Thursday, December 26, 2013

Book Review: Nightfall by, Laura Griffin

by M. J. Joachim

Nightfall is an interesting story, not particularly uncommon as stories go, but enjoyable enough to read. Set in the snowy, desolated terrain of Montana, Holly, the main character, faces certain trials while driving on icy roads. As is common in these situations, she ends up in trouble. I’d tell you more, but then I’d have to offer a spoiler alert, which might detract from you reading the book.

Someone else is traveling the road that night – typical boy meets girl scenario, something that doesn’t disappoint clear through the end of the book. Trouble surrounds Holly, quickly spreading to Colin who is dealing with troubles of his own, but can’t resist helping Holly anyway.

Nightfall is a light-hearted read that makes you wonder what will happen next, without keeping you in suspense too long. It’s a fun, light-hearted book meant to keep you entertained without overthinking. At least that’s how I read it, making it a wonderful choice after all the rush and excitement of Christmas.

You’ll see this one on my Recommended Reading List. It’s written well, with friendly characters to get to know, and a bit of drama/suspense to help you flip the pages.

Thank you for visiting Writing Tips. I hope your Christmas was wonderful and 2014 will fulfill your hopes, dreams and wishes.

M. J.

©2013 All Rights Reserved

Photo credit: Marion Post Wolcott (1910 – 1990), U. S. Library of Congress, Public Domain

Links to this blog are greatly appreciated, but please don’t copy any content here.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

50 States of Pray Blogfest

by M. J. Joachim

Thank you Mark Koopman’s for hosting 50 States of Pray Blogfest.

Dear Lord, 

I’ve got all sorts of prayers to offer you this Christmas. You know I believe in Santa, and your power to make him real.

First and foremost, I pray for my Mom and all of us missing her this first holiday season without her. Please include the family in our area who lost their home to the fire last week. I heard about it on the news. And all those facing similar pains in their hearts, whether it be the loss of a special loved one, or Christmas dreams gone up in smoke.

The military is near and dear to my heart too, especially those carrying the horrors of war, imprinted on their souls. Wars come in all shapes and sizes. Some are violent, internal struggles, dealing with post traumatic stress and various hurts so difficult to deal with – may they find peace and grace, as they bravely face the nightmares they must embrace to survive.

Then there are the hungry, Lord, and those dealing with certain economic shortcomings, many through no fault of their own. Let the mothers and fathers sleep well, knowing their families have cherished Christmas memories this year, lack of money not detracting from the miracle of the season. Give them warmth, not only in their hearts, but also on those chill, cold winter nights. Keep their furnaces burning and their homes energized with blessings you alone can give. Keep their tummies full, and gift giving pleasant – not a burden they will worry about when all is said and done.

Bless the children, Lord…so many children wandering the streets, trafficked in far away places and lost to the world at large. Be their guiding light and strength, as they face another season all alone and ever so afraid. Bless the children struggling in their own homes too, the ones facing abuse and terror, in a home that should be safe.

The elderly are on my list today, as well as their caregivers – those in nursing homes and hospitals, those in their last earthly moments, preparing to go home. And bless their families, please. Make the transition from death to life, life to death, a more unifying experience, instead of one that tears them apart and breaks relationships forever.

I could go on and on, Lord. My prayers for you are big…you hear them every day. You know how much I love you, so this is what I pray. Peace on earth. Good will to men. Let hunger be far off. Essential needs met through the end, and love in every heart.

Happy Birthday, Jesus! Merry Christmas Holy Family! My gift to you is simple, a letter from the heart, and a will to trust you fully, in a world that’s falling apart. Needs and fears abound, broken hearts do soar. May each person find your miracle, and you be their shining star.

Merry Christmas Blog Land, and Happy New Year too!

M. J.

©2013 All Rights Reserved

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Book Review: The Santa Next Door by Stephanie Cage

By M. J. Joachim

The Santa Next Door is a romance novelette that touches on a very important issue. It is the story of a broken-hearted man who lost a child through an abortion that was not his choice, a story of love gone wrong, only to have his spirit renewed by true love.

In this rapidly flowing story, the reader discovers the pain of loss renewed by the power of love and healing. The characters are easy to relate to, in a story of Christmas love and newfound hope. Set in a countryside in Wales filled with the magic of Christmas, Cage mystifies her characters, drawing readers into the rush and enthusiasm of the season. 

