25Jul

What’s on your writing desk, Mary Sayler?

Posted by in Author Interviews, Bible Study, books, Karla Akins, Marketing, Mary Sayler, Office Spaces/Writing Lairs, Platform, Poetry, Social Media, Uncategorized, writing, Writing Spaces | 2 comments

Karla:  Today we’re visiting Mary Sayler at her writing desk! Mary also shares details about her routine. Take it away, Mary! Mary: I’m at my desk every morning, writing and posting Praise Poems or blogging on various aspects of words and The Word for The Word Center blog. Since I’ve been a full-time freelance and assignment writer for Christian and educational publishers for most of my adult life, I usually have a project in progress. Otherwise, I’m researching for my Bible study class, or I’m reading a new edition of the Bible I’ve been sent to review on the Bible Reviewer blog, or I’m revising my poems, or I’m critiquing someone else’s poems for a small fee, or I’m redoing my website, or I’m social networking, or I’m doing laundry or tending grandchildren or cooking dinner or emailing whoever is waiting for my response or waiting tables at our church’s weekly pancake breakfast. Karla: Whew. What a whirlwind! But it sounds so fulfilling! Mary: As a lifelong lover of Christ, the Bible, and the church, I’m a persistent pray-er, but praising God doesn’t come naturally for me. Then, last Fall, I felt the Lord coaxing me to begin the Praise Poems blog to praise God for Who God Is, rather than what He does. Those poems have kept coming as contemporary psalms until I have more than enough for a book! Karla: That is so awesome! I love it when that happens! Mary: Although many of my books (27 in all genres) are no longer in print, the newest ones can be found on my Amazon Author Page. I posted some of my online writing credits on my website and set up Profile pages in the Poets & Writers online directory of poets, About Me, and the just-discovered QuotesRain. Back in the Golden Days, my traditional publishers did all of the marketing for me, leaving me free to write. Now, social networking seems to be a must for any writer with books or blogs, so I’m on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google Plus, and who knows what else! I’m grateful for my computer and Internet, but oh, I miss pencil and paper! Karla: Me, too, Mary! I miss the days I’d sit in the trees over the creek behind my grandmother’s house and pen prose. Those were delicious moments. But from the looks of your twitter following (10k+!), you’re great at this social media thing! Wow! Thanks for sharing your writing space with us today! It’s fun to peek in on professional writers’ lairs and see how they do it. Your space looks incredibly inviting for getting in the writing zone. How about you, Dear Reader? Where in the world do you write? I’d love to know! Please tweet: What’s on your writing desk? Mary Sayler shares...

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10Jul

Announcing the Brilliant Blog Winner for the Month of June

Posted by in Blog Awards, Blogging, Blogs, Brilliant Blog Award, Uncategorized, writing | 0 comments

June’s pick was a no-brainer. I love this blog so much for so many reasons, it’s hard not to gush about it. What really amazes me, though, is that this author has only been published a short time. In fact, I read her first book and loved it. I was drawn to it because of the title. As a violinist, it was a must read. You can read my review of it here. Kristy Cambron impresses me on many levels. All  young, successful writers inspire me, but when I come across a young writer like Kristy: fresh, witty, confident, productive, speaker, wife, Mom, creative blogger — I have to gush just a little. Here’s a bit about Kristy quoted from her website: “Kristy Cambron has a background in art and design, but she fancies life as a vintage-inspired storyteller. She is the author of The Ringmaster’s Wife, named to Publishers Weekly Spring 2016 Religion & Spirituality TOP 10. Her novels have been named to Library Journal Reviews’ Best Books and RT Reviewers’ Choice Awards Best lists, and received a 2015 INSPY Awards nomination for best debut novel. The Illusionist’s Apprentice (HarperCollins, 2017) is her fourth novel.” Pretty impressive, eh? But her career and success aren’t why I chose her blog. I chose it because it’s fresh, visually appealing, and I sense her desire to connect with her readers. One way she does this is through video. As writers, I realize most of us really don’t like being in front of the camera. (I’m trying to learn to not be afraid of it.) Kristy has turned YouTube to her advantage when it comes to promoting her books. But I don’t feel like she’s pushing her books when I read her blog or watch her videos. I feel like she’s just hanging out. Which is what a really good author blog does. It helps the reader feel connected to the writer. One of her most recent videos does this brilliantly: And she’s a lefty like me! (That’s the real reason she won this month.) (Just kidding!) Please tweet: Congratulations, Kristy Cambron! Your blog is brilliant! Do you have a brilliant blog you’d like to nominate? You can do so...

