3 Questions Wednesday with Jessie Mattis

Welcome to 3 Questions Wednesday, Jessie Mattis. Jessie is an award-winning writer from Indiana. We’re excited to have her as our guest.

Who is your favorite author?

Jessie:  There are many great authors to choose from, of course, but I would have to say my favorite author is Francine Rivers. Her writing always keeps me coming back for more, whether it’s to snag a new release or reread an old favorite. Rivers has a way of unfolding bits and pieces of the story in an unexpected way as she goes, keeping you on your toes to the very end.

You’ve been chosen to write a biography about your favorite historical person. Who would that be?

Jessie:  This may sound a bit too churchy, but if I were to choose a historical person to write a biography about, it would be the Apostle Paul. While there are many inspiring individuals in our rich history, I always come back to Paul when I need a dose of inspiration. Often Christians think once they follow Jesus, their lives will turn easy. Paul shows us quite the opposite, but also demonstrates how to have unwavering faith in God’s provision and goodness, even when life is hard.

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

Jessie:  If I had the option to spend the day with one of my characters, I would have to choose Miss Kate. Though in the book you only see her in the role of Kids’ Church teacher, she also runs her own bakery and has a sense of humor. I think we would get along well, spending the day making up new bakery creations, laughing, and discussing life together!

Good answers, Jessie. Thanks for giving our readers the opportunity to meet you. Readers, if you’d like a chance to win a copy of her book,  Power Up, leave her a comment below. Keep reading for information about the book. Don’t forget to leave a comment or ask Jessie a question!


Power Up

Eleven-year-old Lexi has learned all there is to know about God … or so she thinks until Miss Kate arrives and shakes up Kids’ Church with her new ideas. As if it’s not enough that Lexi has to get her history grade up or miss out on the class trip with her friends, her new relationship with the Holy Spirit is suddenly put to the test when a family crisis strikes. Can Lexi trust that God is good in the middle of all this pressure?

Available at Amazon or Barnes and Noble


Jessie Mattis is a Jesus-loving wife, homeschooling mom, and award-winning writer. She currently lives in Bloomington, Indiana with her husband and fellow author, Chip Mattis, and their three amazing kids.

Connect with Jessie at www.jessiemattis.com, on Instagram, or Twitter (@JessieMattis)

Click-to-tweet: Award-winning author, Jessie Mattis, is our guest today at 3 Questions Wednesday via @inspiredprompt #children #interview

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

Mantle Rock Publishing – Kathy Cretsinger

Mantle Rock Publishing, LLC, is a family owned Christian publishing company. The company is owned by Kathy and Jerry Cretsinger. When I asked Kathy for an interview, she graciously accepted, though she was quite busy at the time. If you visit their website, you’ll find a friendly, welcoming vibe. Somewhat like the feeling you get when you enter a love-filled home or a family-owned business where they know your name and truly care about you.

♦ Kathy, please tell us a bit about yourself, how and why you started a publishing company.

Kathy Cretsinger: I am a wife, mother, grandmother, and step-great-grandmother. My husband and I are both from East Tennessee. We’ve been married for 56 years, and we’re still counting. After our parents passed away, we wanted to live closer to our children. Our daughter lives in Nashville, TN, and our son lives in Benton, KY. We’re not big city people, so we decided to buy a small farm in Benton. In 2012 we published our first book. We knew of authors who were having a hard time publishing their book, and I was enduring the same thing. We started Mantle Rock Publishing to publish only my books, but other people wanted us to publish theirs. It has grown from two books to a lot more.

♦ That’s wonderful. Fifty-six years! So, Mantle Rock, that’s an interesting name. Is there a story behind it?

Kathy: There is a story behind it. Mantle Rock is between Paducah and Hopkinsville, KY. During the Trail of Tears, the Cherokees spent the winter at Mantle Rock until the ice thawed and they could cross the river. There is a big granite rock that looks like a mantle over a fireplace. The Cherokees camped in the field.

When we began thinking of a name for the company, we thought about Mantle Rock. The mantle there covered some of the Cherokees like a mantel of love covers us from God. We try to cover our authors with our love for them and their writing.

Our mission is to help first-time writers publish their book. A new author will have her book edited, and they’ll learn about the new grammar rules, how to format their book, and how to market it. All aspects of a good author. We guide them through the publishing process. Of course we do not take every author, but we do concentrate on first-time authors.

♦ How great that first-time writers will know their “baby” will be so well cared for.  Mantle Rock has published a good number of books, and some of your authors have been guests on our blog at one time. I know you can’t play favorites, but is there a standout among your published books? And/or a most surprising success?

