Introducing “Free Verse Friday

My writing partner Linda (of “Shoe’s Seeds & Stories“) and I have decided to take on a monthly free verse writing challenge, to begin next Friday – to then run the first Friday of the month. We’d love for you to join in.

Our Challenge “Free Verse Friday” will involve taking a photo, then writing a response in verse, to a theme.

The first three themes will be:

January: Beginnings

February: Winter

March: Green

It is your choice how you’d like to interpret the theme. The goal is to have fun and create.

In the past, I enjoyed the 30 word challenge hosted by Erin Prais-Hintz. I resurrected this challenge, 30 Word Thursday, last year but let it laspse after a couple of months. (Here is a link to the first post)

Footprints in the snow

If you’d like to join in, leave your creation in the comments below, anytime throughout the month.

Hope to see your creations next week!

Evaluate Your OLW

Evaluate Your Word

This year I joined “One Word 2022” hosted by Lisa at “Lisa Notes“. Now at year’s end we are summing up our word.


What star rating would you give your One Word 2022 from 1-Lowest to 5-Highest (by whatever measure you want to use)? Did it live up to your expectations? Why or why not?

I give 3 stars to how effective  my word JOY was this year.. This was a year when I actually needed more joy – but events conspired to limit it. There were pockets of joy throughout the year though, and these were very much needed.  


How often did you notice your One Word in other places this year?

1-Rarely, 2-Now and again, 3-Often, 4-All the time

I noticed JOY around me a fair bit – in quotes, in books, in songs. etc. I kept a joy journal and collected quotes, articles and pictures that highlighted joy.

I created joy cards and these were a joy in themselves to create.

I am still writing 3-5 things I am thankful for most nights – many of these do bring joy. I know I will continue with this practice.


As I said in #1, I needed the word but I did not draw on it enough. Even though I had a JOY canvas

and I created joy cards, I did not keep them front and centre. Maybe if I had kept them where I would see them repeatedly, it would have helped much more.

Early in the year, I won a JOY tray ( made by Randy Flowers) for participation from Lisa and I loved it! It was a blessing and a joy, arriving on a dark day. It brings a smile whenever I see it.


Did you learn more about yourself or your relationships this year through your One Word? Would you want to repeat this word in another year?

This was the second time I used JOY and although it helped, I don’t think I will use it again as my OLW. I will though, draw on what I learned about the feelings I experienced and try to experience more joy next year. 

As Debbie Macomber says in her book One Perfect Word, to keep the other words you’ve had close – “They are a reminder of the lessons I’ve learned over the years.”

Here are some links to posts on joy over this past year. I started out well, but then events (hubby in the hospital for over 3 months, and my knee surgery and slow recovery) made it a challenging year.

How I chose my word JOY – here

First link-up, in January – here

Second check-in, in February – here

April check-in – here

As I reread my April post, I was happy to see I had grabbed some joy. Three quotes I included still resonate:

Grab JOY!

May JOY take root more and more.

JOY comes to us in the ordinary moments. We risk missing out when we get too busy chasing down the extraordinary. Brene Brown

And then I had surgery in May and my hubby was back in hospital (2 and a half months) on July 1. I didn’t blog for a long while and then reading became my solace. I am sad to say I withdrew from the small group as I felt joyless for sometime.

But, I need to readh out more and put myself out there more. 2023 is the year I hope to stretch my wings and be and do more.

My Life in Books – 2022

Shelleyrae at Book’s Out posted a fun book tag yesterday and I am joining in.

You are to complete the prompts using titles from the books you have read in 2022. Even though I am fortuneate to have an extensive number of books to chose from, finding the right book was a challenge.

