Tag Archives: writers conferences

Interview & Book Give-Away with Sarah Meece and Who Won the Free Writing Workshop?

Sarah Meece headshotI’m excited to introduce my friend, Sarah Meece, to all my Christian Writer’s Den friends! I met Sarah several years ago at a writers conference and was amazed at her story. But when Sarah attended the Christian Communicators Conference, I was privileged to see what an incredible and talented lady she is. Then, when I read her manuscript for A Dose of Hope, I knew I wanted to bring her to you!

Readers, be sure to leave a comment for Sarah and you’ll be in the drawing for a free book! Don’t forget to come back next week and see if you’re the winner!

Welcome, Sarah. I’m so glad you’re here! Let’s start with an easy question. Was being an author a life-long dream?  

Absolutely not! For 29 years, I had been an educator at the secondary level. I loved high school students, and I was one of those teachers who was the first to pull in the parking lot each morning and the last to leave. I know according to The New York Times, 80% of the population has a desire to write a book, but honestly, I was too busy with school. I laughed and told a reporter once, “I didn’t have time to write the first paragraph much less a whole book!”

So what changed your heart and mind?

Having gone through several devastating events in my life, I felt a strong calling to speak to women. With my hectic teacher schedule, I would speak periodically, but I simply did not have time to speak on a Sarah Meece A Dose of Hope book coverregular basis. However, in 2008 I was diagnosed with breast cancer. After several weeks of chemotherapy and a bilateral mastectomy, my life changed. For the first time, I slowed down long enough to devote some valuable time to Bible study and prayer. It was during this period that I realized my life could be short, and I needed to be obedient to God. At the end of that school year, I retired from education and created Sarah Meece Inspires—a ministry encouraging others to deepen their relationship with God.

I think I know the answer to this question, but which came first—speaking or writing?

Speaking definitely was the catalyst which led to writing. As I began booking speaking engagements, I would often get the question, “Do you have a book?” I quickly realized that in order to be perceived as a credible speaker, I needed the word author after my name. Having always enjoyed devotional books, I decided to write, A Dose of Hope, a devotional book containing real-life, everyday situations which people could easily relate.

Since writing was not a long-life goal, was it difficult for you?

I have to tell you, God was so gracious to me during the writing process. Almost every morning when I opened my eyes, God had planted a topic in my heart. I would run to the office, type as fast as I could to capture the message which He was encouraging me to share. Of course, my first draft definitely needed Sarah Meece headshot 2work, so I spent hours and hours on the final document. Plus, I was extremely blessed with a wonderful team of people who served as my editor and proofreaders. Interestingly enough, the members on my team were all retired educators (even from different states). By the way, those former English and business teachers can be hard core! (*wink) I am forever grateful to this awesome team!

Tell us about your publishing process.

My goal wasn’t necessarily to be included on the best seller list; therefore, I decided to self publish through CreateSpace. I wanted to create a document to help people build a deeper relationship with God. When I speak, I always have the book available on my product table. In addition, A Dose of Hope is available on Amazon.com. Thus far, I have been extremely pleased with the success of the book.

I know you had a great book launch for A Dose of Hope. Please tell us how you did that.

The book launch was fabulous! And I truly believe the secret to a great book launch is forming a book launch committee. I asked six friends—all from different walks of life and from different social circles—to assist with the book launch. We meet once a week for about six weeks prior to the launch where we decided everything from decorations and food to publicity and giveaways. Committee members Sarah Meece Book Launch--Celebration Teamdistributed invitations via social media, and the invitation was included in the local newspaper. The launch was held on December 3rd, at a local country club, and approximately 300 people attended the launch.  [Note to self:  Next time, sign some books in advance!] I simply cannot say enough; it was the perfect evening! Early December ended up being a great time for a book launch because many people purchased multiple copies of A Dose of Hope to give as Christmas presents to friends and family.

Do you have any new adventures in the near future?

Yes, I have all kinds of new and exciting things happening in the ministry! On the speaking front, I am joining two other speakers and forming The Hope Tour. We just did our soft launch this past weekend in Middletown, Ohio. Our mission is to spread hope to women across the country. Plus, I already have several events scheduled for 2015, including speaking at two major breast cancer events. And, on the writing front, I am in the process of writing my second book, A Dose of Peace.  I would sincerely appreciate your prayers in all of these endeavors.

