A writer inspired by nature and human nature

Archive for the ‘Articles of Interest’ Category

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Winter Tale (Haiku) by Bette A. Stevens

Do you like variety? You’ll find it in Novel Thoughts, Sharon K Connell’s monthly newsletter—articles, interviews, tips, poetry, art, at least one recipe, plus more.

Starting with the next issue (February 2019), I’ll be a featured poet in the Author’s Pen section of the newsletter. Take a moment to subscribe on her website http://sharonkconnell.com/ And while you’re there, you can view previous editions of Novel Thoughts by clicking on the Newsletter Archive menu. ~Bette A. Stevens

 

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As a Writer, Do You Make Time To Read?

Every #writer should #read this article by author Don Massenzio at DSM Publications! ~Bette A. Stevens, Maine author

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HAPPY WEED APPRECIATION DAY—I’m Celebrating”Milkweed for Monarch Butterflies”

Weed Appreciation Day, March 28—is on its way—and so are those amazing monarch butterflies! It’s the perfect time of year to plant milkweed to ensure the survival of these endangered butterflies as they embark on the journey north from wintering grounds in Mexico. My limerick tells a bit about the monarchs’ dependence upon milkweed. The photo of his female monarch (Danaus plexippus) on a milkweed plant (Asclepias syriaca) was taken in my garden in Central Maine, where milkweed plants flourish and monarchs can find the perfect leaves to lay their eggs under each summer. Read on to find out more about milkweed and the crucial relationship this native plant shares with monarchs and how you can help these endangered butterflies by planting milkweed in your own backyard.

Why Do Monarch Butterflies Need Milkweed?

  • Milkweed is the host plant for monarch butterflies. Monarchs have a dynamic relationship with plants in the milkweed family and are completely dependent on them for reproduction. Butterflies are the reproductive phase of their life cycle. Females lay their eggs on the undersides of milkweed leaves because when the eggs hatch and the caterpillars emerge, their only source of food is the foliage of milkweed plants. The growing caterpillars feed on the leaves until they are ready to form a chrysalis and metamorphose into adult butterflies.

Mating of monarch butterflies has begun and the orange and black butterflies are flying north. Along the way, females will lay eggs on milkweed plants, recolonizing the southern United States before they die. The first spring caterpillars will hatch and metamorphose into adults. These newly emerged monarchs colonize their parents original homes. Summer monarchs live only three to five weeks compared with the eight or nine months for overwintering adults. During the summer, three or four generations of monarch butterflies will emerge, and before summer ends there will be millions of monarchs all over the United States and southern Canada.

You can play an important role in the survival of  monarch butterflies by planting the correct native variety of milkweed in your yard or garden. Learn how to create a Monarch Waystation in your own backyard and report your monarch sightings too. Helping our monarch butterflies is a great service project for families, community groups and schools. Contact Monarch Watch (an educational outreach based at the University of Kansas): www.monarchwatch.org

About the author 

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).

Stevens is the author of AMAZING MATILDA, an award-winning picture book adventure that follows the life cycle of a monarch butterfly; The Tangram Zoo and Word Puzzles Too!, a home/school resource  incorporating hands-on math and writing; and PURE TRASH, the short story prequel to her début novel, DOG BONE SOUP—coming-of-age story and family drama set in 1950s and 60s New England.

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Top 3 Books For Writers

Featured Image -- 8009Don’t miss any of these. King’s and White’s are top go-to’s on my shelf and I’ve just ordered Lammott’s Bird by Bird today. Happy reading and writing every day… ~Bette A. Stevens http://www.4writersandreaders.com

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#RRBC Spotlight Author Gracie Bradford talks about favorite sites and apps

I WISH SOMEONE HAD TOLD ME

It is such a pleasure to introduce this “up and coming author,” Gracie Bradford, and her book about a child with brain cancer. The beagle, Lady Bird, takes on a leading role in this short story. Learn about the role of pet therapy in the healing process.

During her discovery journey and literary, educational adventure, Gracie relates that she stumbled upon software and websites that have proven to give a new meaning to work simplification. She used some of these in her business but discovered they could also be used with some of her writing projects. Most seasoned authors are already familiar with the apps and sites, but the “up and coming authors” may find some of these to be useful. She doesn’t use all, just those that she has the skill set to understand and can give a return on her investment. Although she confesses that she tends to gravitate towards the FREE stuff, she will invest in a few. It will be fun to hear about your favorite sites and apps. Leave your best in the COMMENT section.

Disclaimer: No fees received for recommending these resources nor is there an endorsement

https://evernote.com/

Use to organize research

https://yousendit-express.en.softonic.com/

Use to send large files

https://www.aweber.com/

Autoresponder

www.fiverr.com

Has a variety of functions; Can be used to hire someone to post articles or send out twitter tweets

https://www.upwork.com

Post a job, and they match your project with some freelancers

https://www.freelancer.com/

Post a job and receive a competitive bid from freelancers

https://www.aweber.com/

Autoresponder – An email marketing and automation platform for growing your business

https://www.getresponse.com/

Autoresponder – a marketing platform for growing your business

https://commun.it/growth

Autoresponder – tool used to grow your community

https://www.crowdfireapp.com/

Helps to grow your followers

https://www.shutterstock.com/

Royalty-free photos

Expect to see the 3rd book of the Lady Bird series late 2018 addressing Autism.

  • Pick up a copy of Gracie’s books at:

http://amzn.to/2gfLCEJ

  • Like and follow this author through the social media platforms below:

Blog: www.free1592.wordpress.com

Website: www.authorgraciebradford.com

Instagram: www.instagram.com/authorgraciebradford/

Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/graciebradford5/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/iamxordinary

Facebook: www.facebook.com/gracie.bradford.58

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/authorgraciebradford/

Thanks for stopping by today to meet Gracie Bradford. Don’t forget to tell us about your favorite sites and apps in the comment section. ~Bette A. Stevens

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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

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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

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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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