16 05, 2022

How to Write An Online Book Review

By |2022-05-14T12:24:34-05:00May 16th, 2022|Make Me Think Monday|0 Comments

Book reports were my favorite thing when I was in school. First, because I got to read books, and second because I got to tell others about what I’d read.

Today I call my book reports reviews.

I’m constantly giving oral book reports in the form of “Have you read such and such?” and/or posting written reviews for the books I love on social media and at e-retailers where I’ve purchased the book.

As an author, I know how important reviews are for the authors. And, really, who doesn’t like to hear they’ve done a good job?

Plus, in the crazy world of online shopping, reviews help authors get recognized and ultimately can lead to sales.

Unsure how to write a review? It isn’t difficult.

A review doesn’t have to be lengthy or detailed like those book reports we did for school. There’s not going to be a grade. Even a sentence or two can convey your thoughts about a book.

“This story was well-told. I fell in love with the hero on the first page.”

“Always pleased with stories by this author.”

Reviews, also like book reports, also don’t have to be all glowing. You can say something like,

“So disappointed. Not up to her/his usual standard.”

“Predictable, but still a good read.”

Let me encourage you to post an online book review. It’s not hard. Here’s a HOW-TO using one of my books on Amazon.

STEP 1:

Sign in and Search for the book page on Amazon.

STEP 2:

Click on the stars or where it says ratings. 

STEP 3:

That will move you down the page to the reviews.

STEP #4:

Click on the box that says write a customer review. That will open the review writing page.

STEP #5

-Click the number of stars you’re giving and then fill in the blank boxes

-When you finish, click submit.

STEP #6

Wait for Amazon to send you an email that your review has been posted and check out your book report on the book’s sales page.

You can do it. Go make an author smile.

13 05, 2022

Favorite Sounds

By |2022-05-09T06:01:26-05:00May 13th, 2022|Friday on the Miller Farm, Miller Farm Friday|2 Comments

A Blog by Chicken Wrangler Sara


For years, one of my favorite sounds has been the rustling of pages as people at church open their Bibles to find the passage being used in the sermon. Nowadays, many people use digital media for the Bibles so there is no sound. In fact, some preachers have gone from saying “Open your Bibles” to “open your Bible app.”

I am not a fan. I still use a physical Bible and rustle the pages.

This morning Beekeeper Brian and I were working at our plot in the community garden, and I discovered a new favorite sound.

It is the sound of the wind blowing through the corn stalks. We have planted several rows of corn along with squash, beans, and peppers.

As I was pulling the weeds from around the peppers, I heard the most wonderful rustling. I stood up to see the corn gently swaying in the breeze. It was a very peaceful sound that made me smile.

I considered making a video of it but I’ve discovered videos never quite look or sound like the real thing. Instead, I took a selfie with the corn to remind me of the moment.

I will be back to work in the garden. Weeds are relentless. I just can’t be guaranteed the wind will be blowing.

Fortunately, I have the sound of the corn stalks rustling recorded in my head. I smile each time I think of it.

9 05, 2022

Mothers

By |2022-05-07T06:48:25-05:00May 9th, 2022|Holidays, Writer's Life|2 Comments

Biology is the least of what makes someone a mother. ~Oprah Winfrey


I totally agree with Oprah. Yesterday we honored women in our lives.

I’ve been blessed with some motherly women in my life starting with the little four-foot six-inch Irish immigrant Oma Julia. Oma because she married into a strong German family who settled in Texas.

Next came her daughter Helen, the one who birthed me. I have another brother who was born over a decade after this picture was made. Sadly, I couldn’t find a picture of all four of us with Mother. (Note to self: Take more pictures when the family is together.)

Then Rose, the Mom-in-love I inherited when I married her son.

And last, but never least, my Aunt Bick, my other mother who always said, “The stork just dropped you at the wrong house.”

These three ushered me into the ranks of motherhood. All of theirs crowned me a grandmother.

And now I’m a great-grandmother with number three great-grand due any day. All our family can’t get together for Mothers’ Day celebrations. My children and grandchildren are scattered across the country. My mothers are no longer with us.

But thinking about my mothers always brings a smile. I hope you smiled too.

2 05, 2022

In Search of the Leak

By |2022-05-02T06:29:16-05:00May 2nd, 2022|A Writer's Life, Writer's Life|1 Comment

There’s a leak in the water feature in our backyard. We know there is because the water in the pond drops when we turn on the fountain.

