3 Questions Wednesday with Betty Thomason Owens

Betty Thomason Owens

It is my pleasure to be back on 3 Questions Wednesday for three very good reasons.

  1. I’m celebrating the release of another book.
  2. I’m a co-founder of the Inspired Prompt blog.
  3. I helped come up with the three questions.

Okay, maybe those are more like confessions. Anyway, I’ve been looking forward to this day for several months, mainly because I wanted to answer the questions. So, here goes.

First question: Who is your favorite author?

I’m going to veer away from my usual answer of one of the classic authors. When I read historical fiction, my absolute favorite is fellow Kentucky author,  Ann Gabhart. Her stories are rich with history and heart. You can’t help getting all wrapped up them.

Yes, I am also a fan of Ann Gabhart. Mom has a bookshelf full of her books as well, and no, I am not trying to win brownie points with Mrs. Gabhart. 🙂

Let’s move on to the next question–

You’ve been chosen to write a biography about your favorite historical person. Who would that be?

It may surprise you to know that at one time, Amelia Earhart was my favorite historical person. I read everything I could get my hands on about her life. I watched the movies, and used to fantasize that she had somehow survived her flight into the Bermuda Triangle, and was still alive somewhere. Possibly on a deserted isle, happily hidden from the newshounds.

I’m not surprised by your answer. I remember all those biographies gleaned from the school libraries over the years. I believe we wrote a report once and made an A+ on it. So, next question: If you could spend time with a character from your book whom would it be? And what would you do during that day?

Oh, I would definitely spend a sunny day with Annabelle, working in her garden, listening to her sing as we work. She’d bake my favorite cookies and tell wonderful stories about her growing up years in Trenton, Tennessee. I fashioned her character after my grandma and her sister-in-law, Lona Wade, so I know her rather well. Sometimes, I long to hear their voices again. They echo in my mind and bring me great joy that I knew them and was loved by them.

I love Annabelle. She’s my favorite character in the Kinsman Redeemer series. Thanks for the interview, Betty. Anything else you’d like to say?

Yes! Join me tonight (6 – 8 pm EDT) for a Facebook Launch Party! If you don’t have time or you’re busy tonight, you can pop in at any time over the next week. There are prizes to win (no purchase necessary). Just click on “Going” to let me know you were there. Thanks so much! Here’s the link to the Event Page: https://www.facebook.com/events/2872476632767489/ If you’re not on Facebook, you can still enter to win prizes via the “Contact Me” tab on my website. You’ll find it here: https://bettythomasonowens.com/contact/


A 1950’s Clean & Wholesome Romance! – Annabelle’s Joy

She’s waited too long.

When Tom proposed last year, Annabelle wasn’t ready to open her heart to another man. Pain still held a thin crust around it. Time has healed her heart, but with a new woman in town, one who clearly has her sights set on Tom, does it matter if Annabelle’s heart is ready to love again?

Folks in town are keeping a close eye on their pharmacist, hoping to be the first to hear the good news. He’s been courting the widow Cross for nigh on two years now. Annabelle Cross better wake up and put her dancing shoes on. Mr. Tom is prime real estate.

Drift back into the simple, country life of Tennessee in 1957 with this sequel to award-winning ANNABELLE’S RUTH.


Betty Thomason Owens loves being outdoors. Her favorite season is spring, when she can work in the yard or take long walks while thinking through a troublesome scene in one of her stories. She considers herself a word-weaver, writing stories that touch the heart. She leads the Louisville Area ACFW group, serves on the board of the Kentucky Christian Writers Conference, and is a co-founder of the multi-author Inspired Prompt blog. Married forty-four years, she’s a mother of three, and a grandmother of eight. A part-time bookkeeper at her day-job, she writes for Write Integrity Press, and has eight novels in publication. You can learn more about her at BettyThomasonOwens.com. Connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and at Inspired Prompt.

Jessie’s Hope by Jennifer Hallmark

Good morning, friends! Thank you for joining us on this lovely Saturday. We’re excited to have Inspired Prompt co-founder Jennifer Hallmark talking about her debut novel. Let’s begin!

Tell us a little about yourself.

Jennifer:  Well, I’m a 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 most exciting of all at the moment, DEBUT AUTHOR. 🙂

What do you love most about the writing process?

