Click, Snap, Flash: A Love of Photos

Tiger Lily

Tiger Lily in my front flower bed

by Bonita Y. McCoy

Writers write, but they also do other interesting things.

Most writers have several hobbies, talents, or skills other than writing that they use in their daily life. One of my hobbies is photography. I love taking pictures.

The smile on a small child, wildflowers whipping in the wind, or bees buzzing around an open bud make my heart sing and drives me to snap a quick shot. But I must confess, though I own a very expensive Cannon with a large zoom lens, I tend to use my iPhone seven.

Why?

Plain and simple, convenience.

It’s always with me, and unlike the larger equipment, it fits into my pocket.

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Taking a walk together

One of my favorite apps that feeds my love of photos is Instagram.

Up until my fiftieth birthday, I didn’t know Instagram existed, but four years ago on that fated birthday, my friend introduced me to the app. She helped me set up an account and taught me how to use it.

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So, I decided to take fifty pictures of fifty blessings to celebrate turning half a century old. I invited others to join me in the adventure and to post their blessings as well.

By the end of the year, I had counted fifty plus, and the experience reminded me how much I loved taking and sharing pictures.

Since then, I’ve been looking for odd or unusual landscapes to capture, and I’ve been quick to take pictures of life as it is happening—all around me.

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Making tracks to nowhere in particular

Nothing is safe. Railroad tracks, the dog’s weird haircut, my great nephew making faces, I get them all and love them all.  Writing maybe my journey, but photos are my dollops of joy along the way.

What are your favorite scenes or occasions to capture and share?

 

 

 

Jessie’s Hope by Jennifer Hallmark

Good morning, friends! Thank you for joining us on this lovely Saturday. We’re excited to have Inspired Prompt co-founder Jennifer Hallmark talking about her debut novel. Let’s begin!

Tell us a little about yourself.

Jennifer:  Well, I’m a wife, Mother, Mamaw, friend and family to many,  cookie baker, LOTR marathon watcher, greeting card sender, church bulletin maker, day trip with hubby and friends taker, snowman and Golden Age of Detective fiction book collector.

And most exciting of all at the moment, DEBUT AUTHOR. 🙂

What do you love most about the writing process?

Jennifer:  I love it when I have an idea and get in the “flow” of writing. I can’t type fast enough to keep up with my train of thought. I also enjoy going back and editing my work to make it the best it can be.

How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?

Jennifer:  At the moment, I’ve almost finished the sequel to Jessie’s Hope and have ideas for a third book. I also have two other Southern fiction stories started.

Since I love fantasy, I’ve also written a hundred thousand word fantasy that I’m editing with a book two partly written.

To answer your question, way too many…

If you could give advice to your younger writing self, what would it be?

Jennifer:  Be careful when you pay someone to “help” you. I didn’t always spend my money wisely in the past. I also would’ve joined a writing group and went to a writing conference much earlier in my career. There’s nothing like having friends in the writing business.

What are common traps for aspiring writers?

Jennifer:  

  • Scams that seem to be the real thing. 
  • Thinking your writing doesn’t need editing.
  • Giving up too easily.
  • Not trying out many different types of writing.
  • Not turning to friends for help.

What does literary success look like to you?

Jennifer(1) Learning to enjoy the journey. Too often in my life I’ve focused on goals and missed the wonder during the trip.

(2) Earning the publisher back their money. I want to be a good steward of what’s been entrusted to me.

Future Projects or WIP you can talk about?

Jennifer:  I’m editing the sequel to Jessie’s Hope and also am sending my fantasy through the Word Weaver’s critique group, Page 20.

Great advice and thanks for stopping by today!

