3 Questions Wednesday with Betty Thomason Owens

Betty Thomason Owens

It’s been about a year since I last interviewed myself on 3QW, so I figure it’s about time to invite myself back. Especially, since I’ve recently released a new book.

For those of you who don’t know me, I’m one of the founders of this blog. So I’ve been around for a while. I’m an elder, sort of. So, on to the questions–

Can you describe yourself in three words?

Betty: Harder than expected! Who made up these questions?

You know who came up with this one. Her initials are BTO. Surely you have three words? Aren’t you a writer?

Betty: Quiet. Encourager. Silly.

Those don’t really go together, do they? But I’ll take them. Now, second question–

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

Betty: Oh, this one’s easy. No, wait. My first thought was to spend a summer in the Puget Sound and research my mother’s family. I’ve been there, briefly, but to spend weeks there, really getting to know it—that stirs my imagination. However, if I had to choose another country, I’d research the other side of the family—in Scotland. Or maybe just throw caution to the wind and head to Greece, or Italy. I have a long list, actually.

That’s okay. We’ll pass on the list. Now, here’s the one I think is most difficult:

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

Betty: No Longer Slaves…no longer a slave to fear—I am a child of God, who drowned my fear in perfect love. Because of Him, I’m sure of who I am and more certain of my calling. Sometimes I start my day singing that song. I usually can’t remember anything beyond the first stanza, but it doesn’t matter, I sing it anyway.

Have you ever been a winner? You know that overwhelming sensation that everything is right with the world? Sometimes, it only lasts a minute. But one day, it will last forever. I’m no longer a slave to fear and oppression and my own lack of self-worth.

Preach it, Sister! That’s actually a good choice. I remember you when you were afraid to make eye contact with people. God’s been good to us, hasn’t He?

Betty: Yes, He has.

So, tell us a little about the book you’re giving away to one of our readers—why you wrote it, and what you hope readers will take away from the story.

Betty: It’s the final book in the Legacy series, Rebecca’s Legacy. I wrote it because I was under contract to write three books. OK, that may be why I sat down to write this novel, but almost from her birth in book one (Amelia’s Legacy), I wanted to tell Amy Juliana’s story. She had a rough start in life. Maybe that’s the reason she felt the need to work so hard to please others.

I hope and pray my readers will sense and know the heart of this story. As I wrote some of the scenes, I focused on the prodigal’s return, that overwhelming sensation of love and forgiveness. Unbelievable, sometimes, that we can be forgiven, even though we don’t deserve forgiveness. It’s the Grace of God, given freely to those who believe.

Click to Tweet: This week’s 3 Questions Wednesday guest is author Betty Thomason Owens. Comment on the blog post to win a copy of her #NewRelease – #historicalromance Rebecca’s Legacy, final book in the Legacy series. U.S. addresses only, please!


Rebecca’s Legacy, Book 3, Legacy Series

What will it take to teach a spoiled heiress that the greatest legacy is love?

Nancy and Robert Emerson’s daughter Amy Juliana is doing her best to follow in Mom’s rebellious footsteps.

Her desperate attempt to escape Dad’s control comes at the worst possible time. A threat against their family and Sanderson Industries has Robert Emerson taking extra steps to guarantee his family’s safety. He sends Amy, an heiress and a debutante, to the country to work on a produce farm run by Aunt Rebecca. Humiliated and angry, Amy contemplates a path that will lead her even farther from home, away from Dad’s protection.

Will Aunt Rebecca’s quiet strength and unconditional love be enough to still the prodigal daughter’s rebellious ways, and open her heart to the plight of others around her?

Matt Wordsworth is the man Robert calls upon to help keep his daughter in line. She thinks the guy is an old fuddy-duddy. By the time her ideas about him begin to change, it may be too late. When an old friend tests her loyalty, she is forced to face her past to overcome a guilty conscience. But, is she playing into the hands of the enemy?


Betty Thomason Owens is an award-winning writer of historical fiction, contemporary fiction, and fantasy-adventure. She’s an active member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), where she leads a critique group, and is V.P./Secretary of the Louisville area ACFW group. She’s also a speaker, a mentor assisting other writers, co-founder of a blog dedicated to inspiring writers, and serves on the planning committee for the Kentucky Christian Writers Conference.

