You are being manipulated. Here’s how.

It is psychological law that whatever we desire to accomplish we must impress upon the subjective or subconscious mind.--Orison Swett Marden

Let’s get something straight right up front. I love technology. Not only for how easy it makes my life, but mainly for how it can be used to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Since the birth of Christ, nothing has given us a bigger platform to share the love of Jesus than the Internet. Nothing.

However, saying something is one thing. Getting heard is another. And the ones with the power are the ones who manipulate what is seen and heard. Search engine algorithms can be designed to filter out anything pertaining to Christ. Money and the prince of the air think they’re in control. (But seriously, we know Who really is, right?)

It is psychological law that whatever we desire to accomplish we must impress upon the subjective or subconscious mind.--Orison Swett Marden (1)

You think you have a plethora of choices? You do. But not really. Those who own the algorithms are the ones who decide what your choices really are. Truth has never been more relative than it is today. If people believe what comes up first when they’re doing a search, (on Google, Siri, Bing, etc.) are they living in reality? Or the reality that the search engine created?

eyes are useless when the mind is blind.--unknown

Not only do search engines and Amazon filter what’s seen at the top of a search, so do advertisers. Add to that the government accessing your search stats and freedom flies out the window only to be captured and shackled.

Oh, oh, oh, and what about when you’re browsing for say,  a pair of shoes, and you’re reading the news on another site and the ad for the shoes shows up. How intellectually free are you? I mean, really?

Is this freedom or manipulation?

ad

This ad popped up on my Facebook and tumblr dashboard after I’d checked out a clearance sale on HSN.com.

Amazon manipulates its customers. You might not think so, but take a gander at this post on the Hoosier Ink blog by Joe Allison:

Amazon Restricts Promotion of Books with “Religious or Spiritual Content”

Amazon-logoI mean, c’mon, we all know it happens, but do we remember when we’re searching for things, that our choices are limited to what those in charge want us to see and find? Or are we lulled into intellectual laziness and put discernment on the back burner?

twitter35

Please tweet: Are we intellectually lazy and easily manipulated?

The best time of day to write

All my adult life I’ve felt guilty about my circadian rhythm. Add to that the knowledge that my favorite authors rise and shine in the wee hours of the morning to write, and I feel even more guilty for being a Night Owl.

I capitalized Night Owl because the Night Owl is actually my college mascot. Something tells me I’m not going to escape this particular identity.

1024x1024-Student

I was discussing this issue with my son. Since I start student teaching next week, I’m a little freaked out about when I’ll be able to get my writing time in. I’m a true believer in “you don’t find time to write you make time.” But, as someone who lives with fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue, I’m aware that my body will only allow me to be alert so many hours in the day.

The way I often get through the day is that I have to take a 20-minute nap in the afternoon (or longer depending how bad I’m feeling) to get through the rest of the day. I then take a B-12 vitamin and move along. I can usually squeeze out an evening of writing that way.

But many of my favorite authors are morning authors–Kate DiCamillo, for one (I love her voice!).  Wouldn’t it be better if I was more like her? Over and over again I’ve beat myself up for not being up with the robins getting that worm. (Okay, so I don’t like worms, but my worm would be a manuscript.)

Does the fact that I’m not a morning writer mean I’ll never be a best-seller?

Not according to this amazing infograph:

Opposite Habits of Famous Writers.
Opposite Habits of Famous Writers by Bid4Papers

Is this cool or what?

I’ve got to grasp the fact that it doesn’t matter when I write. It only matters that I write. Every day. For several hours.

(Excuse me while I grab another cup of tea, and pet my dogs and cats, sit very still in the light of the moon, and write very, very slow.)

If you want more proof it’s okay to be a night writer, check out this awesome blog post by Jeff Goins here: Why You Should Be Writing at Night.

When is your favorite time of the day write/craft/read good books/do what you love most?

Twitter-Bird

Please tweet: When is the best time of day to write?

The Art of Interruptions

-Interruptions remind us we are not in control.---Karla Akins

Okay, this is hilarious.

I had this post completely written and guess what?

It disappeared.

Then I wrote it again. And added pictures.

And the pictures disappeared.

