3 Questions Wednesday with Betty Thomason Owens

13782199_10207533036983914_6770409064301955671_nWelcome back to 3 Questions Wednesday, Writing Prompts Crew member, Betty Thomason Owens. 

I couldn’t resist grabbing this recent photo of you and your husband at a waterfall in the Andes Mountains of Ecuador. Wow! That mission trip looked like so much fun. And such a blessing. Now you’re back, and getting down to the business of marketing your latest release. Thanks for taking the time to answer our 3 Questions interview.

First question:

What books have fortified you as a writer? How?

Betty:  I know you’re probably looking for writing craft books here, but the books that shaped my writing most are novels that I’ve analyzed and studied to learn the craft. Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre, and Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, and Emma (my two top favorites of hers) are three of those. I’ve read and re-read these stories, asking questions and digging until I get the answers. Maybe they just wrote them without thinking too deeply about structure and craft, conflict and nuance, but I’ve found so much value there.

Just in case you’re wondering, here are a few of the questions I ask myself:

How does the writer make me want to turn the page? What makes the scene work? When are the stakes raised?

What a good idea! I’ll have to apply that to some of my favorite novels. I’m curious to see how you answer this next question–

What secret talents do you have?

Betty: Invisibility. No really. I can enter a room and not be seen. I can be in a room and no one knows I’m there. I’ve had this talent all my life, especially at dances when I was a teenager. The only thing is, where is it when I need it? When something really embarrassing happens—why can’t I disappear?

Also, when my sons were little, I had eyes in the back of my head, but I’ve long since lost that ability.

Ha ha! Now that’s funny, especially the one about your sons. That would’ve been a handy tool when my children were young. Now, my favorite question–

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

Betty: My famous spicy chili—no beans, just meat and spice. I offer spaghetti for a base, if you like, and a number of toppings. If you can’t eat spicy foods, I’d also offer chicken salad, one of my personal favorites, served on fresh croissants. Homemade apple pie and vanilla ice cream for dessert. And southern hospitality demands sweet tea with the meal, and coffee with the dessert.

Oh, wow! Sounds wonderful. When can we come?

Betty would love to bless one reader with her latest release, Carlotta’s Legacy–your choice of Kindle or print. All you need to do is leave a comment below to let us know if you’d like a chance to win her book. Here’s more information about the book:

Carlotta’s Legacy

Rebecca Lewis’s life is in a downhill plunge.  Will marrying an Italian count bring her the love she’s dreamed of?

Carlottas Legacy Front CoverRebecca Lewis is a reluctant bride-to-be. Marrying Riccardo Alverá, a young Italian count, may seem like a dream come true—an instant answer to her family’s dire straits. But it also means she must leave American soil, possibly forever.

Riccardo is relentless in his pursuit of Rebecca. After her father’s death, she and her mother set sail for Italy. Though Rebecca is still plagued by doubt, Riccardo’s warmth and humor soon melt the icy frost encasing her heart. But as Rebecca settles into his Italian villa, her questions and fears return.

His mother, Carlotta Alverá, is dedicated to strict Roman Catholic beliefs. Will she ever accept Rebecca, who has no real faith? After Rebecca’s mother decides to pursue life on her own terms, peace comes to the villa. But not for long.

Trouble finds Rebecca, even in the tranquil heart of Italy. As political unrest shakes the core of Italian society, a dark shadow falls over Riccardo’s beautiful estate. In her deepest despair, Rebecca confronts her past, finds forgiveness, and finally … the love and acceptance she’s always longed for.

Betty Thomason OwensBetty Thomason Owens writes historical fiction, contemporary fiction, and fantasy-adventure. She is an active member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), where she leads a critique group. She’s a mentor, assisting other writers, and a co-founder of a blog dedicated to inspiring writers. She serves on the planning committee of the Kentucky Christian Writers Conference, teaches basic novel writing, and speaks on the liberating power of forgiveness.

Her writing credits include 2015 Grace Award-winning Annabelle’s Ruth, Book 1, Kinsman Redeemer Series (2015), a 20’s era romance, Amelia’s Legacy, Book 1, Legacy Series (2014), and the recently released Carlotta’s Legacy, Book 2 of the Legacy Series (Write Integrity Press). She writes contemporary stories as a co-author of A Dozen Apologies and its sequels, The Love Boat Bachelor and Unlikely Merger, (2015). She has two fantasy-adventure novels, The Lady of the Haven and A Gathering of Eagles, in a second edition published by Sign of the Whale BooksTM, an imprint of Olivia Kimbrell PressTM.