Jennifer:  I love it when I have an idea and get in the “flow” of writing. I can’t type fast enough to keep up with my train of thought. I also enjoy going back and editing my work to make it the best it can be.

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

Jennifer:  At the moment, I’ve almost finished the sequel to Jessie’s Hope and have ideas for a third book. I also have two other Southern fiction stories started.

Since I love fantasy, I’ve also written a hundred thousand word fantasy that I’m editing with a book two partly written.

To answer your question, way too many…

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

Jennifer:  Be careful when you pay someone to “help” you. I didn’t always spend my money wisely in the past. I also would’ve joined a writing group and went to a writing conference much earlier in my career. There’s nothing like having friends in the writing business.

What are common traps for aspiring writers?

Jennifer:  

  • Scams that seem to be the real thing. 
  • Thinking your writing doesn’t need editing.
  • Giving up too easily.
  • Not trying out many different types of writing.
  • Not turning to friends for help.

What does literary success look like to you?

Jennifer(1) Learning to enjoy the journey. Too often in my life I’ve focused on goals and missed the wonder during the trip.

(2) Earning the publisher back their money. I want to be a good steward of what’s been entrusted to me.

Future Projects or WIP you can talk about?

Jennifer:  I’m editing the sequel to Jessie’s Hope and also am sending my fantasy through the Word Weaver’s critique group, Page 20.

Great advice and thanks for stopping by today!

Click to Tweet: Author Jennifer Hallmark shares her writing advice, debut novel, and encouragment #amwriting  #Southern @InspiredPrompt

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 the author’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 24thAuthor June 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?

Amazon

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Jennifer Hallmark writes Southern fiction and her website, Alabama-Inspired Fiction, and the group blog, Inspired Prompt, she co-founded, focus on her books, love of the South, and helping writers. She’s published 200+ internet articles and interviews, short stories in several magazines, and has co-authored three book compilations. Her debut novel, Jessie’s Hope, will release in June of 2019.

When she isn’t babysitting or gardening, you can find her at her desk writing fiction or working on one of her two blogs.  She also loves reading detective fiction from the Golden Age and viewing movies like LOTR or Star Wars. Sometimes you can even catch her watching American Ninja Warrior.

Visit Jennifer at her blogFacebookFB author pageTwitterPinterest, and her Amazon page.

What Genre Is This Book, Anyway?

By Nike N. Chillemi

Blood Speaks, Cover

All you have to do is look at the cover and it’s plain to see that BLOOD SPEAKS is a Christmas mystery. The title screams mystery novel and there’s a Christmas wreath on a Christmas red cover. Well, that still begs the question, is it a Christmas novel or a mystery novel?

This conundrum has been cleared up somewhat by calling these types of novels Mixed-Genre, or Cross-Genre, or Blended-Genre. 

The old adage was that genre fiction had to fit neatly into an easily recognizable single category: romance, mystery, historical, science fiction, fantasy, horror, etc. Today, the lines are fading and elements of one genre are blending into one another.

In the past brick-and-mortar world, staying within a specific genre was necessary because the bookstore needed to know on what shelf to place the novel. And shelves were labeled by genre. Pretty much, they still are. However, today a novel can be listed in one blog’s mystery favorites and another’s paranormal favs. books-2596809_1280

So, what genre is BLOOD SPEAKS? First of all, it’s Christian fiction. It took the first two novels in the series for Veronica “Ronnie” Ingels to become comfortable in her relationship with the Lord. Now that she is, BLOOD SPEAKS opens with Ronnie and her BFFs on a bridal shopping trip to that one special bridal shop in the snow-covered Maryland mountains. Ronnie and Taylor County, Texas sheriff’s deputy, Lt. Dawson Hughes, have a wedding date set.

Then, that begs the question with all this bridal shopping going on, is this a mystery or a romantic suspense? Ronnie is a private detective and Dawson is a sworn detective. So, is this a detective novel? I tend to think of the series as three detective stories, but that’s a mystery sub-genre. I also think the series has a strong love story element. Not only are Ronnie and Dawson falling in love, but Ronnie’s best friend and Christian mentor, Bertha, has fallen in love with a Gabby Hayes look-alike. Bertha is the sweetest fifty-plus, plus-size Christian lady. Many fans of the series instantly fall in love with her.

