3 Questions Wednesday with JPC Allen

Welcome to 3 Questions Wednesday! Today Inspired Prompt welcomes author, JPC Allen! Thanks for taking the time to join us.

First question:
Who is your favorite author?

JPC: That depends on which of my favorites genres I want to read. If I’m in the mood for humor, I pick up books by P.G. Wodehouse and Patrick F. McManus. If I want a mystery, I’m overwhelmed by great authors, but some I’ve come to rely on to always deliver a rewarding story are Rex Stout, Melville Davisson Post, and G.K. Chesterton.

You are right. Reading a mix of genres is a lot of fun!  Next question…
If you could write about anyone or anything fiction/nonfiction who or what would you write about?

JPC: Well, getting to write a Christmas mystery for an anthology last holiday season was a dream come true. I don’t know why Christmas and mysteries work so well together. Some of my favorites whodunits are set during Christmas, so to be able to write one with a theme of mercy and forgiveness was a fantastic opportunity.

Another dream of mine is write a great adventure set in the present. I think a lot of people believe that with advances in technology, we can’t set out into the unknown and test ourselves. Most new action movies or books are science fiction or fantasy. I want to write a story to prove adventures are still possible today.

I like your perspective, there are still many adventures to be had.  Last question: 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?

JPC: This depends on whether I’m working or on vacation. If I’m working, I’d like to hang out with the teen detective Rae Riley from my Christmas mystery, “A Rose from the Ashes”. I’d follow her around to get story ideas. Maybe we would go to the Hocking Hills because she lives in rural Ohio and is an amateur photographer.

But if I was on vacation, I have two choices. I’d either contact AAA and book the next available seat on a time machine to visit Victorian London and solve a mystery with Sherlock Homes and Dr. Watson. Or I’d check Airbnb to see which hobbits are renting their underground homes and putter around the Shire for a few weeks.

Either way sounds like a great way to spend a day. Thanks for stopping by.

Click to tweet: Another dream of mine is write a great adventure set in the present. I think a lot of people believe that with advances in technology, we can’t set out into the unknown and test ourselves. Most new action movies or books are science fiction or fantasy. I want to write a story to prove adventures are still possible today.

Comment by Sunday, Oct. 27 for a chance at a free autographed copy of Christmas fiction off the beaten path.

Connect with Candace:

Facebook: www.facebook.com/JPCAllenWrites
Online: www.JPCAllenwrites.com
Goodreads: JPC Allen Writes
Instagram: www.instagram.com/JPCAllenWrites


Christmas fiction off the beaten path

Not your Granny’s Christmas stories … Step off the beaten path and enjoy six stories that look beyond the expected, the traditional, the tried-and-true.

Inspired by the song, “Mary Did You Know?” – a mother’s memories of events leading up to and following that one holy night. MARY DID YOU KNOW? By Patricia Meredith

A young woman seeking her own identity searches for the man who tried to kill her and her mother on Christmas Eve twenty years before. A ROSE FROM THE ASHES. By JPC Allen

Princess, tower, sorceress, dragon, brave knight, clever peasant – combine these ingredients into a Christmas-time story that isn’t quite what you’d expect. RETURN TO CALLIDORA. By Laurie Lucking

Anticipating tough financial times, the decision not to buy or exchanged presents leads to some painful and surprising revelations for a hardworking man and his family. NOT THIS YEAR. By Sandra Merville Hart

Years ago, a gunman and a store full of hostages learned some important lessons about faith and pain and what really matters in life – and the echoes from that day continued to the present. THOSE WHO STAYED. By Ronnell Kay Gibson

A community of refugees, a brutal winter, a doorway to another world – a touch of magic creating holiday joy for others leads to a Christmas wish fulfilled. CRYSTAL CHRISTMAS. By Michelle L. Levigne

Purchase on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, 24Symbols, Kobo

 


Meet JPC Allen:

JPC Allen started her writing career in second grade with an homage to Scooby Doo. She’s been tracking down mysteries ever since. A former children’s librarian, she is a member of ACFW and has written mystery short stories for Mt. Zion Ridge Press. Online, she offers writing tips and prompts to beginning writers. She also leads writing workshops for tweens, teens, and adults, encouraging them to discover the adventure of writing. A lifelong Buckeye, she has deep roots in the Mountain State.