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06Jul

How’s that Chromebook working out for ya?

Posted by in Karla Akins, Life, Product Reviews, Uncategorized | 1 comment

As I posted last week, my beloved computer died on me. Actually, it was the hard drive. The second one. I’m very hard on hard drives because I keep my computer on 24/7. I hate rebooting because if I stop in the middle of a project in the middle of the night, I don’t want to lose my train of thought the next morning. My train of thought is, well, easily derailed these days. I’m no spring chicken, you know. More like a fall-going-into-winter-chicken. Which, I suppose, is better than being a fall-going-into-winter-turkey. I’ve been using my son’s little HP Chromebook (actually called a Stream). Isaiah doesn’t need a powerful computer for working. He just needs something for accessing the Internet and playing around with social media. (He’s already graduated from high school. He used an iPad for schoolwork.) Basically, the way I understand it, a Chromebook is more or less just like a smartphone. While it doesn’t have the power to have a lot of windows open at the same time (something I’m famous for) or to edit things like videos, it can still do quite a bit. Here are the specs (for those who understand them) on this particular model. Keep in mind, these Chromebooks come in all sorts of sizes. This one is on the lower end of the scale. Extremely affordable at around $200. 13.3-Inch laptop Intel Celeron processor 2 GB RAM (in other words, very little power/speed) 32 GB SSD (This is the driver; it’s solid state which makes up a little bit for small RAM, but 32 GB is not very much on an android/PC device and I’ve had to limit the amount of apps to the very basics if I’m going to save any documents or pictures to the laptop itself.) The idea of these types of laptops is to use the cloud or google drive to store your pictures and documents. But I’m leery of storing everything online, and like to have my own backups. So what I’m doing until my own laptop gets here, is saving a document, then emailing it to myself. Then I delete it off of this one. It’s a pain. It takes time. But at least I can transfer these files to the new laptop when it gets here. Let me clarify. I only email those files that are extremely important for me to find when my laptop gets here. Others either go in the cloud, or get deleted permanently. Some things I don’t like about this Chromebook: The touchpad is very sticky and slow. It really doesn’t have the power to browse websites with pop-ups. I don’t browse too many like that unless it’s for research or reading the news. This particular Chromebook can’t handle it. The screen resolution isn’t great but it’s not horrible. Doesn’t have enough memory to leave a lot of windows open at once or to multi-task. Why do I need to do that, you ask? Sometimes I leave windows open to remember to go back to them. Other times I may need to have Thesaurus.com, my blog site, email, and a photo editing program open all at the same time. Working efficiently and quickly often means having several programs or websites open at once. I can’t edit videos. It just...

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30Jun

AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!

Posted by in Karla Akins, Life, Technology, Uncategorized, writing | 2 comments

Can you hear me screaming all the way to your house? My computer is broken. Hard drive is kaput. No, I didn’t lose data. I have it backed up on Carbonite. (Thank You, Lord!) I’ve learned that lesson the hard way. I’m very hard on computers. They rarely last me more than four years. And like clockwork, they blow up. I should know better. I actually did have a premonition, but you know how it is. You just keep babying it until you absolutely have to do something. Now I have to decide whether to simply replace the hard drive or get a new computer. Since I’m editing videos now, I need a much more efficient hard drive which means going solid state. But what if the motherboard is the next to go? If money weren’t an issue, I’d definitely get a new computer. But money is tight and I can’t make the decision lightly  or quickly. In the meantime, I’m using my son’s little netbook. It’s slow. It’s annoying. But it’s better than nothing. The thing is, to get a new computer, I need to make sure it’s what I really need now that I’m editing videos. That means more RAM, and an Intel Core i7, not to mention an expensive video card. All these things add up fast. If all I needed were a computer for writing, I wouldn’t be agonizing over the decision so much. Needless to say, I’m beyond frustrated. Service on computers is notoriously slow, and I have deadlines. It’s been so difficult to get things done. I’ve had to cancel interviews I’ve had scheduled for weeks for my video channel. So disappointing. But, I’m determined to keep praise on my lips and rest in God’s perfect plan. When I’m on my deathbed, I’m not going to be fretting over this recent turn of events. The important things are still in place: God, faith and family. Work will always be there. And God’s timing is perfect. What would you do if you were me? Buy a whole new computer?  Or just add a solid state drive to the old one and some more RAM? Weigh in! Tweet this: There is only one satisfying way to boot a computer!...

