About Shirley

Shirley Corder is an author who writes to inspire and encourage. She has a passion for helping other writers and cancer survivors.

When did you last have a field day?

This entry is part 5 of the series Common Sayings


Each Monday, I’m posting on my blog about a phrase or common saying, what they mean and how they came about.

I’m working through the alphabet and choosing one saying for each letter.

Have you ever heard or used the expression, “He’s having a real field day” . . .  or “The kids had a field day when their teacher wasn’t around to keep them quiet?”

That’s what we’re looking at this week. What does it mean to have a Field Day? And where did the expression come from? read more

How To Be Part Of A Powerful Street Team

Street Team first five books

What is a Street Team?

I am in the process of forming one, and I am really excited about its potential. Want to learn more?

Read on . . .

How to be Part of a Powerful Street Team. Read more here. Click To Tweet

A week ago, I heard the term “Street Team” for the first time! My friend, Marion Ueckermann, mentioned it to me during a Whatsapp call. I immediately asked if I could join hers to see how it worked. And, of course, I turned to Google to learn more.

At iUniverse I found this: “A street team is a group of volunteers who band together to promote an author and his or her book. Members of a street team are motivated by their love of an author’s work to promote it to as many people as possible.”

I learned a good deal from various sources, but most of all from a guest post by Jennifer Probst, a New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal bestselling author.

In Jennifer’s words, “A street team is a dedicated group of readers who like your work and are interested in helping promote your books. These readers are interested in helping to promote your book because your relationship with them is mutually beneficial. They get to hang out online with one of their favorite authors and receive exclusive material, and you get help with promotion to share new releases, giveaways, and special events.”

Wow! That sounds exciting.

Jennifer stresses that she allowed her group to grow slowly. She initially recruited 20 people she knew enjoyed her books, and it grew from there. Today, she has over 1,000 members, but not all are active. My feeling is I’d rather keep the group to a select number of supportive members.

Where did the idea of a Street Team come from?

It is a phenomenon that began in the music world. Fans of a group or musician passed on news by word of mouth, via social media, even helping the band set up for a concert. The payback for the fan was being in the trusted inner circle for their favorite band.

Today it is becoming increasingly popular in the publishing world.

What happens on a Street Team?

  • It should be fun! 
    Jennifer says readers should want to drop into the page to see what’s happening.
  • Members receive exclusive content.
    • They will be the first to see cover reveals.
    • Excerpts will be available to read from the author’s work in progress.
    • They may have the opportunity to choose character names,
    • to suggest activities for the characters in the story,
    • and in other words, they will feel involved in the book.
  • Group members who help in a specific way, may be acknowledged in the book when it comes out.
  • They will have the opportunity to proof-read the completed book before publication, and make suggestions.
  • Those who have read the book may add a short blurb for inclusion in the book.
  • They may also receive an ARC (Advanced Reading Copy) of the finished book with the opportunity to publish an early honest review.
  • At times there will be a fun trivia question or survey which members are invited to join with the offer of a prize.

Like the idea? I do.

So where would I start?

  • I plan to set up a secret Facebook page, with members by invitation only.
  • I will invite anyone interested to read this page (so if you’re already reading it, you’re one step ahead!) Then those who are keen to belong and help promote my books can simply write me a note in the comment section, and I’ll invite you!
  • I will also invite my current proof-readers to join.
  • I know life happens! You are not committing to always do everything that I suggest. e.g. perhaps you are unable to proof read a book, or read an ARC with a view to a review. That’s okay, as long as you do what you can to be part of the team.
Joining an Author's Street Team. What's in it for you? Click To Tweet

What’s in it for you?

  • Street team, cover promoYou will get to be part of an enthusiastic team as well as help choose its name. (What? You want to call yourselves a Street Team forever?)
  • There will be the opportunity to suggest ways we can be effective, and point out ways you don’t think will work.
  • Miriam Part 2 ~ Gifted Leader is about to be launched, so those who join up now
    will have the opportunity to get an ARC free.
  • I’ll post an excerpt or two from Miriam Part 2 on the page before launch day to whet your appetite.
  • All those who are on the group by the book’s launch date (next week sometime) will receive the eBook Naomi: Beloved Mother-in-law as a welcome gift.

