Twenty Years of Grandma Status

by Betty Thomason Owens

Bill Clinton was the POTUS in 1997.

In China, they slaughtered 1.25 million chickens due to the bird flu. Tony Blair was Prime Minister in the UK, and Princess Diana was killed in a car crash.

For me, the fall of 1997 launched a new era, as I became a grandmother for the first time. My granddaughter was two when she called me grandma, and I thought that was truly the most beautiful title in the world.

The next two decades would bring five more granddaughters and two grandsons into the family. The first time they call me grandma still warms my heart.

Another life-changing event happened in the last twenty years. I began my publishing journey. I never set out to write books. If someone had told me I’d one day be an author, I would’ve laughed. Uproariously.

If the publishing industry had remained as it was two or three decades back, I may not be a published author today. I started out as an Indie writer.

Kindle and the entire e-book industry changed the publishing world—turned it upside down. Publishing exploded, as it became more accessible to the average, or not-so-average writer. It became a race. Some authors tried to write really fast to keep up with their readers’ demands. The more they wrote, the more they sold. Write fast. Sell ‘em while they’re hot.

But not everyone. Those were mostly romance writers. I started out writing inspirational fantasy adventure. They sold, but not like romance. Romance sells like IHOP pancakes. Stacks and stacks. All you can eat. Really good romance, mixed with suspense, will fly off the e-shelves.

Well, I’ve swerved off the twenty-year topic here. You can see what an intriguing subject Indie publishing is.

So, back to me, and my journey. After publishing those two fantasy books, my historical fiction novel was picked up by a small publisher. Then I sold another historical fiction to the same publisher, so I now have two series going on. Currently, I’m finishing up the first series, book number seven for me. I have almost as many books as grandchildren.

The name “author” feels pretty good. “Published author” sounds even better, and “award-winning author” (thank you, Grace Awards), is the thrill of a lifetime. But I think the name Grandma is still my personal favorite. Listing published book titles is fun, and claiming an award is a great honor, but naming all my grands and trying to remember their ages is the most fun of all. And perhaps the greatest challenge.

CLICK TO TWEET: Grandma and published #author: both are titles I’ve earned in the last #20years.

Writing Prompt: Take a look at the picture below. What comes to mind? Does it inspire you? Write a caption, or start a story, using this photo as inspiration.

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3 Questions Wednesday with Fay Lamb

Today’s guest is author, Fay Lamb.

Welcome back to 3 Questions Wednesday, Fay. First question:

What inspires you?

Fay: Well, let’s get the truth out there first. Coffee. Have you ever sat down in the morning with your cup of coffee made the way you like it? You drink that coffee, and the caffeine seems to seep into whatever part of your brain provides motivation. You start thinking you can do anything. You make a list. You jot down ideas for a story. You’re invincible.

In my writing, I am inspired by many things. Locations get the creative juices running. My Amazing Grace series is based on a real area in Western North Carolina. Yet, in my novel Better Than Revenge, the heroine wasn’t connecting with me. She stood off to the side, aloof, daring me to get to know her. Then one day, my husband and I were driving around the area, and I was looking for a farmhouse because Issie lived in her grandparents’ old farmhouse she’d renovated. And there it was, this fantastic two-story white-framed farmhouse with a swing in the front yard, a field of corn to the right, and in the backyard between the house and the beautiful red barn were vegetable boxes. I saw them as Issie’s personal garden and the corn as her crop. Then to the side of the barn, there was a field and two cows grazing there. And Issie whispered into my ear, “You found me.”

Actors provide me with all types of ideas. I’ll admit it. Usually, it’s their looks that catch my attention, but then I look into the roles they’ve played. In my novel, Charisse, I have had readers tell me who they see as the hero, Gideon, and they saw him exactly as I saw him. He is one actor, but his character is based on two entirely different roles he played. One was an adventure/comedy where I realized for the first time that the guy could really act and had taken roles beneath his abilities. The other movie was one of the few dramas he has starred in. The subject was intense, and his character was likable but cautious, perfect for a multi-dimensional character.

A Bible verse or a Bible story has been an inspiration for me in a couple of novels. One is Libby. If anyone knows me, they know I tend to joke about my looks and about breaking cameras, and I see myself as great fodder for comedy, but God says in Psalm 139:14 that I’m fearfully and wondrously made, and that was the lesson Libby has to learn—in between a lot of hilarious matchmaking and some sad moments of truth. And my upcoming novel, set to release in March, is the biblical retelling of the aftermath of David’s sin with Bathsheba.

And lastly, a moment in time can be an inspiration. My novel Hope deals with serious matters from healing to forgiveness, but from the very start, one backdrop was set for that story: the Central Florida fair, and more particularly the carousel. I’ll admit that the moment in time was not on a carousel, and it was not as poignant for me, but my friend was there, and that is an important part of that storyline. In fact, the moment that brought to mind the carousel, as embarrassing as it was is still considered the most horrifying moment of my life as well as the one that can still bring me to laughter that causes tears to run down my face.

