Monday, September 25, 2017

Meet Book Blogger Rachel Dixon of BookWorm Mama

Debra here with another incredible book blogger. Ready? Okay, here we go. If you  don't already, you are going to adore this woman!
Rachel, how long have you been reviewing and how did you decide on the theme for your blog?

Rachel replies…I have been reviewing/blogging for a little over 3 years now. When I started…I knew NOTHING and knew NO ONE. I had learned through a friend that I can get books if I read and review them. So I jumped in! Lots of trial and error that’s for sure. And it wasn’t until I got connected with other bloggers (specifically Annie on Just Commonly and Carrie on Reading is my SuperPower) that things really started coming together.
Rachal blogs at BookWorm Mama

D- What’s the best part of being a reviewer?

R- The bookish community. Connecting with other bloggers, authors, publishers…has been an absolute joy. We were hermits (not by choice…but because of medical reasons for my son…he is fine now) for a couple of years and this community was the reason I stayed sane. They were always there to pray with, encourage, and have a laugh with.

D- What’s the most difficult part of the ‘the job’?

R- Reading books that aren’t new releases. I will discover a new-to-me author (like when I discovered Jen Turano and Jody Hedlund back in 2015) and then want to binge read all their books, but have no time to read the already published books.

D- Binge-reading is a wonderful thing for the average reader but not when you read ‘on demand’!! What was the last book you read that you couldn’t put down?

R- I would have to go with A Name Unknown by Roseanna M. White. Set during the beginning of WWI and the hero himself is bookish and oh so swoony!

D- I’m so far behind on Roseanna’s books but I hate to skip any!
 What keeps you busy or entertained (beyond reading and reviewing)?

R- Currently, homeschooling my Kindergartner. I was homeschooled my whole life, but have never been on this side of the spectrum before. It is an adventure that is for sure. My husband and I also are a part of the worship ministry at our church. When I have time, I am a D-I-Y Pinterest crafter addict. I make a lot of home d├ęcor and crafts.

D- I can’t imagine what kind of trouble I would have gotten into if there had been pinterest when I was a young mother. I did enough crafting and sewing without it! "making stuff" is just too much fun. I love your flag!

A 'crafty Rachel' Project-- a last minute Fourth of July decoration!

D- What is your favorite fiction setting? Place and time? Genre’?

R- You’re killing me Smalls! Um, I have to say England, WWI – WWII, Historical Romance is probably on the top of my list.

D- (insert cruel laughter) That is like asking me my favorite movie or food… Yes, very difficult. Sorry/notSorry!
If you had a rainy afternoon alone to watch a movie what would it be? And speaking of food, what meal would you like to have delivered if that afternoon included a quiet evening as well? (Don’t forget dessert!)

R- Oooooh! Right now, Walking With the Enemy is at the top of my to-be-watched list. 

We don’t have a lot of delivery options in town, but my favorite is our Thai restaurant. And dessert would be apple pie OR double chocolate fudge ice cream WITH chocolate and caramel syrup…depending on the mood.

D- Delivery is not an problem! I can have it flown in if you’d like. I love Thai too. (Everything but aubergines. Though I love that word.) And because life is stressful, there is no need to choose between two desserts! In fact, I'm thinking Jonas Armstrong agrees.

If you could wiggle your nose and be in a new career, what would it be?

R- Something bookish. Editing, cover design, that sort of thing.

D-Well, gosh, I could have told you that! 
What piece of advice would you offer reviewers who are just starting out?

R- Don’t compare yourself to other blogger/reviewers with how many followers they have or pageviews, or even how many books they read in a week. You need to do what works for YOU. Find your own style through trial and error if necessary and let your personality shine through on the page. Learn from others and be open to adapting to new systems as they come out. But in the end BE YOURSELF!

D- Thanks so much for putting up with my nosy questions, and hanging out with us! I appreciate it. Apple Pie for everyone!  Because I ate all the chocolate!

thanks to Sabine Vanerp on Pixabay
Rachel is a stay at home mom who LOVES to read. She enjoys good (clean) books of all kinds. However, she has a soft spot for historical fiction. There is something magical that can only be found between the covers a book and her desire is to share that piece of magic with you. Rachel has been reviewing books since 2014 and is the sole owner/operator of Bookworm Mama. And she simply adores being immersed in the bookish world. Her husband and 2 beautiful children are her life and joy. Among the 500 things she does a day, she still finds the time to read. 
Rachel was selected as a Judge for the INSPY Awards 2017 as well as The Christy Awards 2017. Rachel currently works for Pepper D. Basham as her Virtual Assistant.

