3 Questions Wednesday with Jennifer Hallmark

Welcome to 3 Questions Wednesday!

I’m really excited about this week’s post since the guest is … ME! I’m a blogger and author, thrilled that my debut novel released a couple of days ago. It’s been a looooong journey but one that’s been well-worth the wait.

How will I answer our three questions now that I’m a too-good-to-be-true novelist? Read on, my friend.

Who is your favorite author?

Jennifer: I love reading and read just about any genre. I’d have to say my favorite author is James L. Rubart. I pre-order all his books. I don’t do that for anyone else, but his books are so engaging that I just can’t put one down once I get started.  His tagline is Live Free and that’s what all his novels promote.

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

Jennifer: In the first writing class I ever attended in 2006, the first question asked was “If you could write anything, what would you write?” We had a few minutes to figure it out. At the time, I’d only considered writing non-fiction. The thought of me writing a novel hadn’t really entered my mind.

I pondered for a moment, then wrote in my notebook, “I want to write an allegorical fantasy like Narnia or Lord of the Rings.” I’ve been working on this book, which I consider my magnum opus for several years now and am currently running it through a critique group. Maybe one day you’ll get to read it. 🙂

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

Jennifer: Wow. I love all my characters.  It would be a blast to hang out with Estelle Granger, the woman who creates Jessie’s wedding dress. Her quirky personality would make her so much fun to be around. We’d go eat pizza and then shop ’til we dropped…

Click to tweet: Debut novel: Jessie’s Hope by Jennifer Hallmark. Firefly Southern fiction. #BookGiveaway #amreading


June Blog Tour Giveaway Extravaganza-June 10th-June 30th

Prizes include:

  • $25 Amazon Gift Card
  • $10 Starbucks Gift Card
  • Print copy of Jessie’s Hope
  • 2 Kindle copies of Jessie’s Hope

Giveaway details: Go to my Rafflecopter Page to enter and possibly win one of five prizes to be drawn by Rafflecopter. Winners will be revealed on Jennifer’s blog on July 1st. You can only enter by visiting my June blog tour from June 10th until June 30th. My visits include:

June 13thJennifer Slattery Lives Out Loud
June 14thFavorite Friday Fiction
June 15thInspired Prompt
June 17thAuthor Trish Perry
June 17thSouthern Writers Magazine
June 18thAuthor Liz Tolsma
June 19thInspired Prompt
June 21stSnark & Sensibility/
June 24thFear Warrior
June 24thJune Foster
June 25thTrumpet Tuesdays
June 26thSeriously Write
June 28thHeartfelt, Homespun fiction/
June 29thThe Write Conversation/


Jessie’s Hope

Years ago, an accident robbed Jessie Smith’s mobility. It also stole her mom and alienated her from her father. When Jessie’s high school sweetheart Matt Jansen proposes, her parents’ absence intensifies her worry that she cannot hold on to those she loves.

With a wedding fast approaching, Jessie’s grandfather Homer Smith, has a goal to find the perfect dress for “his Jessie,” one that would allow her to forget, even if for a moment, the boundaries of her wheelchair. But financial setbacks and unexpected sabotage hinder his plans.

Determined to heal from her past, Jessie initiates a search for her father. Can a sliver of hope lead to everlasting love when additional obstacles–including a spurned woman and unpredictable weather–highjack Jessie’s dream wedding?

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Barnes and Noble


Jennifer Hallmark: I love writing, reading, and learning. 🙂

But I am so much more: Wife, Mother, Mamaw, friend and family to many,  cookie baker, LOTR marathon watcher, greeting card sender, church bulletin maker, day trip with hubby and friends taker, snowman and Golden Age of Detective Fiction book collector.

And, at the moment, binge watcher of River Monsters. Welcome to my world!

You can find me at: my website, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and my monthly newsletter.

3 Questions Wednesday with Hope Bolinger

Hope Bolinger HeadshotHappy Wednesday! Today the Inspired Prompt welcomes author, Hope Bolinger. We’re so happy you could join us. First question:

Who is your favorite author?

Hope: This is the hardest question you’re going to ask me. I think C.S. Lewis tops all others. I admire his ability to excel in multiple genres, and man, the man can’t write a bad book.

I completely agree…he can not write a bad book.  I have loved everything I have ever read of his.

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

pow-1601674_1280Hope: I love to write what-ifs. I like to take reality and twist it just slightly. What if time travel existed? What if super heroes also had to balance a school life along with their hero duties. Anything set in contemporary times where I can have fun blurring the lines of reality.

Oh how fun! I love when a book puts my imagination to work.   Now about one of your characters…

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?

