Archive for February, 2016

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 Why writers make the best friends

By Emilie Hendryx


I fell in love with writing at a young age. Being an only child I was able to use my imagination in creative ways all the time. I made up stories to amuse myself. Plus, in our home, books were devoured (in the best way) and that grew an appreciation for story in me. It was only natural that I’d want to take that love of story and create my own. I became a writer.


What do you think of when you think of a writer? Maybe a favorite book comes to mind (and the author along with that). Or maybe you think of someone looking pensively out a window with a notepad in hand (or typewriter, or laptop…). Or maybe you think of someone who’s a little eccentric and is always taking notes or muttering about some character or plot.


Whatever your perspective of a writers is, I’d like to give you a little insight into some of the things that make writers great—yes, I’m a lot little bias. We’re a rare breed and should you be lucky enough to have a writer friend, this may help you understand them a little better.


Why Writers Make the Best Friends


Writers are:



We see the world in a different way. We don’t just live life, we experience it. All emotion we feel is an experience. All places, possible locations. All new people we meet, potential characters. In the end, every day is research for us. It’s all material for a book. I think that makes us experience things in a different way than others. If you’re lucky enough to be friends with a writer, you’ll see some of that experience. Let it rub off on you!



Writers don’t just take things at face value. They stew on them. Mull them over in their minds. Make connections to things that others wouldn’t. It makes for some tough, emotion-filled days when the things we’re contemplating are difficult, but in the end, we have a deeper well of thought to pull from. Because of this contemplative nature, we are compassionate and empathetic. We won’t give you empty answers, we’ll truly think through what we say.



It doesn’t matter where we are, we’re always thinking about story. Either the one we’re working on, the one (or many) we’re reading, or the one we want to write. Because of that, we take in everything around us. People, places, smells, actions…we are ultimate people watchers. This can be fun, but it can also be difficult if your writer friend is distracted by a conversation they are listening in on. Don’t worry though, they aren’t eavesdropping so much as gaining insight into better ways to write dialogue or to capture the inflection of the person speaking. They’ll come back to the conversation, and they’ll probably have some great stories to tell too!



Being a writer means we have to be able to focus on the task at hand: our writing. It takes time, energy, and immense effort to write a novel. While some may see this as taking away from “friend-time” I’d challenge you to see past that to the reality of what’s going on. Your writer friend is delving deeply into the wells of emotion inside of them to pour out their hearts on the page. They are focused for a time, but that also means they’ll need a break. Time away from the characters in their heads and the plotlines that are twisting before their eyes. That’s where YOU come in. They’ll turn to you and, with that same focus it takes to write a novel, they’ll be there for you. Because a writer that cares about a little will care about a lot. They’ll want you to share your thoughts, fears, joys, and struggles with them.



Let’s face it. Writers just make things fun! You’ll be standing around in a group of friends talking about something and suddenly they’ll start talking about what will happen when the world ends or zombies invade or how their character got out of a tight spot in their current novel. Story-life and real-life are one in the same to writers and that makes conversation so much more interesting.



Writers understand their friendships in a different way than most people. They see them as investments of time and emotion, not just as people to “hang out” with. Because a writer’s life can be filled with lots of alone time, their real-life friendships are extremely important to them. They may not like being in crowds of people or the center of attention, but they will be there for their friends no matter what. Just like struggles make their characters better, they know that difficult times will strengthen their friendships too. They won’t shy away from the hard things but will push through, staying loyal to their friends.


See? Writers really are the best type of friends to have!


Do you have a friend who’s a writer? Let them know you’re thankful for them today!




Emilie is a freelance writer and photographer living in the heart of Washington, D.C. She’s a member of ACFW and currently working on a romantic suspense series while dreaming up YA Sci-Fi dystopian worlds on the side. She’s got a soft spot in her heart for animals and a love for the mountains of the Pacific Northwest. In her spare time you can find her playing guitar or reading a book all while drinking too much coffee.


Connect with Emilie:

My blog

Author page on Facebook





Join my Goodreads group: Readers Unite



#emiliehendryx, ##newweeknewface, #NWNF, #writersarethebestfriends, #creative, #contemplative, #observant, #focused, #imaginative, #loyal

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“I am a newly-retired teacher who is entering the field of Christian ministry… There are a vast number of people who are lost and hurting, and I hope to reach them with this message of faith. I have always loved to write and have been doing so since I could hold a pen. I love to cook gourmet French dinners–but only during holidays–as well as to cycle, read the classics and play Scrabble.”

She spent her career as a high school English and French teacher, and will always be a lifelong learner. She loves everything French, especially creating gourmet cuisine for birthdays and holidays, and you will likely find French culture and language in whatever she writes.

Ms. Jurgens began a new ministry, Touched by Him, where she serves as a blogger and speaker. As a single mom, her best accomplishment has been raising two lovely daughters. Along with her mother who is now 93, the four of them enjoy fun times together shopping, dining out, and traveling.




rem: Welcome to my blog, Karen. Tell us a little about yourself. Where were you raised?

