It Happened One Summer

Betty Thomason Owens

I love to write, but long before I started, I loved to read. Reading provided a pleasant escape from a sometimes not so pleasant life.

But all the experiences of my life prepared me for what lay ahead; telling stories. Some of my characters resemble me in character (intentional play on words).

Amy Emerson is one of those. When we first meet her, she’s a hard-headed young woman whose main desire is to be free. She chafes at discipline, hates being told what she can and can’t do. So, she plans an escape. She has the money, why not? (Let me interject here: Amy resembles me in all but the money part. That’s a dream of mine, but it never happened. Also, the dance scene. Dreamed of, but never happened.) 🙂

What Amy doesn’t know, and doesn’t count on: someone out to get dear, old Dad. Someone who’ll stop at nothing to bring him down. In her blind innocence, she plays right into the hands of my antagonist.

Just to make it interesting, I created a love interest. Amy despises him at first, and some of my readers weren’t too sure about him (until later). She resists, mainly because she suspects her dad approves of him. Whatever Dad approves must be avoided at all costs!

But Matthew Wordsworth is a patient man. His military background pays off in several ways as he navigates the troubled waters of Amy Emerson’s life.

Did I mention this all takes place one summer in the 1940s? That makes it truly fun.

Rebecca’s Legacy is the final book in the Legacy series. Each is set in subsequent decades. Amelia’s Legacy takes place in the 1920s. This book stars Amy’s mother, Nancy Sanderson, who becomes Nancy Emerson, as the book progresses. Carlotta’s Legacy takes place in the thirties, with Nancy’s best friend, Rebecca Lewis at the lead. And yes, she’s the Rebecca of Rebecca’s Legacy. These are historical novels with a good mix of romance and suspense.

Click to Tweet: It Happened One Summer, about the book: Rebecca’s Legacy, by Betty Thomason Owens via @InspiredPrompt and @batowens #bookgiveaway #RomanticSuspense

Rebecca’s Legacy

What will it take to teach a spoiled heiress about the greatest legacy? Amy Juliana Emerson might be a cultured debutante, but she’s doing her best to follow her mom’s rebellious footsteps. Her desperate attempt to escape her father’s control, however, comes at the worst possible time. Robert Emerson has received a threat against his family in an attempt to take over his company, Sanderson Industries. To guarantee his willful daughter’s safety, he sends her to work on a produce farm run by her Aunt Rebecca. Maybe her quiet strength and unconditional love can work on Amy, keep her from becoming the prodigal daughter she seems insistent on being.

Matt Wordsworth is the man Robert calls upon to make sure his daughter stays in line. His only interest in the beautiful girl is purely part of his job. Purely. Amy considers him a fuddy-duddy which suits the situation perfectly, allowing him to stay close to her without concern for her losing her heart to him. And his own heart … well, his feelings didn’t matter. This was business.

Humiliated and angry, Amy contemplates a path that will lead her even farther from home and away from Dad’s protection. Rebecca’s influence begins to change her feelings about everything, even about Matt, but Amy might find she’s playing into the hands of the enemy.

About Betty: Who am I? My friends say I’m creative, loyal, thoughtful and funny. I’m a storyteller. A word-weaver, writing stories that touch the heart. If I was an artist working with oils, I’d want to paint scenes so real, you’d think you were looking at a photograph. They’d include minute details that grab your attention and pull you into the picture. My characters could be your next-door neighbors. They’re open and friendly. They include you in their conversations. My themes include the grace of God, forgiveness, restoration, and redemption, but most of all, love. For years, my tagline has been: Love is the Legacy. That’s my desire, to leave a legacy of love.

3 Questions Wednesday with Cara Lynn James

Good morning! It is my pleasure to welcome author Cara Lynn James to the Inspired Prompt. Cara writes romance, historical, and Christian fiction books.

Good morning, Cara.

Can you describe yourself in three words?

Cara: I’m tenacious, loyal, and optimistic.

Great attributes for a writer.  Next question . . .

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

Cara: It’s hard to choose because there are several places I’d love to go to for a research trip. My favorite place is Newport, Rhode Island where three of my historical romances are set. But since I’ve been there many times it would be better to pick a place I’m interested in but not so familiar with. It’s a toss up between Paris and Tuscany. But I’ve been to France and Italy, so I’d pick England (or maybe Ireland) because I’ve never gone to either place. I’ve always wanted to see both countries. Also, and this is important, they speak English. That would make things so much easier for me.