Then again, since this novel is set in a quaint holiday decorated village in December, is it a Christmas story? Well, the answer is BLOOD SPEAKS falls squarely into the mystery category. The story is driven by the need the heroine and hero have to find the killer. It also fits neatly into the detective story sub-genre and it has strong romance elements. Then it veers outside of the box with a strong secondary character who is a lovely plus-size widow who falls into her own fifty-plus love story. And, yes, it is also a Christmas mystery.

I guess we have to say BLOOD SPEAKS is mixed, crossed, and blended.

Click to Tweet:  Today, the lines are fading and elements of one genre are blending into one another. #Mystery #amreading #Mixed-Genre 

Writing prompt:  This time there would be no witnesses.


Moi 2017 Ponte Vedre LibraryNike N. Chillemi writes contemporary detective and/or suspense novels with a touch of wry humor, and there’s often a national security twist to them. She likes her bad guys really bad, her good guys smarter and better, and a touch of the comedic. Her newest endeavor is COURTING DANGER.

Nike is the founding board member of the Grace Awards and its Chair, a reader’s choice awards for excellence in Christian fiction. She has been a judge in the 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2016, and 2017 Carol Awards in the suspense, mystery, and romantic suspense categories; and an Inspy Awards 2010 judge in the Suspense/Thriller/Mystery category. Her four novel Sanctuary Point series (out of print), set in the mid-1940s has finaled, won an award, and garnered critical acclaim. The first novel in the Veronica “Ronnie” Ingels/Dawson Hughes series HARMRUL INTENT won in the Grace Awards 2014 Mystery/Romantic Suspense/Thriller/Historical Suspense category. She has written book reviews for The Christian Pulse online magazine. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and John 3:16 Marketing Network.

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Genre Month: True Southern Fiction

By Jennifer Hallmark

The woods are full of regional writers, and it is the great horror of every serious Southern writer that he will become one of them.” Flannery O’Connor

The Deep South: South Carolina, Georgia, Mississippi, Louisiana, and of course, Alabama. That’s the definition I found online. Some added in Tennessee, North Carolina, Arkansas, Texas, and Florida—but everyone knows Florida isn’t too Southern since its population is from everywhere.

Why is this information important on a genre-based post? Look at Flannery O’Connor’s quote again. Anyone can write a book and throw some Southern lingo and sweet tea into it and call the work Southern fiction. To me, fiction of that sort is more of what O’Connor calls a regional book.

True Southern fiction has to be lived. One must mingle with the people of the Deep South, taste black-eyed peas, embrace the aroma of jambalaya, the texture of freshly picked cotton, the humidity, the Bible belt, and the redneck. Southern fiction is about family, not just one generation but how our ancestors shape each and every character.

You must be able to write in such a way where it’s not like reading about a foreign country, for those who’ve never set a foot below Kentucky. It must have its own flavor but be relatable. One must be able to feel the emotions and live the story as if it could happen to them. Readers need to feel the sweat, swat the mosquitos, and relish the fried okra right along with the characters.


Only then do you have a story that is immersed in the culture. That’s the kind of Southern fiction I read.

 

New to Southern fiction? Classic writers include:

And some of my favorites are authors I call friends:

Check out any and all of these to put an overall face and voice to the South. And don’t miss my debut Southern fiction release, Jessie’s Hope, releasing on June 15, 2019, published by Firefly Southern Fiction.

Click to Tweet:  Southern fiction is about family, not just one generation but how our ancestors shape each and every character. #South #amreading

Writing prompt: Dixie grabbed a red solo cup and filled it with sweet tea. She made her way through the church fellowship hall toward…

Still Waters by Lindsey Brackett

I’m so happy to welcome Southern fiction author, Lindsey Brackett, to our blog. Lindsey is a general editor with Firefly Southern Fiction, an imprint of LPC Books. In addition, she writes a popular column for several North Georgia newspapers.  So what’s she up to these days? Promoting her debut novel, Still Waters

Tell us a little about yourself and your background.

Lindsey:  I’m a former middle school teacher who always wanted to be a writer. When I started blogging in 2010, finally letting others read my words, the response was so encouraging, I left teaching to stay home and raise babies in 2011. This book had been in the back of my mind for a decade, little bits written here and there, but no doubt it wouldn’t be the book it is now if I hadn’t taken such a roundabout way to writing. I’ve been a MOPS coordinator, I direct and act in plays at the community theater (that’s my college background—theater), and I often volunteer at the local schools to talk about writing.. and wrangle the theater kids because I do love that stage.

