New Girl on the Blog!

Summer’s almost in the rear view mirror, football games have started, and there’s a new blogger bringing you Inkspirational messages! I’m Jenny McLeod Carlisle, and I’m so happy to have the opportunity to  become a part of this active, exciting community.

I have been writing stories since I could hold a pencil. I remember my Daddy reading to me on the front porch swing, and I particulary loved the poetry of Robert Louis Stevenson. As I grew Little Women, Little House on the Prairie, Nancy Drew mysteries and Marguerite Henry’s Misty of Chincoteague sparked my imagination.Jenny with glasses small

My church family played a huge part in my upbringing after my Mom and Dad divorced, so in many ways, my stories “preach to the choir”. Getting in touch with the spiritual aspect of a character’s life makes for a much richer story, whether adventure, mystery or romance.

While hubby and I both worked to support our family, I sought out groups of people who understood the borderline madness of fiction, and eventually met Hannah Alexander (a husband and wife team) and their editor friend Barbara Warren at the Ozark Creative Writer’s conference in Eureka Springs, Arkansas.

I was  first published in non-fiction as a contributor to Gospel Tidings, a national publication of the churches of Christ. I now write a monthly column for  Ouachita Life, a magazine that is distributed in the southwest portion of Arkansas. This gives me the chance to share my memories and observations about life in general.  Recently, I have become a storyteller on Tales from the South, an internationally broadcast radio program. This is a great venue, with a live audience instructed to laugh in all of the right places, and a very gracious editor who helps keep the stories on point.TFTS-better small

Membership in American Christian Fiction Writers, and in particular our local Arkansas chapter has encouraged me to make my dreams of being a published author a reality. I am now represented by Terry Burns with Hartline Literary Agency. While he communicates with potential publishers, I continue to create, and wait for the chance to revise my work to make it a better “fit” for the marketplace. I am a huge believer in God’s Plan, as outlined in Jeremiah 29:11, and I am eager to see what he has in store for me! Can’t wait to share my journey with you.

 

To Name A Few Titles …

For a reader, there is no better subject than books, so when this topic came up, I was ecstatic. But, being I’m limited to 600 words, I’ll just mention a few.

Now, how do I narrow it down?

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On My Bed Stand

Do I just talk about the books currently on my bed stand? Let’s see, I’m reading Ends of the Earth by Tim Downs. Downs writes fascinating suspense with a forensic entomologist as his lead. That means the hero deals with bugs on dead people. Ewww. As I said, fascinating. Oh, and I’ve already read The Familiar Stranger, the debut novel by Christina Berry. It’s a story of love, forgiveness, & new beginnings. The rest of the books you see pictured, I’ve yet to read, and that pile doesn’t include the thirteen books I have on the library waiting list. As you can see, I make very good use of our public library.

Perhaps I should talk about the books I grew up with. First, there was the Betsy-Tacy series by Maud Hart Lovelace. I read all the Nancy Drew books, but Nancy was just too perfect. I preferred Trixie Belden, a teen tomboy and amateur detective. My daughter prefers them as well. (Her friends, too.) And, of course, I read Tolkien and Lewis. I don’t usually care for fantasy, but I loved The Lord of the Ring series (and the movies). But, do I really want to talk about that? Let me think …

My Favorites
My Favorites

Oh, I know! I can tell you all about my favorite authors: I love the literary prose of Charles Martin, W. Dale Cramer, Athol Dickson, Ann Tatlock, & Christa Parrish.  Amy Wallace’s romantic suspense is leaps above Dee Henderson (And I loved Henderson’s O’Malley series). As far as favorite titles, I’d recommend Scared, by Tom Davis, for everyone. It’s about AIDS in Swaziland. Once you read it, you’ll realize how blessed we are in America. A Season of Grace by Bette Nordberg is a poignant story about a family dealing with homosexuality and AIDS. A Voice in the Wind, by Francine Rivers, is one I’ve read several times, about a Christian Jew in Rome after the fall of Jerusalem in 70 A.D.  All of those books are permanently on my bed stand.

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Minnesota Writes

Hmmm. What else? Oh, yes. Being from Minnesota, I love to support area writers. Vince Flynn writes riveting geo-political thrillers. They’re not Christian, but when I’m done reading, I feel hope for the world. Sharon Hinck is a writer who refuses to be pigeonholed. This award-winning author has written mom-lit, fantasy, & contemporary fiction, and she does them all well.

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Thrillers

One of my favorite genres is suspense. Steven James’ Patrick Bowers thrillers are probably the best in the Christian market. He combines spellbinding suspense with solid character development, and underscores it all with a subtle faith message. The only thing bad about his books is that I always have to wait a year for the next one to come out. I also love Mel Odom’s NCIS series, and Jason Elam & Steve Yohn’s Riley Covington thrillers. (Think professional football plus international intrigue.) Captain Jeff Struecker (Black Hawk Down fame) and Alton Gansky joined together to write an impressive special ops suspense novel. All of the above thrillers combine complex plots and deep characters to create stories you can’t put down, and they achieve this without the sex and cursing found in the general market. They’re books you can actually give your teen.

Oh, and not to forget, the upcoming debut novels by Lorna Seilstad, Shannon Vannatter, and …

What? 600 words already?  I didn’t even get to mention Jane Eyre. Maybe next time …