Where the magic happens. This is Rachel's reading nook, lovingly crafted by her hubby! 

Thank you all for stopping in. Don't forget to check out the other Blogger Interviews!
SEPT: Trisha Robertson, Joy of Reading
AUG: Kat Good, Kats Corner Books
JULY: Jenny Blake, Aus Jenny Reads,  Carrie Schmidt, Reading is my SuperPower
JUNE: Kav Rees, Best Reads, Raechel, God's Peculiar Treasure Rae
MAY Katie Donovan, Fiction Aficionado, Bree Herron, Bibliophile Reviews,  Beth Erin, Faithfully Bookish

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Free Blank Pics for Memes

Taking photos of God's beautiful handiwork is a way for me to record all the little details that are often missed by birds, animals, and people with jobs to do and places to go. I've noticed that when I share my photos, or see others share them on social media, they use a new term for taking a picture. They say it's a nice--or great--capture. The photographer has captured something in that moment in time when he presses the shutter.

I use the photos for reporting bird and other nature sightings to Audubon NatureShare and Sask Birders Facebook Group, to help everyone keep abreast of migration patterns and ecological changes that affect movement and habitat. I also use the photos to create inspirational pics with scripture for my social media and my church.

Some of my photos are used for electronic birthday cards and other special greetings, like this one...

And some are used for those memes that make you think, cry, or laugh, like this Thanksgiving one...

However, in order to get a great capture, I often take a dozen or more photos of one subject, with each one slightly different. Of course, there are many times I still don't get a decent shot when movement, wind, and air quality affect the result. But even after I've relegated the not-so-nice ones to the recycling bin, I still have too many for my own use.

For several months now I've considered the idea of sharing my photos meme-style for anyone who wishes to use them. I won't be putting my website signature line anywhere on the photo so there's no need to mention where you got them. Of course, credit is appreciated, but I'm not doing this for credit, so it's not mandatory. Just copy them to your computer and then use some of the free photo-editing software like to add your text.

Here are some of the ones I've added to my Text-Free Photo website page so far. As you see, some have bare spaces for text and others are made to have text written across the image in which case photo-editing can tone down the colors and detail.

I usually add a border to give my inspirational pics and cards a finished look, but since a border color can change the mood of the photo, I'll only be adding it to a select few. If you wish to use one of these blanks and don't want the border, you can easily crop it off with any photo-editing software. Likewise, you can add one if you wish.

These images are square so they work best on Facebook and other square sites. If you use them on Twitter and possibly Google Plus, it may only show the middle portion until someone clicks on it.

I've added the Text-Free Photos page under the Fun tab on my website at

I'll be adding more blank pics as the seasons change and as I organize my photo library. I realize that my images won't be what everyone needs, but I'm hoping if someone needs one this will be a place to come and not worry about payment or someone's name splashed across it.

We live in a world where beauty is easy to find, but sometimes we need to change our thinking to accept it for what it is. That being said, I won't be posting the image of a hawk eating a dove outside my office window for the main reason that the action isn't pleasant. But my, what splendid scenery and creatures God placed on our earth.

Do you read memes and photo quotes/sayings? Do you prefer the text in open spaces or on a background?


Anita Mae Draper's romances are written under the western skies of the Saskatchewan prairie where her love of research and genealogy yield fascinating truths that layer her stories with rich historical details.  Anita's short story, Here We Come A-Wassailing, was a finalist for the Word Guild's 2015 Word Awards. Her novellas are included in Austen in Austin Volume 1, The American Heiress Brides Collection, and The Secret Admirer Romance Collection. Readers can check out Anita's Pinterest boards for a visual idea of her stories to enrich their reading experience.  Discover more at: Website -

Monday, September 18, 2017

Meet Book Blogger Trisha Robertson of Joy of Reading!

WELCOME TRISHA!  I'm so glad you're able to join us! I've enjoyed getting to know you by your blog and on social media, and now I get to share that with our readers!

Trisha- Thank you for inviting me, I’m honored to be here with you today chatting about my blog. It sure is fun (and interesting) to be on this side of the interview.

Debra- So, how long have you been reviewing and how did you decide on the theme for your blog?

