What’s up, and a giveaway

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Aside from the blog hop posts and the March almanac, I’ve taken a break from blogging this month. From February 14th till March 17th I was away at my daughter and son-in-law’s home in northern BC. I was there to help with a new baby that joined their family on February 24th. What a happy event!

Then on March 2nd something not-so-happy happened. I mis-stepped on a couple of stairs and tumbled down to land on and fracture my right hip. Ouch! Fortunately I was near a hospital with good orthopaedic doctors and had surgery to repair the fracture on March 3rd.

Now I’m back home, hobbling about with a cane and trying to follow doctors’ orders about what I can and can’t do in my recovering state. Thankfully sitting is no problem and neither is typing.

Hip Kit

My new best friends: cane, picker, long-handled sponge, shoehorn, sock dresser, Kindle, & two-wheeled walker

While away I read several books. I’ll be posting reviews of some of them in the days ahead.

Loveology by John Mark ComerAlso, while away the generous people who provided me with a copy of Loveology to REVIEW sent another copy of the book to give away. If you’d like to win this excellent hardcover book, enter your wish and your name in the comments below. I’ll draw for the winner a week from today, April 1st. (Sorry, but due to the cost of mailing parcels internationally, I will only take entries from Canada & the U.S.)

One more thing. After three months I’ve decided to drop the monthly Freelance Writer Almanac posts. They are very time consuming to put together, I’m not convinced they are that useful, and I’ve decided to spend the time they take on other things.

Blogging changes in 2013

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Blog button“For many of us, the heart of our home base is our blog. It’s where our best thinking lives, the place where others can comment and interact with us, the nexus of our social network,” says Michael Hyatt in his book Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World.

He goes on to advise would-be bloggers, in eight steps, how to set up or restart a blog. His first step is “Determine a theme.”

Now I’ve been blogging themeless (at my personal blog promptings) for years and it’s been a lot of fun. However, in the last few weeks (actually ever since I started  blogging here at my website), I’ve been mulling over whether it’s time to establish a theme, what that should be, and how it would look in blog format.

In a recent Author Media webinar  Thomas Umstattd echoed Hyatt’s advice. “Find your niche,” he said. “Don’t copy the competition.” His explanation of a blogging theme in relation to other writing we do was most helpful. He said something like, “Imagine your book is the DVD. Then your blog would be the extras on that DVD—the outtakes, the extra scenes, the interesting facts that never made it into the main feature, the interviews with the actors…”

And so I’ve been asking myself, what is my niche, and what extra features would be on my DVD?

‘Writing’ seems the obvious answer to niche. It’s what I know best.  But does the world need yet another writing blog? There are writing blogs galore written by people with a lot more expertise and success than I have.

Another blogging possibility comes to mind as I review what I have written about, and love to write about—the Bible. I have found a lot of inspiration in it. I’ve written a year’s worth of Bible-based devotions for kids. I write daily devotions for adults. In 2012 I published a book of biblical fiction based on the story of the exodus with fictional characters inspired by characters straight from the Bible.

What ties all these writings together is what I am attempting to do in them: BRING THE BIBLE TO LIFE. That is:

1] make the Bible come alive for readers

as I

2] apply Bible teachings and principles to modern life.

Lately I’ve been thinking I could blog about that! In the coming year I’m going to try. In that vein I plan to offer you some of these “DVD extras” in 2013:

  • Articles on the history of the Bible and how it came to us. If you’ve wondered how we ever got this collection of 66 books we call the Bible, posts on Bible history might answer some of your questions.
  • An exploration of various Bible study methods and helps. If your Bible study feels stale and you’re ready for something new, stay tuned. We just might explore a method or find books and helps that breathe new life into your study.
  • An introduction to some of my favourite Bible illustrators from the past. The whole realm of Bible illustration is fascinating. For example, how did/do Bible illustrators know what to dress their characters in? Are they always true to history, or do other factors (like interpretation, symbols, contextualizing the scenes so that contemporary readers can visualize themselves in the picture) play a part?
  • Interviews with living authors, translators, illustrators, and others who work closely with the Scripture. Friends of ours are Bible translators. Some of the dilemmas they face as they attempt to put the Bible into the mother tongue of a culture strange to them are fascinating.
  • Stories of the Bible’s impact on people’s lives.
  • Monthly Bible-inspired writing prompts for fiction, poetry and non-fiction.
  • Reviews of books, especially books that bring the Bible to life. In this department I’m going to focus on biblical fiction but I will continue to review other types of books as well.

