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.

When You Have to Start All Over, Again!

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Photo by Steve Johnson

Writing is not for the faint of heart. As writers, we know from the onset of any new project that the first draft will not be perfect. Actually, it will be far, far, far from perfect. We expect rewrites, revisions, critiques, and edits, but what happens when you spend years on a story just to come to the conclusion you need to start over, again?

One key to sustaining a writing career is perseverance. You can’t give up. Every writing project is different, some come easy and some … well, they can leave you in tears.

In my own experience, I spent ten months working on a second book in a series only to have my Beta readers tell me they didn’t like my heroine at all. She came off as harsh with a chip on her shoulder.

I spent the next two months trying to figure out what was wrong with her and how to fix her.

When I finally diagnosed the problem, I realized that I needed my one character to be two. This meant most of the scenes were either rewritten or taken out altogether.

By the time I finished, I had physically taken the book apart scene by scene, rearranged the sequence of events, added a character, and wrote the necessary new scenes.

As I endeavored to complete this fourteen-month quest, I thought my eyes would cross from the amount of time I spent looking at the thing.

However, the end product exceeded all my expectations. The story flowed so much better, and the romance between the hero and heroine bloomed beautifully. The happily-ever-after caused a slight sigh to slip from my lips when I did the final read through before sending it to the editor.

But the only reason that story exists is because through God’s grace and a push or two from friends, I persevered.

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photo by Pexel

Here are a few tips that helped me when I had to start all over, again that I’d like to share with you.

  1. Pray. This is the one essential. Give your feelings of frustration to the Lord and let Him fill you with His peace. He has answers.
  2. Talk with other writers. They can encourage you with their own war stories. You’ll be surprised by how many authors go through this, and all are willing to share their experience and how they handled it with you.
  3. Seek out books on revision. First Draft in 30 Days by Karen S. Wiesner has some excellent advice and worksheets to step you through the process, and I am sure there are others out there that can work for you.
  4. Call a friend. Ask a friend to act as an accountability partner to keep you from quitting. Frustration and the feelings of defeat can pull you down, making the task in front of you seem impossible. A friend holding you to your goal of finishing can be a great motivator. Plus, they can act as your cheerleader along the way.

Did I enjoy starting all over again on that fifth draft? No.

But am I glad I did it? Yes.

Just know, every writer experiences the ups and downs of emotions as they meet the challenges set before them in their writing journey. The difference comes in how you persevere in those challenges.

Remember, crying is allowed, as long as you move forward once you’re done.

Click-to-Tweet: “…every writer experiences the ups and downs of emotions as they meet the challenges set before them in their writing journey.”

Writing Prompt: Sarah shut her laptop, fighting back the tears. The critique pointed out all the bare places in her manuscript. Beef it up was the consensus. For whatever reason, the story didn’t work.

The Emotional Highs and Lows of Writing

I went out for a walk after a long night of rain. The sky overhead was a brilliant blue. On the sidewalk at my feet, an earthworm washed up by the rain writhed in agony. I felt sorry for it, but I couldn’t bring myself to touch it. Yuck.

I couldn’t help thinking about it, because sometimes I feel like that earthworm. Ecstatic one moment, curled up in a fetal position hours later.

We’ve all been there. It’s not just you, and it’s not weird.

I remember the euphoria when I’d met an actual published writer at my first regional writers’ conference who befriended me like I was someone with promise. She was an encourager, and I basked in her attention. She suggested I go to the ACFW conference. “You’ll meet big names, agents, publishers!”

I thought long and hard about it. This conference would be an investment. It was expensive and I’d have to fly there. More expense. My husband decided we should both go. He could play golf while I attended the conference. I was beyond excited and so, so nervous.

I prepared everything I would need for my very first meeting with a publisher. I had recently completed my novel, a wonderful fantasy with a strong spiritual message. It was gonna WOW him!

Photo by Wokandapix via Pixabay

Some of you can probably guess what happened. He smiled politely. “This is not ready, and not only that, it’s not even believable. And fantasy in the Christian market,” he shook his head. “It’ll never sell.” And then he proceeded to tell me not to quit my day job. I wasn’t ready, my story wasn’t ready.

