Thanksgiving Thank You from Helping Hands Press

Thank You

This is a guest post from Helping Hands Press

Thank You!

We can’t say it any more plainly.

As each day grows closer to those times of the year that makes one pause and reflect on what they are thankful for and what their year was like, we cannot help but come back to the one place any Author or Publisher needs to think of and consider with each and every word-YOUour readers and supporters.

We count on you each and every “Thirsty Thursday” Facebook Party for your feedback, every review you give, every email and direct message you send the Authors in our Community. Without your guidance and support we know that we would cease to exist. “THANK YOU!”

As a small token of our appreciation we are going to try to do a few fun things for you over the next 4 weeks.

We are going to offer all of the paperbacks, audio books and ebooks in the Helping Hands Press Store at 30% off from Nov. 20 to Dec.18th. All you need to do is use the code word “THANKYOU” when you check out to receive the discount.

We are also starting a contest that will run the same length of time. There will be a Rafflecopter located on the Helping Hands Press blog that will have all the details. There are a lot of prizes:

Grand Prize -Kindle Fire HD6

Second Prize– 12 paperbacks-Full list is below

Third Prize-6 paperbacks-Full List below

Fourth prize-6 audio books-Full List below

Fifth Prize-audio book of choice

We hope that you have fun, enjoy the contest, and most of all know that all of us here at Helping Hands Press are very thankful for your support each and every day!

THANK YOU!

01 A a AKindle Fire Promo

Second Prize-12 paperbacks: Declaration of Independence Series I, Colony Zero Complete Series I, The San Francisco Wedding Planner Series I, ’Tis The Season in Sweetland Complete, No Revolution Is Too Big Complete Series, Marsha Hubler’s Heart-Warming Christmas Stories Complete Series, No Matter What, Uplifting Devotionals Book I, 12Days of Christmas Complete Series, The Ambassadors, Preacher Man Volume I, Legacy of Grandpa’s Grapevine

Third Prize-6 paperbacks:Dark Enough To See The Stars, The Blizzard, The Christmas Wish, Mother Can You Hear Me?, Homeschool Co-ops 101, God,Me and a Cup of Tea

 


Fading Photographs: National Alzheimer’s Awareness and Family Caregiver’s Month Blog Tour

My dad was diagnosed with dementia about five years ago. Since my dad’s father had dementia, I understood some of the grief families experience. However, just because I mentally grasp what’s happening doesn’t mean it’s any easier to deal with the grief.

104-year-old Batswana woman. Photo taken by Rex Beam
104-year-old Batswana woman. Photo taken by Rex Beam
Making millet into flour. Photo by Rex Beam.
Making millet into flour. Photo by Rex Beam.

I have many happy memories of times with my dad. Ever since I can remember, he and I have had a close relationship. He was the one I ran to for comfort when my little-girl heart was breaking. We spent hours together in the darkroom, one of his favorite haunts since he was an avid photographer. Dad showed me the exact combination of chemicals required to develop each picture. I watched as each piece of photographic paper was immersed into  chemicals and different shades of black and white magically formed to create a unique image.  One time, he even used the bathtub to develop an enlargement of a beautiful African sunset. My dad worked as a printer, but photography made him come alive.

I spent my early years in South Africa and Botswana, where my parents served as missionaries. As I remember, my dad made sure to keep his camera close at hand, capturing  and documenting our activities. Our family had the privilege of participating in many adventures most people in North America know nothing about — touring diamond mines and watching huge truckloads of dirt and rocks being transformed into handfuls of precious stones, observing craftsmen transform chunks of mahogany wood into candlesticks and other beautiful curios, spending holidays camping in game reserves, seeing African animals in their natural habitats, and gazing in awe at the magnificent thundering Victoria Falls. My dad still has a small treasure trove of black and white photographs he captured one at a time on rolls of Kodak film.

When my dad was first diagnosed, I didn’t see much evidence of the dementia. He forgot things occasionally and seemed confused a little more often than usual. However, he still played tennis, enjoyed going for walks, sang in his church choir, served on the church board, and actively participated in groups. He also enjoyed spending time with his grandchildren and playing games with them. He continued to capture memories in picture form, but he had graduated to a digital camera and his own photo printer.

