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How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?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 One unpublished book and about eight half-finished books wait patiently for me.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.

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

Image 2-26-19 at 11.03 AM

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.

The Case of the Missing Firehouse Dog by Daphne Self

Good morning, dear reader! Thank you for joining us on this lovely Saturday. We have Daphne Self with us this morning. Daphne is talking about the writing process and her new book, The Case of the Missing Firehouse Dog.

Daphne, tell us a little about yourself.

Daphne: I was formerly published under the name D.M. Webb and have 3 books under that name. When I remarried in 2012 after being a widow for seven years, I decided that I wanted to be published under my married name. Another little tidbit about me is that I lived the majority of my life in Mississippi, but in 2014, we moved to the eastern part of Iowa, right outside of Cedar Rapids. Will we stay here? Who knows. We go where God leads us. The one major change we have to deal with is the brutal winters!

What more can I say about me? I’m one of those introverts who cannot be put in a tidy box. I’m a sci-fi geek, but love romance. I’m a devout reader of thrillers, but need that cozy mystery for balance. I like British lit and classics, but abhor To Kill a Mockingbird. I play video games and have an extensive Monopoly collection. I can quilt, paint, and grow some plants, but I can’t knit or crotchet.

What do you love most about the writing process?

Daphne: What do I love most? Kind of a hard question to answer. I love writing. I enjoy the images that words can create, but I would have to say what I love most is taking that germ of an idea and creating a world with it.

How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?

Daphne: Quite a few! I have 3 unfinished novels. One unfinished novella and one unfinished nonfiction. Plus, I started the next children’s book. Unpublished? Two children’s stories have not found a home yet, but I haven’t been actively seeking one for them…not yet, at least.

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

Daphne:  Don’t give up. It may take a while, but everything comes to pass in God’s time. He alone knows when the best time is for you. So don’t give up hope and don’t stop writing.

What are common traps for aspiring writers?

Daphne: Listening to the rules and not listening to the rules. Believing that what another author says is etched in stone. The market changes and our writing will also change. Plus, our writing changes with each book we write. So listen to the market, but don’t pay attention to the market or it will affect your writing and make it boring. Listen to the “rules” and advice of others, but don’t treat them like a golden standard. Your voice is key to the story. Many authors allow their voice to be diluted. Listen to editors, but do your homework on those editors. Don’t isolate yourself. Find a community. There are many authors to connect with through social media. If you don’t have that support, you can’t succeed.

What does literary success look like to you?

Daphne: Having one smile on a reader’s face is success. Success isn’t defined by money or by hitting a bestseller’s list. Success is defined by bringing glory to Jesus through a story I have written.

Future projects or WIP you can talk about?

Daphne: I am working on the next The Adventures of Wilhelmina book titled: The Case of the Vanishing Teddy Bear. In this one, a new character will be introduced. There is also my next novel, Alabama Days, which is to be released either later this year or early next year. The date has yet to be determined. And it is my hope to have my nonfiction book released next September, which is National Pain Awareness Month. This nonfiction book, titled Journey On, will chronicle the daily ups and downs of being newly diagnosed with a chronic illness, in this case fibromyalgia. With this book I hope to bring awareness to how broad chronic pain can be and how it affects one’s life.

Thank you for joining us today, Daphne!


Daphne Self, formerly published under the name D.M. Webb, resides in Iowa. A transplant from Mississippi who fell in love with the Midwest state, she spends her days writing, editing, hiking, antiquing, and planning adventures with her husband and sons.

Having always dreamed of being a writer she pursues this dream with only one goal in mind: to glorify His Name. Daphne is also an avid reader who devours books in many genres. As a long-time member of ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers), she volunteers her time judging contests for unpublished and published authors. She also helps upcoming authors polish their manuscripts.


Beautiful Majesty has been dognapped!
Majesty, the firehouse dog, is missing.
Willie and Jax are on the case to discover who is the dognapping culprit. Could it be their neighbor, Mr. Applebee? Or maybe it is Ms. Thornton?
Join the Pintail Duo, Wilhelmina van der Coup and Jackson Barnaby, as they follow the clues to rescue Majesty in The Case of the Missing Firehouse Dog.

A Love Most Worthy by Sandra Ardoin

sandra ardoin_headshot1Good morning, dear reader! Thank you for joining us on this lovely Saturday. I’m excited to have author Sandra Ardoin with me this morning. Sandra is talking about the writing process. Let’s begin!

Tell us a little about yourself.

Sandra:  Thanks so much for having me!

I’m a wife and an empty-nester mom who began writing in the mid-80s. It wasn’t until about ten years ago that I began writing novels. I haven’t looked back.

I’m a couch coach for the Carolina Panthers. (No, they don’t listen to or pay me.) Give me something to read or watch with some mystery/suspense and I’m happy. Or, you can take me out to eat.

What do you love most about the writing process?

SandraI love the creativity in taking an idea, scenes in my head, or dialog and fashioning (hopefully) quality stories others want to read. Most fiction writers just want to write, but there are so many responsibilities a writer has that have nothing to do with creating a fictional story.