You can contact Betty via email here. Please follow her on Twitter!

Amazon Author Page



The Learning Will Never End

By Betty Boydtypewriter-1248088_1280

Until a couple of years ago, writer’s conferences were very foreign to me. I have attended various other types of conferences. It was part of my job. When I joined a local writer’s group almost three years ago, they were talking about all these wonderful writer’s conferences. I was intrigued.

So in 2015, I journeyed to my first writer’s conference with a writer friend, to the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writer’s Conference. The scenery is splendid, idyllic and set in the mountains of North Carolina.

There were almost 400 people in attendance, which was overwhelming for me. I loved the idea of choosing classes that encompassed all the genres of writing, but also business, marketing, and social media.

I was anxious about being around all the other writers who had already been published, or who wrote for great blogs. I felt like I didn’t belong, and that I could never measure up to any of these wonderful writers.

The first thing I learned was not to compare myself to anyone, and that God wanted me to be the writer he intended. I was where I was supposed to be at this juncture in my writing path.

At first, I didn’t want to sign up to talk to any of the teachers, editors, or agents because I didn’t have anything to pitch. But God gave me the courage to sign up, just so I could learn from the experience. The people I met with gave such great advice that succeeding at writing did not seem so distant to me.

The keynote speakers at the conference were inspiring, exciting, and committed in making sure that everyone did not quit but pursued their passion.

I took another leap of faith in May 2016 and attended my second writers conference. However, this time I felt like I really belonged. God had guided me here.

So what are writing conference experiences?

Can you write a story with these four words?

  • Inspire
  • Write
  • Pitch
  • Read



Opportunities Wait for You at Writers’ Conferences

Con OneBy Deborah Malone

After having several books published, I decided I had something to offer and have been teaching at writing conferences for three years. I love sharing with fellow writers what I’ve learned over time. One area I’ve been working on is how to balance my teaching/marketing and still leave time for writing – still working on that one.

Teaching gives me the opportunity to travel, meet other authors, and continue to learn from the best. Maybe teaching is something you’d like to look into sometime during your journey. For now, I’d like to give you five reasons I believe it’s important just to attend a writers’ conferences. You never know what opportunities might be waiting for you at your next conference.Con Two

  1. Meet other authors:  What better place to go than to a writers’ conference to meet those who are as passionate about writing as you are. Being around other writers can be encouraging. When I get home from one,  I’m always excited and ready to tackle my writing projects. Talking with others and learning about where they are on their journey to publication will give you inspiration.
  2. Networking: Attending writers’ conferences is a great way to network. I’ve had two articles published in magazines because I met someone affiliated with the publication. You will meet other writers who might be further along in their journey and may be willing to mentor you or even swap critiques.
  3. Sell your books: Conferences are great venues to sell your books. Most will have tables you can rent at a reasonable price where you can display and sell your books. People who write usually love to read so it’s a great opportunity.
  4. Learn the craft: Most conferences will have a keynote speaker and then have several writing-related classes to choose from. How many times have you heard things like, “tighten up your writing,” “deep POV,” and “show don’t tell?” Well, here’s your chance to ask those questions that have been burning inside you. You will also be able to keep up with the ever-changing world of publishing.
  5. Meet editors, agents, and publishers: Conferences afford a great opportunity to meet people who will further your journey to publication. For a small fee, you can have a chapter or two critiqued by an editor. I remember the thrill of having my first critique and the encouragement I gained from a one-on-one appointment with an editor. I had one editor tell the participants she was open for appointments and she would even welcome ideas. I had an idea for an article on writing cozy mysteries and I presented it to her. She wanted to publish the article so I went home and wrote it and submitted it to her.