T- I have been reviewing books for quite a few years actually. Leaving reviews on first Amazon, and then on Goodreads. I started following favorite authors and making connections.  My very first book launch team was with Dawn Crandall for her launch of The Hesitant Heiress. (A wonderful series of books that I would highly recommend!).  Dawn introduced me to Pepper Basham and I joined Pepper’s team, and I can’t say enough good things about Pepper’s books!  I was super excited to participate in the launch of “Forest Child” by Heather Day Gilbert. Heather shared with her team that she wrote a short story as part of a collaboration, “Message In a Bottle”. The book was on NetGalley for review, and she encouraged anyone interested to check into it. I quickly went to NetGalley and created an account and was approved. This lead me to apply for other books, but often I was not approved, and it was stated that I needed a blog.  After visiting several blogs of friends I’d made from the various review teams, I started my blog Joy Of Reading in February 2017. There are so many fantastic blog names, that I struggled to come up with one. As I thought and prayed about this new direction I considered the question, “what is my goal for blogging?”  The first thought I had is that I’d like to bring Joy to other’s and thus, my blog name.  I pray that by sharing my Joy for books, that it brings others Joy in return and brings them closer to the ultimate Joy giver!
I love to connect with others over books. Please find me at the following:

D- What’s the best part of being a reviewer?

T- If I had to narrow it down to only one thing, it’s the relationships I’ve made with authors and fellow bloggers, as well as knowing that I’ve helped bring a smile to someone’s face. Recently, I came across a fellow bloggers’ post that touched my heart, and I just knew that the author needed to see this review. I was so very happy that I was able to help make the connection between this blogger and the author and to know that so many were touched by her blog. I feel it’s important to build each other up. Not just build up authors, but build up fellow bloggers and even fellow readers. We all have something we can learn from one another.

D- What’s the most difficult part of the ‘the job’?

T- I have a difficult time saying “No”.  When someone approaches me to review their book, my first reaction is to say, “yes, I’d love to.”  I’d love to have enough time to read ALL the books. But, the reality is that I just can’t read them all.  It’s not easy for me to say “no”. But sometimes, I still have to, even when I don’t want to.

D- What was the last book you read that you couldn’t put down?

T- Many Sparrows by Lori Benton
I have read every book Lori has published. I just love her stories!

D- What keeps you busy or entertained (beyond reading and reviewing)?

T- I work full time at the University I graduated from. I have a degree in Social Work and spent several years working with in a variety of settings (Dialysis Clinic, Foster Care Agency, Residential Facility for troubled youth, & lastly in the Mental Health field). Being a Social Worker is an emotional roller coaster, and it takes its toll on your emotions. I reached the point where I needed a break. So I left Social Work and I’m currently working in one of the PhD offices at my University helping students progress through the program. It has been quite rewarding and a fresh experience. I am continuing to help others, just in a different capacity.
My job is only a small piece of what keeps me busy. My handsome husband (of 13 years) and I are the proud parents of an amazing, smart, handsome, fantastic, sweet, almost 10-year old son.  We homeschool our son and I’ve found that taking him on field trips and exploring nature and history are my favorite parts.
My family lives approximately 12 hours away. It’s not always easy being so far away, but we enjoy traveling to visit them every chance we get! I grew up in a big, close-knit family. My maternal grandparents lived next door, my great-grandmother lived a house away, my grandfather’s brother and his grown children also had homes in our neighborhood, so I grew up playing with my 2nd cousins, helping my great-grandmother in her garden, going blackberry picking with grandma & great-grandma, and listening to my grandparents tell stories of when they were little. My Great-Grandma was born in 1914, her story is one I hope to write someday. I enjoy learning about family history and piecing together the story of my relatives past.

D- What is your favorite fiction setting? Place and time? Genre’?

T- I enjoy reading Christian Historical Fiction best of all. I’ll pick up almost any book about Scotland that I can find. I enjoy books set in the Medieval time period, learning about the Celts & Vikings.  In addition, I also love early American Historical Fiction. Specifically books about Native Americans.

If you had a rainy afternoon alone to watch a movie what would it be? And what meal would you have delivered if that afternoon included a quiet evening as well? (Don’t forget dessert!)

T- Mostly I choose to read before watching movies, however, I would typically reach for a period drama. North and South (Richard Armitage). Pride and Prejudice or Emma. My secret guilty pleasure is watching the Outlander series (shhh!).
I have been wanting to see the Zookeeper’s Wife, but I’m holding off watching it because I want to read the book first.
One of my all-time favorites is “Last of the Mohicans” (fun fact: it was filmed not far from where I grew up).

