Here’s the Story . . .

Are you unpopular? Do you get pooped out at parties?

If you know me and/or have read anything I have written, you know I like to write humor. My personality is wired for the “funny,” and someone recently gave me the ultimate compliment: “I love your quick wit!”

I could say it’s just me, but I owe a good chunk of my sense of humor to Lucy, Laverne, Shirley, Oscar, and Felix.

It’s so tasty, too!

Classic sitcoms are my “jam,” as the younger set would say. I grew up on them, cut my teeth on them, and still watch them whenever I can. I have a substantial DVD collection, and I am constantly scouring streaming services and YouTube for episodes.

Do I just sit around all the time, passively watching classic TV? No (well, mostly “no”). In my writing, I can tell that my “style” has developed over the years from tricks and tips learned through these wonderful comedies. The “triple” joke, used so often in the Dick Van Dyke Show? I use it all the time. Broad exaggeration of everyday situations? Thanks, Lucy and Ethel and Laverne and Shirley. Contrasting opposite things for humorous effect? I see you, Oscar and Felix.

Join the thousands of happy, peppy people . . .

I guess you could say my research with classic sitcoms has been both intentional and unintentional. There are times when I search out a show or a specific episode for a focused purpose; other times, I am relieving stress by popping in a “Lucy” for a good laugh.

So, in the words of that great philosopher Jed Clampett, take off your shoes and sit a spell—enjoy an episode on me. Trust me—it counts as research!

WRITING PROMPT: Find an episode of an old sitcom, either on a streaming service or on YouTube. Watch with a critical eye, noticing the style of the humor and the jokes. Now, think of a humorous situation in your own life and write about it, incorporating ideas you learned from the episode.

[Click to Tweet] Classic sitcoms are my “jam,” as the younger set would say. I grew up on them, cut my teeth on them, and still watch them whenever I can.

3 Questions Wednesday with Carrie Turansky

Carrie Turansky

Welcome to another edition of 3 Questions Wednesday.

When author Carrie Turansky isn’t writing, “…you will find me enjoying time with my family, working outside in my flower gardens, cooking healthy meals for family and friends, or walking around the lake near our home.” Originally from Oregon, she longs for the beautiful tall evergreens and pristine Cascade Mountains. We are especially blessed to have her here today, promoting her latest release, Across the Blue.

First question:

Can you describe yourself in three words?

Carrie: Creative, Family-focused, Christ-follower

I love that. These really pinpoint who you are. Here’s a fun question—

Someone offers you a fully-paid writing research trip to any place you desire to go. Where would it be and why?

Carrie: I’d love to take a research trip to Kent, England, and see all the places described in my latest historical novel, Across the Blue:  Canterbury Cathedral, The White Cliffs of Dover, Leeds Castle, St. Margaret’s Bay, and Brodsworth Hall.  Then I’d travel back to the Bristol area to visit Tyntesfield, the lovely manor house I had in mind when I wrote the Highland Hall novels. And last, I’d take the train up to Northumberland where Shine Like the Dawn is set. That would be an amazing trip!

What a great trip that would be—to see the places you’ve written about, and then compare what you see with what you’ve imagined. You’d want to come home and write more stories about the trip you made. Last question—

If someone made a movie of your life, what would be the theme song?

Carrie: Find Us Faithful

That’s a beautiful song with a phrase we hope to hear when it’s all said and done. Click to listen and read the lyrics: Find Us Faithful. Thanks, Carrie, for visiting us at 3 Questions Wednesday, and allowing our readers to know you better.


Across the Blue

Love soars to new heights in this Edwardian romance filled with adventure, faith, and inspiration, but how much will it cost Bella and James to follow their dreams?