What is it about Bryn that makes him so endearing? And Sue, the single mother scared to find true love, especially from a stranger? How is it that Bryn can have such a tremendously loving heart, when clearly his reserved demeanor declare him lost, broken and unsociable? Love at first sight materializes in a moment in The Santa Next Door, and as it does so, readers are invited to explore the intensity of overcoming pain brought on by things beyond personal control. Readers are encouraged to explore things beyond themselves, and this particular reader couldn’t help but feel more compassion and understanding for those who have no choice.

The Santa Next Door will easily be added to my Recommended Reading List. It is a romance story with so much more, when you read between the lines.

Thank you for visiting Writing Tips today. I’m so glad I was able to share this book with you!

M. J.

©2013 All Rights Reserved

Photo credit: Christmas decoration, GNU Free Documentation License

Links to this blog are greatly appreciated, but please don’t copy any content here.

Book Review: Silver Bells by Sadie Hart

By M. J. Joachim

I have to admit, I’ve never read a story about Santa and his reindeer quite like this before. There’s a sense of mystery and magic as the story unfolds. I felt like I was viewing the scenes through a snow globe, with a feeling of sad longing and hope that ultimately turned to joy.

Silver Bells is a short Christmas story that will melt the heart and bring the warmth of the season into your soul. Hart’s detailed descriptions draw you in, capturing your imagination and leaving you deceptively satisfied. If you’re intrigued by the thought of putting a new spin on traditional Christmas tales, while celebrating the true meaning of Christmas, this story will be an excellent read.

Silver Bells will happily be added to my Recommended Reading List.

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and New Year, and hoping you have lots of warm holiday memories to share!

M. J.

©2013 All Rights Reserved
Photo credit: Infamusmobb00, Public Domain
Links to this blog are greatly appreciated, but please don’t copy any content here.

Book Review: A Very Holly Christmas & The Nine Lives of Christmas by Sheila Roberts

By M. J. Joachim
AVery Holly Christmas & The Nine Lives of Christmas are two heartwarming and fun short stories to read this time of year. The first is about a typical family – mom in high gear getting ready for the holidays, Dad and the kids “helping” her. There’s also a bit of a mystery that unfolds, with a delightful surprise ending. The second is about a homeless cat. C’mon, you know we all love cat stories, especially when they are filled with adorable cat antics and devilish behaviors. Dig a little deeper, and a thoughtful message prevails, leaving readers with lots of warm fuzzies and a few things to think about.

Because both stories are in the same book, it’s easy to read them consecutively without putting them down. And because they’re both short stories, they’ll be easy to fit into your busy schedule this time of year. I read them while the laundry was running, and I needed a bit of a break from the hectic day I was having. I could also have easily read them while waiting to see the doctor or pick up kids from school.

Needless to say, I’ll be adding both to my Recommended Reading List. They are perfect holiday additions for this time of year.

Thank you for visiting Writing Tips today. Please let me know if you read these stories and enjoy them as much as I did. Thanks.

M. J.

©2013 All Rights Reserved
Photo credit: Matthew Paul Argall, Creative Commons Attribution
Links to this blog are greatly appreciated, but please don’t copy any content here.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Cheersfest 2013, Roasting Arlee “Lee” Bird

By M. J. Joachim

Juggling six blogs and a freakish endearment for the alphabet, Lee came up with the A – Z Challenge to satisfy his craving for scrambled eggs. Why settle for two birds in the bush, when you can host, post and brag about 26 letters, all dying to lay an egg in Blog Land, right?
Fry them, poach them, or make them soft-boiled. However, if you’re looking for Eggs Benedict and soufflé, look no further than the master blog juggler himself, played by John Lithgow.

Brown jackets being all the rage of serial killers these days, Lee tossed out the bird challenge idea (I mean how many blog posts can you write about making eggs anyway, right?), and daring us to keep up with his psycho-dynamic dream of immersing himself in syllabary rhetoric, Lee gets to have his eggs and eat them too.

Lee tosses it out, wrote by rote, dreaming of faraway views. In a few words, he juggles his Writer’s Workshop, all while being the Master Juggler of the A – Z Challenge. Not even a serial killer in a brown jacket would dare to attempt such a mind-blowing feat for scrambled eggs.

