The Right Recipe for the Write Day

Welcome to September! We’ve planned a fun month at Inspired Prompt and would like to invite you along as our crew and friends talk about cooking and share some of their favorite easy recipes.

Writers need EASY recipes, right? Many authors juggle full-time jobs with childrearing and other things like conferences, meetings, church, and sports. Sometimes writing is delegated to the level of “spare time” activities.

A treasure-trove of easy recipes can be a lifesaver. I love using my crockpot, especially in winter when soups and stews are favorites in my home. But in summer, I prefer something quick, like stir-fried meals. Okay, I didn’t plan ahead enough to put something in the crockpot, so I’m scanning my larder for something simple, that doesn’t take long to cook. One of my favorites requires only a few minutes and is a big palate pleaser—Korean beef and rice.

You can find easy recipes for the ground beef-based meal on Pinterest. As usual, I’ve made a few changes to mine, incorporating personal preferences. One thing to keep in mind, this recipe does call for sugar. Of course, you can substitute a natural product like stevia and use brown rice to increase the fiber.

And if you don’t really like the taste of sesame oil, you can substitute olive oil or even coconut oil, but be aware that it will no longer be “Korean” beef. You can rename it Luau Beef if you use coconut oil, or Roma Beef if you’re using EVOO. I’m kidding, of course. Whatever you call it, it’s yummy.

This meal can be prepared in advance and even stored in individual microwavable bowls. If you add edamame, steamed carrots or other veggies, and fresh berries, you can call it a power bowl. 😊

Here’s the recipe:

Korean Beef Ingredients

1 lb. lean ground beef
1 Tbsp. sesame oil
¼ – ½ cup brown sugar (I use ¼ cup, plus 2 Tbsp. molasses because I love the taste)
¼ cup soy sauce (I use low sodium)
½ tsp. fresh ginger, minced
1 large clove minced garlic
½ to 1 tsp. red pepper flakes (optional)
Green onions to garnish

  1. Heat skillet. Add sesame oil and brown meat with garlic until meat is done. Drain excess oil/fat.
  2. Add brown sugar (and molasses if using), soy sauce, ginger, red pepper (if using), salt and pepper to taste. Simmer a few minutes, stirring often. Don’t allow it to dry out. If it seems too dry, add a little water or broth (by spoonsful so you don’t overdo it). Serve over rice and garnish with chopped green onions.

I add steamed carrots or broccoli to make this a complete meal. Buy a bag of frozen veggies, prepare, and serve over the beef and rice, or prepare in a bowl as stated above for a neat power bowl.

Other substitutions: you can dice up regular onions (red, white, or yellow) to garnish if you don’t have green onions.

Sometimes, the rice is the most difficult part of this dish! Make it super simple by using instant rice.

What’s your favorite easy recipe? I hope you’ll find several to add to your regular menu rotation as our writers share theirs. We’ll be here every Monday and Friday with a new post and as always, you’re invited to add yours in the comment section.

Welcome to September! We’ve planned a fun month at Inspired Prompt and would like to invite you along as our crew and friends talk about cooking and share some of their favorite easy recipes. — You can Tweet this!

Writing Prompt: It’s almost five in the evening. Marie’s boss and her husband would arrive at seven. She has some frozen chicken breasts in the freezer and a few lonely veggies in the fridge, a box of angel hair pasta in the pantry. What can she do?

3 Questions Wednesday with Karen H. Richardson

It is my honor to introduce a new member of the Inspired Prompt Crew, Karen H. Richardson. We thought it would be appropriate to introduce her via 3 Questions Wednesday to give our readers the opportunity to meet and greet.

You can read more about Karen and her writing life in her bio. She and I have served as officers of the Louisville area ACFW chapter for about three or four years. So, I am delighted to have her working with us. You’ll see her name on most of the 3 Questions Wednesday posts, other interviews, and guest posts.

But what I want to know is, how will she answer our three questions? Let’s find out—

Who is your favorite author? 

Karen: My reading list is long and varied. As a writer, I feel it’s important to read other authors and different genres. Reading different genres than I write is an education in writing styles, plot arcs, and characters. Lately, I’ve read several historical fictions; Civil War and World War II are periods I’m most drawn to.

Interesting! And you are right. We can learn so much by reading the works of other authors.

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

Karen: I would write Mary Magdalene’s story. What was her experience like on the first day of the week at the tomb? What was the feeling around the tomb like? Was there an eerie feeling? Was she scared, not finding Christ’s body? What about when He appeared to her?

Intriguing questions. I’d love to hear her take on such an important story. Final question: If you could spend time with a character from your book who would it be? And what would you do during that day?

Karen: Nora St. Clair. She is the protagonist in my second book. She is the one character from the first book who I know the least about. She married the love of her life but sadly, he died after battling an aggressive tumor in his brain. They had no children. After his passing, Nora completed her interior design degree and went to work. Our day would begin at Starbucks over a wonderfully fattening coffee drink. Then I would shadow her at work because I don’t know much about interior design. What is her day-to-day like? Are her evenings quiet and lonely? I don’t know what it would be like to suddenly lose the love of my life.