Click to Tweet: Author Jennifer Hallmark shares her writing advice, debut novel, and encouragment #amwriting  #Southern @InspiredPrompt

June Blog Tour Giveaway Extravaganza 

June 10th-June 30th

Prizes include:

  • $25 Amazon Gift Card
  • $10 Starbucks Gift Card
  • Print copy of Jessie’s Hope
  • 2 Kindle copies of Jessie’s Hope

Giveaway details: Go to my Rafflecopter Page to enter and possibly win one of five prizes to be drawn by Rafflecopter. Winners will be revealed on the author’s blog on July 1st. You can only enter by visiting my June blog tour from June 10th until June 30th. My visits include:

June 13thJennifer Slattery Lives Out Loud/

June 14thFavorite Friday Fiction

June 15thInspired Prompt

June 17thAuthor Trish Perry

June 17thSouthern Writers Magazine

June 18thAuthor Liz Tolsma

June 19thInspired Prompt

June 21stSnark & Sensibility/

June 24thFear Warrior/

June 24thAuthor June Foster

June 25thTrumpet Tuesdays

June 26thSeriously Write

June 28thHeartfelt, Homespun fiction/

June 29thThe Write Conversation/


Jessie’s Hope

Years ago, an accident robbed Jessie Smith’s mobility. It also stole her mom and alienated her from her father. When Jessie’s high school sweetheart Matt Jansen proposes, her parents’ absence intensifies her worry that she cannot hold on to those she loves.

With a wedding fast approaching, Jessie’s grandfather Homer Smith, has a goal to find the perfect dress for “his Jessie,” one that would allow her to forget, even if for a moment, the boundaries of her wheelchair. But financial setbacks and unexpected sabotage hinder his plans.

Determined to heal from her past, Jessie initiates a search for her father. Can a sliver of hope lead to everlasting love when additional obstacles–including a spurned woman and unpredictable weather–highjack Jessie’s dream wedding?

Amazon

Barnes and Noble


Jennifer Hallmark writes Southern fiction and her website, Alabama-Inspired Fiction, and the group blog, Inspired Prompt, she co-founded, focus on her books, love of the South, and helping writers. She’s published 200+ internet articles and interviews, short stories in several magazines, and has co-authored three book compilations. Her debut novel, Jessie’s Hope, will release in June of 2019.

When she isn’t babysitting or gardening, you can find her at her desk writing fiction or working on one of her two blogs.  She also loves reading detective fiction from the Golden Age and viewing movies like LOTR or Star Wars. Sometimes you can even catch her watching American Ninja Warrior.

Visit Jennifer at her blogFacebookFB author pageTwitterPinterest, and her Amazon page.

Wandering Around Wondering

My secret life? Hmm…what do I do when I’m not churning out chapters?

If I’m not writing, I’m thinking about it. Plotting my next scene, wondering what my heroine will do next. Occasionally, though, I love to shut down. Close the computer and go away. Find something to do that does not involve electricity or the internet.

A scene like this slows my heart rate.

Those things are best found outdoors. I’m not picky. I love to wander along the seashore, through mountains, woods, pastoral fields, whatever, whenever. I even love to wander through my neighborhood on a quiet morning. According to a younger cousin of mine, our houses are way too close together. But this is my reality and I’m content. We have wildlife in abundance, towering trees and beautiful flowers. Sections of our suburban setting are scenic and park-like.

I can’t always get outside. Sometimes, I spend my down time organizing my life. Not an easy task, believe me. I’m a closet hoarder. That means my closets tend to overflow from time to time. The best way to keep that from happening is to give them a periodic cleaning. I must be brutal and not only grab stuff but release it into the “to-go” bag. Then, before I can come up with ten excuses why not, I force myself to drive it to the nearest donation station where the kind attendant peels back my gripping fingers and accepts the bag, laughing all the while.

And then there are those times when the closet is clean, and I’ve had my walk. Now what? Well, I come from a long line of figure-it-outers. If something doesn’t work, I figure out why and fix it, or find someone who can.

I isolated this trait to the Thomason bloodline, but I suppose it could also have trickled in from the Wade side of the family. My dad and his cousin Neal could fix anything. My younger brother could disassemble and reassemble most any kitchen appliance and end up with almost all the parts back in. He nearly always had at least one leftover something which he figured must be nonessential, since the appliance worked when he finished.

So, when my ancient but beloved dishwasher sprung a leak in the arm-like do-hickey that sprays water into the upper rack, I was forced to take action. After endless reminders to hubby, I gave up and googled the thing. I found the part for $24.95 and ordered it. When it arrived, I removed the old one and installed the new one, no leftover parts involved. It works like a new washer.

