Category Archives: Interviews

“Interviews with authors who have a heart for writers ”


Interview and Book Give-Away with Cynthia L. Simmons

Cynthia Simmons headshotHappy 4th Tuesday! I’m thrilled to introduce my friend, author and speaker Cynthia L. Simmons, to you. We met years ago at the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference. Cynthia is not a newbie to writing. As the writer of articles, devotions, and interviews for regional and national periodicals and devotionals, author of Women Who Overcame, and writing instructor, she has a lot to offer all of us!

Today we’re talking about her book, Women Who Overcame. Be sure to leave a comment for Cynthia and you’ll be in the drawing for a free copy of her book!

Welcome to the Christian Writer’s Den, Cynthia. Thanks for joining us today. Let’s start with a question all writers love to talk about: Why did you start writing?

I’m a homeschool mother with five kids. My youngest suffers from multiple disabilites. Learning to teach a disabled child and juggle a busy family brought lots of stress. When I got discouraged, God brought along stories from history to encourage me. Finally the Lord kept calling my attention to the verses in 2 Corinthians chapter one. The writer, the apostle Paul, told us that “the God of all comfort…comforts us in all our affliction so that we may be able to comfort those who are in affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” I began writing in order to give away the encouragement God gave me.

How did you get interested in history?

Years ago I visited the Smithsonian and went through an exhibit on how women impacted politics. Usually history revolves around men, so the material aroused my curiosity. I started to read biographies of the presidents’ wives. From there I purchased diaries and letters written by women in various time periods.

That sounds very interesting, but I’m curious: Why would a modern day woman want to read your book?

Even though these women lived years ago, they had the same feelings and struggles we have today. In fact, at times I found myself crying while immersed in a letter or diary. In addition, Women Who Overcame contains believers and unbelievers. I wanted women to see the contrast. I believe they’ll agree with me that walking by faith is the best way to live.

When I first started reading your book, I have to admit I was surprised that there were both Christians and non-Christians in it. Why do you say faith in Christ improves the lives of women?

First, women who trust in God don’t have to rely on their cunning. The apostle Peter said we have a ‘living hope.’ Our Savior is alive and making intercession for us. When hard times come, the Spirit intercedes for us to the Father. I think as women read my book, they’ll see these truths illustrated in the stories of women who believed.Cynthia Simmons WWO cover

You’re right–that’s exactly what happened as I read it! So, I’m curious: What is historical in these stories and what is fiction?

Each of these women actually lived, but when you study historical women, you find gaps in the story. Women stayed in the background while men had center stage. Even prominent women left behind few personal writings. I filled in the missing data with my imagination. In fact, I could have called this book creative nonfiction, since it’s as accurate as I could make it.

What is your current project? I’m working on a study guide for Women Who Overcame for churches to use in their women’s groups. It will be a twelve week Bible study and will have daily assignments. The student will be immersed in Scripture as they seek the answers to various issues raised in the stories.

That sounds like a great companion to your book, Cynthia. I hope to see it published soon, too! Thank you for being with us and sharing a little about your journey

And readers, be sure to leave a comment if you’d like a chance to win a free copy. Don’t forget to check back next week to see if you won!

Thanks for Tweeting!

#Women Who Overcame – Interview & Free Book w/ @CynthiaLSimmons via @VondaSkelton #amwriting http://bit.ly/1DOIgfk (Click to Tweet)

Bio: Cynthia L. Simmons and her husband, Ray, have five children and reside in Atlanta. She taught for over twenty-five years as a homeschool mother and Bible teacher. Her writing appeared in CAG publications, NATHHAN NEWS, Chattanooga Regional Historical Magazine, Georgia Right to Life Newsletter, Chattanooga Times Free Press, Catholic Exchange, ECLA magazine, Christian Devotions.us, and BookFun Magazine.  Active in Christian Authors Guild (CAG), she conducts writing workshops and has served as president, vice president, and conference director.  “Cyndi” has a heart for encouraging women in today’s crazy, upside-down world. She loves history and peppers her speaking and teaching with fascinating vignettes from the past. Her first book, Struggles and Triumphs, was nominated for 2008 Georgia Author of the year.  She hosts Heart of the Matter Radio for women seeking the elegance of God’s wisdom.  To listen to her broadcasts, visit her website: www.clsimmons.com

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Interview & Book Give-Away, Kudos and MoGo7000 Results

Sheri Levy and dogsI’m thrilled to share Sheri Levy and her new book, Seven Days to Goodbye, with you today! Normally, this is where I tell you how I met Sheri, but she did such a good job in her interview that we’ll just let her explain it all!