Join the adventure on her blog, Facebook, Instagram, or Goodreads.

The Craft of Writing: Resources for the Journey

By Jennifer Hallmark

Learning the craft, or making our work readable, is one of the more important ways to sell books, gain a readership, and be taken seriously in the writing world. But how do we do that?

College, online courses, or conferences can be a great place to start. But maybe they’re not in your budget or timeframe at the moment. Where else can we find resources for our author journey?

I’m so glad you asked. 🙂 The Crew and I want to share our personal favorites:

 Gail Johnson

Bonita Y. McCoy

Tammy Trail

Kristy Robinson Horine

  • Anything by KM Weiland is useful. Not only is there a blog, and books, she has a podcast that she transcribes so readers can listen or read.

    Brandilyn Collins has some great books out on characters, plot twists, why stories work, etc.  Steven James has a podcast called The Story Blender. It’s pretty good.

Jennifer Hallmark: I’ve read tons of books on craft in the past, but now I tend to read more blogs and listen to podcasts. Here are some of the best (IMHO):

And don’t forget about Inspired Prompt and our resources. Here are three links:

We want to see you become the best writer that you possibly can be. There’s no magic formula. As you study, learn, read, and write, your voice will emerge and your skills will increase. It has worked for our Inspired Prompt Crew and it will work for you.

Click to tweet: Learning the craft, or making our work readable, is one of the more important ways to sell books, gain a readership, and be taken seriously in the #writing world.  #pubtip

Writing Prompt: Commit to either reading a writing craft book, one blog post a week, or listen to a podcast a week to strengthen your writing.

Wipe Your Face Girl, and Act Right.

By Tammy Trail

This past summer I went back to the state of my birth to visit family and friends. I attended a reunion with my mother and a group of her grade school friends. I recalled that they had grown up in a time where rules, like etiquette, still mattered. Unlike today, where you see people grocery shopping in their pajamas. A personal pet peeve of mine.

Is there any part of our society that still follows rules of etiquette, you may ask?  Why yes, there is. Allow me to point out that as writers we have standards we should follow, at least until you are established enough to break them.

First let’s determine what etiquette is: A code of polite conduct. Should you practice proper etiquette you are less likely to offend or annoy people – you may even charm them.

For writers, it is no different. I remember when I first attended a writer’s meeting for my local chapter group. A multi-published author was a member of our group. Being new to the whole scene I gushed to my two writer friends about this author. They both looked at me like I had a cat on my head. “You’re not going to go all weird on us, are you? They might frown on that.”  I assure them both that I did know how to act right! Yes, it’s a funny story, and I did wait to be introduced before telling said author that I enjoyed her books.

In the publishing world there are a few “rules” to follow while submitting your work to an editor, or for an agent’s consideration for representation:

  1. DO YOUR RESEARCH. Please take the time to look for an agent that wants to represent your genre. For example, you wouldn’t send a Young Adult Fantasy proposal to an agent who only wants to represent Historical Romance. If you do your homework, you can find an agent’s bio and what kind of manuscripts they are looking for, simply by googling their name.
  1. FOLLOW THE GUIDELINES. Once you have settled on the agent or editor you would like to work with, do look for their query guidelines to submit your proposal to them for consideration. You can find these on most websites under a submissions. There you may also find what they are looking for in the genre, and how they would like the email to be sent along with the email address. 