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22Jun

Journey Through the Storm

Posted by in Karla Akins, Life, Uncategorized | 0 comments

Monday I got caught in a terrible storm driving between my town and the town where my appointment was. Living rural means you get nowhere fast. It was at least a 30-minute journey under the best of conditions. It took me an hour-and-a-half to get home. As I was driving, it struck me how focused I was on what was right in front of me. And it reminded me of how I coped this past year as I journeyed through the worst storm of my life. You may think I’m being dramatic, but I’m truly not. It has taken me the better part of the past year to be able to wake up without a lump in my throat and a heavy weight on my chest. Maybe knowing how I got through it will help somebody else. And maybe, it will be good for folks to know, that the while sorrow leaves its scars, it does get less debilitating. You learn to live with the dull ache. You accept the moments you burst into tears at the grocery store when emotions flood without warming.  But spontaneous, tearful waves do occur farther apart as time marches on. The ache is something you learn to acknowledge, grateful the agony doesn’t overwhelm you as it did in the past. My stormy journey isn’t over. As long as we live on earth, we have burdens to bear. But knowing that I can survive a storm like the one I’m living through, has strengthened me in many ways. It has shaped me. It has groomed me for something greater and made me ready for what is next. If we give our storms to Him, and keep praise on our lips, He will see us through. Doesn’t mean it is painless. Just means we get through it one step at a time. And we survive. Even thrive. How has God gotten you through a sorrow? Hurt? Tragedy? Share in the comments below. Please tweet: See how one woman survived a terrible storm!...

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21Jun

The May Brilliant Blog Award

Posted by in Blog Awards, Blogging, Blogs, Brilliant Blog Award, Uncategorized | 0 comments

This blog award thing has proven harder than I thought! Mainly because there are so many brilliant blogs out there. It truly is difficult to chose. However it is with great joy I present to you the Brilliant Blog for the month of May. It is already an award-winning blog but I can’t overlook it and refuse to give it this award because of their popularity. They’ve truly earned it because they’ve encouraged me more than once on my writing journey. Congratulations to Books & Such Literary Management! In my book, this blog is a definite must for Christian Writers, whether they’re just starting out or in the trenches. I’m regularly inspired by this great group of women. As I said, the last thing they need is another reward from me. But I hope by pointing them out, someone who hasn’t met them yet, will check them out and glean from their valuable info. What’s your favorite blog? Do you have one I should check out? Let me know in the comments below! Tweet this: Congratulations to Books & Such for winning May’s Brilliant Blog Award! ...

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18Jun

Happy Father’s Day Coloring Pages

Posted by in Father's Day, Holidays, Karla Akins, Uncategorized | 0 comments

Need to keep someone busy on Father’s Day? Or do you teach a Sunday School Class? Here are some printable coloring pages that your littles may enjoy! Right click and save and print.   Click to download the .pdf for this one:   And I love this one. Click here to find it.   For some adorable Father’s Day Ideas, check out this Pinterest Collection. This Father’s Day I bought my husband a much-yearned for Ukulele he’s had his eye on. And I got my Dad a book he’s going to love. (I inherited my Dad’s love of book hoarding.) Happy Father’s Day to my dad, husband and sons! Good dads are rare. So glad you’re one! Please Tweet: Happy Father’s Day to all the daddies!     ...

