Writing for Children—A Noble Calling

By Michelle Medlock Adams

When I was in first grade, Mrs. True made an announcement that would forever change my life.

“We’re having a poetry contest this week,” she said, “so use today and tomorrow to come up with your best poem.”

We had just studied the various types of poems, and I decided I really liked the ones that rhymed. In fact, I had checked out every book of rhyming poetry I could find from our school library, and I’d read them all—twice.

As my classmates wrote about their parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, brothers and sisters, I carefully crafted the words to my poem: “I Love Penny.”

Penny was my 7-year-old wiener dog and my best friend in the whole world.

My poem went a little something like this: “Penny is my very best friend. I’ll love her to the very end. She’s a very special wiener dog. I love her though she smells like a hog…”

OK, so I wasn’t exactly a first grade Dr. Seuss, but my poem was good enough to earn first prize. (I guess the other first grade poets must’ve been really bad.) At any rate, I won a few sparkly pencils and the honor of going first in the lunch line that afternoon.  Mrs. True also displayed my poem in the front of the room for all to see. I stared at my winning poem all afternoon, and in my mind, I was already coming up with a follow-up rhyme.

That’s the day I became a writer.

I wanted to write all the time, and so I did. I wrote during recess while other kids played tag and climbed on the monkey bars. I completely fell in love with words.

I wrote a play in fifth grade that we performed for all of the fifth grade classes; I wrote short stories in junior high for a literary magazine; and I wrote many articles for my high school newspaper before majoring in journalism at Indiana University.

Though I began my career writing news stories for a daily paper, my career path took an unexpected turn when we moved to Texas so I could write features and personality profiles for an international ministry magazine. After a little while, the editor came to me said, “You have kids, right?”

“Yes,” I answered.

“Great, you can write some kids stories for our children’s outreach.”

I remember thinking, “Just because I have kids doesn’t mean I know how to write for them.”

But I was a journalist so I began researching the world of writing for children, and I once again fell in love. Head over heels. That was more than 20 years ago, and I’ve been lovesick ever since. Creating stories for children—stories that teach, entertain, encourage and inspire—it’s a noble calling. It’s a calling I don’t take for granted, and neither should you.

No matter how you fell in love with writing for children, I’m just happy you did. Let me encourage you to stay the course. Never think your work or your words are less important or less powerful simply because they are for kids. Actually, they are more important and more powerful because they are for kids.

You’re a part of a very special club—a society of writers who woo children to fall in love with words and continue that love affair their whole lives through. You’re the writer who transports children to far-off lands and make-believe worlds. You’re the writer who causes children to dream a little bigger, laugh a little harder, feel a little deeper, and care a little more. You’re a children’s writer, crafting copy on the very hearts of your readers, so do it well, and do it with enthusiasm.

Click to tweet: “You’re the writer who causes children to dream a little bigger, laugh a little harder, feel a little deeper, and care a little more.” Michelle Medlock Adams. #amwriting #childrensbooks

Writing prompt: Do you write for children? Tell us why in the comments. We want to know!


Michelle Medlock Adams is an award-winning journalist and best-selling author, earning top honors from the Associated Press, the Society of Professional Journalists and the Hoosier State Press Association.

Author of over 80 books with close to 4 million books sold, Michelle’s latest children’s book, My First Da of School (Worthy Kids) won the Selah Award for Best Children’s Book in 2018, her fourth Selah for Best Children’s Book since 2012. In fact, in 2014 Michelle’s board book God Knows You not only won the Selah for Best Children’s Book but also won the esteemed Book of the Year honor over all other Selah winners.

In addition, her children’s book, I Will Not Be Afraid (Concordia Publishing House) earned “The Gold” Enduring Light medal for best children’s book in the 2018 Illumination Awards.

 Since graduating with a journalism degree from Indiana University, Michelle has written more than 1,500 articles for newspapers, magazines and websites; acted as a stringer for the Associated Press; written for a worldwide ministry; helped pen a New York Times Bestseller; hosted “Joy In Our Town” for the Trinity Broadcasting Network; and served as a blogger for Guideposts. Today, she is President of Platinum Literary Services—a premier full-service literary firm—and she serves as Chairman of the Serious Writer Board of Directors.

 When not working on her own assignments, Michelle ghostwrites books for celebrities, politicians, and some of today’s most effective and popular ministers. Michelle is also a much sought-after teacher at writers’ conferences and universities around the nation. In fact, she has served as an adjunct professor three different years at Taylor University, teaching “Writing for Children.”

