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Archive for October, 2016

NEW WEEK NEW FACE – 31  October 2016 – GUEST POST by SCOTT R. REZER

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On the Altar of My Country

By: Scott R. Rezer

 

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Next month, our nation, as it should, will once more take time to honor the veterans of our military, so it is appropriate to take a moment of reflection and look back at the idea of sacrificial duty as seen through the eyes of the Civil War soldier. In my novel, Love Abideth Still, I wrote a plain, unvarnished story of the sacrifice the soldiers of the Civil War endured, using actual letters as a model for the fictional letters between the two main characters. The letters, diaries, and personal accounts of the soldiers, and their loved ones back home, tell a far different, far more intimate story than history affords us.

 

Although primarily about love and forgiveness, the subtle, though constant, the themes of duty and sacrifice run deep throughout the story, providing tension not just between a husband and a wife, but between families and friends as well. In a letter to his wife Sarah, Taylor writes from the battlefield, “we have all been called to this duty.  I am prepared to die if need be, though I pray it does not come to such a sacrifice for anyone of us”. These were not just empty words of a soldier trying to convince his loved ones at home of his beliefs and the necessity of his duty. It was quite common for soldiers on both sides of the Civil War to describe their deaths in the line of duty using such poetic terms as a sacrifice upon the altar of their country.
In his book, For Cause and Comrades: Why Men Fought in the Civil War (Oxford: Oxford UP, 1999), James M. McPherson examines the values that motivated the soldiers of both the Union and Confederate armies during the war based on hundreds of letters and diaries still in existence. For the soldiers of the Civil War, the conflict was unlike any other, before or after. Until recently, historians often stated that Billy Yank and Johnnie Reb fought in the war simply out of duty with little understanding or regard for the reasons why he fought. Nothing could be further from the truth. No one statement can accurately describe the thoughts and motives of every soldier who fought in the Civil War. In general terms, the Confederates fought to achieve independence based on a set of values they held dear, particularly in regards to states’ rights and the continued institution of slavery, while the Union soldiers fought to preserve all they, and their forefathers, had fought to secure in the last eighty and seven years in creating a unified nation.

When President Lincoln initially called for 75,000 men to quell the uprising, the response was overwhelming.  The South witnessed a similar reaction to their call to arms in defense of their newly established Confederacy.  As McPherson writes, “How could it be otherwise? This was, after all, a civil war. Its outcome would determine the fate of the nation—of two nations, if the Confederacy won. It would shape the future of American society and of every person in that society. Civil War soldiers lived in the world’s most politicized and democratic country in the mid-nineteenth century. They had come of age in the 1850s when highly charged partisan and ideological debates consumed the American polity. A majority of them had voted in the election of 1860, the most heated and momentous election in American history. When they enlisted, many of them did so for patriotic and ideological reasons—to shoot as they had voted, so to speak… “.

As McPherson relates, one young Union soldier in 1863 summarized his duty as, “first my God, second my country, third my mother. Oh my country, how my heart bleeds for your welfare. If this poor life of mine could save you, how willingly would I make the sacrifice”. Another, older Union officer likewise wrote his wife in the same year, “If I never get home you will not say my life has been thrown away for naught. My country, glorious country, if we have only made it truly the land of the free… I count not my life dear to me if only I can help that glorious cause along”.

Perhaps, it was the romantic, Victorian mentality of mid-19th century America—people certainly do not write with such passion these days—a time we little understand or grasp today, which permitted these brave men to see their deaths as sacrifices upon the altar of their nation—they could see it as little else. “Theirs was an age of romanticisma sentimental age when strong men were not afraid to cry (or weep, as they would say)… They were not posturing for public show. They were not looking back from years later through a haze of memory and myth about the Civil War. They were writing during the immediacy of their experiences…” (McPherson).

