Latest Blog Posts for November 2015

Parting Words From The WORD…I’m Thankful for What I Haven’t, by Nancy Lohr

Pumpkins Cornucopia PixabayDuring this season of thanks, many of us focus on the bountiful blessings God pours out on us all year long. Let’s face it, most of us are blessed here in America. I know my family and I are. And we try to remember to thank the Lord for all He’s given us.

But what about the things we DON’T have? Do we remember to thank Him for those?

This post, written by Nancy Lohr on the website, offers powerful insight. I hope you’ll click on this link and read Nancy’s words–a new take on Thanksgiving blessings:

Click here for Thankful for What I Haven’t, by Nancy Lohr.

But you, Lord, are a shield around me, my glory, the One who lifts my head high.
Psalm 3:3 (NIV)

Grace and peace be yours in abundance,


Read entire post »


Interview & Book Give-Away with Mary Scro

IMG_1347 smallerWelcome to the Christian Writer’s Den as we learn more about the writing life from author and speaker, Mary Scro…

What fun to introduce Mary Graziano Scro today. Mary and I met years ago when she attended Christian Communicators Conference and she’s been a dear friend ever since! I’m honored to share her writing journey with you today.

Be sure and leave a comment for Mary and you’ll be in the drawing for a free copy of one of her books. Don’t forget to check back next week to see if you’re the winner!

Now let’s get started. First of all, Mary, I’m always interested in hearing how authors got interested in writing.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve loved to write…and I’ve always loved to read. There’s something about the power of the written word to teach, inspire, and entertain that wakes up the gift God put inside me. When someone reads what I’ve written and it blesses them, well, there’s nothing like it. And the same goes for me when I am inspired by the work of others.

Oh, I know what you mean. I’m so encouraged when readers say my books helped or even entertained them. But we all have writing challenges. What are a few of yours? 

One is trying too hard to “get it perfect” without editing. Many years ago, a manager asked for a one-page management summary of a huge document. A co-worker and I labored over it all day but didn’t have a thing done when the manager came back to check. Instead of being mad, she laughed and said, “You’re trying too hard. You won’t get it right the first time so just get something down on paper, then you can edit.” She nailed it!

Another area is to “write clean”: keep verbs active, don’t use too many words when fewer will do, stay to the point. I’ve had awesome help from my Word Weavers critique group in that area. And I’ve learned helpful edit techniques, such as searching for “ing” words and reading my writing out loud.

One thing I learned: we can always improve our writing…and we need to keep working at that.

Yes, it’s taken me a long time to learn that trying to make my words “pretty” before moving on gets me nowhere! Please share when and why you started blogging.Mary Scro Intentional Fitness cover

My first blog post was in May, 2013. I like the spontaneous nature of blogging – sharing what God is showing me at that moment. At first I wanted to do something so great that many would flock to my blog and I’d be famous overnight. Then I came down to earth and realized we need all the voices we can get on the internet to tell people about our awesome God. He gifted me to write, I need to steward it well and share for Him, not for me.

Along those lines, I used to get discouraged when someone posted something similar to what I just posted. Now I get excited because I realize that I heard God – He is speaking the same message to many so He can reach our different audiences.

I had to laugh when I read that you expected readers would flock to your blog and you’d be famous overnight. Sounds like we have a lot of the same tendencies! Would you tell us a little about your books, and how they came about?

The first book, Intentional Fitness: Working Out Your Salvation, started as a teaching about how to move from the world’s ways to God’s ways to grow in your faith. We grow our faith because a lost world needs Jesus, and they won’t see Him unless He’s strong in us. Our faith doesn’t just grow with time; it takes effort, choice, and obedience. I share parts of my testimony to encourage others that if I can have an awesome life with God, they can too.

The second book, Intentional Warfare: Winning the Daily Spiritual Battles, started as a teaching about spiritual warfare in a class I co-taught at my church. I didn’t know what to teach – God literally fed it to me one week at a time. Then with my co-teacher’s encouragement, I wrote a book about it. Most of the book is about becoming aware of the daily battle that is going on around us, how to fight the right enemy in God’s strength, and how to live a more God-empowered life.

