Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Are Your Modifiers Dangling?


Dangling Modifiers and Other Writing Faux Pas


by Peggy Blann Phifer

Image from Pixabay


They jump right out at you. We've all seen them, laughed at them, and wondered how they got past the editor. I'm talking about "dangling modifiers."

Let's look at a few:

"Changing the oil every 3,000 miles, the car seemed to run better."

"Quickly summoning an ambulance, the corpse was carried to the mortuary."

"Walking through the park, the coins fell through a hole in his pocket."

"Turning the corner, a handsome building appeared."

"Flying low, a herd of cattle could be seen."

"Watching from the ground, the birds flew higher until they disappeared."

All the words in front of the comma are 'dangling modifiers.' They just sit there--dangling--modifying nothing. They have no subject. We have a car changing its own oil. Coins walking in the park. A corpse calling the ambulance. A building turning the corner. Cattle flying low. And birds watching themselves fly.

Interesting.

When we begin a sentence with a modifying word, phrase, or clause, we have to make sure the next thing that comes along can, in fact, be modified by that modifier. When a modifier   improperly modifies something, it is called a 'dangling modifier.' This often happens with beginning participial phrases, making 'dangling participles' all too common.

So, we need to change these sentences, somehow, so they make sense:

"Changing the oil every 3,000 miles, Jack found that he got much better mileage."

"Quickly summoning an ambulance, witnesses watched as the corpse was carried to the mortuary." (I'm sure you can do better with this one! Give it a try.)

"Walking through the park, Bob never noticed the coins falling through a hole in his pocket."

I'll let you work on the other sentences while I go on to another common writing error. These are a bit more subtle, yet glaringly obvious to the writer's eye.

"Ramona prays fervently for her Grandmother's recovery at St. Matthews Church." (Her grandmother lives at the church?)

"He found the golf clubs that his father had used to win the U.S. Open in the car trunk." (Huh?)

"They reported that Giuseppe Bella, the European rock star, had died on the 6 o'clock news." (Hmm, bet THAT was exciting!)

Or how about these headlines…

"Stolen art found by tree in park!" (I can see it now: Oak Tree Opens Private Detective Agency.)

"Car crashes into store window going 60 miles per hour!" (I can see it now…speeding window collides with car.)

As you can see, writers must be careful in sentence construction. Most editors will catch them. But, apparently, from the examples above, not always. 

One last look at what I mean:

From the Wall Street Journal--"Once thought plentiful, the U.S. is now facing a shortage of natural gas that could last for years." Uh, the U.S. isn't as plentiful as we thought?

This was a dispatch from Miami Beach a number of years ago--

"The palazzo was the stately retreat of fashion designer Gianni Versace. Gunned down on the steps of his mansion, tourists come like pilgrims to a shrine in this playground of glamour." Gunned down tourists? Oh, my.

Hope this has been some fun for you. These examples are just a handful of those that appear all the time in newspapers, and, unfortunately, even books. Be sure what you write makes sense! Check what you write carefully. Don't leave it to editors to catch your errors--sometimes they won't.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

New Series ♦ Behind the Scenes ♦ Author Lee Carver Giveaway

Behind the Scenes of a New Series, from author Lee Carver 

Sunset on the Amazon River, from Pixabay

“Call to the Jungle”


Three years ago, a well-known publisher asked me to write short romance novels concerning missionaries in a foreign setting. Two weeks after my agent turned them in, the publisher was sold and that novel line was discontinued. Most publishers don’t want to invest in novels with a foreign setting. And missionary romances? Not a genre they’d bet on. So I’ve made the novels longer and more complex, and I’m self-publishing them. The first, Katie’s Quest, was released on June 1st, and others follow at three month intervals.

My husband and I were volunteer missionaries in the Brazilian Amazon following his early retirement from Citibank’s international branch. He refreshed his Navy flight training to be a pilot for the Lord’s work instead of chasing Russian submarines. We lived in Brazil twelve years, though half of that was in South America’s banking capital, São Paulo. All that language training, Brazilian permanent visas, technicolor driver’s licenses, and cultural adaptation came to fruition on the mission field. It’s more than a setting for my novels; it’s the best part of our lives.