Now, let us not think for a moment that these valiant volunteers simply went off to war whispering a death wish on their grinning lips. Every soldier, every wife, mother, father, sister, brother, son and daughter, every cousin, aunt and uncle, every grandparent, friend and neighbor, knew they had little chance of returning home. As the war dragged on, that knowledge grew with every day spent on the lines, fighting the enemy. Despite the necessity of the war, not everyone took comfort in knowing their soldier risked life and limb for a cause that some found hard to understand. For too many, the eloquent statements of sacrifice the soldiers’ wrote became a reality. In the four years of the war, historians estimate that well more than 620,000 men were killed in action. To put that number in perspective, the combined total of losses in the eleven other conflicts in American history since is 648, 000, not to mention the more than 475, 000 wounded soldiers who returned home. In the North, one out every ten men lost their life, while in the South the ratio is three out of ten.

 

The list of casualties from the war is staggering even today. Despite the tremendous loss of life, though, the most tragic sacrifice upon the altar of the country may have been President Lincoln’s own at the close of the war. It was as if God had loaned him to the nation for just a short while and then took him back again, leaving the nation to grieve. Some believe that his death united the country more than anything he accomplished in life.

 

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In Love Abideth Still, Sarah’s reaction to Taylor’s bold statement of duty and sacrifice is not well received in the story, at least at first, but Taylor continually tries to convince her of his reasons for fighting in the war. His words are eloquent, perhaps romantic, in the grand vein of the mid-19th century mindset. His words, however, ring true, echoing the sentiment of soldiers in countless letters of the war. “It is not lightly,” he wrote,” that we have resolved to take on our duty, nor is it some flight of fancy that has taken hold of us to join the war and fight.  We do so because we believe the survival of our nation, our very way of life, hangs in the balance.  We do so knowing well that many of us through injury or sickness or mortal blows will not return home. It is a great struggle that runs far deeper than the seeming political issues that many say divide us.  I firmly believe either it is a testing of God to unify our resolve to be one nation or a terrible plague birthed in the fires of Hell meant to destroy the bastion of freedom our grandfathers fought so valiantly to create… It is to this cause we have been called forth to serve; it is for this just cause we must emerge victorious, however terrible the cost to each one of us.  I pray only you will understand my actions, not that you would accept them… To what calamitous purpose God has allowed this war with its sacrifice and ruin of so many precious souls upon the altar of our country’s unity, is yet to be seen; but I have seen far too much of the evil men can do to one another, and it has affected me far more deeply than I would like… I have been through the worse a man can endure and still survive.  Still, even with the loss of so much life, I would not abandon my duty to protect our bleeding country… I have committed myself anew to my sworn duty. I dare not break my oath to our regiment, or to our country…”

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Love Abideth Still is far more than a simple story of a tragic war; it is a fictional novel of my own 3rd great-grandparents, Taylor Brant and Sarah Ann Rezer. Taylor died as a paroled prisoner of war, offering up his life on the altar of his country—the last full measure of duty. I may have put fictitious words into the mouth of my Civil War ancestor in his letters, but I am certain that he, as well as his comrades, would have felt and lived every word he wrote. Remembering the sacrifice of those who have paid the ultimate price for their duty is the least we can do to honor our veterans.

 

 

 

 

slide-13Scott R. Rezer was born in Doylestown, Pennsylvania in 1963. He met his wife and best friend while serving in the U.S. Air Force. They have two grown children and live in the Southwest. He is an indie published author of five historical fiction novels ranging from the Civil War to the Crusades to ancient Biblical history. Two of his books have garnered Editor’s Choice selections by the Historical Novel Society (The Leper King and Shadow of the Mountain). He is currently at work on a second Civil War novel.
As a maintenance technician in the U.S. Air Force, he worked on an aging, outdated nuclear missile system of questionable safety. He believes he may have been unwittingly exposed to radioactive material that altered his DNA and gave him his writing ability—well, maybe not. It could be he simply acquired his ability from his grandmother who was a local historian and writer. He could never ask her a simple question without hearing her say with a wink, “Go look it up.” In so doing, she managed to instill in him a love of history and a wonderful sense of discovery that have stuck with him ever since.

