The Mystery of the Inspiring Author

by Tammy Trail

I am sitting in my office deciding which author I should choose to focus on for this month’s blog post. Too many to list. Do I pick a current favorite, or chose one from childhood?

We moved around a lot while I was growing up in the 70’s. I think being the new kid is the worst thing, ever. After spending a week or two in a new classroom you realized most of the kids sitting around you lived in the same neighborhoods, attended the same church together and shared the same classrooms from preschool to middle school. I absolutely hated middle school. You could not pay me enough money to relive those years.

Instead of being Miss Popularity (never even got close), I was the bookworm. I had a book with me everywhere I went (I still do). While my classmates were visiting before class, I would pull out my book and read. Once in awhile a teacher had to physically remove a book from my hands  to get my attention. I heard a familiar phrase during those years,  that while they appreciated my love of reading, I had to learn other skills too. So, in honor of that geeky, scrawny, metal mouth pre-teen I am going to choose Carolyn Keene, author of the beloved Nancy Drew mystery series. My favorite Nancy Drew book was “The Secret of Shadow Ranch.”  I imagined myself right there with Nancy as she searched for clues and dared to go against tradition and prove girls can achieve wonderful things just as well as boys can, or maybe even better sometimes.

While doing a bit of research I found that the name Carolyn Keene was a pseudonym for several authors. No one person came up with all of those page-turning stories, but several writers authored the Nancy Drew books. One was Mildred Wirt Benson who wrote under the pen name from 1929 to 1947. She wrote the first twenty-three books of the original thirty book series. I also was amazed to find that her second marriage to George A. Benson, an editor for the Toledo Blade, landed her in my home town of Toledo, Ohio. Mildred was a bit of an adventurer herself, and a fearless like Nancy Drew. She made trips to Central America, traveling through the jungles in a jeep and canoed down rivers, to scout out cultural sites. In 2001 Mildred Benson received a special Edgar Award from the Mystery Writers of America for her work on the Nancy Drew series.

Click to Tweet: I imagined myself right there with Nancy (Drew) as she searched for clues and dared to go against tradition, prove girls can achieve wonderful things just as well as boys can… from @trail_j via @InspiredPrompt #mystery #amreading


I still like a good suspense or mystery story to read. If you are so inclined, feel free to indulge in my story. I wrote a historical romance, with a bit of intrigue for a compilation with three other authors. I hope you will find enjoyment from all the stories.Tammy Trail, Mary Vee, Pamela Thibodeaux

Major John Tennant has recently returned from his post on the frontier to find his home razed to the ground and his children in the care of strangers. He struggles to bring the man responsible for the murder of his family to  justice while providing for his children.

After her fiance is impressed into the Royal Navy, Elaine Henderson is willing to do anything to help her brothers fight against British oppression. For years she has carried a bitterness in her heart until Providence replaces it with two motherless children.

Get Star Spangled Suspense at Amazon

Let Me Call You Sweetheart

By Tammy Trail

Valentine’s Day is just days away. Have you gotten your sweetheart a gift yet? I have done a bit of research on the history of Valentine’s Day. It is rooted in a pagan holiday that ensured fertility.

Roman Emperor, Claudius II ruled that young men in the Army were to remain unmarried. He felt that this would make single men more aggressive in the field of battle. The Emperor put a young cleric by the name of Valentine to death for secretly marrying young couples.  Valentine was later made a Saint by Pope Gelasius and given the date of February 14th to celebrate Saint Valentine.

In the 13th Century, it was synonymous with love and romance because it was believed that this was the beginning of mating season for birds.

In the 15th Century, written valentines were given to sweethearts.

In the 17th Century, valentines were exchanged between those who were smitten with one another.

In 1840, the first mass-produced valentines appeared in the United States. Valentine’s Day is the second most popular card giving occasion. It is celebrated in Canada, Mexico, United Kingdom, France, Australia, Denmark, Italy, and Japan.

As a child, I remember my mother scouring the house for shoe boxes to be made into valentine mail boxes to decorate for my desk at school. There would be a party, of course, with lots of good treats. After school, you would open your box and read the paper gifts of admiration your classmates gave to you.

I have tried in years past to make my own valentines to give to family members and friends. Last year I made these for my grandsons.

I filled the little sack with treats. They really enjoyed getting a valentine from their Mimi!

I am already diligently looking for options for this year. You may find it just as rewarding to make your own as well. I find a great source of inspiration with Pinterest. What a treasure trove of ideas!