Sarah, thank you for being with us and sharing your heart today. I hope readers will learn more about you and your powerful, amazing story! Readers, I know you’re going to want to have a copy of Sarah’s book, so here’s a direct Amazon link to the Kindle version of A Dose of Hope and the paperback version of A Dose of Hope.

Sarah Meece headshot 3Bio: Sarah Meece is not only a former educator and successful business woman, she is also a motivator, a leader, and most importantly, a survivor with an incredible story. For over 30 years, she has been reaching out to both students and adults as a strong witness and Christian role model. Traveling extensively, she has addressed a variety of audiences with her inspirational messages.

During her career in education, she received numerous awards including being named the recipient of the Milken Family Foundation National Teacher of the Year Award, Outstanding Young Women in America Award, and the Ashland Oil Golden Apple Achievement Award. Since retiring from secondary education, her heart for God has led her to devote her time and energy to speaking about persevering through life’s most difficult storms.

Today, her main love and focus is on her family — her wonderful husband, Curry, their four children, and two grandchildren. You can visit Sarah and find out more about her speaking and writing ministry at her website: SarahMeece.com.


vonda teaching

And Who Won a Free Writing Workshop from My Store?

The winner is Jeanne Doyon! Congratulations, Jeanne! Please go to my online store, click on Downloadable Writer’s Workshops, and decide which one you want. Then contact me with your choice and I’ll send it right out to you. Hope you enjoy it!


Thank you for joining me again today. I hope you’ll be back on Friday as we look at His Word!



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Writer’s Headlines: Writing Opportunities, Contests, & Conferences and Book Winner

newspapersYes! It’s the 3rd Tuesday, and Time for New Writing Opportunities, Contests, Conferences, and the Announcement of Ane Mulligan’s Book Winner!


Let’s start with a bunch of new writing opportunities with links to their guidelines–selected just for you

Freelance writing is a great way to generate some income and beef up your resume!

1.  Reach Out Columbia Magazine Guidelines

2.  Elks’ Magazine

3.  Faith Today Magazine

4.  Paper Crafts & Scrapbooking

5.  Vibrant Life Magazine

Courtesy of StuartMiles/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Courtesy of StuartMiles/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

6.  Connecticut Magazine

7.  The Daily Tea

8.  Women’s Adventure Magazine

9.  Focus on the Family’s Clubhouse Magazine

10. Arizona Highways Magazine

11. Georgia Family Magazine

12. Orlando Family Magazine

13. Homeschooling Today

14. Adoptive Family Magazine

15. Wesleyan Church Guidelines for Books and Articles

16. Christian Media Magazine

17. Adventure Kayak Magazine


Here are THREE Writer’s Digest Writing Contests

Don’t miss your chance to enter these contests.

1.  Writer’s Digest Self-Published eBook Awards. Deadline September 19, 2014.

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

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


Writers Conferences are a great way to learn your craft and make your connections

Courtesy of Dan/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Courtesy of Dan/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

1.  Writing for the Soul: September 19-20, 2014 Murfreesboro, TN

2.  American Christian Fiction Writers Conference: September 25-27, 2014, St. Louis, MO

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

4.  Queen City Writers Conference: October 14-16, 2014, Charlotte, NC

5.  Blue Ridge Christian Novelist Retreat: October 19-22, 2014, Ridgecrest, NC

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

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

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

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

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

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

12. Write2Ignite Conference for Writers of Children’s Literature: March 27-28, 2015, Tigerville, SC

13. Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference: May 17-21, 2015, Ridgecrest, NCAne Mulligan book cover


And who won Ane Mulligan’s book, Chapel Springs Revival?

The winner is Margie Houmes! Margie, simply contact me with your snail mail address and Ane will get your book right out to you!

I know you’re all excited about reading Ane’s new book, so here is a direct Amazon link to Chapel Springs Revival.


Well, that does it for another Writer’s Headlines Tuesday. It’s my prayer that these resources will help you on your writing journey!

Happy writing!


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Interview & Book Give-Away with Verna Bowman

Verna Bowman headshotReaders, I’m excited to introduce my friend, author, speaker, and Christian Communicators grad, Verna Bowman, to you. Be sure to read her bio below, but for now, let me just say that Verna and I met at CCC in 2011 and it didn’t take me long to realize what powerful stories she had to tell!

