3 Questions Wednesday with Janalyn Voigt

Janalyn Voigt fell in love with literature at an early age when her father read classics to her as bedtime stories. Let’s get to know her. Our first question for Janalyn is what do you love most about the writing process? The least?

Janalyn: Writing allows me to live vicariously in a fictional world I create. That’s amazing for any genre but especially when writing medieval epic fantasy. It’s heady to realize that you can write about anything you can dream up. In Tales of Faeraven, readers can experience what it’s like to climb onto a winged horse and lift into the sky. They can walk through a vanishing gateway into a place between worlds, seek salvation in the Vale of Shadows, wield a two-edged sword, and reach into another soul.

I’ll call upon the late Walt Disney to answer the second part of your question. The famed founder of Disneyland once confessed that he resented the limits of his imagination. I share his frustration. The options for what I can create within a fantasy story world are endless, but my mind is finite. There’s almost too much freedom, and it’s easy to become intimidated.

I counter that feeling by establishing parameters for my world. I follow the advice of Orson Scott Card, bestselling author of Ender’s Game (and many other books), who explained in an article that the best fantasy worlds are most like our own. If a book has ever jarred you with its unfamiliarity, you already understand why. Readers relate to a world containing cool elements not found on Earth, but without being distracted by unnecessary strangeness. Adopting this philosophy helped establish parameters. I researched 13th-century Europe when writing Tales of Faeraven.

Wow, you have thought this through thoroughly! Next question, if you could give a novice writer one piece of advice, what would it be?

Janalyn: This might seem hackneyed, but it’s the truest advice I can give: believe in yourself as a writer. If you don’t, no one else will. That’s so hard in the beginning when no one acknowledges you. I can remember being embarrassed to call myself a writer. I still don’t announce it except for a specific reason, but shyness no longer holds me back. I just prefer not to be stared at as if I’ve sprouted a second head or gazed at with awe. Unless the other person is another author or aspires to be one, others can’t relate anyway. But I digress.

While researching a post for Live Write Breathe, my website for writers, I discovered that I suffered from the very affliction about which I was writing. Impostor Syndrome is when you sabotage your efforts due to the misguided belief that you don’t deserve success. I felt like I was fooling everyone by claiming to be a writer, even though I had several books published and contracts with two publishers. The good news is that simply identifying Impostor Syndrome is the first step to eliminating the problem. That is proving true more and more as I leave self-doubt behind.

I’ve had to apply this advice in my writing also. Trusting that the story will tell itself, even when I think I’ve painted myself into a corner has saved me many times. This mindset produces authentic stories that aren’t predictable, and what’s not to love about that?

You are right, we do second guess our own talent many times before moving forward boldly. Final question, who is your favorite fictional hero or heroine? Villain?

Janalyn: I love Samwise Gamgee in the Lord of the Rings books. His curiosity gets him into hot water with Gandolf and carries him into adventure. Ah, but loyalty makes him stay. I can relate to that, which is why Kai in Tales of Faeraven has an overweening sense of duty. In this, Kai is most like his author.

George Warleggon from the Poldark Saga is by far my favorite villain. His flaws make George a complex character I want to hate but just can’t. I’m in awe of that kind of writing. So far, I’ve only seen the Masterpiece Theater production, but I plan to read the Poldark books by Winston Graham. I’ve learned a lot about storytelling from reading classics that have stood the test of time.

Strong choices in characters. Thanks for chatting with us.


Click to Tweet: My favorite fictional character: I love Samwise Gamgee in the Lord of the Rings books. His curiosity gets him into hot water with Gandolf and carries him into adventure. Ah, but loyalty makes him stay.


Janalyn Voigt Bio

Janalyn Voigt fell in love with literature at an early age when her father read classics to her as bedtime stories. When Janalyn grew older, she put herself to sleep with her own made-up tales. Her sixth-grade teacher noticed her love of storytelling and encouraged her to become a writer. Today Janalyn is a multi-genre author. Janalyn writes the kind of novels she likes to read – epic adventures brimming with romance, mystery, history, and whimsy. She is praised for her unpredictable plots and the lyrical, descriptive prose that transports readers into breathtaking storyworlds. Janalyn Voigt is represented by Wordserve Literary. Learn more about Janalyn and her books at http://janalynvoigt.com.


Thanks so much, Janalyn, for dropping by!  If you would like to connect with Janalyn, here’s how:


 

3 Questions Wednesday with Leeann Betts

This week we hear from Leeann Betts, who writes contemporary romantic suspense. Pique your interest? Read on.