Then when I added the pictures again and checked on it–saved it, published it, the original post showed up without pictures. (I was working in Blogger for a cross-post to Hoosier Ink. I gave up and decided to post it here in WordPress.)

hmm...I find this extremely ironic since I’m writing about interruptions. And I don’t believe in coincidences. Sometimes life gets so crazy and bizarre you just have to laugh. Just like God does when we make plans. I picture Him sitting beside me, jabbing me in the ribs with a loud “Got ya!” He probably isn’t, but that’s how I picture Him when things like this happen. (I mean no disrespect to God. He knows how much I admire His sense of humor.)

You’d think after having kids with autism and a mother-in-law with Alzheimer’s living with us, I’d be the Queen of Handling Interruptions. But I’m not. I have a hunch that God must be determined to make me an expert. Either that, or he enjoys a good laugh. You know the Yiddish saying, right? “We make plans and God laughs.” He is hee-hawing all over the universe with the way my summer has gone.

Untitled design_clipped_rev_1

You see, I’m a planner. I love to plan. I have several planners — one for home/church, one for my writing and one for my college classes. I begin student teaching in August, and I’ll have a teaching planner, too.  I also use Google Calendar to remind me of appointments and deadlines. I love to plan. I buy all sorts of stickers and tapes and tabs for my planner. Planning is my hobby.

A few of my planning toys. I keep them in a ziplock envelope inside my planner. I have many more in my office drawers!

And oh yeah, I haven’t even begun to tell you all about how I plan on Kanbanflow! I have 11 (!) planning boards there. Now, admittedly, many of them are for books and projects. But a lot of them aren’t.

This isn't my kanban, but you get the idea.

This isn’t my kanban, but you get the idea.

Here’s how my summer has gone so far. Keep in mind, this is the summer when I was going to knock out those 11 Kanbanflow lists and cure world hunger:

  • My dishwasher broke the same month of the twins’ graduation open house (mid-May)
  • The twins’ caregiver quit in May. We still don’t have a new caregiver and they require 24-7 supervision
  • Ordered new dishwasher
  • New dishwasher arrived and quit working after one week
  • Part for new dishwasher will not be here until August 12
  • Air conditioner is not acting right. And it’s only the hottest summer ever.
  • June 25 my computer crashes. Kaput. Zero. Zilch. Will cost too much of a percentage of a new one to fix.
  • Wait two weeks for new computer to arrive.
  • Can’t find my backup files on Carbonite
  • My wedding ring got an upgrade May 1. Sent it off to get it fixed. It’s still not back after it being returned twice looking like a bubble gum ring. (Does this mean I’ve been single all this time?)
  • My mother-in-law who has Alzheimer’s has been sick a lot this summer. This means a lot of attention, care and trips to the hospital. (Keep her in your prayers. Her name is Ellen.)
  • When I flew to Colorado for conference, why didn’t I expect my plane to be delayed and have three gate changes in Dallas?
  • My back went out July 22. I have a bad sacrum joint thing going on. Which means I can’t sit, stand or walk comfortably at all. The only medication that’s touching the pain is Ibuprofen which I’m not supposed to take because of a stomach condition. But, it’s Ibuprofen that’s allowed me to sit here in this awkward position and type this post.

These are just a few of the highlights of my summer saga entitled, “Interrupted Summer.” Not very original, I know, but it describes it very well. (Which means it’d do well on a Kindle search, but that’s another blog post for another day.)

Squirrel!

God isn't looking at the clock.He's looking at my character.--KarlaAkins.com

I believe God is bound and determined to teach me how to handle interruptions with grace. I’m obviously a slow learner. This has been a sink or swim summer. I’m treading water, but not sure I’m going anywhere.

And yet, I’m trying to embrace the interruptions as positive opportunities instead of negative experiences. They’re like when I get lost on purpose when I ride my motorcycle. I love exploring unchartered territories. Why not view interruptions in the same way?

Interruptions are actually God’s Providence. It’s Him teaching me I’m not the one in control. He is. And I can either embrace these moments or kick against them. It’s up to me how I perceive them.

In the below video I share a few more of my thoughts on the matter. If you like the video, please subscribe to my channel and hit like on the thumbs up tab! (In Youtube.)

How about you? Do you like interruptions as much as I do?

Pink Motorcycle & Bird Final (1)

Please tweet: Interruptions are God’s unexpected field trips.

What’s on your writing desk, Mary Sayler?

