Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Writing a Book Review

What is a book review?A book review is a description, analysis, and evaluation of a book. It reflects your opinion of the book, how you feel about the book’s purpose, content and authority. It talks about the quality, meaning and significance of the book as well as the strengths and weaknesses of the book. 

When people read your review, they can decide for themselves if it’s worth their money and time to read the book. Therefore, it is valuable not only to readers looking for books, but also to the author who is trying to promote the book in a positive way.

A book review is not:

  • a summary of the book that reveals the plot and climax. No one wants to read a book if they already know the story so take caution not to give away too many details about the book.
  • a book report like you did in high school
  • an opportunity to expound on your relationship to the author. The review is about the book.

How to Write a Book Review

Before you write your review, ask yourself “What would I have wanted to know before I read the book?”

Steps to writing a book review:  

             1. Write a bibliographical statement, giving important information about the book:    
                 title, author, copyright date, type of book, general subject matter, special features,
                 price and ISBN. (If you are leaving this review on a site like Amazon, Barnes 
                 & Noble, or CBD, this information is already provided. But if you’re
                writing the review for a blog post, newsletter, newspaper, or magazine, you’ll need
                to provide as much information as you can to avoid any confusion about the book
                being reviewed.

             2. State the author’s purpose in writing the book. Look in the preface or first
                 chapter to find this information. If you don’t find it there, ask yourself some

                        a. Who is the intended audience?

                        b. What is the genre, and how does the book fit into it?

                        c. Why did the author write on this subject?

                        d. Did the author try to give information, explain something technical, or
                            convince the reader 
of something?

                        e. How did the book affect you? Did you change your ideas because of it?
                            How did it fit in
with your worldview? Did it bring up old memories?
                        f. Did the book achieve its purpose? Would you recommend it to a friend?

            3. Comment on how the author tells the story and keeps you interested.

            4. Research the author online through biographical information, reputation,
                qualifications and experience. This allows you to establish the authority of the

            5. Depending on the type of book, you may need to comment on cover, layout and
                any pictures or 
maps that helped you understand the book better.

            6. Check the back matter: index, end notes, bibliography. Is the material accurate
                and useful?

            7. Briefly summarize and comment on the author’s ideas and main points. Use
                quotations from the 
book to support your statements.

      8. Be detailed and specific, without giving away the plot. There is no set length for
     a  book review. 
The publisher usually sets the number of words. Online they are  
     usually 150-300 words, but in a m
agazine, they may be as much as 500 words.

Any time you read a good book, take the time to write a review on at least one of the Web sites like www.amazon.com, www.bn.com, www.cbd.com, www.goodreads.com. Remember you are doing a service for the writer and the reader.

Saturday, June 15, 2019

Hide It in Your Heart

Tips for Memorizing Scripture
Most of us don’t read the Bible when we’re looking for something to do in our leisure time.There are many other things we’d rather do with our time—read a good book, watch TV, play sports, walk on the beach, and on the list goes. Don’t we care about what God has to say to us personally? Don’t we want the intimacy with God that comes when we pray and study His word? What’s our excuse? Each of us needs to ask that question because internalizing God’s word is the most significant way God speaks to us and teaches us His precepts. 

In Psalm 119:11, the psalmist says “Your Word have I hidden in my heart that I might not sin against you” (NIV). In verse 16b he says, “I will not forget your Word.” and then he says, “Your Word has given me life” (vs. 50b). In verse 105 we read “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.” These verses assure us of the importance of having God’s word in our hearts, but knowing is not enough. 
Memorizing scripture is not an easy task and there needs to be  real motivation in order to be successful at it. We must have a driving desire to know Him better, to walk closer to Him, to serve Him faithfully and to feel His presence with us in our daily walk. How can we hide His Word in our hearts? 

The Bible is a big book with some 783,137 words. We cannot hope to memorize all of it, though a few have memorized all of it. Dr. Bill Bennett, founder of Mentoring Men for the Master, says, “It’s hard by the yard, a cinch by the inch.” In other words, it’s much harder to memorize long passages than to learn one or two verses at a time. Therefore, we need to begin with an “inch” and later we might master a “yard.”

Specifically, there are four rules for memorizing scripture:
       (1) Study diligently. You must know it in your head before you can hide it in your heart. 
             Pray and ask God to direct your thoughts to the things He wants you to learn.