 

 

Website: www.scottrezer.weebly.com

Facebook Author Page: http://on.fb.me/1ngMVgE

Pinterest: http://bit.ly/1FvcibA

Amazon Author Page: http://amzn.to/1IJ7H7n

 

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Scott R. Rezer, New Week New Face, #NWNF, Guest Post, On the Altar of my Country, Love Abideth Still

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BLOGWORDS – Sunday 30 October 2016 – FRONT PORCH FELLOWSHIP – IN ALL THINGS GIVE THANKS

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FRONT PORCH FELLOWSHIP – IN ALL THINGS GIVE THANKS

 

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I know, I can hear you now. “How can I be thankful that my loved one died?” “How can I be thankful for this diagnosis I just got?”

 

Read the verse again. It does not say, “Be thankful for all things.”

 

It says, “In all things, give thanks.” There is a world of difference to the two statements.

 

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Regardless what we’re going through or facing, He is with us. He is with us whether we realize it or not—He is with us whether we want Him to be or not.

 

He sends His angels minister to us countless times that we never know or realize.

 

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God is a father Who takes care of His children. He takes no delight in our suffering. Indeed, everything He does is to protect us, and keep us from harm. He wants to see us prosper, He wants to see us succeed, He wants to see us blessed and happy.

 

The [ridiculous] adage that God only gives us what we can bear, or that He gives the toughest battles to His strongest warriors is BUNK!

 

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Rather, He gives us good gifts.  He has good things for us. Rather, when we focus on Him instead of that loss or that diagnosis, when we take our eyes off of our limited perspective, and look to Him for our answers and solutions, our perspective changes. When we look to our heavenly Father, we begin to see as He sees. (including ourselves) When we see with His eyes, our loss and our diagnosis and our heartache truly is diminished in light of His promises.

 

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No, Abba does not expect us to rejoice when a wreck totals our car or job loss depletes our savings. He does, however, ask us to thank Him for His heart. Thank Him and TRUST HIM to care for our needs.  To restore what is lost. To heal that which is broken.

 

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As we enter November, our hearts turn to Thanksgiving here in the U.S. Let us keep in mind true thankfulness. Let us keep our focus on our precious Abba, who loves us more than life itself. Let us learn to live a life of thankfulness, daily and in all circumstances.

 

Let us lift our eyes, to the hills, to the habitation of God, and give Him thanks for He is good.

 

 

What are you thankful for today? What are the blessings Father has given to you? What are you trusting Him for? What are His promises to you?

 

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Front Porch Fellowship, #FPF, Sunday Devotion, Give Thanks, In All Things, God’s Perspective, Angels Unaware, Restore what the Cankerworm has Stolen, Lift My Eyes to the Hills

 

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BLOGWORDS – Friday 28 October 2016 – NOD to NANO

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NOD to NANO

 

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I’m throwing my hat in the NaNoWriMo ring.   Or, my story.  Hadn’t planned to but the timing is good.  I’ve got a ton of research already under my belt.

 

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Stacks of library books, my clipboard chock full of notes, and my  kitty girl for good measure (She like to be close to me.)

 

I’ve know my main characters for each of the four books in the series—Mercedes, Scarlett, Pearl, and Simone—and the conflict for each one: Mercedes is keeping a secret from the others; Scarlett, too, is keeping secrets, though not her own; Pearl elopes; and Simone, well, she’s not dead.

 

I know the timeline, 1912 – 1913, and the setting, the town of Saison, somewhere north of Charleston, SC.

 

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The southern town of Saison lies at the crossroads between North and South, progressive and genteel antebellum life. Between East and West, between history and heritage, and new frontiers.

 

In a world where slavery is dying and women’s rights are rising, four young girls share a bond—and experience a tragedy.

