3 Questions Wednesday with Cynthia Herron

ch-7888-copyIt is my privilege to welcome Cynthia Herron to 3 Questions Wednesday. I met her at the ACFW conference in Nashville. I was slightly terrified as a first-time attender and she was nice enough to take time and calm my fears. Thanks again, Cynthia.

So how did she answer our 3 questions? Let’s find out–

What books have fortified you as a writer? How?

Cynthia: Ahh, that’s such a tough question because there are so many wonderful stories that have inspired and encouraged me. Francine Rivers’ Redeeming Love remains a life-changer. The message of this beautiful portrayal of Christ-like love and sacrifice forever shaped my view of humanity.

The Reason by William Sirls is also a favorite. It resonates for so many reasons, but particularly because it challenges us to think about life in a different context and what’s possible if we “only believe.” (Film production of this book wrapped several months ago and it will be released in 2017. Looking forward to that!)

Keeper non-fiction titles that grace my bookshelves include: Don Maas’s Writing the Breakout Novel and James Scott Bell’s Plot and Structure, Revision and Self-Editing for Publication, and Writing Fiction for All You’re Worth. Additional shelf space includes The Chicago Manual of Style by the University of Chicago Press, The First Five Pages by Noah Lukeman, Writing Tools by Roy Peter Clark, Ann Lamott’s Bird by Bird, several Susan May Warren keepers, and ohh so many others!

Some great reads I’ve enjoyed and a few I haven’t read. Now…

What secret talents do you have?

Cynthia: Hmm. Not too secret, but I used to play the hand bells at church.

That is such a cool talent! Last question:

If we came to your house for dinner, what would you prepare for us?

Cynthia: Oh, my goodness! That’s easy. Ozarkian home-cookin’, for sure. We’d start off with a butter lettuce salad (including home grown tomatoes, cucumbers, and sweet peppers from area farmers’ markets), and for the main course I’d whip up chicken fried steak, mashed potatoes with thick, cream gravy, and probably fried okra or maybe zucchini. Ohh, and let’s not forget the homemade angel biscuits. Mmm! For dessert we’d indulge in simple fare—chocolate pie with whipped cream or maybe Heaven in a Cloud angel food cake. Nothing too fancy—just plain, ol’ delish!

And to make you feel really at home, I’d even let you wash a dish or two.  🙂

Thanks so much, sweet Jennifer, for inviting me over today! *Waves to all your lovely readers*

I will. And I’m ready for a road trip to your house 🙂 Thanks for stopping by, Cynthia!

Cynthia is graciously offering a $25 Amazon gift card for the giveaway. Please leave a comment to be entered for this great prize!

ch-7888-copy Cynthia Herron writes Heartfelt, Homespun Fiction from the beautiful Ozark Mountains.

A hopeless romantic at heart, Cynthia enjoys penning stories about ordinary people facing extraordinary circumstances. She has a degree in psychology and a background in social work. She is a member of ACFW, ACFW MozArks, and RWA.

Cynthia is a 2016 ACFW Genesis (Double) Finalist and a 2015 ACFW First Impressions Winner. Her short story Words from the Heart appears in The Story Anthology (Karen Kingsbury/Family Fiction) via Salem Publications, 2014.

In addition to writing, Cynthia delights in serving the Lord and spending time with family and friends. She has a fondness for gingerbread men, miniature teapots, and all things apple.  🙂

Please sign up for Cynthia’s monthly newsletter at: http://www.authorcynthiaherron.com/ and join her on the blog for weekly encouragement. You can also connect with Cynthia here:




3 Questions Wednesday with Gail Pallotta

portrait-shot-gail-pallotta-1Today we welcome award-winning author, Gail Pallotta, to the Writing Prompts Blog.

Glad you dropped by, Gail! First question:

What books have fortified you as a writer? How?

Gail: Two books on writing techniques lay by my computer, Revision & Self-Editing by James Scott Bell, and The Fire in Fiction by Donald Maass. Either of them can rescue me when I’m stuck in my current WIP.

I’ve used Mr. Bell’s book to assist with plot, character development, spicing up dialogue and adding emotions, especially using metaphors. I love poetry, so when I read that poetic devices could illustrate a character’s emotions, I grew so excited at first I salt and peppered my pages with them. I use them more sparingly now.

A friend recommended The Fire in Fiction, especially the chapter, “Tension All the Time.” I learned a lot from it about creating conflict with opposites. I read it when I find what Mr. Maass calls a low-tension scene. Re-phrased that’s when I’m proofreading my manuscript and get bored. Then I turn to the section in that chapter called “Tension Where There Is None.”

