Tag Archives: article writing

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tell us something about the book.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

4.  Adirondack Life: Writers’ guidelines for Adirondack Life

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

6.  Highlights MagazineThey’re always looking for submissions!

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

8.  Parents Magazine is always looking for writers

9.  Free Spirit 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.

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

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

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

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


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

Happy writing!


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Writer’s Headlines: Writing Opportunities Selected for YOU & You Could Win $100!

newspapersIt’s the 3rd Thursday, and that means it’s time to share some writing opportunities with you!

I love gathering writing opportunities for you! Find the ones that are good fits for you and then be sure to follow the guidelines carefully. Don’t forget to let us know if something here leads to a publishing opportunity for you. We’ll want to join the celebration!

1.  Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference’ Co-Directors are looking for guest bloggers! If you’ve attended Blue Ridge, are registered for the 2014 conference, or have served as a faculty member, contact Al or Edie (addresses at the post). BRMCWC blog guest writing guidelines here.

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Making the Most of Writing Opportunities

un words FDP-sattvaEach month I post a list of writing opportunities here at The Christian Writer’s Den, and as a result, many of you have found success through the years by taking advantage of those opportunities.

But some have admitted that even with the prepared list delivered to your Inbox each month, you’ve never taken advantage of the posted leads.

Why not?

Some have said so many options are just too overwhelming. Others have said fear prevents them from trying. What’s stopping you?

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Writer’s Headlines: Writing Opportunities Collected Just for YOU!

It’s the 3rd Thursday, and that means it’s time to share some writing opportunities with you!

Be sure to follow the guidelines carefully. And don’t forget to let us know if something here leads to a publishing opportunity for you.

1.  Highlights MagazineThey’re always looking for submissions!

2.  Design Design Greeting Card Company guidelines here.

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Writer’s Headlines: Writing Opportunities

Yes, it’s that time again. Time for writing opportunities to help you on your writing journey!

And please don’t forget to let me know if you get a publication from anything I post. We’d love to celebrate it with you in the Kudos!

We’ll start with a couple of special opportunities.

1.  A Cover Story and a Contest: My friend, author Ellen Kennedy, is running a photo contest for her next book cover. If you like photography, you’ll want to check this out!

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Learn How to Earn a Living as a Freelance Writer–Part One

Photo courtesy of www.FreeDigitalPhotos/StuartMiles

I’m in Alaska for a few weeks, but don’t worry, I have a great line-up of guest posts for you!

Some of you know that Edie Melson and I met at the 2001 Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference as unpublished writers, and now she’s the co-director of that conference! How’s that for evidence of how hard work pays off? Be sure to read Edie’s bio below, but let me just say here, she is well-respected and well-known in the writing world.

This article is a reprint of Part One of an eight-part series on freelance writing, originally posted on Edie’s popular blog, The Write Conversation. At the end of this post, be sure to follow the link to Edie’s blog, scroll down and you’ll find links to ALL EIGHT POSTS! Hoo-wee!

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Writer’s Headlines: Writing Opportunities Just for YOU! & Christian Communicators Filling Up!

It’s the 3rd Thursday and time to get to work!

Yep, it’s time to share some writing opportunities I found just for you. Hope this makes a difference in your journey!

1.  True Friends online magazine: True Friends, a new online magazine offering from BibleGirlfriends, is searching for articles, tips, and quotes. Check out the True Friends writing guidelines here.

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The Fastest Route to Publication…It’s as Easy as 1-2-3!

Photo courtesy of BillLongshaw/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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 then 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 said.)

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. 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 of Writing Instruction here 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 increase if you start out small by submitting articles and stories. And the chances of publishing a book are much 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 once a 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 for great posts about blogging and social media.

So there you have it, the 1-2-3 of writing for publication. Follow these steps and you could see your name in print much sooner than you think!


Who Won Edie Melson’s Book?

It’s Cyn Rogalski! Hoo-wee! Cyn, all you need to do it Contact Me with your mailing address and your book will be on its way!

And if you didn’t win, don’t worry. You can get your own copy of Connections: Social Media and Networking Techniques for Writers right here! This is a must-have for every writer!

