Teeny Sweeney and the Mustache Cash by Amberly Kristen Clowe

Good morning, dear reader! Thank you for joining us on this lovely Saturday. I’m excited to have author Amberly Kristen Clowe with me this morning. Amberly is talking about the writing process and her children’s book,Teeny Sweeney and the Mustache Cash. Let’s begin with rituals.

Do you have any interesting writing rituals?

Amberly: This is a fun question, because my writing rituals are always changing. If it’s a morning writing session, you can bet there’s a cup of coffee within reach. If we’re talking afternoon, I’ve been starting with a few Hershey’s kisses lately. Brain food, right? I’m one of those writers who needs silence. So, there’s that. I always go back to the beginning of the chapter I’m writing, just to remind myself of the voice and what’s happening. I have zero social media browsers open. That’s way too distracting for my brain. That about sums it up. 😊

What is Teeny Sweeney and the Mustache Cash  about?

Amberly: My latest book is the first in the new Teeny Sweeney chapter book series for children, published with the wonderful Little Lamb Books. Teeny Sweeney is this fun, dynamic character. She reminds me a lot of Ramona Quimby and Pippi Longstocking. There’s never a dull moment with her. In this book, Teeny is assigned the task of creating a business plan. She does so, so much more in total zany Teeny fashion. There’s a best friend, a nemesis (naturally), uber wonderful parents, and a too-cool-for-school big brother. The second book is currently in edits. I’ll be releasing more details about this one through my newsletter peeps and then on my social media pages. You guys, it is a fun time.

Sounds like fun! What is your favorite part of the book?

Amberly: Hmmm … that’s tough to decide, but I’m pretty partial to the playground scene, when Teeny sells her very first mustache. Everything hinges on this moment with Jak. That was so much fun to write.

You have my attention. 🙂 Is there a message in your book you hope readers will grasp?

Amberly: I really love the Scripture throughout the book. I love that Teeny is like a lot of us, just trying to better know God and understand how scripture applies to her own life. I pray that children will relate to the fact that life isn’t always wrapped up in a pretty bow (more not than so, really). It’s messy, yet beautiful.

So true! Looking forward to the release. Where can readers find you online?

 Amberly: I’m active on Twitter and Facebook, under Amberly Clowe. I also post a Five Minute Friday each week on my blog at www.amberlykristenclowe.com. They are Bible lessons for families that take literally five minutes to complete. Readers can pop over to the same website and sign up for my monthly newsletter to receive another Bible lesson for kids and my latest bookish news.

Click to Tweet: Amberly Kristen Clowe’s latest book is the first in the new Teeny Sweeney chapter book series for #children, published with the wonderful Little Lamb Books. #childrensbook @InspiredPrompt


 Teeny Sweeney and the Mustache Cash

Third-grader Teeny Sweeney has been one-upped by seemingly perfect Amanda Mayweather too many times. When their teacher assigns a project to create a business plan, Teeny knows she’s destined for success. After all, with two entrepreneurs as parents, business sense is in her blood! The best laid plans, though, often go awry.

Teeny will have to learn that God’s plan is one she can always trust, and that with prayer it is possible to love everyone—even Amanda Mayweather. With Teeny, young readers will learn that even when things don’t seem to work out, you can always trust God’s plan.


Amberly Kristen Clowe loves to make children smile with stories, and if they laugh, even better. She is at home with a cup of coffee and a pastry. Amberly lives in Houston with her family, who just so happens to share her same zest for life. Amberly teaches both elementary and middle school students, and she hopes to learn at least one zany thing every day.

You can find Amberly at her website, Twitter, and Facebook.

Katherine Paterson – an Author Who Inspires Me

By Jean Matthew Hall at www.jeanmatthewhall.com

I am called to write books for children. I write board books, poems and articles for children’s magazines. I’m learning to write books for older children and enjoying each new step of my writing journey.

I especially enjoy writing picture books because they are more than books. Picture books are poetry and art seamlessly blended to give us a memorable story. Picture books create an experience shared between children and the adults who read to them.