Sounds like two great books! Now…

What secret talents do you have?

Gail: I can moonwalk. Yep, not quite as well as Michael Jackson did, but I can do it.

That’s so cool. Dancing isn’t my forte…

If we came to your house for dinner, what would you prepare for us?

Gail: I come from a long line of Southern cooks. I’ve expanded my recipe books over the years to include Italian dishes, seafood and quite a few other culinary delights. However, if you came to visit, if you wanted a taste of the South, I’d serve my mother’s macaroni and cheese mixed with equal amounts of noodles and cheese and topped with extra cheese. We often combine cheddar, Colby and Monterey Jack. I’d pressure cook fresh pole beans and boil them until all the water’s gone and fry flounder. We don’t deep fat fry, but add a thin coating of batter to the fish, place it in a pan with just enough oil to cover the bottom and cook it on medium or low-to-medium heat.

Wow. I’m impressed. And hungry. Thanks, Gail, for the visit!

Gail has offered to give away a print copy of Barely Above Water. Please leave a comment to be entered…


Barely Above Water

An illness comes out of nowhere and strikes Suzie Morris. Her barelyabovewaterboyfriend dumps her. She has no living family, and her physician can’t diagnose the malady. Suzie relies on her Christian faith as she faces the uncertainty of the disease, and turns to a renowned alternative doctor in Destin, Florida. She takes a job coaching a county-sponsored summer swim team. She’s determined to turn the fun, sometimes comical, rag-tag bunch into winners. Her handsome boss renews her belief in love, but learns of her mysterious affliction and abruptly cuts romantic ties. Later he has regrets, but can he overcome his fear of losing a loved one and regain Suzie’s trust?

portrait-shot-gail-pallotta-1Award-winning author Gail Pallotta’s a wife, mom, swimmer and bargain shopper who loves God, beach sunsets and getting together with friends and family. A former regional writer of the year for American Christian Writers Association, she won Clash of the Titles in 2010. Her teen book, Stopped Cold, was a best-seller on All Romance eBooks, finished fourth in the Preditors and Editors readers’ poll, and was a finalist for the 2013 Grace Awards. She’s published five books, poems, short stories and two-hundred articles. Some of her articles appear in anthologies while two are in museums. Gail loves to connect with readers on her website at http://www.gailpallotta.com; her blog, http://www.gailpallotta.blogspot.com; Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/AuthorsandMore and twitter, https://mobile.twitter.com/Hopefulwords

3 Questions Wednesday with Jordyn Redwood

Jordyn-35eWelcome back to 3 Questions Wednesday, Jordyn Redwood. She was the first author we interviewed way back when we started 3 Questions Wednesday. 🙂 Jordyn is a pediatric ER nurse by day, suspense novelist by night.

So let’s get to the first question:

What books have fortified you as a writer? How?

Jordyn: I have a TON of writing/craft books on hand. I usually gravitate toward anything written by James Scott Bell or Donald Maass. My favorite Donald Maass book is The Breakout Novelist: Craft and Strategies for Career Fiction Writers. I don’t know how to explain this book, but every page is sage writing advice. Most recently, the book I have absolutely loved the most was Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert. This is sound writing advice for everyone actively pursuing a career in the arts though, since Elizabeth is an author, writers are the focus of this book. What I loved about Big Magic is that it dispels many of the myths we have about writing—like you can only write when inspired, or you have to go into debt to fulfill your dreams. It’s the one writing book that I have gifted to several other writers.

Those sound like some helpful books. I’ll have to check them out. Now…

What secret talents do you have?

Jordyn: I’m an avid cross-stitcher and quilter. That’s what I do when I want to relax.

I’ve always wanted to learn how to quilt 🙂

If we came to your house for dinner, what would you prepare for us?

Jordyn: Hmm, this is a tough question since I am not the cook in my family. First, I’d probably ask if my husband was available to cook something fabulous. If not, I might consider a very laid back endeavor like pizza delivery, but if I wanted to impress (which of course I would!) it would be lasagna, garlic bread, with a nice salad and red velvet cake for dessert.

You can never fail with lasagna. Thanks so much for dropping by!

Jordyn is ready to bless one person who leaves a comment with a print copy of her latest book, Fractured Memory.

Fractured MemoryUnited States marshal Eli Cayne saved Julia Galloway’s life once…and he’s prepared to do it again. But his task would be easier if she could remember him—or the murderer who almost put her in an early grave and seems to be hunting her once more. To protect Julia from the latest threat against her life, Eli has to consider the possibility that he put an innocent man in jail. Julia has no memories of the serial killer called the Hangman, though, and no reason to trust Eli. But with the killer getting closer, she must work with Eli to confront her past—and the feelings growing between them.