KAREN: I was born and raised in Cincinnati, but I have lived in the Dallas, Texas, Metroplex for 31 years. I love to cook, write, and travel. I once planned to go to cooking school to become a chef, but a teaching job came through instead. I have spent my entire career as a French and English teacher.


rem: I do love cooking! (Je ne parle pas français.) What’s your favorite flavor of ice cream? What’s your favorite cookie?

KAREN: Since I grew up enjoying Graeter’s and United Dairy Farmers’ local ice cream, I was very spoiled. Every July both companies treat patrons to a fresh peach flavor that is divine. But my very favorite is raspberry chocolate chip. I am a chocoholic, so no surprise that my favorite cookie is chocolate chip, too.

rem: oh my! Fresh peach ice cream! I’ll take some! Coffee or tea? Sweet or un? Flavored or not?

KAREN: I love both. Coffee must be French roast, and my tea is always black—English Breakfast or Earl Grey. I take both with cream only.

rem: Kids or pets? Names and ages?

KAREN: My older daughter, Meghan, is 31 and the younger is Caitlin, 28. My darling poodle, Babette, was 15 when she passed away several years ago, but she is still carved in my heart.

rem: So sorry about Babette. Vacation: beach or mountains?

KAREN: I love the beach. Growing up, my family vacationed in Florida every year. I learned to be a sun worshipper from my early teen years, so laying out and getting a dark tan was my passion. I finally gave up tanning when I turned 30, but I still enjoy sitting in the sand under a beach umbrella and swimming in the ocean.

rem: There is something about the sound of the surf. Sigh… What do you most value in a friend? What quality do you most admire in a man or woman?

KAREN: I value sincere honesty above all else. A good sense of humor along with a disciplined work ethic are qualities I most admire in others.

rem: I agree on all counts. Without honesty, nothing else holds up. When reading, what makes or breaks a story for you? Your fiction pet peeve?  

KAREN: Since I am writing my second fiction book, I have discovered that I don’t like the syrupy-sweet perfect endings that contemporary romance demands. I find them too contrived. I enjoy surprises, twists and turns, and the story that forces me to create my own romantic dénouement.

rem: Thank you! I couldn’t agree more! (gak) Which book have you read the most in your lifetime?

KAREN: Non-fiction: The Bible. Fiction: Great Expectations by Charles Dickens

rem: If you could chose to be a character in a book, who would it be and why?

KAREN: I would be Melanie Hamilton Wilkes in Gone with the Wind. She was pure southern class, exemplifying loyalty and humility. She was the heart and soul of the novel, always supporting Scarlett and knowing better than to believe the romantic gossip about Scarlett and Ashley. She was wise, understanding, and spent her life serving others with devoted love.

rem: You are a classy lady, I say it’s a good fit! Tell us a little about your writing journey.

KAREN: I loved reading and writing stories from an early age. I grew up reading the Bobbsey Twins series (all of which I still have in my library). Since I had no siblings my age, I entertained myself writing stories in all kinds of places, even the car (my parents were always on the go). I remember one essay I wrote, entitled “How Pillsbury Got its Name.” My first “novel” was a romance called Love is Forever. My writing matured as I took creative writing courses in high school and college, and I still have stacks and stacks of short stories and chapters from unfinished stories over the decades.

rem: I remember the Bobbsey Twins! What is your Writing Routine? Where do you write: In a cave, a coffeehouse, or a cozy nook?

KAREN: I have an office at home where I love to work, especially in the evenings and into the wee hours of the morning. I usually get going about nine and am not aware of the time again until two a.m. I substitute teach most days, so if I can, I have learned to write at school while the students are working.

rem: What makes you struggle as an author? How do you handle it?

KAREN: I struggle with how I accept criticism about my writing. When I began attending a critique group, I was surprised at how much I still needed to learn to become a good writer (in spite of being a high school English teacher). I have learned to be tough, meet deadlines, and accept critique suggestions without letting them “sting.” Now I thrive on constructive criticism because it makes my writing much better.

rem: That’s a toughie, I think, for all of us. Do you prefer the creating or editing aspect of writing? Why?

KAREN: I very much enjoy the editing process, probably because of my English teacher background. However, I adore the writing process more because that’s where my creative juices soar. It’s much like giving birth to a “child” you hope everyone will want to read and love.

rem: Very apt analogy, and one I feel deeply as well. What do you enjoy most about being a writer?

KAREN: I enjoy my characters and how they evolve in the story. Mine have spiritual issues that resolve through God’s grace in a contemporary setting. Their personality traits deepen through the story, sometimes developing in surprising ways I didn’t originally plan.

rem: I love when the story surprises me, especially when I’m the one writing it! What was the hardest thing about publishing? The easiest?

KAREN: The easiest thing about publishing is having someone else do that for you. My first novella is part of a ten-author anthology, which was published by Lena Nelson Dooley. The hardest thing is to find a publisher or figure out how to Indie publish, which is what I’m facing with my current novel. Understanding and implementing a strong marketing plan are the biggest keys to success.

rem: I know very few people who don’t have great disdain for the marketing aspect of being an author… What are your top 3 recommendations for a new writer? What 3 things would recommend not doing?

KAREN: To do: Read all you can about your craft, whether it’s fiction or non-fiction. Attend conferences your first year and just try to learn as much as possible. Create a good library of reference materials, like The Emotions Thesaurus. Learn Scrivener. Invest in a good laptop or computer and know how to use it. Join a good critique group. (Whoops, more than 3!) (meh, who’s counting?)

