April’s a Wrap

Now that we’re finished organizing and spring-cleaning our homes, and our manuscripts…

Time to get outside and enjoy the beautiful spring weather.

Another month has come and gone. I hope you enjoyed our posts about cleaning. If I said my house is now clean and well-organized, I’d be writing fiction, or possibly fantasy. But I did just finish spiffing up a manuscript. I have another book releasing in June. There’s a lot of background work involved in any book release.

I hope you’ll join us next month as we discuss Families and Children, which makes me think of mothering and Mother’s Day. Can’t wait.

Speaking of not being able to wait–some of you may be on tenterhooks–waiting to hear who won our 3-word story prompt contest. We’ll be making a decision about that in the very near future, so watch for an announcement. Oh, and I’ll give you one more chance to enter–

3-Word Prompt:  A door opened…

Remember, finish my 3 words with 3 more words of your own, to complete a 6-word story. Have fun!

 

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3 Questions Wednesday with Jo Huddleston

Happy Wednesday! Jo Huddleston is a multi-published author of books, articles, and short stories and our guest.  She’s offered to give away an eBook copy of With Good Intentions. So read on and see how you can win…(There’s also a short excerpt of her book at the end of the interview)

First Question:

What inspires you?

Jo: Along the way, I’ve known people who have inspired me with their principles and work ethics. Four come to mind—a seventh grade teacher, my high school principal, an employer, and an editor. The messages in books by Andy Andrews have inspired me. However, if this question asks what inspires me to write, then my answer would be this: What writing ability I have comes from God and I must be the best steward of that gift that I can be. How could I not write?

A good question to ponder. Now…

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

Jo: I would be cobalt blue. That is my favorite color in my clothes and in any room in my home. I don’t favor beige and blending in, but as an adult prefer an electric cobalt blue.

How true. We should all be ourselves. 🙂

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

Jo: A librarian. In the seventh grade, a teacher assigned me to work in the school library, helping the librarian there. I had always loved everything about attending school. Now I had a new world to discover—a room full of books. It was many years later that I realized I had grown into an adult who treasured being organized and loved to read, both probably as an extension of my days working in that school library.

Working in a library would be a dream job. Thanks so much for dropping by!

Make sure and leave a comment if you’d like to be entered in the giveaway of With Good Intentions.


With Good Intentions

A sweet romance spiced with deception, set in 1959.

Jean Stewart and her mama stand firm to protect their family business from a big-city developer’s takeover. Oscar Wainworth sends his son William to convince the ladies to sell their property. William has an instant attraction to Jean, believes he shouldn’t be the one to discuss the sale with the Stewarts, and gives them a fake name. If they know he’s a Wainworth, he’s likely to find himself out on the sidewalk.

One lie leads to another until William may have dug a hole too deep to escape. By stealth he learns that Jean can’t associate with anyone who is dishonest. To win Jean’s love, William must convince her that his lies flowed from good intentions.

 Book’s Purchase Link: http://amzn.to/2lTR7LF


Jo Huddleston is a multi-published author of books, articles, and short stories. Novels in her West Virginia Mountains series, her Caney Creek series, and her standalone novel, Tidewater Summer, are sweet Southern historical romances. Jo is a member of ACFW and the Literary Hall of Fame at Lincoln Memorial University (TN). Learn more at www.johuddleston.com where you can read first chapters of her novels and novellas and also sign up for her mailing list.

Links to Huddleston Online:

Website and blog (Read novel first chapters here): http://www.johuddleston.com

Sign up for Jo’s mailing list: http://bit.ly/1ZFaZwG

Amazon author page: http://amzn.to/2cfSroU

Facebook author page: http://bit.ly/2aqFEeT

Facebook personal page: http://on.fb.me/1Ubic69

Goodreads: http://bit.ly/1QAPtFv

Inspirational blog: http://bit.ly/2gttKVr

BookBub Profile: http://bit.ly/2liB0G3


With Good Intentions

Chapter 1

October 1959—Birmingham, Alabama

William Wainworth shifted in his chair, stretched his long legs beneath the massive conference table, and braced for the impending reprimand from the CEO. This regular Monday morning meeting of Wainworth Development sales staff had gone on longer than he’d expected.