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16Jun

Teaching kids to touch type

Posted by in autism, Disabilibies, Disabilities, Homeschooling, Karla Akins, Special Education, Teaching, Technology, Uncategorized | 0 comments

If there’s one thing I am grateful for from my public school education in the 70s, it’s that I was able to take classes to learn how to touch type. I can still type about 93-102 words per minute (WPM), and believe me, it’s come in handy when writing books, blogging, and writing research papers! (Thanks, Mr. Geesik!) (I can still hear and see him wiggling his fingers and sing-song saying, “Type, type, type!”) Since I have special needs children, and taught many special needs kids in my cottage school, I was always on the lookout for unique ways to teach life skills. One of the coolest tools I discovered  were these ingenious typing gloves from a company called Touchtypers. From the website: “Touchtypers is a system that uses specially developed lettered gloves and simple exercises to make it easy for students to learn to touch-type on computer keyboards, using any typing system or word processing software.” The gloves come with an instruction booklet, but I also used old-fashioned typing books to help my students practice. These gloves worked great! I like anything that helps children self-direct and teach themselves. The only thing you have to do is supervise a bit to make sure they’re actually using the correct fingers and not “cheating.” I hope you like these gloves as much as I do/did. I don’t get any kind of kickback or anything from this company. But when I experience a great product, I want to tell everyone about it. Oh, and when you order the gloves, err on the smaller side because they stretch. Let me know how you like them! Please tweet: Teach your special needs kids to...

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09Jun

Homeschool Minute

Posted by in Homeschooling, Karla Akins, Uncategorized | 0 comments

A new feature on my radio station now is what I call a “Homeschool Minute.” I hope to share some encouraging tips for homeschooling families here. Do you have a helpful tip to share? Let me know in the comments below. Maybe I’ll use them in a future video! Tweet this, please! Homeschool minute–a quick tip for busy moms....

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03Jun

Meet me in Iowa!

Posted by in autism, Disabilibies, Homeschooling, Karla Akins, Teaching, Technology, Uncategorized, Youth | 0 comments

Hi, Friends! Just a wee update to let you know that I’ll be speaking at the Homeschool Iowa Conference next week! Here are the topics I’ll be covering: Technology and Your Homeschool Is technology really all that important? How should you use it in your homeschool? When should you not use it? Learn some creative ways to integrate technology in your homeschool and have your eyes opened about dangerous technological advances you and your family needs to know about. Homeschooling Children with Autism Has God called you to teach your child with autism at home? Do you wonder what the most important skills are to teach? Get practical tips on coping with tantrums, learning social skills, and leading your child to God. As children with autism grow up, what life skills are important to teach them? What can a parent do about aggressive, oppositional behavior? Learn how Karla taught her own sons with autism. What were the most valuable lessons of all? Handouts include practical tips for parents, therapists and teachers. Homeschooling Typical Children and Children with Special Needs Using the Same Curriculum Do you ever feel as if you’re in over your head? Worried that you aren’t qualified to teach your special needs child? Learn why you’re the expert on your child and their condition. Get practical tips on helping them succeed through finding the right resources, building a supportive network, and accessing the right therapies. Learn what therapies worked and didn’t when Karla taught her own children with autism, ADHD, intellectual disabilities, speech disabilities and dyslexia. Handouts include practical tips for parents, therapists and teachers. Creative Writing in the Homeschool Have a gifted writer in the family? Learn from published author, Karla Akins, how to foster that gift with practical tips and creative writing ideas. She will also share the climate of publishing today, and a brief introduction to self-publishing in today’s market. I can’t wait to meet you! By the way I’m giving away goodies in a drawing while there, too! O Canada Her Story (print) — Autographed Sacagawea (ebook) – Autographed coupon Jacques Cartier (ebook) – Autographed coupon What Really Happened in the Middle Ages (print) — Autographed What Really Happened in Colonial Times (print)– Autographed Scented wax warmer The Pastor’s Wife Wears Biker Boots (print) — Autographed And those are the just the goodies I’m giving away in the overall conference. My table will also have a beautiful gift package drawing you can enter, too. See you in Iowa! If I were coming to your state, what would you like me to speak on?  Check here for a list of topics! And let me know in the comments below! Tweet this: Meet me at the Iowa #Homeschool Conference!  ...

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