3 Questions Wednesday with Carol McClain

87489044f054Good morning! It is my pleasure to welcome back author Carol McClain to the Inspired Prompt.

Good morning, Carol.

Who is your favorite author?

Carol:  We have so many great authors to choose from. For years, I loved Annie Dillard. Her way with words and her thought process and sass always keep me thinking. I’ve reread Pilgrim at Tinker Creek too many times to count. With each reading, I uncover more wonder.

Dillard’s always my first thought when it comes to authors. Recently, though, in the realm of fiction, I’ve fallen in love with Lisa Wingate and Susan Meissner. Both authors think differently than most CBA authors. They don’t seem to lean to the obvious. Never am I afraid to pick up one of their books—so much so, that I don’t put a lot of thought into it. If I find a secondhand book or on a bookstore shelf, I nab it.

Great choices 🙂

If you could write about anyone or anything fiction/nonfiction who or
what would you write about?

Carol:  Currently, I’m obsessed with goats. I love their personalities. We live on two acres in the country, and if my husband was willing to help me, (or willing to own them), I’d have goats. I, at one time, owned a Nubian named Heidi. Such a sweet animal.

Since goats are not on my horizon, my new protagonist owns eight of them. She creates soap and yogurt from their milk. I’m learning soap making (I already know how to milk) and having a ball living through Meredith’s world. Her mother shears Meredith’s angora goats (she owns angora and Nubian), and creates fabric from it.

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Goats are so funny to watch! They do have the best personalities.

If you could spend time with a character from your book or another book
whom would it be? And what would you do during that day? 

Carol:  Although Adam allowed the past to poison his true nature, I love Adam’s vocation. He’s a paramedic. When researching his occupation, I got to attend training sessions with the local EMTs. My critique partner, Randy Cook, was a paramedic at one time. I love the idea of saving people’s lives. I’m obsessed with medical shows (and weirdly—I love the autopsy scenes the most). Adam has a heart for the hurting, when he discovers his nemesis needs help, despite his disdain, he finds a solution to her problem. His love, his skill and his compassion make me want to be like him.

 He sounds like a wonderful character. We’re so glad you dropped by, Carol.

Click to tweet: Author Carol Mcclain talks about her favorite character and you have a chance to win a giveaway. #giveaway #CarolMcclain

Readers, Carol will give away a kindle or nook copy of Yesterday’s Poison. Let her know by commenting below your favorite author or if you could spend time with anyone, who and why? 


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Yesterday’s Poison

After her boyfriend betrays her, Torie Sullivan careens into a ditch in a drunken fury. Paramedic Adam Benedict rescues the unconscious woman, then realizes she’s one of the middle school bullies who tormented him twelve years ago. The encounter rips open scars he thought had healed.

While kayaking one morning, Adam discovers Torie bathing in the frigid waters of Hookskill Preserve. He then learns she’s living in a lean-to in the forested preserve. Despite his hatred for her, Adam’s innate compassion won’t allow him to leave Torie in the wilds of Albany County. He offers her a secure, private room in his minuscule cabin.

When tragedy strikes Adam’s family, his girlfriend Maya Vitale gives Torie a room in her apartment. Torie envies Maya’s idyllic life, unaware she, too, hides a dark and shameful past.

Each character drinks yesterday’s poison. Their friendships intertwine their lives and expose their toxic pasts. They must learn to forgive the unpardonable.


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Author Carol McClain is an eclectic artist and author of three books. Her interests vary as much at the Tennessee weather—running, bassoons, jazz, stained glass and, of course, writing. She’s a transplant from New York who now lives in the hills of East Tennessee with her husband and overactive Springer spaniel.

She is the president of ACFW Knoxville and the secretary of the Authors’ Guild of Tennessee. Currently, she serves as course coordinator for the ACFW loop.

In her “free time” she teaches life skills in the local jail and supervises student teachers for WGU.

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Time to Write with Lisa & Gail

Lisa Worthey Smith is a long time Bible teacher who ventured into writing inspirational stories a few years ago, and is now President of Word Weavers North Alabama.

She and her husband are empty nesting in northern Alabama where she spends time in her garden and writes stories of Faith*Hope*Love. Her first two books Oscar the Extraordinary Hummingbird and The Wisdom Tree are available on Amazon.com and she expects to release two books in 2019, Ground Kisser and COFFEE with God at Christmas.


Social media, daily chores, ideas for different stories, unexpected family needs all creep in and steal time that could have been used to crank out more words for the project of the moment. So, how do I manage my writing time?

Pray.

I ask God to give me direction for the day, deferring to His will rather than mine. If I get behind on my writing goals for the day because I spent time with someone who needed encouragement, I don’t count that as a lost day. I never want to be so headstrong on my goals, that I neglect His prompting.

Plan.

