Farewells Aren’t Always a Bad Thing

By Christina Rich

When we first began Inspired Prompt back in 2012, it was an exciting and new adventure for us. We loved the simplicity of 3 Questions Wednesday and the short excerpts that developed from our Friday writing prompts. We had the vision to encourage, inspire, teach, and learn the craft.

It was shortly after we began the blog that I sold my first book to Harlequin’s Love Inspired Historical line. And let me tell you, for those of you who are still chasing the dream of publishing, I was told by multiple editors, agents, and other writers that particular story would never sell. Fortunately, I had Jennifer and Betty along with a wealth of other supporters pushing me and encouraging me.

Change came with the dream of seeing my name on the front cover of a book I wrote. To protect that dream my focus had to change. My priorities had to change because I had a contractual obligation to fulfill.  A difficult decision had to be made, and I was torn. As much as I loved working with Jennifer and Betty, I had to say farewell.

I know it was a difficult decision for Jennifer and Betty also about the blog. They’ve put a lot of time and effort to make Inspired Prompt a viable place for writers to network and learn, and although they are saying farewell to the blog, they are not saying farewell to you.

As they move forward and focus more on their writing and their dreams, I encourage you to follow each of the contributors on their social media, cheer them on in their successes, purchase their books, and write reviews. This is a great way to say thank you to them for all they’ve done.

Jennifer, Betty…. Thank you for the years and hard work you’ve spent giving us writing tips, encouraging us to keep writing and challenging us to become better writers. Thank you for being a part of my disappointments and my celebrations. Thank you for the hours of critiquing on my stories, but most of all, thank you for your friendship.


Christina Rich is an author of five full-length historical books and fourteen novellas. She recently signed another contract with Harlequin for another historical set in Kansas, her home state.

You can find her on Facebook, www.threefoldstrand.com, Twitter, and Instagram

A Fond Farewell: Inspired Prompt Crew to Our Writer and Reader Friends

By Jennifer Hallmark

April 27, 2012. I had been journaling, blogging, kind of for six years, and had about a dozen dedicated readers. What was I doing wrong?  I really put the matter to prayer. God whispered to my heart that I needed to use the blog to give back instead of sharing my thoughts and I immediately thought of the #WritingCommunity that had given me so much. I talked to two ladies in my ACFW critique group and Betty Thomason Owens and Christina Rich helped me start a blog by writers for writers. Cool name, huh? 🙂

We didn’t have a clue what we were doing. Well, I didn’t anyway.

But over the last eight years, our blog grew. We changed format, the name, and our website creation tool but one thing remained the same: A blog by writers for writers.

It’s time.

I’ve known for a while but I’d shake the thought off and keep going. My innermost being, everything, is invested in what I do, including this blog. It’s just the way I operate. When the time comes for a shift, I struggle, fight, and search for a way to combat change.

Then, I remember that to move forward, I often have to embrace change. Go with the flow. Climb the next mountain. Follow the light. Let go and let God. (Betty, these clichés are for you.)

It’s time.

The Inspired Prompt has had a wonderful run and much success in numbers, especially in the last two years. The most important thing, though?

You. Each person who is or has been a Crew member. My hat is off to you. You are amazing people and writers who graced our blog with your words. Each week, I read your posts and am blessed. Christina, you helped me so much with the tech stuff in the beginning. Betty, we are BFF’s always. ❤

You. Our readers. Wow. I’ve made so many friends through this site. Readers, writers, reviewers, publishers, editors, agents, to name a few. I’ve enjoyed the interviews, the guest blog posts, and most of all, the comments. You would open up and share a little from your life and it made my day. All the Crew’s day.

I would start to name you but I would miss too many of you wonderful people. I pray each of you is blessed:

  • In the city and in the country.
  • In your body, your family, and everything you call yours.
  • In your work.
  • In your coming and your going.
  • In the presence of your enemies.

And that God will open the treasures of heaven over your life.

Our last post will be on May 29th but we will leave the blog intact for the rest of the year so you can read and enjoy any articles you may have missed. We hope they help on your journey, whether you’re a writer or not.