Her writing credits include the Legacy Series, and the southern historical Kinsman Redeemer Series (Book 1, Annabelle’s Ruth, is a 2015 Grace Award winner, and has recently been translated into Spanish). She has two fantasy-adventure novels, The Lady of the Haven and A Gathering of Eagles, in a second edition published by Sign of the Whale BooksTM, an imprint of Olivia Kimbrell PressTM.

When she’s not writing, Owens is a part-time bookkeeper, who loves to travel and spend time with her family.

Betty would like to invite you to her Facebook author page, Twitter, GoodReads, Pinterest, Instagram, Amazon Author Page. And she posts weekly on her blog, Hello, Thursday Morning, found at https://bettythomasonowens.com/.

Can Blogging and Fun Go Together?

By Jennifer Hallmark

Blogging enjoyable? I see y’all shaking your head right now. No way, no how. I’m part of several online and in-person writing groups and when blogging is mentioned, eyes roll and people shiver.

“I can’t think of enough to write about.”

“I forget when I get busy.”

“I don’t think it makes a difference.”

“No one reads my blog except my mom and Aunt Suzie.”

After several years of mindless and inconsistent journaling, I stopped. I dreaded blogging and what I wrote was rambling at best and confusing at times. It was time to go to God. After all, He created the people who invented blogging so maybe He could help me out.

I quit blogging and told Him about all my shortcomings, failures, and irregularities in my blogging world. Then I listened. It took some time but what finally came to mind was this: my blogging pointed to me. All about me. Me. Me. Me.

Oh.

He whispered in my soul about how others had helped me get my start in the craft, especially writers. I went to two of my critique group friends, Betty Thomason Owens and Christina Rich and laid out my heart. I wanted to give back to writers. How could I do this and would they like to be a part? They graciously agreed. Christina did the tech work, Betty edited, and I thought up ideas. 🙂

We brainstormed and decided on a blog that would spark the imagination through writing prompts. We would blog on various subjects—flowers, animals, sports, the Olympics—A plethora of topics with a writing prompt that might help someone who needed a little help. Our first post introducing our blog, Writing Prompts, Thoughts, & Ideas: Oh My! went live on April 28th, 2012.

Cue the crickets. We had a tiny following. We had contests for writing stories using our prompts and grew a tad. I went back to God. What were we doing wrong?

Nothing in the fundamentals.  But we could help writers even more by promoting them. Their books. Or blogs. And we wouldn’t worry whether theirs was a self-published book they wrote for their family or a best-seller. Our only stipulation: fairly clean reads.

Everyone did reviews and interviews so we came up with 3 Questions Wednesday. 3 simple questions and we’d promote the writer and whatever they wanted to promote. Our first guest was Jordyn Redwood. From there, the blog grew stronger. We had all types of guests from all writing levels and walks of life.

I started really having fun. I enjoyed meeting all the new people. We started adding bloggers and I met more neat writers. Books I never heard of before became part of my library. Writers and even publishers were coming to me, asking to be a guest on our blog.

We added Saturday interviews. We grew and by 2017, five years from the start, we were garnering shares, comments, and attention. Our blog morphed once more by honing in our focus on specific writers: Indie published and new to the writing world.

Now, please understand blogging is still hard work. At times, I wrestle with tech issues and want to throw my desktop in the yard. I grow tired and don’t always want to write my posts. I forget to do things on occasions.

But I’m having fun. I believe we’re making a difference.

My advice? Follow the Golden Rule. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Take your eyes off yourself and be a blessing to others. Invite others to come along for the ride. You’ll make new friends. You could start to smile when you blog.

You might even have fun.

Click to tweet: Can Blogging and Fun Go Together? One blogger’s thoughts. #blogging #amwriting

There is Fun to be Done!

“Oh, the places you’ll go! There is fun to be done!” — Dr. Seuss, Oh, the Places You’ll Go!

I don’t know about you, but I look forward to summer all year long. Even now, when I’m semi-retired and could actually take a vacation any time I choose. Well, almost any time.

But summer is the best time, don’t you think? While planning this post, I heard Dr. Seuss’ voice in my head. His books were just pure fun, and fun is what this post is all about. You’re off to great places! Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting, So…get on your way! — Dr. Seuss, Oh, the Places You’ll Go!

One of my favorite all-time summer adventures happened in Colorado. We ascended Pike’s Peak (by car, of course) and on the way back down, stopped to take this photo beside a mountain lake.