Hope:  OK, let me narrow it from my books and another book.

From my book: I love my character Hannah. She just does what she wants, is incredibly quirky, blunt. I have a feeling we’d spend the day pulling pranks.

From another book: Who doesn’t love Anne of Green Gables? She has such a wild imagination, I know we’d have the afternoon full of memorizing poems, reenacting scenes of famous literature, and being dramatic.

Hannah sounds like a fun character to get to know! Thanks so much for dropping by!

Click to tweet: Author Hope Bolinger talks about favorite authors,  and a giveaway. #HopeBolinger #amwriting

Giveaway:  Make sure to leave a comment for the chance to win Hope’s latest book, Blaze.


Blaze

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If you can’t stand the heat, don’t walk into the fire.

Danny knew his sophomore year would be stressful . . . but he didn’t expect his school to burn down on the first day.

To make matters worse (and they were about to get a lot worse), he — and his three best friends — receive an email in their inboxes from the principal of their rival, King’s Academy, offering full-rides to attend the town’s prestigious boarding school. Danny wants nothing to do with King’s Academy and says no. Of course his mother says yes. So off he goes to be bullied and picked on for not being part of the popular and rich “in crowd.”

From day one at King’s, Danny encounters hazing, mocking insults from girls at the “popular and pretty” table, and cafeteria food that, for such a prestigious school, tastes as if it were purchased from a military surplus supply warehouse. If he survives, Danny will have to overcome his fears of failure, rejection, and loneliness—all while standing strong in his beliefs and walking into the fire.


Hope Bolinger HeadshotHope Bolinger is a literary agent at C.Y.L.E. and a recent graduate of Taylor University’s professional writing program. More than 300 of her works have been featured in various publications ranging from Writer’s Digest to Keys for Kids. She has worked for various publishing companies, magazines, newspapers, and literary agencies and has edited the work of authors such as Jerry B. Jenkins and Michelle Medlock Adams. Her column “Hope’s Hacks,” tips and tricks to avoid writer’s block, reaches 2,700+ readers weekly and is featured monthly on Cyle Young’s blog, which receives 63,000+ monthly hits. She is excited for her modern-day Daniel “Blaze” to come out with IlluminateYA (an imprint of Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas). She enjoys all things theater, cats, and fire.

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Website

 

3 Questions Wednesday with Ginny Cruz

ginnyGood morning! It is my pleasure to welcome award winning author Ginny Cruz to the Inspired Prompt.

Good morning, Ginny.  Let’s get started!

Who is your favorite author?

Ginny: My favorite author is Jean Auel. I’ve read many authors and this is a hard question to answer; however, I think it’s Jean. When I discovered her, she had just completed Clan of the Cave Bear, the first book in her Earth’s Children series. It was agony waiting the years between each book, but well worth the wait.

I love finding a new favorite to add to my old favorites! 

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

Ginny:  Ever since childhood, I’ve wanted to take a months-long cross-country trip and write about it. As a child, I devoured the Little House on the Prairie books and dreamed of being Laura, riding in the covered wagon across the plains. As an adult, I read and reread, Peter Jenkins’ book, A Walk Across America. Maybe it’s just my wanderlust leading me to see what’s on the other side of the hill.

I love this idea!

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

Ginny:  Again, I think I’d climb in the back of that covered wagon with Laura Ingalls and head west. We’d smell the grass lands and hear the mourning doves. Ma would cook up biscuits and bacon on the campfire and Pa would play his fiddle before bed. And, somewhere down the trail, we’d find a perfect place to build a cabin.

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Sounds like a wonderful day!  Ginny, we’re so glad you stopped by to visit. Come back soon…

Click to Tweet: Ginny Cruz talks about her books and writing today on Inspired Prompt @InspiredPrompt  #giveaway #childrensauthor #Southernfiction #Christian

Readers, Ginny is giving away one FREE autographed copy of  Mud Holes and Magnolias to one person who leaves a comment!


Mud Holes and Magnolias

unnamedMama’s family loved telling stories, especially on each other. As a child, I heard Mama and her family tell these old tales over and over. As a result, they’ve never left me. Over the years, as life dealt trials and difficulties, I’ve recalled these stories. And there, tucked away in the recesses of my memory, God showed me some lessons on faith. In this book, I’ve shared those lessons with you.


ginny

Ginny Cruz is a pediatric physical therapist and award-winning Christian author. Born and raised in Mississippi to a family of preachers, teachers, and builders, she knows a good story, a moral lesson, and a solid foundation when she sees one. Whether teaching moms how to help their children or composing a devotion, her Southern roots show. Her latest book, Mud Holes and Magnolias: Lessons on Faith from Mama’s Stories pays tribute to her spiritual heritage. More about Ginny at www.ginnycruz.com

3 Questions Wednesday with Sue Davis Potts

Happy Wednesday! Today the Inspired Prompt welcomes author, Sue Davis Potts. We’re so happy you could join us. First question:

Who is your favorite author?