Thank you again for your kindness. It will never be forgotten.

Can Blogging and Fun Go Together?

By Jennifer Hallmark

Blogging enjoyable? I see y’all shaking your head right now. No way, no how. I’m part of several online and in-person writing groups and when blogging is mentioned, eyes roll and people shiver.

“I can’t think of enough to write about.”

“I forget when I get busy.”

“I don’t think it makes a difference.”

“No one reads my blog except my mom and Aunt Suzie.”

After several years of mindless and inconsistent journaling, I stopped. I dreaded blogging and what I wrote was rambling at best and confusing at times. It was time to go to God. After all, He created the people who invented blogging so maybe He could help me out.

I quit blogging and told Him about all my shortcomings, failures, and irregularities in my blogging world. Then I listened. It took some time but what finally came to mind was this: my blogging pointed to me. All about me. Me. Me. Me.

Oh.

He whispered in my soul about how others had helped me get my start in the craft, especially writers. I went to two of my critique group friends, Betty Thomason Owens and Christina Rich and laid out my heart. I wanted to give back to writers. How could I do this and would they like to be a part? They graciously agreed. Christina did the tech work, Betty edited, and I thought up ideas. 🙂

We brainstormed and decided on a blog that would spark the imagination through writing prompts. We would blog on various subjects—flowers, animals, sports, the Olympics—A plethora of topics with a writing prompt that might help someone who needed a little help. Our first post introducing our blog, Writing Prompts, Thoughts, & Ideas: Oh My! went live on April 28th, 2012.

Cue the crickets. We had a tiny following. We had contests for writing stories using our prompts and grew a tad. I went back to God. What were we doing wrong?

Nothing in the fundamentals.  But we could help writers even more by promoting them. Their books. Or blogs. And we wouldn’t worry whether theirs was a self-published book they wrote for their family or a best-seller. Our only stipulation: fairly clean reads.

Everyone did reviews and interviews so we came up with 3 Questions Wednesday. 3 simple questions and we’d promote the writer and whatever they wanted to promote. Our first guest was Jordyn Redwood. From there, the blog grew stronger. We had all types of guests from all writing levels and walks of life.

I started really having fun. I enjoyed meeting all the new people. We started adding bloggers and I met more neat writers. Books I never heard of before became part of my library. Writers and even publishers were coming to me, asking to be a guest on our blog.

We added Saturday interviews. We grew and by 2017, five years from the start, we were garnering shares, comments, and attention. Our blog morphed once more by honing in our focus on specific writers: Indie published and new to the writing world.

Now, please understand blogging is still hard work. At times, I wrestle with tech issues and want to throw my desktop in the yard. I grow tired and don’t always want to write my posts. I forget to do things on occasions.

But I’m having fun. I believe we’re making a difference.

My advice? Follow the Golden Rule. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Take your eyes off yourself and be a blessing to others. Invite others to come along for the ride. You’ll make new friends. You could start to smile when you blog.

You might even have fun.

Click to tweet: Can Blogging and Fun Go Together? One blogger’s thoughts. #blogging #amwriting

3 Questions Wednesday with Sara L. Foust

Happy Wednesday! Sara Foust is filling our last interview of the year and we are excited to introduce her debut novel, Callum’s Compass. Her novel won second place in Deep River Books’ 2017 Writer’s Contest…

So, without further ado, Sara, here’s your first question:

What inspires you?

Sara:  My faith. My family. Nature.

A good trio to pull inspiration from. 🙂

You’re a new addition to the crayon box. What color would you be and why?

Sara:  Evergreen. It reminds me of the greenery on the mountains of East TN. And it is steady, a strong color. I hope I am strong too.

A great choice! Just the name evokes a strong foundation lasting into eternity. Last question: 

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

Sara:   I went through a lot of careers. I think the first was a veterinarian. But by second grade, I wanted to be an author. I drifted from being an author as I grew because it seemed so impossibly hard and scary. I am very thankful that God has allowed me to return to my truest passion.

That’s wonderful! God knows the desires of our heart. Thanks so much for dropping by, Sara.

