"Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by doing so some people have entertained angels without knowing it." - Hebrews 13:2

Monday, September 26, 2011

Just Words...

“Words—so innocent and powerless as they are, as standing in a dictionary, how potent for good and evil they become in the hands of one who knows how to combine them.”  ~Nathaniel Hawthorne
I love this quote.
Written or spoken words are powerful if strung in the right way.
Words can start a war or dash a hopeful spirit. Words can sting a soul like a thousand bees. Hateful words can humiliate and destroy, permanently harming the heart.
Words can also inspire a nation or heal the ill spirit. Words can renew the soul like the blossoms of spring. Words of love and affection waltz through the passionate heart.
Words can bust open a laugh or bring us to tears.
Don’t we love words?
I sure do.
We as writers can take a few words and turn a world upside down. We can make a character squirm in his seat or fall hopelessly in love. We can drive a character to the edge of a cliff or bring her to her knees, begging forgiveness.
Hawthorne was right.
As a writer, are you a lover of storytelling or words and the craft of writing? What words have inspired you? Do you do word research?
I would love to hear from you.
Between you, me and the gatepost,

Don’t forget to come by next Monday for The History Corner with Eric Huebner, along with my regular post.

Monday, September 19, 2011

What is blogging?

View from on top of Aspen Mountain - Aspen, CO
Photo by Loree Huebner

I’ve switched posting to Monday, starting today. With the beginning of the new fall season, it’s just easier for me to post on Mondays now. I still will be visiting my favorite blogs during the week.

Also, I'm having trouble commenting on some blogs. For some reason, I can't comment on the blogs without pop up windows. Hopefully this problem will be resolved soon. Thanks for your understanding. 
Now on with this week’s post ~
Last Saturday night, hubby and I went to the movies. We took in a late show, seeing Contagion. This post isn’t about the movie, but a line from it that took me by surprise.
In one part, Jude Law’s character, a freelance writer specializing in conspiracy theories, named Alan Krumwiede, is confronting a research scientist/professor, played by Elliot Gould. The doctor says to him:
Dr. Ian Sussman: “You’re not a writer. You’re a blogger. Blogging is not writing. It's just graffiti with punctuation.”
Whoa! The line blindsided me and it took me a few minutes to digest and process.
Granted that the character does use his blog for his own (I want to insert “selfish” here) gain, but nevertheless, the line set me to wondering—do people really think this about blogging?
“Blogging is not writing. It’s just graffiti with punctuation.”
Apparently, like everything else, there are good and bad reviews about art of blogging. There are many, many blogging communities—news, politics, business, marketing, religion, sports, and entertainment just to mention a few. You name a hobby, there’s a blog about it.
Here in the writing community, blogging is about sharing the writing and the publishing experience, as well as platform building. I think we all support that. We love to celebrate someone’s recent successes—like getting an agent, acquiring a book deal, or just completing the first draft of a manuscript. We support and cheer on as we also climb the same ladder. We encourage and sympathize when someone receives a rejection letter. We post about the ups and downs. That’s life in the blogosphere of the writing community. I like the feeling that I’m not alone when I read a post about the very same thing I’m going through.
I am a writer. Period. And a blogger! Exclamation point! 
I’ve only been blogging for about seven months now. I’ve been reading blogs for several years. I personally think blogging is terrific. And of course, what I read is my choice.
In the writing community, there are some superb blogs filled with a fountain of information about publishing, agents, how to write queries, setting a mood, formatting, character development, research, genres, platform building and branding…something for everyone. I could go on and on. This is what I enjoy reading. I’ve learned so much about craft and the business of writing from reading certain author’s, agent’s and editor’s blogs. There is a wealth of information about the publishing industry for everyone from the novice to the published and beyond. It’s up to you to pick and choose what to read. We have a diverse blogging community of readers, writers, agents, editors, and publishers. How awesome is that?
The real plus about blogging for me is that I’ve met some real great people in the writing community, both authors and readers who visit my blog, and who I visit. It’s more than just “graffiti with punctuation”. I genuinely care about what other authors have to say. I learn great tips from the agents in business. I study the information and the experience we give and receive in our general interest of writing and publication. I find most is helpful in different stages.
Of course, our real lives do occasionally spill over into our blogs as we share a little of our daily grind as a writer juggling parenthood, work, a happy event, an illness, or a loss. I enjoy learning little tidbits about my fellow writers. We give and take. It’s more than “graffiti and punctuation”.
I love it.
What do you really think about blogging? Do you enjoy it? Care to share any good or bad experiences? Do you think it’s necessary for an author to blog?
Below I’ve included quotes that I’ve found on blogging. I don’t necessarily agree or disagree with them. I just found them an interesting read. A few are funny, most are truthful, and several are just—what the heck?
Between you, me and the gatepost,