He would loosen his necktie but doing so would violate the expectations Wainworth’s CEO held for his male employees: wear a coat and tie when representing Wainworth Development. His daddy being the CEO of Wainworth Development, William had that rule ingrained in him from an early age.

Among other stellar traits, his daddy dressed immaculately, and he expected his workforce to follow his example. His appearance had favorably impressed many clients who sat with him in his Birmingham office. Every weekday, he never ventured outside his home without the requisite coat and necktie. William had never seen him wear wrinkled pants or curled-up shirt collars.

Now, Oscar Wainworth stood tall, slender, and good-looking between the head of the table and an easel, his index finger tapping on a sketch positioned there. William moved his attention from his daddy to the sketch, a street-level drawing of storefronts along a sidewalk in Conroy, Alabama.

Wainworth Development sought to purchase that entire block of businesses, demolish the buildings, and replace them with an apartment complex having a bookstore on the first floor. Sitting across the street from a growing college, the location proved ideal for Wainworth’s purpose.

The building plans had received the city’s approval. Wainworth representatives had successfully gained signatures on real estate contracts to acquire all the properties except one. The smallest business on the block refused to sell, despite repeated overtures from Wainworth Development.

Oscar Wainworth faced the dozen or so men seated around the table in chairs upholstered in rich, brown leather. He put his palms on the gleaming tabletop and leaned forward. “Gentlemen, this one small store is the monkey wrench in this whole deal. We’ve bought up all the properties on the block, yet here’s this little hole-in-the-wall ice cream shop smack-dab in the middle that you’ve not convinced to sell. Why is that? Why this one store?”

How to be Organized While Working from Home

By Betty Boyd

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My writing journey began over thirty years ago when I did technical writing of various government documents. However, my real journey commenced when I retired and opened my professional writing business.

Having your own business causes you to become organized very quickly. You have to handle all the aspects of building the business, calling clients, attending meetings, and networking functions. Since I am a widow, I must also do all the relevant aspects of keeping up a household.

Writing helps me in focus and prioritize my work load, home life, and other pressures. The creative process keeps me grounded and I’m able to understand better how to meet my clients’ demands.

Life itself is a challenge, and writing gives me an outlet that I never dreamed possible. One great test of my commitment to this part of my life is the ability to carve out time to do it. Working from home has many distractions, so I’ve tried to learn discipline so I am able to press on and get the work done. Better organization has enabled me to slow down and think about what I write.

I’ve learned the Holy Spirit is the author and the authority over my words and has helped me to follow through. Organization in writing and other areas requires setting realistic goals. I re-evaluate as often as needed to make sure I’m following the will of God in what He wants me to write.

Since I write during different times of the day, one way I stay on task is to set a time limit. For example, I write for an hour, and then stop. I go do something else that requires my attention without neglecting my writing.

Finally, I want to make sure I am serving God and others in the best manner.

Three-word prompt: Organizing is what…

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Cleaning and Organizing the Pinterest Way

By Jennifer Hallmark

What is better than a clean, organized home? I can’t think of much. I love the smell of a freshly laundered, dust-free, and everything-in-its-place house. But with six grandchildren who enjoy visiting Mamaw and Papaw and a full-time job writing, who has the time? Or the money to hire someone to scrub and scour?

Betty has already shared the way she schedules her cleaning. If you missed it, check it out here. But maybe you’re like me and can’t seem to follow a schedule when it comes to cleaning. I’ll start with a schedule but then notice that something (not on the list) needs to be done that day and I just have to clean that item. Then I’m off schedule. Again.

So, what’s a person to do?

Pinterest.

I’ve found so many great ideas and tips to first organize, then clean. So I thought I’d share some straight off my page and maybe they can help you create that clean and organized living space. https://www.pinterest.com/jenlhallmark989/cleaningorganizing-tips/

Organize

  1. Tips for Organizing Your Home for Spring Cleaning- This article takes your house, room by room, and shares good tips for putting it back in shape.
  2. 22 Things to Get Rid of Right Now-I loved this simple list.
  3. 20 Mind-Blowing Organization Ideas-Good all-around organizing tips.
  4. How to Organize Your Entire House: A Ten-Week Plan-For you planners, here it is, all written out.