While I have been obsessively listening to the Last of the Mohicans soundtrack and watched it about 4 times in the last two months, I decided to go with...John and Margaret in the train.  Richard is a big favorite here at the Inkwell!
We live out in the country, so delivery is out of the question. However, if it was possible to have food delivered from anywhere… I’d love to have spinach & ricotta stuffed shells, with a marinara sauce, steamed broccoli, and Greek salad (without the Greek olives, extra feta cheese please). For dessert: fresh out-of-the-oven, blackberry cobbler with vanilla ice cream

D- Trisha, in our little fictional world, food delivery is never out of the question! We have a saying in our family. Every thing is betta with Feta! 
I agree wholeheartedly with your choices...movies and food. In fact it's a bit freaky.  I've long been a fan of the Outlander books, so it's great to see so much care with the tv series! As I live near the setting for the books by James Fenimore Cooper, I was originally disappointed that they Last of the Mohicans was filmed in NC!

If you could wiggle your nose and be in a new career, what would it be?

T- I would love to be a published writer someday. I wrote my first story when I was around 9 or 10. It was a story about a Native American girl, Yellow Feather and her horse. My next story was about a set of twins who were adopted but didn’t know they were adopted, a coming of age story. Then I took a story my Grandpa told me about an old house in the woods that collapsed into its cellar and embellished it into a short story for my Freshman English writing class. That one was a murder mystery, and fun to write.  I started a medieval story that takes place in Scotland, but after the first 3 chapters the characters just stopped talking, and I’ve not gone back to them. I enjoy looking at paintings and writing short stories from the picture. I just keep writing various things, until maybe someday the right story will come along.
The other thing I really enjoy is music. I love singing. I’ve written several songs and with my husband playing on guitar, I’ve had the privilege to sing one of our songs for various special music performances.
D-  Well, I think you will eventually pull those stories out and go for it!  I have so many manuscripts waiting to be dusted off , but doesn't it feel like you owe those characters 'the light of day' after you've created them? ha ha! Just when I think I'm worn out from writing, I see something about an historical event or and old setting and my mind is thinking...what if?

What piece of advice would you offer authors who are just starting out?

T- Include on your web page a social media page with information for bloggers (example: photo & bio), including links to your Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc. Include suggested social media tags for bloggers to use when talking about your book.
Visit the blogs of those that interview you (and if you can also visit the book review posts). It’s always an honor to have a surprise visit from the author. It also lets others who visit the blog know that you really did participate in the interview, this blogger didn’t just make up the entire conversation.

Offer signed bookplates to all the members of your influencer team (nothing encourages me to buy a printed copy of the book like a signed book plate).
Engage with others not on your team, if someone comments on a social media post, at a minimum, give them a thumbs up, or a quick word of recognition.

D- Same for new reviewers—

T- Visit other bloggers web pages and see what they are doing. You may find elements that you like and wish to incorporate into your own style.
Promote your blog to your friends, and on social media sites. Join Facebook book/reading groups and promote your reviews there.
Include the author and publishing house in your tags when posting on social media. Look at what other tags have been used and use the same ones or ask the author which tags they prefer being used if you are on a promoter team. The more people that use that same tag the better.
Follow Authors & fellow bloggers on social media and comment on their posts!
Use the schedule feature in your blog to schedule posts ahead of time, so you aren’t trying to throw something together at the last minute. By creating the post ahead of time, you can also go back the next day and look at it again, you may just catch something you missed and now you can correct it before it goes live.
Don’t be afraid to promote other people’s blogs also. If you see a blog post you like, share it!

If a fellow blogger posts an interview of the authors’ book you are reviewing, ask if they would be ok with you including a link to their interview post in your review post. Sharing each other’s posts is a win-win!
Join a blog tour or several. This will help get your blog a little more notice.
If you get stuck on something, ask other blogger friends. I have found that fellow bloggers are really nice about offering to help when I’ve gotten stuck on something

The ice cream is still in the freezer, but now that the cobbler is coming out of the oven, the hard part is picking just the right temperature. It's hard to wait for that yummy goodness to cool off enough to eat! 

Trisha, thanks so much for visiting with us, and answering my questions. I'd love to give you a push toward publishing or being a virtual assistant but it sounds like you have your hands full.. for now!

and now... I'd better add the author promotional stuff... sigh.
For any readers out there who are considering becoming a reviewer or blogger, contact me and we'll help you with that next step! And, if you search through our archives, you'll find all my Blogger Interviews as well
Click here for  Debra E. Marvin's Website and contact information...

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