Latest Blog Posts for August 2014

Parting Words From The WORD…How to Stay Connected in Scuba Diving and in Life

Laughing Jesus by Robert Wilson, Sr.

Laughing Jesus by Robert Wilson, Sr.

I used to love scuba and cave diving in the Ichetucknee Springs in Florida. As my body numbed at the frigid spring water, my senses warmed at the brilliant schools of colorful fish. I could see forever! But then we would enter the caves.

Guided only by our flashlights, we floated single file into the deep cavern. Then, as planned, we’d turn out the lights. I remember catching my breath as the blackness enveloped me. But even though I couldn’t see, and felt as if I couldn’t breathe, I didn’t panic.

With my hand tightly wound around the guide rope, I had nothing to fear. I had the lifeline, the communication to the outside world. At the other end of that rope was light and freedom. However, if I failed to hold on to that source of communication, I could be consumed by the darkness. I could even die.

Communicating with God saves us from darkness as well. It leads us to eternal light and freedom…the light and freedom that can only be found in Him.

Communicating with God saves us from the darkness of eternal death.

…my God turns my darkness into light. Psalm 18:28

For I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you. Isaiah 41:13

May we walk in the Light today…and everyday.

Vonda

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Writer’s Headlines: Writing Opportunities, Conferences, & Book Winner

newspapersIt’s time for writing opportunities collected just for you!

Wish you could see your name in the monthly kudos? Wondering how you can take this love of words and build a career…or at least a little mad money? Well, here are 12 places who are looking for writers and contest entries!

Remember to follow the guidelines to the letter. That will raise your chances for finding favor with an editor. But just remember, nothing helps you get a “job” better than great writing!

1.  Operation First Novel: Do you have what it takes to be the new voice in Christian fiction? Jerry B. Jenkins’ Christian Writers Guild contest is open. But you must hurry, membership deadline is August 29 and contest deadline is September 3.

2.  Call-out for submissions of true stories of Jesus and children. Jesus Talked to Me Today: Stories of Children’s Encounters with God, Angels, and Miracles: Jesus and Children guidelines. Jesus Stories sample. Deadline September 1, 2014.

3.  Call out for submissions: Please Tell Me I’m Not a Bad Mother Guidelines. Deadline August 26, 2014.

4. Saturday Evening Post guidelines

5.  Chicken Soup for the Soul is always looking for submissions! Currently looking for stories about moms, dreams, hopes & miracles, volunteering, Christmas, therapists/mental health, thriving.

6.  Humpty-Dumpty and Jack & Jill writer’s guidelines.

7. ACFW-SC Query Letter and First Pages Contest: Open to members and non-members. Deadline October 10.

8.  Ask Magazine for Kids guidelines

9.  Pockets Devotions for Kids guidelines 

10.  The Kids’ Ark writer’s guidelines

11.  More Magazine for Women ages 45-64. More Magazine writer’s guidelines here.

12.  Today’s Christian Woman magazine writing guidelines

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Non-fiction puzzle fdp Stuart Miles

If you’re serious about writing, you’ll be serious about attending writing conferences!

1.  Maranatha Christian Writers Conference: September 15-18, Muskegon, MI

2.  Writing for the Soul: September 19-20, 2014 Murfreesboro, TN

3.  American Christian Fiction Writers Conference: September 25-27, 2014, St. Louis, MO

4.  Breathe Christian Writers Conference: October 10-11, 2014, Grand Rapids, MI

5.  Queen City Writers Conference: October 14-16, 2014, Charlotte, NC

6.  Blue Ridge Christian Novelist Retreat: October 19-22, 2014, Ridgecrest, NC

7.  CLASS Christian Writers Conference: October 23-25, 2014, Albuquerque, NM

8.  Heart of America Christian Writer’s Network Conference: November 6-8, 2014, Overland Park, KS

9.  Writers ADVANCE Boot Camp: February 20-22, 2015, Asheville, NC

10. Write2Ignite Conference for Writers of Children’s Literature: March 27-28, 2015, Tigerville, SC

11. Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference: May 17-21, 2015, Ridgecrest, NC

Field of Daisies cover Barbara Hattemer~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~9781602903746-Perfect.indd

And last, but not least, who won Barbara Hattemer’s book?

The winner is…drumroll, please…Judith Robl!!! Judith, simply contact me with your mailing address and Barbara will get your book right out to you! Congratulations!