When I was a kid, we didn’t really take vacations. We visited family. Grandpa lived in L.A., and we lived in Tennessee. So cross-country drives were a thing we did. My child’s mind was fascinated by the western scenes that passed by my window at breakneck speeds (Dad had a heavy foot). He also loved to hug the edge of the road in those high mountains and hear all of us scream. Mom didn’t scream, but she scolded him, which made us laugh. Ah, the memories…ah, the thrill of it all.

When my sons were younger, one of their favorite things to do in summer was to visit the grandparents in West Tennessee. Mom and Dad lived on a lake way out in the sticks. Dad never lost that sense of adventure. My boys adored him, followed on his heels all week. He taught them to bait a hook and drive a tractor, even though their feet couldn’t touch the pedals. We picked blackberries and took long walks.

Now, those guys are grown with children of their own, and Granddad’s sense of adventure firmly instilled in their hearts. I love that their children are reaping the benefits. Oh, the places they’ll go…

Hubby and I are contemplating an adventure of our own, but we can’t decide—mountains, or sea? Beaches usually win, but it’s been a while since we’ve feasted our eyes on the Rocky Mountains, or the Grand Canyon. Living “sort of in the middle” is a definite advantage, because we can head any direction and find diverse adventures. We’re ten or so hours from the Atlantic, ten or so hours from the Gulf of Mexico, a couple days’ drive from Colorado…where to, this time?

One thing is certain…it’s going to be fun!

You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who’ll decide where to go… Dr. Seuss, Oh the Places You’ll Go!

Writing Prompt: Dawn broke over the open road, revealing scenes of grandeur. Arlene loved a good adventure, and this one topped them all. [Mountains, or sea? Finish the paragraph with your favorite view.]

Click to Tweet: Oh, the places you’ll go! There is fun to be done!” — Dr. Seuss, Oh, the Places You’ll Go! #Summer Fun via @InspiredPrompt and author Betty Thomason Owens, @batowens: where to now? #travel #adventure

What’s Ahead in Social Media?

I’ve been watching the latest changes to our beloved social media apps and wondering, what will our future hold?

I thought I knew, but I was wrong. So, so wrong. Changes came more quickly than I’d expected, spurred partly by a need for accountability. Accountability is a good thing. The safety of our children is another good thing. But, will the pendulum swing too far?

Throughout the month of June, we’ve covered some of the basics of social media as it pertains to the writer. I was pleasantly surprised by a unified theme in many of the articles. What was it?

  • Less selling. More social interaction.
  • Build and keep friendships.
  • Be a blessing, not an irritant.
  • Serve others.

Hmm…

So, I asked my fellow Inspired Prompt contributors, what lies ahead for social media?

I have mixed feelings about social media and its future. From what I’ve heard from publishers and agents, there is not always a direct correlation between social media platforms and book sales. I still think word of mouth sells more books. That is better accomplished through meeting people face-to-face, which can happen through speaking engagements and, of course, writing a quality book.” —Harriet Michael

I enjoy social media, and see its value in promoting books and making connections with readers. On the other hand, there are unrealistic expectations for authors to have thousands and thousands of followers. I feel that quality writing is important, and social media can help in the promotion of quality work. I think social media will remain a part of everyone’s lives, but it will continue to evolve.” —Carlton Hughes

“I actually enjoy social media. I like meeting people and chatting. I believe if you view it as a place to build positive relationships instead of a venue to sell your wares, there will always be some type of social media that’s a positive for authors. I also believe you should follow the Golden Rule and promote others as yourself.” —Jennifer Hallmark

“I also like the idea of promoting each other through social media. That way, I can introduce my friends/followers to new authors and other authors can introduce me to their friends/followers. I think social media is here to stay, and can certainly add to interest in our books!” —Shirley Crowder

I enjoy social media. It helps me stay connected with people from all over the world that I’ve met throughout my life. It gives me snapshots of what’s going on in their lives. I think social media is here to stay and can be equated to conversations at the water cooler or across the backyard fence with a neighbor.” —Bonita McCoy

So, what’s your take? Do you have an opinion? Please share in the comments section. And be sure to join us in July for a brand new topic: Summer Fun! 🙂

Click to Tweet: What’s ahead in social media? I thought I knew, but I was so, so wrong! Our contributors weigh in on the subject via @InspiredPrompt #socialmedia #marketing

Instagram Your Life

Snap a photo, send it to Instagram—instant sharing!

