Tag Archives: Vonda Skelton

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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Parting Words From The WORD . . . The Path of Life

Laughing Jesus by Robert Wilson, Sr.

Laughing Jesus by Robert Wilson, Sr.

(Vonda here: I’m hard at work getting ready to head out Sunday for Asheville for the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference. For five days, I’ll have the joy of teaching new and experienced writers as they take seriously their call to write for Him. With critiques to do, classes to prepare for, and packing to do, my days are full to overflowing. So today I’m sharing a Parting Words from the past. It was a powerful experience for me several years ago and I hope it will encourage you today.)

I love how God speaks through His word. I had such an experience this week.

I’d been trying to make a decision for a while and continued to find myself vacillating between two equally good choices. Either path would have been good, but I struggled with which would be best for me at this time of my life.

My morning started as usual, spending some time in prayer before beginning the day’s Bible study. I asked God to open my eyes and ears and speak to me through the lesson. I grabbed my study book and flipped through the pages to the introduction for the lesson of the day.

And I smiled.

The opening scripture verse for the day was Psalm 16:11:

You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand. Psalm 16:11

God had spoken to me through His word! Oh, I still didn’t have the answer regarding which path to choose, but at that moment I found a new confidence in His ability to direct me.

And this week, He did exactly that. Through prayer, Bible study, and listening, He gave me the answer I was searching for. Just as His word said He would.

But It made me wonder…how many other times has He wanted to lead me, but without my prayer, Bible study, and listening, I couldn’t hear.

What about you?

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

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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Parting Words From The WORD . . . God is Greater Than Our Fears

Laughing Jesus by Robert Wilson, Sr.

Laughing Jesus by Robert Wilson, Sr.

 

Excuses. As co-director of Christian Communicators Conference, I hear them frequently.

“God can’t use me. I have a terrible past.”

“But I’m not a speaker.”

“Who am I to tell people how to live?”

“When I get my act together, then I’ll be able to speak.”

“I don’t have enough followers.”

“I don’t have a platform.”

“I don’t have anything to talk about.”

“I’ve been a pretty good person. I don’t really have a testimony.”

“I’m scared to speak.”

How many excuses can we give? Well, how many excuses are there? The truth is, for those of us who have given our lives to the Lord and try to live for Him everyday, it doesn’t matter if we’ve been “too good” or “too bad,” there’s not a single “too” that keeps us from ministry.

If we’re honest, we’re probably too fearful. A few weeks ago, my pastor at Renovation Church, Jeremy Havelin, started a teaching series on becoming one. This is his focus because we are in the process of taking two churches and making them one. What an exciting time! It’s a joy to see our Westside building filled with families and men and women and teens and kids and babies as we love and worship our Lord together as one!

Although Pastor Jeremy is teaching on becoming one, his words that day had another application to my heart and mind: Christian Communicators Conference. We’re gearing up for the 7th Christian Communicators Conference and we know from experience that there’ll be ladies there who are fearful.

  • Fearful of speaking
  • Fearful of not measuring up to other women
  • Fearful of being transparent
  • Fearful of stepping out in faith

Pastor Jeremy’s words were perfect for these precious ladies and they’re perfect for you and me: “Know that the greater our God is, the smaller our fears become. Understand that playing it safe is risky.”

Wow. What powerful truth! We know we have a great God, don’t we? Playing it safe is risky when we realize we’re allow fear to keep us from what He has for us to do for His kingdom.

What will you do with your fear? What will I do with mine? Let’s remember how great our God is. We have no reason to fear!

When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.
     In God, whose word I praise—
in God I trust and am not afraid. Psalm 56:3-4a (NIV)

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

Vonda

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Christian Writer’s Den Kudos & MoGo7000 Successes and Christian Communicators Waiting List is Open!

Fireworks Pixabay 2It’s the 2nd Tuesday–Time to celebrate our own Christian Writer’s Den friends! Let’s start with Kudos…

So who’s been hard at work and found success in their writing?

1.  Beth Fortune (SC): Beth had a devotion, Busted, accepted by Christian Devotions.us and posted on April 26, 2016

2.  Lori Hatcher (SC): My devotional book, Hungry for God … Starving for Time, 5-Minute Devotions for Busy Women was chosen as the Christian Small Publisher Book of the Year in the Gift Book category. The winners of this award are chosen based on reader votes, and I suspect some of my Christian Ccommunicators sisters deserve credit for helping Hungry for God achieve this honor. Many thanks. May God be glorified.

3.  Marilyn Nutter (SC): I’ve had three new publications: 1)Don’t CryChristiandDevotions.us; 2)Mourning Glory — Red Chair Moments; 3)Mourning Call on Jennifer Hallmark’s Acts of Kindness–this one due to the call our on Vonda’s site:)

Congratulations, writers! I’m happy to say that South Carolina is certainly represented well in this kudos this month, but I know we have many more writers around the nation who are also working hard and finding success. I hope to hear from you next month!