When we returned from Brazil to care for my husband’s parents at the ends of their lives, so much bubbled in my brain to be shared. Things like what the Amazon is really like—in contrast to Tarzan movies—and the in-depth look at missionaries.

Part of the message in my novels is the life of sacrifice, the acceptance of hardship, and the dedication of missionaries—real, imperfect people—who serve today. We knew them as married couples at times struggling with their relationship, as parents searching for the best ways to educate their children in both languages and cultures, and hard-working, sweaty people who gave themselves in full commitment to God’s work in hard-to-reach areas of the jungle. Like the missionaries in my “Call to the Jungle” series, they broke the bounds of stereotypes, especially those of American movies. They were and are very real people. Missionaries put on the line every day all that they have and are.

In Book 2, Piper’s Purpose, you’ll meet Piper Jordan, an American reared in Brazil, who had her pilot’s license before she could drive and her aviation maintenance certificate before her business degree. Pulled between two countries, two career paths, and separated parents, she strives to determine what is important and what to do with her life. She could settle into her father’s choice, working with him and her brother in a private aviation company in Rio de Janeiro, or blaze her own way.

In Book 3, Rebecca’s Redemption, Rebecca is a nurse seeking redemption for past sins who joins a doctor contending against the jungle. Both healers need healing.

As for our own testimony, whatever God may call you to do, do it. Go there. Or serve at home. Otherwise, you’ll miss the greatest adventure and fulfillment possible. Your call may not be to the Amazon, but every believer is called by God. Listen carefully. The call is there. 


About the book: Katie Dennis committed to serve as a nurse in the Amazon even after her fiancé died on a training flight. She wouldn’t have lasted through the first mission trip if not for Matt, a pilot born and reared in the jungle. But she’d never fall for a pilot again.

Matt Gibbs, missionary pilot, finally settled on a good choice for a wife, someone known to his family all their lives. Why, then, did the new blonde nurse make him feel like doing barrel rolls in the Amazon sky?

Romance and unforeseen danger flow in the Brazilian Amazon as Katie searches for a fulfilling and meaningful life—one that quickly becomes more exciting than her wildest imagination!

Buy the Book:



 About the author:
Lee Carver is once again failing at retirement, a hybrid author in every sense: fiction and nonfiction, traditionally and independently published. She also does freelance editing, formatting, and print book and e-book uploads as well as being a Stephen Minister, singing alto in the choir, crocheting with Prayer Shawl Ministry, and playing piano, among other activities. Married forty-nine years to a very supportive man, they have two adult children and five grandchildren.


 About the Giveaway:
Lee is offering a free Kindle copy of Katie's Quest to one of my readers. To enter, just leave a comment below and include your contact information so we can notify you should you be the winner. Giveaway ends next Tuesday ... no, make that next Wednesday, July 5, at Midnight, Central time. 
AND ... just for fun, in your comment, tell us what your first thoughts are at the mention of 'jungle' ... let's get a conversation going here!

Don't forget to use the share media options below, as well. Thanks!


Friday, June 23, 2017

HOPE: A Devotional by author Gail Kittleson

Hope

by Gail Kittleson

Hope - from Pixabay

             
            “You alone are my hope...” Jeremiah uses the Hebrew word qawa, similar to the word for trust. (Jeremiah 17:17 NLT)

            Hope means to trust in, wait for, look for, or desire something or someone; or to expect something beneficial in the future.

In Spanish, the verb esparar means both to hope and to wait. We wait for spring because we trust that winter will fade. Warmer winds will blow, as they do every year. We count on it.

Male Northern Cardinal - Pixabay
We also await answers to our prayers for wholeness and increased faith. If we see God as faithful, caring, and powerful, hope comes a lot easier. On the other hand, our woundedness can hinder trust.

My World War II characters experience this truth. Sometimes it’s difficult for Addie to believe things will ever change in her marriage. In the sequel, the merciless Waffen SS atrocities in Southern France overwhelm Addie’s best friend Kate.

But for these heroines, hope shines in the midst of struggle. They both must wait to see the end for which they long. Thus, there’s plenty of room for hope to affect their attitudes and individual growth.

