Tag Archives: editors

Call-Out for Kudos & MoGo7000 & Who Won Crickett Keeth’s Book?

Megaphone announce Pixabay

(I’m sorry for the delay. I created this the week of Christmas and was shocked when it wasn’t delivered to my Inbox Tuesday morning! I finally sat down to rewrite it, but the more I thought about it I KNEW I had written it.

I was write, I had written it. But guess where I found it . . . in the bowels of the archives, dated January 3, 2016!)

It’s Time to Share Kudos of Your First Successes of 2017!

Hey there, writing friends. We want to know what you’ve been up to. Has something exciting happened recently to start your new year off right? 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!

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

Who MoGo’d in December?mogo

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

To report your December results, please leave a comment below with your total new words written on a book project in December. (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 2017 challenge has begun! Here are the MoGo7000 Challenge rules. But remember, this week’s reporting is for the month of December 2016 only.

All words written beginning January 1 will apply to the 2017 MoGo7000 Challenge, so get started now and you could have 12 chances to win next January!

Be sure to return next week to see if you’re the winner of the 2016 MoGo7000 cash prize of $100!

The Gift of Rest cover Crickett Keeth~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

And who won a copy of Crickett Keeth’s new book, The Gift of Rest?

The winner is . . .

Judith Robl!

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

And for those who didn’t win, you know you still need this book. And as I write this, it’s on sale for only $8.38 or $2.99 for Kindle! So here’s a direct Amazon link to The Gift of Rest. Enjoy!

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

New year’s blessings as you face the blank canvas of 2017. What will your canvas show at the end of the year? I pray mine will show only what was God-led. Nothing more. Nothing less.

Vonda

Read entire post »

 

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

newspapersHere it is–your monthly writer’s opportunities, contests, & conferences. Nothing can hold you back now!

Here’s your October list of opportunities and contests!

1.  Write2Ignite Writing Contest for writers of children’s and YA literature is open for submissions. Deadline is November 30, 2016!

2.  Brain Teen is looking for personal essays on parenting teens or being a teen. Deadline is December 30, 2016.

3.  Chicken Soup for the Soul is always looking for stories. Current needs include cats, dogs, dreams, military, and teachers.

4.  The American Gardener is looking for articles.

5.  Babble Magazine (by Disney) is a parenting website looking for articles on parenting, relationships, entertainment, beauty, food, and more!

6.  FundsForWriters.com has a huge list of writing contests here!

7.  Blue Mountain Arts Greeting Cards seeks contemporary prose or poetry written from personal experience. Does not need rhymed poetry, religious verse, one-liners or humor. Pays well for all rights.

8.  Oklahoma Today focuses on the best of Oklahoma’s people, places, events, and culture.

9.  New Mobility Magazine focuses on the active wheelchair lifestyle, covering relationships, recreation, travel, people, health, and more!

10. Bible Advocate Magazine focuses on the authority of the Scriptures and the Lordship of Christ.

So what will you be doing over this next month to move forward in your writing? Be sure to let us celebrate your successes with our kudos!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~workshop sign Pixabay

And here’s an updated list of conferences…

I hope you find one in your neck of the woods!

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

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

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

4.  Florida Christian Writers Conference: February 22-26, 2017, Leesburg, FL

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

6.  Mid-South Christian Writers Conference: March 18, 2017, Collierville, TN

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

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

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

10. Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference: May 21-15, 2017, Ridgecrest, NC (I’ll be there as a conferee this time, and I can’t wait to take a bunch of classes!)

11. St. David’s Christian Writers’ Conference: June 21-25, 2017, Grove City, PA

Remember, if you’re serious about writing, you’ll be serious about getting to a writing conference.

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

Thank you for praying for my mother after her very serious fall. She has made a lot of progress, but she still has a long road ahead. Please continue to pray for healing, comfort, and peace for her and for us as we care for her. I praise God that none of this has taken our Father by surprise and we’re confident that something good will come from this for His honor and glory. After all, He promises us that in His Word!

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

Vonda

Read entire post »

 

Writer’s Headlines: Writing Opportunities, Contests & Conferences

newspapersIt’s the 3rd Tuesday and time for Writing Opportunities, Contests, and Conferences. Let’s start with a database full of writing opportunities!

It’s been a crazy few weeks, so today, I’m sending you to the Freelance Writing Writer’s Guidelines Database, where you’ll find writing guidelines from A to Z!

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

And for writing contests…

Here’s a link to 27 Free Writing Contests: Legitimate Competitions With Cash Prizes, published on The Write Life blog.

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

As I always say, If you’re serious about writing, you’ll be serious about writing conferences.

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

2.  Breathe Christian Writers Conference: October 7-8, 2016, Grand Rapids, MIworkshop sign Pixabay

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

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

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

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

7.  Florida Christian Writers Conference: February 22-26, 2017, Leesburg, FL

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

9.  Mid-South Christian Writers Conference: March 18, 2017, Collierville, TN

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

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

Image courtesy of www.FreeDigitalPhotos.net/Sattva

Image courtesy of www.FreeDigitalPhotos.net/Sattva

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

13. Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference: May 21-15, 2017, Ridgecrest, NC (I’ll be there as a conferee this time, and I can’t wait to take a bunch of classes!)

14. St. David’s Christian Writers’ Conference: June 21-25, 2017, Grove City, PA

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

I hope each of you find lots of good stuff here. Be sure to let me know when you land something great. We want to celebrate your successes with you!

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

Vonda

Read entire post »

 

I Hate Outlines! And Kudos & MoGo7000 Successes

Image courtesy of StuartMiles/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of StuartMiles/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Welcome to the 2nd Tuesday at the Christian Writer’s Den! Today we’re celebrating our friends’ successes, but first, let me tell you that I hate outlines!

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

I Hate Outlines!

I do. I hate them with a passion. The dislike (And yes, I would click the thumb down button here if there was one!) begins with the very premise of an outline.

You want me to put things in order? Line them up correctly? Stick to a pattern? FOLLOW THE RULES?

What about creativity? What about the muse?

Arrgghhhhh! (Did I tell you I don’t like outlines?)

When I sat down to write my first novel, I tried to make an outline. I really did. After all, that’s what writers do, right? I gathered all my writerly stuff, including a dictionary, a thesaurus, and my college English textbook (this was before the development of online resources), put a sheet of paper into my electric typewriter, and pecked out a few words. Then I stared. A long time. Apparently it wasn’t a good outline.

I ripped out that paper, threw it in the trash and tried again with a fresh, clean sheet. I wrote a few words . . . and stared. A long time. Ripped out the paper and started again. Over and over the process repeated. Paper. Trash. Paper. Trash.

Finally I admitted defeat. Outlining just didn’t work for me. I must be a seat-of-the-pants writer, reasoned. I just needed freedom!

I rolled a new piece of paper into the typewriter and wrote a brilliant first line—14 times. I’d heard that getting published was really hard work, so I knew that first line had to be perfect. And after 14 tries, it was!

I hit the return, twice. (Remember this was before word processing.) After all, I had read an issue of Writer’s Digest Magazine from cover to cover. I knew the manuscript was supposed to be double-spaced. I stared at the brilliant first line, and then down to the blank one. And stared. A long time.

Three days later, I had one just-about-as-perfect-as-you-can-get-it double-spaced page of setting, dialogue, and plot.

But hard as I tried, I couldn’t move ahead. I had no idea what was happening next—and on top of that, it had to be perfect!

This was never going to work! Enter: the narrative outline. But not just any kind of narrative outline—the Vonda Skelton style of narrative outline.

I simply started writing plot points, stuff I knew about the characters, and what happened next—all single spaced with no dialogue, no setting, no paragraphs, no spell check, no grammar correction. On and on it went, page after page after page.  I realized that for me, the key was to trick myself into thinking I wasn’t writing a book at this point. I had to give myself permission to make it sloppy and ugly, and in order to do that, I had to single space, leave out dialogue, and forget any rules. Here’s a sample from the Bitsy and the Mystery at Hilton Head Island narrative outline:

Bitsy goes to Hilton Head Island w/her baseball team (she’s the only girl). I’m not sure why they’re going, maybe they’re in a baseball tournament. I’m not sure what kind of league they’re in, but it can’t be an official league because the rules won’t work. Since she’s the only girl, she can only go because the coach’s wife and daughter are going. But while they’re traveling something happens—car trouble? Sickness? Lost? but the mom and daughter have to go back home and B has to stay with another team at their house since there won’t be a woman with her team. She begs coach to let her stay with them but he won’t. their team is poor—no matching uniforms/in dilapidated van, but the team she has to stay with is rich. Her team is staying in an old dirty beach house but the team B’s with stays in a fancy house. Somewhere along the way—I don’t know what’ll happen to make it happen, but she’s gonna start telling lies in order to try to fit in and act like she’s rich. The Paris Mountain lie. Daddy in oilebusiness. She’s a good baseball player and they need her. There are 5 good players and 5 bad ones. The team has to be outside late at night—I don’t know what they’ll do, but they have to be out late at night so they can find a dead loggerhead turtle. Maybe she blames Ian or maybe somebody else does, but somebody thinks he did it.

And on and on it goes to the end. That’s my personal version of the Narrative Outline, and that outline has worked for me through all three of my published novels and my women’s non-fiction.

The key for is that I have to trick myself into seeing it as a long, fragmented note, NOT a book or an outline. That’s the only way I can be creative and I can turn off the internal editor at the same time!

So, are you having trouble moving ahead with your outline or your first draft? Then maybe you’ll want to consider a Skelton Narrative Outline for your book!

And the best part is, it’s FREE!

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

Let’s Celebrate Kudos With Our Christian Writer’s Den Friends!

What a joy to see writers working hard and being successful. Here’s the good news for this month:

1.  Marilyn Nutter (SC): My article, “Rock Collecting,” was published on A Widow’s Might/A New Season on August 27, 2016.

2.  Amanda Everett (VA): I was able to have a blog post, What I Wish I Knew in College published on The Rising!

3.  Tracy Crump (MS): 1)Chicken Soup for the Soul chose two of my stories to publish in their Joy of Christmas book that comes out in October. 2)My story, “Holey Memories,” was a finalist in Southern Writers Magazine’s Short Story Contest and published in their Best Short Stories 2016 issue. 3)And I have a new writer’s website! (No more pitiful homemade site.)

4.  Sandy Kirby Quandt (TX): My entry, Not All Heroes Come Back, was awarded an Honorable Mention in the Children’s/Young Adult Fiction category of the 85th Annual Writer’s Digest Writing Competition. (Vonda here: For those who aren’t familiar with Writer’s Digest Competitions, they receive thousands of entries for every competition they hold. Honorable Mention is highly honorable!)

Aren’t these inspiring reports? And I have a feeling that if you asked each of these writers how long it took to begin seeing results, they’ll tell you it was a long, hard journey that required lots of perseverance. So don’t give up. Success or failure isn’t measured by acceptances and rejections. I received 63 rejections before I ever had anything published! I often wonder how different my life would be if I had never submitted that 64th query.

As the late Gary Provost personally told me, “The only way to fail is to not write.” In other words,

The only way to fail is to quit.

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

Who MoGo’d in August and Earned Another Chance for $100?

These writers wrote at least 7000 new words on a book project in August:

#17:  Susan Baganz – 33,356 words
#18:  KathryneAnn – 13,357 words

Congratulations, Susan and KathryneAnn! So proud of your hard work and many words! I’m looking forward to Na-No-Wri-Mo in November. Hope to see lots of CWD writers there!

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

Well, that does it for another 2nd Tuesday. Didn’t see your name in the list of successes? Don’t worry! Just be sure to return next week when I’ll be posting a list of writing opportunities, contests, and conferences just for you!

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

Vonda

Image courtesy of StuartMiles/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Read entire post »

 

Ask the Agent: What 10 Editorial Mistakes Do Most Novice Authors Make? And Kudos!

This is Chip.

This is Chip.

If you’re not following agent Chip MacGregor’s blog, I have three words for you: You need to. Chip is a literary agent and president of MacGregor Literary. He works with both the Christian and general market and loves sharing his snarky-laced words of wisdom with writers. I’m telling you now, you don’t want to miss his annual Bad Poetry Contest every May–what a fun way to celebrate his birthday!

Today, I’m thrilled to share a recent question submitted to Chip’s Ask the Agent blog series. Great advice for those who are serious about writing. But watch out, you must have your humor hat on or you may not get it.

Thanks, Chip!

Excerpt from Chip MacGregor’s blog series, Ask the Agent: “What 10 editorial mistakes do most novice authors make?”

I suppose if you asked this of ten agents, you’d probably get a hundred total answers, but here are my pet peeves with newbie authors:

  • Too many exclamation points!!!
  • A proposal that has not been proof-red
  • Overpromising, as in “This proposal will sell a billion copies!”
  • FEELING A NEED TO PUT LOTS OF WORDS IN ALL CAPS.
  • Random numbering in an outline.
  • I did this, I did that, I did this other thing, I, I, I.
  • Random commas, that make no, sense.
  • A failure to understand how to properly use “quotation” marks. (Also parentheses. And their attached punctuation).
  • Failing to understand the difference between its and it’s (or there and their and they’re).
  • The manuscript is passive due to the author.

From Chip: Hint for the humor impaired: There are intentional errors in that list. If you see one, don’t send me a scolding note or you’ll be banned from the blog. It’s a joke. I know you don’t get it. Just trust me – others find it funny. 

Friends, I hope you learned something about agents and what they’re NOT looking for. And if you’re a writer interested in finding out more agent answers to your questions, check out Chip’s new book, How Can I Find A Literary Agent? And 101 Other Questions Asked by Writers .

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

Photo courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Photo courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

The Kudos must have taken a vacation!

It’s definitely summer. We writers are too hot, too busy, too far away to worry about writing or reporting successes. For that reason, I’m especially thankful that Sandy Quandt and Kristi Woods had a lot to celebrate this month!

1.  Sandy Quandt (TX):  1)Won the 1st place award in the unpublished Children’s Literature category at the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference. 2)Contracted to write 20 devotions for Worthy Inspire’s Seeing God in Nature devotional. 3)Article, “How to Write a Devotion in 300 Words or Less,” was published on WOW! Women on Writing*.

*(Vonda here: I’m so sorry, but Sandy notified me today that I had already run her kudos last month. Please know this was my mistake, not Sandy’s! But I have to admit, she has enough good stuff going on that it SHOULD be repeated! :-)

2.  Kristi Woods (OK): In July, Kristi Woods was published on Proverbs 31′s Encouragement for
Today devotions and Crosswalk.com. Additionally, she became a contributing writer for Life Letter Cafe and Blessed Transgressions. It was a busy, fruitful month full of thanksgiving to God.

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

Well, that does it for another 2nd Tuesday. I hope you’ll come back next week when I’ll have a collection of writing opportunities, contests, and conference collected just for you!

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

Vonda

 

Read entire post »

 

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/

Read entire post »

 

Portly Prose – Does Your Writing Need a Diet? by Lori Hatcher

Pig PixabayWhen you face a writing assignment with a word count of 250, do you clap or groan? For me, writing with a short word count is much more challenging than writing with a long one.

For several years the editor of a popular anthology invited me to submit 225-word devotions for her consideration. “Two hundred and twenty-five words?” I’d say. “I can’t even build a porch with fewer than 225 words, and you want me to build a whole house?” Crafting a devotion with a hook, scriptural insight, personal application, and conclusion in only a few hundred words seemed impossible.

But I took the challenge. My first attempt tipped the word count scales at an obese 350. I tossed out one of my favorite illustrations. That shaved off 50 words. I reworked the conclusion. Down 25 more. I briefly considered cutting the Scripture verse, but realized that would defeat the whole purpose. My moment of insanity, however, revealed to me how attached I had become to my well-turned phrases. Cut my words or God’s Word? Uh . . . why am I even asking this question?

As I examined my dumpy devotion looking for traces of literary cellulite, I was surprised at what I found. Muffin top metaphors. Saggy similies. Portly prose. Roly-poly rhetoric. Chubby conclusions. My devotion, I discovered, needed much more than a nip and tuck. It needed gastric bypass.

Here are five tips I applied to trim the fat from my writing:
  • Focus on one main idea. Think snapshot, not panorama. Throw out anything that doesn’t directly support your main point.
  • Choose one verse, the strongest one that supports your premise. Resist the urge to throw the whole Book at your readers.
  • Eliminate wordy, conversational phrases. (“In my opinion,” “It appears to me,” and “It’s come to my attention,” are common examples.) These add unnecessary inches to your writing waistline and make your work bulge.
  • Substitute strong verbs for adipose adverbs. If you carefully select your verbs, you won’t need most adverbs. (“Jean silently and slowly walked toward John,” becomes “Jean crept toward John,” saving you three precious words.)
  • Cut most uses of the word “that.” Read the sentence aloud. If it makes sense without “that,” you know the word is dead weight. “To” is also often extraneous. (“Lord, help me to pray more,” becomes, “Lord, help me pray more.”)

These tips will help you tone and tighten your prose, whether you’re squeezing your thoughts into a SizeHand holding scissors 2(00) devotion or donning a billowy 3XXX teaching piece. Just like wriggling into jeans two sizes too small, writing tightly will be painful at first. But unlike those too-tight jeans that hinder your movement, cut off your blood flow, and make you grumpy, changing saggy writing to svelte will force you to write better, think more creatively, and feel more confident about your writing.

Now, if you’re up to the challenge of writing a 200-400-word devotion, check out these fine publications:

Christian Devotions (300-400 words)

Light From the Word (200-400 words)

The Secret Place  (100-200 words)

The Upper Room Devotional (~250 words)

Lori Hatcher-1Lori Hatcher is the editor of Reach Out, Columbia magazine and the author of two devotional books. Her second book is Hungry for God…Starving for Time, 5-Minute Devotions for Busy Women. A blogger, writing instructor, and women’s ministry speaker, her goal is to help women connect with God in the craziness of life. You’ll find her pondering the marvelous and the mundane on her blog, Hungry for God…Starving for Time. Connect with her on Facebook, Twitter (@LoriHatcher2), or Pinterest (Hungry for God).

Lori is a graduate of Christian Communicators speakers training conference and has taught at the Christian Communicators ADVANCED Conference.

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

Will You Be One of the 30 at Christian Communicators? It’s Already Half-Full!ccclogosmall

Christian Communicators is a speaking conference unlike any you’ve ever attended. It’s not simply a conference…it’s a community of like-minded women who continue to encourage, help, and pray for each other long after the conference is over! 

It’s a full-package conference that includes so much more than simply speaker training. After all, speakers need headshots and videos, business and networking classes, and after-conference phone coaching…and that’s exactly what 30 ladies get at Christian Communicators!

And there’s no better place to connect with the Father than at The Billy Graham Training Center at The Cove in the beautiful mountains of Asheville, NC!

Check out the CCC details and then reserve your spot–before it’s too late!

Happy Writing!

Vonda

Read entire post »

 

Parting Words From The WORD . . . Write It Down

Laughing Jesus by Robert Wilson, Sr.

Laughing Jesus by Robert Wilson, Sr.

The life of a writer can be discouraging. We can work for years on a book, writing and praying and editing and praying and rewriting and praying and editing and praying . . .

Some days the words just won’t come. Sometimes they come quickly, only to be found unworthy. If we’re wise, those words are thrown away.

But we keep going. We work hard until we finally think it’s ready. Yes, this can take years.

Then we pray and work even more until we generate the courage to hit SEND. We’ve reached our goal!

You’d think we’d be able to take a breath now and move on to the next thing. But no. There’s no relief, because life is now in limbo as we wait for an answer. For months. Sometimes years.

I pray that this week the words are coming for you. Good words. Engaging words. Compelling, inviting words.

I pray that the response you receive is a resounding “Yes!”

But what if it’s not? What if this is a time when the words won’t come and the rejections won’t go? What if this is a time when you’re crying out to God, asking Him why He doesn’t intervene?

Don’t give up. Instead, remember these words, spoken by the God of the universe, to the prophet Habakkuk, when he questioned God’s perceived inaction:

“Write down the revelation
and make it plain on tablets
so that a herald may run with it…” Habakkuk 2:2

It’s our responsibility to write it down. It’s our responsibility to make it plain.

And whether it’s published by a large traditional publisher or simply posted on our own blogs, others can read . . . and run with it.

Don’t give up. Write it down.

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

Vonda

Read entire post »

 

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

Ape with big mouth Pixabay

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

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

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

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

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

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

But it didn’t work with writing.

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

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

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

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

FreeDigitalPhotos/Iosphere

FreeDigitalPhotos/Iosphere

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

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

Thanks for Sharing!

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

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

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!

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

mogoWho MoGo’d in February?

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

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

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

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

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

Marilyn Turks Lighthouse Devotions cover

Who Won Marilyn Turk’s Book?

Drumroll, please. The winner is…

Nan Jones!

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

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

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

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

Vonda

Read entire post »

 

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

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

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

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

1.  Adoptive Families Magazine

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

2.  Utmost Christian Writers Poetry Contest

3.  BJU Press

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

4.  Christian Devotions Ministry Submissions

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

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

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

7.  Connecticut Magazine

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

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

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

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

12. Cruising World Guidelines for Writers and Photographers

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Conference Room fdp Pixomar

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Vonda

Read entire post »