Category Archives: Interviews

“Interviews with authors who have a heart for writers ”


Interview & Book Give-Away with Norma Gail, and Writing Opps for YOU!

Norma Gail - headshotWhat a joy to celebrate with Norma Gail as her debut novel, Land of My Dreams, releases TODAY from Lighthouse of the Carolinas! Be sure to leave a comment for Norma Gail and you’ll be in the drawing for a signed copy of her book!

Welcome to The Christian Writer’s Den, Norma Gail. First of all, please tell us how you started writing.

I have always had a vivid imagination, and wrote stories from childhood and all through college. My degree is in nursing, and with marriage, a job, and children, I didn’t write much for about 20 years.

When I broke my right foot and ended up in a wheelchair, I needed something to keep me occupied. Land of My Dreams is the result. I began attending writer’s conferences which helped me learn and gave me the opportunity to meet a lot of people who have helped me along the way.

I have always felt compelled to write: poetry, letters to the editor, devotionals to open the Bible study I lead, and stories for my kids about their adoptions. I wanted to see my name on a book. Never give up on your dream.

This may come as a surprise to new writers, but you and I know the writing life isn’t easy. What was the greatest problem you faced in writing this book?

It was challenging to write about a country I had only visited for two weeks and couldn’t return to for more research. It didn’t matter when I was just making up a story, but when I became serious, I needed to be accurate.

I spent hours researching, read everything I could find, watched movies and documentaries, listened to music, and made a screen-saver with over 400 photos, and a Scottish-Gaelic dictionary on-line, and also sites with slang and common terms. I found a wonderful writer and editor, through the ACFW romance loop. Amy Drown lived in Scotland and was willing to read my book for accuracy.

It must have worked because it convinced one editor I must have lived there!

Well, that’s a confirmation for sure! What do you want your readers to gain by reading your book?

Of course I want to entertain. As a Bible study leader and devotional writer, I have seen a lot of peopleNorma Gil cover struggle with trusting God when hard times come, and I have struggled myself. It is helpful to use real-life situations to illustrate biblical principles.

Good fiction can teach valuable spiritual lessons. People who would never attend a Bible study will read a novel, and they can learn how to live the Christian life. A novel is a very non-threatening way to introduce someone to the gospel or get a spiritual message across. It might open someone open up to talk about things they might not otherwise discuss.

I totally agree, Norma Gail. And I believe it applies to every area of creativity. So, how did you come up with the idea for Land of My Dreams?

Scotland has intrigued me since I discovered that one of my great grandmothers was from Scotland. My husband and I spend two weeks there for our 30th anniversary and I felt at home from the moment our plane landed in Edinburgh.

We met a woman from Phoenix who married a Scot while in the Peace Corps. It made me wonder what it would be like to transplant your life to another country. My husband’s family immigrated to the US from The Netherlands, so I knew a little about it.

I loved the green fields with their sheep and dry-stone walls. One night I dreamed about a sheep farm, and the idea began to come together.

Tell us something about the book.

Land of My Dreams is a sweet romance about two people who have been hurt by life and no longer trust in God.

Alone and betrayed, American professor, Bonny Bryant longs for a haven of peace. She accepts a position at a small Christian college in Fort William, Scotland, craving escape from her painful past. The passionate love which develops when she meets fellow professor and sheep farmer, Kieran MacDonell, is something she never anticipated.

Kieran harbors a deep anger toward God in the face of his own devastating grief. When Bonny returns to New Mexico for her best friend’s wedding, her former fiancé reenters her life. Four thousand miles away, Kieran’s loneliness draws him to an attractive former student.

How will Bonny decide between her two rivals? Can they set aside the past to make way for a future?

Land of My Dreams spans the distance between New Mexico’s high desert mountains and the misty Scottish Highlands with a timeless story of overwhelming grief, undying love, and compelling faith.

My goodness, this sounds like a book we’d all love! Thank you for sharing your story with us, Norma Gail!

And readers, remember, if you’d like to be in the drawing for a free copy of Land of My Dreams, simply leave a comment for Norma Gail and you could be the winner! But you must be sure to come back next week to find out. :-)

And for those who want to go ahead and get your own copy of Norma Gail’s book, here’s the Amazon link to Land of My Dreams. Happy reading!

