February Winners

We, at the Inspired Prompt blog, are ready for spring. How about you? While we all wait, here’s our latest winners…

Kelly Irvin offered a hard copy of her latest book, Beneath the Summer Sun, to one blessed commentor. Its been won by Carlene. Congrats!

Caryl Kane has been picked to win an e-copy of Marji Laine’s book, Ain’t Misbehaving.  Congratulations!

Readers, Katie Clark offered a choice of an ebook of either her upcoming novel, The Rejected Princess (once it’s released), or one of her other books (Vanquished, Shadowed Eden). And the winner is … Becky!

Laura V. Hilton is gifting Joey with a copy of Love By the Numbers, reader’s choice of format (print or ebook)  (Print,USA only.)

A big THANK YOU to all our faithful readers for taking the time to stop by and comment.

And continue to leave comments while you wait to see if you might be our next winner!

3 Questions Wednesday with Laura V. Hilton

Happy Wednesday!

This morning we welcome award-winning author Laura V. Hilton. Readers, be sure to leave Laura a comment for a chance to win a  copy of her book, Love By the Numbers.

Laura, here’s your first question.

Can you describe yourself in three words?

Laura:  Quiet, bookish, family-oriented

Family-oriented. I like that! 🙂  Next question…

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

Laura: Sault Ste Marie, Michigan. There is a new Amish community formed up there. Plus I’d get to see my son.

A great idea. Now…

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

Laura: Fame, I think.

 An upbeat song, for sure! Laura, thank you for joining us on Inspired Prompts. It was a pleasure to meet you.

Readers–don’t forget to leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of Love By the Numbers, reader’s choice of format (print or ebook)  (Print USA only.) 

Click to tweet: 3 Questions Wednesday interview with Laura V. Hilton. @InspiredPrompt  #interview #giveaway

Love By the Numbers   

After her fiancé dies in a buggy accident, Lydia Hershberger is invited to Jamesport to manage her Mennonite aunt’s gift store while her aunt and uncle are on a mission trip. While there, Lydia gets acquainted with her aentie’s best friend, Bethel Bontrager, and her grown son, Caleb. Lydia is surprised to find herself drawn to handsome clockmaker, Caleb Bontrager. But in spite of an instant flame of attraction between them, he doesn’t seem interested. In fact, pesky Caleb treats her like he doesn’t even like her.

Bright and sparkly. That’s Caleb’s first impression of Lydia. He’s always been attracted to sparkly things. In fact, his affinity for those things, and the trouble they can cause, are exactly why he’s determined to change his ways and settle down. With Lydia’s aentie gone, he is handling the books for the gift shop and is forced to spend too much time in her presence.

When God offers Lydia a second chance at love and family, will she take it? Or will the secret Caleb harbors cause her even more heartbreak?

Laura V. Hilton is an award-winning, sought-after author with over twenty Amish, contemporary, and historical romances. When she’s not writing, she reviews books for her blogs, and writes devotionals for blog posts for Seriously Write.

Laura and her pastor-husband have five children and a hyper dog named Skye. They currently live in Arkansas. One son is in the U.S. Coast Guard. She is a pastor’s wife, and homeschools her two youngest children.

When she’s not writing, Laura enjoys reading, and visiting lighthouses and waterfalls. Her favorite season is winter, her favorite holiday is Christmas.


visit my blogs: http://lighthouse-academy.blogspot.com/  & http://lauravhilton.blogspot.com/




Purchase my books:



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Happily Ever After or Not?

By Cammi Woodall

“…and they lived happily ever after.” Sigh! How satisfying is it to reach the end of a romance book and the main couple embrace in front of a golden sunset?

But what about when you reach the end of a romance and the couple is not together? Or one of them is dead? Or they broke up? Is this still a romance book?

Let me warn you – this article will contain spoiler alerts about various novels. Proceed with caution!

I did an informal poll among my friends and asked, “Does a romance have to end happily ever after?” The most common response was a puzzled, “Well, isn’t that what makes it a romance?” Another common response was a disdainful remark, “I don’t read romance books!” (Why do people look down on romance novels so much? That’s a post for another time!)

After the poll, I looked at the website for Romance Writers of America. If anybody knows how a romance should end, it should be them. Right? According to the site, the definition of a romance contains two basic elements: a central love story and an emotionally satisfying, optimistic ending.

So, Romeo and Juliet or Gone With The Wind are not romances? What about more contemporary novels like Me Before You or The Fault in Our Stars? Each story contains the love between the main characters as the main element, but none include an HEA optimistic ending!