I think I see a theme here with the word “intentional.” Want to share about that?

My passion is to see Christians take responsibility for growing their faith – to talk, act, and live differently than people who don’t know Jesus. We need to be more than good people who do good things, we need to be supernatural people whose God works miracles in and through us. Most of my writing is about obedience and what amazing things God can do in our lives…and conversely, how we give our enemy, the devil, power when we try to go our own way.

Walking with Jesus is not about where we are in our journey, it’s about the direction we’re headed and our willingness to lay down our way for God’s. When we do, oh, what a glorious life!

Mary Scro Intentional Warfare coverAmen, sister! Thank you so much for being with us and sharing your story, Mary. I know your experience will be helpful for writers out there.

Friends, be sure to leave a comment and next week you could win a copy of Mary’s book. Just check back next Tuesday to see if you’re the winner!

Bio: Mary Graziano Scro, a graduate of Christian Communicators Conference, is an inspirational author, speaker, and blogger who intuitively weaves analogies and personal testimony with practical biblical teaching. Whether in person or at the keyboard, Mary loves sharing what God has done in her life to encourage others in their own walks with the Lord. Mary’s books, Intentional Fitness and Intentional Warfare, are available through Vox Dei Publishing, and she has more projects in the works. She lives in Virginia with her husband Don, her parents, two cats, a dog, and occasional rogue bears who raid the bird feeder.

You can reach Mary through:

Facebook: Life Is Not A Formula
Twitter: @marygscro
LinkedIn: Mary Graziano Scro
Blogs: Life Is Not A Formula (Mary’s website) at
Vox Dei Publishing blog at
Almost an Author, WARFARE! Column at


Read entire post »


Parting Words From The WORD…What’s My Password?

Laughing Jesus by Robert Wilson, Sr.

Laughing Jesus by Robert Wilson, Sr.


I don’t know about you, but I have a hard time with passwords. Even though I know better, I’ll be absolutely sure that this time I’ll remember. Yea. Right. You know how that story ends.

But this week, as I was scrambling yet again to enter a correct password, it hit me that I have one password that will never change and will never be stolen. As a matter of fact, this is one Password that I want to share with everyone!

Not only will it allow entry into the best site of all, but with this holy Password, everything else in life can be changed forever.

 If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. Romans 10:9 (NIV)

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


Read entire post »


Writer’s Headlines: Writing Opps, Conferences and Contests


(Vonda here: I’m sorry for the delay in today’s post. My internet has been down since yesterday and I’m just now up and running again. Hope like all the opportunities I found for you!)

Hello, Christian Writer’s Den friends! This is our big opportunities issue, so let’s see if we can help you get published! Let’s start with writing opportunities compiled just for you!

1.  Miraculous Answers to Prayer anthology
This new anthology by James Stuart Bell is looking for your stories. Here are the Miraculous Answers to Prayer Guidelines. But you must hurry–Deadline is now December 1, 2015.

2.  Adoptive Families Magazine
Adoptive Families is the leading information resource for families before, during, and after adoption.

3.  Blue Mountain Arts Greeting Cards
Seeks contemporary prose or poetry written from personal experience that reflects the thoughts and feelings people today want to communicate to one another, but don’t always know how to put into words. Does not need rhymed poetry, religious verse, one-liners or humor. Pays $300 for all rights and $50 for one-time rights for a book use.

4.  Colorado Central Magazine
To put our guidelines in a nutshell: We publish material we like to read about the area we live in. We’re not interested in it if it’s routine and boring, or if it’s not about this area. We serve Central Colorado and the San Luis Valley. On a map, that’s a swath from Leadville and Fairplay south to the New Mexico line. It’s the counties of Alamosa, Chaffee, Conejos, Costilla, Custer, Lake, Mineral, Rio Grande, and Saguache, along with the adjacent parts of Fremont, Gunnison, Huerfano and Park counties.

