Hidden in a List by Marlene Houk

writing picture Marlene HoukGood morning, dear reader! Thank you for joining us on this lovely Saturday. We have Marlene Houk with us this morning. Marlene is talking about the writing process and her new book, Hidden in a List

Marlene, tell us a little about yourself.

Marlene: I’m a woman of faith, wife, mother, grandmother and many other roles. My career was in accounting and I’m now semi-retired with writing and consulting vying for my time. Sid, my husband, and I have enjoyed and stumbled through bringing up two grown and flown children, but my daughter is close and serves as my personal guru of technology, encouragement, and critique in this writing journey. 😊 I enjoy snowtubing, soapmaking and visiting Ireland.

What do you love most about the writing process?

Marlene: I heard someone say at a writers’ conference, “I dance with words.” God gifted us with the ability to waltz to the rhythm of words and gave us language. He even called his beloved Son, the Word. The Bible fascinates me with its structure, patterns, and implications. And God, the Master Storyteller’s methods work because he created us to respond to Jesus. I love to copy those same methods in my writing.

How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?

Marlene:  Too many. One unpublished book and about eight half-finished books wait patiently for me.

If you could give advice to your younger writing self, what would it be?

Marlene:  Two pieces of advice rise to the top.

  1. Learn from the Master Writer: the Lord. His ways are best, and he created us to have the same emotions, needs, and pleasures as the rest of humanity. These ways help us to understand the Bible. Capitalize on that and learn his methods which are stories, questions, the senses, word pictures, figures of speech, patterns, etc.
  2. Write. Because I’m a backslidden perfectionist, training myself to write rather than waiting for the perfect moment and inspiration is difficult.

What are common traps for aspiring writers?

Marlene:  In the big picture sense, the traps are the same as elsewhere in life. Our strengths (For example, I strive for excellence but drift into perfectionism.) are our weaknesses. When the Bible says, “the wisdom of the prudent is to know his way,” (Proverbs 14:8), it means writing too. If we know our strengths, then we know our weaknesses. When we see our personalities mirrored in many others’ reactions to us, then we know our way. And to excel at our careers supports our writing.

We have the same foibles everyone falls in to. For example:

  • I somehow think that writing is a luxury, and, like a nap, put it off until I deserve it. But writing is an accountability for the gifts and the truths that we discover. They should be a light set on a hill rather than under a bushel. (Matthew 5:15)
  • The craft of writing takes time, and I want to purchase the book and consider it done.
  • And, like most people, my creations are my babies, not to be critiqued.

The traps are the same as experienced writers.

What does literary success look like to you?

Marlene: Literary success would fulfill my desires when people receive my work and grow spiritually from it.

Future projects or WIP you can talk about?

Marlene:  My current WIP is a Bible study whose working title is Divine Drama: transforming patterns in the lives of Bible women. It won first place for Bible study at the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference (BRMCWC). Based on easily-observed patterns in their stories, we can absorb divine truth that changes how we view life.

When this one is published, there are about 7 others in various stages of completion that follow this pattern. And there’s an infinite number of other possibilities when studying women of the Bible.

Thank you for joining us today, Marlene!


writing picture Marlene Houk

Marlene Houk writes a series of Bible studies that connect ancient women to us, conveying messages of hope, faith, and warning. She has recently published a short-read on Amazon Kindle called, Hidden in a List: secrets from Bible women

Marlene is passionate about finding the Master Director’s heart prints in the women he has positioned in his Word. And she loves to ask unusual questions such as, “What one word did Eve omit in her conversation with the devil?”

She writes for the Blue Ridge Christian News and contributes to the Short & Sweet Series published by Grace Publishing, compiled by Susan King. She also encourages women through her teaching and speaking ministry. Her Bible study, Backstage Pass to Emotion Commotion, won first place at the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference.

  Marlene is a graduate of Covington Theological Seminary with a degree in Ministry and Gardner-Webb University with a degree in Business Administration. Learn more about the fascinating world of Bible women at www.MarleneHouk.com.

