Category Archives: Announcements

Interview and Book Give-Away with Author Cheryl Barker

Cheryl Barker headshotWhat a delightful friend and her book to share with you today! Cheryl and I first met online and then finally met in person when I was teaching at the North Texas Christian Writers Conference many years ago, where I heard about this idea for a book! She has to be one of Blue Mountain Arts‘ favorite writers with publications in their greeting cards, gift books, and calendar lines and has also contributed to compilations and had many magazine articles published. But her most exciting publication is her new book, Mother of the Bride–Refreshment and Wisdom for the Mother of the Bride, a book I certainly could have used when my own daughters were getting married many years ago.

If you’d like the opportunity to win a copy of Cheryl’s book, simply leave a comment for Cheryl and your name will be in the drawing. Be sure to return next Tuesday to see if you’re the winner. Now let’s get started!

Welcome, Cheryl! First of all, would you tell us a little bit about yourself?

My husband and I have lived in Kansas our entire lives. We have two beautiful daughters who gave us two terrific sons-in-law. Last year our older daughter and her husband became parents, making us grandparents for the first time—to twins! But it gets even better. Our other daughter is having twins this year! We feel so incredibly blessed because both sets of babies are miracle stories. I will definitely need my vitamins while trying to market my first book and help with all these grandbabies!

Two sets of twin grandbabies? Wow, you’ll certainly have lots to write about! I know you’ve been writing for many years, but have you always been a writer? 

No, but in school I seemed to have a natural aptitude for writing and ended up becoming an English teacher for a short time before starting our family. After that, my writing consisted of an annual poem in our Christmas cards, but about twenty years ago I decided to pursue writing for publication and have been writing ever since on a part-time basis.

Why did you write Mother of the Bride—Refreshment and Wisdom for the Mother of the Bride?

After being a mother of the bride myself, I realized how much mothers of the bride need refreshment and help and that they could benefit from a nurturing voice in their lives. Not only did I want to encourage and help other women taking on this role, but I knew the approach I had in mind would fit in perfectly with my Refreshing Spirits, Nourishing Souls brand.

I’m hoping and praying this book will make its way into the hands of mothers of the bride for years to come. And hopefully as people discover my book, they’ll make it their go-to gift for MOBs they know!

How will mothers of the bride benefit from your book?

They’ll be refreshed and nurtured as they take time for themselves—time to be encouraged, to gain helpful insight and practical tips, and to enjoy the feminine beauty of a book designed just for them. In the book I share relevant quotes and Scriptures, personal stories, nuggets of wisdom, simple suggestions for personal pampering, journaling opportunities, communication aids, and also practical tips for wedding planning.

What have you learned on a spiritual level through your book publication journey?Cheryl Barker book cover

I’ve learned to trust that God’s plan for me and my writing is best. It’s so easy to fall into the comparison trap and wish that I’d started writing sooner or worked at everything faster. Instead, I have to trust that I’m exactly where God wants me to be right now and that my earlier years unfolded according to his plan, too.

My trust-in-God muscles got a major workout when my first contract for this book fell through a couple of years ago. The publisher had to withdraw their new contract offers because of a financial crisis, and mine was among them. You can imagine how disappointed I was. I really had to put feet to my faith and continue trusting God. Of course, He proved totally trustworthy. The publisher God eventually provided—BroadStreet Publishing—has been able to fulfill the vision for my book in ways that the other publisher could not. Yes, God’s plan and timing are always best.

If you could start your writing career over, what’s one thing you’d do differently?

I’d connect with other writers much sooner. Since there isn’t a serious writers group in my small town, I was a lone ranger writer for over ten years. When I realized how important writers groups could be, I started traveling seventy-five miles one-way to attend the monthly Fellowship of Christian Writers meetings in Tulsa, OK. The instruction, inspiration, and camaraderie I’ve found there have been invaluable. I’d also start attending writers conferences sooner.

What could you say to encourage other writers hoping for book publication?

