Tuesday, March 20, 2012

misty woods

You may notice a vast change here on my blog/site if you're one of my regular readers. For some time I've been admiring your blogs, dreaming of a new look, as many of you are so creative that way and make changes so often.

Thanks to my dear friend and artist, Laurie Justus Pace, I have a new design! Laurie's generous spirit shines through everything she does. She has a beautiful website and blog of her own, filled with her paintings, her life as an artist, and her passion for Christ. Here is a photo of Laurie and a little painter which embodies her servant's heart and spirit.

The misty woods you see in the new blog background are the very ones surrounding me. The photo was taken by photographer friend/fellow church member, Roger Mosley. He climbed up the mountain in back of our house and snapped this photo not long ago, kindly giving his permission to share it here. Our house is in the photo only you can't see it for the mist.

The woman at the far left corner is yours truly:) After being unable to find a workable image, I braided my hair and donned an 18th-century shift and sat down at my writing desk. Paul took the picture as only a 12 year old photographer can do! Thankfully, Laurie was able to use it. It's nice to have pages now and a more user-friendly approach. Several things I could never figure out are now in place. Thank you, Laurie, from the bottom of my cyber-unsavvy heart!!

If you have a blog, I'd love to hear if you enjoy blogging and which features you like best on your blog. Also, what sort of blog posts would you like to see here in future? More on writing? Continue the devotional posts? More on personal things like knitting and family or recipes? Anything goes! 

Bless you bunches!

63 comments:

  1. Beautiful! What lovely inspiration for your writing. I enjoy your blog no matter what you post! :)

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    1. Anne, I feel the same way about your blog! Kindred spirits, indeed:) Thank you so much!

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  2. Beautiful design! And that picture is you, taken by your 12 year old? Brilliant!! I love it all.

    As for content - I'd love more on writing, personally. It is helpful hearing about the business and craft of writing from successful authors :) Personal things and devotional posts are good too - but what you can really offer is insight and helpful tips - I'd focus on that with the other bits peppered in for flavor. :) That's my two cents, anyway.

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    1. Heidi, Oh, love your enthusiasm - you bless me!! Paul says to thank you for the photo thumbs up:) I would be happy to post more about writing if you'd like that. I always wonder if readers get tired of that sort of thing. And please feel free to ask me about it anytime here, even if it doesn't directly relate to a post. As you can tell, it's just about my favorite thing! I so appreciate your 2 cents!!

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    2. Laura, first let me say that the moment your site opened on my computer my heart sped up! It is beautiful and it feels like your books feel to me - it looks alive and alluring! It was such a nice surprise. :)

      I saw this comment (above) and I saw the one from Keli Gwyn (by the way, I first learned about Keli from one of your blog posts and I have been following her ever since!) and it made me think: you've said that Keli is one of your critique partners. How did you find critique partners? Did you find them before or after you were published?

      Thank you for making yourself available and thank you, thank you for taking the time to reply to all the comments you receive! I am impressed and blessed by it. :)

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    3. Gabrielle, Oh, your comment disappeared on me and now I see it! So love that your heart sped up when you first saw this:)! Love at first look! Bless you for that. And it's good to hear that the pic and format dovetail with my books. That's a gift if it does. I feel so blessed.

      Oh, so happy you've discovered Keli! She's just a wonderfully kind, caring, genuine friend who does so much for writers and readers - probably one of the resons you like her!

      Keli would be a great critique partner. Can't remember who she is with. I did have a critique partner for The Colonel's Lady and Love's Reckoning but didn't have one for my first 2 books. My critter for those 2 was Lori Benton who isn't published yet but writes 18th-c. fiction. She's a wonderful writer and I hope to see one of her books in print.

      That's such a good question about how to find a critter. Most people find them through writers groups or loops like American Christian Fiction Writers. Lori had read my first book and contacted me afterwards so our friendship grew from there.