Don’t worry, I’m not about to put any repairmen out of work. If it gets too technical, I’m going to call somebody. Then I wander around and wonder how much it’s  going to cost.

If you’re a writer, you know the angst of having so little time to write, yet when you do have time, your brain is fried from your day job and you have no desire to press it into action in front of an empty screen. Sometimes you want to chill and maybe experience a bit of real life in the form of…who am I kidding? I have to confess, there are times when I just sit in a chair and read a good book or watch a favorite movie.

Last, but definitely not least, I love spending time with the kids and grands or my elderly mom. I enjoy time away with my husband. Those are the real things that bind me to life and inspire me to write.

I mentioned a number of time fillers here. So, tell me, what activities do you choose when you have a few moments of down time?


Writing Prompt: You have a day completely to yourself. Alone. At home. Journal your “fantasy” solitary day.

Click to Tweet: I have to confess, there are times when I just sit in a chair and read a good book or watch a favorite movie. #downtime #FridayThoughts

Every so often, 3 Questions Wednesday has a cancellation. Bummer. We don’t really like empty space, so we stuffed an ad in here. 🙂

Click to Tweet: The 3 Questions Wednesday interview is an opportunity for your prospective readers to know you better, and absolutely free marketing for your book. If you don’t have a book (yet), but you’re a working writer, you’re qualified. #CR4U #CleanReads

 

 

3 Questions Wednesday: Openings Available

Every Five Days: A Poetic Journey to Bread

By Kristy Horine

Sourdough. 

It’s been the bread of choice in my family for three generations. From Papaw, to Momma, to me. My “Secret Life” as a bread maker has waxed and waned over the years. I’ve received jars of starter, killed jars of starter, and baked hundreds of loaves of bread. Most bread I gave away. Sourdough to neighbors. Sourdough to strangers. Sourdough to bake sales for various ministries. Sourdough as communion bread. 

Over time, I’ve learned the process — feeding, waiting, kneading, waiting, baking, eating and waiting some more — is blessed with measures of faith, hope and love. The three that remain.  To honor the Lord who gave us His own body as bread, a poem:

Every fifth morning, I pull the pickle jar from the fridge.
(It used to live with Cathy Thompson,
The jar did.
She filled it with things that bubbled and soured.
Then, she gave it to me.)
I put the pickle jar on the counter.

Every fifth morning, into my two-cup glass measureFood for starters

I add:
One cup of perfect-warm water,
three, one-fourth cups sugar,
Three tablespoons potato flakes.
(The flakes look like snow.)
I stir and waterfall the warm, sweet, snow into the pickle jar.

Then,
I wait.

Every fifth night, I fetch my mixing bowl
From under the counter.
(Momma gave me a set of three at Christmas-time
One year)
I add:A measure of flour

One fourth cup sugar,
One half cup oil,
One tablespoon salt,
One cup swirled-up starter,
One and a half cups perfect-warm water
Six cups bread flour.
I stir. Turn out. Knead.

Then,
I wait.

Every sixth morning, I grease and flour my pans.
Punch down dough, turn out onto flour-dusted counter,
Twist in two places to make lumps of three.
I press and spread and roll the dough
With my fingers, floured white.
Dough pressed flat

I tuck the dough into pans, pull waxed paper covers up to their chins.

Then, I wait.

Every sixth evening, I turn the knob to start the
WHOOSH!
Of gas in my oven.
Thirty minutes in, a glance for golden brown, a thump on
Top for doneness.Sliced bread
I eat the heels
(straight away)
for they are my favorite parts:
Slathered with sweet cream salted butter,
Only half allowed to melt,
For the waiting has seemed so long.

WRITING PROMPT: You are a master baker, paid to produce the most exquisite morsels ever to be eaten. You have received an order for two plain loaves of bread to be delivered to a remote hillside. The client is willing to pay seventeen times what the bread is worth, as long as you deliver it in person at exactly three o’clock. Write about the conversation you have with the client upon delivery.


Click to Tweet: Every Five Days: A Poetic Journey to Bread via @inspiredprompt and @kristyhorine – sometimes the waiting seems long but the end product slathered with butter, totally worth it.