Kathy: I don’t have favorites, but some authors pull on your heartstrings. In 2014 we published A Most Precious Gift by Jacqueline Wheelock. We worked to get it out before her sister passed from cancer. We made it by about two weeks. Jacqueline did not use Facebook, Twitter, any social media, and did not have a website. She began telling everyone about her book. Word of mouth works very well. Even today when Jacqueline goes on a trip we get an increase in her sales. My husband will come in my office and say, “Jacqueline must have traveled someplace. She’s sold X number of books.” She is our top seller today. She still doesn’t use Facebook or Twitter. She talks her book up. I’d love to have more people be energetic about their books. She’s been on Amazon’s #1 Top Seller in both regular books and Black American Romance. It’s such a good book. It still sells well today, after five years.

♦ Now, that’s a great success story and very encouraging to those who are media-challenged. 🙂 Congratulations, Jacqueline. What catches your eye in a proposal or a manuscript?

Kathy: A manuscript that is well written, punctuation is correct, and the story is one that I don’t want to put down.

♦ Right. That’s exactly the type of book I like to read. After the contract is signed, what is a realistic publishing timeline?

Kathy: At this time we are looking at a year or a little more. All of 2019 is full, and we have just filled all of 2020. If we get something we cannot resist, we will find a place next year. We want to keep it a little slower and try to get better manuscripts.

♦ That’s understandable. Quality vs. quantity makes sense. Let’s talk about compromise – how much is too much; how much is too little, on the part of either party. 

Kathy: We need books to sell. If the author won’t work on sales, they will get their rights returned. I hate to do that, but that is business. Too much? Refusing to market their books and wanting all of the commission we receive. Also not respecting our time.

♦ Good answer, Kathy. That brings your role as a publisher into focus. Your hard work up front delivers the finished product, but it’s not your job to sell that product. Your return on investment is at stake, even if that investment is labor only. Knowing this upfront can help weed out those who are not interested in doing the hard work of marketing.

♦ What is the danger you see in following trends versus following the Lord’s leading and what is your advice to writers who are passionate about their message?

Kathy: Several of our authors write feeling they have a mission to share God’s love. I also know it offends some people. I had a review on my first book. The reviewer said, “If I’d known it had so much religion in it, I wouldn’t have bought it.” That made me stop and think. Could a book be written showing God’s love, but not talk a lot about God’s saving power? Several of our books go into Clean Fiction. No preachy, but comfortable in God’s love. I’d tell any author to write what their heart tells them.

♦ Thanks for saying that. In your opinion, at what point should a writer say, this is one for self-publishing? 

Kathy: When no company will pick up your book, maybe it’s time to self-publish.

♦ What types of materials are accepted by your company?

Kathy: Christian – Romance, Romantic Suspense, Cozy Mysteries, Suspense, Historical Romance, Historical Romantic Suspense. At this time we are not accepting anymore Fantasy manuscripts, except from our contracted authors. We have three who write Fantasy for us, and we can’t take anymore.

♦ Please let our readers know how to submit a proposal to Mantle Rock.

Kathy: You can submit directly on the website, or you can send it to me kathy@mantlerockpublishingllc.com. Please email your submission. Do not send the whole manuscript but only what we ask for.

♦ Is there anything you would like to add regarding submissions at this point?

Kathy: I would add to put Proposal in your subject line. Make it as perfect as you can. Read it aloud before you send it.

♦ How can writers pray for their publishers/for publishers in general?

Kathy: Pray that they will keep God first in their publishing. Pray that we will be honest in our dealings with our authors. It’s a big world out there, and we want to treat everyone equal.

♦ I love that. What is a good metaphor for the writer/publisher relationship and how can writers strive to make that relationship the best it can be?

Kathy: The one thing our authors say about us is, “we are family.” Most of the authors encourage each other, help in any way they can, and congratulate each when an accomplishment is made. We get to know each other.

CLICK TO TWEET: The one thing our authors say about us is, “we are family.”–Kathy Cretsinger, Mantle Rock Publishing LLC #publishing #writing #CleanReads via @InspiredPrompt

♦ Thank you so much for taking time out of your busy schedule to answer our questions.

Kathy: Thank you for interviewing me. I’ve enjoyed answering the questions, and I pray I have helped some writers in their journey of writing. I love working with authors, and I enjoy what I do. If anyone has any questions about Mantle Rock Publishing, I will be happy to answer them. Thanks again.

Click Photo to visit Mantle Rock Publishing LLC


♦ A special note of thanks to Kristy Horine, for the excellent questions used in this interview.

How to Choose the Right Editor

Pixabay imageBack in the day, before the idea of writing ever entered my thoughts, the mention of an editor brought one name to mind: Perry White. I was first introduced to the editor-in-chief of the Daily Planet in comic books. Yes, I read comic books (I had brothers). Oh, the excitement of opening a new comic book!

Breathe, Betty, get back to the subject.

Where was I? Oh, yes, editors, and how to choose one. If the company name is Dewey, Cheatham & Howe, don’t go there.  April Fool’s! 😉

This may surprise you, but editors are not the enemy. In fact, their business is to make our writing the best it can be.

Helpful Hint #1: If you have a fear of editors, pass your writing through a good critique loop or group first. Work on your manuscript until it is as clean as you and your team can get it, then look into hiring an editor.