BIO: I live in the mountains of New Mexico with my husband of 37 years. We have two adult children and a lovely daughter-in-law. I love mountains, and enjoy tackling 4×4 trails in my Jeep. I am a former RN and homeschool/soccer mom who loves family research, history, and Scotland. My passion is leading women’s Bible studies, and I have done so for eighteen years. My devotionals, poetry have appeared at ChristianDevotions.us, the Stitches Thru Time blog, and in “The Secret Place.” I belong to American Christian Fiction Writers, FaithWriters, and the newly formed New Mexico Christian Novelists. My website, www.normagail.com, includes a weekly devotional blog, daily scriptures, poetry, and will soon have a writer’s blog.

To connect with Norma and find out more about her writings and ministry, you can email her at NormaGailwrites@gmail.com. She also has a Pinterest board for Land of My Dreams where readers can find photos that helped inspire the book: http://pinterest.com/normagailth/boards.
Website: http://www.normagail.com
Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Norma-GailAuthor/725237467493500.
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7874459.Norma_Gail
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Norma_Gail
Book Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KQbZIoC_JSE

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newspapersAnd Here Are Some Writing Opportunities I’ve Found Just For YOU!

Thanks to Edie Melson for sharing many of these opportunities with us today. Be sure to check out Edie’s award-winning writing blog, The Write Conversation!

1.  Inspire a Fire is always looking for articles. Here are Inspire a Fire submission guidelines. 

2.  Southern Writers Magazine Short Story Contest: You must hurry–deadline is May 1, 2014!

3.  THE DREAM QUEST ONE POETRY & WRITING CONTEST is open to anyone who loves expressing their innermost thoughts and feelings into the beautiful literary art of poetry and/or writing a story that is worth telling everyone. Guidelines: (1) Write a poem, thirty lines or fewer on any subject, form or style. And/or (2) Write a short story five pages maximum length, single or double line spacing, on any subject or theme, fiction or non-fiction. Multiple entries are accepted. Prizes: Writing First Prize is $500; Second: $250; Third: $100. Poetry First Prize: $250; Second: $125; Third: $50. Entry fees: $5 per poem/$10 per story. Postmark deadline: JULY 31, 2014. How to enter, visit: http://www.dreamquestone.com

4.  Adirondack Life: Writers’ guidelines for Adirondack Life

5.  Ladies’ Home Journal: How to write for Ladies’ Home Journal.

6.  Highlights Magazine–They’re always looking for submissions!

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

8.  Parents Magazine is always looking for writers

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

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

11. Go Galavanting, a magazine for women travelers. Read Submission guidelines for Go Galavanting here.

12. In Site Magazine: InSite, the bimonthly flagship publication of Christian Camp and Conference Association (CCCA), seeks to inform and inspire professionals serving in the Christian camp and conference community. InSite Magazine writers guidelines here.

So…now that you have these guidelines before you, what are you going to do about it? :-)

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Well, that does it for another day at the Christian Writer’s Den. Thanks for stopping by and sharing the joy of writing with me!

Happy writing!

Vonda

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Interview & Book Give-Away with Michelle Cox; Who Won The Writing Sisters’ Book? and Kudos & MoGo7000 Call-Out

Michelle Cox headshotAs you can see, today is a busy day. And it’s all my fault. Last week, I completely forgot to ask for your Kudos and MoGo7000 totals! So today, in addition to an awesome interview with the multi-talented Michelle Cox, our triple duty day will also cover call-outs, and a book winner!

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First Up–Michelle Cox Shares Her Amazing Journey with Her Book, Blog, and Screenplay, Just 18 Summers®!

Yes, you read right. My brilliant friend, Michelle Cox, got a great idea, the Lord multiplied her vision, and now she has all kinds of stuff going on! Read on to hear how a simple comment from her pastor kicked off an avalanche of opportunities!

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Interview & Book Give-Away with Bethany Jett

Bethany Jett HeadshotMy goodness, have I got a treat for you today as I introduce Bethany Jett! Moms and dads, youth workers, and those who have any influence on teen and pre-teen girls, you’ll be especially interested in what Bethany has to say here and in her book, The Cinderella Rule: A Young Woman’s Guide to Happily Ever After. I met Bethany when I was an instructor at the Florida Christian Writers Conference, and I can tell you, she is beautiful and smart and passionate about instilling the confidence Christian living offers to young women.

Be sure to leave a comment and you’ll be in the drawing for a free copy of Bethany’s book, The Cinderella Rule: A Young Woman’s Guide to Happily Ever After. (Don’t forget to check back next week to see if you’re the winner!)

