Category Archives: Writing Instruction

“Instruction, encouragement, and inspiration for writers ”


The Christian Writer’s Den Auction is Over

I’m happy to announce that an offer has been accepted for the complete package and the Christian Writer’s Den auction is over. Thank you to all who had planned to participate and contacted me with questions and clarifications. You’re the most encouraging bunch of friends and I’m so blessed to have each of you in my life! I pray God’s richest blessings as you continue to serve him through your writing and speaking ministry!

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First Deadline is Tonight! (For the Complete Auction Package Only)

I’m happy to announce that an offer has been accepted for the complete package and the Christian Writer’s Den auction is over. Thank you to all who had planned to participate and contacted me with questions and clarifications. You’re the most encouraging bunch of friends and I’m so blessed to have each of you in my life! I pray God’s richest blessings as you continue to serve him through your writing and speaking ministry!

 

Hello, Friends.

Just a quick note to remind you that bids for the Complete Auction Package must be submitted by tonight, Monday December 4 at 12midnight ET. Please note this deadline is ONLY for those who want to bid on the entire contents of the auction. (If that package is purchased, the auction will then be closed.)

The deadline for bids on the other two large packages, the Writing is Fun Workshop Package and the Christian Writer’s Den Package, must be submitted by Tuesday, December 5 at 12 midnight ET. If one or both of those packages are purchased, the auction will then consist of only the items that WERE NOT included in the package(s) that were sold.

The final deadline for the remaining items in the auction is Thursday, December 7 at 5pm ET. Please remember that you can go ahead and bid now on the individual lots. If the large packages aren’t sold, your bids on the individual lots will then be active and bidding will continue on those items.

If you haven’t already, please be sure to read the complete instructions before bidding. It’ll make the process much easier! Here are the updated instructions.

Bidding is open only on the December 3 blog post, so click here to bid. 

 

Remember, there’s no bid too small to start your bid. Also be sure to contact me if you need to discuss a longer payment window for the larger packages.

Please feel free to email me at vondaskelton@gmail.com with any questions. I’m happy to discuss anything!

Hugs,

Vonda

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Important Update: Christian Writer’s Den Auction Details

I’m happy to announce that an offer has been accepted for the complete package and the Christian Writer’s Den auction is over. Thank you to all who had planned to participate and contacted me with questions and clarifications. You’re the most encouraging bunch of friends and I’m so blessed to have each of you in my life! I pray God’s richest blessings as you continue to serve him through your writing and speaking ministry!

 

Wow! Oh, how you have blessed me with your words of encouragement and validation at the news of my retirement. You make me feel so loved! I’ve been reminded again why it was so difficult to announce the move into my new season of life.

But as many of you have said, seasons do change, and those orders to stop and rest are as much a part of His plan as are the original marching orders to go and do. Your words have brought me a new level of peace and confirmation. Thank you.

And thank you to those who have already shared the auction with others. I’m confident there are writers and speakers out there who could benefit from this opportunity. I appreciate you taking the time to help them hear about it.

When you share, would you please use this updated page instead of the original one?

Auction Update: (The complete instructions are located below this update. Be sure to read the instructions so you’ll understand the bidding process.)

As I mentioned in the initial post, I expected there would be some necessary clarifications after announcing the auction. And there are. First of all, in order to make the offered items easier to locate, today I’m reposting the available items/packages here on this page, along with any current bids on them.

Also, as questions came up yesterday, I added a few explanations into the original post. For that reason, I’ve reposted all the instructions at the bottom of this post. But if you’d rather just read the clarifications, here is a summary of the explanations/added info:

1. To make it easier to follow the auction, this update post will now become the current auction site. I will continue to monitor the original site and will move any bids over to this post if they’re placed on the original page.

2. A question has come up about a longer payment window for the larger packages. That is certainly something that can be addressed on a case-by-case basis. Simply email me at vondaskelton (@) gmail (dot) com and we can discuss possible options.

3. All items will be transferred with a simple contract.

4. I’ve added more detail to some of the item descriptions. They are listed in the items offered in the comments.

5. Please note that items/comments with longer descriptions may be abbreviated with a clickable SEE MORE note at the bottom. Be sure to look for the note on longer posts and click in order to see all the information.

6. There are 10 auction offerings, but with so many comments, you may not see all of them if you don’t watch for and click the LOAD MORE COMMENTS bar as you scroll down. Be sure to click on that note or you will miss out on items that are included in the auction.