      (2) Consider which verses you want to memorize during the week. Write the verses for the week
            on a piece of paper; carry it with you every day.
Keep the verses in your heart by
            memorization and meditation. Ask Him questions about things you don’t understand.
            Don’t rush; take all the time you need to listen to the still small voice of God. 

      (3) Show it in your life as you live by it and obey its teachings. Having the scripture hidden in
           your heart will give you power to live by it. Have an accountability partner who will ask you
           about your verses and listen to you say them.   

      (4) Finally, use the verses in your daily routine. Quote scriptures  that offer hope and
for co-workers and friends. Let them see that it’s an important part of your life.
           At the end of each week, put the paper with your verses in a notebook; review your notebook
           at least once a week.       
                   (a) Write the verses for the week on a sheet of paper; carry it with you every day.
                        Read   the verses when you have a minute---break-time, waiting for appointments,
                        waiting in traffic, etc.
                  ( b) Have an accountability partner who will ask you about your verses and listen to you
                        say them.
                  (c) At the end of the week, put the paper in a notebook; review it at least once a week Add
                       new verses. You’ll be surprised at how God will bring these Scriptures to mind just
                       when you need them most.
Our goal is to be saturated with His Word. When His word is hidden in our hearts, it becomes visible to us and to others in our daily walk.

Friday, May 3, 2019

Writing Contemporary Psalms

                                by Ann Knowles

I was presenting at the Greater Philadelphia Christian Writers Conference. As an editor, it was my turn to meet with writers about their books and articles and to offer encouragement and suggestions for improvement. 

One author sat across the table from me as I read several pages of her manuscript. It was amazing! I felt like I was reading the book of Psalms; only it was not about David or the other writers of Psalms. It was about her life experiences. God had given her a special gift:  She had written contemporary psalms about her life and was completely unaware of what she had done. Truly, God had led her to do this for Him.

Has He given you this special creative genius? Would you like to find out?

Wait! Before you sit down to write psalms about your life, let me make a suggestion

Discover how to write psalms of joy, praise, worship, prayer, and woe. Enrich your life by doing what God has called you to do for Him. In doing so, you will also bless those who read your contemporary psalms.

Using the Bible as our textbook, I teach a course “Writing Contemporary Psalms.” The cost is $40. It’s taught in four classes and begins the first Monday of every month.  If you’d like to know more about the class or sign up to take the class, email me at annknowles03@aol.com and I’ll send you all the details. 

Thursday, April 4, 2019

Advice for Aspiring Writers

Study to Show Thyself Approved 

The best advice I can give an aspiring writer or editor is to begin immediately to prepare for the task God has called you to do. Regardless of your career choice, being an approved workman should be the goal of all of God’s children. Study to show thyself approved, a workman that need not be ashamed. . . (2 Timothy 2:15).

Doctors, lawyers, teachers, ministers, welders, electricians, mechanics, graphic designers, technology gurus—every career choice requires extensive training in order to achieve success. Why should it be any different in the field of writing or editing? Yet many people attempt to write or edit without ever having any professional training. Without training, most of them will fail.

When my husband felt called by God to become a pastor, we had just moved into our new home. He had recently been promoted to supervisor at GE and I was teaching first grade. We had four children (ages 3-14).

His first reaction was: “I don’t know anything about being in the ministry. I have to go back to school and prepare for this task God has called me to do. This will change our lives dramatically. We’ll have to quit our jobs and move to the seminary.”

What was God thinking? It seemed impossible! Four months later we were at seminary, and the whole family was enrolled in school.

When I decided to become an author and editor, I had an MA Ed in education and had recently retired from teaching, but I realized I needed specialized training before I could move to a new career. I knew I had to invest time and money to make this dream come true. I took many online and community college courses and attended several writers’conferences to prepare for the ministry of writing and editing.

Do you dream of becoming a writer or editor? What kind of sacrifices are you willing to make? Do it now! Enroll in your first course today and begin the journey. Check out the "Classes Taught by Ann" on this blog. You can make that dream come true.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Write Pathway Welcomes Jo Huddleston back!

Ann: Hello Jo, and welcome to Write Pathway where writers and editors meet. We are thrilled to have you back with us today.

