Category Archives: Announcements

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

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

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Interview with Marie Senter

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

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

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

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

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

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

A high school writing assignment at Christmas time?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Image courtesy of Salvatore Vuono/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Salvatore Vuono/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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

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

Congratulations to my long-time writing buddy, Edie!

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

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

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

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

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

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

Christmas blessings as we celebrate the Gift and the Giver!

Vonda

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

Image courtesy of IdeaGo/FreeDigitalPhoto.net

Image courtesy of IdeaGo/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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

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

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

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

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

That’s not what happened.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photo courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Photo courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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

And what an awesome opportunity that would be!

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It’s time to hear about your Kudos!

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

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

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

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

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Who Worked on Their MoGo7000 in November?

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

And yes–NaNoWriMo totals can be entered!

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

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

Each month that you qualify with 7000 new words, your name goes in the “hat” for the drawing. Didn’t meet the goal in November? No problem! Start writing today and you could earn an extra $100 in January–and it doesn’t cost you a cent! Laury Davis book cover

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

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

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

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

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

Vonda

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Interview & Book Give-Away with Laury Davis

Laury Davis headshotWelcome to the Christian Writer’s Den! Today I’m thrilled to introduce author Laury Davis to you as she shares her writing journey and her Bible study, In Pursuit of Happiness.

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

Okay, let’s get started. Welcome, Laury. I can’t wait to share your story with my friends. First of all, I’d love to know if you always want to be a writer.

No. It never occurred to me until I was about thirty. I was working as a substitute teacher in a local public high school. Most often a teacher would leave an assignment, and I just needed to monitor the class. My goal was to stay alert and look busy, so I began to jot down short stories. I love mysteries, so mostly I was aiming to write something of a cross between Agatha Christie and Edgar Allen Poe.

Writing publishable mysteries was my original writing goal as well! But obviously we both moved beyond being Agatha Christie and Edgar Allen Poe wannabes. Most of your published writing is nonfiction, right? How did you make that transition?’

I had a friend who was going through a hard time. I decided to put some short stories together for her with a theme. She was moving, so I rushed and gave her a very rough draft on the day she moved. After that I put it away for years. Eventually, I moved to Tennessee and joined a writer’s group at my church. Most of the ladies were writing Christian material, so I decided to give it a try. I got out my stories, polished them up and put a Bible study with it. This particular book I just gave away to friends.

After that I began to have some magazine articles published, so I stuck with what paid. Someday, Lord enabling, I’m going back to fiction though.

That’s interesting–magazine articles were a huge part of my initial writing success as well. And the good news was, it paid real money! So, how did the Bible study In Pursuit of Happiness come about?Laury Davis book cover

I had been on a mission trip, and when I returned I realized how much we take for granted in our culture. Just the freedom to choose how to live our lives is a luxury many around the world and through the ages have never known. I wrote In Pursuit of Happiness as a challenge to Christian women to evaluate their pursuits in light of God’s purposes.

What type of vehicle did you use to deliver the truths of this study?

I wanted to study people in the Bible who chose to thrive in tough situations. Not a hero’s story, like when the big miracle happens, but a background story of perseverance in difficult, unchanging circumstances. I chose three familiar characters, but I hope they are covered in a fresh, de-romanticized light. My book focuses on Abigail after she married David, the servant girl before Naaman had leprosy, and Onesimus as a slave instead of a redeemed brother. These were people with few choices in life, but what they did choose was to be faithful and brave.  I think their stories are noteworthy and inspiring.

And just because I enjoy it, I threw in several short stories that I hope convey relevance and context.

Wow–I love that thought process! What a unique way to present these characters and learn from their experience. What’s your next writing project?

I always have a lot of projects in progress–a novel, a church drama, a teen Bible study–these are all things I’m working on right now. I would like to focus more on writing fiction because I think it’s fun, but I will probably always be writing something  nonfiction because I think it’s useful for ministry.

And for our last question, what advice or encouragement would you give to another writer?

I’d tell them to find a local writer’s group. A group can hold you accountable, give you ideas, and keep you motivated. I’d also suggest you do one thing every day to advance your writing. It could be as small as sending a query e-mail, researching a publisher, or editing a poem. Just something to keep you moving forward.

Great suggestions, Laury. Thank you for sharing your experiences and your book with us today. And readers, I know you’re going to want your own copy of Laury’s book, so here’s a direct Amazon link to In Pursuit of Happiness.

Don’t forget to leave a comment for Laury and then return next week to see if you’re the winner of Laury’s book!

Bio: Laury Davis grew up by the shores of Lake Erie in Madison, Ohio. She graduated with honors from Cedarville University in southern Ohio with degrees in Business/Marketing and Bible. She has served in church as a Sunday school teacher, women’s Bible study leader, choir member, event coordinator, and drama director. Laury is married and busily rearing three teenagers. Her family currently lives in the Memphis, Tennessee area.

Laury has been published in Focus on the Family’s “Thriving Family,” Standard Publishing’s “The Lookout,” “Chicken Soup for the Soul,” thebrinkonline, centralchurch.com, princessdotkmag.com, and various ministry oriented publications. She also has two books translated and distributed to Christian women in other countries.

Her Bible study entitled In Pursuit of Happiness: Stewarding Freedom as a Modern Christian Woman, was recently released with a small, indie publisher. To learn more about Laury and her writing, you can check out LauryDavis.com.

Blessings, my friends…

Vonda

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Writer’s Headlines: Writing Opps & Conferences for You & Who Won Cheryl Ricker’s Book?

newspapersIt’s our 3rd Tuesday, so it’s time to look at writing opportunities. This could be your door to publication!

 

1.  Better Homes and Gardens writers guidelines

2.  ADDitude Magazine writers guidelines

3.  Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine writers guidelines

4.  Alive Now writers guidelines and theme list – Scroll down on right side for theme list and due dates

5.  American Girl writers guidelines

6.  Chicken Soup for the Soul possible book titles – Check out the latest story needs

7.  Asimov’s Science Fiction writers guidelines

8.  CampSite writers guidelines

9.  The Christian Century writers guidelines

10. Enrichment Journal writers guidelines

11. Parents Magazine writer’s guidelines

12. The Lutheran writers guidelines

13. Short Stories for a Fiction-Lover’s Devotional by Kathy Ide – Fiction-Lover’s Devotional Guidelines here

14. Reach Out, Columbia magazine, a regional print publication dedicated to proclaiming the life and work of Jesus Christ in and through ordinary people, is open to article submissions. We publish teaching pieces (800- 1,250 words), reflection pieces (500-800 words), and informational pieces on subjects related to the Christian life (health, sports, family, marriage, singleness, church membership, nutrition, etc., 800-1,250 words). We’re especially interested in subjects of interest to men. We are also open to 2-3 part series of articles if the subject can support it. ROC is not a paying market, but a print publishing credit looks great on your resume. Keep in mind that seasonal pieces must be submitted a minimum of three months prior to the month of publication. Please visit Reach Out Columbia for article submission guidelines (www.ReachOutColumbia.com)

15. Shine Brightly Magazine for Girls writers guidelines

Okay, writing friends, what are you waiting for? I can’t wait to hear of your successes!

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Courtesy of Dan/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Courtesy of Dan/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Are you serious about writing and speaking? If so, you’ll be serious about attending conferences. 

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 see you there!)

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

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

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

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

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

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

11. Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference: May 17-21, 2015, Ridgecrest, NC (I’ll see you there!)

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

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

14. Christian Communicators Conference: Hold the date! August 26-30, 2015, The Billy Graham Training Center at The Cove, Asheville, NC. Registration will open late February. (I’ll see you there!)

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

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Cheryl Ricker cover Rush of Heaven

And who won Cheryl Ricker’s book, Rush of Heaven: One Woman’s Miraculous Encounter with Jesus?

According to Random.org, this week’s winner is Lynn A. Davidson! Congratulations, Lynn. To receive your free copy of Rush of Heaven, simply contact me with your mailing address and we’ll get it right out to you!

And for those who didn’t win, here’s your direct Amazon link to Rush of Heaven. You know you don’t want to miss this one!

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Thank you, dear friends, for another great Opps Tuesday at the Christian Writer’s Den. Be sure to come back next week for a learning experience from another great author!

Write on!

Vonda

 

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Writer’s Headlines: Call-Outs for Kudos & MoGo7000 Totals and Who Won Emily Chase’s Book?

newspapersFirst of all, it’s time to hear about your Kudos and MoGo7000 Totals!

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

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

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

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

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Who Worked on Their MoGo7000 in October?

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

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

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

Each month that you qualify with 7000 new words, your name goes in the “hat” for the drawing. Reach the goal one month and you’ll have one entry. Just starting out? Don’t worry! Meet it the next 2 months and you’ll have 2 entries!

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

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And Who Won Emily Chase’s Book?

The winner is…Cathy Baker–again! Wow, Random.org must like you, Cathy! I know I have your snail mail address, but if you’d contact me, it’d be so much easier. You know me and my organizational skills.

And for those who didn’t win, here are direct Amazon links to Emily’s books. They would be great books for ministry or Christmas gifts.

You, Me, and Who?
What Do I Say to a Friend Who’s Gay? Help, My Family’s Messed Up!
Why Say No When My Hormones Say Go?
Why Say No When My Hormones Say Go? (Spanish Edition)
Standing Tall After Falling Short

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Don’t forget to send in your results! And be sure to return next week to celebrate with each other and to have another chance to win a free book, this time from Cheryl Ricker!

Blessings, my friends…

Vonda

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Writer’s Headlines: Writing Opportunities, Conferences, & Christian Communicators’ Save the Date!

newspapersHappy 3rd Tuesday to you, dear friends! Let’s start with a list of writing opportunities and contests selected just for you!

1.  CBH Ministries Keys for Kids teaches children about God’s love and His Word. Keys for Kids Writer’s Guidelines here.

2.  Catholic Sentinel looking for Oregon-focused articles of interest to local Catholics.

3.  Creation Illustrated is the “leading Bible-based nature journal” and is looking for writers and photographers. Creation Illustrated Submission Guidelines here.

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

5.  Eldridge Plays and Musicals submission guidelines 

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

7.  Bead&Button Magazine is a bimonthly magazine devoted to techniques, projects, and designs of beaded jewelry and accessories. Bead&Button Submission Guidelines here.

8.  Woman’s Day magazine accepts articles from very experienced writers. Woman’s Day writer’s guidelines here.

9.  Guide Magazine: Guide is a Christian story magazine for young people ages 10-14. The 32-page, four-color publication is published weekly by the Review and Herald Publishing Association. Our mission is to show readers, through stories that illustrate Bible truth, how to walk with God now and forever. Guide Magazine Writer’s Guidelines here.

10. Shotgun Sports magazine writers must have first hand knowledge of hunting, trapshooting, or collecting or repairing guns

11. The Kids’ Ark is always looking for great stories for kids. The Kids’ Ark is a quarterly children’s Christian magazine full of the truth about God’s love. There are many questions kids have growing up: Who am I? Am I loved? Am I worthy? Am I valuable? Think of all the pain that could be avoided in a lifetime if a child knew the answers to these questions at an early age. The Kids’ Ark Writer’s Guidelines here.

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

13. Highlights for Children is a general-interest, advertising-free magazine for children up to age twelve. It was founded in 1946 by Dr. Garry Cleveland Myers and Caroline Clark Myers, and is still owned and run by their family. The magazine has no religious or organizational affiliation. Highlights has a circulation of about two million and is published monthly. Highlights Writer’s Guidelines here.

14. Lerner Publishing Group works with many talented authors and illustrators to create its books for children and young adults. Lerner Books Submission Guidelines here.

15. Writer’s Digest Poetry Awards. Deadline October 31, 2014.

16. Writer’s Digest Short Short Story Contest. Deadline December 15, 2014.

And these two opportunities were submitted by our friend and CCC grad, artist and speaker Cyn Rogalski. Thanks, Cyn!

17. Christian Media Magazine guidelines

18. Moms Magazine submission guidelines

Well, that should keep you busy for a while. Don’t forget to share this with your writing friends!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Vonda teaching at Writers Boot Camp

 And here are some conferences for writers and speakers. I hope to see you at some of them!

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

2.  South Carolina Writers’ Workshop: October 24-26, 2014, Myrtle Beach, SC

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

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

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

6.  Mid-South Christian Writers Conference: March 7, 2015, Memphis, TN (I’ll see you there!)

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

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

9. Christian Communicators Conference: Hold the date! August 26-30, 2015, The Billy Graham Training Center at The Cove, Asheville, NC. Registration will open late February. (I’ll see you there!)

Okay, friends, I can’t wait to see the successes that come from your responses to these lists!

Happy writing!

Vonda

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Writer’s Headlines: A Day of Successes–Kudos, MoGo7000, and Who Won Sharyn Kopf’s Book?

newspapersWell, today will be short and sweet! First of all, let’s celebrate these successes with our Christian Writer’s Den friends.

1.  Tracy Crump (MS) and Marylane Wade Koch are leading another writing webinar, The Basics of Getting Published…and More!

2.  Edie Melson (SC): Okay, friends, get ready for this. Last month Edie hit milestones that most of us can only dream of. On September 10, Edie Melson hit the magic 1,000,000 hits on her blog, The Write Conversation (Yes–that’s million, with an “m”), AND she reached 15,000 followers on Twitter! And, just for the record, as I write this, Edie’s blog hits at this moment are 1,058,909…oh, wait…now it’s 1,058,911…good grief, now it’s 1,058,915…now it’s…well, just know it goes up by the second! And she currently has 15.2K Twitter followers. Excuse me while I wipe the drool off my face…. Seriously though, Edie has worked hard following her own advice and–as you can see–it works!

Congratulations, Tracy and Edie. I can’t wait to see what you have coming next! And friends, if you need some successes in your writing life, be sure to check back next week when I’ll have a list of writing opportunities and conferences, just for you!

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Who Won an Entry in This Year’s MoGo7000 Drawing for $100?mogo7000 logo

Congrats to these two hard-writing writers who wrote at least 7000 new words on a book project!

#20: Tim Suddeth – 18,500 words
#21: Susan Baganz – 43,123 words

Congrats, Tim and Susan! And readers, if you want to learn how to enter the challenge, simply check out the MoGo7000 Challenge page. You have 3 more opportunities to reach a monthly goal and win three entries into the drawing!

Sharyn Kopf Spinstered BOOTS Cover~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Who Won Sharyn Kopf’s Book?

And the winner is…Kimberly Long! Yay, Kimberly, I’m so excited you won this book for your Sunday School class of single women! Perfect!

Now, all you need to do is contact me with your mailing address AND PREFERENCE of paperback or digital edition and Sharyn will get your book right out to you!

And for those of you who missed out on a free copy, here are the direct links to Sharyn’s book, Spinstered on Kindle and Spinstered paperback.

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Well, that concludes this month’s day of celebration. Thanks for being a part of the fun! And be sure to come back next week for lots of help for your success!

Write on!

Vonda

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Interview & Book Give-Away with Sharyn Kopf, Call-Outs for Kudos & MoGo7000, and Who Won Sarah Meece’s Book?

Sharyn Kopf Headshot 4.1.14Welcome to the Christian Writer’s Den! We have a lot to cover today, but let’s start with an encouraging interview with author Sharyn Kopf!


Happy Tuesday, friends! I know I say this every time I post an author interview, but it’s true—I’m thrilled to introduce our guest today, my friend, Sharyn Kopf! Sharyn and I met several years ago when I was teaching at the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference where I was privileged to read a draft of one of her manuscripts. I was highly impressed with her writing and voice! And now I’m happy to see that after her disappointing contract experience, she decided to self-publish her book Spinstered.

I know you’re going to love the opportunity to get to know Sharyn and her book! Don’t forget to leave a comment for Sharyn and you’ll be in the drawing for a free copy. Just remember to check back next week to see if you’re the winner!

Now, let’s start at the beginning—how long have you wanted to be a writer and what did you envision for your writing life?

I knew I wanted to be a writer when I wrote my first poem at the age of 5. And, for the longest time, that dream meant being a romance novelist. In my 20s, I saw myself becoming the clean, Christian version of Kathleen Turner’s character in Romancing the Stone—enjoying a life of adventure and romance and lots of bestsellers.

So, what happened?Sharyn Kopf Spinstered BOOTS Cover

Well, things didn’t turn out the way I imagined. (Do they ever?) Next week I turn 51 and, though I suppose I’ve had a few mild adventures, I’m still dreaming of true love and being such a popular novelist that even people in the jungles of Columbia have heard of me.

But in my 40s, I realized I needed to write about my single heart and broken dreams. When I started writing Spinstered, it was a nonfiction book about grieving singleness. I took the seven stages of grief—denial, disbelief, bargaining, guilt, anger, depression and hope—and applied them to what I was dealing with as a 40-something single woman.

A few years later, while at the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference (which is where I met Vonda!), a friend encouraged me to focus on my fiction writing. As a result, Spinstered the Novel was born.

I’ve always been impressed with your writing, but what would you say are some of your strengths as a writer?

Years ago, I had the privilege to work for the in-house radio marketing department at Focus on the Family. I learned I not only love writing scripts and dialog but I’m pretty good at it. I even won a few awards while I was there. I’m also passionately committed to making my manuscript as good as I can. Though that can also be a detriment because I’m a bit OCD about it, which means I have a hard time letting something I wrote go until it’s perfect. And it’s never perfect.

Sharyn Kopf Labor Day Singles 025

Sharyn with first purchaser of Spinstered, at Labor Day Singles Retreat

And to follow up: What are some of your weaknesses?

Well, to be honest, I don’t write as much as I should. I think it’s a mixture of fear and laziness. Fear that what I write won’t be any good. And the laziness that comes from letting other things distract me from what I know needs to be done. Like spending too much time on Facebook.

Why did you decide to self-publish Spinstered?

That’s a long, sad story but suffice it to say I went through a disappointing contract experience that did not end with a published book. In the meantime, numerous interactions with singles fed the urgency I felt to get this book to the audience I know is out there.

My choice was to start over with submitting to agents or editors—a process that can take years—or self-publish. Since the novel had already gone through several rounds of edits, I knew I could have it ready within a week or two. In fact, I was able to make my goal of taking copies to the Labor Day Singles Retreat at Ridgecrest Conference Center near Asheville, NC. I sold several copies there and made some great connections. It also led to my first 5-star review!

What’s next for you and your writing?

Sharyn with a family gift after she finished Spinstered

Sharyn with a family gift after she finished Spinstered

First, I hope to finish and self-publish the nonfiction version—Spinstered: Surviving Singleness After 40—in the next month or two. In addition, I wrote an unrelated novella titled Cold Read that I’d love to have available by the end of October. Finally, I have two sequels to Spinstered the Novel in the works. Book two will be titled Inconceived and I’ll probably name book 3 Altared. Of course, all of that could change. I’m open to whatever God wants to do!

Sharyn, I LOVE those titles, but my goodness, you have quite a To-Do list ahead! I’ll look forward to reading all of them. Thanks for joining us today at the Christian Writer’s Den.

And readers, don’t forget to leave your comment so you can be in the drawing for a copy of Sharyn’s book!

Bio: Spinstered is Sharyn Kopf’s first novel. Over the years, her work has included co-authoring a book about traumatic brain injury, penning scripts for stage, and writing for newspaper as well as Focus on the Family radio.

Every Friday, Sharyn ponders the over-40 single life at www.girlsnightin40.com, the blog she shares with two other authors. For her day job(s), she works as a literary publicist for Route 1 Manuscripts and teaches high school English at a small Christian school.

She lives in Bellefontaine, Ohio, just five minutes from her favorite people in the world—her family. You can connect with Sharyn through her blog or on Facebook.

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newspapersNow it’s time to hear about your Kudos and MoGo7000 Totals!

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

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

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

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

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Who Worked on Their MoGo7000 in September?

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

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

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

Each month that you qualify with 7000 new words, your name goes in the “hat” for the drawing. Reach the goal one month and you’ll have one entry. Just starting out? Don’t worry! Meet it the next 3 months and you’ll have 3 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. :-)

Sarah Meece A Dose of Hope book cover~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

And finally, who won Sarah Meece’s book, A Dose of Hope?

And Random.org has selected Cathy Baker! Congratulations! Just contact me with your mailing address and Sarah will get the book right out to you!

Readers, here’s a direct Amazon link to A Dose of Hope. I know you’ll enjoy it!

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Well, that does it for another first Tuesday edition of The Christian Writer’s Den. I hope you enjoyed it! I look forward to seeing you on Friday when we open God’s Word and see what He has for us.

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

Vonda

 

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

newspapersYes! It’s the 3rd Tuesday, and Time for New Writing Opportunities, Contests, Conferences, and the Announcement of Ane Mulligan’s Book Winner!

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Let’s start with a bunch of new writing opportunities with links to their guidelines–selected just for you

Freelance writing is a great way to generate some income and beef up your resume!

1Reach Out Columbia Magazine Guidelines

2.  Elks’ Magazine

3.  Faith Today Magazine

4.  Paper Crafts & Scrapbooking

5.  Vibrant Life Magazine

Courtesy of StuartMiles/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Courtesy of StuartMiles/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

6.  Connecticut Magazine

7.  The Daily Tea

8.  Women’s Adventure Magazine

9.  Focus on the Family’s Clubhouse Magazine

10. Arizona Highways Magazine

11. Georgia Family Magazine

12. Orlando Family Magazine

13. Homeschooling Today

14. Adoptive Family Magazine

15. Wesleyan Church Guidelines for Books and Articles

16. Christian Media Magazine

17. Adventure Kayak Magazine

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Here are THREE Writer’s Digest Writing Contests

Don’t miss your chance to enter these contests.

1.  Writer’s Digest Self-Published eBook Awards. Deadline September 19, 2014.

2.  Writer’s Digest Poetry Awards. Deadline October 31, 2014.

3.  Writer’s Digest Short Short Story Contest. Deadline December 15, 2014.

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Writers Conferences are a great way to learn your craft and make your connections

Courtesy of Dan/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Courtesy of Dan/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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

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

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

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

5.  New England Christian Writers Retreat: October 17-19, 2014, Plainfield, NJ

6.  Blue Ridge Christian Novelist RetreatOctober 19-22, 2014, Ridgecrest, NC

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

8.  South Carolina Writers’ Workshop: October 24-26, 2014, Myrtle Beach, SC

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

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

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

12. Mid-South Christian Writers Conference: March 7, 2015, Memphis, TN (I’ll see you there!)

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

14. Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference: May 17-21, 2015, Ridgecrest, NCAne Mulligan book cover

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And who won Ane Mulligan’s book, Chapel Springs Revival?

The winner is Margie Houmes! Margie, simply contact me with your snail mail address and Ane will get your book right out to you!

I know you’re all excited about reading Ane’s new book, so here is a direct Amazon link to Chapel Springs Revival.

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Well, that does it for another Writer’s Headlines Tuesday. It’s my prayer that these resources will help you on your writing journey!

Happy writing!

Vonda

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Interview & Book Give-Away with Ane Mulligan and Kudos & MoGo7000 Totals

Ane Mulligan headshotWe have a full, fun day ahead! First, I can’t wait to tell you about Ane Mulligan’s new book, just released yesterday, Chapel Springs Revival

What a joy to introduce my sweet friend, Ane Mulligan! While a large, floppy straw hat is her favorite, Ane has worn many different ones: hairdresser, legislative affairs director (that’s a fancy name for a lobbyist), drama director, playwright, humor columnist, and novelist. Her lifetime experience provides a plethora of fodder for her Southern-fried fiction (try saying that three times fast). She firmly believes coffee and chocolate are two of the four major food groups. President of the award-winning literary site, Novel Rocket, Ane resides in Suwanee, GA, with her artist husband, her chef son, and two dogs of Biblical proportion. You can find Ane on her Southern-fried Fiction website, Google+, Facebook, Goodreads, Twitter, and Pinterest.

Be sure to leave a comment for Ane and you’ll be in the drawing for a free book! Just check back next week to see if you’re the winner. 

So let’s get started, Ane. Did you always know you would be a writer?

No way did I ever think the stories I told as a kid (back then they called it lying) and played out for weeks with my dolls, would someday become books.

As Creative Arts director for my church, I wrote my first script in 1996, and after we performed it, I sent it to a publisher. They bought that one and everything I sent them afterwards.

How did you start writing novels?Ane Mulligan play

The hubs said I spent a lot on books, I ought to write one. I realized that was God’s call, because as soon as Hubs said those words, an idea dropped into my otherwise empty mind.

But as a playwright myself, I know that plays are a far cry from novels. How did you go from play-writing to novel-writing?

First, I found an online Christian critique group and a few mentors, who told me plainly I had a lot to learn. What an understatement.

POV? Never heard the term.

Omniscient? That’s what God was.

Show don’t tell? How do I tell a story without telling?

Yikes! Yet, with each critique, I absorbed a new concept. I bought every writing craft book they recommended, read them, and absorbed more.

Ane Mulligan crit groupI would never have made it without my original critique partners, either! Who are your critique partners?

In 2005, four other writers and I formed a critique group, and being serious about publishing, we were tough on one another. So tough, we all earned nicknames: Attila the Holmes, Hannibal Dotta, Genghis Griep, and Ludwig von Frankenpen, and Ane of Mean Gables.

Hahahahaha! I love that! Okay, so with your awesome critique group, it must have been easy to get published, right?

Not even. One editor took my manuscript to committee. While I waited for the answer, I got an agent. However … sigh …the editorial committee said no. Then, God called my agent into ministry.

A few months later, I signed with my second agent. Soon, she called, saying my manuscript had passed editorial committee and was going to pub board! This was it! Whoopee! Pub board loved it, but their slate was filled, so the editor was going to hold it for their next quarter. Only she retired before the next quarter, and her computer hard drive was wiped clean.

I was lost in cyber oblivion. Then my agent retired. Do you see a pattern here? I did and it looked like a maze. Once again, I whined, “Lord, what is going on?”

And He said, “Wait. Trust me.” He didn’t offer me another choice, so I chose to trust. Ane Mulligan signing contract

I’m glad I did. In 2012, I signed with Sandra Bishop, and ten years after I began this journey, she called me to tell me we had an offer from Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas.

And my heart quickened. All right, God! This was it. This time, He said, “Yes.”

I believe people let down their guard when they think they’re being entertained. Through fiction, I can entertain readers. Through fiction, I can present seeds of God’s truth. Then when they least expect it, the story can reach out, touch their hearts, and change them. And isn’t that why we write?

Ane Mulligan book coverOkay, friends, here’s the scoop on Ane’s new book, Chapel Springs Revival

With a friend like Claire, you need a gurney, a mop, and a guardian angel.

Everybody in the small town of Chapel Springs, Georgia, knows best friends Claire and Patsy. It’s impossible not to, what with Claire’s zany antics and Patsy’s self-appointed mission to keep her friend out of trouble. And trouble abounds. Chapel Springs has grown dilapidated and the tourist trade has slackened. With their livelihoods threatened, they join forces to revitalize the town. No one could have guessed the real issue needing restoration is personal.

With their marriages as much in need of restoration as the town, Claire and Patsy embark on a mission of mishaps and miscommunication, determined to restore warmth to Chapel Springs —and their lives. That is if they can convince their husbands and the town council, led by two curmudgeons who would prefer to see Chapel Springs left in the fifties and closed to traffic.

Ane, thank you for joining us today and sharing your delightful journey. Friends, I know you’re gonna want to be in the drawing for a free copy of Ane’s book, so be sure to leave a comment for her. Then check back next week to see if you’re the winner! And if you’re ready to go ahead and grab your own copy, here’s a direct Amazon link to Chapel Springs Revival.

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Photo courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Photo courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Now, whose successes can we celebrate this month? Oh, and see if you notice a pattern this month. :-)

1.  Edie Melson (SC): I’m excited to share that I’m one of 12 winners in the Guideposts TELL US YOUR STORY contest. Here’s the link to the contest page: http://www.guideposts.org/other/tell-us-your-story

2.  Beth Fortune (SC): Beth has two great things to share: 1)Another article was published in the wonderful publication “Reach Out Columbia” – September Edition. 2) My posts are beginning to show up on In Touch Ministries website in their new daily blog section.

3.  Andrea Merrell (SC):  www.thewriteediting.blogspot.com My new short story, The Gift, will be the first installment in the Christmases Past Series by HHP. The release date is September 25th, and the Kindle version The Gift is now available on Amazon for pre-order for $.99.

So, did you see the thread throughout this month’s kudos? All three successes are from South Carolina writers! Way to go, sweet friends!

Didn’t see your name on the list? Be sure to return next week when I’ll post my monthly list of writing opportunities!

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mogo7000 logoWho received entries into the end-of-the-year drawing for $100 in cold, hard cash?

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

#18: Tim Suddeth – 15,805 words
#19: Susan Banganz – 41,671 words

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

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

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

Happy writing!

Vonda

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