Till We Read Again

“Write an article!” Jennifer said. “It will be fun!” Jennifer said. “You can do it!” Jennifer said. And you know what? Jennifer was right.

Manos de persona tecleando en máquina de escribir vintage en mesa de madera vista desde arriba

In 2017, I wrote my first article for the Inspired Prompt – a short summary about my favorite story, Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption. Before that, I never considered writing articles. I thought of myself as a fiction writer. I had a very narrow (and outrageous) view of what I thought a writer’s life was like – hunched over my typewriter, coffee steaming beside me, I would peck out a best-seller that made J.K. Rowlings look like an amateur. The Pulitzer Prize committee and critics from the New York Times would camp out on my front lawn, begging me to take awards and prizes. I would have to hire a personal accountant just to handle all the book advances publishing companies threw at me. Whenever I stepped outside, fans would scream and clamor for me to acknowledge them, even more zealous than Beatlemania back in the day.

Crazy, right? I don’t even drink coffee! I knew a writer’s life was actually normal, just with deadlines and rough drafts. But I did have that tunnel vision of “I am a fiction writer.” Writing for Inspired Prompt made me realize there is not one way to write and I don’t have to pigeonhole myself. I am not just a writer of young adult fantasies or horror or articles or cookbooks or biographies.

I am a writer. Period. I am honored that Inspired Prompt was my first foray into public writing.

Until we meet again. Flag in skydiving. People in free fall.Teampleat skydiver. Extreme sport.

 Thank you, Jennifer and Betty, for encouraging me and making me feel welcome. I have enjoyed my time with everyone on the site. You have inspired me and taught me. Best wishes, love, and continued success to my fellow web-mates. To all our readers, thank you for the encouragement and for reading! Now it is time for the next step on our individual journeys. Maybe our paths will cross again. I hope so. Happy travels!

One last prompt: What do you mean my luggage isn’t here? Where is it?

 

What’s New With the Crew?

Betty Thomason Owens

Regular readers of our blog know that we have a number of authors who make up our “crew.” We are an eclectic bunch with one mission: to shine a light and be a blessing to the writing community.

Near the bottom right of our blog, you’ll find a slideshow containing our individual publicity photos. We also have frequent guest bloggers who add their voices and expertise to the discussion.

Throughout the month of April, the crew will share what’s new in their individual lives. This is not only fun for us and informative for our readers, but it also affords our hardworking crew the opportunity to share their latest works-in-progress and new releases.

As one of the founding members of the Inspired Prompt blog, I get to be first. 🙂 My most recent release, Annabelle’s Joy, is highlighted below.

Late last year, I began work on a new project and a new genre for me. It’s a suspense trilogy about a young woman who learns something shocking about the people she trusted most in her life. If you’d like to learn more about this latest work in progress follow me at one (or all) of the links below.

I appreciate the loyalty of the many readers of the Inspired Prompt blog. You are the reason we’re here!

We are His workmanship created in Christ Jesus for good works – Ephesians 2:10

Click-to-Tweet: What’s New With the Crew – all the latest news from the writers of Inspired Prompt and @batowens via @InspiredPrompt


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 is a multi-published, award-winning author of historical romance with a touch of suspense. An active member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), she serves as president of the Louisville Area group. She’s a mentor, assisting other writers, and a co-founder of Inspired Prompt, a blog dedicated to inspiring writers. She also serves on the planning committee of the Kentucky Christian Writers Conference. You can learn more about her at BettyThomasonOwens.com. Connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram.

Annabelle’s Joy – 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.

A Taxing Situation: Tax 101 for Authors

Let’s talk taxes. Come on, wake up!

I know this is a dry topic but it is one that is crucial to writers, artists, and other people with similar jobs. We like to concentrate on the creative aspects of our jobs and tend to lock the mundane tasks away in a dark cabinet. I would much rather describe the glint of sunlight on a mountain pond than try to figure out what percentage of my recapture on the depreciable property I can claim on my Schedule C or 8829!