To Not Do: don’t write without an outline—plan before you begin. Don’t fail to set daily goals, whether it’s time or word count. And don’t let others’ criticism turn into writer’s block.

rem: Yeah, ‘bout outlining… Where do you get your greatest ideas for writing?

KAREN: My greatest ideas all come from real life—the people I’ve known and the places I’ve been. Great writers pass on the good advice of always writing about what you know.

rem: Do you have a favorite book or work that you’ve written? If so, why?

KAREN: The fiction I currently write is for my ministry, Touched by Him. I try to show how characters deal with spiritual issues in a contemporary setting. My first story is about how important it is to choose a godly mate in a world where true believers are scarce. The second is about how a broken marriage can be salvaged and redeemed through God’s merciful love and grace.

rem: Which character in the story is most like/least like you?

KAREN: I am most like Gwen Livingston, whose husband was unfaithful to her. Although my personal circumstances are different from Gwen’s, I hope to show how forgiveness and learning to trust again are keys for every person who has suffered through the unfaithfulness of his or her spouse. I am least like Meredith Holloway, Carlie’s loose-living sorority sister who stabs her in the back.

rem: See? Now I’m gonna have to read your story! Tell us a little about your latest book? What is your current project?

KAREN: Desire’s Deception is the name of my second book, slated for a 2016 publication. The original plan was to be part of an April Love novella collection, but this story dictates a larger word count, so it will become a novel instead.

rem: What is one take-away from your book(s) that you hope readers identify with?

KAREN: Sin is a messy business that splashes on everyone. You can’t get away with a secret life forever, and when it comes out, everyone suffers—the innocent along with the guilty.

rem: The best stories have secrets somewhere in them, methinks. Tell us about your ministry, Touched by Him. How did that come about  and what is your purpose and mission?

KAREN: When I retired from my teaching career in 2014, I knew it was time to begin the ministry. God called me more than twenty years ago, after I went through the most difficult trials of my life. My mission is to use my experience to help others find His answers to their life’s trials, and most importantly, to find salvation in Jesus Christ.

rem: Father is always faithful to take our mess and turn it for our good. Thank you for being on my blog today, Karen. I’ve enjoyed getting to know you.

You can follow her blog about scriptural answers to life’s trials at Touched by Him Ministries at www.karenjurgens.com.

Twitter: https://twitter.com/karenha00661653

Facebook Author page: http://www.facebook.com/TheKarenJurgens

Amazon Author page: http://www.amazon.com/Karen-Jurgens/e/B016CXTOOG/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_6

Writing Prompts blog: https://writingpromptsthoughtsideas.wordpress.com/

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Carlie Livingston is steering into her last year of college in Oxford, Ohio, confident that she and Lance Holloway are headed to the altar after graduation. Those plans are wrecked, however, by her dad’s infidelity, causing her parents to walk through a messy divorce. Will she have the same fate if she marries her college sweetheart who comes from a secular family? Her mother insists she will.

She tests God’s Word by letting Him take the wheel of her life. But if God is in control, why are all her close relationships crumbling? Nothing makes sense.

Just when it appears hopeless, Clay McKinney two-steps into Carlie’s life, promising to provide everything she’s looking for. But if he’s God’s answer, why can’t her heart release Lance? Where will her final destination be on this journey of trust?

rem: Thanks for joining us today, Karen. It’s been a pleasure having on my blog!

You can find Karen at:

Author of A Christmas Mosaic, published 2015
Desire’s Deception, coming 2016





#karenjurgens, #writingpromptscrew, #authorinterview, #aChristmasmosaic, , #desiresdeception, #touchedbyHim

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My dear Catherine, could you reach beyond your shame and see what I see? What God sees?”

God dreamed bigger dreams for her than she ever could. (excerpted from The Thorn Keeper.)


When a person feels worthless, what hope is there for their life? When life has crushed a person’s spirit, what hope is there of recovery? When a person has ruined their reputation and tarnished their name, what cost to restoration? Is there any redemption?


This is the struggle Catherine Dougall must overcome. Her past was colorful, and her future—she can’t grasp it. Her past is gone, she’s a changed woman. She is devoted to living her life for Christ, walking out her newfound faith. She doesn’t, she believes, deserve anything good and lovely. Least of all the love of a good man.


Dr. David Ross is polished, high society, keeps tenuous control on his heart and emotions. His attraction to Catherine—it’s a fluke, it can’t be. His focus and priority is the war hospital and patients, soldiers wounded on the front lines of war. His distraction is Catherine Dougall, who has applied herself to God’s service. In his hospital. In his daily routine. And in his heart.


Oh! how this reviewer can relate to Catherine’s feelings of unworthiness. How I know the sense of duty to repay Father’s kindness toward me. How I feel I can never “earn” or have the beautiful things in life. Even if they are gifts freely given. Oh! how wrong I was.


Will Catherine—can Catherine—ever let go her shame? Will she learn to embrace the love Father gives? Freely gives? Can she ever understand her debt is gone and she has been made new? Can she ever allow herself to love the man her heart yearns for? Will she—and David—be able to “…learn to trust in a God who never forgets his children and fashions beauty out of the most broken things?”


