A writer inspired by nature and human nature

Archive for the ‘Articles of Interest’ Category

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How to Characterize Love in Your Writing


GREAT TIPS & RESOURCE LINKS…
Happy Love Month & Happy Writing! ~Bette A. Stevens http://www.4writersandreaders.com

WordDreams...

valentineI posted this last year, but it’s worth repeating: How do we characterize love in your writing?

Because, if you’re a writer, you must. It doesn’t have to be sex but it has to take readers that direction, right to the edge of the cliff. Yes, you can leave the lurid details out, but let readers peek over the edge.

How do you do that? Start with a few decisions:

  • Is it platonic?
  • Is it unrequited?
  • Is there conflict?
  • Is it lust disguised as love?
  • Is it serial love? Or one-of-a-kind?
  • Is it kinky or traditional?
  • Does love bring joy or sadness–or misery?
  • Is the manifestation of love baby-ish or mature–goo-goo eyes and saccharin words or Paris vacations?
  • Is love verbal or silent?
  • Is this love constructive or destructive? Flowery or brutal?
  • what part does the spiritual play in the emotion–or is it uninvolved?
  • Is it a subplot or a…

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Love is What Life’s All About!


Love is What Life’s all about!
by Bette A. Stevens, Maine author/illustrator

share-the-love-of-reading-bette-reading-with-sam-2017It’s February—LOVE MONTH!  That’s what I love to call it. With Valentine’s Day celebrated around the world on February 14th, it’s the ideal month to set aside some time to dwell on the meaning of love in our own lives.

Love of God and the magnificent world He’s created for us to enjoy, love of family, love of our neighbors (everyone outside of our families). Love is what we’ve been called to do—that’s right—love is a verb, an action word. Do we sometimes fall short? Sure, as humans we all miss the mark at times. But that doesn’t confine us to loving less; it inspires us to love more.

Reading with kids is one way we can demonstrate our love to the younger generation.  In fact, older kids love to be read to as well. Reading together gives us a chance to bridge the generation gap and discuss real life issues, allowing time for adults to listen to what kids have to say on crucial issues that affect us all. No kids around to share the love with? No problem. Simply contact your local school or library and let them know you’re ready to share the love of reading with the kids. They’re sure to feel the love and I promise, you’ll feel it too!

Whether writing for children or adults, the theme of love somehow always seeps its way into heart of the story.  In fact, when I really take time to reflect upon it, love is often what inspires the book, the story or the poem. Love really is what life’s all about. When we follow our passions and encourage those around us to follow theirs—that’s love. When our pages help to turn someone’s hurt or apathy into understanding—that’s love. When a verse we’ve penned discloses our Creator’s unconditional love for us—that’s love. Let’s do our best to share the love!

About the ‘Love’ in Bette’s Books

inspired-by-nature-human-nature-2-bas-books

  • In AMAZING MATIDA (Children’s Picture Book/ages 4-11), a frustrated Monarch caterpillar who is ready to give up on her dreams is inspired to keep trying to find her wings. But she’s not alone, Matilda has friends to teach her about patience and persistence by encouraging her. Now, that’s what I call love.
  • In PURE TRASH (Short Story/Historical Fiction/Ages 10-Adult), two young brothers are off on a Saturday bicycling adventure when one gets injured. The eldest boy, Shawn Daniels, seeks help for his brother from a wealthy neighbor who grudgingly does her good deed leaves a lasting impression upon the children. Brotherly love and bigotry leave readers to decide on their own about what love really is and what love is not.
  • In DOG BONE SOUP (Coming-of-age Fiction/Novel set in 1950s & 60s New England/Ages 11-Adult), Shawn Daniels tells his own storythe trials and triumphs of growing up poor in an affluent rural New England town. Though many of the town’s people, young and old, see Shawn as a poor boy they disregard or try to humiliate, there are many who encourage and support him in both words and actions. Adventure abounds in this coming of age novel readers of all ages will long remember as they discover for themselves what love really is all about.
  • Inspired by and for the love of kids and the love of learning, I’ve written, illustrated and used The Tangram Zoo and Word Puzzles Too! in my own classroom with students from 4th through 8th grade. The Zoo… is a great resource for integrating research and creative writing into a math and/or science curriculum. One of the project ideas included in the book is for the kids to create their own tangram animals to add to The Zoo… Then, to research their creature creations and write their own rhyming riddles. Readers and colleagues agree: “At home or in the classroom—it’s hands-on learning that’s creative and loaded with fun for everyone”—The Tangram Zoo.

Take a “Look Inside” all of Bette’s books at http://viewauthor.at/BetteAStevens

Bette A. Stevens, Maine author/illustrator

“A writer inspired by nature and human nature!”

Inspired by nature and human nature, author Bette A. Stevens is a retired elementary and middle school teacher, a wife, mother of two and grandmother of five. Stevens lives in Central Maine with her husband on their 37-acre farmstead where she enjoys reading, writing, gardening, walking and reveling in the beauty of nature. She advocates for children and families, for childhood literacy and for the conservation of monarch butterflies—an endangered species (and for milkweed, the only plant that monarch caterpillars will eat).

If you enjoyed this post, I invite you to share it on your media sites.

Happy love month!
Bette A. Stevens

P.S. Up for a #Loveuary Blog Challenge? Visit Ritu’s blog https://butismileanyway.com/2017/01/31/loveuary❤-a-prompt-list-of-sorts/ and have a wonderful time sharing the LOVE all month long. ~Bette

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10 Tips For Editing Your Short Story


Don’t miss these great writing/editing tips! ~ Bette A. Stevens, Maine author/illustrator http://www.4writersandreaders.com

A Writer's Path

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by Writer in Wedges

So you have written your short story and cannot wait to release it into the world. But before doing that, it is important to take some extra time to make sure your story is properly edited, despite the fact that editing is nowhere near as fun as writing.