7. To place a bid, you must hit REPLY to the specific item I’ve posted. Follow up questions must also stay in the thread under each item.

8. When you place a bid and I respond with APPROVED, that simply means your bid is noted and recorded. Others may continue placing bids on those items until the posted deadline.

9. Please note that there are three separate deadlines. This is necessary because some of the items are listed both individually and in the larger packages. This allows the purchase of a package to be complete as advertised and associated items will then be removed from the auction.

10. If a package is not sold by its deadline, the package will be removed from the auction and all associated items and their bids will then be active.

11. Bidding is open for all items until their deadline, whether a single item, small package, or large package. You do not have to wait to see if a package sells before bidding on items that are also part of a package. (Clear as mud?)

12. The deadline for the Complete Package of all items listed in the auction is Monday, December 4 at midnight ET. 

13.  The deadline for the Writing is Fun Workshops Package and the Christian Writer’s Den Package is Tuesday, December 5 at midnight ET. 

14. The deadline for all other items is Thursday, December 7 at 5pm ET.

And if you haven’t read the full instructions below, please do so before bidding. It’ll make the process much easier.

Complete Instructions

General instructions:
1. The auction is open to all writers and speakers. It’s always more fun with more participation, so please feel free to share the Auction post with any writers, speakers, and groups you know.
2. Remember that while some items are appropriate for writers of any level, others are best suited for experienced, published writers and speakers. Be sure to read recommendations before bidding. If nothing specific is mentioned, the item or package is appropriate for anyone.
3. The auction will be online only and will be held here at the Christian Writer’s Den blog.  It will close December 7 at 5pmET.
4. If you’re not already a registered commenter at the Christian Writer’s Den, you’ll need to register. There is no charge to participate and you will not be automatically added as a follower.

How to bid:
5. Each item/package will be listed separately in the comment section of the Auction Blog post. You may place a bid by hitting REPLY directly under the specific item/package you want to bid on. Please do not try to bid by placing a general comment or by replying to other bids or other comments.
6. A bid is only approved if it is written as a REPLY under a specific item/package.
7. I will reply to your bid by stating APPROVED. That simply means I see your bid and have noted it in my records. It does not mean you have won the item. The winner will be the highest bidder at the deadline.
8. Bids will be accepted in the order of posting.
9. General questions that will be of interest to all participants may be posted in the general comments.
10. If you don’t mind using your name to bid publicly, simply post your bid as a REPLY to the specific item or package you’re bidding on.
11. I’ll be at the computer continuously from 9amET to 12midnightET each day except Sunday. You’re free to bid on Sunday if you would like, but bids will not be marked as APPROVED until Monday morning.

Anonymous bids:
12. If you’d rather make an anonymous bid, simply email me at vondaskelton (@) gmail (dot) com with your real name, your preferred bidding name, the item you’re bidding on, and the amount of your bid. I’ll post it for you publicly using your bidding name and the time of your email. Please note that other bids may come in between the time you email your bid and when I note it and post it for you.
13. If you must make an anonymous bid during the night hours, it will be added when I get back to the computer the next morning.

Packages vs individual items:
14. IMPORTANT NOTE: Some items are also offered as part of a package. The packages will be offered for a limited time, as noted in the post. You may go ahead and bid on individual items while the package bidding is still active.
15. You may bid on individual items and packages from the beginning; however, an acceptable package sale will eliminate the possibility of individual sales of items included in the package.

Reserve minimum bid:
16. ANOTHER IMPORTANT NOTE: A reserve is placed on the three major packages: The Complete Package of all items in the auction; The Writing is Fun Workshop Package; and The Christian Writer’s Den Package. This means that if the highest bid doesn’t meet the undisclosed minimum amount set prior to the auction, the package will be withdrawn from the auction and will not be sold as a package. Any bidder who has placed a bid on these larger packages but does not meet the reserve will be contacted with more information prior the deadline.
17. If the package isn’t sold, the bids for individual items will be put into effect at that time and bidding will continue until the end of the auction. If the package sells, the associated individual items will be withdrawn and those bids will be cancelled.