Ms. Basham has done it again. Written such characters I felt as if I were there in the Derbyshire countryside with them. I felt the strain of the tension as she so deftly wove it, building it to the point of breaking. I cried as Catherine felt the weight of her past, a burden she no longer bore. I longed for love’s first touch—pure love’s first touch—as surely as she did. I fought her internal struggle to follow her shame and run away. Or embrace the new life that could be hers.

As surely as I loved the first book in this series, The Thorn Keeper has secured me as a forever fan of Ms. Basham’s writing. I look forward to devouring her next story, and taking the journey with her characters as they come to life on the page.


Oui, je comprends.” She nodded. “You fix things. I fix things. We do not like the unfixable things, non. But God is in them, changing us sometimes more than changing the wounds.



Pepper D Basham has been telling tales ever since she was a little girl and fell in love with storytelling while listening to her granny share oral history. A native of the Blue Ridge Mountains, mom of five, speech-language pathologist, and lover of chocolate, Pepper enjoys sprinkling her native Appalachian culture into her fiction wherever she can. She currently resides in the lovely mountains of Asheville, NC, where she works with kids who have special needs, searches for unique hats, and plots new ways to annoy her wonderful friends at her group writing blog, The Writer’s Alley. She is represented by Julie Gwinn of Seymour Literary Agency. Her debut novel, The Thorn Bearer, arrives on May 7th 2015 and is the first book in the Penned in Time series. Her first contemporary romance, A Twist of Faith, is slated to release later the same year. You can find her at http://www.pepperdbasham.com or follow her writing antics on her Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Pepper-D-Basham or Twitter at https://twitter.com/pepperbasham



#thethornkeeper, #pepperdbasham, #blueridgemountains, #derbyshireengland, #worldwarI, #thethornbearer

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Betty Thomason Owens writes romantic comedy, historical fiction, and fantasy-adventure. She has contributed hundreds of articles and interviews to various blogs around the Internet and is an active member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), where she leads a critique group. She’s also a mentor, assisting other writers, and a co-founder of a blog dedicated to inspiring writers. Annabelle’s Ruth (June, 2015), a 1950’s historical novel based on the Book of Ruth, is the first book in the Kinsman Redeemer Series (Write Integrity Press). Her 20’s era romance, Amelia’s Legacy, Book 1, Legacy Series, released October, 2014 (Write Integrity Press). She also writes contemporary stories as a co-author of A Dozen Apologies and its sequels, The Love Boat Bachelor, and Unlikely Merger. 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 Books™, an imprint of Olivia Kimbrell Press™.


So glad you’re here, Betty!


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My advice to all those interested in writing: join a *critique group or writers’ organization such as American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), Word Weavers International, or Romance Writers of America (RWA). Whatever you write, whether it’s fiction or nonfiction, historical, romance, fantasy, or devotional, there’s an organization or group out there for you.

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Critique also means criticism. Most of us don’t really want to have our work criticized. Hopefully, you will find a fellow writer or group of writers who will engage in gentle criticism of your work, be more concerned about helping you along your writing journey.”


rem: Welcome to my blog, Betty, so glad to have you here. Tell us a little about yourself. Where were you raised? Where do you live now?

Betty: Daddy was a nomad, so we moved a lot. San Diego and West Tennessee were his favorite spots, so we moved back and forth for a while. He finally found his niche in the insurance business and they sent him to Knoxville, Tennessee, then Louisville, Kentucky. I put down roots in Louisville.

rem: My mother had gypsy blood, too, and we moved every year for several years. Oy! Tell us three things about yourself.

Betty: I’m a major klutz. I can trip over invisible things. (rem: a special talent)

I was once “mama” to two Charolais calves. They followed me around like puppies. Imagine two full-grown cows that loved to play chicken with their “mama.” A thousand pounds running at you, full-speed, to stop just inches in front of you. Chilling. I’ve always been a storyteller. Mom called them “lies.” I didn’t make up the cow story, though.

rem: Well, now, that’s different, calves following you around! If you could have any super power what would it be?

Betty: I’d like to be able to run really, really fast—like The Flash. Actually, I’d like to be able to run.

rem: I hear ya—and I plan to after my surgeries! Coffee or tea? Sweet or un? Flavored or not?

Betty: I’m a coffee drinker and a coffee snob. I like the cool beans, cream—no sugar, please.

rem: I’m particular about my coffee too, cinnamon hazelnut, no cream or sugar. Vacation: beach or mountains?

Betty: I love both, but we usually end up lazing our days on the beach.

rem: With the water lapping at your toes, of course. What is your greatest regret?

Betty: I didn’t have big hair in the eighties. Honestly, I try not to do regrets, but there really is one and it’s big, at least to me. I wish I’d kissed my dad goodbye the last time I saw him.


rem: cute. Sorry about you dad, I know that must have been hard. When reading, what makes or breaks a story for you?

Betty: I love happy endings, but sappiness gives me indigestion.

rem: Yeah, I don’t do sappy either. ick ick Your fiction pet peeve?

Betty: A cliffhanger! Hate! Hate!

rem: Which book have you read the most in your lifetime?