Let’s begin today with a little information about you; then we’ll merge into thoughts about your book. Tell us about Jo Huddleston.

Jo: I like to laugh with people but not at people. The beach is my favorite vacation spot. I don’t like to see or hear about people or animals being abused. I’m a spectator fan of several sports, my favorite being tennis. I don’t like being in the dark and am fearful of snakes!

I’m is a multi-published author of books, articles, and short stories. My debut novels in the Caney Creek Series are sweet Southern historical romances. My forthcoming novel, Wait for Me, is another sweet Southern historical romance and is book 1 in the West Virginia Mountains Series. I’m a member of ACFW, the Literary Hall of Fame at Lincoln Memorial University (TN), and hold a M.Ed. degree from Mississippi State University. I live in the U.S. Southeast with my husband and close to our two grown children and four grandchildren. Visit me at www.johuddleston.com where you can sign up for my newsletter and read my blogs.

Ann: Jo, you are not the only one who is afraid of snakes. And I switch the channel when those ads come on about abused animals. Love my dog!

What would you do with your life if you didn't write?

Jo: I’d have more time to read!

Ann: If you were a style of music, what style would you be?

Jo: Soft instrumental jazz.

Ann: Who or what inspired in you a love for books? What are some of your favorites from the classics?

Jo: My seventh grade homeroom teacher. She arranged for me to work in the school library where my exposure to all those books took root as a love to read.

Ann: What was your favorite book as a child?

Jo: As a child, our house didn’t have books to read. The only books I had were coloring books. In college I minored in English. When I took the course, Children’s Literature, I first met Christopher Robin and Winnie the Pooh.

Ann: How many books have you published? Do you also write other things—articles? short stories? Etc.

Jo: I’ve traditionally published 3 nonfiction books and 3 novels. I’ve self-published 2 nonfiction books, one coauthored with Vickie Phelps. Yes, I write devotions, short stories, magazine articles, and wrote a regular inspirational newspaper column for seven years.

Ann: We all know that publishing is an arduous process and often takes many rejections before we get published. How many rejections did you get before you published a book?

Jo: Oh, my! I didn’t record a count of my rejections. I’ve had plenty.

Ann: Which character in your present release, Wait for Me, do you find most interesting?

Jo: The heroine, Julie. She’s spunky, determined, and won’t stop at anything to reach her goal.

Ann: Tell us a little about your book.

Jo: I’ll share the book’s back blurb here:

Can Julie, an only child raised with privilege and groomed for high society, and Robby, a coal miner’s son, escape the binds of their socioeconomic backgrounds? Set in a coal mining community in West Virginia in the 1950s, can their love survive their cultural boundaries?

This is a tragically beautiful love story of a simple yet deep love between two soul mates, Robby and Julie. The American South’s rigid caste system and her mother demand that Julie chooses to marry an ambitious young man from a prominent and suitable family. Julie counters her mother’s stringent social rules with deception and secrets in order to keep Robby in her life. Can the couple break the shackles of polite society and spend their lives together? Will Julie’s mother ever accept Robby?

Ann: Wait for Me sounds like my kind of book. You know I loved you Caney Creek series. I look forward to reading this book.

Would you share a favorite Scripture verse or passage of Scripture that means a lot to you?

Jo: Philippians 4:8. “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”

Ann: Is there anything else you’d like to say?

Jo: Ann, thank you so much for having me visit with you and your readers. One of the commenters will win an eBook copy for Kindle of Wait for Me. Good luck to all in the book drawing.

Ann: Where can we find you online, Jo?

Jo: You can find me at:

Website www.johuddleston.com

Blog http://www.johuddleston.com

Blog http://lifelinesnow.blogspot.com

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/joshuddleston

Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1615694.Jo_Huddleston

You can purchase eBook for Kindle and print copies of Wait for Me at: http://tiny.cc/xndfwx

Ann: Thanks again, Jo, for sharing with us about yourself and your book. I look forward to the new series.

You're going to love Jo's Sweet Southern Historical Romance. Leave a comment for a chance to win an eBook of Wait for Me to read on your Kindle. Be sure to note if you are a follower of this blog and your name will be included three times in the drawing. Leave your email address written like this: ann (at) yahoo (dot) com . The contest will end June 14 at midnight EST. Good luck!