So try to attend a writing conference sometime in the future. You never know what opportunities await…

Writing Prompt: The door creaked as it opened. Every person in class looked  up and were surprised to see…

Buckhead Deadbuckhead dead
Skye Southerland and Honey Truelove have just finished an interior design job for Sylvia Landmark, one of Buckhead’s most eccentric characters, and their designs are to die for. After a celebration at Sylvia’s home where they reveal the new décor, including a desk with a possible link to the pirate Blackbeard, Sylvia turns up dead, leaving the ladies wondering if this desk is worth more than they bargained for. Skye and Honey are now suspects in the murder of a woman who had few friends, and plenty of possible enemies.
In an attempt to clear their names, Skye, Honey, and Honey’s loveable cousin Ginger embark on a journey to find the real killer, figure out the history behind the desk, and clear their names before they end up going to jail, or even worse, becoming the next victims! With plenty of warnings from Skye’s husband Mitch, and the ruggedly handsome Detective Montaine assigned to Sylvia’s case, these girls still manage to get right in the middle of the investigation, while having time to enjoy all that Georgia has to offer.

DMalone (4)Deborah Malone’s first novel “Death in Dahlonega,” finaled in the American Christian Fiction Writer’s Category Five writing contest! Deborah was nominated for 2012 and 2013 Georgia Author of the Year Award in Novel Category. She has worked as a freelance writer and photographer, for the historic magazine “Georgia Backroads.” She has had many articles and photographs published and her writing is featured in “Tales of the Rails,” edited by Olin Jackson, as well as in the “Christian Communicator” and “Southern Writer’s Magazine.” She is a member of the Georgia Writer’s Association, Advanced Writers and Speaker’s Association and American Christian Fiction Writers.

3 Questions Wednesday with Alice J. Wisler


It is my privilege to welcome Alice J. Wisler back to 3 Questions Wednesday. I absolutely love her southern fiction novels. If you like books you just can’t put down, I urge you to get hers. Leave a comment on this post for a chance to win her latest, Under the Silk Hibiscus.

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

What books have fortified you as a writer? How?

Alice: Amy Tan’s The Joy Luck Club for its rich cultural experience and fiction, Rick Bragg’s All Over But the Shoutin’ for its Southern beauty and honest prose, and any book by Anne Lammot for its humor and authentic look at the writing life, as well as living a bumpy, yet, oddly glorious life.

I have Rick Bragg’s book but haven’t read it. Better move it to the top of the pile. Next…

What secret talents do you have?

Alice: When my kids or husband aggravate me, I can bite my tongue for almost 4 minutes before saying one word!

Longer than I can!🙂 Last question: 

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

Alice: I’d make you something Asian. I was born and raised in Japan and love sushi, so Asian food it would be.  I wouldn’t make you sushi, but possibly lettuce wraps with my homemade sesame peanut sauce.  If I had short-grain rice in my pantry (and I usually do), I’d cook my coconut chicken curry and rice.  Dessert would be watermelon-raspberry-coconut sorbet.  I have the recipe for the sorbet by my computer and have yet to try it, but if you were coming to dinner, I’d get the ingredients and test the sorbet out on you.  So come on over!

Wow. It all sounds so good. Next time I’m up that way, I’ll stop by…

Alice is going to bless one person with a Kindle copy of Under the Silk Hibiscus. So make sure you leave a comment.

Under the Silk Hibiscus 

During World War Two, fifteen-year-old Nathan and his UnderTheSilkHibiscusGoodfamily are sent to Heart Mountain, an internment camp in Wyoming for Japanese-Americans. Nathan’s one desire, along with hoping that the beautiful singer Lucy will notice him, is to protect the family’s gold pocket watch, a family heirloom brought over from Japan. His attempts are noble, but the watch is stolen.  Nathan’s actions to get the watch returned cause more turmoil for his family. Struggling to make sense of his life in “the land of freedom,” Nathan discovers truths about his family, God, forgiveness, and the girl he loves.


Alice J. Wisler is the author of five southern novels—Rain Song (Christy Finalist), How Sweet It Is (Christy Finalist), Hatteras Girl, A Wedding Invitation, Still Life in Shadows—and one historical fiction, Under the Silk Hibiscus. Each novel has recipes in the back because Alice believes reading and eating go hand in hand.

She has written for Guideposts’ Mornings with Jesus, The Upper Room, Today’s Christian Woman, Chicken Soup for the Recovering Soul, and for various bereavement publications.

