Category Archives: Guests

Guest Post: Private Lives

Guest Post: Private Lives

Many thanks to Donna for this guest post, which first appeared on her blog (one of my favorites!), My OBT.


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Guest Post: Word Counts by Sheila M. Good

Guest Post: Word Counts by Sheila M. Good

Did you ever wonder how your work-in-progress compares to others in your genre in terms of word count? Many thanks to Sheila M. Good of Cow Pasture Chronicles for this week’s guest post.


Day 23:#AtoZChallenge  

WORD COUNTSOne of the most frequent questions asked by writers is : “What is an acceptable word count for  _________” (fill in the blank). Most magazines, contests, or websites will define the type of fiction they’re looking for and the required word count or word limit. In my research, I found a number of sites with slightly different word counts, but all were generally within these limits.

Basic fiction classification and the associated word counts:

  1. Flash Fiction – under 500 but some accept up to 1000.
  2. Historical Fiction – 90,000-100,000.
  3. Literary –  80,000-120,000.
  4. Memoir – 80,000 – 90,000.
  5. Middle Grade Fiction – 25,000 -40,000.
  6. Mystery, Thrillers & Crime – 70,000 -90,000.
  7. Novella – 10,000 – 40,000.
  8. Novelette – 7,550 – 17,500.
  9. Picture Books – standard 32 pages (500-600 words).
  10. Romance Fiction– 50,000 – 100,000.
  11. Science fiction & Fantasy – 90,000 -120,000.
  12. Short Story – typically between…

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Guest Post: Classroom visits one of the best parts of the job by Julie Stroebel Barichello

Guest Post: Classroom visits one of the best parts of the job by Julie Stroebel Barichello

A great big ARHtistic License thank you to Julie Stroebel Barichello for this wonderful article about the joys of author visits to schools.

Julie Stroebel Barichello | Author

The job title for writers is a bit misleading.

You’d think the majority of the job would be writing, but it’s a pretty even split between writing and promotion. After I finished writing my first book, I dreaded the promotion side of things. Not only was I uncertain where to begin, but I also wasn’t looking forward to the social side of being an author. I was perfectly happy to stick to the keyboard.

Then I started doing classroom visits. Suddenly the social side of writing wasn’t so bad.

Classroom visits are great for children’s authors on multiple levels. For one thing, it puts us face to face with our audience and gives us valuable insights. We get to see firsthand what makes kids laugh, what they’re interested in, and what they’re looking for in books.

Last week I made two visits to McKinley Elementary School in Ottawa. I had…

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Guest Post–Video tutorial: English paper piecing (EPP) mini quilt by TeresaDown

Guest Post–Video tutorial: English paper piecing (EPP) mini quilt by TeresaDown

A treat for all the quilters! Many thanks to TeresaDownUnder for this wonderful tutorial that demystifies English paper piecing as we watch over her shoulder. (Be sure to click the link that says “View original post 39 more words” so that you can see the video.)

Sewn Up

Video tutorial: English paper piecing (EPP) mini quilt

This is the perfect project to learn English paper piecing. It’s small enough to get results straight away.

I like the zig zag pattern too. You don’t see it very often but in a large scale, and if you choose your fabrics carefully, the end result can be spectacular.

How to do English paper piecing mini quilt tutorial

Learn to do English paper piecing in just over 2 minutes:

There’re only 3 steps to start doing English paper piecing:

  1. Download the hexagon template (google doc).
  2. Print the required size  (this project uses the 1 inch pattern) on thick or plain paper – I used plain printer paper.
  3. Cut the patterns and get sewing

Two important points to make:

  1. Before printing make sure you’re printing at 100% to avoid surprises.
  2. Leave the paper template in until you have finished sewing all  hexies together

Mini quilt instructions

Print 60  hexagon templates (Google doc).

Make 30…

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Guest Post: Proofreading Top 10 checklist by Suzanne Rogerson

Guest Post: Proofreading Top 10 checklist by Suzanne Rogerson

A big thank you to Suzanne Rogerson for this wonderful article, which appeared previously on her own blog.

suzanne rogerson fantasy author

Proofreading is one of the hardest stages of writing for me. I love drafting and editing, but to read each word and sentence and analyse it’s components is difficult. It’s too scientific for my creative brain, but an important process that needs to be done before considering publication.

Back in August last year, I devised a checklist to tackle the final proofread of Visions of Zarua. My original post was here.

Looking back, I’m quite pleased with it as a ‘how to’ guide. It worked brilliantly for me, but I do have to warn you that a couple of tiny errors still slipped past this stage (slap wrist). Luckily with KDP & Createspace it’s a simple matter of updating the corrected file and within 24 hours the revised book is on sale. However, we should all aim to produce the best book we possibly can from the start and there really is no…

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Guest Post: New Yawk, New Yawk

Guest Post: New Yawk, New Yawk

A treat for those of us who love ballet. Thank you to Donna for this guest post, which originally appeared on her blog, My OBT.


dance 0 Kevin Richardson

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Guest Post: Illustrator Saturday – Julie Downing…by Kathy Temean

Guest Post: Illustrator Saturday – Julie Downing…by Kathy Temean

A big thank you to guest blogger Kathy Temean for this colorful article about artist Julie Downing. Check out Kathy’s superb website, Writing and Illustrating.

