April and May Winners on Inspired Prompt

Whoops! In the busyness of my regular and my writing life, I have forgotten to announce some of our latest winners. But never fear, there are always plenty of cool prizes to giveaway on Inspired Prompt…

 

April

  • Susan Neal has gifted Janice Garey a mailed copy of 7 Steps to Get Off Sugar and Carbohydrates. Congratulations!
  • Melissa Henderson has won a copy of Sheila Ingle’s book, Tales of a Cosmic Possum. Woo hoo!
  • Jennifer Slattery is blessing Amanda Hardin with a print copy of Restoring Her Faith. Way to go, Amanda!
  • Anne Clare has won Delilah by Fay Lamb by leaving a comment. Yay!

May

  • Allen Steadham has gifted an e-book copy of Mindfire to Anne Clare. Woo hoo!
  • Jarm Del Boccio will gift a copy of The Heart Changer to Caryl Kane.  Congratulations!
  • Katie Clark has given Regena Wallace a PDF copy of  Whispering Tower. Yay, Regena!
  • Sue Davis Potts is blessing Tracy Crump with a print copy of her book, 101 Life Lessons from Uno. Congrats!
  •  Ginny Cruz is giving an autographed copy of  Mud Holes and Magnolias to Lisa Worthey Smith. Way to go!

We really do love our readers at Inspired Prompt. Please visit often and say “hi!”

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How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?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

Dreams Deferred by June Foster

june-foster-LR-1Today we’d like to welcome multi-published author, June Foster, to the Inspired Prompt blog.

Glad you could join us, June! Tell us a little about yourself.

June:  I am a mother, grandmother, and great grandmother. When God called me to write Christian romance, I asked Him, “Are you sure, Lord? You know how old I am.” But He confirmed my calling many times. I enjoy traveling in our RV with my husband and visiting kids and grandkids. When I’m not writing, I love to read my Bible, workout, and act like a tourist in the various destinations where we travel.

What do you love most about the writing process?

June:  Though I consider myself a plotter rather than a pantster, I love it when my characters tell me things about themselves I hadn’t imagined. I love the way ideas tend to flow at times and help fill my pages more creatively than what I’d first thought.

How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?

June:  None. It surprises me every time I think about it. God knew I needed to be on the fast track to publication. I started writing in 2010, and I now have nineteen published novels as well as a devotional. That doesn’t count a few short stories that are also published.

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

June:  Trust God more. Don’t take it personally when you receive rejections from publishers and agents. Don’t compare yourself with others.

What are common traps for aspiring writers?

June: The answer relates to question 4. It is so easy to take rejections personally causing you to doubt your calling or your ability to write. The publishing market is fierce. It is next to impossible to become another Jerry Jenkins or Karen Kingsbury, and there are many, many talented authors out there. Just because you don’t get the contract you wanted, it’s easy to say I quit. Avoid the temptation to give up.

What does literary success look like to you?

June: Success of any kind is finishing what God asks of you in His strength. At the end of the day, if you can say I followed the Lord’s leading in accomplishing His purpose, then that’s success.

 

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Future Projects or WIP you can talk about?

June: I have a contract for another book to be published around Christmas time. I plan to write a light hearted story about a veterinarian who works for his father’s chain of clinics that cater to pets of wealthy owners. He’s fed up and leaves the practice to take a job as a veterinarian tech in a clinic in the northern part of the state. My heroine, nicknamed Cookie, owns a bakery but is struggling financially. When she brings her beloved lab into the animal clinic, the vet is gone, but somehow the tech knows exactly what to do and saves her poor pooche who ate macadamia nuts.

Thanks, June, for stopping by and sharing with us today!


Dreams Deferred

Dreams DeferredFrances Matthew Hall is obedient to family tradition: all firstborn sons will serve as a priest. Now Matt officiates at St. Aloysius Catholic Church in San Antonio, Texas. But when on Easter Sunday, he notices a beautiful young woman who takes his breath away, he must fight against his attraction to her or leave the priesthood and alienate his entire family.

Mary Louise Graham is a middle school teacher and devout catholic. Yet no amount of service to the community can ease the heavy load of guilt she carries. God can never forgive her unspeakable mistake. But when Father Matt tells her about a forgiving God through His son Jesus Christ, she’s free. Only thing, the Godly priest now means more to her than he should.

Can two people find their way to each other amidst insurmountable obstacles? Dreams Deferred is inspired by the author’s great grandfather and great grandmother’s story.


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June Foster

June Foster is an award-winning author who began her writing career in an RV roaming around the USA with her husband, Joe. She brags about visiting a location before it becomes the setting in her next contemporary romance or romantic suspense. June’s characters find themselves in precarious circumstances where only God can offer redemption and ultimately freedom. To date June has seen publication of 19 novels and 1 devotional. Find June at junefoster.com.

