Maiden of Iron: A Steampunk Fable

Woo hoo! My friend, Edie Melson, has just released a brand-new novel and I just had to share. I’m about a third of the way through and it’s great so far. You won’t want to miss this one!

What readers are saying, “Maiden of Iron from @EdieMelson is a must-read for fans of the steampunk genre & a perfect first foray for those new to it.” https://amzn.to/2kApyV7


Maiden of Iron: A Steampunk Fable

Robin Hood meets Dune in a Clockwork Universe—Through the Eyes of Maid Marion Marion Ravenswood’s brother is killed in a duel fighting for her honor. Their father, the Engineering Guildmaster, withdraws and refuses to speak with anyone. Marion must now save the guild’s children and reclaim the family honor. She dons the persona of the Maiden of Iron to right wrongs not of her making. But will a chance encounter with the prince of thieves be an answered prayer, or will he just steal her heart and abandon them all?

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Small Acts of Kindness: A Child and an Egg Hunt

By Kathy C. Houser

This was hard for me to choose. Lately I’ve seen many acts of kindness. From a stranger to a neighbor to a child. What stood out the most is the child’s good heart.

I had the pleasure of going to an Easter egg hunt at St. Paul’s in Decatur where my granddaughter, Ellie,  attends Pre-K. We sat in the hall as they brought out the children in groups. It was raining that day so Ellie’s egg hunt was in the gym.

Being a proud Nana, I filmed it all. The excitement in her little eyes grew when she saw me sitting in the hall. I knew she would really enjoy this year, being four. When it was over, she discovered that she had found the most eggs. I stopped filming and told her how proud of her I was and hugged and kissed her.  But that was not the end. What happened next really warmed my heart.

As we were leaving the gym, a little girl with only a few eggs walked up. Ellie looked at me and smiled. She then turned to the little girl and gave her two eggs. This made my heart happy, not only because she is my granddaughter, but because she showed kindness and thoughtfulness in her heart.

I told Ellie how sweet and kind that was to give because she wanted to. Ellie has always shown kindness. When she goes somewhere with my mom and I, every time my mom gets out of the car, she says, “Grandma, let me take your hand and help you.” She noticed me do this and wanted to help also.

At the Easter egg hunt, this kindness blossomed out of her own little heart. The kindness of children just warms my heart.

Favorite Friday Fiction: The Five Times I Met Myself by James L. Rubart

The Five Times I Met Myself is another great novel by James L. Rubart. The struggles of the characters mirrored my own and touched me. Like all his books, it is very well-written. Make sure you have a box of tissue nearby!

Click to tweet: The Five Times I Met Myself by James L. Rubart on Favorite Friday Fiction. Awesome book! #Fridayreads #amreading


The Five Times I Met Myself

“If you think fiction can’t change your life and challenge you to be a better person, you need to read The Five Times I Met Myself.”

Andy Andrews, New York Times bestselling author of How Do You Kill 11 Million People, The Noticer & The Traveler’s Gift

What if you met your twenty-three-year-old self in a dream? What would you say?

Brock Matthews’ once promising life is unraveling. His coffee company. His marriage.

So when he discovers his vivid dreams—where he encounters his younger self—might let him change his past mistakes, he jumps at the chance. The results are astonishing, but also disturbing.

Because getting what Brock wants most in the world will force him to give up the one thing he doesn’t know how to let go . . . and his greatest fear is that it’s already too late.

Small Acts of Kindness: Oh, My Purple Hairbrush

By Cammi Woodall

Have you seen the meme on Facebook or Pinterest of the little girl with a purple hairbrush? You haven’t? Go to Google and look for ‘tantrum girl with purple hairbrush,’ It’ is totally worth it. Go ahead. I’ll wait.

Isn’t she adorable? Haven’t we all felt that frustration and not been able to act on it? This clip comes from the 90’s movie Look Who’s Talking Now, the third installment in the John Travolta/talking baby series. The girl in the clip is named Julie and she is mad at her brother. You know how it is with siblings – you can’t wallop them or send them back to the hospital. So you grit your teeth, shake your purple hairbrush, and let off that steam.

