Friday, March 27, 2015

Friday Frenzy!

It amazes me that it is almost April.  I love Springtime and I hope most of you are now starting to dig yourselves out from under all the snow you received this winter and are enjoying some of the sun's warm rays. I always thank God for the sun... it's like this giant heater in the sky. What a great idea! Speaking of the sun, don't always slather tons of sunscreen on. Yes, we must be careful not to get burned, but the sun has tons of nutrients in it that we need, so it's okay to bare your skin and soak up some rays now and then, eh?

Speaking of Spring, I'm quite proud of my box garden on the side of my driveway, and wanted to share it. Believe me, I've done nothing to deserve such beauty. I don't water, weed, or feed!

Another of my hobbies (although this one requires more attention) is my salt-water reef tank. Yes, I'm obviously obsessed with the sea, hence I feel the need to bring it into my home, if only confined to a small tank. A reef tank is just that, a small subsection of a tropical reef, complete with hard and soft corals, anemones, shrimp and crabs and other crustaceans and just a few fish to complete the magnificence. You may remember I posted a few pictures before. It has grown quite a bit since then. Hope you enjoy!

My anemone, 2 clown fish, and a peppermint shrimp
Various soft corals.  The pink stuff you see on the glass is coraline algae.. very good for the tank!

More corals.  The green one in the back is a hammerhead coral. Poisonous! So I put him in the corner. LOL

Writing News!

I expect to have The Reckoning delivered to my Editor by next Friday. Which is nearly a month earlier than I had anticipated. This means that it may be releasing sooner than I planned as well, so stayed tuned for that.  I believe fans of my pirate series are going to be most pleased with this story. Plus, it has lots of good spiritual stuff going on. Anyway, as time approaches, I'll release more details and teasers and even set up a Pinterest Board.

For those of you who have not read The Falcon and the Sparrow, the ebook will be on sale next week, starting Monday, for only 99 cents, on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Ibooks, etc!  The Falcon and the Sparrow is a fan favorite you won't want to miss! 

Friday Writing Tip

Enter contests. This may seem like an obvious one, but you'd be surprised at how many people are hesitant, even frightened to put their work out there.  I've even heard some people say that Christians shouldn't compete with one another, that we all have unique ministries.  I agree!  But I'm not talking about entering contests to win. Yes, I realize that sounds contrary to what the world says.  But hey, God is quite contrary to what the world says, isn't He? Nop. Contests are not for winning. Contests are for learning. I'm talking about pre-published contests, of course. The kind where you get back a critique from each judge, complete with comments and suggestions. Worth it's weight in whatever minor fee you paid to enter.

Did I enter contests before I was published? You bet!  I entered several and I always got back tons of feedback. But beware, judges are people too and hence, they are very subjective.  So, my advice is to take each score with a grain of salt.. read through the comments and suggestions of each judge, see which ones are similar and focus on those areas.

For example, I entered The Redemption in the ACFW Genesis contest long before it was published.  The Scoring went from 0-100.  Three judges gave me above 80, one a 99. But one judge gave me below 50 and she (or he) told me I wasn't ready for publication and then proceeded to list a ton of books I should read (most of which I had already).  As a young writer, I was devastated and almost quit. But God prompted me forward and I worked on the areas every judge mentioned.
Within months I submitted the manuscript and got a contract with Barbour!  Okay, I'll admit that doesn't always happen, but my point is, enter contests. Learn how to take constructive criticism and grow as a writer from it. It will also help form the tough skin you'll need when you do get published and some reviewers trash your books! 



  1. Friday 27th,
    "Morning, MaryLu."
    Thanks for sharing -- your box garden, and salt-water reef tank. Both are bringing you such enjoyment ! Flowers are beautiful. And the tank is beautiful and most intriguing. Watching its progression is really something.
    Well, we "were" in temperatures around 32 (and only slightly above) ... with"most" of the snow melted. Then, yesterday, a surprising snow blew in .... and it snowed for most of the day !!! SO wasn't expecting any more of the 'white stuff' !!! It's been a long winter, a cold one, with more than enough snow up here in Canada !!! And now, more than ready to see -- some grass, and flowers begin to sprout !!! Alas ... March is one of those tricky months (in Canada) .... it can change in a flash. We never know what to expect from day to day !!!
    However ... I'm sure that Spring is truly on its way !!! (We live in hope !)
    Thanks for sharing. Take care, and, God Bless, In Him, Brenda

    1. Thanks Brenda! Brrrr... I can't imagine ever living in Canada. I don't know how you do it! More snow!! But yes, Spring is on the way! Hugs

  2. WOW!!!! Love the pics of that beautiful flower garden and salt-water reef tank!! The tank has really changed since the previous pic posted - love those bright clown fish and all the other colors in the tank also. So interesting!! Was wondering what you feed the fish, what the coral eat, whether you have to clean this kind of tank, how much maintenance is required, and the hammerhead coral poisonous - to fish, humans, or both??

    My mother, aunt, and grandfather all have/had "green thumbs" and extensive flower gardens - unfortunately, I didn't inherit one. I'm also relegated to planting flowers in large pots or hanging baskets - on my wee front porch and back patio - as I am no longer physically able to kneel to plant flowers in the ground, weed, etc.. However, I love looking at them, and can't wait to buy more pots and the soil, flowers to put in them. It's amazing that yours have flourished so beautifully, with little care. What do you have planted in yours??

    The weather here in Ky. is still up and down - the temp was in the 60's for a couple of days, but is to dip to the 20's this weekend, and then up to the 70's next week. My mother had jonquils blooming when I was there yesterday, not sure what this cold snap will do to them.

    It doesn't hurt my feelings, in the least, that "The Reckoning" is ahead of schedule, LOL - anxious to receive a copy!! Thanks for the writing tip!!

    Shared post!!

    1. Hi Bonnie,
      The corals and anenome eat a variety of things, brine shrimp, copepods, plankton etc.. I add different things to the tank plus I have a refugium hanging on the back stuffed with copepods and green plants. I know TMI . The hammerhead is poisonous to other corals so I have to keep him separated.. not sure about humans, but I'm careful when I touch him.
      I have no idea what type of flowers are in that picture! Some sort of flowering iceplant that requires no TLC! My kind of plant. My husband often teases me that my "flower" garden looks more like a jungle because I like to keep it natural (which is another way of saying I don't have time to maintain it)
      I heard the weather over there has gone mad again. Weird. My Mom is ready for Spring! Hugs!