Isabella Grayson, the eldest daughter of a wealthy, English newspaper magnate, longs to become a journalist, but her parents don’t approve. They want her to marry well and help them gain a higher standing in society. After she writes an anonymous letter to the editor that impresses her father, her parents reluctantly agree she can write a series of articles about aviation and the race to be the first to fly across the English Channel, but only if she promises to accept a marriage proposal within the year. When James Drake, an aspiring aviator, crashes his flying machine at the Grayson’s new estate, Bella is intrigued. James is determined to win that race across the Channel and gain the prize Mr. Grayson’s newspaper is offering. He hopes it will help him secure a government contract to build airplanes and redeem a terrible family secret. James wants to win Bella’s heart, but his background and lack of social standing make it unlikely her parents would approve. If he fails to achieve his dream, how will he win the love and respect he is seeking? Will Bella’s faith and support help him find the strength and courage he needs when unexpected events turn their world upside down?

What do you hope readers will take away from Across the Blue?

I hope readers will be swept away to 1909 England and be inspired to follow their dreams as James and Bella do in Across the Blue. But I also hope they will see how important it is to count the cost and make sure they’re following the Lord’s leading in their lives. Honesty builds a strong foundation for healthy relationships, but deception and secrets pull people apart. And finally, I hope readers will be inspired by the creativity and determination of those early aviation pioneers, and appreciate the miracle of flight.

Click to Tweet: Author Carrie Turansky answers our 3 Questions and you could win a copy of her latest release, Across the Blue via @InspiredPrompt  @carrieturansky #Interview #giveaway

Carrie Turansky has loved reading since she first visited the library as a young child and checked out a tall stack of picture books. Her love for writing began when she penned her first novel at age twelve. She is now the award-winning author of nineteen inspirational romance novels and novellas. Carrie and her husband, Scott, who is a pastor, author, and speaker, have been married for more than thirty years and make their home in New Jersey. They often travel together on ministry trips and to visit their five adult children and five grandchildren. Carrie leads women’s ministry at her church, and when she is not writing she enjoys spending time working in her flower gardens and cooking healthy meals for friends and family. She loves to connect with reading friends through her website, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter.





Five Helps to Writing a Modern-Day Telling of a Biblical Story

by Fay Lamb

I am a writer who can never pass up the opportunity to read a modern-day retelling of a Bible story. I’d like to share what I learned while writing Storms in Serenity.

  1. An author must know the Biblical account they are seeking to bring to the reader in a retelling. From my earliest days as a young Christian, King David has always been my hero. I never get tired of reading about his victories and his losses, his greatest moments and his worst actions. His Psalms of repentance and renewal are some of the most heart-touching words in the Bible. David’s trust in the Lord is well-known, but there were times when his attention was somewhere else, and he failed. Storms in Serenity brings the aftermath of David’s sin to a story of a modern-day man named David. My familiarity with the life of David saturated my brain, and as writers often do, I subconsciously built the story around David’s failure and God’s unfailing love for him. When I say subconsciously, I don’t mean that God didn’t have a hand in it. I believe He gave me that love of reading about King David’s life. God had everything to do with why this story was written.
  2. An author must look for truths that should be shared elsewhere in the Scriptures and not simply within the story that is being retold. For instance, the consequences of David’s sin were not placed upon David because God hated him. There are consequences for our sin, and a loving God chastises His children in order to bring about good in our life. A child who is never reprimanded is one who isn’t taught what is right from wrong. There are Scriptures throughout the Bible that back up that truth.
  3. God’s word is alive. A passage of Scripture can have more than one lesson. Which other messages does your modern-day retelling provide? An author should pray and ask God to direct him or her to the message or messages He would have for the story. Whenever I read the story of David’s sin with Bathsheba, the sword that was wielded over David’s family because of his actions enthralled me: one of David’s sons raped his half-sister. The sister’s brother killed his half-brother to revenge that rape; the same son who killed his brother retaliated against David and overthrew his father’s reign; David’s own cousin was privy to his sin, and thus David was chained to an evil man for life; after his sin, David’s life was unsettled. Besides the fact that God’s chastisement of David’s sin was at the hands of a loving Father, I also learned that sins, no matter how seemingly private, can always have a far-reaching effect on ourselves and others. That is what Storms in Serenity is all about.
  4. Modern-day retellings can have some latitude so long as they do not skew Scripture. The story does not have to read or follow the exact story that God has presented to us in His word. In Storms, my “Absalom” is Seth, who begins to rebel when he learns the truth about his father’s sin. But Seth’s journey is not Absalom’s.
  5. The best modern-day retellings are those in which the reader can easily ascertain the story that is being presented. While our creativity has latitude, the story should not be so far from the original that a reader cannot connect with it. In Marie Wells Coutu’s retelling, For Such a Moment, and Betty Thomason Owens’, Annabelle’s Ruth, one can clearly determine the original story from the titles of these excellent novels, and they are easily recognizable within the pages.