  1. SELF EDIT. Look over your proposal very carefully. Punctuation and grammar, as well as spelling errors  are telling. If your proposal is not up to standard, chances are a professional will assume your manuscript is written in the same manner. Don’t get a strikeout at first base, get a home run by taking just a few more minutes to read your proposal with more care. Then get to work on editing that manuscript too. 
  1. DON’T RESPOND TO REJECTION. There are often many reasons why an agent may send a rejection. Perhaps they have enough historical fiction manuscripts. Maybe your story is too closely written like another writer they represent. Or perhaps you need to become more seasoned in your writing. If you should get a bit of a response from your query that gives positive feedback, consider yourself on your way. Take those grains of wisdom and look at your manuscript with new eyes. We can always do better. 
  1. TAKE THE TIME TO LEARN THE CRAFT. Writing is hard and not for the faint of heart. I often remind myself to stay focused on writing the best story of my ability. Getting published is a wonderful goal. But to get there, we all need to stay in the trench and dig out the story before we can go to higher ground and have that book in our hands with an author credit. In all things, seek God’s wisdom and direction. In doing so, you can never fail.

Click-to-Tweet: Etiquette for Writers – In the publishing world there are a few rules to follow while submitting your work to an editor or for an agent’s consideration for representation. #publishing #etiquette

Writing Prompt: Compose a short email message, thanking an editor for your latest rejection.

3 Questions Wednesday with Candace West

Welcome to 3 Questions Wednesday! Today Inspired Prompt welcomes author, Candace West! Thanks for taking the time to join us.

First question:
Who is your favorite author?

Candace: I can never decide between Janette Oke and Lucy Maud Montgomery. Their stories inspired me to write my own. Lucy Maud Montgomery’s characters and descriptions are rich with detail, carrying me to that place and time. Janette Oke weaves the Gospel message throughout her engaging stories. I’ve never been disappointed with one of her books! Her words always inspire hope!

Reading a good story of hope and inspiration makes it hard to put down!  Next question…
If you could write about anyone or anything fiction/nonfiction who or what would you write about?

Candace:  The first person who comes to mind is General Thomas (Stonewall) Jackson. Civil War history fascinates me, especially the struggles of conscience on both sides. I love the journey of General Jackson’s personal faith. I would dive into a project highlighting his beliefs and his walk with God.

Sounds like you may have a new historical story idea brewing.  Last question: 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?

Candace:  As strange as it sounds, I would spend the day with Earl Steen. After his conversion, of course! Why would I want to spend the day with this prodigal? There’s quite a bit of depth to him. As I worked on the sequel Valley of Shadows, Earl revealed more about his personality than I dreamed. I would love to spend the day listening to him play classical pieces on his violin and talking to him about his family history.

Sounds interesting. Thanks for stopping by.

Click to tweet: Lucy Maud Montgomery’s characters and descriptions are rich with detail, carrying me to that place and time. Janette Oke weaves the Gospel message throughout her engaging stories. I’ve never been disappointed with one of her books! Her words always inspire hope!

Connect with Candace:

Facebook: www.facebook.com/inspirationalnovel
Online: www.candaceweststoryteller.com
Twitter: www.twitter.com/candacewest111
Instagram: www.instagram.com/candace.west.posey.10


Lane Steen blurb:

How can Lane let go of the past when she is forced to confront it?

Kidnapped by her father at two years old, Lane Steen never imagines she is living a lie until a new schoolteacher, Edith Wallace, comes to Valley Creek. Yet Edith is more than a schoolteacher. She is part of the past—a past hidden in a mysterious dream that has haunted Lane since childhood.

At sixteen, Lane yearns to escape from her embittered father’s hatred that engulfs her home. The schoolhouse is Lane’s only escape. Carefully, Edith works to earn Lane’s friendship, but love and trust doesn’t come easy for a heart plagued by hate. But then the truth shatters Lane’s world.

The truth sends Lane on a turbulent search into the past. Leaving Valley Creek behind, Lane reunites with a family she cannot remember—a family that surpasses her wildest dreams.