(Confession time – at age twelve I thought Romeo and Juliet was the epitome of romance. A handsome boy defies his family, compares her to a rose, and dies for her? Pitter patter went my preteen heart! Now I can only see two hormonal tweens who got a lot of people killed.)

I have decided that my definition of a romance will focus on the second element defined by the Romance Writers of America – the optimistic ending. Optimistic means hopeful and confident about the future. So does an optimistic ending mean the main couple is together? Do they get married, build a dream home, have a passel of kids, and spend their twilight years rocking away on the front porch?

Maybe they do. Maybe they don’t. Don’t get me wrong. I love romance books! I grew up reading Barbara Cartland and Glenna Finley. I expected those books to end happily: i.e., the couple together, the promise of a future, an epilogue with a wedding. It never occurred to me that a romance book wouldn’t end happily ever after!

What if an optimistic ending means that each character learned an important lesson from the relationship featured in that particular book? Every person you touch throughout your life will touch you also. From some you learn patience, from some you gain strength, others give you independence. Relationships, both romantic and platonic, give you the building blocks to become the person you are meant to be.

This is represented by The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. Ask anybody who has read the book and they will probably say it is definitely a romance. The story focuses on Hazel Grace, a teenage girl diagnosed with thyroid cancer that has spread to her lungs. She struggles with her mortality, worried her parents will not be able to cope after her death. Hazel pushes people away because she knows they will be hurt when she dies. She meets a boy named Augustus Waters, who has osteosarcoma. He is cancer-free after a leg amputation. In contrast to Hazel’s internalization of her fears, Augustus wants to make his mark on the world. He fears oblivion and wants to be remembered. (Remember my spoiler alert warning at the beginning of this article? Take heed!) A logical conclusion to this book would be Hazel’s death. John Green, however, rips our hearts out. Augustus’s cancer returns and he dies.

Does anybody have a tissue? I have dust in my eye. Yeah, dust in my eye.

This is a romance book? Where is the miracle cancer cure for both Hazel and Augustus? When is the doctor going to rush in and say, ‘Oops! We made a mistake. He’s not dead, just in a temporary coma!’ Where is the Happily Ever After?

It is there, just not in the traditional sense. Hazel’s love for Augustus helps her realize she has been living in a shell. Her parents will be sad when she dies, but it is because they love her. She impacted their lives. She made her mark on the world. So did Augustus.

Seriously, a tissue? Anybody?

So does a romance have to end happily ever after? Some people will still emphatically shout YES! Nothing else will do! I used to be one of those people. The longer I live and the more I learn, however, I find I am changing my opinion. Or rather, I am changing my definition of Happily Ever After.

You have to live and learn in your life, but most important you must love. Love is the glue that will get you past sickness, heartache, stress, or anxiety. Romantic love between two people, love between parents and children, love for your best friends.

Just open your heart and let love in. That way you can live your own Happily Ever After, whatever that may be.

Writing prompt – I love prompts that can go in a hundred different directions. Here is my idea: The note wasn’t signed. It simply said ‘Meet me. You know where.’

Click to tweet: Does a romance have to end happily ever after? Cammi Woodall of the Inspired Prompt Crew shares her views. #romance #amwriting

3 Questions Wednesday with Marji Laine

Happy Wednesday! It’s my pleasure to welcome author and publisher, Marji Laine, to Inspired Prompt.

Good morning, Marji. Can you describe yourself in 3 words?

 Marji: Young-at-heart – an elementary spirit in a nearing senior body. Computerific – I can usually make it do what I want, if it’s working at all. Laughing – if I can’t laugh at myself, I’m missing out on some fun!

Sounds like you’d be a fun person to hang out with. 🙂 Next question…

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

Marji: I feel like I got that last summer when my kids sent hubby and me on an Alaskan cruise. But for research, I would want to visit castles in Europe. I’d be torn between the beauty of Germany or my personal ancestry in Scotland, but I think I’d lean toward the Scottish highlands. And I’d be ready to dabble a bit in some historical romances!

Castle visiting would be so cool. Last question: 

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

Marji: Canon in D. Starts out so simple and gets more and more complicated (and full and beautiful) as the song goes on. Yeah, that’s pretty much been my life!

So pretty. Marji, thank you so much for taking the time to visit with us here at Inspired Prompt.

Readers, Marji is offering an e-copy  of her book, Ain’t Misbehaving to one commenter.