5.  Eating Well Magazine
EatingWell is the only national food magazine that focuses exclusively on eating healthfully (our motto: “Where Good Taste Meets Good Health”). We are the preeminent magazine resource for people who want to enjoy food that is delicious and good for them.

6.  Alaska Magazine Submission Guidelines for Freelance Writers

7.  The Cattleman Magazine – Guidelines for Writing for The Cattleman

8.  Better Homes and Gardens writers guidelines

9.  Backpacker Magazine guidelines

10. Southern Writers Magazine guidelines

Remember to follow the guidelines carefully and then let us celebrate with you when you have a publication!


If you’re serious about writing and/or speaking, you’ll be serious about attending conferences. Here are some awesome conferences you don’t want to miss!WritersBootcamp2016 logo

1. Weekend with the Writers: January 29-30, 2016, Greenville, SC

2. Writers Advance Boot Camp: February 19-21, 2016, Asheville, NC Scholarship deadline October 31, 2015 (I’ll see you there!)

3. Florida Christian Writers Conference: February 24-28, 2016, Leesburg, FL

4. Carolina Christian Writers Conference: March 11-12, 2016, Spartanburg, SC

5. Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference: March 18-22, 2016, Mount Hermon, CA

6. Mid-South Christian Writers Conference: March 19, 2016, Colliersville, TN

7. American Christian Writers Mentoring Retreats begin in April: Various locations and dates

brmcwc 20168. Write2Ignite for Writers of Children’s Literature: April 1-2, 2016, Tigerville, SC

9. Colorado Christian Writers Conference: May 11-14, 2016, Estes Park, CO

10. Northwest Christian Writers Renewal: May 13-14, 2016, Redmond, WA

11. Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference: May 22-26, 2016, Ridgecrest, NC (I’ll see you there! Watch for details coming soon!)

12. Write to Publish: June 8-11, 2016, Chicago area

13. West Virginia Writers Conference: June 10-12, 2016, Ripley, WV

14. New England Christian Writers Retreat: June 17-19, 2016, Hamilton, MA

15. Christian Communicators Conference: Hold the date! August 24-28, 2016, The Billy Graham Trainingccclogosmall Center at The Cove, Asheville, NC. Registration will open in early spring. (I’ll see you there!)

16. St. David’s Christian Writers Conference: June 22-26, 2016, Grove City, PA


And here are some writing contests you’ll want to look into…

1.  The Amy Awards for Christian-related pieces published in secular publications. Deadline January 15, 2016

2.  Fresh Voices Writing Contest is now open for submissions – Deadline December 31, 2015

3.  Writer’s Digest Short Short Story Contest – Deadline December 14, 2015

4.  The Anagram Holiday Short Fiction ContestDeadline December 19, 2015

5.  NeoVerse Short Story Writing CompetitionDeadline December 20, 2015

Red Sale Bag pixabay~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Need some help with your Christmas list? I can help!

Yep, it’s time for my buy-one-get-one-half-price Christmas sale! That’s right, buy any product in my store and you’ll get the second item for half-price!

But here’s the catch: You’ll need to order it directly from me by email, or PayPal will charge you the full price! So, head on over to my store and decide what you’d like and who you’d like to have it personalize it to, and then contact me with your order. I’ll get in touch and you can either pay by check or by credit card. DO NOT ORDER THROUGH REGULAR PAYPAL or you won’t get the discount!

Whether you need downloadable writing workshops or books for kids or women, this sale is for you!


So that should keep you busy for a while. Don’t forget to let us know when you get that publication. We’ll want to celebrate with you.

Happy writing!


Read entire post »


Parting Words From The WORD…Am I the Only One?

Laughing Jesus by Robert Wilson, Sr.

Laughing Jesus by Robert Wilson, Sr.

Wouldn’t it be nice if, when we gave our lives to the Lord, we automatically became sin-free? If we truly became like Christ?