      You're so thoughtful to say that about comments. It really is a joy to take time with everyone who comes by here. When I think of the friendships I've made simply by blogging I'm so thankful and humbled! And you're one of them:)

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    4. I started thinking about it, and I think that Keli critiques for Jody Hedlund (can't keep these blogs straight!). I have a friend from wayyyyy back who was part of my homeschool co-op growing up who writes (unpublished), but she has been studying the craft for quite some time. She just critiqued my first chapter and had some great insight and comments, but her genre is science fiction and she struggles with my inspirational romance... I am looking forward to joining ACFW soon and connecting with someone there. Thanks for answering my question!

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    5. That's neat that you found someone from your co-op but I'm sure that's quite a leap from Sci-fi to romance! Actually, I know of 2 people who became critique partners after meeting on this blog so the possibilities are endless as far as finding one. An important thing to remember is to find someone in your genre (which you've already figured out) and also to find someone who writes at your skill level. That's the tricky part. Otherwise you feel like you're having to teach them the craft rather than just critique their work. CP's are really invaluable if you get a good match. Some authors have several and some have one or none! I pray you find a good match - am so happy you're writing!

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  3. I was so curious about the woman in the corner! Thank you for telling us all! How wonderful for you do to that- I love the creativity coming from you on here, Laura. I suspected the trees where ones which grew around you. You HAVE to have this type of inspiration in your environment to write what you do!!!! Tell Paul he did a fantastic job photographing you. What a cool thing for him to do, and now see, on your blog! :)

    I began blogging over five years ago. I have gone through stages, much like many I know, of ceasing for a few months and of blogging up a storm certain seasons. The reason I began a blog was to explore my own writing as well as to focus on a journal of my family through photographs and quips of life, etc. Blogging has opened up so much for me- friends from different walks of life, creative outlets, personal growth..I could keep going. I like it when blogs are "simpler" and yours fits that description in my mind. Many seem to have lots of advertisements, and a whole bunch of "stuff." To pull me in, it needs to "flow." I do love lists of links or lists of books on the side. I love good, solid photography. About what you blog and the future of what is in store for your readers- I think you need to do what the Lord leads you to write. I have no suggestions! HA! I love anything you post...it's all good! (And, thanks so much, btw, for your sweet comment on Ella's bloggity blog! She was soooo excited!!!!!!!) ~AMY

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    1. Sweet Pea, My mom told me she thought it was Lael up there in the corner;) I didn't mind at all! Love that you think the misty woods lends itself to my books. That gives me a new appreciation for them, keeping me in thankful mode!

      I love reading about your blogging journey. I do think we go through blog seasons where we feel fresh and inspired and it shows. And it is wonderful to connect this way - I think it's the best kind of social networking!! Especially since I don't like much social networking in other forms like Twitter, etc. Glad you think of this as simpler and seamless. That's what I'm hoping for as far as a visual. Bless you for your comments. I feel rested and refreshed when I visit you, Amy. Blogs can be that for us, thankfully.

      And I can't tell you how thrilled I am that Ella is blogging - love that you call it a bloggity blog;) I thought she'd probably think, "Who is this strange woman commenting about my horsey post?!" But it's neat she got excited! I got excited thinking how neat it is for a child to have a creative outlet like that with her mom's support. Creative parent, creative child!!

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  4. Oh Laura I LOVE IT! Beautiful design!

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    1. Ruth, Your opinion always counts, my friend. Love that you love it! Love you!

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  5. I think you should add a page to this blog. This front page for your musings and writings in general and your reviews of books and one with slight glimpse to your family and friends celebrating your faith in works..limited of course, but you are such a blessing to so many people. If you do decide to do that... it should be a second blog that is linked in so it stands alone in blog searches. Not hard to do to add directly to this one and still be a strong stand alone. Thank you for your love and consistency in our lives.

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    1. Laurie, You have such good ideas - and I am taking notes! I did add a sequel page, something that was long overdue as I have had questions about that for almost 3 years now. Love your time and care here. And your gracious words. They mean so much. You've blessed me so abundantly here!!