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Maglenes_Hidden in a ListDo you have a plan when life kicks you to the curb in its daily grind and when disaster strikes? Imagine relying on simple, doable, Scripture-based steps to realign your emotions with God’s Word. In this short read, you can:

  • Unlock proven secrets to control reactions and instead act from a God-given perspective.
  • Triumph in the knowledge of Jesus Christ as he overcomes fears and failures.
  • Delight for a lifetime in using these secrets and sharing them with others.
  • Conquer insecurities by following the women of the Bible.
  • Boldly increase your faith and hope as a daily part of life.

3 Questions Wednesday with Sheila Ingle

Sheila Ingle Headshots (8 of 52)Welcome to another edition of 3 Questions Wednesday, and welcome Sheila IngleSheila is a multi-published author that likes to write about the bravery of Patriot women. Lets get started!

First question:

Who is your favorite author?

Sheila:  This is a most difficult questions, because I have so many favorite authors. From age twelve until now, I have been a voracious reader. Every two weeks, mother would take us to the library that summer. I would come home with fifteen books, the library’s limit, every two weeks. Now used book stores and mark downs on Amazon are my favorite shopping places!

On the Anvil was the first book of Max Lucado’s that I read. As the mother of a teenage boy, I felt like I was stuck on an anvil, and the title grabbed me. Lucado’s writings are like that. If it isn’t the title, it’s a story that pierces your heart. And sometimes, it is just one sentence in one chapter. His books have their own shelf on one of my bookcases. I have shared his children’s books, You Are Special, The Crippled Lamb, and Because I Love You in Sunday School classes and ladies Bible studies. This is the third year I have used his daily devotional guided, God is with you Every Day, during my quiet time. Hearing him speak in person two years ago was delightful; his folksy, humorous, and kind voice gave credence to the godly and thoughtful author I had been reading. His honesty about his own mistakes makes me admire him.  He is a storyteller, and this narrative style grips both my mind and heart, as well as his heart for individuals. His writing encourages and challenges me.

A couple of years ago, I was introduced to author, Charles Martin. Another talented storyteller and Christian fiction writer. Hard to put down his novels. And admit to staying up way too late to finish one. His characters and plots pull me into the book. Trouble has a critical edge in the plot, and not all the books end up with “they lived happily ever after.” But the struggles are real and poignant and thought-provoking. The details in his research are impeccable, and the settings are genuine. His books are love stories with authentic problems; there are unimaginable twists and turns. Each one has brought me to tears. I haven’t read his latest book, What If It’s True. In this one, he uses his imagination to pierce Jesus’ ministry on earth, as well as Jesus’knock to the author’s life. Yes, it is the next one on my table.

I do love reading anything by Max Lucado, but I haven’t stumbled across Charles Martin yet.  I will have to look him up 🙂 Now here’s a fun question—

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

Sheila:  I am curious about the strength that makes ordinary people do extraordinary things. In writing about three South Carolina Revolutionary War heroines, I looked for an answer to that conundrum. To put it simply, I believe they did the hard things because that was the next thing. Threatened with a reaping hook around her neck, Martha Bratton refused to tell the Tories where her husband was. Elizabeth Jackson walked into the office of the commander of the Camden prison to demand her two sons be released. Perhaps their hearts overruled their common sense, but they could do nothing else.

riseupSo I’m looking for another woman that stood strong in the face of hard times. I have read about a Huguenot woman who fled France with her two brothers and landed penniless in Carolina. Not being familiar with the plight of the Huguenots in a country that was ruled by Catholics, what I have read is fascinating. There was no safety for almost 100 years, and flight became the only option. This is a new branch of our Carolina history that I want to know about, because I believe in knowing and sharing the stories of those who lived out their beliefs. Religious conviction is not to be tampered with. Look at what happened after Martin Luther lit a fire by nailing his complaints against the Catholic church? She might be my next heroine.

I love these ideas! Last question—

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

Sheila:  Victorian England was not a place for a strong woman like Jane Eyre. As the narrator and protagonist of this book, I applauded her forte. Though as an orphan, she was taught compliance and inferiority by her aunt and cousins, even abused by the household. But Jane had gumption and believed in herself; she knew there was a place and family for her. She could have become Rochester’s mistress, but she wasn’t willing to compromise what she knew was right.