I work best with a plan to reach certain goals. I keep a small calendar on my desk to log in my deadlines and use that as a starting point.

Pare it down.

If I need to produce a 40,000 word story, I break that down into monthly, weekly and daily bites so I am not overwhelmed with a 5,000 word deficit a week before my deadline. There is great satisfaction in turning a page on the calendar, knowing those tasks are accomplished without panicking at the bigger picture of what is still before me.

Prioritize my time.

Work comes before leisure, so mornings are dedicated to writing. If something comes up, I still have time later in the day to reach my goal. If I have to give up something, I’ll give up leisure time to accomplish my goals and not deal with the stress of being behind.

Persist.

Of course, there are days when my computer remains unopened. Still, tomorrow I renew my prayer to follow His will, and adjust my goals to match His, and persist. The only thing stopping us from reaching our dreams is to give up. Persist instead.


From Gail Johnson—So, you’ve read the latest on carving out time for writing, but no matter how hard you try, the bullet list doesn’t seem to be working as promised. Oh, what’s a writer to do?

The best thing that you will ever do for your peace of mind is realize that writing isn’t a one size fits all profession. It’s a personal journey for each author. For me, it’s trusting myself, and God, to know what is best. I can’t sit in a chair and stare at a blank screen. It would be easier to lay an egg than writing my rough draft this way.

My goal each day isn’t so much about getting a set number of typed words on paper but staying in my head and listening to my characters. I can do this anytime and anywhere I’m able to pen words to paper, napkin, or shoe sole. 😊

When driving, I dictate to my sweet daughter who is glad to help in my time of need. My entire rough draft is hand-written conversations between my characters. That’s it. No settings. No internal thoughts. Just conversations. They reveal the plot. When I feel I have the gist of the scene, I sit and write the chapters adding the necessary components.

Remember, this is my process. It may not be your cup of tea. Learn what’s best for you. Trust your quirkiness; it’s what makes you, you. Finding your own process will make the words flow like warm honey across hot biscuits.


Gail Johnson enjoys sharing her passion for life and Christ through the power of the written word. Whether it’s through stories, articles, or songs, she invites her reader and listener to “taste and see” the hope she has found in a faithful God and loving Savior.

She is the author of Treasures of Hope, Discovering the Beautiful Truth Beneath My Painful Past, a memoir. A member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), she writes fiction, non-fiction, and songs. Her Southern Gospel song “Less of Me and More of You” came in the top 5 runners-up in the 2010 Singing News/Solid Gospel Songwriters Search. Born and raised in Georgia, she is a wife and mother of two adult children. She enjoys lots of family time, good music, maple pecan ice cream, and southern living. In the past, she has published articles and interviews on the web, in the local newspaper, and in church magazines.


Click to Tweet: My goal each day isn’t so much about getting a set number of typed words on paper but staying in my head and listening to my characters.  Via @InspiredPrompt from @GailJohnson87 #amwriting #inspiration

Writing Prompt: It’s morning, the sun is shining. You open the curtains to find something you never expected to see in your front yard. Using NO adverbs or adjectives, describe what you see.

Time to Write with Bonita & Cammi

Bonita: Most of us writers think that writing, like breathing, should come naturally. But in the real world, life happens, and we wrestle with others and ourselves to eke out the time to put the words on the page.

Here are the four tips that I have implemented in my own writing to help me get the work done.

  1. Bathe it in prayer. Before I begin writing, I pray. This is a new discipline for me. Not the praying but doing it right before I begin. It has helped me to keep my focus on the One who called me and made me to write. It also serves to shift the focus from the deadline, the opinion of others, and my own feelings to the quality of the work. Just like you, I always want to do my best for the Lord.
  2. Make a plan, Stan. Yes, we must plan. Bob Hostetler shared with us at Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writers Conference in 2017 that he would plan as far out as forty days. By doing this, his writing was already on the planner before other things could take over. I liked his idea and started planning every six weeks in advance. Using this method, I got several articles and blogs written as well as two books during 2018.
  3. Attitude of Gratitude. Be grateful for the time that the Lord gives you to write. I am terrible about viewing this wonderful opportunity of work as a burden, but the secret is it’s not a burden. It is a gift. So, every minute you are given to use your wordsmithing skills count it as joy.
  4. All grit; no quit. Shirlee McCoy shared this on one of her Facebook posts, and I loved it. In order to write, you must determine this is your calling and nothing is going to stop you from doing what God has called you to do. Sure, there will be times that the Lord puts other things in your life that have to be taken care of, but it’s the getting back to it that makes you a writer.

May God bless all your writing endeavors this year, and remember, if he called you to it, he will equip you for it.


Bonita Y. McCoy hails from the Great State of Alabama where she lives on a five-acre farm with two horses, two dogs, two cats, and one husband who she’s had for over twenty-nine years. She is a mother to three mostly grown sons and two beautiful daughters-in-law, one who joined the family from Japan. She loves God, and she loves to write. Her blog and novels are an expression of both these passions. Drop by and visit. Facebook Author’s Page or visit her website bonitaymccoy.com .