The authors who most inspire me also write for children. There are several, but I’m focusing today on the award winning author Katherine Paterson, the author of The Bridge to Terabithia and many other children’s books.

She is also the author of several books to inspire and inform those who write for children. Most are out of print, so you’ll really have to search for them. My favorite is Gates of Excellence: on Reading and Writing Books for Children.

Paterson reminds me of why I write for children. She reminds me that this entire realm of creation was made by, and belongs to God. She reminds me that each person I write for is a special creation of God with His special purpose for their lives. She reminds me that my ability to write, and my gift of imagination are both gifts from God—gifts He wants me to use to glorify Him and minister to His little children.

If you need to be reminded of why you write for children, or read to children, or teach children look no further. Gates of Excellence will transport you back to that moment when, for the first time, you knew—you really KNEW—that you were meant to serve children. You were meant to share God’s truth, or God’s love, or God’s acceptance or forgiveness through the stories you mine from your imagination, or the information and lessons you draw from the complex beauty of God’s created world.

Here’s one wee bit of inspiration (for all writers) from pages 113-114:

…it occurs to me that I have spent a good part of my life trying to construct bridges. Usually my bridges have turned out looking much more like the bridge of Terabithia, a few planks over a nearly dry gully, than like that elegant span across the Narrows. There were so many chasms I saw that needed bridging—chasms of time and culture and disparate human nature—that I began sawing and hammering at the rough wood planks for my children and for any other children who might read what I had written.

But of course I could not make a bridge for them any more than I could conjure one up that night on Long Island. I discovered gradually and not without a little pain that you don’t put together a bridge for a child. You become one—you lay yourself across the chasm.

May I add my own humble opinion here?

As Christians who write we do not have to dot our manuscripts with churchy words, or Bible verses or references to Jesus for them to reveal the TRUTH to our readers. What we need to reveal to our readers are the eternal truths that we know about God, about the universe He created, about His love and forgiveness, about his power and beauty as it is reflected in His revelations of Himself in nature, in God’s Word, in Jesus’ earthly life, in our lives as His Holy Spirit lives and breathes through us.

We don’t have to tack on a good little Bible lesson to our stories to point readers to the Author of all Truth. We just have to be faithful to let that TRUTH reveal Himself through our words.

Paterson also says, “A writer has no life to give but her own.”  Give to whom? It’s noble to give our lives to or for someone else. But it is most noble to give our lives to Christ Jesus. Then, whether we write or illustrate, sing or dance, teach or manage, build or demolish, the products of our lives will reveal that Eternal TRUTH of God and His Word to our readers.


Jean Matthew Hall blogs Encouraging Words for parents, for writers and for picture book lovers on her blog at www.jeanmatthewhall.com. You can reach her on FaceBook at Jean Matthew Hall, on twitter at Jean_Hall and by email at jean@jeanmatthewhall.com.

Click to Tweet: As Christians who write we do not have to dot our manuscripts with churchy words, or Bible verses or references to Jesus for them to reveal the TRUTH to our readers.


Writing Prompt: Jalen chased the runaway ball. It seemed to have a mind of its own, bouncing over uneven ground, and down ravines. When would it stop? Where would it take him?

Louie to the Rescue-The Big Dig by Maria I. Morgan

I’m so happy to welcome my friend, author Maria I. Morgan, to our blog. She writes children’s stories and has a new one almost ready to release.  Let’s learn more about Louie to the Rescue-The Big Dig

Tell us a little about yourself and your background.

Maria:  My love for writing began with reading. My Mom read to my brother and me when we were young. Favorite books included anything by Dr. Seuss: Green Eggs and HamFox in SoxSneetches on Beaches; as well as Aesop’s Fables.

In junior high I collected as many volumes from the Nancy Drew series as I could. Instead of just words on a page, each book took me on a journey – painting pictures of far-away places and introducing me to fascinating characters. I couldn’t get enough. I was hooked.