Of course I’m open to other topics as well. What would help bring the Bible to life for you? I’d love to hear your suggestions (leave them in comments).

If you enjoy the Bible and would like to find out more about this best seller of all time, why don’t you join me? I’ll be updating once or twice a week.

Liebster love

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liebster-blog-award1

I’ve been nominated, ahem, this blog has been nominated for an award—the Liebster award. Though I have been blogging for years in different places, this blog has been running only a few weeks, so I am honoured to get this shout out!

Tracy Lee Karner,  a virtual acquaintance from a different time and place, nominated me.  We reconnected a few months ago after being out of touch for years and our re-acquaintance was accompanied in me by a sense of  ‘rightness’—like the feeling you get when you meet an old friend from high school in your new town and find you still want to be friends.

To accept this Liebster I must do two things:  answer Tracy’s questions, and pass on the Liebster love to a few more blogs.

Tracy asked:

1.Which musical instrument do you wish you could expertly play?

My answer: Though I adore the dulcet tones of the flute and I find my feet tapping or sashaying to the fiddle, I’d love to play something to which I could sing along, but that also has deep roots in folk music. So I pick the MANDOLIN.

2. Who do you really admire?

My answer: Ravi Zacharias—a person with the brain power to slice and dice philosophies and theories, along with an incredible memory for poetry and story, all bound together by an unflinching loyalty to Jesus Christ and the gospel.

3. What (one thing, or as many as you want to name) do you always keep in your cupboard or fridge?

My answer: Yogurt (made by me using our own Yougourmet yogurt maker).

4. What (one thing, or as many as you want to name) do you wish you could afford to always keep in your cupboard or fridge?

My answer: Fresh nectarines—or any out-of-season fresh fruit.

5. Which song or snippet,  when you hear it, gets stuck on rewind in your head and what do you do to unstick it?

My answer: I’m terribly suggestible and so any song can get stuck in my head and many do. Mostly I enjoy the private concert. If I’m really needing to manually move the needle, I turn on other music or start humming another tune.

And now I get to pass on  the bloggy love.

My Liebster nominees are:

{{{{{Drum roll please}}}}

  • Happily Writing  (Ramona Heikel). Ramona is a freelance writer-friend who shares my love of murals and sends me photos of them to post on my mural blog! She certainly deserves a Liebster!
  • Tabatha Yeatts: The Opposite of Indifference  (Tabatha Yeatts).  Tabatha is a blogger I met through Poetry Friday. She always draws our attention to interesting, quirky, thought-provoking things, usually poetry or kid-lit-related. On top of blogging she has organized a couple of poem swaps which have inspired poets to do more than just leave comments on each others verses (as in send each other poems via snail mail—what a concept!)
  • Grains of Sand  (Lynda Schultz). Lynda blogs devotional and inspirational posts that appear regularly in my RSS feed.  She is always motivating and encouraging!
  • Storygal’s Blog  (Carolyn Wilker). Someone who calls herself Storygal is sure to have a story up her sleeve, even when she’s accepting an award.

******

To accept the award:
1. List five random facts about yourself
2. Pass the Liebster award on to other blogs (up to as many as five).
3. Proudly display the Liebster button on your blog!

If any of my nominees would rather not respond, that’s fine! They’re all worthy of the award in any case.

Welcome!

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Welcome to the blog at violetnesdoly.com, my home base for sharing my life as a reader and writer. Here I will post:

  • Book reviews.
  • Interesting things I’m discovering as I research the Bible times setting in preparation for writing more biblical fiction.
  • Developments and trends in the world of book publishing and marketing.
  • Reviews of and links to resources that help me as a writer of prose and poetry.

If these things interest you too, I hope you’ll check back, and join in the conversation!