Twenty-seven times, the Greek Old Testament translates qawa as hupomeno, "to wait, to be patient, to endure.” In the presence of suffering, this term implies patience in bearing affliction while hopefully awaiting deliverance. If I tried for hours, I couldn’t better express the attitude my characters exhibit in their struggles.

I hope readers find encouragement for their own difficulties through embracing Addie and Kate’s stories. This is what happens with us as we follow Biblical characters facing hard times.

For all of us, things look bleak at times—that’s when hope flutters in and encourages us.            

  
Hummingbird from Pixabay


       Emily Dickinson obviously knew hope intimately:

      “Hope” is the thing with feathers -
That perches in the soul -
And sings the tune without the words -
And never stops - at all -

And sweetest - in the Gale - is heard -
And sore must be the storm -
That could abash the little Bird
That kept so many warm -

I’ve heard it in the chillest land -
And on the strangest Sea -
Yet - never - in Extremity,
It asked a crumb - of me.




Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Broken Dreams by Sue Barr w/Giveaway

Image from Pixabay
God is the Healer of Broken Dreams.

by author Sue Barr

I am a devoted fan of all things Jane Austen. It doesn’t matter how many times movie adaptations come on TV, I watch them - avidly (much to my husband’s chagrin). I’ll bite the hand that tries to change the channel and because I live in a testosterone laden household, they suffer my addiction with much eye-rolling and groaning. I also read and re-read favorite variations of her novels, specifically Pride & Prejudice.

Late last year I joined a fan fiction site and thoroughly enjoyed reading other author’s work. I myself wrote contemporary romance and never once thought about writing my own fan fiction story until … a question popped into my head.
  
Whatever happened to Caroline Bingley after her brother Charles and Mr. Darcy both became engaged to the Bennet sisters? As you know, when an author begins to ask the ‘what’, ‘who’, ‘where’, ‘when’ and ‘why’ questions, plot bunnies abound.

Caroline is the villain everybody loves to hate, other than the odious Mr. Wickham. There are few fans of Pride & Prejudice who want to see her have a happy life, but I kept thinking – she is redeemable. All of us are redeemable through God’s love; otherwise none of us would ever see the glory of Heaven. Why couldn’t Caroline experience her own redemption?

I paired her with a handsome vicar. He didn’t let her get away with anything, but he also showed her God’s love and slowly her life took a new direction. I love how Caroline changed in this book. It reminds me of how God pursues us. He calls us to come and experience unconditional love, something Caroline Bingley desperately needed in her life – as we all do.

“O LORD, You have searched me and known me. You know my sitting down and my rising up; You understand my thoughts afar off. You comprehend my path and my lying down, and are acquainted with all my ways.”  Psalm 139: 1-3 KJV

Like Caroline, I’m so glad our Heavenly Father pursues us, gently nudging our sin-encased hearts to invite Him in.

More about the Book:

Caroline Bingley, beyond frustrated with her brother, Charles and Mr. Darcy both proposing to the Bennet sisters, dreads their upcoming nuptials. For three years her sole focus has been on attaining a marriage proposal from one Fitzwilliam Darcy of Pemberley, only to be foiled by a country miss with ‘fine eyes’.  Adrift and not sure of her place in life, she meets the mysterious and devastatingly handsome Lord Nathan, who equally vexes and intrigues her.

Lord Nathan Kerr, third in line to a Dukedom, had a well-earned reputation as a Rake. He cast all that and his noble title aside to become Mr. Darcy’s vicar in Kympton, finding contentment in leading his small flock and doing the Lord’s work. His plan for a quiet, country life is thrown into upheaval when he meets the fiery Miss Bingley. Can he reconcile his rising desire for the spoiled miss with how a vicar’s wife ‘should’ behave?

About the Author:

Sue Barr committed her heart to Christ at the age of sixteen. Much later in life, and she’s still not sure how it happened, she detoured off the path. Ten years after that aberration, she re-committed her life to Christ and has not looked back. The only good thing to come from those years was the knowledge that life without God was bleak and lonely.

Sue resides in beautiful Southwestern Ontario with her hubby and their sons and families. She’s a purveyor of food, a herder of cats, a drinker of coffee and a prayer and praise Warrior. For more information, please check out the links below – and remember to sign up for her newsletter. Sue promises NO SPAM. She uses this venue to announce new releases, special events and announce winners of various incentives.