As I told Verna, when I started reading her book, I had planned to read one story per night before I went to sleep–but I couldn’t do it! Instead, it was “Just one more, just one more.” I couldn’t stop! You’re gonna love her interview and her book!

And don’t forget to leave a comment for Verna and you’ll be in the drawing for a free book!

So, let’s get started! Welcome to The Christian Writer’s Den, Verna. Even though I know much of your story, I don’t know how your writing began. When did you begin to write?

About forty-five journals ago! I love to record life in remembrance of what God has done. Scripture tells us to write it down on stones of remembrance so those that follow will know the goodness of God. My first intention was to compile the stories for my children and grandchildren as a legacy of faith because I feel it’s important to hand down to the next generation the reason we believe, to encourage them in their own journey.

However, for the past twenty-six years (really!) I’ve been attending the Greater Philadelphia Christian Writers Conference. The director, Marlene Bagnull has been instrumental in developing and encouraging my writing. I’ve written for many publications and devotionals throughout the years, but finally came to the realization that I needed to write it in a book, not a journal.

I love Marlene Bagnull! As the first person to help me see that writing was my calling from God, she has been a powerful influence in my writing life as well. So what finally inspired you to write Crumbs Along the Broken Path?

Many years in Women’s Ministry brought me close to the heart of a number of wounded women experiencing some of the things I had. I wanted to encourage those who needed hope in seemingly hopeless situations. I created a blog, Encouraging Women One Story at a Time and the book came about soon after.

The book traces a personal path of rebellion, repentance, and restoration. In the middle of the road somewhere I began to take inventory of my life and saw that the good and especially the not-so-good were the very things God used to bring me to a deeper place with Him. I wanted to share it with others.

God’s most powerful blessing can be the brokenness we experience because of where it leads – to wholeness. It reminds us that we’re not the main character of our story.

“We’re not the main character of our story.” So true! What can you tell us about the book – what are some of the stories about?

This is a collection of short stories that tells of a faith struggle in the midst of a life interrupted by countless crises. It’s the difficult and the dark things that touch all of our lives in some way, although not usually condensed into one lifetime, as it has been for me. I once had someone tell me my life sounded like fiction. The stories are as real as God’s intervention in each one.

A few stories are special to me. . . . certainly the one about our youngest son’s unending journey with Crumbs Along Broken Path Verna Coverkidney failure, Journey of a Lifetime.

Also, If I Should Wake Before I Die, the story of when my husband suffered multiple strokes and cardiac arrest developing into a coma. He was pronounced brain dead and we were asked to remove the life support. After much prayer that helped me in a difficult decision, I told them I knew what God could do in seven days, and I would wait. The seventh morning he woke up! This also has seemed like an unending journey, but today he is a master woodcarver to fill in his forced-to-retire hours!

Another story has to do with our Bible study that helped us build another home similar to the near-by Amish barn raising, when we lost ours due to extreme medical bills. You won’t believe who God supplied in that labor crew!

What do you hope the reader will take away after reading your book?

Hope. Deep hope. We all face challenges but the hard things that touch our lives that seem unending, don’t have to last forever. We can see beyond the circumstances that shout in our faces when we learn to listen for the merciful whisper of a sovereign Father.

My book is simply journaled pieces of life. I end each one with a question in the hope the reader will discover a piece of his or her own story, because . . .

Everybody has a story!

You’re absolutely right, Verna! And it’s often through our stories that we’re able to connect with those who need to connect with Jesus. Thank you for your willingness to share the good and the bad with us, and pointing to the Savior who can heal it all.

BIO: Verna has over twenty-five years in ministry leadership inspiring women to a deeper relationship with God. Her passion is encouraging women through writing and speaking messages of hope. Her experience in leading Bible studies, teaching, mentoring, and coordinating retreats have provided opportunities to share God’s Word with women of all ages. Verna’s book, Crumbs Along the Broken Path, walks readers through her rebellion, redemption, and restoration by following scattered crumbs on her path that led to a deep relationship with the Lord.  Her stories can bring each one of us to a deeper understanding of how God uses tragic circumstances in our lives. Verna is a graduate of Christian Communicators Conference and a long time participant of the Greater Philadelphia and Colorado Christian Writers Conferences. She posts a weekly blog on her website Encouraging Women One Story at a Time. Her articles and personal experience stories have been featured in various periodicals and devotionals. She and her husband Jeff have four adult children and five grandchildren – all wonderful. In her free time she works as a medical secretary. Be sure to visit her website at www.vernabowman.com

So that’s it for today, friends. Be sure to leave a comment for Verna and you could win a free book! Don’t forget to check back next week to see if you’re the winner. :-)

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


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Left Behind: When You Can’t Attend a Writer’s Conference, Call-Out for Kudos & MoGo7000, & Who Won Patty Mason’s Book?