Cheersfest 2013 is hosted by Mark Koopmans, Morgan Shamy, David Powers King, Stephen Tremp and Alex Cavanaugh

Photo Caption
Bowling pins, the perfect weapon for my unsuspecting audience, hell-bent on making me drop these silly props. Just wait ‘til I get them all in the A – Z Challenge! May the best wordsmiths succeed!

This Writing Tips blog is hosted by me and I couldn’t be happier that you stopped in for a visit today! Thank you!
M. J. 

©2013 All Rights Reserved

Photo credit: John Lithgow, GNU Free Documentation License

Links to this blog and post are greatly appreciated. However, please don’t copy any content here.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Book Review: Evergreen, A Christmas Tale by Richard Taylor

By M. J. Joachim

At such a time when busyness and the hurried spirit of life can quickly become overwhelming, Evergreen, A Christmas Tale offers hope and love by reflecting the true meaning of the season. Taylor’s short story is a quick read, providing an opportunity to reflect without being burdened by an abundance of words.

The tale is about family, love, perseverance and peace – the peace we all seek during this joyful, energetic and animated season. It is also about overcoming trials and tribulations, told beautifully through the eyes of a family who had lost the Christmas spirit, only to be reminded of its true meaning by a grandfather preparing for eternity.

Evergreen, A Christmas Tale is my kind of Christmas story and will happily be added to my Recommended Reading List. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Best of the season to you all. Thank you for visiting Writing Tips.

M. J.

©2013 All Rights Reserved
Links to this blog and post are greatly appreciated. However, please don’t copy any content here.
Photo credit: Snow in Colorado, USDA, Public Domain

Friday, December 6, 2013

Dream Destination Blog Hop

By M. J. Joachim

My dream destination is to go back east and see all of our United States National Landmarks. I want to see where the pilgrims landed, walk where the soldiers fought, visit the presidential monuments and the White House. I want to immerse myself in the history of this great land, taking in its beauty and history, and become completely absorbed by its culture and heritage. Fall would be an optimum time to see the leaves change to their fiery colors, but anytime would work for me.

Thank you for visiting Writing Tips today. I hope your weekend and preparations for Christmas or whatever holidays you might be celebrating this season are going well and turn out just the way you planned.

Thank you Julie and Lexa for hosting this captivating and fun-filled blog hop.
Best regards,

M. J.

©2013 All rights Reserved

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Book Review: Christmas Ideas, A Christmas Ideas Book by Sherrie Le Masurier

By M. J. Joachim

The title says a lot. Christmas Ideas, A Christmas Ideas Book is nothing if not repetitious. Granted, there are a whole lot of general and common ideas worth repeating throughout, but that’s just it. They are general and common sentiments expressed by so many of us as the holiday season approaches.

Because of this, I was looking for unique and original ideas, plus some added formatting (or lists) to make it easier to break down and follow. Busy families don’t have time to read paragraph after paragraph about being charitable and not running up bills they can’t afford. They need quick and easy tips, short lists and expeditious suggestions allowing them to implement those ideas without added hassle.

Overall, the book was fine and the ideas solid. It appears that a woman who’s been there, done that, wrote the book and shared her personal philosophy on how to do it too. Right down to keeping the dining room table set to prevent cluttering it up. I don’t know about you, but this idea is beyond unrealistic in my home. We live in our home, and keeping a centerpiece and full place settings on the table seems more appropriate for a display house, than one that’s trying to get ready for Christmas.

That’s not to imply de-cluttering is a bad idea. Keeping the clutter to a minimum is a must. However, keeping the table set 24/7 is positively out of the question in my home, and I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one who feels this way.

As for minimizing spending, limiting and paying off credit card debt, drinking water instead of eating all that scrumptious holiday food and cutting lists in half etc. If it works for you, great! Personally, I think trying to follow the strict regimen in this book would stress me out more during the holidays. I would be more worried about who I slighted, not how much I saved by eliminating them from my list. That’s not to say I don’t spend within my means. I do. And charity is a huge part of the season for us too. It’s just that some of the ideas shared in this book are a bit extreme and not feasible during this time of the year.

Add in the common repetition throughout, and this book falls short of being included in my Recommended Reading List. Seriously, for a short book, it could have been a lot shorter. Add in a few typos and run-on sentences, and it didn’t quite make the cut.

That’s all for now, kind followers. My next post will be for Lexa and Julie’s Dream Destination Blog Hop. See you then!

