Monday, August 15, 2022

Good News!

 Hi everyone. I hope all of you are doing well. I know I don't post much anymore, but there is a reason.

I've been writing - a lot. Plus, it is summer and we stay so busy in the yard and garden in the summer.

I have good news!

My second book in a trilogy has been published - Mama's Memories

I am so happy to have it on Amazon now. I've worked hard on it and it means a lot to me. Like my first book in this series, Where the Stars Grant Wishes, it is based on my grandparents and her family. A few facts spurred a lot of fiction! When I get my author copies I will be doing a YouTube video about it. You can visit my YouTube Channel - Janet Smart Country Living - here.

I hope you like it, I do. If I didn't like it, I would have gone crazy reading it over and over again in the editing process.

I have also published my hummingbird book, Hum Hum Hummingbirds, in hardcover! The hard cover version is over 70 pages.

I love the cover on it - don't you? These would make a great gift for someone in your life.

These two books have been keeping me busy all year. I hope you read and enjoy them. Both of my historical fictions are in the kindle unlimited program. So, if you are a member of that, you can download them for free. They all have the 'see inside' feature on Amazon. So you can click and read the beginning of them.


And, remember, the best gift you can give an author, is a review. I'd love for you to put a review on amazon, if you've read any of these books. The review doesn't have to be a fancy or a long one. 

Please go to my Amazon page and check them out. Click here. 


Thanks so much - and happy writing and reading.


Monday, March 14, 2022

Make Your Writing Interesting

 I just saw this quote over on my friend Rosi's blog - 

The business of the novelist is not to relate great events, but to make small ones interesting.”
~ Arthur Schopenhauer ~

I love it.  

Who was he? Arthur Schopenhauer (22 February 1788 – 21 September 1860) was a German philosopher.

When you think about it, this is so true. Most of my stories are about small events and ordinary people. It is my job as a writer to make them interesting.

Whether it be a picture book, middle grade book or novel. You need to create suspense and drama, write good dialogue, know the rules (and break a few if necessary), and make your characters and setting memorable. Don't have your characters flawless, they would be boring. And always use the best words possible.

Go over your stories and get rid general words and make them specific words. Get rid of the passive words.  

Sometimes I (and my writing friends) will spend hours trying to find just the right word.  Finding just the right word is especially important in short stories such as picture books and poems.

And it never hurts to add a little humor. I love humor in books.

Happy Writing!



Saturday, March 5, 2022

50 Precious Words Contest 2022


Vivian Kirkfield is again having her 50 Precious Words Contest over on her blog.  

Click here to check it out. 

The goal is to write a story with a beginning, middle and an end in 50 words or less. Let me tell you it is harder than you might think. EVERY WORD IS PRECIOUS!

I was inspired by a wood duck box down by the creek on our property. I decided to shorten a manuscript I had written about wood ducks. My original manuscript was 251 words, not counting the Quack, Quack Fun Facts page at the end of the manuscript. I had to cut a lot of  my babies!

Here is my 50 word entry.


Mama wood duck

Laid her eggs – one by one

 in a box high on a pole.

She sat, scattered her down,

and kept them warm.

They hatched –

one by one.

The brave ducklings

 jumped out the next day –

one by one.

They landed below and

swam away – one by one.


I hope you enjoyed my 50 precious words!






Sunday, October 31, 2021

The 11th Annual Halloweensie Writing Contest

 Hello everyone. I hope you all enjoyed a happy and spoooooky Halloween!

This is my entry to the 11th Annual Halloweensie Writing Contest. It is held every year over on Susanna Hill's Blog. Go over and check out the other entries.

Rules - It has to be 100 words or less, Halloweensie, geared toward kids, and contain the following three words - goodies, glow in the dark and goosebumps. (Glow in the dark counts as one word). You may use the words in any form i.e. glowed-in-the-dark, goosebumpley, goody (“Oh, goody!”, goody-two-shoes etc.)

I didn't think I was gonna enter this year. I just drew a blank. Does that ever happen to you? 

But yesterday morning I got a spark of an idea and started writing. After much editing, here is my humble 98-word result. Enjoy.



Ghostly, ghastly, goosebumps,

Big eared bats and spider filled stumps. 

Eek! What do I see?

Over in the pumpkin patch,

I just saw a goblin hatch

On this spooooooky Halloween!

It glows in the dark.

It looks like an aardvark—

And it’s running right towards me!

I scream and grab my goody sack

I fling it like a lumberjack.

My candy soars through the air!

When it hits him in the head,

He scowls at me; his face turns red.

He grunts, glares and growls!

He snatches one and takes a bite

Then to my shocked delight

He shouts, “Mmm, chocolate!”



I think chocolate will calm the soul of anyone, even a goblin. What do you think?

Wish me luck.



Monday, April 5, 2021

Editing and Writing Tips

 I'm a reader of writing tips. 

Writing is a talent, but a person is never too old or too young to learn.

I love writing, but I think I love editing even more. I love molding my story into a better story. Into the best story that I can.

Editing does that.

I'm always reading about finding filler words and getting rid of them. Finding passive words, vague words, redundant phrases, and common cliches and getting rid of them.

I am in the process of writing a sequel to my novel, Where the Stars Grant Wishes, and I have been editing it to rid my manuscript of those filler words.

Some of the words I've been searching for are IT, SOME, THEY, THEM, etc.

My story had a lot of those vague words. I am one of those writers who doesn't have to lower my word count. I need to up my word count. And in getting rid of these words and getting more specific, I found that I actually upped my word count - Yeah!

Another way I found to up my word count is in description.

Early this morning I opened the door and stared out. I soaked in all the sights and sounds and came up with passages that I could easily find a place for in my manuscript.

If you go outside during the day and sit and observe everything around you, new ideas will appear all around you. 

Are you in the middle of writing a manuscript?

Do you like editing?

Click here and here to see a few of my other posts on writing tips.


Tuesday, March 2, 2021

50 Precious Words Contest




It's that time of year again. Time for Vivian Kirkfield's 50 Precious Words Contest. 



The guidelines are easy-peasy. 

Write a story appropriate for kids ages 12 or under, that has a total word count of 50 or less.


 Some of you who write novels might find that hard to do. 

Some of you who write picture books might even find that hard to do. 

50 words is not very many words to tell a story. 

Each word is precious!


Here is my story:


                                FARMER FRED NEEDS A SCARECROW                                   

Sun is shining.

Corn is growing.

Crows are 

cawing, fussing, whooshing,

Pecking, munching, feasting!    

Farmer Fred frowns! 

With dingy dungarees and 



A scarecrow is born!

Sun is shining.

Corn is growing.

Crows are cawing, fussing, whooshing!

But they aren’t pecking, munching, feasting!

Farmer Fred smiles!

Hope you enjoyed my itsy-bitsy 50-word story.