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  6. Love your new design, Laura! Your friend did a great job incorporating both pictures cohesively, and I like the grey and blue tint as well. It sets a very haunting mood, in a good way. :) I can't believe the outdoor picture is from right near your home-what a lovely view to see everyday! And the shot of you writing is a neat touch also-all together beautiful.

    The pages you've added are great for categorizing various subjects separately. I find I like having those on my blog, as it makes for easier browsing. As for posts, I always enjoy reading whatever you post, so guess I'm not much help on that end. :) I do like when people share personal stories, favorite recipes, family antecdotes, etc. and also think the whole writing process is very intriguing. So, would love to hear whatever you'd like to share on those subjects! I do like the devo posts too-they've blessed me a lot! You seem to dig up some great passages that resonate with me and make me think...love that. :)

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    1. Christina, I think it's haunting, too, in a good way:) Thanks so much for your comments! It's always hard making a change for me, even good ones as I tend to cling to the old. YOUR blog helped me see that pages were possible and helpful. I especially like your recipe posts - they make me want to do more of that sort of thing here since I love to cook. But I just like your blog period. Probably because it's a reflection of you!

      I so appreciate that those devo posts resonate and make you think. They do me, too. Love that you find the writing process intriguing. As much as I do it, it's still a mystery to me, too. That would make a good post!

      Thanks for making my evening.

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  7. I love the new look, Laura. Your friend Laurie did an awesome job.

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    1. I'm so thankful for Laurie, Keli. The Lord sure brings people into our lives to bless us. You're one of them.

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  8. It's beautiful, Laura, and fits the spirit of your work perfectly!

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    1. I thought you might like these woods, Brenda, considering you live in some yourself:) Thanks for the thumbs up and saying it fits the spirit of my work. JOY!

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  9. Ah! I love it! Makes me think of that opening scene over Last of the Mohicans. That and the very last scene too. Sooo pretty. Fits the mood of your books. Love it!

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    1. Oh, Casey, you know the "M" word melts my heart!! In fact, one of my friends and fellow authors was watching that today. AGAIN;) So glad you think it fits the mood of my books. Can't hear that enough. Bless you so much!!

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  10. Beautiful! What wonderful changes you made on your site, Laura. For me it visualizes the quality of your writing that I love best--how it sweeps me away.

    What I love best about blogging is that it connects me with so many like-minded women, ones who love the Lord and love sharing their lives. I enjoy reading all kinds of posts. What I really like is if the person highlights new posts on Facebook. That way I don't have to hop around to all the blogs. I just see that so-and-so shared a link in my Facebook news feed and I can click on it. So simple!

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    1. Really appreciate your thoughts and insights about blogging, Renee, as I consider you a master blogger! I need to remember the Facebook link - I used to do that and it does help tremendously staying connected and creating an easy way of doing that. Bless you for the reminder! And thanks for the "sweeping away" comment. Another blessing! I'm so thankful our love of fiction has brought us together!

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  11. I love the new look, Laura!!! It's just perfect for you. BTW, it looks good on a mobile device too. I first saw it this afternoon while I was surfing the web on my kindle fire. :)

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    1. Michelle, Very glad you mentioned the mobile devices. As hard as it was to lose my widescreen look, I found out my old format didn't work for those which made this redo more attractive. I'm very happy you like the look - on your Kindle Fire, no less:) YOur thoughts mean so much!!