M. J.

©2013 All Rights Reserved
Links to this blog and post are greatly appreciated. However, please don’t copy any content here.
Photo credit: Malene Thyssen, A Danish Christmas Tree, GNU Free Documentation License

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Insecure Writers Support Group 120413

By M. J. Joachim

In a word or two, as authors, we are liked by our fans, those who visit us regularly, leave comments and promote our work via social media. We’ve made friends along the way, meeting more through various avenues – blog hops, book signings, Internet forums etc.

Many of us speak of writing as if it is the element of who we are, the very essence of our being. As much as I love my writing, I don’t want it to take over my life. I want it to be one more thing that fulfills my purpose for being, satisfies my need to communicate with the outside world and defines one aspect of who I am, key word being one.

Boundaries are important. Defining what is what, and how it plays in our world. If writing is my “job,” I don’t want to be a workaholic. If writing is my passion, I don’t want it to replace the passion in my marriage. If writing is my life, I refuse to forsake the children I’ve brought into the world and the family I’ve raised to make it even more so. 

Writing needs to be put into proper perspective, regardless of how or why we do it. It needs to be one aspect of who we are, not the sum total of what makes us who we hope to become. Certainly there are those who can pull it off, becoming recluses by choice, shutting out the world around them. For most of us, however, writing is only one aspect of our lives, determined to push its way into every other aspect. That’s okay, provided we know that writing isn’t the goal, if we lose everything else in the process. 

Boundaries and perspective – that’s what I want to share as food for thought in today’s Insecure Writers Support Group. Take stock and make valid decisions about what your writing means to you. Be honest with yourself and define your purpose and desire for writing, complete with pros, cons and everything in between. Then, and only then, determine your fate as a writer. Be the master of your destiny, defining how being a writer works for you, and not letting writing define who you are.

This post is part of IWSG, founded by Alex J. Cavanaugh.

Thank you for visiting Writing Tips today. I hope you’ll come back and see me again real soon.

M. J.

©2013 All Rights Reserved
Links to this blog and post are greatly appreciated. However, please don’t copy any content here.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Pink Slips - d'Verse 120313

By M. J. Joachim

In fear
In the moment
A moment of dreaded doom
We gaze at the sky
Wondering why,
How it became so futile

From the promises
Of work in our midst
We fail to see the light
We shiver from the cold
That’s not quite there
Completely and utterly 

Of our senses
If only for a moment
To wallow in what
Might have been
Forgetting what is
As fear
Takes over our lives

Knocked down
Get back up again
Live the life you lead
Strangle the knot
Within your soul
That you might
Once again breathe
Being free
With who you are
One of the tiny, but brightest

Thank you for visiting Writing Tips today. This is a poem for d’Verse Open Link Night. Please, join us if you can.
M. J.

Links to this blog and post are greatly appreciated. However, please don’t copy any content here. 

Monday, November 25, 2013

Book Review: A Dear Little Girl’s Thanksgiving Holidays

By M. J. Joachim

Learning to write dialog is sometimes as simple as studying well-written passages in the pages of a good book. A Dear Little Girl’s Thanksgiving Holidays by Amy E. Blanchard is such an example, where studying the art of written conversation is easy to comprehend.
The story is a charming tale of warmth and family during the Thanksgiving holidays, interwoven with enticing detail, dialog and scripted with energy, joy and enthusiasm. It literally makes you want to be there, or at the very least, celebrate your own festivities with as much harmony, love and amusement.

A Dear Little Girl’s Thanksgiving Holidays is a Gutenberg free ebook, available in many formats. It is a relatively short story that will draw you in and keep you satisfied. From a writer’s perspective, I feel it is an excellent way to study and learn to write effective dialog, since much of the story takes place through various characters conversing with one another, in a mixed medley of settings. 

I’m sure you’ll enjoy reading this book and learn a lot from it, which is one reason I’m adding it to my Recommended Reading List. The other is because I had so much fun reading it myself. You can find the links to down load it here.

Thank you for visiting Writing Tips. My posting this week might be a little hit and miss, since I’ll be hosting our own family Thanksgiving, complete with visitors from out of town. In a nutshell, if I’m able to post, I will, if not, I’ll see you next week. 

Wishing you all a wonderful and superbly fantastic Thanksgiving. Safe travels and joyous memories to each and every one of you!