Since the death of her four-year-old son, Daniel, Alice teaches grief and loss writing workshops across the country and online. Her devotional, Getting Out of Bed in the Morning, is geared to offer comfort in heartache for life’s many losses.




by Robin E. Mason

originally posted on my blog, http://robinsnest212.wordpress.com/  on 3-27-15

“I’ve been thrown in the deep end.  Of a deep ocean.  In a tidal wave.  …

Since the release of Tessa, I have sought to broaden my writer’s presence.  I have joined writer’s pages and groups, I have subscribed to other author’s pages.  I started a blog and revived another one, and this robin bird finally decided to tweet.”   [blog post “Drowning” 041114]

When I wrote Tessa I didn’t know for Author page—Facebook or Amazon—hadn’t even heard of Goodreads, avoided Twitter, and wasn’t blogging at all, at all. I wrote. That was it. Only AFTER she was released into the wild did I plug myself into the unique community of writers. A year ago, I was “ … learning to swim.  And I think my feet are touching some sand in the murky waters, and I’m starting to wade through this media panoply.” [blog post “Drowning” 041114]

That was media. The other, and perhaps more enriching, branch of this tree I’ve climbed, is writer’s groups (and yes, I’ve attended) and conferences. And this is the more troublesome branch for me, because… it involves money. (‘nother story, ‘nother blog post, ‘nother time – think testimony) Money: I haven’t had it. Not to spare, barely enough to meet living expenses. Ergo, definitely not there to pay for a conference, let alone travel to and from, or accommodations whilst there. I longed to go, to attend, to rub shoulders with the who’s who of writing. I viewed pics posted on Facebook wistfully, hoping – praying – for my turn.

MY TURN CAME!! Weekend with The Writers (WWTW) was right here in Greenville, SC!!! I could walk to it I had to….  (so glad I didn’t have to)


Let me take a moment and share how this came about—and the utter and incomparable value of networking. I was part of a thread in one of my writer groups, talking about memes. I do a decent meme, and promised to create a meme tutorial on my process. (haven’t forgotten that, ya’ll!!) One of the participants and I were later having a private IM conversation about it, and she asked me where I live. Because she was coming to a conference in Greenville, SC. That was the first I heard of it! I clicked on the link, Father God made a way for me to pay for it, my new friend offered to let me room with her, AND they picked me up. (oh yeah, I’m not driving right now—long story, also money related… ) And I only heard of the conference on 25 February—THREE WEEKS before the conference!!  I shared with a friend how it all came together, and me watching it happen; she said, “Favor looks good on you.” To which I replied, “It feels kinda good too.”

So I got there, and it was amazing. I  was at a conference!!! On the one hand, it felt as natural as if I did this every day. On the other hand, I felt like a five-year-old at Disney for the first time. (I kinda was!!)

Headlining our event were Kristen Heitzmann, DiAnn Mills, Edie Melson, and Lynette Eason, all names I’d seen and at least read blog posts. Only one, Kristen, had I heard of before I dove into my own writing career, having read Freefall, a few years ago, declaring her to be one of my new favorite authors. All of them personable and approachable, willing to interact – not sure what I expected, not divas with body guards, I’m sure! I felt as an associate, if at entry level, with their stellar multi-published careers. Quite heady for this former invisiblet!!


Gotta give a SHOUT OUT to the WWTW staff, who were amazing, catering to the needs of each of us in the room – even providing chocolate for us at the mid-afternoon doze-off on Saturday – and making us all feel welcome.

My takeaways from the event – and I benefited from each one:

  • DiAnn Mills and Characterization (possibly my weakest area) – let’s see, she covered a good gamut—body language, color symbolism, sensory perception. The stand-out statement for me, “Transfer my emotion to my character point of view.” (altho, I think my tendency is more that I pick up the emotion of my characters.)
  • Kristen Heitzmann and Writing a Compelling Story – “A compelling story compels me to write it.” There’s more but I don’t want to give the whole conference away for future attendees!! *wink wink  And yes, when I’m writing, I’m compelled to do so.
  • Lynette Eason and Queries and Proposals – For me, more of a review. Bottom line, be professional about it.
  • Edie Melson and Social Media – Hot topic for this writer! Remember the “Drowning” references above? Edie also covered a good gamut in her topic, and made me feel good that I’m doing the right things, media-wise. Mostly. I need to up my “presence” on Twitter, with #hashtags (yeeps! they’re missing from this post!!) and some great suggestions for tweeting on the regular.