Payments:
18. If you place a bid, you are verifying that you are prepared to fulfill the commitment of your bid, should you win it.
19. At the end of the auction, the winner of each item/package will receive a Request for Payment through PayPal and will be responsible for completing the sale at the bid price within 24 hours. With PayPal, you can pay by credit card or through a PayPal account. (See added item, #20 below.)
20. A question has come up about the option of a longer payment window for the bigger packages. That is certainly something that can be addressed on a case-by-case basis. Simply email me at vondaskelton@gmail.com and we can discuss it. Thank you.

Contracts:
21. All items/packages will be transferred with a simple contract.

Ready to join the fun?

Thank you again for your interest in this auction. I hope my years of work will bring a financial blessing to those who participate, making your writing journey more productive and easier to navigate.

After all, the goal of the Christian Writer’s Den has always been to encourage and celebrate writers and speakers!

With love and appreciation,
Vonda

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The End of My Season and the Beginning of Yours: Christian Writer’s Den Auction

I’m happy to announce that an offer has been accepted for the complete package and the Christian Writer’s Den auction is over. Thank you to all who had planned to participate and contacted me with questions and clarifications. You’re the most encouraging bunch of friends and I’m so blessed to have each of you in my life! I pray God’s richest blessings as you continue to serve him through your writing and speaking ministry!

 

Welcome back to the Christian Writer’s Den!

Hello, friends. My goodness, we haven’t talked in a long time. A lot has happened since my last post almost a year ago, and today holds one of the biggest announcements of my life. I hope you’ll take a few minutes to see what’s going on and what it could mean for you and your writing and speaking journey!

Change is in the air

It’s with lots of excitement and a little sadness that I announce my retirement at the end of this year. I’m excited for more time with my sweet hubby and family, but wow, I know I’m going to miss you—my writer/speaker family. After all, many of us grew up as writers and speakers together!

Some of you know that Gary and I have been caregiving for several years, and believe me, we wouldn’t take back those years for anything. It’s been an honor and a joy to care for those we love. But after much prayer and seeking wisdom from professionals I respect, I recognize it’s time for me to transition into a (hopefully) simpler life.

Although ministry seasons change, we know that ministry never ends for those of us who love the Lord and are called according to His purpose. I’m confident that I’ll honor Him best by honoring by family.

The end of my old season could be the beginning of your new one

Yes, there’s a little sadness with this announcement, but I’m thrilled to share the opportunity this could mean for you. After talking with several wise friends, I see that my change in season could be a positive change for you and your ministry as well, helping you move forward in your own call to write and speak.

As I looked back on my own journey, I realized that I’ve been doing this writing and

Photo courtesy of Stuart Miles/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

speaking thing for quite a while now. I started speaking in 1997 and although I wrote my first book in 1993, I wasn’t published until 2002. That’s over 20 years of writing, speaking, encouraging, and making others laugh. That’s 20 years of classes, keynotes, workshops, school programs, blog posts, challenges, domain names, and endless ideas. I would love to see those creations bolster the writing and speaking careers of others, like you!

How will that happen, you ask? We’re going do it with a Christian Writer’s Den Auction of Speaking and Writing Resources . . . and you’re invited to join in! These resources of writing and speaking programs, domain names, rights to become the seller of my downloadable workshops, blog content, and much more will be offered to writers and speakers. All who are interested may participate through the online auction, right here at the Christian Writer’s Den.

General instructions:

The auction is being announced today and will be immediately open for bids. Here’s how it’ll work:

1. The auction is open to all writers and speakers. It’s always more fun with more participation, so please feel free to share the Auction post with any writers, speakers, and groups you know.
2. Remember that while some items are appropriate for writers of any level, others are best suited for experienced, published writers and speakers. Be sure to read recommendations before bidding. If nothing specific is mentioned, the item or package is appropriate for anyone.
3. The auction will be online only and will be held here at the Christian Writer’s Den blog, on the post dated December 1, 2017. It will close December 7 at 5pmET.
4. If you’re not already a registered commenter at the Christian Writer’s Den, you’ll need to register. There is no charge to participate and you will not be automatically added as a follower.

How to bid:
5. Each item/package will be listed separately in the comment section of the Auction Blog post. You may place a bid by hitting REPLY directly under the specific item/package you want to bid on. Please do not try to bid by placing a general comment or by replying to other bids or other comments.
6. A bid is only approved if it is written as a REPLY under a specific item/package.
7. I will reply to your bid by stating APPROVED. That simply means I see your bid and have noted it in my records.
8. Bids will be accepted in the order of posting.
9. General questions that will be of interest to all participants may be posted in the general comments.
10. If you don’t mind using your name to bid publicly, simply post your bid as a REPLY to the specific item or package you’re bidding on.
11. I’ll be at the computer continuously from 9amET to 12midnightET each day except Sunday. You’re free to bid on Sunday if you would like, but bids will not be marked as APPROVED until Monday morning.

