3 Questions Wednesday with Jennifer Hallmark

Welcome to 3 Questions Wednesday!

I’m really excited about this week’s post since the guest is … ME! I’m a blogger and author, thrilled that my debut novel released a couple of days ago. It’s been a looooong journey but one that’s been well-worth the wait.

How will I answer our three questions now that I’m a too-good-to-be-true novelist? Read on, my friend.

Who is your favorite author?

Jennifer: I love reading and read just about any genre. I’d have to say my favorite author is James L. Rubart. I pre-order all his books. I don’t do that for anyone else, but his books are so engaging that I just can’t put one down once I get started.  His tagline is Live Free and that’s what all his novels promote.

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

Jennifer: In the first writing class I ever attended in 2006, the first question asked was “If you could write anything, what would you write?” We had a few minutes to figure it out. At the time, I’d only considered writing non-fiction. The thought of me writing a novel hadn’t really entered my mind.

I pondered for a moment, then wrote in my notebook, “I want to write an allegorical fantasy like Narnia or Lord of the Rings.” I’ve been working on this book, which I consider my magnum opus for several years now and am currently running it through a critique group. Maybe one day you’ll get to read it. 🙂

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

Jennifer: Wow. I love all my characters.  It would be a blast to hang out with Estelle Granger, the woman who creates Jessie’s wedding dress. Her quirky personality would make her so much fun to be around. We’d go eat pizza and then shop ’til we dropped…

Click to tweet: Debut novel: Jessie’s Hope by Jennifer Hallmark. Firefly Southern fiction. #BookGiveaway #amreading


June Blog Tour Giveaway Extravaganza-June 10th-June 30th

Prizes include:

  • $25 Amazon Gift Card
  • $10 Starbucks Gift Card
  • Print copy of Jessie’s Hope
  • 2 Kindle copies of Jessie’s Hope

Giveaway details: Go to my Rafflecopter Page to enter and possibly win one of five prizes to be drawn by Rafflecopter. Winners will be revealed on Jennifer’s blog on July 1st. You can only enter by visiting my June blog tour from June 10th until June 30th. My visits include:

June 13thJennifer Slattery Lives Out Loud
June 14thFavorite Friday Fiction
June 15thInspired Prompt
June 17thAuthor Trish Perry
June 17thSouthern Writers Magazine
June 18thAuthor Liz Tolsma
June 19thInspired Prompt
June 21stSnark & Sensibility/
June 24thFear Warrior
June 24thJune Foster
June 25thTrumpet Tuesdays
June 26thSeriously Write
June 28thHeartfelt, Homespun fiction/
June 29thThe Write Conversation/


Jessie’s Hope

Years ago, an accident robbed Jessie Smith’s mobility. It also stole her mom and alienated her from her father. When Jessie’s high school sweetheart Matt Jansen proposes, her parents’ absence intensifies her worry that she cannot hold on to those she loves.

With a wedding fast approaching, Jessie’s grandfather Homer Smith, has a goal to find the perfect dress for “his Jessie,” one that would allow her to forget, even if for a moment, the boundaries of her wheelchair. But financial setbacks and unexpected sabotage hinder his plans.

Determined to heal from her past, Jessie initiates a search for her father. Can a sliver of hope lead to everlasting love when additional obstacles–including a spurned woman and unpredictable weather–highjack Jessie’s dream wedding?

Amazon

Barnes and Noble


Jennifer Hallmark: I love writing, reading, and learning. 🙂

But I am so much more: Wife, Mother, Mamaw, friend and family to many,  cookie baker, LOTR marathon watcher, greeting card sender, church bulletin maker, day trip with hubby and friends taker, snowman and Golden Age of Detective Fiction book collector.

And, at the moment, binge watcher of River Monsters. Welcome to my world!

You can find me at: my website, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and my monthly newsletter.

Jessie’s Hope by Jennifer Hallmark

Good morning, friends! Thank you for joining us on this lovely Saturday. We’re excited to have Inspired Prompt co-founder Jennifer Hallmark talking about her debut novel. Let’s begin!

Tell us a little about yourself.

Jennifer:  Well, I’m a wife, Mother, Mamaw, friend and family to many,  cookie baker, LOTR marathon watcher, greeting card sender, church bulletin maker, day trip with hubby and friends taker, snowman and Golden Age of Detective fiction book collector.

