Mourning Dove by Claire Fullerton

Today we’d like to welcome Firefly Southern fiction author, Claire Fullerton, to the Inspired Prompt blog. Claire has just released her new book, Mourning Dove, a Southern family saga, and we want to know more…

Glad you could join us, Claire! Do you have any interesting writing rituals?

Claire:  I have a salt lamp that I keep on its low setting, which maintains a soft, golden glow.

What are your books about?

Claire:  Mourning Dove is a Southern family saga. It is the story of Finley Crossan, as told in the voice of his younger sister, Millie. The siblings lead an idyllic childhood in the lake area of Wayzata, Minnesota, until their Southern mother, the alluring and dynamic, Posey, leaves their alcoholic father and moves the siblings to her hometown of Memphis, Tennessee. As outsiders in this genteel and manicured Southern culture, the siblings mature to find their way to belonging in a society so nuanced, it makes eccentricities look normal. Mourning Dove is a story about siblings who come from the same background, but come to disparate ends.

What is your favorite part of the book?

Claire:  That Mourning Dove is written in the first person voice of Millie Crossan as she ruminates over why her golden, charismatic brother, Finley, whom she thought hung the moon, came to the end that he did.

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

Claire:  What happens in one’s family during one’s formative years comes back to haunt, sooner or later, especially when one is raised in a discreet society where everyone seeks to make things look good, at the expense of the glaring truth.

Where can readers find you online?

Claire:   My website  

Facebook

Instagram 

Twitter

Thanks for stopping by and telling us about your book!

Click to tweet:  Mourning Dove by Claire Fullerton is a Southern family saga worth the read.  #amreading #Southern


Mourning Dove

The heart has a home when it has an ally. If Millie Crossan doesn’t know anything else, she knows this one truth simply because her brother Finley grew up beside her. Charismatic Finley, eighteen months her senior, becomes Millie’s guide when their mother Posey leaves their father and moves her children from Minnesota to Memphis shortly after Millie’s tenth birthday.

Memphis is a world foreign to Millie and Finley. This is the 1970s Memphis, the genteel world of their mother’s upbringing and vastly different from anything they’ve ever known. Here they are the outsiders. Here, they only have each other. And here, as the years fold over themselves, they mature in a manicured Southern culture where they learn firsthand that much of what glitters isn’t gold. Nuance, tradition, and Southern eccentrics flavor Millie and Finley’s world as they find their way to belonging.

But what hidden variables take their shared history to leave both brother and sister at such disparate ends?



Claire Fullerton
grew up in Memphis, TN and now lives in Malibu, CA. She is the author of contemporary fiction, Dancing to an Irish Reel, set in Connemara, Ireland, where she once lived. Dancing to an Irish Reel is a finalist in the 2016 Kindle Book Review Awards, and a 2016 Readers’ Favorite. Claire is also the author of A Portal in Time, a paranormal mystery that unfolds in two time periods, set on California’s hauntingly beautiful Monterey Peninsula, in a village called Carmel-by-the-Sea. Both of Claire’s novels are published by Vinspire Publishing.

Her third novel, Mourning Dove, is a Southern family saga, to be published in June, 2018 by Firefly Southern Fiction. She is one of four contributors to the book, The South in All Seasons, with her novella, Through an Autumn Window, to be published in October, 2018 by Firefly Southern Fiction. Claire is represented by Julie Gwinn, of The Seymour Literary Agency, and can be found on WordPress, Twitter Goodreads Instagram as well as her website.

What’s Ahead in Social Media?

I’ve been watching the latest changes to our beloved social media apps and wondering, what will our future hold?

I thought I knew, but I was wrong. So, so wrong. Changes came more quickly than I’d expected, spurred partly by a need for accountability. Accountability is a good thing. The safety of our children is another good thing. But, will the pendulum swing too far?

Throughout the month of June, we’ve covered some of the basics of social media as it pertains to the writer. I was pleasantly surprised by a unified theme in many of the articles. What was it?

  • Less selling. More social interaction.
  • Build and keep friendships.
  • Be a blessing, not an irritant.
  • Serve others.

Hmm…

So, I asked my fellow Inspired Prompt contributors, what lies ahead for social media?

I have mixed feelings about social media and its future. From what I’ve heard from publishers and agents, there is not always a direct correlation between social media platforms and book sales. I still think word of mouth sells more books. That is better accomplished through meeting people face-to-face, which can happen through speaking engagements and, of course, writing a quality book.” —Harriet Michael

I enjoy social media, and see its value in promoting books and making connections with readers. On the other hand, there are unrealistic expectations for authors to have thousands and thousands of followers. I feel that quality writing is important, and social media can help in the promotion of quality work. I think social media will remain a part of everyone’s lives, but it will continue to evolve.” —Carlton Hughes

“I actually enjoy social media. I like meeting people and chatting. I believe if you view it as a place to build positive relationships instead of a venue to sell your wares, there will always be some type of social media that’s a positive for authors. I also believe you should follow the Golden Rule and promote others as yourself.” —Jennifer Hallmark