Anonymous bids:
12. If you’d rather make an anonymous bid, simply email me (vondaskelton@gmail.com) with your real name, your preferred bidding name, the item you’re bidding on, and the amount of your bid. I’ll post it for you publicly using your bidding name and the time of your email. Please note that other bids may come in between the time you email your bid and when I note it and post it for you.
13. If you must make an anonymous bid during the night hours, it will be added when I get back to the computer the next morning.

Packages vs individual items:
14. IMPORTANT NOTE: Some items are also offered as part of a package. The packages will be offered for a limited time, as noted in the post. You may go ahead and bid on individual items while the package bidding is still active.
15. You may bid on individual items and packages from the beginning; however, an acceptable package sale will eliminate the possibility of individual sales of items included in the package.

Reserve minimum bid:
16. ANOTHER IMPORTANT NOTE: A reserve is placed on the three major packages: The Complete Package of all items in the auction; The Writing is Fun Workshop Package; and The Christian Writer’s Den Package. This means that if the highest bid doesn’t meet the undisclosed minimum amount set prior to the auction, the package will be withdrawn from the auction and will not be sold as a package.
17. If the package isn’t sold, the bids for individual items will be put into effect at that time and bidding will continue until the end of the auction. If the package sells, the associated individual items will be withdrawn and those bids will be cancelled.

Payments:
18. If you place a bid, you are verifying that you are prepared to fulfill the commitment of your bid, should you win it.
19. At the end of the auction, the winner of each item/package will receive a Request for Payment through PayPal and will be responsible for completing the sale at the bid price within 24 hours. With PayPal, you can pay by credit card or through a PayPal account. (See added item, #20 below.)

20. A question has come up about the option of a longer payment window for the bigger packages. That is certainly something that can be addressed on a case-by-case basis. Simply email me at vondaskelton@gmail.com and we can discuss it. Thank you.

Contracts:

All items/packages will be transferred with a simple contract.

Ready to join the fun?

Thank you for hanging out with me as we muddled through the details. I’m sure there’ll be a few bumps along the way as we get started, so I’m asking now for your grace!

I hope you’ll prayerfully consider participating in this opportunity. What a joy it’d be for my work to continue to help writers and speakers succeed! After all, the goal of the Christian Writer’s Den has always been to encourage and celebrate writers and speakers.

I continue to pray the Lord’s blessing on the work of your hands and your hearts,

Vonda

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Interview & Book Give-Away with Angie Martin & Operation Birthday Celebration

Angie Martin headshotIt’s the 4th Tuesday, and that means it’s book-give-away day! But today is especially special since we’re also looking ahead to Christmas for the kids!

Friends, what an honor it is to introduce Angie Martin to you today. Angie and I met at a writer’s conference and I was immediately impressed with her work. My goodness, just wait until you see what she has available for you and the children in your family!

Are you like me and hesitant to add another secular focus to the Christmas season? Then you’re exactly the kind of person who needs to meet Angie Martin and get to know her materials! Be sure to read her bio below, but for now, just trust me that this is something you want for kids in your realm of influence.

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

Okay, let’s get started. Angie, I’m going to state the obvious. It’s September, not December. Why are we talking about a children’s Christmas storybook now?

Operation Birthday Celebration—A Journey to the Manger is a storybook with interactive features. Jesse, a shepherd-drummer boy, and his feisty lamb, Bongo, are part of a drummer squad whisked away by the desert wind from Bethlehem on a special Christmas adventure—leading families to the manger andAngie Martin book photo the true meaning of the season. These adorable characters must be hand-crafted to “come to life” in time for their visit in December. Now is the perfect time to order! The storybook comes with instructions for crafting the character dolls (which could be as easy as repurposing dolls already available). An “Assignment Manual” suggests activities and teaching moments for twenty-five days, ending with a birthday celebration for baby Jesus. Because each book is personalized with the child’s (or children’s) name, city and state, deadline for ordering books is November 16 to ensure delivery by December 1.

This is such a great idea! What inspired you to write such a book?