 

Seasons is the telling of their stories and Mercedes Renaldi’s story is first in The Long Shadows of Summer.

 

 

The series is Seasons, and the books in the series are The Long Shadows of Summer, Tilting Leaves of Autumn, Whistling Winds of Winter, and Whispering Woods of Spring.

 

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So I figured with this much underway, and nearly 3000 words into Mercedes’ story, I’d  give a whirl to the 50K for NaNo.

 

Following are a few links I’ve seen in the past couple of days with helps and suggestions, and the NaNo website.

 

http://writerswrite.co.za/nanowrimo-calendar-organise-and-conquer

http://writerswrite.co.za/five-things-to-do-before-nanowrimo-starts

http://writerswrite.co.za/dont-get-stuck-use-our-nanowrimo-brainstormer-worksheet-instead

http://writershelpingwriters.net/2016/10/5-nanowrimo-hacks-keep-words-flowing/

http://nanowrimo.org

 

 

If you decide to dive in too, look me up—we can be buddies!

 

 

 

slide 6 “I once said I should write down all the story ideas in my head so someone could write them someday. I had no idea at the time that someone was me!”

 

Ms. Mason has been writing since 1995, and began working in earnest on her debut novel, Tessa in 2013. Meanwhile, she cranked out a few dozen poems, and made countless notes for story ideas. Ms. Mason lived with depression for many years, and the inherent feelings of worthlessness and invisibility; she didn’t want to be who she was and struggled with her own identity for many years. Her characters face many of these same demons.

 

Ms. Mason has lived in the Upstate of South Carolina since 1988. She lived in Colorado for sixteen years, during which time she: went to high school, got married, had babies, got divorced and went to college. Her “babies” are now grown, two have babies of their own. She currently lives alone, with her five cats.
Ms. Mason writes Christian-worldview–in other words, there’s no salvation message, but there are plenty of characters who know the Lord and share His perspective with those who are struggling.

 

Tessa and Clara Bess, books 1 and 2 in her unsavory heritage series, are both available on Amazon, both for Kindle and in print. The third book in the series, Cissy, will be available in September, 2016.  Ms. Mason also has several poems included in an anthology, Where Dreams and Visions Live (Anthologies of the Heart Book 1) by Mary Blowers, http://maryblowers.com, as well as a short story, Sarafina’s Light, also in an anthology, Blood Moon, compiled by Mary Blowers. She will also be working on a personal anthology of poetry to be released in 2016 as well.

 

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BLOGWORDS, First Friday Feature, NaNoWriMo, 50K, Research, Seasons, New Series, Long Shadows of Summer, Mercedes Renaldi, Secrets, Tragedy

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THE WRITER’S ALLEY INTERVIEW BLITZ—PEPPER BASHAM

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Author Interview – PEPPER BASHAM

 

Pepper Basham is an award-winning author who writes romance peppered with grace and humor. She currently resides in the lovely mountains of Asheville, NC where she is the mom of 5 great kids, speech-pathologist to about fifty more, lover of chocolate, jazz, and Jesus.”

 

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“I wrote my first story when I was a nine year- old, freckled-faced tomboy in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Coming from a long line of oral storytellers, weaving a good yarn seemed a typical part of my life.”

 

 

rem:  Welcome to my blog, Pepper. Tell us a little about yourself. Where were you raised? Where do you live now?

PEPPER :  I was raised in Andy Griffith country on the Blue Ridge Mountain line between North Carolina and Virginia. The Blue Ridge Mountains have always held a special place in my heart and I’m sure these mountains have all kinds of told and untold stories. Now, my family and I live in the mountains of western North Carolina near Asheville.

rem:  I always did love Mayberry, takes me back to my childhood. My maternal grandmother grew up I West Jefferson, and the farm there was a special place to me. Tell us three things about yourself.