Welcome to the Christian Writer’s Den, Bethany. First,  I want to know more about what inspired you to write your book, The Cinderella Rule: a Young Woman’s Guide to Happily Ever After.

Thanks for having me, Vonda. The book actually started out as a blog. My husband and I have been in youth ministry for several years, and I realized that each year, our girls asked the same questions about boys, dating, relationships, sex…so I started writing down my answers so they could have 24/7 access to what I would tell them.

Your title caught my attention. What is the “Cinderella Rule”?

Let the guy chase you! Cinderella didn’t text, friend, follow, call, or make any attempt to purse the Prince, instead allowing him to chase her. Being pursued is crazy fun, and even though it may seem like an old fashioned idea, the book shares how to be ready when the guy worthy of pursuing you shows up!

I agree! Okay, besides dating, what other areas does your book cover?

My first chapter starts off with the line, “Confidence is sexy.” I want to encourage women to be strong, smart, independent, and awesome. I also talk about femininity, modesty, purity, second chances, deal-breakers, break-ups, and engagement.

There are discussion questions in the back, so it is great as a small group study or for parents to read with their daughters. I’ve had great feedback from moms who’ve been able to start dialogue with their teen girls about boys, kissing, making out, etc.

Great topics, and ones that girls want to know about, even if they’re afraid to ask. Now let’s change gears a little bit. What do you find to be the hardest part of writing?Bethany Jett cover Cinderella Rule

The hardest part of writing for me is after something is published and I continue to edit in my mind—it’s too late at that point to make any changes! But another hard part is getting that first draft written. Stephen King in his great book, On Writing, says the first draft is for you. So I try to release any inhibitions and let the words flow, no matter how terrible they are.

Writing the second draft is much easier! I love tightening my writing by replacing two or three words with a stronger one. It’s like a game.

You sound so much like me, Bethany! I continue to edit long after the book is out, hate getting that first draft down, and love rewriting to make it pretty! Were there any interesting vices or methods you used when writing the book?

Strangely, I found television to be cathartic. Even though it was moving my eyes from one screen to another, often times I could let my mind wander, and after several minutes, BAM! Bursts of inspiration!

Also, I often retreated to my church’s youth room to write in the peace and quiet it offered. My mom, also an author, loves to write where she can people-watch, or with music. I had to write in silence to really get “in the zone.”

Well, we’re alike in that aspect as well. I have to have silence–or at least music with no known words–in order to write. Otherwise, I catch myself singing along with the music instead of focusing on the writing. And I’m thrilled to say I’ve also had the joy of having your mom as a guest on my blog. Readers, you can catch Johnnie Alexander Donley’s interview here. 

So what’s your advice to writers wanting to get published?

Attend a writers conference! I owe the start of my official writing career to the Florida Christian Writers Conference (FCWC).

The one-on-one face time with publishers and agents is priceless. Along with learning from the experts, the networking and connections are invaluable. The FCWC launched my writing career, and the connections and friendships born from that first conference are continuing to offer opportunities.

I totally agree. I, like many writers I know, got my start at writers conferences. As I mentioned earlier, you’re a speaker, as well as an author. Where have you been speaking lately?

I just returned from speaking in Ohio at an event called “The Cinderella Project,” which provides a pampering night (which I spoke at), a dress, shoes, jewelry, and mentoring in the weeks leading up to and after prom. It was incredible.

Ladies’ groups have been so much fun—I love women’s ministry, along with youth ministry, and it’s been a blessing to speak to women’s groups and at ladies’ conferences.

This weekend, I’m holding a two-hour workshop on confidence for a local church’s youth group. The youth minister is having a Guys’ Day and a Girls’ Day, and I get to teach girls the various aspects of portraying confidence – in their appearance, manners, accomplishments, and most importantly, teaching that true confidence is found in Christ. We are going to play with some makeup and learn how to sit, and get in-and-out of a car wearing a skirt. So fun!

It does sound like fun! Thanks for being with us today, Bethany. I love the opportunity to love on and encourage you in your writing and speaking. But before we go, how can people connect with you?

I love making great connections with people via social media! I’m on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram (betjett2), and I blog regularly on “girly topics, godly perspective” at BethanyJett.com.