Jordyn-35eJordyn Redwood is a pediatric ER nurse by day, suspense novelist by night. She hosts Redwood’s Medical Edge, a blog devoted to helping contemporary and historical authors write medically accurate fiction. Her first two novels, Proof and Poison, garnered starred reviews from Library Journal. Proof was shortlisted for the 2012 ForeWord Review’s BOTY Award, 2013 INSPY Award and the 2013 Carol Award. Her latest novel, Fractured Memory, released July, 2016. You can connect with Jordyn via Facebook, Twitter,Pinterest and her website.

3 Questions Wednesday with Jennifer Hallmark

IMG_6336-300Today’s 3 Questions Wednesday guest is Writing Prompts’  founder and editor-in-chief, Jennifer Hallmark.

Welcome to 3 Questions, Jennifer. You know the drill–

What books have fortified you as a writer? How?

Jennifer: Right now, three books are my go-to reads. These are not so much craft books as they are encouragement for writers.

First, like Edie Melson said last week, I love James Scott Bell’s book, The Art of War for Writers.  When I am discouraged and want to quit for the hundredth time, I flip it open and remind myself that it’s not easy but it’s what I want to do. I read it at least once a  year.

Next is The Audacity to be a Writer compiled by Bryan Hutchinson. It’s a collection of 50 articles from his blog, Positive Writer, and others. It’s refreshing and inspiring.

The third book is one that helped me as much as any I’ve ever read. Unleash the Writer Within by Cecil Murphy changed the way I looked at writing. It gave me permission to go to that elusive next level by learning that being myself when I write is not only okay but essential.

Wow, those all sound like must-reads. I agree that we writers need positive encouragement and inspiration to keep the creative fires burning. Next question:

What secret talents do you have?

Jennifer: Art in all forms. I actually attended college to major in art. I love cartooning, all types of needlework, and cake decorating. Being creative in artsy ways is very relaxing for me. 🙂

I have always admired artists and their beautiful creations.  How blessed you are to have that gift! I can join you only in cake decorating–that’s as artistic as I can get. And speaking of that…

If we came to your house for dinner, what would you prepare for us?

Jennifer: I’d make sure my husband, Danny, was off work so he could grill for you: chicken, thick pork chops, or a T-bone steak. I’d boil some fresh potatoes from the garden and fry squash and green tomatoes. Oh, and don’t forget the black-eyed peas. Add in a pan of cornbread and sweet tea and we’ll have a feast, southern-style. For dessert, I’d make a blackberry or peach cobbler, depending which you’d rather have. You can go here for my simple recipe. And top it off with homemade vanilla ice cream.

What time is dinner served? Count me in for that southern feast–my mouth’s already watering.  And I vote for peach cobbler, please. Sounds delicious!

Jennifer is offering a $10 Amazon gift card to one blessed person who leaves a comment. That way, you can buy plenty of books for summer reading…

Not AloneNot Alone: A Literary and Spiritual Companion for Those Confronted with Infertility and Miscarriage

Our society understands how terrible the loss of a child is when that child is out of the womb, but what about when a child dies before birth? Or what about the emptiness that comes when a very-much-wanted child is never even conceived?

These quiet, private losses are hard for those who have not experienced them to understand. And these losses leave those who have suffered them feeling alone in their grief.

Not Alone: A Literary and Spiritual Companion for Those Confronted with Infertility and Miscarriage is a resource both for those who have suffered through these experiences and for their friends and relatives, who want to understand what their loved ones are going through.

This collection contains true stories that are:

  • sensitive, and yet honest
  • angry and raw, but not despairing
  • unique, and yet relatable

The contributors to this book are male and female, old and young, some who eventually had children and some who never did, and yet despite their differences, they share a common grief and a common faith.

No experience of miscarriage, infant loss, or infertility is like any other, yet by reading these painful and hope-filled stories, you’ll be comforted by knowing there are others who understand the journey you’re on, the loss you’ve suffered, and you will find that even though your loss is uniquely yours, you are not alone.

Jennifer HallmarkJennifer Hallmark is a writer of Southern fiction and also fantasy; a combination that keeps the creative juices flowing. She’s published over 200 articles and interviews on the internet, short stories in several magazines, and been part of four book compilations: A Dozen Apologies, Sweet Freedom A La Mode, Unlikely Merger, and Not Alone: A Literary and Spiritual Companion for Those Confronted with Infertility and Miscarriage.