The idea for Operation Birthday Celebration came during a conversation with my daughter. She and her husband had decided not to facilitate the Santa fantasy in their home, rather focusing on the birth of Jesus. Many of her mommy-friends posted on social media about family fun involving a popular secular children’s book and activities featuring a magical elf. Feeling sad that her two young sons were missing out, she said, “Mom, it’s just not fair!” She vented a frustration of many Christians living in a media-saturated world with strong secular influences. They’ve bought into the misconception that the “world” has captured the corner market on entertainment and believers are missing out. I wanted my grandsons to enjoy the holiday fun, but my main motivation for the book was to affirm our identity as children of God. He’s the Master Creator and since we’re created in His image, He endows us with the gift of creativity. We should be setting the standard for entertainment! I felt commissioned to create a faith-based alternative to that popular elf. What a surprise that God allowed me not only to write the story but also to illustrate the book!

Angie Martin book pageWhy do you think Operation Birthday Celebration is a better choice for Christian families?

Christian parents want creative resources that capture a child’s imagination and fuel curiosity while staying true to biblical teaching. Operation Birthday Celebration is entertaining while supporting Christian values and doctrine. Children enjoy the characters Jesse and Bongo as they learn about the birth of Jesus. Crafts and service projects help grow their faith and love for God’s Word. Although the book is designed for ages three to nine, older siblings can join the fun by crafting the Jesse and Bongo dolls and leading the daily adventures for the younger ones. Grandparents also love participating.

What’s in store for Jesse and Bongo in the future?

Initially, I conceived the story and characters as a gift to my grandsons. But writing colleagues believed Jesse and Bongo would be welcome in many more homes and encouraged me to consider a wider Angie Martin photo OBCaudience. I introduced the book and characters to a dozen test families, whose enthusiasm confirmed the book’s appeal and purpose. Through social media they connected and shared holiday excitement and fun. God is able to do more than we can ask or imagine—and Operation Birthday Celebration is making its public debut! Besides enriching family life during the Christmas season, this innovative educational tool is useful for children’s ministry leaders, Sunday School teachers, Christian pre-school and elementary school teachers, childcare providers, and the Christian home-school community. Anyone involved with the developmental growth of young children will appreciate this creative approach that brings Scripture to life and presents on a child’s level such concepts as sin, a need for a Savior, God’s grace, and the perfect gift of His Son Jesus. Wondering what’s next for Jesse and Bongo? New adventures are on the drawing board!

Angie Martin Jesse&BongoThis is exciting, Angie! Where can we get Operation Birthday Celebration?

Please visit www.JesseAndBongo.com. A little drummer boy and his spirited lamb are eager to make friends with you!

Oh, Angie, what a joy to hear more about your interactive book and products. And although my grandkids are teenagers and have outgrown such a gift, I know of other little ones who would love to have their own adventures with Jesse and Bongo! Thank you for working so hard to help parents teach their little ones the true meaning of Christmas!

And friends, remember to leave a comment and then come back next week to see if you’re the winner. What an awesome gift for the kids on your Christmas list this year!

Grace and peace,

Vonda

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Interview & Book Give-Away with Susan Baganz & Please Pray For My Mom

Baganz 0524 Edited colorSweet friends, first of all, I need to ask for your prayers. My 83yo mother took a nasty fall on Sunday and is still in ICU. Praise God, nothing is life-threatening right now, but she had a deep gash to her forehead, which was repaired Sunday in the ER. But the bad part is she has broken multiple bones, including her arm, shoulder, multiple ribs, and her kneecap. She’s in a lot of pain and has surgery scheduled (again–this is the 4th date we’ve been given!) for Wednesday. Christian Communicators Conference begins tomorrow and I’m not going to be able to be there, at least not now. I’m praying I’ll be able to get up there later in the week.

Please pray for relief of pain, successful surgery, and that she’ll be able to get into a good rehab facility. She’s expected to be in rehab 3 months. Praise God, none of this has taken our Lord by surprise and He’s still in control! Now let’s get to this exciting interview with author and editor Susan Baganz!

Friends, if you’ve ever wondered how anyone can write a gazillion words a month and create multiple books a year, well, here’s your chance to find out. Prolific writer, Susan Baganz, is with us today to share her story about writing stories!

And if you’d like a chance to win a copy of Susan’s latest book, Feta & Freeways, simply leave a comment for Susan here and you’ll be in the drawing!

