Tag Archives: writers conferences

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

Laughing Jesus by Robert Wilson, Sr.

Laughing Jesus by Robert Wilson, Sr.

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

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

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

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

And I smiled.

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

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

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

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

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

What about you?

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

Vonda

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Writer’s Headlines: Writing Opps, Contests, & Conferences and Memorial Day Book Give-Away by Edie Melson!

newspapersWhat a great day today at the Christian Writer’s Den! Let’s start with this new list of writing opportunities, selected just for YOU!

 

1.  New unique blogger opportunity from The Aetherlight: Chronicles of the Resistance STEAMPUNK video game. “Do you remember the first time you walked through the wardrobe into Narnia™? The story of Narnia brought a theology into our hands and hearts through immersing young readers in the grand narrative of the scriptures. They may never have been aware, but the story of the Bible told through allegory, impacted the way they viewed this world and their part in it.

The Aetherlight: Chronicles of the Resistance tells the same story refreshed and invigorated to recapture a digital generation with the grand story of God. Partnered with American Bible Society, Scarlet City Studios is a small New Zealand-based gaming studio with an epic goal: to take the greatest story ever told and re-tell it for a digital generation.”

They are currently looking for bloggers to play a brand new action adventure video game, The Aetherlight, and review the game for your blog. Though the game is designed for pre-teens, they feel that this simple game can be used as a great conversation starter for both your blog and your children. By closely following the story of the Bible, but in a steampunk inspired land, players are able to make the connections and discoveries for themselves, and see the Bible stories in a new light.

2.  ACFW Virginia Short Story Contest is Open to Everyone

3.  BloggingPro Jobs has freelance, blogging, copywriting, editing jobs, and more!

4.  Free Spirit Publishing book submission guidelines

5.  Good Old Days Magazine contributor guidelines

6.  Celebrate Life submission guidelines

7.  Dollar Stretcher Publications writers guidelines

8.  Midwest Living magazine writers guidelines

9.  Today’s Christian Woman guidelines

10. Zoetrope: All Story is a quarterly literary publication founded by Francis Ford Coppola in 1997 to explore the intersection of story and art, fiction and film.

11. Pioneer Drama Service accepts plays and has a play contestSuccess Pixabay

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It’s time to get to a Conferences–or two–or three! 

Where are you going this year?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ccclogosmall12. Christian Communicators Conference: August 24-28, 2016 The Billy Graham Training Center at The Cove, Asheville, NC. (We’re full, but the waiting list is now open. Details for waiting list here: Conference & Registration Details. Waiting list is free.)

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

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

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

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

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And since Memorial Day is coming soon, let’s honor our military AND give away a free book, While My Soldier Serves: Prayers for Those with Loved Ones in the Military, by Edie Melson!

It’s easy to enter the drawing! Simply leave a comment, honoring an active military or veteran–living or deceased. We want to thank those who are protecting America and the world. Without you, dear servicemen and servicewomen, we America couldn’t be who she is.

So let’s see how many military men and women we can honor this week. Then I’ll use Random.org to draw one winner. Be sure to return next week to see if you’re the winner!

(Thanks, Edie!)

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Happy writing!

Vonda

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Interview & Book Give-Away with Sandra Merville Hart

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

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

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

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

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

I pondered those questions and the story was born.

What started you on your writing journey?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Yes, I do!

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

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

Has your writing changed your reading habits?

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

Who has been your greatest encourager on your writing journey?

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

Who inspires you?

Great authors like Mark Twain inspire me.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thanks for Tweeting!

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

 

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

To connect with Sandra:

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

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

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Sandra_M_Hart

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

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

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

 

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Writer’s Headlines: Writing Opportunities & Conferences

newspapersYes, it’s the 3rd Tuesday, so it’s the day to find YOUR next writing opportunity!

 

1.  Splickety Magazine is Your Flash Fiction Fix! It exists to showcase high-quality short fiction from new writers, best-selling authors, and everyone in between. Here are the Splickety submission guidelines.

2.  Bethany House is looking for submissions for a new anthology. Life-Changing Miracles – True Stories of How God Miraculously Transforms Lives.

3.  Writer’s Digest Annual Writing Competition guidelines. Hurray the early deadline is May 6.

4.  Pelican Group Easter Lilies Annual Special Release guidelines here, but note: submissions only accepted August 1 – September 30 each year. So get started now so you’ll be ready in August!

