Category Archives: Announcements

Writer’s Headlines: Writing Opportunities, Conferences, & Who Won Mary Allen’s Book?

newspapersWelcome to The Christian Writer’s Den! Today is the 3rd Tuesday, so there’s lots of good stuff to cover. Let’s start with a list of writing opportunities collected just for you!

1.  Penned from the Heart, a 366 day compilation of poems and devotions is looking for submissions for the 2016 edition. Writer’s guidelines can be found at www.marilynnutter.com.

2.  A+ Playwriting Contest for Teachers.

3.  The Mighty Newsletter is looking for articles that highlight the strength, joy, and beauty in disability and disease by featuring real life experiences and perspectives from people just like us.

4.  Since I’m working hard and having fun at Blue Ridge Christian Writers Conference this week, I’ll share this HUGE list I just found of Book Editors and Book Publishers: Christian, Religious, Inspirational, New Thought, and Spiritual Books. Please note: Do not assume all are Christian. Be sure to read and follow guidelines carefully!

Okay, so with that longgggggg list of writing opps, you should have plenty to keep you busy. Don’t forget to let us know if you have good news from these efforts. We’d love to celebrate with you!

Photo courtesy of Mary Denman

BRMCWC photo courtesy of Mary Denman

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Conference season is going strong! Where will you learn this year?

1. Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference: May 17-21, 2015, Ridgecrest, NC (I’m here now–come on and join me!)

2. Write To Publish: June 3-6, 2015, Wheaton, IL

3. West Virginia Writers Conference: June 12-14, 2015, Ripley, WV

4. St. David’s Christian Writers’ Conference: June 24-28, 2015, Grove City, PA

5. Kentucky Christian Writers Conference: June 25-27, 2015, Elizabethtown, KY

6. Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference: July 29-August 1, 2015, Langhorne, PA

7. Atlanta’s Christian Writing Conference: August 20-22, 2015, Marietta, GA

ccclogosmall8. Christian Communicators Conference: August 26-30, 2015, Billy Graham Training Center at The Cove, Asheville, NC. We are currently full, but the waiting list is open. Every year ladies on the waiting list have been able to attend. Maybe this could be your year! 

9. American Christian Fiction Writers Conference: September 17-20, 2015, Dallas, TX

10. Breathe Christian Writers Conference: October 9-10, 2015, Grand Rapids, MI

11. Next Step Writers Contreat: November 12-14, 2015, Albuquerque, NM

12. Writers Advance Boot Camp: February 19-21, 2016, Asheville, NC (I’ll see you there!)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Mary Allen Cover-reduced

And who won Mary Allen’s book, Crying in the Morgue, Laughing in the Dark?

The winner is:

Shirley Buxton!

Congratulations, Shirley! To receive your free book, simply contact me with your snail mail address and Mary will get the book right out to you!

And for those who didn’t win, here’s your direct Amazon link to Crying in the Morgue, Laughing in the Dark.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Well, that does it for another Writer’s Headlines Tuesday. I can’t wait to hear of your successes that come from going to a conference and then submitting your work. After all, that’s what real writers do!

Thanks for Tweeting…Sharing is sweet!

A new list of writing opportunities & conferences at Christian Writers Den @Vonda Skelton #amwriting #pubtips (Click to Tweet)

Happy writing!

Vonda

Read entire post »

 

Interview & Book Give-Away with Mary Allen, Kudos & MoGo7000 Successes, & Who Won the Bad Poetry Contest?

Mary Allen headshot reducedMy goodness, do we have a packed Tuesday or what? Let’s start with an interview with debut novelist, Mary Allen

I first met Mary Allen when she attended Christian Communicators Conference in 2013 and when we saw each other, we became instant sisters. After all, we’re both very short, we’re both RNs, we both love to sing, and we’re both writers and speakers. What better way to connect with a sibling, right? And today I’m thrilled to share her and her debut novel, Crying in the Morgue, Laughing in the Dark.

Be sure to leave a comment for Mary 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!

Okay, Mary, Let’s get started. First, please tell us how you got started writing.

I fell in love with words in junior high school. I wrote some poetry and short stories but not much more. When I went back to school in my 30’s, I took some creative writing classes, yet still hadn’t caught the dream. Several years ago, at a women’s retreat, I shared my heart on the topic of joy. The speaker suggested I write a book. A seed was planted. At another retreat I shared my testimony around bonfire.  The positive reaction surprised me. Another seed. Shortly after that I attended Women of Faith where a friend told me I’d be a great speaker. I laughed it off, but another seed was planted. A couple of years later, as I struggled with what God wanted for my life, I prayed and fasted, asking God for guidance. I prayed, “Lord, do you want me to write a book? I need a story, please.” A month later, while spending a little time with my older brother, he shared a part of my life I had never known. The story I wrote is now my book, Crying in the Morgue, Laughing in the Dark.

But I thought your book is fiction.Mary Allen Cover-reduced

Yes, it is. It is a fictionalized memoir. It’s based on the true story of my life with some minor changes in sequence and characters. It is a story of my struggle with self-worth and joyful living though difficult circumstances. It’s a story of finding out, with God, I am good enough. It’s not just my story. It’s God’s story. It’s the story of what He did in my life.

You told us about your story at Christian Communicators and I was blown away. I can imagine it was difficult to write about those memories.

Yes, sometimes it was difficult. The most difficult thing to write, however, was my parents’ back stories. As children, it’s hard for us to comprehend that our parents had a life before we were born. And, if we find out their lives weren’t perfect, or they made mistakes, it is easy to point a judgmental finger. I didn’t want that for my parents. I believe it’s important we understand our parent’s childhood struggles in order to fully appreciate the choices they made in their lives. We must view our parent’s lives through eyes of compassion. I tried to do that. I pray my children do the same with my life–mistakes and all.