Don’t forget to leave a comment for Sheri and you’ll be in the drawing for a free book!

Sheri, welcome to the Christian Writer’s Den. Let’s start with an easy question: What inspired you to write?

For years I taught special education and tried to find the key to each child’s learning potential. Most of my students didn’t have a reading environment at home and it became my goal to instill their love of books. Each morning the students anticipated the continuation of a chapter book I read at the end of each day. They’d lean forward in their desks, hanging on to each word I read. When I retired, remembering their delight motivated me to write for children. I took my first pages to a SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators) conference and discovered quickly, writing a book was different than writing a letter or an academic paper. I signed up for classes, discussions on writing, and met Vonda Skelton.

I remember that day very well! What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced as a writer?

Beginning to write brought feelings of insecurity, questions–if this was a worthwhile desire? The biggest change in my life was writing for hours at a time, and giving-up free time with friends and my husband. I have kept my promise of turning off the computer at 5:00, most evenings! Receiving rejections broke my spirit. Luckily, after hearing Vonda speak about her rejections, and how she bounced back and continued sending them, I realized rejection was part of the writing career. She gave me hope, inspired me to work hard, and not give up.

I’m so glad that encouraged you, Sheri! How do you stay motivated?

I’d not be writing if it wasn’t for friends, new acquaintances, and my critique buddies supporting me. Once again, Vonda reached out to me. Was this a coincidence, or was God stepping in? Vonda knew I was writing about service dogs and she sent me an email. Her editor with Clubhouse Magazine wanted a story about a service dog that had changed a child’s life. I had already met Hayden, an eleven-year-old boy, walking with his Diabetic Alert dog in Walmart, and had interviewed him, completed his story, and was starting to query. After one revision, “Scent with Love” was published in Clubhouse Magazine, July, 2010. Another online friend, Sheila Webster Boneham, PhD, encouraged me to join the Dog Writers Association contest. In 2011, “Scent with Love” won a nomination for a Maxwell Medallion and won in their Special Interest category. Having my first article published was a thrill and a confidence builder.

How did Seven Days to Goodbye find publication?Sheri Levy book cover

I read about Barking Rain Press being open for submissions. I researched them, sent my query, and received a request for the entire manuscript. I had done this a number of times with no results, so I waited. Months later, while drinking coffee and watching the Today Show, I scrolled through my emails on my phone and noticed BRP’s name. I clicked on their email and read it. I lost my breath, handed the phone to my husband, and had him read the message out loud. The rest is history!

My young-YA novel, Seven Days to Goodbye, is my heart book. With permission, I share Carol Baldwin’s description from her October blog.

“What do you get when you mix together a week on Edisto Island with a puppy raiser and her best friend connecting to guys for the first time, protecting a loggerhead turtle’s nest, finding her service dog relating to a young boy with autism, and agonizing over what comes next. You get the ingredients for Seven Days to Goodbye.” Carol Baldwin

Do you have any words of wisdom you’d like to share?

Writers need a thick skin. After the story is completed and revised, send it to reputable blogs that generate contests and critiques. My favorites are Adventures in YA Publishing and Pitch Wars.

Take a break from the computer–do normal activities, allowing your brain to think and create.

Do Not Give Up! Start something new. Change Genres. But keep writing!

Great tips, Sheri! Thanks again for being with us today and sharing your writing journey with us. Best wishes for much success for your book!

And readers, don’t forget to leave a comment for Sheri and you could win a free book. Be sure to check back next week to see if you’re the winner!

Bio: Sheri Levy taught Special Ed for sixteen years, a Family Learning Program for nine years, and continues to tutor students once a week. She has two amazing adult children, two brilliant grand boys, and after raising four other dogs, now has two younger Australian Shepherds. Her most favorite activities besides reading and writing are her dogs, having her toes in a sandy beach, music, movies and ice cream. www.sherislevy.com

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Who do we get to celebrate with today?