There’s inspiration in many forms here. I especially love the “moment in time.” This is so true. Sometimes we miss those moments, or don’t really appreciate them.

I almost hesitate to ask this one: You’re a new addition to the crayon box. What color would you be and why?

Fay: Interesting question, and more interesting that I didn’t have to think much about it.

I’d be turquoise because it goes well with black. Turquoise alone doesn’t ever stand out for me, but when you wear it with something black, it pops. And I know you want a better explanation than that, so here goes. I consider myself pretty bland when I’m just going through life, everything is okay. I don’t naturally look for the humor around me. I’m turquoise. But when I am sad, there is a darkness inside. When I use that term, I don’t mean it as evil. It’s just that my thoughts could turn to the morose. Depression doesn’t suit my brain, so it automatically begins to look for humor. Let’s take the moment I alluded to above—the Hope inspiration.

I was with my friend at the Central Florida Fair. We decided to go into the fun house. However, at the end of the fun house was a turning cylinder. My friend, an agile, gymnast and later a Disney dancer made her way easily across. Me, the clumsy person who fell off the inch-high balance beam in gym, hesitated. I was challenged by the ride’s operator to hurry across. So, the proverbial light bulb shined above my dim head. I’d hold on to the side and make my way over.

And you can imagine what happened next. My hand against the rotating cylinder began to pull me downward. I found myself on the ground, the cylinder taking me up and down, up and down, and the crowd growing outside and the laughter turning into a roar. I could see my friend laughing for all she was worth (and she’s worth a lot to me). And behind her stood my aunt and uncle who took us to the fair—laughing at their beloved niece. Finally, I guess after he stopped laughing, the ride’s operator climbed in and helped me out.

Now, I could cover the turquoise with black and mutter that I’m a clumsy idiot and hate the recall of the memory, or I could layer the outfit with turquoise and make a funny story out of my ability to be a carnival sideshow act without any effort. Life is easy when I’m wearing turquoise, but it is more interesting when I combine it with the black.

Lol! I’m not sure at this point, whether to laugh or be embarrassed for you–never mind–I’m laughing too hard to write sensibly. About that color turquoise–“Complex, imaginative and original, Turquoise people drive themselves hard and may be in a state of turmoil under their outwardly cool exterior.”–according to my favorite color website. Um…I think it may be fairly accurate, what say you?

Now, one last question:

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

Fay: This is going to be the shortest answer you’ll get from me. From the time I remember thinking, I was a storyteller. I never wanted to be anything but a writer, and after taking my high school aptitude test, I was informed that my best track for my life would be either as a librarian or a writer. I answered back that there was only one choice. I would be a writer. While I took a series of detours that proved the aptitude test wrong, I still wrote. Each detour added to the growing collection of stories I have carried with me since I began as a storyteller all those years ago.

I’m not at all surprised by that answer! I love your stories and look forward to many more. Thanks so much for participating in 3 Questions Wednesday.

Readers! You can win a copy of Fay’s latest release, Frozen Notes. Read more about the book below, then leave a comment in the comment section. Feel free to ask Fay a question, or let us know you’d love a chance to win the book. Thanks for joining us at 3 Questions Wednesday.

CLICK TO TWEET: #3QuestionsWednesday provides readers with inside information on author Fay Lamb #amreading


More about today’s guest:

Fay Lamb

Fay Lamb writes emotionally charged stories with a Romans 8:28 attitude, reminding readers that God is always in the details. Fay donates 100% of her royalties to Christian charities. Currently, Fay will be donating her royalties from the second quarter of 2017 through December 31 (royalties paid March 31), to Samaritan’s Purse Relief Fund to aid victims of Hurricane Harvey and Irma and any other relief the organization feels necessary.

Fay’s fourth book in the Amazing Grace romantic suspense series, Frozen Notes brings to a close stories of intrigue and suspense and reveals to her readers the secrets of one of the series reoccurring characters from the first three novels, Stalking Willow, Better than Revenge, and Everybody’s Broken.

Fay is also the author of The Ties that Bind Series, which includes Charisse, Libby, and Hope. The fourth story in the series, Delilah, will be coming soon.

Fay’s 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.

Readers of Fay Lamb’s fiction can look forward to her Serenity Key series, with her epic novel Storms in Serenity set for release in March 2018.


Frozen Notes by Fay Lamb

Lyric Carter’s dreams of fame and fortune in a rock band ended the day Balaam Carter left to pursue their dreams without her. When Balaam’s brother promised to love and protect Lyric and to love her son, Cade—his brother, Balaam’s child—as his own, she believed him. But Braedon turned her dreams into a nightmare by killing Balaam’s best friend, turning the gun on himself, and placing Lyric in the middle of a criminal investigation that could leave her and Cade dead.

Balaam Carter’s every dream has come true, but he’s living in a nightmare of addiction and regret. The famous rock star would give everything he has to return to the girl he once held in his arms—back when his only crime was running moonshine for his father. Now, he’s seeking redemption for all the destruction his dreams have brought to the people he loves.

