A writer inspired by nature and human nature


Bette A. Stevens:

Simply marvelous! ~ Bette A. Stevens

Originally posted on Sacred Touches:

All goes back to the earth,
and so I do not desire
pride of excess or power,
but the contentments made
by men who have had little:
the fisherman’s silence
receiving the river’s grace,
the gardener’s musing on rows….
~Wendell Berry

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To find the universal elements enough;
to find the air and the water exhilarating;
to be refreshed by a morning walk
or an evening saunter…
to be thrilled by the stars at night;
to be elated over a bird’s nest
or a wildflower in spring —these are
some of the rewards of the simple life.
~John Burroughs

The law of the Lord is perfect, restoring the soul; The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple. ~Psalm 19: 7   ✝

**Image via Pinterest

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Writespiration #32.

Here’s what I think.  How about you?

LOVE Inspiration Challenge

Nothing Better than Love

Love is an ice cream sundae on a summer’s day—
Vanilla ice cream topped with hot fudge, walnuts, whipped cream and a cherry.
Love is grandchildren squealing with delight as they say,
“Mmmmm. I love you, Grandma!”

~ Bette A. Stevens


Linda Loegel PIC from BlogHi, Linda. It’s great to have you with us today and I can’t wait to find out more about you and about WILLARD MANOR—your first historical fiction novel. I’ve just finished reading it and thoroughly enjoyed taking a trip across American history through the ‘eyes’ of the manor!

Here’s what one reviewer had to say:

This was a great book to read and kept my interest throughout the entire story. It starts out quietly and simply, but picks up speed as you are introduced to a number of characters as new owners. It is a wholesome book and feeds your soul in a positive manner. This book leaves you wanting even more stories about Willard Manor. ~ DJ Tefl

Tell us a little about yourself, Linda.

I’m a born and bred New Englander. I spent thirty years in Connecticut which is the setting for Willard Manor. I have two daughters and a son, three grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. My husband passed away in December 2014. I have lived in Vermont, Connecticut, California, and now North Carolina. I like to read, write, travel and watch the bluebirds, cardinals, and deer that visit my backyard.

How long have you been writing and what type of writing do you normally do?  

I’ve been writing for forty years and have accumulated a drawer full of rejection slips. My first book, The Devil Wore Plaid, was published by iUniverse in 2001. I came alive when I joined, and later presided over, a read and critique group in California. Their support and encouragement gave rise to a few more books. I am now president of my local read and critique group which I hope will grow and be a vehicle to encourage other writers.

Can you give us a brief synopsis of WILLARD MANOR?

Willard Manor is about a fictional house built in 1840 by John Willard, and the generations of his family that lived in the house for the next 170 years from the Civil War to the Woodstock festival, and beyond. One family, one faith, many generations. A young couple, Tony and Shelley Maguire, purchase the old, abandoned house in 2010. During the renovation process, they come across various artifacts that help them piece together the former occupants of the home.

What prompted you to switch from your usual genre and write historical fiction?

Willard Manor Final Cover LINDA LOEGELWhat prompted me to write this book? Up to this point, I had written mostly true accounts of various stages in my life. I took to heart, “Write what you know.” People in my r&c group suggested I try my hand at fiction.  Voila! Out came Willard Manor.

Do you have a favorite line from the book?

One of my favorite scenes is this one:

Benjamin looked at Esther. “What do you think, old girl? Do you like it? This is a brand new 1908 Model T Ford automobile!”

“Well I never!” sputtered Esther. “Who would have thought that we’d actually own an automobile in our lifetime?”

Who is your favorite character and why?