M. J.

©2013 All Rights Reserved
Photo credit: Jennie Augusta Brownscomb (1850 - 1936), The First Thanksgiving at Plymouth, PD-US

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Book Review: Telling Details by Kat Duncan

By M. J. Joachim

It seems a bit ironic that Telling Details is an instructional book about writing. Blame it on the formatting, if you can get past the rhetoric. It’s not that Kat doesn’t offer a few sound tidbits on how to add detail to one’s manuscript. It’s that the way she does so, gave me the impression I was reading paragraphs that had been copied and pasted from somewhere else – perhaps one of her lectures to her students or something, which could have something to do with why the formatting was so poorly organized. (I’m just guessing here. Please don’t hold me to this speculation.)
Personally, I have a problem with CAPS and bold lettering randomly appearing throughout any manuscript, without logic or reason. However, I’ve never run into whole sections of a script being set in italics before, until I read Telling Details, that is. As an author presenting herself as an expert in writing, this didn’t sit well with me at all. Nor did the phrases passed off as complete sentences.

Many of the examples Kat provided to clarify meaning, only served to muddy the water even more. They were random, inconsistent and some of them didn’t make sense at all. Perhaps this is because she clearly offered more examples than explanations and instruction. Examples are good in how-to books, provided they are examples to the explanation of what and how readers are supposed to do something. Clearly there is an unnecessary imbalance in this department when reading Telling Details.

Another thing that sufficiently bothered me in this book were all the questions. Writers shouldn’t have to work that hard, analyzing and second-guessing every thought, word, character, scene and detail. We shouldn’t have to work that hard reading a how-to book about improving details in our stories either. I mean, if we have to micromanage our words to the extent suggested in Telling Details, we may as well quit writing before we start, because we’ll never be able to commit a single word to paper, without driving ourselves crazy about whether or not it conveys the desired message and meaning. 

To say I was disappointed with this book is an understatement. To suggest to my audience that it will benefit them in their goals to add details to their writing is a lie. My review for Telling Details will eventually find itself buried in the archives of this blog, never to grace the growing list of wonderful books in my Recommended Reading List

Thank you for visiting Writing Tips. My brief thought about adding detail to your writing today is, write what you want to see and experience, in a way that’s naturally clear to you and your readers. 

M. J. 

©2013 All Rights Reserved
Photo credit: Gustave Flaubert, Un Coeur simple, PD-US
Links to this blog are greatly appreciated. However, please don’t copy any content here. Thank you.

Book Review: America for Americans! by John Philip Newman

By M. J. Joachim

I have just read one of the most amazing Project Gutenberg free ebooks titled, America for Americans! by John Philip Newman. It’s a quick read, not more than 2 – 3 hours, if you take time to pause and digest the content like I did. 
In this sermon, you’ll discover the history of America, as it was unfolding in the 1800’s. You’ll learn what it means to be a true American, whether you are native, naturalized or foreign. You’ll come to understand the inherent meaning of Separation of Church and State, how it came to be and what it means for all Americans, regardless of status, creed or race. 

America for Americans is a Thanksgiving sermon written and delivered with native principles in mind. The message is no less valuable today than it was the day it was written – a message of hope and thanks for the gift of the country we proudly call home, and the freedom we’ve established here. It is in fact all the more pertinent, particularly in today’s times. 

Among the most accurate messages shared in this short ebook are the seven attributes that qualify one to be an American:

  • Civil rights belong to all, and no man is superior to another.
  • Our rights are founded in morality, not dictated by force.
  • Culture and responsibility of each individual determine these rights, protecting them from faulty premises set by sovereignties and people in lofty positions. 
  • Education is “forever free from sectarian control.”
  • The government has no religion, therefore it is not only non-religious, but it should be preempted from being irreligious. 
  • The Sabbath is a day of rest, regardless of religious affiliation, or lack thereof.
  • Christianity – not distinct religions, and all of its principles is the religion of this land, without preference to any particular religious affiliation or group. 

These principles, based on the writings and declarations of our Founding Fathers are what make this country great. These are the standards all Americans should hold true, defend and preserve. Each individual American, irrespective of who they are or where they come from, should recognize who we are as a nation, what we stand for and why we are the beacon of hope for all who come here. 

America for Americans! will proudly be added to my Recommended Reading List. It’s a must read for anyone who recognizes life, liberty and happiness as the key to freedom and the right of every citizen in our world. 