I will say right here that I’m not an expert. While writing this article, I had much more technical details and jargon, but I stopped myself. I am not an accountant! I was confusing myself and I know I would confuse all of you. The best thing you can do is consult your tax professional. I don’t know how my air conditioner or car or computer work (other than press ‘On’ or turn the key), so I rely on experts to help me. It is the same with our taxes. Talk to your accountant and make sure you are taking all the steps necessary to protect yourself.

For tax purposes, you need to think of yourself as your own employee. Open a separate bank account from your own personal funds. Find the best organization method for you, whether it is file folders with paper copies of everything you do or a digital system. No one wants to be audited but if you are, you will save yourself the stress and worry by being prepared and having easy access to your information.

The downside to being self-employed – you are responsible for paying all taxes out of your income. With a steady employer, they pay part of your Social Security and Medicare taxes. (Remember the old joke – Who is FICA and why did he take all my money?) As a self-employed worker, you get pay as the boss and the employee! Yeah! This can throw you into higher tax brackets which means paying more money.

There is good news though. Deductions, deductions, deductions! They are a writer’s best friend. By keeping track of certain items, you can reduce the amount you owe Uncle Sam. So what is deductible?

  • One glory of the home office is writing in your pajamas. Another is you might be able to declare the office portion of your home as a deduction. Be honest. If you have a dedicated desk where you work for hours on your craft, you could deduct that. Even a small corner with a desk and chair can count. If you write an occasional article on your laptop sitting on the couch, the deck, or at the kitchen table, you probably cannot use the home office deduction. If you qualify, you can even deduct a portion of your utilities and mortgage payments.
  • Writing a piece on the Corn Cob Festival of Moulton, Alabama? (There is no such festival, but I am going to start a petition to get one!) Travel for research, including mileage, lodging, meals, gratuities, and tickets may be deducted. Keep track of all your receipts! Make notes if necessary. Today you’ll remember this lunch receipt is for an interview you did with an interesting artist or historian for research, but will you remember in three years if you are audited?
  • You will appreciate depreciation. We all have our trusted computers, laptops, phones, and printers. And they all cost us plenty. You can offset the cost of these items by ‘depreciating’ their value. If you buy an expensive new laptop, you can deduct portions of the cost over a period of years and not have to claim the whole expense in one year.
  • Remember I said you were responsible for paying all of your taxes out of your earnings? Here’s a little good news – you can claim 50% of that amount as an income tax deduction. You don’t even have to itemize to take this deduction. It goes on Form 1040 as an adjustment to income. This can save you a nice amount by reducing your taxable income.
  • Health insurance is a must. As a self-employed person, you are responsible for the costs of your own health care, vision care, and dental care. Luckily, health insurance is tax deductible if you are a self-employed worker. If the policy is in your name, these deductions could extend to your family members. This is a wonderful deduction – it could save you thousands of dollars.
  • Are you a member of a writing-related organization or group? Most genres have national organizations for writers, such as Romance Writers of America, The Author’s Guild, or the National Association of Writers. Membership dues and fees are deductible.
  • Do you host a website or use word processing programs or send emails? Silly question, right? As writers, we can deduct the cost and expense of software programs we use to run our business. You can even deduct cell phone usage, as long as it is for legitimate business purposes.

This information is just the tip of a Titanic-sized iceberg. There are so many resources out there for writers! Knowing what deductions are possible can save you money – hundreds, even thousands. So find yourself an accountant you like, track your expenses, and stay organized! Uncle Sam will appreciate it as much as you do!

Writing prompt – Caroline put her head down on her desk and squeezed her eyes shut. Adding the numbers again would not help. No matter how many times she refigured, the total was the same. How could she tell her boss she had lost $150,000.00?

Click-to-Tweet: The downside to being self-employed – you are responsible for paying all taxes out of your income. A Taxing Situation: Tax 101 for Authors by Cammi Woodall via @InspiredPrompt

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.

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