Powerful insight, Mary. Why did you self-publish?

As a speaker, my time is often limited, so in order to tell the whole story, I wrote the book to bring with me to my speaking engagements. But I wanted the freedom to fulfill my dream on my terms, in God’s time. Self-publishing gave us that freedom.

Mary allen and VondaSo what is the take away message you hope your readers embrace?

Most women will be able to relate with the story at some level, but I doubt any two women will be touched the same way. If God lead a woman to read Crying in the Morgue, Laughing in the Dark, there’s a personal message there for them. I wanted to be able to touch women who haven’t found their purpose in life, to make women realize their unique worth to the Father. I always struggled with feelings of inadequacy, until I heard the entire truth. The moment my brother shared that information with me, I realized God loved me so much He saved my life the morning I was born. He filled my life with joy, blinded me from certain hard truths, and waited patiently for me to embrace His love for me wholeheartedly. My worth in God is immeasurable. That is the message I hope women will take away from this story.

Sweet, Mary. Any words of wisdom for other new writers?

It took me four years to complete my book. Most mornings I was up by 5:00 AM to write before work. (I am a home health nurse.) Looking back, it was worth the effort. I would say, be patient, join a good critique group, attend writer’s conferences, make time to write what’s in your heart and trust God with your story. You are good enough for God!

Amen, Mary! Thank you for sharing from your heart today. I pray God uses your powerful story to point others to the truth that He loves us just the way we are. Period.

Friends, be sure to leave a comment and you’ll be in the drawing!

Bio: Mary Allen lives with her husband Bob, the love of her life. They’ve been married a whole bunch of years. They have a wonderful, ordinary family they love with an extraordinary love. Mary loves to sing, read, laugh and make people smile. She hates high tech gadgets, but puts up with them. Just barely. She’s hoping she’ll inherit a million dollars from a long lost relative so she can quit the job she loves as a home health nurse to stay home and be a full time writer. But she’s not holding her breath. When she speaks about God at an event, a hand full of people listen, but when she prays, the God of the universe hears every word. You can reach Mary at MaryAAllen@comcast.net.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Photo courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Photo courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Now it’s time to celebrate YOUR successes!

Congratulations are in order for some of our Christian Writer’s Den writers and speakers.

1. Jayme Hull (TN): Jayme just signed a new contract with the Moody Collective division of Moody Bible Institute for her book for millennials, Face To Face. She is writing the book with Laura Captari and they’re expecting a spring 2016 release.

2. Lori Hatcher (SC): I’m praising God for these two gifts: 1) In 2014, one of my goals was to teach at Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writers Conference. I’m delighted have been invited to teach four workshops at Blue Ridge next week—two on the topic of public speaking. Thank you, Carolyn Knefely for encouraging me to go for it. 2) I’m privileged to present the one-day seminar “Praying with Power” to the women’s ministry of Good Shepherd United Methodist Parish on May 9.

3. Jeanne Doyon (CT): Vibrant Life has accepted my article, When Your Kids Leave Home: Six Ways to Ease Your Empty Nest. It will be published this fall.

4. Susan M. Baganz (WI): My debut novel, Pesto and Potholes, released on May 1, 2015 in print and Ebook. It has been in the top 100 of “hot new bestsellers” in its category for the past few days. Yay! (Vonda here: Susan says she has “…written many novels racking up my word counts with MoGo7000….”)

5. Maureen Hager (NC): My testimony, Out of the Brokenness, is published in Trials and Triumphs II, Rooted and Grounded in Love.

Congratulations Jayme, Lori, Jeanne, Susan, and Maureen! I’m so proud of all of you!

(And I hate to admit it, but I thought I’d heard from another Christian Writer’s Den friend who had a kudos, but for the life of me, I can’t find another one. Hopefully I’m thinking of another month. But if you sent me something and it’s not here, PLEASE let me know!)

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

Who met the MoGo7000 Challenge in April?

These writers earned an entry into the 2015 MoGo7000 Writing Challenge, giving them another chance at winning $100 at the end of the year!

#3: Tim Suddeth – 12,314 words
#4: Joan Hall – 30,909 words

#5: Susan Baganz – 12,876 words

Okay, writers, as you can see, this is a VERY good year to get in on the drawing. The odds are looking really good for winning the cash prize. And it’s FREE!

Want to know how you can join in the fun? Check out the MoGo7000 Challenge guidelines here.

Laughing horse morguefile~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

And who won the Chip’s Bad Poetry Contest at the Christian Writer’s Den?

According to my husband, the winner is…

Nice Lady with Gun!

Congratulations on your horribly-awesome poem, An Oculance of Love!

And no, Nice Lady didn’t win because she has a gun. :-) She won because I am a former RN who worked in ophthalmology and neuro-ophthalmology in surgery and in the office for many, many years, and Gary and I loved all the ocular references! “Vitreous humor” was absolutely brilliant! I laughed out loud when I read it and still giggle every time I think of it.

Be sure to visit last Wednesday’s post about Chip MacGregor’s Bad Poetry Contest, and read the bad poems (in the comments) written by some of our own Christian Writer’s Den readers and entered into Chip MacGregor’s Annual Bad Poetry Contest.

Nice Lady, simply visit my store, then contact me with the downloadable workshop you’d like to receive, and I’ll get it right out to you!

Disclaimer: The contest here at the Christian Writer’s Den is a shameless tag-along to Chip MacGregor’s annual contest. He will be announcing his own favorite horrible poem, so be sure to check there to see who wins at Chip MacGregor’s blog.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Well, that does it for this 2nd Tuesday. Be sure to come back next week when I’ll share a brand new collection of writing opportunities collected just for you!

