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Writer’s Headlines: Writing Opportunities and Conferences

newspapersHello, Christian Writer’s Den friends. This is our monthly Opportunities issue, so let’s see if we can help you get published! Let’s start with writing opportunities compiled just for you.

1.  Bethany House Miraculous Answers to Prayer Call-out deadline has been extended to January 31, 2016!

2.  Donna Goodrich is working on a caregiver book. While it will include inspiration, devotionals, and humor, she also wants practical information to help caregivers find their way in the labyrinth. You can get guidelines for that project by emailing Donna at: msencourager [@] cox [dot] net

3.  Cat Fancy writer’s guidelines 

4.  Wisconsin Trails writing guidelines

5.  DollarStretcher.com writing guidelines

6.  Blue Ridge Country editorial guidelines

7.  AmericanCatholic.org writing guidelines

8.  Working Mother writers guidelines

9.  Astronomy Magazine article submission guidelines

10. Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine writers’ guidelines

11.  Lots of writing opps and contests listed at Christian Writers Submission Information by Sally Clark

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Image courtesy of StuartMiles/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of StuartMiles/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

If you’re serious about writing and speaking, you’ll be serious about attending

conferences. 

When I first started this writing journey, I didn’t have money for conferences, so I asked my family and friends to contribute to my conference fund rather than giving me gifts for Christmas, birthday, Valentine’s Day, anniversary, and Mother’s Day. That went a long way towards my conferences. You might want to try it, too.

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.  Weekend with the Writers: January 29-30, 2016, Greenville, SC

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

brmcwc 201610. Colorado Christian Writers Conference: May 11-14, 2016, Estes Park, CO

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

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

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

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

17. 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. :-)

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Thanks for Sharing!

 #Writing & #speaking opportunities & conferences to help you get published & speak! @VondaSkelton (Click to Tweet!) 

Happy writing!

Vonda

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How Many Rejections are Enough to Quit? And Kudos & MoGo7000 Call-Outs

Image courtesy of suphakit73/www.FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of suphakit73/www.FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Let’s start with a conversation about rejections. When is it okay for a writer quit trying?

The answer is simple: You can quit whenever you’re ready to fail.

I heard a statistic that the average writer will get 5-10 rejections and quit. I have one thing to say to that: Wimp.

Okay, I know that sounds tough, but hear my heart. The truth is, the only way to fail at this writing thing is to quit. The only way to be considered a failure is to walk away and say you’re done. As long as you’re learning, applying, writing, rewriting, learning, applying, writing, and rewriting, you’re doing the work of a writer. In other words, you ARE a writer.

Some of you have heard my story of getting 63–count ‘em, 63!–rejections before I ever had anything published. Not one single, solitary thing published in 7 or 8 long years of No.

You better believe I got discouraged. Yes, I wanted to quit. Many times. But no matter how hard I tried, I just couldn’t leave a the journey a quitter. I just couldn’t walk away.

I knew I had something to say, something someone would benefit from. If only I could find someone to publish what I was writing. So I tried almost everything: magazine articles, novels, plays, songs, children’s picture books, and devotions, but everything I wrote received a rejection.

So I kept learning, kept attending conferences, kept going to critique group, kept applying what I’d learned, kept writing and rewriting . . . year after year after year.

And then one day, after years of No, the answer was Yes. I had a contract for an article.

But here’s what I want you to know: I didn’t become a writer with that first published article. I had been a writer through all those years of No. I had been a writer because I didn’t quit.

Now, after all these years of writing, I often wonder how different my life would be if I had quit at 63 rejections. What if I’d never sent the 64th submission? No one would have blamed me, that’s for sure. After all, anybody should have enough sense to quit after all that time.

But some things just don’t make sense from a human point of view. Success comes by perseverance and determination, not by avoiding rejection.

The only way to win is to persevere. And the only way to fail is to quit.

Happy writing!

Vonda

Thanks for Tweeting!

How many rejections are enough to quit writing? @VondaSkelton #amwriting #pubtips (Click to Tweet)

The only way to win is to persevere. The only way to fail is to quit. @VondaSkelton #amwriting #pubtips (Click to Tweet)

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FreeDigitalPhotos/Iosphere

FreeDigitalPhotos/Iosphere

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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Who MoGo’d in November? And yes, NaNoWriMo numbers count!

If you wrote at least 7000 new words on a book project in November, 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 November results, please leave a comment below with your total new words written on a book project in November. (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 2015 challenge has one more month. 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.

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

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Writer’s Headlines: Writing Opps, Conferences and Contests

newspapers

(Vonda here: I’m sorry for the delay in today’s post. My internet has been down since yesterday and I’m just now up and running again. Hope like all the opportunities I found for you!)

