Category Archives: Writer’s Conferences

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Interview and Book Give-Away with Author Cheryl Barker

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How will mothers of the bride benefit from your book?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here’s where you can connect with Cheryl:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

7.  Good Housekeeping writing guidelines here.

8.  Analog Science Fiction and Fact Magazine guidelines here.

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

10. Country Woman contributor guidelines.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Happy writing!

Vonda

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

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

1.  Guardian Angel Kids is looking for submissions.

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

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

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

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

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

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

8.  Chicken Soup is always looking for stories!

9.  American Snowmobiler welcomes stories and photos!

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

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

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Upcoming writing and speakers training conferences…

What conference will you be attending next?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Happy writing!

Vonda

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

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

 

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

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

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

2.  ACFW Virginia Short Story Contest is Open to Everyone

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

4.  Free Spirit Publishing book submission guidelines

5.  Good Old Days Magazine contributor guidelines

6.  Celebrate Life submission guidelines

7.  Dollar Stretcher Publications writers guidelines

8.  Midwest Living magazine writers guidelines

9.  Today’s Christian Woman guidelines

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

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

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

Where are you going this year?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Thanks, Edie!)

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Happy writing!

Vonda

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Interview & Book Give-Away with Sandra Merville Hart

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

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

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

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

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

I pondered those questions and the story was born.

What started you on your writing journey?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Yes, I do!

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

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

Has your writing changed your reading habits?

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

Who has been your greatest encourager on your writing journey?

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

Who inspires you?

Great authors like Mark Twain inspire me.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thanks for Tweeting!

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

 

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

To connect with Sandra:

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

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

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Sandra_M_Hart

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

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

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

 

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Writer’s Headlines: Writing Opportunities & Conferences

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

6.  Educational markets for children’s writers   

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

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

9.  Parents Magazine is always looking for writers

10. Creation Illustrated Writers and Photographers guidelines

 

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Writing Conferences are Your Ticket to Success!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Happy writing!

Vonda

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Writer’s Headlines: Writing Opportunities & Conferences and Christian Communicators Registration is Open!

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

1.  Alaska Magazine Submission Guidelines for Freelance WritersAnd yes, we have a couple of writers who live in Alaska, so girls, this is for you!

2.  The Cattleman Magazine – Guidelines for Writing for The Cattleman Yes, we have some cowgirls, too. :-)

3.  Alive Now writers guidelines and theme list

4.  Chicken Soup for the Soul possible book titles - They’re always looking for new stories!

5.  American Girl Magazine accepts entries by children!

6.  Bible Advocate and Now What? writer’s guidelines

7.  Faith Today: Canada’s Christian Magazine

8.  Submission guidelines for BABYBUG, LADYBUG, SPIDER, ASK, CRICKET, and CICADA magazines for babies through teens

9.  Writer’s guidelines for Catholic Digest.

10. Eldridge Plays and Musicals submission guidelines

11.  Photo Life could be looking for your photos!

12. Sasee Magazine for Women. It’s all about women. It’s all about you.

13. Mary Kaarto is looking for counselors.  “I’m looking to interview licensed or certified counselors that deal with substance abuse, domestic violence, suicide prevention, grief counselors, pastors who offer couples counseling and anyone with active involvement in an unemployment ministry for a book I’m writing. Please contact me with your credentials at marykaarto@marykaarto.com. Thank you.”

14. Grace Publishing is accepting manuscript submissions

15. Jennifer Hallmark is taking blog submissions for 2016: Have you ever been overwhelmed by gratefulness over an act of kindness by a friend, family member, or organization? Have your children or spouse done something so sweet you just have to share? I have openings on my website’s blog page, Small Acts of Kindness, scattered throughout the rest of this year. I post every Monday.

I’m looking for a 300-700 word story sharing your experience. Please include photos or pictures you’d like me to post, book blurb and cover. I also will add any links and a short bio if you’d like.

Please reply to jenlhall63 (at) gmail (dot) com if you are interested. For examples, go to http://jenniferhallmark.com/blog/  Thanks! p.s. We also have interviews open on the Writing Prompts blog for the second half of the year.