Are you thinking of bringing Scriptures to a modern-day story? [Click to Tweet]

David’s son, Solomon once said, “There is nothing new under the sun.” A modern-day author, Francine Rivers, who brought the Book of Hosea to life in her story Redeeming Love, once taught me and proved before my very eyes, that you can give  a hundred different people a plot from the Bible and no two people will have the same story.

What’s keeping you from bringing your modern-day retelling to life?

Writing Prompt: Besides making you hungry, the photograph below should remind you of a famous Bible story. Write a good opening sentence for the story. Share it with us, if you like!

New from Fay Lamb—Storms in Serenity

How can one man save the town he loves when he’s the reason for the destruction?

Serenity Key, Florida, has seen its share of hurricanes, but this time, one foul weather system is about to collide with another storm, and this one has nothing to do with atmospheric pressure.

David New has guarded his secrets for years, but when two brothers, John and Andy Ryan, arrive in town and he gets news that the daughter he’s never told anyone about has disappeared, possibly the victim of a heinous crime, and the lives of many of the town residents begin to unravel in the gale force consequences of Jake’s past, he has nowhere else to turn.
God is the only one Who can calm the storms, but can David and the good folks of Serenity Key survive until He does?
A tempest has been brewing for thirty years, with only one island town in its path.

Storms in Serenity Interview with Fay Lamb

Good morning, dear reader! Thank you for joining us on this lovely Saturday. I’m excited to have our very own Fay Lamb with me this morning. Fay is talking about the writing process and her new book, Storms in Serenity. Let’s begin with rituals.

Do you have any interesting writing rituals?

Is worry a ritual? Only kidding. I have a ritual of reading my work over and editing it as I go forward. As I read the earlier chapters, I am able to layer in details that have occurred later in the story.

What is Storms in Serenity about?

A tempest has been brewing for thirty years with one island in its path.

Serenity Key, Florida, has seen its share of hurricanes, but this time, one foul weather system is about to collide with another storm, and this one has nothing to do with atmospheric pressure.

David New has guarded his secrets for years, but when the sons of a ruthless man from David’s past arrive in town, he realizes God is about to open the lid on the truth. Soon after, David gets news that the daughter he’s never told anyone about has disappeared, possibly the victim of a heinous crime. Then the lives of many of the town residents begin to unravel in the gale force consequences of Jake’s past, and he has nowhere else to turn.

God is the only One who can calm the storms, but can David and the good folks of Serenity Key survive until He does?

Sounds interesting! What is your favorite part of the book?

That’s a hard question for me to answer. I’ve been writing the story for forty years, and the characters are such a part of me, but I feel that my favorite moment in the story is when the reader learns the truth about John Ryan. He is one of my favorite heroes because he’s just not that perfect—or is he? And that’s all that I’m going to say.

You have my attention. LOL. Is there a message in your book you hope readers will grasp?

The story is a modern-day retelling of the aftermath of King David’s sin involving Bathsheba. David has always been such a hero to me, a flawed hero, but nonetheless, he was a brave man in battle. He seemed to get into trouble when left to his own devices. As I studied that fact about this awesome king and as I wrote the contemporary novel, I realized that the truth was the same then as it is now: sexual sins are not private sins. We tend to think that what we do in private affects no one. God opened my eyes to how much all sexual sins can touch the lives of even the most innocent, and that’s what I hope the reader will see play out in the pages of Storms in Serenity.

So true! Looking forward to the release. Where can readers find you online?

All over the place. Here are some ways to connect with me, and I always welcome the connection to readers and friends. You can find me on my personal Facebook page, my Facebook Author page, and at The Tactical Editor on Facebook and on Goodreads. I’m also active on Twitter. And I have some blogs: On the Ledge, Inner Source, and the Tactical Editor.