No one said the road to recovery would be easy, but Balaam is also desperate to protect Lyric and the little boy he left behind from a state full of drug lords who believe Lyric has the evidence that will tumble their lucrative cartels. Balaam’s continued sobriety, his natural ability for finding his way out of trouble, and his prayers to God above for the strength to never let them down again are all that he has to protect Lyric and his son, and still, he doesn’t know if he’s up for the task.

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Living the Sports Chick Dream!

My friend, Latoscia Mason is wild about football! As you can see from this picture, she really gets into her role as a sports chick. To say she loves football, is an under-statement!

She’s an Alabama fan, a University of Louisville (UofL) fan, and a football mom. I could go on and on, but I think I’ll let the photos speak for themselves. Because this sports chick is having a stellar year.

By the way – her son plays football at Fern Creek High School – in my neighborhood. I graduated from FCHS a few years back (snicker). The Tigers made a name for themselves in 2016, and are doing well this year, too. Keep your eye on #85!

And she’s passing the football-loving gene on to the third generation!

I think that’s pretty amazing. What a grandma (actually, I think she’s called “Glamma”).

So, here’s to a winning season, Sports Chick! May your teams score big this year.

Click to Tweet: Living the Sports Chick Dream in Louisville, Kentucky! #football #sports


Latoscia is not just about football, she’s a minister, too. You’ll find her at Within You Ministries on Facebook. Most weekends, she and her team are ministering at KCIW — Kentucky Correctional Institute for Women.

From Latoscia’s Facebook post~

Over the years, the overwhelming love of God has glowed through me when I didn’t see anything but darkness! But God…in His infinite wisdom, with total surrender/obedience, His love has illuminated and transformed me from the inside out! If you are in a dark place, surrender, give it to Him. He shall light and direct your path. I’m a witness of his constant ❤️ grace, mercy and faithfulness. I couldn’t earn it, I don’t deserve it, but He has kept me! When I 👀back over my life, and I think things over…I can truly say that I AM BLESSED! TGBTG! #TBTPic

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3 Questions Wednesday with April W. Gardner

April W. Gardner

Welcome to 3 Questions Wednesday, April W. Gardner.

April writes Christian historical romance with a focus on our Southeastern Native Tribes. She is a copy editor, military wife, and mother of two who lives in Texas.

Let’s see how she does with our three questions!

 

What inspires you?

April: Music. Always music! It moves me in a way nothing else does. It’s my preferred form of worship, and I always have something playing while I write. For writing, I prefer soft music without lyrics. Jim Brickman is one of my favorites, but I also listen to a lot of spa music.

Good answer. The next question is just for fun–

You’re a new addition to the crayon box. What color would you be and why?

April:  Blue! Any shade. Blue is one of those colors that, no matter the shade, can never be ugly. Green, for example, can have ugly shades and make us think of unpleasant things, but I can’t think of any shade of blue that has a negative connotation. It’s so soothing!

I agree! Blue suggests patience, kindness, and perseverance. The color is soothing, kind of the like the music you prefer.

Final Question–As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

April: When I was four, I told my mom I was not going to college. I was going to be a mommy. Well, I went to college, but in the end, I became a stay-at-home mommy. I still am! Though I also work from home now. Best. Life. Ever.

Isn’t it, though? What a blessing that you’re able to do that. Enjoy every moment.

Thank you, April, for visiting 3 Questions Wednesday.

Click to Tweet: Meet author April W. Gardner on #3QuestionsWednesday today!

To learn more about April, visit her website, AprilGardner.com, or connect with her on Twitter, GoodReads,, Facebook, Amazon Author Page, or BookBub.


Readers, sign up for April’s newsletter for a free book–

Every subscriber instantly receives the first in the Creek Country Saga for FREE!

Newsletter Sign-up: http://eepurl.com/vujA9

Bitter Eyes No More

A man of abiding honor tested by a woman of ruinous passion. A woman of unspeakable sins pursued by a God of unquenchable mercy.

Spanish Florida once sheltered Lillian McGirth from her fears. Now, it feeds them. Mercy is for the deserving; for Lillian, an unwed mother accused of treason, there is only battering and defeat, but her fall breaks softly in the arms of an unexpected arrival, a man too beautiful of soul to stain with her lost character.

Captain Marcus Buck sails in on a pledge to save Miss McGirth from herself and from her child’s father, a ruthless don. All the while, he’s to regard her as virtuous and worthy of protection and to guard said virtue from pilfering. But the terms are flawed since he must first guard her from himself. Regardless, he is determined. He will free her, repair her name–simple labor compared to dodging the army’s noose, mending wounds three years deep, and navigating a host of rebel Natives bent on inflicting more.

Through the steady crumble of his pledge, their friendship becomes a consolation, for she knows his pain as no other can or will. Their scars are one; their paths, however, might irrevocably become two…

Buy Links: Paperback         Kindle

 

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