And for those who didn’t win, here are direct Amazon links to Barbara’s books:

An Island Just for Us and Field of Daisies

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Well, that does it for another Writer’s Headlines post. I hope to see lots of good things come out of these opportunities!

Happy writing!

Vonda

(Puzzle image courtesy of StuartMiles/FreeDigitalPhotos.com)

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Parting Words From The WORD…Robin Williams and All Us Creatives, by Dave Weiss

Dave Weiss stage shotAs you know, Fridays are usually a day to look at a specific Bible passage or Bible truth God has shown me through His Word. But today I want to share a post from my friend, author, speaker, artist, and AMOKArts founder, Dave Weiss.

As Christian creatives, Dave and I–and hopefully you, too–are always looking for ways to use our creative gifts for the Lord. But creatives are often different from much of the “normal” world. Dave wrote about the loss of Robin Williams this week and he was kind enough to let me share it with my Christian creative friends.

 

Robin Williams and All Us Creatives…By Dave Weiss

I almost can’t believe I am writing this post. Yesterday Robin Williams died, apparently by his own hand. It’s tragic. One who brought so much joy to so many, could no longer find it in himself. He was a great entertainer and one of the funniest people alive and he will be sorely missed.

So many people are at a loss today. The resonating question is why? He had a great career, wealth, all of what the world had to offer, success most of us dream of and literally millions of fans. It’s the stuff of creative dreams and don’t miss this, it wasn’t enough. Most people will never get it but I do and my guess is, I am not the only one.

We creatives tend to feel more deeply. We tend to be more passionate. We tend toward perfectionism and, as visionary people, there is always more to be done to remake the world so it matches the vision that lives in our hearts. This is our blessing. This is our curse. If we’re not careful, no matter what we have, no matter what heights we reach, it’ll never be enough.

I didn’t know Mr. Williams, so may be I am completely off-base here, but I do know me and I have stoodRobin Williams Mork and Mindy at the same precipice looking into the unknown and wondering if it was worth it to live another day, and while I didn’t have all that he had, I had plenty to live for, but I couldn’t see it. Thankfully for me this has changed.

Here’s what I learned:

  1. There is hope. Those visionary dreams we see, the ones we can’t seem to get to… well there’s no guarantee that we get all the way there. Hope isn’t found in reaching the destination, it’s in moving forward toward it. Gaining ground becomes the goal, moving the ball forward. Even if I can’t get in the end zone, I can move the ball forward, so someone else can. He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
  2. You are worth it. Every time you get the idea that you’re worthless, remember who you are. The Son of God laid down his life and rose again so that you and I could live eternally when our missions are complete. Your value is high, both to God and to many others.
  3. Life is worth it. We don’t get to pick our level of success, but neither do we really know what success is. At any moment, even in some of the tamest, seemingly weakest moments, we can do something that changes the course of history (in big or small ways) forever. You never know what will be the thing that makes all the difference, so press on. Jesus said, “In this world you will, have trouble but take heart I have overcome the world.” Hang in there, because with Jesus, eventually, we win.
  4. You are loved. By God certainly, and that should be enough, but also by many people whether you believe it or not. There are a lot of people in this world who want you to stay in it. You enrich their lives.

There are of course many other lessons, but these four are special because they are the exact opposite of what the enemy of our souls tells us when he wants to destroy us. “It’s hopeless, you’re worthless, life just isn’t worth living, nobody loves you.” These are lies of the enemy from the pit of hell, told for your destruction. Don’t you believe them. There is hope, you have great value, life is worth it and you are loved. Believe it and if you need help to believe it, get help.

As I looked at all the social media tributes to this entertainment legend, I had a strange thought: I wonder if seeing this outpouring of love and adoration would have changed his mind. Unfortunately, we’ll never know. Suicide is a permanent “solution” to a temporary problem.

…being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. Philippians 1:6 NIV

It gets better… get help… and push through.

I pray God’s blessing on the work of your hands and your hearts,

Vonda

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Interview & Book Give-Away with Barbara Hattemer and Kudos & MoGo7000 Results

Barbara Hattemer headshotFirst of all, get ready to be impressed by Barbara Hattemer…and possibly win a free book, too!