Go after the dream God has given you, regardless of your age or personal situation. But remember, seeking book publication is not for the faint of heart. My advice is to put on your work boots and just keep taking one step after another. With unwavering perseverance and God’s help, it can happen!

Thank you for being with us today, Cheryl. I know our friends are going to be encouraged by your words! And friends, be sure to leave a comment for Cheryl and you’ll be in the drawing for a free book!

Bio: Cheryl Barker is the author of Mother of the Bride—Refreshment and Wisdom for the Mother of the Bride. She’s also written for compilation books, magazines, other publications, and for Blue Mountain Arts greeting cards, gift books, and calendars. Her heart’s desire is to refresh spirits and nourish souls. Cheryl loves to spend time with her family, enjoy friends, take photos, and indulge in daily doses of chocolate.

Here’s where you can connect with Cheryl:

Cheryl’s website – cherylbarker.net
Facebook https://www.facebook.com/CherylBarkerWriter/
Pinterest https://www.pinterest.com/cherylkbarker/
Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/
Instagram https://www.instagram.com/cherylkbarker/
LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/in/cherylbarker/

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Writer’s Headlines: Writing Opportunities, Contests, & Conferences

newspapersToday’s the 3rd Tuesday, so it’s a day of opportunities collected just for you! Let’s start with writing opportunities and contests…

1.  Coast & Kayak Magazine submission guidelines hereThey want to hear from people involved in paddlesports, including the kayak industry.

2.  Library Journal Indie eBook Awards contest. You must hurry–deadline is July 31st!

3.  Smoky Mountain Living submission guidelines. Celebrates southern Appalachians and brings the area to life.

4.  Gather Magazine guidelines here. Readership is primarily Lutheran women, but also offered to other evangelical churches.

5.  History Magazine is accepting queries. Looking for interesting and thought-provoking (not academic) pieces on major historic events.

6.  Parent.co is a digital magazine for parents who are committed to raising great kids.

7.  Good Housekeeping writing guidelines here.

8.  Analog Science Fiction and Fact Magazine guidelines here.

9.  WOW: Women on Writing Flash Fiction Contest. Cash awards! Deadline August 31, 2016.

10. Country Woman contributor guidelines.

11. Educational Markets for Children’s Writers: LOTS of markets listed here for children’s writers!

12. Christian Devotions is always looking for new devotions writers. And they love working with new, teachable writers.

Well, that should keep you busy for a while. Be sure to let us know if you get a publication from our Writing Opportunities. We want to celebrate with you! workshop sign Pixabay

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Now, let’s take a look at upcoming writing conferences…

If you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time, you probably have gotten the message that I believe writing conferences are the best way to publication!

1.  Word Weavers Christian Writers Summer Seminar: July 23, 2016, Lexington, SC

2.  Greater Philly Christian Writer’s Conference: August 3-6, 2016, Langhorne, PA

3.  Taylor University’s Professional Writing Conference: August 5-6, 2016, Upland, IN (This is a brand new conference!)

4.  Atlanta Christian Writers Conference: August 18-20, 2016, Marietta, GA

ccclogosmall5.  Christian Communicators Conference: August 24-28, 2016 The Billy Graham Training Center at The Cove, Asheville, NC. (We’re full, but the waiting list is now open. Details for waiting list here: Conference & Registration Details. Waiting list is free.)

6.  American Christian Fiction Writers: August 25-28, 2016, Nashville, TN

7.  Breathe Christian Writers Conference: October 7-8, 2016, Grand Rapids, MI

8.  Blue Ridge Christian Novelist RetreatOctober 16-20, 2016, Ridgecrest, NC

9.  Classeminars Writers Contreat: November 10-12, 2016, Albuquerque, NM

10. Asheville Christian Writers Conference (AKA Writers Advance Boot Camp): February 17-19, 2017, The Cove, Asheville, NC (I’ll see you there!)