How about a tour of Europe? I’ll pack my bags. Now for your last question.

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

CaraThe theme song would definitely be “Time to Say Goodbye” sung by Sarah Brightman and Andrea Bocelli. In my lifetime I’ve said goodbye to many, many good friends from my home town and from college. I served as a Naval officer for eight years (a long time ago!) in Texas, California and Virginia. I had many wonderful friends, but after a few years I had to leave or they had to. Some I saw again, but some I didn’t. My husband and I also lived in Vermont for twenty years after he retired from the Navy. Leaving very close friends behind in Vermont was terribly difficult, just as it had been during our Naval careers.

But the song really resonates with me because when we were in the Navy I had to say goodbye to my husband just before he left on four long cruises on aircraft carriers. Those were very lonely days. Three years ago last March, my husband Jim passed away. That was our final farewell on this earth. Although I didn’t want to say goodbye, I knew I had to. I know we’ll meet again but the last goodbye was the hardest.

A touching song for a tribute to your husband and others. Cara, we’re so glad you stopped by to visit. Come back soon…

Click to Tweet: Cara Lynn James talks about her books and writing today on Inspired Prompt @InspiredPrompt #romance #giveaway

Readers, Cara is offering a paperback copy of Love on a Dime to one person who leaves a comment!

 Love On A Dime

In age of elegance and excess, Lilly Westbrook longs for a love both true and eternal.

Newport, Rhode Island, 1899, is a place of shimmering waves, sleek yachts, and ladies of leisure. Of opulent mansions that serve as summer cottages for the rich and famous. Home of railroad magnates and banking tycoons–dashing young men and the women who aspire to marry them.

But it’s not the place for lady novelists. Especially not those who pen disreputable dime novels. This poses a problem for Lilly Westbrook, because that’s exactly what she does.

No one in Lilly’s social set knows she pens fiction under the nom de plume Fannie Cole. Not her family or the wealthy young man about to propose to her. And especially not Jackson Grail, the long-lost beau who just bought her publishing company…and who stirs her heart more than she cares to admit.

But Lilly must put aside her feelings and follow the path that will maintain her family’s social stature and provide the financial security that everyone is depending on.

Now Lilly faces a double dilemma. Can she continue to protect her secret identity? And will she have the courage to choose the man who will risk it all just to win her heart?

Cara Lynn James has written four inspirational historical romances, each with a touch of mystery.  They are Love on a Dime, Love on Assignment, Love by the Book (all in the Ladies of Summerhill series) and A Path toward Love.

She lives in northwest Florida with her daughter, grandson and two grand dogs. Cara is at a tenth generation New Englander, mother of two grown children, three beautiful and talented grandchildren, the widow of a retired Naval officer, and a Navy veteran herself. Born and brought up in Connecticut, she’s lived in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Texas, California, Virginia, Vermont and now Florida. Cara hopes to never move again. She’d rather spend her time writing than moving.

Five Helps to Writing a Modern-Day Telling of a Biblical Story

by Fay Lamb

I am a writer who can never pass up the opportunity to read a modern-day retelling of a Bible story. I’d like to share what I learned while writing Storms in Serenity.

  1. An author must know the Biblical account they are seeking to bring to the reader in a retelling. From my earliest days as a young Christian, King David has always been my hero. I never get tired of reading about his victories and his losses, his greatest moments and his worst actions. His Psalms of repentance and renewal are some of the most heart-touching words in the Bible. David’s trust in the Lord is well-known, but there were times when his attention was somewhere else, and he failed. Storms in Serenity brings the aftermath of David’s sin to a story of a modern-day man named David. My familiarity with the life of David saturated my brain, and as writers often do, I subconsciously built the story around David’s failure and God’s unfailing love for him. When I say subconsciously, I don’t mean that God didn’t have a hand in it. I believe He gave me that love of reading about King David’s life. God had everything to do with why this story was written.
  2. An author must look for truths that should be shared elsewhere in the Scriptures and not simply within the story that is being retold. For instance, the consequences of David’s sin were not placed upon David because God hated him. There are consequences for our sin, and a loving God chastises His children in order to bring about good in our life. A child who is never reprimanded is one who isn’t taught what is right from wrong. There are Scriptures throughout the Bible that back up that truth.
  3. God’s word is alive. A passage of Scripture can have more than one lesson. Which other messages does your modern-day retelling provide? An author should pray and ask God to direct him or her to the message or messages He would have for the story. Whenever I read the story of David’s sin with Bathsheba, the sword that was wielded over David’s family because of his actions enthralled me: one of David’s sons raped his half-sister. The sister’s brother killed his half-brother to revenge that rape; the same son who killed his brother retaliated against David and overthrew his father’s reign; David’s own cousin was privy to his sin, and thus David was chained to an evil man for life; after his sin, David’s life was unsettled. Besides the fact that God’s chastisement of David’s sin was at the hands of a loving Father, I also learned that sins, no matter how seemingly private, can always have a far-reaching effect on ourselves and others. That is what Storms in Serenity is all about.
  4. Modern-day retellings can have some latitude so long as they do not skew Scripture. The story does not have to read or follow the exact story that God has presented to us in His word. In Storms, my “Absalom” is Seth, who begins to rebel when he learns the truth about his father’s sin. But Seth’s journey is not Absalom’s.
  5. The best modern-day retellings are those in which the reader can easily ascertain the story that is being presented. While our creativity has latitude, the story should not be so far from the original that a reader cannot connect with it. In Marie Wells Coutu’s retelling, For Such a Moment, and Betty Thomason Owens’, Annabelle’s Ruth, one can clearly determine the original story from the titles of these excellent novels, and they are easily recognizable within the pages.

