Tag Archives: book give-away

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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Season of Refreshment Giveaway with Lucinda Secrest McDowell! Giveaway Ends Today!

What a joy to share Lucinda McDowell’s book and contest with you–But today’s the last day to enter!

Drown out the busyness and noise of everyday life and find a deeper faith with something as simple as a single word in Lucinda Secrest McDowell’s new book, Dwelling Places. Through short and inspiring readings, McDowell unpacks a single word—such as mercy, beauty, gratitude, or grace—to reveal a biblical blessing or challenge relevant to where you are. Full of stories and illustrations to empower you to live the word you have just read, each devotional ends with a benediction, written as if God were speaking directly to you.

Join Lucinda in celebrating the release of Dwelling Places by entering to win her Season of Refreshment giveaway.

dwelling places - 400

One grand prize winner will receive:

  • A copy of Dwelling Places
  • Dwelling Places necklace handmade by Lucinda
  • A kit full of goodies you’ll need to make refreshing lemonade this summer

One second place winner will receive:

  • A copy of Dwelling Places
  • Dwelling Places necklace handmade by Lucinda
dwelling places - collage

Enter today by clicking the icon below, but hurry! The giveaway ends on July 5th. The winner will be announced July 6th on Lucinda’s blog.

dwelling places - enter banner

 

And here’s my review for “Dwelling Places.” Please note that I received a free copy of this book for an honest review.

“Dwelling Places: Words to Live in Every Season” by Lucinda Secrest McDowell is my kind of devotional. By focusing on one word through scripture, story, and application, McDowell provides the perfect environment for meditation and listening for the Father’s voice. In this day of constant noise and interruption, it’s a perfect prescription for one-on-one conversation with the God of the universe. The devotions are divided into four categories or seasons of the year, but rather than reading it through for each season, I appreciate that I can search for a word that fits where I am and what I need for that day or that time in my life. This isn’t a devotional that I read quickly and rush away to work on the myriad other things that have to be done that day. Instead, the word comes back into my heart and mind throughout the day, reminding me of His love and provision for me, regardless of what I’m going through.

Friends, I hope you’ll consider Dwelling Places for your next devotional. You won’t be disappointed!

Blessings,

Vonda

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Belated 4th of July Greetings, Call-Outs, & Who Won Felicia Bridges’ Free Book?

American flags

Hello CWD friends! Can you believe it’s already another 1st Tuesday? Let’s start with an oldie but goodie 4th of July tribute to America and offer thanks to our Father for the privilege of living here.

 

Here is a live official Opry version of Lee Greenwood singing “God Bless the USA” at the Grand Ol’ Opry. It still gives me cold chills, even after all these years! Please join me in asking God to continue to bless the USA, but more importantly, that America will turn back to the Father Who has blessed her all these years.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IWlMsxJR5pk

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It’s Time to Share Kudos of YOUR Successes!

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

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

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

PLEASE let me hear from you. We want to celebrate your successes!

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Who MoGo’d in June?

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

The year is now half over for this money-winning writing challenge, but don’t worry, the 2016 challenge still has SIX monthly opportunities left for you to enter. Here are the MoGo7000 Challenge rules. All you have to do is write at least 7000 NEW words on a book project in any month and you’ll receive an entry into the end-of-the-year drawing for $100.

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

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CzechMate Cover Felicia BridgesAnd who won a free copy of Felicia Bridges book, CzechMate?

Random.org selected as the winner…

Judy C. Taylor!

Congrats, Judy! Simply contact me with your snail mail address and preferred email address and the Felicia will get your book right out to you!

And for those friends who didn’t win, I know you’ll want your own copy! Here are the direct Amazon paperback and Kindle links to CzechMate!

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Well, that does it for the July installment of 1st Tuesday and Happy Birthday to our beloved America. Please join me in praying that our country would turn back to God so we can continued to be blessed. Thanks for joining me today!