Clean

  1. 3 Genius Hacks For Swiffers That Will Save You Money-I loved this one because, well, I love my Swiffer and it saved me money. 😊
  2. How to Wash Walls in 5 Easy Steps-Simple tips for that normally hard job.
  3. 20 of the Most Popular Cleaning Tricks on Pinterest-And here are twenty tricks all in one place.
  4. How To Clean Your Microwave In 3 Easy Steps-Am I the only one who looks in the microwave and can’t believe the mess? Here’s your answer.

Try out some of these ideas and tips and let me know what you think by leaving a comment. I’ve got to go now. I’m in the middle of organizing and cleaning the “toy” room I’m creating for the grandchildren. Now where are my rubber gloves?

Writing prompt: Needed: Money to

Click to tweet: I’ve found so many great ideas and tips to first organize, then clean.

3 Questions Wednesday with Kathy C. Houser

Welcome my friend, Kathy Houser, a local children’s author with her debut children’s book, Houser Post Office. 

With great pleasure, we welcome her to 3 Questions Wednesday!

First question–

What inspires you?

Kathy: The laughter of children, their imagination and their love. I’m also inspired by all God’s creations. Sometimes one word can start a story, sometimes one glance at beauty can start a story.

That’s so true. 🙂 Now…

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

Kathy: Rainbow, because all the colors you see are beautiful. Like a butterfly, each a beauty in its own way!

I love a rainbow, especially while it’s still raining and the sun peeking in. Last question…

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

Kathy: Veterinarian, because of my love of animals.

My granddaughter, Sadie, wants to be a veterinarian also. Thanks so much for stopping in, Kathy!

Kathy will soon be releasing her second children’s book, Dino’s Adventure. Read more about it below…


Dino Adventure

 I was inspired to write because my son, Jamie and his daughter, Ellie have such a love for the giant creatures. While doing research, I found myself intrigued by the mystery of the dinosaurs. I wanted to know more about these creatures and I even took a biblical look into the creation of these giants that roamed our earth so long ago. Research on dinosaurs brings out the imagination and intriguing aspects of how they existed and how they evolved into some creatures that still exist today!

During the writing of this story, I put together dinosaurs that were plant eaters and could have possibly traveled together in the same period of time. Even though Dino Adventure is completed, I still enjoy reading about them. Join me on this awesome journey of your imagination into the world of dinosaurs!


Houser Post Office

One day, the arts council asked me to read a story at the Chicken and Egg Festival that would be held in a small town that I lived in. I asked them if I could just write a short story to read to the children instead. So this is how the story about mail on a farm started!

I started on the story one night. I thought about how unhappy some of my customers were when they didn’t get any mail. Then I thought about how happy my son was when I would read animal stories to him. The combination of the two inspired me to write this story!


Author Kathy C. Houser

Kathy C. Houser, after I grew up, I worked full-time with the Post Office as a City Carrier and raised my son.  After thirty-two years, I retired and here I am, six months later, with two new books! My debut book is Houser Post Office and my second one is Dino’s Adventure. It thrills me to know that children all over the place will be reading my books. I look forward to writing more!

Terry Jo Compton-Illustrator of Dino’s Adventure 

I live in Decatur, Alabama, with my wife, Paula. I became passionate about art at the young age of five years old and spent some of my teenage years working as an artist on signs for businesses, lettering, illustrations, commercial buildings, giant water trucks, and even stage props, stationary, and home decor.

Framed art is my favorite to produce and I love that my art hangs on the walls of someone’s home. I am inspired by fine art, architecture, and old buildings dating back years and years ago. I consider it an honor and privilege to produce artwork that will last for years to come. My love for art has also led me to oils, water colors, and acrylic painting.  The talent I have is all-natural and God-given…no lessons!

Christina Travis-Illustrator of Houser Post Office 

I’m sixteen years old, born in San Marcos, Texas, and raised in Trinity, Alabama. I’ve always had a love for the arts, whether it’s music or drawing. I’ve been drawing as long as I can remember, every day when I would come home from school that was always the first thing I wanted to do. It wasn’t until the seventh grade when I realized that I had talent. I would normally do a quick sketch, but when I really sat down and committed to drawing for hours, from then on I knew that I wanted to draw professionally. So I began drawing portraits for friends and family. I am so thankful for all the love and support I have received while on this journey.

March Winners

April already? Where did March go? It was a great month and we have 4 winners of print books!

Are you on our list?