Leeann Betts writes contemporary romantic suspense, while her real-life persona, Donna Schlachter, pens historical romantic suspense. Missing Deposits is the 11th title in her cozy mystery series, and together she and Donna have published more than 30 novellas and full-length novels. They ghostwrite, judge writing contests, edit, facilitate a critique group, and are members of American Christian Fiction Writers, Writers on the Rock, Christian Authors Network, and Sisters in Crime. Leeann travels extensively to research her stories, and is proud to be represented by Terrie Wolf of AKA Literary LLC.


Our first question for Leeann, if you could give a novice writer one piece of advice, what would it be?

Leeann: I think it would be the same piece my husband gave to me, although it wasn’t advice so much as it was a question: “If you knew right now that you’d never be published, would you quit?” My answer was “no”. And he said, “Then it doesn’t matter how many rejections you get.” I think if my answer had been, “yes”, he’d have said to me, “Then you’d better move on now and do something else.”

Staying power! Authors have to be ready for the rejections and the acceptances. Next Leeann described her writing space.  

Leeann: I write at a desk in my home office in my basement. My husband sits about five feet away. Every day. My space is uncluttered, most of the time, because I can’t stand piles of stuff. His space looks like Mount Kilimanjaro about to collapse under its own weight, because he likes to have everything close to hand. But once a week, I have an appointment at a local coffee shop to write with friends. Or by myself. Doesn’t matter. I just need to get out and be around people once in a while. Not to actually interact with them—the introvert in me shrinks at the thought—but just to be able to pretend I’m a little normal.

A little time out and about with others sometimes spurs writing ideas. Last question, were you a young writer, late-bloomer, or somewhere in-between?

Leeann: I was a late bloomer. In most things. I graduated college at 36, got married at 40, wrote my first novel at 44, published my first book at 57. Now, at 61, I’m just hitting my stride.

Click to Tweet: Advice I would give a novice writer would be the same piece my husband gave to me, although it wasn’t advice so much as it was a question: “If you knew right now that you’d never be published, would you quit?” My answer was “no”. And he said, “Then it doesn’t matter how many rejections you get.”

Thanks so much, Leeann, for dropping by!  If you would like to connect with Leeann, here’s how:


About her book Missing Deposits

Carly looks forward to a vacation when Mike is hired to assist a rancher family in western Colorado catalogue their various mineral rights following the discovery of a large copper field on their property. However, Carly soon learns that the real wealth—and the real danger—aren’t below ground. Someone is out to keep a secret bigger and more profitable than copper. And they’re willing to kill for it.

 

3 Questions Wednesday with Martin Wiles

Martin Wiles joins us this week. Before we get to know him, how’s it going with you and your goals for the new year? Stay after it, hard-work, focus and discipline will help you accomplish many things this year. Now, let’s get to know Martin and how he has worked to achieve in his writing.

Martin Wiles lives in South Carolina and is the founder of Love Lines from God. He is a freelance editor, English teacher, minister, and author who serves as Managing Editor for Christian Devotions and as a proof-editor for Courier Publishing. He is the author of six books and has been published in numerous publications. His most recent book, A Whisper in the Woods: Quiet Escapades in a Busy World, released in December 2019.

Let’s get to know a little more about Martin. For starters, what do you love most about the writing process? The least?

Martin: The least is easy: marketing. I would imagine this is every writer’s least favorite thing to do. We’d rather sit down and pen the words than have to promote what we have written or had published. Unfortunately, marketing is a vital part of the writing process, so I suck it up, make a regular schedule, decide where and how I will promote my writing, and get busy. Consistency is the key. After all, I’m the only person—unless I pay someone—that I can count on to do this with regularity. And like most writers, I have limited funds. So, I rarely pay anyone to promote my writing, and I take advantage of every free resource I know about.

My favorite thing is the freedom to put my thoughts on paper when and where I want, and to know they have the potential to be read the world over, hopefully changing lives in the process. Each day, I check my Blogger statistics to see how many people have visited my website and read my post and to see which countries they reside in. I am very humbled when I see how God uses me and how He uses other writers in ways we could never imagine. Technology has opened numerous doors for writers.

You are not alone with marketing challenges. The industry is changing and whether or not you self-publish, the author has a big role in marketing. Next question, describe your writing space.

Martin:  My writing space began as a secluded spot in my quiet office. Currently, it is nestled in a part of our small patio townhome between the den and the dining room. Since my children are grown and gone—and since the grandsons my wife keeps leave after supper—I have plenty of quiet time if I need it. My main time for writing, however, begins at 4:30 a.m. I’ve always been a morning person—my brain shuts down around 8:30 p.m.—so my inspiration comes before the sun rises. My desk is the bottom iron table on which once sat a sewing machine that belonged to my great-grandmother. The top is a thick piece of plywood that either my father or my grandfather mounted on it. It’s a small space, but with most everything I need stored on my laptop, I don’t require much space.