Click to tweet: Author and publisher Marji Laine is our guest today on 3 Questions Wednesday @InspiredPrompt #interview #giveaway

Ain’t Misbehaving

Annalee Chambers: Poised, wealthy, socially elite.

Annalee Chambers floated through life in a pampered, crystal bubble until she smashed it with a single word. Dealing with the repercussions of that word might break her, ruin her family, and land her in jail.

True, Annalee’s crime amounted to very little, but not in terms of community service hours. Her probation officer encouraged her with a promise of an easy job in an air-conditioned downtown environment. She didn’t expect her role to be little better than a janitor at an after-school daycare in the worst area of town. Through laughter and a few tears, Annalee finds out that some lessons are learned the hard way, and some seep into the soul unnoticed.

Carlton Whelen hides behind the nickname of CJ so people won’t treat him like the wealthy son of the Whelen Foundation director. Working at the foundation’s after-school program delights him and annoys his business-oriented father. When a gorgeous prima donna is assigned to his team, he not only cringes at her mistakes but also has to avoid the attraction that builds from the first time he sees her.

AIN’T MISBEHAVING encourages acceptance:
•Of things that can’t be changed.
•Of people who are different.
•Of lessons learned.
•Of oneself.

What can a bunch of downtown kids teach a Texas princess?

Marji Laine is a“graduated” homeschooling mom of four who is grateful to her twins for not forcing her into the empty nest season just yet. She now spends more time in her role as executive editor for Write Integrity Press than she does crafting her own stories, but she loves both jobs.

When she’s not wearing the publishing hat, she directs a children’s choir, teaches 10th grade girls Sunday school, and sings in the adult choir at her church. She also leads a high school and college weekly Bible study and has a monthly radio talk show.

She and her husband of 30 years live in a suburb on the north side of Dallas with their twins and their own version of Hank the cow dog, a rescue mutt that rides herd on the entire household. Marji prefers mountains to beaches, dogs to cats, Alaska to the Caribbean, entrees to dessert, and white roses to most any other flower. Her favorites include “Live PD,” the Hallmark channel, Hand and Foot Canasta, NASCAR, and worship music.

You can learn more about Marji and her books at her author pages on Amazon.com and WriteIntegrity.com and her website, MarjiLaine.com

Let Me Call You Sweetheart

By Tammy Trail

Valentine’s Day is just days away. Have you gotten your sweetheart a gift yet? I have done a bit of research on the history of Valentine’s Day. It is rooted in a pagan holiday that ensured fertility.

Roman Emperor, Claudius II ruled that young men in the Army were to remain unmarried. He felt that this would make single men more aggressive in the field of battle. The Emperor put a young cleric by the name of Valentine to death for secretly marrying young couples.  Valentine was later made a Saint by Pope Gelasius and given the date of February 14th to celebrate Saint Valentine.

In the 13th Century, it was synonymous with love and romance because it was believed that this was the beginning of mating season for birds.

In the 15th Century, written valentines were given to sweethearts.

In the 17th Century, valentines were exchanged between those who were smitten with one another.

In 1840, the first mass-produced valentines appeared in the United States. Valentine’s Day is the second most popular card giving occasion. It is celebrated in Canada, Mexico, United Kingdom, France, Australia, Denmark, Italy, and Japan.

As a child, I remember my mother scouring the house for shoe boxes to be made into valentine mail boxes to decorate for my desk at school. There would be a party, of course, with lots of good treats. After school, you would open your box and read the paper gifts of admiration your classmates gave to you.

I have tried in years past to make my own valentines to give to family members and friends. Last year I made these for my grandsons.

I filled the little sack with treats. They really enjoyed getting a valentine from their Mimi!

I am already diligently looking for options for this year. You may find it just as rewarding to make your own as well. I find a great source of inspiration with Pinterest. What a treasure trove of ideas!

Whether you make your own, or buy a card for that special someone, I believe it’s a good holiday to celebrate. Who doesn’t like candy? And you will make mate, child, or friend feel important with a valentine that you especially picked out for them. You can never go wrong by making people feel loved and important.

For the writer, especially the romance writer, Valentine’s Day is a reminder of why we put words to paper. That boy meets girl stuff is what makes the story, especially when they lived happily ever after.

So, in keeping with that thought! Here is my valentine for all of you.

  1. Writing Prompt: Jessica expected a great big box of heart-shaped candy.  What she found was……..?

Click to tweet: Romance is #alive https://ctt.ec/53mP6