 

 

Solitary Man by Eric Landfried

ERIC LANDFRIEDGood morning! It is my pleasure to welcome author Eric Landfried to the Inspired Prompt.

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

Tell us a little about yourself?

Eric:  I was born in Charleston, WV where I spent the first 23 years of my life. My parents split when I was just a baby, but I have younger siblings (3 sisters and a brother) from blended family situations. I don’t pay attention to adjectives like “step” or “half” when it comes to my siblings. They’re my siblings, and I love them.

Thanks to visiting my dad on the weekends, I was in church every Sunday and grew up learning the Bible. I also started going to a Christian school in the fourth grade. But while I professed Christ at 9 years old, I pulled away from my faith in my teens and early twenties and made a few bad decisions. Once I hit what I considered bottom, my best buddy Chris invited me to come live with him in New Hampshire and get back on my feet. It ended up being a great decision as God used the experience to draw me back to him and I rediscovered the faith I’d discarded. I’d been writing all along, and now my faith influenced the things that came out in my work.

New Hampshire has certainly had its ups and downs for me, but the one constant has been God, and He has been absolutely faithful through it all. I’m thankful for a God I can completely surrender to, and I’m thankful for the gracious blessings He grants me in this life. He just keeps giving, though I never could deserve it, and I’m now a published author.

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What do you love most about the writing process?

Eric:  I think the moment when I type the last word of the first draft is my favorite. I call my first drafts “brain vomit” because it’s basically getting the story out of my head and onto the page where I can sort through the mess and see what works and what doesn’t. After that is when I really do my best writing. But that emotional high in between the end of the first draft and the beginning of editing is easily my favorite moment as a writer. It also gets the nagging idea I turned into a story out of my head (only to be replaced by another nagging idea, of course).

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

Eric:  I wrote a novel, a thriller about a private investigator, when I was 16 years old. It’s absolute garbage, so I’ll never publish it. I might consider revisiting the idea once I’m done with all the other ideas in front of me, though that will probably be a while.

I started working on Solitary Man’s sequel before it was released, because I figured there would be some readers wanting to know what happens next. Sure enough, every positive review ends with “can’t wait for the sequel!” I’m currently about 30,000 words into it, so I figure I’m about a third of the way through. Of course that’s my “brain vomit” first draft, so there’s still all the editing to do once it’s done. I guess God is using me to teach everyone patience. ☺

I also have a couple of mostly completed screenplays, but since Solitary Man is what helped me finally get my foot in the door, I’m focused on writing books right now, rather than movies. I’m sure I’ll try to do something with them in the future.

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

Eric:  “Get off your butt and write!” Procrastination has always been an issue for me, and it’s why I’m published now at the age of 44 rather than twenty years earlier. I suppose that in my mid-life crisis, instead of buying a Porsche, I published a book. Regardless, I’m just happy to be here, and happy to have written something that so many people are enjoying. But it does pain me a little bit that if I hadn’t been a lazy jerk earlier on, I could have had this experience a lot sooner.

What are common traps for aspiring writers?

Eric:  As I mentioned above, procrastination is a writer’s worst enemy. It’s a career killer. If you aspire to be published, push yourself and be disciplined. I get up early every  morning to give myself 90 minutes of uninterrupted writing time because it’s the only time of day I can get that (I still have a day job, a family, and a very busy church life). Setting word count goals isn’t a bad idea, but I’m cautious of that as it can also backfire and discourage you when you don’t hit the goal. Always remember, just a little progress is still progress, and that’s a good thing.

I’d also recommend a thick skin and an attitude of perseverance. Solitary Man was rejected around 20 times by various agents and publishers before Ambassador International finally offered me a contract. It would have been easy to give up and assume I was just a talentless hack, and there were moments when I was tempted to do just that. I’m certainly glad I pushed through those thoughts and finally achieved a lifelong dream.

What does literary success look like to you?

Eric:  While being on the New York Times bestseller list would be a great achievement, I’m a realist, so to me, success means being able to quit my day job (as a traveling technician for an arcade company) and write full time. Making a living doing this thing I love to do? Well, I would absolutely love that, and I hope and pray for that moment. I guess I should also pray for patience as I wait and see if God makes that a possibility.

Future Projects or WIP you can talk about?

Eric:  I already mentioned the sequel to Solitary Man I’m working on, and I’ll add that this is probably going to be the most ambitious project I’ve ever done. I’m doing lots of research, looking at satellite photos of real places and checking maps as I plot out Doyle’s continuing journey. I have a feeling it’s going to be pretty epic.

