Tag Archives: Vonda Skelton

Parting Words From The WORD…

Jesus carrying cross Lost Seed. dot comThree Scripted Words–Which Will You Choose?

I’ve always loved drama. From the time I was a little girl, sitting in front of a black and white TV, I knew that movies and scripts could reach down inside and grab a part of the soul that few things could ever touch.

By the time I was a teenager, I knew the power of the stage, the power of scripted words. And nothing proved it better than Frank Zeffirelli’s movie, Romeo and Juliet. The story. The costumes. The music. The words. I was captivated! I must have watched it a hundred times, and yet each time, it was as if I were seeing it afresh, anew.

My heart danced the night Romeo and Juliet danced—their faces and their lives hidden behind the masks, falling into a forbidden love. A love of good and evil.

Two sides. Two families. The Capulets and the Montagues.

You know the story. Romeo and Juliet fall in love, secretly marry, and spend one night together. The next day, Romeo kills Juliet’s cousin in a battle between their families, and then must escape to save his own life. Unaware of his daughter’s marriage to Romeo, Juliet’s father decrees she will marry another man.

Juliet is afraid to reveal the truth, so she meets with the priest and together they devise a plan that will allow the couple to be together forever. It is a fail-proof plan. With the help of a sleeping potion, Juliet will feign death, and Romeo will return to the city and retrieve her from the tomb. They will escape to live their life of love together, and no one will ever know the truth. A messenger is sent to deliver the fail-proof, scripted plan to Romeo.

But before the messenger reaches him, Romeo hears the terrible news that his beloved wife has died. So he devises his own plan—to join her in death. He mounts his horse and takes off for the city. But Juliet’s messenger and Romeo pass each other in the night. The grieving husband continues toward death, unaware of the truth.

It is a fateful mistake.

Romeo arrives, locates the tomb and—thinking his true love is dead—drinks his own poison in an effort to join her. Death comes quickly and Romeo falls across his wife’s body. Moments later, Juliet awakens to find her Romeo dead. Unable to imagine life without her husband, she tries to drink from Romeo’s vial, but finds it empty. She eagerly kisses her still-warm Romeo, hoping to find poison on his lips. When she finds none, she grabs his sword and thrusts it into her own body.

Her blood drips to the ground.

I sat there in the theater, my eyes glued to the screen, my body jerking with the sobs of emotion—unable to see the images through the tears filling my eyes and streaming down my face. My heart was broken for the two lovers, the two innocents who were merely on opposite sides of a battle, a battle they hadn’t chosen.

Joint funerals unite the city. The music and visuals carry us through the pain and agony.

Two families. Two sides. Joined in grief. Good and evil, exposed in death.

A voice cries from the screen:

“All . . . are . . . punished!”

Three scripted words, spoken to bring the emotion of the story to one pivotal moment. It works. I grieve, along with the Capulets and the Montagues. I can hardly stand it.

And it’s only a movie.

But two thousand years ago, there was another script, another drama. Two families. Two sides. Good andjesus holding cross lost seed dot com evil. God and Satan.

Jesus knew the story by heart because before time began, He had sat down with the Father and the Holy Spirit, and the three of Them wrote the script . . . scene by scene, line by line, word by word.

Directed by the words of the prophets, the story unfolds. The cast—often without their knowledge—follows the plan and brings the story to its pre-ordained conclusion. No actors. No lines to learn, no songs to sing. Because this time, it’s real.

And the story—although a script—is true.

But this drama wasn’t written to generate emotion; it was written to bring freedom and new life for all mankind. The only way to unite a holy God and unholy man was through the sacrifice of a perfect, sinless lamb—Jesus. He would have to die.

No sleeping potion to feign death. No escape from the Father’s decree. Sin required a blood sacrifice . . . and Jesus willingly signed up for the part. After all, He was the only One Who qualified.

His blood fell to the ground.

But the story doesn’t end there. Because from the cross, at the height of His suffering, Jesus cried the three words scripted thousands of years before:

“It . . . is . . . finished!”