Well, that should keep you busy for a while! Be sure to let me know when you get that publication!

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Image courtesy of StuartMiles/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of StuartMiles/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Conferences are your ticket to success!

Here’s a list of upcoming writing and/or speaking conferences. Make your plans now to attend at least one conference a year. You wouldn’t expect to get a job without being prepared and qualified, would you? You can be sure your chances of publication increase with your training and experience in writing as well.

1.  Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference: March 18-22, 2016, Mount Hermon, CA

2.  Mid-South Christian Writers Conference: March 19, 2016, Collierville, TN

3.  American Christian Writers Mentoring Retreats begin in April: Various locations and dates

4.  Write2Ignite for Writers of Children’s Literature: April 1-2, 2016, Tigerville, SC

5.  Orange County Christian Writers’ Conference: April 15-16, 2016, Fullerton, CA

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

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

8.  Blue Lake Christian Writers Retreat: April 20-23, 2016, Andalusia, AL (This is a NEW conference!)

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

brmcwc 201610. Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference: May 22-26, 2016, Ridgecrest, NC (I’ll see you there!)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

21. Christian Communicators Conference: August 24-28, 2016 The Billy Graham Training Center at The Cove, Asheville, NC. Registration will open in March. Registration opens today! Don’t delay–Only 30 slots available!

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

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

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4 CCC girls 2012Ladies, it’s the day you’ve been waiting for! Christian Communicators Conference Registration is now open!

Could this be YOUR year to take the next bold step into your speaking ministry? Whether you’re novice just testing the waters, or an experienced speaker with years of events behind you, this conference is just what you need!

All-inclusive package, including video and headshots? Yes!

Ongoing mentoring and networking opportunities? Yes!

Ongoing community support of like-minded sisters? Yes!

Intimate conference of only about 30 ladies, set in the beautiful NC mountains at The Billy Graham Training Center at The Cove? Yes!

Let this be the year you find out what all the excitement is about.

Anonymous comments from last year’s post-conference evaluation:

“It was unforgettable. Life-changing. It anchored me to a breakthrough understanding of my calling. It was a deep cleaning of my soul, an inspired 4 days that will affect the rest of my life.”

“I’ve attended many conferences and, hands down, this is the best one EVER! It was well-planned and executed. I would have loved to stay another day…”

“I’m a conference junkie, and I’ve never seen a conference so adept at facilitating relationship-building before…”

 Find out more…

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Thanks for sharing!

#Writing opportunities & conferences. #Christian Communicators registration now open! #publicspeaker (Click to Tweet)

Happy writing and speaking!

Vonda

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Publishing: Me & My Big Mouth,Call-Outs for Kudos & MoGo7000, & Book Winner

Ape with big mouth Pixabay

Today’s the 1st Tuesday, so it’s the day for writing instruction, call-outs, and a book give-away!

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Let’s start with some encouragement and instruction for writers with Me & My Big Mouth!

I’ve always had a big mouth. Even as a little girl, I realized that speaking up when others wouldn’t, talking louder than the crowd, and trying to persuade others to my side often resulted in getting what I wanted.

At least it did until I decided to be a writer.

During my first several years of writing, the critiques of my work–whether delivered by my unpublished critique group members, published authors, or professional agents and editors–were often met with my own push-backs. After all, pushing back had worked for most other things in my life.

But it didn’t work with writing.

The truth is, I wasted years on the road to publication by defending my work. I was determined to convince others of their inability to grasp the brilliance of my great American novel, now bleeding on every page. Couldn’t they recognize a good book when they saw one? That hardheaded, self-centered, know-it-all attitude cost me years in reaching my writing goals.

Now, as I teach at writing conferences around the country, my heart aches when I sit face-to-face with the headstrong version of my younger writing self. With only 15 minutes to glean the wisdom of those who’ve already traveled this road, the younger me–whether male or female, blonde or brunette, regardless of race or age or experience–wastes our time together by arguing every point.