The reason I chose this Small Act of Kindness is because of my sister Holly. Back before Christmas, she was having one of ‘those’ days. As a United Methodist pastor, she was trying to juggle her congregation’s needs, family, friends, daily stress, and the hustle and bustle of the holiday season. Feeling overwhelmed and attacked, she posted this meme on her Facebook page with a joking(?) threat of ‘Don’t make me get my purple hairbrush!’ Several people responded and ‘liked’ it with the laughing emoji. Holly had a good laugh, relieved some stress, and didn’t think too much else about it.

A few days later she returned to her office after being out of town at meetings. On her desk was a gift for her. Someone had gone to lots of trouble to make it look nice with a homemade gift bag and gold confetti strips. Inside was a sparkly purple hairbrush. There was no note and to this day she doesn’t know who gave it to her.

That purple hairbrush has become an official mascot/stress reliever for their office. Anytime she or the church secretary feel like each other may be getting angry or stressed, they joke ‘Hang on, let me get that hairbrush!’ That is their cue to step back, take a deep breath, and find a constructive way to deal with the situation.

In Holly’s words – “Every time I use it – for brushing my hair AND threatening, it makes me happy to remember that a good friend went to the trouble, not just to buy a gift and wrap it for me, but to find a purple hairbrush just because I liked it in a Facebook post. It was a great gift that still makes me very happy!”

Each of us face trials and tribulations each day and how we handle the stress of those situations is what defines us. It is easy to give in, to be rushed, terse, even hurtful or hateful. So the next time you feel yourself welling up with a harmful emotion, take a deep breath and shake your purple hairbrush!

Click to tweet: Small acts of kindness. Each of us face trials and tribulations each day and how we handle the stress of those situations is what defines us. #amwriting #kindnessmatters


Daughter, sister, friend, huge nerd, procrastinator… All are words Cammi Woodall uses to describe her self. A new one she is using is writer. That is scary! Cammi is a writer. Her hands shake when she says it or writes those words.

After keeping her stories hidden away for decades, she’s decided 2018 is her year to jump out of her comfort zone and get her writing to the public.

Despite darker reading habits, a comic thread weaves its way through her fictional stories. Even in emotional pieces, her characters use humor to cope with everyday tragedies. Sometimes you have to laugh to keep from crying!

Cammi has contributed articles to inspiredprompts.com and has become a contributor for 2018. She looks forward to the day she can list the titles of her completed novels!

You can reach Cammi at https://www.facebook.com/cammiwoodall or follow her at https://pinterest.com/cammiwoodall.

Small Acts of Kindness: Wedding Roses

By Sarah Van Diest

It was my wedding, well, it was my second wedding. I never dreamt I would have been divorced, much less get married a second time, but here I was, and ever so thankful to be here after such a long and difficult road.

I was nervous. And though I had an idea about how I wanted things to go, I didn’t have a solid handle on how to pull it off. I called in some friends to help make it happen. One did my hair. One did the food. One did the flowers. It was simple and it was perfect.

The wedding we planned was very small. Only family and a few friends were invited. Our pastor’s house served as our wedding venue. We had cheesecake and punch, the music was one guy with a guitar, and the kids played out in the backyard. It was cozy and sweet. I wouldn’t change a thing.

After our small ceremony, my wonderful groom took me off for our honeymoon and to the start of our new lives together. We left our five boys with various family member and went away for a week of learning to be us.

The boys were really the only thing I thought about back home.

But one of my sweet friends thought of something else. After the wedding, she grabbed my bouquet of red roses and dried them, preserving them beautifully for me. When we returned home from our honeymoon, she came over to deliver the bouquet. It was such a sweet surprise!

I had no idea how much that gesture would mean to me, but when she handed them to me, I cried. I’m still not exactly sure what the tears meant, but I think it was all things combined together: a second marriage, a blended family, a new start, and the knowledge of dear friends to support and cheer us on.

