It Happened One Summer

Betty Thomason Owens

I love to write, but long before I started, I loved to read. Reading provided a pleasant escape from a sometimes not so pleasant life.

But all the experiences of my life prepared me for what lay ahead; telling stories. Some of my characters resemble me in character (intentional play on words).

Amy Emerson is one of those. When we first meet her, she’s a hard-headed young woman whose main desire is to be free. She chafes at discipline, hates being told what she can and can’t do. So, she plans an escape. She has the money, why not? (Let me interject here: Amy resembles me in all but the money part. That’s a dream of mine, but it never happened. Also, the dance scene. Dreamed of, but never happened.) 🙂

What Amy doesn’t know, and doesn’t count on: someone out to get dear, old Dad. Someone who’ll stop at nothing to bring him down. In her blind innocence, she plays right into the hands of my antagonist.

Just to make it interesting, I created a love interest. Amy despises him at first, and some of my readers weren’t too sure about him (until later). She resists, mainly because she suspects her dad approves of him. Whatever Dad approves must be avoided at all costs!

But Matthew Wordsworth is a patient man. His military background pays off in several ways as he navigates the troubled waters of Amy Emerson’s life.

Did I mention this all takes place one summer in the 1940s? That makes it truly fun.

Rebecca’s Legacy is the final book in the Legacy series. Each is set in subsequent decades. Amelia’s Legacy takes place in the 1920s. This book stars Amy’s mother, Nancy Sanderson, who becomes Nancy Emerson, as the book progresses. Carlotta’s Legacy takes place in the thirties, with Nancy’s best friend, Rebecca Lewis at the lead. And yes, she’s the Rebecca of Rebecca’s Legacy. These are historical novels with a good mix of romance and suspense.

Click to Tweet: It Happened One Summer, about the book: Rebecca’s Legacy, by Betty Thomason Owens via @InspiredPrompt and @batowens #bookgiveaway #RomanticSuspense


Rebecca’s Legacy

What will it take to teach a spoiled heiress about the greatest legacy? Amy Juliana Emerson might be a cultured debutante, but she’s doing her best to follow her mom’s rebellious footsteps. Her desperate attempt to escape her father’s control, however, comes at the worst possible time. Robert Emerson has received a threat against his family in an attempt to take over his company, Sanderson Industries. To guarantee his willful daughter’s safety, he sends her to work on a produce farm run by her Aunt Rebecca. Maybe her quiet strength and unconditional love can work on Amy, keep her from becoming the prodigal daughter she seems insistent on being.

Matt Wordsworth is the man Robert calls upon to make sure his daughter stays in line. His only interest in the beautiful girl is purely part of his job. Purely. Amy considers him a fuddy-duddy which suits the situation perfectly, allowing him to stay close to her without concern for her losing her heart to him. And his own heart … well, his feelings didn’t matter. This was business.

Humiliated and angry, Amy contemplates a path that will lead her even farther from home and away from Dad’s protection. Rebecca’s influence begins to change her feelings about everything, even about Matt, but Amy might find she’s playing into the hands of the enemy.


About Betty: Who am I? My friends say I’m creative, loyal, thoughtful and funny. I’m a storyteller. A word-weaver, writing stories that touch the heart. If I was an artist working with oils, I’d want to paint scenes so real, you’d think you were looking at a photograph. They’d include minute details that grab your attention and pull you into the picture. My characters could be your next-door neighbors. They’re open and friendly. They include you in their conversations. My themes include the grace of God, forgiveness, restoration, and redemption, but most of all, love. For years, my tagline has been: Love is the Legacy. That’s my desire, to leave a legacy of love.

www.bettythomasonowens.com

Who’s Driving the Story?

by Fay Lamb

As the Tactical Editor, I use the analogy of a car to describe the elements of fiction. So, when I saw this topic, I couldn’t resist writing about it.

For me, it’s not just the “who” driving the story but the “what.”