Click to Tweet: Marketing is a vital part of the writing process, so I suck it up, make a regular schedule, decide where and how I will promote my writing, and get busy. Consistency is the key.


It sounds like your desk alone carries a few stories. Were you a young-writer, late-bloomer, or somewhere in-between?

Martin: As a serious writer, I was a late bloomer. I suppose I wrote in school as every other child is required to do—and I wrote many papers in college—but writing in the genre I do now came much later. My writing in earnest started shortly after my dad died in 2009. What the connection was between his death and my writing, I’ve never been able to determine. I just know it began then. Dad was not a writer, except for his sermons, so I wasn’t following his example. I had written many sermons myself, but in 2009, I began writing devotions. Since then, I’ve branched out to nonfiction articles and two nonfiction books, but devotions are my mainstay.

Get to know more about Martin Wiles. Here’s how to best connect:


Just Released: A Whisper in the Woods: Quiet Escapades in a Noisy World

Martin’s latest book A Whisper in the Woods: Quiet Escapades in a Noisy World, combines his love for the outdoors and his passion for devotions. Since the “silence” of nature seems to be the place where God speaks the loudest to many people, he decided to filter through the many devotions he’s written and selected those that dealt with his hiking, backpacking, and camping experiences—especially those that had spiritual implications.

Available on Amazon, for purchase and download.

A Fit Writer in 2020: Eat, Live, Thrive Healthy Lifestyle

By Jennifer Hallmark

I stared down at the scale in disgust. Once again, I’d slowly edged up in my weight until I’d almost reached that number. In my mind, a certain number was more than I could allow myself to weigh. This was the second time in ten years that I’d almost reached it. Something had to change.

Diet short term. Exercise off and on again. I’ve studied diet and exercise. I’ve struggled to do both at the same time because, well, it was too hard to be disciplined in both areas. I did pretty well when I went to Curves, an exercise place that provided a specific way to eat healthier. But then our local Curves closed and once again, I wasn’t sure what to do.

I’d always been active when the children were younger and we had a farm working with cattle and chickens. But I’d semi-retired in 2011 and become a full-time writer. My brain and fingers were the only part of me that seemed to be healthy. At 56 years old, I was dealing with asthma, digestive issues, back pain, fatigue, and low energy. A part could be blamed on menopause but I knew my poor exercise and diet were also to blame.

One day, I heard about the Eat, Live, Thrive diet for women, a lifestyle plan to rev up your midlife metabolism. That struck a chord in me. Finally, a plan formulated for where I was, that understood the hot flashes, mood swings, and weight gain.

Here’s the blurb:  Eat, Live, Thrive Diet shows women how they can not only lose excess body fat permanently but also improve their overall health in critical areas such as brain function, resistance to disease, slowing down external aging, and increasing energy. This highly effective eating plan is presented in a compassionate voice by two experienced health coaches who share personal experiences of battling weight and emotional eating issues.

Whereas most diets are short-lived or require substantial upkeep to maintain, Eat, Live, Thrive Diet is a viable eating plan that women can adhere to indefinitely. In addition to minimizing sugar intake, the plan emphasizes the importance of short-term intermittent fasting–a simple lifestyle change that makes it easier and more effective for many mature women to reach their health and weight loss goals. The book also highlights the health risks and drawbacks of many popular fad diets that can be harmful on a long-term basis.

Click to tweet: “I couldn’t just diet. I needed a total change in the way I ate and exercised. But how?” Eat Live Thrive Healthy Lifestyle Diet #HealthyEating #EatClean

I ordered the book and prayed. Could I finally get serious? I’d reached a point where I couldn’t just diet. I needed a total change in the way I ate and thought about food, one I could stay on until I died. 😊 I also joined a gym and saved money to hire a personal trainer for a short time to set me up a cardio and weight-training plan I can stick to.

On September 23rd, I started the first phase, which is food testing, to see how my body reacted to different foods. One note: I also ordered the healthy self-talk download and listened to it. A lot. I knew my mind needed to be retrained with positive talk that agreed with the Word of God and this was really helpful.

I went by the book as much as possible (it encourages you not to be obsessive) and finished that phase. One important part of the plan is short-term intermittent fasting. I would eat during a 12-hour period, then fast for 12-hours. I occasionally fasted longer. Next, I formulated how I would eat according to my body and started the lifestyle phase. By Thanksgiving, I’d lost 15 pounds.

Woo hoo! I’d like to say I lost more after Thanksgiving, but the temptation was strong throughout the holiday season. I had good days and bad ones, eating wise. But on January 1st, I weighed and I’d only gained back 2 lbs. So, I felt pretty good about it.