Kudos to these Christian Writer’s Den writers for doing the work and finding success!

1.  Cathy Baker (SC): My story on a past miscarriage will be included in Chicken Soup of the Soul: Hope & Miracles, on sales February 10. (Vonda here: That’s TODAY! What a great way to celebrate with you!)

2.  Tammy Whitehurst (TX): 1)The United Methodist Publishing House just bought a 5th article from me. 2)I also wrote and sold a greeting card to Warner Press. 3)And I have been invited to speak at Gatesville Women’s Prison again. There is nothing that compares to it! I invite all of you to my daily devotional on Facebook. The page is filled with giggles and grins and a whole lot of God! Connect on FB at https://www.facebook.com/JoyForTheJourneyMinistry

3.  Beth Fortune (SC): 1)I had two more devotions accepted at ChristianDevotions.us; 2)I had another article accepted in Reach Out Columbia; 3)I was recently a guest blogger at the Christian Communicators blog!

Congratulations to these writers! Don’t see your own name on the list? Be sure to check back next week when I’ll have a whole new list of writing opportunities!

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Who were the first ones to earn entries into the 2015 MoGo7000 drawing for $100?

#1: Joan Hall – 7,055 words
#2: Suan Baganz – 16,866 words

Congratulations, Joan and Susan! You’re both off to a great start! And readers, don’t forget, every month you write at least 7000 new words on a book project, you can earn an entry. So what are you waiting for? Get to work!

And if you’re interested in finding out how you might win $100, check out the MoGo7000 Challenge page.

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Thanks for joining me today. Without you, it’d be a pretty lonely place. I appreciate you and pray for you and your work.

Blessings,

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:

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Interview & Book Give-Away with Linda Goldfarb, Kudos, & Who Won $100 in the MoGo7000 Challenge?

Linda Barn headshotWow, do we have a jam-packed day today! First up: Linda Goldfarb…

Friends, you can’t imagine how excited I am to introduce Linda Goldfarb to you! As you’ll see in the interview, we go wayyyy back to our much earlier days of writing and speaking. We’ve both experienced the joys and sorrows of living the writer/speaker life…and we wouldn’t trade it for anything!

Be sure to leave a comment for Linda and you’ll be in the drawing for a free copy of her new Bible study, Loving the ME God Sees. Don’t forget to check back next week to see if you’re the winner!

Okay, let’s get started! Linda, welcome to the Christian Writer’s Den. You and I go way back to the Glorieta Christian Writer’s Conference days, also as trainers with CLASSEMINARS Inc., and I was a guest on your radio show, Not Just Talkin’ the Talk, many years ago. We’ve shared a lot of road on our journey and now you’ve released your first Bible study. These are exciting times!

Ha ha, yes we have so many stories we could talk about for sure, Vonda! Thank you for the opportunity to be here with your readers, it’s an honor for me to be on the other end of the interview especially with you as the host!Loving the Me God Sees cover Linda Goldfarb

What inspired you to write a Bible study for women on Relational Transparency in Loving the ME God Sees?

Seriously, I never had the intention of writing a book, let alone a Bible study. I’m one of those speakers who writes magazine articles, online columns, personal/professional blogs, and yes, I have co-authored an eBook with Kim Garrison called, The Art of The Interview: Before, During, and After the Interview Strategies for Writers, Speakers, and Leaders, but a Bible study was never on my radar.

If it’s okay with you Vonda, I’d like to touch on two concepts leading to my book; our fear of exposure…or being transparent, and God’s will for our best.

Transparency is something we usually run away from, and being truthful, I ran from it with style. As a professional speaker/actress, I had the knack to disguise hurt, pain, shame, and low self-esteem with humor, a quick wit, redirection and if need be, withdrawing from situations that made me vulnerable to exposure. You’re a great actress yourself, so I’m sure you know where I’m coming from.

Linda Goldfarb communicationI knew there were things in my life, my past, that I had to face or let go of, but covering it up and using humor seemed more Christian-like—I became very comfortable with the phrase, “I’m fine. Everything is good. No worries.” Over the years of speaking and coaching I realized women around the globe suffered as I did…especially women in the church.

