mailed directly to your in-box and you will not miss a single episode.

Click here for the page at Colonial Quills with the schedule, including titles of chapters and the authors.

Hope you enjoy our group’s effort to produce Colonial Quills’ first ever Christmas anthology!

Posted in Authors, History - American Revolution | Tagged: , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

When God comes to our rescue.

Posted by janeteckles on October 27, 2012

By Janet Perez Eckles

Two dear friends picked me up from the airport. And once we entered the hotel’s lobby, we went to the counter. . After giving the usual information to the clerk, my friend lowered her voice, “Mrs. Eckles is bl..bl..blind,” she whispered.

“Sure am,” I said with a silly grin.

My friend cleared her throat. “And she needs a room, with…” she hesitated.

“An ocean view!” I said.

I laughed. And they gave a quiet chuckle.

Next, they tried to figure out how I’d get to the restaurant for breakfast. After moments of discussion, I leaned closer to the counter. “There is a great invention called “room service.”

Should I be starved while in my room, all I do is pick up the phone and dial 0, ask for room service, place my order, and voila! Food comes to the door!

God knows that. Not only about our physical hunger, but our spiritual hunger, too. Often you and I are stuck in a room of uncertainty. We wonder how will feed that hunger for security. How will we satisfy that thirst for safety? For confidence and fulfillment?

God knew that before we did. He’s waiting for our heart’s call. And He promised He will show up. While we approach the window facing the ocean of His grace, His love and goodness pour down. And His compassion arrives to satisfy our thirst and ease our pain.

That’s why, no matter what hotel room of emptiness we are in, we will declare, “I lift up my eyes to the hills. Where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth” (Psalm 121:1).

Father, I confess I’ve looked elsewhere for help—my job, friends, possessions, relationships and my own wisdom. In moments when my soul is hungry, I will look up and trust that you and only you will come to my aid to meet my needs, those that burden my heart, those that keep me stressed and those I keep secretly inside. In Jesus’ name, amen.

• How is the view of your life right now?
• Who will come to your rescue?
• How does your heart feel, knowing God will come to you, wherever you are?

Janet
Cheering you on to experience life, harvest its lessons and share their outcome.

Posted in Authors, Encouragment, Inspiration, Life Experiences | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Comments Off

Market Monday: Synergy, with Tony Eldridge

Posted by Lisa Lickel on October 15, 2012

By Tony Eldridge, creator of Marketing Tips For Authors, originally posted January 2010

Wow, I can’t believe it’s 2011. Time continues to march on, whether we have achieved our goals or not. We are at that pivotal time when we both look back and assess last year’s goals and look forward to plan for the coming year’s goals.

I want to suggest a strategy for you to consider as you solidify your goals for 2011: Consider working with others to help achieve your goals. There are a number of valid reasons for you to do this.

1. Synergy- When people join forces to work on a common goal, the achievements they can accomplish together are often more than they can accomplish separately. The excitement and mental stimulation that two or more can create will often make the impossible possible. As the Proverbs says, “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.”

2. Accountability- Sometimes we let our goals slide by taking on new goals or putting off actions we know we need to do. But when we work with someone else, it’s harder to do that because another person is counting on us. By nature, we want to come through for others and not let people down.

3. Financially- When two people work together, they can often split the cost that each would have to pay if they were working alone. When you team up with someone else, you may find that the goals which were once out of reach are now obtainable.

4. Efficiently- Let’s face it, sometimes we need skills and expertise that goes beyond our ability. There are few things that work so sweetly together as a project where we offer a strength and our partner offers another strength. This can allow us to accomplish a goal where every step is achieved with the highest degree of quality and expertise.

5. Accessibility- When two people work together on a goal, they have access to a network much larger than the one they bring to the table. Whether the network consists of potential clients or professional relationships, the network of two is much deeper and can yield much more fruit than if we went at the goal alone.

I know that there are the downsides and pitfalls of working with others, and I don’t think we should overlook them. But having done due diligence, authors can often find a path to achieving their goals in 2011 in ways that they might not think possible if they were to try it alone.

***
My Photo

Tony Eldridge is the author of the action/adventure book, The Samson Effect, that Clive Cussler calls a “first rate thriller brimming with intrigue and adventure” and the Twitter marketing book, Conducting Effective Twitter Contests which helps people find targeted Twitter followers.  He also shares his book marketing tips with fellow authors through his blog and through his free video marketing tips for authors. You can follow him on Twitter @TonyEldridge

Posted in Author Marketing, Authors, Encouragment | Tagged: | Comments Off

Disconnect Days

Posted by Lisa Lickel on October 10, 2012

On behalf of April:

 

Me (in a whiny voice) “Honey, why don’t you hold me much?”

Hubs (with a shrug) “You don’t slow down enough for me to catch you.”

I laughed, because it wasn’t the answer I expected. And because he was right.

I’ve been thinking lately about how many hours of work I put in every day. If we’re talking writing-related work, about nine. If we’re talking cleaning, cooking, caring for the kids, homework, shopping, yard work (and the list goes on), we’re getting closer to…every hour I’m not sleeping.

From the moment I wake up at 5:30 to the time I go to bed 10:30, I don’t stop working in one form or another. When I do stop, I crash—out like a light as soon as I sit down.

Two Sundays ago, I woke up and knew I needed a day off—one of those rare “disconnect” days. I wasn’t burned out, but I sensed it coming. First thing that morning, I told my 8 year-old that I wasn’t going to turn on my phone or my computer all day.

Her eyes lit up, and she gave one of her “you’re the best mommy in the world” hugs. I was a little stunned by her enthusiastic response and was happy she was on board with the idea.

An hour later, while I was combing her hair for church, she exclaimed, “This is going to be the best day EVER!”

My mind ran through what we had planned for the day, but came up blank on activities. No children’s choir, no eating out (leftovers again), no one was coming over to play. It was going to be a rather uneventful day, as far as Sundays went.

“What’s so special about today?” I asked, thinking surely I was forgetting something we had on the calendar. Was I supposed to bring a covered dish for an after service fellowship? (Those are her favorite.)

She splayed her hands, palms up, and looked at me at out of the tops of her eyes. “You’re not going to be working!” Then she proceeded to tell me everything she and I were going to do that afternoon.

  1. Sit on my bed and watch a girly movie
  2. Do our nails
  3. Make moccasins for her Fall Festival Native American costume
  4. Go to Goodwill and look for accessories for the same costume

We did them all.

I don’t FEEL like I work too much. I hardly talk on the phone, and when I do, it’s usually while the kids are in school. But what I think I do and how my family perceives the same things are two different monsters.

The family doesn’t complain about me working too much, but I can recognize a warning bell when I see one.

Now, I’m scheduling “disconnect days” on my calendar.

Have warning bells been going off in your home? Are you acting on them? Making adjustments? Making time for those who matter most?

You might be surprised at the enthusiastic reception you get if you do!

 

Posted in Authors, Encouragment, Heart and Home, Living Our Faith Out Loud, Parenting, Working from home | Tagged: , | 9 Comments »

 
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