Thanks for Tweeting…Sharing is Sweet!

Book Give-Away w/ @MaryAllen, #writing life through fiction. And writers successes! #amwriting #pubtips @VondaSkelton (Click to Tweet)

Happy writing!

Vonda

Read entire post »

 

It’s Time for Agent Chip MacGregor’s Annual Bad Poetry Contest! Enter There and Win Here!

Laughing horse morguefile

Okay, I know you’re not supposed to be getting a post from me today, but I couldn’t take a chance that you might miss out on this ab-so-lute-ly amazing writing opportunity and chance to win.

It’s time to join in the fun going on over at Chip MacGregor’s Bad Poetry Contest to celebrate his birthday. And if you enter there, you could win here!

For those who’ve been around writing conferences for a while, you’ll recognize the name, Chip MacGregor. For those who don’t know him, Chip is owner of MacGregor Literary, one of the most recognized agencies in the business. He’s spoken at writing conferences in over 100 locations. And I can promise you, once you’ve been around Chip, you won’t forget him. He helps writers around the world with his snarky voice and big heart. (Don’t tell him I said the big heart part. He likes to protect his image.)

Now, this is how it’s gonna work here at The Christian Writer’s Den. Please read Chip’s intro below and then finish it at his blog. Then write your own bad poetry and leave it as a comment for Chip at his blog. BUT THEN…come back here and post a comment that you left an entry at the contest, and I’ll put your name into another contest HERE! I’ll go to Chip’s blog and read for myself how bad your poem is. I hope it’s really bad! My husband will select a winner from among the Christian Writer’s Den submissions.

Here’s Chip’s introduction to his 7th Annual Bad Poetry Contest:

This is Chip.

This week is a special, heart-touching time of year, when all young writers turn to thoughts of bad poetry. That’s because, each year at this time, we take a week to celebrate my birthday — not with cards, not with songs, not with cutesy memes on Facebook that will make me want to gag. Instead, here we do the more creative thing… we create bad poetry. The badder, the better.

A note about bad poetry: Some people just don’t get it. They seem to think we’re making fun of great poets. No indeed. We’re making fun of ALL poets. Those who think they are deep. Those who want to show they’re smarter than you. Those who rhyme “love” with “dove,” “glove,” and “above.” And most of all, those who call out, “Hey, look at me! I’m sensitive!” So the time has come once again to your bad poems. Stop the wordsmithing madness and start constipating on wrong rhythms and awful word choice. The 2015 Bad Poetry Contest is here! Read more from Chip…

I hope you’ll head on over to Chip MacGregor’s Annual Bad Poetry Contest and read the rest of his post, then post your bad stuff and make me proud!

THEN come back here and post a comment letting me know that you entered, and you’ll be in the running for a FREE DOWNLOAD from my writing workshops! ($14.95 value!) Be sure to come back next Tuesday to see if you’re the winner!

Remember, to be included in HIS contest, you have to post your bad poetry AS A COMMENT ON CHIP’S BLOG! And to be included in OUR contest, you have to leave a comment here that you entered Chip’s contest.

Clear as mud?

So go on now…get started. Show off your bad self and make me proud!

Thanks for Tweeting…Sharing is sweet!

Time for #Agent @MacGregorLit Annual Bad #Poetry Contest! Enter There & Win Here! @VondaSkelton #amwriting (Click to Tweet)

Expecting great things from you…

Vonda

Read entire post »

 

ProfNet: The Freelance Writer’s Friend, Call Out for Kudos & MoGo7000, and Who Won Twila Belk’s Book?

magazinesIt’s the first Tuesday, and time to learn something, report your accomplishments, and see if you’re the winner of Twila Belk’s book!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

ProfNet: The Freelance Writer’s Friend

For many years, my primary source of writing income was from freelance articles. Although I’m not freelancing these days as much as I used to, I still love teaching other writers how to see their work in print. One of the most beneficial resources I’ve found anywhere is ProfNet, also known as PR Newswire.

When I first began writing query letters and submitting freelance articles, I used my professional friends as expert sources. That was a good place to start. But as a health writer, I soon discovered I needed experts beyond my network of friends. That’s when I was introduced to ProfNet.

After becoming associated with ProfNet, my expert sources included professionals from Harvard and Duke and the Mayo Clinic. They begged me to include their doctors, dieticians, and researchers in my articles–and it was all free! My writing credibility, acceptance rate, and assignments quickly increased.

But you don’t have to be a health writer to find good expert sources. It doesn’t matter if you’re writing about scrapbooking, soccer, or gem cutting, ProfNet can mine a mother lode of sources to pull from.

Interested? You can sign up as a journalist on ProfNet here. (Freelance writers, bloggers, newspaper and TV/radio reporters fall under the Journalist category). It’s easy to sign up, but be sure you read the information first so you know how to do it!

A clear post will help you get the experts you need. Here is the link to ProfNet’s guidelines for posting your request.

And don’t forget, these experts are professionals. Your kind, gracious communication will go a long way to help you be a journalist the experts want to work with and support!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Photo courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Photo courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Call for Kudos!

Okay, friends, it’s time for us to celebrate YOU and celebrate EACH OTHER! After all, that’s the goal of The Christian Writer’s Den–to encourage and instruct writers.

In order to do that, I need to hear from you! It doesn’t matter how small it may seem to you or how recently it’s been, every step forward is a step that leads to the next one.

So I 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. Everybody’s welcome to share.

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 April?