And the biggest take-away: no two authors’ paths are identical. Every article written, every conference workshop, offers something of value; and every author gleans from this tidal wave of information the splashes and puddles that best fit his or her career. I was very happy to hear a consensus that if you are an edit-as-you go writer, which I am, then OWN IT. Yes, thank you.

I take that back. The best take-away from this conference are the friends and connections I made. Now if I could just get my pics to upload from my phone….

WRITING PROMPT:  I arrived at the hotel and it was more than I could have imagined! My room was right next to the guest speaker…

ME - 041115I once said I should write down all the story ideas in my head so someone could write them someday. I had no idea at the time that someone was me!

I have been writing since 1995, and began working in earnest on my debut novel, Tessa in 2013.  Meanwhile, I cranked out a few dozen poems, and made countless notes for story ideas.  I lived with depression for many years, and the inherent feelings of worthlessness and invisibility; I didn’t want to be who I was and struggled with my own identity for many years.  My characters face many of these same demons.

I write stories of identity conflict. My characters encounter situations that force the question, “Who am I, really?” For all who have ever wondered who you are or why you’re here, my stories will touch you in a very real—maybe too real—and a very deep way. I know, I write from experience.

Come visit me at:








Writing Prompts & Thoughts & Ideas, My First Conference, Weekend with the Writers, Kristen Heitzmann, Lynette Eason, Edie Melson, DiAnn Mills, #FORWARD


Dishonor: One Soldier’s Journey from Desertion to Redemption by David Mike

FullSizeRender (1)Today, we welcome David Mike to our blog. His debut book, Dishonor, releases  on August 30th…

Hello, David! How long have you been writing?

David: I’m a storyteller and have been since I was a child. We moved around a lot because my father was in the military. Every new place we landed, I found myself talking about where I came from and all the things I did. As far as actually writing, only three years. I mentioned in a Facebook group that I had a crazy story to tell about my life and that I wanted to write a book. The advice I was given was to start a blog and develop a following. So, I wrote my entire rough draft through blogging at www.dilemmamike.com/the-fort-leavenworth-story.

Why did you choose to write in your particular field or genre?

David: My book is a memoir. From time to time, I would mention bits and pieces of the past to people in my life. Every single time, the response was, “You need to write a book.” Having never written anything in my life before, I constantly dismissed it. My story is about redemption through grace and forgiveness. I knew that if I could share it, there were people that would be helped if they heard it. Broken, messed up people like me, needed to hear that God forgave us 2000 years ago, no matter what…

What are some of the references you used while researching your book?

David: Once I began the actual writing process from memory, my mother handed me a bag and said, “You might want these.” Inside was a stack of letters that I wrote to my parents after leaving home for the Army in 1987 through my second year in prison in 1991. This gave me a chronological list of events as well as names, dates, and places of things I never would have remembered. I also found my entire court-martial transcript which included, testimonies and police records. There were some internet articles that I looked up to confirm some of the military events that occurred during the time period. Most importantly, the book Classic Christianity by Bob George was instrumental in defining what God’s grace and forgiveness actually meant.

What did you enjoy most about writing this book?

David: Because so many people followed my weekly blog posts as I wrote the story, I received so much support and encouragement. The best part is that several people reached out to me letting me know that my story provided hope for family members that were in the same situation. That there was light at the end of the tunnel so to speak. I can’t take credit for any of this though because I know that God places people in our lives for a reason.

What do your plans for future projects include?

David: My goal is to get copies of my book into prisons. That is where God chose to reveal his message of grace and forgiveness to me and so I would love to reciprocate. I also enjoy writing humorous tales from my youth which I might turn into a book or the cute and hilarious things my almost six-year-old daughter says which I have coined #Anikaisms.

Sounds like your book can really make a difference in people’s lives, David. Thanks for stopping by!

David has graciously consented to give away an autographed paperback of Dishonor to one blessed reader. (U.S. only) Please leave a comment below to be entered…

Cover_ebook-01Dishonor: One Soldier’s Journey from Desertion to Redemption 

In his memoir, Dishonor, David shares his personal story of how God used his time in an army prison to teach him grace and forgiveness. His hope is that readers will be freed from guilt and shame, no longer defined by their past, redeemed by Christ’s love.