Hello, Christian Writer’s Den friends! This is our big opportunities issue, so let’s see if we can help you get published! Let’s start with writing opportunities compiled just for you!

1.  Miraculous Answers to Prayer anthology
This new anthology by James Stuart Bell is looking for your stories. Here are the Miraculous Answers to Prayer Guidelines. But you must hurry–Deadline is now December 1, 2015.

2.  Adoptive Families Magazine
Adoptive Families is the leading information resource for families before, during, and after adoption.

3.  Blue Mountain Arts Greeting Cards
Seeks contemporary prose or poetry written from personal experience that reflects the thoughts and feelings people today want to communicate to one another, but don’t always know how to put into words. Does not need rhymed poetry, religious verse, one-liners or humor. Pays $300 for all rights and $50 for one-time rights for a book use.

4.  Colorado Central Magazine
To put our guidelines in a nutshell: We publish material we like to read about the area we live in. We’re not interested in it if it’s routine and boring, or if it’s not about this area. We serve Central Colorado and the San Luis Valley. On a map, that’s a swath from Leadville and Fairplay south to the New Mexico line. It’s the counties of Alamosa, Chaffee, Conejos, Costilla, Custer, Lake, Mineral, Rio Grande, and Saguache, along with the adjacent parts of Fremont, Gunnison, Huerfano and Park counties.

5.  Eating Well Magazine
EatingWell is the only national food magazine that focuses exclusively on eating healthfully (our motto: “Where Good Taste Meets Good Health”). We are the preeminent magazine resource for people who want to enjoy food that is delicious and good for them.

6.  Alaska Magazine Submission Guidelines for Freelance Writers

7.  The Cattleman Magazine – Guidelines for Writing for The Cattleman

8.  Better Homes and Gardens writers guidelines

9.  Backpacker Magazine guidelines

10. Southern Writers Magazine guidelines

Remember to follow the guidelines carefully and then let us celebrate with you when you have a publication!

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If you’re serious about writing and/or speaking, you’ll be serious about attending conferences. Here are some awesome conferences you don’t want to miss!WritersBootcamp2016 logo

1. Weekend with the Writers: January 29-30, 2016, Greenville, SC

2. Writers Advance Boot Camp: February 19-21, 2016, Asheville, NC Scholarship deadline October 31, 2015 (I’ll see you there!)

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

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

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

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

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

brmcwc 20168. Write2Ignite for Writers of Children’s Literature: April 1-2, 2016, Tigerville, SC

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

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

11. Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference: May 22-26, 2016, Ridgecrest, NC (I’ll see you there! Watch for details coming soon!)

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. Christian Communicators Conference: Hold the date! August 24-28, 2016, The Billy Graham Trainingccclogosmall Center at The Cove, Asheville, NC. Registration will open in early spring. (I’ll see you there!)

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

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And here are some writing contests you’ll want to look into…

1.  The Amy Awards for Christian-related pieces published in secular publications. Deadline January 15, 2016

2.  Fresh Voices Writing Contest is now open for submissions – Deadline December 31, 2015

3.  Writer’s Digest Short Short Story ContestDeadline December 14, 2015

4.  The Anagram Holiday Short Fiction ContestDeadline December 19, 2015

5.  NeoVerse Short Story Writing CompetitionDeadline December 20, 2015

Red Sale Bag pixabay~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Need some help with your Christmas list? I can help!

Yep, it’s time for my buy-one-get-one-half-price Christmas sale! That’s right, buy any product in my store and you’ll get the second item for half-price!

But here’s the catch: You’ll need to order it directly from me by email, or PayPal will charge you the full price! So, head on over to my store and decide what you’d like and who you’d like to have it personalize it to, and then contact me with your order. I’ll get in touch and you can either pay by check or by credit card. DO NOT ORDER THROUGH REGULAR PAYPAL or you won’t get the discount!

Whether you need downloadable writing workshops or books for kids or women, this sale is for you!

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So that should keep you busy for a while. Don’t forget to let us know when you get that publication. We’ll want to celebrate with you.

Happy writing!

Vonda

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Writer’s Headlines: Writing Opportunities, Contests & Conferences

newspapersWelcome to Writer’s Headlines, where we help you see your work in print! Let’s start with writing opportunities collected just for you!

Be sure to follow the guidelines carefully in order to increase your chance of publication. Then please let us know if you find success with one of these opportunities. We want to celebrate with you!

1.  Sidelines Magazine: For Horse People, About Horse People: Vonda here: I’m at the Novelist Retreat at Ridgecrest this week and have had the joy of meeting Jan Westmark, Editor-in-Chief of Sidelines Magazine. I’m thrilled that she agreed to let me share her writing guidelines with you. I know we have some horse people out there. Please follow the guidelines carefully!Here are her instructions:

My magazine is geared toward the English riding market – the high end rider. We are not a how-to magazine, but a feature magazine – so all of our stories are profiles on riders, horses and horse rescue organizations. We cover hunters, jumpers, dressage, eventing, polo and foxhunting. It is a very specialized market – but if you have writers that would like to write for me, they can email me. I can even assign stories!!