5.  Chicken Soup is currently accepting submissions on Teachers, College Students, Moms, Blended Families, Dreams, Parenting, Dogs, Cats, and Confident & Curvy Women. Chicken Soup guidelines here

6.  Educational markets for children’s writers   

7.  Free Spirit PublishingTheir mission is to provide children and teens with the tools they need to succeed in life and to make a difference in the world. They publish high-quality nonfiction books and learning materials for children and teens, parents, educators, counselors, and others who live and work with young people.

8.  Reader’s Digest: “If you are a writer and would like to submit a great article proposal, email us at articleproposals@rd.com.”

9.  Parents Magazine is always looking for writers

10. Creation Illustrated Writers and Photographers guidelines

 

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

Writing Conferences are Your Ticket to Success!

1.  Writing Success 25: April 30, 2016, Stoneboro, PA

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ccclogosmall15. Christian Communicators Conference: August 24-28, 2016 The Billy Graham Training Center at The Cove, Asheville, NC. (Only 7 spots left–Don’t delay!)

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

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

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That’s it for another 3rd Tuesday Opportunities Day. What are YOU going to do with it? :-)

Happy writing!

Vonda

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Interview & Book Give-Away with Ramona Richards – Win a Free Book!

Ramona Richards headshotWriters, I’m thrilled to introduce my long-time friend, author and speaker Ramona Richards to you! We’ve been friends like forever (I think we met at the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference), and I’m honored to have her here today to share her latest book, a beautiful tribute to her mother and her quilts.

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

Ramona, I love, love, love your recent release of My Mother’s Quilts: Devotions from a Legacy of Needlework. It was so tender, I began tearing up the at the dedication! It’s definitely a departure from your previous books I’ve read. How did this come about?

I’ve written devotions for a long time, and I had two prior books of devotions published earlier in my career: A Moment with God for Single Parents and Secrets of Confidence. Devotion writing is one of my loves, and I’ve worked hard on the craft. Devotions are a little like children’s books: they LOOK easy to write, but there’s a definite skill involved.

After my mother died, I wanted to find a way to honor her with my writing, and the idea came when I was unpacking all the quilts I’d inherited from her. Mother was a master quilter, but she’d struggled to put her memories in writing. That’s my gift. To combine them to preserve her legacy seemed natural, almost a nudge from God.

I was still working out the details when I had the opportunity to pitch it to Worthy Publishing. They asked for a proposal right away, so I put one together in the next 24 hours and sent it to my agent. After a bit of refinement, she sent it on to Worthy.

A proposal in 24 hours? Now, that’s fast! The photographs in My Mother’s Quilts are lovely. How did theyRamona Richards My Mother's Quilts cover come about?

Another bit of God’s timing, I believe. A few years ago, I reconnected with my cousin Becky on Facebook. We hadn’t seen each other since our teens, even though our mothers had been best friends. Her grandmother was my grandmother’s sister, so some of the quilts I have are as much a part of her family. Becky’s daughter, Mary, is a professional photographer in east Tennessee. Having Mary do the photos turned out to be an astonishing gift, as Becky worked with me on the quilts, arranged for one of them to be photographed in her sister’s house, and organized a family reunion around the one quilt that’s in a museum.

The book would not be what it is without them.

I totally agree. Any advice for anyone who wants to turn their family legacy into a writing project?

Find a narrative thread or common element, and turn it into a story with a clear beginning, middle, and end. Don’t just make a list of events or a string of memories than aren’t related to each other. While each may be entertaining, the goal would be to build a whole story that honors those about whom you’re writing, to show the entirety of their lives, and not just a few entertaining moments.  

And you did that very well. So what’s next for you?

I’m working on a proposal for another quilt devotional, but I’m also finishing up another romantic suspense. I have some major editorial projects in the works. I left Abingdon in December, and I’ve been working harder than ever!

I’m glad to hear you’re staying busy with your writing and projects. How can people get in touch with you?

They can contact me through my website, Twitter, or Facebook. I’m also going to be at a number of conferences this year, including the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference in May. A complete list will be on my website in a couple of weeks. I do love hearing from folks!

Thanks for joining us today, Ramona. I can’t wait to see you again at Blue Ridge. Your book truly is a tribute to your family. I know my friends are going to love it as much as I do!

And readers, if you’d like a chance to win a copy of Ramona’s book, just leave a comment for her and you’ll be in the drawing. Be sure to return next week to see if you’re the winner.