PEPPER :  I LOVE my kids!! Pepper is my real name. I’m a Marvel/DC/LOTR/Merlin/Fantasy nerd. J

rem:  And I love your name! If you could have any super power what would it be?

PEPPER :  The power of healing.

rem:  And (ahem) seems your stories reflect that passion in you! Coffee or tea? Sweet or un? Flavored or not?

PEPPER :  TEA! Is that even a question? And I’m southern. SWEET, of course J

rem:  Me too on tea.  I’ve got enough Britain in me to enjoy it hot, but enough Colorado in me to drink it unsweet. LOL Superman or Batman?

PEPPER :  Ugh…I cannot answer this. It’s too much pressure. Superman for his goodness, Batman for his intelligence.

rem:  Good non-answer. Vacation: beach or mountains?

PEPPER :  Mountains…in SCOTLAND J

rem:  Aye! And can I goe with ye? What is your most treasured possession?

PEPPER :  My children.

rem:  Best.answer.ever. What do you most value in a friend? What quality do you most admire in a man or woman?

PEPPER : In a man or woman – I’m going to mention my top three J (I’m terribly indecisive) 1. A generous heart. 2. Kindness 3. A sense of humor

rem:   They do kind of go hand in hand, though. When reading, what makes or breaks a story for you? Your fiction pet peeve?  

PEPPER :  A weak hero or heroine

rem:  Ya, I mean, who roots for a wimpy hero? Who is your favorite hero of fiction?

PEPPER :  IMPOSSIBLE to answer!

rem:  Who are your favorite authors to read? What is your favorite genre to read?

PEPPER :  Laura Frantz, Denise Hunter, Siri Mitchell, Becky Wade…too many to list.

rem:  I know right? Which is more important: plot or characters?

PEPPER :  Characters! Those are the people we remember.

rem:  Like, say, Ashleigh and Sam? Catherine and David maybe? Or Jessica and August?   wink wink How long have you been an Alleycat? How did you become an Alleycat?

PEPPER :  Well, I was one of the original two to brainstorm The Writer’s Alley – so since it began J

rem:  And what a superb brainstorm it was, too. Tell us a little about your writing journey.

PEPPER :  Well, I come from a long line of Appalachian storytellers, so I grew up listening to my Granny give oral history back 5 or 6 generations. I think that was one of my early influences, but I do believe it is a God-given desire. I still have my first ‘long’ story I wrote when I was 10 years old.

 

And since I’ve kind of lived in a little ‘fairytale,’ with a brain-full of stories since then, I finally started writing them down in novel format. It’s been a long journey, but I’ve met some of my favorite people along the way J I started pursuing publication 11 years before I received my first contract – and then I received two within two months. Here’s hoping for many more.

 

rem:  I agree 100%, it is a God given desire and passion. (Psalm 37:4)  What is your Writing Routine? Where do you write: In a cave, a coffeehouse, or a cozy nook?

PEPPER :  Right now, my writing space takes place in the middle of the house so that I can keep an eye on my five kids, sneak in a paragraph here and there while I cook supper, clean, or plan for work the next day.

A window is a definite favorite…as well as any tokens from my writing buddies nearby. For example, I have these writing pads and Jane Austen quote book from my crit partner that I keep close. I also have a tendency to find English Breakfast tea or dark chocolate quite inspiring J Oh, and I write late at night, usually every night, for about an hour solid. I also squeeze snippets of writing in throughout the day, but those are only about 10-15 minutes of time.

rem:  Classic writer speak! What makes you struggle as an author? How do you handle it?

PEPPER :  Discouragement is my biggest foe, and my discouragement comes, I guess, from looking outside of myself instead of focusing on Jesus. It’s easy to wish for publishers to recognize your stories and snatch them up instead of just keeping your eyes fixed on Jesus’ calling on your heart and writing those stories.

rem:  Just don’t stop! Don’t ever stop! Do you prefer the creating or editing aspect of writing? Why?