11. Carolina Christian Writers Conference: March 9-10, 2017, Spartanburg, SC (Watch for the website update soon!)

12. Blue Lake Christian Writers Conference: March 22-25, 2017, Andalusia, AL

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Sharing is sweet! Please share these opportunities with other writers…

Writer’s Headlines: Writing Opportunities, Contests, & Conferences #amwriting @vondaskelton (Click to Tweet)

These opportunities, contests, and conferences are your tickets to publication. That doesn’t mean it’ll happen overnight, but if you keep working, I know it’ll happen.

Happy writing!

Vonda

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Season of Refreshment Giveaway with Lucinda Secrest McDowell! Giveaway Ends Today!

What a joy to share Lucinda McDowell’s book and contest with you–But today’s the last day to enter!

Drown out the busyness and noise of everyday life and find a deeper faith with something as simple as a single word in Lucinda Secrest McDowell’s new book, Dwelling Places. Through short and inspiring readings, McDowell unpacks a single word—such as mercy, beauty, gratitude, or grace—to reveal a biblical blessing or challenge relevant to where you are. Full of stories and illustrations to empower you to live the word you have just read, each devotional ends with a benediction, written as if God were speaking directly to you.

Join Lucinda in celebrating the release of Dwelling Places by entering to win her Season of Refreshment giveaway.

dwelling places - 400

One grand prize winner will receive:

  • A copy of Dwelling Places
  • Dwelling Places necklace handmade by Lucinda
  • A kit full of goodies you’ll need to make refreshing lemonade this summer

One second place winner will receive:

  • A copy of Dwelling Places
  • Dwelling Places necklace handmade by Lucinda
dwelling places - collage

Enter today by clicking the icon below, but hurry! The giveaway ends on July 5th. The winner will be announced July 6th on Lucinda’s blog.

dwelling places - enter banner

 

And here’s my review for “Dwelling Places.” Please note that I received a free copy of this book for an honest review.

“Dwelling Places: Words to Live in Every Season” by Lucinda Secrest McDowell is my kind of devotional. By focusing on one word through scripture, story, and application, McDowell provides the perfect environment for meditation and listening for the Father’s voice. In this day of constant noise and interruption, it’s a perfect prescription for one-on-one conversation with the God of the universe. The devotions are divided into four categories or seasons of the year, but rather than reading it through for each season, I appreciate that I can search for a word that fits where I am and what I need for that day or that time in my life. This isn’t a devotional that I read quickly and rush away to work on the myriad other things that have to be done that day. Instead, the word comes back into my heart and mind throughout the day, reminding me of His love and provision for me, regardless of what I’m going through.

Friends, I hope you’ll consider Dwelling Places for your next devotional. You won’t be disappointed!

Blessings,

Vonda

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Belated 4th of July Greetings, Call-Outs, & Who Won Felicia Bridges’ Free Book?

American flags

Hello CWD friends! Can you believe it’s already another 1st Tuesday? Let’s start with an oldie but goodie 4th of July tribute to America and offer thanks to our Father for the privilege of living here.

 

Here is a live official Opry version of Lee Greenwood singing “God Bless the USA” at the Grand Ol’ Opry. It still gives me cold chills, even after all these years! Please join me in asking God to continue to bless the USA, but more importantly, that America will turn back to the Father Who has blessed her all these years.

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It’s Time to Share Kudos of YOUR Successes!

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

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

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

PLEASE let me hear from you. We want to celebrate your successes!

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Who MoGo’d in June?

If you wrote at least 7000 new words on a book project in June, you can receive an entry in the drawing for the 2016 MoGo7000 $100 cash prize! It’s open to everyone who qualifies.

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

The year is now half over for this money-winning writing challenge, but don’t worry, the 2016 challenge still has SIX monthly opportunities left for you to enter. 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.

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

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CzechMate Cover Felicia BridgesAnd who won a free copy of Felicia Bridges book, CzechMate?

Random.org selected as the winner…

Judy C. Taylor!

Congrats, Judy! Simply contact me with your snail mail address and preferred email address and the Felicia will get your book right out to you!

And for those friends who didn’t win, I know you’ll want your own copy! Here are the direct Amazon paperback and Kindle links to CzechMate!