My favorite character is Thomas, John Willard’s second son. Thomas is the quiet, thinking type. One day, as a young boy, he notices the seeds in an apple he’s eating and asks his mother if they would grow into a tree if he planted them. She suggests they find out, so Thomas carefully plants the seeds, then waters them every day. One day he sees a sprout and tenderly cares for his “apple tree” until he and the tree are grown. His one complaint is that the tree doesn’t produce any apples. Thomas follows his big brother, Jonathan, into the Civil War; his brother comes home but Thomas doesn’t. Shortly after Thomas is laid to rest in the backyard, his apple tree produces its first fruit. Thomas’ apple tree grows along with the family; both suffering setbacks and both strong enough to withstand any blows life gives them.

What was the hardest part about writing WILLARD MANOR?

The hardest (and yet fun) part of writing this book was the research. I studied how to demolish plaster and lath walls, how to install new windows, how to treat polio, and even how to grow marijuana. In addition, I had to research when the Willards would have gotten such modern conveniences as electricity, indoor plumbing, a telephone, television, etc. At one point, I had Ruth swoop up her little son and swing him around the kitchen like an airplane. Then I remembered it was 1900 and airplanes weren’t in vogue yet. Oops!

Do you do anything besides write?

Besides writing both books and my blog, I have a home-based business offering affordable legal plans to families and businesses. Both ventures keep me busy.

How can readers get a copy of your book?

To get a copy of Willard Manor, go to www.amazon.com. It’s available both in paperback and on Kindle.

What’s next for you?  

What’s next? I’m nearly finished with my second novel, a prequel to Willard Manor. It’s the story of Shelley’s father, Mark, as a young boy.  Shelley’s grandfather is shot in a mass shooting when Mark is nine and Mark is left to grow up without the guidance and support of his father. He has to come to terms with how his father’s death affects him and the decisions he makes on his road to manhood. The book is called, Leaving Mark.  Like Willard Manor, I plan to self-publish this through CreateSpace.

Thank you so much for having me. It’s been fun.

It’s been delightful having you, Linda.

DEAR READERS: Thanks so much for stopping by for a visit. Linda Loegel and I would love to hear from you. Just drop us a note in the comment section below.  ~ Bette A. Stevens

Visit author Linda Loegel:

  • Linda’s Blog
  • Amazon (Where you’ll find out more about author Linda Loegel and check out her great books)

 

 


Author Pic LISA MAURO

Lisa Mauro, author of  The Places We Went to Yesterday

 

I’d like to thank today’s host, author Bette A. Stevens at 4writersandreaders blog for hosting, and 4Wills Publishing for organizing this amazing opportunity. I hope you all enjoy the tour!

One of the things I’m often asked—from both writers and non-writers alike—is how I manage my time. “You’re all over the place,” I’ll hear, “how do you do it all?” By day, I’m a pharmaceutical consultant with hours that vary greatly and by night, I’m everything else. That everything else includes being a girlfriend, an aunt raising a teenager, a writer, a reviewer, a singer, a photographer, a Board member for The Women Fiction Writers Association, an active member of Rave Review Book Club and a host of other oddball hats I tend to wear.

Well, I’m here to tell you that there’s not really a secret to it. We’re all given the same number of hours in a day, right? It all boils down to how effectively you do what you do. So then the question becomes “How can I do things better?” Here are some of my tips:

Answer Those Emails

I’ve read countless articles on time management, and most advise that you should allocate one or two times a day only to respond to emails. I tried that and all it did was make responding to emails even more overwhelming. By only setting time aside once or twice a day, you run the risk of not responding to things in a timely manner.

Instead, I stay logged into my primary email (I have multiple accounts) as long as I’m in work mode and respond to emails as they come in. I’ve set up labels in Gmail and I prioritize items as they arrive. For instance, I’m currently working on a launch project for the Writers Association, so those emails get answered above just about anything else. As soon as I’ve responded, I apply the label and move them out of the view of my inbox. I only keep things that need my attention in my main view; everything else is filed.

Also, remember that not every email needs a response. If something is sent just to notify you and doesn’t require an action, file it immediately so it’s not getting in the way of the things you actually need to get done.

