Latest Blog Posts for December 2014

Sending a Little Christmas Fun & Who Won Marie Senter’s Book?

nativityMerry Christmas, writing friends! What a joy to hear Christmas music during this special season, reminding me that yes, an innocent, helpless Baby came, but He grew to be our Sacrifice, and was raised from the dead to be our Savior! And oh, what a Savior!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~TRESTLE Book One Classroom Edition

First of all, I don’t want to miss the giving a shout-out to Marlene Bagnull and let her know she’s the winner of Marie Senter’s book, Trestle Over No Name CreekCongratulations, Marlene! Simply contact me with your snail mail address and Marie will get it right out to you!

And for those of you who didn’t win, I know you’re going to want to get your own copy, so here’s a direct Amazon link to Trestle Over No Name Creek. Thanks, Marie, for your delightful interview. I pray God blesses the socks off these and all your new book projects!


And since I know everyone’s running around trying to get everything done (and NOBODY is interested in studying writing opps!), I thought I’d share another of my Christmas favorites with you today. Here’s a video I’ve shared the past several years, and I never grow tired of it.

I hope you enjoy North Point Community Church’s iBand Christmas. It was a gift to their friends, and I love sharing the gift with you!

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Christmas blessings as we celebrate the Gift and the Giver!


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Parting Words From The WORD…Mary Claimed Peace

nativityEvery year about this time, chaos descends. There are presents to buy, baking to do, and gatherings to attend. But as I think back to the reason we celebrate, I see Mary’s first Christmas was very different from ours.

Luke 1:29 says that Mary was greatly troubled, and I had always thought she was troubled because she had been told she was going to have a baby. But when I studied the scripture, I realized she hadn’t even been told the news yet.

Instead, Mary was troubled because the angel had appeared to her. And I can see why—after all, it’s not everyday that you have an angel standing there talking to you! Yea, I think I would find that a little troubling. As a matter of fact, one Bible commentary for the book of Luke actually said people often responded with fear or awe when confronted with acts of God, like seeing an angel. (Ya think?)

Then the angel tells her “Christmas was coming” and it was going to take a little bit of work on her part. Now, granted, he didn’t say it in exactly those terms. But we can all agree Mary’s to-do list suddenly got bigger.

  • Get water from the well
  • Feed the goats
  • Grind the wheat
  • Bake the bread
  • Have a baby…huh?

Not only have a baby, but have a baby without the benefit of being married. A baby who would be the Savior of the world! Now, that could be a little frightening for any of us. But think about this: she not only wasn’t married, but it was physically impossible for her to be pregnant. Yea, I’d say that could be a little troubling.

But instead of panicking, what did Mary do?

  • She submitted to the plan. In Luke 1:35 it doesn’t say “the Holy Spirit has come over you,” it says “the Holy Spirit WILL come over you.” Yes, the angel had delivered the message, but it wasn’t a done deal until she submitted to the plan. (Of course, God knew what she would say.)
  • She trusted God. She trusted Him with her life! Even as a young girl carrying the Christ-child, she could have been killed because she wasn’t married. And yet, she didn’t say, “Who’s going to protect me? Who’s going to take care of me?” She simply said, “I am the Lord’s servant. May it be to me as you have said.”

In the midst of the fear, Mary claimed peace. Her life was about to turn upside down into chaos, and yet she claimed peace.

Do you feel that life is making your plans for Christmas? Do you feel like the burden is too great? I know sometimes I do. But that’s when we need to stop, submit to HIS plan, and then trust Him to work out the details. We can be like Mary, we can claim peace at a time when peace is hard to find. But we can’t do it until we agree to work on His plan and His timetable.

“I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May it be to me as you have said. Luke 1:38 (NIV)

Christmas blessings as we celebrate the Gift and the Giver,


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Interview & Book Give-Away with Marie Senter and Kudos & MoGo7000 Results

Marie Senter headshotToday is the 2nd Tuesday, and I’m looking forward to talking with author Marie Senter and celebrating your successes!


Interview with Marie Senter

Marie and I first met at the Glorieta Christian Writers’ Conference where I was her writing coach as part of the Get Published Now seminar. She brought a rough copy of the true story of the time she, as an industrial nurse, saved the life of a severely injured worker. She worked hard on the piece and turned it into a print-worthy article.

Be sure to leave a comment for Marie and you’ll be in the drawing for a free book! Don’t forget to return next week to see if you’re the winner!

Welcome to the Christian Writer’s Den, Marie! I’ll never forget how thrilled I was to meet another RN who’s also a writer.

Thank you for having me. As a nurse, I’m still asking myself Cec Murphey’s question: Am I a nurse who writes, or am I a writer who nurses? My answer is, “YES!” I love nursing, and it gives me the economic base to support my writing. Both are God-given passions.