I would like for us to talk over tea and biscuits about this struggle. I have lots of questions. She could have taken the easy way out. Why did she rescue Rochester from the fire? She is described as plain; has this bothered her? Why does she go back to check on Rochester, rather than going on to India? Are the moors depressing? Has she ever wanted more say in her life? What about fighting back against her aunt? How did she keep on keeping on from childhood to adulthood against so many odds? What did she mean when she said, “It is a pity that doing one’s best does not always answer.”

After the questions, perhaps she will want to know about my independent life in the 21st century. Perhaps we could compare her life as a governess and mine as a teacher. I wonder if we have read some of the same books? Knowing I would think her flowing gowns would be beautiful, I wonder what she would think of my clothes. (I do wear long skirts.) My hair is short, and hers is probably long and pinned up.

All this sounds like a time of girl-talk. Maybe we would take a walk, and I might borrow one of her bonnets and parasols. As Jane said once, “I would always rather be happy than dignified.”

This sounds like a happy afternoon to me….

Yes it sure does..   Thanks, Sheila, for visiting us on 3 Questions Wednesday, and allowing our readers to know you better.

Click to Tweet: Author Sheila Ingle answers our 3 Questions and you could win a copy of her latest release, Tales of a Cosmic Possum. @InspiredPrompt   #Interview #giveaway

Readers, Sheila will mail one copy of of her book Tales of a Cosmic Possum to one lucky winner. Don’t forget to comment below to be entered.


9781620206126Tales of a Cosmic Possum: From the Appalachia Mountains to the Cotton Mills

Eight short stories of women who worked in the cotton mills in upstate South Carolina share the legacy of three generations of one Appalachian family.

Sheila Ingle’s husband John was brought up in Ingle Holler in Union, South Carolina, with eight other Ingle families. They worked together in the mills, shared their gardens, attended church, and enjoyed the playing and singing of the songs from the Grand Ole Opry. When five of the brothers went off to war, those who couldn’t fight took care of their families. The Ingles stuck together, just like they were taught in the Appalachian hills of Erwin, Tennessee.

Love of God, love of family, and love of country were modelled in each home. In fact, one year Make Ingle put his sons and grandsons together to build Hillside Baptist Church. Adults kept up with the newspapers and the radios; world happenings were important. Any type of sickness brought a barrage of soup and cornbread, because children still had to eat.

On those twenty acres, the children played in the creek, cowboys and Indians, and hide-and-seek. They built their own wagons and sleds to race down the hill on the dry, hickory leaves. All the boys learned to shoot a .22 caliber, and John’s mother Lois could light a match with her shots. Living in Ingle Holler was home, where each one was accepted.


Sheila Ingle Headshots (8 of 52)

Sheila C. Ingle

A graduate of Converse College with both bachelor’s and master’s degrees, Sheila Ingle is a lifelong resident of S.C.

Her published books, Courageous Kate, Fearless Martha, Brave Elizabeth, and Walking with Eliza focus on the bravery of Patriot women living in Revolutionary War South Carolina. Tales of a Cosmic Possum, not only shares Ingle family history, but also South Carolina and cotton mill history.

Serving on the board for eight years of Children’s Security Blanket (a 501c3 organization that serves families that have children with cancer), she is the Board Chairman. She is also a member of Chapter D PEO, where she served as vice president and chaplain; Circle 555(a local women’s giving group), where she has served on the grant committee; and a board member of Spartanburg County Historical Association, serving on the Walnut Grove Committee.

Married for thirty-eight years to John Ingle, they have one son Scott. Besides being avid readers, the South Carolina beaches are their favorite spots for vacations.

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All My Tears by Kathy McKinsey

Kathy McKinsey photo 2018 20180526_185632Good morning! It is my pleasure to welcome  author Kathy McKinsey to the Inspired Prompt. Kathy first published over 30 years ago, and is now jumping back in where she left off with her newest book,  All My Tears, a story of hope, healing, and love.

Hi, Kathy So glad you could join us. First question:

Tell us a little about yourself?

Kathy:  My husband Murray and I are enjoying more time together now that I work at home and he is nearing retirement. We have five adult children who make us smile and tempt us to be proud. They are delightful and competent individuals, and we really deserve little praise for that.