Several years ago, God’s will brought me face-to-face with our mutual friend, Georgia Shaffer. Without going into a lot of detail concerning our discussion at a CLASS Seminar event, Georgia’s words, “Linda, until you allow others to see your pain, you are limiting God’s impact on their lives and yours” struck me hard.

My gut reaction to her words put me in a defense mode, “Seriously Georgia, people don’t want to hear about my hurts, my pain, my challenges. They want to laugh and be entertained. People really don’t care.”

I walked away from our meeting with an unpleasant taste in my mouth and an unsettling feeling in my heart. Georgia was right. You see, in truth, I was very afraid to be real. Afraid of what others might think. I’m a professional; I should have it all together, right?

I’ve found God’s will is most evident in the scary moments of our lives. When we’re asked to step out on that unseen bridge of faith trusting Him more than we fear the world.Linda Goldfarb affirmation

Would you share with my friends the story of how the book came to be published?

In September of 2009 during my morning quiet time, God prompted me to write a Bible study. What transpired over the next two months is too long to share during this interview, let’s just say I had a two-by-four spiritual awakening to God’s best for me.

I began writing and teaching, at that time the study was called Walking Faith-Full, based on the Book of James. God literally provided seven women who met with me faithfully over the course of 13-weeks to complete the study. After that we opened the study to my church. At one point the women attending asked for the study title to be changed, as walking faith-full didn’t quite hit the mark. The result was Loving the ME God Sees.

In 2014, I approached our friend Cheri Cowell of Living Parables Inc/EABooks. about publishing the study as a POD and eBook. Her team worked with me all through the process and I love the results.

My encouragement to your readers: don’t allow your fears to overshadow God’s best in your life. If His will is for you to write a book, an article, a Bible study or whatever, be alert to life and He will affirm your calling. Then walk boldly through the door He opens trusting He has His best waiting around the corner… never give up.

Warrior Sisters Linda GoldfarbI just love that story! And I love Cheri Cowell, too. :-) A two-by-four moment, isn’t that just like God? Now, before we go, would you tell us what’s next for you?

I’m still speaking at retreats and emceeing events as the Lord allows. As a board certified Christian life coach, I’m blessed to work with women, couples, and parents helping them grow from good living to God’s best life. My hubby, Sam and I co-teach Parenting Awesome Kids in our church each week and I’m also writing a couple more books. One for my sisters-in-Christ called, His Warrior Sisters: Standing Strong for Faith, Family & Freedom, and the second is the I CARE Guide for Parents: Bite-sized Child-caring Principles for Busy Parents.

Thanks for being with us today, Linda. And readers, don’t forget to leave a comment and you’ll be in the drawing for a free copy of her book, Loving the ME God Sees. Just check back next week to see if you’re the winner!

BIO: As a national speaker and board certified life coach, Linda Goldfarb empowers women, parents & grandparents to move forward with hope & possibility when life changes. Linda is the author of Loving the ME God Sees: Peeling Back the Layers to Experience a Heart of Transparency. She has over 200 published articles covering physical, relational, and spiritual wellness. Linda is the mother of four adult children, Maw-Maw to six-grandies, and wife to her incredible partner in ministry, Sam. She is the Women’s Ministry Director at First Baptist Church of Universal City, Texas, and founder/instructor of Parenting Awesome Kids. Linda loves her life in the Texas hill country where she and Sam reside with four country dogs! www.Lindagoldfarb.com linda@lindagoldfarb.com

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It’s time to celebrate YOU with our Christian Writer’s Den Kudos!

Congratulations to the following CWD friends who’ve been doing the work and finding success:

1. Cheryl Barker (KS): My article “From Generation to Generation” appeared in the December issue of War Cry. Also, my article “Verbs of the Proverbs 31 Woman” was accepted for publication by Evangel, and my article “Propelled by Mother Love” was accepted for publication in the upcoming spring issue of The Lutheran Digest.

2. Brenda McGraw (SC): Brenda began her blog, AskGodToday.com, in 2013, but in recent months has added some excellent writers to her line-up.

3. Dr. Michelle Bengtson (TX): Michelle is offering a free webinar, “10 Tips to Beat the Post-Holiday Blues” on Tuesday, January 27 at 7:30pmCT. Click here to register for “10 Tips to Beat the Post-Holiday Blues.”