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COMPASSION a poem by Bette A. Stevens


compassion-poem-bas-2017Compassion is…

Compassion in life is a beautiful thing. But exactly what is compassion? I’ve always thought of compassion as love in action. After writing the poem COMPASSION, I searched Google to find a definition. The synonyms fit perfectly into my preconceived notion for the poem because they not only included love and mercy, each synonym requires action (stirring) on our part to metamorphose the idea of compassion into the realty of compassion.

May compassion reign in our hearts and hands.

~ Bette A. Stevens

Google Search:

noun: compassion; plural noun: compassions

sympathetic pity and concern for the sufferings or misfortunes of others.

“the victims should be treated with compassion”

synonyms: pity, sympathy, empathy, fellow feeling, care, concern, solicitude, sensitivity, warmth, love, tenderness, mercy, leniency, tolerance, kindness, humanity, charity

“have you no compassion for a fellow human being?”

antonyms: indifference, cruelty

Origin Middle English: via Old French from ecclesiastical Latin compassio(n-), from compati ‘suffer with.’

Compassion in life is a beautiful thing…

Compassion by Bette A. Stevens

Compassion in life is a beautiful thing
Sharing its beauty gives others their wings
Stirring love into each little thing that we do
Is sure to help their dreams and our dreams come true

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Let There be Peace on Earth and Let it Begin with Me


We really do have the power to make it happen, one brush stroke at a time. ~ Bette A. Stevens (Image from Pinterest)

We really do have the power to make it happen. ~Bette A. Stevens (Image from Pinterest)

Knowledge of the past holds one of the keys to world peace. Knowledge of the people in the world around us today holds another essential key. However, knowledge in and of itself is useless, much like a collection of unused paint brushes resting on the world’s shelf. It is our job to pick up the brushes and start painting. The perfect portrait of peace begins within each of us.  It’s painted one brush stroke at a time. Here are some simple steps that we can all take to contribute to that portrait:

Take the time to learn about those who are different from us in some way. We may want start with someone in our own family. Even there, we often find differences in opinions, race, religion, beliefs, customs, cultures, political affiliations. The list of personal differences and the diversity of relationships goes on….

Working in the classroom as a teacher of students from diverse backgrounds, I learned first-hand that those who hold different beliefs from my own are all unique individuals with whom I have many things in common. We all share the same needs and desires, the same frustrations and fears, the same hopes and dreams.  Whether students, parents, staff, volunteers, administrators or colleagues, I have gained respect for and have been deeply enriched by each encounter. Life-long relationships are nurtured and continue to blossom and grow.

Sure, that all sounds great; but what can we actually do as individuals to promote peace?

  • Listen to others
  • Get to know them (That means spending time with them) Let them get to know us (talk)
  • Respect differences
  • Look for commonalities
  • Nurture relationships
  • Offer and extend a helping hand
  • Encourage others
  • Enlist the help of others
  • Give input and feedback
  • Keep the conversation going 


The brush strokes to peace lie within each of one us. How do we paint the canvas? One brush stroke at a time. BUILD RELATIONSHIPS—listen, share ourselves and our ideas, respect those of others, look for commonalities. Our individual and collective lives will continue to be enriched as we work together to paint a perfect portrait of world peace. We really do have the power to make it happen, one brush stroke at a time.

Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me.

~ Bette A. Stevens, Maine author

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25 Interesting Facts about American Literature


Featured Image -- 6474American Literature, Books, Classics, English Literature, Facts, Famous Authors, Literature, Writers. ENJOY! ~ Bette A. Stevens 4writersandreaders.com

Interesting Literature

Interesting trivia about American writers and their work

As it’s Independence Day, how about some facts about the great and the good from American literature, from Edgar Allan Poe to Toni Morrison? What follows is a compilation of our 25 favourite facts about American authors and their writing.

Edgar Allan Poe’s prose-poem Eureka predicts the Big Bang theory by some eighty years.

Marlon Brando was a huge fan of Toni Morrison; he would often call her up and read passages of her own novels which he particularly enjoyed.

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Milkweed – It’s Not Just for Monarchs


GOT MILKWEED? Monarch butterflies and other amazing pollinators need it and we need them! ~ Bette A. Stevens, Maine author/illustrator http://www.4writersandreaders.com

The Natural Web

One of the most well knownassociations between an animal and plant species is the relationship between Monarch butterflies and Milkweed. Monarch butterflies may certainly be seen nectaringat various species of milkweeds…

Monarch nectaring on Common Milkweed (Asclepias syriaca) Monarch nectaringon Common Milkweed (Asclepias syriaca)

Monarch nectaring on Butterflyweed (Asclepias tuberosa) Monarch nectaringon Butterflyweed(Asclepias tuberosa)

Monarch nectaring on Swamp Milkweed (Asclepias incarnata) Monarch nectaringon Swamp Milkweed (Asclepias incarnata)

but this isn’t unique – they also drink at a wide variety of other flower species.

Monarch nectaring on New York Ironweed (Vernonia noveboracensis) Monarch nectaringon New York Ironweed(Vernonianoveboracensis)

It’s the dependency that Monarchs have on Milkweedsas the only food source for their caterpillars that makes this relationship so noteworthy. Monarchs, like many species of insects, have evolved to specialize in their larval (in this case caterpillar) food source in order togain protection from predators through the chemicals they ingest from the plants they eat. Milkweedscontain cardiac glycosides, which are toxic to many species of birds and mammals. Plants have evolved these chemicals to protect themselves from being eaten, a strategy…

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