And be sure to return next week for a new list of writing opportunities.mogo7000 logo

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Who MoGo’d in April?

#10: Diana Leagh Matthews – 7,134 words

Congratulations, Diana! Friends, if you’re working on a book but not participating in MoGo7000, you’re missing monthly opportunities to win $100 at the end of the year! You can join in the fun–and it’s free! Just check out the MoGo7000 Challenge here.

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ccclogosmallThe Christian Communicators waiting list is now open!

Were you considering Christian Communicators, but found out it’s full? No problem! The waiting list is open–there’s no commitment and it doesn’t cost a cent to get on the list!

Simply contact Conference Coordinator Cynthia Owens at Cynthia [@] TheEfficiencyAddict [dot] com and she’ll be happy to add you to the list. If an opening becomes available, Cynthia will go down the list in order.

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That’s it for another 2nd Tuesday. Be sure to return next week and I’ll share lots of writing conferences, contests, and opportunities to help you on your journey to success!

Blessings,

Vonda

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Parting Words From The WORD . . . He Precedes Your Every Test

Laughing Jesus by Robert Wilson, Sr.
Laughing Jesus by Robert Wilson, Sr.

Vonda here: I’m thrilled to introduce my friend, Evangelist Aidan McKenzie to you. He’s a dear man of God who has suffered for years from a rare, painful muscle disease that keeps him bedridden much of the time. And yet he sees the medical professionals the Lord has placed in his life as his personal field of ministry. Every time he sends out a testimony of what the Lord is teaching him, Aidan teaches me. If you’d like to receive his encouraging writings, you can reach him at aidanmck [@] aol [dot] com.

HE PRECEDES YOUR EVERY TEST

“Where are we to buy bread, so that these may eat?” This He was saying to test him, for He Himself knew what He was intending to do.” John 6:6

The first man said, “eight months wages . . . is not sufficient for them, for everyone to receive a little,” in order to feed the multitudes (John 6:7). He looked at the situation and concluded that it couldn’t be done because he couldn’t see how; therefore it couldn’t, he wrongly concluded!

The second was a little bit more optimistic. He said there was a lad who had five barley loaves, and two fish, ” . . . but what is that for so many?” He too concluded it couldn’t be done. Why not? Because he couldn’t see how; therefore he wrongly concluded it couldn’t be done.

They both looked at the circumstances logically, and concluded it couldn’t  be done. They excluded Jesus Christ from the circumstance and took the place of the Almighty in their thinking! They failed to relate it to Him who was present. They believed what they saw and not Him who had done so much in their presence previously. They came to the wrong conclusion because they leaned on their own understanding, and when they–and we–do that, they–and we–exclude Him from the scenario . . . and we wrongly conclude, “It can’t be done.” Why not? Because I can’t see how, therefore it can’t be! It is living as though He is not present, able, caring, sufficient. He tested them as He does us and we must remember . . .

In your trial . . .
I may not know how, but I know Whom.

In your trial . . .
He Himself knows what He’s going to do.
That is good news, and meant to bring comfort to our mind and soul.

He precedes your every test . . . He is present in your test . . . He is pre-eminent over your test . . .

He Himself knows what He is going to do!aidan mckenzie headshot 2
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Aidan McKenzie
Reconciliation Ministries INC
PO Box 4052
Greenville, SC 29608
www.proclaiminghim.com

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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!

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

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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Parting Words From The WORD…Ministry is Hard

Laughing Jesus by Robert Wilson, Sr.

Laughing Jesus by Robert Wilson, Sr.

 

Let’s face it, sometimes ministry is hard. But how can that be the case if we’re doing what God has called us to do?

We may mistakenly think that if we’re in the middle of God’s will, doing what He has for us to do with our lives, then everything should work out smoothly.

That wasn’t the case with Jesus…and it’s not the case with us today. Jesus had no place to lay His head, few friends who stood by Him in the hard times, He suffered, bled, and died. And yet, He continued in His call.

We know that today’s suffering isn’t usually physical, as it was in the lives of Jesus, Paul, and the disciples. But it is suffering none the less.

Peter is clear that those who follow Christ will suffer.

Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good? But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. “Do not fear their threats; do not be frightened.” But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect…
1 Peter 3:13-15

Our responsibility is to answer the call He has placed on our lives, and if it results in suffering or hardship or struggles of any kind, remember that we are called to suffer so that we may inherit a blessing.

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

Vonda

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Interview & Book Give-Away with Sandra Merville Hart

Sandra Hart headshotHappy Tuesday! I’m excited to introduce my friend, Sandra Merville Hart, to you today. Sandra and I met years ago, I believe at the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference. And since that first conference, we keep running into each other at conferences around the southeast. That’s one of the many benefits of writing conferences–you get to make new best friends everywhere you go!

And friends, be sure to leave a comment for Sandra and you’ll be in the drawing for a free copy of her book! Let’s get started!

Welcome, Sandy. First of all, would you share the story behind your book, A Stranger on my Land

While researching another novel for the Civil War time period, I found fascinating books written by Union and Confederate soldiers. One of these soldiers wrote about the “Battle Above the Clouds” on Lookout Mountain. He talked about people living in caves. Women made these temporary shelters comfortable and cozy.

“How did it feel to find a wounded soldier on your property after a Civil War battle? It surely happened.” . . . “Would you walk away and leave him to die if he fought for the other side?”. . . “What if your members of your family fought for the opposite army? Does that change anything?”. . . “Suppose you help them anyway and fall in love?”

I pondered those questions and the story was born.

What started you on your writing journey?

I wanted to be a writer in elementary school. I wrote my first mystery novel while in the sixth grade, The Mystery of the Missing Diamond Ring. Unfortunately I received little encouragement. The dream died but the stories kept coming. A devotion I wrote about a choir song sparked encouraging comments, reawakening my long-forgotten dream.

I know you like to travel. Have any places you’ve traveled inspired you and ended up in your writing?

Continuously! I traveled to Chattanooga, Chickamauga, and Lookout Mountain to research A Stranger on My Land. The museums, the people, the scenery, and the history deepened the story already growing inside my imagination.

The small city of Troy, Ohio, inspired me as a book setting. “This place is so special that something needs to happen here,” was my comment to my husband. Upon discovering that something important did happen in that city’s history, an idea formed. I weaved my story and an important historical event into a novella that I hope to publish.

My creative spirit comes alive every time we drive to Gettysburg. I knew a novel idea waited for me in that important city. I found the story while visiting battlefields and walking the streets. I’m hoping to publish this novel soon. 

Sounds like you have a lot of books fighting to get onto the page! It’ll be fun to see what comes next. As a Christian writer, do you have a special verse or passage you’d like to share with our Christian Writer’s Den friends?A Stranger On My Land cover Sandra Hart

Yes, I do!

Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. Isaiah 40:30-31 (NIV)

This whole chapter is filled with gems but these last two verses offer so much hope. I think I first heard a portion of this chapter quoted in a movie. It was such a powerful scene that the comfort and beauty of the words stayed with me.  

Has your writing changed your reading habits?

I love to read, but now I pay attention to how authors build tension. I notice descriptions of people and settings. In other words, reading has become another opportunity to learn the writing craft.

Who has been your greatest encourager on your writing journey?

My husband has supported me the whole way. I like to visit historic sites to discover the local history. He uses vacation time to go on research trips with me. He supports whatever I need to do. He understands that rejections break my heart and bolsters my courage to try again.

Who inspires you?

Great authors like Mark Twain inspire me.

People who face insurmountable challenges and somehow find courage to get through it inspire me.

Those who cling to their faith when it’s all they have left to cling to inspire me.

I’m inspired by a friendly smile, a warm welcome, and how good old-fashioned hospitality feeds the soul.

Inspiring people live anywhere and everywhere, if I only take time to listen.

I totally agree, Sandra. Well, our time is almost up, but before we go, would you tell us about your current writing project?

My favorite genre to write in remains inspirational historical romance. I’ve written another Civil War romance. This novel traces how historic events of an important battle fought in Gettysburg affect a seamstress who lives there and a brave Confederate soldier left behind when his army retreats.

Thank you for joining us today, Sandra! And readers, be sure to leave a comment for Sandra and you’ll be in the drawing for a free copy of her book. Don’t forget to return next week to see if you’re the winner!

Thanks for Tweeting!

Interview & #FreeBook Give-Away w/ @Sandra_M_Hart via @VondaSkelton #amwriting (Click to Tweet!)

 

Sandra Hart photoBio: Sandra Merville Hart is the column writer for “History in the Making” at the popular and growing site, www.AlmostanAuthor.com. She is Assistant Editor for DevoKids.com where she contributes many historical articles. Her debut book, A Stranger On My Land, IRCA Finalist 2015, released in 2014. She has written for several publications and blogs. Sandra loves to find unusual facts in her historical research to use in her stories and drags her husband along on her adventures. Thankfully, he also enjoys these fact-finding missions.

To connect with Sandra:

Assistant Editor at DevoKids: http://devokids.com/category/stories/

Contributing column writer for: http://www.almostanauthor.com/category/genre/history/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sandra.m.hart.7

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Sandra_M_Hart

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/sandramhart7/

Sandra’s Goodreads page: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8445068.Sandra_Merville_Hart

Google+: https://plus.google.com/u/0/100329215443000389705/posts

 

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