 Michelle is married to her high school sweetheart, Jeff, and they have two daughters, Abby and Allyson, two sons-in-law, one grandson and another grandbaby on the way. She and Jeff share their home in Southern Indiana with a miniature dachshund, a rescue Shepherd/Collie mix, and two cats. When not writing or teaching writing, Michelle enjoys bass fishing and cheering on the Indiana University Basketball team, the Chicago Cubbies, and the LA King

3 Questions Wednesday with Daphne Self

67177558_10217230486728501_1529675924142817280_oWelcome to another edition of 3 Questions Wednesday, and welcome Daphne Self. Lets get started!

First question:

Who is your favorite author?

Daphne:  This is like asking what’s my favorite show, or dessert, or kid. I have many favorites so I will list a few: for suspense: Terri Blackstock, for westerns: Louis L’Amour, for thrillers: Eric Landfried and Mike Dellosso, for speculative: Daniel Peyton, Allen Steadham, Joanna White, Paul Regnier, and John Olson/Randy Ingermanson…and that is just a start. Oh, I love Henry van Dyke.

It is too hard to pick one with so many favorites! 🙂 Now here’s a fun question—

 If you could write about anyone or anything fiction/nonfiction who or what would you write about? 

Daphne:   I’m working on writing a middle grade book about Martin Luther. This requires a lot of researching, but I like it. When it comes to fiction, I write about a variety of things. So I really can’t pinpoint anything. Guess you can say when it comes to fiction, I write about life. With nonfiction, I would write a book that goes into more detail about living with chronic pain and tell the stories of everyday people who live with this condition.

It seems like so many people are struggling with chronic pain and how to manage it in a healthy way.  That book could have the potential to help many people.  Last question—

If you could spend time with a character from your book or another book whom would it be? And what would you do during that day?

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Daphne:  This is kind of hard to say. I don’t really live in books. I enjoy reading them, but once I close the book, the story lives in my memory only. If I had to say, it would be … I have no idea. Maybe Jordan and Bopol from Allen Steadham’s Jordan’s World. I would learn the way of the tribes on Algoran. Of Beroan from Shifter by Joanna White. To be able to see him in dragon form would be cool and he could tell me all about the dragon clan. Maybe even Doyle from Eric Landfried’s Solitary Man. We would fight to undercover the truth of what why the cannibals existed. Then there is Penny and Jonah from Susan Tuttle’s At First Glance. To spend a day with a sweet couple would be ideal. Being able to talk to Tassie from Judy DuCharme’s Blood Moon Redemption would be nice. I would have coffee with her and discuss the significance of her heritage and history. If I was able to spend time with Travis and Jane in Lucy Thompson’s A Cowboy’s Dare, it would be like living in a John Wayne movie. Laughter, adventure, and mayhem.

You may need a year instead of a day…LOL!   Thanks, Daphne, for visiting us on 3 Questions Wednesday, and allowing our readers to know you better.

Click to Tweet: Author Daphne Self answers our 3 Questions and you could win a copy of of three books. @InspiredPrompt   #Interview #giveaway #DaphneSelf

Readers, Daphne will give away 3 print copies of Mississippi Nights, in celebration of Alabama Days‘ release in spring/summer 2020, 30 Days: A Devotional Memoir, in celebration of next year’s release of Journey On: Through This Shadowed Valley, and The Case of the Missing Firehouse Dog, her newest children’s book release.  Don’t forget to comment below to be entered.


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The Case of the Missing Firehouse Dog

Majesty, the firehouse dog, is missing. Willie and Jax are on the case to discover who is the dognapping culprit. Could it be their neighbor, Mr. Applebee? Or maybe it is Ms. Thornton?
Join the Pintail Duo, Wilhelmina van der Coup and Jackson Barnaby, as they follow the clues to rescue Majesty in The Case of the Missing Firehouse Dog.


 


Mississippi Nights

MN_Cover_FINALTwo brothers, one death–the bond of brotherhood faces its greatest challenge against resentment and guilt.
Can the love between two brothers eventually win against pain and guilt? When firefighter David Boyette’s fiance perishes in a car fire, he blames his brother, Sgt. Jeremy Boyette, for her death.
Three years later, David returns home with a dark and devastating secret. With the help of family, a woman’s love, and a small child’s devotion, can David overcome insurmountable odds as he and Jeremy face the bitterness that enslaves him?
Together the brothers must decide if the bond of brotherhood is stronger than resentment and hate.