 

Thanks for Sharing!

My Mother’s Quilts author @RamonaRichards is giving away a copy of her new book at The Christian Writer’s Den! (Click to Tweet)

RamonaRichards.com

RamonaRichards.com Twitter: @RamonaRichards

Facebook.com/ramona.richards

Bio:  Ramona Richards is the author of nine books, and her devotions have appeared in such publications as Fulfilled: The NIV Devotional Bible for the Single Woman, Trusting Jesus Every Day, Wonderfully Made, Heavenly Humor for the Woman’s Soul, Heavenly Humor for the Dieter’s Soul, and several others. A writer and editor since 1981, Ramona has worked on staff or as a freelancer with more than 20 magazine and book publishers, most recently as the Senior Acquisitions Editor for Fiction and Christian Living with Abingdon Press. She lives in Nashville, Tennessee.

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Writer’s Headlines: Writing Opportunities & Conferences and Christian Communicators Registration is Open!

newspapersYes, it’s the 3rd Tuesday, so it’s the day to find YOUR next writing opportunity!

1.  Alaska Magazine Submission Guidelines for Freelance WritersAnd yes, we have a couple of writers who live in Alaska, so girls, this is for you!

2.  The Cattleman Magazine – Guidelines for Writing for The Cattleman Yes, we have some cowgirls, too. :-)

3.  Alive Now writers guidelines and theme list

4.  Chicken Soup for the Soul possible book titles - They’re always looking for new stories!

5.  American Girl Magazine accepts entries by children!

6.  Bible Advocate and Now What? writer’s guidelines

7.  Faith Today: Canada’s Christian Magazine

8.  Submission guidelines for BABYBUG, LADYBUG, SPIDER, ASK, CRICKET, and CICADA magazines for babies through teens

9.  Writer’s guidelines for Catholic Digest.

10. Eldridge Plays and Musicals submission guidelines

11.  Photo Life could be looking for your photos!

12. Sasee Magazine for Women. It’s all about women. It’s all about you.

13. Mary Kaarto is looking for counselors.  “I’m looking to interview licensed or certified counselors that deal with substance abuse, domestic violence, suicide prevention, grief counselors, pastors who offer couples counseling and anyone with active involvement in an unemployment ministry for a book I’m writing. Please contact me with your credentials at marykaarto@marykaarto.com. Thank you.”

14. Grace Publishing is accepting manuscript submissions

15. Jennifer Hallmark is taking blog submissions for 2016: Have you ever been overwhelmed by gratefulness over an act of kindness by a friend, family member, or organization? Have your children or spouse done something so sweet you just have to share? I have openings on my website’s blog page, Small Acts of Kindness, scattered throughout the rest of this year. I post every Monday.

I’m looking for a 300-700 word story sharing your experience. Please include photos or pictures you’d like me to post, book blurb and cover. I also will add any links and a short bio if you’d like.

Please reply to jenlhall63 (at) gmail (dot) com if you are interested. For examples, go to http://jenniferhallmark.com/blog/  Thanks! p.s. We also have interviews open on the Writing Prompts blog for the second half of the year.

Well, that should keep you busy for a while! Be sure to let me know when you get that publication!

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Image courtesy of StuartMiles/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of StuartMiles/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Conferences are your ticket to success!

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

2.  Mid-South Christian Writers Conference: March 19, 2016, Collierville, TN

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

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

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

6.  Writing Success 25: April 30, 2016, Stoneboro, PA

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

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

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

brmcwc 201610. Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference: May 22-26, 2016, Ridgecrest, NC (I’ll see you there!)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

21. Christian Communicators Conference: August 24-28, 2016 The Billy Graham Training Center at The Cove, Asheville, NC. Registration will open in March. Registration opens today! Don’t delay–Only 30 slots available!

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

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

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4 CCC girls 2012Ladies, it’s the day you’ve been waiting for! Christian Communicators Conference Registration is now open!

Could this be YOUR year to take the next bold step into your speaking ministry? Whether you’re novice just testing the waters, or an experienced speaker with years of events behind you, this conference is just what you need!

All-inclusive package, including video and headshots? Yes!

Ongoing mentoring and networking opportunities? Yes!

Ongoing community support of like-minded sisters? Yes!

Intimate conference of only about 30 ladies, set in the beautiful NC mountains at The Billy Graham Training Center at The Cove? Yes!

Let this be the year you find out what all the excitement is about.