Bethany Jett headshot 2Bio: Bethany Jett is an award-winning writer, whose first attempt at writing a book proposal landed her Writer of the Year at the 2012 Florida Christian Writers Conference, a contract with the MacGregor Literary Agency, and a publishing deal. Her first book, The Cinderella Rule: A Young Woman’s Guide to Happily Ever After, released in April of 2013. Bethany is a “Regal for Women” author who video-blogs on dating for ChristianMingle.com, and has been interviewed on radio stations across the US, as well as internationally. She is a featured double columnist with Choose NOW Ministries, and also writes for Sisterhood, Sonoma Christian Home, and other magazines. Along with speaking to women’s groups, youth groups, homeschool groups, college discipleship groups, parents of teens, as well as retreats, conferences, and camps, Bethany blogs on “girly topics, godly perspective” at BethanyJett.com.

Thanks again for joining us today, Bethany. And friends, don’t forget to leave a word of encouragement for Bethany and you’ll automatically be in the drawing for a free book! Then, return next week to see if you’re the winner.

But I know some of you will want to go ahead and get copies for the young girls in your life, so here’s a direct Amazon link to Bethany Jett’s The Cinderella Rule: A Young Woman’s Guide to Happily Ever After. Enjoy!

 

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Interview & Book Give-Away with Sharon Lavy, and Only One Spot Left for 2014 Christian Communicators Conference!

Sharon Lavy headshotReaders, I’m excited to introduce my friend, Sharon Lavy, to you. Sharon and I met years ago at the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference and I was immediately drawn to her sweet smile and enthusiasm for writing and for the Lord. You can read Sharon’s bio and book blurb below, but let me just tell you that she lives an interesting life with her husband, flying all over the country in their own plane!

In Sharon’s newest book, Deadly Secret: A Tale From the Ohio Valley, just released in November 2013, the protagonist is an oncology nurse. As an RN for almost 30 years with experience as a hospice nurse, I was particularly drawn to this story and I know you will be, too!

And thanks to Sharon’s generosity, I have a free book to give away! Simply leave a comment for Sharon and you’ll automatically be entered into the drawing. But you must return next week to see if you’re the winner.

Okay, let’s get started, Sharon. First of all, welcome to the Christian Writer’s Den. As I mentioned earlier, I was an RN for many years and love medical mysteries, but your Deadly Secrets is actually categorized as Women’s Fiction. Can you explain?

I’ve been told my genre is Women’s fiction because the main theme is always about relationships. In fact I think the most important part of our lives here on this earth is our relationships. And our Relationship with Jesus is at the top of the list.

As one who struggles with finding time to write, I want to know how you spend your writing days. And can you give us a general idea of how long it takes you to write a novel?

I try to write 6 days a week. Sometimes the characters refuse to talk to me and I find myself staring at a blank screen.

The first three novels have taken me years just to write the first draft. Then many years of re-writing and editing. Each one took fewer than the book before, but still … years.

As I wind up the draft of Farewell for Awhile, my goal is to write a complete draft of Forgiving the Unforgivable before the end of 2014. What a challenge.

I know your stories always point to truth, so what is the spiritual message in Deadly Secret?Sharon Lavy Deadly Secrets cover  

The theme of Deadly Secret is that sometimes we’re asked to forgive the unforgivable. In fact that is also the theme of the manuscript I am working on at the moment, Farewell For Awhile.  Different situation, but it still deals with something unforgivable.

The actual title of my next book is Forgiving The Unforgivable.  And I’ve developed a problem with this one, because how do you forgive a monster who is still a monster, who makes no pretense of repentance?

That is the struggle many authors have. At first the idea seems straight forward. But before you know it, you’ve written yourself into a corner and wonder how you are going to pull it off this time. If not for the grace of God, I don’t think I will be able to do it.

Would you take this time to describe your latest novel to us? 

Sure! Here’s part of the back cover copy:

The covering on Evalena Davidson’s head invites all kinds of confidences and sharing, a blessing on her oncology ward. But people expect her to be perfect, which makes living up to the promise of her Old German Baptist uniform a challenge. After all, Old German Baptist Brethren do not get involved with the law. But after a series of accusations and unexplained circumstances, how can Evalena turn her back on a friend? An unlikely trio must put their lives and reputation at risk to uncover a deadly secret in an attempt to identify a killer before someone else dies.

Sounds exciting! Now that you’re published, you can sit back and relax, right? 