Learn Those Programs

Having spent “A Very Long Time” as an administrative assistant, I had a lot of time to get familiar with MS Office. Because of this, I’m now an expert of sorts in Word, Excel, PowerPoint, One Note and Access. All of these have their pros and cons, but they’ve made my life so much easier. I use Word for my writing (versus a program like Scrivener) because it’s so straightforward and I’ve learned the shortcuts. I use Excel to track sales and build ROI models for my promos. One Note is where I keep my project ideas. And believe it or not, my first stab at making my own book trailer was done in PowerPoint. They’re an integrated system and I’ve found that taking the time to master them has drastically increased my efficiency.

Be Honest With Yourself

If you’re not a morning person, then don’t try to set goals or schedule the important stuff in that time frame. This might sound like silly advice, but I know so many people who try to force themselves into a pattern that isn’t conducive to their own biological clock. And in the long run, it doesn’t work.

I am a morning person, so I try to get at least a half hour of writing done in the morning. During the weekday, that’s all I can spare. On weekends, that usually expands to no less than four hours. But the important thing for me is that I have a quiet time set aside to do it. By the evening, I can’t focus on the things that require the creative side of my brain, so I use that time to work on promotional plans and plow through my read/review list.

Go on Autopilot

This is probably going to sound crazy, but I eat the same exact thing for breakfast and lunch on weekdays. Not having to stand in the cafeteria, faced with overwhelming choices and struggling to make a decision means that I can get in, get out and get fed as quickly as possible. If the idea of this bores you to death, then narrow it down to a few items so you’ll still save time making the decision. Also, I don’t bother making elaborate meals anymore unless I’m entertaining. Dinner is something quick or made in the crock pot. I’d rather invest that time elsewhere.

Batch Similar Tasks

I try to batch similar tasks. For instance, I’ll block time specifically for writing and I try not to have to switch to something analytical immediately afterwards. Since I have a long commute, I try to do the majority of my calls in the car – whether they are work-related or simply connecting with friends. If I’m headed out for an errand, I try to do them all at once.

The exception to this—for me—is that I can be involved in social media throughout the day and still manage to deliver my other projects on time.

How Does It Actually Look?

When my consulting job falls into the 40-hour a week range, here’s how my week typically looks:

  Task/Item  Hours Per Week  Weekly                  Balance
  • Work
     40     128
  • Sleep
     56      72
  • Commute
     15      57
  • TV
     25      32
  • Writing (Novels)
     10      22
  • Writing (All others)
      5      17
  • Read/Reviews
      5      12
  • Music
      5        7
  • Photography
      2        5
  • Miscellaneous
      5        0

Now, there are weeks when my consulting schedule is more than 40 hours and I have to “steal” time from some other bucket. There are weeks when I don’t do photography at all. There are weeks when my time for music (i.e. practicing, etc.) is done during my commute to maximize the time. And yeah, I could spend less time watching television, but I don’t feel guilty about it because (a) we all need downtime and (b) I use the excuse that it helps me be a better writer and build more believable characters so really, it’s research, right? And sometimes, I’m reading such a great book that I take that time away from my “sleep” bucket. We’ve all been there.

At the end of the day, you’ve got to understand yourself and how/when you work best. Then create an environment in which you can thrive so you can get the most out of your time.

Author Bio:
Book Cover THE PLACE... by Lisa Mauro

Lisa Mauro is a novelist, blogger and pharmaceutical consultant.  She is the Secretary of the Board of The Women Fiction Writers Association.  The Place We Went to Yesterday is her first novel, published by Heartless Press.  She lives in Boston, MA with her better half, Brian, and an obnoxiously cute kitten, Harper.

Author Links:

4WillsPublishing Links:

banner 4WillsPublishing HOST“This tour sponsored by 4WillsPublishing.wordpress.com.”

 


Bette A. Stevens:

THE REST OF THE STORY…
An insightful review by Marilyn Armstrong.