Anonymous comments from last year’s post-conference evaluation:

“It was unforgettable. Life-changing. It anchored me to a breakthrough understanding of my calling. It was a deep cleaning of my soul, an inspired 4 days that will affect the rest of my life.”

“I’ve attended many conferences and, hands down, this is the best one EVER! It was well-planned and executed. I would have loved to stay another day…”

“I’m a conference junkie, and I’ve never seen a conference so adept at facilitating relationship-building before…”

 Find out more…

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Thanks for sharing!

#Writing opportunities & conferences. #Christian Communicators registration now open! #publicspeaker (Click to Tweet)

Happy writing and speaking!

Vonda

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

Ape with big mouth Pixabay

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

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

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

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

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

But it didn’t work with writing.

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

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

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

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

FreeDigitalPhotos/Iosphere

FreeDigitalPhotos/Iosphere

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

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

Thanks for Sharing!

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

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It’s Time to Share Kudos of YOUR Successes!

Hey there, writing friends. We want to know what you’ve been up to. Have you had something exciting happen recently in your writing or speaking life? Maybe you’ve had an article published, signed a book contract, released a new book, got an agent, or started a new blog. If so, we want to hear from you!

It’s really simple, but I do ask that you contact me with the info in this format and order ONLY:

**Your name
**Your state in two-letter abbreviation
**Link to your website or blog
**Your good news
**Link to your good news, if online (online bookstore, online article, etc)

I can’t wait for us to celebrate with you!

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mogoWho MoGo’d in February?

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

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

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

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

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Marilyn Turks Lighthouse Devotions cover

Who Won Marilyn Turk’s Book?

Drumroll, please. The winner is…

Nan Jones!

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

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

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

Vonda

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Interview & Book Give-Away with Marilyn Turk

Marilyn Turk headshot 2Friends, you’re in for a special treat today as we talk with Marilyn Turk, author of Lighthouse Devotions. Marilyn and I met about 10 years ago at the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference and we’ve kept in touch all these years. Interestingly, her first book is about lighthouses and my first book had a lighthouse prominently featured in the story line!

Remember to leave a comment for Marilyn and you’ll be in the drawing for a free copy of her book, Lighthouse Devotions.

So, welcome, Marilyn. Let’s get started with an easy question: Have you always wanted to write a book?

No, I never even considered it until I attended writers’ conferences. I had planned to just write devotions, or maybe some magazine articles, but not a whole book! So when I attended Blue Ridge CWC several years ago, I took Susan King’s course on writing devotions, which was a wonderful course! As a result of that conference, I had some devotions published in The Upper Room. I also pitched a story idea to Jesse Florea of Focus on the Family’s Clubhouse magazine, and he liked it! That story was published also.

Yes, you’re another success story that shows how to get published: Go to writing conferences and follow through by doing what you’re taught! So if you started with devotions and articles, how did you end up writing books?

Once again, the idea took root at Blue Ridge. It seemed like everyone was talking about a book they were writing and when they asked me about mine, I was stumped. Was I supposed to be writing a book? Then the genre question came up and I had no idea what that meant. But I had been doing some research about the history of my area and somehow the “What if” question came to mind and a story began to take root, which grew into a book.

And this is the first book you had published?

No, it turned into a series and I’m not finished with that yet. Meanwhile I wrote another novel, The Gilded Curse, that will be published in March by Heritage Beacon of Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas. The first book to be published (other than some anthologies I’ve been in) was the collection of devotions called Lighthouse Devotions.Marilyn Turks Lighthouse Devotions cover

Congratulations your newest book, The Gilded Curse! I’m looking forward to reading it when it comes out in March. But since we’re talking about Lighthouse Devotions today, would you tell us how it came about?

Blame it on Edie (Melson). Actually, it was Edie and others who encouraged writers to blog to develop their platform. And again, it was at Blue Ridge – where would I be without Blue Ridge? Anyway, at the time, I found many blogs I read to be boring unless they were about writing. Well I didn’t know enough about writing to write about, so I prayed and asked God what I should write about. My interest in lighthouses was growing and I read about them quite a bit. So God told me to write stories about lighthouses. So that’s what I did. But a funny thing happened. Each time I wrote a story, a Bible verse that related to the story came to mind. I wasn’t sure if I just put the verse in the story because I wasn’t sure if my audience would all be believers, but then I felt God say, “Why do you think I’m giving you those verses?” Since God uses the word “light” 263 times in the Bible, He must see a connection to lighthouses. So the stories became weekly devotionals. Some of the readers asked me when I was going to put them in a book, and finally I did in Lighthouse Devotions.