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

Sandra:  I will admit, way too many half-finished books lounge around in my computer. In fact, that’s my word for this year: Finish. I’ve tasked my critique partner with keeping me accountable. She’s to scold me harshly if I start a project without finishing the previous one.

I also have a number of finished but unpublished stories. I have three published books: The Yuletide Angel, A Reluctant Melody, and A Love Most Worthy. The latter released this week.

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

Sandra:  Don’t be fooled by what you think a writer’s life is like. Don’t think you’ll write something “brilliant” and it will automatically be published. Writing for publication is filled with a constant learning of the craft, constant editing and more rewriting, rejection, and taking on tasks you never imagined were part of the career, like marketing and a knowledge of technology.

Do persevere! You’ll eventually be glad you did.

What are common traps for aspiring writers?

Sandra: 

  • Thinking it’s easy to write and publish (see the previous answer). 
  • Waiting until they’re ready to submit their work before starting on a platform.
  • Not writing on a regular basis but when they feel they can make time.
  • Submitting too soon, before the work is ready.
  • Caving in the face of rejection. We ALL get rejections.

What does literary success look like to you?

Sandra:  It looks like a couple of things.

  1. My mission statement reads: “To write fiction that is both entertaining and provides the reader with insight into God’s grace and forgiveness.” If I achieve that, I’ve achieved the most important success.
  2. On an everyday life note, it’s earning enough to afford to make more books available.

Future Projects or WIP you can talk about?

Sandra:  At the moment, I’m working on a historical romance Christmas novella. I have long-term plans for it but will tackle one thing at a time.

Great advice and thanks for stopping by today!

Click to Tweet: Author Sandra Ardoin shares her writing advice and encouragment #SandraArdoin  #ALoveMostWorthy @InspiredPrompt


A Love Most Worthy 

almw - ardoinShe didn’t know which was colder,

           an Arctic winter or her new husband’s heart.

Hallie Russell believes life should be lived to the fullest. For that reason, she sails to the gold rush town of Nome, Alaska to take her cousin’s place as the mail-order bride of a respected shopkeeper. But when her aloof husband’s wedding-night announcement rocks her plans for their marriage, Hallie sees her desire for a family to call her own vanish as quickly as the dreams of hopeful miners.

Tragedy led Rance Preston to repent of his rowdy ways and open a general store for the miners in Nome. He’s content in his bachelorhood, but his two orphaned nephews deserve a proper and serious-minded mother. Duped once by a vivacious female, he’s determined to never again let his heart overrule his head…until the high spirits of his new bride threaten his resolve.

When a misunderstanding comes to light, will they allow the gale force winds of insecurity to destroy what they each need most?


sandra ardoin_headshot1

As an author of heartwarming and award-winning historical romance, Sandra Ardoin engages readers with page-turning stories of love and faith. Rarely out of reach of a book, she’s also an armchair sports enthusiast, country music listener, and seldom says no to eating out.

Visit her on her website. Connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Pinterest, and BookBub. Become a member of the Love and Faith in Fiction community and discover what’s upcoming, and learn of specials and giveaways.

A Few Minutes with Linda Shenton Matchett

Linda Shenton Matchett is an author, speaker, and history geek. A native of Baltimore, Maryland, she was born a stone’s throw from Fort McHenry and has lived in historic places all her life. Linda is a member of ACFW, RWA, and Sisters in Crime. She is a volunteer docent at the Wright Museum of WWII and a trustee for her local public library.

Interesting writing rituals?

Linda: I don’t know that it’s an interesting ritual, but my desk has to be clear and organized before I can start writing. I don’t work or think well in a cluttered environment. The first thing I do when I sit down is file extraneous papers, stack the folders or put them away, and arrange my research materials. Then I turn over my hour glass, so at the end of sixty minutes I remember to get up to stretch and walk around.

What is the book about?

Linda: Set during WWII, a young woman suffering from a degenerative eye disease is the main suspect in her fiance’s murder and must prove her innocence. The themes I explore are recognizing our value as God’s creation/children and trusting in His perfect will and timing.

Favorite part of the book?

Linda: Singer Dinah Shore makes a cameo appearance, and I enjoyed researching and writing that scene.

Message for readers?

Linda: God wants what’s best for us, and if we allow Him to lead us, we will find joy no matter what.

Where can readers find you online?


Murder of Convenience

May 1942: Geneva Alexander flees Philadelphia and joins the USO to escape the engagement her parents have arranged for her, only to wind up as the number one suspect in her betrothed’s murder investigation. Diagnosed with Retinitis Pigmentosa, she must find the real killer before she loses her sight…or is convicted for a crime she didn’t commit.

Set in the early days of America’s entry into WWII and featuring cameo appearances from Hollywood stars, Murder of Convenience is tribute to individuals who served on the home front, especially those who did so in spite of personal difficulties, reminding us that service always comes as a result of sacrifice. Betrayal, blackmail, and a barrage of unanswered questions… Murder of Convenience is the first in Linda Shenton Matchett’s exciting new “Women of Courage” series.

Click to Tweet: A Few Minutes with Linda Shenton Matchett, author of historical #Mystery via @InspiredPrompt #Saturday interview