I know what those passions feel like and agree that they’re both God-given! So how long have you been writing?

Mom and Dad would read to us six kids and encouraged us to write our own plays. I believe reading is essential to writing. The combination of memory, wild imagination and the ability to correlate the unrelated defines my style. For instance, one of my high school English assignments turned into a story read over the local 50,000 watt radio station every Christmas Eve for many years.

A high school writing assignment at Christmas time?

Yes, I used a well-known story about a baby born in a stable and placed in a manger. The difference is that my story is told by the straw in the manger with appropriate hay-seed phrases. It has been printed in two different church advent booklets. I’m told it is still part of many Christmas Eve family gatherings.

The Christmas story told by the straw? Now that’s a unique POV! Is your writing confined to short stories?TRESTLE Book One Classroom Edition

The 3-by-5 spiral notebook with my first childhood adaptations still exists. The poems I’ve written have rhyme, rhythm, and a storyline, such as “Suicide” (a college friend), and “A Woman Is…” (ideals plus reality). Twice, newspapers printed my reviews of locally produced musicals, and twice, obituaries: My first husband, diagnosed with leukemia, went heavenward 22 months after our marriage. Our story of life and his death is the lead story in I Believe in Heaven, the recent Cec Murphey/Twila Belk book. Five years later, I wrote a second obituary when a blood clot broke loose, and I became a widow again. Chicken Soup for the Soul printed the story I adapted when my sister encountered breast cancer.

What writing projects have you written and what are you working on now?

Following the example of a petite, gifted author from South Carolina who mentored me at my first big writers’ conference, and with encouragement to “write what you know,” I am polishing Book Three of a mystery trilogy for kids. My mentor wrote of a girl from a loving family who managed to get into and out of situations that skirted disaster. My adaptation is the Trestle over No Name Creek series set in any small town, l960. Junior high kids form a gang and survive “normal for l960” society, culture, and grown-up attitudes. Once chapter one is absorbed, the next chapters build until the very last pages answer the mystery: In Book One, was old man Frank’s death an accident, or was their dark-skinned old friend’s death a murder?  Book Two combines a reclusive old man and a l960’s delinquent with the Meanderthallers in the middle. Book Three―read it and “go figure.” Written for school kids of all ages, the series has no test questions. Instead, the back of each book has an insert with chapter-by-chapter Research Projects. Example: “What’s a trestle?”

This sounds like an interesting series for kids. You must have had a wise mentor! (Hahahaha!) I’m thrilled to see Trestle Over No Name Creek: Book Two has just been released in Kindle version. Congrats!

And our last question: Would you tell us the quick version of your road to publication of your novels?

three books illusAll the writers’ conferences I attended, the publishers, agents, and interviews resulted in zero interest. So once again, d.D.i.–direct Divine intervention–stepped in. It came in the form of a local man who had survived a heart attack, had his books rejected, who then studied Publishing101, and formed his own publishing house. He walked up to me at a local writers’ group and said he wanted to publish my book. After prayer and research, I accepted. My editor is a lifetime Bible teacher friend who has “caught my voice” and shares her gifts of placing punctuation where I do dot-dot-dot.

Yes, I’m very familiar with your dot-dot-dot form of punctuation. :-) We writers are thankful for our editors, aren’t we? Thank you again for being with us today, Marie. Blessings as you continue Book Three of your series!

And readers, be sure to leave a comment for Marie and you’ll be in the drawing for a free book, but don’t forget to check back next week to see if you win!

Bio: Writing since grade school, Marie has produced stories, poems, books, and has been published in school and local newspapers. In college, five of her class writing assignments ended up in print. As a professional nurse, she has written, done art work, and designed curriculum for health topics, aiding fellow nurses and other staff, prn. In addition, she has taught child development seminars for child care workers’ accreditation. Adding medical worker in clinics and hospice to speaker, artist, and teacher, Marie continues to serve with God-given abilities.

Image courtesy of Salvatore Vuono/

Image courtesy of Salvatore Vuono/


Our Kudos are Short and Sweet This Month, but It’s a BIG One!

Edie Melson has just signed a contract with Worthy Publishing for her newest book for military families: While My Soldier Serves: Prayers for Those With a Loved One in the Military. The publication launch date is July 4, 2015.

Congratulations to my long-time writing buddy, Edie!


Who Qualified for a November Entry in the 2014 MoGo7000 Challenge?

Congrats to these four hard-writing writers who wrote at least 7000 new words on a book project in the mogo7000 logomonth of November:

#23: Tim Suddeth – 8,483 words
#24: Glenda Mills – 7,200 words
#25: Susan Baganz – 64,746 words
#26: Joan Hall – 20,000 words

Would you believe these four writers wrote 100,429 words in one month! Congratulations, writers!