Writing and Illustrating

julie_photoJulie Downing is an internationally published author and illustrator. She has written and or illustrated over 40 books for children

Julie Downing is a artist from San Francisco. She is known for her innovative approach in illustrating traditional stories, and her list of books include; The Night Before Christmas, Lullaby and Goodnight, and The Firekeeper’s Son.

Her most recent book, First Mothers, is a biography of all the mothers of the presidents. Publishers’ Weekly wrote::” Craftily mining the personalities of each woman, Downing contributes watercolor and colored pencil portraits of the mother s on their home turfs, humorously underscoring their many diverse eccentricities.”

Downing has won many awards for her work, including a Parent’s Choice Award, and the New York Public Library Best Books Award. She was selected to appear in Talking with Artists Too, a book about 12 of the nation’s best Children’s’ Book Illustrators.

Downing is most noted…

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Guest Post: 15 Minutes of (FMQ) play…by Treadlemusic

Guest Post: 15 Minutes of (FMQ) play…by Treadlemusic

Note from Andrea: Thank you to Treadlemusic for this interesting strategy for free motion quilting. I’m going to try it!


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Guest Post: I Collect Nativities…by Linda McQuinn Carlblom

Guest Post: I Collect Nativities…by Linda McQuinn Carlblom

Happy birthday, Jesus! Merry Christmas, all who read this today. This article was previously posted on Parenting With a Smile.

Something you probably don’t know is that I collect nativities. I don’t have a bunch of them, but I do love the ones I have. Several of them were given to me. Here are pictures of some of my favorites.

Southwestern Nativity – This was giving to by my friend, Donna. I love how different it is from any others I have. I also love the detail and that the drummer boy is playing a tom-tom. Living in Arizona, it’s perfect for my southwestern culture.


Traditional Ceramic – This was my first nativity and I’ve put it out for over thirty years. I love the soft colors and the sweet faces of the holy family.


Olive Wood – This nativity is special to me because my parents brought it back to me from the Holy Land. Sadly, some of the pieces have been lost through the years. But I still put it out because it comes from the actual birthplace of our Savior.

Cloth nativity – This one doesn’t live at my house any more, but it did for many years while my children were growing up. My mom made it for them and now my grandchildren enjoy it at my daughter’s house. They can play with the figures without fear of breaking them.

Newest addition – I was given this simple nativity this year, again by my friend, Donna. Isn’t it beautiful?

While I was writing this blog, my daughter texted me a picture of my only granddaughter, Lillian, in her new Christmas dress. I just had to include it in this post because I’ve never seen a Christmas dress quite like it. So this isn’t really part of my nativity collection, but it’s a great excuse to show off my darling five-year-old granddaughter. 🙂 Don’t you think?


Do you have nativity sets you put up at Christmas? Please share descriptions of them and any nativity family traditions in the comments.


Guest Post: My Homemade Christmas Eggnog…by Linda McQuinn Carlblom

Guest Post: My Homemade Christmas Eggnog…by Linda McQuinn Carlblom

Note from Andrea: This article first appeared on Parenting With a Smile. I made Linda’s eggnog last year with a couple of minor changes–I used 2% milk (because that’s what we usually have on hand at our house), and I accidentally used 3 tablespoons of vanilla instead of 3 teaspoons. I left out the run flavoring, but the extra vanilla more than made up for it. Yum!

I’m posting this recipe fairly early in December because you may want to enjoy this alcohol-free, light eggnog all month. I usually make this to sip on while we decorate our Christmas tree.

My husband’s family has made their own eggnog for years. I married into this awesomeness 24 years and 11 months ago. Since I first tasted the stuff, I was hooked. It wasn’t like the store bought junk that’s thick and super sweet. This eggnog is so much better. So even if you’re not an eggnog fan, give this a chance. It may make you the Christmastime hero in your family. I’ve modified it a bit from the original recipe, so I feel comfortable calling it my own recipe. Here goes!

Rollin and Linda’s Lowfat Eggnog

6 eggs
1/2 c. sugar
4 c. skim or 1% milk
3 t. vanilla
1 t. rum flavoring
Lots of shakes of nutmeg

Combine eggs and sugar, mixing until frothy. Add remaining ingredients until well mixed. Ladle into cups. Sprinkle the top of each serving with nutmeg. Tastes best with Christmas music playing in the background.

Makes 8 cups.

Some dear friends gave us this vintage eggnog set many years ago. Isn’t it the best?

Are you an eggnog fan? What’s your favorite non-alcoholic Christmas drink?