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Well, that does it for the July installment of 1st Tuesday and Happy Birthday to our beloved America. Please join me in praying that our country would turn back to God so we can continued to be blessed. Thanks for joining me today!

Happy writing, my friends…

Vonda

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Writer’s Headlines: Writing Opps, Contests, and Conferences Just for YOU!

newspapersYes, it’s the 3rd Tuesday and that means I have a gift of opportunities collected just for you, my friends at the Christian Writer’s Den. Let’s start with this month’s writing opps and contests!

1.  Guardian Angel Kids is looking for submissions.

2.  Warner Press, the publishing house of the Church of God, has a variety of writing needs, from greeting cards to coloring books and devotions to resource books.

3.  The Rising blog is open to submissions for their faith, culture, and stories categories. Our own Amanda Everett recently had her first article published there. Thanks for sharing it with us, Amanda!

4.  Real Simple’s Life Lessons Essay Contest has a $3000 prize!

5.  Splickety Publishing Group is running a contest right now on the subject of transportation. But be sure to check out the rules and subject because Splickety isn’t your grandma’s magazine. :-) But you must hurry–deadline is July 8, 2016!

6.  Splickety Publishing Magazine is called “Your flash fiction fix.” If that sounds like you, you’ll want to check out the submissions guidelines and upcoming themes.  

7.  Lane Jordan of Lane Jordan Ministries needs personal stories of anyone who has experienced deceit or just plain meanness (more than bulling) for her book, Bad, Mean and Deceitful People of the Bible and How Their Stories Can Give You Hope. You can get the guidelines for Call Out for Bad…. here.

8.  Chicken Soup is always looking for stories!

9.  American Snowmobiler welcomes stories and photos!

10. Faith Today: Canada’s Christian Magazine is open to submissions.

Well, that should keep you busy for this month. Be sure to let me know if you land a publication!

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Upcoming writing and speakers training conferences…

What conference will you be attending next?

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

2.  Kentucky Christian Writers Conference: June 23-25, 2016, Elizabethtown, KY

3.  Romance Writers of America: July 13-16, 2016, San Diego, CA

4.  Greater Philly Christian Writer’s Conference: August 3-6, 2016, Langhorne, PA

5.  Taylor University’s Professional Writing Conference: August 5-6, 2016, Upland, IN (This is a brand new conference!)

6.  Atlanta Christian Writers Conference: August 18-20, 2016, Marietta, GA

ccclogosmall7.  Christian Communicators Conference: August 24-28, 2016 The Billy Graham Training Center at The Cove, Asheville, NC. (We’re full, but the waiting list is now open. Details for waiting list here: Conference & Registration Details. Waiting list is free.)

8.  American Christian Fiction Writers: August 25-28, 2016, Nashville, TN

9.  Breathe Christian Writers Conference: October 7-8, 2016, Grand Rapids, MI

10. Blue Ridge Christian Novelist RetreatOctober 16-20, 2016, Ridgecrest, NC

11. Classeminars Writers Contreat: November 10-12, 2016, Albuquerque, NM

12. Asheville Christian Writers Conference (AKA Writers Advance Boot Camp): February 17-19, 2017, The Cove, Asheville, NC (I’ll see you there!)

13. Blue Lake Christian Writers Conference: March 22-25, 2017, Andalusia, AL

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These opportunities, contests, and conferences are your tickets to publication! That doesn’t mean it’ll happen fast, but if you keep working, I know it’ll happen!

Happy writing!

Vonda

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Writer’s Headlines: Kudos to YOU and MoGo7000 Totals

FreeDigitalPhotos/Iosphere

FreeDigitalPhotos/Iosphere

Today’s a day to celebrate YOU! Let’s start with the successes of these Christian Writer’s Den friends…

1.  Amanda Everett (VA): My first article, “Me Before You and the Culture of Love,” was published on The Rising blog!

2.  Andrea Merrell (SC): My short story, “The Strange Visitor,” won third place at the BRMCWC last month. I was also a finalist for the Editor of the Year award and offered a contract on one of my novels. It was an exciting conference!