Happy writing, all!


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Writer’s Headlines: Writing Opportunities & MoGo7000 Challenge

It’s the 3rd Thursday, so let’s share some writing opportunities and contests!

A big shout-out and thank you to Marilyn Shipe for gathering and sharing the first 18 writing opps this week. Thank you, Marilyn!

1.  A ROOM OF HER OWN – ORLANDO PRIZES: $15 ENTRY FEE – Four prizes of $1,000 each and publication in Los Angeles Review are given twice yearly for a poem, a short story, a short short story, and an essay by women writers. Submit a poem of no more than 36 lines, a short story of up to 1,500 words, a short short story of up to 500 words, or an essay of up to 1,500 words. Deadline January 31, 2013.

2.  COMMENTARY: Publishes essays and opinions of 2,000 to 8,000. Pays $400 to $1,200. COMMENTARY is America’s premier monthly magazine of opinion and a pivotal voice in American intellectual life. Many of COMMENTARY’s articles have been controversial, and more than a few have been hugely influential, touchstones for debate and discussion in universities, among policy analysts in and out of government, within the ranks of professionals and community activists of all kinds, and in circles of serious thought worldwide. A large number of articles can be counted as landmarks of American letters and intellectual life.

3.  ARTHRITIS TODAY: Pays $1 per word. Seeks general interest pieces, how-to, tips for living with arthritis, inspirational pieces, essays, personal experiences, photo features, technical, travel, news, nutrition, health, lifestyle.

4.  A comprehensive list of 101 in-flight magazines from AirArabia to Wizz Air (many with links directly to the magazine’s web site) is: http://www.itravelnet.com/publications/inflightmagazines.html Many of these web sites have archived copies for your perusal.

Cision Navigator lists the top-ten in-flight magazines by circulation. United’s Hemispheres leads the list with a circulation of 800,000.

5.  VALHALLA PRESS FLASH FICTION AND FLASH MEMOIR CONTEST: $15 ENTRY FEE – Limit 1,000 words. The contest seeks out the best in original short fiction and short memoir written in English. First prize is $500 and an e-reader plus publication in Ragnarok, an e-lit journal. The second prize winner will receive an e-reader as well as publication in Ragnarok. Deadline for entries is February 1, 2013. Winners will be announced by March 1, 2013.  Valhalla Press reserves the right to choose a number of honorable mention winners from the contest whose work will appear in Ragnarok. All winners whose work appears in Ragnarok will receive compensation.

6.  EARLY AMERICAN LIFE: Covers history, architecture, decorating, antiques, studio crafts, and travel. This magazine is highly retained by its readers, so know what’s already been written whenever possible. Stories for Early American Life should be just long enough to get from the beginning to the end–that is, content should dictate length. Don’t add words to make a story seem more meaningful. On the other hand, don’t give short shrift to a story that demands in-depth coverage. A one-page story in Early American Life, such as Worth Seeing, runs about 750 words. A typical feature may run 2,500 words. Note that it’s always easier for an editor to make a story shorter, so if anything, err on the long side. Never, however, go more than 10 percent beyond the length an editor assigns.

7.  FAMILY BUSINESS: Our audience consists primarily of owners and managers of successful, multigenerational family-owned businesses. Their various needs are covered by many publications; only Family Business focuses on the family aspect of businesses, and the business aspect of families. Our content delves beneath the surface and addresses the human side of the business — with a particular emphasis on how conflicts were resolved or how potential conflicts were averted.


: $5 ENTRY FEE. 
First Place: $200 (CDN). 
Second Place: $100 (CDN)
. Third Place: $50 (CDN). Deadline February 15, 2013. The Friends of the Merril Short Story Contest is open to all writers of all levels (published, unpublished, emerging, etc.), without restriction. The contest 
is international, so writers of any nation may enter. Maximum of 5,000 words. Short fiction only. No poetry or nonfiction.