In my car analogy, I explain that plot is the vehicle that drives the story. Without a main plot, the author isn’t going anywhere at all. The road upon which the plot vehicle travels is the genre. So, of course, the plot vehicle must be equipped for the journey with devices like suspense or mystery, full-on terror, or maybe a scenic route with bumps in the road. The main plot drives the road from Point A to Point Z. Minor plots are all intersecting roads, but make no mistake, all intersecting roads lead to Point Z.

Conflict is the fuel for the vehicle. If the plot vehicle isn’t filled with the proper fuel, the story is going to sputter and halt, and the readers are going to get out and walk away. Conflict must build in each scene until its resolution at the end of the story. A reader must, therefore, measure the amount of fuel necessary to reach the end of the journey, taking into account those scenes in which more conflict—or fuel—is needed.

Then there are the actual drivers. These are each character with a point of view (POV)—one POV per scene and in most stories, no more than three POVs per book. A character takes the wheel for the scenes that belong to him or to her and moves the story forward as the conflict puts up roadblocks to prevent the character from reaching the desired destination.

When the journey has been reached and the conflict has been emptied from the tank, the characters will get out of the journey and start a well-earned vacation.


Writing Prompt: Start a story, using the photograph above. Remember that the vehicle drives the story. The driver is the POV character. Why is the car parked in that location? Who was driving it? What happened to them?


Click to Tweet: “If the plot vehicle isn’t filled with the proper fuel, the story is going to sputter and halt, and the readers are going to get out and walk away.” Who’s Driving the Story? Via @InspiredPrompt and @FayLamb #amwriting #MondayMotivation

The Who, What, Where, When and Why of Genre

Genre: What is it, and why do you need it?

According to Merriam-Webster, genre is: a category of artistic, musical, or literary composition characterized by a particular style, form, or content.

The most general genres:

  • Epic
  • Tragedy
  • Comedy
  • Novel
  • Short story

Classic genres may include tragedy, science fiction, fantasy, mythology, adventure, mystery.

Other major book genres are: drama, romance, action-adventure, thriller, young adult (YA), and dystopian.

I could go on all day, creating and populating these lists. Yes, there are that many, and I haven’t even mentioned the sub-genres. I could probably even come up with some sub-sub-genres.

Over the next few weeks, as sugarplums dance in your heads, you fuss over what to put in the children’s stockings, and marathon cookie bake (maybe that’s just me), we’ll be addressing genres here at Inspired Prompt. You needed a distraction, right?

Maybe you just completed NaNoWriMo and you need to sharpen the genre of your manuscript to get it ready.

A new year is beginning in just a few weeks. Maybe one of your resolutions is to finally start that book! But, how do you know what genre to write? Start writing and hope to find a niche?

It’s usually better to know up front, before you begin. The superheroes of Inspired Prompt are here to help guide you through the maze. Umm. Humor is another genre in fiction, by the way.

So, how do you figure it all out? Here’s a clue:

What do you like to read? If you love mysteries, you’ll probably write mysteries. I love historical fiction. Most of the books I’ve written have been…you guessed it, historical fiction. But I also write suspense. Historical suspense is another genre I loved to read, as a young adult.

Should you stick with one? You may want to begin with one. Become an “expert,” then try something else. Don’t be surprised, though, if you end up back at the first one. Some famous authors never write anything else. Stephen King, for instance, and Nora Roberts. Hey, it works for them.

Like the adage KISS (Keep It Simple, Stupid), sometimes it’s best to stay with what you know. Unless you’re miserable there and end up being a square peg in a round hole. Yes, this paragraph is overrun with clichés, but I hope you get the picture.

The Who, What, Where, When and Why of Genre? It’s what we’re talking about in December. [Click to Tweet]

As we introduce our subtopics, I hope you’ll get involved by asking questions or sharing your own experiences and expertise.

If we have helped you with your writing, please let us know. That would be as special as a gift. Yes, one of the best of all gifts is to know that what you’re doing is of value to someone else.WRITING PROMPT: Suspense or romance? Add a sentence to this prompt to give it either a suspenseful slant, or a romantic one: The man outside Mary’s door stood with his back to her, but there was something familiar about him.