And readers, if you want to learn how to enter the challenge, simply check out the MoGo7000 Challenge page. You have 1 more opportunity to reach a monthly goal and win an entry before the $100 drawing in January!


Well, that does it for another December Tuesday. I hope today’s post encouraged you to do what it takes to reach your goals in 2015.

Christmas blessings as we celebrate the Gift and the Giver!


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Parting Words From The WORD . . . A Baby Changed Everything

During the Christmas season, it has become my Christian Writer’s Den tradition to post this beautiful video and the life-giving words it proclaims. I’ve done it now for several years, and each time I hear it, I still get chills and my eyes fill with tears.

When Jesus was born, everything was changed.

I hope you’ll take a few minutes to watch the beautiful images from the film, The Nativity, and listen to the words of this powerful song sung by Faith Hill.

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For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. Luke 2:11-14 (KJV)

During this blessed Christmas season, I’m especially thankful a Baby changed everything for me. And He wants to change everything for you, too.

I was lost but now I’m found! Hallelujah!

Christmas blessings as we celebrate the Gift and the Giver,


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The Red Pen is My Friend, Call-Outs, & Laury Davis Book Winner

Image courtesy of IdeaGo/

Image courtesy of IdeaGo/

Happy December! Let’s start with a lesson I had to learn…one that will benefit you as well. Repeat after me: The Red Pen is My Friend, The Red Pen is My Friend…

Every time I return from teaching at a writers conference, my Inbox is full. The comments are everything from “Now I know how to make my writing better” to “I quit–I must not be a writer.”

I can’t help but smile. I could be reading my own words, spoken at different times in my writing journey. I hate to admit it, but when I first began this journey, I thought anyone who saw a need for improvement in my writing was just . . . well . . . wrong!

When I wrote my first book, I wanted to show it to everybody. But not because I wanted their input or their help. Not because I wanted to make it better. Not because I wanted to learn how to write well–after all, I already WAS a great writer!

Nope, when I first started writing, I didn’t want to hear anything but praise. I wanted to hear how great my writing was and how it was going to hit the literary jackpot. How it was going to revolutionize the children’s book industry and how producers were going to be groveling at my feet, begging me to let them make the very first Bitsy movie!

That’s not what happened.

The first time I had my work critiqued by somebody who knew what they were doing, I was shocked! Didn’t they know what a good writer I was?

Apparently not. Every page–no, every paragraph–well, actually most every line–had a red mark! What was wrong with that editor? Didn’t she recognize good writing when she saw it? It was obvious to me that this person just didn’t get my work.

So I moved on, sending it out to other editors and publishers. Oh, I made a few minor changes–after all, I could see that my manuscript might possibly need a little tweak here and there. But didn’t they understand that you don’t mess with someone’s story? Didn’t they understand that it was MY story, not theirs?

For years, I worked with this attitude. And no, I’m not proud of it.

Whatever we’re called to do–whether doctors or cosmetologists or writers–we need to work hard at our craft. We need to know our stuff. We need to take the training, learn the lessons, and embrace the critique in order to be the best doctor or cosmetologist or writer we can be.

So now, after many years in the industry, when someone reads my stuff, I feel cheated if they simply say, “That’s great! I love it!” In order to get better, to reach more people with my words, I need to create the best quality work I possibly can.

Your stamp of approval on my sloppy work would not help me achieve that goal.

I pray that you don’t waste the years I wasted, trying to convince myself that I was right and everyone else was wrong. I pray that you quickly develop a heart that yearns for correction so that your words can be worthy words; words that you–and God–don’t have to be ashamed of.

Photo courtesy of

Photo courtesy of

If we correctly handle the truth of our words, then perhaps we will have the opportunity to correctly handle The Truth of His Words.

And what an awesome opportunity that would be!


It’s time to hear about your Kudos!

Okay, friends, now it’s time to hear from you! 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!


Who Worked on Their MoGo7000 in November?

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

And yes–NaNoWriMo totals can be entered!

To report your November results, please leave a comment below with your total new words written on a book project in November. (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. Didn’t meet the goal in November? No problem! Start writing today and you could earn an extra $100 in January–and it doesn’t cost you a cent! Laury Davis book cover


Who Won Laury Davis’ Bible Study, In Pursuit of Happiness?

The winner is…Dianne Boyette! Congrats, Dianne! Now, all you need to do is contact me with your snail mail address and Laury will get your book right out to you!

And for those who didn’t win, I know you’re going to want your own copy of Laury’s book, so here’s a direct Amazon link to In Pursuit of Happiness. You don’t want to miss this opportunity!


Well, that does it for another first Tuesday. I hope you’ll come back on Friday as we take a look at God’s Word and a message He has just for us.

I pray God’s blessing as we celebrate the Gift and the Giver,


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