4. Sheri Levy (SC): Sheri’s YA novel, Seven Days to Goodbye, was released in the fall. (I’m so sorry I apparently missed including this earlier. Please forgive me!) You can read more about the book at Sheri’s website and here’s a link to her book trailer

Congratulations, Cheryl, Brenda, Michelle, and Sheri! And friends, if you need help finding success in publishing, be sure to return next week when I’ll be sharing writing opportunities and conferences with you!

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And now the moment you’ve all been waiting for . . . Who won the 2014 MoGo7000 Challenge?

Well, before I announce the winner, let me share some exciting statistics with you:

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  1. Would you believe over half a million new words were written on book projects and reported by Christian Writer’s Den friends in 2014? The grand total was 517,772 words!
  2. Nine writers participated in the 2014 challenge.
  3. I know several books came out of these months of writing, but I don’t know how many.
  4. And I know one writer is going to be $100 richer. :-)

Congratulations to all the writers who worked hard and made progress in their book projects this year!

So, are you ready to see who won $100 to spend as desired? Drum roll, please…Random.org says the winner of the 2014 MoGo7000 Challenge is…

Joan Hall!

Woo-hoo, Joan! Congratulations! Now, I just need you to contact me with your snail mail address and I’ll get that check right out to you!

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Don’t forget–the 2015 MoGo7000 Challenge is now underway! You could write a book this year and possibly win $100, too!

That’s right, the MoGo7000 Challenge is open to everyone, and it’s free! Check out the page for complete details, but the bottom line is I want to help you write your book this year, and one of the best ways I know to do it is to entice you with cash. :-)

It’s easy, it’s free, and it’s all for you. Check out the MoGo7000 Challenge details and then get to work. Every month you can win an entry. The more months you meet the challenge, the more entries you receive.

So what are you waiting for?

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Well, that’s it for another Celebration Tuesday. I hope you’ve been encouraged today to write the words you were created to write!

Vonda

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Interview & Book Give Away with Allison Flexer

Allison Flexer HeadShotHappy almost-New Year, my friends! Wow, what a whirlwind few weeks it has been! As a matter of fact, what a whirlwind YEAR it has been. Do I hear an amen?

I’m thrilled to slow down, take a breath, and introduce Allison Flexer to you. Allison and I met while I was teaching at Writers Advance Boot Camp a couple of years ago, and I was immediately intrigued by her book idea. And so was the editor at Beacon Hill Press! Be sure to read her amazing story of how God blessed her with a book contract and a husband…all in the same year!

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

Allison, welcome to the Christian Writer’s Den. Let’s get started with the first question: What inspired you to write a book for single women?

My journey of prolonged singleness was difficult, especially in my thirties. I believed I was doing all the right things, but my dating relationships never resulted in marriage for one reason or another. I prayed for a husband for a really long time and found myself losing hope.

In 2008, I quit my corporate job to take some time off. During those months, I rediscovered my love of writing. God led me on a healing journey through blogging and writing as he showed me the lies I had allowed to subconsciously creep into my life:

“No one has chosen me, so I’m not worthy to be chosen.”

“There is something wrong with me.”

“God has forgotten about me.”

I began writing about the lies I believed and sought truth from the Bible so I would be armed to fight these lies marching through my mind. Over the course of about four years, that healing journey turned into what is now Truth, Lies, and the Single Woman.

What do you believe is the most damaging lie that single Christian women believe?Allison Flexer book cover tlsw

Believing lies instead of truth is a struggle we all have in common, regardless of marital status. Vonda, I know you’re familiar with this topic and wrote about lies in your book, Seeing Through the Lies: Unmasking the Myths Women Believe. Although it’s difficult to rank them, I believe the lies about our sense of value or self-worth affect almost every other area of our lives and are critical to understand. The first half of Truth, Lies, and the Single Woman mainly addresses lies that impact our relationship with God.

The truth about our identity in Christ—we are accepted, love, valuable beyond measure—combats these lies. Once we know we’re fully loved and accepted by Christ, we can better counteract some of the other issues, like the temptation to settle or believing something is wrong with us.

What do you think married people commonly misunderstand about singleness?