2022 was the year of:  Gratitude by Oliver Sacks

In 2022 I wanted to beThe Best of Me by Nicholas Sparks

In 2022 I was: Coming Up For Air by Patti Callahan Henry

In 2022 I gained: A Summer to Remember by Mary Balogh

In 2022 I lostThe Invitation by Vi Keeland

In 2022 I loved: Every Little Letter by Deborah Underwood

In 2022 I hated: White Lies by Jayne Ann Krentz

In 2022 I learned: How to Outline a Book in 3 Hours by Shaunta Grimes

In 2022 I was surprised by: Capturing Joy by Jo Ellen Bogart

In 2022 I went to: Hell and Back by Gray Holborn

In 2022 I missed out on: The Summer Getaway by Susan Mallery

In 2022 my family were: Joyful by Ingrid Fetell Lee

In 2023 I hope (for a): The Age of Creativity by Emily Urquhart, as well as An Invincible Summer by Mariah Stewart

WOW Blog Tour for “From Promising to Published”: Guest Post by Melanie Faith

I am honoured to be part of the WOW! Women of Writing Blog Tour for  Melanie Faith’s book “From Promising to Published”.

Today Melanie is visiting my blog to share her thoughts on findin a good-fit freelance editor.

Welcome Melanie!

GPS: Tips for Finding a Good-Fit Freelance Editor

We all want our writing to connect with readers, and the best shot we have of writing clear, entertaining
projects is to get a fresh set of eyes on our work.
It can be invaluable to get an impartial view on our writing with the in-depth, personalized feedback a
freelance editor provides. Editors catch inconsistencies, scope for grammar and structural problems,
note unintended repetition and filler words, red-flag plot holes, mark underdeveloped dialogue or
characterization, and much more.

Where do you find a freelance editor anyway?
Ask a librarian. Many libraries host readings or writing groups as part of their community
outreach. Plus, librarians dig a good information search and have a wide network.

Do an online search. Start by checking the classifieds. Yes, they do still exist. Many literary
magazines and craft magazines for writers offer listings or ads of freelance professionals; one of
my favorite is Poets & Writers Classified sections, both in the print magazine and online: .

Check your favorite indie author’s website. A sizable portion of authors take on editing

Check the Acknowledgments section of your favorite recently published books. One of my new
clients emailed me out of the blue this year—you guessed it, after reading my name in the
Acknowledgments for another author’s book I edited. This is a favorite way to meet new clients.
As with any time you approach a professional: inquire politely about possible interest in your
book, and have either an outline, a one- or two-paragraph description of your project, or a few
sample pages of your work prepared to share.

Ask an English teacher or college professor near you. As with librarians, educators tend to have
a wide network (of current and former students) who may freelance edit.

To increase your chances of having a wonderful interaction with a freelance editor, consider these three
elements when choosing a professional.

Genre: If you hire an editor who specializes in offering feedback for creative nonfiction but
you’ve written a picture book, that might be a mismatch.
Some editors, like myself, love to work within several genres, but don’t assume that your
preferred editor enjoys or has the skills to edit multiple genres of writing—many specialize in
just two or three favorites. Take the time to ask or to check at their website for the genres of
projects they’ve worked on recently.

Price point: politely check into rates and payment policies before you spend a lot of time
writing back and forth.

Some freelancers post the rates on their website. (Often listed per word, per page, or per hour.)
Many others send an individual list of several options/price-points based on different types of
edits and how many pages your project is and/or what would be the best fit for your project.

Be aware that editing slows down around the holidays and in the summer.
Also, some editors take partial payments (such as initial deposits) while others want paid up
front. Check the editor’s website or inquire.

Know that there are different types of editing and pick the specific type you
need—developmental editing is a deep-dive into the manuscript’s big-picture elements from
structure, plot, and form to characterization, and tends to cost the most and take more time for
the editor, while copy editing focuses mostly on grammar and other errors the author didn’t
catch, and proofreading is a final polish right before submitting or publishing.

Ask about the editor’s work-flow style to see if it fits your needs/expectations. By that I mean:
some editors communicate frequently while editing and encourage the author to contact them
at any time while other editors want to receive the manuscript and then be on their own with
the project until the feedback is delivered.