Cammi: I am a low-tech girl living in a high-tech world, at least when it comes to writing. I keep paper and pen with me at all times. We all have our dedicated writing time, but think about the rest of your day. We have times during the day when we have a minute or two of waiting – at the doctor, at the grocery store, sitting at a restaurant. Those are great times to grab that paper and jot down ideas. Look around you and see what people are wearing, listen to what they are saying, notice what they are doing. I like to tell myself I will remember later but I know I will not!

On my last trip to the grocery store I noticed—

  1. A man checked out with 17 packages of chocolate chip cookies, 2 bags of plant food, and a spatula. I am curious! What was he doing?
  2. A pretty girl was sorting through the tomatoes. She had expensive clothes and jewelry, meticulous makeup, and manicured nails. On her wrist, she had a string of paper clips with a rusted key hanging on it. Did a child make the paper clip bracelet for her? What was the key for?

Will these characters make it into a story later? Maybe, maybe not. But I have this trove of inspiration I can draw from whenever I need it.

You won’t have time to craft paragraphs or even write in complete sentences but that isn’t what these sessions are meant to accomplish. Inspiration can strike at the oddest of times, and always having something to write on will ensure that you do not forget your ideas. You never know when a simple observation might spark a whole novel!


Daughter, sister, friend, huge nerd, procrastinator… All are words Cammi Woodall uses to describe her self. A new one she is using is writer. That is scary! Cammi is a writer. Her hands shake when she says it or writes those words.

After keeping her stories hidden away for decades, she’s decided 2018 is her year to jump out of her comfort zone and get her writing to the public.

Despite darker reading habits, a comic thread weaves its way through her fictional stories. Even in emotional pieces, her characters use humor to cope with everyday tragedies. Sometimes you have to laugh to keep from crying!


Click to Tweet: Will planning ahead keep you on task with your writing? Find out how Bonita Y. McCoy and Cammi Woodall keep their writing energies flowing. Time to Write with Bonita & Cammi via @InspiredPrompt #NewYearResolution #amwriting

Writing Prompt: Using the following words and phrases, create an opening paragraph for a story:

  • One black boot
  • Candelabra
  • Ficus tree
  • Crock Pot

Have fun!

3 Questions Wednesday with Clarice G. James

headshot high resolutionHappy Wednesday! Today the Inspired Prompt welcomes author, Clarice G. James. We’re so happy you could join us. First question:

  1. Who is your favorite author?

Clarice: Although selecting favorites isn’t easy, I choose Leif Enger and Cynthia Ruchti. Leif’s novel, Peace Like a River is rich and full, and kept me emotionally engaged in the story for months after I finished it. Since I write contemporary women’s fiction, I admire Cynthia’s skill in that genre, especially her ability to create believable characters who overcome in real-life situations.

Sounds like a great read. I am adding it to my book list. 🙂 

If you could write about anyone or anything fiction/nonfiction who or what would you write about?

book-1209805__340Clarice: A woman who struggles with fad diet after fad diet her whole life, then finds the help she needs in Scripture alone. Of course, that woman would be me. [smile]

Lol! I think that book would strike a familiar chord with a large audience. Now about one of your characters…

If you could spend time with a character from your book or another book whom would it be? And what would you do during that day?

Clarice:  I’d love to spend more time with Seymour Kaufman, one of the characters in my novel, Manhattan Grace, because of his big faith and unique way of overcoming life’s hardships and disappointments. We’d spend the day walking around Lincoln Center in New York City, while I listened to his stories and learned from his experiences.

He sounds like an interesting and wise character. Thanks so much for dropping by!

Click to tweet: Author Clarice G. James talks about favorite authors, fad diets and a giveaway. #Claricegjames #amwriting

Giveaway: Clarice is pleased to give away a copy of either of her books: Double Header, Party of One, or Manhattan Grace.

Manhattan Grace

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When a door opens for Gracie Camden to leave Cape Cod and move to Manhattan as a nanny for a Juilliard drama instructor, she fully expects God to use her acting talent and launch her to stardom. It’s been six months. What’s taking him so long?

Seymour Kaufman relocates to New York City from Iowa due to a shortage of mohels (circumcisers) in the tri-state Messianic congregations. Secretly, he hopes to explore a deeper relationship with Metropolitan Opera star and fellow Moldovan, Polina Zelenka. But he is conflicted when he meets her less complicated, widowed cousin, Simka.

Meanwhile, fresh from Palm Beach, the Chief plans to cap off his short yet lucrative career as an international jewel thief with a multi-million dollar heist during the Met’s gala in Polina’s honor. His usual modus operandi is to work alone—but this time is different.