Sounds like you think conferences are worthwhile.

Did you notice? For me, they’ve been invaluable. Although I went to college and graduated with a degree in journalism, I never intended to have a writing career. I went on to a career in sales and marketing, but always felt I could write if I had time. But when I retired and had time, I felt very rusty and wanted to refresh my skills. Attending writers conferences introduced me to a different world, one I didn’t know existed, and one which I needed to learn a lot about. I highly recommend attending writers conferences if writers want to develop their skills, not to mention network with other writers, another very important aspect of writing. I only attend ChristiaPastor’s Shrimp and Corn Bisquen conferences now. When I first started on this journey, I attended a couple of ABA conferences also and found that I belonged in Christian publishing, where people are honest, supportive, and believers.

In fact, I feel so strongly about conferences that I wanted to expose the writers in my geographic area to their benefits, so I’m hosting one April 20-23! I’m very excited about the Blue Lake Christian Writers Retreat. We have a wonderful faculty of award-winning authors and publishing professionals. The setting is a quiet conference center in a national forest, not as grand as Blue Ridge or some of the larger conferences, but the quality of the teaching will be first-rate. I hope that writers in the Florida panhandle, Alabama and Georgia can take advantage of its proximity. For more details and registration, check out the Blue Lake Christian Writers Retreat website.

So which are you writing now, novels or devotions?

I’m writing both! After five and a half years and almost 300 posts, I still write my lighthouse blog, which is mainly nonfiction, so I still do a lot of research for it. It’s funny that I’ve been asked if I might run out of stories for it, since it’s based on real lighthouse stories. My answer is that there are hundreds of lighthouses and even more Bible verses, so I don’t think I’ll run out any time soon. And the blessings that have come from it are amazing. I’ve connected with people all over the world who are lighthouse lovers and read my blog, my devotional blog!

However, the editing and publication of The Gilded Curse has re-energized my fiction brain cells. I can’t wait to get back to my works in progress, but I also have a couple of other book ideas simmering on the backburner of my brain waiting to be developed.Marilyn Turk Guilded Curse cover

Have I told you how much I love the cover of The Gilded Curse? It’s beautiful! We only have time for one more question, so I want to know if you still write for magazines.

Only one – and a very important one near and dear to me – Guideposts magazine. I’ve been a reader and fan of the publication for many, many years, and it was a dream come true to win the 2010 Guideposts Writers contest. As a result, I’ve been writing for them ever since. And another dream came true recently. I signed a contract to write some devotions for Daily Guideposts 2017, an annual devotional book that I’ve used daily for many years and always wanted to be in.

Wow–another thing to celebrate! Thank you for being with us today and sharing your writing journey. I think we all can see that your hard work is showing!

Readers, remember to leave a comment for Marilyn and you’ll be in the drawing for a copy of her book, Lighthouse Devotions. And be sure to check back next week to see if you’re the winner!

Bio: Marilyn Turk is director of the brand new writers conference, Blue Lake Christian Writers Retreat, to be held April 20-23, 2016 in Andalusia, AL– a perfect location for writers in southern Alabama and the Gulf Coast. She has been published in Guideposts magazine, Guideposts books – A Joyful Heart and A Cup of Christmas Cheer, The Upper Room, Clubhouse Jr. Magazine, Chicken Soup for the Soul, and Lighthouse Digest magazine. Her Coastal Lights Legacy series features stories set around lighthouses. Her book, Lighthouse Devotions was published in 2015, and in March 2016, The Gilded Curse, a historical suspense novel, will be released by Heritage Beacon, an imprint of Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas. Her weekly lighthouse blog can be found at http://pathwayheart.com. She lives in Florida with husband Chuck and enjoys boating, fishing, tennis, and gardening when she’s not climbing lighthouses or playing with her grandsons.

Happy writing, everyone!

Vonda

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

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

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

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

1.  Adoptive Families Magazine

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

2.  Utmost Christian Writers Poetry Contest

3.  BJU Press

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

4.  Christian Devotions Ministry Submissions

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

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

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

7.  Connecticut Magazine

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

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

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

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

12. Cruising World Guidelines for Writers and Photographers

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Vonda

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Interview & Book Give-Away with Delores Liesner

Photography by KHB photography

Photography by KHB photography

What a joy to close out 2015 with a visit from my friend, author Delores Liesner. We met years ago at the CLASS Christian Writers Conference and she’s been hard at work ever since. I love her publication story and her look at contemporary miracles. I hope you’ll be challenged to see the potential, too!