I believe many married people, especially those who got married at a young age, don’t realize how difficult singleness can be. It’s tough to do life alone. In the book, I talk about how being single and going on dates during my mid-thirties made me feel childish in comparison to the big life changes my friends were experiencing, things like marriage and babies. Even though singleness definitely has perks—your schedule is completely your own and you can eat popcorn for dinner every night if you want—we shouldn’t overlook its challenges.

I want my friends to hear the story of how the book came to be published. Would you mind sharing it? 

I’d love to! In 2013, I was engaged and planning my wedding. I hadn’t pursued publication for the book in quite some time. It was mostly complete, but I had been rejected by many publishing houses and thought it wasn’t God’s plan for the book to be published.

Out of the blue, I received a call from Beacon Hill Press of Kansas City. They had been interested in the book years before, but nothing came of it. A new editor found my old proposal and called me about it. I sent her the manuscript to read. In August 2013, I was in the middle of my “trial run” with a stylist for my wedding hair and makeup. The editor called me and said, “We want to publish your book. I’m sending you a contract.”

After all that time, I couldn’t believe my ears. I was overwhelmed with the beauty of God’s plan. I got married and signed a book contract in the same year. So many answers to prayer in such a short time!

I just love that story! God not only blessed you with a husband when you least expected it AND with a contract after you thought that door had been closed. Isn’t that just like God?

Now, before we go, would you tell us what’s next for you?Allison Flexer photo

I’m beginning to book speaking engagements for 2015 and plan to work on building that side of my ministry. I love to encourage women with truth from God’s Word and help them see their great value in God’s eyes. I’m considering my next book project as well. Since I’ve now been married just over one year, I might work on Truth, Lies, and Newlyweds! I would also like to write a devotional book in the future. In the meantime, I’m a regular contributor at SingleMatters.com and also love to connect with readers on my website/blog: AllisonFlexer.com.

Thank you for joining us today, Allison. I pray God’s richest blessing on your book and your marriage!

And readers, if you’d like a chance to win a copy of Truth, Lies, and the Single Woman, be sure to leave a comment and then check back next week to see if you won. And if you can’t wait to get your own copy, here’s a direct Amazon link to Truth, Lies, and the Single Woman.

Bio: Allison K. Flexer is an author, speaker, and blogger who is passionate about communicating the love of God to others. Her first book, Truth, Lies, and the Single Woman (Beacon Hill Press), tells the story of her single journey and gives practical steps for letting go of the lies that destroy the joy and confidence of unmarried women. Allison was also a contributing writer for Fulfilled: The NIV Devotional Bible for the Single Woman. You can connect with Allison on her website at www.allisonflexer.com or on Twitter: @allisonkflex. Book’s website: www.SingleWomanBook.com

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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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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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Interview and Book Give-Away with Cheryl Ricker & Who Earned Another MoGo7000 Entry?

Cheryl Ricker in white

(I hope y’all don’t mind, but since there was a problem with the server and several wrote to tell me that they couldn’t see the great interview with Cheryl Ricker, I’m reposting it again. I don’t want you to miss this powerful post about an amazing miracle! I hope you understand.)

It’s the 2nd Tuesday, time to learn about another book from author Cheryl Ricker, have a chance to win a free book, and celebrate our Christian Writer’s Den family success!

 

First of all, I’m thrilled to introduce you to Cheryl Ricker and share her incredibly amazing book, Rush of Heaven: One Woman’s Miraculous Encounter with Jesus, co-written with Ema McKinley, and published by Zondervan. If you’ve ever doubted, this interview and book will assure you that God is still in the miracle business!

Don’t miss Cheryl’s bio below, but I’ll just say here that Cheryl and I met years ago, I believe it was at an Advanced Writers and Speakers Association conference in Denver, CO. She is a beautiful young woman, inside and out, and I’m blessed to call her my friend!

Let’s get started, but don’t forget to leave a comment for Cheryl and you’ll be in the drawing for a free book!

Welcome, Cheryl. Thanks for joining us today. First of all, would you tell us about what it’s like to be a collaborator?