BRMCWC 2014 logoA couple of weeks ago I missed the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference for the first time in a gazillion years. And man, did I miss it! The classes, the friends, the one-on-ones, the late nights, the opportunity to help other writers and speakers, the chocolate macaroons–I missed it all!

And then there were the pictures. Every time I opened Facebook, there they were! My news feed was a moment-by-moment timeline of BRMCWC life. Everybody in the world was there, and they were having fun. Everyone, that is, except me.

Yea, I was feeling kinda left behind.

So when Lori Hatcher’s article plopped into my Inbox, I have to admit, I was comforted. Hurray! I wasn’t the ONLY writer who wasn’t at Ridgecrest learning and laughing with writer-friends! (Guess you could say I’m proof positive that misery really does love company.)

But as I read Lori’s article, I realized that–unlike me–Lori had already moved past the whining stage and was hard at work putting her experience to good use.

If you didn’t get to go to Blue Ridge or another favorite conference, this post is for you. Let’s join Lori, quite whining, and just move forward!

Left Behind . . . When You Can’t Attend a Writer’s Conference

By Lori Hatcher

Common sense tells me I’m not the only one who was unable to attend the most recent writers’ conference. Social media, however, begged to differ. Every post I saw was from someone squealing with excitement. Agents were hoping to sign the next Karen Kingsbury. Instructors were thrilled to be presenting new and insightful workshops. Writers were eagerly anticipating productive times of learning and networking.

And I was sitting at home. Missing it all. Waaaaaaaaah!

Maybe you’re one of the other three people on the planet who wasn’t able to attend the conference. Perhaps you couldn’t afford it. Or couldn’t get time off from your day job. Or didn’t have someone to watch your kids or your aging parent. Whatever the reason, your inability to attend doesn’t have to hamstring your writing life.

I’d like to share six suggestions to help you move forward:

  1. If a friend attended the conference, invite her over for coffee and pick her brain. Ask her to bring her notes and debrief with you.
  2. If someone attended the conference from your local writers’ group, invite her to share what she learned at your next meeting. If several members went, ask them to share the three (or five) best things they learned.
  3. Subscribe to faculty blogs. Go to your favorite conference’s website and click on the Faculty link. Most professionals have very informative blogs. By subscribing to their feeds, you can get helpful instruction on all aspects of the publishing process. It’s free continuing education that lasts much longer than the writing conference itself. Some of my favorite writing blogs are Writer to Writer, The Write Conversation, MacGregor Literary blog, The Write Editing, and, of course, The Christian Writer’s Den.
  4. Set new goals. One of the most helpful aspects of a writers’ conference is coming away with a new list of writing tasks, ideas, and goals. While it’s easier to overcome inertia with a push from someone else, a prayerful look at where you are and where you’d like to be in the future can help you formulate goals on your own. First, brainstorm several small projects you can complete in a day or two (blog posts, an article, or a computer file cleanup). Be sure to set a larger one that might take a few weeks of steady progress (researching new publications and sending out query letters). Finally set a long-term goal (a book or editing project). Set deadlines for each and ask a writing friend to hold you accountable.
  5. Plan a private writers’ retreat. This is an annual tradition for me. Every year I invite two or three friends to join me for a weekend getaway at a kind friend’s mountain house. We pack the books we never have time to read, our current work in progress, and lots of food and chocolate. We sequester ourselves in different rooms to pray, plan, and write, then come together for meals, brainstorming, and critiquing. While we never accomplish everything we hope, it’s wonderful to have an uninterrupted chunk of time to work.
  6. Think long term. There are several wonderful conferences in my area each year, and it’s unrealistic to expect to attend every one. If I do my research, plan carefully, and save intentionally, I can usually attend at least one. If you really want to attend a conference next year, start planning now. If finances are a challenge, divide the cost by 12 months (or 52 weeks) and begin saving that amount. The total often seems overwhelming, but when you break it down, it’s usually doable. For example, if a conference costs $800, you’ll need to save about $16 per week. This is the equivalent of one lunch out or a few lattes. And the next time your husband, mother, or children ask you what you’d like for your birthday or Christmas, tell them you’re saving to attend a writer’s conference and invite them to contribute to your fund.