You’re joking, right? No matter which publishing house publishes the book, the moment an author is published, he or she has the responsibility of marketing, marketing, marketing. I’m still trying to find out what works and what doesn’t. And I don’t want to turn people off. I need all the friends I can get.

So true, Sharon! We’re quickly running out of time, but readers always want to know where authors get their ideas.

That’s sort of a hard question to answer because a writer’s mind is normally going a million miles a minute, but occasionally stops with an “Aha!” moment. So I always say, if you see a writer with a faraway look in the eye … DO NOT DISTURB!

Oh, I know what you mean. My problem isn’t how to find ideas–it’s how do I keep ideas from constantly bombarding my limited brain space! Hahaha!

Sharon, thank you for joining us and sharing your journey today. It’s always a joy to see how the writing experience unfolds for different writers. 

Sharon Lavy with planeAnd readers, I know you want your own copy, so here’s an Amazon link to Deadly Secrets: A Tale From the Ohio Valley. Here’s the Kindle link for Deadly Secrets: A Tale From the Ohio Valley, and it’s only $2.99! Don’t forget to leave a comment and you’ll be in the drawing for a FREE book! Then be sure to return next week to see if you’re the winner.

BIO: Sharon A Lavy lives with her husband in SW Ohio. When not reading, writing, or sewing for her family, she enjoys traveling with her husband in their small Flight Design airplane. Sharon has a heart for hurting women, and writes about healing relationships. Because when~~it’s all said and done~~It’s all about relationships. You can reach Sharon here:

Website/blog www.sharonalavy.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorSharonALavy?ref=hl
Twitter: https://twitter.com/OldOrderTweeter
Amazon Author Page: http://smile.amazon.com/Sharon-A-Lavy/e/B00ATRL8C8/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1

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That’s right–there’s only one spot left for the 2014 Christian Communicators Conference at the Billy Graham Training Center at The Cove!

ccclogosmall

Update 2-25-14 3:15pm: The waiting list is now open for the August 2014 Christian Communicators Conference. To be placed on the waiting list (at no charge), please contact Conference Coordinator, Cynthia Owens, at ccc [@] GoWithVision.com. Thank you for your interest in CCC. We’d love to see you there!

We are blown away by the response to the 2014 CCC! As of Monday afternoon, we only have one place remaining. Is it for you?

As soon as that one spot is filled, we’ll open the waiting list. If you go to the Online Registration page and see that registration is closed, please contact Cynthia Owens, Conference Coordinator at ccc [@] gowithvision.com to be put on the waiting list. We expect there will be a few cancellations.

Please note that the five scholarship spots are still being held until the scholarship submission deadline of April 1, so if you’re in need of a scholarship to attend, please complete your application and submit it by the April 1 deadline.

Here’s the link for all the CCC 2014 information. We’d love to see you there.

Thank you for your amazing response to CCC. We praise God for the opportunity to partner with you in ministry!

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

Vonda

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Interview & Book Give-Away with Jo Ann Fore; Kudos & MoGo7000 Totals

Jo Ann Fore Headshot

You are in for a treat today, sweet friends! Today I have the joy of introducing my friend Jo Ann Fore to you. We’ve known each other for many years and she just gets more and more beautiful!

Jo Ann is a speaker, life coach, and author of a life-changing new book, When A Woman Finds Her Voice: Overcoming Life’s Hurts & Using Your Story to Make a Difference. As you’ll see in this interview, her ministry is all about hope.

I know you’re going to fall in love with Jo Ann, just as I have. Be sure to leave a comment for Jo Ann and you’ll be in the drawing for a free book!

So let’s jump right in, Jo Ann. I think I know the answer to this question, but I want our friends to hear your heart. So tell us, why did you write When A Woman Finds Her Voice?

I believe God created each one of us with this distinctive life message to share, but far too often the hurts of life block us from sharing. Our stories deserve to be told, need to be told, but sometimes there’s this part of us that can’t help but wonder if what we say really matters, wonders if we ourselves matter.

We tend to develop this concept of who we think we should be, so we spend our days presenting that to the world, masking our true voices. And in this masking, we lose our true selves. Sometimes we try to be so many things to so many people that we stuff our voice so deep that even we forget who we are.

That’s not God’s plan.

I’m passionate about helping with women in this area because I’ve walked this journey. I know the silence, fear, and doubt that comes from unfathomable hurts. And I want to help women identify these toxic beliefs that twist our thinking in the fallout of these hurts.