Yet, here I am, a follower of Jesus for over 30 years, and I daily fight the temptation to:

  • think of myself first
  • get angry with the person who breaks in line
  • work hard to have people brag on me
  • cut someone down with a sharp remark
  • get frustrated with the slow driver ahead of me

Am I the only one?

I hear that we’re the only Jesus some will ever see…and it scares me. What if they only see Jesus by looking at me? If they see me in action, would they want what I have, or would they run in the opposite direction?

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Colossians 3:12

His Word tells us He chose us. We’re holy and dearly loved by the God of the universe. Even in the midst of our sin, He chose us and called us holy and dearly loved. Our only response to that kind of love must be to emulate Him in all we say and do. We must desire to be:

  • compassionate
  • kind
  • humble
  • gentle
  • patient

It IS my desire, but in truth, I often fail miserably.

But today, Friday, November 13, I pray that at the end of the day I will be able to look back and honestly say, “Today I have been as much like Him as possible, clothed with compassion and kindness and humility and gentleness and patience.”


Would you join me in that prayer?

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


Read entire post »


The Non-Fiction Book: Concept to Contract and Kudos & MoGo7000 Results

Welcome to the 2nd Tuesday at the Christian Writer’s Den..Let’s start with a tutorial for your non-fiction book..Books morguefile


Although the technique of good writing is a necessary craft that crosses genre lines, there are considerable differences in the planning, writing, and submitting of the fiction vs the non-fiction book. Today we’ll focus on the steps you’ll need to take in order to see your non-fiction book in print.



  • What do you want to teach?
  • Is there a need?
  • Do your research.
  • What is your focus or slant?
  • Discover your voice.

Writing:Be creative computer Pixabay

  • Create an outline.
  • Write creatively.
  • Write chapter summaries.
  • Write three chapters.
  • Obtain serious critiques of your work and consider hiring an editor.

Before submitting:


  • Use only clean, white paper.
  • Follow correct format.
  • Submit only to those publishers or agents who work with your type of book.
  • Be professional in every way.
  • Don’t give up.

So what are you waiting for? By following these guidelines, you’ll increase your chances of publication and could soon be signing your name on the proverbial dotted line!

Write on!

Thanks for Tweeting!

Non-fiction book tips for #writers – Concept to Contract @VondaSkelton #amwriting #pubtips (Click to Tweet)

Photo courtesy of

Photo courtesy of


Kudos to Nan Jones, a very special writing friend… 

Nan Jones (NC): “I had my first book signing for The Perils of a Pastor’s Wife on Oct.10th at the Cornerstone Christian Bookstore in Boone, NC. This is a lovely, two-story bookstore that serves our mountain region. I was so honored – it was on my dream list and God graced me with this gift. Also, I was in WalMart and a stranger came up to me and said, “You’re that lady that wrote the book for pastors’ wives!” I just about fell over. We met the next day so she could purchase a signed copy for her pastor’s wife. Sometimes when you think marketing efforts aren’t doing any good, the Lord gives a pat on the back.”

That’s so true, Nan. His word tells that if we delight in the Lord, He will give us the desires of our hearts. Your experience is a perfect example of how much He wants to bless us!


mogoAnd look who MoGo’d last month!

#13: Robin Luftig – 15,000 words
#14: Tim Suddeth – 7300 words

Congratulations, writers! You’re in the running for the $100 cash prize, to be given away in January! And readers, don’t forget you still could get two more entries this year, so it’s not too late to start.

And your NaNoWriMo words can count toward MoGo7000, too, so write away and then remember to report your numbers when I put out the call in December!

Okay, friends, that does it for another Tuesday at The Christian Writer’s Den. Thank you for stopping by and joining in. Without you, CWD would be a very lonely place for me. :-)

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


Read entire post »


Parting Words From the WORD…Give Thanks to the Lord

Laughing Jesus by Robert Wilson, Sr.

Laughing Jesus by Robert Wilson, Sr.