Instagram’s motto is: Strengthening relationships through shared experiences.

This was the premise for the original version of Instagram, and the younger set loved it! These days, everyone’s getting involved. As a result, Instagram is evolving.

With Instagram’s newest feature called “stories,” you can create a series of photos somewhat like a slideshow. So you can showcase those wedding pics or vacation snapshots in a quick story that will disappear … at the end of the day. Wait a minute—isn’t that kind of like that other platform—Snapchat?

Exactly!

You can snap photos throughout the day and add them to your story. Best vacation ever? Share it with your friends.

Researching your next novel set in Ireland? By all means, share the highlights with your readers. That’s an attention-getter! You may glean a harvest of followers with that one.

Disappearing what? You can shoot a photo and send it to a particular friend. As soon as they look at the photo, it disappears. There’s something a little sneaky about that, but if you’re interested, you’ll find the directions here: How to send disappearing photos in Instagram. Take care what you send, though. Just because it disappears doesn’t mean it’s not out there somewhere…seen by someone.

Instagram is another great way to connect with readers. And let me just say, it’s not another way to advertise your books. It’s a chance to engage readers, and gain their interest and attention by sharing your interests.

Are you a bird watcher? Share your beautiful photos of birds. Love hiking or early morning walks? Snap photos along the way.

Need suggestions? Look up one of your favorite authors and study what they share. One of my favorites inspires me daily with her morning walks in the country (she lives on a farm). Another posts what she’s cooking that day. Two very good suggestions, but don’t just mimic them, make them your own.

So far, I’ve talked about ways to connect with readers in a personal way, which I believe is the best way to make friends. But, what if you want to share your latest and greatest book release? Or a book that’s on sale?

Honestly, I hate to see Instagram go the way of the overstuffed Facebook profiles chock-full of ads. But, there are tasteful ways to get your message out there. I’ve seen some very high-end brands doing this, and if it’s artfully done, you can make a positive impression.

For instance, snap a photo of someone reading your book. Tell a story. Some companies hire storytellers to craft ads and marketing campaigns. Put your writer’s brain to work finding unique ways to market yourself and your books.

Remember the ad, “What’s in your wallet?” Involve friends and family members, and have them show what’s in their book bag, purse, briefcase, suitcase, or on their E-reader. Your latest release is there, of course.

Take the book along on your travels. Post a shot of a beautiful landscape or building with your book in the foreground. Just imagine it!

These are only a few suggestions. I hope you’ll be inspired to create some truly unique scenes. But don’t make it all about your books. Remember, social media is for connecting with people. Most of us are uncomfortable with an in-your-face salesperson pressuring you to buy their product. Don’t be that person. Have fun with Instagram, and don’t forget to visit your friends there.

A few helpful hints about Instagram:

  • Double-click on a friend’s picture to “love” it. You can also click the heart beneath the pic.
  • Click the little speech balloon emblem to comment on the photo (keep it short).
  • Click the paper airplane emblem to send the photo, or share it with a friend.
  • Click the ribbon emblem on the far right to save the photo. You’ll see “Save to collection”—click on that to save. You can also choose to view saved photos.
  • Instagram has some pretty cool filters for your photos, but don’t overdo. Less is definitely more.
  • Same with hashtags. Instagram has its own unique set of hashtags. Google “Instagram hashtags” to find the most popular ones. Just don’t overdo it.
  • Post often. You can post the photos from your phone on both Instagram and Facebook in a single move.
  • Super-simple icons at the bottom of your phone screen make moving around in Instagram easy.
    • Home
    • Search (easy way to find interesting stories)
    • Add photo (from your files)
    • Heart (who has liked your photos)
    • Profile

There are so many more things you can do in Instagram. You’ll find helpful tutorials and articles on the internet if you’re ready to get serious with your Instagram account. The best way to learn is to jump in and start posting. Just remember to add value with what you post. Your friends will ❤ you for it. 🙂

Click to Tweet: #Instagram is a great way to connect with readers. It’s a chance to engage with others, gain their interest and attention by sharing your interests. Instagram Your Life via @InspiredPrompt from @batowens. #socialmedia #marketing

Writing Prompt: Selfies from Marcella’s latest dog-walk adventure made a great story for Instagram, especially when Don Juan, the Great Dane, caught sight of…