With a degree in Health Fitness/Wellness, it wasn’t until years later that I got serious about writing. As strange as it sounds, it took an accident to get me back to the keyboard (you can read about it here).

To date, I’ve had two children’s books in the Louie the Lawnmower series published (Louie’s BIG day!, and Louie & the Leaf Pile), as well as a 10-week Bible study for women, Outrageously Fruitful. And I’m super excited to announce the third book in my children’s series will release in December. A brand new yard tool will be introduced, setting the stage for an exciting adventure! “Louie to the Rescue – The Big Dig” will be available on Amazon.

What genre are your books? What draws you to this genre?

Maria: I enjoy writing both fiction and non-fiction. My Bible study, Outrageously Fruitful, and the devotionals I write for my blog are non-fiction and are geared toward women. Themes typically include: understanding God’s character, understanding God’s truth, understanding God’s plan, and writing tips & encouragement.

It’s fantastic to share the truths of God’s Word and have ladies respond to its relevance and timelessness – it’s powerful!

For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” Hebrews 4:12, KJV

Fictional writing unleashes the kid in me. I love writing stories that teach valuable life lessons. The Louie the Lawnmower series emphasizes character qualities (i.e. selflessness, kindness) through attention-grabbing storylines.

Do you work to an outline or prefer to see where an idea takes you?

Maria:  Good question! Typically, for non-fictional writing I have a general idea outlined in my mind, but it can shift as I write the piece. If I’m writing a devotional, I may have a topic and several verses I want to include, but the life example may change as the theme evolves.

Children’s books allow me to be more creative. There are endless adventures I can dream up to highlight specific character qualities.

What is the hardest thing about writing?

Maria:  Honestly, for me, it’s finding the right balance between writing and marketing. I’m not very good at working on several projects at once. So if I’m releasing a book – my focus is on all things marketing. When I’m writing a book, I’m not concentrating as much on social media.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

Maria: I asked my husband this same question on our first date – many, many years ago! As an author, I’d like to have several more books published, and see Louie the Lawnmower become a video series similar to Veggie Tales. That’s a BIG dream!

Encouraging women in the Word is my on-going dream as well. I want to continue teaching Bible studies and pointing ladies to fulfillment in Christ.

Thanks SO much for letting me be a part of your Saturday interview!

Click to tweet: Maria I. Morgan’s Louie to the Rescue-The Big Dig #InspiredPrompt #amreading

Thanks for being our guest, Maria. Now for a closer look at her new book…


*The 3rd book in the Louie the Lawnmower series, “Louie to the Rescue – The Big Dig,” will be releasing on Amazon soon!

Louie and the gang are fired up about the neighborhood yard competition. But when a sarcastic shovel arrives on the scene, hurtful words cause big problems. Will the newcomer succeed in intimidating Louie and his friends? Or will her plan backfire? Join Louie and the others and discover whose words win.

Enter to win: leave a comment below listing a character quality you’d like to see featured in a future Louie book, along with your email address, and you’ll be entered in a random drawing to receive a copy of “Louie to the Rescue – The Big Dig.” (Open to U.S. residents only. Contest will run through Saturday, November 4th. Winner will be contacted via email.)

Other books in the Louie the Lawnmower series:

Louie’s BIG day!

Louie & the Leaf Pile


Maria I. Morgan

Maria I. Morgan is an inspirational writer and speaker. She is the award-winning author of Louie’s BIG day! Regardless of the age of her audience, her goal is the same: to share God’s truths and make an eternal difference.

Contact Maria

Website

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Pinterest

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3 Questions Wednesday with Maria I. Morgan

Welcome to 3 Questions Wednesday!

Maria I. Morgan

Maria I. Morgan is “passionate about sharing God’s truth and making an eternal difference, regardless of the age of my audience.”

So, let’s see how she answers our latest 3 Questions–

Question: What inspires you?