If you wrote at least 7000 new words on a book project in April, 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 April results, please leave a comment below with your total new words written on a book project in April. (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. 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 8 months and you’ll have 8 entries!

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

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Twila Belk book signing B&N

And last but not least (How’s that for a cliche?), who won Twila Belk’s new book?

According to Random.org, the winner is…

Julie Garmon!

Congrats, Julie! Just contact me with your snail mail address and Twila will get the book right out to you!

And friends, I know there are many of you who can’t wait to read Twila’s book, so here’s a direct Amazon link to Raindrops from Heaven: Gentle Reminders of God’s Power, Presence, and Purpose. Enjoy!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Thanks for Tweeting! Sharing is Sweet…

Freelance #Writers need ProfNet – Find expert sources & up your income! @VondaSkelton #amwriting #pubtips (Click to Tweet)

Well, that does it for another first Tuesday. I can’t wait to see what you have been up to! I love giving away money to writers–so get to work and write!

Happy writing,

Vonda

Read entire post »

 

Writer’s Headlines: Writing Opps with a Contest, Conferences & Who Won Rebecca Davis’ Book?

newspapersYep, it’s the 3rd Tuesday, time for some Writing Opportunities selected just for you! (And be sure to read about the cool Writing Opportunities Contest we’re running this week.)


What a special “writing opportunities day” we have today! Here’s the deal: Last year I shared a call-out for a compilation book, Love is Out There: True Stories of Hope for Single Women Over 30by Melissa Williams Pope.

Well, Melissa recently contacted me with the good news that the book is out and one of the ladies who was published in the book says she can’t say for sure, but she might have read the call-out here! Yay, another confirmation that writing opportunities lists can help…as long as you’re willing to do the work!

So we came up with a cool contest. After studying the writing opps below, simply leave a comment sharing which of the listed opportunities you’ll be looking into. Each commenter who notes a specific opportunity will be in the drawing a copy of Love is Out There: True Stories of Hope for Single Women Over 30, donated by Melissa. Be sure to return next week to see if you’re the winner.

Here are some of Melissa’s Insider Tips from the Editor’s Side of the Desk:

- If you’re looking at a Callout and wondering if you should give it a go, the answer is YES.
– Read submission instructions carefully and follow them.
– It’s not always easy, but write bravely, from your heart. Readers are looking to connect and to feel understood. It’s hard for them to do that if you’re hiding.

To find out more about Melissa, visit her website at TheBusyQuill.com. Melissa Williams Pope can’t resist a good love story and seeing dreams come true! Originally from Los Angeles, Melissa holds advanced degrees in pastoral ministry and classical acting, and is a freelance writer, actor, singer and former church staffer. Even though she spent about a decade crisscrossing the globe from Europe to the South Pacific, Mr Right still miraculously found her! She currently gets to enjoy living the newlywed life with him in Auckland, New Zealand.

Now, here’s your new list of opportunities. Which ones interest you?

1.  DaySpring Cards is always looking for quality material. DaySpring Editorial Guidelines here.

2.  Chicken Soup has a long list of needs. Varying deadlines posted for each category. Chicken Soup wants stories!

3.  Just Between Us Christian Women’s Magazine writing guidelines.

4.  Pennsylvania Magazine wants pieces about Pennsylvania. Click on Downloads for guidelines and instructional pieces.

5.  Guideposts Magazine may be interested in your story! Be sure to study the magazine and follow the link to writer’s guidelines.

6.  Writer’s Digest Short Short Story Competition. Open for submissions June, 2015, so gets started working on your story now!

7.  The Lookout  – Several of my friends have written for this magazine!

8.  Celebrate Life Pro-life Magazine writing guidelines.

9. How to Write for LIVE, take-home quarterly for adults

10. Sew News wants articles and project ideas from you.

11. Creation Illustrated Magazine writer’s guidelines here.

12. Living Better at 50+ is running a Mother-Daughter Story Contest for Mother’s Day. Check out details on the LivingBetterat50 Facebook page. Scroll down to find the details in a post dated April 15.

Okay, so that does it for this month’s writing opportunities. I hope you’ll find something of interest here and then post a comment telling us about it and you could win a free book next week from Melissa Williams Pope!

Photo courtesy of Stuart Miles/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Photo courtesy of Stuart Miles/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Now it’s time to check out upcoming Conferences to help you take the next step in your writing and speaking!

 

Don’t miss out–be sure to attend at least one conference every year!

1.  Orange County Christian Writers ConferenceApril 24-25, 2015, Santa Ana, CA

2.  Writing Success XXIV: April 25, 2015, Stoneboro, PA

3.  Colorado Christian Writers Conference: May 13-16, 2015, Estes Park, CO

4.  WordGirls Writer’s Getaway: May 14-16, 2015, Duncan, SC

5.  Northwest Christian Writers Renewal: May 15-16, 2015, Redmond, WA

6.  Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference: May 17-21, 2015, Ridgecrest, NC (I’ll be there and would love to see you there!)

7.  Write To Publish: June 3-6, 2015, Wheaton, IL

8. West Virginia Writers Conference: June 12-14, 2015, Ripley, WV

9. St. David’s Christian Writers’ Conference: June 24-28, 2015, Grove City, PA

10. Kentucky Christian Writers Conference: June 25-27, 2015, Elizabethtown, KY

11. Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference: July 29-August 1, 2015, Langhorne, PA

12. Atlanta’s Christian Writing Conference: August 20-22, 2015, Marietta, GA

13. Christian Communicators Conference: August 26-30, 2015, Billy Graham Training Center at The Cove, Asheville, NC. We are currently full, but the waiting list is open. Every year ladies on the waiting list have been able to attend. Maybe this could be your year! 

