Showing posts from 2019

My Word for 2020

Front door of a B and B in Ireland (c) 2014 Rev. Linda M. Rhinehart Neas
What a surprise to have the random word picker give me the word "visit" for my 2020 word of the year just after I was thinking of our trip to Ireland back in 2014 and our dear friends who live there!
Visit is something I enjoy doing. However, I have never really looked at the word - its meaning or origin. After all, it is one of those words that we use daily without thinking much about, right?
First off, visit can be used as both a noun and a verb.  As a noun, it means: the act of visiting, or having a chat or talk.  As a verb, visit means: to go to and stay with (a person or family) or at (a place) for a short time for reasons of sociability, politeness, business, curiosity, etc.; to stay with as a guest; to make a visit; to talk or chat casually.

The origins of the word are from the Latin "visitare" which means "to go to see."  

As a teacher, minister and writer, I visit quite a lot!  T…

Book Review: The Unfaithful Widow Ten Years Later

Barbara Barth's memoir is by far one of the most fun reads I have had in a long time.  The Unfaithful Widow Ten Years Later is a compilation of stories about the resilience, the confusion, the fear and the enjoyment of Barth's life.  Woven throughout the memoir are glimpses of her great love for dogs, her life as a writer/antique dealer and her sometimes questioning belief in serendipity.

I really enjoyed how Barbara laughs at herself, sees her own foibles and quickly points out the talents and gifts of other people. A dog lover, myself, I fell in love with the four-legged family of this book. When I got to the last chapter, I felt like my new best friend had just moved across the ocean.  I wanted to know more about this gregarious woman and her dogs. 

I highly recommend this book for everyone who believes the fun really starts after the first century of life. My thanks to Barbara for sharing her life in such an open and enjoyable memoir. 

Barbara Barth is an author, blogger, som…

Publishing an Anthology - Part One - A Guest Post

Today, I am delighted to have as our guest blogger, Barbara Barth, author, blogger, sometimes antique dealer, dog hoarder, bedazzled by life. 

Widowed eleven years ago, she writes about finding a creative path back to happiness. Her recent move to a 1906 historic cottage brought many surprises, including discovering the Monroe–Walton Center for the Arts where she started the monthly Walton Writers group and is on the MWCA Board as Literary Arts Chair. Barbara is a contributor to Walton Living Magazine and a former blogger for The Balancing Act, Lifetime Television’s morning show for women. Currently, she lives with six dogs, rescue dogs that rescued her. 

Barbara is sharing with us the ins and outs of publishing an anthology.


“Let’s publish an anthology!” The thought crossed my mind the minute I saw a premade cover for sale in late 2014. I was bored, the holidays were approaching, and the cover made me dream of possibilities. Since I know many writers and have started writing grou…

In Memorium

All Souls Day - Church Cemetery - Bangladesh - Wikimedia CC
The words "in memorium" often grace the cards they hand out at wakes in New England. When I was a child, we called them Holy Cards and collected them much like the way some people collect baseball cards. 
Collecting them served two purposes, although I am not sure any of us kids were really aware of them. First, having a cared that memorialized someone assured the family that this person would not be forgotten. Second, the cards often displayed classic religious paintings and poetry, both of which we ended up memorizing after so many times of staring at the cards.
One of my favorite pictures was that of a Guardian Angel guarding over two children as the crossed a rickety bridge of a swollen stream. This was a card from the funeral of a child who died of pneumonia before we had penicillin. 
Today is all Soul's Day - a day of remembrance - a day to offer a prayer or light a candle for those who have died this year and…

Papa's Shoes

What a pleasure it was to read my dear writing buddy, Madeline Sharples' new book, Papa's Shoes. I love novels that are historic, that tell realistic stories, that include dialogue that really makes the characters come alive and that leave you feeling like you just had a long visit with an old friend. Madeline does all of this in Papa's Shoes

Without giving the plot away, I can share that if you have never heard Yiddish spoken in context, this book will give you that treat. I grew up in the city surrounded by people of various cultures and backgrounds, so my vocabulary is international. What a delight to read words like tuchus, goy, and kvetch. I could hear the accent clearly in my head, which made the characters come alive.  I knew these people!

Madeline has a gift for dialogue, something many writers struggle with. However, the dialogue in this book feels real and rolls smoothly off the tongues of the characters. 

I highly recommend this book to everyone who loves a good …

Guest Post: Madeline Sharples - How I Reinvented Myself...

I am thrilled to welcome back a dear writing pal, Madeline Sharples to be a guest on my blog. Madeline has just released a wonderful work of fiction, Papa's Shoes, which I have had the honor to read.

Papa's Shoes is a wonderful story of immigration, feminism, families, and forgiveness. I have thoroughly enjoyed every page. 

I asked Madeline to share something about how she became a published author of a fictional novel. Here is her story.

How I reinvented myself  from a technical writer and editor to a creative writer –  and at my age.
I fell in love with poetry and creative writing in grade school. I studied journalism in high school and college and wrote for the high school newspaper. I graduated from UCLA with a degree in English and had no idea what I would do professionally with it. I had wanted to work as a journalist and actually completed all the course work for a degree in journalism at the University of Wisconsin. But family illness caused me to transfer to UCLA for m…

Contemplative Gardening

 - Oasis -  (c) 2019 Linda M. Rhinehart Neas
The rippling melody of water trickling into the pond immediately triggers a Pavlovian response. Cares and worries seem to melt off my shoulders. The birds sing harmony to the pond's fluid notes. 

The sun is bright, but still not hot as it has just peaked the green fringe of North Sugarloaf. I kneel before the garden, like a disciple before an altar. A zephyr gently moves the hair from my eyes, as a bend to clean winter's waste from around the verdant seedlings that are now appearing.

In this Sacred Space, my mind focuses on those I have promised to pray for over the past weeks. I picture each person like the tiny shoots sprouting before me, whole and full of life. I dig my hands deep into the mulch asking for forgiveness for the times I didn't want to get my hands dirty. I stake and secure stems too weak to stand against wind and rain as I offer prayers of gratitude for that which supports me and all those I love. 

As I rise from the…

Guest Post by L. Lee Kane

Today we welcome author, Linda Lee Kane to Words from the Heart to discuss ideas for creating heroes and villains. I hope you enjoy reading her thoughts and advise.

Heroes and Villains 
Most thrillers tell the story of a hero who leaves the comfortable, known world and ventures into the dangerous unknown, often at risk to his/her life, to bring benefit to humanity. As such, thrillers hearken back to myth is that span all cultures and epochs. Look at Wikipedia’s list of Heroes and World Cultures and Heroines in Folklore and mark those that appeal to you the most. Keep a list of ideas, and heroes in a notebook to refer to later. 

When creating motivations for heroes and villains, a fundamental principle to remember is that making a decision between good and evil is never really a choice. All humans will choose well as they see it. You must tell why your villain is picking his own right (which your reader will perceive as evil). This is where your moral gray area becomes essential. 

In the B…