Some editors do conference calls online, will meet at a café in person, or make phone calls to
give feedback while others only communicate strictly via text or email. If you want a blend of
both real-time and written feedback, inquire with the editor to see if they offer both.
Some editors will answer specific follow-up questions while other editors won’t. Ask if a round
of follow-up questions after feedback delivery is included in the fee or if it’s an additional

Don’t assume that the editor has time for your manuscript right away; it’s often weeks or
months before freelancers fit in projects, depending on the number of projects they currently
have underway.

Also, if an editor turns down your project, it’s not personal; editors have to turn away a lot of
meaningful projects because we simply don’t have enough time or energy or we’re already
committed to other projects.

If it’s a no, please do ask others—there are many editors who would jump at the chance to work
with you. Consider hiring a grad student or just-starting-out editor as well—they often have
great skills, passion for literature, and more immediate openings for clients.

Feedback turn-around time also varies by editor. In general, expect weeks or months, rather
than days. It’s great to inquire for an estimated return time, just be aware that a lot of variables
go into scheduling (like unexpected life events that pop up) that may extend the turn-around
estimate in actuality.

We all want a well-rested eye on our work, so be respectful, courteous, and open-hearted when
inquiring and working with any editor. If in doubt about anything, politely ask.

A great writer-editor relationship is one where both professionals communicate openly on behalf of the
writer’s manuscript so that it resonates with its target audience. May you use these tips to find your
perfect-fit editor for your latest project and many, many more!

A great writer-editor relationship is one where both professionals communicate openly on behalf of the
writer’s manuscript so that it resonates with its target audience. May you use these tips to find your
perfect-fit editor for your latest project and many, many more!

Thank you Melanie. What a comprehensive guide to finding an editor! I’ll definitely use it when I need one in the new year.

Be sure to follow all the stops along the WOW blog tour for Melanie’s informative book.

WOW Blog Tour for “From Promising to Publishing” by Melanie Faith

I am honoured to be part of the WOW! Women of Writing Blog Tour for Melanie Faith’s non-fiction book From Promising to Publishing, which I read and am now reviewing.

(Please note: I received a free copy in exchange for my honest review.)

My Review:

As a wannabe writer/author, I was eager to read Melanie Faith’s book. I have read numerous how-to books about writing and I hoped to find something different in this book. And I did.

This was an interesting yet easy read and gave a fresh look at the many aspects leading up to and including publishing.

Faith included exercises to work through at the end of each chapter (loved the chapter titles) and these provided an opportunity to practice different skills.

Although there were parts that I’d read or heard before, the material was presented in a unique way, with added details.

Several chapters were favourites:

“The Lovely Littles” – how to break into the smaller magazines and why it was a good to do so

“The Spinning Spider” – how to keep track of submissions

“Monetize It” – many ways to make money from your writing

I would highly recommend this book – for its insights, exercises and easy-to-read format. I know I will be returning to it as a resource as I continue on my road to publication.

About the Book

You’ve been writing and honing your craft for months or years and are curious about seeking publication for your latest project. Perhaps you wonder about the next steps in the process. Look no further!

This book has a little something for every writer interested in expanding their audience and sharing their writing with readers, from pre-writing and writing your drafts to choosing your market and the writing life before, during, and after publication.

Topics covered include:

  • The Lovely Littles: Breaking into Literary Magazines
  • The Spinning Spider: Keeping Track of your Brainchildren
  • Options, You’ve Got ’em: Traditional, Indie/Small, University Press, or Self-Publishing 
  • Two Streams with One Stone: To Simultaneously Submit or Not
  • Monetize it! Part One: All about the Benjamins; Monetize it! Part Two: Risk and a Swimming Metaphor
  • The Myth of the Fancy-Pants Tools
  • The Art of Writing the Author Bio
  • Paradox Meets Passion: Writer vs. Author
  • The Slam-Bam Reply: Now in Two Painful Varieties; Creative Noodling
  • F.U.N.

and so much more!

Publisher: Vine Leaves Press (May 2022)

ISBN-10: 1925965929

ISBN-13: 978-1925965929


Print length: 184 pages

You can purchase a copy of this book in ebook or print at AmazonBarnes and Noble, and Be sure to also add this to your GoodReads reading list.