As months passed, I started noticing changes — withdrawal from conversations and a lack of interest in activities he used to enjoy, like choir and Bible study. Some changes were so gradual that I didn’t even notice until many months had passed. A year ago my mom asked me to come and help pack so that my parents could move into a senior’s facility. The changes in my dad became clear to me as I spent several days with my parents. Dad sat in his favorite rocking chair and watched as my mom and I worked around him. He seemed detached from the situation, almost like he was watching from a distance instead of being directly involved in the move. He did what he was asked to do, but he didn’t take the initiative to do anything he wasn’t asked to do. In the evenings, he sat and watched TV, refusing to play board games with my mom and me. Mom said, “Dad no longer uses his computer. He still takes pictures, but he doesn’t remember how to download them.”

I said, “I can transfer the images from the memory card to a computer.” I was shocked by how many images were fuzzy. Inside I wept. My dad is just a shell of the person I once knew.

The next day I helped my mom sort through items my parents brought back from Africa years ago. Dad was in his rocking chair, seemingly oblivious to the goings on. As I sorted, I came across several large black plastic envelopes, which I knew contained my dad’s pictures. I picked up one envelope and slid the pictures out. Memories came flooding back. As I flipped through the pictures, I became aware that my dad was standing beside me. Soon he started talking to me and reminiscing about events depicted in the images I held in my hands. The pictures were like a doorway to the dad I knew before dementia robbed him from me. We both enjoyed our trip into the past. I watched in wonder as the hazy look I had grudgingly accepted as normal disappeared from my dad’s eyes. We talked about our trips to game reserves and his eyes danced with delight. I smiled as I remembered the way he used to demand we all sit absolutely still in our Volkswagen van while the shutter on his camera clicked. It seemed a pittance to pay for the treasured pictures, which now reunited us for a few short hours.

Carving a candlestick. Photo taken by Rex Beam
Carving a candlestick. Photo taken by Rex Beam

I know there will be difficult days ahead. At present, Dad’s eyes still light up when I walk into the room. I know some day this will no longer be true. My dad’s decline has reminded me that I need to treasure each day, each moment. I have also been challenged to count my blessings, to savor the good memories I have, to connect with Dad on his good days, and love him no matter what. Dad may not sing in a choir any more, but he told me this summer he’s looking forward to singing in Heaven. We share a hope no person or illness can rob us of — spending eternity together with Jesus Christ in Heaven where there will be no more tears.

 

Caregiver's month

Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness and Caregivers Month Blog Tour

President Ronald Reagan designated November as National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month in 1983. At the time, fewer than 2 million Americans had Alzheimer’s; today, the number of people with the disease has soared to nearly 5.4 million (Alzheimer’s Association, 2014). The Author Community of Helping Hands Press is getting involved this month, and hopes to help raise awareness for Alzheimer’s disease.

Staring Nov. 3rd, with Anne Baxter Campbell’s blog post and Sue Badeau’s appearance on blogtalk radio, and finishing on Nov. 25th with Mark Venturini’s blog post, many of the authors in the Helping Hands Press Community will be sharing their personal stories.

Who are the authors, their blogs and what days?

Check them out! Here is the list:


5 Minute Friday: Leave

Alzheimer’s/Caregivers Blog Tour, & 5 Minute Friday

Caregiver's month

President Ronald Reagan designated November as National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month in 1983. At the time, fewer than 2 million Americans had Alzheimer’s; today, the number of people with the disease has soared to nearly 5.4 million (Alzheimer’s Association, 2014). The Author Community of Helping Hands Press is getting involved in November, and hopes to help raise awareness for Alzheimer’s disease.

Starting Nov. 3rd, with Anne Baxter Campbell’s blog post and Sue Badeau’s appearance on blogtalk radio, and finishing on Nov. 25th with Mark Venturini’s blog post, many of the authors in the Helping Hands Press Community will be sharing their personal stories.

Take time to tour the blogs and increase your awareness.

Here is the list:

Nov.3rd-Anne Baxter Campbell- http://pewperspective.blogspot.com/

Nov.4th –Doris Gaines Rapp- http://dorisgainesrapp.blogspot.com/

Nov.5th-Marcia Lee Laycock- http://marcialeelaycock.com/thespur/

Nov. 6th –Ruth L. Snyder- http://ruthlsnyder.com/

Nov. 7th –Sheila Seiler Lagrand- http://sheilalagrand.com/

Nov. 8th –Giovanni Gelati- http://gelatisscoop.blogspot.com/

Nov. 10th –Cindy Noonan- http://www.cindynoonan.com/

Nov. 11th-Sue Badeau- http://suebadeau.webs.com/apps/blog/

Nov. 12th-Peggy Blann Phifer- http://www.whispersinpurple.com/

Nov. 13th-Sandy Sieber- http://pahistorybooks.blogspot.com/

Nov. 13th– Joy Ross Davis- http://joyrossdavis.com/blog/

Nov.14th –Karen Gass- http://www.cottonspice.net/

Nov. 17th –Patti J. Smith- http://gridirongrannyfootballfanatic.blogspot.com/

Nov. 18th-Tracy Krauss- http://www.tracykraussexpressionexpress.com/

Nov.19th –Melanie M. Jeschke- http://melaniejeschke.blogspot.com/

Nov. 20th-Richard L. Allen – http://www.christianwritergroup.com

Nov.21st– Andrea J. Graham- http://www.christsglory.com/

5 Minute Friday

5 Minute Friday: Leave

Leave is a word that has negative connotations for me. I spent the early years of my life as a missionary kid – my parents were missionaries in southern Africa until I was 11. To be a missionary family, you LEAVE many things and people you love to serve God. I came to hate the word, “Goodbye,” because that meant that we were LEAVING again. Leaving friends, leaving familiar places, leaving things I enjoyed.

Now that I’m older, I realize that leaving doesn’t have to be negative. Sometimes we NEED to LEAVE things behind – bad habits, sin, choices that aren’t the best. When we are willing to leave these things behind, it frees us to be the person we should be.

I’m grateful for God’s patience. (And now it’s time for me to leave this exercise, because the timer’s ringing!)

5 Minute Friday is a weekly challenge for bloggers to write for (you guessed it) 5 minutes on a given word. No editing. No deleting (it’s HARD!). If you would like to join me and other amazing 5 minute free writing friends, please visit Kate’s blog and linkup!


Wedding Planner 2 Paperback

New paperback, book signing, & writers’ conference – all in one week!

Wedding Planner 2 Paperback

Yes, you read the title correctly! The paperback copies of The San Francisco Wedding Planner Complete Series II arrived yesterday. I’m excited to share them with you, my readers. As usual, they are available from Amazon.com (U.S.) or can be ordered directly from me. (I’ll have them up in my store next week.)

Fig Tree Book Signing

On Thursday afternoon I will join 5 other members of InScribe Christian Writers’ Fellowship for a book signing at The Fig Tree bookstore in West Edmonton Mall. The address is Suite 1919, Phase I, West Edmonton Mall, 8882 170 St NW, Edmonton, AB T5T 3J7. We will be there from 1:00-4:00 p.m. and will be giving away a book every half hour. Come join the fun!

 

Although the first two events are very exciting, I’m most looking forward to our InScribe Christian Writers’ Fellowship Fall Conference 2014 taking place on Friday and Saturday, September 26 and 27th. There’s nothing like the fellowship, networking, and inspiration I enjoy when I spend time with fellow writers who love Jesus Christ. I will be teaching a workshop on blogging this year. Perhaps in one of my future posts I will be able to share what I taught and learned (I usually end up learning more than I teach during workshops).

What are you up to this week? Anything you’d like to share?

 


On my writing “To do” list

 

Ford Quote

As my children head back to school, I’m taking stock of my own “To do” lists. Here’s what I have on my list so far:

  1. Get my children successfully started in school.
  2. Start my Music for Young Children classes. I’m still putting my schedule together for the fall, so if you want to register your child, contact me as soon as possible. I’ll be offering some classes through the Bonnyville and St. Paul Parent Link Centres as well as teaching at home.
  3. Writing

On my writing “To do” list:

  1. Write consistently for my blog. I’m still aiming for 3 times a week: Monday – writing related posts, Wednesday – what I’m learning in my walk with God, Friday – healthy eating/fitness posts.
  2. Submit monthly to 3 sites: Helping Hands Press (published on the 11th), A Beautiful Life (my first post will be published on Wednesday, August 27th), InScribe Writers Online (published on the 29th)
  3. Organize my thoughts and notes for a workshop on blogging I’m presenting at the InScribe Christian Writers’ Fellowship Fall Conference on Friday, September 26th.
  4. Finish Olga’s story – I’m over 40,000 words into my novel, but need to get it finished, edited, and off to the publisher.
  5. Put together 10 devotionals for a new Uplifting Devotionals series. I’m excited to be working with four other Canadians on this project. Once the contracts are signed I’ll give you some details. This is scheduled to be released by the end of October.
  6. Write my story for the San Francisco Wedding Planner Series (Number 3). You can purchase any of the stories in series 1 or 2 from Amazon. Series 3 stories will be released bi-weekly, starting on September 4th. My story will be released on November 20th, and the complete series 3 bundle will be released on November 27th.
  7. Write a Christmas story for a Christmas bundle. Again, I’ll be collaborating with four other Canadians.
  8. Twitter manual for writers – This project is in the middle of being revised and edited. I’m planning to have it published early in the new year.