I’d be happy to. First of, it was a huge answer to prayer that God even chose me. I asked him to put it on Ema’s heart and that’s exactly what he did. He spoke to Ema in the middle of the night and told her, “Pick Cheryl Ricker to write your book.” And I’ll never stop thanking him for that.Cheryl Ricker cover Rush of Heaven

A collaborator is a lot like being an actor, screenwriter, director, and producer all rolled up into one. As the producer, you need to pull together all your resources, your research, and all the different people you need to interview. As the director, you need to figure out all the people you’d like to have in the story. Then you need to plan how you’d like to include them. As a screenwriter, you need to map out the all the scenes, conversations, and dialogue. And finally, as the actor, you need to become your main character. You need to need to think like her, feel like her, and act like her—so you can pull it off to write like her.

Great analogy. Speaking of scenes, can you tell me your favorite scene in Rush of Heaven?

I love all the scenes, I really do. But I think my favorite scene, besides the big miracle scene itself, is when Ema surprises her sons and grandsons after her miracle healing on Christmas Eve. For some reason, that one makes my husband cry a little more than the other scenes, and I love making my husband cry—about good things.

Cheryl and Ema with their book, Rush of Heaven

Cheryl and Ema with their book, Rush of Heaven

But think of it: You have this crooked woman who has been confined to a wheelchair for more than sixteen years. She has never been able to really give her grandchildren a decent hug. All of sudden, she’s standing in front of them with her arms wide open. Okay, go grab me some more tissues.

Me, too, Cheryl! I’m curious, are you anything like Ema McKinley? And was it difficult to get inside her head and write her story?

We have our similarities, but when it comes right down to it, Ema and I are quite different in the way we think, act, and speak.

Because of this, I just needed to “learn” how to get into her mind. And that came from listening to her voice in my ears umpteen hours a day. As I listened to the MP3s of my interviews, it didn’t take long before I found myself catching her phrases in everyday speech. I said “oh my goodness” more, and “absolutely.”  And “I just thank my Jesus.”

I became a little Ema impersonator.

By the time I finished writing Rush of Heaven, Ema told me, “It’s like we’re one voice.” And I couldn’t agree with her more.

What do you want your readers to take away from this book?

I want readers to know that our loving Creator is right there, smack in the middle of their ashes, ready to piece them back together and give them a smokin’ wild story for his glory.

And I want people to know that you can’t put God in a box.  If he truly never changes, he can truly heal people today.

Amen, Cheryl, amen! Friends, here’s Ema McKinley’s interview with CBN.com. A great way to end this interview. You won’t believe what you see!

YouTube Preview Image

 

Thank you for joining us here today, Cheryl. And readers, if you’d like to win a copy of Rush of Cheryl Ricker in whiteHeaven: One Woman’s Miraculous Encounter with Jesus, simply leave a comment for Cheryl or Ema, and you’ll be in the drawing. Be sure to return next week to see if you’re the winner!

You can get your own copy of Rush of Heaven: One Woman’s Miraculous Encounter with Jesus here!

Bio: Cheryl Ricker has an honors degree in creative writing from York University in Toronto, Ontario. She studied theology at Christ for the Nations Institute in Dallas, Texas, where she participated in drama outreach, street evangelism, and prison ministry. She is the author of three books, including Rush of Heaven, A Friend in the Storm, and Kernels of Hope. She’s also published news stories, poetry, articles, and devotionals, and speaks to audiences of all ages on trusting God’s love, expecting the impossible, and growing in intimacy with Jesus. To learn more about Cheryl, feel free to sign up for her Fresh Air Blog at http://www.CherylRicker.com

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mogo7000 logoSusan Baganz has another new MoGo7000 entry!

That’s right–Susan has earned another entry for the $100 in cold, hard cash! (Well, it’ll actually be a check, but hey, she can take it to the bank and have it turn into cold, hard cash, right?)

So, #22 is Susan Baganz with 15,719 words

Friends, don’t forget–NaNoWriMo totals also work for MoGo7000 totals, so you could have a double blessing just by working on your book this month!

Don’t know what we’re talking about? Check out the MoGo7000 Challenge page and you could be in the drawing for November and December…and maybe you’ll be $100 richer in January!

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Well, that does it for another Writer’s Headline Tuesday. Be sure to return next week to see who won Cheryl’s book and to see a new list of writing opportunities compiled just for you!

Happy writing!