Regardless of whether you want to be part of this exciting new venture or not, would you like to be informed of any of my new releases? Fill in your first name and email address in the form below, and you’ll hear from me when Miriam ~ Gifted Leader launches, and all subsequent books.

I promise never to share your email with anyone else, and you can unsubscribe at any time. I won’t fill your inbox with spam, and you will only hear from me when I release a new book.

Word-of-mouth is crucial for any author to succeed. If you enjoy a book, consider leaving a review on Amazon.com. Even a line or two is a huge help.

So here’s the form for you . . .

Want to receive notification of Shirley’s new releases?

How to Build Something Beautiful in Your Life

Click on image to see book on Amazon.com

Disclosure: This post may contain some affiliate links for your convenience.
Click here to read my full disclosure policy.

I think many of us who are in our senior years often look back and think of all the things we should have / could have done with our lives. As the years run by, we long to do something that will count, and yet can we? Do we have time left to make a difference in today’s world?

Challenging Sermon

Yesterday in church, the minister quoted from a book by Malcolm Muggeridge titled, Something Beautiful for God. It seems that this worldly skeptical author experienced a dramatic conversion to Christianity because of Mother Teresa’s exemplary influence. He hails her as a “light which could never be extinguished.”

He first interviewed her for the BBC. The interview became so popular that a year later he traveled to Calcutta with a film crew to produce a documentary about Mother Teresa’s work among the poor people of that city. The documentary was called “Something Beautiful for God,” a title which would subsequently be given to his book about Mother Teresa.

One of Mother Teresa’s favorite Scripture verses was “Yet not I, but Christ liveth in me.” She lived and died according to that Scripture. Muggeridge’s book covers mostly the author’s conversations with this Nobel Peace Prize Winner (1979) and contains many of her quotes.

Yet it was not Mother Teresa’s life that yesterday’s preacher chose to draw attention to, but her belief that we each are able to do something beautiful with our lives. Mother Teresa stressed it didn’t need to be something big or heroic.

Mother Teresa’s philosophy in life:

'Everytime you smile at someone, it is an action of love, a gift to that person, a beautiful… Click To Tweet

On the same line, she also said,

'I am a little pencil in the hand of a writing God who is sending a love letter to the world.'… Click To Tweet

At the end of the sermon, the preacher urged us to look for the “something beautiful” God has called us to do. If we couldn’t identify it, the minister urged us to look for it. It may be something small, like that little pencil (who, in God’s hands, did a tremendous work for the Lord). But if the Lord has called us to do it, its value is priceless, and its effect will be immeasurable. But if we could already identify it, herein lay the challenge. Were we using it to grow something beautiful? Or were we just seeking to make the best of it?

I was truly challenged and immediately identified two areas where the Lord had called me.

1. He’s called me to write for Him.

I admit I never saw my writing as “something beautiful.” I write the best I can, and produce the most professional work I am able to do, but something beautiful? Is my writing sending a gift to the world? An action of love? A beautiful thing? I find that concept challenging as well as exciting. It increases my desire to write, and to “write to inspire” (my tagline). Not everyone is called to write amazing trilogies or blockbuster movies. Even a “little pencil in the hand of a writing God” can send “a love letter to the world.”

2. He has also called my husband and I to a ministry called Prime Timers

where we seek to reach the over 50’s in our community. We deliberately don’t try to turn it into a Gospel meeting. We’re wanting people to come to the meeting who would normally never darken a church door. For a nominal donation, they receive top rate entertainment, a good morning tea with cakes and snacks, and fellowship around tables. And we see to it that there is something inspirational in each program to point them to God and their need for Him.

Mother Teresa by Manfredo Ferrari

Suddenly, a light bulb went off for both of us.

Is what we’re doing something beautiful? And are we doing it for Him? If the answers to both of those are “Yes,” we’re on the right track.

