A Day in the Life

Hello, Thursday Morning! I usually say a word about the weather here. Like many of my readers, we’ve had an abnormally wet beginning to summer. This week has been a bit drier, but all this sunshine after all that dampness, creates humidity. I’m not complaining but I am staying inside (mostly).

My day begins early, since hubby leaves the house before six a.m. I have two part-time bookkeeping jobs, so a couple of days a week, I’m away from home. The rest of the week, I’m home, but working. And summer brings grandkids, at least once a week. So, the days seem to fly by at the speed of sound. I’m so amazed that we’re already halfway through July.

I spend about eight hours a day at least three days a week, working on the bookkeeping chores for two companies. Factor in my position as treasurer of a good-sized writers conference, and you have another few hours a week. I feel a little like a juggler at times. I confess, sometimes I worry, lest I fumble and drop everything.

Oh, and by the way, I write in my “spare” time. Such is the life of a writer. Sometimes I envy those who have entire days to dedicate to their craft, especially when a story is bubbling in my imagination and my fingers itch to write it. But I’m being real here. If I had that entire day to write, I’d be dawdling. I’d be chasing my thoughts amid myriad distractions, kind of like the flitting path of a butterfly.

Those who have an artistic bent can definitely identify. If you’re highly disciplined, you can take a day like that and create a masterpiece. I’m not saying I’m undisciplined, but I am sometimes unfocused. That’s putting it nicely. When I finally get a day “off” I have so many things I want to accomplish, I end up finishing—nothing.

So, you may be surprised that I’m ever able to finish a book at all. I continue to surprise myself by doing just that. I’ve finished two different series in the last five or six years, and I’m as amazed as anyone.

I’m sponsoring a contest with some of my fellow Write-Integrity authors:

Click the Meme to enter (ends July 27, 2019)

 

Closing the Book

The moment comes when I know it’s time. With a lump in my throat and tears threatening, I draw a deep breath and write the words: “The End.”

It’s time to say goodbye.

Hello, Thursday Morning friends (yes, I know it’s Friday). It’s been an emotional and very busy week for me. I’m getting ready for another book launch. With this book, I am saying goodbye to some dear characters who have filled my thoughts for so long: Annabelle Cross and her daughter-in-law, Connie, Alton Wade, Lillian Wade, Tom Franklin, Riley and Thelma Franklin, Miss Lucy, and all the other supporting characters in the Kinsman Redeemer series.

I won’t have to say goodbye to the town of Trenton, Tennessee, the setting for this series. I love to visit Trenton because so many of my family live there. I look forward to seeing them later this summer.

If you knocked on Annabelle’s door, you can be sure she’d welcome you warmly. She’d offer you a glass of sweet tea and a generous helping of freshly baked cookies. Whether you sat on her front porch, or inside her home, you’d feel the grace and warmth of southern hospitality. Her slow, polite drawl would sound like music to your ears.

And, speaking of music, while you’re there, ask her to sing one of her favorite hymns. She has a lovely voice.

In just a few weeks, the final book in the Kinsman Redeemer series will be available. You are invited to visit with the Wades and the Franklins and enjoy a story that comes straight from my heart. Will Annabelle find love? I can’t tell you that, but I can tell you, she’ll find joy.

Annabelle’s Joy

Unofficial blurb:

On Wednesdays, the soda counter at the Trenton Pharmacy brimmed with customers. Ham sandwiches, the daily special, was the main attraction. Tom Franklin, the pharmacy’s owner, was a close second. The town folk kept a close eye on Tom, hoping to be the first to hear the good news. It was no secret he’d been courting the widow Cross for nigh on two years now. Rumor had it she’d been holding him at arm’s length.

The consensus around the counter? Miz Annabelle Cross better wake up and put her dancing shoes on. Mr. Tom is prime real estate. Maybe a little competition is exactly what Annabelle needs. With help from her friends, family, and a new single lady in town, she makes up her mind to let go of the past and trust God for the outcome. Everything seems to be going her way until life delivers another blow.

In a matter of moments, his elation turns to devastation as Tom fears he’s lost Annabelle forever. This small taste of what Annabelle has suffered in the last three years sends him searching for the peace she’s found. Can the seasoned couple make a go of life together? Move beyond the sorrows of the past to win a second chance at love?


valentine, valentine's dayLet’s talk! Do you have a real life second-chance love story? I’d love to hear about it.

It Truly Takes A Village to Raise a Debut Novel

By Jennifer Hallmark

When I began my writing journey in 2006, I thought of me and my computer tucked away in my study tapping away at the keys, only emerging to run to the bank to cash my royalty checks. Yes, I had a lot to learn. Though writing is a solitary endeavor, many people came by my side to help and influence me along the way.

I know I can’t name everyone or even try to because someone would be left out. So, I’ll talk about three ladies I love who had a part in seeing my dreams come true.