What do you hope readers will gain from your book?Jo Ann Fore book cover

I want women to know, to really know, that just because we walk through some hard stuff in life, it doesn’t mean God’s purpose for us changes.

Sometimes what we need most is a simple word of encouragement that God’s still with us, that if we stick it out we will somehow see His hand and His hand will somehow lead us through.

There’s a scripture tucked in Acts 18:10 where Paul had been trying to share the message that God entrusted him with but no one would listen to him, so in a dream God told him this, “Don’t let anyone silence you. No matter what happens, I’m with you and no one is going to be able to hurt you.”

That’s what Paul needed to stick it out, to make it through the storms that threatened to blow him off course. It’s the same thing we need: to know God is with us. And we need to trust that, to hold to that when nothing else makes sense.

How do you define “finding your voice?”

As a writer we hear a lot about voice, about finding our voices. It’s drilled into us from the beginning, about how it’s our unique voice that sets us apart in the millions of words that are being spread daily.

And much like that individualism that we read in a particular author’s words, each one of us, whether we write or not, holds our own unique voice deep inside.

Our voice is what makes us us, it’s this unique combination of our personality, belief systems, feelings, and passions, it’s basically everything that encompasses all of who God made us to be.

It’s this unique that pours red from the vein of our authentic selves. A crucial individualism that’s about being known, not just to others, but first to ourselves.

Sort of like our favorite author, when we pick up her work and recognize her voice, this is what we need to walk out in our own lives. When we make decisions, when we live our daily lives, we need to check to make sure it’s our own voice we’re walking out and not a substitute because those just waste our time.

How did you decide on this topic?

I have a wise agent. {Really, I do.} About 18 months ago, I had a meeting with my agent {and his lovely wife}, tossing about ideas for what book I would write. He asked me a simple question, “What book would you write that excites you each morning—a book that you will make you want to get out of bed each day so you can work on it?”

It was this book.

Jo Ann Fore logo imageYou are passionate about the power of story—do you have any tips to help us tell our stories?

There is an extraordinary power in the sharing of story. This finding our voices, its about sharing our stories—stories that have the power to change both our lives and the lives of others.

In the book we have a list of tips for finding your voice, but you can also grab them for FREE in a downloadable printable over here.

Jo Ann, you don’t realize it, but you’ve hit on a very important point we stress at Christian Communicators Conference for women: There truly is an extraordinary power in the sharing of our stories. God doesn’t waste any scars. Thank you for sharing your message and your book with us.

And readers, be sure to leave a comment for Jo Ann and you’ll automatically be in the drawing for a free book! Don’t forget to check back next week to see if you’re the winner.

But you don’t have to wait to get this great book! Here’s a direct Amazon link for When A Woman Finds Her Voice: Overcoming Life’s Hurts & Using Your Story to Make a Difference. You could get yours today!

Bio: Jo Ann Fore is known as the “Hope Coach.” She is a popular blogger, certified Life Purpose Coach-Facilitator, and the author of the recently released When A Woman Finds Her Voice: Overcoming Life’s Hurts & Using Your Story to Make a Difference. Jo Ann serves a powerful promise of hope to a woman’s heart. Her encouraging words have been featured in Guideposts, Christianity Today’s Just Between Us & Today’s Christian Woman, Lifeway’s HomeLife, as well as many others, while her coaching experiences have helped many women transform broken lives into beautiful ones.

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Kudos to YOU!

We only had two Christian Writer’s Den friends to send in their successes this month, but my goodness, what great successes they are!

1.  Eddie Snipes (GA): I had two books released in January. Abounding Grace and Out of the Ashes (a book written for the Pregnancy Resource Center). Here are Amazon links to Abounding Grace and Out of the Ashes.

2.  Lori Hatcher (SC): Lori is pleased to announce a contract with Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas for her devotional book, Hungry for God . . . Starving for Time. Also, this spring, she’ll be the featured speaker at the Women to Women Spring Conference at Myrtle Beach, SC March 28-30. She’ll serve with worship leader Janet Rollings and devotion leader Cherie Nettles to present “Too Stressed to Be Blessed? Come Away.”

Congratulations, Eddie and Lori! We’re so proud of you!

And readers, be sure to check back next week for a list of writing opportunities collected just for you. Follow through with submissions and maybe we’ll be celebrating with you soon!