I’m thrilled to introduce a long-time acquaintance (and now friend) Barbara Hattemer today! Barbara and I met at a conference years ago, then I had the joy of reconnecting with her at the Florida Christian Writers Conference this past March. What fun it was to catch up and see all the amazing things she’s been up to! My goodness, she’s living proof that we never have to outgrow the joy of learning, growing, and producing! Believe me, you don’t want to miss her story.

Friends, I love that you’re such an encouraging group for fellow writers, so I can’t wait to see your comments after this interview. Barbara has an amazing story! And don’t forget to leave a comment and you’ll be in the drawing for a free book! Just be sure to check back next week to see if you’re the winner.

Welcome to the Christian Writer’s Den, Barbara. First of all, what inspired you to write novels?
I was born shy and expressed myself better in writing than speaking. I started my first novel about Deer Isle, the island in Maine where we summer, when I was 9 years old. I never finished it, but I have wanted to write a book about it all my life.

Instead I wrote poetry to friends on special occasions, articles for a variety of magazines and chapters for other people’s books.

For 15 years, I fought the spread of pornography at the local, state and national levels and wrote my first book on the research proving harm from pornography consumption. While doing hundreds of radio interviews, I kept thinking that many more people would read a work of fiction than a research book on the subject.9781602903746-Perfect.indd

I often prayed about this and felt the Lord telling me that one day we would write together. I began attending Christian Writer’s Conferences to learn the craft of writing fiction and combined my love of the Maine coast and my deep concern about the collapse of morality in our country in a novel entitled An Island Just for Us. Often I walked around an island and prayed for direction. Sometimes God gave me a whole scene and I couldn’t wait to get home to write it down.

When I finished it in the late 90’s, I learned that Christian publishers were not ready for this subject. Four publishers liked my setting and my characters but asked me to take out every word about pornography before they would look at it. I set it aside but I still had the desire to write novels about difficult subjects and make them fun to read.

So how did you choose another subject?
There was another experience I wanted to share. Having three known generations of Alzheimer’s disease in my family, I was diagnosed in 1980 as soon to be acutely senile. The story is the history of my family and what happened to me after the diagnosis. I wrote Field of Daisies to give comfort and hope to families with Alzheimer’s who feared they would be next.

Field of Daisies cover Barbara HattemerI set that story on the farm in the rolling hills of western Pennsylvania where my grandfather and grandmother were caretakers. Since my parents traveled for business for six months at a time, my grandparents were very special to me. I loved their custom of eating a piece of home-made pie every evening and sharing their day. It was their marriage that I wanted to emulate and I dedicated the book to them. I was thrilled to introduce my children both to the farm and to my grandparents. The romance was total fiction but the farm and the romance made the book fun to read and many people have been encouraged by it. They have also benefitted from my blog, “Live Every Day of Your Life,” which discusses the new epigenetic science about how the life we live can change the way our genes are activated.

How did you get An Island Just for Us published?
The day after my publisher Ramona Tucker of OakTara handed me the first hot-off-the-press copy of Daisies, she said to me, “I like your writing so much, could you have another novel ready for me in three months? I sent Island to her and she wrote back, “I’m hooked. I want to publish that book.”

What thrilling news! It seems to be a subject whose time has come. When I took it last year to CBA, retailers were delighted that there was a Christian book on this subject. Morality in Media, which heads the Coalition Against Sexual Exploitation, is selling the book at their conferences because it is a good introduction to pornography’s harms and a way to encourage women to begin to talk about it.

Barbara with major leaders of the anti-pornography movement: Bob Peters, Past President of Morality in Media, Bruce Taylor. Justice Department Prosecutor of Pornography Cases

Barbara with major leaders of the anti-pornography movement: Bob Peters, Past President of Morality (MIM) in Media; Bruce Taylor, Justice Department Prosecutor of Pornography Cases; Pat Trueman, President of MIM.

Strong on family and the delights of Maine’s beautiful and challenging coastal islands, it contains an intriguing romance, an approaching hurricane and two days lost on the bay in a penetrating fog. It is both fun and exciting to read. Readers have requested a sequel which I am writing now.

And do you mind sharing how old you were when you had your first novel published?
I received the first copy on my 80th birthday. It has been fun to have younger women tell me they thought they were too old to start writing. I tell them it is never too late for you to share what God has given you that will bless others.