  1. Fay Lamb. I met Fay when she was the coordinator of the ACFW Scribes group. That’s the online critique group for the American Christian Fiction Writers. I didn’t really have a clue to what I was doing. After being in the big group for a while, she moved me to a small group and even did editing for me at no charge. She was my first real online writer pal and I am so thankful for her past mentoring and for being my friend to this day.
  2. Betty Thomason Owens. I met Betty in that first critique group and we became friends. Later, we joined with Christina Rich to start a blog for writers, a way to give back to the writing community. The blog, Inspired Prompt, has grown tremendously and much of that credit is due to Betty and Christina. I had ideas but sorely lacked technical skills. They helped me to learn so much. Betty and I have ridden to many conferences together and I consider her one of my best friends and a great influence on any writing success I have.
  3. Eva Marie Everson. When Firefly Southern Fiction first came on the scene a few years ago, I knew I wanted to write for them and Eva Marie Everson. I was able to meet her at the Catch the Wave Conference in Atlanta and sign up for every class she taught. I came to her with a raw story and she was interested enough to give me a chance to better it. She mentored me and I learned so much about writing and editing. And on June 17th, Jessie’s Hope was released into the world.

Influence. John Maxwell said that, “Leadership is influence.” These ladies to me are strong leaders and have influenced my life for the better.

Thank you.

 

Jennifer Hallmark writes Southern fiction and has published 200+ internet articles and interviews, short stories in several magazines, and has co-authored three book compilations. Her debut novel, Jessie’s Hope, released on June 17th, 2019.

When she isn’t babysitting or gardening, you can find her at her desk writing fiction or working on her two blogs.  She also loves reading detective fiction from the Golden Age and viewing movies like LOTR or Star Wars. Sometimes you can even catch her watching American Ninja Warrior.

www.jenniferhallmark.com

www.inspiredprompt.com 

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Jessie’s Hope

Years ago, an accident robbed Jessie Smith’s mobility. It also stole her mom and alienated her from her father. When Jessie’s high school sweetheart Matt Jansen proposes, her parents’ absence intensifies her worry that she cannot hold on to those she loves.

With a wedding fast approaching, Jessie’s grandfather Homer Smith, has a goal to find the perfect dress for “his Jessie,” one that would allow her to forget, even if for a moment, the boundaries of her wheelchair. But financial setbacks and unexpected sabotage hinder his plans.

Determined to heal from her past, Jessie initiates a search for her father. Can a sliver of hope lead to everlasting love when additional obstacles–including a spurned woman and unpredictable weather–highjack Jessie’s dream wedding?

June Blog Tour Giveaway Extravaganza

June 10th-June 30th

Prizes include:

  • $25 Amazon Gift Card
  • $10 Starbucks Gift Card
  • Print copy of Jessie’s Hope
  • 2 Kindle copies of Jessie’s Hope

 Giveaway details: Go to my Rafflecopter Page to enter and possibly win one of five prizes to be drawn by Rafflecopter. Winners will be revealed on the author’s blog on July 1st. You can only enter by visiting my June blog tour from June 10th until June 30th. My visits include:

June 13thJennifer Slattery Lives Out Loud/

June 14thFavorite Friday Fiction/

June 15thInspired Prompt/

June 17thAuthor Trish Perry/

June 17thSouthern Writers Magazine

June 18thAuthor Liz Tolsma/

June 19thInspired Prompt/

June 21stSnark & Sensibility/

June 24thFear Warrior/

June 24thAuthor June Foster/

June 25thTrumpet Tuesdays/

June 26thSeriously Write/

June 27th Author Betty Thomason Owens

June 28thHeartfelt, Homespun fiction/

June 29thThe Write Conversation/

 

Hello Thursday Morning Devotion

Hello, Thursday Morning! We’re a little soggy over this way. How about you?

It’s summertime, and for many of us, that means VACATION! Later today, I’m headed to the Kentucky Christian Writers Conference. I am honored to be a part of the planning committee, so I know this is going to be a great one.

For me, one of the high points will be time to visit with a couple of my favorite devotional writers, Harriet Michael and Shirley Crowder. I hope you enjoy today’s devotional, written by Harriet.

    “I Can’t Do It!”

Read: Amos 7: 12- 15

“Then Amos answered and said to Amaziah, ‘I am not a prophet, not the son of a prophet, for I am a herdsman and a grower of sycamore trees.” Amos 7:14 (NASB)

“Lord, I can’t do it!” Have you ever said this to God? What has He asked you to do that you think you cannot do? In this passage, God asked Amos to do something new; something Amos had never done before.

Every now and then a verse of scripture strikes me as a little bit humorous. This verse did that the first time I read it. In this verse, the prophet Amos tells Amaziah that he is not a prophet, nor the son of a prophet. Amos claims to be nothing more than a herdsman and a grower of sycamore trees. I think Amos’ comment is funny, perhaps because I can relate to it so well. How many times have I perceived God asking me to do something for Him, whether it was to go on a mission trip, write a devotional, or teach a Sunday school class, when I have told God, “But God, I am not a teacher or the daughter of a teacher…I am just a housewife and a grower of tomato bushes!”