Motivated by Many: One Writers Perspective

By Cammi Woodall

This was a hard article for me. I am supposed to explain how an author inspired me. How do I pick just one? In Icebound, Dean Koontz wrote a scene of a man underwater struggling to break through the ice. I found myself holding my breath along with him! Stephen King’s imagery and turn of phrase has scared me, sickened me, enlightened me, and encouraged me. And who didn’t cry when Dobby died? How could you, J.K. Rowling?

I decided to fudge a little and write about three different ladies close to home who have inspired me.  Please forgive me, Jennifer and Betty (the blog administrators)!

In 2006, my sister and I took a class offered by our local Board of Education, called “As the Pen Spins”. It was a writing seminar taught by a great lady named Jane Carroll. To start the first class, we all had to stand up, introduce ourselves, and tell what we do.

I said, “Hi, my name is Cammi and I work in a bank.”

She challenged us to reintroduce ourselves and say, “My name is Cammi and I am a writer!”

I did not have the exclamation point in my voice when I stood up in class but much more of a question mark. Me, a writer? In my mind, that word conjured up the New York Times bestsellers list, contracts, agents, movie rights. I was a bank teller who scribbled ideas on scraps of paper and hid them away from the world. Who was I to call myself a writer?

Jane taught me that a writer is simply one who writes. Quantity doesn’t count, only the fact that you write and do not stop. Did you compose one line about the beauty of the morning sunrise? Did you write an article for your company’s newsletter? Did you pen a short funny story for your grandkids? Then, my friend, you are a writer. Stand up and say it out loud! Thank you, Jane!

Jennifer Hallmark, one of the moderators for this site, inspires me in several ways. She was in that first class with my sister and me. I can still remember her saying, “I’m really just interested in learning more about writing articles.” She has certainly done that in abundance, but Jennifer is also the proud owner of a book contract for a fictional novel. (I am not jealous, I am not jealous, I am not jealous!)

She has grown as a writer and gone down different paths to find her way. I never considered writing articles until she asked me last year to contribute to this blog. Now, thanks to her, I have a few articles posted here and am scheduled for more later in the year. This lady has definitely made me jump out of my comfort zone and find some new paths of my own! Thank you, Jennifer!

My sister Holly is a writer in a different situation. As a United Methodist preacher, she faces the challenges of caring for her congregation’s needs and helping them grow in the Lord’s way. Each week, she writes a sermon that is God-given and inspirational, and each week she teaches me something new. I face enough of a struggle writing an article occasionally for a blog so I admire the strength and courage she brings to her calling.

Holly also inspires me with encouragement and gave me my favorite compliment I’ve received about my writing. While looking over an article I’d done about Stephen King’s The Shawshank Redemption, she said, “You have such an easy style. It reminds me a lot of Stephen King. Not the horror, but like you are sitting here with me telling a story. I like reading your work.” Bring on the tingles of excitement, tears of joy, and the blush of embarrassment! A simple compliment but one I hold close to my heart. Thank you, dear sister!

Do you have an author who inspires you in your writing? I certainly hope so. But how about this? Go be that inspiration for someone. Give encouragement, offer to read, spread the word about their accomplishments. You never know what action you take will resonate with another and stay on their heart. Who knows? You could end up in an article!

Writing prompt – “At least it is over now.”

She shook her head. “No, I am afraid it has just begun.”

Click to tweet: Go inspire someone, a writer. Give encouragement, offer to read, spread the word about their accomplishments. You never know what action you take will resonate with another and stay on their heart. #amwriting #motivation

3 Questions Wednesday with Fay Lamb

Today’s guest is author, Fay Lamb.

Welcome back to 3 Questions Wednesday, Fay. First question:

What inspires you?

Fay: Well, let’s get the truth out there first. Coffee. Have you ever sat down in the morning with your cup of coffee made the way you like it? You drink that coffee, and the caffeine seems to seep into whatever part of your brain provides motivation. You start thinking you can do anything. You make a list. You jot down ideas for a story. You’re invincible.

