3 Questions Wednesday with Janie Winsell

HeadshotGood morning! Today, Janie Winsell is answering our three questions. Janie is the author of A Wife’s Devotion. I can’t wait for you to see the cover.

Good morning, Janie. Can you describe yourself in three words?

That’s hard. Boiling myself down to three words for a writer is like asking us not to use any adjectives in our writing. Okay, maybe not that dramatic, but you get the picture. Okay, here goes . . . Determined, passionate, and caring.

I like your humor, Janie. I also like your three-word description. Great job. Next question . . .

Someone offers you a fully-paid writing research trip to any place you desire to go. Where would it be and why?

To quote Dr. Seuss, “Oh, The Places You’ll Go!”  I have a fascination with Greece. The gorgeous waters and beautiful architecture have captivated my heart and soul. I’ve always wanted to visit Europe to see the different cultures there. I’ve heard that life isn’t quite so rushed across the waters as it is here. I also think that I could get a lot of writing done from my balcony as I watch the serenity of the ocean. I want to write a Romance book set in Greece, but there’s only so much you can do with your computer and imagination. If I could walk the streets and talk to the people, I could really get a feel for this amazing country and do them justice in a story.

I agree. There is nothing like walking the streets and talking to the people to get a feel for the land. Final quesiton . . .

If someone made a movie of your life, what would be the theme song?

Seeing that I majored in music for my undergraduate degree, I can think of a hundred different songs from different genres that might capture my past or present, or perhaps my future, but I think there’s only one that really tells my story. “Redeemed” by Big Daddy Weave.

I adore “Redeemed.” Reader’s click on the link to listen.

Thank you so much for having me on your blog. I’ve had a great time.

Janie, thank you for sharing your time and yourself with us today on Inspired Prompt. It was a pleasure talking with you.

Click to Tweet: “I also think that I could get a lot of writing done from my balcony as I watch the serenity of the ocean.” 3QW with Janie Winsell @InspiredPrompt #interview #giveaway

Readers: Janie is giving away an e-book. Leave a comment for a chance to win A Wife’s Devotion.


A Wife’s Devotion

AWDSergeant Alex Davis wakes up from a coma with another man’s name on his medical chart.

Six years ago, an IED explosion took the lives of his platoon, his leg, and left him a vegetable­­–– or so the doctors thought.  Now fighting to regain his health and what’s left of his life, all Alex can focus on is returning to the wife and daughter he left behind. There’s only one problem.

Real Estate agent Izzy Williams has a new life. She remarried and moved her and her daughter Elizabeth across town.  But just as things are settling down, two officers show up at her door uttering one sentence that turns her world upside down.

“Sergeant Alex Davis is alive.”

Will Alex be able to win his family back?

With her whole world on the line, Izzy must decide if her devotion lies with her new husband or her first love.


HeadshotJanie Winsell is a Christian author who lives in Alabama. She writes Contemporary Women’s fiction, Romance, and Romantic Suspense. She received her Master’s Degree in Creative Writing at Full Sail University. She is a member of ACFW and active in the critique main loop. She writes about real Christians who, like the world, are not perfect, but through God’s love and discipline, they learn the lessons needed to grow in their relationship with their Heavenly Father as well as with each other.

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Memorial Day-A Time for Remembrance

By Steve Connolly – Alabama Metal Art

Marked as the official start of Summer, Memorial Day is celebrated on the last Monday of May. It is, however, the day we all should remember and honor all Americans who lost their lives while serving in the country’s armed forces.

Growing up in a small New England town, I vividly remember marching in the Memorial Day Parade. We would line up at the cemetery just outside of town. Many of the town’s residents stood around the gravestones waiting for the program to start. Soon, a lone trumpeter would begin playing taps. It always gave me chills to hear. After a brief word and a prayer, the band would come alive with a patriotic march. Our march into town, although several miles, was always fun. It was good to see people waving flags, and clapping as we marched by.

Looking Back a Ways

For our family, Memorial Day held a tradition for us in the way of planting our summer vegetable garden. We kept our fingers crossed that the Northern New England weather would cooperate and we would not have to worry about any rogue frosts. Mom and I would be out in the dirt on our hands and knees carefully measuring the depth and spacing of each seed. Being amateur farmers at best, we needed all the luck we could muster when it came to gardening. Planting took us hours to get it all done, but once it was finished, it was a great feeling of accomplishment. Surprisingly, we had great success with our vegetable gardens.