May we learn to offer God a willingness to do what He has called us to do. May we trust that just like God made Amos into a great prophet, He will also equip us to do whatever He has asked of us. Let us be willing to do more than just taking care of our herds and tomato bushes.

Prayer: Gracious Heavenly Father, we know you are able to accomplish all that you desire, even through inexperienced and insecure people like us. Grant us willing hearts and capable hands to do your work. In Jesus Name, Amen.

Thought for the Day: Offer God a willing heart and you may be surprised at how He uses you! [Click to Tweet]

About the author: Born in Nigeria, West Africa, as the daughter of missionaries, Harriet E. Michael is a writer, wife of nearly 40 years, mother of four, and grandmother of two.

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 has now had hundreds of articles and devotions published.

Harriet is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and Louisville Christian Writers. She is the author of several books, Prayer: It’s Not About You, a finalist in the 2011 Women of Faith book contest, published by PixNPens Publishing Company, The Whisper of the Palms published by Olivia Kimbrell Press, Glimpses of PrayerPrayer Warrior Confessions also published by PixNPens. She has more books slated to be released in the next few years.

The Ties that Bind: Delilah

This post is what you would call “two birds, one stone.”

Hello, Thursday Morning readers! I have a treat for you today. I just finished reading Delilah, by Fay Lamb. It was delightful. This is book four, the final book in her “Ties that Bind” series. I’ve loved all the books in this series, and hate to say goodbye.

Delilah has been a lasting presence throughout this series. In the beginning, she was the character I loved to hate.  If she had walked off the face of the earth, or been eaten by an alligator, I would not have minded, except the stories may not have been so interesting. She did at least provide plenty of conflict.

The change in Delilah actually begins in book three, aptly entitled “Hope.” You don’t have to read Hope, or any of the other books, but I urge you to begin with Charisse and read your way to the end.

Delilah (the book) begins with conflict as she (a former judge) stands before a judge. In fact, this story keeps the conflict wire live, piling on enough to break Delilah. At times, I wondered if she could hold onto her newfound faith.

Isn’t that just like life? Everything’s going well, then along comes the tests and trials that strengthen our faith. They’ll make or break us. Delilah (the woman) was always a tough cookie, so I was hoping for the best. She didn’t disappoint.

Of course, Lamb added romance, complete with a dollop of steam and a near train wreck when little hateful sister arrives. Yes, more conflict. Nothing is going to be easy for Dee. Would you expect anything less for such an edgy character?

The Ties that Bind series offers an ensemble cast. You meet them in Charisse. You get to know them better in Libby. The friendship deepens in Hope, and matures by the end of Delilah. These ties are strong, which is a good thing, since they’ll be stretched to the limits by all that life throws at them in Delilah.

This is a story with a message of forgiveness and grace. Saying “I forgive you,” may be easy, but true forgiveness which is coupled with forgetfulness is difficult. You have to forget the past in order to truly forgive. You can’t keep rehearsing the sin or circumstance.

I loved the character arc that completes in this final episode, as Delilah learns to live among people without chewing their heads off.

So, why “two birds, one stone?” Well, I needed to review Delilah, and I also needed a blog post this week. Simple, right? Now I have both, and y’all have a possible list of four books to read while on vacation.


Delilah – Ties that Bind Book 4

Calling a truce with the man you love? What’s the fun in that?

Newly elected judge, John M. Turner, tries his best to call an end to his war with former Circuit Judge Delilah James, the woman he bested in the election by only a narrow margin. Delilah refuses to accept his flag of surrender. Worse yet, a vengeful assistant state attorney, the other candidate whose entry in the race actually handed the win to John, is seeking to have them both removed from the Florida Bar, and the game Delilah has forced upon him has given their enemy ammunition for his disbarment.

Delilah likes the give and take she shares with John. What fun is there in surrender? She wants to make amends but makes a mess of every attempt. Added to her foibles, life has become complicated: John’s teenage sister hates her, and Libby Carter has been arrested for battery on a police officer and has embroiled Delilah in the plight of the homeless. Her past has returned to haunt her, and if that’s not enough, she’s deep into the one experience in life she never thought would happen to her. She’s fallen in love.


Fay Lamb has always taken joy in forming words that tell stories that will enrich the lives of others. She tackles issues that she has had to face. She isn’t afraid of the hard issues and takes delight in weaving humor into the lives of her characters, even in the direst of circumstances.

Fay has contracted with Write Integrity Press for three series. The Amazing Grace series is complete and available as are the first three books, Charisse, Libby, and Hope, in her Ties that Bind contemporary romance series.

Fay loves teaching the art of fiction and has taught at several conferences over the last five years. She is currently the co-host of Publishing Laine, a monthly radio talk show on the Along Comes a Writer Network on BlogTalkRadio.com

Fay and her husband, Marc, reside in Titusville, Florida, where multi-generations of their families have lived. The legacy continues with their two married sons and six grandchildren.