In my writing, I am inspired by many things. Locations get the creative juices running. My Amazing Grace series is based on a real area in Western North Carolina. Yet, in my novel Better Than Revenge, the heroine wasn’t connecting with me. She stood off to the side, aloof, daring me to get to know her. Then one day, my husband and I were driving around the area, and I was looking for a farmhouse because Issie lived in her grandparents’ old farmhouse she’d renovated. And there it was, this fantastic two-story white-framed farmhouse with a swing in the front yard, a field of corn to the right, and in the backyard between the house and the beautiful red barn were vegetable boxes. I saw them as Issie’s personal garden and the corn as her crop. Then to the side of the barn, there was a field and two cows grazing there. And Issie whispered into my ear, “You found me.”

Actors provide me with all types of ideas. I’ll admit it. Usually, it’s their looks that catch my attention, but then I look into the roles they’ve played. In my novel, Charisse, I have had readers tell me who they see as the hero, Gideon, and they saw him exactly as I saw him. He is one actor, but his character is based on two entirely different roles he played. One was an adventure/comedy where I realized for the first time that the guy could really act and had taken roles beneath his abilities. The other movie was one of the few dramas he has starred in. The subject was intense, and his character was likable but cautious, perfect for a multi-dimensional character.

A Bible verse or a Bible story has been an inspiration for me in a couple of novels. One is Libby. If anyone knows me, they know I tend to joke about my looks and about breaking cameras, and I see myself as great fodder for comedy, but God says in Psalm 139:14 that I’m fearfully and wondrously made, and that was the lesson Libby has to learn—in between a lot of hilarious matchmaking and some sad moments of truth. And my upcoming novel, set to release in March, is the biblical retelling of the aftermath of David’s sin with Bathsheba.

And lastly, a moment in time can be an inspiration. My novel Hope deals with serious matters from healing to forgiveness, but from the very start, one backdrop was set for that story: the Central Florida fair, and more particularly the carousel. I’ll admit that the moment in time was not on a carousel, and it was not as poignant for me, but my friend was there, and that is an important part of that storyline. In fact, the moment that brought to mind the carousel, as embarrassing as it was is still considered the most horrifying moment of my life as well as the one that can still bring me to laughter that causes tears to run down my face.

There’s inspiration in many forms here. I especially love the “moment in time.” This is so true. Sometimes we miss those moments, or don’t really appreciate them.

I almost hesitate to ask this one: You’re a new addition to the crayon box. What color would you be and why?

Fay: Interesting question, and more interesting that I didn’t have to think much about it.

I’d be turquoise because it goes well with black. Turquoise alone doesn’t ever stand out for me, but when you wear it with something black, it pops. And I know you want a better explanation than that, so here goes. I consider myself pretty bland when I’m just going through life, everything is okay. I don’t naturally look for the humor around me. I’m turquoise. But when I am sad, there is a darkness inside. When I use that term, I don’t mean it as evil. It’s just that my thoughts could turn to the morose. Depression doesn’t suit my brain, so it automatically begins to look for humor. Let’s take the moment I alluded to above—the Hope inspiration.

I was with my friend at the Central Florida Fair. We decided to go into the fun house. However, at the end of the fun house was a turning cylinder. My friend, an agile, gymnast and later a Disney dancer made her way easily across. Me, the clumsy person who fell off the inch-high balance beam in gym, hesitated. I was challenged by the ride’s operator to hurry across. So, the proverbial light bulb shined above my dim head. I’d hold on to the side and make my way over.

And you can imagine what happened next. My hand against the rotating cylinder began to pull me downward. I found myself on the ground, the cylinder taking me up and down, up and down, and the crowd growing outside and the laughter turning into a roar. I could see my friend laughing for all she was worth (and she’s worth a lot to me). And behind her stood my aunt and uncle who took us to the fair—laughing at their beloved niece. Finally, I guess after he stopped laughing, the ride’s operator climbed in and helped me out.