 


30 Days: A Devotional Memoir 

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Do you desire to no longer be alone? Do you yearn for understanding and hope? Do you wish for a closer walk with Jesus?
When a relationship ends, whether through divorce or death, it leaves us with heartache and sadness. Fear of loneliness overwhelms our soul. Anger at God consumes us. We are suddenly thrust into unknown territory, lost and bewildered.
Psalm 147:3 “He healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their their wounds”. 30 Days: A Devotional Memoir brings you deeply moving stories to strengthen your walk and bring you closer to Christ. Author D.M. Webb share her three year spiritual journey with a collection of thirty devotions designed to reach out and uplift those who have endured the turbulent emotions that come with divorce, widowhood, and single parenting. Reach out, place your hand in His, and begin your journey today.

 



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Daphne Self, formerly published under the name D.M. Webb, resides in Iowa. A transplant from Mississippi who fell in love with the Midwest state, she spends her days writing, editing, and planning adventures with her husband and sons. Having always dreamed of being a writer she pursues this dream with only one goal in mind: To Glorify His Name. Daphne is also an avid reader who devours books in many genres. Daphne is a long time member of ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) and also helps upcoming authors polish their manuscripts.

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The Fabric of Love by Cara Lynn James

IMG_1306-2 copyGood morning! It is my pleasure to welcome author Cara Lynn James to the Inspired Prompt.

Hi, Cara. So glad you could join us. First question:

Tell us a little about yourself?

Cara:  I was born in Hamden, Connecticut where I spent the first 23 years of my life. My parents split when I was just a baby, but I have younger siblings (3 sisters and a brother) from blended family situations. I don’t pay attention to adjectives like “step” or “half” when it comes to my siblings. They’re my siblings, and I love them.

Thanks to visiting my dad on the weekends, I was in church every Sunday and grew up learning the Bible. I also started going to a Christian school in the fourth grade. But while I professed Christ at 9 years old, I pulled away from my faith in my teens and early twenties and made a few bad decisions. Once I hit what I considered bottom, my best buddy Chris invited me to come to live with him in New Hampshire and get back on my feet. It ended up being a great decision as God used the experience to draw me back to him and I rediscovered the faith I’d discarded. I’d been writing all along, and now my faith influenced the things that came out in my work.

New Hampshire has certainly had its ups and downs for me, but the one constant has been God, and He has been absolutely faithful through it all. I’m thankful for a God I can completely surrender to, and I’m thankful for the gracious blessings He grants me in this life. He just keeps giving, though I never could deserve it, and I’m now a published author.

What do you love most about the writing process?

Cara:  Once I finish the rough draft, I love editing because I enjoy finding just the right words. Editing seems so much more manageable than actually writing the first draft. That’s a sprawling, messy process. But I also like that, too, because it’s very creative and I’m never quite sure where the story is going. Sometimes that’s a good thing, sometimes not.

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 How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?

Cara: I’m embarrassed to say I have six half-finished books resting in my computer. My only excuse (and it’s not a good one) is I often get bogged down in the middle and tired of the story. If only I could go from the beginning, skip the sagging middle and sprint to the end. I’m half-plotter and half-panster, although I’m trying hard to plan ahead and avoid tumbling down rabbit holes. So far I’m partially successful.

If you could give advice to your younger writing self, what would it be?

Cara:   I’d have a serious talk with myself about how wonderful writing can be as long as I keep learning the craft and practice what I learn. I’d always accept criticism graciously, and develop the discipline to finish a project. My advice would be to steel myself against rejection, rejoice with every success, large or small, and never compare myself to others. Be as happy for my friends as for myself when good things happen. (Actually, I am and I think that’s very important.) There’s no room for envy. I’d try to make a lot of writer friends because they’re the ones who understand me and listen enthusiastically to my chatter about characters, plot, edits, etc. They understand the joys of writing and commiserate about the inevitable disappointments along the way. They ‘get it.’ And lastly, be generous and helpful with other writers.

What are common traps for aspiring writers?

Cara:  One common trap is publishing a book before it’s ready for prime time. With self-publishing so easy, aspiring authors have to be sure to study their craft and have patience while they’re learning. Be grateful others will critique your story and don’t be defensive if you disagree with their comments. They’re trying to help. Try to stay focused and not let yourself get overwhelmed or discouraged.

What does literary success look like to you?

Cara: Success means writing what God wants me to write, enjoying the process, having readers and interacting with them. Making a little money along the way never hurts either.

Future Projects or WIP you can talk about?

Cara:  I’m contracted for three inspirational novellas, two historical romances and one contemporary. 