Karla:  Today we’re visiting Mary Sayler at her writing desk! Mary also shares details about her routine. Take it away, Mary!

What's on your writing desk- (1)

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's office

Mary’s writing lair. Isn’t it cozy?

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!

Marybook

Click to buy!

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.

51GHxpxwDaL

Click to buy!

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!

Where in the world do you write-

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!

twitter31_256

Please tweet: What’s on your writing desk? Mary Sayler shares hers!

Announcing the Brilliant Blog Winner for the Month of June

2016 Brilliant Blog jpeg

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.

kbook

You can read my review of it here.

KristyCambonHeader

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!)

contract

Yes, I’m signing a contract of some kind! Can’t wait to tell you all about it!

Twitter-Bird

Please tweet: Congratulations, Kristy Cambron! Your blog is brilliant!

Do you have a brilliant blog you’d like to nominate? You can do so here. 

AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!

There is only one satisfying way to boot a computer. -J.H. Goldfuss

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.

I warned you!But you wouldn't listen!

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.

snail_clipped_rev_1

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.

banana

This graphic has nothing to do with this post. I just thought it was cool.

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!
acriddledotcomgivecredit

Tweet this: There is only one satisfying way to boot a computer!

 

Writer Wednesday with Award-Winning Author, Bob Hostetler

bob

I met Bob Hostetler at a recent ACFW-Indiana meeting. I had no idea how much I admired his work until I saw his book table. And there it was. A book that had a huge influence on my life as a youth minister and teen Sunday School teacher:

I raised my kids and a whole passel of other kids on this book. It’s an excellent apologetic in layman’s terms. I think I’ve quoted most of it for the past 20 years over and over again. The title itself is one of my favorite phrases.

I was fortunate enough to visit with Bob during our luncheon that day and he was nice enough to agree to an interview!

Grab your cuppa (I’ve got my iced tea ready!) and get ready to glean wisdom from an award-winning, best-selling author. 

Thanks for agreeing to the interview Bob! I’m really looking forward to your next book! And I don’t care if I am gushing like a giddy schoolgirl. Its delicious purple cover (purple is my FAVE) and delectable content has me salivating already!

Twitter_Bird_Coffee_by_Aaron_Riddleacriddledotcom

Click to tweet please!

Bob says, “Don’t check your brains at the door!”

Testimony Tuesday featuring Amy Clipston

acabout

I’m so excited to have found Amy Clipston!

Amy’s story is profound. And I was thrilled when she agreed to an interview. So, grab a cuppa, lean back, and enjoy the show!

Amy’s next book will be out in June!

courtshipbasket

And be sure to check out her facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/AmyClipstonBooks

Twitter-Bird

Tweet this: She saved two lives with one of her kidneys!

What’s on your writing desk, Karen Wingate?

What's on your writing desk- (1)

I’m so pleased to introduce my readers to Karen Wingate. I got to meet Karen in person at ACFW Conference 2015, and we sat by one another during the awards banquet. She is the loveliest, sweetest soul. We were both in tears when fellow author, Kate Breslin, won the Carol! I fell in love with Karen that night, watching her rejoice with other authors. I knew in her I had a kindred spirit. But enough blathering, I’m sure you’re eager to meet her, too. So here we go.

karen-wingate-2015-corgi

Karen claims to be “an ordinary woman who has watched a powerful God do awesome things.” She lives in the farmland of Western Illinois and is married to a minister. They live with a bossy Welsh Corgi and are parents to two “grown and gone awesome daughters who are using their God given gifts to make a difference in their corner of the world.”

karenfamily

Karen loves “cooking, Corgis (did I already say that?), knitting, reading, history, reading about history, and of course, writing, especially writing about God’s place in history. I love to share how God does great things through ordinary people and I love connecting with my Christian sisters to hear how God is transforming their lives and using them to extend God’s grace to those around them.”

Since Karen is such a gifted writer, I’m going to let her tell you about her cozy writing space. Take it away, Karen!

karen

I love my writing room! Even though I’ve worked as a writer for nearly thirty years, I’ve had my own special room for only the last five years. Since my husband is a minister, we’ve lived in parsonages most of those years and I’ve been afraid to ask to decorate a room to fit my taste. I finally got the nerve and created my own space. One of our elders even did the painting for me! I’m glad I did. My room has become more than my office; it’s my own personal retreat where I feel calm, comfortable and quiet, a place where I can think big thoughts.