Thanks so much for taking the time to answer our questions, and welcome to Inspired Prompt.

Click to tweet: As a writer, I feel it’s important to read other authors and different genres. Reading different genres than I write is an education in writing styles, plot arcs, and characters. 


As long as she can remember, Karen Richardson has wanted to write stories. When she was 10 years old, she wrote a play and got friends to act it out. A high school English teacher inspired Karen to begin to put her thoughts on paper. After graduation, she attended Western Kentucky University where she earned a BA in Journalism and Creative Writing.  Her education started her down the road of storytelling as a professional. While in her full-time position, she is the director of communications for a national non-profit, she has also completed her first novel and is in the process of securing an agent. Karen lives in Louisville, Kentucky with her husband and son.

She can be found online on Facebook and Twitter @KHRWriter, Instagram KHRichardson5, www.KHRichardson.com, or her blog KK’s Candor, www.KKSCandor.com.

Writing for Devotional Sites

by Diana C. Derringer

A roller-coaster ride, newlywed misunderstandings, fishing adventures, middle-of-the-night foster care placements, family health miracles, and talking fruit trees have all weaved their way into my online devotional submissions.

At first, I wrote devotions solely for print magazines, both freelance and assigned. I knew devotional websites existed and read a few. However, I never seriously considered submitting to them. As I learned more about online opportunities, that gradually changed.

Possibilities

Some magazines publish both online and hard copy. The Upper Room Magazine’s online version maintains a massive community of followers, who not only leave frequent comments for writers but also for one another.

In addition to the devotion, Upper Room invites writers to join a larger online conversation by writing a blog post and sharing a photo the same day their devotions appear. The post may or may not relate to the devotion. It allows readers to learn a bit more about writers’ personal or professional lives. Links to writer websites or blogs often lead to new followers and friends. Other devotional sites, such as Christian Devotions appear exclusively online. Many are non-paying markets. However, their devotions offer a word of encouragement or moment of ministry to a diverse audience. Regular appearances also add to a writer’s platform. I recall walking into The Kentucky Christian Writers Conference one year, and a woman greeted me with, “Oh, I hoped I would meet you here.” She had read my work and seen my picture on the Christian Devotions site. Well-known non-paying sites may lead to writing assignments within the paying market.

I typically offer first rights to paying markets and reprint rights to non-paying.

Preparation

In order to point people to Jesus, many devotional sites suggest writers:

  • Begin with prayer.
  • Study the Bible verse(s) to accompany the devotion.
  • Write on less well-known verses to offer readers a new perspective and increase the likelihood of an editor’s acceptance.
  • Never underestimate the power of personal stories.

What initially appears inconsequential may lead to the most significant devotions. Who would have thought tiny crocheted elephants could have much impact? Yet, they did when first crocheted and later through a devotion about them.

Neither should unpublished writers feel inconsequential. Many devotional sites welcome them along with established and multi-published writers and authors. The sites encourage new writers to follow God’s leadership and take advantage of opportunities to learn and strengthen their craft.

Guidelines

Although details such as word count or preferred Bible version vary, most print or online devotional sites have similar guidelines. Most want a:

  • Short catchy title
  • Bible verse (Some also desire a longer suggested Bible passage.)
  • Devotion related to the verse

Many conclude with a thought for the day and/or a prayer.

Regardless of the subject, editors want writers to stick to one main point. From the title to the closing prayer, everything must tie together. A devotion’s limited word count (often 100-400 words) allows no room for digression. Although it does not offer intense theological study, it does seek to increase the reader’s understanding of the Bible and relationship with God.

Other helpful reminders for online writers:

  • Write simple sentences and short paragraphs.
  • Cut the clutter and write tight.
  • Use active rather than passive verbs.
  • Lead readers to hear, feel, taste, see, or touch the devotional content.
  • Always adhere to the site’s guidelines.

Outlines

Editors expect writers to immediately capture the readers’ attention, tie their introduction to the Bible verse and devotional theme, and relate their summary and application to God’s truth for daily life.

Christian Devotions uses the following format:

  • HOOK: Catch the reader’s interest with a brief story or shocking statement.
  • BOOK: Declare your key point and your interpretation of the passage.
  • LOOK: Present the big picture and offer practical life application lessons and tips.
  • TOOK: Lead to a decision; close with an action statement and challenge the reader to change.

Submissions

Sites vary on the submission method. Some have an online submission page. Others request email submissions with the devotion included either as an attachment or in the body of the email. Those who use attachments typically favor:

  • Word documents
  • Single spacing with a double space between paragraphs and no indents
  • Times New Roman, 12-point font

Writing for devotional sights offer limited financial rewards. However, their eternal worth cannot be measured this side of heaven.

Writing Prompt: Think of a recent event in your life. Use the hook, book, look, and took method to write a brief devotion.