PEPPER :  Hmm…probably creating. I’m not great at editing and that’s why I NEED an editor.

rem:  What do you enjoy most about being a writer?

PEPPER :  I LOVE BRAINSTORMING!!! It’s my favorite part of writing! And one of the most rewarding parts is hearing how my stories have touched readers. Oh my goodness, WHAT a blessing!!

rem:   I have so many voices in my head, I brainstorm with myself! BWAHAHAH  I do love to bounce ideas around with other writers, though.  Shall we have a brainstorming tea party? What was the hardest thing about publishing? The easiest?

PEPPER :  Time management is the hardest!!! The easiest? Coming up with story ideas J

rem:  No, really? With ALL you do, time management?  (sorry, couldn’t resist the snark!) What are your top 3 recommendations for a new writer? What 3 things would recommend not doing?

PEPPER :  Dos:WRITE! Be involved in a writing community. Be teachable.

Donts: Lose sight of WHY you write. I write because God has stories burning in my heart to be told. Stories to bring hope. But sometimes I lose sight of that in the whole comparison game. His calling feeds my creativity. Don’t put too much stock in contest results. Again, be teachable, but remember those are subjective. Don’t try to go on this journey alone. Encouragers are necessary and God-given comrades on the path of publication. They’re invaluable.

rem:  Teachable—so many people (not just writers) aren’t, and it shows. Where do you get your greatest ideas for writing?

PEPPER :  Ideas come from all sorts of places! A book I’m reading, a conversation I overhear, a true-life situation. Just this week I thought of a new idea based on watching the movie Austenland. My upcoming release, The Thorn Healer, evolved from a book I discovered at a yard sale J

rem:  They’re everywhere, aren’t they? As authors we sometimes give our characters one or more of our personal traits. Have you ever taken on a trait of your character that you didn’t have before?

PEPPER :  Hmm…you mean like craving raspberries 😉 I’m not sure that I have.

rem:  Ya caught me! Yes, I mean like craving raspberries! LOL What is one take-away from your book(s) that you hope readers identify with?

PEPPER :  There is always hope.

rem:   Tell us a little bit about StoryCraft.

PEPPER :  It’s an opportunity to brainstorm story ideas if you need some help or guidance. Like I said earlier, I love brainstorming – and one of my ‘gifts’, I think, is seeing the big picture of stories – so I want to help others with that.

rem:  I might like to be part of that! You are also a speech-language pathologist, working with children with Autism. How did you get interested in that?

PEPPER :  I’ve always loved hanging out with kids, but when I was in my first year of work I met a little boy who completely changed my view of Autism. I wrote an article about it here:

http://www.carolinapeds.com/2014/09/a-bridge-of-hope/

rem:  Tell us a little bit about Autism and Asperger’s.

PEPPER :  Autism is a neurodevelopmental disability which impacts a child’s way of processing the world. Most of the ways you may see Autism displayed in a child is in the way they communicate (or lack of communication) particularly in their social communication. It’s difficult to give a super brief summary because Autism is extremely varied. As the saying goes, when you’ve met one child with autism…you’ve met ONE child with autism. It’s called a spectrum disorder because of the many variants and nuances associated with how it looks in each child. The hallmark characteristics are communication difficulties (both verbally and nonverbally), repetitive/stereotypic behaviors (hand flapping, spinning, etc) and in many cases, sensory issues. Again, it’s such a specialized disorder that it manifests itself differently in different kids – and it can range from a child being nonverbal and mentally disabled to being a happily married father of kiddos.

rem:  Anything else you’d like to add?

PEPPER :  I LOVE reader engagement. I think it’s one of my best surprises in the ‘published author’ phase so far.

rem:  Pepper, we love YOUR engagement! Thanks so much for joining us today, it’s been a pleasure having on my blog!

 

“So…now I’m a 38-year old, freckled-faced mommy enjoying life, learning to write, and laughing often.  My mom says that I must have a small bit of insanity because I don’t realize how stressed I ought to be.”