Click to Tweet: We tend to think that what we do in private affects no one. Storms in Serenity #Interview with Fay Lamb @InspiredPrompt

Fay Lamb is an author, an acquisition editor, and a freelance editor. She also loves to teach workshops for fiction writers.

The last novel, Frozen Notes, in her Amazing Grace romantic suspense series released in September. The series also includes Stalking Willow, Better than Revenge, and Everybody’s Broken.

Fay’s popular The Ties that Bind romantic series includes Charisse, Libby, and Hope. Readers are anxiously awaiting the fourth novel in the series, Delilah, which will be released in mid-2018.

Her adventurous spirit has also taken her into the realm of non-fiction with The Art of Characterization: How to Use the Elements of Storytelling to Connect Readers to an Unforgettable Cast.

Fay’s third series contracted with Write Integrity Press is entitled Serenity Key, and the first novel, Storms in Serenity, released in March, 2018.

Let the Truth Flow

Research: Current Events
by Kristy Horine

“I can’t believe you gave an interview without asking permission,” she said. “I thought you were more professional than that.”

The call completely took me off guard. An editor who had trusted me for two years with at least one full-length feature article in every single edition was on the phone speaking words that just didn’t make sense.

“I don’t give interviews. I do interviews,” I said. “There must be some mistake.”

It took three phone calls and an hour’s worth of research to discover the heart of the mistake.

One of the magazines I wrote for published my article on a small hospital that offered specialized care for patients with a specific , yet common condition. No one else within several hundred miles offered this care.

I did my due diligence as a freelance journalist. I researched the history of the place, gathered amazing, heart-wrenching stories from patients and their families, secured all the proper releases, shot photos, spoke with administrators and public relations officials. I even ate at a diner near the hospital so I could gather the impact of the facility on the townsfolk. This hospital worked miracles. It deserved the best I could give.

But here, a few weeks after my story went public, I learned that a student journalist from a major university had used word-for-word information from my article that she submitted as her own work for university publication.  The student never spoke with me, she never mentioned the original article, and she got some very important facts very wrong.

In this rapid-fire, often-questionable, 24-hour news streaming culture, proper research on current events can be the difference between earning the respect of your editors and your next paycheck, or simply adding your byline to a growing list of news trolls.

This experience made me think: What if I had been the sloppy journalist? What damage could I do to my sources, or to a worthy story that deserves to be heard?

There are hundreds of articles released every day that are well-researched, well-written articles. There are thousands of articles released every day that are not. With the deluge of information from around the world, how do writers know that the information they are including in their articles is trustworthy?

Here are a few tips:

  1. Only use direct quotes from primary sources with whom you have direct contact. Using another writer’s quotes as if you had done the work to capture them is lazy, breeds mistrust, and the sources can never be verified.
  2. If you reference information like poll data, dates of space shuttle launches, the wingspan of an Andean condor, or the number of seeds a sugar beet farmer in the Dakotas plants per year, make sure that you give a trusted reference for your information. There is no shame in consulting an expert. Use phrases like “According to …”, or “In a May 2017 Gallup Poll …”, or “The Cincinnati Zoo, which has partnered with the Association of Zoos & Aquariums’ Andean Condor Species Survival Plan …”
  3. ALWAYS gather research information from a reputable source. Wikipedia, tabloid webzines, and most blogs do not promise accuracy. If you use online information from a company’s website, make a quick phone call to verify the present-day accuracy of the information. In this digital age, using hard bound books or printed professional journals might seem archaic, but it is often a great source for specific, proven information.
  4. Make a personal editorial decision before you crack your first book, read your first article, or contact your first source, to be completely honest no matter what you find – or don’t find – in your research. Good research often leads to better interview questions and broadens the writer’s perspective on a topic.
  5. Most of all, have fun with research. You never know what next story you might find there.

Click to tweet: Research. There are hundreds of articles released every day that are well-researched, well-written articles. There are thousands of articles released every day that are not. #research #amwriting

Writing Prompt: Consider the importance of truth. Where might the absence of truth lead a society? Pretend you are the last writer on earth and write a scene of building trust with folks who have never known the truth.