“I also like the idea of promoting each other through social media. That way, I can introduce my friends/followers to new authors and other authors can introduce me to their friends/followers. I think social media is here to stay, and can certainly add to interest in our books!” —Shirley Crowder

I enjoy social media. It helps me stay connected with people from all over the world that I’ve met throughout my life. It gives me snapshots of what’s going on in their lives. I think social media is here to stay and can be equated to conversations at the water cooler or across the backyard fence with a neighbor.” —Bonita McCoy

So, what’s your take? Do you have an opinion? Please share in the comments section. And be sure to join us in July for a brand new topic: Summer Fun! 🙂

Click to Tweet: What’s ahead in social media? I thought I knew, but I was so, so wrong! Our contributors weigh in on the subject via @InspiredPrompt #socialmedia #marketing

3 Questions Wednesday with Ann H. Gabhart

Welcome to 3 Questions Wednesday!

This week’s guest is Ann H. Gabhart, bestselling author of over thirty novels, which include her popular Shaker series. Most of these novels are set in her home state of Kentucky. I love reading about her nature walks and “Shaker Wednesday,” on her author page and blog.

Welcome to the Inspired Prompt blog, Ann. First question—Can you describe yourself in three words?

Country. Storyteller. Blessed.

There’s something very endearing about these words. I think your stories reflect “blessed country storyteller”. Now, second question

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

Oh wow, I think I should write a story about Hawaii, but hmm, I don’t know much about volcanoes and might not want to find out more firsthand. I could go to Scotland. Those Scottish heroes are always so handsome and manly. Or I could tour Texas. In a state that big I should be able to find enough story ideas to last me forever. But I really like writing stories with Kentucky history and settings. It would be a waste to take a fully paid research trip to Kentucky, but it might be fun. However, I feel like I need to go somewhere more exotic. So, I’m going to Australia. Maybe a ranch in Australia. Do they call them ranches? See, I need to do research. I do know Australia has some great history and if I go there I’ll find out about the climate and take hundreds of pictures and surely find a story somewhere. So, mates, let’s pack up and head for the Outback.

I love the way you think! And if you find yourself on a station in Australia, I’ve no doubt you’ll come back with a pouch-full of stories to tell! That brings us to question number three—

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

“I Was Country When Country Wasn’t Cool”

But I really doubt anybody would ever want to make a movie of my life unless they wanted to market it as a sleep aide. I’m blessed that there wouldn’t be enough drama in my life to keep folks from yawning. Then again with a little fictional finesse most any life can be turned into an interesting saga, right? I did marry young and was a teenage mom. I grew up on a farm and was a farmwife. I’ve had lots of dog friends and some strange encounters with cows. Maybe I should focus on the dog theme and come up with another blockbuster, tearjerker dog story movie. With, of course, that fictional finesse to make everything just a bit more intriguing to the movie goer. 🙂

Perfect! I laughed out loud as I pictured strange encounters with cows. Most of our lives probably fall into this category, but who we really are and what means most to us in life could at least garner a good Hallmark movie. Thank you so much, Ann, for giving our readers a glimpse into your life.

Readers, Ann H. Gabhart has a new book releasing soon, so I asked her to tell us a little bit about the story:

The germ of the idea for River to Redemption came from a true story about the actions of a slave in Springfield, Kentucky during the 1833 cholera epidemic. Unaffected by the disease, he heroically took care of the sick and dug the graves to bury the fifty-five cholera victims. Years later, the town of Springfield rewarded his actions by buying his freedom. My story is a fictional imagining of how that might have happened and what kind of man Louis must have been.


River to Redemption by Ann H. Gabhart

One young woman must stand up for freedom—and perhaps find her own in the process.

Orphaned in the cholera epidemic of 1833, Adria Starr was cared for by a slave named Louis, a man who passed up the opportunity to escape his bondage and instead tended to the sick and buried the dead. A man who, twelve years later, is being sold by his owners despite his heroic actions.

Now nineteen, Adria has never forgotten what Louis did for her. She’s determined to find a way to buy Louis’s freedom. But in 1840s Kentucky, she’ll need all of the courage and strength she possesses—and more.

ANN H. GABHART is the bestselling author of over thirty novels. Ann’s novels, including her popular Shaker series and her new release River to Redemption, have Kentucky backgrounds. Ann also writes about family life, love and sometimes mystery (as A.H. Gabhart).  She has three children and nine grandchildren and enjoys life out on her Kentucky farm. To find out more about Ann, visit www.annhgabhart.com or join the fun on her Facebook page, www.facebook.com/anngabhart or Twitter @AnnHGabhart

Click to Tweet: 3 Questions Wednesday’s guest is Ann H. Gabhart, author of over thirty novels. Learn more about her and leave a comment for a chance to win a book via @InspiredPrompt. #author #interview

To Link or Not to Link

by Shirley Crowder

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As with everything you say or do, prayerfully consider the words, emojis, and pictures you use, for as a Christ-follower you represent Christ!