I happen to love working with a good editor. They make my prose look professional. A good editor will save me from embarrassing myself. I have a gift for using the wrong word and don’t even ask me about commas. We seldom get along. It doesn’t matter where I put one, it gets removed.

Pixabay imageEditors sometimes get a bad rap. Why? Writers can be peevish about their “babies.” When I’ve finished writing my story, it is (of course) purr-fect. Then it goes to the editor. I wait. And wait. And then, I worry. Anxiety. Angst. Surely, it’s been too long. My manuscript must be terrible! ←Yes, that is an exclamation mark, and yes, I’m shouting at this point. 😊

Pixabay imageThen it appears—as if by magic—the email with the galley attached. My tummy tightens. I click on it with great trepidation. Will the document be flooded with red marks and comment balloons? Big, overblown comment balloons full of writing and questions and … heaven forbid, “What were you thinking?”

After a fit of crying, I go back to the document and one-by-one, tackle the changes and suggestions. And I soon realize they are all good and often thoughtful. There may be one or two that are misunderstandings, but those are also helpful.

Helpful Hint #2: An editor’s “misunderstanding” means I need to clarify what I’m trying to say, so the reader doesn’t get confused.

So, the editor has done extensive work. But she has not cleaned up my manuscript for me, she’s left suggestions that I can take or leave. I do the cleanup. And, as the author, I have the right to argue my point. A good editor will listen and give her opinion. The publisher will have the final say.


One excellent way to find a good editor: Pray, first and foremost. This person can be invaluable. If a writer believes their work is important, then they will invest in a good editor. Those who are working with a publishing house will likely be given an editor (as I am). In any case, pave the way with ample prayer. I pray for my editor as they tackle my work, and then I prayerfully consider their changes.

A second way: Pop back by during the month of April to see what our writers have prepared for our readers.

The writers of Inspired Prompt have been assigned a task: to help you find a good editor.  What do you look for? How much can you expect to pay? What type of editor do you need? We will also interview an editor.

By the end of the month, it is our hope that our readers will be better equipped for their writing journey. As always, send us any questions in the comment section of our blog posts. We’re happy to help.


Writing Prompt Challenge – Your editor highlights this paragraph: Emily cried her eyes out when she received the letter. She felt as though her heart would burst. How would you fix it? Comment with your answer. Remember: show, don’t tell. Best answer wins a $5 Starbucks card!

Click to Tweet: Editors are not the enemy…their business is to make our writing the best it can be. #amwriting #writerslife #editor

A God-Wink Book

by Rose Allen McCauley

Have you ever heard the term Godwink? I had the privilege of taking a Christian cruise a few years ago with Squire Rushnell and his wife Louise DuArt. They used this phrase and wrote a whole series of books about the times God has winked at them and others by revealing something unexpected to them. I was reminded of this term a few weeks ago when Squire appeared on The Mike Huckabee Show. Also when Kathleen Gifford used the term over Christmas in one of the Hallmark shows we watched.

My latest book from Barbour came about through a Godwink God sent me through a library magazine. I read about real life canal boats and the hardships the workers went though while working on the Erie Canal. I thought it would make a great Christian fiction book about romances along the Erie Canal at its various locations. So, I contacted Rebecca Germany of Barbour, and she liked the ideal and suggested my agent Tamela Hancock Murray and I find some other authors to write it with me. And that is how The Erie Canal Brides Collection came about!

It was not only a Godwink, but a true blessing to me and the other six authors. We had so much fun working together and learning more than we ever knew about the building of the canal and the people it affected. Like in my story, I learned that the women of Zoar Ohio helped the men of the town build their section of the canal. Some of the women even ended up partially bald from carrying baskets of dirt on their heads! Ouch!

So, the next time you have a strange idea or encounter I hope you will stop and ask God what He might be trying to reveal to you. Then listen! You never know what He can make of it!

Click to Tweet: Author Rose McCauley shares her “Godwink” experience and a chance for readers to win “The Erie Canal Brides Collection,” via @InspiredPrompt. We’re giving away books throughout March! #CR4U #romance


The Erie Canal Brides Collection

The Erie Canal Brides Collection has seven romance stories that take you back to the building of the Erie Canal and the opening of the Midwest to greater development.

Completed in 1825, the Erie Canal connected the Great Lakes to the Hudson River, and soon other states like Ohio created canals linking Lake Erie to the Ohio River. Suddenly the Midwest was open to migration, the harvesting of resources, and even tourism. Join seven couples who live through the rise of the canals and the problems the waterways brought to each community, including land grabs, disease, tourists, racism, and competition. Can these couples hang on to their faith and develop love during times of intense change?



Who am I? A former city gal who married this farmer over 50 years ago. Last spring we celebrated our 50th anniversary on Maui after the dinner our family gave us with friends from middle school, high school, college and all throughout the years. I like to read and write stories set in small towns with quirky characters. And thank God and give Him all the glory for all that He has given us!