Click to tweet:  Check out Sara L. Foust and her debut novel, Callum’s Compass. @InspiredPrompt #Tennessee #fiction

Sara is graciously offering a giveaway of her book, Callum’s Compass. E-book or paperback. (Paperback available only to residents within the U.S.) Make sure to leave a comment to be entered to win…


Callum’s Compass

 KAT WILLIAMS’S brother died in a gruesome accident in the mountains of East Tennessee. She blames herself.

RYAN JENKINS’S fiancée was murdered. He couldn’t protect her.

With the death of her brother, Kat believes she is unworthy of love from anyone—even God. When a good friend elicits a promise that she will stop living in the past and then leaves her clues to a real-life treasure hunt, Kat embarks on an adventure chock-full of danger. To find the treasure, Kat will have to survive wild animals—and even wilder men. Can she rely on Ryan, the handsome wildlife officer assigned to protect her . . . without falling in love?

Ryan swore off love when his fiancée was murdered, but feelings long-buried rise to the surface around Kat. He volunteers to help with her treasure hunt, vowing to keep her safe. Together they venture deep into caves and tunnels . . . and even deeper into the depths of their unplumbed hearts.


Sara L. Foust writes Inspirational Romantic Suspense from a mini-farm in East Tennessee, where she lives with her husband and their five homeschooled children. She earned her Bachelor’s degree from the University of Tennessee and is a member of ACFW and Tennessee Mountain Writers. Callum’s Compass won second place in Deep River Books’ 2017 Writer’s Contest.

Sara also has a story, “Leap of Faith,” in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Step Outside Your Comfort Zone. Gain access to a FREE digital scrapbook detailing some real-life places from Callum’s Compass by signing up for her newsletter: www.saralfoust.com.


Christmas in Our Hearts

by Betty Owens

The wonderful thing about Christmas is…it’s the only one. (Adapted from the Tigger song).

Yes, there’s only one Christmas, and it comes once a year. I hear some of you shouting, “hallelujah!”

For many of us, the hectic Christmas season can be overwhelming, especially lately, when it seems to last the entire final quarter of the year. However, it’s still a magical, joyous time.

Christmas is one of those seasons that’s new every year–no matter how many traditions you carry over from previous years, there’s always something that’s new and precious.I tend to associate memories with sounds and aromas. Sounds, like the bells of a nearby church tolling seasonal tunes, send me back to my childhood home in San Diego, near the mission at Balboa. Aromas, like molasses cookies baking in the oven, mixed with the fresh scent of pine from the Christmas tree remind me of home. With the visual of old-fashioned Christmas bulbs reflected off shiny glass ornaments—I can almost hear the crackle of excitement in the air, as memories come rushing in.

I didn’t grow up in an overly religious home, so I didn’t always associate Christmas with church services and worship. But, we sang the beautiful carols and hymns I came to love and cherish. It Came Upon a Midnight Clear, Angels We Have Heard on High, O Come All Ye Faithful, are a few of my favorites.

As a young teen, after I accepted a friend’s invitation to join her church’s Christmas choir, I was hooked. Something began to change in my heart, making room for the Savior, and the story of His birth.

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.~John 1:14 NIV

Christmas took on a new and special meaning, so much deeper and more satisfying than the beloved fairy tale story of St. Nicholas. [Click to tweet]

We’ve had some wonderful posts this December, as our crew members have shared their hearts and warmed ours with beautiful moments, and priceless memories. Taken as a whole, these messages combine to relate the true meaning behind Christmas, and confirm our beliefs in the One born on that first Christmas Eve. I’ve linked them here, if you’d like to re-read them.

December: It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas

Micki Clark’s Christmas Traditions

A Glimpse of Christ

It’s Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas; The Reason for the Season

‘Twas the Night before Christmas

What Christmas Means to Me

Now, it’s your turn. What’s your all-time favorite Christmas memory or tradition? What sets your heart aglow as the day approaches? We welcome you to join the conversation. You’re the reason we write, and we love to hear from you.

From our homes to yours, may you have a wonderful, blessed holiday season!

The Writing Prompts Crew