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  12. Wow, this just blows me away. Breathtaking! I love how it compliments your writing voice and draws me into your story world. I can almost see Roxanna and McLinn riding away in that mist. As for features, when I visit a blog I like to see a blog archive, a search option, popular posts, books written -- all which you already have. It looks GREAT. I especially enjoy your devotionals and writing posts, but I also love to hear about what is going on in your life. So don't change much. :-)

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    1. Gwen, You're my night owl:) Only nine o'clock here but I feel like one, too! Your comments are treasured. Love the riding away in the mist thought:) Oh how romantic! Red Shirt and Morrow must be in there too, somewhere, and that rascal, Captain Jack! I'm encouraged to keep going, thanks to your input. I wish I had the energy for 2 or more great blogs like yours. And the courage to share my stories like you are. You'll be a wonderful published author as you have leaped over that hurdle of sharing your heart through your work with the world ahead of time! I so hope we can meet up in Texas if I can get there!!

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  13. Lovely and dreamy and peaceful and haunting and just a little wild. Perfect! And I suspected that was you all blond and braided. :) I'm STILL waiting on my stays and shift, and keep meaning to write and ask How Long, O Seamstress!

    I confess I've been in a bit of a slump with blogging the past month or so. I still enjoy it when I have a good idea, but coming up with content that isn't a retread of so many other blogs isn't easy.

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    1. Lori, I was so anxious to get your opinion and know your thoughts. Thanks so much for them. Great to hear about your stays and shift - I bet they'll be perfect with your gown. I can just see you in the whole ensemble! Little gets me as excited as period dress...

      Like you, I get in a slump with blogging at times and feel fresh content is hard to come by. I always, always enjoy your posts though. They're so YOU!

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  14. Laura, the new look is absolutely lovely! I love it so, so much! And like Anne, I love your blog no matter what you write about. :o)

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    1. Christy, So glad you find it lovely! That's one of my favorite words:) And since I consider you one of those master bloggers who also has a very lovely blog, your opinion really means very much! It's a fun start to a new year - hats off to a new season of blogging and good books, dear friend!!

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  15. Love the new look. Love even more that Paul took the picture and it's you. That part is the treasure. Miss you, but I do still read your blog. If you ever come "home," let me know. -Gin

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    1. Oh Gin, So glad to see you here. I miss you, my Kentucky friend! Paul is smiling at your comment:) He thinks he'd better stick with fiddling! He had a spring show for Old Time Fiddlers Sunday and we enjoyed that so much. I always think of you when we have those. And yes, I will certainly look you up when I come home. The memory of our coffee time in downtown Berea is a fav memory. Bless you!

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  16. It's BEAUTIFUL Laura! Perfect colors... so dreamy and a bit mysterious, because of the mist. :) LOVE it!!

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    1. So glad you like the colors and dreaminess of it, Marian. I never knew mist could be so beautiful till I saw this photo! I think it's very Lael-like which is something that might make you smile:) Bless you for all your encouragement and support!

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  17. It's just lovely Laura. It's so creative and so very you. It's perfect.
    I personally, love reading blogs that have a little touch of everything. A little writing, a little cooking, a little crafting, and of course, a whole lot of whatever makes that person unique. I think your blog is wonderful.
    Hugs

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    1. Whoops, forgot to hit the reply button again! Pls see below:)

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  18. Hannah, Thanks so much. That new design of yours is so very you, too! In fact, when you changed over it inspired me to make the leap here. I do want to have some recipes on here as I love to cook. Maybe some "Deadline dinner" posts:) I have quite a few deadlines coming up! Thanks so much for being here and reading despite your time away at sea! You are a faithful friend!

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  19. Laura, it's gorgeous. And it's so you. That's what I like about certain blogs, the style reflects the author of the blog. It took almost a year for my webdesigner and myself to get my just right, get the feel of me. Now if I could only think of something to post frequently, <}:^)

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    1. Winter, So good to see you here! You're right about blog styles - if it reflects the author then it's just right. I keep thinking of your website. I ADORE that pic of you on that porch. It's just perfectly YOU! March 2013 is less than a year away now:) Can you see me smiling from ear to ear!?!