I’m also talking with my best friend Chris about collaborating on a picture book with me writing and him illustrating. He’s a tremendously talented and creative artist (check out his work on Instagram and we’ve been good friends for nearly 30 years, so I’m really looking forward to seeing what we come up with.

Thanks so much for joining us!

Click to tweet: Eric Landfried talks about the writing journey and his newly released book, Solitary Man #amreading


ERIC LANDFRIED

Eric Landfried

I was thirteen years old when I realized I was a writer. Once I had this realization, I grabbed a spiral notebook and began filling it with all the stories bumping around in my head. I was young and inexperienced, and therefore terrible, but the ideas kept coming and I kept improving as a writer. As a shy and withdrawn kid living in West Virginia, writing became the best outlet to express myself, and I exploited it as much as I could.

As an adult, I wrote less frequently, usually due to my procrastinating nature, but the ideas never went away. Many of them are still with me, waiting for me to introduce them to the world. And now, someone has looked at my writing and deemed it worthy of investing time, money and effort in order to share it with the masses.

I now live in New Hampshire with my wife Kristen and my son Nathan. I’m excited to begin a new chapter in my life that involves doing something I’ve always loved. There’s never been a moment that I felt like I wasn’t a writer, but the journey of a writer is often discouraging more than it is encouraging. This means I’m eternally grateful for this opportunity to share my thoughts and ideas with you. Thank you for your interest and support.

Website

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Solitary Man

Solitary Man hi-res

Ten years after a brutal war, cannibals and humans fight over the pieces of a hardscrabble existence. Former Navy SEAL Doyle has been prowling the broken remnants of a devastated America for years. Alone in an armored bus loaded with weapons and supplies, he’s grateful for his solitude. Being alone makes it easier to survive, as others can become liabilities. But when a vicious cannibal attack leaves Doyle in need of fuel and repairs, he has no choice but to venture into the nearest settlement.

Jonathan has been pastoring a small church in that same settlement, and when he meets Doyle, he sees an opportunity to expand his ministry. Cannibals have kept everyone from traveling, but Doyle’s armored transport brings hope to Jonathan and his church. The two men strike a mutually beneficial bargain, but neither of them realizes this journey will change them both in ways they could never have imagined as Doyle’s unbelief collides with Jonathan’s faith.

As they look to establish churches in other settlements, they battle cannibals, militant atheists, and a mysterious super soldier with dark secrets. Solitary Man is a gritty, action-packed post-apocalyptic story with a solid, Biblical worldview.

The Heart Changer by Jarm Del Boccio

image2.jpegGood morning, dear reader! Thank you for joining us on this lovely Saturday. We have Jarm Del Boccio with us this morning. Jarm is talking about the writing process and her newly released debut book, The Heart Changer.

Jarm, tell us a little about yourself.

Jarm:  I was an only child, who grew up in a single parent home. My dear dad, a kind and artistic man, died when I was only four — it broke my heart. But I still cherish his memory after all these years!

As a child, I loved to sing along with Disney songs, acting them out as I listened on my phonograph. I learned to read at a very early age – The Hat and the Cat Came Back was a favorite. I kept a diary almost all my life, into which I poured my joys and sorrows.

My mom and I took trips across the country every summer, visiting family and friends, along with natural and historical sites along the way. One year, she drove me (as an eight year old) and a friend with a broken leg, all the way from Chicago to Alaska and back! My favorite part was being the navigator, as I followed our route on an old-fashioned map. I believe it gave me a love for history and culture — and created in me an adventurous spirit.

I was a single schoolteacher and librarian, nannied for two years, then spent another two years as a missionary teacher in an isolated village of Papua New Guinea. When I arrived home, I got my RN, and soon after, married my husband Dan. Three years later, I discovered I was not able conceive, so we adopted a son and daughter from Russia. There has never been a dull moment since!

After home educating them for ten years, they left the nest, and I was able to pursue my writing passion. I began with picture books, but because I had a difficult time keeping my descriptions short, I was advised to write for middle-grade. I found my sweet spot and never looked back! Although one day, I would love to see one of my PB manuscripts in print.

I have a soft spot for kids in the Bible who have no name and backstory, but have made a huge impact on the people around them. With The Heart Changer, Naaman’s wife’s servant girl came to mind from 2 Kings 5. So, I gave Miriam a name AND a feasible backstory! I try to stay as close to the historical account as possible. Since my passion is to ‘breathe new life into the pages of history’ I delight in the ‘what-ifs’ and bring the story to life so children can relate to the Bible characters in a fresh way.

