Tag Archives: speakers

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!

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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!

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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

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Interview & Book Give-Away with Andy Lee

Andy Lee 2016Dear friends, thank you for your grace as my blog posts aren’t on a consistent schedule right now. And thank you, too, for your kind notes, emails, and prayers as my mother continues to heal. Today she will see her new room at the assisted living and tomorrow she officially moves in. She’s so excited!

I’m excited, too, and it’s not only because of Mother’s progress. I’m also excited to share Andy Lee’s new book with you! Andy and I met years ago, I believe it was at Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference. It’s been a joy to watch her put in the time and attention it takes to be a serious writer, and it’s been a joy to watch her career grow! Today we’re going to focus on her new book, A Mary Like Me: Flawed Yet Called. Don’t you love that title?

Be sure to leave a message for Andy and you’ll be in the drawing for a free book!

Welcome, Andy. I know you wrote this book in part to inspire and empower women who have been called to ministry. What are some of the inner obstacles women may have to overcome when choosing to answer God’s call for their lives? What obstacles have you had to overcome?

Oh my, so many obstacles! The enemy of our lives is threatened by us, and loves to discourage us in our calling. A huge obstacle is comparison. That’s why I wrote this book. If I compare my speaking, teaching, writing, mothering, cooking (which I’m not a fan), decorating, gardening (which I don’t do), cleaning (which I don’t want to do), etc. to my friends’ and virtual friends’ cooking, writing, speaking, mothering, etc. I’m sunk. Comparison throws a blanket of discouragement over my soul, and I want to quit. I fight comparison by admitting my imperfectness and thanking God for the opportunities He puts in front of me everyday, and I ask for grace to do my best for Him, not for Pinterest or Facebook or the writer of the year award.

For women called to preach and teach and perhaps pastor, there will be many obstacles. All I can say is, “Trust God.” Trust that He will open and close the doors. Go where He leads. Know that He is creative with His calling. It may not, and probably won’t, look like you envisioned when you first knew He was calling you into full time ministry.

Finally, don’t despise small beginnings, the hidden places. God’s economy is not ours, nor is His timing. Live and serve right where you are with the people He has put in your life. They may be smearing jelly all over your television with chubby fingers. Pray for grace. Kiss those fingers. Thank God for today, and use the hidden places, the small beginnings to grow deeper into Him. Practice His Presence. And practice your calling right where you are now.

Powerful truths, Andy! We tend to read Bible characters as flat, unrelatable characters, distant from us because of time and cultural differences. How do you hope your book helps modern women to better connect with the Marys of the Bible?

Oh . . . this is such my heart. Yes, they were from a different culture and spoke a different language, and they lived so long ago, but I am convinced that all of the biblical characters, men and women, dealt with the very same heart issues we do today. We see it easily with Peter and Paul, but for some reason, the “good girl” biblical characters have a holy glow when we read their stories. This detaches them from us which distances God from us in our hearts because we don’t think we could ever serve Jesus as they did. It’s that comparison thing again. But when we find someone who can relate to our struggles, we are no longer threatened by them. Camaraderie encourages us and draws us closer. I also think that once we connect with the Marys’ human hearts, the thousands of years, language, and cultural barriers disappear, and the Bible becomes more real and applicable for today.

I love the way you incorporate the Bible’s original languages, Greek and Hebrew and even Aramaic, into your study of these women. Your book gives great pointers on simple, non-intimidating ways anyone can add this kind of study to our own Bible reading, even without a Bible degree. What does it add to our Bible study when we explore the original languages?A Mary Like Me image

Oh my goodness, it adds LIFE to our Bible study when we study this way. It is incredible. My husband says that my goal is to turn everyone into a Bible nerd. It’s true, but only because digging under our translation has brought so much excitement and joy and life into my walk with God. Nuances have been lost in translation that can be discovered by word-studies, and exploring the ancient language also brings a fresh understanding into familiar scripture. If the Bible seems dull or hard to understand, you’ve got to try studying this way. You’ll never read the Bible the same, and you’ll find the truth of Hebrews 4:12, “The Bible is alive and active . . . .”

You use the Marys’ experiences to address deep topics like grief and mental illness, with stories from your own life and ministry. How can an encounter with the Marys in the Bible help Christian women who are grieving a loss, or wrestling with mental illness?

It goes back to camaraderie. You aren’t alone. We find comfort when someone shares what we’re going through. It also takes out some of the power of the grief or depression when we realize someone else knows our pain. But what I really hope the reader sees in these stories is how Jesus interacted with these grieving, mentally ill women. He was loving, caring, and desired to heal them. He cried with them, and He understood their human heart. What kind of God does that?

You write about dreams and callings and how important they both are as well as how to distinguish between the two. What advice do you give the writer whose dream for his or her book to be published hasn’t happened yet?

Keep being faithful to what He has called you to today. Again, don’t despise the hidden places, the small beginnings. Minister, tell your story, right where you are—on your blog, in the live Facebook video you feel the nudge to do, or over coffee with a neighbor. Seek God’s face daily—that means worship Him intentionally whether you feel like it or not. If there is an ache with the dream to be published, it is a calling from the Lord. Trust His timing. Seek His will for your writing. Go to conferences, blog, and attend critique groups. Be open to all projects He has for you. You may have to set the first book aside to pitch the second and see it in print first. That’s what happened to me. My second book was published before the first, but I view this as a double portion blessing from the Lord. He loves faith. Remember, His economy is not ours, nor His timing. It’s not about the destination; it’s about the journey. Don’t give up.

Thank you for being with us today, Andy. I look forward to seeing what you have in store for us next!

And friends, don’t forget to leave a comment for Andy. You could be next week’s winner!

Bio: Andy Lee loves to teach about Jesus, and she loves to help people dig deep into the Biblical languages. She is a Bible teacher, retreat speaker, blogger, mom to three grown children and a kitty named Hank, and wife to Mike. She’s the author of two books: The Book of Ruth Key Word Bible Study: A 31-Day Journey to Hope and Promise (AMG 2015) and A Mary Like Me: Flawed Yet Called (Leafwood 2016). Andy broadcasts the Bite of Bread on Facebook every morning Monday through Friday at 8:20 ET, and she encourages faith and study on her blog Daily Grace found on her site www.WordsByAndyLee.com. Join Andy on her blog and daily broadcasts to learn how to dig deep to live fully.

Facebook link: https://www.facebook.com/andy.lee.1069

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7 Steps to a Quality Speaker Website & Call-Outs for Kudos and MoGo7000

www key PixabayIt’s the first Tuesday of September, so that means it’s time to learn and to ask for your kudos and MoGo7000 results. Let’s start with learning 7 Steps to a Quality Speaker Website…

One of the most important tools for any speaker is the internet home. It can be a blog, a website, or a combination of both, but you must have some sort of presence on the World Wide Web. It’s the minimum event planners expect. The good news is, it doesn’t have to be a huge, expensive site, but it does need to be a good representation of you.

Here are 7 steps to a website that will serve you well without breaking your budget.

1. A welcome on the front page. With millions of websites now on the internet, we can’t take a single visit for granted. For that reason, we should be sure to welcome each visitor on the homepage.
2.  An About page. Visitors want to know a little about you, your experience, your life, and your family.
3.  A list of speaking topics and printable one-sheet. Be sure to check out my earlier post at Christian Communicators, The Speaker One-Sheet is NOT Dead. But don’t stop with a one-sheet. Your topics should also be listed with a short blurb giving the reader a glimpse of what they will learn.
4.  A Contact page. Make it easy for your visitor to get in touch with you. Small Contact Buttons at the top or bottom of the pages require too much effort to locate.
5.  Photos throughout. As with many other digital tools in today’s world, websites need a variety of casual and professional photos scattered throughout.
6.  Easy to follow tabs and links. Make it as easy as possible for visitors to move from one page to another without having to go back, if possible. I know my website (www.VondaSkelton.com) isn’t perfect by any means, but I do think it’s a good example of locating info with ease on a speaker website. Of course, it does NOT have to be that big, I’m primarily talking about the ease of the visitors finding the information they need. Note the cross-referencing between pages with direct links. That helps a lot!
7.  Include good video, if possible. Here’s a post on my funny YouTube video, but it could apply to any video that promotes your ministry: You Oughta Be in Pictures. But please realize that no video is better than bad video.

Of course, there will always be many more options you can utilize for a more encompassing website, but these 7 steps will help you create a budget-minded website that will introduce you and your ministry to the world.

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Calling All Kudos!

Free photo courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Free photo courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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 August?

If you wrote at least 7000 new words on a book project in August, 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 August results, please leave a comment below with your total new words written on a book project in August. (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 4 months and you’ll have 4 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. :-)

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Well, that does it for another first Tuesday at the Christian Writer’s Den. I hope you learned something or were encouraged by something today. That is certainly my goal for you and me!

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

Vonda

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

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

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

2.  Charleston Style & Design submission guidelines.

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

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

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

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

7.  Call Out for Chistian Quotes from Your Books

8.  Connecticut Magazine submission guidelines

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

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

11. I Love Cats Magazine writers and photographers guidelines.

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

Well, that should keep you busy for a while!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Happy writing!

Vonda

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Parting Words From The WORD . . . Do We Have Instructed Tongues?

Laughing Jesus by Robert Wilson, Sr.

Laughing Jesus by Robert Wilson, Sr.

Since you’re reading this blog, it’s likely that you feel called by God to be a writer or speaker. So when I found this powerful verse in Isaiah, I knew I had to share it with you!

The Sovereign Lord has given me an instructed tongue, to know the word that sustains the weary. He wakens me morning by morning, wakens my ear to listen like one being taught. Isaiah 50:4

At first glance, this looked like a great verse for us to claim as speakers and writers. But after doing some research, I found that Isaiah 50:4-9 (some commentators say 50:4-11), is the third of four Servant Songs, foreshadowing our Savior, Jesus Christ. And it fits Him so perfectly!

But I must admit I was disappointed that it looked like we couldn’t claim the verse for ourselves.

In the verses prior to verse 4, God is chastising Israel for not recognizing His omnipotence, His power, and His love for Israel. He reminds them that He was not too weak to protect them from their enemies, but that they were the ones who turned away from Him. After generations of rebellion and defiance, God had had enough and had allowed them to suffer the consequences of their choices.

But He also provided the answer to those choices—Jesus, the One who knows the word that sustains the weary. Praise Him! Praise His Holy Name!

And the good news is, as followers of Christ and students of His Word, we are directed to be like Him, which means to shine His light, and to share His saving grace with this lost and dying world. In other words, as we study, as we pray and seek His face, as we confess our sin and meditate on His promises, several things happen:

  • We DO receive an instructed tongue
  • We DO know the Word that sustains the weary
  • We ARE challenged to listen to and follow His words
  • We ARE taught by His Holy Spirit

Praise Him! Praise His Holy Name! So follow, study, shine, pray, confess, and meditate. Then go, write, speak . . . and share the Word that sustains the weary.

It is a verse for us today.

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

Vonda

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Parting Words From The WORD . . . Handling The WORD

Laughing Jesus by Robert Wilson, Sr.

Laughing Jesus by Robert Wilson, Sr.

 

As writers and speakers, it is our responsibility to learn, to prepare, and to be the best we can at whatever God has called us to be. At a time when good words are often twisted by wolves, we need to be sure that what we say is what He means.

Do we use verses out of context in order to prove a point?

Do we use good truths to rationalize poor choices?

This week’s verse is a good reminder that as we’re studying how to handle the writing of words, it is even more imperative that we learn how to correctly handle The WORD.

Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth. 2 Timothy 2:15

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

Vonda

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Parting Words From The WORD . . . Freedom Isn’t Free

Laughing Jesus by Robert Wilson, Sr.

Laughing Jesus by Robert Wilson, Sr.

 

As we consider the celebrations of this week, let’s not forget two important things:

1) No man can truly free us.

and

2) Freedom isn’t free.

Let’s look at #1. Meditating on the concept of freedom, I’m reminded of the words of Jesus, penned by John:

To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:31-32 (NIV)

No army or weapon or a leader can free us. The only way to true freedom…from slavery, strongholds, and eternal death…is what? The truth. Yes, only the truth can set us free.

But in this day of situational ethics and questionable evidence, what is truth…really?

The answer is found again in John:

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6 (NIV)

Jesus tells us He’s the Truth that can set us free and take us to the Father. Yes, He is the only One who can free us.

And point #2: Freedom isn’t free. These verses make it clear:

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8 (NIV)

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16 (NIV)

Freedom isn’t free because Jesus had to pay. Yes, our freedom cost Jesus His life. He knew what it would take, knew what He would endure, and yet He went to the cross for us.

True freedom only comes through Jesus. And He paid the price.

Oh, what a Savior!

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

Vonda

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Writer’s Headlines: Writing Opps, Contests, and Conferences Just for YOU!

newspapersYes, it’s the 3rd Tuesday and that means I have a gift of opportunities collected just for you, my friends at the Christian Writer’s Den. Let’s start with this month’s writing opps and contests!

1.  Guardian Angel Kids is looking for submissions.

2.  Warner Press, the publishing house of the Church of God, has a variety of writing needs, from greeting cards to coloring books and devotions to resource books.

3.  The Rising blog is open to submissions for their faith, culture, and stories categories. Our own Amanda Everett recently had her first article published there. Thanks for sharing it with us, Amanda!

4.  Real Simple’s Life Lessons Essay Contest has a $3000 prize!

5.  Splickety Publishing Group is running a contest right now on the subject of transportation. But be sure to check out the rules and subject because Splickety isn’t your grandma’s magazine. :-) But you must hurry–deadline is July 8, 2016!

6.  Splickety Publishing Magazine is called “Your flash fiction fix.” If that sounds like you, you’ll want to check out the submissions guidelines and upcoming themes.  

7.  Lane Jordan of Lane Jordan Ministries needs personal stories of anyone who has experienced deceit or just plain meanness (more than bulling) for her book, Bad, Mean and Deceitful People of the Bible and How Their Stories Can Give You Hope. You can get the guidelines for Call Out for Bad…. here.

8.  Chicken Soup is always looking for stories!

9.  American Snowmobiler welcomes stories and photos!

10. Faith Today: Canada’s Christian Magazine is open to submissions.

Well, that should keep you busy for this month. Be sure to let me know if you land a publication!

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Upcoming writing and speakers training conferences…

What conference will you be attending next?

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

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

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

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

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

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

ccclogosmall7.  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.)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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These opportunities, contests, and conferences are your tickets to publication! That doesn’t mean it’ll happen fast, but if you keep working, I know it’ll happen!

Happy writing!

Vonda

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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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