Friday, August 12, 2016

Constructing a GOOD paragraph

A paragraph consists of several sentences grouped together, all of which discuss one topic. The first sentence in your paragraph is the topic sentence. It is the most general sentence in the paragraph and introduces an overall idea. It should suggest a question(s) in the reader’s mind and point your reader in the direction you are going; it does not provide any detailed information about the idea, It is usually the first sentence in the paragraph and should be indented. It can also make a reference to the preceding paragraph. The next sentences in a good paragraph are the supporting sentences, They should answer the question(s) suggested in the topic sentence and provide explanations (facts, details, examples) that support or explain the main idea expressed in the topic sentence. You can include as many sentences as necessary to accomplish the explanation. The concluding sentence summarizes the information presented within the paragraph. It is similar to, but not exactly the same as, the topic sentence.

A good paragraph includes four elements: unity, order, coherence, and completeness. To achieve unity you need to maintain one controlling idea (a single focus). This main idea is expressed in the topic sentence, detailed in the supporting sentences, and summarized in the concluding sentence.

Order can be cause & effect wherein a situation either causes or results from another, chronological or order of events in time, comparison/contrast or similarities and/or differences among things, emphatic, which means details are arranged in order of importance or for emphasis, and/or spatial, which is the discovery of how things are arranged in a space. Coherence is the element that makes a paragraph understandable. It uses logical bridges; in other words, the same idea is carried from one sentence to the next and successive sentences are constructed in parallel form. Verbal bridges can be used as well (e.g., pronouns refer to nouns in previous sentences, keywords are repeated in several sentences, synonymous words are repeated in several sentences, transition words link ideas from different sentences). Consistent verb use and point of view are maintained throughout. To achieve completeness you must maintain a single idea throughout the paragraph.

One of the most prominent questions when developing good paragraphs is, "When do I start a new paragraph?" The answer is simple: 1) when beginning a new idea, 2) to contrast ideas or information, or 3) when your reader needs a pause. Bear in mind that paragraph construction involves taking liberties when writing dialogue, and than's a whole other ball game. We'll cover that another time. 

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

From the Nose of Our Kayak: Chapter 11 "Kayaking & Dining & History"

Hello and welcome to the JLB Creatives Blog, where you'll find an array of creative features from a hand-picked group of creative geniuses. 

Wednesdays on the JLB Creatives Blog are set aside for our blog book, "From the Nose of Our Kayak." JLB Creatives CEO, Janet Beasley, and her husband, Don, have been kayaking for nearly 10 years. Together they are excited to share with you, their awesome experiences that they have encountered. In this Wednesday feature you'll find kayaking stories, scenic nature photography from their outings, and some helpful tips when it comes to maneuvering your "butt sleds" (aka kayaks) on your journeys.

So if this is a topic that interests you, you'll want to be sure and become a follower of the JLB Creatives Blog, and stop in on Wednesdays each week for the latest chapter in Don & Janet Beasley's adventure blog book, "From the Nose of Our Kayak." 

Previous chapters can be found in our blog archives. We began the series on June 1, 2016.


From the Nose of Our Kayak

Don & Janet Beasley
Chapter 11: Kayaking & Dining & History

Kayaking amidst the serenity of nature is truly our favorite, but sometimes we like to kayak over history to dinner!

In our "backyard" you'll find Little Lake Harris. The launching sight is about a mile from our house. Little Lake Harris is a beautiful body of fresh water in the central Florida area that is chock full of alligators, birds, and turtles, and dotted around its pristine shores are a few restaurants. It also offers up some of the best sunsets around.  Little Lake Harris stems from (the much bigger) Lake Harris which spans east and west from State Route 19 all the way over to the Leesburg, Florida area of State Route 27. The two lakes are divided by a long causeway/bridge on State Route 19 that dead ends into the magnificent Mission Inn. 

In the heat of summer here in Florida you can't always get out to kayak during the morning or daylight hours as often times storms are brewing, and we don't mess around with lightning in Florida (we are one of the lightning capitals of the world to say the least). But because the days are longer in the summer, on those rare evenings when the storms dissipate and the winds lie down, we love to head to the launching dock and paddle over history into the sunset for some dinner. Nestled in the sleepy town of Howey in the Hills, Florida, on the shoreline sits The Boondocks Restaurant. 

The launching dock we use rests on a piece of historical land. In 1925 a 1.5 mile long wooden bridge began at the launch site and stretched across to the town of Howey in the Hills. In 1949 the bridge had become deteriorated and was demolished upon completion of the State Route 19 bridge mentioned above. It's a really cool feeling to think about when you're kayaking over a piece of such historical content. You find yourself trying to imagine just how it was back then...the way of life, the citrus industry, the "booming" town of Astatula, and the kinds of vehicles and gutsy folks who would have braved the trek across the rickety slats from one town to the other. 

The photos to the right (and more) can be found at  

When we arrived at The Boondocks in our trusty #WildernessSystems T145 "Mean Greenie" we feasted upon some really awesome seafood pasta, and enjoyed dining over the water with a view that's like none other. Oh, and we had dessert too!

Before the sun slipped out of sight we paddled back to our dock in Astatula, loaded up and headed back to the house. It had proven to be just the evening we had expected...calm, casual, and relaxing.