Writing has been my dream since I was a pre-teen. I wrote many short stories in my teens and had a number published in magazines. Then for over thirty years, I put writing off due to college, raising a family, and work. I said I’d write again when I retired.

Then I had to stop working early due to health reasons. God showed me that if I didn’t use this time to write, I’d just be silly.

So writing has become a new career for me, and I thank God for the excitement that is keeping me away from retiring.

Typewriter, Mechanical, Retro, Vintage

What do you love most about the writing process?

Kathy:  I enjoy developing relationships—parents and children, married couples, siblings, younger people with elders. I like to have fun with dialogue, adding humor when possible.

 How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?

Kathy:  I probably have ten or twelve story ideas that I’ve saved to work on later, but I’ve only started writing one or two of them.

If you could give advice to your younger writing self, what would it be?

Kathy:  Make time to write, even though you’re busy. You can work in a few minutes of writing each day if you’re determined to.

What are common traps for aspiring writers?

Kathy:  For me, as I came back to writing after many years, my shock was how much I needed to learn. I had been published as a teenager, so I was pretty sure I already knew what I was doing. I had a big surprise coming.

What does literary success look like to you?

Kathy:  I will have two books published this year, which have taken me over six years to write. This is a dream fulfilled. I am a slow writer, and it will probably be several years before I have another book ready.

Future Projects or WIP you can talk about?

Kathy:  The next story I’m just beginning will take place in a farming community. I grew up on a farm, but I’ve lived in cities for almost forty years. This is a challenge for me, but I am excited to watch the story and setting develop.

Thanks so much for joining us!

Click to tweet: Kathy McKinsey talks about her writing journey  and her new book, All My Tears #amreading 


Kathy McKinsey photo 2018 20180526_185632Kathy McKinsey: A Christian, wife of 27 years and counting, shamelessly proud mother of five, vision rehabilitation therapist, author.

Kathy grew up on a pig farm in Missouri, and although she’s lived in cities for nearly 40 years, she still considers herself a farm girl.

Kathy’s been married to Murray for 31 years, and they have five adult children. She’s had two careers before writing—being a stay-at-home-Mom and working as a rehabilitation teacher for the blind.

Now she lives in Lakewood, Ohio with her husband and two of her children. Besides writing, she enjoys activities with her church, editing for other writers, braille transcribing, crocheting, knitting, and playing with the cat and dogs.

Contact Kathy at: Kathy.mckinsey@gmail.com

Visit her at: http://kathymckinseyauthor.blogspot.com/  https://www.facebook.com/kathy.brinkmann.mckinsey

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All My Tears

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Meet five women who struggle with life’s deep sorrows. Beth fights to recover from alcoholism and to mend her relationships with her family. Ann doesn’t believe God will forgive her. Kathleen wrestles with a years-old fear and with saving her marriage. Cassie needs to learn to deal with chronic depression. Martie finds herself the single parent of the eight-year-old niece she barely knows when the child’s parents die in a car wreck.

See how God gives them the gifts of hope, healing, and love.

3 Questions Wednesday with Susan Neal

downloadHappy Wednesday! Today the Inspired Prompt welcomes author, Susan Neal. We’re so happy you could join us. First question:

How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?

Susan:  I have several unfinished manuscripts. They were from my early years of writing when I did not know God’s specific calling (or genre) for my writing career. I attempted to write these books before I attended writers’ conferences or joined a Word Weaver Christian Writer Critique group. So I really didn’t know what I was doing.

The first unfinished book was a young adult (YA) historical fiction about the biblical character, Daniel. The second was a YA Star Wars Bible Study.  As I learned more about writing, I realized how much I needed to learn. It reminded me of my relationship with God; the closer I got to Him I realized the further away I was.

Ultimately, I put writing fiction on the back burner because I had so much to learn. I thought I will write nonfiction; it is much easier. So I did. Now I self-published my sixth book, Healthy Living Series: 3 Books in 1.

So glad you found your niche 🙂 Now about advice…

If you could give advice to your younger self, what would it be?