New Traditions with a Young Family

As I got older and had a family of my own, new traditions were started. Moving to a new town now made me an onlooker of parades instead of a participant. Our family would stand along the parade route waving and clapping as floats and bands went by. The kids loved parades as many of the float riders would throw candy to all standing on the roadside. Being in a small town when the parade was finished, we would walk home up the hill laughing and chasing each other. Our kids always loved these family times. Later that afternoon, the grill would be fired up for a small family feast in the back yard. Hot dogs, chips, cold watermelon and ice-cream were carried out to the picnic table. Often, I would look at that ole picnic table and think, someday I have got to paint this thing. 🙂

Fireworks at the Lake

Throughout the day, the excitement would build in anticipation of the evening fireworks show. Every Memorial Day, the town would present an extraordinary light show for all who gathered around the lake in the center of town. Watching fireworks set off from the middle of the lake was always exciting. Not only did the sky light up with many colors but the lake water did as well. Some years we would watch from a park across the lake. I laugh now when I think of a friend who would give us a bang by bang commentary on the fireworks. In the later years when the kids had grown and moved out of the house, I would sit in our upstairs window and watch the fireworks. I would guess it is an advantage of living in a small town where everything is close together.

A Big Change in Location

Moving to Alabama in 1989 gave me another perspective on how people celebrate Memorial Day.  “Alabama Jubilee” was the phrase that kept crossing my path. Hearing it so often, I had to find out what it meant. Research pointed to the Alabama Jubilee Hot Air Balloon Classic held at Point Mallard Park in Decatur, Alabama over the Memorial Day weekend.

In fact, this year’s celebration will be its 40th year. Thinking back to our first visit to the Jubilee, I was taken back by the number of balloons and how beautiful they were. It was dreamlike seeing these large balloons inflate and slowly ascend into the morning sky. If my memory is correct, there must have been over 50 balloons participating in the Jubilee that day.

These days we find ourselves gravitating toward a quieter celebration with family and friends. It is fun to sit out on the back deck watching the young ones running around the yard. Having fun with water balloons, checking out the latest addition to the farm animals, or running circles around the yard in the go-cart. It gives us a chance to sit back and ponder our many blessings. It is a time for us to realize that the freedom to have these blessings is because of the many who have gone before us and sacrificed their lives. May we never forget or take them for granted.

Click to tweet: May we never forget the sacrifices made by our military.

Writing Prompt: Consider adding a Memorial Day celebration to your novel or short story.


Steve Connolly works for Alabama Metal Art and would like to share a little about the company.

Who is Alabama Metal Art? We are a small business located in the Shoals Area of Alabama in the city of Florence. We are a close-knit group of employees, who work together to provide a unique product for our customers.  Each one of our metal art products are individually crafted for you.

Our product line includes but not limited to:

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3 Questions Wednesday with Kathy C. Houser

Welcome my friend, Kathy Houser, a local children’s author with her debut children’s book, Houser Post Office. 

With great pleasure, we welcome her to 3 Questions Wednesday!

First question–

What inspires you?

Kathy: The laughter of children, their imagination and their love. I’m also inspired by all God’s creations. Sometimes one word can start a story, sometimes one glance at beauty can start a story.

That’s so true. 🙂 Now…

You’re a new addition to the crayon box. What color would you be and why?

Kathy: Rainbow, because all the colors you see are beautiful. Like a butterfly, each a beauty in its own way!

I love a rainbow, especially while it’s still raining and the sun peeking in. Last question…

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

Kathy: Veterinarian, because of my love of animals.

My granddaughter, Sadie, wants to be a veterinarian also. Thanks so much for stopping in, Kathy!

Kathy will soon be releasing her second children’s book, Dino’s Adventure. Read more about it below…


Dino Adventure

 I was inspired to write because my son, Jamie and his daughter, Ellie have such a love for the giant creatures. While doing research, I found myself intrigued by the mystery of the dinosaurs. I wanted to know more about these creatures and I even took a biblical look into the creation of these giants that roamed our earth so long ago. Research on dinosaurs brings out the imagination and intriguing aspects of how they existed and how they evolved into some creatures that still exist today!

During the writing of this story, I put together dinosaurs that were plant eaters and could have possibly traveled together in the same period of time. Even though Dino Adventure is completed, I still enjoy reading about them. Join me on this awesome journey of your imagination into the world of dinosaurs!


Houser Post Office

One day, the arts council asked me to read a story at the Chicken and Egg Festival that would be held in a small town that I lived in. I asked them if I could just write a short story to read to the children instead. So this is how the story about mail on a farm started!