Happy writing, my friends…

Vonda

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Interview & Book Give-Away with Felicia Bridges

Felicia Bridges headshotHello, CWD friends, I’m thrilled to have my long-time friend, author Felicia Bridges, with us today. As I tried to remember how we first met, I decided it was at the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference years ago. We met and instantly connected as friends. And then, when I had the privilege of reading an early draft of this book, I knew I would one day ask her to be on my blog. And here we are!

Felicia has graciously offered to give away a free copy of her new book, CzechMate. Leave a comment for Felicia and you’ll be in the drawing. Just be sure to check back next week to see if you’re the winner!

Welcome to The Christian Writer’s Den, Felicia! Let’s start with an easy question that readers are often interested in. When did you first fall in love with writing?

I started writing as an angsty pre-teen half a world away from my friends in a culture that I didn’t understand. My dad was stationed in Taegu, South Korea and I was midway through sixth grade when we moved overseas. Having moved about every 18 months to two years, it took me about six months to settle into a new place, find some friends I could relate to and feel like I wasn’t an alien newly relocated from Mars. Writing became a way of escaping the loneliness of those long months and coping with the new culture and even learning about it.

Wow, it’s hard to move and change schools frequently when it’s simply across town. I can’t imagine how difficult it would be when you’re moving around the world! What made you decide to turn your talent back over to God?

For most of my adult years, writing was something I did for myself. It was a way of processing life, journaling about my life including following God, raising my kids, working through the challenges of married life. But after my oldest daughter and I returned from our first foreign mission trip, she wanted to learn about what it was like for kids her age (12) who live abroad. We searched the Christian bookstores and even the secular stores but there were simply no young adult stories about kids living on the mission field.

About the same time, the Young Indiana Jones series had come out on television and I thought, “What could make a greater adventure series than the stories of young people living all over the world, sharing their faith, facing danger and persecution, and witnessing God work in miraculous ways?” So I started writing my first novel, CzechMate, set in Prague where we had just been on a mission trip. We had learned so much about the culture and I wanted to incorporate history and culture, landmarks and politics – I wanted the story to be a virtual field trip to this country, but one that was wrapped up in an adventure that would make readers want to finish reading it! I worked on the book for years, writing little scenes and then setting it aside for months at a time. It took even more years to work up the courage to follow through on requests I’d received at writers’ conferences and actually send my “baby” out into the world to face the rejections I knew had to come as part of the process. But God, who had planted the idea so many years before, had gone before me. All those years of writing and re-writing, editing and scrapping whole plotlines to make the story as tight as possible, served as watering and tending, and God brought the increase in his time by allowing the first publisher to see the full proposal to offer a contract on it.

The first publisher bought it? What a blessing that you didn’t have to go through a bunch of rejections! But, as you pointed out, during those years, you were writing, editing, rewriting and editing, and going to conferences. You were doing the work of a writer! Now that your book is out, what do you hope readers will gain from it?

My vision for this series is to inspire future missionaries. That is a God-sized task, but if God is able to give voice to a donkey, as He did in Numbers 22, I believe He can provide the words for me, too. In order to capture the imagination of my readers, I hope the International Mission Force series is both entertaining and educational. I find learning about a new culture fascinating. The stories that are part of their heritage almost always include a touchpoint to God, whether it is a story that reveals mankind’s desperate need for a savior or our attempts to reach God on our own. These common threads of our humanity not only demonstrate God’s revelation of Himself to all people, but illustrate how we have much more in common than that which is different.

What plans do you have for this series in the future?

CzechMate is only the first in a series that I hope will one day include stories from every place that missionaries serve. I was thrilled that Vinspire Publishing offered a contract on the second novel in the series as well. BoliviaKnight’s protagonist is 17-year-old Peter Parkinson. Peter’s been a missionary in Bolivia since he was born, but when he uncovers a smuggling ring, will his secondhand faith be enough to defeat a cartel and free the girl who has hijacked his heart? The greatest enemy we face lurks in our own heart. BoliviaKnight is scheduled for release December 2016. I’m currently working on the third book in the series, which will be set in Kenya.CzechMate Cover Felicia Bridges

What an exciting and educational mystery/adventure series! I’m looking forward to reading the other books, too! Thanks for being my guest today and sharing your International Mission Force series with us, Felicia. I hope you’ll join us again!

And friends, if you’d like a chance to win a free book, simply leave a comment for Felicia and you’ll automatically be entered into the drawing. Be sure to check back next week to see if you’re the winner!

Bio: Felicia Bridges began writing as an Army BRAT learning to enjoy life overseas. Her nomadic childhood created a passion for missions and travel that permeates her writing. She is a contributing author for Then Along Came an Angel: Messengers of Deliverance and God’s Provision in Tough Times, a finalist for the 2014 Selah Awards. Serving in ministry for over twenty years alongside her husband and the mother of four children, Felicia’s vision is to inspire the next generation to carry the gospel to all nations. Her young adult series, International Mission Force, debuts in May 2016 with Book 1: CzechMate. Book 2: BoliviaKnight is expected later this year. Her blog, www.AdventuresThatInspireAction.wordpress.com, focuses on living on mission wherever life’s adventure leads.

Felicia graduated with highest honors from North Carolina State University with a B.A. in Psychology and a concentration in Human Resources Development. Her ten years’ experience as an HR Manager sharpened her understanding of people, while providing some very interesting stories. Having studied public speaking in college and as a graduate of the Dale Carnegie Course, she is equally comfortable speaking to the stranger in the checkout line or an auditorium full of people.

Catch up with Felicia’s adventures at:

www.AdventuresThatInspireAction.Wordpress.com
Facebook: Felicia Bowen Bridges – Writer
Twitter: @fbridges272
Pinterest: Felicia Bridges
Instagram: fbridges2
Email: feliciabowenbridges@gmail.com

 

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How to Write for Kids: It’s NOT Easier Than Writing for Adults! Call-Outs & Who Won Greg & Julie Gorman’s Book?

Photo courtesy of Stuart Miles

Photo courtesy of Stuart Miles

When I first decided to write a book, I didn’t have a lot of time to invest, so I looked for the quick and easy route to writing success. Of course, that meant I would write for kids. Right?

After all, kids don’t know the rules of writing. They don’t care about character development. They don’t need a lot of words. And they certainly don’t expect big words, lots of description, or a complex plot. I was on a fast track to success!

Seven years and 50-something rejections later I still didn’t have a published book.

The truth is, writing for children is NOT easier than writing for adults. Here are seven things you need to know if you want to write kids’ books that will get published…and get read.

1.  Good writing is good writing, regardless of the target age group. A poorly-written manuscript will never get past the first reader. If you want to see your book in print, you need to learn the rules of writing.

2.  Well-developed characters are necessary to obtain and maintain the short attention span of kids. Children are discriminating readers who expect interesting, compelling characters . . . and you have to present them quickly. A page or two is a lot of material for kids to read, so you’ll need interesting characters they can care about and form a relationship with, from the beginning.

3.  It’s harder to write with a few words than it is to write with a lot. You’ve most likely heard the saying, “Write tight.” That’s never truer than with writing for kids. Picture books are usually only 500-1000 words. Have you ever tried to tell a well-developed story with good characters in 500 words? Now that takes skill! And even though word counts go up as the readers age, kids’ novels are generally less than half the length of those written for adults.

4.  Children can spot a fake voice as soon as you open your characters’ mouths. The vernacular of today’s children changes quickly. Words that were cool last year are now so . . . well . . . last year! Let’s face it, about the time we adults adopt a term, it’s old stuff. So I have a group of kids who help me translate my language into theirs before I send it off to the publisher. I recommend you grab a group, too.

5.  Just like adults, young readers want a sense of place, setting, and mood. That doesn’t mean you have the time and space to write pages of eloquent description, but choose your words wisely and your readers will enthusiastically join you on your fictional journey.

6.  Don’t talk down to your readers. I read a lot of children’s material, and I see a repeated pattern in many first-time writers—talking down to the kids. As I said earlier, kids are smart and discerning readers. They don’t need us to explain what just happened in a scene. Give them enough information through the action, the nuance of the voice, and the physical expression, and they’ll get it. In other words, don’t say what you’re going to say and don’t say what you just said.

7.  Include a simple plot for picture books and well-developed plots and subplots for chapter books and novels. This is where show-don’t-tell comes into play. You’ll never gain committed followers if your book is simply a list of “This happened, then this happened, then this happened.” Even young kids want to know the reason, the motivation, the reward. They want to cheer for the good guy and watch the bad guy get his due. And yes, they want things to end up fair at the end of the book. Include more than the surface story—especially for older kids—and they’ll love you for it.

So there you have it, seven truths you need to know in order to write publishable children’s material. Anything less, and you won’t get the attention of editors…or kids.Red Sale Bag pixabay

And if you’d like help learning how to write for kids, don’t miss my BUY One, GET One Sale for my Downloadable Writing Workshops! Buy one downloadable workshop and get another one absolutely free!

PLEASE NOTE: To get this special pricing, visit my Store and select the two classes you’d like, BUT ONLY PAY FOR ONE–either one. Then contact me with the 2nd class you’d like and I’ll send it out to you!

Please don’t order both classes online, or PayPal will charge you for both!

 

This special pricing applies to Write a Novel Children Will Love, Teaching Children Biblical Truth Through Secular Fiction, How to Have Magazine Editors Calling YOU! and Opportunities for Christian Writers. Even if you order the Writing for Children Double Package, only one free class will be given.

But you’ll have to hurry—the sale ends June 18, 2016. So head on over to the store, decide which classes you want, order and pay for one of them, and then contact me with your choice of the free class. It’s easy-peasy!

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FINAL cover for Two are better than oneAnd who won Greg & Julie Gorman’s new book, Two Are Better Than One?

Random.org has selected the winner:

Julie Garmon!

Congratulations, Julie! Simply contact me with your snail mail address and Greg and Julie will get your book right out to you!

And for those who didn’t win, here’s a direct Amazon link to Two Are Better Than One: God Has a Purpose for Your Marriage. Enjoy!

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It’s Time to Share Kudos of YOUR Successes!

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

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

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

PLEASE let me hear from you. We want to celebrate your successes!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~mogo

Who MoGo’d in May?

If you wrote at least 7000 new words on a book project in May, 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 May results, please leave a comment below with your total new words written on a book project 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 Sunday). 

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

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

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Well, that does it for another 1st Tuesday. Thanks for joining me today. Without you, there’d be no reason for The Christian Writer’s Den!

Happy writing, my friends…

Vonda

(Photo courtesy of Stuart Miles)

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Interview & Book Give-Away with Greg & Julie Gorman, and Who Won The Sweet Life Gift Set?

Greg and Julie Gorman lovy photoFirst up, let’s hear from authors Greg & Julie Gorman as they share their newest book, Two Are Better Than One: God Has a Purpose for Your Marriage

What a joy to have Julie Gorman back with us here at The Christian Writer’s Den. Julie is a speaker, writer, life coach, and FYI radio personality. But even more important to her than those accomplishments is that she is the wife of co-author Greg Gorman, and together they’ve written a powerful new book, Two Are Better Than One: God Has a Purpose for Your Marriage. I’m thrilled to have Greg and Julie here today because today we get a sneak-peek of their book that releases TOMORROW! (But good news–you can still order it today and be among the first to get it!)

Be sure to leave a comment for Greg and Julie and you’ll be in the drawing for a free copy of the book! Don’t forget to check back next Tuesday to see if you’re the winner!

Now let’s get started. Welcome to The Christian Writer’s Den, Greg and Julie. To get things started, would you tell us a bit about yourselves? What inspired you to write this book?

First, thank you for sharing this message and allowing us to be part of your community. For nearly two decades we’ve helped thousands of couples develop healthier marriages. And, honestly, we were perplexed as to why some couples thrived while others barely survived in their relationship. After years of observation, what we knew subconsciously but struggled to articulate, presented itself. Since our discovery, we tested our newly found truth and analyzed decades of experience and observation. The more we reflected on our findings, the more God convinced us of His irrefutable insight—an insight that when fully embraced, by both husband and wife, will heal, restore, and deepen intimacy in every marriage. Yes, in every marriage, no matter the condition of the relationship. So what is that truth? Couples who live Purpose-focused, NOT Problem-focused, in their relationship, thrive!FINAL cover for Two are better than one

That sounds like an exciting discovery! I really enjoyed your “voice” in your previous book, What I Wish My Mother Had Told Me About Men. What is the style of Two Are Better Than One?

We love how Stephen Arterburn, host of the #1 nationally syndicated Christian counseling talk show New Life Live describes it; “In Two Are Better than One, Greg and Julie present fun, fresh and frank truths to lead you on a journey of significant discovery that will elevate your expectations and provide direction for your most precious earthly relationship—your marriage.” Our passion is to provide pathways to sustainable growth and life transformation . . . so when we write . . . we commit to capture real truths, with real stories, to provide real hope. As a matter of fact, we’ve remained extremely zealous to only present truths we know make a difference in life and marriage. We don’t try to convince anyone of anything; we simply deliver the evidence compiled from working with hundreds of couples for over nearly two decades as well as scriptures and timeless wisdom from thought leaders to back it up. So, be ready to grow and be stretched and yet entertained. We think you’ll laugh at the twist we put on some of our favorite Bible heroes—you may never look at them the same. This book is fun!

It certainly sounds like fun. How did you master the craft of blending your voices and writing together?

When we first married we felt the need to compare and compete; today, we celebrate our unique differences. We had a BLAST writing together and spent so much time talking about what we really wanted to accomplish that by the time we completed the book, we couldn’t discern who shared what. We peppered our writing process with questions like: “How can we say this better, more concise, with more humor and, or, with more punch?” We each wrote to our strengths and then challenged one another’s thought, blended our voices, and continued the process again, and again, and again . . . so much so that we think we could recite the entire book by heart!

One of the things I love that you share in Two Are Better Than One is that “There is no such thing as a Christian without a calling, likewise there is no such thing as a marriage without a ministry.” Do you really believe every couple has a specific marriage purpose?

Greg and Julie Gorman 2 better than 1Absolutely! God designed each one of us with the desire to be part of something greater than ourselves. He commissioned us to be a light in our homes, to share the good news, and to bear lasting fruit. We are all made perfectly unique. When we marry, God intends for us to combine our unique strengths, our likenesses and our differences to accomplish a greater purpose. The great thing is, when we do this, we automatically find common ground and share a common goal/purpose to work toward together. We become focused, together, on being all He created us to be!  Our calling as a couple is as unique as God is creative.

If there is one piece of advice you can share with a couple who is on the verge of giving up on their marriage, what would it be?

Over 17 years ago, we nearly gave up on our relationship . . . but GOD healed and restored our marriage by teaching us how to live PURPOSE-focused NOT PROBLEM-focused. We are so grateful that in our surrender, He didn’t let us give up or give in. Delve into the process of this book, commit to each exercise, and invite the limitless power of God to heal your relationship. It usually takes time, but changing your TABTO-endorsementhabit of thought to being more Christ-like, more purposed focused, renders the marriage God intended for you.

Where can people purchase the book or learn more info?

For an autographed copy, go to: http://www.gormanleadership.com/two-are-better-than-one . Also, login to our site to gain special access to other FREE resources.

Thank you for being with us today, Greg and Julie. This is truly an exciting discovery for marriages!

Friends, don’t forget to leave a comment for Greg and Julie and you’ll be in the drawing for a free copy of Two Are Better Than One. Be sure to check back next Tuesday to see if you’re the winner.

And if you can’t wait another week to get your copy, here’s your direct link to order Two Are Better Than One. It goes on sale tomorrow!

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Cookie ladiesAnd who won the Stir Up Some Sweet Life Gift Set from Debra Paulk and Judy Bone?

The winner is…

Ruth Allender!

Congratulations, Ruth! Simply contact me with your snail mail address and Judy and Debra will get your gift set right out to you!

And for those of you who didn’t win, here’s your direct link to order Stir Up Some Sweet Life: Lessons From the Cookie Jar. You know you want a copy!

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Friends, thank you for stopping by and spending a little time with us here at the Christian Writer’s Den. I pray God’s blessings on the work of your hands and your hearts,

Vonda

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Interview & Gift Set Give-Away with Judy Bone & Debra Paulk and While My Soldier Serves Book Give-Away

Cookie ladiesChristian Writer’s Den friends, do I have an exciting post for you today! I had the joy of meeting Judy Bone and Debra Paulk when I spoke at First Baptist Church of Macclenny, FL this spring, and my goodness, did I fall in love with these ladies and the precious women of their church! Then when I read their delightful book, Stir Up Some Sweet Life: Lessons From the Cookie Jar, I just knew I had to share it–and them–with you. If you want to peek at the funny craziness of these sweet friends, just check out their Facebook page and their website. These are the kind of girls you want to hang around and go to the beach with. And it doesn’t hurt that they’re good cooks, too. 🙂

And listen to this, these dear ladies are giving away a gift set of both Stir Up Some Sweet Life and a cookie cookbook! To get your name in the drawing, simply leave a comment for Judy and Debra and you’ll automatically be in the drawing. Be sure to return next Tuesday to see if you’re the winner.

Now, let’s get started! Welcome to the Christian Writer’s Den, Judy and Debra. Let’s begin with the question most writers are interested in: What inspired you to write your book, Stir Up Some Sweet Life: Lessons From the Cookie Jar?

Judy: Set your imagination to this scene: two women share an uncertain night in an after-surgery ICU. The patient, barely awake in a tangle of tubes and needle drips, is rolled into the room from recovery. Medical equipment beeps and hums. The mood is somber, right? Serious and grim? Well . . . it might read like that in a novel, but not in our real life experience! Minutes after Debra’s breathing tube was removed from the cancer surgery, we were giggling.

Debra: At one point I thought if the cancer didn’t kill me I would surely die of laughter. But in a matter of scant hours Judy and I realized that the Holy Spirit was rolling out a work for us, which eventually became crafted into Stir Up Some Sweet Life.

What an awesome story! So can you tell us how you got from that hospital room discussion actually coming up with the Sweet Life idea?Stir Up Some Sweet Life cover and ladies

Judy: During our hours in the hospital we talked about all kinds of things we love, like scriptures, and baking, and cookies, and Jesus. And it just clicked and we said, ‘We should write a book!’ So we did. As we brainstormed, our ideas developed into a cookie-themed set of Bible studies based on how we experience the fruits of the Spirit in our lives.

Debra: The book is our testament to the sweet life moments believers can find in the worst circumstances. God gives us just what we need when the cookie crumbles. That’s the book in a quick mix. Each chapter represents what we like to call a “lesson from the cookie jar.” For example, the title of the Joy chapter is: Joy Is Like A Cookie . . . It’s the Sweet Reward.

So was this writing journey a new venture, or have you written books before?

Debra: This is our first joint book project. When Judy and I brought our experiences together, we snapped with a crazy kind of synergy. We both brought skills and experiences to the table, and that made the process less overwhelming. Judy is a pastor’s wife with 30 years experience as a Bible teacher. She is comfortable developing lessons. For most of my career years I was a jack-of-all-trades editor in a creative niche publishing company. I had written technical books and magazine articles, but nothing like this.

Judy: Writing a book like this and bringing it to market is new for both of us. We don’t always know what we’re doing so we rely on God’s continual help to keep this testimony growing.

Interest in self-publishing has grown tremendously the past few years. Since you self-published Sweet Life, do you have any advice on taking that route?

Judy Bone and Debra Paulk photoJudy: After getting encouragement but no bites from agents and publishers at a writers conference we decided to launch the book on our own. Life is short; we don’t know what tomorrow will bring. With that thought, it didn’t seem wise to wait on a publisher. We believe God has called us to deliver a message so that’s what we’re doing.

Debra: Self-publishing is tough, though. Even with my experience as a publisher, learning a new market is hard and expensive. This is a mission for us.

Yes, self-publishing certainly has its own set of learning curves, as does any worthwhile thing. I’m thankful you hung in there and brought this book to the public! So what’s next for you?

Judy: We’re walking through every door God opens, sharing lots of laughs along with our testimonies at events and workshops, and ministering to groups that cannot be served by major speakers.

Debra: Yes! We tell people, “Don’t worry if your group is small because we work for cookies!”

Oh, y’all make me laugh! I think know that’s why people fall in love with you just as I did! I’ve read Sweet Life, and I know my readers would enjoy it. How can people order your book or get in touch with you?

Judy: They can contact us through our website, www.stirupsomesweetlife.com, through Facebook, or visit our booth at some of the Christian conventions and events.

Thank you for bringing us Stir Up Some Sweet Life: Lessons From the Cookie Jar today, Judy and Debra! And thank you for your heart for others through sharing that life.

Friends, be sure to leave a comment for Judy and Debra and you’ll be in the drawing for that free gift set! This is an opportunity you don’t want to miss! (Don’t forget to come back next week to see if you’re the winner.)

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And who won Edie’s book, While My Solider Serves: Prayers for Those with WMSS, final, high resLoved Ones in the Military, in our Special Memorial Day drawing?

 

First of all, thanks to all of you who honored the military in your comments. They deserve it, and so much more, don’t they?

Deanna Stalnaker, you’re the winner! Congratulations! Simply contact me with your snail-mail address and I’ll get Edie’s book right out to you. I know you’ll enjoy it!

And readers, I want you to know that both Deanna and her husband served in our military during the Viet Nam era, so it’s a special joy to honor them with this book. Thank you and your family for your service, Deanna. We thank God for you.

Here’s the direct Amazon link to While My Solider Serves: Prayers for Those with Loved Ones in the Military. Would you please got one for that friend or family member who has a loved one serving our country? You could make their burden lighter by helping them pray. Thank you.

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Thank you, sweet friends, for joining me today. I’m sorry I was late getting this out, but I’m blessed to be teaching at the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference this week and I’m running behind on everything else. But what a blessed time this week is year after year.

And we have the largest number of attendees this year than ever before! What a blessing. Hope you can join us next year!

Enjoy the sweet life of living for our Savior…

Vonda

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

2.  ACFW Virginia Short Story Contest is Open to Everyone

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

4.  Free Spirit Publishing book submission guidelines

5.  Good Old Days Magazine contributor guidelines

6.  Celebrate Life submission guidelines

7.  Dollar Stretcher Publications writers guidelines

8.  Midwest Living magazine writers guidelines

9.  Today’s Christian Woman guidelines

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

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

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

Where are you going this year?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Thanks, Edie!)

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Happy writing!

Vonda

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Sustainable Writing: Research, Redo & Reuse, by Edie Melson – Call Out for Kudos & MoGo7000 – And Book Winner!

Recycle 3R PixabayVonda here: I admit, I’m not a great recycler. We don’t have recycle capability with our garbage pick up, so it’s not easy to make the best use of this worthwhile endeavor.

But garbage recycling isn’t the only thing I miss the mark on. I could do a much better job of recycling my words. Edie Melson is here today to show us the benefit of Sustainable Writing. Welcome, Edie!

Sustainable Writing: Research, Redo and Reuse

Sustainable Writing is the way I describe writing for a living. Having a regular income as a freelance writer requires multiple streams of income. Managing those streams and keeping them afloat is where the sustainable part happens. Just like the environment, we have to be good stewards of our time and resources as writers and business owners.

As a matter of fact, there is a lot we, as writers, can learn from the environmental awareness movement. If you don’t believe me, just substitute the word TIME for the word ENVIRONMENT and you’ll be surprised what becomes applicable.

When we think about sustainable writing, we need to have a recycling mindset. We should never waste anything. Say you’re doing research for an article titled, Remodel Your Kitchen. If you pay attention, you’ll find material to write several dozen articles. How about one called New Trends in Lighting Your Kitchen or Using Kitchen Cabinets in the Bathroom. Once you know where to look, the possibilities are endless.

This works with more than just research, you can repurpose articles–change them by 50 percent–and sell them as a new article to another source. Or, don’t change them at all and sell the reprint rights.

Here are some ways to apply this attitude to your writing.

  • Research – When you research a topic or person for an article or book, keep all your notes. I keep all mine in a single computer file. Within that file it’s important to have a document that lists all the websites you’ve visited to get your information. I’ve gotten in the habit of copying and pasting the web address into this document the first time I determine the importance of the webpage I visit. I also keep a transcript and/or notes from any interviews I conduct on the subject.
  • Rough Drafts – Many times when I’m writing an article it will start off way over the word count I need. I keep a copy of that first draft in my file before I start cutting it and revising it. Often I’ve come back to it and pulled parts out for a brand new article.
  • Related Subjects – I’ve also learned to make a list of possible related subjects while I’m working on an article. Frequently, when I’m writing an article, ideas for other articles will come to mind. When that happens I’ve learned to immediately make a note of my thought. If I wait, the idea often disappears.

So don’t waste your time starting from scratch with every article, and then using it only once. Research, redo, and reuse and you’ll be able to get much more mileage our of your words. Edie Melson, crop, high res

Edie Melson—author, editor and blogger—is a leading professional within the writing industry, as well as a popular instructor and mentor. Her heart to help others define and reach their dreams has connected her with writers across the country.

She’s the co-director of the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference, and a prolific writer, with numerous books and thousands of articles. Her popular writing blog, The Write Conversation, is a well known resource. Edie is the Social Media Director for Southern Writers Magazine, senior editor for Novel Rocket, and the social media mentor for My Book Therapy websites. She’s also the military family blogger for Guideposts.org. Connect with her on Twitter and Facebook.

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It’s Time to Share Kudos of YOUR Successes!

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

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

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

PLEASE let me hear from you. We want to celebrate your successes!

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Who MoGo’d 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 2016 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 2016 challenge has lots of opportunities left for you. Here are the MoGo7000 Challenge rules. All you have to do is write at least 7000 NEW words on a book project in any month and you’ll receive an entry into the end-of-the-year drawing for $100.

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

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~A Stranger On My Land cover Sandra Hart

And who won Sandra Hart’s book?

The winner is…

Ruth Allender!

Congrats, Ruth! Simply contact me with your email and snail mail addresses and Sandra will get your book right out to you!

And readers, since I know you want you own copy of Sandra Merville Hart’s Inspirational Readers’ Choice Award Finalist, here’s your direct Amazon link to A Stranger on My Land Kindle. And as I write this, it’s only $1.99!

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ccclogosmallOnly one more opening for Christian Communicators Conference at the Billy Graham Training Center at The Cove in August!

Ladies, do you feel God is calling you to be a speaker? Or perhaps you already have a speaking ministry, but want to take it to the next level. If either of those are true, you’ll want to check out Christian Communicators Conference!

Could this last spot be for YOU?

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Another happy Tuesday to you! Be sure to come back next week to enjoy another teaching post and celebrate you and your friends’ successes!

Never give up!

Vonda

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