When she’s not working in the garden or keeping the grandkids, you can find her at:







3 Questions Wednesday with Edie Melson

Edie MelsonPlease welcome Edie Melson—author, speaker and blogger—a leading professional within the writing industry–to 3 Questions Wednesday.  Her popular blog for writers, The Write Conversation, reaches thousands each month.

So how did she answer our 3 Questions? Read on–

What books have fortified you as a writer? How?

Edie: There are so many great books out there, it’s really hard to choose just three. But for me, the first one is easy, the Bible. I know, I’m a Christian who’s a writer so I’m supposed to say that, but reasons go deeper than you may think.

First, the Bible is great literature. By that I mean it’s well-written, compelling, inspiring, and has stood the test of time. In it I find examples of how to tell compelling stories (fiction) how to inspire and encourage my readers (non-fiction) even write poetry. Everything we need is in this one single volume.

Second, it’s almost always grammatically correct. Yes, there are some comma issues, but hey, no one agrees on those rules. What I’m talking about is the hard stuff, like how to use lay and lie, and when to use who and when to use whom. Every example I need is at my fingertips.

Third, and most important, it’s my inspiration. When I doubt my calling, the words from God are right there. When I struggle with discipline, the kick-in-the-pants I need is staring me in my face. It’s a personal letter of why I write, to whom I’m writing, and for Whom I’m writing.

The second book I’d choose is anything every written from James Scott Bell. I am such a fan-girl when it comes to his books on craft. I love his short ebooks and his others. But the one I like best is the Art of War for Writers. There is just so much knowledge, inspiration, and practical help that I find myself returning to it again and again.

The third book is a new one, Story Trumps Structure: How to Write Unforgettable Fiction by Breaking the Rules by Steven James. After seven nonfiction books, my first novel comes out later this year and this book has been my foundation as I’ve made it the best it can be. Also, he has a new book on writing coming out soon and I’m sure it will join my favorite’s shelf.

Great choices! And I can’t wait to read your debut novel…

What secret talents do you have?

Edie: For years, I’ve been a professional-level crafter. I actually began my publishing career as an instruction writer for the craft book company, Leisure Arts, Inc.. I was featured as a needlepoint and cross stitch designer in a five-page spread in McCalls magazine in 1994. I’ve won awards for my quilts, and I’m a master-level lace tatting instructor.

Wow. I’m impressed. 🙂 Last question:

If we came to your house for dinner, what would you prepare for us?

Edie: I love to cook and entertain, although my dinner parties tend to take place on my back screened-in porch, lit with twinkle lights and candles. My focus is on fun and visiting, rather than silver and china. The thing I love to cook the most is Tex-Mex. I grew up in Texas, and I love to show off the recipes I’ve developed myself. I’d start with homemade guacamole, move on to a black bean side dish, add fresh grilled veggies. Then, for the main entre, I’d serve my own special beef and chicken enchiladas. We’d finish up simple, with brownies and ice cream. Nothing fancy, but we’d laugh a lot, share stories, and get to know each other better.

I’m a Chinet girl myself. Bring on the guacamole…

Edie has graciously offered an autographed copy of While My Child Is Away to one person who leaves a comment. It could be you…

While My Child is Away CoverWhile My Child Is Away: My Prayers For When We are Apart

Parents and children are separated for many reasons: divorce, school, camp, even work. It might be for just a few days or indefinitely. These prayers give voice to all that you are hoping for your child when you can t be the one to meet their needs. Prayers of blessings, protection, instruction and grace. Or prayers for those around your child to choose wisely, see their needs, and love them as you would. Prayers for friends, teachers, coaches and mentors to step in and fill every need. Knowing that a loving Father God is caring for your child, even when you can’t, gives you the peace and assurance that all will be well.

Edie MelsonEdie Melson—author, blogger, speaker—has written numerous books, including her upcoming book, While My Child is Away, Prayers for When We’re Apart. This is the next in the prayer series after While My Soldier Serves, Prayers for Those with Loved Ones in the Military. She’s also the military family blogger at Guideposts.org.

Her popular blog for writers, The Write Conversation, reaches thousands each month, and she’s the director of the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference. Connections: Social Media & Networking Techniques for Writers is a print expansion of her bestselling ebook on social media. She’s the Social Media Mentor at My Book Therapy, the Social Media Director for Southern Writers Magazine, and the Senior Editor for NovelRocket.com. Connect with her on Twitter and Facebook.