I started on the story one night. I thought about how unhappy some of my customers were when they didn’t get any mail. Then I thought about how happy my son was when I would read animal stories to him. The combination of the two inspired me to write this story!


Author Kathy C. Houser

Kathy C. Houser, after I grew up, I worked full-time with the Post Office as a City Carrier and raised my son.  After thirty-two years, I retired and here I am, six months later, with two new books! My debut book is Houser Post Office and my second one is Dino’s Adventure. It thrills me to know that children all over the place will be reading my books. I look forward to writing more!

Terry Jo Compton-Illustrator of Dino’s Adventure 

I live in Decatur, Alabama, with my wife, Paula. I became passionate about art at the young age of five years old and spent some of my teenage years working as an artist on signs for businesses, lettering, illustrations, commercial buildings, giant water trucks, and even stage props, stationary, and home decor.

Framed art is my favorite to produce and I love that my art hangs on the walls of someone’s home. I am inspired by fine art, architecture, and old buildings dating back years and years ago. I consider it an honor and privilege to produce artwork that will last for years to come. My love for art has also led me to oils, water colors, and acrylic painting.  The talent I have is all-natural and God-given…no lessons!

Christina Travis-Illustrator of Houser Post Office 

I’m sixteen years old, born in San Marcos, Texas, and raised in Trinity, Alabama. I’ve always had a love for the arts, whether it’s music or drawing. I’ve been drawing as long as I can remember, every day when I would come home from school that was always the first thing I wanted to do. It wasn’t until the seventh grade when I realized that I had talent. I would normally do a quick sketch, but when I really sat down and committed to drawing for hours, from then on I knew that I wanted to draw professionally. So I began drawing portraits for friends and family. I am so thankful for all the love and support I have received while on this journey.

An Alabama-Inspired Thanksgiving

img_20141012_173651690By Jennifer Hallmark

Thanksgiving Day will soon arrive. I’ll wake early, eat a bowl of Cheerios and savor my morning cup of tea. As I hold the steaming mug, I’ll find comfort in its warmth and the sweetness of the honey-laced liquid inside. But only for a moment. Soon, thirty to forty people will crowd inside our home and there’s still much to do.

I’ll prepare part of the food on Wednesday. It releases some of the stress and flurry from this day and gives me more time to relax, be thankful, and maybe watch part of the early football game. But this morning, we’ll finish cooking. The savory smell of baked turkey permeates the air. It will soon be joined by cornbread dressing, pinto beans, sweet potato casserole, and yeast rolls. My husband, Danny, always makes the dressing, a recipe passed down from his mother. I scurry and pour the sweet tea in our three-gallon beverage dispenser. I’ll make a gallon of unsweetened tea but hardly anyone will drink it with the well-sugared kind around. We work as a team, making sure everything is just right.

thanksgiving-231781_960_720Around noon, we usually finish the last-second tasks and sit for a moment to eat a turkey sandwich. Around two o’clock in the afternoon, my husband and I will open our home to a hodgepodge of family, friends, and a few others who have nowhere to go. Everyone is welcome at our annual Thanksgiving feast.

By one o’clock, a few of the family has already arrived. Danny’s sister will open the front door and shout, “knock-knock” and I know the fun has begun. Each person arrives with different delectable dishes of food and we arrange them the best we can on the kitchen counters and stove top.

Football is still on the television but no one’s really watching as people drift from room to room. Handshakes and hugs abound as many catch up on old times. The garage doors have been shut and the space has been transformed into a dining room/fellowship hall. Large tables are set up for the adults. A special kids table, complete with coloring books and crayons sits by its side.

Mamaw Avon’s Pink StuffAt the appointed time, we all squeeze into the kitchen where my son or daughter will welcome everyone. One of the grandchildren will say “grace” before the long line forms to tackle the cafeteria-style selection of meats, vegetables, and casseroles that take up every inch of available space on the counters. Everyone loads their Chinet plates to the brim, grabs the plastic flatware and napkins and hunts a place to sit.

In the garage, large tables of sweet delights line one wall and hold twenty or more desserts, many new recipes that someone wanted to test on the crowd. Last year, I tried two pie recipes but neither turned out. I was teased over my pie “soup”. This year, I’ll stick with a cake and maybe some cookies. 🙂

800px-Pumpkin_Pie

Not my pie…

Before the afternoon is over, everyone will have eaten more than enough and recipes will have been swapped. Some will be scouring the day’s newspaper, planning to brave the crowds and start their Christmas shopping later in the evening. As a few linger behind to help me and Danny clean up, my heart swells with gratitude. I wouldn’t trade our Thanksgiving for anything.