And most exciting of all at the moment, DEBUT AUTHOR. 🙂

What do you love most about the writing process?

Jennifer:  I love it when I have an idea and get in the “flow” of writing. I can’t type fast enough to keep up with my train of thought. I also enjoy going back and editing my work to make it the best it can be.

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

Jennifer:  At the moment, I’ve almost finished the sequel to Jessie’s Hope and have ideas for a third book. I also have two other Southern fiction stories started.

Since I love fantasy, I’ve also written a hundred thousand word fantasy that I’m editing with a book two partly written.

To answer your question, way too many…

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

Jennifer:  Be careful when you pay someone to “help” you. I didn’t always spend my money wisely in the past. I also would’ve joined a writing group and went to a writing conference much earlier in my career. There’s nothing like having friends in the writing business.

What are common traps for aspiring writers?

Jennifer:  

  • Scams that seem to be the real thing. 
  • Thinking your writing doesn’t need editing.
  • Giving up too easily.
  • Not trying out many different types of writing.
  • Not turning to friends for help.

What does literary success look like to you?

Jennifer(1) Learning to enjoy the journey. Too often in my life I’ve focused on goals and missed the wonder during the trip.

(2) Earning the publisher back their money. I want to be a good steward of what’s been entrusted to me.

Future Projects or WIP you can talk about?

Jennifer:  I’m editing the sequel to Jessie’s Hope and also am sending my fantasy through the Word Weaver’s critique group, Page 20.

Great advice and thanks for stopping by today!

Click to Tweet: Author Jennifer Hallmark shares her writing advice, debut novel, and encouragment #amwriting  #Southern @InspiredPrompt

June Blog Tour Giveaway Extravaganza 

June 10th-June 30th

Prizes include:

  • $25 Amazon Gift Card
  • $10 Starbucks Gift Card
  • Print copy of Jessie’s Hope
  • 2 Kindle copies of Jessie’s Hope

Giveaway details: Go to my Rafflecopter Page to enter and possibly win one of five prizes to be drawn by Rafflecopter. Winners will be revealed on the author’s blog on July 1st. You can only enter by visiting my June blog tour from June 10th until June 30th. My visits include:

June 13thJennifer Slattery Lives Out Loud/

June 14thFavorite Friday Fiction

June 15thInspired Prompt

June 17thAuthor Trish Perry

June 17thSouthern Writers Magazine

June 18thAuthor Liz Tolsma

June 19thInspired Prompt

June 21stSnark & Sensibility/

June 24thFear Warrior/

June 24thAuthor June Foster

June 25thTrumpet Tuesdays

June 26thSeriously Write

June 28thHeartfelt, Homespun fiction/

June 29thThe Write Conversation/


Jessie’s Hope

Years ago, an accident robbed Jessie Smith’s mobility. It also stole her mom and alienated her from her father. When Jessie’s high school sweetheart Matt Jansen proposes, her parents’ absence intensifies her worry that she cannot hold on to those she loves.

With a wedding fast approaching, Jessie’s grandfather Homer Smith, has a goal to find the perfect dress for “his Jessie,” one that would allow her to forget, even if for a moment, the boundaries of her wheelchair. But financial setbacks and unexpected sabotage hinder his plans.

Determined to heal from her past, Jessie initiates a search for her father. Can a sliver of hope lead to everlasting love when additional obstacles–including a spurned woman and unpredictable weather–highjack Jessie’s dream wedding?

Amazon

Barnes and Noble


Jennifer Hallmark writes Southern fiction and her website, Alabama-Inspired Fiction, and the group blog, Inspired Prompt, she co-founded, focus on her books, love of the South, and helping writers. She’s published 200+ internet articles and interviews, short stories in several magazines, and has co-authored three book compilations. Her debut novel, Jessie’s Hope, will release in June of 2019.

When she isn’t babysitting or gardening, you can find her at her desk writing fiction or working on one of her two blogs.  She also loves reading detective fiction from the Golden Age and viewing movies like LOTR or Star Wars. Sometimes you can even catch her watching American Ninja Warrior.

Visit Jennifer at her blogFacebookFB author pageTwitterPinterest, and her Amazon page.