Thank you for visiting Writing Tips. I hope and trust you’ll take time to read this important manuscript that delivers such an important, positive message for America and her citizens.

M. J. 

©2013 All Rights Reserved
Photo credit: John P. Salvatore, PD-US, Universal Public Domain Dedication
Links to this blog are greatly appreciated. However, please don’t copy the content here. Thank you.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Book Review: Champion in the Darkness by, Tyrean Martinson

By M. J. Joachim

Please take a moment to read my post on St.Mary’s Food Bank Alliance, which is part of the Holiday Food Drive Blogfest this week. While you’re there, I hope you’ll take time to look at some of the other participant posts in this special blog hop, designed to raise awareness about hunger and fill the food bank shelves. Thank you.

Champion in the Darkness is a story with so many elements, many which ring true in daily life on multiple levels. It is a story about family, the human spirit, embracing destiny, growing up, accepting limitations and overcoming failure, only to rise to the challenge and conquer defeat within ourselves.

Set in a mystical world that alternates between fantasy, fiction and reality, Tyrean’s book takes us on an adventurous tale of magic and chivalry, much of which takes place on battlefields, where loyal servants fight to defend their kingdom. 

The Dark Sisterhood is a force to be reckoned with – not just in the story, but also in our own hearts, as we decide our fate to stand with good or evil through the characters presented. Sometimes we don’t know which is which; at other times it’s all too clear. So it is true for all of us, regardless of where or when we live our lives in history. 

The unwritten story (what’s not written, but can easily be read between the lines) is what intrigues me most about Champion in the Darkness. The reader can easily identify with each and every character, at some point in the story. Put the mirror aside and see yourself from a new perspective, as your strengths and weaknesses are unveiled in the depths of your reading. See your family, friends and neighbors too, and recognize the human spirit at work, interacting with each other on small and grand scales in community.

There is power in seeing ourselves and others through the books we choose to read. A wide range of emotions overcomes us, as we realize we are the demon, soldier or champion capable of affecting the lives of those around us and beyond. Of course, it’s much easier to do in a dramatic physical setting, so unreal and imaginary, that we focus on the adventure, while the subtle messages chip away at our souls. Okay, it’s not always so subtle. There were a few times I put the book down to digest what I was reading, pondering the message and what it meant for me.

Champion in the Darkness will definitely be added to my Recommended Reading List. There are a few typos and minimal awkward phrasing, but nothing so much that could alter my opinion of the book. In saying this, I find it disappointing to read published books with typos and other editing problems in them. Yes, the story is important. However, presentation of the story matters and is vitally important, so readers are not distracted by common mistakes that should be left in rough drafts, and not included in finished, published manuscripts. It’s a bit of a pet peeve of mine. 

The standard is high, and the bar should not be lowered, especially at a time when self-publishing is so easy to do. Anyone can publish a book these days. Those who take the time to thoroughly go through their manuscripts and make them top-notch should rightfully rise to the top. Unfortunately, the rush to publish and desire to finish, seem to take priority at times. Not to mention, writing a book is the fun part. It is grueling, tedious work to reread that same work and find every little mistake, until it shines with the glow of perfection.

Tyrean tells a committed story meant to touch our hearts and souls, but also designed to make us think about who we are, and ponder the decisions we make in relationship to ourselves and others. There is no black or white, but rather numerous shades of gray, as we journey through the phases in our lives. Each one comes with its own joy and hardship, testing our faith in God, life and humanity. It’s up to us to chart the course, drawing on gifts of strength from powers within and beyond our control.
Thank you so much for taking time to read this review and consider picking up your own copy of Champion in the Darkness. I hope you find my post helpful in making your decision, and look forward to hearing your thoughts about this review and Tyrean’s book in the comments. 

M. J.
©2013 All Rights Reserved
No part of this blog may be copied or distributed without written permission from M. J. Joachim. However, links to this blog are more than a little appreciated. Thank you.