Are you thinking of bringing Scriptures to a modern-day story? [Click to Tweet]

David’s son, Solomon once said, “There is nothing new under the sun.” A modern-day author, Francine Rivers, who brought the Book of Hosea to life in her story Redeeming Love, once taught me and proved before my very eyes, that you can give  a hundred different people a plot from the Bible and no two people will have the same story.

What’s keeping you from bringing your modern-day retelling to life?

Writing Prompt: Besides making you hungry, the photograph below should remind you of a famous Bible story. Write a good opening sentence for the story. Share it with us, if you like!

New from Fay Lamb—Storms in Serenity

How can one man save the town he loves when he’s the reason for the destruction?

Serenity Key, Florida, has seen its share of hurricanes, but this time, one foul weather system is about to collide with another storm, and this one has nothing to do with atmospheric pressure.

David New has guarded his secrets for years, but when two brothers, John and Andy Ryan, arrive in town and he gets news that the daughter he’s never told anyone about has disappeared, possibly the victim of a heinous crime, and the lives of many of the town residents begin to unravel in the gale force consequences of Jake’s past, he has nowhere else to turn.
God is the only one Who can calm the storms, but can David and the good folks of Serenity Key survive until He does?
A tempest has been brewing for thirty years, with only one island town in its path.

Research: Where to Start

You want to write a story, but don’t know where to begin. The setting is current, your idea is for the main character to be a firefighter. Problem is, you’ve never even known a firefighter—you’ve only watched a movie about one.

Or, maybe your story is set in Boston, in the early 1900’s. You’ve never even been to Boston.

You need to research, but where do you begin? How do you find the information you need?

My first works of fiction were historical, and at the time, I had no home computer and no access to internet. Yes, I know—ancient days. We still had an antennae connected to our television, and the phone was on the wall.

I drove to the library, and returned home with a stack of books. These included a book that gave the reasons behind the stock market crash. Another book about the famous cruise lines of the day, a pictorial history of the Great Depression, and a couple of well-known novels set in the 1920s.

I hoped these would help me work up a timeline and get into the mindset. They did, to a degree. But my resources were limited.

These days, it’s a lot easier and so much more convenient. You can Google whatever you need to research. You don’t even have to leave home. Here are a few things you may not have considered:

  1. You Tube videos from the 1920s and ‘30s – even one that shows a family on a cruise ship. You can also find newsreel videos on a variety of subjects. Very interesting!
  2. Don’t forget the popular songs of the day, which will add depth and atmosphere. Listen to them, as you construct scenes.
  3. Current events – these can add reality to your conversations, fill a quiet moment of contemplation. Troubling events often occupy our thoughts. Your character would react in much the same way.
  4. Google locations can take us to the very spot. Select “street view” and voila! You’re looking at houses and images that will add definite reality to your writing. The earth is at your fingertips. Choose a location and go there. It’s not quite as good as actually being there, but it’s better than nothing.
  5. Make the trip. Even a short day trip or over-niter is often enough to inspire your writing.
  6. Antique shops and cemeteries! If your story is historical, visit local antique shops. Look for interesting ordinary objects that would populate a home from your particular era. Sometimes, the shop owners/clerks can help you. We have a number of antique shops near my home, along with a cemetery dating back to the early 1700s. What a wealth of information can be gained, just walking around in there.