“I read blogs every day, for all sorts of reasons, but I turn to blogs especially when I want to hear alternative viewpoints — for example, information on a particular medical treatment from the viewpoint of patients receiving it, rather than doctors administering it; reports from the battlefield seen through the eyes of soldiers rather than politicians; thoughts on a particular technology from the standpoint of engineers rather than executives.” (Jim Buckmaster)
“Blogging is good for your career. A well-executed blog sets you apart as an expert in your field.” (Penelope Trunk)
“In at least one way we are atypical bloggers. That’s because we just keep on posting. The typical blogger, like most people who go on diets and budgets, quits after a few months, weeks, or in many cases, days.” (Stephen J. Dubner)
“Blogging is the new poetry of our time!” (Author Unknown)

“Blogging is…to writing what extreme sports are to athletics; more free-form, more accident-prone, less formal, more alive. It is in many ways, writing out loud.” (Andrew Sullivan)

“The casual conversational tone of a blog is what makes it particularly dangerous.” (Daniel B. Beaulieu)

“Blogs are whatever we make them. Defining “Blog” is a fool’s errand.” (Michael Conniff)

“Blogging is an art, same as any other method of self-expression. Some are better at it than others.” (Hugh Macleod)

“With 206,675,938 websites and blogs as of March 2010, you should be able to gain understanding of anything.” (Author Unknown)

“Don’t focus on having a great blog. Focus on producing a blog that’s great for your readers.” (Brian Clark)

“If you love writing or making music or blogging or any sort of performing art, then do it. Do it with everything you’ve got. Just don’t plan on using it as a shortcut to making a living.” (Seth Godin)

“Blogging alone is nothing but a big hamster wheel.” (David Risley)

“And it occurred to me that there is no such thing as blogging. There is no such thing as a blogger. Blogging is just writing — writing using a particularly efficient type of publishing technology.” (Simon Dumenco)
“Without the New York Times, there is no blog community. They’d have nothing to blog about.” (Malcolm Gladwell)
“I sincerely believe blogging can save America.” (John Jay Hooker)
“But there’s a bigger trend I’m seeing: people who used to enjoy blogging their lives are now moving to twitter.” (Robert Scoble)
“People have often described me as a blogger. I generally shy away from the term because, to me, bloggers are boring, self obsessed narcissists who use their website mainly as a means to discuss the inconsequential minutiae of their day to day lives.” (Anonymous writer)
“I believe the term “blog” means more than an online journal. I believe a blog is a conversation. People go to blogs to read AND write, not just consume.” (Michael Arrington)
“When I started writing this blog more than 3 years ago, it was in response to traditional media’s habit of twisting interviews to fit the headlines they wanted to create.” (Mark Cuban)
“The Lazysphere – a working definition – is a group of bloggers who I won’t name by name, but you can spot them a mile away. Rather than create new ideas or pen thoughtful essays, they simply glom on to the latest news with another “me too” blog post.” (Steve Rubel)
“A novice blogger knows he can write about anything. A veteran blogger realizes he shouldn’t.” (Unknown)
“Blogs, social networks, newspapers, any other form of publication – all have social aspects to them. It is a spectrum really, with social networks at one extreme and a 19th century novel at the other. But there’s room for all types of social publishing platforms.” (Richard MacManus)
“Blogs are already moving up market and improving. The term “Professional Blogger” is no longer an oxymoron. Some in the traditional media realize this – ESPN, for example, recently purchased the popular basketball blog TrueHoop.com to complement its other online news offerings.” (Luke Langford)
“A blog is merely a tool that lets you do anything from change the world to share your shopping list.” (Author Unknown )
“Your blog is your unedited version of yourself.” (Lorelle Van Fossen)
“Blogging is not rocket science. It’s about being yourself, and putting what you have into it.” (Author Unknown)
“The personal nature of the blog is what they find appealing.” (Ethan G. Salwen)
“The first thing you need to decide when you build your blog is what you want to accomplish with it, and what it can do if successful.” (Ron Dawson)
“Blogging is hard because of the grind required to stay interesting and relevant.” (Sufia Tippu)
“Blogging is best learned by blogging…and by reading other bloggers.” (George Siemens)
“Yes, blogging is entertainment. It is performance. Each blog post a show, sometimes an opera, sometimes a 30 second commercial. Like a show, it may start with a bang, lead you along from song to song, have a great climatic moment, then leave the audience wanting more.” (Lorelle Van Fossen)
“To be sure, the blogosphere is subject to all of the same risks as the Internet itself. Many blogs are loaded with vanity posts, half-truths, rumors, and even intentional distortions.” (Christopher Cox)
“All bloggers have one faithful reader at least – Google bot.” (Unknown)
“As I have repeatedly written in one form or other, blogging is not about writing posts. Heck, that’s the least of your challenges. No, blogging is about cultivating mutually beneficial relationships with an ever-growing online readership, and that’s hard work.” (Alister Cameron)
“Then some profiles go, ‘for me, blogging cathartic’. Their posts are just a verbal diarrhea.” (Unknown)
“The more popular a person thinks he is in the blogosphere, the thinner his skin and the thicker his hypocrisy. This should be exactly the opposite: the higher you go the thicker the skin and thinner the hypocrisy.” (Guy Kawasaki)
Amongst these, I found a gem:
“Breathe. Know that the Internet has no eraser.” (Liz Strauss)
Have a great week!