St. Mary’s Food Bank Alliance – Holiday Food Drive Blogfest

By M. J. Joachim

Super Saturday is just days away, taking place on Saturday, November 23 this year. Safeway has joined forces, offering to double your donation when you donate a turkey every Tuesday in November. The 12th Annual Operation Santa Claus is in full swing, working to feed families and make kids happy this year. It’s all part of St. Mary’s Food Bank Alliance, an Arizona organization dedicated to reducing hunger and raising awareness about it where I live. 
“St. Mary’s Food Bank Alliance, the world’s first food bank, is a non-sectarian, non-profit organization that alleviates hunger by efficiently gathering and distributing food to the hungry,” states their website. Relying on volunteers and developing important community relationships with local businesses, news networks and anyone willing to get involved, St. Mary’s Food Bank Alliance is a member of Feeding America. “Our mission is to feed America’s hungry through a nationwide network of member food banks and engage our country in the fight to end hunger,” states the Feeding America website.

People get excited about donating food during the holidays and when tragedy hits. However, hunger is a daily problem that never goes away. Summer is one of the hardest times for food banks in Arizona. It’s hot here – extremely hot. Winter visitors disappear. Dust and monsoon storms make for nice weather pictures, but not for feeding the hungry and keeping food bank shelves full. 

There’s always a need. Wouldn’t it be amazing to keep a steady stream of food lining those shelves, just like people who can afford to go shopping do every week or so? I’ve shared two links in this post, one local and one national, where you can easily find out what it takes to get involved. Let this be a starting point, one that continues each month of every year. The need is great and it’s present all year long. 

Thank you for visiting Writing Tips today. I hope this post inspires you to get involved, either by donating, volunteering or writing a few blog posts to inspire others to get involved. Feeding the hungry isn’t just a random act of charity. It’s what we are called to do as citizens of the human race.

Thanks to my friend, Tina Downey, for helping me host this special blogfest!
M. J. 

©2013 All Rights Reserved

Saturday, November 9, 2013

How to Participate in a Blog Hop

By M. J. Joachim
Sign up on the link list provided. Your blog will be added with all the other blogs. (I’m using Celebrate the Small Things as an example – This hop requires writing about short positive moments from your week. It is an ongoing hop that takes place every Friday.)

Read and follow all blog hop rules provided by host. These vary from hop to hop, so make sure you know what you are signing up for, to determine if you're willing to participate. Most rules are in accordance with the general list I'm sharing in this post. However, there may be other rules added at the discretion by the blogger hosting the hop.

Link back to the host of the blog hop – In this case, VikLit

Highlight her name and add the link in your post.

Right click and save the blog hop badge, so you can insert it as a picture in your post – this is pretty much optional, but it makes it easier for all who visit, as they recognize you as a participant more readily. 
Copy the code (if provided) for the blog hop list of participants.

After you’ve created your post, go to html mode – top left in blogger, next to the compose button. Scroll all the way to the bottom and paste the code at the very end of all the other html code.

The list of participants will show up at the bottom of your post this way. Again, this is optional, but most people do it to make it easier on all participants. 

On the day(s) of the hop, visit as many of the other blog participant’s blogs as you can, leaving a kind comment for them. They will do the same for you. Some people take a couple of days to visit everyone, especially if the list is long. 

Note: Not all blog hops make the code available for participants. This is okay, since you are linking to the host of the hop, and she has the list on her site anyway. 

That’s all there is to it. 

When you sign up, just put the name of your blog and a link to it. Then add your blog owner name and email as required. Once you do so, you’ll be given the option to go back to the main blog. 

Thank you for visiting Writing Tips. I hope this helps clarify things for those who are new to blogfests and blog hops, as well as those who are curious, but not sure if they should join them. I must warn you, blog hopping can be addictive; it’s also a whole lot of fun!

M. J. 

©2013 All Rights Reserved

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Hunger Management – dVerse 110513

A poem for dVerse Open Link Night, written by M. J. Joachim 

Gut wrenching, tired and sad
Moments of weariness
As children cry, old people die
Of hunger

Is this all there is
A mother’s heart reaching
For something
There’s not any food

She makes up a story
Water fills up a potWith a bone and some salt
Soup – a most delicious meal

Pasta is cheap
The store has a sale
Fast food is cheaper
No one will tell

Full for a moment
Nutrition aside
Is this what we’ve come to
Letting poor people survive?

Please join us for the Holiday Food Drive Blogfest. Our goal is to highlight the issue, help fill the food banks and reach out to those in need through our blogs. Your help is needed, requested and more than a little appreciated. Thank you!

So glad you stopped in for a visit today! Can’t wait to see you next time!

M. J.

©2013 All Rights Reserved