Despite her newfound joy, her hatred for her father only deepens. Although she desires to experience the faith of her family, Lane can’t cast away one thing she holds closely: the hatred that helped her survive.

Digging into her father’s unbelievable past, she confronts the story behind her father’s ruin. Will she always be bound by hate?

Yet something even stronger binds her. Something stronger than her family, something stronger than her will. She is bound to Valley Creek, the place of her stormy childhood, the place of the man she loves, but more importantly, the place of God’s calling. Ironically, she finds love, purpose, grace, and forgiveness in a place she’d sought all her life to escape.

Purchase on Amazon: Kindle or paperback.


Meet Candace West:

Candace West was born in the Mississippi delta to a young minister and his wife. She grew up in small-town Arkansas and is a graduate of the University of Arkansas at Monticello. When she was twelve years old, she wrote her first story, “Following Prairie River.” Since then, she has dreamed of writing Christian fiction. Over the years, she has published short stories as well as poems in various magazines. Since her teenage years, she has written many church plays. In 2018, she published her first novel Lane Steen, book one of the Valley Creek Redemption series. By weaving entertaining, page-turning stories, Candace hopes to share the Gospel and encourage her readers. She currently lives in her beloved Arkansas with her husband Aaron and their son Matthew along with two dogs and three cats.

Valley of Shadows, book two of the Valley Creek Redemption series, is scheduled for release in March 2020.

 

The Importance of Sharpening Your Grammar and Punctuation Skills

By Fay Lamb

True story: I once had a favorite New York Times Bestselling author. I met her once at a book signing in which I traveled 600 miles to see her. Yes, I was a fan. Then one day, she responded to a comment I made on Facebook about the importance of editing well.

In very clear diva-style she said that her publisher paid people to edit her books. Her job was only to write the story. The editors would clean it up. My first thought was, “Aren’t you fortunate to be so beloved that you’ve gotten to the point where editors clamor to clean up your mess.” My second thought was “I’d hate to be your editor.”

Then she switched tracks in her career to an entirely new genre based upon a new interest. She’d gotten involved in a sport and had written two books involving it. However, her New York publishers weren’t interested in taking the risk. She found a small publisher in the South where her new interest is enjoyed by millions of people. This never-heard-of publisher jumped at the opportunity to publish a book by this well-known author. And publish they did.

I read the book.

I suppose this particular publisher assumed the author had a command of punctuation and grammar.

They assumed incorrectly, and if she read the galley, she proved that very well.

Oh, she could tell a story, but she could not spell or place a comma or determine where a sentence ended. And forget those misplaced modifiers or the split infinitives.

In the world of best sellers where this author came from, I’m sure that the editors were paid well to do what they did for her. I can attest. They did a fine job.

Editors who work for small publishers also work hard at bringing out the best manuscript possible, but I’m here as both a writer and an editor to tell you that mistakes happen. It is impossible to catch every mistake that will be made in a manuscript. Oh, I try. Believe me. I try. This is the best reason I can tell you for learning the basics of your craft. Those basics are spelling, punctuation, and grammar.

As a writer, it helps that I do know my stuff. I probably forget half of what I know in the process, but I do know it. When an editor has made a mistake, I can state with specificity why it is a mistake. On the other hand, when the editor calls me on a mistake, I am also able to understand what I’ve done incorrectly.

As an editor, it helps for me to be able to explain to an author why a comma should not go after a conjunction that starts a sentence or why I would use a comma in that instance on occasion. I can also explain to an author why some sentences can start with a conjunction and others should not.

Do you know the answer?

If not, you might want to learn the basics before you become a New York Bestseller and someone takes that privilege away from you.

Click to tweet: The Importance of Sharpening Your Grammar and Punctuation Skills by Fay Lamb.  Learn the basics. #self-edit #amwriting

Writing Prompt: Cecilia couldn’t believe her eyes. On the front page of their town’s daily newspaper…