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Congrats to These MoGo7000 Qualifiers in January!

My goodness, y’all have been busy! These CWD writers have earned an entry into the end-of-the-year drawing for $100 in cash!

#1: Joan Hall – 7,035 words
#2: Susan Baganz – 14,190 words
#3: Jeanne Doyon – 8,520 words

#4: Eddie Snipes – 65,000 words

Want to know how you can qualify for the $100 challenge? Check out the MoGo7000 Challenge here. It’s free and open to everyone!

Well, we’re expecting snow and ice today and the next few days here in SC. Be safe, everyone!

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

Vonda

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Interview & Book Give-Away with Jill Hart, and Who Won Jennifer Fromke’s Book?

Jill Hart headshotWhat a great day we have today! I just can’t believe I get to spend time with such great writers and speakers…and then share them with you!

It’s a joy to introduce my friend Jill Hart to you today. As you know, I often will tell you how I met my guests, but for the life of me, I can’t remember how Jill and I connected. But I can tell you that she is one sharp woman! Be sure to read her bio below, but I want to go ahead and tell you that she’s an entrepreneur, author, speaker, and founder of Christian Work at Home Ministries. Today we’re going to talk a little about her ministry and her brand new book, Do Life Different.

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Interview & Book Give-Away with Jennifer Fromke

Jennifer Fromke headshotI’m thrilled that today I get to finally introduce my friend, Jennifer Fromke to you. Jennifer and I met many years ago when she graciously welcomed me into her home when I spoke at her church in North Carolina. I fell in love with her immediately and we’ve been friends ever since!

Jennifer has three books out, but today I wanted to hear about her newest release, A Familiar Shore. And if you’ve ever wondered if reputable writing contests were worth the effort, this book won the 2010 ACFW Genesis contest for women’s fiction. It released in 2012 from Write Integrity Press.

Be sure to leave a comment for Jennifer and you’ll be in the drawing for a free book!

Okay, Jennifer, let’s get started. Tell us a little bit about your debut novel, A Familiar Shore.

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Interview & Book Give-Away with Johnnie Alexander Donley

Johnnie Alexander Donley headshotI hope everyone had a blessed Christmas with family and friends as we celebrated the birth of our Lord. We had great times with our families and are looking forward to the New Year.

Today is not only the last day of 2013, but it’s also a 5th Tuesday, so that means we get to have another author interview and book give away this month! I’m thrilled to introduce Johnnie Alexander Donley to you! Johnnie’s debut novel, Where Treasure Hides, was the 2011 ACFW Historical Fiction Genesis winner. Today we’re going to learn more about Johnnie’s book and her writing journey AND you get to read the first chapter for free!

And readers, be sure to leave a comment for Johnnie and you’ll be in the drawing for a free download of Where Treasure Hides! Don’t forget to check back next week to see if you’re the winner!

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Interview & Book Give-Away with Kimberly Long

Kimberly Long headshotSince next week is Christmas Eve and everybody will be busy, I decided to share my author interview with you early. After all, I didn’t want anyone to miss an opportunity to win a free book!

So today it’s a joy to share Kimberly Long and her book, Financial Hope: Take Control of Your Destiny, with you…and the timing is perfect! In this season of overspending and underplanning, Kimberly can help you uncover the time-tested Biblical truths of freedom from poverty.

Don’t forget to leave a comment for Kimberly and you could win a free book! Just be sure to check back next week to see if you’re the winner. :-)

Okay, let’s get started! Kimberly, I have to ask, why did you write a book on finances, especially with so much competition?

After a sudden divorce without any time to plan for future finances, I ended up in poverty. My family raised me in a middle class environment and I had never experienced the “poor house” until then. I had a two-year-old daughter and had no formal education. Needless to say, I stayed in poverty for a while. After graduating from Barber School and working as a hairdresser for a little while, I continued to struggle.

I thought, “Since I’m obedient in paying tithes, I must be destined to be poor, but it doesn’t seem right to struggle so much.” God must have heard my thoughts because He challenged me in my devotion time one morning soon after. The scripture was “The plans of the diligent lead surely to plenty … ” (Proverbs 21:5a). Well, I knew I didn’t have plenty, so now my feelers were hurt. I thought I was being diligent. So I made a commitment to go to work that day and do extra. I asked if I could re-paint the cabinets that were smudged with color. I folded towels in between clients. I swept and washed hair for other co-workers who were overwhelmed.