Betty: There is a tie between Jane Eyre and Pride and Prejudice. I love them both and have read them a ridiculous number of times.

rem: Both excellent choices. And both favorites of mine. Who is your favorite hero of fiction?

Betty: Edmond Dantes in The Count of Monte Cristo. He lived an amazing life—actually several—and gave up everything for love.

rem: Another favorite of mine. Which is more important: plot or characters?

Betty: I love character-driven stories and I tend to write that way.


rem: Tell us a little about your writing journey.

Betty: I started writing as a release. I was a stay-at-home-mom with three boys. Yeah, release! Several years later, I’d finished my first novel, a 1920’s coming-of-age story, and stuck it out there on the ACFW critique loop, where I met Fay Lamb. She believed in my writing and later encouraged me to send the manuscript to Tracy Ruckman at Write Integrity Press. Meanwhile, my husband told me this was my year to be published. The year drew to an end and it hadn’t happened. Tracy called me on New Year’s Eve and offered me a contract.

rem: Oh! How I do love those “serendipity” moments! What a great way to ring in the New Year! What is your Writing Routine? Where do you write: In a cave, a coffeehouse, or a cozy nook?

Betty: I’m retired and my day starts early. I have quiet time, then get a little marketing and socializing done, then open my manuscript and work until it’s time to make breakfast for my husband (he works second shift). Where do I write? I prefer to use a laptop wherever I can get the best view of the sunrise. I move around during the day, usually ending up in the family room. When I’m really into writing, I’m oblivious to most distractions. Except bright sunshine. Tends to lure me away from the computer screen to the outdoors.

rem: I’m with ya on the outdoors! But when I’m writing, I stay put. What makes you struggle as an author? How do you handle it?

Betty: I get stuck sometimes. Maybe I can’t think of the right word, or maybe the plot’s not working out. I go for a walk, or if the weather’s bad, I clean. Physical activity seems to “un-stick” my mind!

rem: Again with the outdoors. Sometimes I just sits on the front porch and watch the clouds and the trees! Do you prefer the creating or editing aspect of writing? Why?

Betty: Definitely creating, because I love the freedom of storytelling—writing with abandon until I’ve formed a scene or a chapter I like. I also enjoy the editing process when it’s mine. When someone else has done the editing, it’s hard, because I know they’re wrong. After a while, though, I realize they’re probably right and I go fix the problem.

rem: Ohhhh, it’s hard putting our literary babies in somebody else’s hands only to have them slice-n-dice it up. What do you enjoy most about being a writer?

Betty: Besides the aforementioned elation of writing with abandon—getting a good review, or a positive feedback from a reader.

rem: Well, yeah. What was the hardest thing about publishing? The easiest?

Betty: My first experience with publishing was the old-fashioned self-publishing route of paying a company to make it happen. It was not a good experience, but I loved the stories and continued to work with them. Once the contract was up on the original company, I updated them and re-released them with a small publisher who made them look wonderful. Getting the attention of an agent or publisher is difficult with all the competition out there. It took a while and a lot of querying to get the 1920’s book, Amelia’s Legacy, in print. This was also the easiest thing, once I had signed the contract. I didn’t have the entire weight of the editing process on me. Having a professional work on the book took a lot of pressure off.

rem: What are your top 3 recommendations for a new writer? What 3 things would recommend not doing?

Betty: Top 3 – Work hard. Pray hard. Research well.

Don’t do these – Don’t give up. Don’t think you can edit your own work. Don’t sign until you’ve read the contract and researched the company/publisher/editor well.

rem: Excellent nugget about researching a company/publisher! Also, standard but excellent reminder to (actually) read the contract before you sign. Where do you get your greatest ideas for writing?

Betty: The greatest come from my memories, growing up. I’ve met a lot of people along the way—a lot of truly quirky characters—who add depth to the stories. Sometimes ideas just “drop in.” Love those.

rem: Do you have a favorite book or work that you’ve written? If so, why?

Betty: Annabelle’s Ruth, my latest release, is my favorite. The biblical story of Ruth has always fascinated me. I took the ideas from that book and combined them with the stories I’d heard of my mother’s early life so the setting is 1950’s rural West Tennessee. The personal connection is what makes it special to me. Also, many of the characters in the book actually existed, though I changed their names and adjusted them a little—kind of like caricatures.

rem: Which to me, makes the best reading. Which character in the story is most like/least like you?

Betty: I’m probably in both the main characters. Annabelle (the Naomi character in the book) is actually modeled after my paternal grandmother, and I’m a lot like her. The Jensen character is the least like me, but he was the most fun to write. He’s just mean and greedy!

rem: Those nasty folk really are fun to write, aren’t they? Tell us a little about your latest book? What is your current project?

Betty: I recently wrapped up the second book in the Legacy series. The title is Carlotta’s Legacy. Last I heard, it was in the hands of the editor. And I just started writing the second book in the Kinsman Redeemer series (following Annabelle’s Ruth). The working title is Sutter’s Landing, and it will take up where I left off in Annabelle’s Ruth. More adventures in the lives of my main characters.

rem: What is one take-away from your book(s) that you hope readers identify with?