Barbara receiving 1st copies of her 1st book from editor Ramona Tucker at a writers conference

Barbara receiving 1st copies of her 1st book from editor Ramona Tucker at a writers conference on her 80th birthday!

 

Oh, Barbara, what great advice for all of us! Thank you for sharing your story with us. I sure am glad you didn’t give up! I can’t wait to read the coming comments!

Bio: Barbara has been published in a wide variety of magazines. After 15 years fighting for high community and media standards throughout the country, she wrote her first book, Don’t Touch That Dial: The Impact of the Media on Children and the Family, a layman’s version of social science research on the harms of sexually explicit and violent media. She gave hundreds of radio and television interviews on the book and her work was featured in Christian Herald Magazine, Focus on the Family’s Citizen and on a full-length video by Dr. D. James Kennedy.

She now writes novels for OakTara Publishers about difficult subjects in the genre of Women’s Fiction. She concentrates on making them fun to read. Field of Daisies offers hope and comfort to families who have a history of Alzheimer’s disease in successive generations. An Island Just for Us highlights exciting adventures on Maine’s beautiful coastal islands, a tender romance, strong family relationships, and the determination to fight the effects of our increasingly sexual culture on our youth.

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Image courtesy of Salvatore Vuono/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Salvatore Vuono/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Now it’s time to celebrate YOU!

Congratulations to these writers who are doing the hard work of being a writer…and finding success. We have a lot to cheer about!

1.  Cheryl Barker (KS): My “For My Amazing Mom” piece is being featured in the 2015 Blue
Mountain Arts calendar, “Thank You, Mom, for a Lifetime of Love“. They’ve used it previously on cards and calendars so it’s a real blessing to see it used again!

2.  Ellen Andersen (SC): I had my first article published this month! It was in The Simpsonville Sentinel, a local paper in Simpsonville, SC. They liked it so much it was put in word for word!

3.  Dawn Mooring (GA): I am going to be a co-host for a new TV show called “The Christian View.” We air on Sept. 2nd on Chanel 57 in the Atlanta area or can be streamed via the website thechristianview.com. I’m so excited to represent the Lord and spread the word through modern day topics.

4.  Verna Bowman (PA): My first book, Crumbs Along the Broken Path was released by Ampelos Press in the beginning of May. It’s been an amazing opportunity to share God’s story that He has allowed me to be part of through the collection of personal stories, interviews, and speaking engagements. I invite you to visit my blog at www.vernabowman.com and check out the Book page!

Congratulations, writers! And friends, if you don’t see your name on this list, be sure to check back next week where we’ll have a new list of writing opportunities just for you!

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mogoAnd Who Earned a July Entry for the 2014 MoGo7000 Drawing for $100?

These CWD writers have earned a July entry into the end-of-the-year drawing for $100 in cash!

#14: Joan – 20,452 words
#15: Susan Baganz - 32,677 words

#16: Jeanne Doyon – 7,675 words
#17: Linda Greer – 10,743 words

Woo-hoo! Congrats, friends! Keep up the good work and you’ll earn even more entries into the drawing.

Writers, want to know how you can qualify for the $100 challenge? Check out the MoGo7000 Challenge here. It’s free and open to everyone all year long!

Okay, that does it for a fun-filled day at The Christian Writer’s Den. Thanks for stopping by and spending a few minutes with me. I look forward to seeing you Friday as we open to His Word to hear His voice.

Happy writing!

Vonda

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Parting Words From The WORD…It Is Done or It Is Finished?

jesus holding cross lost seed dot com

I think I’ve mentioned that Gary and I are in the middle of a 18-24 month study of Revelation. It has been an amazing journey, digging deep and learning the details of John’s vision of the Tribulation. Prior to beginning this study, I knew about the Great Day of the Lord, but had no idea of the depth of the horror of it.

Every week has been eye-opening, but none so much as this week’s study of Chapter 16 covering the last seven judgements, the Seven Bowls of God’s Wrath. From boils, to blood-filled seas, to blood-filled rivers, to people scorched with fire by the sun, to darkness, and to a dried up Euphrates.