FullSizeRender (1)David Mike is a Christ follower, husband, father, author, blogger, and cosmetology instructor in Omaha, Nebraska. David is passionate about sharing the message that we do not have to be defined by our past and that God can use our kind of mess for good. Dishonor is his first book which releases August 30th 2016.

Blog: http://dilemmamike.com

Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/dilemmamikeblog

Book Launch Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/DavidMikeBookLaunch

Twitter: @dilemmamike

Instagram: @dilemmamike

Pinterest: @dilemmamike

Connecting Through a Conference

by Betty Owens

Cuenca, Ecuador may seem a long way to go from Louisville, Kentucky to attend a writer’s conference. But yes, they do have them.


That’s me teaching the novel-writing class in Cuenca, Ecuador!

I learned this when I went to Cuenca on a recent mission trip. While there, I taught a four-hour workshop on novel writing. In the process of planning and researching ahead of this class, I stumbled on a conference that meets annually in their late summer (February). I was able to recommend the conference to those who attended my class.

Why do you need to attend conferences? This was a point I touched on in the workshop. Here are my reasons:

  1. To connect with other writers, especially those writing in a similar genre
  2. To learn more about the craft of writing
  3. To meet agents, editors, and publishers
  4. To practice telling others about your writing

Notice my first item on the list is to connect with other writers. Living, breathing humans with a definite pulse. Yes, you can meet other writers online. You can “friend” them on Facebook or “follow” them on Twitter. But it’s just not the same and not quite as effective as meeting someone face-to-face. I’ve made some very important connections at writers’ conferences. Many of these led to lasting friendships. This is vital to your survival in the writing world.

coffee-break-1177540_1280Are you nervous about that face-to-face thing? Anxious about meeting new people? You’re not alone. Many of us feel exactly the same. But you need to put yourself out there, because—how will you ever manage to sell books if you’re afraid of meeting people? There are only so many family members and close friends. After you’ve sold to all of them, where will you go?

The people you meet at the conference probably won’t buy your books, but they can help you get the word out. I’m a lot more likely to share a book on Facebook if I’m acquainted with the author. I’ll invite those writers to post on my blog or do an interview. Hopefully, they will return the favor when I have a new book out.

Another way those connections with other writers can work for you—they can inspire and encourage you. Writers are some of the most giving people I know. They don’t hoard their knowledge. They give freely to others. And they have been where you are. They know how to talk you through the tough times. I don’t know about you, but this kind of thing is precious to me.

TeacherItem two is learning about the craft. Where else can you sit in a class taught by one of your favorite authors? Hear them tell how they got their start and how they honed their craft. What do you most need to learn? You can probably find a class on that. Even the smaller, regional conferences offer good classes. They offer them because this is how they keep writers coming back every year.

Agents and editors go to writing conferences to teach classes and to meet new writers. They’re always on the lookout for new talent. That could be you. Again, face-to-face is better than an email. Maybe you’re not ready for an agent or an editor. They can advise you. And friendship with an agent, editor, or publisher? Priceless! Just remember to be respectful of their time. They are busy, busy people.

The last item on my list is learning how to talk about your writing. Practice the “elevator pitch.” That’s the mini-version of your work-in-progress. Don’t give all the details. Only tell the juicy stuff. Keep condensing the story until you’re left with a sentence or two. If you don’t know how to do this, there’s probably a class for that at one of these conferences.🙂

typewriter-1248088_1280So you want to attend a big conference, but money is tight? Go for one day. You can usually pay a smaller amount and attend one day’s classes. Then head home. Do what you have to do to get the knowledge to compete in our crowded environment. Yes, there are a lot of folks out there doing the same thing we’re doing. Writing their stories and vying for attention. This is why you need to stay on the edge. Learn the latest. It’s continuing education in a fast-moving world. You need to keep up. The writers conference can help you do that.

Writing Prompt Imagine yourself entering your dream writers conference where you immediately make the acquaintance of your favorite author, who asks for your help. Tell us where you are, who the author is, and what they’ve asked you to do…in story form.