3.  Nan Jones (NC): My book, The Perils of a Pastor’s Wife, was a 2016 Selah finalist at the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference! Also, I am a monthly contributor to Inspire a Fire inspirational
blog.

4.  Ellen Andersen (SC): I have two successes this month! I had a devotion accepted by Christian
Devotions that will be posted June 29. And I had a story accepted for the Loving Moments anthology, coming out in 2017. I’m so excited!

5.  Bonita Bandaries (LA): I celebrated Cinco de Mayo speaking to Cedar Hills Senior Living Book Club, reading excerpts on Prayer from my book, A Promise Kept and Una Promesa Cumplida, the Spanish translation.

6.  Marilyn Nutter (SC): My article, “The Puzzling Path of Grief,” was published in the June/July/August
issue of Reach Out Columbia.

Congratulations to all our Christian Writer’s Den friends who are working hard and seeing the results of their work! I know there were lots of CWD friends who won awards at Blue Ridge. I hope you’ll remember to share your award with us next month!

And if you weren’t able to send a success for the kudos, be sure to come back next week and I’ll have a whole new list of writing opportunities, conferences, and contests for you!

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Next up…Who earned another entry into the MoGo7000 drawing for $100?

And congrats to these writers who wrote at least 7000 NEW words on a book-writing project during May:

#11 – Susan Baganz – 11,271 words
#12 – Nan Jones – 8,103 words
#13 – Diana Leagh Matthews – 8,695 words
#14 – Amanda Everett – 7,856 words

Awesome, friends! I can’t wait to see who wins in January! If you haven’t started on the MoGo7000 Challenge, don’t worry, there are still 7 months this year to reach 7000 new words in a month. Here are the MoGo7000 Challenge details. And don’t worry–it doesn’t cost you a cent!

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Well, that does it for a 2nd Tuesday. Be sure to return next Tuesday when I’ll have a new list of writing opportunities collected just for you!

Blessings on all your projects!

Vonda

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Writer’s Headlines: Writing Opps, Contests, & Conferences and Memorial Day Book Give-Away by Edie Melson!

newspapersWhat a great day today at the Christian Writer’s Den! Let’s start with this new list of writing opportunities, selected just for YOU!

 

1.  New unique blogger opportunity from The Aetherlight: Chronicles of the Resistance STEAMPUNK video game. “Do you remember the first time you walked through the wardrobe into Narnia™? The story of Narnia brought a theology into our hands and hearts through immersing young readers in the grand narrative of the scriptures. They may never have been aware, but the story of the Bible told through allegory, impacted the way they viewed this world and their part in it.

The Aetherlight: Chronicles of the Resistance tells the same story refreshed and invigorated to recapture a digital generation with the grand story of God. Partnered with American Bible Society, Scarlet City Studios is a small New Zealand-based gaming studio with an epic goal: to take the greatest story ever told and re-tell it for a digital generation.”

They are currently looking for bloggers to play a brand new action adventure video game, The Aetherlight, and review the game for your blog. Though the game is designed for pre-teens, they feel that this simple game can be used as a great conversation starter for both your blog and your children. By closely following the story of the Bible, but in a steampunk inspired land, players are able to make the connections and discoveries for themselves, and see the Bible stories in a new light.

2.  ACFW Virginia Short Story Contest is Open to Everyone

3.  BloggingPro Jobs has freelance, blogging, copywriting, editing jobs, and more!

4.  Free Spirit Publishing book submission guidelines

5.  Good Old Days Magazine contributor guidelines

6.  Celebrate Life submission guidelines

7.  Dollar Stretcher Publications writers guidelines

8.  Midwest Living magazine writers guidelines

9.  Today’s Christian Woman guidelines

10. Zoetrope: All Story is a quarterly literary publication founded by Francis Ford Coppola in 1997 to explore the intersection of story and art, fiction and film.

11. Pioneer Drama Service accepts plays and has a play contestSuccess Pixabay

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It’s time to get to a Conferences–or two–or three! 

Where are you going this year?

1.  Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference: May 22-26, 2016, Ridgecrest, NC (It begins this weekend! I’ll see you there!)

2.  West Texas Writers’ Academy: June 6-10, 2016, Canyon, TX

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

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

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

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

7.  Kentucky Christian Writers Conference: June 23-25, 2016, Elizabethtown, KY

8.  Romance Writers of America: July 13-16, 2016, San Diego, CA

9.  Greater Philly Christian Writer’s Conference: August 3-6, 2016, Langhorne, PA

10. Taylor University’s Professional Writing Conference: August 5-6, 2016, Upland, IN (This is a brand new conference!)

11. Atlanta Christian Writers Conference: August 18-20, 2016, Marietta, GA

ccclogosmall12. Christian Communicators Conference: August 24-28, 2016 The Billy Graham Training Center at The Cove, Asheville, NC. (We’re full, but the waiting list is now open. Details for waiting list here: Conference & Registration Details. Waiting list is free.)

13. American Christian Fiction Writers: August 25-28, 2016, Nashville, TN

14. Breathe Christian Writers Conference: October 7-8, 2016, Grand Rapids, MI

15. Classeminars Writers Contreat: November 10-12, 2016, Albuquerque, NM

16. Asheville Christian Writers Conference (AKA Writers Advance Boot Camp): February 17-19, 2017, The Cove, Asheville, NC (I’ll see you there!)

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And since Memorial Day is coming soon, let’s honor our military AND give away a free book, While My Soldier Serves: Prayers for Those with Loved Ones in the Military, by Edie Melson!

It’s easy to enter the drawing! Simply leave a comment, honoring an active military or veteran–living or deceased. We want to thank those who are protecting America and the world. Without you, dear servicemen and servicewomen, we America couldn’t be who she is.

So let’s see how many military men and women we can honor this week. Then I’ll use Random.org to draw one winner. Be sure to return next week to see if you’re the winner!

(Thanks, Edie!)

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Happy writing!

Vonda

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Christian Writer’s Den Kudos & MoGo7000 Successes and Christian Communicators Waiting List is Open!

Fireworks Pixabay 2It’s the 2nd Tuesday–Time to celebrate our own Christian Writer’s Den friends! Let’s start with Kudos…

So who’s been hard at work and found success in their writing?

1.  Beth Fortune (SC): Beth had a devotion, Busted, accepted by Christian Devotions.us and posted on April 26, 2016

2.  Lori Hatcher (SC): My devotional book, Hungry for God … Starving for Time, 5-Minute Devotions for Busy Women was chosen as the Christian Small Publisher Book of the Year in the Gift Book category. The winners of this award are chosen based on reader votes, and I suspect some of my Christian Ccommunicators sisters deserve credit for helping Hungry for God achieve this honor. Many thanks. May God be glorified.

3.  Marilyn Nutter (SC): I’ve had three new publications: 1)Don’t CryChristiandDevotions.us; 2)Mourning Glory — Red Chair Moments; 3)Mourning Call on Jennifer Hallmark’s Acts of Kindness–this one due to the call our on Vonda’s site:)

Congratulations, writers! I’m happy to say that South Carolina is certainly represented well in this kudos this month, but I know we have many more writers around the nation who are also working hard and finding success. I hope to hear from you next month!

And be sure to return next week for a new list of writing opportunities.mogo7000 logo

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Who MoGo’d in April?

#10: Diana Leagh Matthews – 7,134 words

Congratulations, Diana! Friends, if you’re working on a book but not participating in MoGo7000, you’re missing monthly opportunities to win $100 at the end of the year! You can join in the fun–and it’s free! Just check out the MoGo7000 Challenge here.

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ccclogosmallThe Christian Communicators waiting list is now open!

Were you considering Christian Communicators, but found out it’s full? No problem! The waiting list is open–there’s no commitment and it doesn’t cost a cent to get on the list!

Simply contact Conference Coordinator Cynthia Owens at Cynthia [@] TheEfficiencyAddict [dot] com and she’ll be happy to add you to the list. If an opening becomes available, Cynthia will go down the list in order.

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That’s it for another 2nd Tuesday. Be sure to return next week and I’ll share lots of writing conferences, contests, and opportunities to help you on your journey to success!

Blessings,

Vonda

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Interview & Book Give-Away with Sandra Merville Hart

Sandra Hart headshotHappy Tuesday! I’m excited to introduce my friend, Sandra Merville Hart, to you today. Sandra and I met years ago, I believe at the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference. And since that first conference, we keep running into each other at conferences around the southeast. That’s one of the many benefits of writing conferences–you get to make new best friends everywhere you go!

And friends, be sure to leave a comment for Sandra and you’ll be in the drawing for a free copy of her book! Let’s get started!

Welcome, Sandy. First of all, would you share the story behind your book, A Stranger on my Land

While researching another novel for the Civil War time period, I found fascinating books written by Union and Confederate soldiers. One of these soldiers wrote about the “Battle Above the Clouds” on Lookout Mountain. He talked about people living in caves. Women made these temporary shelters comfortable and cozy.

“How did it feel to find a wounded soldier on your property after a Civil War battle? It surely happened.” . . . “Would you walk away and leave him to die if he fought for the other side?”. . . “What if your members of your family fought for the opposite army? Does that change anything?”. . . “Suppose you help them anyway and fall in love?”

I pondered those questions and the story was born.

What started you on your writing journey?

I wanted to be a writer in elementary school. I wrote my first mystery novel while in the sixth grade, The Mystery of the Missing Diamond Ring. Unfortunately I received little encouragement. The dream died but the stories kept coming. A devotion I wrote about a choir song sparked encouraging comments, reawakening my long-forgotten dream.

I know you like to travel. Have any places you’ve traveled inspired you and ended up in your writing?

Continuously! I traveled to Chattanooga, Chickamauga, and Lookout Mountain to research A Stranger on My Land. The museums, the people, the scenery, and the history deepened the story already growing inside my imagination.

The small city of Troy, Ohio, inspired me as a book setting. “This place is so special that something needs to happen here,” was my comment to my husband. Upon discovering that something important did happen in that city’s history, an idea formed. I weaved my story and an important historical event into a novella that I hope to publish.

My creative spirit comes alive every time we drive to Gettysburg. I knew a novel idea waited for me in that important city. I found the story while visiting battlefields and walking the streets. I’m hoping to publish this novel soon. 

Sounds like you have a lot of books fighting to get onto the page! It’ll be fun to see what comes next. As a Christian writer, do you have a special verse or passage you’d like to share with our Christian Writer’s Den friends?A Stranger On My Land cover Sandra Hart

Yes, I do!

Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. Isaiah 40:30-31 (NIV)

This whole chapter is filled with gems but these last two verses offer so much hope. I think I first heard a portion of this chapter quoted in a movie. It was such a powerful scene that the comfort and beauty of the words stayed with me.  

Has your writing changed your reading habits?

I love to read, but now I pay attention to how authors build tension. I notice descriptions of people and settings. In other words, reading has become another opportunity to learn the writing craft.

Who has been your greatest encourager on your writing journey?

My husband has supported me the whole way. I like to visit historic sites to discover the local history. He uses vacation time to go on research trips with me. He supports whatever I need to do. He understands that rejections break my heart and bolsters my courage to try again.

Who inspires you?

Great authors like Mark Twain inspire me.

People who face insurmountable challenges and somehow find courage to get through it inspire me.

Those who cling to their faith when it’s all they have left to cling to inspire me.

I’m inspired by a friendly smile, a warm welcome, and how good old-fashioned hospitality feeds the soul.

Inspiring people live anywhere and everywhere, if I only take time to listen.

I totally agree, Sandra. Well, our time is almost up, but before we go, would you tell us about your current writing project?

My favorite genre to write in remains inspirational historical romance. I’ve written another Civil War romance. This novel traces how historic events of an important battle fought in Gettysburg affect a seamstress who lives there and a brave Confederate soldier left behind when his army retreats.

Thank you for joining us today, Sandra! And readers, be sure to leave a comment for Sandra and you’ll be in the drawing for a free copy of her book. Don’t forget to return next week to see if you’re the winner!

Thanks for Tweeting!

Interview & #FreeBook Give-Away w/ @Sandra_M_Hart via @VondaSkelton #amwriting (Click to Tweet!)

 

Sandra Hart photoBio: Sandra Merville Hart is the column writer for “History in the Making” at the popular and growing site, www.AlmostanAuthor.com. She is Assistant Editor for DevoKids.com where she contributes many historical articles. Her debut book, A Stranger On My Land, IRCA Finalist 2015, released in 2014. She has written for several publications and blogs. Sandra loves to find unusual facts in her historical research to use in her stories and drags her husband along on her adventures. Thankfully, he also enjoys these fact-finding missions.

To connect with Sandra:

Assistant Editor at DevoKids: http://devokids.com/category/stories/

Contributing column writer for: http://www.almostanauthor.com/category/genre/history/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sandra.m.hart.7

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Sandra_M_Hart

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/sandramhart7/

Sandra’s Goodreads page: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8445068.Sandra_Merville_Hart

Google+: https://plus.google.com/u/0/100329215443000389705/posts

 

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Writer’s Headlines: Writing Opportunities & Conferences

newspapersYes, it’s the 3rd Tuesday, so it’s the day to find YOUR next writing opportunity!

 

1.  Splickety Magazine is Your Flash Fiction Fix! It exists to showcase high-quality short fiction from new writers, best-selling authors, and everyone in between. Here are the Splickety submission guidelines.

2.  Bethany House is looking for submissions for a new anthology. Life-Changing Miracles – True Stories of How God Miraculously Transforms Lives.

3.  Writer’s Digest Annual Writing Competition guidelines. Hurray the early deadline is May 6.

4.  Pelican Group Easter Lilies Annual Special Release guidelines here, but note: submissions only accepted August 1 – September 30 each year. So get started now so you’ll be ready in August!

5.  Chicken Soup is currently accepting submissions on Teachers, College Students, Moms, Blended Families, Dreams, Parenting, Dogs, Cats, and Confident & Curvy Women. Chicken Soup guidelines here

6.  Educational markets for children’s writers   

7.  Free Spirit PublishingTheir mission is to provide children and teens with the tools they need to succeed in life and to make a difference in the world. They publish high-quality nonfiction books and learning materials for children and teens, parents, educators, counselors, and others who live and work with young people.

8.  Reader’s Digest: “If you are a writer and would like to submit a great article proposal, email us at articleproposals@rd.com.”

9.  Parents Magazine is always looking for writers

10. Creation Illustrated Writers and Photographers guidelines

 

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Writing Conferences are Your Ticket to Success!

1.  Writing Success 25: April 30, 2016, Stoneboro, PA

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

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

4.  Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference: May 22-26, 2016, Ridgecrest, NC (I’ll see you there!)

5.  West Texas Writers’ Academy: June 6-10, 2016, Canyon, TX

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

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

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

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

10. Kentucky Christian Writers Conference: June 23-25, 2016, Elizabethtown, KY

11. Romance Writers of America: July 13-16, 2016, San Diego, CA

12. Greater Philly Christian Writer’s Conference: August 3-6, 2016, Langhorne, PA

13. Taylor University’s Professional Writing Conference: August 5-6, 2016, Upland, IN (This is a brand new conference!)

14. Atlanta Christian Writers Conference: August 18-20, 2016, Marietta, GA

ccclogosmall15. Christian Communicators Conference: August 24-28, 2016 The Billy Graham Training Center at The Cove, Asheville, NC. (Only 7 spots left–Don’t delay!)

16. American Christian Fiction Writers: August 25-28, 2016, Nashville, TN

17. Breathe Christian Writers Conference: October 7-8, 2016, Grand Rapids, MI

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That’s it for another 3rd Tuesday Opportunities Day. What are YOU going to do with it? :-)

Happy writing!

Vonda

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