Karen4

I find the tan walls with lime green accents soothing and relaxing. So does my husband who often wanders into my room in the evening to sit on the bed and chat. I’ve hung two picture on the wall above my desk that remind me daily of my purpose. The larger picture depicts a scene I would like to write about some day. The Moravian missionary, David Zeisburger was called to share Christ with the Delaware Indians. My framed art tells the story of the first time he preached to a group. You can see his audience in various stages of accepting the Gospel message. The smaller picture was taken by a friend at a writer’s conference. That’s a sunrise, not a sunset and it reminds me to keep dreaming, and that God’s faithfulness is new every morning.

Karen2

On the opposite side, I have a day bed for guests or for when I want to stretch out and read. The knitted squares on the bed are part of the afghan throw I’m creating for the bed, another expression of my creativity.

Karen3

My old and faithful Welsh Corgi, Tuesday often sleeps by my side. She asks for walks less often now but I often stay at my desk longer than I intend because I don’t want to disturb her.

Karen4

As women’s ministry director at my local church, I oversee the programs of our Women’s Fellowship and facilitate two on-site and one online Bible study small groups. Right now, our network of groups include over 45 women. In addition to prepare bible study materials, I keep up with my blog at www.graceonparade.com and write articles for The Lookout. I’m currently working on a contemporary romantic suspense set in Southern Arizona and have dreams of writing several historical fiction novels set in Ohio, Kansas and Illinois, all places where we have lived and served in the ministry. Finally I’m waiting for the green light to write a book of adult bible study materials for a company that has previously produced my children’s curriculum.

Where in the world do you write-

Regardless of the space you have as a writer, I encourage you to make it your own. It doesn’t take much—framed art, your personal color scheme or even something whimsical like a stuffed teddy bear or a Mrs. Potato Head like I have in my room. For years, I kept a figurine of a Norman Rockwell self-portrait that reminded me to look into myself and be who I really am in God’s eyes. Surround yourself with symbols that represent you, your faith and your passion.

Karla: Karen, I absolutely love your space. And I have wanted an office with a bed for years! I think it would be lovely to take a little nap to recharge right there in my writing space. I’ve even considered making a nest under my desk. Hee hee.

Everyone, be sure to connect with Karen online. She has the most lovely blog and was the winner of one of my January Brilliant Blog Award Picks!

Website: www.graceonparade.com

Facebook Author page: https://www.facebook.com/graceonparade/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/kwingate715

Twitter-Bird

 Tweet this: Author Karen Wingate shares her cozy office!

writingdesk

 

 

 Would you like to share your writing space with my readers? If so, you can find out how here: What’s on your writing desk?

What’s on your writing desk, Janet Grunst?

 What's on your writing desk- (1)

I’m so happy to introduce Janet Grunst to you for our writing desk feature!

Janet lives in Williamsburg, in Southeastern Virginia, part of Virginia’s Historic Triangle (Jamestown, Williamsburg, and Yorktown) which nurtures her love of history and her writing. She shares life there with Ken, her husband and Scotty, a very entertaining Westie.

When Janet’s not writing, she is probably reading, cooking, or working in her garden. She also enjoys serving in her church and participating in Community Bible Study, where she has served in leadership for the past thirty years.

Janet Porch 2

The porch is a perfect spot for reading and plotting her historical fiction stories. But the real work takes place in their family room where she spends hours researching and writing either for her stories or blog posts.

Janet My Writing Space -2

“Ken and I, both serious introverts, have an ideal set up. I write upstairs at one end of the house, and he builds guitars in his workshop downstairs at the other end of the house. Both of us enjoy our solitary pursuits as well as our time together.”

Janet just signed a contract with Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas to publish the first story of her Revolutionary War trilogy! Congratulations, Janet!

Janet signing my first book contract

She is represented by Linda Glaz at the Hartline Literary Agency.

You can find Janet online here:

http://JanetGrunst.com

https://www.facebook.com/janet.grunst

http://colonialquills.blogspot.com/

Twitter-Bird

Tweet this: Check out Janet’s writing nest!

Where in the world do you write-

Would you like to share your writing space with my readers? If so, you can find out how here: What’s on your writing desk?