14. American Christian Fiction Writers Conference: September 17-20, 2015, Dallas, TX

15. Breathe Christian Writers Conference: October 9-10, 2015, Grand Rapids, MI

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Rebecca Davis cover BJUP With Daring Faith

 And who won Rebecca Davis’ book?

 

Random.org says the winner is Ruth West! Ruth, simply contact me with your snail mail address and your Rebecca will get your book right out to you!

And for those who didn’t win a book, here are direct Amazon links to some of her books:

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Thanks for Tweeting!

@VondaSkelton shares Writing Opportunities-Guidelines-Contests-Conferences #amwriting #getpublished (Click to Tweet) 

 

Don’t forget to leave a comment with a writing opportunity that sounds interesting to you and you could win Melissa Pope’s new book!

Happy writing!

Vonda

 

Read entire post »

 

Chip MacGregor: Ask the Agent, Kudos & MoGo7000 Call-Outs & Who Won Cindy Sproles’ Book?

Chip MacGregor headshot2If you’re not following agent Chip MacGregor’s blog, I have three words for you: You need to. Chip is a top-notch literary agent and president of MacGregor Literary. He works with both the Christian and general market and loves sharing his snarky-laced words of wisdom with writers. I’m telling you now, you don’t want to miss his annual Bad Poetry Contest in May–what a fun way to celebrate his birthday!

Today, I’m thrilled to share a recent question submitted to Chip’s Ask the Agent blog series. Great advice for those who are serious about writing. But watch out, you must have your humor hat on or you may not get it.

Thanks, Chip!

Excerpt from Chip MacGregor’s blog series, Ask the Agent: “What 10 editorial mistakes do most novice authors make?”

I suppose if you asked this of ten agents, you’d probably get a hundred total answers, but here are my pet peeves with newbie authors:

  • Too many exclamation points!!!
  • A proposal that has not been proof-red
  • Overpromising, as in “This proposal will sell a billion copies!”
  • FEELING A NEED TO PUT LOTS OF WORDS IN ALL CAPS.
  • Random numbering in an outline.
  • I did this, I did that, I did this other thing, I, I, I.
  • Random commas, that make no, sense.
  • A failure to understand how to properly use “quotation” marks. (Also parentheses. And their attached punctuation).
  • Failing to understand the difference between its and it’s (or there and their and they’re).
  • The manuscript is passive due to the author.

Hint for the humor impaired: There are intentional errors in that list. If you see one, don’t send me aHow Can I Find A Literary Agent cover scolding note or you’ll be banned from the blog. It’s a joke. I know you don’t get it. Just trust me – others find it funny. 

Friends, I hope you learned something about agents and what they’re NOT looking for. And if you’re a writer interested in finding out more agent answers to your questions, check out Chip’s new book, How Can I Find A Literary Agent? And 101 Other Questions Asked by Writers .

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Call-Out for Kudos…I Want to Brag on 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~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Call for MoGo7000 Totals

If you wrote at least 7000 new words on a book project in March, 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 March results, please leave a comment below with your total new words written in March. (Please do not send your totals by email or through the Contact page. Totals must be left as a comment here by next Monday). 

If you missed out on last year’s money-winning writing challenge, don’t worry, the 2015 challenge is underway! 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. Meet it 10 months and you’ll have 10 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. :-)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

And Who Won Cindy Sproles’ Book, Mercy’s Rain?Cindy Sproles Mercys Rain cover

The winner is…drumroll, please…

Cindy Patterson!

Congratulations, Cindy (Patterson)! I’m so happy for you and I know you’re going to love this book. Simply contact me with your snail mail address and Cindy (Sproles) will get the book right out to you. (Hmmm…could this be a Cindy conspiracy?) :-)

Well, for those of you who are not named Cindy, here’s a direct Amazon link to Mercy’s Rain. I know–and you know–you want your own copy!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Thanks for Tweeting!

Ask Agent Chip MacGregor, Call-Outs & Cindy Sproles’ Mercy’s Rain winner. #amwriting @MacGregorLit @VondaSkelton (Click to Tweet)

Well, that does it for another 1st Tuesday. I can’t wait to see you back next week to meet another author and to celebrate our successes together!

Happy writing!

Vonda

 

Read entire post »

 

Writing Opportunities, Contests, & Conferences Just for You, and Who Won Donn Taylor’s Book?

Dollar sign morguefileIt’s the 3rd Tuesday, and time to offer writing opportunities, collected just for you!

Be sure to follow all guidelines carefully and then let us know if it leads to success. We’d love to celebrate with you!

1.  Writer Beware Blog, a publishing industry watchdog group, is looking for guest bloggers. Check out the Writer Beware Guest Blogger Guidelines here.

2.  Back to College is a news and information resource for adult re-entry students pursuing professional development or an advanced degree.

3.  The Atlanta Tribune Magazine–Black Atlanta’s No. 1 resource for information on business and the business lifestyle. Atlanta Tribune’s writer’s guidelines here.

4.  Diabetes Self-Management–Brings you the information you need to control your diabetes and improve your health. Diabetes Self-Management writer’s guidelines here.

5.  HILLERMAN MYSTERY SHORT STORY CONTEST--Submission deadline June 1, 2015. Sponsored by St. Martin’s Press and WORDHARVEST, the Tony Hillerman Prize is awarded annually for the best first mystery set in the Southwest.

6.  Greeting Card guidelines:

7.  ADOPTIVE FAMILIES–Adoptive Families is the leading information resource for families before, during, and after adoption. The award-winning national bimonthly magazine provides independent, authoritative adoption information in an accessible and reader-friendly format. Adoptive Families Writer’s Guidelines here.