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  20. Laura, your site is bee-you-tiful! And I'm only on the landing page. :) Off to explore in a minute. I love the picture of you there; what a great idea. And where you live--oh, my goodness. Makes me want to put on a sweatshirt, jeans, and curl up with a good book. How do you ever get anything done? :D

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    1. Love that bee-you-tiful, Sally;) SO happy you came over and like! I had to chuckle at your wondering how I get anything done. Beautiful as it is here in the woods, it rains and is misty like this about 10 months out of the year. The only thing to do IS write! Or read;D!

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    2. I agree. We live in ridiculously sunny Kansas now, but Chicago, where we're from, is very gray during the winter. Very gray. And odd as most people would think this, I miss a little bit of that. All this week it's been overcast with calm rain showers which is so not Kansas. We're loving it.

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  21. I'm totally loving the new site! So very romantic with the foggy woods! It reminds me of the deep passion that you portray in your books. I love everything you post actually. I especially like the devotional posts! But do honestly love it all! Yours is the only blog I visit daily, I don't even visit my own that often haha

    I can see a little house on the right with what looks like a white roof, is that yours?

    Bless you today Laura!

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    1. Eva, I imagine I put this up when you and your little clan were sleeping:) I'm so thrilled you find my blog worth stopping at!! I'm so blessed by your comments. And I can't tell you how happy I am to have a Texas-Scots connection! If I were closer, I'd say "Gies a bosie!" Or something like that;)

      Oh, you have a good eye. That's actually the farm down the road from us. Would you believe our little house is grey? And so surrounded by evergreens - Christmas trees it's like living inside a snow globe when it snows. And it was still snowing as of yesterday!

      BTW, I love your blog. You post passionately deep spiritual things that feed my spirit. And you have a beautiful family:)

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    2. Thank you so much for your comments about my blog! I am a very passionate person especially when it comes to God and the truth of His Word. I sometimes get myself in trouble though LOL. And sometimes the passion gets too much where I feel as if I'm going to explode with passion haha. That's why I blog, so that I can get it all out!

      BTW, I love when you post quotes by the old fathers of the faith like Tozer, Wesley, Simpson! They were such great men of God and there just isn't enough preachers like them nowadays.

      I'll gie you a bosie! And then feed you haggis, neeps, and tatties for a real Scottish experience. Though I wouldn't make it myself as I'd probably mess it up, best to let the Scottish experts handle the Scottish food haha.

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    3. LOL, Eva! I happen to like potatoes and turnips (hope I'm getting that right) very much but am not sure of that haggis;) BTW, you took a line right out Love's Reckoning, nearly verbatim, with your wonderful Scots talk! It's the scene where my Scots hero sits down for supper with those 2 sisters...:)

      There's nothing to match those old saints and missionaries. I'm so blessed by them, too. Thanks so much for saying that. You live in wonderful territory with deep spiritual roots being in Scotland. No wonder you feel passion!!

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  22. Love the new look here for you, Laura! Each piece in it is so unique and representative of YOU. The misty woods are perfect for both real and imagined life.

    Funny you should ask, I deleted my old blog and just started a new one today that is going to focus more on reading and writing. I hope you and some of your readers will join me there. In a week or so, I'm going to have a new blog kick-off extravaganza with giveaways!

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    1. Oh Caroline! I'll be right over to your new blog home:) That's great - I feared we might lose you completely and I didn't want that! How fun to start with a blog kickoff! If you have a follow button I'd love to follow.

      And thanks a million for being here for the new site and your gracious comments. They really encourage me.

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  23. Fantastic, Laura. You already had one of the best blogs around and now you've moved it on up to even better. Beautiful background. Lovely blonde writer. So neat that Paul took your picture so he can feel ownership of the blog too and all the great comments. You have so many great followers and readers. You're making me want to figure out better ways to present my blog, but right now I'd better simply figure out more words for my story in progress and keep going with the blog the way it is. Only so many hours in the writing day. Enjoy all the great comments. They are definitely well deserved! Ann

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    1. YAY! You're the icing on the cake, Ann! So glad you're here. And thanks for the thumbs up. I must be crazy but these woods remind me of the Appalachians which makes them seem better somehow. But of course these are evergreens in the mist and not much else...