I start my new gym plan today and am back on the lifestyle phase with the fasting. And I’d like to lose 15 more pounds.

Positive results? I weigh less. I’ve lost a little over one clothing size. Food tastes so much better, mainly because I avoid processed food and sugar. I’m more mentally alert. My asthma has bothered me less than it ever has.

Not-so-positive results? Especially at the beginning, I was hungry. A lot. And I wanted to turn to sweets and carbs for comfort when I was having a tough day. It was hard not to do so. I had to really shop to find what I needed and plan meals instead of just throwing something together at the last minute.

I blew it some days. But one part of the healthy self-talk audio says. “But when I mess up, I get over it and get back on my plan quickly without frustration or guilt.” And “I desire so much more than just good taste. My body deserves the best fuel I can give it.” I remind myself that I want to be healthy, as much as I can.

I’ve found enjoyment in taking care of myself because that truly is the bottom line. Am I worth taking care of? If I don’t do it, no one will do it for me. Only I determine how much I move each day and what I choose to eat.

Writing for years to come is my goal. If I’m going to be able to do that, my lifestyle had to change. For now, it’s working for me. Will it work for you? It might. Make up your mind that writing is important and to do your best work, you need to be healthy.

Start today. You’ll be glad you did. Share something you plan to do this year for your health in the comment section below. I’d love to hear from you!

3 Questions Wednesday with Davalynn Spencer

Hello, friends of Inspired Prompt! Welcome to 2020 and our first interview of the year. We’re excited to have Davalynn Spencer with us, who holds the Will Rogers Gold Medallion for Inspirational Western Fiction.  Want to know more?

Davalynn Spencer can’t stop #lovingthecowboy. As the wife and mother of professional rodeo bullfighters, she writes romance for those who enjoy a Western tale with a rugged hero, both historical and contemporary. She teaches writing workshops and plays the keyboard on her church worship team. When she’s not writing, teaching, or playing, she’s wrangling Blue the Cowdog and mouse detectors Annie and Oakley. Learn more about Davalynn and her books at https://www.davalynnspencer.com Sign up there for her newsletter and receive a free novella.

Click to tweet: “So if writing is truly someone’s dream, I tell them to never quit. No matter what, don’t stop. Don’t let the ideas and images dry up, even if no one else reads them. Keep the words of life flowing; you’re bound to be washed and refreshed by the stream yourself.” Author Davalynn Spencer #WritingCommunity #romance

We took a moment to ask Davalynn a few questions and also about her new book…

For starters, what do you love most about the writing process? The least?

Davalynn: I take great delight in creating stories that touch a reader’s heart, and when I hear from someone who mentions a particular scene or dialogue that blessed them, well, that’s an answer to prayer.

The downside to writing is the “business” aspect of it. Authors today are expected to be the head of sales and marketing, the president of product development, and the director of distribution. I prefer to spend my time rearranging words on the page so they weave their way into readers’ hearts. But business is part of the deal.

What was the best money you ever spent as a writer concerning craft? How about marketing?

Davalynn: I am not a numbers person. Numbers are not in the alphabet, therefore I’m not a fan. However, numbers are sprinkled throughout the territory, and some of my income has been reinvested in learning the ins and outs of advertising in major markets.

However, I’d much rather invest in craft, and I do this by buying and reading well-written books and attending writers’ workshops. This is a venture that has paid off in a surprising way because now I’m teaching some of those workshops.

If you could give a novice writer one piece of advice, what would it be?

Davalynn: As a college writing professor, I tell my students to do more than make a living – make a life. It’s nice when these two sides of the career choice end up on the same coin, but it doesn’t always happen. Most writers must maintain a “day job” (or night job) so they can pursue their goal of putting words on the page that entertain, inspire, and encourage. So if writing is truly someone’s dream, I tell them to never quit. No matter what, don’t stop. Don’t let the ideas and images dry up, even if no one else reads them. Keep the words of life flowing; you’re bound to be washed and refreshed by the stream yourself.

Thanks so much, Davalynn, for dropping by!  We appreciate you offering an e-book of A High-Country Christmas: Romance Collection for one blessed person who leaves a comment…


A High-Country Christmas: Romance Collection

Two sweet tales of mishaps, memories, and emotions that test the mettle of two Western couples in the Colorado high country at Christmas.

 Just in Time for Christmas

Abigale Millerton is seventeen with a ranch to run, a fear of heights, and a cowboy intent on stealing her heart.

 Snow Angel

As a four-year-old, Lena Carver lost something precious at Christmas. Twenty years later, she’s about to lose her heart.

Purchase through Amazon an easy download or paperback edition of A High-Country Christmas: Romance Collection, click here.