8.  EARLY AMERICAN LIFE–Since 1970 Early American Life has been the source for information on early American style, decorating, and traditions. In addition, we cover both antiques and reproductions made by crafters working in period styles with traditional tools. We do it with our own style–we aim to entertain as well as educate. We also feature stories on gardening with a focus on early America. A one-page story in Early American Life, such as Worth Seeing, runs about 750 words. A typical feature may run 2,500 words. We would estimate $500 for a first feature from a new writer, more if you are an experienced, skillful writer. If we assign a story to you, we will negotiate the rate before you begin work.

9.  Catholic Digest writer’s guidelines

10. GEMINI FLASH FICTION CONTEST–Deadline March 31, 2015. ENTRY FEE $5. Grand prize: $1,000. Both new and established writers are welcome.

11. Writer’s Digest Writing Competitions

12. Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference and BelieversTrust Announce “Beyond the Steeple Award”

Thanks for Tweeting!
Writing opportunities, contests, & conferences from @VondaSkelton #amwriting #pubtip (Click to Tweet)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Next up: Conferences to help you grow as a writer and/or speaker

Conference Room fdp Pixomar
1.  Weekend with the Writers: March 20-21, 2015, Greenville, SC

2.  Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference: March 25-31, 2015, Felton, CA

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

4.  Orange County Christian Writers ConferenceApril 24-25, 2015, Santa Ana, CA

5.  Writing Success XXIV: April 25, 2015, Stoneboro, PA

6.  Colorado Christian Writers Conference: May 13-16, 2015, Estes Park, CO

7.  Northwest Christian Writers Renewal: May 15-16, 2015, Redmond, WA

8.  Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference: May 17-21, 2015, Ridgecrest, NC (I’ll be there and would love to see you there!)

9.  Write To Publish: June 3-6, 2015, Wheaton, IL

10. West Virginia Writers Conference: June 12-14, 2015, Ripley, WV

11. St. David’s Christian Writers’ Conference: June 24-28, 2015, Grove City, PA

12. Kentucky Christian Writers Conference: June 25-27, 2015, Elizabethtown, KY

13. Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference: July 29-August 1, 2015, Langhorne, PA

14. Atlanta’s Christian Writing Conference: August 20-22, 2015, Marietta, GA

15. Christian Communicators Conference: Registration opened March 1st and we only have two spots left! Scholarships available, deadline April 1. (I would love to see you there!)

16. American Christian Fiction Writers Conference: September 17-20, 2015, Dallas, TX

17. Breathe Christian Writers Conference: October 9-10, 2015, Grand Rapids, MI

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Lightning Cover - 300dpi

And who won Donn Taylor’s new book, Lightning on a Quiet Night?

According to Random.org, the winner is…

Tammy Whitehurst!

Congratulations, Tammy. All you need to do it contact me with your snail mail address and Donn will send his book right out to you!

And for those who didn’t win, here’s a direct Amazon link to Donn Taylor’s Lightning on a Quiet Night.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Well, I think that does it for another episode of Writing Opps, Contests, and Conferences. I hope it helps you find success on your writing and speaking journey!

Write on!

Vonda

Read entire post »

 

Interview and Book Give-Away with Donn Taylor & We’re Celebrating Kudos!

Donn Taylor portraits 12/7/07First, let me introduce Donn Taylor…

I can’t remember the year, but I’ll never forget the sight. I was at the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference, walking through the lobby, when I saw Donn and Mildred Taylor for the first time. They walked toward me, holding hands like high school sweethearts. It didn’t take long to realize that I would rarely see them when they weren’t holding hands!. Once I even walked into my classroom to discover Donn at the piano, Mildred listening intently in a chair, eyes closed. They were both enjoying the music and each other. It was beautiful.

I wondered if Gary and I would still be holding hands when we’ve been married that long. So far we are!

So today I’m thrilled to Donn Taylor to you today. You’ll learn about his writing and achievements as you read his interview, but I want to go on record as saying Donn Taylor is truly a gentleman and a scholar. He’s also a mentor, an encourager, and he loves his Mildred and his Lord.

Be sure to leave a comment for Donn and you’ll be in the drawing for next week’s give-away of his book. Now, let’s get started!

Welcome to The Christian Writer’s Den, Donn. Would you first tell us something about your writing journey?Lightning Cover - 300dpi

Thanks for having me! My writing journey followed more twists and turns than a snake on a mountain railroad. In my college years I wrote some fairly good poems and considered a Western novel titled Lightning on a Quiet Night. The Korean War killed that project before it got past the precipitating incident. So the next two decades of Army brought only bare-facts tech writing, and after that came graduate school and the painful switch to bloviated academic writing—and in both situations no time for creative writing. Two decades after grad school I retired from college teaching (English lit) and decided to see if I could write the kind of poetry I enjoyed teaching. That point proved, I returned to the old ambition of publishing a novel. It took longer than I expected to convert from literary thinking to commercial-fiction thinking. That first novel—The Lazarus File—took a couple of years to finish. It was published in 2002, and it’s still selling as an e-book.

Did you ever return to the Western you thought of in college?

Yes and no. After Lazarus, I learned there was a Christian market. So I resurrected the title Lightning on a Quiet Night and its precipitating incident. But I set this novel in Northeast Mississippi soon after WW II. The focus changed to examine a small town too proud of its virtues having to come to grips with its first murder. That theme alone could get pretty dull, but it mostly hovers in the background while the story follows a romance, the sheriff’s search for the murderer, and teenagers playing various pranks. In the process, though, the novel covers a fairly wide variety of Christian experience. Begun earlier, it’s just now published. Thanks to Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas for accepting a novel that combines several genres.