Sidelines is a print publication, but also available free digitally, just look at the info below my name for how to find it at the app store. They can also visit our website, www.sidelinesnews.com, and look under subscriptions for the tab that says flipbook and look through all of our issues for free.
2.  Jeanne Doyon is looking for guest bloggers! Jeanne is starting a series of blog posts to speak to how we need to treasure the quiet moments in the midst of the chaos and crazy days of December. This is a great opportunity for you to:

  • Write 400-500 words
  • Be a guest blogger with links to your website
  • Speak peace into lives during this busy time of year

For more information and to pitch your idea, email Jeanne at jeanne.doyon@gmail.com

3.  Warner Press submission guidelines here. Church of God Ministries is looking for writers for devotionals, children’s activity books, greeting cards, ministry resource books, and teaching resource books.

4.  Family Tree Magazine writer’s guidelines.

5.  Are you funny? Funny Times Cartoon & Humor Newspaper submission guidelines.

6.  Working Mother Magazine guidelines

7.  Boys’ Life Magazine

8.  Oklahoma Today Magazine

9.  Shotgun Sports Writers Guide

10. Eldridge Plays and Musicals. Writing guidelines here.

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Check out these writing contests. You could win!

1.  Stage of Life Writing Contests: Multiple contests for every stage of life. Deadlines October 30, 2015.

2.  Fresh Voices Writing Contest is now open for submissions.

3.  Writer’s Digest Short Short Story ContestDeadline November 16, 2015

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And don’t forget–If you’re serious about writing, you’ll be serious about attending conferences!

1.  Heart of America Christian Writers Network Conference: October 22-24, 2015, Greater Kansas City Area, KS

2.  WordGirls: October 22-24, 2015, Owensboro, KY

3.  Maranatha Christian Writers’ Conference: October 22-25, 2015, Norton Shores, MI

4.  East Texas Christian Writers Conference: October 30-31, 2015, Marshall, TX

5.  Next Step Writers Contreat (Yes, the spelling is correct. :-) : November 12-14, 2015, Albuquerque, NM (Scholarships available, but today is the last day to apply, so hurry!)

6. Weekend with the Writers: January 29-30, 2016, Greenville, SC

WritersBootcamp2016 logo7. Writers Advance Boot Camp: February 19-21, 2016, Asheville, NC Scholarship deadline October 31, 2015 (I’ll see you there!)

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

9. Carolina Christian Writers Conference: March 11-12, 2016, Spartanburg, SC. Details coming soon!

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

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

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

13. Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference: May 22-26, 2016, Ridgecrest, NC (I’ll see you there! Watch for details coming soon!)

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

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Well, that does it for another 3rd Tuesday and Writer’s Headlines. Can’t wait to see what successes come from your commitment to do what it takes to be a writer!

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

Vonda

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Writers Headlines: Writing Opportunities, Contests, & Conferences & a Special Writing Give-Away

newspapersHappy 3rd Tuesday, friends! Let’s start with writing opportunities selected just for you! (Be sure to check out the brand new giveaway at the end of this post!)

Struggling to find places to submit your writing? Here are some suggestions:

1.  WITH: Why Is This Happening? is a site designed to encourage and lift those who are struggling. Even though this is not specifically a writing opportunity, I just had to include it. After all, many writers and speakers are compelled to write and speak because of an experience in their lives. This could be your chance to help others! Here’s the link for instructions on how to submit a video or written message. As always, remember to follow instructions carefully.

2.  Elk’s Magazine buys 20-30 preciously unpublished articles a year. Here are the Elk’s Magazine writers guidelines.

3.  Clubhouse Magazine for Kids guidelines   

4.  Faith Today: Canada’s Christian Magazine guidelines

5.  Georgia Family Magazine guidelines

6.  Adventure Kayak Magazine contributor guidelines

7.  Bead & Button Magazine submission guidelines

8.  Guide is a Christian story magazine for young people ages 10-14. The 32-page, four-color publication is published weekly by the Pacific Press Publishing Association. Our mission is to show readers, through stories that illustrate Bible truth, how to walk with God now and forever. Writing Guidelines for Guide Magazine here.

9.  Lerner Publishing Group works with many talented authors and illustrators to create its books for children and young adults. Here are our current submission guidelines.

10. Chicken Soup is always looking for stories!

11. Pockets Devotionals for Kids

12. Saturday Evening Post guidelines

Okay, that does it for this month’s opportunities. Be sure to let me know if you get a publication through this list. I’d love to celebrate with and brag on you!