We have been trying to find the leak for weeks. It’s a perfect example of things life keeps tossing in my world to keep me from my writing.

We filled obvious cracks with a cement caulk. Then coated the entire bed of the creek that winds from the fountain by the garage to the retention pond at the edge of the back porch with a rubber product to seal it.

That task required removing all the rocks that weren’t cemented to the creek bed. The rubber then had to cure for a week before we could add water again. The poor birds were not happy to lose their bathing hole.

Once the rubber cured, we refilled the pond, but, alas, when we started the pump again, the water sank like bathwater down the drain. Clearly, there was still a hole somewhere.

The creek drops in elevation in sections. We isolate each section to test for the leak. That narrowed the search to one section and upon careful examination we found a hole going through the rubber coating and the cement structure below to dirt.

We plugged the hole, filled the pond, and started the pump again. Our backyard birds were ecstatic.

The plan was to add more black rubber over the white patch once we knew we’d fix the problem. But sadly, the pond level sank again when filled.

Only about a quarter inch this time. But still not good.

After more scrutiny, we discovered tiny cracks in the fountain structure and water seeping out around the bottom edges.

That song from Girl Scout campouts, “There’s a Hole in the Bucket,” ran through my head as we were working. Have a listen if you’ve never heard it. Warning: You’ll be humming it all day.

I remember the last verse we sang at camp differently. We passed a bucket around as we sang and after the last verse, the one holding the bucket stuck it on their head.

We’ll be using our heads, but not like in the camp song. We’ve called the stonemason who built the pond. He’s coming to isolate the fountain leaks and fix them.

29 04, 2022

Egg Hunt

By |2022-04-30T16:25:37-05:00April 29th, 2022|Friday on the Miller Farm, Miller Farm Friday|0 Comments

A Blog by Chicken Wrangler Sara


The chicks I brought home from school last semester have started to lay.  I can tell by the smaller size of the eggs.

I can also tell by where they are laying.

Yesterday Beekeeper Brian found some eggs in an abandoned coop that is just outside the chicken yard.  It serves as a hiding place for chickens who find themselves on the wrong side of the fence and need to escape the dogs. I guess they feel more comfortable laying away from all the big hens.  It just means we get to have an egg hunt regularly.

25 04, 2022

And Then There Was No Internet

By |2022-04-25T12:11:03-05:00April 25th, 2022|A Writer's Life, Make Me Think Monday, Writer's Life|4 Comments

Our internet provider had a major outage recently. No warning. No explanation.

I suspect one of the construction crews accidentally cut a fiber-optic cable. We have lots of roadwork and new home construction going on around us. The city is encroaching on our quiet little community.

No power, we’re used to that but having power without internet—that was weird.

To make things worse, we switched to streaming from the same provider so we had no Netflix or Amazon Prime. No series to binge after dinner. We found ourselves thrust back to pre-internet days.

All was not lost though.

I had never tossed our DVD/VCR player or favorite DVDs and VHS tapes in any of my downsize purge frenzies.

We had options.

We spent a very enjoyable evening watching one of our favorite DVD movies from 2001, Moulin Rouge starring Nicole Kidman and Ewan McGregor.

Watching their love story made me want to write a romance novel titled “Come What May.”

After the movie, we headed to bed to read. Normally we say, “One more episode. It’s not too late.” and end up staying up too late to read.

Not a bad day overall.

One day without internet was a nice break, but no internet at all? No thank you.

22 04, 2022

New Pan of Awesomeness

By |2022-04-22T05:51:56-05:00April 22nd, 2022|Friday on the Miller Farm, Miller Farm Friday|0 Comments

A Blog by Chicken Wrangler Sara


Our church meets in homes on Wednesday evenings. We eat dinner together and review Sunday’s sermon. At one time, I regularly brought our contribution to the meal in a particular 9×13 pan.

It became known as the “silver pan of awesomeness” because whatever I brought in it was loved by all.

I have had the pan for so long that I can’t remember where I got it. It is old enough to have pinholes appear in the bottom so I must line it with aluminum foil to prevent the contents from dripping out the holes.

I didn’t mind doing this for a long while. After all, it was the “silver pan of awesomeness!”

At a recent Pampered Chef party I hosted, I received enough hostess reward points to replace my silver pan. I had to think about it long and hard but I finally chose a new pan.

I made Chocolate Bit Bars in the new pan and they were awesome. I can officially call this the “turquoise pan of awesomeness.”

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