The first novella is The Fabric of Love, a story set in a small Connecticut town around the turn-of-the-century. It’s about a young widow who struggles to support her mother and three kids. Against her will, Eliza Baldwin and Clark Henderson, the town’s new storekeeper, quickly fall in love. Eliza needs a job so she’ll be able to send her son to a private school, her late husband’s dearest wish. But the headmaster’s wife doesn’t believe in women working outside the home. Should Eliza confront society’s conventions and work in Clark’s store anyway? She’d risk her son’s acceptance at the school and the possibility of an academic scholarship. But more importantly, should she shed the familiarity of widowhood and move forward into a new life with Clark?

The other historical romance is The Innkeeper’s Promise which, not surprisingly, is about an innkeeper who tries to convince her business partner stay and help her manage the inn when he’s anxious to expand his horizons and move on. Despite their conflicting goals, they fall in love. Can they compromise and reconcile their differences?

The third novella is my first contemporary story set in New England. A young home stager snags a job to freshen up a kids’ summer camp so the owner can sell the property and make a good profit. The owner’s grandson hires her and they quickly fall for each other. But can their romance continue when he’s offered the presidency of his grandfather’s company in Arizona? They both have life-altering decisions to make and despite their growing love, it’s not easy.

Thanks so much for joining us!

Click to tweet: Cara Lynn James talks about the writing journey and her latest book, The Fabric of Love #amreading #CaraLynnJames #writingsucess


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Cara Lynn James writes historical romance often with a twist of mystery and occasionally contemporary romance. She is an award-winning, multi-published author of four Gilded Age romances, Love on a Dime, Love on Assignment, Love by the Book and A Path toward Love. Her first novella, The Fabric of Love, will be published September 31, 2019, on Amazon, and will soon be followed by The Innkeeper’s Promise and Staging a Romance, her only contemporary novella to date.

She’s been a finalist in many writing contests including Romance Writers of America’s Golden Heart Contest which led to publication. She won the American Christian Fiction Writers Noble Theme award in the historical fiction category.

You can find her on Facebook and at her website caralynnjames.net


The Fabric of Love

Eliza Baldwin, a young, bereaved widow, and mother of three struggles to support her family and save enough money for her son’s private school tuition. 

She’d like to take a job, but in her small Connecticut town in 1900, working outside the home is not acceptable for the widow of a once prosperous attorney.

Loyal to the memory of her late husband, she wants to fulfill his fondest wish to send their son to Whitfield Academy. But that’s out the question unless she can find the tuition money. Her best option is to rent a room in her spacious home to a respectable, god-fearing woman. But when Eliza advertises the room, the only person interested is a handsome male stranger.

Reluctantly, she rents the renovated space over the stable to Clark Henderson, the new owner of the Whitfield General Store. Right from their first meeting, Eliza and Clark feel a strong attraction toward each other. Yet, despite their growing feelings, Eliza believes any romantic relationship would show disloyalty to her late husband.

When Clark asks her to accept a position in his store, the headmaster’s wife makes it perfectly clear that working will jeopardize the boy’s acceptance at school.

Clark offers Eliza love and a chance to shed her widow’s weeds and genteel poverty, but she’s unsure about what the Lord has in mind for her. Will she reject Clark’s love and his kindness and hold fast to her old, familiar life? Or will she defy the headmaster’s wife and take a step forward into the future with Clark?

Targeting Your Writing Dreams

By Jennifer Hallmark

What is your writing dream? Children’s stories, Guidepost, or traditionally published novel? Do you have it in your mind? Now, what in the world should you do with your dream? You’ve come to the right place. Or should I say the write place?

Inspired Prompt is a blog for writers created by writers. Last month, we discussed all types of writing you can put pen to like devotionals, travel articles, newspapers, technical writing, and screenwriting.

Throughout August, we plan to share posts that take the July topic one step further: finding who you want to submit your work-in-progress to and how to go about it. We have three special guests who will also help you out. Michelle Medlock Adams, an author with over eighty books published, will discuss writing for children. Laurel Blount will teach us what it takes to write for Love Inspired and Dianne Derringer will talk to us about writing for The Upper Room and Christian Devotions US.

An important question to answer for every writer is “Who will publish my work?” There are many online and print publishers of magazines, articles, blog posts, compilations, and books. As a new writer, I tried out many places from literary magazines to devotion sites to children’s books. The mistake I made was not digging deep enough to see exactly what each publication wanted and needed.