Not ready, not believable? It’s fantasy, for goodness sake!

I’m stoic. I don’t like to show my emotions, especially in front of strangers. So, I plastered on a smile and thanked him for his time.

My husband was playing golf. Our room was empty so, I left the conference and went there. I curled up in a fetal position and cried. My heart was broken. Crushed. I was convinced I would never recover. It was over. (Only stoic in public, quite dramatic in private.)

The fantasy I had been living for the past year had ended in a devastating crash.

I got up, washed my face and repaired my makeup. Then, I put on my mask and returned to the conference. Weeks and months would pass before I fully recovered from this experience. Weeks when I never touched my manuscript. Why should I? It was over. I was not a writer.

Gradually, I crept back into the world of writing. I read about writing. I attended local writers’ meetings. I talked to other writers. And after that long, hard year passed, I went back to that regional writers’ conference. I took the classes and soaked it all up. I began to breathe again. And hope. And dream. And finally, to write.

Such is the life of the person who dares to identify as an author.

Our proclamation of, “I have a fantastic idea for a story!” is met with, “Meh! It’s too cliché. It’s been done. Blah! Don’t waste your time, because it’ll never sell.” Yada. Yada. Yada.

Don’t even get me started on what happened when I joined a critique group. Talk about trauma and anguish—oh my!

Thankfully, my story has a happy-ish ending. That original fantasy is Indie published. I completed two three-book series for Write Integrity Press and I’ve started a third series, soon to be contracted. I LOVE my critique group!

My sales haven’t rocked, so I still experience the highs and lows associated with our chosen profession. It’s never been easy. Each new story brings fresh challenges and sometimes, I’m convinced they will never work. I’m wasting my time! What makes me think I can write? There’s so much competition! When I’m all “Woe is me,” I’m still that earthworm.

Then, I’m stopped by a reader who gushes over my latest book and my emotions soar! Maybe I can write, after all.

I sit down and begin to write and the joy returns, especially when I get to write posts that will ultimately encourage young writers and help them understand the struggle we face.

Click-to-Tweet: The Emotional Highs and Lows of Writing might be your everyday reality, but you don’t have to let them rule you.

Writer’s Prompt: Close your eyes and imagine yourself sitting in a chair, conversing with your prospective agent. Your heart pounds, you take deep breaths and struggle to remember your elevator pitch, then something happens. You start talking, but it’s not what you’d planned…

I Think I Did Pretty Well

Steve Martin quote by Gail Johnson on Inspired Prompt

I pray you have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! Until next year . . .

ClicktoTweet: “I think I did pretty well . . .” ~ Steve Martin  #writing #quotes @InspiredPrompt @GailJohnson

Writing Prompt

Sandra ripped the red metallic paper from the box and lifted the lid. Seeing the crisp white pages inside, she squealed with delight. The first thing she would do . . .

Easy Beef Stew

Good morning, dear reader. How’s that writing project coming along? Have enough time in your day? I think we’d all agree we could use less time in the kitchen and more time for writing. Let’s get started.

 

One of my favorite things to do, especially during the winter months, is throw something in the crock pot and cook it all day. It’s amazing what you can come up with by adding a little of this and a whole lot of that.

Here’s a picture of my upcoming recipe. Nothing like a warm bowl to wrap your hands around to ease your worries and comfort your soul. Let’s get right to the recipe

Ingredients

kristian-ryan-alimon-683430-unsplash2 ½ lb. Beef Chuck Roast
1 cup low sodium beef broth
1 large onion
2 stalks celery
4 medium potatoes quartered
4 large carrots
Salt and pepper to taste
Your choice of herbs

Instructions

Cut all vegetables into large chunks. Add roast and vegetables to the slow cooker. Cook on low for 8 hours or on high for 4 hours. Serve with homemade biscuits.

Hope you enjoy the recipe. Happy writing!

Click to Tweet: Need more time for #writing? Easy #recipes for busy writers this month on Inspired Prompt. @InspiredPrompt @GailJohnson87

Writing Prompt

Patsy rushed through the door. She was home and her manuscript was waiting. Only one problem. Dinner. She opened the fridge to find only three ingredients . . .

Second photo courtesy Unsplash