Maria:  Reading! No matter what type of book I’m reading – fiction or non-fiction – there’s just something about getting immersed in the story that inspires the writer in me. I love imagining the setting, the culture, and lifestyle of the characters. I’ll let you in on a little secret: someday I’d like to write a historical fiction novel about people in the Bible!

Reading is one of THE best ways to gain inspiration (in my humble opinion). I look forward to reading your historical fiction one day!

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

Maria: I’d definitely be a shade of orange – it’s my favorite color. The label on the wrapper around my crayon might read Outrageous Orange (to go along with my Bible study, Outrageously Fruitful about the fruit of the Spirit). Something bright and cheerful to bring a smile to people’s faces.

Orange is the color of youth, it’s fun-loving, and strong, especially when coupled with the word, “outrageous” — ha ha! Couldn’t resist. I love your color choice.

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

Maria: Hmmm. That’s a tough one. I think I wanted to be a teacher when I was in grade school. Probably because my Mom was a kindergarten teacher and she made teaching seem fun. When I got a little older, I wanted to be a hygienist and actually worked as an intern at a dentist office when I was in high school. My husband still teases me about being the dentist’s ‘pet’ because I don’t have cavities!

Cute story! Thanks, Maria, for visiting 3 Questions Wednesday. READERS – See below for a chance to win Maria’s book, Louie to the Rescue – The Big Dig. And get to know her better by clicking the links below. You’ll find a wealth of information about her and her books on her beautiful website.

Click to tweet: What inspires Maria I. Morgan? Find out on today’s 3 Questions Wednesday #InspiredPrompt #3QW


Louie to the Rescue – The Big Dig

Louie and the gang are fired up about the neighborhood yard competition. But when a sarcastic shovel arrives on the scene, hurtful words cause big problems. Will the newcomer succeed in intimidating Louie and his friends? Or will her plan backfire? Join Louie and the others and discover whose words win.

Enter to win: leave a comment below listing a character quality you’d like to see featured in a future Louie book, along with your email address, and you’ll be entered in a random drawing to receive a copy of “Louie to the Rescue – The Big Dig.” (Open to U.S. residents only. Contest will run through Tuesday, October 31. Winner will be contacted via email.)

Other books in the Louie the Lawnmower series:

Louie’s BIG day!

Louie & the Leaf Pile


About Maria I. Morgan:

Maria I. Morgan is an inspirational writer and speaker. She is the award-winning author of Louie’s BIG day! Regardless of the age of her audience, her goal is the same: to share God’s truths and make an eternal difference.

Contact Maria

Website

Facebook

Pinterest

Twitter

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3 Questions Wednesday with Peggy Cunningham

Welcome to 3 Questions Wednesday, Peggy Cunningham. As a long-term missionary to Bolivia, Peggy has found her calling ministering to children, and writing children’s books. She has also recently published a devotional for adults, Dancing With Bees. The catchy title on the beautiful cover immediately draws you in.

First question:

What books have fortified you as a writer? How?

Peggy:  Three books fortified and propelled my writing. The Bible, of course, is my inspiration to write for God. I believe I’m called to write for Him. His Word guides and fortifies me. And, God uses other authors to help me hone my skills.

Yes, You Can! by Nancy I. Sanders propelled my writing for children. It’s an excellent source for anyone who writes for children. It gave me step-by-step instructions that helped me establish a foundation to write for children.

Unleash the Writer Within by Cecil Murphey encouraged me to begin writing non-fiction and gave me various tools to start writing for magazines and anthologies.  A quote from Mr. Murphey’s book, “Be you when you write” helped unleashed my soul to write from my heart. My first non-fiction book released in October of this year––Dancing Like Bees is a devotional for adults.

You’ve provided a good variety of craft-strengthening books, here. So, next question…

What secret talents do you have?