Take devotions. I wrote in one style and sent it to many. I’m sure some were quickly rejected because I didn’t follow the guidelines. I even sent a query to one agent, then in re-reading the guidelines, realized I would instantly be rejected because of an error I made. Inspired Prompt will hopefully help you not to make those mistakes.

So, don’t miss a Monday or Friday post in August. You’ll learn a lot and maybe you’ll receive an acceptance letter from a publisher. If you do, please let us know. We’ll Snoopy dance with you…

Click to tweet: Inspired Prompt helps answer the question: Who do you want to write for? #authorslife #amwriting

Writing prompt: Pick one publication you’d like to write for. Take a full day to study their website, guidelines, and check out some of their past publications. Then take a leap of faith…

3 Questions Wednesday with Lindsey Brackett

BrackettLWEBHappy Wednesday! Today the Inspired Prompt welcomes author and speaker, Lindsey Brackett. We’re so happy you could join us. First question:

Who is your favorite author?

Lindsey:  Currently? Lauren Denton and Patti Callahan Henry. Obviously I love southern women’s fiction but both of them capture prose like its poetry and there’s really nothing I love more than beautiful writing. My upcoming favorite author is my critique partner Kimberly Duffy. Watch for her historical fiction debut, A Mosaic of Wings, from Bethany House next summer! And I’ve always loved Lucy Maud Montgomery and Laura Ingalls Wilder. Forever they are my inspiration.

Great authors, and we will keep a look out for Kimberly.  Next question…

 If you could write about anyone or anything fiction/nonfiction who or what would you write about?

Lindsey:  Recently I wrote a southern gothic novel that’s now out on submission. It’s set at my alma mater, Berry College, and explores the truth behind the legendary ghost story of “The Green Lady.” While researching, though, I fell in love all over again with the story of Berry and its philanthropic, feminist founder Martha Berry. Someday I think I’d like to fictionalize her story and honor this place that helped define the person I’ve become. 

But people keep asking if I’m done writing about the Coultrie-Halloway-Watson family and the answer is no. Their story is so deeply rooted in my own family’s story that I’m sure there will be another book someday that shares Annie’s story.

Both sound interesting 🙂 Last question:

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If you could spend time with a character from your book or another book whom would it be? And what would you do during that day?

Lindsey:  I’d love to spend the day with Lou and Liam on the tidal creeks of Edisto Island. During my research for this story, I was captivated by the environmental practices coming into play in my beloved Lowcountry. Never has it been so important to recognize the impact we have on our ecosystem. These places we love will pass away with overuse unless we—the ones who treasure them—subscribe to sustainable practices so the land and water can be enjoyed and utilized for generations to come. 

Of course after we worked, we’d settle in for a great Lowcountry meal. For me, however, this would have to not include shrimp. Sadly, I have developed a late onset allergy. Good thing I love scallops and crab—and those don’t seem to bother me as long as they aren’t fried with shrimp!

Oh how sad to miss out on shrimp! Coconut shrimp is my absolute favorite.  That sounds like a productive and rewarding day.    Thanks so much for dropping by!

Click to tweet: Author Lindsey Brackett talks about writing and a giveaway.  #amwriting #lowcountry 

Lindsey  Lindsey Brackett is giving away an ebook of The Bridge Between.  Leave a comment below to be entered in the drawing…


TheBrideBetween

The Bridge Between

Louisa Coultrie Halloway has returned home as caretaker for the family home on Edisto Island, but years before she left this world behind. Now she flounders to find her place. When Liam Whiting, a local professor studying tidal creek preservation, invites Lou to join his research team, she welcomes the opportunity for purpose.

David, her ex-husband, has followed Lou and their children to Edisto. As he finds his footing in this new life, their once strained relationship eases into a familiar rhythm—and he hopes for more.

But the past still has a hold on them all, especially in the presence of Grace Watson, whose son intends to marry Lou and David’s daughter. Somehow, Grace and Lou must let the past of a shared love settle between them.

In this idyllic setting, relationships, like the creeks, deepen and shift. Once more, Lou finds herself caught between the life she’s chosen—and the love that might be meant to be.


BrackettLWEBLindsey P. Brackett writes southern fiction infused with her rural Georgia upbringing and Lowcountry roots. Her debut novel, Still Waters, inspired by family summers at Edisto Beach, released in 2017. Called “a brilliant debut” with “exquisite writing,” Still Waters was named an INSPY finalist and the 2018 Selah Book of the Year. Her second novel, The Bridge Between, released July 31, 2019. Download Magnolia Mistletoe with newsletter signup at lindseypbrackett.com or on Instagram and Facebook