Click to Tweet: A roller-coaster ride, newlywed misunderstandings…middle-of-the-night foster care placements, family health #miracles, and talking fruit trees have all weaved their way into my online #devotional submissions. Story via @InspiredPrompt @DianaDerringer


Diana Derringer is an award-winning writer and author of Beyond Bethlehem and Calvary: 12 Dramas for Christmas, Easter, and More! Hundreds of her devotions, articles, dramas, planning guides, Bible studies, and poems appear in 40-plus publications, including The Upper Room, The Christian Communicator, Clubhouse, Kentucky Monthly, Seek, and Missions Mosaic, plus several anthologies. She also writes radio drama for Christ to the World Ministries. Her adventures as a social worker, adjunct professor, youth Sunday school teacher, and friendship family for international university students supply a constant flow of writing ideas. Visit her at dianaderringer.com. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Goodreads, Pinterest, and her Amazon page.


Beyond Bethlehem and Calvary

12 Dramas for Christmas, Easter and More!

Flexibility, ease of production, and themes that meet us where we live make this drama collection suitable for large or small groups, whether in a church setting or on the most rugged mission trip.

3 Questions Wednesday with Betty Thomason Owens

Betty Thomason Owens

It is my pleasure to be back on 3 Questions Wednesday for three very good reasons.

  1. I’m celebrating the release of another book.
  2. I’m a co-founder of the Inspired Prompt blog.
  3. I helped come up with the three questions.

Okay, maybe those are more like confessions. Anyway, I’ve been looking forward to this day for several months, mainly because I wanted to answer the questions. So, here goes.

First question: Who is your favorite author?

I’m going to veer away from my usual answer of one of the classic authors. When I read historical fiction, my absolute favorite is fellow Kentucky author,  Ann Gabhart. Her stories are rich with history and heart. You can’t help getting all wrapped up them.

Yes, I am also a fan of Ann Gabhart. Mom has a bookshelf full of her books as well, and no, I am not trying to win brownie points with Mrs. Gabhart. 🙂

Let’s move on to the next question–

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

It may surprise you to know that at one time, Amelia Earhart was my favorite historical person. I read everything I could get my hands on about her life. I watched the movies, and used to fantasize that she had somehow survived her flight into the Bermuda Triangle, and was still alive somewhere. Possibly on a deserted isle, happily hidden from the newshounds.

I’m not surprised by your answer. I remember all those biographies gleaned from the school libraries over the years. I believe we wrote a report once and made an A+ on it. So, next question: If you could spend time with a character from your book whom would it be? And what would you do during that day?

Oh, I would definitely spend a sunny day with Annabelle, working in her garden, listening to her sing as we work. She’d bake my favorite cookies and tell wonderful stories about her growing up years in Trenton, Tennessee. I fashioned her character after my grandma and her sister-in-law, Lona Wade, so I know her rather well. Sometimes, I long to hear their voices again. They echo in my mind and bring me great joy that I knew them and was loved by them.

I love Annabelle. She’s my favorite character in the Kinsman Redeemer series. Thanks for the interview, Betty. Anything else you’d like to say?

Yes! Join me tonight (6 – 8 pm EDT) for a Facebook Launch Party! If you don’t have time or you’re busy tonight, you can pop in at any time over the next week. There are prizes to win (no purchase necessary). Just click on “Going” to let me know you were there. Thanks so much! Here’s the link to the Event Page: https://www.facebook.com/events/2872476632767489/ If you’re not on Facebook, you can still enter to win prizes via the “Contact Me” tab on my website. You’ll find it here: https://bettythomasonowens.com/contact/


A 1950’s Clean & Wholesome Romance! – Annabelle’s Joy

She’s waited too long.

When Tom proposed last year, Annabelle wasn’t ready to open her heart to another man. Pain still held a thin crust around it. Time has healed her heart, but with a new woman in town, one who clearly has her sights set on Tom, does it matter if Annabelle’s heart is ready to love again?

Folks in town are keeping a close eye on their pharmacist, hoping to be the first to hear the good news. He’s been courting the widow Cross for nigh on two years now. Annabelle Cross better wake up and put her dancing shoes on. Mr. Tom is prime real estate.

Drift back into the simple, country life of Tennessee in 1957 with this sequel to award-winning ANNABELLE’S RUTH.


Betty Thomason Owens loves being outdoors. Her favorite season is spring, when she can work in the yard or take long walks while thinking through a troublesome scene in one of her stories. She considers herself a word-weaver, writing stories that touch the heart. She leads the Louisville Area ACFW group, serves on the board of the Kentucky Christian Writers Conference, and is a co-founder of the multi-author Inspired Prompt blog. Married forty-four years, she’s a mother of three, and a grandmother of eight. A part-time bookkeeper at her day-job, she writes for Write Integrity Press, and has eight novels in publication. You can learn more about her at BettyThomasonOwens.com. Connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and at Inspired Prompt.