      Actually, I really feel at home on your blog, Ann. You have some neat features I don't but wish I did. I wouldn't change much if anything your way. It has that Ann touch - homey and real. Hope we can meet up soon again! You're one of my very favorite folks!!

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  24. I love your new background. I enjoy reading whatever you post. What I like most about blogger is the fact that I can change my background with each season.

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    1. Carissa, So good you're here:) I love my Kentucky ties!! Would you believe I never figured out how to change my blog background and still don't know how! I wish you lived closer and could show me how to do that!! I don't even have a clue how to start. If you come back and read this, I'd love if you could tell me if that's a Blogger feature or if you have to go and find a background and then bring it back to Blogger. Oh my! I feel hopelessly outdated...

      Praying for you, Carissa, as you wind down the school year and go on spring break, if you haven't done the break thingy already:)

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  25. You can either choose from a few designs in blogger or you can find backgrounds from other sites. You just have to copy the HTML code and the post in the HTML section of the blog. You should be able to find that on the design tab of blogger.

    My spring is next week. Well it actually starts as soon as my last class lets out tonight

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    1. Oh Carissa, BLESS YOU SO MUCH!! Now I know how to do it if I need to make a change. I love rearranging things and new looks, especially like you said, when the seasons come and go. You're such a sweetheart! And you gave a very concise explanation so it doesn't seem overwhelming to me. Hope you enjoy every single second of your break. And that KY delivers lots of sunshine:) Thanks a million.

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  26. Oh, Laura! I'm late as always but you are never far from my thoughts :) The new blog is beautiful....just like you, inside and out. Paul has done a terrific job with your pic and of course, Laurie with the rest of it.

    Well, you know I love blogging including book reviews, author interviews, character spotlights and more! I suppose I love blogging about upcoming fiction the most, as I love seeing new cover art and chatting about it with my reader and introducing them to new authors through my Author Alerts. My character Spotlights are such fun, too, as I adore seeing how authors imagine their characters to look like and what motivates them.

    As for what I'd love to see here....simply more of what you do, sharing so genuinely and with such care, with your readers - no one does it quite like you, Laura :)

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    1. Rel, So happy it's you! Never too late! A gift to me this very cold Saturday morning in the woods:) Speaking of beautiful blogs, yours is one of the very best. Your love for blogging, books, and readers really comes through - your spotlights are always great fun to do and read even if you're not being spotlighted. And your upcoming cover posts are the just like the finest chocolate:) You always seem to know about new authors and new covers long before I do and generate a lot of ooohing and aahing when we can share those posts through FB, etc.

      And thanks so much for your kind words about my new look and what happens here. These reader friends of mine - including you - make it so worthwhile:) I wish I was more savvy about templates and such but am very thankful for kind friends who come to the rescue with their expertise! I amy tweak it just a bit and remove the misty woods after that first frame and leave the sidebars white as Laurie suggested orginally for fear of it being too busy. But I love it and it's nice to feel at home in a new cyber home!

      Blessings to you, Rel, as you enjoy your weekend! You've sure made mine:)

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  27. Laura!! Wow, this redesign of the blog is absolutely stupendous!! If it weren't so nepostic (I made this word up!) I think you should put yourself on a book cover. You have lovely hair! I want to search for your house in this mist and knock on your door for tea!

    Thankful for your friendship!

    Stacie

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    1. LOL, oh clever one;) LOVE the new word! I have Lael hair, I guess, only not quite as long. People tell me I look like her though I have many more miles on me than she does! I'd so love for you to find that little grey house in the woods and knock. We'd certainly have some tea in all this mist. So happy you like the new look! Your friendship means so much, dear Stacie!!

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    2. I spelled my new word wrong!! LOL I meant to spell it nepotistic!! I guess I guess I should not quit my day job and work for Webster!!

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    3. LOL, dear Stacie - I should have gotten that!!

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