“Don’t be like me!” I want to shout. “Don’t follow in my footsteps. The journey doesn’t have to be this long!” But in an effort to defend their work–often believed given word-for-word by God–the minutes have soon passed and very little, if any, words of wisdom have been transferred from teacher to student.

If you’ve been working at this writing goal for a while and have been to conferences to learn the craft, but still haven’t made progress, consider this:

FreeDigitalPhotos/Iosphere

FreeDigitalPhotos/Iosphere

*Could you and your big mouth be in the way? Mine certainly was for me.

*Friends, please know this is stated with all love and respect. :-)

Thanks for Sharing!

Me & my big mouth stood in the way of my writing goals. What about you? (Click to Tweet)

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It’s Time to Share Kudos of YOUR Successes!

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

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

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

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

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mogoWho MoGo’d in February?

If you wrote at least 7000 new words on a book project in February, you can receive an entry in the drawing for the 2015 MoGo7000 $100 cash prize! It’s open to everyone who qualifies.

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

If you missed out on last year’s money-winning writing challenge, don’t worry, the 2016 challenge has just begun. Here are the MoGo7000 Challenge rules. All you have to do is write at least 7000 NEW words on a book project in any month and you’ll receive an entry into the end-of-the-year drawing for $100.

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

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Marilyn Turks Lighthouse Devotions cover

Who Won Marilyn Turk’s Book?

Drumroll, please. The winner is…

Nan Jones!

Congratulations, Nan! Please contact me with your snail mail address and Marilyn will get the book right out to you!

And friends, I know you want to get your own copy, so here’s a direct Amazon link to Lighthouse Devotions, by Marilyn Turk. Enjoy!

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Thank you for joining me today on our 1st Tuesday edition of Christian Writer’s Den. I hope you are encouraged by your visit. Love and blessings to each of you!

Vonda

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Writer’s Headlines: Writing Opportunities & Conferences Collected Just For YOU!

newspapersThis is the 3rd Tuesday and that means I have lots of writing opportunities for you!

We’ve had lots of Christian Writer’s Den writers find publication through the monthly writing opps and contests. Could this be your month?

As always, remember to check out the publication to discover their voice and slant, and then follow instructions carefully.

1.  Adoptive Families Magazine

Adoptive Families is the leading information resource for families before, during, and after adoption. We want to hear your stories. We encourage you to
share your insights and experiences with other adoptive families. And we’re always looking for great writing.

2.  Utmost Christian Writers Poetry Contest

3.  BJU Press

Writing opportunities for Christian fiction and biographies for children and teens; Christian nonfiction for adults.

4.  Christian Devotions Ministry Submissions

Christian Devotions is always looking for devotions. And they love working with new writers who are willing to learn!

5.  WritersWeekly.com posts a list of paying markets every week!

6.  Chicken Soup for the Soul is always looking for writers. Currently looking for poetry and stories about Blended Families, College Students, Dreams, Teachers, The Joy of Christmas, and The Spirit of Canada.

7.  Connecticut Magazine

8.  Women’s Adventure Magazine is no longer a paying print market, but it’s open to submissions that can build your resume!

9.  Homeschooling Today only accepts completed articles. No queries, please.

10. Canoeroots North America’s only canoeing and canoe camping magazine.

11. GoNOMAD magazine, inspiration and links to plan your trip

12. Cruising World Guidelines for Writers and Photographers

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If you’re serious about writing or speaking, you’ll be serious about attending conferences!

Here’s a list of upcoming writing and/or speaking conferences. Make your plans now to attend at least one conference a year. You wouldn’t expect to get a job without being prepared and qualified, would you? You can be sure your chances of publication increase with your training and experience in writing as well.