Originally posted on SERENDIPITY:

DOG BONE SOUP Launch Banner

DOG BONE SOUP is the long-awaited “rest of the story”of Shawn Daniels from the original short story, “Pure Trash.” It’s particularly long-awaited for me because as soon as I read the short story, I wanted to read this book. The only problem was, Bette hadn’t yet written it.

But she did it. Dog Bone Soup is available for your reading pleasure. And what a pleasure it is.

Bette has the purest, freshest writing style I’ve read in many a long year. Reading her prose is like peering into an exceptionally clear, deep pool. It looks like the bottom is close enough to touch, but those waters run deep.

Bette Stevens is a class act, an author who knows how to tell a story. Her characters are real, so true to life, they practically leap off the page. In Dog Bone Soup, style and the story are blended to perfection.

DOG BONE SOUPI’ve read a…

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MEET MARGARET MUIR: Novelist and children's book author

MARGARET MUIR: Novelist & Children’s Book Author

 

 

 

“There is an edge to Margaret’s writing that is terrific. Rarely do I see such confidence on the page.” —Glyn Parry

 

 

Welcome to 4writersandreaders, Margaret. It’s a pleasure to have you with us today. To begin, tell us a little about yourself and your lifestyle.

MARGARET rcd more pix 3d feb 2011 006

I was born in England but moved to Australia in 1970. I now live on the island of Tasmania—it is called the island of inspiration and home to many creative people. I live alone in a beautiful location overlooking the Tamar Valley and find that the peace and quiet suits my lifestyle.

How long have you been writing and what type of writing do you do?

I have been writing in one form or another for fifteen years but the type, genre and target readership have varied considerably over the years.

In the late 1990s, I was made redundant and decided it was time to do the things I had always wanted to, namely, sail on a tall ship, farm goats and write a book. Though they were very different pursuits they all contributed to my writing career.

MARGARET at seaGoat farming was first and with it the role as editor of a goat newsletter. I also wrote articles for various magazines. Because I enjoyed writing, I wanted to improve and undertook a course in freelance journalism. From there I studied Writing for Children, however, I soon discovered that competition for publication of children’s books via a traditional publisher was huge and I had no success. About this time I sailed on my first tall ship.

But, I still wanted to succeed as a writer and enrolled at University. I completed the course in 2004 and my first historical novel was published in 2005. At the time, I thought I was very fortunate to be accepted by a London publishing house and wrote four historical novels under their umbrella, but I slowly realized that writing for a small publisher is very constricting—I had no control over my work—and the royalties returned very little financial reward.

MC Muir Cover 2As a result, in 2009, I self-published my first nautical fiction novel. The series has been well accepted and, a few weeks ago, I released Book 4 – The Unfortunate Isles. Visit M. C. Muir at Amazon.com to take a look inside the novel.

Yet, despite a growing readership, my wish to publish children’s stories had never left me. Having mastered the art of self-publishing adult books, I recently discovered it was possible to add illustrations to e-books and I decided I could apply them to children’s stories. After resurrecting the stories that had been gathering dust for a decade or more, I revised them and added pictures. Because I lack artistic talent and could not afford to commission an artist to illustrate my work, I used photo images purchased from Bigstock Photos. In early February, I released my first children’s book—The Bear that had No Fur—containing three short stories.

Slide1 resized for KindleWindmills and worms resize for KDP

Children’s books from Margaret Muir

FREE March 5th & 6th!

What is the title of your latest book and what prompted you to write it?

Grandma’s Windmills and Wild Worms is the latest book. It reflects the times I took my grandson to the Royal Easter Show. Like Bette’s “Amazing Matilda” the story carries an informative message for young children. It introduces them to various forms of wind power. Wild Worms is about recycling household waste, but when things get out of hand a fantasy solution comes into play.

What do you do besides write, Margaret?