Be sure to leave a comment for Delores and you’ll be in the drawing for a copy of her new book, Be the Miracle.

Welcome, Delores. Let’s get started. I see you consider yourself a storyteller, yet most of your work is non-fiction. Please tell us how that came about.

Fiction was my lifeline growing up – especially if based on a true story. We moved to a new town when I was in high school and the English teacher, desperate to gain more oral reports, had made a rule the year prior that every A-graded book report would advance the student’s final score by one letter grade! Investigative conversations with older students provided a list of her favorites, and I learned how to write to the audience. The Scarlet Letter and short stories by O’Henry among others, quickly garnered 5 “A” book reports (one extra just to be safe) and I could mess around the rest of the year. I loved dramatizing the real stories of my teacher’s preferences, but, certain my life experiences would never be that exciting, I began creating fictional skits and stories for school, my own escape valve, and eventually for my children.

Then I met God, and my life-drama developed new depth. I learned how to study the Bible inductively with the Navigators. I noticed when I shared personal applications in story form, others were leaning forward, interested to hear what happened next, so I saw value to using story in lessons and articles and began getting help and advice toward publishing them.

Where or to whom did you go to learn about publishing, Delores?Delores Liesner Miracle book cover

First, I wrote to a fiction author I admired, and asked how one goes about getting a story or article published. She directed me to Allison Gappa Bottke, who was developing an anthology series God Allows U Turns. Allison accepted a couple of my stories, and encouraged me to attend a seminar led by Marita and Florence Littauer. That conference, including the editor, publisher and radio appointments were life changing, as was the assignment Allison gave me to find stories after nine-one-one. CBN.com accepted a guest blog from one of those interviews and the following day I was on the phone hearing a story from a general at the Pentagon! I knew I could never dream up stuff this exciting and I was hooked. More conferences led me to 2010 where I met more encouragers, including Bruce Wilkinson. He inspired me to combine 31 of my miracle stories into a book.  I left the conference on a high, thinking the book could be out within a year, but the journey had just begun.

Yes, it seems all authors have experienced that reality check.  So Be the Miracle was published this August – almost 5 years from that moment of commitment.  What happened?

Life happened. I was still the guardian for my mother who lived 4 hours away, and that took quite a bit of my time. In the off hours I wrote devotionals, stories for anthologies, magazines and internet to save for a conference where I hoped to gain publishing and marketing information, and prayed a lot. I prayed about which stories to choose, and prayed about meeting the right people to help me navigate the fearsome

Delores and author/speaker Bruce Wilkinson

Delores and author/speaker Bruce Wilkinson

book proposal, and prayed about a publisher. I wrote and rewrote stories in different ways for different markets. I was blessed during that time to receive a call from an editor saying, “We are thinking of adding a column to our magazine and your name came up – would you be interested?”  That experience taught me refining stories for space and attention span, preparing me for the short-story devotional style of my book.

I blogged about the dreaded book proposal and a young friend introduced me to her friend – an experienced published author. As I was preparing my one-sheet for a conference meeting with one publisher, another’s call congratulating me for a contest win led to my contract and contact for an agent.  More amazing God HUGS (Highly Unexpected God-Surprises).

Sounds like faith played an active role in your writing journey. Is that the message your stories carry to the readers?

Delores and husband Ken

Delores and husband Ken

Yes, to activate our faith – putting hands and feet to what we believe, and to live expectantly, knowing that where we go we bring Christ, so we can expect something exciting to happen.

And after reading your book, Be the Miracle, I’m reminded that God is always orchestrating miracles . . . if only we’re focused enough to see them. Thank you for sharing your writing journey and your life of miracles with us. I pray that–as your tagline says–we’ll all be challenged to put our hands and feet to our faith.

And friends, don’t forget to leave a message for Delores and you’ll be in the drawing for a free copy of her book, Be the Miracle. Don’t forget to return next week to see if you’re the winner!

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Thank you for your kind words of sympathy and encouragement in the loss of my dear father-in-love. They gave strength and peace when we needed them. Thank you, too, for your grace as I return to work again and begin the catch-up in January.

Blessings for the new year!

Vonda

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