While Seymour celebrates every closed door by believing God will open a better one, Gracie whines and wonders why God doesn’t bless her plans. Gracie finally learns it’s not about making it big in the Big Apple, it’s about living God’s perfect plan for your life.


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Clarice G. James writes smart, fun, relatable contemporary women’s fiction. When she’s not writing, Clarice is reading, encouraging fellow writers, or organizing author events. Eight years after Clarice was widowed, she was blessed to remarry (Ralph) David James. She and her husband live in Southern New Hampshire. They both enjoy the writing process and host a monthly critique group in their home. Together, they have five married children and ten grandchildren. Between children, grandchildren, and extended family, they have relatives in Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, and Virginia. So, you know what their “vacations” are like. Here are five additional and fascinating (or not) facts about Clarice:

  1. As a little girl, she helped her mother clean by soaking all the family’s toothbrushes in Lestoil.
  2. She loves time alone with her grandchildren, so they can play make-believe without their parents spoiling it.
  3. She and her husband don’t keep score in Scrabble. They’re just happy they can spell.
  4. If she ever invites you on a road trip, say no. She once got lost in a beach parking lot.
  5. She’s a Christian who wishes all the wacky Christians of the world would stay away from those she’s praying for. She says, “You’re not helping.”

Order Manhattan Grace Amazon

Order Party of One on Amazon

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Time to Write with Carlton & Kristy

Carlton Hughes–

Time to write? An interesting phenomenon I haven’t figured out.

My day job is teaching, and I currently teach at three different sites each week, in addition to completing community service and internal service. I serve my church as a children’s pastor, and I am a year-round volunteer with Operation Christmas Child. I am married and have two nearly-grown sons and lots of cats (we are the stray magnet in the neighborhood).

As if that isn’t enough, I am called to be a writer. Many times I’ll plan a day of writing, and here’s how that usually goes:

  • Wake up, do my devotional reading.
  • Quick check of social media—in case I have an important message, of course.
  • Eat breakfast (Can’t write on an empty stomach, can I?)
  • Sit down with my computer, open a Word file.
  • Type a title.
  • Remember there’s an I Love Lucy marathon on, watch an episode or three to jump-start my creativity.
  • Check episode guides online to get information about what I am watching.
  • Back to my computer, type a couple of sentences.
  • Realize I’m hungry, go eat lunch (Need strength for writing!).
  • Come back to my computer, another quick check of social media.
  • Watch a cat video.
  • Return to my computer, type another sentence or two.
  • Decide that’s enough, I’m tired, turn on the latest football or basketball game.

Does your adult ADHD kick in when you try to write? I have learned I make more time to write when I have a deadline. With that hanging over my head, I’ll leave behind the sitcoms, ball games, and social media sites to write.

Let’s open our computers and write! Oh, wait, another cat video . . .


Carlton Hughes

Carlton Hughes wears many hats: husband, father, college professor, children’s pastor, writer. He is a professor of communication at Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College and the children’s pastor at Lynch Church of God. He and his wife Kathy have two sons, Noah and Ethan. You’ll find his tongue in his cheek as he contributes humorous inspirational pieces to two blogs and writes for devotions for publication.

 


Kristy Horine – A Peculiar Reveille

One of them started whining at 4:50 a.m. The other joined in with that short, sharp arf! a few minutes later.

I did ask for help with getting up at 5 a.m. to write, didn’t I?

Why, yes. Yes, I did. I asked and God answered.

For several months now, the dogs have sounded off like clockwork. The beauty of this wake-up call is that the dogs don’t have a snooze button I can smack. I actually have to get out of bed, put on a robe, my coat, and my shoes. I must be alert enough to deal with leashes, and then walk in the cold dark and wait while the pooches find that perfect place to … well, you know. By the time I get back into the house, I am completely awake and ready to write.

A peculiar, persistent reveille. Just what I needed. Just when I needed it.


Kristy Horine is a Kentucky writer: freelance journalist by trade; creative by God’s grace. Kristy writes a little bit of everything including poetry, fiction and creative non-fiction. She makes her life in Bourbon County with her husband and is mother to four children. Her professional and creative work has been published in newspapers, magazines and anthologies in Kentucky and beyond. She is the founder of 3rd Letter Christian Writers in Lexington, Kentucky and is a contributing blogger at www.inspiredprompt.com.  Read more of her work at: www.writeonereallife.fistbump.press, and http://www.kentuckymonthly.com/blogs/a-kentuckian-in-paris or follow her on Twitter at @Kwriteone.


[Click to Tweet] Does your adult ADHD kick in when you try to write? Time to Write with Carlton & Kristy via @InspiredPrompt #amwriting #WriteTip

Writing Prompt: Choose one of the three photos above (cat, dogs, or bugler) and come up with a couple of intriguing questions to start a story.