About the Author, Melanie Faith

Melanie Faith is a night-owl writer and editor who moves through the daytime world with her camera. She’s an introvert who likes to wear many hats, too, including as a poet, photographer, professor, and tutor. She’s been a doodler for years but just recently started to share her perfectly imperfect doodles. She loves to write about historical settings in poetry and prose, and this fall she taught both a Leaping Worlds class for historical fiction and time-travel writers as well as a university class about publishing. She especially enjoys creating nonfiction craft books that assist fellow authors on their writing paths, including books packed with tips about writing flash fiction and poetry. Her latest published craft books are: Photography for Writers, guides for teaching online and writing a research book respectively, and From Promising to Published: A Multi-GenreInsider’s Guide to the Publication Process (all from Vine Leaves Press). Read more about her books, classes, and arts projects at  

Be sure to check all the stops on the blog tour

It’s Monday! What are You Reading?

It’s time once again for Kathryn’s weekly meme, It’s Monday! What are You Reading?, hosted at Book Date, where we share what we’re reading and have read over the past week.

A week til Christmas! Hard to believe. I got a bit more shopping done today and just a bit more to do on Tuesday. I got the last of my cards sent off today – the local ones. Then some baking and wrapping.

I read 7 books plus 3 picture books– 4 women’s fiction, a mystery, a memoir, and a non-fiction..

The Messy Lives of Book People by Phaedra Patrick. What an enjoyable read. Loved it.

Coming Up For Air by Patti Callahan Henry. She has become one of my favourite authors. I am slowly reading her backlist and really enjoyed this one.

The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls. This memoir which has been made into a movie, was so disturbing. I read it for my book group, otherwise it might have been a DNF.

From Promising to Published by Melanie Faith. This was a review read for a WOW blog tour. I found it informative and a quick read. Check out my review here.

A Wingman for Christmas by Barbara Barth. This was another review read for WOW. A mystery and a fun read. Check out my review here.

Summer at the Cape by RaeAne Thayne. She is another fav. author. And another enjoyable read.

A Quilt for Christmas by Melody Carlson. A Christmas novella which i enjoyed.

3 Picture Books, all great reads:

Michelle’s Garden by Sharee Miller

The Girl Who Built an Ocean by Jess Keating, illus. by Michelle Nee Nutter

Jump, Leap, Count Sheep by Geraldo Valerio

What I’m Reading Now 

Harry Potter and The Philosopher’s Stone by J.K. Rowling

What I am Reading Next

The Theory of Crows by David A. Robertson

WOW Blog Tour for “A Wingman for Christmas”: Guest Post by Barbara Barth

I am honoured to be part of the WOW! Women of Writing Blog Tour for  Barbara Barth’s book A Wingman for Christmas.

Today Barbara is visiting my blog to share her thoughts on the difference between writing fiction and memoir

Welcome Barbara!

The Difference Between Writing Fiction and Memoir

Some days I tell myself I never want to write about me again. My first book was my widow memoir in 2010, a quirky recount of my first year on my own. A healing experience for me that resonated with others who had suffered a loss. A follow up memoir covering ten years later revealed what I’d been up to with my new life. It’s not that I had a lot of hotness to write about, but I wanted to capture all the craziness of those years for me and anyone who might still be interested in my story.

When I wrote my first novel, Danger in Her Words, I realized while it was fiction, a lot of my writing and dating experiences formed the backbone of the story. A bit of a naughty thriller (tame compared to some I’ve read) although more exciting than my real life. And I’m happy to say no one tried to murder me (teaser). That was pure fiction.

I seem to have a theme be it memoir or fiction. Widows, dogs, old houses, and antiques. I love characters that are older but still in the game. It’s what I know and what I love to write about.

My Christmas novella is pure fiction, but the character of Mama is a made-up version of my mother who I lost in 2016. Her love of exotic birds and other creatures is there, as well as her tell-it-like-it-is attitude. The Victorian house is an exact replica of the 1906 cottage I lived in for three years. There’s a sweet picture of that cottage incorporated on the cover. A few changes from my usual go-to themes, Cheryl is divorced and there are no dogs!