LinkedIn (LI) is an awesome avenue for authors to utilize. I asked for input from authors I know and several I met at writers’ conferences. Of the 35 authors with whom I interacted, only 5 do not have an LI account. Here are some of the responses I received:

  • “That’s for business connections not writing connections.”
  • “My blog posts are sent to LinkedIn, that’s about it other than updating biographical information.”
  • “LinkedIn is only for someone who wants to find ways to cultivate his or her career.”

Let’s see what LinkedIn says. In “LinkedIn Can Help You” calls itself “the world’s largest professional network” whose “mission is to connect the world’s professionals to make them more productive and successful.”

Perhaps a good place to start in evaluating whether you need to utilize LI is to evaluate whether you are (or want to be) a professional author/writer?

Well, you can’t really answer that question without knowing what it means to be a professional author/writer, can you? By “professional writer” I mean: someone whose primary paid employment is writing. And, I also think of it as referring to someone who is a skilled and capable writer.

Here are some things my talks with authors and my research online have me thinking about. (This is not intended to be an exhaustive list.):

spotlight

  1. Think: Spotlight on me! The line under your name on your LI page is called the “headline.” I thought it was just for your job title.:) Well, “yes” and “no.” You have 120 characters here to “showcase your uniqueness” (a friend doesn’t know where she read this phrase). Basically, this is where you tell folks why they “need” to know you.

It seems counterintuitive for a Christ-follower who writes about Jesus to tout his or her accomplishments. As long as everything you say through social media reflects well on Jesus Christ, you can give Him the honor and praise by thanking Him for what He enables you to write.

  1. Keep your “Profile” and “Publications” sections updated. Remember to include not only our books but other articles, blogs, etc., you have written, as well as writers’ groups with which you are associated, conferences you attend, etc.
  2. Link the profile of your publisher to your profile.
  3. Share information related to your writing. You can automatically send your articles and blogs to your social media accounts when you post on your WordPress.
  4. Start or join a discussion group on topics that you find interesting and relate to your own writing.
  5. Endorse fellow authors and most of the time, they will endorse you in return!
  6. You get “Google points” for sites you link to through your LI page, thus improving your ranking in search engines.
  7. Connect with agents and publishers through LI.

At a Christian writers’ conference I recently attended, I overheard someone say, “A LinkedIn page gives an author credibility.”

I don’t know about you, but I have a lot of work to do to get my LinkedIn info updated!

Click to Tweet: It seems counterintuitive for a Christ-follower who writes about Jesus to tout his or her accomplishments. As long as everything you say through social media reflects well on Jesus Christ, you can give Him the honor and praise by thanking Him for what He enables you to write. #amwriting #publicity

Writing Prompt: Write a sentence that showcases your uniqueness as a writer/author.

Social Media: What Do Authors Say About its Usefulness?

By Jennifer Hallmark

Authors, do you ever wonder if Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other modes of social media really make a difference in the marketing of your book?

I do. With the June 2019 release of my debut novel, Jessie’s Hope, only a year away, I’m asking this question and many more. So I thought I’d take a few minutes and go to one of my favorite sources, Facebook, to see what others would say. The question I asked was “Which, in your own experience, sells more books. (1) Email newsletter (2) word of mouth or (3) social media? Or something else?” Here’s some answers by authors and readers…

Author Mary Watson Hamilton: At this point in my experience, online ads (Amazon, Bookbub, etc) have shown the biggest sales. Next to that, probably word of mouth.

Author Steve Watkins:  Felt need and discoverability sell books. It’s all about what happens on Amazon search engines. Social media will sell a few hundred books at best only if you’ve worked very hard and very smart with your marketing in the months leading to your launch. Sales over the long haul are all about what people are looking for in their searches. Speaking events will sell books if you’re with the right audience. Everything, of course, begins with solid, compelling text that has a voice.

Reader Rose Zemit: Word of mouth. When some one tell you about a book, I remember it and will likely buy it.

Reader Alaina Bryant Bowers: I’m not a writer but personally I buy more books if I hear someone talking about them, but also from social media.

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Author Sandra Backstrom Godfrey: Blitz. All of the above as opportunity comes across your path. Prayer for guidance.  I have a marketing coach. He believes strongly in attending conferences and conventions.

Author Bonita McCoy: Word of mouth. I’ve bought more books because they were recommended by a friend.

Author Shirley Crowder: Recommendation from a friend by either word of mouth, email, newsletter, or social media.

Author and Publisher Tracy Ruckman: Has to be—must be—a combination. One without the others isn’t as effective. But 2, 1, 3 in order of most effective.

Author Kathy Terry Houser: Word of mouth, social media, advertising. Go to local paper and get them to do a article on you and your book.

And the kicker is, as mentioned by Cathe Swanson, most word of mouth IS social media.

I believe social media is here to stay and as authors, we should make use of it in whatever way we see fit. Whether a little or a lot, it can make a difference in getting your name and book in front of a lot of people at once.

So get social!

Click to tweet: The question I asked was “Which, in your own experience, sells more books. (1) Email newsletter (2) word of mouth or (3) social media? Or something else?” Here’s some answers by authors and readers. #amwriting #socialmedia

Writing Prompt: It’s your turn. Tell us in the comments what sells books to you personally. Is it one of the ways mentioned above? Or do you have another answer? We want to know…