Let’s get started! Welcome to the Christian Writer’s Den, Susan. We’ve all seen you post significant word counts over the past few years on this blog for the MoGo7000 Challenge. So inquiring minds want to know, how much and how often do you really write?

I’m an author but I’m also an Acquisitions Editor with Prism Book Group so I juggle my writing with my editing for others. I can’t write every day but when I do, I do it quickly and obsessively. I’m a panster. I start with a concept and inciting incident and my characters take me on a journey. On a rare day I can pen 5,000-10,000 words (the next might be 161!). I write every year in November for the National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo.org), and “won” seven years in a row.  I’ve written two to three novels/novellas a year for some time now, completing 16 manuscripts in six years. As of this date five have been published and eight more are contracted.

That’s unbelievable! Don’t you ever get writer’s block?

I don’t call it writer’s block. I call it a wall of fear. With every novel I hit a point in the story where I think the story is crap and I’ve written myself into a corner. I pray. I go to bed. The next morning, I force myself to write. I cannot remember where that spot was in any of my stories. Fear is a writer’s biggest enemy.

I totally agree! What’s been your biggest surprise in writing?

I love my stories and characters but when revisions come I’m always amazed at the mistakes I made. Editing is a humbling process. I write romances but what surprised me most is that men love my stories. I’m grateful for the unexpected audience.

You’ve written a series of contemporary romance novels of which Feta & Freeways is the third book. What ties these novels together?

I wrote the first book, Pesto & Potholes, to show not only the story but the importance of being involved in a church. The opportunity to worship, be taught, engage in fellowship with other believers along with encouragement and accountability—is a key part of our faith in Christ.

All stories are set against the backdrop of a fictional church, Orchard Hill.FetaandFreewaysCover copy-1 Renata and Tony were the subject of Pesto & Potholes and Stephanie was Renata’s roommate and became the subject of Salsa & Speed Bumps. At the end of that novel we meet Tia who becomes a friend of Stephanie’s. Tia appears in book 3, Feta & Freeways. Niko and Tia feature there along with Niko’s cousin Johnny who then becomes the feature of book 4, Root Beer & Road Blocks. There are several more fun titles and great characters in the series to come!

Those are fun titles, how did you come up with them?

I originally wanted to show, in Pesto & Potholes, the concept of potholes. The difficulty of overcoming challenges through perseverance. That even with faith, emotional growth is often a rocky trajectory. Pesto had Antonio, a single Italian chef, and it’s a favorite sauce in our family. A funny combo of food with a road-related theme became a fun way to set the stories apart.

When someone dared me to write book two and title it Salsa & Speed Bumps the challenge was on to continue to use road themes to illustrate growth through emotional challenges but in the context of a body of believers.

When I got my Master’s degree in Counseling Psychology from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School I never dreamed I would be using my education and training to illustrate God’s love and the power evidenced in the Body of Christ, through fiction. The reality is that our faith is dynamic and thrives in community. We cannot grow spiritually without also growing emotionally. Personally I can’t imagine facing the trials of this life without God and the support of a community of believers. My characters live those truths.

Yes, I can attest to the fact that characters can help us and others face lies and live truth. What an honor to create evidence of the Lord and His Light! 

Thank you for being here with us today, Susan. And CWD friends, thank you for stopping by. If you’d like to have a chance to win a free copy of Feta & Freeways, simply leave a comment for Susan and you’ll be in the drawing. Be sure to return next week to see if you’re the winner!

BIO: Susan M. Baganz chases after three Hobbits, and is a native of Wisconsin. She is an Acquisitions Editor with Prism Book Group, specializing in bringing great romance novels and novellas to publication. Susan writes adventurous historical and contemporary romances with a biblical world-view.

Susan speaks, teaches, and encourages others to follow God in being all He has created them to be. With her seminary degree in counseling psychology, a background in the field of mental health, and years serving in church ministry, she understands the complexities and pain of life as well as its craziness. She serves behind-the-scenes in various capacities at her church and is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), and serves on the board of the southeast chapter. Her favorite pastimes are lazy…snuggling with her dog while reading a good book, or sitting with a friend chatting over a cup of spiced chai latte.

You can learn more by following her blog www.susanbaganz.com, her Twitter feed @susanbaganz or her fan page, www.facebook.com/susanmbaganz. Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/silygoos

 

 

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

newspapersIt’s the 3rd Tuesday, so it’s time to share some writing opportunities and contests with you!