Whether you make your own, or buy a card for that special someone, I believe it’s a good holiday to celebrate. Who doesn’t like candy? And you will make mate, child, or friend feel important with a valentine that you especially picked out for them. You can never go wrong by making people feel loved and important.

For the writer, especially the romance writer, Valentine’s Day is a reminder of why we put words to paper. That boy meets girl stuff is what makes the story, especially when they lived happily ever after.

So, in keeping with that thought! Here is my valentine for all of you.

  1. Writing Prompt: Jessica expected a great big box of heart-shaped candy.  What she found was……..?

Click to tweet: Romance is #alive https://ctt.ec/53mP6

Change and A Fresh Start

By Jennifer Hallmark

I hope you had a Merry Christmas, my friends, and are looking forward to a Happy New Year, a fresh start in 2018. We’ve so enjoyed spending time with you in 2017 as we talked about writing, life, family, and everything else. The last five years have been a blessing to me and each member of our Crew.

Next year, our blog will see new and exciting changes. We’ll be more focused with a specific audience in mind. And we’ll have a new name. The Crew is hard at work in order to get everything ready in time for the new year. Want to know more? Then don’t miss our January 1st post for all the details.

I love the last week of the year. For me, it’s a chance to take a breath, put away Christmas decorations, and finish 2017 strong. Here are steps you can take to help move from Christmas into the New Year that I found in Jack Hayford’s book Come and Behold Him...

  • Fast and pray- seek God. Remember. Renew.
  • Read a meaningful (to you) book of the Bible.
  • Redecorate the house for the New Year. It is very important to start the New Year fresh and alive!
  • Send thank you notes and letters.
  • Summarize and organize-write a list of things that you were not able to accomplish in 2017- check off any that are not important and set a few goals for 2018.

These small steps help me focus on what lies ahead. Thank you again for spending time at our blog and we hope to see you often in the future.

Remember: Don’t miss January 1st

Click to tweet:  The last week of the year is a chance to take a breath, put away Christmas decorations, and finish 2017 strong. Here are steps you can take to help move from Christmas into the #NewYear #2018

Christmas in Our Hearts

by Betty Owens

The wonderful thing about Christmas is…it’s the only one. (Adapted from the Tigger song).

Yes, there’s only one Christmas, and it comes once a year. I hear some of you shouting, “hallelujah!”

For many of us, the hectic Christmas season can be overwhelming, especially lately, when it seems to last the entire final quarter of the year. However, it’s still a magical, joyous time.

Christmas is one of those seasons that’s new every year–no matter how many traditions you carry over from previous years, there’s always something that’s new and precious.I tend to associate memories with sounds and aromas. Sounds, like the bells of a nearby church tolling seasonal tunes, send me back to my childhood home in San Diego, near the mission at Balboa. Aromas, like molasses cookies baking in the oven, mixed with the fresh scent of pine from the Christmas tree remind me of home. With the visual of old-fashioned Christmas bulbs reflected off shiny glass ornaments—I can almost hear the crackle of excitement in the air, as memories come rushing in.

I didn’t grow up in an overly religious home, so I didn’t always associate Christmas with church services and worship. But, we sang the beautiful carols and hymns I came to love and cherish. It Came Upon a Midnight Clear, Angels We Have Heard on High, O Come All Ye Faithful, are a few of my favorites.

As a young teen, after I accepted a friend’s invitation to join her church’s Christmas choir, I was hooked. Something began to change in my heart, making room for the Savior, and the story of His birth.

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.~John 1:14 NIV

Christmas took on a new and special meaning, so much deeper and more satisfying than the beloved fairy tale story of St. Nicholas. [Click to tweet]

We’ve had some wonderful posts this December, as our crew members have shared their hearts and warmed ours with beautiful moments, and priceless memories. Taken as a whole, these messages combine to relate the true meaning behind Christmas, and confirm our beliefs in the One born on that first Christmas Eve. I’ve linked them here, if you’d like to re-read them.

December: It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas

Micki Clark’s Christmas Traditions

A Glimpse of Christ

It’s Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas; The Reason for the Season

‘Twas the Night before Christmas

What Christmas Means to Me

Now, it’s your turn. What’s your all-time favorite Christmas memory or tradition? What sets your heart aglow as the day approaches? We welcome you to join the conversation. You’re the reason we write, and we love to hear from you.

From our homes to yours, may you have a wonderful, blessed holiday season!

The Writing Prompts Crew