Three words, spoken to bring the sin of man to one pivotal moment. It works. I grieve, along with the sinners and the saved. I can hardly stand it.

Jesus, the sinless Grace-giver, received no grace that dark and mournful day. But because of His sacrifice, we—an unholy people—are united with a holy God.

We simply choose which script, which three little words, we want to follow: “All are punished” . . . or . . . “It is finished.”

Jesus is God’s Son.

            We are sinners.

            We can’t be good enough to get to heaven on our own.

            We need a Savior.

            That Savior is Jesus.

            He is the sacrifice for our sin.

            He took the punishment we deserve.

            It . . .  is . . . finished!

Three powerful, little words that changed eternity.

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

I pray God’s blessing as we celebrate our Risen Lord!

Vonda

(Images courtesy of LostSeed.com)

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Planning is Not a Dirty Word: 5 Tips to Being a More Productive Writer by Susan Sleeman, & Kudos, MoGo, & a Free Book!

Photo courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net/koratmember

Photo courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net/koratmember

Yep, It’s April 15: A Great Day to Have Author Susan Sleeman Talk About PLANNING (And we’re NOT talking about taxes!)

Feel like you’re drowning in tax advice? Don’t worry, we’re not going to talk about the IRS. No, no, no! We’re going to talk about IMPORTANT stuff, like planning our novels! And that’s something all us novelists need to hear.

I’m thrilled to have Susan Sleeman with us today as she shares her five tips to being more productive as a writer. Be sure to read her bio below, but let me tell you that Susan is an award-winning and award-nominated author, so if she speaks, I think we should all be listening!

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Parting Words From The WORD…

Laughing Jesus by Robert Wilson, Sr.

Laughing Jesus by Robert Wilson, Sr.

Hello. My name is Vonda, and I am a procrastinator.

But even though I admit to being a procrastinator, being terribly unorganized, and having difficulty staying focused, that doesn’t mean I’m lazy or that I don’t get anything done.

The truth is I’ve tried goal setting, pep talks, berating myself, making schedules, setting timers, and turning off social media. But still, at the end of the day I often have little to show for all the great plans I had at the beginning of it.

I have to admit, the repeated frustration with all the real life interruptions has now encased me in procrastinator mode. I mean, why should I even try to work on that book-of-my-heart? My plans will just be interrupted anyway.

Besides, I’ve always said I couldn’t write in short segments. I’m a block-out-a-big-chunk-of-focused-time kind of writer.

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Interview & Book Give-Away with Michelle Cox; Who Won The Writing Sisters’ Book? and Kudos & MoGo7000 Call-Out

Michelle Cox headshotAs you can see, today is a busy day. And it’s all my fault. Last week, I completely forgot to ask for your Kudos and MoGo7000 totals! So today, in addition to an awesome interview with the multi-talented Michelle Cox, our triple duty day will also cover call-outs, and a book winner!

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First Up–Michelle Cox Shares Her Amazing Journey with Her Book, Blog, and Screenplay, Just 18 Summers®!

Yes, you read right. My brilliant friend, Michelle Cox, got a great idea, the Lord multiplied her vision, and now she has all kinds of stuff going on! Read on to hear how a simple comment from her pastor kicked off an avalanche of opportunities!

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Parting Words From The WORD…

Laughing Jesus by Robert Wilson, Sr.

Laughing Jesus by Robert Wilson, Sr.

As Christians, we are held to a higher standard. After all, we must strive to shine the light of Jesus in every situation for the sake of the gospel, regardless of what happens. It’s often a difficult standard to uphold.

A friend of mine, a Christian speaker and writer, had such an experience this past week. She was attacked publicly for something that occurred through no fault of her own. She was innocent of any wrongdoing.

It would have been easy–and even acceptable–for her to stand her ground. She could have listened to the world as it encouraged her to defend herself and stand up for her rights.

But she didn’t. Instead, she took on the image and mind of Christ, a humble servant willing to suffer loss.

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10 Tips to Finding an Agent by Betsy Duffey and Laurie Myers & Who Won Bethany Jett’s Book?

Betsy Duffey and Laurie Myers headshotToday is April Fool’s Day, but there are no tricks here at The Christian Writer’s Den! Instead, I’m thrilled to offer a treat, 10 Tips to Finding an Agent, from author-sisters (for real) Betsy Duffey and Laurie Myers, a drawing for their new book, AND a free book from Bethany Jett!

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Be sure to read Betsy’s and Laurie’s bio and book info below, but I’m excited to go ahead and tell you they have a new book, The Shepherd’s Song: A Story of Second Chances, released a few weeks ago by Howard Books. Yay! I’ve read this book and I can say it opened my eyes to the power of God’s Word to change hearts around the world.

In celebration of their new book, Betsy and Laurie are giving away a free book AND sharing some agent secrets with us! Just leave a tip you’d like to share or a word of encouragement for the Writing Sisters, and you’ll be in the drawing for a free book. Just be sure to check back next week to see if you’re the winner.

And now, here are Betsy’s and Laurie’s 10 Tips to Finding an Agent. These are tips no one told them, but they’re sharing them with you today!

10 Tips to Finding an Agent 

by Betsy Duffey and Laurie Myers

After twenty years of writing for children we felt called to make a change. We had not needed an agent before. Twenty years ago you could still have a manuscript read by a publisher without an agent, especially in the world of children’s books. Once we had a relationship with a publishing house we didn’t feel the need. Now that we were writing an adult book, The Shepherd’s Song, and we were writing about our faith – the rules had changed. We needed an agent – but how could we find the right one?

Here are some things we learned about finding an agent on our quest to write and publish The Shepherd’s Song.

  1. Pray. Throughout the process of writing the book we prayed for the “team” and waited with expectation to see what special people God would draft for us. In our 20 years of publishing we had never had an agent. Now as we moved into writing a book for adults we needed representation. We had no idea how to find the right person. We started with prayer.
  2. Don’t count on the 15 minute pitch. Relationships take time. We don’t know very many writers who found their agents during the pitch. We didn’t. The pitches were important for us. Getting our one sheet together and honing our description of the book was valuable. Seeing the reaction across the table to the way we presented the book was also helpful.
  3. Emailing your unrequested proposal is really a long shot. Everyone is overwhelmed with email and submissions. Think about building face-to-face relationships at conferences instead.
  4. Silence means No. We looked for God to open doors and close doors. Sometimes He worked through silence. “But she said she would get back to us in 6 weeks.” It took us a while to realize that the silence was a rejection.
  5. Nos can be helpful. No is an important part of shaping your book. With every no comes a chance to improve the book.
  6. Wait for the right person. You can say “no” too. Along the path to finding an agent we had some opportunities. One agent offered to consider representing us if we changed genres and wrote something more mainstream. We had to learn to wait and be true to the work that God had given us.
  7. Don’t be desperate. God called you to write and he has a plan for your book. Being desperate makes us take control of the process and make mistakes.
  8. Others writers want to help you in the search. We found our agent at a lunch for 700 people. A writing friend who had an agent saw him coming toward the table and moved over a seat to let him sit by us. That act of generosity changed our career.
  9. Be ready – always – in every situation. We got caught a few times without sample chapters when we didn’t expect to be asked for them.
  10. Keep your eyes open. Pray and watch. You never know when that moment will come.

When we least expected it our moment came. Greg Johnson from WordServe Literary sat down at our Betsy Duffey The Shepherd Song covertable. We connected and when he asked for our sales figures we had them. When he asked to see a one sheet we had it.

He asked to read the book and we sent it the day we got home. The next Monday we signed with WordServe. Not long after that he placed The Shepherd’s Song at Howard Books. But that’s another story.

Please share what you have learned along the way –

Betsy and Laurie
www.WritingSisters.com

Friends, don’t forget to leave a comment and you’ll be in the drawing for a free book from Betsy and Laurie. Be sure to check back next week to see if you’re the winner!

Back cover copy from The Shepherd’s Song: Follow the incredible journey of one piece of paper—a copy of Psalm 23—as it travels around the world, linking lives and hearts with its simple but beautiful message. Shortly before a tragic car accident, Kate McConnell wrote down the powerful words of Psalm 23 on a piece of paper for her wayward son. Just before she loses consciousness, Kate wonders if she’s done enough with her life and prays, “Please, let my life count.” Unbeknownst to Kate, her handwritten copy of Psalm 23 soon begins a remarkable journey around the world. Eventually, Kate’s paper makes it back to its starting place, and she discovers the unexpected ways that God changes lives, even through the smallest gestures. With beautiful prose evocative of master storyteller Andy Andrews’s The Butterfly Effect, this story will touch your heart and remind you of the ways God works through us to reach beyond what we can imagine.

Bio: The Writing Sisters, Betsy Duffey and Laurie Myers, were born into a writing family, and began critiquing manuscripts at an early age for their mother, Newbery winner Betsy Byars. They went on to become authors of more than thirty-five children’s novels. Their first book for adults is  The Shepherd’s Song, Howard Books, March 2014. You can reach Betsy and Laurie at www.WritingSisters.com or www.facebook.com/WritingSisters. And here’s a direct Amazon link to The Shepherd’s Song: A Story of Second Chances.

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Bethany Jett cover Cinderella RuleAnd Who Won Bethany Jett’s Book, The Cinderella Rule?

Congratulations goes to Maureen Hager! I’m so happy for you, Maureen!

Please contact me with your mailing address and Bethany will get your book right out to you.

And readers, I know you want your own copies to give to teen and pre-teen girls in your realm of influence, so here’s a direct Amazon link to The Cinderella: A Young Woman’s Guide to Happily Ever After.

And if you’re a youth leader, remember, this would make a great book for your girls’ small group study.

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So that does it for another Tuesday at The Christian Writer’s Den where we encourage, educate, and promote writers. I’ll look forward to seeing you Friday. :-)

Happy writing!

Vonda

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Interview & Book Give-Away with Bethany Jett

Bethany Jett HeadshotMy goodness, have I got a treat for you today as I introduce Bethany Jett! Moms and dads, youth workers, and those who have any influence on teen and pre-teen girls, you’ll be especially interested in what Bethany has to say here and in her book, The Cinderella Rule: A Young Woman’s Guide to Happily Ever After. I met Bethany when I was an instructor at the Florida Christian Writers Conference, and I can tell you, she is beautiful and smart and passionate about instilling the confidence Christian living offers to young women.

Be sure to leave a comment and you’ll be in the drawing for a free copy of Bethany’s book, The Cinderella Rule: A Young Woman’s Guide to Happily Ever After. (Don’t forget to check back next week to see if you’re the winner!)

Welcome to the Christian Writer’s Den, Bethany. First,  I want to know more about what inspired you to write your book, The Cinderella Rule: a Young Woman’s Guide to Happily Ever After.

Thanks for having me, Vonda. The book actually started out as a blog. My husband and I have been in youth ministry for several years, and I realized that each year, our girls asked the same questions about boys, dating, relationships, sex…so I started writing down my answers so they could have 24/7 access to what I would tell them.

Your title caught my attention. What is the “Cinderella Rule”?

Let the guy chase you! Cinderella didn’t text, friend, follow, call, or make any attempt to purse the Prince, instead allowing him to chase her. Being pursued is crazy fun, and even though it may seem like an old fashioned idea, the book shares how to be ready when the guy worthy of pursuing you shows up!

I agree! Okay, besides dating, what other areas does your book cover?

My first chapter starts off with the line, “Confidence is sexy.” I want to encourage women to be strong, smart, independent, and awesome. I also talk about femininity, modesty, purity, second chances, deal-breakers, break-ups, and engagement.

There are discussion questions in the back, so it is great as a small group study or for parents to read with their daughters. I’ve had great feedback from moms who’ve been able to start dialogue with their teen girls about boys, kissing, making out, etc.

Great topics, and ones that girls want to know about, even if they’re afraid to ask. Now let’s change gears a little bit. What do you find to be the hardest part of writing?Bethany Jett cover Cinderella Rule

The hardest part of writing for me is after something is published and I continue to edit in my mind—it’s too late at that point to make any changes! But another hard part is getting that first draft written. Stephen King in his great book, On Writing, says the first draft is for you. So I try to release any inhibitions and let the words flow, no matter how terrible they are.

Writing the second draft is much easier! I love tightening my writing by replacing two or three words with a stronger one. It’s like a game.

You sound so much like me, Bethany! I continue to edit long after the book is out, hate getting that first draft down, and love rewriting to make it pretty! Were there any interesting vices or methods you used when writing the book?

Strangely, I found television to be cathartic. Even though it was moving my eyes from one screen to another, often times I could let my mind wander, and after several minutes, BAM! Bursts of inspiration!

Also, I often retreated to my church’s youth room to write in the peace and quiet it offered. My mom, also an author, loves to write where she can people-watch, or with music. I had to write in silence to really get “in the zone.”

Well, we’re alike in that aspect as well. I have to have silence–or at least music with no known words–in order to write. Otherwise, I catch myself singing along with the music instead of focusing on the writing. And I’m thrilled to say I’ve also had the joy of having your mom as a guest on my blog. Readers, you can catch Johnnie Alexander Donley’s interview here

So what’s your advice to writers wanting to get published?

Attend a writers conference! I owe the start of my official writing career to the Florida Christian Writers Conference (FCWC).

The one-on-one face time with publishers and agents is priceless. Along with learning from the experts, the networking and connections are invaluable. The FCWC launched my writing career, and the connections and friendships born from that first conference are continuing to offer opportunities.

I totally agree. I, like many writers I know, got my start at writers conferences. As I mentioned earlier, you’re a speaker, as well as an author. Where have you been speaking lately?

I just returned from speaking in Ohio at an event called “The Cinderella Project,” which provides a pampering night (which I spoke at), a dress, shoes, jewelry, and mentoring in the weeks leading up to and after prom. It was incredible.

Ladies’ groups have been so much fun—I love women’s ministry, along with youth ministry, and it’s been a blessing to speak to women’s groups and at ladies’ conferences.

This weekend, I’m holding a two-hour workshop on confidence for a local church’s youth group. The youth minister is having a Guys’ Day and a Girls’ Day, and I get to teach girls the various aspects of portraying confidence – in their appearance, manners, accomplishments, and most importantly, teaching that true confidence is found in Christ. We are going to play with some makeup and learn how to sit, and get in-and-out of a car wearing a skirt. So fun!

It does sound like fun! Thanks for being with us today, Bethany. I love the opportunity to love on and encourage you in your writing and speaking. But before we go, how can people connect with you?

I love making great connections with people via social media! I’m on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram (betjett2), and I blog regularly on “girly topics, godly perspective” at BethanyJett.com.

Bethany Jett headshot 2Bio: Bethany Jett is an award-winning writer, whose first attempt at writing a book proposal landed her Writer of the Year at the 2012 Florida Christian Writers Conference, a contract with the MacGregor Literary Agency, and a publishing deal. Her first book, The Cinderella Rule: A Young Woman’s Guide to Happily Ever After, released in April of 2013. Bethany is a “Regal for Women” author who video-blogs on dating for ChristianMingle.com, and has been interviewed on radio stations across the US, as well as internationally. She is a featured double columnist with Choose NOW Ministries, and also writes for Sisterhood, Sonoma Christian Home, and other magazines. Along with speaking to women’s groups, youth groups, homeschool groups, college discipleship groups, parents of teens, as well as retreats, conferences, and camps, Bethany blogs on “girly topics, godly perspective” at BethanyJett.com.

Thanks again for joining us today, Bethany. And friends, don’t forget to leave a word of encouragement for Bethany and you’ll automatically be in the drawing for a free book! Then, return next week to see if you’re the winner.

But I know some of you will want to go ahead and get copies for the young girls in your life, so here’s a direct Amazon link to Bethany Jett’s The Cinderella Rule: A Young Woman’s Guide to Happily Ever After. Enjoy!

 

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Writer’s Headlines: Writing Opportunities, Conferences, & Who Won the Contest?

newspapersCan You Believe It’s Already the 3rd Tuesday in March?

Today I’m thrilled to bring you a new list of writing opportunities and conferences to help you in your writing quest. Wouldn’t it be interesting to know how many words have been published because of an opportunity or a conference listed here at the Christian Writer’s Den?

Let’s Start with Writing Opportunities

Here’s this month’s list of writing opportunities gathered just for you! As always, be sure study the publisher and read and follow the submission guidelines carefully.

1.  Chicken Soup is ALWAYS looking for stories! Currently look for stories about moms, forgiveness, angels, Christmas, facing challenges, and more. Find the Chicken Soup Call-Out for Stories here.

2.  ADDitude Magazine is looking for articles from health care professionals and journalists, and first person accounts from those living with ADHD, learning disabilities, and related conditions. Find the ADDitude Magazine writers guidelines here.

3.  Outdoor Photographer: Okay, I know we have a lot of photographers among the CWD readers, so here’s your chance to submit your photographs, too!

4.  Good Old Days Magazine“The magazine that remembers the best.” I know there are quite a few of us oldies but goodies out there. This is your opportunity to share your good ol’ days. And the good news is, their instructions ASK you to submit often! Good Old Days Magazine guidelines here.

5.  Last month we featured a dog magazine, but we don’t play favorites. Here’s I Love Cats Magazine writers guidelines.

6.  Jack and Jill Children’s Magazine

7.  Over My Dead Body is looking for fiction, book reviews, and interviews.

8.  In Touch Magazine. In Touch Ministries is the teaching ministry of Dr. Charles Stanley.

9.  LifeWay Publications. LifeWay is a great way to connect with the editors of many magazines. Do a good job for one of their publications and you may have an opportunity to write for several others. I know that first hand!

10. Ask Magazine for Kids (Cricket – parent company)

Okay, so that does it for this month’s opportunities. Be sure to read on for upcoming writing conferences. After all, that’s the BEST way to connect with a magazine or book publisher!

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With Al Gansky

With Al Gansky at Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writers Conference

Upcoming Conferences

1.  Coffee & Quill Mini Conference: March 22, 2014, Woodstock, GA

2.  Write2Ignite: March 28-29, 2014, Tigerville, SC

3.  FAM Fest Film Festival: March 29, 2014, York, SC

4.  Festival of Faith and Writing: April 10-12, 2014, Grand Rapids, MI

5.  Erma Bombeck Writers Workshop: April 10-12, 2014, Dayton, OH

6.  Cross ‘N Pens Creative Nonfiction Workshop: April 12, 2014, Simpsonville, SC (This is my local writers group!)

7.  Orange County Christian Writers Conference: April 25-26, 2014, Santa Ana, CA

8.  Writing Success XXIII: April 26, 2014, Stoneboro, PA

9.  Colorado Christian Writers Conference: May 14-17, Estes Park, CO

10. Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference: May 19-23, 2014, Ridgecrest, NC

11. Expecting Goodness Short Film Festival: June 14, 2014, York, SC

12. St. David’s Christian Writers’ Conference: June 17-21, Grove City, PA

13. Gideon Media Arts Conference & Film Festival: July 11-15, 2014, Orlando, FL (I’ll be there co-directing the Teen Intern Program again and would love to see you there!)

14. Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference: July 30-August 2, 2014, Langhorne, PA

15. Christian Authors Guild Catch the Wave Conference: August 14-16, 2014, Marietta, GA

16. Christian Communicators Conference: August 27-31, 2014, The Billy Graham Training Center at The Cove, Asheville, NC (Although the financial need scholarship slots are open and accepting applications until April 1, the waiting list is open to everyone!)

17. Breathe Christian Writers Conference: October 10-11, 2014, Grand Rapids, MI

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PrintI’m Looking for Teens 16yo-18yo Who are Interested in the Media Arts!

I’m honored to again be a co-director of The Gideon Media Arts Conference and Film Festival Teen Intern Program at this year’s conference, July 11-15, 2014 in Orlando.

If you know a teen interested in acting, directing, screenwriting, singing, songwriting, or anything else related to the media arts, please send them to the Gideon Intern Page for details and application. But they must hurry–Deadline for applications is April 15. Please note I incorrectly posted the deadline last month. The correct deadline is April 15.

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Who Won Cyn Rogalski’s Writer’s Blocks?

Photo courtesy of Cyn Rogalski

Photo courtesy of Cyn Rogalski

Wow, what fun to read your additions to Jolene Philo’s Top 10 Things About Being a Writer! We writers certainly have lots of things to love when it comes to writing. I must say some of my personal favorites about being a writer are 1)working in my PJs; 2) living in a world where I can make anything happen; and 3)doing and saying things to people I would NEVER do or say in real life! I know you have no idea what I’m talking about!

All the entries were excellent, but since my sweet hubby, Gary, doesn’t know any of you, I asked him to choose a winner. And he proclaims that the winner is…Judith Robl!

Congratulations, Judith! Please contact me with your mailing address and Cyn will get your blocks right out to you!

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Well, I think that does it for another Writer’s Headlines week. Please be sure to let us know when you find success!

And, as always, thank you for joining me, dear friends. It’s a joy and an honor to share the writing life with you.

Write on!

Vonda

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Parting Words From The WORD…

Laughing Jesus by Robert Wilson, Sr.

Laughing Jesus by Robert Wilson, Sr.

I love how God shows us stuff from His word and then allows us to encourage others with the very thing He’s just shown to us!

Our church is currently doing Rick Warren’s 40 Days in the Word: Love the Word. Learn the Word. Live the Word. In my quiet time this week, I was reading the miracle of the loaves and fishes again. Each week’s lesson uses a different technique for memorization, understanding, and application of the Word. This week’s technique instructs us to read a specific passage of scripture, insert ourselves in the story as various characters, and then envision the story as a movie we’re in. (I love that part since that’s one of the ways I teach writing!)

Then it asks how the passage applies to our lives, and what are we–what am I–going to do about it.

I envisioned myself as the little boy with the lunch. I had the lunch that day only because my mom had made it for me. Nothing I did created the miracle.

At that point, I realized that even though the little boy was a huge part of the story, he was only a conduit for the delivery of the miracle. He wasn’t responsible for feeding all those people. He was only responsible for giving to Jesus what had been given to him.

The truth is, Jesus could have done that miracle with the lunch or without it. But He chose to use that little boy to make it happen.

Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to his disciples to distribute to the people. He also divided the two fish among them all. Mark 6:41 (NIV)

What a great reminder to all of us as speakers and writers! We all have gifts and talents. Not because of anything we did, but because they were given to us, just as the lunch was given to the little boy.

It’s our responsibility to turn around and give them back to Him to use as He sees fit. And, like with the loaves and fishes, Jesus can use us as conduits for the delivery of miracles.

What miracle might He do with our paltry gift offerings? Those things that were given to us?

We don’t know. All we know is that we’re to be prepared, go, and give…and He’ll take care of the rest!

Now what are we going to do about it?

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

Vonda

(Image art courtesy of Robert Wilson Fine Art)

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Top Ten Things About Being a Writer, A Contest, And Kudos & MoGo7000 Totals!

I love my job fdp pakorn

Image courtesy of pakorn/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

A while back, my friend, Jolene Philo, posted her Top Ten Things to Love About Being a Writer and I immediately knew I wanted to share it with you!

And since this is Kudos and MoGo7000 reporting day, I think it’ll be a great time to have a fun little contest. After reading Jolene’s list below, please post a comment of your own top things (any number) about being a writer. Then I’ll have an independent judge choose the most interesting or unusual or just plain funny answer, and the winner will receive a set of Cyn Rogalski’s Writer’s Blocks!

Then read on to celebrate with our successful friends this month. :-)

Let’s get started!

Top Ten Things About Being a Writer, by Jolene Philo

 

10. Writing often feels like Show and Tell felt in elementary school…when you knew your show and tell item would be the talk of the playground at recess.

9.   Having our books on library shelves is as exciting as meeting Michael Jordan, Serena Williams, or Derek Jeter is for basketball, tennis, or baseball fans.Jolene Philo headshot

8.   Writing in the afternoon produces a sweet feeling akin to when elementary teachers read aloud to their students after lunch.

7.   Writing in the evening is akin to snuggling with our kids when reading them a bedtime story.

6.   Writers who work from home never stress about drive time weather.

5.   Writing is one Bilbo Baggins adventure after another: “Go back?” he (Bilbo) thought. “No good at all! Go sideways? Impossible! Go forward? Only thing to do! On we go!”

4.  We writers absolutely must travel to unusual and interesting places to conduct research.

3.  We have to remind ourselves that we are working when “work” involves hours and days of reading.

2.  People buy our words. How cool is that?

Photo courtesy of Cyn Rogalski

Photo courtesy of Cyn Rogalski

1.  Writers meet the most fascinating people in unexpected places.

So, what do you think? What are your favorite things about being a writer? Post your answers below and you could be the winner of Cyn Rogalski’s Writer’s Blocks! Be sure to come back next week to see if you’re the winner. :-)

Bio: Jolene Philo is the author of the Different Dream Parenting series. Her new book, The Jolene Philo cover Different Dream ParentingCaregiver’s Notebook: An Organizational Tool and Support to Help You Care for Others will be released in November of 2014 by Discovery House Publishers. Over 100 of her articles have appeared in publications including Focus on the FamilyParentLife, and Home Cooking. She speaks at conferences and events throughout the United States. Her blog, www.DifferentDream.com, provides resources and encouragement for parents of kids with special needs. She also blogs about life on her dusty gravel road  at www.jolenephilo.com. You can connect with her on FacebookTwitter,  and Pinterest. She is slightly addicted Netflix. With their two children married and on their own, Jolene and her husband are kicking up their empty nester heels in Boone, Iowa.

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Photo courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Photo courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Kudos to YOU, Cathy Baker!

 

I think this is the first time this has ever happened, but we had only one report of Kudos this month. Yes, it has been a long, cold winter!

So this month, let’s all join together to celebrate with Cathy Baker as she shares TWO exciting reports this month:

Cathy Baker (SC): My blog has been revamped. It’s now “Fragrant Ink.” (same blog address) It has a NEW name, format, and focus. Also, I’ve been asked to lead a workshop on Writing to Heal for mothers who’ve lost children of any age. For more information on the retreat, please contact Cathy at tea4thee@charter.net.

Congratulations, Cathy! Congratulations on two jobs well Done!

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Who MoGo’d in February?mogo7000 logo

 

These CWD writers have earned a February entry into the end-of-the-year drawing for $100 in cash!

#5: Eddie Snipes – 7,300 words#6: Jeanne Doyon – 7,378 words

Congrats, Eddie and Jeanne! Keep up the good work and you’ll earn even more entries into the drawing.

Writers, want to know how you can qualify for the $100 challenge? Check out the MoGo7000 Challenge here. It’s free and open to everyone all year long!

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Okay, I think that does it for another week at The Christian Writer’s Den. Thank you, friends, for visiting with me week after week. As we celebrate our 6th year of meeting together, I’m reminded again I am blessed to have you joining me in this journey called the writing life.

Writing is hard enough without doing it alone. It’s my goal to encourage and challenge and lift you up for the journey. Please let me know any time you have a new book coming out and I’ll be happy to highlight your success!

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

Vonda

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