 

 

www.pepperdbasham.com

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Pepper-D-Basham

https://twitter.com/pepperbasham

https://www.pinterest.com/pepperbasham/

 

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Pepper Basham, The Writers Alley, Author Interview, Interview Blitz, Chat Thursday, The Thorn Bearer, The Thorn Keeper, The Thorn Healer, A Twist of Faith, Blue Ridge Mountains, Autism, Story Craft, Brainstorming

 

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“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” — 2 Corinthians 5:17  I attended a funeral last year for a fr…

Source: Wednesday Wisdom – NEW

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TUESDAY REVIEWS-DAY – BOOK REVIEW – BUTTERFLIES ON BREEZES

by VALERIE COMER

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BOOK REVIEW – BERRY ON TOP by VALERIE COMER

 

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Seems Logan Dermott’s carefree ways aren’t so carefree anymore. Has love finally clipped his wings? Or has love finally set him free to fly?

 

Linnea Ranta on the other hand, is freer than she’s ever been, testing her wings and gaining confidence she never had before.

 

What can two such opposite people have in common? As their shared interest bonds them together in more than casual acquaintance or passing friendship, both Linnea and Logan struggle with emerging feelings of love. And neither of them knows quite what to do  with it. Neither of is sure they can trust their heart. Can Logan trust his heart when all he’s ever known is broken promises? And running away from heartache? Can Linnea trust love when all she’s known is controlling, manipulative love? Can they trust each other—and God—that love this time is genuine and real?

 

 

Ms. Comer has once again created a delightful story world with real life struggles, and real life failures. With enviable skill, she has woven intense issues into her charming story. She has put issues this reviewer is well familiar with, and told a story of love triumphing over the deepest heart wounds. In a roller coaster of emotions, Ms. Comer has conveyed the Father’s love stronger than an absent father, stronger than   an overbearing father. And Ms. Comer has written a story of damaged hearts mended.

 

 

 

I received a free copy of this book, but was under no obligation to read the book or to post a review. I offer my review of my own volition, The opinions expressed in my review are my own honest thoughts and reaction to this book.

 

 

 

6136j5uhtrl-_ux250_Valerie Comer’s life on a small farm in western Canada provides the seed for stories of contemporary Christian romance. Like many of her characters, Valerie grows much of her own food and is active in the local foods movement as well as her church. She only hopes her imaginary friends enjoy their happily ever afters as much as she does hers, shared with her husband, adult kids, and adorable granddaughters.

Her debut novel, Raspberries and Vinegar: A Farm Fresh Romance, won the 2014 Word Guild Award for best contemporary romance by a Canadian author. She injects experience laced with humor into her tales of farm living in this farm lit series that includes Wild Mint Tea, Sweetened with Honey and Dandelions for Dinner. Valerie also writes fantasy as Valerie R Comer.

Find out where food meets faith and fiction at http://valeriecomer.com, where you can sign up for her newsletter, follow her on Twitter, or like her on Facebook.

 

Connect with Valerie at:

http://valeriecomer.com/

https://www.facebook.com/valeriecomer.author

https://twitter.com/valeriecomer

https://www.pinterest.com/valeriecomer/

https://www.youtube.com/user/valerierco

 

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Butterflies on Breezes, Tuesday Reviews-Day, Book Review, Valerie Comer, Urban Farm Fresh Romans, Secrets of Sunbeams

 

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NEW WEEK NEW FACE – GUEST POST by JORDYN REDWOOD

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Five Medical Pitfalls Authors Fall Into

 

One of the reasons I created my medical blog for authors, Redwood’s Medical Edge, was to right some of the wrongs in published works—traditional and indie—that caused me to want to toss the book aside and move on to something else.

 

A reader, even one who primarily reads fiction, wants to trust you as an author. Part of building that trust is doing your research to make sure the details are authentic. The more close to real life you write, the more believable your fiction is. Strange, right?