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

Lindsey: I keep myself as open as possible by calling it southern fiction—though Still Waters has hit many labels: women’s fiction, romance, even a little literary. Literary fiction is usually my genre of choice because I love language. I’m always much more concerned with the way the words fit together than what is actually happening in the story. Sometimes I think I should be a poet. But if a story is well-told with strong characters, an engaging plot, and beautiful language, I’m sold. I love southern fiction because it’s my background and I’m constantly trying to examine and understand both the South as I knew it twenty years ago, as my parents knew it fifty years ago, with the “New South” we are now. There are lovely, encouraging aspects about this region and its people—as well as the hardships and realities we like to ignore.

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

Lindsey:  Total pantser. I always just start writing with a loose plot outline in my head—as in, I know where this is going, I’m just not sure how we’re going to get there. Usually I can plot about a scene or two ahead. But the truth is, I write like I play chess. I know a few moves, but I don’t have a great overlying strategy formed. I have to get words on the page before I can go back and work on the big picture.

What is the hardest thing about writing?

Lindsey: Realizing scenes I love and worked so hard on will have to go. Recognizing that the plot line I thought was good is weak and needs more tension. Discovering that my characters need more depth than I’m allowing them to have, which means I need to change their circumstances. So, in short, revising, revising, revising. The perfectionist tendencies don’t help.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

Lindsey: I’d love to be multi-published and reasonably well-known across the Christian and general fiction markets. But mostly, five years from now, I’d like to see myself not stressed about staring down two kids headed to college because I wrote some books and those books did well and I’m helping support my family with a job I love. Also (this is the ideal) I’d like to have a personal assistant and a housekeeper. Big dreams. #goals 🙂

I need to add assistant and housekeeper to my dreams also. 🙂 Thanks for dropping by, Lindsey!

Click to tweet:  Southern fiction author Lindsey Brackett debuts novel, Still Waters. #amreading #InspiredPrompt


Still Waters

Cora Anne Halloway has a history degree and a plan—avoid her own past despite being waitlisted for graduate school. Then her beloved grandmother requests—and her dispassionate mother insists—she spend the summer at Still Waters, the family cottage on Edisto Beach.

Despite its picturesque setting, Still Waters haunts her with loss. Here her grandfather died, her parents’ marriage disintegrated, and as a child, she caused a tragic drowning. But lingering among the oak canopies and gentle tides, this place also tempts her with forgiveness—especially since Nan hired Tennessee Watson to oversee cottage repairs. A local contractor, but dedicated to the Island’s preservation from development, Tennessee offers her friendship and more, if she can move beyond her guilt over his father’s death.

When the family reunion brings to light Nan’s failing health, Cora Anne discovers how far Tennessee will go to protect her—and Edisto—from more desolation. Now she must choose between a life driven by guilt, or one washed clean by the tides of grace.


 Award-winning writer Lindsey P. Brackett once taught middle grades literature, but now she writes her own works in the midst of motherhood. A blogger since 2010, she has published articles and short stories in a variety of print and online publications including Thriving Family, Country Extra, HomeLife, Northeast Georgia Living, Splickety Magazine, Spark Magazine, and Southern Writers Magazine.

In both 2015 and 2017, she placed in the top ten for Southern Writers Magazine Best Short Fiction. Previously, Lindsey served as Editor of Web Content for the Splickety Publishing Group, and currently she is a general editor with Firefly Southern Fiction, an imprint of LPC Books. In addition, she writes a popular column for several North Georgia newspapers.

Still Waters, influenced by her family ties to the South Carolina Lowcountry, is her debut novel. A story about the power of family and forgiveness, it’s been called “a brilliant debut” with “exquisite writing.” A Georgia native, Lindsey makes her home—full of wet towels, lost library books, and strong coffee—at the foothills of Appalachia with her patient husband and their four rowdy children.

Connect with her at www.lindseypbrackett.com, where she Just Writes Life, on Facebook as Lindsey P. Brackett, on Instagram @lindseypbrackett, or on Twitter @lindsbrac.