Gail Kittleson’s book, In Times Like These, has been won by Caryl Kane. Congrats!

Cynthia Lovely has been picked to win either a print copy of Jacqueline Gillam Fairchild’s book, Estate of Mind or a gift certificate to tea at Her Majesty’s in Dunlap, Illinois. Congratulations!

Melanie Dickerson’s latest book, A Viscount’s Proposal, goes to Katie Merkel!

Sandra Byrd is gifting a copy of A Lady in Disguise to Robbye Faye!

A big THANK YOU to all our faithful readers for taking the time to stop by and comment.

Don’t forget. It’s not too late to leave an answer to our prompts on our Monday and Friday posts in April and be in the running for a $40 Etsy gift card. If you don’t enter, you won’t win 🙂

Clean it Up!

By Harriet E. Michael

These are words I’ve learned to dread when coming from an editor. Cleaning up a manuscript is no fun. At least it’s no pleasure cruise for me; I understand there are strange people in this world for whom these words sound like an order to have fun. These people are sometimes called editors and they are an alien breed to me. At the same time, I need them desperately and am glad they exist.

I recently released my debut novel, “The Whisper of the Palms” published by Olivia Kimbrell Press. When my editor first received my novel, he sent it back to me telling me to clean it up. pc-1207686_1280Thankfully, he gave me specific things to do to clean it up. Here are two of them, which may help any writer trying to present as clean a manuscript as possible to an editor, whether it be a large manuscript like a book or small, like an article.

 1)      Change passive verbs to active. My editor had me doing word searches for all being verbs: is, was, were, am, are, be, being, been. He asked me to change these to active wherever possible.

2)      Do not start sentences with what he called the FANBOYS: for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so. Again, my editor had me doing word searches for these words and asked me to change it anytime I had started a sentence with any of them. (And this is my favorite vice! I love starting sentences with and or but. Ugh!)

 A couple of weeks later, I was practically cross-eyed from all the word searches but I had a cleaned-up manuscript!  

Click to tweet: Cleaning up a manuscript is no fun.

Three-word prompt: I’m editing because …

Add your 3 words to the three-word prompt to create a six-word short-short story! We’ll publicize our choice of the best one on Facebook and Twitter and other outlets. One all-around winner will be chosen at the end of April!

The Whisper of the Palmsa new release from our own Harriet E. Michael!

Africa beckoned but would Ali have to go alone?

Growing up in the foothills of North Carolina, Ali Blackwell dreamed of going places she had only seen in books and magazines. She lived in a small farmhouse that her farmer father had built with his own hands, and the prospects of ever leaving her little town of Union Mills appeared unlikely. Her family barely scraped by on the sale of produce grown by her dad and brothers and the supplemental income they earned working at the nearby textile mill.

Kyle Edmonds, a few years her elder, lived in a larger house in South Carolina. He possessed things Ali only dreamed of—extra clothes and shoes, a house with indoor plumbing and electricity, a family car, a bicycle and other toys, just to name some.

They could not have been more different.

However, both heard God’s still small voice calling them to foreign missions. How will their paths cross? What obstacles will they face? What will their future hold?


Born in Nigeria, West Africa, as the daughter of missionaries, Harriet E. Michael is a writer, gardener, wife of 38 years, mother, and grandmother.

She holds a BS in nursing from West Virginia University but has discovered her passion for writing. Since her first published article in 2010, she now has over a hundred and fifty published articles and devotions.

Harriet is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and Louisville Christian Writers. She is the author of three books, “Glimpses of the Savior” published by TMP Publishing and “Prayer: It’s Not About You,” a finalist in the 2011 Women of Faith book contest, published by Pix-N-Pens Publishing Company, and her debut novel, “The Whisper of the Palms” published by Olivia Kimbrell Press.

Her stories, articles, and devotions have appeared in publications by Focus on the Family, Lifeway, Standard Publishing, David C. Cook Co., Bethany House, American Life League, Crosswalk.com, Christian Communicator, Judson Press, The Upper Room, Pentecostal Publishing House, Smyth and Helwys, and more.

She is also a Christian speaker who loves to talk to women’s groups about prayer or other topics or speak at writers’ conferences on free-lance writing, non-fiction writing, and devotional writing.

You can also follow her at www.harrietemichael.blogspot.com

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