Apples of Gold

Apples of gold in pictures of silver.

golden apple

This is the way Proverbs 25:11 describes what it calls “a word fitly spoken.” It says these words are like apples of gold in pictures of silver. But what, exactly is a word fitly spoken?

There are many possible answers to that question. The New American Standard Bible says it’s a word spoken in the right circumstances. It is a word or words spoken to another person that helps them in some way. Maybe it encourages them, or eases their pain, lifts them up, or sympathizes with their pain. However the fitly words are intended, the end result is that they land on open ears and touch the listener in some significant way.

I am an eclectic writer—I write many things: fiction, nonfiction, full length books, short articles, and devotions. Yes, I am a devotional writer. I absolutely love writing devotions! I have had hundreds of them published in magazines, online, and in books. I teach workshops on devotional writing. Devotions helped to build my writing resume and payment from writing devotions supplements my writing income. But this is not the reason I write devotions. I write to touch the hearts of others with words that cause them to ponder on God’s word. My goal is that they will be “fitly words.”

It’s autumn again, a time of year when apples are in abundance. We enjoy apples in so many forms during this season—cooked in pies, coated in candy, squeezed into juice or made into cider, and so many other ways.


Because of this verse in Proverbs, the abundance of apples makes me think of devotional writing. Let’s be writers whose words are fitly. Let’s have our words be apples of gold in pictures of silver.

A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver. Proverbs 25:11 (KJV) [Click to Tweet]

Writing prompt: write a devotional about a time someone spoke words you needed to hear.

Finding Wisdom in Noel by Janie Winsell

As a member of the North Alabama Writer’s group, I’m thrilled to be able to share a new Romantic Christmas Novella collection, “The Heart of Christmas”, written by some of our members. Today, we’ll talk to Janie Winsell about her book in the collection, Finding Wisdom in Noel.

Hi, Janie! So glad you could join us. First question:

Do you have any interesting writing rituals?

Janie: I write best at night. Depending on what type of book I’m writing, I will tune up my iPhone to instrumental music that puts me in that mood. For instance, writing my Christmas novella, I was listening to Christmas music in July. Music helps me visualize scenes and tap into my character’s emotions.

What is Finding Wisdom in Noel about?

Janie: Billie Sonders does not like Christmas, but in order to escape her ex-fiance’s wedding, she accepts a Christmas blogging assignment in Noel, Montana “The Christmas Playground.” While there, she meets Aiden, a struggling uncle in need of some guidance with his mischievous nephew. Together, Billie and Aiden discover love, healing, and wisdom.

What is your favorite part of the book?

Janie: I had a blast writing the line-dancing fight scene. Don’t worry, no one really gets hurt, just a few smashed toes, but visualizing two grown men having a dance fight in front of an entire town had me laughing out loud. A few of my critique partners and beta readers also expressed their enjoyment of reading that scene.

Is there a message in your book you hope readers will grasp?

Janie: I always write with a message on my heart. Sometimes the message changes as I write the story. That’s what happened with Finding Wisdom in Noel. I began writing the story with a message of love at Christmas time, but as I dug deeper into my characters, I found that the real message was God provides healing for those that have been hurt. He did not cause the hurt, even though we like to blame Him for it, but He always provided His healing touch to soothe our hurt and heal our scars.

And last question. Where can readers find you online?

My Website






Thanks so much for joining us, my friend!

Click to tweet: The Heart of Christmas: A Romantic #Christmas Novella Collection available now for 99 cents. Announcing five new stories filled with faith, hope, forgiveness, and of course happily-ever-afters. #amreading

Janie Winsell is a Christian author who lives in Alabama. She writes Contemporary Women’s fiction, Romance, and Romantic Suspense. She received her Master’s Degree in Creative Writing at Full Sail University. She is a member of ACFW and active in the critique main loop. She writes about real Christians who, like the world, are not perfect, but through God’s love and discipline, they learn the lessons needed to grow in their relationship with their Heavenly Father as well as with each other.

Finding Wisdom In Noel 

Travel photographer Billie accepts an assignment in Noel, Montana, to escape her ex-fiance’s wedding. Aiden takes custody of his nephew Kris and embarks on a journey of parenthood. When a luggage mishap brings Billie and Aiden together, they must find healing and wisdom in order for their love to flourish.

Finding Wisdom in Noel can be found in the Christmas box set “The Heart of Christmas.” Here’s a little more about the set . . .

The Heart of Christmas: A Romantic Christmas Novella Collection

Announcing five new stories filled with faith, hope, forgiveness, and of course happily-ever-afters. Each story focuses on an element of the Nativity, from the angels to the wise men. Be swept up in the love of the season and the promise of forever that the Christ child, the true Heart of Christmas, brings.

Resources for Anyone Who’d Like to Write Devotional Books

By Jennifer Hallmark

The month of November has been all things devotional at the Inspired Prompt and I’ve enjoyed reading each post. But I have a confession to make.

I can’t write devotionals.

Correction. I haven’t been able to write any that have sold. Why? One theory I have is that God has a plan and purpose for each of us and that’s not in my plan. I don’t have a lot of interest in writing them, though I LOVE reading them and always have one by my bedside. Maybe my purpose is to support devotional writers. Hmm. 😊

Anyway, there are wonderful resources out there to help you in your quest to be a devotional writer. I’ll share them with you and maybe one day you’ll publish your own book and I’ll have it on my nightstand.

Blog Posts to Read

How to Write a Devotional: The Definitive Guide (Jerry Jenkins)

Writing Corner: Tips and Tools for Aspiring Authors and Artists (Max Lucado)

Advice to a New Writer of Devotionals ( Amy Boucher Pye)


Places You Can Submit Your Devotionals (some pay, some don’t)

Writing for Lifeway

Christian Devotions

The Upper Room

The Life

Fellowship of Christian Athletes

Click to tweet: Resources for the aspiring devotional writer. #devotional #faith

In lieu of a Writing Prompt, share any resources (in the comments below) that you know of to help the aspiring devotional writer. Thanks!