Friday, September 16, 2011

BLOG AWARDS! and moving blog to Mondays

First announcement - My blog is moving to Mondays! I will see you on Monday with a new post.

This week the lovely and talented Ms. Charissa Weaks presented me with the:


Thank you, Charissa! So sweet of you to think of me.
After you finish reading this post, go check out what she has going on over at her writer’s blog: A Day In The Life Of An Aspiring Author… which is always packed with valuable information and great tips for writers. I always come away from her blog with something new.
There are rules to this award…
1.     Thank and link back to the person that gave you the award.
2.     Share seven things about yourself on the post.
3.     Pass the award to fifteen bloggers that you think deserve it. Fifteen? Um…I’m going with five.
4.     Lastly, contact all of the bloggers that you’ve picked for the award.

First before I share seven things about me, I will pass out the Vesatile Award to five bloggers. These awesome lady authors all have unique blogs with voices of their own. I’m going to mix it up in no particular order—
1.     Gwendolyn Gage
2.     Brandi Boddie
4.     Teresa Watts
5.     Dawn Alexander

Okay, seven things about me. This is harder than I thought it would be.

1.     I was a track star. I’ve won running and high jumping events.
2.     I’m a Civil War re-enactor.
3.     I love fishing. Largemouth Bass, Crappie, and Blue Gill are my favorites to catch.
4.     I love hummingbirds. I have had two females and one male at my feeders all summer long. It's almost time for them to leave and head south.
5.     Green is my favorite color.
6.     I love Cheetos. I’m particularly fond of the new Honey BBQ flavor. Yep, they’ve made a BBQ flavored Cheeto.
7.     I collect recipes, antique copper Jello molds, and fancy tea cups.

Between you, me and the gatepost,

Friday, September 9, 2011

We Remember...

Of course, we all know that this week marks the tenth anniversary of 9/11. I can’t believe it’s been ten years. I remember watching it on TV as it was happening. Like most people across the country, I watched in shock and horror, helpless to do anything as we watched the towers fall, the Pentagon burn, and saw nothing left but a smoldering black hole in the ground in Pennsylvania.
We remember...
A few years ago, I stood at Ground Zero with my husband and son. I tried to imagine those twin towers standing tall and proud. I cried at site. I read names and saw pictures of somebody’s loved one. I cried for all those who were lost. I cried for the heroes. I prayed for all those who lived through the terror and continue to live with it every day. I mourned with those in mourning. I was standing in a battlefield.
Yes, we remember…
Of course we remember the horror…the planes…the explosions…the destruction…the loss of life.
What I remember about that day was how beautiful it was. It was a gorgeous, Tuesday morning. Around 8 am, our good friend called and told us that his wife gave birth to a precious little girl just a few hours earlier. Who knew that our country would be turned upside down on such a lovely day?  
We remember…
If you would, please take a moment to share something that you remember about September 11, 2001.