 

As a medical professional of almost twenty-five years, these are a few author pitfalls that will signal to me that an author has not done their research and I begin to wonder what other details of their manuscript they’ve been loose with.

 

  1. Referring to an ECG as an EKG: This is relatively common and you’ll likely be given a pass on this because as medical professionals communicate with one another—we still will say “EKG” but the correct terminology is ECG. An ECG comes from electrocardiogram and is when we attach patches to your chest to look at the electrical activity of your heart.

 

  1. Anatomical Issues: These can be annoying because they are the easiest to research on your own. I’ve seen passages in published novels where the spleen is on the right side (it’s on the left), and the clavicle referred to as a scapula (your collar bone versus your shoulder blade.) Easiest way to determine where a certain organ/bone is would be to Google search specifically—“what side is the spleen on?” It should pop up pretty readily.

 

  1. HIPAA Violations: HIPAA stands for the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. This is the law that governs patient privacy and is the information you receive each time you seek medical care that dictates how your health information is shared. The easiest way to understand patient privacy is that only people who are in direct care of the patient should look at that patient’s information.

    Let’s look at an example.

    I take care of a neighbor’s child in the ER during a shift. If my husband calls me at work, I can’t say, “Hey, Mindy is here with her daughter. She broke her leg.” This is a violation of HIPAA. Now, I can share that information if Mindy says I can do so but she has to give me permission. Other types of HIPAA violations I’ve seen in published novels? A nurse giving patient information to a reporter—this is a huge no-no. All information released to the press is done through the public relations office. This is drilled into every medical professional’s head from the get-go. Another example from real life was when a local news station shot an interview with a nurse manager where the patient tracking board was in the backdrop. All big no-no’s.

 

  1. Injuries that heal too quickly: Sure, you want conflict and sometimes conflict means a character taking a bullet or being in a car accident. Often times the problem in fiction comes after the injury and what your character will be reasonably able to do. These need to match. For instance, if your hero takes a bullet to the arm and it shatters the bone, then that arm is out of commission for a good six to eight weeks. It cannot be wielding a gun the next day and firing off shots with remarkable accuracy. Make sure whatever injury your character suffers, the physical effects of the injury is reflected in the manuscript. If your character breaks a femur then they will not be running the next day.

 

  1. Scope of practice issues: The term scope of practice covers a set of laws that dictate what a licensed medical person can and can’t do. They vary from state to state so if your novel is set in a specific locale it will behoove you to look at those laws. An example of a scope of practice issue is an EMT performing a C-section. This is clearly outside their scope of practice. Now, can he do it in a fiction novel? Yes—but he also needs to be seen struggling with the decision. He will know it’s outside his scope of practice but does it anyway—this is conflict. He will also be responsible for the consequences that follow. A good example of this was the novel Midwives by Chris Bohjalian where a midwife performed a C-section.

    Remember, medical characters in fiction can do bad things. Violating HIPAA laws and operating outside their scope of practice makes for great conflict and novels should have loads of conflict. However, the reader, in order to trust you and your research, needs to know that you know the character has done a bad thing and the character should suffer consequences for it. For a nurse, this could be something a mild as a verbal warning to as serious as losing a nursing license.

 

What medical inaccuracies have you seen in published fiction?

 

 

 

jordyn-337eJordyn Redwood is a nurse by day, novelist by night. She has specialized in critical care and emergency nursing for nearly two decades. As a self professed medical nerd, she reads medical textbooks for fun. This led to the creation of Redwood’s Medical Edge– a blog devoted to helping authors write medically accurate fiction. Jordyn loves to weave medical mystery into her story lines and see how her characters navigate through the chaos she creates.

 

http://www.jordynredwood.net/

http://jordynredwood.blogspot.com/

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Jordyn Redwood, New Week New Face, #NWNF, Guest Post, Medical Pitfalls, Proof, Poison, Peril, Fractured Memory

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