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

2.  Florida Christian Writers Conference: February 24-28, 2016, Leesburg, FL

3.  Carolina Christian Writers Conference: March 11-12, 2016, Spartanburg, SC

4.  Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference: March 18-22, 2016, Mount Hermon, CA

5.  Mid-South Christian Writers Conference: March 19, 2016, Colliersville, TN

6.  American Christian Writers Mentoring Retreats begin in April: Various locations and dates

7.  Write2Ignite for Writers of Children’s Literature: April 1-2, 2016, Tigerville, SC

8.  Orange County Christian Writers’ Conference: April 15-16, 2016, Fullerton, CA

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

10. Blue Lake Christian Writers Retreat: April 20-23, 2016, Andalusia, AL (This is a NEW conference!)

brmcwc 201611. Northwest Christian Writers Renewal: May 13-14, 2016, Redmond, WA

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

20. Christian Communicators Conference: August 24-28, 2016 The Billy Graham Training Center at Theccclogosmall Cove, Asheville, NC. Registration will open in March. (I’ll see you there!) Please note: The 2016 conference isn’t uploaded quite yet, but it will be soon! Please don’t register yet. :-)

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

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Well, that’s should keep you busy for a while. Happy writing!

Vonda

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The Fastest Route to Publication–It’s as Easy as 1-2-3! Plus Let’s Celebrate These Writers!

Photo courtesy of BillLongshaw/FreeDigitalPhoto

Photo courtesy of BillLongshaw/FreeDigitalPhoto

Well, it’s the 2nd Tuesday, so that means we’ll start with some tips for writers!

Some of you have heard my story of writing a poem in first grade. You know that in high school I worked on the newspaper staff and was editor of the literary journal. Some have heard me say that by the time I was in college I knew that one day I would write a book…and the next thing I knew, I was forty.

At that point, I figured my life was half over. If I was going to write a book, I’d better get started!

But do you know the rest of the story?

I sat down and wrote a book. It only took me about three months to dash from start to finish, but I was confident it would be the next great American novel for kids. I remember the day I dropped the first batch of ten envelopes in the mailbox. “Oh my. What am I going to do when five publishers want my book at the same time? Oh, my!” (I’m dead serious. That’s exactly what I thought.)

But instead of a bidding war, the submissions received 10 rejections before the stamps were dry. (Yes, those were the days when you had to actually lick the stamps, too!)

The years came and went and I continued to recycle that book over and over and over, confident that I’d eventually find an editor who had sense enough to see what a gold mine my book would be for his or her publishing house. I did this for at least 5 years, never considering that perhaps, just maybe, I needed to learn something about writing.

In my rush to see my name in print, it took me 7 years, lots of conferences, and lots of rejections to dash across the publication finish line. And it took 10 years to have a published book!

I had a simple 1-2-3- plan for publication: 1)feel the urge, 2)write the book, and 3)collect a big fat advance.

Oh, if only it were that easy! For most of us, successful writing is a tortoise event, not a hare one. A cross-country event, not a sprint.

If you want to write a book and then spend 10 years trying to get it published, that’s fine. After all, it’s your book, you can do whatever you want. But if you really want to cross the finish line as a writer, here are the 1-2-3′s to help you get there faster.

1.  Take the time to learn the craft. If you don’t get anything from this post, I hope you get this: There are no shortcuts. I once heard bestselling author, T. Davis Bunn, say something like, “Would someone decide he wants to be a concert pianist, learn to bang out Chopsticks, and then expect to play Carnegie Hall? Would someone decide to be an artist, slap a little paint on a canvas, and then expect a buyer to pay her for it? Of course not! But that’s exactly what we do when we simply sit down, write a book, and think it’s going to be sold.”

So, instead of jumping straight into a book, start at the beginning. Find a local writer’s group, take a class at the community college, and attend writing conferences. Read instructional books and follow instructional writing blogs like this one. (You could sit and read the archives and have your own writer’s conference right in the comfort of your own home!) Learn the techniques of good writing, apply them to your work, and get valid feedback from others who know what to look for. This doesn’t mean you can’t be working on your book from the beginning, but you need to be learning the craft in the process.