Finally, the seventh angel pours his bowl into the air and:

…out of the temple came a loud voice from the throne, saying, “It is done!” Then there came flashes of lightning , rumblings, peals of thunder and a severe earthquake. No earthquake like it has ever occurred since man has been on earth, so tremendous was the quake. The great city split into three parts, and the cities of the nations collapsed…Every island fled away and the mountains could not be found. From the sky huge hailstones of about a hundred pounds each fell upon men. And they cursed God on account of the plague of hail, because the plague was so terrible.
Revelation 16:17b-19a, 20-21 NIV

A loud voice from the throne shouts, “It is done!” and the earth shakes…And the price is paid for sin.

The power of those words immediately took me back to a similar scene. But at the cross, God’s Son shouts, “It is finished!” and the earth shakes…And the price is paid for sin.

Two three-word sentences that change the course of history. One gives life. One takes it away.

After studying Revelation for almost a year, it appears that the signs are clear and time is drawing near. God is serious. We must be, too.

I love Him because He loved me first, and gave His life for me.

Vonda

(I don’t think I’ve ever specifically asked you to share a post, but would you share this one? Somebody’s eternal life could depend on it.)

Image courtesy of LostSeed.com

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Writer’s Headlines: Call Out for Kudos & MoGo7000 Results, & Who Won Dena Dyer’s Book?

newspapersWe Need To Hear About Your Successes!

Hey there, writing friends. We want to know what you’ve been up to. Have you had something exciting happen recently in your writing or speaking life? Maybe you’ve had an article published, signed a book contract, released a new book, got an agent, or started a new blog. If so, we want to hear from you!

It’s really simple, but I do ask that you contact me with the info in this format and order ONLY:

**Your name
**Your state in two-letter abbreviation
**Link to your website or blog
**Your good news
**Link to your good news, if online (online bookstore, online article, etc)

I can’t wait for us to celebrate with you!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~mogo7000 logo

Who Worked on Their MoGo7000 in July?

If you wrote at least 7000 new words on a book project in July, you can receive an entry in the drawing for the 2014 MoGo7000 $100 cash prize! It’s open to everyone who qualifies.

To report your July results, please leave a comment below with your total new words written on a book project in July. (Please do not send your totals by email or through the Contact page. Totals must be left as a comment here by next Sunday). 

If you missed out on last year’s money-winning writing challenge, don’t worry, the 2014 challenge continues! Here are the MoGo7000 Challenge rules. All you have to do is write at least 7000 NEW words on a book project in any month and you’ll receive an entry into the end-of-the-year drawing for $100.

Each month that you qualify with 7000 new words, your name goes in the “hat” for the drawing. Reach the goal one month and you’ll have one entry. Just starting out? Don’t worry! Meet it the next 6 months and you’ll have 6 entries!

So what are you waiting for? Get started now and you could have $100 this time next year. And it doesn’t cost you a cent. :-)

Wounded Women of the Bible Dena Dyer cover~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Who Won Dena Dyer’s Book?

It’s Ellen Gee! Congratulations, Ellen! All you need to do is contact me with your mailing address and Dena will get your book right out to you!

And I know all of you want your own copy of Dena’s new book, Wounded Women of the Bible: Finding Help When Life Hurts, so here’s your Amazon link straight to it!

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Thanks for stopping by The Christian Writer’s Den today. I can’t for us to celebrate what you’ve been up to, so be sure to let me know!

Grace and peace,

Vonda

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Parting Words From the WORD…We Remember…

Laughing Jesus by Robert Wilson, Sr.

Laughing Jesus by Robert Wilson, Sr.

As Christians, we know we have been set free. From the moment we truly give our hearts to Christ and seek to live for Him, we know our sins are as far as the east is from the west, hidden beneath the deepest ocean, and no longer remembered by God.

But we aren’t God. We remember. And we hold tight to those memories, giving an ear to Satan and his condemnation. Perhaps you’re like me and have a relative or acquaintance who never lets you forget how miserably you fail at being perfect, like Christ.

Sometimes believers even wallow in the failures themselves, convinced that they are worthless to God because of those failures.

But God has a different plan through the death and resurrection of His Son, Jesus Christ. The scriptures are clear that through Him we truly can be set free.

I once read this short verse about freedom and was surprised that I’d never really considered the power and profound truth it proclaims.

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. Galatians 5:1

Christ died, was buried, and arose for our freedom from the slavery of sin. Paul instructs us to deny and refuse to carry the burden anymore.

We are new creations, freed from the old, delighting in the new. Praise Him!

I pray God’s blessing on the work of your hands and your hearts,

Vonda

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