About the Giveaway:
Sue is offering two lucky readers a digital copy of her latest release, CAROLINE: Pride & Prejudice continued… Book One. Just leave a comment below to enter, and maybe share a 'broken dream' of your own. Giveaway ends on Tuesday, June 27, at Midnight O'clock Central Daylight time.


Social Links:


Friday, June 16, 2017

Broken Eggs and Prayer Meeting ♦ Elle Kay


Broken Eggs

 a Devotional by Elle E. Kay

At around 6:30 p.m., I changed my pants to put the goats away, so I wouldn’t get mud and manure all over the clothes I planned to wear to prayer meeting. Rushing back in, I changed back into the clothes I would be wearing out to prayer meeting. Quickly, I prepared my coffee and gathered my things. I would be leaving the house right on time. I might even get there a minute or two early. A good thing, since Pastor Dave likes to say ‘If you’re not early, you’re late.’

It had been months since I had made it to a prayer meeting. This is very unusual for me. I’m a three or four time a week church goer. Recently, I have been going through a particularly rough patch physically, which has led to a less than stellar attendance record on Wednesday and Thursday nights. It’s not easy to go back after an extended absence, and circumstances didn’t want to make it easier on me. I’d hoped to go back the two weeks prior, but hadn’t managed to get there.

After stuffing my phone into my purse, I grabbed my keys, travel mug and Bible. I got my crutch from near the desk and I swung my purse over my shoulder. Turning around at the door, I went to put my shoes on. As I did this, I heard the crash. Looking down, I saw the eggs I had just collected from the chicken coop. They lay smashed on the floor. Yolks and whites shining on the hardwoods. I’d somehow bumped into the basket of eggs when turning toward my shoes. 

What a mess!

Thankfully, the Lord honored my plans to go to prayer meeting and brought to my realization immediately that this was likely the devil’s attempt to keep me from prayer meeting. Every week delayed was a small victory for him. I could let him have another win and miss prayer meeting. I could lose my composure and let this tiny accident upset me.  Or I could resist the devil and run to my safe haven, the Rock of my salvation.

James 4:7
“Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”  

I shook it off. I cleaned up the mess and I went to prayer meeting a few minutes late. It was more important for me to break the cycle of missed meetings than it was to be on time. I needed to get there. And get there I did. We took prayer requests, talked over church history and studied the preservation of God’s words. None of what we did was brand new to me, but it was important for me to be there. It was important to have fellowship with my brothers and sisters in Christ and to be reminded of my place in the body of Christ.


Tomorrow, I intend to find my way to Bible Study, broken eggs, spilled milk, or whatever else comes my way. I missed the study for the first couple of chapters of Exodus, but I’m sure I’ll be ready to jump right in. Maybe that’s why I’m currently reading Exodus in my Bible. God’s timing is always perfect.

About Elle:

Elle E. Kay lives on a farmette in the Back Mountain region of Pennsylvania. She lives with her husband, son, dog, and farm animals. She enjoys playing with goats and sheep. She can also frequently be seen with chickens landing on her head. A comical sight to be sure.

Elle is a hopeless romantic who believes in happily-ever-after. She is a born-again Bible believing Christian.

Stella is her debut novel, and is available from most retailers. Claudia, the next book in the Endless Mountain Series, is expected to be released later this year.

Elle writes children’s books under the pen name, Ellie Mae Kay. 

Find Elle online at:



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Thursday, June 15, 2017

Guest Post - Dawn V. Cahill - Recovery vs Salvation

Recovery vs Salvation

by Dawn Cahill
SOBRIETY

When I was a practicing alcoholic, I couldn’t bring myself to admit it. I knew I had a problem, but I didn’t want to stop drinking. I would tell people that I was “on the road” to alcoholism. I figured I’d become one if I didn’t stop drinking. Finally, the day came when I saw myself for what I was: an early middle-stage alcohol addict who wouldn’t live much past age 42 if I didn’t stop drinking. (I’m now well past that mark.)

While I was drinking, I often went to AA meetings. Once there, my craving for alcohol only increased because that was all they talked about. Imagine a food addict being surrounded by conversations about food. So, on the way home from meetings, I’d stop by the store and pick up a bottle of wine, finishing it off before bed.