3 Questions Wednesday with Hope Bolinger

Hope Bolinger HeadshotHappy Wednesday! Today the Inspired Prompt welcomes author, Hope Bolinger. We’re so happy you could join us. First question:

Who is your favorite author?

Hope: This is the hardest question you’re going to ask me. I think C.S. Lewis tops all others. I admire his ability to excel in multiple genres, and man, the man can’t write a bad book.

I completely agree…he can not write a bad book.  I have loved everything I have ever read of his.

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

pow-1601674_1280Hope: I love to write what-ifs. I like to take reality and twist it just slightly. What if time travel existed? What if super heroes also had to balance a school life along with their hero duties. Anything set in contemporary times where I can have fun blurring the lines of reality.

Oh how fun! I love when a book puts my imagination to work.   Now about one of your characters…

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?

Hope:  OK, let me narrow it from my books and another book.

From my book: I love my character Hannah. She just does what she wants, is incredibly quirky, blunt. I have a feeling we’d spend the day pulling pranks.

From another book: Who doesn’t love Anne of Green Gables? She has such a wild imagination, I know we’d have the afternoon full of memorizing poems, reenacting scenes of famous literature, and being dramatic.

Hannah sounds like a fun character to get to know! Thanks so much for dropping by!

Click to tweet: Author Hope Bolinger talks about favorite authors,  and a giveaway. #HopeBolinger #amwriting

Giveaway:  Make sure to leave a comment for the chance to win Hope’s latest book, Blaze.


Blaze

Bolinger Blaze 200x300

If you can’t stand the heat, don’t walk into the fire.

Danny knew his sophomore year would be stressful . . . but he didn’t expect his school to burn down on the first day.

To make matters worse (and they were about to get a lot worse), he — and his three best friends — receive an email in their inboxes from the principal of their rival, King’s Academy, offering full-rides to attend the town’s prestigious boarding school. Danny wants nothing to do with King’s Academy and says no. Of course his mother says yes. So off he goes to be bullied and picked on for not being part of the popular and rich “in crowd.”

From day one at King’s, Danny encounters hazing, mocking insults from girls at the “popular and pretty” table, and cafeteria food that, for such a prestigious school, tastes as if it were purchased from a military surplus supply warehouse. If he survives, Danny will have to overcome his fears of failure, rejection, and loneliness—all while standing strong in his beliefs and walking into the fire.


Hope Bolinger HeadshotHope Bolinger is a literary agent at C.Y.L.E. and a recent graduate of Taylor University’s professional writing program. More than 300 of her works have been featured in various publications ranging from Writer’s Digest to Keys for Kids. She has worked for various publishing companies, magazines, newspapers, and literary agencies and has edited the work of authors such as Jerry B. Jenkins and Michelle Medlock Adams. Her column “Hope’s Hacks,” tips and tricks to avoid writer’s block, reaches 2,700+ readers weekly and is featured monthly on Cyle Young’s blog, which receives 63,000+ monthly hits. She is excited for her modern-day Daniel “Blaze” to come out with IlluminateYA (an imprint of Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas). She enjoys all things theater, cats, and fire.

Amazon

Website

 

3 Questions Wednesday with Ginny Cruz

ginnyGood morning! It is my pleasure to welcome award winning author Ginny Cruz to the Inspired Prompt.

Good morning, Ginny.  Let’s get started!

Who is your favorite author?

Ginny: My favorite author is Jean Auel. I’ve read many authors and this is a hard question to answer; however, I think it’s Jean. When I discovered her, she had just completed Clan of the Cave Bear, the first book in her Earth’s Children series. It was agony waiting the years between each book, but well worth the wait.

I love finding a new favorite to add to my old favorites! 

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

Ginny:  Ever since childhood, I’ve wanted to take a months-long cross-country trip and write about it. As a child, I devoured the Little House on the Prairie books and dreamed of being Laura, riding in the covered wagon across the plains. As an adult, I read and reread, Peter Jenkins’ book, A Walk Across America. Maybe it’s just my wanderlust leading me to see what’s on the other side of the hill.

I love this idea!

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

Ginny:  Again, I think I’d climb in the back of that covered wagon with Laura Ingalls and head west. We’d smell the grass lands and hear the mourning doves. Ma would cook up biscuits and bacon on the campfire and Pa would play his fiddle before bed. And, somewhere down the trail, we’d find a perfect place to build a cabin.