Some fun facts about me:

– I love to travel, and am passionate about visiting new places. My motto is: never visit the same location twice. Well — I’ve disregarded my own rule a few times, but otherwise, I stick to it as best I can. I’m slowly checking off destinations on my bucket list, and have journeyed to six of seven continents. I’ll let you decide which one I have yet to step foot on . . .

– I was accidentally hit in the head with a baseball bat and sported black and blue eyes for eight grade graduation. A well-meaning elderly man thought I had applied my makeup incorrectly. The ironic thing is — I am not a sports fan!

– When I was a junior in high school my first job was — no joke — in a Chinese laundromat.

– My secret desire? To get caught up in a flash mob singing a tune from a favorite musical.

– When I was in elementary school, I begged my Mom for a baby alligator from Florida, trying to convince her we could keep it in our bathtub. She gently asked me what I would do once it grew to full-size. I pondered the question for a minute or two, and reluctantly backed down. 

What do you love most about the writing process?

Jarm: I love the way words flow from my mind to my fingers, as a little-known person from history begs me to tell his or her story. Sometimes, it happens so fast, I wonder if the words are flowing from my heart to my pen, missing my mind altogether. I certainly don’t speak the way I write. It’s a unique process for me. I also thrive on critiques and love to edit to make my story shine. I’m disappointed if no one can find a problem with my manuscript.

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

Jarm: A plethora! One or two half-finished, but I’ve written a total of 30+ unpublished historical/Biblical fiction picture books and middle grade novels. Most of them have been critiqued and edited at least once, and for the last three years, I’ve been sending them out on submission — but no one has snatched them up at this point.

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

Jarm:  Be faithful in keeping a daily journal. Someday, you may become famous — and it’s discovery may change the world. Even if you don’t, it will leave a legacy for those you love. Also, dare to be different. Be who God meant you to be. And don’t be afraid to try new things or go out of your comfort zone. You’ll be able to write about them later.

What are common traps for aspiring writers?

Jarm:  One of the biggest, I believe, is to write for the market. The quality of your manuscripts will suffer if you do that, since your passion is not engaged in a book you force yourself to write. Another trap is to think you have nothing worth saying to readers. Of course, that’s a false assumption. Each person has a unique perspective on life, depending on their culture, faith and upbringing which can inspire a story. The challenge is having the skill to write it in the best way possible to make readers care — that’s the difficult part. If you are willing to work hard, and take constructive criticism, you will be successful!

What does literary success look like to you?

Jarm:  Of course, we think of the number of books an author has published and sold, and the rave reviews they receive. I’m not there yet. But if I heard from those who, by reading my novel, have been inspired to be the hero of their own stories — given confidence to be the person God has meant them to be — that’s the meaning of success for me!

Future projects or WIP you can talk about?

Jarm: I’m writing (with the help of the Institute of Children’s Literature) another middle-grade historical fiction, The Orphans Who Saved the World, set in early nineteenth century Spain, based on a little-known medical expedition. A completed MG historical novel, Fair Investigation! set at the 1893 World Columbian Exposition has been sent numerous times to editors and agents, but no bites yet. I have plenty of ideas but it’s difficult to know which one to focus on first!

Thank you for joining us today, Jarm!


image2Jarm Del Boccio

Jarm (‘J’ pronounced as a ‘Y’) Del Boccio finds her inspiration in everyday life, but in particular, when she travels the globe, observing the quirky things that happen along the way. Focusing on lives of characters from the past, Jarm is devoted to breathing new life into the pages of history.

Jarm has a background in elementary and high school education, and served for seven years as a school librarian. Grateful for the opportunity, she taught three missionary kids in an isolated area of Papua New Guinea. She is part of SCBWI and American Christian Fiction Writers, and has published articles in “The Old Schoolhouse” magazine.

The Heart Changer,” her debut MG historical/biblical fiction, releases with Ambassador International April 26th 2019. Jarm is content with the journey God has placed her on, and lives with her husband, adult daughter and son (when he lands at home) in a tree-lined suburb of Chicago. You can connect on her author’s website/blog at: https://www.jarmdelboccio.com/

My Passion is to Make Scripture and History Come Alive for my Readers: Illuminating the Past. Making Sense of the Present. Offering Hope for the Future.”


image1Can an Israelite captive, wrenched from all she loves, serve the very man who destroyed her village?

Miriam is asked to do the impossible: serve the wife of Naaman, commander of the Syrian army. Clinging to treasured memories of home and faith, Miriam faces captivity with worry and bitterness. Little does she know the Heart Changer is wooing and preparing her for a greater mission—far beyond what she could imagine.

This middle-grade historical novel reflects the heartache and angst of a young refugee in a foreign land where all hope seems lost.