Sue: I am a former preschool teacher and I love to write for children, so I love picture book authors. When I was teaching, I enjoyed Mercer Mayer’s “Little Critter” books. He captures the way children think and sound.

Now my favorite picture book author is my friend, Michelle Medlock Adams. She puts her heart into each book and in many of her books she shares Jesus in a language that kids can understand. She is also great with rhyme which makes reading her books so much fun.

I agree, Michelle is a great author.  Next question…

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

Sue: I am working on a couple of devotional books right now. One of them focuses on devotions for people that deal with fibromyalgia. I have fibromyalgia and the struggle is real. I would love to write something to encourage others that share some of the same struggles.

That is a much needed devotional. 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?

Sue: I have a fascination with Ruth in the Bible. I would love to sit down and interview her. I would ask her to tell me about her journey from Moab to Judah. I would also ask her to tell me her and Boaz’s love story and of course, I would have to ask what it was really like living with her mother-in-law.

Sounds like a fascinating day. Thanks so much for dropping by!

Click to tweet: Author Sue Davis Potts talks about writing and a giveaway. #childrensbooks #amwriting

Sue will give away a print copy of her book, 101 Life Lessons from Uno. (US entries only)  Leave a comment below to be entered in the drawing…


101 Life Lessons from Uno

Life is full of teachable moments. Meeting Uno was that kind of moment. Uno’s accident had left him with a disability. He was challenged but he was still present, still making his way in the world. He still had value and many lessons to teach those who would learn. Whether disabled or not, we all face struggles. It’s how we handle those struggles that matters. Uno healed and moved on. If a one- legged duck overcame so can you. Be encouraged by Uno’s one leg, one life, and many lessons.


 Sue Davis Potts is a freelance writer from Huntingdon, Tennessee. She is mother to her beautiful, college age daughter, Jessa.

She enjoys writing for both children and adults. She has been published in several anthologies and magazines including Focus on the Family’s Clubhouse, Clubhouse Jr., and Ideals.

Her blog, Potts Pages, can be found on her website, http://www.suedavispotts.com. Her book, 101 Life Lessons From Uno (The One-Legged Duck), is available on Amazon.

Mantle Rock Publishing – Kathy Cretsinger

Mantle Rock Publishing, LLC, is a family owned Christian publishing company. The company is owned by Kathy and Jerry Cretsinger. When I asked Kathy for an interview, she graciously accepted, though she was quite busy at the time. If you visit their website, you’ll find a friendly, welcoming vibe. Somewhat like the feeling you get when you enter a love-filled home or a family-owned business where they know your name and truly care about you.

♦ Kathy, please tell us a bit about yourself, how and why you started a publishing company.

Kathy Cretsinger: I am a wife, mother, grandmother, and step-great-grandmother. My husband and I are both from East Tennessee. We’ve been married for 56 years, and we’re still counting. After our parents passed away, we wanted to live closer to our children. Our daughter lives in Nashville, TN, and our son lives in Benton, KY. We’re not big city people, so we decided to buy a small farm in Benton. In 2012 we published our first book. We knew of authors who were having a hard time publishing their book, and I was enduring the same thing. We started Mantle Rock Publishing to publish only my books, but other people wanted us to publish theirs. It has grown from two books to a lot more.

♦ That’s wonderful. Fifty-six years! So, Mantle Rock, that’s an interesting name. Is there a story behind it?

Kathy: There is a story behind it. Mantle Rock is between Paducah and Hopkinsville, KY. During the Trail of Tears, the Cherokees spent the winter at Mantle Rock until the ice thawed and they could cross the river. There is a big granite rock that looks like a mantle over a fireplace. The Cherokees camped in the field.

When we began thinking of a name for the company, we thought about Mantle Rock. The mantle there covered some of the Cherokees like a mantel of love covers us from God. We try to cover our authors with our love for them and their writing.

Our mission is to help first-time writers publish their book. A new author will have her book edited, and they’ll learn about the new grammar rules, how to format their book, and how to market it. All aspects of a good author. We guide them through the publishing process. Of course we do not take every author, but we do concentrate on first-time authors.

♦ How great that first-time writers will know their “baby” will be so well cared for.  Mantle Rock has published a good number of books, and some of your authors have been guests on our blog at one time. I know you can’t play favorites, but is there a standout among your published books? And/or a most surprising success?