Peggy:  I think my secret talent is related to my hair––blonde with streaks of white. Can hair be a secret talent? Maybe. But, maybe it’s not my hair at all that’s a secret talent, but what my hair can do––attract little girls like a magic magnet. I noticed this secret talent a few years back when little girls started to stare and smile at me. It started around the time my hair began turning white. Living in a country where blondes are not seen often, I accredited this “secret talent” to my hair color––and being a tall blonde––a sight rarely seen in Bolivia. When I first noticed this “secret talent”, it opened doors to ministry with little girls, especially during Sunday School hours.

When my daughter was a small child, her hair attracted attention on the streets of Bolivia. People constantly touched her long, curly blonde hair whenever we walked around the city where we lived.  Since my aging brought with it bottled blonde hair with white streaks, I too became a rarely seen site. But then, something else entered into my secret talent. On furloughs, I also noticed this happening in the States where blonde hair is not unusual. Being a children’s writer, I’ve always felt a connection with children, but especially with little girls. When I meet or talk with little girls, I automatically talk on their level and love being with them. I truly believe God has given me a special gift of ministry with children (a secret talent)–– especially with little girls. It’s so much fun!

That’s a really special secret talent, one that serves you well in your calling. So, let’s get to the food–

If we came to your house for dinner, what would you prepare for us?

Peggy:  I would certainly prepare a banquet for you after traveling so far just for dinner––to Bolivia. 🙂 And, for sure I’d serve a Bolivian meal. Our family loves Bolivian food, and one of our favorite meals is Picante de Pollo (translation, spicy chicken). It’s a chicken dish cooked in a spicy tomato sauce. And, the sides are uniquely Bolivian. The chicken is served with rice, a salad of tomatoes and onions, boiled potatoes, and a unique potato called chuño. It’s a potato harvested in the Altiplano—the high flatlands of Bolivia. This location in the Andes has freezing temperatures much of the year.

That sounds wonderful! Maybe even worth the long trip. Well, if you add in some of the gorgeous views and getting to experience another country. Thank you so much, Peggy, for taking the time to answer our 3 Questions.


Dancing Like Bees

dance-like-bees-cover-front-cover

Click to Buy

Frustrated and exhausted, Peggy walked the mission property early mornings to slip away temporarily from her caregiver duties and meet with the Savior. Her husband suffered from a bout with shingles that left him in constant pain with no relief—not even with morphine. Months turned into years. Countless doctors tried their best but with no success.

Where was God? Didn’t He see them in the middle of a foreign country with no help? Hadn’t they given their lives to serve as missionaries and trusted Him for their health? She wept as she sat near a flowerbed filled with daisies. Just then, the buzz of bees drew her attention. They flew peacefully from flower to flower doing the job God created them to do, even as a storm approached. She noticed a pattern. If bees could be joyful and peaceful in all circumstances, surely she could find a way.

Through the thirty-one devotions, this book examines what Peggy learned about God’s intricate creation of the honeybee and how it speaks direction into our need for living peaceful, productive lives while overcoming stress and achieving joy. God is faithful always, and His creation magnifies His majesty if we take time to seek Him in everyday situations—even through the honeybee. Buy the book: Dancing Like Bees

really-rare-rabbits


More about Peggy Cunningham:

peggy-headshotPeggy Cunningham and her husband, Chuck, have been missionaries in Bolivia, S.A., since 1981. In 1999, they founded Rumi Rancho Ministries. Chuck and Peggy work with the Quechua people in a rural area of Bolivia where they have a children’s ministry––teaching practical skills to underprivileged children. They also work with national churches. Peggy teaches teen girls’ cooking and baking classes along with Bible studies. She is also a writer. Her children’s book series, Really Rare Rabbits, volumes one, two, and three, released by Pix-N-Pens Publishing in 2013 is available on Amazon.com in print and on Kindle. They are also available in Spanish. Her new book, Dancing Like Bees, is her first non-fiction book, a devotional, published by Write Integrity Press/Pix-N-Pens Publishing in 2016 also available on Amazon.com. All books can be ordered at local bookstores also.

For more information about Peggy and her books: Peggy’s Website

Amazon Author Page