1.  Today’s Christian Living writer’s guidelines.

2.  Charleston Style & Design submission guidelines.

3.  Call for anthology submissions: The Binge-Watching Cure. Word counts vary from 100-25,000. Deadline December December 31, 2016.

4.  Cricket Media submission guidelines for their 11 magazines for kids!

5.  Real Simple Magazine’s 9th Annual Life Lessons Essay Contest. Deadline September 19, 2016.

6.  Bethany House Life Changing Miracles guidelines. Deadline “a couple more weeks” per editor. You can follow Jim Bell Compilations on Facebook for announcements and call-outs.

7.  Call Out for Chistian Quotes from Your Books

8.  Connecticut Magazine submission guidelines

9.  Guide Christian Story Magazine for 10-14yo guidelines here

10. Small Farm Today magazine is dedicated to preserving and promoting small farming, rural living, community and agri-preneurship. Writing guidelines here.

11. I Love Cats Magazine writers and photographers guidelines.

12. Relate Magazine: To inspire teen girls to pursue their dreams with confidence and to teach them to be an example for others in their speech, life, love, faith and purity. Topics include design, entertainment, the future in terms of college and jobs, beauty, faith, life, quizzes. Average article is between 300-450 words in length. Sidebar information is also encouraged, as well as graphics, including illustrations, and photographs. Online. See Relevant Magazine writer’s guidelines at bottom of the page here.

Well, that should keep you busy for a while!

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

Which conference are you or conferences are you planning to attend in the next year? This list should help you decide!

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

ccclogosmall2.  Christian Communicators Conference: August 24-28, 2016 The Billy Graham Training Center at The Cove, Asheville, NC.

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

4.  Maranatha Christian Writers Conference: September 29-October 1, 2016, Norton Shores, MI

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

6.  Blue Ridge Christian Novelist Retreat: October 16-20, 2016, Ridgecrest, NC

7.  Heart of American Christian Writers Network Conference: October 20-22, 2016, Kansas City

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

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

10. Carolina Christian Writers Conference: March 10-11, 2017, Spartanburg, SC

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

12. Write2Ignite Conference for Writers of Children’s Literature: March 24-25, 2017, Tigerville, SC

13. Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference: April 7-11, 2017, Mount Hermon, CA

14. Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference: May 21-15, 2017, Ridgecrest, NC

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So there you are, opportunities, contests, and conferences for writers. What’s stopping you from succeeding?

Happy writing!

Vonda

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All the World is a Writer’s Stage, Call-Outs, and Who Won Cheryl Barker’s Book?

Cole and Mallory in CherokeeWow–how did it get to be the 1st Tuesday in August already? Today we’ll announce call-outs and see who won a free book, but first, let’s talk about a writer’s stage . . .

Several years ago, I had a one-day job at the Cherokee Indian Museum where I also took the time to learn about my own Cherokee heritage. After that visit, I knew I wanted to go back, take our younger grandchildren, and learn more together. A few weeks later, we did. It was an amazing experience.

But on my way home that day, I realized I did more than simply learn dates and historical events. I began to write about it, at least in my mind.

Isn’t that the way we writers are? We go on a simple vacation or go shopping or read a current event and before we know it, we’re contemplating characters, mapping out plots, scouting locations, capturing events, and creating a world inside our heads.

In As You Like It, William Shakespeare wrote, “All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players . . . .” Today I realize how true that statement is.

Little did I know those events in life would prepare a stage for my characters–-real or imagined–-to enter and exit. After all, I didn’t set out to find locations for children’s books. I simply found myself there . . . and the characters and their stories began.

Now I’m already looking forward to doing something with these nuggets of Cherokee ideas, even though it won’t be right now. After all, I went to Tybee Island in 1961, but it was well over 30 years later that I began to write about it.

I have a feeling I’m not alone in this phenomenon. What about you? Have you experienced anything similar? If so, would you share it with us here at The Christian Writers Den? It could be fun to see where our stories–-whether published or not, whether written or not–-originated.celebration - Morguefile

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Calling All Kudos!

Okay, friends, it’s time for us to celebrate YOU and celebrate EACH OTHER! After all, that’s the goal of The Christian Writer’s Den–-to encourage and instruct writers.

In order to do that, I need to hear from you. It doesn’t matter how small it may seem to you or how recently it’s been, every step forward is a step that leads to the next one.

So I 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. Everybody’s welcome to share.

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 Worked on Their MoGo7000 in July?

If you wrote at least 7000 new words on a book project in July, you can receive an entry in the drawing for the 2016 MoGo7000 $100 cash prize! It’s open to everyone who qualifies.

To report your July results, please leave a comment below with your total new words written on a book project in July. (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 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 5 months and you’ll have 5 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. :-)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Cheryl Barker book cover

And the winner of Cheryl Barker’s Mother of the Bride: Refreshment and Wisdom for the Mother of the Bride is . . .

Kristi Woods!

Congratulations, Kristi! To claim your free book, simply contact me with your snail mail address and Cheryl will get your book right out to you!

And for those who didn’t win, you can get your own copy of Mother of the Bride with this direct Amazon link.

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Well, that does it for another Tuesday. Don’t forget to share your insights about finding your stories from life!

I’d love to hear from you!

Happy writing…

Vonda

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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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8 Tips for Writing a Synopsis: Short & Sweet and Kudos & MoGo7000 Results

Writer morguefileToday I’ll start by sharing 8 Tips for Writing a Synopsis – Short and Sweet

You’ve just completed the Great American Novel. You’ve done everything you’ve been told to do. You’ve created compelling characters and plopped them right smack in the middle of emotional/physical conflict. You’ve engaged the reader with your perfectly executed plot and subplots. You’ve edited and proofed and allowed your baby to be critiqued by your writer’s group.

Now it’s time to share the pictures and see if anyone wants to hold her. So you register for another writers conference where editors, agents, critiquers, and contest judges may ask for a synopsis.

A what?

Although you’ll find varying guidelines depending on the organization, here are 8 tips to creating a great synopsis:

1.    The synopsis is a summary of the plot of your book that gives the reader a chance to see if it warrants a closer look.

2.    It’s often limited to 1-3 pages, but in a few cases, the page limit is much higher. Be sure to follow the guidelines of the organization you’re submitting to.

3.    It’s usually single-spaced with an extra space between paragraphs and 1-inch margins on all sides.

4.    Print it in black ink, on white paper, using a standard font (Times New Roman is most often used).

5.    It is written in present tense, third person.

6.    The synopsis must tell the ending of the story, even if the book is a mystery, thriller, or suspense novel. This is not the time to leave the editor/agent/judge/critiquer hanging and hope he or she will beg you to tell the ending. I’ve actually read a synopsis where the writer said something like, “I can’t give away the ending because it’s so unusual, but believe me, it’s a real twist!” Hmmm. Not a good idea.

7.    You can’t cover all the points of the book, but you’ll want to include the major plots points that move the story along to a satisfactory ending.

8.    Give enough detail that the reader is engaged, but–with a limit of 2-3 pages–you’ll have to carefully decide what earns a place in the synopsis.

So, there you have it–8 tips to writing a synopsis. Remember, it’s the short and the sweet of your story!

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And kudos to these talented Christian Writer’s Den friends!

FreeDigitalPhotos/Iosphere

FreeDigitalPhotos/Iosphere www.FreeDigitalPhotos.com

These CWD writers are doing the work, and finding success. Let’s celebrate with them!

1.  Cheryl Barker (KS): My book Mother of the Bride: Refreshment and Wisdom for the Mother of the Bride was officially released by BroadStreet Publishing on July 1st.

2.  Sandy Quandt (TX): Sandy has THREE things to share this month! 1)1st place award in the unpublished Children’s Lit at Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference; 2)Contracted to write 20 devotions for Worthy Inspire’s Seeing God in Nature devotional; and 3)Article on “How to Write a Devotion” published on WOW! Women on Writing.

Books and articles and awards, oh my! Congrats, Cheryl and Sandy. We’re proud of you!

And friends, if you didn’t find your name on this list, be sure to check back next week where I’ll have a collection of opportunities just for you!

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mogoNext up…Who earned another entry into the MoGo7000 drawing for $100?

#15: Susan Baganz – 11,114 words
#16: Amanda Everett – 7,019 words

Congratulations, Susan and Amanda! And friends, if you’d like an opportunity to win $100, just check out the MoGo700 Challenge guidelines here. It’s all free!

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Well, that’s does it for today. I hope you’ve learned something and been inspired to keep writing. After all, writing isn’t a race to the finish line. The finish line is whenever we pass into glory. And the only way to lose at writing is to quit.

Keep writing!

Vonda

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