Once I got sober, life changed dramatically. I went from gloom to color. Beauty burst around me. The sky gleamed clear blue. I cried when an arsonist set a local school on fire. Life was now so vivid, the craving for alcohol diminished and gradually died.


SALVATION

When I was a practicing sinner, I couldn’t bring myself to admit it. I knew I had a problem, but I didn’t want to stop doing my own thing. Finally, the day came when I saw myself for what I was: a rebel against God who wouldn’t make it to heaven if I didn’t repent of my sins.

Prior to this, I often went to church. Since I was raised in church, I had no objections to it. What I objected to was fanaticism. I didn’t want to be like those churchy people. Yet they said things that baffled me. They seemed to care what God thought of them. They talked about their love for God and His for them. But I just didn’t get it. I’d never experienced that for myself, yet I’d been told all my life that I was as Christian because I’d prayed the “right” prayer as a child. And I certainly didn’t disbelieve the message. I simply didn’t care that much. 

But once I admitted I was a sinner separated from God, and repented of my rebellion against him, life changed dramatically. I went from darkness to light, death to life. A new warmth filled my heart. God’s presence was all around me. I now cared what God thought of me.

And God had a purpose for those dark days. When I tell people about how He brought me out of darkness, they seem more likely to listen when I share my recovery story with them than if I simply throw Bible verses or the plan of salvation at them.

(This article was originally published on dawnvcahill.com on April 27, 2015)

About Moonstone Secrets – Dawn's latest release:

As the Christmas season sparkles around her, DeeDee McCreary eagerly anticipates visiting magical Victoria, BC, with her boyfriend, Nick, and meeting his family. But the trip proves disastrous. First, Nick finds his bank account cleaned out. Then he disappears. Frantic, she determines to uncover what happened. When she discovers something far worse than she anticipated, she questions everything she believes to be true about him.

With the man she loves in jail for an unspeakable crime, DeeDee knows the truth lies somewhere in Nick and his ex-wife’s past. But if she pursues their secrets, will she put herself in danger, too?

Amazon purchase link:


Other Places to find Dawn:


Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Behind the Story ♦ Book Spotlight ♦ Theresa Lynn Hall ♦ Ransom in Rio

Theresa Lynn Hall

Ransom in Rio


Sometimes authors have a hard time thinking of plot ideas for the next book. As a full-time teacher, I was getting so bogged down with work, I felt my creativity was lacking when it came to my writing. So when PBG started this new series called Passport To Romance, I jumped at the chance to write one. The guidelines were listed with various international locations, each one having a set of three things that must be in the story. I picked Rio, Brazil because my husband had traveled there for work only a few years before. He stayed for two weeks and brought back many pictures and stories of the culture. I was so fascinated by this place that when I saw it listed as a Passport To Romance, I knew this was the book I wanted to write. I hope you enjoy the trip there with Lexi and Brayden. Be on the lookout for a formal event, an emerald necklace, and a family secret that rips Lexi’s life apart.
Blurb:
Private Investigator, Braden McCoy wants nothing more than to finish out the week doing a little fishing from his boat. The ex-special ops vet enjoys his peaceful life and loves his new career. He’s learned to put his past behind him and enjoy his blessings. Until a mourning redhead walks into his office and changes his plans.
Lexi Ramos always knew her family was dysfunctional. Until the sudden death of her brother, she never knew exactly how much. Consumed with questions surrounding his accident, she seeks the help of a private investigator. What starts out as a murder investigation in Cozumel, quickly crosses borders and escalates into a race against time to save them both from Brazilian kidnappers, who somehow know more about her family secrets than she does. Lexi soon realizes that life comes with a price.
About the Author:

As a native Texan, Theresa loves to write suspenseful stories that happen in small Texas towns with old fashioned Southern values. She’s an elementary teacher and mom to two boys—the oldest being in law enforcement, which comes in handy when she’s researching. When she’s not teaching kids or writing, she loves to cook, read a good suspense, and binge-watch episodes of Dateline. She is a member of RWA (Romance Writers of America) and ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers). 
She actively promotes fellow Christian Fiction authors on her blog. She also loves to hear from readers who enjoy Christian Fiction and can be found at: