Category Archives: Christian Communicators

Interview & Book Give-Away with Laurie Coombs: Letters From My Father’s Murderer, & Who Won Tammy Blackburn’s Book?

Laurie Coombs Round HeadshotToday is the 5th Tuesday, and that means that I’m free to do whatever I want on the Christian Writer’s Den blog. Well, today I want to introduce you to Laurie Coombs and her new book!

(I know this post is longer than usual, but this is a powerful message for all of us, so I pray you’ll stay with me as we work through this amazing testimony. You won’t be sorry.)

Laurie and I met in August 2014 when she attended the Christian Communicators Conference at the Billy Graham Training Center at The Cove in Asheville, NC. I immediately fell in love with her contagious smile and engaging manner. Little did I know the horrendous heartache she had been through. And now I’ve asked her to share her journey with you. So sit back, open your heart and hear how–through the power of the Holy Spirit–one young woman changed not only her own heart, but a murderer’s heart as well.

And as always, be sure to leave a comment for our guest and you’ll be in the drawing for a free copy of Laurie’s book.

Welcome to the Christian Writer’s Den, Laurie. Let’s start with this question: Why did you want to write Letters from My Fathers Murderer, which details such a tragic and painful part of your life?

To be honest, I didn’t initially want to write this book. I wanted to share my story, but I knew that writing it in a book would require me to bare all. I knew I’d have to share difficult things, and I didn’t want to. But greater than my resistance was my desire to see people experience freedom and redemption and healing as I had. I wanted God to be glorified for what He had done in and through my life.

I knew God was calling me to write this book. And I knew God well enough to know that if I answered that call I’d most assuredly see lives change as a result of the message He has given me. God allowed me to see that good could come out of the ashes of my past. That I could play a small part in the grand story He has been unfolding since the beginning of time. That I could participate in what He’s doing in the here and now, for the good of many. And so, I chose to say yes, and of course, I’m now completely on board.Laurie Coombs book cover

Tell us about the significance of the few interactions you had with your father just prior to his murder.

About one month before my dad died, he said, “Laurie, when I die, I want people to remember me for who I am. I don’t want anyone turning me into something I’m not.” The comment sort of stunned me at first. It came out of absolutely nowhere. My dad continued to tell me that people only want to talk about the good parts of a person after they die. “But that’s not who they really are,” he said. “There are good parts and bad parts to every one of us.”

For many years, I didn’t understand why my dad had said that to me––obviously, neither one of us knew he was going to die––but as I began to write this book, his words came to mind, and I knew, without a doubt, that God had him speak those words to me, over a decade before I needed them, to give me the freedom to share my story however God may lead.

You’re very honest in the book about the mistakes your father made and how that affected your teen years and even your choice to reject the faith you had been raised in. Was that difficult for you to do?

Absolutely. I had to do a lot of thinking and praying about how to write what God wanted me to write. But ultimately, I knew God was calling me to truth. My dad was an amazing man. A wonderful father. I really was a daddy’s girl. But he wasn’t perfect. And neither am I. It’s my hope that I conveyed my imperfections throughout the book as well.

Laurie Coombs Not-My-Plan-269x404Almost immediately after learning about your father’s death, you say the hate for his killer began to fill your heart. How did that hatred affect you?

My hatred affected just about everything I thought and did at first. Anger consumed me. But then after several months, I chose to lay aside my anger and my grief. I knew my dad wouldn’t have wanted me to live like that, and so I deliberately chose to put the whole terrible thing behind me and move on.

I didn’t see the affects of anger on the surface after that, and I honestly thought I had worked through it, but in reality, I had simply buried it. For years, that anger festered in my heart and turned into bitterness without me even knowing it until the day God brought it to my attention nine years after the murder.

You began to build a lovely life with your family in the years following the trial, and appeared very strong. What happened that finally brought you to the point where you turned to the Lord?

I fell apart. God presented me with something I couldn’t fix. Anxiety and depression finally brought me to my knees, and for the first time in my life, I couldn’t fix myself. I couldn’t pull myself up by my bootstraps, so to speak, as I had many times before. I had fallen into such an incredibly dark place, and I was scared. I tried everything the world tells you to do, but nothing worked. So as a last resort, I found my way to church.

My family and I willingly walked through those church doors with an incredible sense of desperation. God was truly my last hope, but even though I desperately wanted Him to be the answer, I was highly skeptical that He would be. The concept of God speaking to man was so foreign to me, but having that pastor preach a message to my inner thoughts got my attention. It was enough to draw me back the next week and the week after that and the one after that, but each time, I fully expected the God-thing to be a fluke. But it wasn’t. Over and over again, God showed Himself to me in many ways, and I was given the proof that I needed to believe.

What made you decide to begin corresponding with your father’s killer? What did you hope would Laurie Coombs Would-I-obeycome from it?

God had freed me from the anxiety and depression after coming to Jesus, but then He began to show me that I was irritable pretty much all the time. He showed me that the root of my irritability was anger, which had ultimately turned into bitterness.

I prayed, asking God to remove the bitterness in my heart, and that’s when I heard His gentle whisper tell me, “It’s time to forgive.” But then He took it a step further with “Love your enemy.” God’s call to forgive and love my enemy resulted in the my correspondence with the man who murdered my dad. Initially, I wasn’t sure what would come out of our interaction, but I did know where God was taking me. I knew He was leading me toward forgiveness and healing. I didn’t know what that journey would look like, but I knew wherever I ended up would be a good place.

And you were finally able to forgive. Tell us about that.

Forgiveness came when I least expected it. My correspondence with the man had gotten heated. He was blame-shifting and justifying, and I was obviously not okay with that. All I wanted to do was rebuke him, and I almost did, but instead, God said to me, “Laurie, leave him to me. Now forgive.” And I did. But it wasn’t of me. God called me and enabled me to give that which I had already been given: grace and love and forgiveness.

After I forgave, God brought him to his knees. All the blame-shifting, all the justification stopped. He began taking complete responsibility for what he had done, and he was repentant. And ever since that time, I have witnessed this man share the gospel of Jesus Christ subtly, yet powerfully, with his fellow inmates. Lives are changing in there. He truly is living to the glory of God in that prison.

Laurie Coombs book signingWhat a powerful testimony! So what is at the heart of the message?

Hope is at the heart of my message. God truly has worked all things for good in my life. Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose.” The first part of Genesis 50:20 says, “As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good.” God brings good out of evil. Love out of hate. Peace out of despair. I believe it is His desire to do this for every one of us. You see, our pain won’t be wasted. We don’t have to sit in it. If we bring our pain, past and present, to God, He will redeem it.

Yes, He will. Thank you for being with us today, Laurie. But before we go, I want to tell our readers that your story was blessed to be part of Billy Graham’s latest film and evangelistic tool, Heaven. Friends, I hope you’ll take a few minutes to watch.

YouTube Preview Image

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

Bio: Laurie Coombs is a passionate writer and speaker on the issues of forgiveness, redemption, and the hope found in Jesus. She is the author of Letters from My Fathers Murderer: A Journey of Forgiveness, an incredible true story of grace, mercy, and the redemptive power of God. Her story was featured in Billy Graham’s film, Heaven. Laurie is a graduate of Christian Communicators Conference and a featured writer and blogger for iBelieve.com and Crosswalk.com. Laurie and her husband, Travis, make their home in Nevada along with their two daughters, Ella and Avery. Be sure to visit LaurieCoombs.org or connect with Laurie on TwitterFacebook, and Pinterest.

Thanks for Tweeting…Sharing is sweet…

Letters From My Father’s Murderer: A Journey of #Forgiveness – #FreeBook @LaurieCoombs via @VondaSkelton http://bit.ly/1U1tfOM (Click to Tweet)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Tammy Blackburn book cover

Who won Tammy Blackburn’s children’s book, How Do I Know?

And Random.org says the winner is…

Julie Garmon!

Congratulations, Julie! Simply contact me with your snail mail address and Tammy will get your book right out to you!

And for those who didn’t win…I know you want a copy for the little ones in your life, so here’s a direct Amazon link to How Do I Know?

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Well, that does it for another 5th Tuesday here at the Christian Writer’s Den. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did! So now, go write the words He gives YOU to write!

Vonda

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Writer’s Headlines: Writing Opportunities and Conferences

newspapersWelcome to today’s bonus post of writing opps and conferences collected just for you!

First up, direct links to writing opportunities could be your ticket to publication! Be sure to follow guidelines carefully and send in your best work!

1.  Haiku Journal

2.  Naval History Magazine

3.  Adventist Review

4.  ADDitude Magazine for ADHD and LD

5.  Bible Advocate

6.  The Cattleman

7.  Insight magazine for teens

8.  Internet Genealogy

9.  North Carolina Literary Review

10. New Mobility

11. Outreach Magazine

Photo courtesy of Stuart Miles/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Photo courtesy of Stuart Miles/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

12. Snowshoe Magazine

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And now let’s check out upcoming conferences!

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

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

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

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

ccclogosmall5. 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! 

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

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

8. Blue Ridge Christian Novelist RetreatOctober 18-22, 2015, Ridgecrest, NC

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

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

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Thanks for Tweeting…Sharing is sweet!

List of #writing opportunities & conferences just for you! @VondaSkelton #amwriting #pubtips (Click to Tweet)

Well, that does it for this month’s writing opportunities and conferences. I hope they help you on your writing journey!

Happy writing!

Vonda

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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)

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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.

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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

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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!

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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

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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.

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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

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Interview & Book Give-Away with Lori Hatcher

Lori Hatcher-1Hello, friends! Welcome to another Christian Writer’s Den author interview. Today’s guest is my friend and Christian Communicators grad, author and speaker Lori Hatcher. Lori’s new book, Hungry for God, Starving for Time: 5-Minute Devotions for Busy Women, has just been released. And she’s here to tell us about her journey!

Be sure to leave a comment 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, Lori. Let’s start with an easy question: Why write a five-minute devotional for busy women?

Because I know how hard it is for women to carve out time for God. I’m a wife, a mother, I work outside (and inside) the home, I volunteer at church, the list goes on and on. There are days when I want to spend time with God, but I’m not sure how to fit it in. I wanted to create a resource that would help busy women connect with God wherever they find five minutes for quiet reflection—carpool lines, break rooms, yes, even the bathroom, although you won’t find that on my book jacket!

Sounds like a book we all could use! What three words would you say summarize your writing style?

Transparent, quirky, and relevant.

I totally agree! In your book, each devotion begins with a Facetime question. Tell us about that.

I was always the kid who asked why? I guess I never completely grew up, because I’m still asking why? Facetime questions are questions a woman would like to ask God if she could see him face to face. They’re usually questions I’ve asked myself, like God, this is so broken, does it do any good to pray? or God, nobody  notices what I do. Why shouldn’t I quit? Some of the Facetime questions are lighthearted, like God, I’m having a bad hair day. What can I do to feel better about myself? Others are serious, like God, I can’t believe she said that to me. Why shouldn’t I respond the same way? The five-minute devotion that follows is the answer to the question—based on Scripture and wrapped in a real-life story busy women will relate to.

How long did it take you to write your book?

Readers ask me that often, and I tell them, “I’ve been gathering material for 50 years.” I never know what life experience or memory the Holy Spirit is going to pull out when he rummages around in the back of my mind looking for something to connect a scriptural principle to. Sometimes I’m entirely unprepared for what He dredges up. It just goes to prove that nothing is wasted in God’s economy.

Which is your favorite devotion?

Hm. It’s probably a tie between “The Day the Car Caught Fire” and “Skinny White Woman.” Although you won’t find the second title in the book. My editor made me change it to “An Inheritance from Grandmother Eve,” but it will always be “Skinny White Woman” in my mind.

What’s your best reader response to your book?Cover HungryForGod

I love hearing that people are buying the book to give to non-Christian or nominally-Christian friends. The “busy woman” focus makes it less scary. People know that I share the Gospel in the last devotion, called “Hopeless in the Chocolate Factory,” and they see it as a non-threatening way to share their faith with someone they care about by giving them my book.

“Hopeless in the Chocolate Factory,” now that’s an intriguing title for a devotion. Tell me about it.

That devotion is based on the old I Love Lucy show where Lucy and Ethel were stuck on the assembly line packaging chocolates. The harder they worked, the more behind they got until they were completely overwhelmed, ineffective, and hopeless. That pretty much describes our lives without Christ. It’s the perfect segue into the Gospel.

I love that analogy! So, who’s been your toughest critic?

My mom. She’s also been one of my best encouragers, but she’s not a reader. She just doesn’t enjoy it. Two days after I gave her the beta copy of Hungry for God, she called me to tell me she had taken it to bed with her. Before she knew it, she’d read half the book. She finished it the next night.

Okay, one last question before we go. What’s one detail about your book you’d like our readers to know?

These aren’t cotton candy devotions. I ask hard questions, and God has given me good answers. I like to describe Hungry for God like a spiritual power bar—solid, biblical nutrition to get you through the day.

A spiritual power bar! Great comparison! Thanks for being with us today, Lori. And readers, don’t forget to leave a comment and you’ll be in the drawing for a free copy of Hungry for God, Starving for Time.

Bio: Lori Hatcher is an author, blogger, and women’s ministry speaker. She shares an empty nest in Columbia, South Carolina, with her ministry and marriage partner, David, and best dog ever, Winston. She’s the editor of Reach Out, Columbia magazine, works part time as a Registered Dental Hygienist, and homeschooled her daughters “from birth to college.” She’s authored two devotional books, Hungry for God … Starving for Time, Five-Minute Devotions for Busy Women and  Joy in the Journey – Encouragement for Homeschooling Moms. You’ll find her pondering the marvelous and the mundane on her blog, Hungry for God. . . Starving for Time . Connect with her on Facebook (Hungry for God), Twitter (@lorihatcher2) or by email (LoriAHatcher@gmail.com). www.LoriHatcher.com

Check out the YouTube Book Promo, filmed at the Christian Communicators ADVANCED Conference:

YouTube Preview Image

 

 

 

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Writing Opportunities & Conferences and Who Won Linda Goldfarb’s Book?

Image courtesy of StuartMiles/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of StuartMiles/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

It’s our 3rd Tuesday and time to help you find writing opportunities!

1.  Chicken Soup is ALWAYS looking for stories! Currently looking for stories about dreams, nurses, luck, Christmas, and volunteering.

2.  Celebrate Life Magazine

3.  Horse-lovers, this one’s for you! Appaloosa Journal writing guidelines

4. American Falconry

5. Writer’s Digest Magazine writing guidelines

6. Bee Culture 

7. Anyone from Bloomington, IN? Writing guidelines from Bloom Magazine.  

8. Catholic Digest

9. WOW: Women on Writing (scroll down for guidelines)

10. Cat Fancy guidelines

11. Faith Today Magazine  

12. Kaleidoscope Magazine focuses on disabilities 

13. Northern Breezes sailing magazine for Great Lakes and Midwest sailing

14. The Secret Place writing guidelines for devotions   

15. Now What? Magazine is looking for stories

16. Reach Out, Columbia is looking for articles Spring/Summer/Easter articles. Contact editor Lori Hatcher at lori@reachoutcolumbia.com.

Okay, writers! I can’t wait to see what comes of your efforts this month!

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Image courtesy of StuartMiles/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of StuartMiles/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 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!)

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!)

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!)

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. Registration will open late February. (I’ll see you there!)

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

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Loving the Me God Sees cover Linda Goldfarb

Who won Linda Goldfarb’s book?

The winner is…Pat W! Congratulations, Pat! Contact me with your mailing address and Linda will get the book right out to you!

And for those who didn’t win, here’s a direct Amazon link to Linda’s book, Loving the ME God Sees.

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Well, that does it for another 3rd Tuesday. I’ll look forward to being with you again on Friday for Parting Words From The WORD!

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

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!

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

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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Parting Words From The WORD…Waiting Before Working

Laughing Jesus by Robert Wilson, Sr.

Laughing Jesus by Robert Wilson, Sr.

Okay, I admit it. I’m hardheaded, and sometimes that’s a good thing. Like when I first began my writing journey.

I was hardheaded enough to believe that editors were wrong and that I did have something worthwhile to say, even though I’d been writing for years and had nothing to show for it. After seven years and 63 rejections, I finally received an acceptance–I was a published writer! Since most writers receive 5-10 rejections and quit, I determined that hardheadedness was a real blessing for me as a writer.

But then there are the other times.

I want you to know that most I mornings I do start the day with the Lord. After all, I know that’s the best way to set the day’s course by His course.

But sometimes I’m too hardheaded to do what I know I should. On those days, I tell myself I just don’t have time.

Oh, it’s not that I don’t want to spend time with Jesus. There is nothing like starting my day with my Bible, my coffee, and my Lord. But with book deadlines, caregiving responsibilities, and a demanding speaking and ministry schedule, my hardheadedness sometimes convinces me that I just can’t stop and wait on Him.

I had such a day last week at the Christian Communicators Conference, where I was investing in the lives of women who are called to a speaking ministry. It was Friday morning, one of the most jam-packed days, and I’d had a short night of sleep. After getting a late start, I mentally rescheduled my quiet time to the evening and concentrated on my early morning to-do list.

The day went well, but it was late that night when I finally turned to the day’s devotion. My heart was broken by what I read. It was as if Sarah Young had watched me that morning as I put my time with Christ on hold. She called “waiting before working” an act of faith and ended with the promise that when we turn to Jesus for guidance, He enables us to do less, but accomplish more. I confessed the mismanagement of my priorities and belatedly waited on the Lord.

In order to be best prepared for whatever lies ahead, I need to commit each day to waiting before working. Looking at my to-do list through human eyes it’s easy to become hardheaded, thinking that I know more than my Father.

But by putting my waiting before my working, I give Him the honor He deserves and open myself up to His power. I may do less than I thought it required, but accomplish more that He has planned for me.

And even I’m not too hardheaded to see the blessing in that.

In the morning, O Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation. Psalm 5:3 NIV

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

Vonda

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Interview & Book Give-Away with Patty Mason

Patty Mason headshot 2012Patty Mason is Hearing the Cry to Know God and Make Him Known

My guest today is Patty Mason. Patty is a wife and mother of three who is madly and passionately in love with Jesus. Besides being a writer–and one of our Christian Communicator graduates!–she is the founder of Liberty in Christ Ministries and the host of the radio program Joyful Living: Finding God’s Joy in a Turbulent World. Her testimony of God’s grace and deliverance from depression has been featured on numerous TV and radio programs, such as The 700 Club; and in many blogs, books, and magazine articles, including LifeWay Magazine. Her second book, Finally Free, won book of the year, and she was voted one of 50 Great Writers you Should be Reading.

Welcome Patty…

Hey Vonda, thank you for having me on the Writer’s Den. I’m excited to be here to share with your readers and fellow writers.

You have a brand new Bible study out, Know That I AM God. What inspired you to write this study?  

I believe there is a cry rising up among believers today that begs for the revelation: “I want to know God!” I am convinced there are people today who yearn to embrace a relational knowledge of God that goes far beyond bible facts and the basic concepts of Christianity—a people who want to take knowing and experiencing God to the extreme.

Wow! Know That I AM God sounds like a passionate Bible study. How did you get started writingPatty Mason Know That book cover Bible studies?

Out of sheer need! Several years ago, I started teaching bible study for junior high girls. I went to the Christian bookstore to find a study I could lead them through, but at that time I couldn’t find any studies to fit that age group. There were studies for youth, but I found those studies to be too focused on older teen struggles and not for younger girls, so I began writing the weekly lessons that later evolved into writing bible studies for women.

How did God inspire you to take this quest to know Him and make Him known?

In Isaiah 43:10 God said, “You are my witnesses,’ declares the LORD, ‘and my servant whom I have chosen, so that you may know and believe me and understand that I am he.” This verse spoke to me about the relentless desire of God’s heart for us to know Him intimately, believe Him unconditionally, and understand who He is and that He alone is God. So when I put the two together, the cry of the people who truly desire to know God, and God’s desire to truly be known, it was powerful—it became a passionate love story that begged to be told.

How do you approach knowing God through this study?

The Bible is filled with those who knew God. Isaiah, Moses, David, John and Matthew, Paul and Peter all recorded the experiences of the One they came to know as their Father; their Bridegroom; their Shepherd; their Healer; their Redeemer; their Friend; their King, and their God, and they told the world.

For example, the Apostle John, in 1 John 1:1-3, talks about seeing, hearing and touching the living, breathing Word of Life, and then he talks about proclaiming what he and the other disciples witnessed.  The Word appeared—they saw Him—they experienced Him—and then based on what they experienced, they gave testimony.

What do you hope people will take away from this study?

It is my hope and prayer that this study, through the power of the Holy Spirit, will challenge people to take the road less traveled, daring them to radically expand their view of God; and that it will whet the appetite of anyone who is in hot-pursuit of God.

What do you think is going to be the hardest or most challenging part of this study for people?

God is like a multi-faceted diamond, but many of us can become comfortable witnessing God through one or two specific areas. For example some people are not comfortable with Jesus as the Bridegroom, yet they can approach God as Father. Still others are not comfortable with God as Father because they didn’t have a good relationship with their earthly dad. Maybe they grew up abused and feeling unloved by their dad, and this spills over into their relationship with God as Father. It is my hope that, as people open their hearts to God, they will begin to experience Him and know Him in new aspects of relationship and just settle on one or two.

Patty Mason Know That DVD coverThis sounds like a study that would inspire all of us to dig deep and go straight for the heart of God. How can we get a copy of Know That I AM God?

The Know That I AM God workbook is on Amazon. But to get the complete study, including the workbook and Leader’s Guide combo, along with the 10-week video series (taken from the book of Ezekiel) check out my Bible Studies section on my website at http://www.libertyinchristministries.com/bible-studies.

This sounds like an amazing study, Patty. I can’t wait to read it! Thank you for giving us a sneak peek!

And friends, did you see that Patty is offering multiple products of Know That I AM God? Workbook, leader’s Guide, and a 10-week video series!

Readers, if you would like to be in the drawing for a free copy of the Know That I AM God workbook, please leave a comment and then check back next week to see if you’re the winner!

If you would like to contact Patty, email her at patty@libertyinchristministries.com. To learn more about Patty Mason, her ministry, radio program, or about any of her books, visit her website at www.libertyinchristministries.com.

Grace and peace,

Vonda

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Parting Words From The WORD…

Laughing Jesus by Robert Wilson, Sr.

Laughing Jesus by Robert Wilson, Sr.

Today, as I think on God and His word, His promises to us as speakers and writers, I’m reminded of Philippians 2:13:

For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.
Philippians 2:13 NIV

This says God is working in you and me, giving us the desire and the power to do what He wants us to do. Did you see that He not only gives us the POWER to do it, but the DESIRE as well?

So, are we doing it? Are we seeking his will for our lives? Are our efforts achieving what He has for us to achieve?

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