Apart from books, I write a blog on various topics and once a year I take a long holiday—usually a cruise. I love the sea and enjoy visiting exotic locations. Often the inspiration for future stories comes from my travels.

How can readers get a copy of your books?

My books are all published as e-books and available on Amazon. I write my children’s books and English historical fiction under my full name but write my nautical fiction (for a male readership) under the by-line M.C. Muir.

What’s next for author Margaret Muir?

I have a few more children’s stories to share, then I would like to publish a collection of goat articles. After that I will write Book 5 in my nautical fiction series and that will take care of 2015.

In conclusion, I would like to extend a big thank you to Bette, not only for inviting me to appear on her blog, but for encouraging me to participate in the wonderful world of writing for children.

It’s been a pleasure having you stop by for a visit, Margaret. I’ve taken a ‘Look Inside’ your novels on Amazon and have added them to my “Want to Read” list. Your children’s stories are not only fun to read with little ones, they’re perfect for teaching character building lessons and for structuring a child’s awareness about the importance of taking care of the environment as well.

Margaret and I would love to hear from you and invite you to leave a comment below. You’re also invited to find out more about Margaret (M.C. Muir) and her books:

Children’s Books by Margaret Muir
(FREE on Amazon March 5th & 6th only):


Afternoon Portrait HAIKU bas 2015

 

Poem, photography & design by Bette A. Stevens,
a writer inspired by nature and human nature.


Bette A. Stevens:

Many thanks to our amazing friend Sally Cronin for featuring MATILDA on her wonderful blog. Be sure to stop by and say “Hi.” You’ll find lots of great posts and meet new friends there. ~ Bette

Originally posted on Smorgasbord - Variety is the spice of life:

five-star2

I thought that it was time to feature a children’s book in the Five Star Treatment and I was enchanted by the story behind award winning Amazing Matilda by Bette A Stevens and thought you might be too. Especially those of you with young children or grandchildren..

Inspire the Kids in Your Life to Meet Challenges with Patience and Persistence!
This inspirational tale of a monarch butterfly and her meadowland friends is the second children’s book written and illustrated by Bette A. Stevens. The story follows the life cycle of the threatened monarch butterfly.

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Award-winning Picture Book Excellence in Children’s Literature
2013 Purple Dragonfly Book Award Children’s Literature 6+

TOP 10 GITTLE LIST 2013 Children’s Picture Books

About the Book
Unlike her meadowland friends, Matilda doesn’t want to leap onto ledges or bound across fields, she only wants to fly. At first, Matilda’s friends laugh at her because she doesn’t…

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Bette A. Stevens:

Beautiful poem by Audrey Hepburn. ENJOY! ~ Bette A. Stevens

Originally posted on Maverick Mist:

20140629-IMG_0139-EditThe Beauty of a Woman

The beauty of a woman Is not in the clothes she wears,
The figure that she carries, Or the way she combs her hair.

The beauty of a woman must be seen from in her eyes,
Because that is the doorway to her heart, the place where love resides.

The beauty of a woman is not in a facial mole,
But true beauty in a woman Is reflected in her soul.

It is the caring that she lovingly gives,
The passion that she shows,
And the beauty of a woman
With passing years only grows.

Author: Audrey Hepburn

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Bette A. Stevens:

🌸🌸🌸🌸🌸 DOG BONE SOUP! Thank you, Pamela.

Originally posted on Poetry by Pamela:

What a delightful story of a young boy growing up dirt poor. Dinner, many times, was dog bone soup. But the children still had fun. They made their own fun. They grew up together. So much I would like to say but don’t want to spoil the story for you.

This is an absolutely perfect book for a middle grade boy, but reads well for a grandmother as well. It illustrates that a good book can be entertaining without foul language or sex.

I fell in love with Shawn. As a grandmother, I think I would have wanted to take him and hold him and protect him from his own life. He is such a good boy who did so much to help his mum and family. This book also shows how much words can hurt a child. Children get made fun of because…

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