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Image courtesy of StuartMiles/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of StuartMiles/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Here are some awesome contest opportunities for you:

1.  Kathy Ide’s 4th Annual Promising Beginnings Christian Writers Contest. Winner receives a full scholarship to Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference in March 2016 in CA. Deadline November 30, 2015.

2.  Writer’s Digest Self-Published eBook Awards. Deadline September 21, 2015.

3.  Writer’s Digest Poetry Competition. Deadline October 1, 2015.

4.  Writer’s Digest Short Short Story Competition . Deadline November 16, 2015.

5.  Almost An Author will open the Fresh Voices Writing Contest for submission beginning October 1, 2015. Deadline December 1, 2015.

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Image courtesy of StuartMiles/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of StuartMiles/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Which conference or conferences are you attending within the next year?

1.  American Christian Fiction Writers Conference: September 17-20, 2015, Dallas, TX

2.  Writer-to-Writer: September 18-20, 2015, Murfreesboro, TN

3.  Breathe Christian Writers Conference: October 9-10, 2015, Grand Rapids, MI

4.  Blue Ridge Christian Novelist RetreatOctober 18-22, 2015, Ridgecrest, NC (I’ll see you there!)

5. Heart of America Christian Writers Network Conference: October 22-24, 2015, Greater Kansas City Area, KS

6.  WordGirls: October 22-24, 2015, Owensboro, KY

7.  Maranatha Christian Writers’ Conference: October 22-25, 2015, Norton Shores, MI

8.  East Texas Christian Writers Conference: October 30-31, 2015, Marshall, TX

9.  Next Step Writers Contreat (Yes, the spelling is correct. :-) : November 12-14, 2015, Albuquerque, NM (Scholarships available, but today is the last day to apply, so hurry!)

10. Weekend with the Writers: January 29-30, 2016, Greenville, SCWritersBootcamp2016 logo

11. Writers Advance Boot Camp: February 19-21, 2016, Asheville, NC Scholarship deadline October 31, 2015 (I’ll see you there!)

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

13. Carolina Christian Writers Conference: March 11-12, 2016, Spartanburg, SC. Details coming soon!

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

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

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

17. Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference: May 22-26, 2016, Ridgecrest, NC (I’ll see you there! Watch for details coming soon!)

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

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

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FREE PixabayWell, that does it for our regular announcements, but today we have a special give-away!

I’m thrilled to let you know that each person who Tweets or shares today’s post on Facebook or other social media will receive an entry into a drawing for a free copy of Edie Melson‘s best-selling book, Connections: Social Media and Networking Techniques for Writers! Thanks, Edie, for sharing your book with my readers!

Simply Tweet or post and leave a comment that you’ve done it, and you’ll be in the drawing. The winner will be announced next week, so don’t forget to check back!

It’s easy to share with this Tweetable!

#Writing opps-contests-conferences & free socialmedia book by @EdieMelson via @VondaSkelton #amwriting #pubtips (Click to Tweet)

Happy writing!

Vonda

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2 Writing Tips to Avoid First Sentence Mistakes, Call-outs for Kudos & MoGo7000 & Who Won Amber Massey’s Book?

Photo courtesy of Stuart Miles/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Photo courtesy of Stuart Miles/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

First up, let’s look at 2 things you can do to avoid first sentence mistakes…

If you’ve been a student of writing a while you know that first sentences are critical to the success of your work. I’ve actually heard an editor say she reads the first sentence, and if it grabs her interest and doesn’t have any glaring errors, she’ll move to the second.

She will then read the second sentence and decide if she wants to read the third. The process continues until she comes to the end of the first paragraph. At that point she’ll have a pretty good idea whether she has any interest in the story or not.

But did you know the first sentences of the remaining paragraphs are equally critical?

Once you leave that first paragraph to begin the second, the real struggle begins. Here are two common problems to look for as you work on your rewrites.

1.  Take a look at the opening sentences of the following paragraphs. Do you see a problem?

I remember the first time I bought a pair of designer shoes. Money was tight, even though we’d always had enough for our needs. But between the mortgage, the Christian school, and the grocery bill, there wasn’t much left at the end of the month.

I decided that bargain shopping and yard sales would clothe my family. But one day I decided the time had come—I deserved better. And in those days, “better” meant a pair of Aigner shoes.
I headed to the mall and made my selection. I wrote the check for $52 (at least four times my usual shoe allotment) and wore the blue fashion statements out the door.

I walked across the parking lot and proudly glanced around for anyone who might want to smile at me and my shoes. No one smiled.

I drove to the grocery store, anticipating the envious looks from shoppers wearing their dirty old sneakers. But no one noticed. No one except me. By the time I’d selected the apples and thumped the cantaloupe, the left shoe had begun to rub my big toe.

I knew fashion came with a price so I forged ahead, waiting for the admiring glances of moms who wanted to wear—but couldn’t afford—Aigner.

I finished my shopping and hobbled out the door. Then reality hit. Not one person had acknowledged my shoes and the message they carried. Not one person cared that I had just spent half my grocery money on a pair of hard, uncomfortable status symbols. Not one person gave a rip about me and my designer shoes.

I got what I deserved.

Okay, what do you think? If you said all the first sentences started with the same word, you’re correct.

A good writer will vary the first word of the paragraphs.

2.  Now take a look at the first sentences of these paragraphs. Do you see a problem?

As a bona fide, card-carrying daddy’s girl, I grew up feeling beautiful. It didn’t matter if I sported blue-ribboned ponytails or a wet head full of bright pink curlers, Daddy never missed an opportunity to pull me onto his lap, wrap his arms around me, and tell me I was beautiful. It was a great feeling, but it didn’t last.

Before long, I was like every other female in America—I believed the lie. The lie that says we must be beautiful or young or sexy to be worthy of love.

If you’re aware of today’s culture, you may realize airbrushed models, Botoxed movie stars, and ready access to plastic surgery has fueled this lie. And we’re falling for it.

As you know, sex and beauty sell. They sell everything from cars to toothpaste and lawn mowers to furniture polish. But the world’s beauty is a false reality, one manipulated through technique . . . and presented as truth.

And because our culture and its web of deceit are never satisfied with us, we’re never satisfied with ourselves.

Well, what do you think? Did you see a problem?

If you said all the first sentences are similarly constructed, you’re right. The opening sentence of each paragraph begins with a phrase or clause, followed by a comma.

A good writer will vary the structure of the first sentences in a page of paragraphs (and the other sentences throughout the piece).

So there you have it, two things to look for as you rewrite your work. Vary your first word choice and your first sentence structure in your paragraphs, and you’ll increase your chances of seeing your work in print.

(Photo courtesy of Stuart Miles/FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

Thanks for Tweeting…

2 Writing Tips to Avoid 1st Sentence Mistakes via @VondaSkelton #pubtips #amwriting (Click to Tweet)

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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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mogo7000 logoWho 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 2015 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 2015 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. :-)

Thanks for Tweeting…

#Writers you can win $100 w/MoGo7000. Only 5 months left to qualify! via @VondaSkelton Christian Writer’s Den (Click to Tweet)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~For the Love of Horses-Compressed

Who Won Amber Massey’s Book?

And the winner is…

Margery Warder!

Congratulations, Margery! Contact me with your snail mail address and Amber will get your book right out to you!

And friends, you don’t have to miss out. Here’s your direct Amazon link to For the Love of Horses: Everyday Lessons From Life in the Saddle, by Amber Massey.

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2 Writing Tips to Avoid 1st Sentence Mistakes via @VondaSkelton #pubtips #amwriting (Click to Tweet)

Well, that does it for another 1st Tuesday. Thanks for stopping by. I hope you’ve found help for your writing journey today! After all, that’s my goal at The Christian Writer’s Den. :-)

Blessings,

Vonda

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Could Anthologies Be Your Ticket to Publication? Call-Out for May Kudos & MoGo700 and Who Won Andrea Merrell’s Book?

bitsy3bookphotoFirst up for the first Tuesday of June: Could Anthologies Be Your Ticket to Publication?

Not long after my first children’s book, Bitsy and the Mystery at Tybee Island, came out, I had the opportunity to submit to a compilation, Mystery Readers Journal: Religious Mysteries. (And just so you know, the words “Religious” and “Christian” are not synonymous!)

I had no idea what I was doing. All I knew was they were looking for writers of “religious” mysteries to share something of interest with mystery readers. Surely I had something of interest to say! So I wrote a piece, “Teaching Truth through Fiction,” and talked about the fact that we can teach Biblical and moral truth without preaching. I was thrilled when they accepted my article. And even though I didn’t get paid for it, it was still a good investment. Not only was it an opportunity to introduce mystery readers to my book, but the publication also gave me another writing credit. On top of that, “Teaching Biblical Truth through Secular Fiction” is now one of my most popular classes at writer’s conferences.

A few years later, I read of a call for submissions on stories about fathers. Being a card-carrying Daddy’s girl, I jumped at the chance to submit. What a joy to receive the acceptance letter and offer of a contract to be published in Embrace of a Father…and this time I actually got paid!

Compilations, also called anthologies, are a great way to gather some publishing credits and collect a little money along the way. Several of our readers have found quite a bit of success in this area of publishing, and many of the leads have come through the “Opportunities” list posted here the third Tuesday of every month.

Here are some things you need to know if this area of writing and publishing sounds like something you might want to consider:Mystery Readers Journal cover

  • Read the guidelines and follow the directions carefully regarding formatting, word count, etc.
  • Check the address for submission. It’s not always the same as the email of the contact person.
  • Be sure your story meets the topic guidelines. Don’t waste your time–or the editor’s–with pieces that just don’t fit.
  • Be sure you understand the rights you are giving. Many compilations allow you to keep your rights and use it again in the future, but a work-for-hire contract probably means you will not have any rights to the story after they accept it.
  • Find out if you’re able to purchase copies at a discount for resale. You can often purchase copies for about half price, allowing you to make a good profit on books you sell. Even after discounting the price to my friends and family and including free shipping, I still made almost $300 profit from the first batch of Embrace of a Father books I sold. And even though the book is now out of print, it’s still available through secondary venders on Amazon.
  • Even if you don’t receive financial compensation, reputable publishers usually at least give you a complimentary copy of the book.
  • Keep good records. It can take years for books to finally land on the bookshelves and you could forget you even submitted the story!
  • Some books use “seed stories” where the author or editor uses the gist of your story, rather than printing your actual words. In that case, you should receive an acknowledgement (usually in the back of the book), but most likely won’t be listed as the author of the story.

Does this sound like something you’d like to do? If so, check out the latest call-outs for upcoming Chicken Soup books. They could be your ticket to a writing credit AND a pay-check!

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Photo courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Photo courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Time for Call-Outs for Your Kudos…I Want to Brag on You!

Have you had an article published? Contracted a book? Created a new website? Have an event coming up? If so, I 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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Call for MoGo7000 Totalsmogo7000 logo

If you wrote at least 7000 new words on a book project in May, 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 May results, please leave a comment below with your total new words written in May. (Please do not send your totals by email or through the Contact page. Totals must be left as a comment here by next Monday). 

If you missed out on last year’s money-winning writing challenge, don’t worry, the 2015 challenge is open all year! 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. Meet it 6 months and you’ll have 6 entries!

So what are you waiting for? Get started now and you could have an extra $100 in January. And it doesn’t cost you a cent. :-)

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perf5.000x8.000.inddAnd Who Won Andrea Merrell’s Book?

The winner is. . .

Tammy Whitehurst!

Congratulations, Tammy! To receive your free book, simply contact me with your snail mail address and Andrea will send it right out to you!

And for those who didn’t win, here’s your direct Amazon link to Praying for the Prodigal: Encouragement and Practical Advice While Waiting for the Prodigal to Return.

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Well, that does it for another first Tuesday edition of Christian Writer’s Den. I hope you’ll return next week to celebrate with those who are reaching their writing and speaking goals. And if you don’t see your name highlighted here, don’t feel bad. Just keep doing the work of a writer and speaker, keep submitting to the writing opportunities posted here, and keep attending conferences and learning…and chances are good that one day you’ll see your name listed here. I look forward to celebrating with you!

Happy writing!

Vonda

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Writer’s Headlines: Writing Opportunities, Conferences, & Who Won Mary Allen’s Book?

newspapersWelcome to The Christian Writer’s Den! Today is the 3rd Tuesday, so there’s lots of good stuff to cover. Let’s start with a list of writing opportunities collected just for you!

1.  Penned from the Heart, a 366 day compilation of poems and devotions is looking for submissions for the 2016 edition. Writer’s guidelines can be found at www.marilynnutter.com.

2.  A+ Playwriting Contest for Teachers.

3.  The Mighty Newsletter is looking for articles that highlight the strength, joy, and beauty in disability and disease by featuring real life experiences and perspectives from people just like us.

4.  Since I’m working hard and having fun at Blue Ridge Christian Writers Conference this week, I’ll share this HUGE list I just found of Book Editors and Book Publishers: Christian, Religious, Inspirational, New Thought, and Spiritual Books. Please note: Do not assume all are Christian. Be sure to read and follow guidelines carefully!

Okay, so with that longgggggg list of writing opps, you should have plenty to keep you busy. Don’t forget to let us know if you have good news from these efforts. We’d love to celebrate with you!

Photo courtesy of Mary Denman

BRMCWC photo courtesy of Mary Denman

 

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Conference season is going strong! Where will you learn this year?

1. Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference: May 17-21, 2015, Ridgecrest, NC (I’m here now–come on and join me!)

2. Write To Publish: June 3-6, 2015, Wheaton, IL

3. West Virginia Writers Conference: June 12-14, 2015, Ripley, WV

4. St. David’s Christian Writers’ Conference: June 24-28, 2015, Grove City, PA

5. Kentucky Christian Writers Conference: June 25-27, 2015, Elizabethtown, KY

6. Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference: July 29-August 1, 2015, Langhorne, PA

7. Atlanta’s Christian Writing Conference: August 20-22, 2015, Marietta, GA

ccclogosmall8. Christian Communicators Conference: August 26-30, 2015, Billy Graham Training Center at The Cove, Asheville, NC. We are currently full, but the waiting list is open. Every year ladies on the waiting list have been able to attend. Maybe this could be your year! 

9. American Christian Fiction Writers Conference: September 17-20, 2015, Dallas, TX

10. Breathe Christian Writers Conference: October 9-10, 2015, Grand Rapids, MI

11. Next Step Writers Contreat: November 12-14, 2015, Albuquerque, NM

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

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Mary Allen Cover-reduced

And who won Mary Allen’s book, Crying in the Morgue, Laughing in the Dark?

The winner is:

Shirley Buxton!

Congratulations, Shirley! To receive your free book, simply contact me with your snail mail address and Mary will get the book right out to you!

And for those who didn’t win, here’s your direct Amazon link to Crying in the Morgue, Laughing in the Dark.

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Well, that does it for another Writer’s Headlines Tuesday. I can’t wait to hear of your successes that come from going to a conference and then submitting your work. After all, that’s what real writers do!

Thanks for Tweeting…Sharing is sweet!

A new list of writing opportunities & conferences at Christian Writers Den @Vonda Skelton #amwriting #pubtips (Click to Tweet)

Happy writing!

Vonda

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ProfNet: The Freelance Writer’s Friend, Call Out for Kudos & MoGo7000, and Who Won Twila Belk’s Book?

magazinesIt’s the first Tuesday, and time to learn something, report your accomplishments, and see if you’re the winner of Twila Belk’s book!

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ProfNet: The Freelance Writer’s Friend

For many years, my primary source of writing income was from freelance articles. Although I’m not freelancing these days as much as I used to, I still love teaching other writers how to see their work in print. One of the most beneficial resources I’ve found anywhere is ProfNet, also known as PR Newswire.

When I first began writing query letters and submitting freelance articles, I used my professional friends as expert sources. That was a good place to start. But as a health writer, I soon discovered I needed experts beyond my network of friends. That’s when I was introduced to ProfNet.

After becoming associated with ProfNet, my expert sources included professionals from Harvard and Duke and the Mayo Clinic. They begged me to include their doctors, dieticians, and researchers in my articles–and it was all free! My writing credibility, acceptance rate, and assignments quickly increased.

But you don’t have to be a health writer to find good expert sources. It doesn’t matter if you’re writing about scrapbooking, soccer, or gem cutting, ProfNet can mine a mother lode of sources to pull from.

Interested? You can sign up as a journalist on ProfNet here. (Freelance writers, bloggers, newspaper and TV/radio reporters fall under the Journalist category). It’s easy to sign up, but be sure you read the information first so you know how to do it!

A clear post will help you get the experts you need. Here is the link to ProfNet’s guidelines for posting your request.

And don’t forget, these experts are professionals. Your kind, gracious communication will go a long way to help you be a journalist the experts want to work with and support!

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Photo courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Photo courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Call for 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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mogo7000 logoWho Worked on Their MoGo7000 in April?

If you wrote at least 7000 new words on a book project in April, 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 April results, please leave a comment below with your total new words written on a book project in April. (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 2015 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 8 months and you’ll have 8 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. :-)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Twila Belk book signing B&N

And last but not least (How’s that for a cliche?), who won Twila Belk’s new book?

According to Random.org, the winner is…

Julie Garmon!

Congrats, Julie! Just contact me with your snail mail address and Twila will get the book right out to you!

And friends, I know there are many of you who can’t wait to read Twila’s book, so here’s a direct Amazon link to Raindrops from Heaven: Gentle Reminders of God’s Power, Presence, and Purpose. Enjoy!

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Thanks for Tweeting! Sharing is Sweet…

Freelance #Writers need ProfNet – Find expert sources & up your income! @VondaSkelton #amwriting #pubtips (Click to Tweet)

Well, that does it for another first Tuesday. I can’t wait to see what you have been up to! I love giving away money to writers–so get to work and write!

Happy writing,

Vonda

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Writer’s Headlines: Writing Opps with a Contest, Conferences & Who Won Rebecca Davis’ Book?

newspapersYep, it’s the 3rd Tuesday, time for some Writing Opportunities selected just for you! (And be sure to read about the cool Writing Opportunities Contest we’re running this week.)


What a special “writing opportunities day” we have today! Here’s the deal: Last year I shared a call-out for a compilation book, Love is Out There: True Stories of Hope for Single Women Over 30by Melissa Williams Pope.

Well, Melissa recently contacted me with the good news that the book is out and one of the ladies who was published in the book says she can’t say for sure, but she might have read the call-out here! Yay, another confirmation that writing opportunities lists can help…as long as you’re willing to do the work!

So we came up with a cool contest. After studying the writing opps below, simply leave a comment sharing which of the listed opportunities you’ll be looking into. Each commenter who notes a specific opportunity will be in the drawing a copy of Love is Out There: True Stories of Hope for Single Women Over 30, donated by Melissa. Be sure to return next week to see if you’re the winner.

Here are some of Melissa’s Insider Tips from the Editor’s Side of the Desk:

- If you’re looking at a Callout and wondering if you should give it a go, the answer is YES.
– Read submission instructions carefully and follow them.
– It’s not always easy, but write bravely, from your heart. Readers are looking to connect and to feel understood. It’s hard for them to do that if you’re hiding.

To find out more about Melissa, visit her website at TheBusyQuill.com. Melissa Williams Pope can’t resist a good love story and seeing dreams come true! Originally from Los Angeles, Melissa holds advanced degrees in pastoral ministry and classical acting, and is a freelance writer, actor, singer and former church staffer. Even though she spent about a decade crisscrossing the globe from Europe to the South Pacific, Mr Right still miraculously found her! She currently gets to enjoy living the newlywed life with him in Auckland, New Zealand.

Now, here’s your new list of opportunities. Which ones interest you?

1.  DaySpring Cards is always looking for quality material. DaySpring Editorial Guidelines here.

2.  Chicken Soup has a long list of needs. Varying deadlines posted for each category. Chicken Soup wants stories!

3.  Just Between Us Christian Women’s Magazine writing guidelines.

4.  Pennsylvania Magazine wants pieces about Pennsylvania. Click on Downloads for guidelines and instructional pieces.

5.  Guideposts Magazine may be interested in your story! Be sure to study the magazine and follow the link to writer’s guidelines.

6.  Writer’s Digest Short Short Story Competition. Open for submissions June, 2015, so gets started working on your story now!

7.  The Lookout  – Several of my friends have written for this magazine!

8.  Celebrate Life Pro-life Magazine writing guidelines.

9. How to Write for LIVE, take-home quarterly for adults

10. Sew News wants articles and project ideas from you.

11. Creation Illustrated Magazine writer’s guidelines here.

12. Living Better at 50+ is running a Mother-Daughter Story Contest for Mother’s Day. Check out details on the LivingBetterat50 Facebook page. Scroll down to find the details in a post dated April 15.

Okay, so that does it for this month’s writing opportunities. I hope you’ll find something of interest here and then post a comment telling us about it and you could win a free book next week from Melissa Williams Pope!

Photo courtesy of Stuart Miles/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Photo courtesy of Stuart Miles/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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Now it’s time to check out upcoming Conferences to help you take the next step in your writing and speaking!

 

Don’t miss out–be sure to attend at least one conference every year!

1.  Orange County Christian Writers ConferenceApril 24-25, 2015, Santa Ana, CA

2.  Writing Success XXIV: April 25, 2015, Stoneboro, PA

3.  Colorado Christian Writers Conference: May 13-16, 2015, Estes Park, CO

4.  WordGirls Writer’s Getaway: May 14-16, 2015, Duncan, SC

5.  Northwest Christian Writers Renewal: May 15-16, 2015, Redmond, WA

6.  Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference: May 17-21, 2015, Ridgecrest, NC (I’ll be there and would love to see you there!)

7.  Write To Publish: June 3-6, 2015, Wheaton, IL

8. West Virginia Writers Conference: June 12-14, 2015, Ripley, WV

9. St. David’s Christian Writers’ Conference: June 24-28, 2015, Grove City, PA

10. Kentucky Christian Writers Conference: June 25-27, 2015, Elizabethtown, KY

11. Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference: July 29-August 1, 2015, Langhorne, PA

12. Atlanta’s Christian Writing Conference: August 20-22, 2015, Marietta, GA

13. Christian Communicators Conference: August 26-30, 2015, Billy Graham Training Center at The Cove, Asheville, NC. We are currently full, but the waiting list is open. Every year ladies on the waiting list have been able to attend. Maybe this could be your year! 

14. American Christian Fiction Writers Conference: September 17-20, 2015, Dallas, TX

15. Breathe Christian Writers Conference: October 9-10, 2015, Grand Rapids, MI

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Rebecca Davis cover BJUP With Daring Faith

 And who won Rebecca Davis’ book?

 

Random.org says the winner is Ruth West! Ruth, simply contact me with your snail mail address and your Rebecca will get your book right out to you!

And for those who didn’t win a book, here are direct Amazon links to some of her books:

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Thanks for Tweeting!

@VondaSkelton shares Writing Opportunities-Guidelines-Contests-Conferences #amwriting #getpublished (Click to Tweet) 

 

Don’t forget to leave a comment with a writing opportunity that sounds interesting to you and you could win Melissa Pope’s new book!

Happy writing!

Vonda

 

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