Susan: I would attend writers’ conferences and join a Christian writing group earlier than what I did. I was writing for years before I attended either. Conferences provide an opportunity to learn about the writing craft, but more than that, we meet other people who are struggling writers like ourselves.

A writers group provides a monthly opportunity for us to have our work critiqued and to meet with like-minded individuals. Writing is a lonely career and many people in our own family do not understand it. The members of my two writers’ groups are near and dear to my heart. We encourage and pray for each other. I am surprised that I have become very close friends with many of them.

 What a great asset for writers. Last question:

What are common traps for aspiring writers?

SusanIt is difficult to figure out the specific genre that we are called to write in. For me I started with fiction and moved to nonfiction. I had so many different things I could write about (parenting, YA fiction, hospice, Scripture Yoga™). I didn’t know which one to pursue. Figuring out God’s calling for your writing is essential. For me, I experienced much rejection until I figured this out. I wrote about my journey in this Suite T blog post “Finding Your Writing Path Through Rejection.”

Great Advice! Thanks so much for dropping by!

Click to tweet: Author Susan Neal talks about writing and a giveaway. #HealthyLiving #weightloss #amreading #getoffsugar

Make sure to leave a message in the comments below. Winning commenter will receive a mailed copy  of  7 Steps to Get Off Sugar and Carbohydrates


Healthy Living Series: 3 Books in 146797750_502993010187116_257013116444224890_n

Determine the root causes and solutions for your ill health or excessive weight so you can
experience a more abundant life and feel good again.

Healthy Living Series: 3 Books in 1 contains the following three books:  7 Steps to Get Off Sugar and Carbohydrates provides a day-by-day plan to wean your body off these addictive products and regain your health. The changes in your eating habits will start your lifestyle journey to the abundant life Jesus wants you to experience, not a life filled with disease and poor health.

Christian Study Guide for 7 Steps to Get Off Sugar and Carbohydrates provides a group
experience to help implement the plans in 7 Steps to Get Off Sugar and Carbohydrates.
Accountability and encouragement improve your chance for success as you learn to become a healthy steward of the resources you’ve been given.

Healthy Living Journal will help you make and maintain healthy lifestyle changes. Have you tried to decrease your weight and improve your health without success? Don’t allow frustration to take over. During the next six weeks, commit to spend a few minutes daily recording your eating choices and how your body responds to solve your personal health puzzle. Take this journey to recover your health and achieve all the blessings the Lord has in store for you.


downloadSusan Neal

Susan’s mission is to improve the health of the body of Christ. She has her RN and MBA degrees, as well as a master’s in health science. She is a Certified Christian Health and Wellness Coach with the American Association of Christian Counselors. Please check out her brand new
website is SusanUNeal.com.

Her book 7 Steps to Get Off Sugar and Carbohydrates won the Selah award. The sequels, Christian Study Guide for 7 Steps to Get Off Sugar and Carbohydrates and Healthy Living Journal were published in 2018. In January 2019, Susan released a mega book, Healthy Living Series: 3 Books in 1 which includes the previous three titles. With this book, readers get three books for the price of two. Reboot your metabolism with Susan’s free 7-Day Challenge. This guide provides step-by-step instructions regarding what you should do to increase your energy level and clarity of mind. It is written from a Christian perspective to access God’s power to make lifestyle changes.

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March Madness Will Soon Be Over

created by Betty Thomason OwensCollege Basketball season is nearing its end. Yes, March Madness is in the round called Sweet Sixteen and on April 8th, they’ll crown the NCAA Men’s Basketball champion.

But you’ve already met all the winners on Inspired Prompt: our bloggers and their books. In case you missed a Monday or Friday in March, here’s a reminder:

I hope you’ve enjoyed learning more about the Inspired Prompt crew and their books. I know we’ve had fun sharing.

There’s still time to win one of their books! Comment on their posts for a chance to win the book (or other prize) being offered. March Madness winners will be announced by mid-April.

March Madness. Fun, fabulous, and unpredictable. Join us in March 2020 for more…

Click to Tweet: March Madness will soon be over – at Inspired Prompt, anyway. Here’s a summary of March posts. Leave comments on the posts for a chance to win whatever book is being offered. #giveaway #CR4U