Sometimes kayaking is about the scenery, sometimes kayaking is about the adventure, sometimes kayaking is about immersing yourself in the history of an area, and sometimes kayaking is about the destination. Regardless of your motive, get out there, kayak, and discover a world from a different perspective.


Kayak Tip of the Week: If you're going to go kayaking in a new area be sure and talk to some of the locals about the history of the area. You never know when you might be paddling over something highly significant to not only that specific area but maybe even the nation's history.


Monday, August 8, 2016

Excerpt Extravaganza! Today's Excerpt Is From "Hidden Earth Series"

Welcome to the JLB Creatives Blog, where an eclectic team of creative geniuses share their fantastical imaginations. 

On Mondays we are featuring an excerpt from one of our creative authors. And what makes this feature so fun is that we publish a wide range of genres. You'll never know what to expect for the excerpt.

To read all of our excerpts thus far, we invite you to visit our blog archives and look for our first Excerpt Extravaganza! that began on August 1, 2016.


All previous excerpts are available in our archives. We began this series on August 1, 2016.

Today's excerpt is from #1 best selling and 5 star author Janet Beasley's Hidden Earth Series: Volume 1 Maycly the Trilogy - Book 1 Two Altered Worlds

Bewildered, Iona cut loose again with her gift of chattering. “Let’s see…today I’ve seen a…a…gnome-like guy pop out of a cloud and leave a Dream Decanter on my nightstand. It spewed musical fog that my feet and legs are now dangling in causing my legs to heal. And let’s not forget the three-inch-long buzzing something…whose name, by the way, was apparently Jit? And he…she…I think it was a he…had a face like a human and wings like a dragonfly that he used to fly by my eyes leaving a trail of sparkles. Then he disappeared into the cloud with the little gnome guy…man…thing. I opened a magic letter signed by SUL, and now my birthmark is warm. Are you kidding me?” 
     She tried to put all of the recent events together. The poem on the card faded. It and the envelope burst into flames in her hand, making her jump. “Too weird. It didn’t burn me. Well, that was interesting.”
     She went silent, pondering to herself. I will never see this place again. Though it might have been guilt forcing these feelings, she wanted to believe she was truly thankful for the provisions she had received.
     “Yap! Yap! Yap! YOWLY-WOWEEE!” barked Wiskee.
     “Well, there’s another new noise from you. I guess you’re getting a little anxious? All I can say is, it’s a good thing you can’t talk because you’d chatter on more than me!” Iona calmed her small dog, Wiskee, with her touch. “OK. OK. I’m on it.”
     She brushed her hands together and resituated herself on the bed. She thought about her job—she was no longer going to be visiting those in need, and this troubled her.
     “I will see to it they are cared for.” Iona could not believe she was hearing what she thought was SUL’s audible voice again.
     She looked at Wiskee and whispered, “And we’ll never see our strange but lovable friend, Dumpster Man, again.” She had grown quite fond of him.
     With his nose, Wiskee pushed her hand toward the Dream Decanter, but she was still admiring the apartment. “Holy smokes! I can’t leave those!” She jumped from the bed and gathered the only remaining tangible memories of her family, their photos, and put them safely in the waistband of her pajama bottoms.

     She sat back down on the bed and clutched Wiskee under her arm without thinking. He made the noises to let her know she was holding him a little too tight.
     “Oh, I’m sorry little buddy.” She loosened her grip.
     Saying goodbye to her home was all too familiar and unpleasant. Iona closed her eyes and silently beckoned. Please let this be true. Please, SUL, I want to trust You with all my heart, and believe that You will take me to my family. She reached for the Dream Decanter, never letting Wiskee out of her grasp, and did just as the poem had instructed.

     Window shades dropped with a whoosh and a thud. Iona freaked and spoke from the pitch dark, “I didn’t know we had window shades.” All of the outside noises ceased; the silence was spooky.
     Guarding Wiskee with her life, she crossed her legs underneath her and felt the bed begin slowly turning and moving upward through the darkness. She was afraid of hitting the ceiling but was also afraid to jump because she did not know how high they really were. She reached high above her head and felt nothing. “STAY PUT WISKEE!” She hated to let go of him, but was concerned at their height. Carefully she stood on the bed but could not feel anything above them; she knew she could reach the ceiling if she stood on the bed. Frightened she sat back down and immediately grabbed Wiskee. If we’re floating in space, where are the stars? Where’s the moon? What are we…suspended in time?

     With her next breath she gagged. “What is that awful smell. Ack! That certainly isn’t roses! This can’t be right.” She saw what she thought was a fireball heading toward them. It came up fast from below and just missed the bed on its rapid ascent. Iona screamed. The fireball fizzled out high above their heads like a dud firework. She tossed the Dream Decanter to her pillow and scooted to the center of the bed, not letting Wiskee out of her tight grasp. She felt him trembling.

     She had always longed for adventure, but this was not exactly the adventure she had pictured in her mind. Somberly Iona spoke into the darkness, “What have I done?” 

If you are a lover of enchanted fantasy you'll want to get hooked on this series! "Maycly" the trilogy has been compared to "The Wizard of Oz," and landed ahead of the "Hunger Games" on amazon. Click here for Ebook  Click here for print book  Click here to watch the Hidden Earth Series books trailers

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JLB Creatives Blog Hosts

JLB Creatives Blog Hosts
JLB Creatives Editor Dar Bagby (L) and JLB Creatives CEO Janet Beasley (R)