Betty: All of my books so far have a running theme of forgiveness, which is very important to me. Annabelle’s Ruth emphasizes God’s grace and redemption. Even in seasons of great loss and difficulty, God’s light shines through.

rem: Oh, Betty, that’s so true! Thanks for joining us today, it’s been a pleasure having on my blog!


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You can find Betty at the following locations:

Facebook Author Page



She also contribute to: Writing Prompts & Thoughts & Ideas…Oh My!


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#bettythomasonowens, #writingpromptscrew, #authorinterview, #kinsmanredeemer, #annabellesruth, #carlottaslegacy, #sutterslanding

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Experiencing Depression


Did you know many people suffer from Depression? What is Depression? Here’s the definition below.


Depression is a state of low mood and aversion to activity that can affect a person’s thoughts, behavior, feelings and sense of well-being. People with depressed mood can feel sad, anxious,, empty, hopeless, helpless, worthless, guilty, irritable, ashamed, or restless.




Depression comes in many forms such as Manic, Postpartum, Bipolar, Psychotic, Situational and Atypical. Most people don’t talk about their depression out of not wanting help or they don’t even realize that they are depressed.



I went to college right out of high school like most kids do. I fell into a major depression because I didn’t know how to cope and fit in. At the time, I didn’t know it was depression. I thought I was just really homesick but came to find out later on that it was a form of depression. Every day after class was over, I would go back to my dorm room and cry for 3-4 hours straight.


I would go and do school work but once that was done, I called my parents for two hours every night then went to bed. I did this every day for a semester. I barely ate anything except for a little bit of pasta, soup, and salad. I would walk every night around campus for an hour. I dropped down to 145 pounds when I started the school year at 195 pounds. I have type two diabetes and so you can imagine the damage I was doing to my body. I was almost like a walking zombie around campus.



It wasn’t until a friend who I didn’t even know that well, had reminded me that even in the darkest of nights…. God is still there. He left me with the verse of Zephaniah 3:17-20 which has become my life verse because of this experience.



I would recite this passage over and over again. I then took to just depending on God to get me through the hardest time in my life. He became my rock and my best friend. It didn’t matter at the time that I had a few friends but I am grateful that they stuck with me even when I didn’t really “see” them because I was so stuck in my depression.


It was like all the air was sucked out of the room or for a better image, more like I was out in the middle of a dark ocean with no light anywhere. Once my friend reminded me that God was still there in the midst of the darkness, it was like a lighthouse guiding me home or a life ring tossed out for me to grab a hold of.


So basically, if you or someone you love is struggling with depression…. please seek help. God doesn’t call for us to live in depression when He came to give us life more abundantly.


I challenge you to go and get help. Seek out the Lord, fall on your hands and knees. God is there even when you feel like it is all dark and quiet around you. He is just waiting for you to reach out and grab your father’s hand. He loves you so much.


I will be praying for you guys. I know what its like and I know it can be hard but just remember that God is the healer. He has a better plan for you than you know.



Your sister in Christ,


Halita Wilson


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My name is Halita Wilson. I am hearing impaired  and have been since I was 2 and half years old. I do not let my impairment stop me from living my life. I got saved when I was 6 1/2 years old. My family has moved around all my life due to my father being in the military for 17 years.


We have lived in Arizona, South Carolina, Florida, New York, Illinois, Maryland (Currently), Virginia.


I rededicated my life at 23 years old. I am a part time author, photographer. I also teach sign language on youtube. I run a ministry of my own which is The DROP which means Driven Right On Prayer ministry.




#halitawilson, ##newweeknewface, #NWNF, #depression, #drivenrightonprayer

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Knees. What’s a knee?


“The knee joint joins the thigh with the leg and consists of two articulations: one between the femur and tibia, and one between the femur and patella. It is the largest joint in the human body. The knee is a mobile trocho-ginglymus, which permits fexion and extension, as well as slight internal and external rotation.


“The knee is a hinge type synovial joint, which is composed of three functional compartments: the femoropatellar articulation, consisting of the patella, or kneecap, and the patellar groove on the front of the femur through which it slides; and the medial and lateral femorotibial articulations linking the femur, or thigh bone, with the tibia, the main bone of the lower leg. The joint is bathed in synovial fluid which is contained inside the synovial membrane called the joint capsule…

“The knee is one of the most important joints of our body. It plays an essential role in movement related to carrying the body weight in horizontal (running and walking) and vertical (jumps) directions.

“At birth, a baby will not have a conventional knee cap, but a growth formed of cartilage. By the time that the child is 3-5 years of age, ossification will have replaced the cartilage with bone.”

(definition found on Wikipedia.)


I hadn’t realized our precious knees are the largest joint in the body!



And cartilage. What is cartilage?


“Cartilage is a thin, elastic tissue that protects the bone and makes certain that the joint surfaces can slide easily over each other. Cartilage ensures supple knee movement. There are two types of joint cartilage in the knees: fibrous cartilage (the meniscus) and hyaline cartilage. Fibrous cartilage has tensile strength and can resist pressure. Hyaline cartilage covers the surface along which the joints move. Cartilage will wear out over the years. Cartilage has a very limited capacity for self-restoration.” (definition found on Wikipedia)



So what do these wondrous joints do?