The Write Course: 3 Minute Tips for the Beginning Writer Episode 10

Jennifer Hallmark here. Welcome to my You Tube series called “The Write Course: 3 Minute Tips for the Beginning Writer.”

We start this new part of our trip with a fork in the road and the thought, What type of publishing should I seek?  Join me in the discussion.

Episode 10: Today’s topic is Launch into the Adventure: What road should I take? What type of publishing should I seek?

Click to tweet: The YouTube series for the beginning writer. Catch Episode 10 on the Inspired Prompt blog: Writing: What kind of publishing should I seek? #amwriting #WritersLife

5 Questions Wednesday with Jean Petersen

jeanpetersen new head shotGood morning! Today is a special 5 Question Wednesday interview. Hey, everyone needs a little change now and then. 🙂 And it is our pleasure to welcome freelance writer and weekly columnist Jean Petersen  to the Inspired Prompt.

Good morning, Jean.

Do you have any interesting writing rituals?

JeanMy only writing ritual is I need quiet, or at a coffee shop, which doesn’t make much sense since those are two polar opposites. I can be creative in my quiet work space at home or other venues-no tv, music, kid distractions, animals crooning, or even laundry thumping the dryer, but there’s something that inspires me at a coffee shop-maybe it’s the aroma, the unknown people and the unknown stories I create as I observe their interactions or routines, special treats and uniqueness of the different orders, relationships and conversations.

I agree, there is something special about coffee shops 🙂

What is the book about?

Jean:   Kind Soup has several layers to it. It’s about an enthusiastic girl who has an opportunity to join with her mom in something she loves, cooking. This time they’re making an unusual recipe called Kind Soup, made with Fruit-Fruits of the Spirit, that is. Each of the soup’s ingredients represents one of the virtues of the Galatians 5:22-23. When the recipe is complete, the little girl and her mom share it with community members, as her mom said, “A friend shared with me”. The element of the ‘friend’ is Jesus, and this is the base of the virtues and the makings the soup. As the little girl serves, visits and shares eagerly about her new soup made with fruit, she comes home with the ‘ah-ha’ moment of the depth in how good it felt to have tangible responses and outcomes from those she shared with. She finds living and demonstrating the Fruits of the Spirit within her is a mighty important gift she’s been given.

Sounds like a fun way to present the Fruit of the Spirit to kids.    Next question…

What is your favorite part of the book?

JeanWhen Kate and her mom visit and serve community members, and she comes back and says, “You know what my favorite part of making Kind Soup is?” “The way it made me feel inside when we gave it away.” The little girls realized and feels the deeper gratification of what she’s done and why she feels this way. It is the love within her spirit that’s being additionally confirmed and recognized as she shared what she made. It full-fills each of the Fruits of the Spirit’s virtues in that instance.fruits-1388848_1280

What a great maturing of love moment.  And…

Is there a message in your book you hope readers will grasp?

Jean:   My hope is for the reader (big or little) to go out and serve with a glad heart and spirit, that they would practice on and reflect in the virtues shared in Galatians 5:22-23, and spend time together, be it cooking, reading, serving, discussing, sharing stories or anything that creates virtuous moments. I encourage the reader that their ‘together’ doesn’t always necessarily need to be those you comfortably know, like your family and friends. I encourage the reader to meet new people (safely-children should always be accompanied by adult known to them), make the soup at a community center-invite anyone, read to school classes or local libraries-get out of your immediate comfort zone because these ‘uncomfortable-or out of your normal comfort zone and leap of faith opportunities’ are often the moments God offers the biggest blessings, growing experiences and relationships. The trickle effect has the ‘God opportunity’ to begin as a ripple in a puddle and become the mighty waves of the sea, you just never know how, who or when He’s going to bless another through the Fruits in Your Spirit.

What a great way example for others to put in practice.  One last question…

Where can readers find you online?

JeanI’m on Facebook, Intstagram,  Twitter,  and

Thanks so much, Jean, for dropping by!

Click to tweet:   An interview with author and columnist Jean Petersen at the Inspired Prompt blog.   #amreading #fruitsofthespirit #kindsoup #jeanpetersen

Readers, Jean will give away a $10 gift card to use on her web-site, Please leave a comment to be entered.

Kind Soup

Kind Soup wo grad from Little Lamb for release

Kate and her mom are in the kitchen and their making something delicious-a special soup wrapped in prayer and ladled out with love, composed of the Fruits of the Spirit, Kind Soup is as much a joy to make as it is to share.
Pre-orders begin in November with Little Lamb Books.


jeanpetersen new head shot

Jean Petersen is excited about her January release of her children’s picture book, Kind Soup with Little Lamb Books.

She recently released The Big Sky Bounty Cookbook-Local Ingredients and Rustic Recipes with Arcadia Publishing and The History Press as a part of their American Palate series with Chef Barrie Boulds this summer, and her first non-fiction children’s picture book, Moose Shoes, was released in 2007.

Jean is Colorado State University-Journalism alumni, and has been a freelance writer and weekly columnist for 12 years with Western Ag Reporter covering a host of topics. Her weekly children’s column is called Life on the Ranch with Banjo celebrated 10 years this past spring, and some of her feature articles can be found published in Distinctly Montana magazine and Raised in the West Magazine.

Jean lives near the Beartooth Mountains in scenic southern Montana on her small farm with her husband, four children, and a host of animals knocking at her door, all of whom give her lots of fuel for all her writing.

 Facebook, Intstagram,  Twitter,