9.  CAT FANCY: We are open to working with new contributors and fresh voices in addition to drawing from a talented crop of established contributors. Each month, we provide our readers with a mix of informative articles on various topics, including breed profiles, feline health, nutrition, grooming, behavior, training, as well as lifestyle and special interest articles on cat culture, the human-animal bond and personalities. Length: 100-1,000 words. Query first.

10.  Focus on the Family’s CLUBHOUSE Magazine: Focus on the Family Clubhouse readers are 8 to 12-year-old boys and girls who desire to know more about God and the Bible. Their parents want wholesome, educational material with Scriptural or moral insight. The kids want excitement, adventure, action, humor or mystery. Your job as a writer is to please both the parent and child with each article. Generally 15 to 25 cents a word. $200 and up for feature-length fiction stories. $150+ for nonfiction stories.

11.  Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference Writing Contest: Be sure to check out the video. The Christian Writer’s Den gang is VERY well represented. Just sayin’. :-)


$25 ENTRY FEE – 
The awards will include:
 A first place prize of $1,200; 
A first runner up prize of $600
; A third runner up prize of $120; 
The prize for the fourth through to the tenth place: $60. 
The 11 to 25th place will receive a gift certificate. We are looking for a story that is bold, brilliant yet brief. Send in your best work with a word count not more than 1,500. Deadline April 15, 2013. Open to any writer; there is no age or 
country restriction.

13.  WRITERS WEEKLY: WritersWeekly.com and The Write Markets Report focus on “selling” the written word. We do not seek articles on how to write. Rather, we seek articles on how to make more money doing what you love….writing! We are also interested in other forms of home-based businesses and self-employment that may result from writing, such as self-publishing, corporate writing, ghostwriting, etc. All ideas that help writers support themselves performing the work they love are warmly welcomed. Length: ~600 words. $60 for non-exclusive electronic rights only. Submit query with credits by e-mail to angela@writersweekly.com

14.  ANALOG: Basically, we publish science fiction stories. That is, stories in which some aspect of future science or technology is so integral to the plot that, if that aspect were removed, the story would collapse. The science can be physical, sociological, psychological. The technology can be anything from electronic engineering to biogenetic engineering. But the stories must be strong and realistic, with believable people (who needn’t be human) doing believable things–no matter how fantastic the background might be. Fact articles for Analog should be about 4,000 words in length and should deal with subjects of not only current but future interest, i.e., with topics at the present frontiers of research whose likely future developments have implications of wide interest. Illustrations should be provided by the author in camera-ready form.

: NO ENTRY FEE – Bethesda Magazine and the Bethesda Urban Partnership are partnering 
to sponsor a short story and essay contest. Deadline January 25, 2013. For residents of Montgomery County, MD and Upper NW Washington, D.C. (ZIP codes 20015 and 20016) are eligible. Categories-
Adult (18 and over) & 
High School (grades 9-12). Short stories in both categories must not exceed 4,000 words. Essays must not exceed 500 words. Adult Category–
First place: $500 and publication in Bethesda Magazine.
 Second Place: $250.
 Third Place: $150. 
Honorable Mention: $75.
Young Adult Category–First place: $250 and publication in Bethesda Magazine. 
Second place: $100
. Third place: $50.

16.  PARENT:WISE – AUSTIN: Parent:Wise Austin is an award-winning parenting journal that seeks to inform parents with quality articles depicting some aspect of the parenting journey. We publish articles that are thoughtful and intelligent — not boring or pedantic. Simply put, articles must well researched (we require a list of sources), tightly written, and directed at an audience of parents who want to be educated. Our focus is Central Texas and, as such, we prefer local writers. Having said that, we will happily publish articles by non-local writers if the topic is important and the writing beautiful.

17.  PARENTING: Parenting’s readers are moms whose kids range in age from newborn through age 12, as well as expectant moms. The magazine covers the psychological and practical aspects of raising a child, and the emotional issues that face mothers — from nurturing their own friendships to juggling the various parts of their lives. The magazine is largely freelance written. Fees for articles depend on length, degree of difficulty, and the writer’s previous experience. Generally, feature articles run between 1,000 and 2,500 words in published form. For writers new to Parenting, the best opportunities are the departments. The pieces there range from 100 to 500 words. Queries for each of these departments should be addressed to the appropriate editor (such as Kids’ Health Editor, or Ages & Stages Editor). Pays up to $1/word.

18.  PLUM: The first-ever pregnancy magazine for women 35 years and older. As part of our mission to encourage dialogue between women and the medical community, Plum is available free of charge to all doctors for distribution to their patients. Published semi-annually. Email for specific guidelines. Needs essays, how-to, profiles. Query with your published clips. Pays up to $1/word. Email: editor@plummagazine.com

19.  WOW! Women on Writing Contest: WOW! hosts a (quarterly) writing contest every three months. The mission of this contest is to inspire creativity, communication, and well-rewarded recognition to contestants. The contest is open globally; age is of no matter; and entries must be in English. We are open to all styles of writing, although we do encourage you to take a close look at our guest judge for the season (upper right hand corner) if you are serious about winning. We love creativity, originality, and light-hearted reads. That’s not to say that our guest judge will feel the same… so go wild! Express yourself, and most of all, let’s have some fun!

20. COUNTRY WOMAN: Country Woman is a bimonthly magazine with subscribers across the United States and Canada. Published since 1970 for women who live in or long for the country, this magazine celebrates their diversity, strength and spirit. Positive, upbeat, entertaining and informative, Country Woman reflects the many roles and interests of its readers through profiles of women and their lifestyle.

21. Doing Family God’s Way Short Story Contest: Do you have a true story of living by Biblical principles? We’d love to hear your story. Deadline: January 31, 2013. Be sure to follow the guidelines!

22.  Jamie Britt is looking for Devotions! The theme of the book will be God’s unexplainable peace in a situation. I’m looking for your stories. I’m looking for the stories of a possibly traumatic time, or whatever the situation may be. It’s those times when there’s peace and you have no other way of explaining it other than to say it was God. The book will be based around this verse as the premise.

…and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:7, NKJV)

You will need to have a wordcount of 400 or less. I will need the stories in devotional format. It should be in the following format: Scripture verse along with book, chapter verse and translation; anecdotal question or two to ponder; and a prayer. Deadline: March 1, 2013. I look forward to hearing from you! Email Jamie at jamiebritt2006@gmail.com.


Are you MoGoing this month? If not, you could be missing out on $100!

That’s right! Last week I announced the winner of the 2012 MoGo7000 Challenge, and it was Esther Wallace of CT! Yay, Esther!

But now it’s a new year, with new entries, and the door is wide open! Don’t have any idea what I’m talking about? Then you need to run on over to the MoGo7000 Challenge page and check out the details.

But the bottom line is you simply write a minimum of 7000 NEW words on a BOOK project and you’re in! The first Thursday of each month, you’ll post a comment with your total word count for the month and you’ll get an entry into the end-of-the-year drawing. The more months you reach the goal, the more chances you have to win!

So what are you waiting for?

Write on!


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She Never Had a Rejection? by Carol Barnier; & Who Won Cec Murphey’s Book?

Photo courtesy of suphakit73/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Dear readers, are you in for a treat today! Since we talked last week about goals and accomplishments and submissions and acceptances and rejections, I thought this would be the perfect time to introduce my friend, Carol Barnier, to you and let you get a glimpse of her amazingly hilarious work!

Carol has given me permission to reprint a funny-serious instructional piece that first appeared at the WordServe Water Cooler site. Be sure to read Carol’s bio below, but I just can’t move on without sharing her tagline with you: “Delightful Speaker, Entertaining Author, Adequate Wife, Pitiful Housekeeper.” Ahhhh…I love it…a woman after my own heart! Thanks for joining us, Carol.

(Oh, and readers, thanks for sharing an accomplishment or two last week as we celebrated the year’s end. Now don’t forget to check at the end of the article to see who won Cec Murphey’s awesome book, Unleash the Writer Within)

She Never Had a Rejection?

by Carol Barnier

I once met a woman at a writers conference and, as writers often do, we began sharing what we’d written, what we hoped to improve on, perhaps publications we’d like to write for some day, editors we wanted to meet. The usual stuff. But when I talked about the last rejection note I’d received, this woman got a curious little smile on her face and sweetly said, “You know, I don’t typically say this out loud, but I’ve never ever gotten a rejection. . .not even once.”

That conference was a while ago, so I no longer remember where I hid the body.

But at the time, my snark-o-meter went on full alert, and I found myself thinking dozens of less-than-charitable thoughts.

Maybe she’s never submitted anything. That would sure hold down the rejection letters.

Maybe she’s writing for a very tight niche–like Amish women scuba divers–and she just happens to be one of three writers on the planet with the right contacts.

Maybe (and here’s where I sank to my lowest level of cynicism), maybe she’s sleeping with the editor. That’s because she’s married to him, and together they started a third-rate magazine and she provides 90% of the content with snappy pieces like “You, Ginseng Tea, and a Happier Colon.”

See, I told you I’d reached a new low.

Big sigh. God probably just sent her my way to improve my humility and compassion skills. Apparently I have a ways to go.

Here’s the thing—I think she was being sincere, and was possibly even surprised at her own good fortune. And she may well have written lovely and informative pieces for top-notch magazines. But the problem with her comment is that it’s the writer’s equivalent of winning the lottery. The real truth is, in the world of writing, if you’re not getting rejections, you’re just not in the game.

The publishing industry has a very steep learning curve. For much of it you’ve just got to get in there and start. I’m not saying you should skip the process of researching the publication ahead of time, spelling the editor’s name correctly, and fashioning your piece with their readers in mind. In other words, don’t ignore the process of learning craft and industry. But much of that learning will come from doing, failing, rethinking, and doing again. Almost every published author I know has at least one massive fail to their credit.

A rejection letter can mean many things, but the only sure thing it means is that you sent something in. So instead of seeing it as proof positive that you can’t write, consider other very likely scenarios such as:

  • The magazine had something like it recently.
  • The magazine has something like it already in the hopper and it’s working its way up.
  • The magazine has worked with a particular writer who’s been talking about doing something like this, and they’d rather take a chance on someone who has some history with the magazine.
  • Or maybe the piece was just too ______ [insert word of choice—edgy, tame, academic, casual, ecumenical, evangelical, rural, urban, prissy, intense] for their magazine’s style or their audience.

Learn to embrace rejections. Unless you plan to win the writers’ lottery, there’s simply no way to avoid them. In fact, they’re like a merit badge, proving you’re in the game. I’m not saying you’ll ever come to love them. But you can see them as useful. I, for one, open them, learn from them, and then use them to wallpaper my bathroom.

Bio: Carol Barnier is the author of four books, mother to three children and wife to one husband. She is a popular radio guest across the country and a regular humor contributor to Focus on the Family’s Weekend Radio. She has written dozens of magazine articles and is a frequent coast-to-coast speaker. She strives for an Erma Bombeck/C.S.Lewis mix, but admits that she more often achieves a strong Lucy Ricardo/Bob the Tomato. While she can be quite serious, probably the best description of her is what you find on her business cards: Delightful Speaker, Entertaining Author, Adequate Wife, Pitiful Housekeeper. While her humor will have you leaning sideways, her faith is solid stuff. She may speak about her first born son’s 13 surgeries, her own family’s many ADHD challenges, or her personal faith walk from being a God-denying atheist to the most grateful recipient of God’s amazing grace. But whatever the topic, this woman speaks from the heart. She knows why she knows what she knows. To find out more about Carol and her writing and speaking ministry, be sure to check out her website at CarolBarnier.com.

(Rejection photo courtesy of suphakit73/FreeDigitalPhotos.net)


Who Won Cec Murphey’s Book, Unleash the Writer Within?

The winner is Judith Robl! Congratulations, Judith! I just need you to Contact Me with your snail mail address and the book will be on its way! I know you’re going to love it!

Readers, if you haven’t gotten your own copy of Unleash the Writer Within, you need to go ahead and get it here. You won’t be disappointed!


And be sure to check back on Thursday to see who won the $100 MoGo7000 Challenge for 2012! :-)


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