[The knee] … “acts as a hinge that allows your lower leg and foot to swing easily forward or back as you walk, run, or kick. A healthy knee allows almost 150 degrees of movement. But unlike a simple hinge like one on a jewelry box, for example, in which any wobble is undesirable, the knee slightly rotates and moves from side to side, as well.”



Imagine stairs. We’d not be able to climb or descend stairs without this magnificent joint.




You get the picture. Our knees are designed, like the rest of our bodies for a purpose.

And when they don’t do what they’re supposed to…..

Then it’s time for replacement. An artificial knee. Arthroplasty.

Not a fun day.

Unless you’ve waited as long as I have. Forty years, give or take a few weeks. My poor little knees were messed up from the beginning and when I was seventeen, I had a tendon moved to where it’s supposed to be. Think surgical staples. Even then the kneecap was already cracked and damaged. Even then, the surgeon told us I’d likely need further surgery, possibly full replacement. Well, it’s time.

The interim years have been rough, compounding an already tenuous condition. For a multitude of reasons, I just put up with it. Compromised everything I did to accommodate knees that don’t work the way they should. And a few months ago, I couldn’t any more. While I am not immobile, I’m hardly walking, and certainly not without pain.

I feel like Cinderella at the ball. All the things I’ll be able to do. Like climb steps. Or go down them. I don’t know the last time I could do either without contorting myself, and leaning (heavily) on a railing. Or somebody. And God help me when there is no railing.

The rest of my body doing things it’s not designed to do. My wrists and shoulders especially. And my back. Squat to lift? No way. Sit on the floor with the kids to play a game or work a puzzle? Not possible. Well, possible but getting up nearly is. Impossible. And it’s really not pretty to watch. Take a hot soaky bath? I wish. In the category of getting up from the floor, I can’t get myself out of the tub.

So, yeah, I’m pretty stoked! I am not discounting the weeks of discomfort and pain. Then again, I’ve been in discomfort and pain for so long… This pain and discomfort is different. There’s an end in sight, a purpose to the pain, a resolution from this discomfort.

And my birthday? In hospital? What about cake? Presents? Balloons? Let’s face it, there’s not much celebration for birthday when you’re in my age bracket. (shhh, I’m not really that old and I’ll deny it all day long!) So what celebration? Learning to walk again? Learning to walk correctly? I’ll take it! Let me say that again, I’LL TAKE IT!

So at the time of this posting, I will have checked in to this lovely facility, surgery behind me, and recovery underway. I’ll be home tomorrow and the real work begins. Well, first REST begins. And I can’t wait to see what’s in store!

So yeah, Happy Birthday to me today! So send me a card (birthday or get well) bring me flowers, bake me a cake—I’ve a brand new knee to celebrate!


#kneereplacement, #arthroplasty, #osteoarthritis, #happybirthdaytome, #greermemorialhospital, #steadmanhawkinsofthecarolinas, #cinderella, #watchmerun

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Author Interview – Writing Prompt Crew member JENNIFER HALLMARK


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Jennifer is a writer by nature, artist at heart, and daughter of God by His grace. With over 200 articles and interviews on the internet, her attention has moved to southern fiction and YA fantasy.

Her first book published in early 2014, a multi-authored romantic comedy novella, called A Dozen Apoligies. She is currently shopping her YA series, Journey of Grace: Realm of Ecclesia and a contemporary southern fiction novel, When Wedding and Weather Collide. She is also part of two compilation projects: Unlikely Merger is a romantic novella, a sequel to A Dozen Apologies which released July 1st, 2015. She’s also contributed to the anthology: Not Alone: A Literary and Spiritual Companion for those Confronted with Infertility and Miscarriage which released in December 2015.

Jennifer shares a writer’s reference blog, Writing Prompts & Thoughts & Ideas… Oh My! with friends, Betty, Tammy, Allison, Karen, Cari, Holly, Anne, Robin, and Betty B.

“The most important thing to me is my faith in God the father, His Son, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. Second is my family and friends. For me, a relationship with God has made life worth living, full to the max and overflowing. Do you know Him? Read the Bible and you’ll discover a God who is good, merciful, and just.”


 slide 2


“The most important thing to me is my faith in God the father, His Son, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. Second is my family and friends. For me, a relationship with God has made life worth living, full to the max and overflowing. Do you know Him? Read the Bible and you’ll discover a God who is good, merciful, and just.”


rem: Welcome to my blog, Jennifer. Tell us a little about yourself.

Jennifer: Hi, Robin! I’m a wife, mother, and grandmother from Alabama and a retired chicken farmer. J I love to read, write, and spend time with my family.

rem: Where were you raised? Where do you live now?

Jennifer: I lived in several places including Florida growing up but ended up in North Alabama. I’ve lived in Northwest Alabama for the last thirty-three years with my husband, Danny.

rem: Not too far from where I first took on the world—Columbus AFB, Mississippi! Tell us three things about yourself.


  • I have one brother who lives in Alaska and I’m going to see him in June. Woo hoo!
  • I love basset hounds, especially my dog, Max.
  • I’m a huge football fan. Roll Tide!

rem: Glad you get to go see your brother! I’ve got a pretty good one too! Coffee or tea? Sweet or un? Flavored or not?