The difference comes in the research for me. With memoir, I know what I’ve done and so do most of my friends. The details of my life etched in my head and heart. I don’t have to fact check anything. I’ve lived it.

Writing fiction is so much harder. My made-up world is in my head, but the details are not. Google becomes my best friend as I fact check everything for accuracy. It is exhausting for me. After a few hours I stop and take a nap with the dogs to get my energy back. Well, I’d take a nap with the dogs for any reason.

That said, I’m loving the process. The surprise about writing fiction to me is discovering my characters have a different plan than I do and take off in their own direction. I pretty much know the start and finish, but the chapters in between write themselves. Cliché perhaps, but true. At least for me.

Will I write memoir again? Time will tell. Meanwhile I’ve left a fictional character sitting in the Waffle House in St. Augustine, Florida since 2017. I think it’s time to tell her story.

Thank you Barbara for sharing your post on the differences between writing memoir and fiction.

Be sure to visit all the stops along the blog tour:

WOW Blog Tour for “A Wingman for Christmas” by Barbara Barth

I am honoured to be part of the WOW! Women of Writing Blog Tour for Barbara Barth’s charming novella A Wingman for Christmas, which I read and am now reviewing.

(Please note: I received a free copy in exchange for my honest review.)

My Review:

A Wingman for Christmas offers a lot in less than 200 pages – quirky characters including a parrot, relationship dynamics and secrets, a mystery, a budding romance and lots of humour.

This Christmas novella was a delightful read – perfect for the season. I so enjoyed the characters in the book – especially Cheryl and Mama. So many issues are highlighted in the book as well- aging parents and how siblings argue over their care, divorce, romances of elderly people, attachment to pets.

I highly recommend this book – a most enjoyable read

Book Summary

The annual Sweet Water, Georgia, Christmas parade is nearing but relationships are fractured on Wild Rose Lane. Antique dealer Cheryl Calloway’s holiday spirit has tanked. It’s been a horrible year with her divorce, her ex marrying younger and perkier Miriam across the street, and Mama moving into Cheryl’s Victorian cottage with her Amazon parrot right before Thanksgiving.

A party girl in her eighties, Mama smokes up a storm, likes her nightly vodka, has a hankering for men, and now a wingman named Nigel. If that isn’t enough, the Historical Society wants Cheryl to clean up all the projects on her porch waiting to go to Spivey’s Antique Mall for their Christmas Open House. Her desire to work her booth is as dead as her marriage. Miriam, President of the Historical Society, chastises her, “If it ain’t pretty don’t put it on the porch.”

Then there’s Alice, her strange neighbor with the six-foot fluorescent light bulb cross nailed to the huge Magnolia tree in the middle of her rose garden. Alice watches all the neighbors too closely. Just when Cheryl thinks things can’t get worse, an incident shakes her to the core, and a mystery follows revealing family secrets long forgotten.

Cheryl wants to believe in miracles and love again, and Dr. James may just be the man of her dreams as he helps her and Mama sort things out.

Filled with quirky characters, mystery, family secrets, and sweet love, all set in a hot Georgia small town.

Publisher: Gilbert Street Press

ISBN-10: 0983171599

ISBN-13: 978-0983171599


Print length: 198 pages

Purchase a copy of A Wingman for Christmas on You can also add this to your GoodReads reading list.

About the Author

Barbara Barth turned to writing and adopting dogs to heal after her husband died fourteen years ago. Known as ‘Writer With Dogs’, Barth currently lives with four Chihuahuas in a charming town forty miles outside of Atlanta. She is Literary Arts Chair at a small art center where she promotes writing activities, author events, book launches, and hosts an online group Walton Writers. Inspired by the wonderful artists around her, Barth started painting and has won several awards with her whimsical art.

Her books are available on Amazon.

Visit her Instagram page Barbara Barth Studio.

You can also check out her website.

Blog Tour Calendar – be sure to check out other stops along the blog tour!