What’s on your “To do” list? Let’s cheer each other on!


It’s Here! The San Francisco Wedding Planner Series 2 Complete

Life Lessons Cover SFWP2

Life couldn’t be better. Heather dreamed of being a nurse for years, a goal that motivated her through years of study. Now she’s a dedicated obstetrics nurse, dating the most eligible bachelor at Northwest. Heather is enjoying making new friends, learning new skills, and building her career. She’s also enjoying spending time with Jonathan. Her relationship with her mother is better than it’s been for years, although Christmas is a bit awkward. Heather’s dream world suddenly turns into a nightmare when she’s instructed to do something that goes against everything she believes. Will she remain true to her morals? Or will she sacrifice everything she thinks she believes to keep her dreams intact?

The San Francisco Wedding Planner Complete Series II CoverThe author team of “The San Francisco Wedding Planner”, Jen Cudmore, Ruth L. Snyder, Patti J. Smith, Sheila Seiler Lagrand, and Mishael Austin Witty, thought it would be fun to highlight the main characters from the series and tell a little piece of their backstory.
Each story in Series II focuses on a different character: Bryan Tate, MD, Gloria, Indigo, Skye, and Heather.
The time frames of each story vary from the day, the week, the month before we meet the characters in “Volume 1- The Initial Consultation”.
Sit back, relax, have some fun, and get to know the cast and crew of “The San Francisco Wedding Planner” series a little bit better.
If you want to know more about the authors in the series please visit them at: bit.ly/1qt7aXz

Available from Amazon.ca or Amazon.com


Shadows and Sunshine cover

What does a wedding planner do?

Shadows and Sunshine cover

Last week my story, Shadows and Sunshine (Volume 6 of the San Francisco Wedding Planner series 1) launched. It is currently available for Kindle on Amazon.ca and Amazon.com. Later this month the whole series will be available as a single Kindle or paperback book.

Have you ever wondered what wedding planners actually do? Here’s an overview:

Initial Consultation

  • Discussion about what type of event the client wants (wedding only, rehearsal dinner and wedding, wedding and gift opening, etc.)
  • Clarification of expectations (Defining what the client is doing and what the wedding planner is expected to provide)
  • Presentation of available packages and pricing (e.g. Full Service Planning vs. Day of Coordination)
  • Walking client through signing the contract and paying a deposit

Full Service Planning

Before the wedding:

  • Set a budget for the wedding
  • Research and obtain venue(s)
  • Share information about current trends for weddings and events
  • Create and review photographer/videographer contract(s)
  • Create and review florist contract
  • Create and review catering contract
  • Review and select menu(s)
  • Prepare  and/or deliver wedding invitations
  • Give advice on attire, flowers, cake and other details
  • Design table, lighting, and other visual details
  • Coordinate vendor arrivals and deliveries
  • Prepare a detailed timeline of the wedding day for all those involved
  • Remind bride, groom, and other participants of obligations, appointments, etc.

On the wedding day:

  • Act as liaison between the bride and groom and everyone else involved
  • Distribute flowers
  • Make sure everyone is where they need to be at the right time
  • Arrange for efficient seating of guests
  • Deal with any emergencies which arise (including wedding crashers)
  • Ensure music is cued
  • Facilitate a smooth transition from the wedding venue to the reception venue
  • Oversee reception details
  • Ensure the bride and groom’s personal property is taken care of after the reception
  • Oversee the return of rentals and borrowed items
  • Arrange for wedding gifts to be delivered to the appropriate location
  • Ensure venues are left clean so that clients receive deposits back
  • Other details as required

Note: If a client chooses to hire a wedding planner only for wedding day coordination, your job will be to ensure the “before the wedding” details are in place and then provide the services listed under “on the wedding day.”

Interested in becoming a wedding planner?  Check out the following resources:

Wedding Planner’s Handbook: A step-by-step guide to becoming a wedding planner.