Then I realized—I had been sitting in my chair, reading, in between hair appointments before this new mission. And I thought I was being diligent? It was only a matter of days before my clientele increased. It continued until I was one of the busy ones. I knew this wasn’t a coincidence and thus began my journey coming out of poverty. I also knew God was not partial and would do for others what He had done for me. I wanted to help other women and felt my miraculous stories mixed with God’s word was a different angle than most other finance books.

Were there other principles that brought financial blessings?Kimberly Long book cover

Yes, I continued to get my feelings hurt as my eyes were opened to more scriptures that told what it was that tends to poverty. But the good news is that I took each challenge, sometimes with white knuckles, and stepped out in faith. God amazed me every time—hmmm … and to think that God’s word works! I found out that financial success is really a matter of balancing many principles like integrity, knowing our value in the workplace, having a right view of riches and being a distribution center, to name a few.

Did you come out of poverty while still single?

I did. I can say it was all God and the power of His word that brought me out. So many women remarry to get out of poverty, which results in co-dependency. It’s not God’s best plan for us. He wants us to know Him as our Provider and Protector, even when married.

You talk about poverty mentality: what is your definition of this term?

The last chapter is a little on the sarcastic side. It’s titled, “You Might Have PMS (poverty mentality syndrome) If…” It’s best if you read this title with a redneck drawl. Here are some of the symptoms of P.M.S.  If …

  • You wash out disposable cups, utensils and zip top bags to reuse them. They’re called disposable for a reason. Go on, use your good china if you’re gonna wash anyway.
  • You have bleached, brassy fried hair, or two-inch long nappy roots, but own a cell phone and more than one T.V. You don’t see the value of investing in yourself.
  • You peel and use the last tissue from the toilet paper roll—glue and all. Better read up on what’s in the glue before you wipe.
  • You save newspapers and magazines from nineteen aught seven because you may get around to reading them someday. I wouldn’t let anyone smoke in the garage if I were you.

Poverty mentality is a fear that makes us do crazy things. To get rid of it, we can take specific principles from God’s word, allow it to challenge us enough to exercise our faith, and then we will progressively replace the fear with faith. It works in any economy and any circumstance. I’m a living testimony. And the results are pretty nice.

Thank you for sharing your book with us today, Kimberly. And readers, be sure to leave a comment and you’ll be entered into the drawing for a free copy of Financial Hope: Take Control of Your Destiny.

Kimberly Long teaching pictureBIO: Kimberly’s passion is to build women’s confidence and courage from God’s view. She has been delivered and healed from so much and wants to see the same in others! Gleaning from the ten years she was a single mom, Kimberly published her first book, Financial Hope to help women increase their understanding of how to live in freedom and peace. Her articles have been published in The Upper Room, The Herald, and Living Magazine. She is a graduate of Christian Communicators and has attended writer’s conferences throughout the country. Kimberly has served as Director of Christian Women’s Job Corps, Youth Minister, Worship Leader, Women’s Minister, and Small Group Pastor. But her best training came from scrubbing the church toilets, changing other children’s diapers, and finding out she was not called to sing by being allowed to lead worship and sing “specials”. She has three grown children—all married and finally producing grandbabies for her! You can find out more about Kimberly and her ministry at her website, http://designsofhope.com.

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Interview & Book Give-Away with Sue Badeau, Mother of 22 Kids!

Badeau Sue and HectorToday is a special day. Not only is it Thanksgiving Day, but since this is National Adoption Month, I’ve also invited my friend, author and speaker Sue Badeau, to visit with us and share a little of her story of parenting 22 kids…and living to write about it! Her new book, Are We There Yet: The Ultimate Road Trip Adopting and Raising 22 Kids, was just released in August this year and I couldn’t wait to share her story with you! I’ve read the book and even though I’ve known Sue for several years, I had no idea how much they had sacrificed for their sweet family.

You can read Sue’s bio below, but just to give you a little info, she’s a nationally-known speaker, writer, and consultant with a heart for children and a desire to help adults and children build bridges of hope following the pain of trauma or loss. This book demonstrates the results of her heart.

Don’t forget to leave a comment for Sue and you’ll automatically be in the drawing for a free copy of her book, Are We There Yet: The Ultimate Road Trip Adopting and Raising 22 Kids. Be sure to come back next week to see if you’re the winner! Now let’s get started!

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