“There is always the danger that we may just do the work for the sake of the work. This is where the respect and the love and the devotion come in – that we do it to God, to Christ, and that’s why we try to do it as beautifully as possible.” ~ Mother Theresa

How about you?

What are you doing that is beautiful?

I close with one last quote.

'There are no great things, only small things with great love. Happy are those.' ~ Mother Teresa Click To Tweet

After you’ve left a comment, do yourself a favor and click on this link to hear a wonderful rendition of “Something Beautiful” by Bill Gaither.

Why Are South Africans Wearing Black Today? #BlackMonday

In South Africa, we’re wearing black today. Why?

Because it’s Black Monday.

This is going to be a very different post, and I’m hoping you will follow it to the end. (It’s not all that long!)

All across South Africa, people are dressed in black. The suggestion came from a devastated farm manager last Tuesday, after a farmer was murdered on his farm near Stellenbosch, a town about 50 kilometres (31 miles) east of Cape Town. This was yet one more to add to a spate of farm murders and attacks that have plagued the country in recent months.

70 people have died in farm attacks since the start of 2017. But it’s not only the farmers. According to figures recently released, around 52 people are murdered every day.

A nation in mourning.

And so we are a nation in mourning. People across the country are wearing black, some to show an awareness to the farmers’ plight, others to draw attention to the ridiculously high rate of rampant crime.

Black Monday is about drawing attention to the rapes and the murders that are becoming every day occurrences in our beautiful land. But whether we’re wearing black or not, whether we’re thinking specifically of farmers or not, we’re all saying, “We’ve had enough!”

Across the nation, gatherings have been held. Highways were blocked by cars and trucks. People stood in groups, all dressed in black. Crowds of people sank to their knees along the roadsides and in the fields, praying for God’s intervention. It’s not only for the farmers. It’s for all men, women and children who have lost their lives in our beloved country.

One good thing about Black Monday

The great thing is that, outside of the tragedy and the mourning, there is again a sense of solidarity. One lady wrote in a newspaper that she wished all those with a negative response to this call could feel what she felt. She said, “die gevoel van samehorigheid en saam staan hier kan geen woorde beskryf nie!!!”  (“the feeling here of solidarity and standing together is indescribable”)

So why am I writing this way?

I want to ask you first to watch this video about Black Monday, and look at a country in mourning. See the cross-section of people of all races and ages. And then please, will you pray for our land? Pray for our government to wake up and take action. Pray for our law enforcement units to stand together in their fight against crime. Pray for our farmers, for protection and for courage, that they will be able to keep feeding the nation. And pray for the people of this rainbow land, that we may stand together under the banner of an Almighty God.

I am taking part in The Write Tribe Problogger October 2017 Blogging Challenge. This is the final post in the challenge.

How to Harness Your Hashtags ~ Post 8 in Problogger Challenge

This entry is part 9 of the series Build a Better Blog


I am taking part in The Write Tribe Problogger October 2017 Blogging Challenge. It’s good to welcome members of my sub-tribe. Hi guys!  This is the 8th post in this challenge.

We’re working through the alphabet as we look at ways to build a better blog. Today we come to

H is for How to Harness Your Hashtags.

  • What is a Hashtag?

A hashtag is a label used for content. It helps other readers to find the topics they are interested in. By the same token, it helps you to find other comments or articles on the topic you’re researching. It was initially used in Twitter, but it is now often seen on Facebook, Instagram and Google+. If you’re a musician, you’ll recognise the hash symbol as the sharp sign or #. This is how the hashtags for the Pro-Blogger challenge appear: #writebravely or #writetribeblogger. If you click on either of those in Twitter, you will be able to read all the other tweets people have sent with the same hashtag.

  • Why would you use a hashtag in your blog?

And the answer is you won’t. BUT if you don’t promote your blog outside of your blog, you won’t have any readers. And no readers means no point in writing your blog. So although you won’t use hashtags inside your blog, you need to know about them so you can pass on news about your blog to the people who will be interested.