The-Lazarus-File_cover-300x400Describe some of the techniques that make your writing distinctive. How did you learn them?

I learned capsulization the hard way. I wasted a whole day writing a painstaking description of an upper-class Colombian home. The next day I captured it in one sentence: “The Rocas received Mark in a room whose graceful décor spoke equally of solemn tradition and spontaneous laughter.” Since then I try to find the capsule first. From Shakespeare I learned to take the reader quickly from comedy into pathos. From Robert Heinlein and classic movies I learned to lighten suspense with momentary comic elements. Heinlein mentioned, in passing, a zoologist named Tiergarten (German for zoo); in my WIP I mention an oncologist named J. Carson Oma. And some of my minor characters speak in clichés but never get them right: “The grass is greener when you are not straddling the fence.” Well, that’s what I try to do. I guess the readers receive it okay because they haven’t yet thrown tomatoes.

I love the combination of pathos and comedy. I’m working hard on that in my current WIP. You’re writing for the Christian market, so you need to stay connected with God. How do you do that?

Honestly, I don’t always make it. Mildred, my wife, taught me to set aside a time for prayer and reading scripture, usually before starting any serious work. But off and on during the day I do quick prayers, often for people with problems, and I always conclude with prayer at night. Joanne Hillman’s Listening Prayer: Learning to Hear the Shepherd’s Voice added a new dimension to my prayer life.1964 Mildred & Donn Taylor

Besides your day of salvation, what is the happiest day in your life?

No contest on that. It was the day Mildred and I married (August 21, 1952). We never wanted anything more on this earth than just to be together. John Milton says it best: “The world was all before them, where to choose/ Their place of rest, and Providence their guide . . .”

You always speak of Mildred with such love and respect. A great tip for all of us. So what is the best tip you can give someone just beginning to write fiction?

Two important items. The first is patience: It always takes longer than you think it’s going to. Second, learn the craft: Don’t be too proud to learn basic rules of grammar and punctuation. (I was stubborn, but students sent me to the grammar books so often that I finally learned.)

Thank you, Donn! I know I’m not the only one who enjoyed your insight and stories. And readers, don’t forget to leave a comment, then check back next week to see if you’re the winner!

Thanks for Tweeting!

Author & poet DonnTaylor3 shares tips for writers at VondaSkelton’s Christian Writer’s Den. You could win a free book! (Click to Tweet)

Bio: Donn Taylor led an Infantry rifle platoon in the Korean War, served with Army aviation in Vietnam, and worked with air reconnaissance in Europe and Asia. Afterwards, he completed a PhD degree and taught English literature at two liberal arts colleges. He has published four novels and a book of poetry, and is a frequent speaker at writers’ conferences. He lives near Houston, TX, where he writes fiction, poetry, and essays on current topics. You can find Donn on the Web: www.donntaylor.com (includes contact info) www.facebook.com/donntaylor; www.facebook.com/authordonntaylor; www.twitter.com/donntaylor3.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

celebration - MorguefileAnd now let’s celebrate with these Christian Writer’s Den friends!

Congratulations are in order for some of our writers and speakers.

1.  Cherrilyn Bisbano (RI): Cheryl has two great things to share! First of all, she started a new blog  January 1, 2015. Check out her Pelican Promise blog at http://pelicanpromise.blogspot.com  Also, Cherrilynn gives God the glory for three upcoming speaking engagements. She’ll be at: Cape Cod March 27-28 and at Singing Hills Campground April 24-26 & November 12-15.
2.  Tammy Blackburn (NC): Tammy has a new children’s book. How Do I Know? is a picture book and is available on Amazon. You can find out more about Tammy at her website, www.TammyBlackburn.com.

3.  Azuka Chinonso Igwegbe: Please celebrate with me for the success of my first book
titled, Crushed But Not Destroyed. It’s a book worth reading at this season.

Congratulations, Cherrilynn, Tammy, and Chinonso! And if you didn’t have a new success to share, be sure to come back next week when I’ll have a new collection of writing opportunities and contests for you!

Happy writing!

Vonda

Read entire post »

 

CC Registration Opened March 1 & We’re Already Half Full, Call-Outs & Book Winner

christian-communicators-promo-cove-2015Registration is Now Open for The Christian Communicators Conference for Speakers–And We’re Filling Up Fast!

Ladies, if you feel called to speak, you don’t want to miss the Christian Communicators Conference at the Billy Graham Training Center at The Cove. Carolyn Knefely and I would love to see you there!

At a Christian Communicators Conference, less truly is more…

By limiting the conference to about 30 ladies, you receive more!

  • You won’t be surrounded by hundreds of women . . . but you’ll be embraced by thirty who will become lifelong friends
  • You won’t experience long lines for dinner . . . but you’ll have long conversations over dessert
  • You won’t need change for vending machines . . . but shared stories at afternoon tea can change your life

Come and learn in a small, intimate setting . . .
then go out and change a great big world

Check out the Christian Communicators Conference registration details here. But don’t delay, with only 30 spots, we fill up quickly!

Thanks for Tweeting!

Christian Communicators #Speaking #Training is filling up fast! Aug 26-30. $ help deadline April 1. http://bit.ly/1EGCqxl (Click to Tweet)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~celebration - Morguefile

Call-Out for Kudos…I Want to Brag on 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 logoCall for MoGo7000 Totals

If you wrote at least 7000 new words on a book project in February, 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 February results, please leave a comment below with your total new words written in February. (Please do not send your totals by email or through the Contact page. Totals must be left as a comment here by next Monday). 

If you missed out on last year’s money-winning writing challenge, don’t worry, the 2015 challenge is underway! 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. Meet it 11 months and you’ll have 11 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.