Vonda

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Interview & Book Give-Away with Emily Chase

Copy of ChaseFamily-207Welcome to another Author Tuesday at the Christian Writer’s Den. I’m thrilled to share another talented writer with you! Today’s guest is Emily Parke Chase, archaeologist, speaker and author of seven books. Emily and I met in 2012 when she attended the Christian Communicators Conference at the Billy Graham Training Center at The Cove.

She’s an amazing speaker, counselor to women in crisis pregnancies, and an author who hits the hard subjects for young people. The titles alone will make you want to get her books for the teens and young adults you know. Be sure to check out her books by clicking on the book covers. I know you’re gonna love her as much as I do!

Welcome, Emily. Let’s start at the beginning. When did you first begin writing?

When I was in first grade, I wrote a story called “The Lucky Lady.” In the story, an older woman lived by herself, and a robber broke into her home, beat her and tied her up. The end. When I showed the story to my aunt, she was a bit confused. “Why was she the Lucky Lady?” she asked. With all the confidence of a 7 year old, I replied, “He didn’t kill her.” I like to think my writing skills have improved a degree since then!Dating

I love it! And I agree, that did make her lucky! So when did writing become a serious pursuit?

After my oldest son finished homeschooling and went to college, I asked the Lord for direction as where to invest my time. During that period of prayer, a dear friend named Joy Jacobs, author of They Were Women Too, stopped by and asked if I would consider co-authoring a book with her. My heart leaped at the idea. As it turned out, Joy and I never did end up co-authoring together but God used her to reveal a long dormant passion I had for writing. That event was almost 20 years ago and the passion is still there.

Friend Who's GayWow. Don’t you love how God orchestrates the details of our lives to bring about His perfect will? And now you now have seven books in print, all from standard publishers. Did you ever consider self-publishing?

No, when I first began looking at publishers, I wanted to go with a standard publisher for several reasons. First, I was not confident of my abilities as a writer and so I wanted the affirmation of an editor who thought my writing was strong enough to invest his company’s dollars in my project. Second, at that time I still considered writing to be my private hobby and I didn’t want to tie up my husband’s income by investing in a book that might not sell. Third, because marketing is my weakest area, I needed the expertise of a standard publisher to get the word out about my books.Help

There seems to be an assumption that all writers wake up at 4AM to work, drink pots of coffee, and rarely eat. What does a typical day look like for you?

You can’t see my face turning red. I am not as disciplined as some writers who put in a specific number of hours each day or set a goal of writing 1500 words a day. My schedule is all over the place as I do speaking engagements. Sometimes I go for days without writing. Then I’ll have a week off and produce three chapters of a novel and several more short articles. I work best with large chunks of time where I can sit for hours and get into the world of my characters. Still, there are times when I find myself sitting in an airport for an hour and I will jot a rough draft of a short article.

Do you ever experience the infamous “writers block”?

Say NoNot really. One thing that helps me to avoid this problem is to have a variety of styles of writing.  In addition to my non-fiction books and the novels I’m working on, I also write devotionals – check out my website at EmilyChase.com to see samples there – and I prepare technical abstracts for a theological journal. I also write for Chicken Soup for the Soul. If I can’t get motivated to work on my novel, I usually turn to another genre and work on a different project. If that doesn’t work? Mixing up a batch of chocolate chip cookies is a good cure!

Hey, I like that idea! So, do you have any advice for new writers?

Don’t limit yourself to a single genre. And carry your skills from one area into the other areas. For example, I found that, in writing non-fiction, I need to use my story-telling skills just as much as when I am writing fiction. True life stories need dialogue, setting, and character development just as Spanish Say Nomuch as any novel. Draw your readers in and make them care about your subject material.

If people have further questions, feel free to have them contact me at echase@messiah.edu.  I have a passion for writing, but I also have a passion for helping new writers!

I know you do, Emily! Thank you for being with us today and sharing your journey.

And readers, I’ve made it easy for you to read about Emily’s books on Amazon. Just click on the picture for a direct link.

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

Bio: Trained originally as an archaeologist, Emily Chase moved from the jungles of Laos and Mexico back to the USA to establish a pro-life counseling ministry. Instead of repairing old pottery shards, she now glues lives of her clients back together. A popular speaker at conferences and retreats, Emily is the author of seven books, including Help! My Family’s Messed Up! (Kregel) and Standing Tall After Falling Short (Moody). Learn more about Emily at emilychase.com.

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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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