  • Hashtags are essential ways to build up traffic to your blog posts.

When you post about a new blog article on Twitter, if you add an appropriate hashtag you will be able to link up with other bloggers who have written on the same topic. The same applies to Facebook, Instagram and Google+, although they are used in a slightly different way. We looked at the topic briefly under Eager Enthusiasm where I explained how I discovered the effectiveness of this little sign. (Google the specific topic you want to learn more about.)

read more

How to use Cutting Dies for Christmas

This entry is part 4 of the series Write Tribe ProBlogger

Blogging Challenge

I’m participating  in the Write Tribe Problogger October 2017 Challenge. Once again, a big hello to the other members of my sub-tribe. Hi Guys!

I have chosen not to go with the prompt once again, but rather to follow on with another post about card-making with a cuttlebug.  Previous posts on this theme are #1 – Pattern,  #3 – Word Card-making Day, and #5 – Embossing Folders.

Last week, we took a look at embossing folders, and we saw how they turn a piece of plain card-stock into a beautiful background. This week, we’re going one step further, and look at Cutting Dies.

How do Cutting Dies work?

When you put card-stock into embossing folders and roll it through the Cuttlebug, it comes out with a design embossed on the surface. (See here if you didn’t read last week’s post.) But there is another use for the Cuttlebug, and that is cutting out shapes.

You buy cutting dies, which I mostly get through eBay as they are way cheaper than the local shops, and use them to cut out designs you can use on your cards. Each die has outlines of sharp blades, which cuts out the shape, and often has additional raised bits of metal that emboss the shape as well. Take a look at the lady on the left.

The blade has cut out the shape of this carol singer, while other raised pieces have “drawn” in lines to complete the image.

Take a look at this video where I show you how the cutting dies work.

Once the dies are cut out and the card-stock embossed, it’s a matter of assembling them, adding a greeting and a few finishing touches. Here are a few small cards made using embossing folders and cutting dies.

Which do you prefer? The longer (normal) sized card, or the small square ones?

Next week

Next week we’ll take a look at some varieties you can get using the dies and embossing folders.

Go to Google ~Post 6 in the Pro-Blogger Challenge. #writebravely

This entry is part 8 of the series Build a Better Blog

googleHello again to all you wonderful bloggers!

I am taking part in The Write Tribe Problogger October 2017 Blogging Challenge. So a special welcome to the other members of my sub-tribe. Hi guys!  This is the 6th post in this challenge.

We’re working through the alphabet as we look at ways to build a better blog. Today we come to

G is for Go to Google

In recent years, the company of Google™ was unhappy when Merriam Webster included its name in its dictionary. They no doubt fear that the world will go like “hoover” which became a generic term for “vacuum” in many countries.

Right now, “to google” actually means to use the Google™ search engine. If the term comes to mean, “I searched the internet for . . . ” the company’s branding will lose its value.

Having cleared that, let’s move on to a list of the pros, cons and other things we need to know when we Go to Google™.

  • Google Images Advanced 

    There is a common misconception that if you want an image you can “Google” it, and if it shows up you’re free to use it. Others will insist it’s okay as a long as you give credit to the photographer or artist.

    Neither of these is correct. 

    There are other sites where you can get pictures, and I will cover them in a later post, but when it comes to Google, there is a way to play it safe. If you go to your Googlesearch bar, and type in e.g. Cape Town, then click on Images – and you will be presented with thousands of amazing views. BUT those are not all free to use. Read and work through the following instructions carefully. read more

Let’s look at embossing folders

This entry is part 3 of the series Write Tribe ProBlogger

embossingBlogging Challenge

I’m participating  in the Write Tribe Problogger October 2017 Challenge. Once again, a big hello to the other members of my sub-tribe. Hi Guys!

I have chosen not to go with the prompt once again, but rather to follow on with another post about card-making with a cuttlebug.  Previous posts on this theme are #1 – Pattern,  #3 – Word Card-making Day.