2.  Start with short pieces. Many of us start out with a big dream to write and sell a book. And it could happen. Possibly. But your chances for publication may actually increase if you start out small by submitting articles and stories. And for some editors, agents, and publishing houses, the chances of publishing a book are greater if you’ve already proven you can write publishable short pieces. And the good news is, I post writing opportunities right here on The Christian Writer’s Den every third Tuesday of the month, listing places that are looking for writers.

3.  Write a blog. Yes, writing a blog can help you in your race to the writing finish line. Good blogging requires discipline, writing skills, and promotion. All this will help you build a platform while building your writing paper trail. A blog rarely leads to a book contract, although it could happen. But the better goal is to use that time to make connections while learning to write well. Visit Edie Melson’s blog, The Write Conversation, for great posts about blogging and social media.

So there you have it, the 1-2-3 of writing for publication. The steps are simple, but they certainly aren’t easy. The dash to the finish line not be a sprint, but follow these steps and you’re more likely to win your cross-country goal of publication.

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Photo courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Photo courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Let’s celebrate your kudos!

Congratulations to these Christian Writer’s Den friends who are working hard and reaching their goals!

1. Nancy Foss (NC): My first book, Lord, Change Him; He’s Such a Jerk: Finding Hope for an Unhappy Marriage, was just published. I’m looking forward to seeing where God will take me this year.

2. Ellen Andersen (SC): I had a devotion, Forgive Them? Why Should I?, published at the end of January by Christian Devotions.

3. Barbara Parentini (NC): It’s been a while since I’ve shared with you about my inspirational greeting cards, Soaring Hearts. In the last six months there have been wonderful developments. First: The desire of my heart was to see the cards perch in a hospital gift shop. There is now a large selection in my hometown, Springfield, Ohio, at The Gardenview Gift Shop in Springfield Regional Medical Center. My nursing school is rooted in the new hospital, so God answered my prayer in such a lovely way! Second: Soaring Hearts and the entire “Sea Glass Collection” is in Yoder’s Gift Shop. Yoder’s is the most well-known Amish restaurant in Sarasota, Florida. My family and I have been frequent customers for decades! They are known for their amazing pies, delicious food, and beautiful gift shop. Yoder’s now stocks a wide assortment of Soaring Hearts. Third: I was approached over a year ago about this, and I’ve been chosen as the card vendor for The Garden Club of North Carolina’s 91st Annual Event. Several vendors and I will have our booths set up at the Sheraton Imperial (Emperor Blvd by RDU Airport) in Durham, NC, for the statewide event, April 17-19, 2016. The ladies of the garden club have been welcoming and enthusiastic about the cards. I will feature my Garden Grace Collection which I intend to grow this year. And to note, I’m in the process of editing my long-awaited book, SEA GLASS, a journal/devotional for those who love the sea, filled with Scripture, devotions, poetry, and inspiring prose. I plan to paint pages with sea glass colors and design. I’ve been compiling this over several years, and am excited this will be finished in 2016. Thank you, Vonda, for always being so supportive about my writing and creative endeavors. Blessings!

4. Tracy Crump (MS): I am honored to announce that Chicken Soup for the Soul chose my story “A Glorious Ride,” previously published in their Inspiration for the Young at Heart, to be included in the upcoming For Mom, with Love, which will benefit the Boys and Girls Clubs of America.

Way to go, writers! And friends, if you didn’t see your name on this list, be sure to check back next week where I’ll have a new list of writing opportunities just for you!

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Who MoGo’d in January?

These friends wrote at least 7000 words on a book project in January and earned an entry in the 2016 drawing for $100 at the end of the year!

#1: Diana Leagh Matthews – 32,765 words
#2: Susan Baganz – 14,703 words
#3: Tim Suddeth – 20,248 words
#4: Amanda Everett – 7,466 words

Woo-hoo! We’re off to a great start, gang! And readers, if you want to join in the fun and have a bunch of chances to win $100 at the end of the year, check out the MoGo7000 Challenge. It’s free!

Well that does it for the 2nd Tuesday of February. Be sure to check back next week when we’ll take a look at writing opportunities and conferences.

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

Vonda

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