Jennifer: I adore hot tea, sweetened with honey. No flavorings but I do drink decaf (doctor’s orders)

rem: Once in a while do I add honey to hot tea but mostly unsweetened all the way! Vacation: beach or mountains?

Jennifer: That’s a tough one. I do love warm weather and the beach. But the mountains are so enjoyable during any season. I really enjoy going to the Smoky Mountains…

rem: Basically how I feel, too. What is your greatest fear?

Jennifer: Fear has been a major struggle throughout my life. God keeps bringing me further along as I lean on Him. Probably fear of failure. My perfectionist tendencies cause me to grab hold of lies about the true meaning of failure, success, and significance.

rem: Yes, Father showed me a few years ago that perfectionism is not His—excellence is, and there’s a world (literally) of difference!) Perfectionism is a cruel task master, while, like Father, excellence sees our abilities and our heart. (here endeth the lesson) What do you do as a hobby?

Jennifer: I enjoy puzzles, from Sudoku to jigsaw. I love music. I’m always downloading and singing new songs. My husband and I like to drive around, checking out new towns and restaurants.

rem: Sounds like a good mix of fun. When reading, what makes or breaks a story for you? Your fiction pet peeve?

Jennifer: Great characters. I have to get inside the skin of someone if I’m going to enjoy the read. My pet peeve would be stories whose endings are tied up too perfectly to be true.

rem: I agree. I read a great story a couple of years ago but some of the characters ran together, it was hard to keep up. Which book have you read the most in your lifetime?

Jennifer: Beside the Bible, probably Sherlock Holmes or The Chronicles of Narnia. Too close to call.

rem: Who is your favorite hero of fiction?

Jennifer: Albert Campion. He’s a mystery-solving Brit in the 1920’s brought to life by Margery Allingham. I’ve read and reread the series of books with him in them.

rem: Love the era, and of course, I love all things British! Which is more important: plot or characters?

Jennifer: Characters. I can read a book that’s really introspective with little plot but cannot stand one with shallow characters.

rem: Tell us a little about your writing journey.

Jennifer: It started as a child but didn’t turn into a profession until 2006. That’s when I decided to take a course on writing and see where it would lead. The journey has had its ups and downs with lots of lessons learned. I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

rem: Don’t all life journeys have their ups and downs? Else what value have they? What makes you struggle as an author? How do you handle it?

Jennifer: I struggle with the distractions and unforeseen circumstances in life. The last year has been extremely difficult and my time spent writing has suffered. To handle it, I edit a lot and work on articles. I know the part of creating something new will return at some point.

rem: Life does throw us those curve balls sometimes; seems you’re handling the best way you can. What are your top 3 recommendations for a new writer? What 3 things would recommend not doing?

Jennifer: Do: Join a writing group. Practice. Watch out for scams in the writing world.

Don’t: Isolate yourself. Publish too soon. Don’t give up.

rem: Agree, on all counts. Especially, don’t give up. Where do you get your greatest ideas for writing?

Jennifer: Dreams, writing prompts, and life. Everything I’ve written started as a dream, a writing prompt, or a situation that occurred in my life. I then take the idea and mold it into a story.

rem: Writing Prompts (and Thoughts and Ideas! Oh my!) hmmm, imagine that! Talk a little bit about Not Alone. What drove you to be part of this project? What was the writing experience like, sharing these stories with others who have been through this loss?

Jennifer: Not Alone is an edgy Chicken Soup of the Soul type book. It’s full of honest stories by everyday people who’ve suffered from the effects of a miscarriage or infertility. I’d written my story down long ago and when I heard that Jessica Snell was interested in submissions for this compilation, I was intrigued. It proved healing to share my story with the possibility of helping someone in their own journey of loss.

rem: So sorry for your loss, Jennifer. I’m glad you’ve found healing, and that it is something you can share and minister through. Thanks so much for joining us today, it’s been a pleasure having on my blog!


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Connect with Jennifer at:









Links to book:

Kalos Press 


Barnes and Noble


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#jenniferhallmark, #writingpromptscrew, #authorinterview, #notalone, #heart seekers


NOTE: this interviewer will be in hospital for surgery tomorrow, the 11th. i will reply to comments as soon as i’m able, possibly friday. thanks for understanding and wish me luck! a new knee will soon be mine!

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nwnf - nmnf - debut promo

Can you feel the tension in the blogosphere?

That’s because starting next week there will be a brand spanking new feature,

right here on this blog!

Get ready for it! Introducing…

may I have a drum roll please…

nwnf - debut promo


Starting tomorrow Monday, 8 February,

and every Monday thereafter,

I will be featuring a guest blogger—a New Face!

(get it?)

So be sure to visit the blog every Monday,

set a spell, enjoy some cyber refreshments.

And be sure to say hullo before you go!

And while you’re here,

sign up to receive my posts if you haven’t already.

And be sure to share it forward!

Tell all your friends!

Now don’t forget—

what’s it called again?

nwnf - debut promo

Very good!

You’re smarter than the average bear!

See ya’ll TOMORROW!!


#newmonthnewfeature, #newweeknewface, #NWNF, #robinsnest212, #guestbloggers

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