Last week one of my readers suggested I should do a video of my card-making. When I sat down to do this post, I couldn’t think of what to say, so I thought I would just show you around my supply of embossing folders, to show you the vast variety you can get. Believe me when I say, I have very few compared to many others, but I’m now happy I have a good selection, and can make cards for almost any occasion.

Just as a reminder, the embossing folder is a rectangular piece of plastic which is hinged in the middle. One side has a design embossed in a positive way, that is to say it stands out from the surface. The other side of the plastic has the identical design but it is the negative image. The design is impressed into the surface.

Build a sandwich

And no, I don’t mean it’s snack time!

When you put a piece of card-stock inside the folder and close it, you build a sandwich of plastic ‘B’ sheets. (‘B’, your embossing folder, and the second ‘B’.) You place the thick ‘A’ plate onto the Cuttlebug (or whatever make of machine you have) and then place your sandwich onto the ‘A’ plate. Turn the roller until the plates slide through to the other side. When you open the folder, you will find your design beautifully embossed onto your card-stock.

See some examples of embossing folders for the Cuttlebug or other machines. Click To Tweet

I have done a video of my embossing folders. There are hundreds, probably thousands of designs. I have only been collecting them for just over a year. They are pricey, but I have been fortunate to pick most of mine up well below the shop-price. I’ve found some on sale, and I was offered an amazing deal of ten for a very good price.

Video of Embossing Folders

I did this video with my smart phone, and it has cut off the first word or two of each section, but I’m sure you’ll be able to follow it – once you’ve got over the shock of my South African accent!

Aren’t they beautiful? Sorry, on at least two occasions I say, “I’ll show you more just now” and I’m not going to.  🙂 Not yet. Come back for the next two Mondays and you’ll get the illustrations!

Embossed card

Now here are a few samples of card-stock I have embossed using this technique. Each of them is done with one of the folders in the video. See if you can recognize them.


Aren’t they just gorgeous? Next week, I’ll do the same only with cutting dies. And then on the final Monday of the month, we’ll put a few of them together and you’ll be able to see some of the finished results.

I hope this has inspired you, card-makers. And if you’re not a card-maker, maybe you should think of trying. By the way, I read somewhere that you can do this embossing with a ROLLING PIN instead of a Cuttlebug! I haven’t tried it myself, but it would certainly be cheaper if you’re just wanting to experiment. You will still need the embossing folders of course.

Before you run away, tell me which of the six samples above you like most.

About the challenge

Those participating in the challenge are members of the Write Tribe Blogging group on FaceBook. We are committed to post at least twice a week for the month of October on Mondays and Fridays. There is no specific theme, but we have an optional prompt for each post. I plan to write about card-making with the Cuttlebug each Monday for the month, and I will continue my series on blogging on Fridays (instead of Thursdays).


Facts or Fiction? Post 4 in the Pro-Blogger Challenge. #writebravely

This entry is part 11 of the series Build a Better Blog


Hello again all you wonderful bloggers!

I am taking part in The Write Tribe Problogger October 2017 Blogging Challenge. So a special welcome to the other members of my sub-tribe. Hi guys!  This is the 4th post in this challenge.

We’re working through the alphabet as we look at ways to build a better blog. Today we come to F for

Facts or Fiction

Here is a less than commonly known fact: Tweet it if you will.

Blogs can be fact OR fiction. Just make sure your reader knows which. #writetribeproblogger… Click To Tweet

Here is a list of tips or suggestions. You won’t be able (or want) to use them all, but maybe one or two will spark a flame of creativity in you!

First, we’ll look at the more common type of blog: the one based on FACTS, in other words, non-fiction.

  • Write on a Nonfiction Topic and the Facts you use will increase your Authority.