Current interests, like the firefighter, can be easily researched on the internet. You’ll find numerous blog posts, news stories, television shows, movies. After you’ve read enough to get a good background, I suggest you call a local fire department and see what’s available to you. In some cases, a writer can tour the department, and interview actual firefighters.

Today, if we can imagine it, we can find it on the internet. Your setting is in the Antarctic? Or, your main character is a science officer on a space station? No problem.

Stay tuned all month for more articles from our contributors on research, how-to, and why. We’ll give you tools to make your writing pop.

Click to Tweet: #Research is the key that will unlock all the information you need. Sometimes, we are only limited by our imagination via @InspiredPrompt #amwriting

Writing Prompt: Arlene knelt in front of the tombstone. Weather had etched it until she could barely make out the dates 1652 – 1717. There was only one name—Corley—was it the surname? And beneath it, three words…

Solve by Christmas by Amber Schamel

I’m so happy to welcome author, Amber Schamel, to our blog. She writes riveting stories that bring HIStory to life. So what’s she up to these days? Her newest novel, Solve by Christmas

Tell us a little about yourself and your background.

Amber: I am a homeschool graduate from a family of 12 children. Today I am a bookkeeper and office manager by day and an author after ducking into the nearest telephone booth. Haha, only sorta kidding.

I spend about half of my time volunteering in the Ozarks at a Christian Family Bootcamp, and I also travel a lot with my family. This affords lots of story fodder.

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

Amber: Growing up, I always loved history and books. I’d check out stacks of books every time we went to the library and read about American history. This evolved rather naturally into historical fiction stories. 😊

I started writing seriously after high-school and my first book was published when I was 21 years old. No sense in wasting any time. Lol.

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

Amber: A little of both. I do outline, and I create pretty detailed character profiles and I map out the settings. But I don’t always know what happens between the main points on my outline. So that part just comes as I write.

What is the hardest thing about writing?

Amber: For me, it’s probably transitioning between projects. Once I have a project finished, I’m so happy to have completed it. I take some time to celebrate. But figuring out which story God wants me to write next….or if I should even continue  in this endeavor is something I seem to question and battle with between every project.  Once I get engrossed in the next project, I do just fine. Except then comes the second most difficult part. Sticking to it and getting the project finished. That can take a LOT of self-discipline.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

Amber: Hopefully at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb. 😊

If not, I have no idea! LOL.

My greatest desire is to serve the Lord in whatever capacity He would have for me. Right now, I’m not entirely sure what that will mean five years down the road. I’m at a bit of a crossroads and so it will be fun to see where the Lord takes us.

Thanks for dropping by, Amber!

Click to tweet: Amber Schamel writes riveting stories that bring HIStory to life. #InspiredPrompt #amreading 

Solve by Christmas 

Solve by Christmas Historical Mystery

When sabotage threatens the Rudin Sugar Factory, Detective Jasper Hollock believes this will be his first real case. But dear Mr. Rudin—the only father Jasper has ever known—holds a different assignment for his private investigator.

“I’ve struck a deal with God, Jasper, and you’re my angel.”

Mr. Rudin charges Jasper to build a “case” of reasons for his employer to continue his life. If he fails, Mr. Rudin will end it in suicide on Christmas night.

As the incidents at the factory become life threatening, Jasper’s attempts at dissuading Mr. Rudin prove futile, and Jasper is left staring at the stark reality of his own soul. Time is ticking. Jasper must solve both cases by Christmas before Mr. Rudin, the company, and Jasper’s faith, are dragged to perdition. Will this be the Christmas Jasper truly discovers what makes life worth living?

 “Amber Schamel’s engaging prose weaves together not one, but two edge-of-your-seat threads in this historical mystery. With the hero racing against time to solve the two cases readers will be kept guessing as they attempt to crack the case. “  ~ Laura V. Hilton author of Christmas Admirer (Whitaker House)

 Amber Schamel writes riveting stories that bring HIStory to life. She has a passion for history, books and her Savior. This combination results in what her readers call “historical fiction at its finest”. A homeschool graduate from a family of 12 children, Amber found her calling early in life.

First published at age 21, she has continued to hone her craft and has been awarded the 2017 CSPA Book of the Year Award in Historical Fiction. Between ministry, family and working in their family-owned businesses, Amber loves to connect with readers and hang out on Goodreads with other bookish peoples. Find her on the Stitches Thru Time blog, or on any of the major social media sites.  Amber is an active member of American Christian Fiction Writers.

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