Now, I could cover the turquoise with black and mutter that I’m a clumsy idiot and hate the recall of the memory, or I could layer the outfit with turquoise and make a funny story out of my ability to be a carnival sideshow act without any effort. Life is easy when I’m wearing turquoise, but it is more interesting when I combine it with the black.

Lol! I’m not sure at this point, whether to laugh or be embarrassed for you–never mind–I’m laughing too hard to write sensibly. About that color turquoise–“Complex, imaginative and original, Turquoise people drive themselves hard and may be in a state of turmoil under their outwardly cool exterior.”–according to my favorite color website. Um…I think it may be fairly accurate, what say you?

Now, one last question:

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

Fay: This is going to be the shortest answer you’ll get from me. From the time I remember thinking, I was a storyteller. I never wanted to be anything but a writer, and after taking my high school aptitude test, I was informed that my best track for my life would be either as a librarian or a writer. I answered back that there was only one choice. I would be a writer. While I took a series of detours that proved the aptitude test wrong, I still wrote. Each detour added to the growing collection of stories I have carried with me since I began as a storyteller all those years ago.

I’m not at all surprised by that answer! I love your stories and look forward to many more. Thanks so much for participating in 3 Questions Wednesday.

Readers! You can win a copy of Fay’s latest release, Frozen Notes. Read more about the book below, then leave a comment in the comment section. Feel free to ask Fay a question, or let us know you’d love a chance to win the book. Thanks for joining us at 3 Questions Wednesday.

CLICK TO TWEET: #3QuestionsWednesday provides readers with inside information on author Fay Lamb #amreading


More about today’s guest:

Fay Lamb

Fay Lamb writes emotionally charged stories with a Romans 8:28 attitude, reminding readers that God is always in the details. Fay donates 100% of her royalties to Christian charities. Currently, Fay will be donating her royalties from the second quarter of 2017 through December 31 (royalties paid March 31), to Samaritan’s Purse Relief Fund to aid victims of Hurricane Harvey and Irma and any other relief the organization feels necessary.

Fay’s fourth book in the Amazing Grace romantic suspense series, Frozen Notes brings to a close stories of intrigue and suspense and reveals to her readers the secrets of one of the series reoccurring characters from the first three novels, Stalking Willow, Better than Revenge, and Everybody’s Broken.

Fay is also the author of The Ties that Bind Series, which includes Charisse, Libby, and Hope. The fourth story in the series, Delilah, will be coming soon.

Fay’s adventurous spirit has also taken her into the realm of non-fiction with The Art of Characterization: How to Use the Elements of Storytelling to Connect Readers to an Unforgettable Cast.

Readers of Fay Lamb’s fiction can look forward to her Serenity Key series, with her epic novel Storms in Serenity set for release in March 2018.


Frozen Notes by Fay Lamb

Lyric Carter’s dreams of fame and fortune in a rock band ended the day Balaam Carter left to pursue their dreams without her. When Balaam’s brother promised to love and protect Lyric and to love her son, Cade—his brother, Balaam’s child—as his own, she believed him. But Braedon turned her dreams into a nightmare by killing Balaam’s best friend, turning the gun on himself, and placing Lyric in the middle of a criminal investigation that could leave her and Cade dead.

Balaam Carter’s every dream has come true, but he’s living in a nightmare of addiction and regret. The famous rock star would give everything he has to return to the girl he once held in his arms—back when his only crime was running moonshine for his father. Now, he’s seeking redemption for all the destruction his dreams have brought to the people he loves.

No one said the road to recovery would be easy, but Balaam is also desperate to protect Lyric and the little boy he left behind from a state full of drug lords who believe Lyric has the evidence that will tumble their lucrative cartels. Balaam’s continued sobriety, his natural ability for finding his way out of trouble, and his prayers to God above for the strength to never let them down again are all that he has to protect Lyric and his son, and still, he doesn’t know if he’s up for the task.

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