    This applies to individual posts, or to dedicated blogs. I have a blog dedicated to encouraging and inspiring those going through the cancer valley. It is called Rise and Soar, and all the posts are on some aspect of cancer. How am I qualified to do this? I am a cancer survivor (20 years but who’s counting?). I am also a retired Registered Nurse (RN). And I’m a pastor’s wife. (Also retired – not as his wife, but Rob has retired from full-time ministry. Although at times I wonder, he does so much preaching at away churches I expect our own minister to welcome him as a visitor!)  Yet because I blog on the topic, I am amazed at the variety of questions I am asked. read more

Write Tribe ProBlogger Challenge #3 ~ October 2017

This entry is part 1 of the series Write Tribe ProBlogger

I’m participating  in the Write Tribe Problogger October 2017 Challenge. I have chosen not to go with the prompt for today, but rather I will follow on from my previous post in the challenge (#1 – Pattern.)

Disclosure: This post may contain some affiliate links for your convenience.
Click here to read my full disclosure policy.

In my first post for this challenge, I spoke of the patterns we can create using the Cuttlebug craft machine. I had so many comments and queries that I decided to do a short series on this, posting on the topic each Monday for the month.

For those who didn’t read the post (available here) this is what the machine looks like.


Click on the image to see this on Amazon.com

There are, of course, a number of different models, including bigger ones, electronic machines, and even one that works via the computer. But mine is just the lowly cuttlebug and I wouldn’t swap it for anything.

Saturday 07 October was World Card-making Day! Can you believe it? Is there anything that is not celebrated by an annual day?

Saturday 07 October was World Card-making Day! Did you know? #writebravely #writetribeproblogger Click To Tweet


Cards have played a key role in society for hundreds of years. There was the calling card used in Victorian days by gentlemen wanting to arrange a date with a lady and the dance card, where the ladies filled out the names of the men who wanted to dance with her.  Today we make great use of business cards, giving our details to anyone we want to give them to; invitation cards, birthday cards, thank you cards, get-well cards, mother’s day cards and Father’s Day cards . . . and so the list goes on.

In 2006, Paper Craft magazine made the decision that every first Saturday in October should be celebrated as the World Card-making Day, and card-makers across the world are encouraged to make cards on that day and publicize them on social media.

As I mentioned in my last post on the topic, I belong to a great group of ladies who get together about once a month and learn new card-making techniques. It is great fun creating when you are surrounded by others with the same interest. Unfortunately, due to all sorts of other commitments, we weren’t able to get together on The Day this year, but a number of us planned to make cards anyway.

My Card-making Day

This year, I was involved with a morning’s meeting that took the whole morning, then I had a certain blogging challenge to catch up with (guess which one!) So I only got down to cards at about 4 pm. I couldn’t wait. I had a number of new embossing folders and cutting dies to try out on my cuttlebug.

First, I cut the basic card out of firm white card stock. I decided to start with small square cards, as I have a small order for 6. I then cut background layers in contrasting colors, and dry embossed them.


To dry emboss, I first created a sandwich of processing plates which came with the machine. The A plate is the thickest and is always used as the bottom of the sandwich. I then put my card inside the embossing folder of my choice, and then used two B plates, one on either side of the folder.

Looking at some of my new Christmas cuttlebug folders and dies. #writebravely #writetribeproblogger Click To Tweet

Here is an embossing folder which makes a very pretty background (Christmas trees).

I put red card inside the folder, then I turned the handle and fed the sandwich through between the rollers (just like Granny’s old mangle!) Out came the result.


Once I had sufficient backgrounds, I turned to my new Cuttlebug dies. This time the sandwich comprised a B plate and a C plate, which is thicker. The die went face down onto the card stock. Once again, I fed it through the rollers, and out came my images. This is obviously a very simple description and there are many tricks of the trade I have learned, and continue to learn, to use when dies don’t cut easily the first time.

A start on Christmas

Here is the result of my few hours work. (See the Christmas tree background on the red card, behind the silver bells.) In the background, the television showed me Bangladesh battling to defend themselves against South Africa on the cricket pitch.

About the challenge

Those participating in the challenge are members of the Write Tribe Blogging group on FaceBook. We are committed to post at least twice a week for the month of October on Mondays and Fridays. There is no specific theme, but we have an optional prompt for each post. I plan to write about card-making with the Cuttlebug each Monday for the month, and I will continue my series on blogging on Fridays (instead of Thursdays).