I still have those roses, 13 years later. I keep them as a reminder of that day and of my thoughtful friends and all they did to help make that day so special. They remind me that tiny gestures of kindness can be enormously impactful. They encourage me to be thoughtful of others. And they tell me that the kindness doesn’t have to be huge to be meaningful.

Click to tweet: Small acts of kindness. Kindness doesn’t have to be huge to be meaningful. #kindnessmatters #amreading


Sarah Van Diest is a writer and editor. She’s the mother of two boys, stepmother to three more, and wife to David. Sarah wrote this book as letters to a dear friend whose life was turning upside down. She’s done this for years for numerous friends and will continue to, Lord willing. It’s her gift to them. It’s hope written down.


God in the Dark

When you are in the dark places of your life, Sarah Van Diest offers a companion for the path you are walking. You will find a voice of comfort and truth to call you back to the light, to help you see that you are never alone, never too far gone, and never unloved. This collection of 31 devotions doesn’t minimize the reality of your struggles, but rather points you to where God is—walking right alongside you. Receive this hope in the pain, God in the Dark.

Small Acts of Kindness: The Love of a Child

By Jennifer Hallmark

No one can show kindness like a child. Young children have a generally happy, carefree look at life, not yet jaded by the pain and sorrow associated with growing up.

My granddaughter, Phoebe, came to visit one day, bearing the gift of a picture she’d drawn for my refrigerator. The simple drawing of me and her with lots of love touched my heart and I still display it to this day.

If you have children you care for, encourage them to draw or make simple gifts for people around you that need to be lifted up. This doesn’t have to be expensive but it can make the world of difference for someone struggling.

The difference made by the love of a child…

P.S. And I love that she drew me with long hair 🙂

 

Small Acts of Kindness – A Child’s Prayer

By Betty Thomason Owens

My Dad died eleven years ago. It was unexpected. I was going to the hospital that morning to bring him home. Instead, I received a call that his procedure had not gone well, please come at once. By the time my mom and I arrived, he was gone.

The shock of the painful loss, and the fact that I hadn’t eaten all day, left me with a painful migraine. As my family gathered in the kitchen of my house to discuss Dad’s final arrangements, I lay in bed, too sick to move.

The door opened, letting in a sliver of light. My six-year-old granddaughter, Sophie, whispered to me. “Grandma, can I pray for you?”

Fresh tears filled my eyes. “Yes, of course you can.”

She stood beside me, laid her small hand on my forehead, and prayed. I don’t remember her exact words, but she prayed for my comfort, because I was “so sad,” then for my healing from the painful headache. “I love you, Grandma,” she said, as she left the room.

Now, I figured I had a problem. If I didn’t get up, she might think her prayer didn’t work. Or maybe God hadn’t heard. My head still hurt, and nausea still churned my stomach, but I got up slowly, went in and washed my face, then crept out to the kitchen.

Sophie and her sisters hugged me. Her daddy (my son), brought me ginger ale and crackers. Gradually, the pain subsided and I realized, it had gone. I was reminded of Peter’s mother-in-law in the Bible, the woman for whom Jesus had prayed (Matthew 8: 14-15). When I made the effort to rise and join my family, healing manifested.

Sophie never doubted. And though it seemed a small thing, her prayer of faith released me, and gave me the strength I needed to rise and join the living.

Click to tweet: Small acts of kindness. A child’s prayer makes the difference. #kindness #prayer


Betty Thomason Owens loves being outdoors. Her favorite season is spring, when she can work in the yard or take long walks, while thinking through a troublesome scene in one of her stories.

She is a multi-published, award-winning author of historical fiction, and fantasy-adventure. An active member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), she leads a critique group, and serves as vice-president/secretary of the Louisville Area group. She’s a mentor, assisting other writers, and a co-founder of Inspired Prompt, a blog dedicated to inspiring writers. She also serves on the planning committee of the Kentucky Christian Writers Conference.

Her works include the Legacy series and Kinsman Redeemer series, published by Write Integrity Press, and Jael of Rogan two-book fantasy series in a second edition, published by Sign of the Whale BooksTM, an imprint of Olivia Kimbrell PressTM.

You can learn more about her at BettyThomasonOwens.com. Connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram.