Tag Archives: writers conferences

Interview & Book Give-Away with Edie Melson, While My Soldier Serves: Prayers for Those with Loved Ones in the Military

Edie Melson, crop, high resVonda here: I know you’re probably surprised to see a post from me on a Wednesday, but this is one of those times I just had to make an exception. It all started back in 2001 when Edie Melson and I met at the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference as writing newbies. Not only did we discover we lived in the same town, but we lived only three miles from each other! It was the beginning of a special friendship of encouragement, support, learning, and love.

God has blessed us both through the years, and we’re constantly amazed at how He has overseen and directed our lives as we’ve left the newbie stage behind and are now privileged to encourage, support, teach, and love on other writers.

And this week, while Edie and I are both at Blue Ridge again–she as the co-director, me as faculty–I want you to join me in celebrating the release of her brand new book, While My Soldier Serves: Prayers for Those with Loved Ones in the Military. I know you’ll see why this book is so important, especially at this time in our nation’s history.

Don’t forget to leave a comment for Edie and you’ll be in the drawing for a free book!

Interview & Book Give-Away with Edie Melson, While My Soldier Serves: Prayers for Those with Loved Ones in the Military

 

Welcome to the Christian Writer’s Den again, Edie. I’m so excited about your new book! Let me start by asking was it so important for you to write this book.

I struggled with fear while our son was deployed. Often the worst times were when I was awakened with horrible nightmares. I’d make my way downstairs and sit in the recliner, clutching my Bible and trying to pray. So often the prayers wouldn’t come. I longed for a book like this to give me a jumping off point for my own prayers.

Oh, Edie, I well remember those days for you. How was your own perspective helpful as the mother of an active duty marine?

I think that experience has given me insight into the deepest fears we face while a loved one is away at war. I know firsthand the hopelessness that comes from being unable to protect someone you love.

Why is prayer vital for our military soldiers?WMSS, final, high res

It’s vital that we’re covering our military with prayer. Prayer activates God’s power. Sure, He can and often does work without it, but I’ve also seen how He moves mountains because of it. Our prayers help provide protection, comfort, even peace for those serving so far from home.

I loved the fact that the prayers didn’t only focus on the soldier. Why is it important to not only pray for the soldier, but for their families and loved ones as well?

Our soldiers are not the only ones serving. The families may not be official members of the military, but the battles they face are every bit as real and every bit as dangerous. This is especially true now that terrorist groups are targeting military families in their war against America.

How did you choose the six categories (Wisdom, Strength, Faith, Protection, Peace, Those Close to My Loved One) to pray for the soldier?

I kept a deployment journal while my son was away at war. When I looked back through the prayers I recorded there, these were the things I prayed. It seemed to make sense to go with what brought me peace during those stressful time.

How did you choose the seven categories (Fear, Peace, Patience, Faith, Strength, Anger, Reaching Out to Others) to pray for oneself / those waiting at home?

Again, by going back through my journal and looking at the things I struggled with.

I love that you offer the most prayers for Faith for our soldiers. Why is faith so critical to those serving during these trying times?

I think faith is what gets us through the dark times. So often when things are the blackest, it’s hard to hear from God. Even though it isn’t true, it feels like God is far away with His back turned. It’s only our faith in what we know is true, instead of what we feel, that keeps us moving forward.

Image courtesy of Edie Melson

Image courtesy of Edie Melson

Yes, prayer is often the only thing that can get us through the dark times. I noticed that each prayer provides a perfect notable quote as well as dedicated scripture to tie in with the prayer’s message. How and why did you choose these?

I love quotes, and I felt that adding a quote would be another way to illustrate the focus of each prayer.

I know that the book isn’t just limited to individual family members and friends at home. Please share how While My Soldier Serves can be used for prayer groups praying for the military.

This book is a powerful tool for prayer groups. We know that when many people are praying the same thing it multiplies the power of those prayers. The idea of potentially thousands of people praying the same thing at the same time for our military is one of the most exciting aspects of publishing a book like this.

Thank you for joining us today, Edie. I pray God’s richest blessings as you continue to reach out to others through your writing and speaking ministry!

And readers, don’t forget to leave a comment for Edie and then return next Tuesday to see if you’re the winner of her book!

Thanks for Tweeting…Sharing is Sweet!

Military & their families & friends need #prayer. While My #SoldierServes by @EdieMelson via @VondaSkelton Win a book! (Click to Tweet)

 Here’s the Book Blurb:

While My Soldier Serves: Prayers for Those with Loved Ones in the Military

Thousands of families send loved ones off to fight on a daily basis. These families spend a lot of time living in a world out of control. This kind of stress can take an incredible toll, but there is hope. When we feel helpless, we can take our fears to the One who loves us more than anything and holds the universe in His hands.

In this book you’ll find the words to usher you into His presence. These prayers are a place to visit again and again as you take your own fears to God. They’re just a starting point, written to help you find your own voice as you call out on behalf of the one you love.

Bio: As the mother of a frontline infantry Marine, Edie Melson lived this book before she wrote it. Edie understands what it is to face adversity and come out triumphant on the other side. Her years as a wife, mother, and ministry leader have given her a unique perspective to reach out 
to others facing the same struggles.
 She’s the Military Family Blogger for Guideposts.org, social media director for several writing websites, and a popular ministry and conference speaker. Connect with her on her blog, The Write Conversation, Twitter, and Facebook.

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Writer’s Headlines: Writing Opportunities, Conferences, & Who Won Mary Allen’s Book?

newspapersWelcome to The Christian Writer’s Den! Today is the 3rd Tuesday, so there’s lots of good stuff to cover. Let’s start with a list of writing opportunities collected just for you!

1.  Penned from the Heart, a 366 day compilation of poems and devotions is looking for submissions for the 2016 edition. Writer’s guidelines can be found at www.marilynnutter.com.

2.  A+ Playwriting Contest for Teachers.

3.  The Mighty Newsletter is looking for articles that highlight the strength, joy, and beauty in disability and disease by featuring real life experiences and perspectives from people just like us.

4.  Since I’m working hard and having fun at Blue Ridge Christian Writers Conference this week, I’ll share this HUGE list I just found of Book Editors and Book Publishers: Christian, Religious, Inspirational, New Thought, and Spiritual Books. Please note: Do not assume all are Christian. Be sure to read and follow guidelines carefully!

Okay, so with that longgggggg list of writing opps, you should have plenty to keep you busy. Don’t forget to let us know if you have good news from these efforts. We’d love to celebrate with you!

Photo courtesy of Mary Denman

BRMCWC photo courtesy of Mary Denman

 

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Conference season is going strong! Where will you learn this year?

1. Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference: May 17-21, 2015, Ridgecrest, NC (I’m here now–come on and join me!)

2. Write To Publish: June 3-6, 2015, Wheaton, IL

3. West Virginia Writers Conference: June 12-14, 2015, Ripley, WV

4. St. David’s Christian Writers’ Conference: June 24-28, 2015, Grove City, PA

5. Kentucky Christian Writers Conference: June 25-27, 2015, Elizabethtown, KY

6. Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference: July 29-August 1, 2015, Langhorne, PA

7. Atlanta’s Christian Writing Conference: August 20-22, 2015, Marietta, GA

ccclogosmall8. Christian Communicators Conference: August 26-30, 2015, Billy Graham Training Center at The Cove, Asheville, NC. We are currently full, but the waiting list is open. Every year ladies on the waiting list have been able to attend. Maybe this could be your year! 

9. American Christian Fiction Writers Conference: September 17-20, 2015, Dallas, TX

10. Breathe Christian Writers Conference: October 9-10, 2015, Grand Rapids, MI

11. Next Step Writers Contreat: November 12-14, 2015, Albuquerque, NM

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

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Mary Allen Cover-reduced

And who won Mary Allen’s book, Crying in the Morgue, Laughing in the Dark?

The winner is:

Shirley Buxton!

Congratulations, Shirley! To receive your free book, simply contact me with your snail mail address and Mary will get the book right out to you!

And for those who didn’t win, here’s your direct Amazon link to Crying in the Morgue, Laughing in the Dark.

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Well, that does it for another Writer’s Headlines Tuesday. I can’t wait to hear of your successes that come from going to a conference and then submitting your work. After all, that’s what real writers do!

Thanks for Tweeting…Sharing is sweet!

A new list of writing opportunities & conferences at Christian Writers Den @Vonda Skelton #amwriting #pubtips (Click to Tweet)

Happy writing!

Vonda

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Writer’s Headlines: Writing Opps with a Contest, Conferences & Who Won Rebecca Davis’ Book?

newspapersYep, it’s the 3rd Tuesday, time for some Writing Opportunities selected just for you! (And be sure to read about the cool Writing Opportunities Contest we’re running this week.)


What a special “writing opportunities day” we have today! Here’s the deal: Last year I shared a call-out for a compilation book, Love is Out There: True Stories of Hope for Single Women Over 30by Melissa Williams Pope.

Well, Melissa recently contacted me with the good news that the book is out and one of the ladies who was published in the book says she can’t say for sure, but she might have read the call-out here! Yay, another confirmation that writing opportunities lists can help…as long as you’re willing to do the work!

So we came up with a cool contest. After studying the writing opps below, simply leave a comment sharing which of the listed opportunities you’ll be looking into. Each commenter who notes a specific opportunity will be in the drawing a copy of Love is Out There: True Stories of Hope for Single Women Over 30, donated by Melissa. Be sure to return next week to see if you’re the winner.

Here are some of Melissa’s Insider Tips from the Editor’s Side of the Desk:

- If you’re looking at a Callout and wondering if you should give it a go, the answer is YES.
– Read submission instructions carefully and follow them.
– It’s not always easy, but write bravely, from your heart. Readers are looking to connect and to feel understood. It’s hard for them to do that if you’re hiding.

To find out more about Melissa, visit her website at TheBusyQuill.com. Melissa Williams Pope can’t resist a good love story and seeing dreams come true! Originally from Los Angeles, Melissa holds advanced degrees in pastoral ministry and classical acting, and is a freelance writer, actor, singer and former church staffer. Even though she spent about a decade crisscrossing the globe from Europe to the South Pacific, Mr Right still miraculously found her! She currently gets to enjoy living the newlywed life with him in Auckland, New Zealand.

Now, here’s your new list of opportunities. Which ones interest you?

1.  DaySpring Cards is always looking for quality material. DaySpring Editorial Guidelines here.

2.  Chicken Soup has a long list of needs. Varying deadlines posted for each category. Chicken Soup wants stories!

3.  Just Between Us Christian Women’s Magazine writing guidelines.

4.  Pennsylvania Magazine wants pieces about Pennsylvania. Click on Downloads for guidelines and instructional pieces.

5.  Guideposts Magazine may be interested in your story! Be sure to study the magazine and follow the link to writer’s guidelines.

6.  Writer’s Digest Short Short Story Competition. Open for submissions June, 2015, so gets started working on your story now!

7.  The Lookout  – Several of my friends have written for this magazine!

8.  Celebrate Life Pro-life Magazine writing guidelines.

9. How to Write for LIVE, take-home quarterly for adults

10. Sew News wants articles and project ideas from you.

11. Creation Illustrated Magazine writer’s guidelines here.

12. Living Better at 50+ is running a Mother-Daughter Story Contest for Mother’s Day. Check out details on the LivingBetterat50 Facebook page. Scroll down to find the details in a post dated April 15.

Okay, so that does it for this month’s writing opportunities. I hope you’ll find something of interest here and then post a comment telling us about it and you could win a free book next week from Melissa Williams Pope!

Photo courtesy of Stuart Miles/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Photo courtesy of Stuart Miles/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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Now it’s time to check out upcoming Conferences to help you take the next step in your writing and speaking!

 

Don’t miss out–be sure to attend at least one conference every year!

1.  Orange County Christian Writers ConferenceApril 24-25, 2015, Santa Ana, CA

2.  Writing Success XXIV: April 25, 2015, Stoneboro, PA

3.  Colorado Christian Writers Conference: May 13-16, 2015, Estes Park, CO

4.  WordGirls Writer’s Getaway: May 14-16, 2015, Duncan, SC

5.  Northwest Christian Writers Renewal: May 15-16, 2015, Redmond, WA

6.  Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference: May 17-21, 2015, Ridgecrest, NC (I’ll be there and would love to see you there!)

7.  Write To Publish: June 3-6, 2015, Wheaton, IL

8. West Virginia Writers Conference: June 12-14, 2015, Ripley, WV

9. St. David’s Christian Writers’ Conference: June 24-28, 2015, Grove City, PA

10. Kentucky Christian Writers Conference: June 25-27, 2015, Elizabethtown, KY

11. Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference: July 29-August 1, 2015, Langhorne, PA

12. Atlanta’s Christian Writing Conference: August 20-22, 2015, Marietta, GA

13. Christian Communicators Conference: August 26-30, 2015, Billy Graham Training Center at The Cove, Asheville, NC. We are currently full, but the waiting list is open. Every year ladies on the waiting list have been able to attend. Maybe this could be your year! 

14. American Christian Fiction Writers Conference: September 17-20, 2015, Dallas, TX

15. Breathe Christian Writers Conference: October 9-10, 2015, Grand Rapids, MI

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Rebecca Davis cover BJUP With Daring Faith

 And who won Rebecca Davis’ book?

 

Random.org says the winner is Ruth West! Ruth, simply contact me with your snail mail address and your Rebecca will get your book right out to you!

And for those who didn’t win a book, here are direct Amazon links to some of her books:

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Thanks for Tweeting!

@VondaSkelton shares Writing Opportunities-Guidelines-Contests-Conferences #amwriting #getpublished (Click to Tweet) 

 

Don’t forget to leave a comment with a writing opportunity that sounds interesting to you and you could win Melissa Pope’s new book!

Happy writing!

Vonda

 

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Parting Words From The WORD…’It’s Sunday,’ but Jesus is comin’

Empty tombGood Friday, dear friends. For the past week or so I’ve been seeking the Lord for a powerful message for today. And yesterday it magically appeared…in my Inbox! I realize I shouldn’t be surprised by anything God does, but when He answered my prayers through email, I must admit, I was a little giddy. I was even giddier when James Watkins, “author, speaker, threat to society” gave me permission to reprint it here. This post appeared at his awesome HopeAndHumor.org site and I’m honored that he’s allowing me to share it with you. I hope you’re as blessed as I was by it. Thank you, Jim.

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‘It’s Sunday,’ but Jesus is Comin’ by James Watkins

Author Tony Campolo’s most famous message declares, “It’s Friday, but Sunday’s Comin’.” But what happens when it’s Sunday and we’re still facing death and despair?

Jesus has been unjustly charged and condemned to die. It’s Friday, but Sunday’s comin’. The religious and political tyrants have stopped his rebellious message. It’s Friday, but Sunday’s comin’. He has been brutally beaten, stripped, and nailed to a cross. It’s Friday, but Sunday’s comin’. Christ is sealed in a tomb, his dead body guarded by Roman soldiers. It’s Friday, but Sunday’s comin’.

The message builds to a powerful conclusion when the pastor simply shouts, “It’s Friday!” and the congregation responds, “But Sunday’s comin’.”

But . . .

It’s Sunday in the United States and 4,000 unborn children will be aborted tomorrow. One out of four children will be sexually or physically abused. Five thousand teens will attempt suicide; thirteen will succeed. Sixteen young adults will be murdered. More than two thousand unmarried teens will get pregnant.

It’s Sunday in the United States and this weekend, five thousand parents will tell their children they’re divorcing. One out of every twenty adults will not have a job to go to tomorrow. More than 85,000 people will die. Out of that number, 17,000 will die of some kind of cancer.

It may be Easter Sunday, but throughout the world, people in the pews are still dealing with the effects of abuse and divorce, crime and violence, life-threatening diseases, unemployment or “under employment,” depression, and grief from a the loss of a loved one.

In fact, holidays have a way of compounding a sense of loss. Perhaps there will be one fewer person at Easter dinner because of a death or divorce. Maybe there is less on the table because of financial pressures.

“It’s Friday, but Sunday’s comin’” is not always comforting. But that’s only half of the story of Christ. The Bible’s book of Revelation chapter 19 provides the rest of the promise:

It’s Sunday, but Jesus is coming!

Laughing Jesus by Robert Wilson, Sr.

Laughing Jesus by Robert Wilson, Sr.

It’s Sunday. Environmentalists warn of “global warming,” acid rain, depletion of the ozone layer, and carcinogens in our food, but Jesus is coming!

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth . . .

It’s Sunday. Political unrest and corruption affect virtually every country. Christians are oppressed, persecuted, and executed by ungodly governments, but Jesus is coming!

With justice he judges and makes war. . . . On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.

It’s Sunday. Today, two billion people throughout the world will go to bed hungry. Millions throughout the world are suffering from abuse and illness. Many more millions are grieving the loss of loved ones, but Jesus is coming!

He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain.

It’s Sunday. Unfortunately the actual celebration of Easter may distract us from the very Christ we honor by practicing for cantatas, buying new clothes, and preparing Sunday dinners, but Jesus is coming!

And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be will be with them and be their God.

This certainly doesn’t mean we shut our eyes to the suffering around us. God commands us to do everything in our human power to relieve suffering and to work for justice for all.

But the good news of Easter goes beyond “It’s Friday, but Sunday’s comin’.”

It’s Sunday, but Jesus is coming!

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Copyright © 1995 James N. Watkins

Find lots of Easter week columns, cartoons and resources at Hope & Humor. And have a very meaningful Easter week!

Bio: Jim wears more hats than his Aunt Luella! He’s:

 

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Interview & Book Give-Away with Cindy Sproles, Author of Mercy’s Rain

Cindy Sproles headshot 2Wow, wow, wow. Friends, have I got an interview for you! Today’s guest is my long-time friend, author, speaker, and Christian Communicators grad, Cindy Sproles. Cindy and I met years ago at the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference, and she’s been a dear friend ever since. You may know Cindy as director of Writer’s Advance Boot Camp or through ChristianDevotions.us or Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas, but now I introduce her a master storyteller of unforgettable fiction. I’ve never read a book like her new novel, Mercy’s Rain. Never.

There were many important aspects to discuss related to this unusual book, and with having a 5th Tuesday this month, this was the perfect time to do a two-part interview. Be sure to leave a comment for Cindy and you’ll be in the drawing for a copy of Mercy’s Rain. Then return next week for Part 2.  And yes, if you post comments both weeks, you get TWO entries! (Be sure to return April 7 to see if you’re the winner.)

Okay, let’s get started. Welcome Cindy! You have a long career writing and teaching writing. Congratulations on your debut novel! Tell us a little about yourself and how you started writing.

Thanks for having me. I’m a true born and raised mountain girl. Raised in the mountains of East Tennessee. I started writing seriously in my mid-40s. I always knew I wanted to write but I never afforded myself the privilege. I had a family, two jobs . . . there just didn’t seem to be time for frivolous ventures. But God piqued my interest, then called me. I listened, attended my first conference and the rest is history.

I know we didn’t talk about this, Cindy, but I want to include the back cover blurb for Mercy’s Rain so readers can get insight into the overall story. I hope you don’t mind. 

Mercy Roller was raised by a twisted father who wore the collar of a Pastor, and chose to be Jesus, judge, and jury, by his own appointment. Abused, broken and bitter, Mercy lifts the hand that takes the Pastor’s life. In one swift action, she becomes what she despises most about the Pastor. Now she seeks redemption. Can the unconditional love of a mountain preacher and his friends, guide Mercy to find peace?

Having read your book, I’m dying to know how you came up with the idea for Mercy’s Rain.

Funny what goes through your mind at 3 a.m. I had the title for Mercy’s Rain long before I had the story. But one morning I couldn’t sleep so I flipped on the television and got one of the old time, down home, spittin’ and hollerin’ preachers. It made me laugh, but I thought, “Wouldn’t he make a great bad guy?” I turned the channel and landed on a documentary (which to this day I still do not know the title of) but it was on sexual abuse in children under 7 years of age. It broke my heart. The more I thought on it the more I realized the perfect storm had formed. Mercy Roller was born.

You wear so many hats, how do you protect your personal writing time?Cindy Sproles Mercys Rain cover

Sometimes it’s hard. Between the ministry of Christian Devotions, the devotions that pour in, project management for LPC and editing, it gets testy. But I’ve learned, you make the time. And I do. When I write on my own, it’s restful for me. I do wear many hats, and I find myself not always having the sympathy for writers who whine they just don’t have time. If you love to write, and you know that is your calling – and you are serious — you make the time to be obedient and write. Folks make time for everything else. This is no exception. (I’m on my soapbox, aren’t I? Sorry.)

Was the transition from non-fiction to fiction an easy or challenging one for you?

It wasn’t hard, but it was different. I wanted to do fiction right and so I studied the fiction writers I love, Alton Gansky, Steven James, Ann Tatlock, Yvonne Lehman, Nicholas Sparks, DiAnn Mills, Francine Rivers. These folks are masters of the art. I’ve taken their classes at conferences, sucked in everything they taught, and it paid off. It was an adjustment to write fiction. I fell into all the first time fiction writers blunders, but I quickly learned. So it wasn’t hard, but it took practice. I still feel like I need practice. Fiction is a fun place to go to let go of all your inner fears, wild ideas, and imaginary friends. Just put them in a story.

Why did you choose the particular theme in Mercy’s Rain? What do you want your readers to gain from the book?

First off, Mercy’s Rain was not geared to the Christian Market. I wrote it to the secular market. There were a number of things I wanted to accomplish:

1) I wanted to thread the underlying idea of redemption and its availability to everyone. The Christian world’s television evangelists falling to sin and bearing it in a very public manner gave me an easy “in” to the secular market. That market of readers tend to call Christians hypocrites, so why not capitalize on their already established ideas? By their standards, who doesn’t love to hate a preacher?

Cindy Sproles booksigning2) I wanted to address two difficult subjects. The first to the Christian market: Worship your God Almighty, not your preacher. I’ve seen so many congregations crumble because they put their faith in the man, not God. I wanted to address this issue. Let me be clear. I don’t have a vendetta against ministers. I went to Bible College and married a minister. But I do want people to understand that preachers are men . . . men who can be equally as tempted, who can fall to sin, just like everyone else. I also want folks to know that just because they are preachers doesn’t mean they can’t have the same redemption you and I get. It’s a balance. And one that can easily tip either direction.

The other topic was one of child abuse. I was just broken-hearted to watch that documentary that morning and see infants murdered from the cruelty of their abusers. Maybe I could address it with a deep passion through the eyes of my character Mercy Roller. We see and hear about these types of abuse on a daily basis, but we choose to look the other way. I don’t want you to look the other way. I want you to be aware that these horrible things happen and it’s up to us to help find a way to stop it. I’ve had a lot of folks blast me over this subject. “How could someone who calls themselves a Christian be warped enough to write such trash?” My case in point. We don’t want to see this horrible state of affairs.

My husband and I watched a show called In an Instant this week. It was a horrible story of spousal abuse. Half way through the show I was in tears. This stuff REALLY happens. It wasn’t a figment of this poor woman’s imagination. She was nearly killed. So call me warped if you like, but Christian or not, we have to open our eyes to this and become active in working together with authorities, doctors, and support groups, to find legal and appropriate ways to combat abuse to both women and children.

3) Finally, I wanted the world to understand that Christians ask God the same questions – Why do you allow these horrible things to happen? But it is through our deeper relationship with Him that we see God is present in every situation. That’s what sets us apart. Faith, trust in the higher power of Christ. God doesn’t create the sin, but He is ever present, even when we do not see the reasons why. I feel sure God cries at the atrocities some can concoct.

My goodness, Cindy, I can’t imagine how difficult it was to go through the emotion of writing Mercy’s Rain. Thank you for your faithfulness to bring such difficult subjects to the forefront for Christian readers.

Friends, I hope you’ll return next week to see the conclusion of this interview as we see more of the hows and whys Cindy wrote Mercy’s Rain as she did.

AND there’ll be a special gift for everyone who returns next week–you don’t want to miss it!

Thanks for Tweeting!

I’m sorry but Twitter and/or ClickToTweet are on the blink this morning, so here’s a Tweet you can copy and paste into Twitter, if you would, please. Thank you!

You’ve never read a novel like Cindy Sproles’ Mercy’s Rain! @CindyDevoted #BookGiveaway @VondaSkelton #MustRead http://bit.ly/1ELi2tB

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Writer’s Headlines: Writing Opps, Conferences, Contests, & Who Won Sheri Levy’s Book?

newspapersWriting opportunities and contests collected just for you, Christian Writer’s Den friends!

Yep, it’s time to share some writing opportunities I found just for you. Hope this makes a difference in your journey!

1.  Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference blog is always looking for posts. Click the link for info.

2.  Escapees Magazine is looking for articles of interest to RVers who live the RV lifestyle. Escapees Magazine writing guidelines here.

3.  Writers Weekly.com wants articles on how to make money writing. Do not send “how to write” articles. Writers Weekend guidelines here.

4.  Small Farm Today magazine is dedicated to preserving and promoting small farming, rural living, community and agripreneurship. Writing guidelines here.

5. Nan Jones is currently accepting guest bloggers for her blog Morning Glory at http://morningglorylights.blogspot.com/. Morning Glory is a devotional site that helps people find the Lord in the midst of their darkest hours. She is presently receiving over 5,000 visitors per month. Guest bloggers share testimony through a devotion of how God revealed Himself to them during a difficult time. For submission guidelines please contact Nan at nan@jubilantlight.com. Write “guest blogger” in the subject line.

6.  Chicken Soup is looking for stories for Chicken Soup for the Soul: Merry Christmas!
101 Joyous Holiday Stories
. Guidelines here.

7.  Country Woman Country Lifestyle Magazine: Guidelines here.

8.  Photo Life submission guidelines.

9.  Stages of Life Writing Contests for teens to retirement agers!

10. I Love Cats Magazine writer’s and photographers guidelines.

11. Write Integrity Press has call-out for writers for upcoming eBook! 

There you are! Don’t forget to let us know when you have a writing success to share. We want to celebrate with YOU!

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

If you’re serious about writing and speaking, you’ll be serious about attending

conferences. 

When I first started this writing journey, I didn’t have money for conferences, so I asked my family and friends to contribute to my conference fund rather than giving me gifts for Christmas, birthday, Valentine’s Day, anniversary, and Mother’s Day. That went a long way towards my conferences. You might want to try it, too.

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

1.  Writers ADVANCE Boot Camp: February 20-22, 2015, Asheville, NC

2.  Florida Christian Writers Conference: February 25-March 1, 2015, Leesburg, FL

3.  American Christian Writers Mentoring Retreats begin in March: Various locations and dates

4.  Mid-South Christian Writers Conference: March 7, 2015, Memphis, TN (I’ll be there and would love to see you there!)

5.  Carolina Christian Writers Conference: March 13-14, 2015, Spartanburg, SC

6.  Weekend with the Writers: March 20-21, 2015, Greenville, SC

7.  Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference: March 25-31, 2015, Felton, CA

8.  Write2Ignite Conference for Writers of Children’s Literature: March 27-28, 2015, Tigerville, SC (I’ll be there would love to see you there!)

9.  Orange County Christian Writers ConferenceApril 24-25, 2015, Santa Ana, CA

10. Colorado Christian Writers Conference: May 13-16, 2015, Estes Park, CO (watch for details coming soon)

11. Northwest Christian Writers Renewal: May 15-16, 2015, Redmond, WA

12. Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference: May 17-21, 2015, Ridgecrest, NC (I’ll be there and would love to see you there!)

13. Write To Publish: June 3-6, 2015, Wheaton, IL

14. West Virginia Writers Conference: June 12-14, 2015, Ripley, WV

15. St. David’s Christian Writers’ Conference: June 24-28, 2015, Grove City, PA

16. Christian Communicators Conference: Hold the date! August 26-30, 2015, The Billy Graham Training Center at The Cove, Asheville, NC. 2015 registration details will be up by March 1. (I would love to see you there!)

17. American Christian Fiction Writers Conference: September 17-20, 2015, Dallas, TX

18. Breathe Christian Writers Conference: October 9-10, 2015, Grand Rapids, MISheri Levy book cover

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And who won Sheri Levy’s book, Seven Days to Goodbye?

The winner is…Lori Hatcher! Congrats, Lori! All you need to do is contact me with your mailing address and your copy of Sheri’s book will be on its way!

And for those who didn’t win, I know you want your own copy, so here’s a direct Amazon link to Seven Days to Goodbye.

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Thanks for Tweeting!

Writing opps-conferences-contests – all for #writers – at Christian Writer’s Den @VondaSkelton #amwriting #pubtips http://bit.ly/1AL5DWh (Click to Tweet)

 

Well, that does it for another 3rd Tuesday. I hope you’ve found lots of help here today. After all, that’s my goal!

Happy writing!

Vonda

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Interview & Book Give-Away, Kudos and MoGo7000 Results

Sheri Levy and dogsI’m thrilled to share Sheri Levy and her new book, Seven Days to Goodbye, with you today! Normally, this is where I tell you how I met Sheri, but she did such a good job in her interview that we’ll just let her explain it all!

Don’t forget to leave a comment for Sheri and you’ll be in the drawing for a free book!

Sheri, welcome to the Christian Writer’s Den. Let’s start with an easy question: What inspired you to write?

For years I taught special education and tried to find the key to each child’s learning potential. Most of my students didn’t have a reading environment at home and it became my goal to instill their love of books. Each morning the students anticipated the continuation of a chapter book I read at the end of each day. They’d lean forward in their desks, hanging on to each word I read. When I retired, remembering their delight motivated me to write for children. I took my first pages to a SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators) conference and discovered quickly, writing a book was different than writing a letter or an academic paper. I signed up for classes, discussions on writing, and met Vonda Skelton.

I remember that day very well! What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced as a writer?

Beginning to write brought feelings of insecurity, questions–if this was a worthwhile desire? The biggest change in my life was writing for hours at a time, and giving-up free time with friends and my husband. I have kept my promise of turning off the computer at 5:00, most evenings! Receiving rejections broke my spirit. Luckily, after hearing Vonda speak about her rejections, and how she bounced back and continued sending them, I realized rejection was part of the writing career. She gave me hope, inspired me to work hard, and not give up.

I’m so glad that encouraged you, Sheri! How do you stay motivated?

I’d not be writing if it wasn’t for friends, new acquaintances, and my critique buddies supporting me. Once again, Vonda reached out to me. Was this a coincidence, or was God stepping in? Vonda knew I was writing about service dogs and she sent me an email. Her editor with Clubhouse Magazine wanted a story about a service dog that had changed a child’s life. I had already met Hayden, an eleven-year-old boy, walking with his Diabetic Alert dog in Walmart, and had interviewed him, completed his story, and was starting to query. After one revision, “Scent with Love” was published in Clubhouse Magazine, July, 2010. Another online friend, Sheila Webster Boneham, PhD, encouraged me to join the Dog Writers Association contest. In 2011, “Scent with Love” won a nomination for a Maxwell Medallion and won in their Special Interest category. Having my first article published was a thrill and a confidence builder.

How did Seven Days to Goodbye find publication?Sheri Levy book cover

I read about Barking Rain Press being open for submissions. I researched them, sent my query, and received a request for the entire manuscript. I had done this a number of times with no results, so I waited. Months later, while drinking coffee and watching the Today Show, I scrolled through my emails on my phone and noticed BRP’s name. I clicked on their email and read it. I lost my breath, handed the phone to my husband, and had him read the message out loud. The rest is history!

My young-YA novel, Seven Days to Goodbye, is my heart book. With permission, I share Carol Baldwin’s description from her October blog.

“What do you get when you mix together a week on Edisto Island with a puppy raiser and her best friend connecting to guys for the first time, protecting a loggerhead turtle’s nest, finding her service dog relating to a young boy with autism, and agonizing over what comes next. You get the ingredients for Seven Days to Goodbye.” Carol Baldwin

Do you have any words of wisdom you’d like to share?

Writers need a thick skin. After the story is completed and revised, send it to reputable blogs that generate contests and critiques. My favorites are Adventures in YA Publishing and Pitch Wars.

Take a break from the computer–do normal activities, allowing your brain to think and create.

Do Not Give Up! Start something new. Change Genres. But keep writing!

Great tips, Sheri! Thanks again for being with us today and sharing your writing journey with us. Best wishes for much success for your book!

And readers, don’t forget to leave a comment for Sheri and you could win a free book. Be sure to check back next week to see if you’re the winner!

Bio: Sheri Levy taught Special Ed for sixteen years, a Family Learning Program for nine years, and continues to tutor students once a week. She has two amazing adult children, two brilliant grand boys, and after raising four other dogs, now has two younger Australian Shepherds. Her most favorite activities besides reading and writing are her dogs, having her toes in a sandy beach, music, movies and ice cream. www.sherislevy.com

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~celebration - Morguefile

Who do we get to celebrate with today?

Kudos to these Christian Writer’s Den writers for doing the work and finding success!

1.  Cathy Baker (SC): My story on a past miscarriage will be included in Chicken Soup of the Soul: Hope & Miracles, on sales February 10. (Vonda here: That’s TODAY! What a great way to celebrate with you!)

2.  Tammy Whitehurst (TX): 1)The United Methodist Publishing House just bought a 5th article from me. 2)I also wrote and sold a greeting card to Warner Press. 3)And I have been invited to speak at Gatesville Women’s Prison again. There is nothing that compares to it! I invite all of you to my daily devotional on Facebook. The page is filled with giggles and grins and a whole lot of God! Connect on FB at https://www.facebook.com/JoyForTheJourneyMinistry

3.  Beth Fortune (SC): 1)I had two more devotions accepted at ChristianDevotions.us; 2)I had another article accepted in Reach Out Columbia; 3)I was recently a guest blogger at the Christian Communicators blog!

Congratulations to these writers! Don’t see your own name on the list? Be sure to check back next week when I’ll have a whole new list of writing opportunities!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~mogo7000 logo

Who were the first ones to earn entries into the 2015 MoGo7000 drawing for $100?

#1: Joan Hall – 7,055 words
#2: Suan Baganz – 16,866 words

Congratulations, Joan and Susan! You’re both off to a great start! And readers, don’t forget, every month you write at least 7000 new words on a book project, you can earn an entry. So what are you waiting for? Get to work!

And if you’re interested in finding out how you might win $100, check out the MoGo7000 Challenge page.

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Thanks for joining me today. Without you, it’d be a pretty lonely place. I appreciate you and pray for you and your work.

Blessings,

Vonda

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Writing Opportunities & Conferences and Who Won Linda Goldfarb’s Book?

Image courtesy of StuartMiles/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of StuartMiles/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

It’s our 3rd Tuesday and time to help you find writing opportunities!

1.  Chicken Soup is ALWAYS looking for stories! Currently looking for stories about dreams, nurses, luck, Christmas, and volunteering.

2.  Celebrate Life Magazine

3.  Horse-lovers, this one’s for you! Appaloosa Journal writing guidelines

4. American Falconry

5. Writer’s Digest Magazine writing guidelines

6. Bee Culture 

7. Anyone from Bloomington, IN? Writing guidelines from Bloom Magazine.  

8. Catholic Digest

9. WOW: Women on Writing (scroll down for guidelines)

10. Cat Fancy guidelines

11. Faith Today Magazine  

12. Kaleidoscope Magazine focuses on disabilities 

13. Northern Breezes sailing magazine for Great Lakes and Midwest sailing

14. The Secret Place writing guidelines for devotions   

15. Now What? Magazine is looking for stories

16. Reach Out, Columbia is looking for articles Spring/Summer/Easter articles. Contact editor Lori Hatcher at lori@reachoutcolumbia.com.

Okay, writers! I can’t wait to see what comes of your efforts this month!

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Image courtesy of StuartMiles/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of StuartMiles/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 If you’re serious about writing and speaking, you’ll be serious about attending

conferences. 

When I first started this writing journey, I didn’t have money for conferences, so I asked my family and friends to contribute to my conference fund rather than giving me gifts for Christmas, birthday, Valentine’s Day, anniversary, and Mother’s Day. That went a long way towards my conferences. You might want to try it, too.

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

1.  Writers ADVANCE Boot Camp: February 20-22, 2015, Asheville, NC

2.  Florida Christian Writers Conference: February 25-March 1, 2015, Leesburg, FL

3.  American Christian Writers Mentoring Retreats begin in March: Various locations and dates

4.  Mid-South Christian Writers Conference: March 7, 2015, Memphis, TN (I’ll be there and would love to see you!)

5.  Carolina Christian Writers Conference: March 13-14, 2015, Spartanburg, SC

6.  Weekend with the Writers: March 20-21, 2015, Greenville, SC

7.  Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference: March 25-31, 2015, Felton, CA

8.  Write2Ignite Conference for Writers of Children’s Literature: March 27-28, 2015, Tigerville, SC (I’ll be there would love to see you!)

9.  Orange County Christian Writers ConferenceApril 24-25, 2015, Santa Ana, CA

10. Colorado Christian Writers Conference: May 13-16, 2015, Estes Park, CO (watch for details coming soon)

11. Northwest Christian Writers Renewal: May 15-16, 2015, Redmond, WA

12. Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference: May 17-21, 2015, Ridgecrest, NC (I’ll be there and would love to see you!)

13. Write To Publish: June 3-6, 2015, Wheaton, IL

14. West Virginia Writers Conference: June 12-14, 2015, Ripley, WV

15. St. David’s Christian Writers’ Conference: June 24-28, 2015, Grove City, PA

16. Christian Communicators Conference: Hold the date! August 26-30, 2015, The Billy Graham Training Center at The Cove, Asheville, NC. Registration will open late February. (I’ll see you there!)

17. American Christian Fiction Writers Conference: September 17-20, 2015, Dallas, TX

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Loving the Me God Sees cover Linda Goldfarb

Who won Linda Goldfarb’s book?

The winner is…Pat W! Congratulations, Pat! Contact me with your mailing address and Linda will get the book right out to you!

And for those who didn’t win, here’s a direct Amazon link to Linda’s book, Loving the ME God Sees.

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Well, that does it for another 3rd Tuesday. I’ll look forward to being with you again on Friday for Parting Words From The WORD!

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

Vonda

 

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Writer’s Headlines: Writing Opps & Conferences for You & Who Won Cheryl Ricker’s Book?

newspapersIt’s our 3rd Tuesday, so it’s time to look at writing opportunities. This could be your door to publication!

 

1.  Better Homes and Gardens writers guidelines

2.  ADDitude Magazine writers guidelines

3.  Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine writers guidelines

4.  Alive Now writers guidelines and theme list – Scroll down on right side for theme list and due dates

5.  American Girl writers guidelines

6.  Chicken Soup for the Soul possible book titles – Check out the latest story needs

7.  Asimov’s Science Fiction writers guidelines

8.  CampSite writers guidelines

9.  The Christian Century writers guidelines

10. Enrichment Journal writers guidelines

11. Parents Magazine writer’s guidelines

12. The Lutheran writers guidelines

13. Short Stories for a Fiction-Lover’s Devotional by Kathy Ide – Fiction-Lover’s Devotional Guidelines here

14. Reach Out, Columbia magazine, a regional print publication dedicated to proclaiming the life and work of Jesus Christ in and through ordinary people, is open to article submissions. We publish teaching pieces (800- 1,250 words), reflection pieces (500-800 words), and informational pieces on subjects related to the Christian life (health, sports, family, marriage, singleness, church membership, nutrition, etc., 800-1,250 words). We’re especially interested in subjects of interest to men. We are also open to 2-3 part series of articles if the subject can support it. ROC is not a paying market, but a print publishing credit looks great on your resume. Keep in mind that seasonal pieces must be submitted a minimum of three months prior to the month of publication. Please visit Reach Out Columbia for article submission guidelines (www.ReachOutColumbia.com)

15. Shine Brightly Magazine for Girls writers guidelines

Okay, writing friends, what are you waiting for? I can’t wait to hear of your successes!

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Courtesy of Dan/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Courtesy of Dan/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Are you serious about writing and speaking? If so, you’ll be serious about attending conferences. 

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

1.  Writers ADVANCE Boot Camp: February 20-22, 2015, Asheville, NC

2.  Florida Christian Writers Conference: February 25-March 1, 2015, Leesburg, FL

3.  American Christian Writers Mentoring Retreats begin in March: Various locations and dates

4.  Mid-South Christian Writers Conference: March 7, 2015, Memphis, TN (I’ll see you there!)

5.  Carolina Christian Writers Conference: March 13-14, 2015, Spartanburg, SC

6.  Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference: March 25-31, 2015, Felton, CA

7.  Write2Ignite Conference for Writers of Children’s Literature: March 27-28, 2015, Tigerville, SC (I’ll see you there!)

8.  Orange County Christian Writers ConferenceApril 24-25, 2015, Santa Ana, CA

9.  Colorado Christian Writers Conference: May 13-16, 2015, Estes Park, CO (watch for details coming soon)

10. Northwest Christian Writers Renewal: May 15-16, 2015, Redmond, WA

11. Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference: May 17-21, 2015, Ridgecrest, NC (I’ll see you there!)

12. Write To Publish: June 3-6, 2015, Wheaton, IL

13. West Virginia Writers Conference: June 12-14, 2015, Ripley, WV

14. Christian Communicators Conference: Hold the date! August 26-30, 2015, The Billy Graham Training Center at The Cove, Asheville, NC. Registration will open late February. (I’ll see you there!)

15. American Christian Fiction Writers Conference: September 17-20, 2015, Dallas, TX

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Cheryl Ricker cover Rush of Heaven

And who won Cheryl Ricker’s book, Rush of Heaven: One Woman’s Miraculous Encounter with Jesus?

According to Random.org, this week’s winner is Lynn A. Davidson! Congratulations, Lynn. To receive your free copy of Rush of Heaven, simply contact me with your mailing address and we’ll get it right out to you!

And for those who didn’t win, here’s your direct Amazon link to Rush of Heaven. You know you don’t want to miss this one!

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Thank you, dear friends, for another great Opps Tuesday at the Christian Writer’s Den. Be sure to come back next week for a learning experience from another great author!

Write on!

Vonda

 

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Writer’s Headlines: Writing Opportunities, Conferences, & Christian Communicators’ Save the Date!

newspapersHappy 3rd Tuesday to you, dear friends! Let’s start with a list of writing opportunities and contests selected just for you!

1.  CBH Ministries Keys for Kids teaches children about God’s love and His Word. Keys for Kids Writer’s Guidelines here.

2.  Catholic Sentinel looking for Oregon-focused articles of interest to local Catholics.

3.  Creation Illustrated is the “leading Bible-based nature journal” and is looking for writers and photographers. Creation Illustrated Submission Guidelines here.

4.  Escapees Magazine is looking for articles of interest to RVers who live the RV lifestyle. Escapees Magazine writing guidelines here.

5.  Eldridge Plays and Musicals submission guidelines 

6.  Writers Weekly.com wants articles on how to make money writing. Do not send “how to write” articles. Writers Weekend guidelines here.

7.  Bead&Button Magazine is a bimonthly magazine devoted to techniques, projects, and designs of beaded jewelry and accessories. Bead&Button Submission Guidelines here.

8.  Woman’s Day magazine accepts articles from very experienced writers. Woman’s Day writer’s guidelines here.

9.  Guide Magazine: Guide is a Christian story magazine for young people ages 10-14. The 32-page, four-color publication is published weekly by the Review and Herald Publishing Association. Our mission is to show readers, through stories that illustrate Bible truth, how to walk with God now and forever. Guide Magazine Writer’s Guidelines here.

10. Shotgun Sports magazine writers must have first hand knowledge of hunting, trapshooting, or collecting or repairing guns

11. The Kids’ Ark is always looking for great stories for kids. The Kids’ Ark is a quarterly children’s Christian magazine full of the truth about God’s love. There are many questions kids have growing up: Who am I? Am I loved? Am I worthy? Am I valuable? Think of all the pain that could be avoided in a lifetime if a child knew the answers to these questions at an early age. The Kids’ Ark Writer’s Guidelines here.

12. Small Farm Today magazine is dedicated to preserving and promoting small farming, rural living, community and agripreneurship. Writing guidelines here.

13. Highlights for Children is a general-interest, advertising-free magazine for children up to age twelve. It was founded in 1946 by Dr. Garry Cleveland Myers and Caroline Clark Myers, and is still owned and run by their family. The magazine has no religious or organizational affiliation. Highlights has a circulation of about two million and is published monthly. Highlights Writer’s Guidelines here.

14. Lerner Publishing Group works with many talented authors and illustrators to create its books for children and young adults. Lerner Books Submission Guidelines here.

15. Writer’s Digest Poetry Awards. Deadline October 31, 2014.

16. Writer’s Digest Short Short Story Contest. Deadline December 15, 2014.

And these two opportunities were submitted by our friend and CCC grad, artist and speaker Cyn Rogalski. Thanks, Cyn!

17. Christian Media Magazine guidelines

18. Moms Magazine submission guidelines

Well, that should keep you busy for a while. Don’t forget to share this with your writing friends!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Vonda teaching at Writers Boot Camp

 And here are some conferences for writers and speakers. I hope to see you at some of them!

1.  CLASS Christian Writers Conference: October 23-25, 2014, Albuquerque, NM

2.  South Carolina Writers’ Workshop: October 24-26, 2014, Myrtle Beach, SC

3.  Heart of America Christian Writer’s Network Conference: November 6-8, 2014, Overland Park, KS

4.  Writers ADVANCE Boot Camp: February 20-22, 2015, Asheville, NC

5.  Florida Christian Writers Conference: February 25-March 1, 2015, Leesburg, FL

6.  Mid-South Christian Writers Conference: March 7, 2015, Memphis, TN (I’ll see you there!)

7.  Write2Ignite Conference for Writers of Children’s Literature: March 27-28, 2015, Tigerville, SC (I’ll see you there!)

8. Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference: May 17-21, 2015, Ridgecrest, NC (I’ll see you there!)

9. Christian Communicators Conference: Hold the date! August 26-30, 2015, The Billy Graham Training Center at The Cove, Asheville, NC. Registration will open late February. (I’ll see you there!)

Okay, friends, I can’t wait to see the successes that come from your responses to these lists!

Happy writing!

Vonda

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