During this month of thanks, let’s remember, it doesn’t get any simpler than this:

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good.
His love endures forever.
Give thanks to the God of gods.
His love endures forever.
Give thanks to the Lord of lords:
His love endures forever.
Psalm 136:1-3


Whatever you’re going through, remember this:

Give thanks. He is good. His love endures forever.

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


Read entire post »


To NaNo or Not? NaNoWriMo Decoded, Call-Outs & Book Give Away

NaNo-2015-Participant-Badge-Large-SquareVonda here: Writers, are you wondering what all this NaNoWriMo talk is about? Trying to decide if it’s something you should consider? Thanks Edie Melson, here are the answers to your questions! (I’m participating for the first time this year!)

To NaNo or Not? NaNoWriMo Decoded, by Edie Melson

Among those whose heart’s desire is to write a novel, November thoughts turn to the dilemma of NaNoWriMo. For the uneducated, November has long become known as National Novel Writing Month—NaNoWriMo.

NaNoWriMo is an idea that has exploded in popularity. The idea is that you write the first draft (minimum of 50,000 words) of a novel in one month. At first this may sound ridiculous, but many writing instructors advocate writing your first draft quickly, without editing. James Scott Bell encourages this in his book, The Art of War for Writers. I highly recommend this book, by the way and it was the very first book reviewed on this blog. Curious to learn more? Click here to read the review.
So how do you get involved with NaNoWriMo?
  • First, visit the website and set up an account.
  • Second, familiarize yourself with the site and the many things they offer.
  • Third, start brainstorming ideas.

Yep, I’ve found it helps me to have an idea of where I’m going with my novel. I don’t want to get into the whole plotter or pantster debate, but I highly recommend at least a glimmer of an idea before you start.

Still unconvinced it’s for you? Consider this, people participate in NaNo for many reasons—many of them good—here are just a few to consider.

  • For Fun: maybe you’ve been toying with the idea of writing a novel. Here’s your time to give it a try.
  • To Jumpstart Your Next Book: if you write professionally, the work of writing can sometimes get in the way of actual writing. NaNo can help you get back on track.
  • An Accountability Group: Some of us just do better when we have to report on our progress. NaNoWriMo actually requires that.
  • A Deadline and Goal: I don’t know about you, but I can do almost anything for a month—give up chocolate, start an exercise program, get familiar with a new routine. Why not try writing a novel?
  • Company in a Lonely Endeavor: writing is a solitary pursuit and can often be intimidating and discouraging. Aligning with a group that has a shared goal and purpose helps alleviate the loneliness and helps keep us motivated.
  • To Win: yes, I admit it. I’m highly competitive and just thinking about NaNoWriMo gets my adrenaline pumping.

Vonda here: Edie and I would love to see who’s participating in NaNoWriMo, so be sure to leave a comment and let us know your NaNoWriMo name (you choose it when you register). Ours are easy to remember: emelson and vondaskelton.

Also, if you’ve participated in NaNoWriMo previously, please share your suggestions and comments based on your experience. Thanks!


I want to hear about your successes! celebration - Morguefile

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!


mogo7000 logoWho Worked on Their MoGo7000 in October?

If you wrote at least 7000 new words on a book project in October, you can receive an entry in the drawing for the 2015 MoGo7000 $100 cash prize! It’s open to everyone who qualifies.

To report your October results, please leave a comment below with your total new words written on a book project in October. (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 2015 challenge continues! Here are the MoGo7000 Challenge rules.

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 2 months and you’ll have 2 entries!

So what are you waiting for? Get started now and you could have and extra $100 next year. Participating in NaNoWriMo? Those words can also count as your Mogo7000 words. And it doesn’t cost you a cent!Broken Butterfly Cover (1)


Who won Cindy Patterson’s book?

And the winner is…

Tammy Whitehurst!

Congratulations, Tammy! Simply contact me with your snail mail address and Cindy will get your book right out to you! And friends, I know you’re gonna want Cindy’s book, so here’s a direct Amazon link to Broken Butterfly.


Well, that does it for our first November meeting. Now get to work and write!



Read entire post »