For the next few days, we’ll munch on leftovers and when we warm our plate in the microwave, the fragrance of Thanksgiving will return. I’ll sit in the recliner and sip another cup of tea, content.

And thankful.


Someone usually makes a macaroni casserole at Thanksgiving. Here’s the recipe for you to try…

Macaroni Casserole

8 oz. package elbow noodles
1 jar chopped pimentos, drained and dried
1 jar sliced mushrooms, drained and dried
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 lb. Kraft American Cheese, grated (set one cup aside)
1 cup mayonnaise
¼ cup chopped onion

Cook noodles; drain and place in large bowl. Grate cheese and set aside 1 cup. Stir together noodles, pimentos, mushrooms, soup, cheese (minus the cup), mayonnaise and onion. Bake 20 minutes at 350 degrees. Remove and sprinkle remaining cup of cheese over top. Bake 10 more minutes.


Writing Prompt: I pulled the spice cake from the oven. The aroma of nutmeg and cinnamon flowed through the house and set my stomach to rumbling. As I started to carry the heavenly confection across the kitchen…

Happy_Thanksgiving_sign


Jennifer Hallmark writes southern fiction and fantasy. Jennifer’s website and blog she co-founded focus on her books, love of the South, and helping writers.

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3 Questions Wednesday with Debra Lynn Collins

For AutumnToday we welcome author Debra Lynn Collins, to 3 Questions Wednesday!

Hi, Debra! So glad you stopped by. First question.

Which author would you never get tired of, and why?

Debra: This is a very hard question to answer, because I have SO many favorite authors it’s hard to single out just one. I guess the ones at the very top of my list are Staci Stallings, Debra Ullrick, Debby Mayne, and Melanie Dickerson. Each one of these authors has their own unique storytelling ability that hooks you at the beginning of their books and holds you there until the very end. I could read their books over and over again (and some of them I have).

Great authors, every one. And you couldn’t have a story without an evil villain.

Who is your favorite fictional villain?

Debra:  Don’t laugh 🙂 but I would have to say Ebenezer Scrooge. I am a huge fan of the classic, The Christmas Carol. I love how Ebenezer starts our as such a vile and evil man, but after a glimpse into his past, present, and future it completely changes his heart and his life forever 🙂

I love that story too! Last question:

What project are you currently working on?

Debra: Right now, I’m working on the second book in the Alabama Brides series, A Bride of His Own.

Sounds awesome. Thanks, Debra, for being our guest.

Debra has graciously offered two of her kindle books, Cowgirls Don’t Cry, for a giveaway. Leave a comment below to be entered.

Cowgirls Don’t CryCowgirlsDontCryFrontCover smaller

Sami Lawson’s scars run deep, and she trusts no one. Ever since her mother abandoned her 
family when she was ten, Sami has watched her father grow cold and bitter from a broken heart. 
The one question she cannot shake is: Where is God through all this? To her wounded heart, the only answer she can find is: He is not. As Sami gets to know Chase, her walls start to come down, which frightens her. Can she trust this man who seems so sincere? Or will he abandon her just like her mother did? 

After hearing rumors about Sami, Chase Townsend expected a “man-eater” of a woman, especially with a nickname like “Wild Cat.” Instead, he is stunned by the beauty with the sparkling blue eyes. 
However, Chase quickly figures out that something has happened to Sami, and he has to decide if he is willing to try to help her overcome her bitterness or if he should just let the “Wildcat” be. Because of Chase’s deep trust in God, and his strong perseverance streak, he makes it his mission to show Sami that God loves her and, only He can heal her broken past. 

Now that Chase has made it his business to witness to Sami, he finds himself falling in love.  Will his heart be broken when Sami pushes him away?

Link to Cowgirls Don’t Cry:    http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00QLKTNHO

Debra Lynn Collins was born and raised in Georgia, but moved to Alabama after marrying her real-life hero in 1981. She considers herself a Georgiabamian. Debra adores the south and couldn’t imagine herself living anywhere else. Not only has God blessed her with a wonderful husband, but He’s also blessed her with four beautiful children, and as of right now seven precious grandchildren. Through the years Debra has tried her hand at many, many other crafts.She enjoys quilting, making candles, soap, and jewelry. She also scrapbooks, does woodworking, and cake decorating. Oh, and Debra LOVES TO COOK!