Kathy: I don’t have favorites, but some authors pull on your heartstrings. In 2014 we published A Most Precious Gift by Jacqueline Wheelock. We worked to get it out before her sister passed from cancer. We made it by about two weeks. Jacqueline did not use Facebook, Twitter, any social media, and did not have a website. She began telling everyone about her book. Word of mouth works very well. Even today when Jacqueline goes on a trip we get an increase in her sales. My husband will come in my office and say, “Jacqueline must have traveled someplace. She’s sold X number of books.” She is our top seller today. She still doesn’t use Facebook or Twitter. She talks her book up. I’d love to have more people be energetic about their books. She’s been on Amazon’s #1 Top Seller in both regular books and Black American Romance. It’s such a good book. It still sells well today, after five years.

♦ Now, that’s a great success story and very encouraging to those who are media-challenged. 🙂 Congratulations, Jacqueline. What catches your eye in a proposal or a manuscript?

Kathy: A manuscript that is well written, punctuation is correct, and the story is one that I don’t want to put down.

♦ Right. That’s exactly the type of book I like to read. After the contract is signed, what is a realistic publishing timeline?

Kathy: At this time we are looking at a year or a little more. All of 2019 is full, and we have just filled all of 2020. If we get something we cannot resist, we will find a place next year. We want to keep it a little slower and try to get better manuscripts.

♦ That’s understandable. Quality vs. quantity makes sense. Let’s talk about compromise – how much is too much; how much is too little, on the part of either party. 

Kathy: We need books to sell. If the author won’t work on sales, they will get their rights returned. I hate to do that, but that is business. Too much? Refusing to market their books and wanting all of the commission we receive. Also not respecting our time.

♦ Good answer, Kathy. That brings your role as a publisher into focus. Your hard work up front delivers the finished product, but it’s not your job to sell that product. Your return on investment is at stake, even if that investment is labor only. Knowing this upfront can help weed out those who are not interested in doing the hard work of marketing.

♦ What is the danger you see in following trends versus following the Lord’s leading and what is your advice to writers who are passionate about their message?

Kathy: Several of our authors write feeling they have a mission to share God’s love. I also know it offends some people. I had a review on my first book. The reviewer said, “If I’d known it had so much religion in it, I wouldn’t have bought it.” That made me stop and think. Could a book be written showing God’s love, but not talk a lot about God’s saving power? Several of our books go into Clean Fiction. No preachy, but comfortable in God’s love. I’d tell any author to write what their heart tells them.

♦ Thanks for saying that. In your opinion, at what point should a writer say, this is one for self-publishing? 

Kathy: When no company will pick up your book, maybe it’s time to self-publish.

♦ What types of materials are accepted by your company?

Kathy: Christian – Romance, Romantic Suspense, Cozy Mysteries, Suspense, Historical Romance, Historical Romantic Suspense. At this time we are not accepting anymore Fantasy manuscripts, except from our contracted authors. We have three who write Fantasy for us, and we can’t take anymore.

♦ Please let our readers know how to submit a proposal to Mantle Rock.

Kathy: You can submit directly on the website, or you can send it to me kathy@mantlerockpublishingllc.com. Please email your submission. Do not send the whole manuscript but only what we ask for.

♦ Is there anything you would like to add regarding submissions at this point?

Kathy: I would add to put Proposal in your subject line. Make it as perfect as you can. Read it aloud before you send it.

♦ How can writers pray for their publishers/for publishers in general?

Kathy: Pray that they will keep God first in their publishing. Pray that we will be honest in our dealings with our authors. It’s a big world out there, and we want to treat everyone equal.

♦ I love that. What is a good metaphor for the writer/publisher relationship and how can writers strive to make that relationship the best it can be?

Kathy: The one thing our authors say about us is, “we are family.” Most of the authors encourage each other, help in any way they can, and congratulate each when an accomplishment is made. We get to know each other.

CLICK TO TWEET: The one thing our authors say about us is, “we are family.”–Kathy Cretsinger, Mantle Rock Publishing LLC #publishing #writing #CleanReads via @InspiredPrompt

♦ Thank you so much for taking time out of your busy schedule to answer our questions.

Kathy: Thank you for interviewing me. I’ve enjoyed answering the questions, and I pray I have helped some writers in their journey of writing. I love working with authors, and I enjoy what I do. If anyone has any questions about Mantle Rock Publishing, I will be happy to answer them. Thanks again.

Click Photo to visit Mantle Rock Publishing LLC


♦ A special note of thanks to Kristy Horine, for the excellent questions used in this interview.