Thanks for Tweeting!

Writing a book? You could win $100 in the MoGo7000 Writing Challenge! @VondaSkelton Christian Writer’s Den #amwriting http://bit.ly/18Hw6cJ (Click to Tweet)

Cynthia Simmons WWO cover

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

And Who Won Cynthia Simmons’ Book?

According to Random.org, the winner is…

Judith Robl!

Congratulations, Judith! All you need to do is contact me with your mailing address and Cynthia will get her book right out to you!

And I know there are lots of you out there who also want to read Cynthia’s book, so here is a direct Amazon link to Cynthia Simmons’ Women Who Overcame.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Thank you for joining me for a new month at The Christian Writer’s Den. I appreciate you and your friendship as we strive to write words others need to read and hear.

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

Vonda

Read entire post »

 

Writer’s Headlines: Writing Opps, Conferences, Contests, & Who Won Sheri Levy’s Book?

newspapersWriting opportunities and contests collected just for you, Christian Writer’s Den friends!

Yep, it’s time to share some writing opportunities I found just for you. Hope this makes a difference in your journey!

1.  Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference blog is always looking for posts. Click the link for info.

2.  Escapees Magazine is looking for articles of interest to RVers who live the RV lifestyle. Escapees Magazine writing guidelines here.

3.  Writers Weekly.com wants articles on how to make money writing. Do not send “how to write” articles. Writers Weekend guidelines here.

4.  Small Farm Today magazine is dedicated to preserving and promoting small farming, rural living, community and agripreneurship. Writing guidelines here.

5. Nan Jones is currently accepting guest bloggers for her blog Morning Glory at http://morningglorylights.blogspot.com/. Morning Glory is a devotional site that helps people find the Lord in the midst of their darkest hours. She is presently receiving over 5,000 visitors per month. Guest bloggers share testimony through a devotion of how God revealed Himself to them during a difficult time. For submission guidelines please contact Nan at nan@jubilantlight.com. Write “guest blogger” in the subject line.

6.  Chicken Soup is looking for stories for Chicken Soup for the Soul: Merry Christmas!
101 Joyous Holiday Stories
. Guidelines here.

7.  Country Woman Country Lifestyle Magazine: Guidelines here.

8.  Photo Life submission guidelines.

9.  Stages of Life Writing Contests for teens to retirement agers!

10. I Love Cats Magazine writer’s and photographers guidelines.

11. Write Integrity Press has call-out for writers for upcoming eBook! 

There you are! Don’t forget to let us know when you have a writing success to share. We want to celebrate with YOU!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Conference Room fdp Pixomar

If you’re serious about writing and speaking, you’ll be serious about attending

conferences. 

When I first started this writing journey, I didn’t have money for conferences, so I asked my family and friends to contribute to my conference fund rather than giving me gifts for Christmas, birthday, Valentine’s Day, anniversary, and Mother’s Day. That went a long way towards my conferences. You might want to try it, too.

Here’s a list of upcoming writing and/or speaking conferences. Make your plans now to attend at least one conference a year. You wouldn’t expect to get a job without being prepared and qualified, would you? You can be sure your chances of publication increase with your training and experience in writing as well.

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

2.  Florida Christian Writers Conference: February 25-March 1, 2015, Leesburg, FL

3.  American Christian Writers Mentoring Retreats begin in March: Various locations and dates

4.  Mid-South Christian Writers Conference: March 7, 2015, Memphis, TN (I’ll be there and would love to see you there!)

5.  Carolina Christian Writers Conference: March 13-14, 2015, Spartanburg, SC

6.  Weekend with the Writers: March 20-21, 2015, Greenville, SC

7.  Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference: March 25-31, 2015, Felton, CA

8.  Write2Ignite Conference for Writers of Children’s Literature: March 27-28, 2015, Tigerville, SC (I’ll be there would love to see you there!)

9.  Orange County Christian Writers ConferenceApril 24-25, 2015, Santa Ana, CA

10. Colorado Christian Writers Conference: May 13-16, 2015, Estes Park, CO (watch for details coming soon)

11. Northwest Christian Writers Renewal: May 15-16, 2015, Redmond, WA

12. Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference: May 17-21, 2015, Ridgecrest, NC (I’ll be there and would love to see you there!)

13. Write To Publish: June 3-6, 2015, Wheaton, IL

14. West Virginia Writers Conference: June 12-14, 2015, Ripley, WV

15. St. David’s Christian Writers’ Conference: June 24-28, 2015, Grove City, PA

16. Christian Communicators Conference: Hold the date! August 26-30, 2015, The Billy Graham Training Center at The Cove, Asheville, NC. 2015 registration details will be up by March 1. (I would love to see you there!)

17. American Christian Fiction Writers Conference: September 17-20, 2015, Dallas, TX

18. Breathe Christian Writers Conference: October 9-10, 2015, Grand Rapids, MISheri Levy book cover

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

And who won Sheri Levy’s book, Seven Days to Goodbye?

The winner is…Lori Hatcher! Congrats, Lori! All you need to do is contact me with your mailing address and your copy of Sheri’s book will be on its way!

And for those who didn’t win, I know you want your own copy, so here’s a direct Amazon link to Seven Days to Goodbye.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Thanks for Tweeting!

Writing opps-conferences-contests – all for #writers – at Christian Writer’s Den @VondaSkelton #amwriting #pubtips http://bit.ly/1AL5DWh (Click to Tweet)

 

Well, that does it for another 3rd Tuesday. I hope you’ve found lots of help here today. After all, that’s my goal!

Happy writing!

Vonda

Read entire post »