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Sounds like a wonderful day!  Ginny, we’re so glad you stopped by to visit. Come back soon…

Click to Tweet: Ginny Cruz talks about her books and writing today on Inspired Prompt @InspiredPrompt  #giveaway #childrensauthor #Southernfiction #Christian

Readers, Ginny is giving away one FREE autographed copy of  Mud Holes and Magnolias to one person who leaves a comment!


Mud Holes and Magnolias

unnamedMama’s family loved telling stories, especially on each other. As a child, I heard Mama and her family tell these old tales over and over. As a result, they’ve never left me. Over the years, as life dealt trials and difficulties, I’ve recalled these stories. And there, tucked away in the recesses of my memory, God showed me some lessons on faith. In this book, I’ve shared those lessons with you.


ginny

Ginny Cruz is a pediatric physical therapist and award-winning Christian author. Born and raised in Mississippi to a family of preachers, teachers, and builders, she knows a good story, a moral lesson, and a solid foundation when she sees one. Whether teaching moms how to help their children or composing a devotion, her Southern roots show. Her latest book, Mud Holes and Magnolias: Lessons on Faith from Mama’s Stories pays tribute to her spiritual heritage. More about Ginny at www.ginnycruz.com

The Growing Trend of Audiobooks

By Cammi Woodall

We have come full circle. Humankind’s rich story telling tradition started with nomads huddled around a campfire, listening to the elders spin tales and lore. We graduated to words written on animal skins, papyrus, clay tablets, paper, and even a digital screen. Now, with the popularity of audiobooks, the spoken story is once again skyrocketing in popularity. With sales in 2017 reaching multi-billions of dollars, oral story telling has once again become the norm.

Audiobooks started out as a reading alternative for the visually impaired. In the early 1930’s, the American Foundation for the Blind and the Library of Congress joined to create vinyl records. Now the blind could enjoy works by William Shakespeare, Helen Keller, and Edgar Allen Poe, along with selections from the Bible and the Declaration of Independence. These early recordings were about fifteen minutes long per side. To help with distribution, the United States Postal Service agreed to send ‘talking books’ free of charge through the mail. This allowed people across the nation to benefit and enjoy literature with ease.

From vinyl records, the recordings graduated to cassette tapes. During the 1970s, most audiobooks were abridged books produced for the visually impaired, but companies began to see other opportunities for a wider customer range. Professional voice actors were hired and studios were opened to produce better quality recordings. By the 1980s, new technology allowed twice as much recording on a single cassette. This allowed unabridged versions of classics and best-sellers. Audiobooks became more mainstream and available through such places as Time-Life or the Book-of-the-Month club. Soon CDs became the standard as technology marched forward.

In 1997, Audible.com (pre-Amazon) introduced the ‘Audible Player’, a mass-market digital media player dedicated solely for audiobooks. Retailing for $200, the device held two hours of audio. Up to this time, people were limited by the physicality of cassettes and CDs. You had to go to a library or bookstore to get one, or wait for one to come through the mail. Digital downloads meant you could get a book anywhere and anytime you could get online.

Then Amazon came along and bought Audible. The two companies combined to become the biggest seller of audible downloads. On the chase behind them is Apple iTunes, Google Play, and Japanese-based Rakuten. Healthy competition benefits the readers – I mean, listeners – of audiobooks. More titles are released each year, with publishers pouring over backlogs or asking authors for original works.

So who listens to audiobooks, and where do they listen to them? Simply put, everybody listens everywhere. Approximately 54% of listeners are 18 to 44 years of age. They read or listen to 15 books per year on average, with the most popular categories being suspense/thriller, romance, and science fiction. At home and in the car are the most common places to listen, usually on a Smartphone.

Audiobooks have achieved sales increases in the double digits for the last six years. With advances in technology, these numbers are expected to keep growing over the next few years. So what does this mean for an author? New avenues for your stories. Today’s technology means we no longer have to rely upon traditional brick-and-mortar publishing houses.

Those nomads around the campfire would be overwhelmed by the technology we have to access information and entertainment. I think they would be glad however, that we have returned to the voice, to a tale enriched by the human emotions and nuances that bring a story to life.

 

Prompt – She jumped as she heard the crashing sound behind her. Pulling out her earbuds, she spun around.