November 28th @ WOW! Women on Writing

Join us at our blog The Muffin to celebrate the launch of A Wingman for Christmas. We’re interviewing the author and giving away a copy of her book to one lucky reader.

November 30th @ Author Anthony Avina’s Blog

Join Anthony as he reviews A Wingman for Christmas. A perfect novella for the holiday season!

December 1st @ Deborah-Zenha Adams

Visit Deborah’s blog where she shares a guest post by author Barbara Barth about how many editors you really need.

December 3rd @ Pages and Paws

Kristine shares her review of the charming holiday novella A Wingman for Christmas.

December 5th @ One Writer’s Journey

Join Sue as she reviews A Wingman for Christmas by Barbara Barth.

December 6th @ Michelle Cornish’s Blog

Join Michelle as she reviews A Wingman for Christmas. A must-read novella for the holiday season!

December 7th @ The Frugalista Mom

Rochie shares her review of A Wingman for Christmas and gives away a copy of the book to one lucky reader.

December 8th @ Knotty Needle

Visit Judy’s blog as she features a guest post by Barbara Barth about starting a writing group.

December 9th @ A Storybook World

Visit Deirdra’s blog for a spotlight on A Wingman for Christmas by Barbara Barth.

December 10th @ Michelle Cornish’s Blog

Visit Michelle’s site as she features author Barbara Barth’s guest post on encouraging others to write.

December 12th @ Storeybook Review

Leslie shares her thoughts about this fun novella A Wingman for Christmas by Barbara Barth.

December 13th @ Bring on Lemons

Join Crystal as she shares this fun holiday novella A Wingman for Christmas.

December 14th @ Beverley A. Baird’s Blog

Visit Beverley’s blog as she reviews A Wingman for Christmas by Barbara Barth.

December 14th @ Avonna Loves Genres

Join Avonna as she reviews A Wingman for Christmas by Barbara Barth.

December 15th @ One Writer’ Journey

Visit Sue’s blog where she features a guest post by Barbara Barth about finding inspiration around you.

December 15th @ Knotty Needle

Visit Judy’s blog again as she shares her thoughts about Barbara Barth’s fun holiday read A Wingman for Christmas.

December 16th @ Beverley A. Baird’s Blog

Join Beverley as she features a guest post by author Barbara Barth about writing fiction versus memoir.

December 18th @ Life According to Jamie

Jamie will be reviewing a fun novella for the holiday season: A Wingman for Christmas

December 19th @ Lisa Haselton’s Reviews and Interviews

Join Lisa as she interviews author Barbara Barth about her book A Wingman for Christmas.

December 20th @ Word Magic

Visit Fiona’s blog as she features a guest post by Barbara Barth about researching your topic as well as your time frame.

December 21st @ World of My Imagination

Visit Nicole’s blog as she reviews A Wingman for Christmas.

TTT – Books on My Winter 2022-2023 To-Read List

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly linkup of book bloggers hosted by  That Artsy Reader Girl.

This week, the topic is “Books on My Winter 2022-2023 To-Read List

This is one of my favourite topics as it forces me to go over books, I plan to read in the next 3 months. As I checked back on lists from past seasons, I found that I hadn’t read too many on several lists.

Winter is the perfect season for reading – snuggled in warm blankets, music playing (right now it is Christmas carols and the lights are on the tree). This time I looked to the reading challenges for 2023 that I hope to do and highlighted books I already own that would meet the criteria. So, this season I hope to read all the books on my list.

Here is my list:

Books on My Winter 2022-2023 To-Read List

The Vanished Days by Susanna Kearsley

Born a Crime by Trevor Noah

Glass Houses by Louise Penny

Where the Crawdads Sing by Della Owens

The Paris Library by Janet Skeslien Charles

Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf

The Firekeeper’s Daughter by Angeline Boulley

The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein

I am Malala by Malala Yousafzai

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

I am feeling confident with this list. I have a variety of genres – from a classic, to historical fiction, to YA, memoir and contemporary fiction.. And, they all meet particular criteria for different challenges.

Wishing everyone a wonderful winter of great reading!