Certified Wedding Specialist Course

Certified Wedding Planner Course

Wedding and Event Planning

Note: This post was added to the StoryDam Blog Hop. If you’d like to participate, add your post using the link in the far right column.


My Writing Process – Blog Tour

Blog hop for writers

Thanks to Bruce Atchison http://bruceatchison.blogspot.ca/ for inviting me to participate in this blog tour.

What am I working on?

I have several projects on the go right now:

  • The San Francisco Wedding Planner Series with Helping Hands Press. For this project I’m working with 5 other authors on a light romance. Several of the volumes in this series have been released already. My volume will be releasing in July on Amazon. I recently posted about Life Lessons, which is the backstory for Heather Donovan, the main character in the series.
  • Olga’s Discoverya full-length historical fiction novel. I’m working at having the whole novel written by the end of August this year.

    Twenty-two-year-old Olga Tymchuk, a newly graduated teacher, eagerly anticipates marrying her fiancee, Viktor, in July 1959. However, before they marry, Olga is committed to teaching for a year in Gillmore, Alberta as a requirement for the bursary she received in university. Viktor and Olga are separated when Viktor accepts a challenging job as a scientific researcher for the National Research Council in Ontario.

    Olga is enjoying a challenging first year of teaching when Viktor is injured in a chemical accident. He seems to be recovering well, but then Olga receives a telegram that will change her life forever. Olga is drawn into a search for the truth, which forces her to deal with uncooperative hospital officials, death threats, and a sudden disappearance.

  • Twitter Tips & Tricks for Writers – I’m looking for beta readers for my first draft of this book. If you’re interested, send me an e-mail at sun dot beam3 at Yahoo dot com.

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

My light romance provides an enjoyable story that makes you stop and think. Because I’m tackling the project with 5 other writers and we’re using a single plot, there are a lot of interesting twists and turns in the plot. I’ve been told my stories are intense. Olga’s Discovery is set in Canada and gives a glimpse into rural Alberta farm life as well as Ukrainian culture. Twitter Tips & Tricks for Writers is divided into three sections, for writers who are beginners, intermediate, and advanced on Twitter.

Why do I write what I do?

  • I enjoy stories.
  • Stories are powerful – Ted Dekker says, “Story is the shortest distance between a human being and the truth.”
  • I am called to write

How does your writing process work?

Every project I work on starts with an idea. The idea can come to me through something I see, hear, or experience. Sometimes the idea comes in the form of a picture, or a character, or a lesson I’ve learned. Once I have an idea that keeps trying to get my attention, I brainstorm where I want to go with the idea. For fiction this usually includes the starting point, the main characters, some high points in the story, and where I want to end up. Then I’ll sketch out a plot summary in very general terms.  For non-fiction, I’ll jot down a basic outline of what I want to include in my book. Once this is done, I do some preliminary research and start writing. Sometimes I have to revise my plan as I write.

In terms of getting the writing done, I make sure I get up at 5:10 on weekday mornings so that I can spend time reading my Bible and praying, catching up briefly on my e-mail, and then writing for a half hour before my family gets up for the day. I also schedule specific days and hours for writing.

Next Monday (June 30) check out the following authors and their blog posts about writing process:

Marianne JonesMarianne Jones

Marianne was named International Poet Laureate by Utmost Christian Writers. She is the author of “Here, on the Ground”, a collection of poetry, “The Land of Mogan”, a Christian fantasy-allegory for young readers, “Great-Grandma’s Gifts”, a picture book, and the soon-to-be-released, “The Serenity Stone Murder”. To read her blog, see https://www.mariannejones.ca.

 

 

Sharon HooverSharon Hoover

Sharon R Hoover writes devotional and inspirational works for all who are exploring and growing in the journey of faith. Her passions for education and global issues led her from being a high school teacher to a middle east analyst and then to serving in the church. Through writing and speaking, she encourages women as they seek God in life, in play, in family, and in work. Sharon’s first book, Soul Motive to Pray, is a personal retreat workbook to encourage deeper conversations with the Lord. She enjoys connecting with local and global outreach partners as Director of Missions in her local church. Connect with Sharon through her blog and twitter. New discipleship site, Soul Motive, will be available soon!

 

Stephanie NickelSteph Beth Nickel

Steph Beth Nickel co-authored former Paralympian Deborah L. Willows’ memoir, Living Beyond My Circumstances. Steph is eclectically-interested and you can read more on her website and her blog.