Loree at Ground Zero
Photo by Eric Huebner

The ACFW Conference – 2011
I had taken the time off work to go the 2011 ACFW Conference. A few months back, just as I was about to make plans and book a room, something came up that was unforeseen. I know God has His reasons for everything, and I don’t question His plans. Unfortunately, I will not be able to attend the conference this year. I look forward to all the blog reports on the conference.
To all those going to the ACFW in St Louis next weekend – I pray for your safe travels to and from the conference. Whatever you are there for, I pray that you get you what you need or the right words come. I pray that you learn and share. I pray that you are blessed with giving remarkable pitches - knocking the socks off of those agents and editors! If you speaking to a large workshop or small crowd, I pray your words teach, encourage, and inspire. I pray that many requests for full manuscripts and contract offers will come from the awesome agents and editors present. All and all, I pray for the love and friendship to rule the day in the end. I pray you come home renewed and motivated. You have great time! I’m excited for all of you!
Are you going to the conference? If so, are you pitching a novel? Are you speaking at the conference? What's your plan? I would love to hear about it.
Between you, me and the gatepost,

Friday, September 2, 2011

Another Summer Has Come and Gone...

Yes, the end of summer is near. A new season is around the bend. I love this time of year—harvest time. Here in Indiana, summer is struggling to hang on. After a few weeks of mild temperatures, the thermometer has shot up into the 90’s again. We’re all anxious to start the holiday weekend. With the hot weather, a trip to the beach on Lake Michigan - at the Indiana Dunes State Park - will be on the agenda.

The kids are all coming in on Saturday. There will be plenty of juicy debates while trading wood for sheep, or brick for ore, during a marathon around the game board of Settlers of Catan. We’ll BBQ on Sunday. Monday is still up for grabs.  

What’s on your holiday agenda? Do you spend a quiet end of the summer? Or send it out with a bang? Do you spend it at the lake, the shore, the mountains, camping, on the back deck, or traveling to visit friends or relatives? Will you be doing some reading? Or writing? Or both? 

I would love to hear your plans for the long weekend.

Between you, me and the gatepost,



In camp at sunset - Photo by Loree Huebner - Kentucky

The History Corner with Eric Huebner

By September 1861, the Civil War had reached unprecedented and continental proportions. Fighting has taken place from Virginia to Missouri and New Mexico. Union forces had made halting progress along the border, but defiant Rebel armies stood ready to contest every front.
Perhaps most important to the final resolution was progress made toward implementation of an effective blockade of Southern ports. President Lincoln declared a blockade of the 3,500 mile coast on April 19, 1861. The blockade was part of the so-called Anaconda plan conceived by General Scott to squeeze the Confederacy into submission. At the beginning the navy was pitifully inadequate for the task with only 90 vessels, but the fleet was rapidly expanded.
An important engagement took place at Cape Hatteras on the Outer Banks when Forts Hatteras and Clark fell to the Union Navy 8/28/1861. The Union Navy would extend its power all the way along the coast from Virginia to Mexico with important captures at Port Royal and Ship Island connecting with antebellum forts in Virginia and Florida. Since the South had only limited industry, cutting off overseas trade would eventually cripple the Southern economy and war production. 

Have a safe and happy Labor Day – Eric

Tenting Tonight - Photo by Loree Huebner - Kentucky

Lyrics from the original sheet music: Written during the Civil War by Walter Kittredge
Tenting on the Old Camp Ground  
We're tenting tonight on the old camp ground,
Give us a song to cheer
Our weary hearts, a song of home
And friends we love so dear.

Many are the hearts that are weary tonight,
Wishing for the war to cease;
Many are the hearts looking for the right
To see the dawn of peace.
Tenting tonight, tenting tonight,
Tenting on the old camp ground.

We've been tenting tonight on the old camp-ground,
Thinking of days gone by,
Of the loved ones at home that gave us the hand,
And the tear that said, "Good-bye!"


The lone wife kneels and prays with a sigh
That God his watch will keep
O'er the dear one away and the little dears nigh,
In the trundle bed fast asleep.


We are tenting tonight on the old camp ground.
The fires are flickering low.
Still are the sleepers that lie around,
As the sentinels come and go.


Alas for those comrades of days gone by
Whose forms are missed tonight.
Alas for the young and true who lie
Where the battle flag braved the fight.


No more on march or field of strife
Shall they lie so tired and worn,
No rouse again to hope and life
When the sound of drums beat at morn.


We are tired of war on the old camp ground,
Many are dead and gone,
Of the brave and true who've left their homes,
Others been wounded long.


We've been fighting today on the old camp ground,
Many are lying near;
Some are dead, and some are dying,
Many are in tears.

Final Chorus:
Many are the hearts that are weary tonight,
Wishing for the war to cease;
Many are the hearts looking for the right,
To see the dawn of peace.
Dying tonight, dying tonight,
Dying on the old camp ground