Writer’s conferences are wonderful. Every time I attend, I come away inspired, educated, and motivated. They’re a great way to move forward as a writer, but they’re not the only way. If you implement even one of the suggestions I’ve shared today, you’ll begin to move forward on your writing journey. May God bless your efforts.Lori Hatcher headshot

Bio: Lori Hatcher is the editor of South Carolina’s Reach Out, Columbia magazine, and the author of the devotional book Joy in the Journey – Encouragement for Homeschooling Moms. A Yankee transplant and a Christian Communicators Graduate, she uses her speaking and writing ministry to encourage and empower women. You’ll find her pondering the marvelous and the mundane on her blog, Hungry for God . . . Starving for Time.

Thank you, Lori! I feel better already!


Photo courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Photo courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

We Need To Hear About 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!


mogo7000 logoAnd Who Worked on Their MoGo7000 in May?

If you wrote at least 7000 new words on a book project in May, you can receive an entry in the drawing for the 2014 MoGo7000 $100 cash prize! It’s open to everyone who qualifies.

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

If you missed out on last year’s money-winning writing challenge, don’t worry, the 2014 challenge is ongoing! Here are the MoGo7000 Challenge rules. All you have to do is write at least 7000 NEW words on a book project in any month and you’ll receive an entry into the end-of-the-year drawing for $100.

Each month that you qualify with 7000 new words, your name goes in the “hat” for the drawing. Reach the goal one month and you’ll have one entry. Meet it 12 months and you’ll have 12 entries!

So what are you waiting for? Get started now and you could have $100 this time next year. And it doesn’t cost you a cent. :-)

Patty Mason Know That book cover~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

And Who Won Patty Mason’s Book?

The winner is…Clella! Congratulations, Clella! Now, simply contact me with your snail mail address and the book will be on its way!

And I know many of you are going to want your own copy, so here’s a direct link for Know That I AM God workbook on Amazon. But to get the complete study, including the workbook and Leader’s Guide combo, along with the 10-week video series (taken from the book of Ezekiel), be sure to check out Patty’s Bible Studies section on her website at http://www.libertyinchristministries.com/bible-studies.


Well, that’s it for this week. I hope to see you back on Friday for our Parting Words From The WORD…



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Parting Words From The WORD…I’m His Favorite, by Judith Robl

Laughing Jesus by Robert Wilson, Sr.

Laughing Jesus by Robert Wilson, Sr.

(Thank you to writer and speaker Judith Robl for responding to my call-out for guest bloggers. With all the recent writing conferences, I thought her devotion is perfect for today. Thank you, Judith!)

I’m His Favorite, by Judith Robl

Focus verses: Genesis 37:3-11

Joseph is a boy – a teenager really. Can’t you just imagine his youthful cockiness as he tells his dreams to his brothers?

And the fact that he is his father’s favorite just adds fuel to the fire.

At a writers’ conference several years ago, I sat at the supper table with a young woman who’d had a great day. She concluded her recitation of God’s blessings to her with “I’m His favorite.” As we all took turns sharing our triumph for the day, she’d interject to each “how wonderful! You’re God’s favorite.” It became a running by-word for the remainder of the conference. And it was a reminder to us that God cared about each of us in every detail.

In fact, we’re each God’s favorite. He loves us each as if we were His only child. But this does not give us reason to be cocky and self-assured.

Rather it should make us more sensitive to the feelings of others, more ready to encourage and support their efforts to know God better.

We can best reflect His love by speaking gently and humbly, by loving unconditionally, and by admonishing softly with God’s truth.

Father, God,
Wrap us in the security of Your love. Help us reflect it to all we meet who are starving for knowledge of You.
In Jesus most precious name,
AmenJudith Robl headshot

Bio: Judith Robl is the author of As Grandma Says (Harvest House) and founder of Reflected Light Ministries and speaks to women’s groups about prayer, forgiveness, and drawing closer to God. Trained as a secondary level English teacher, Judith has a heart for mentoring. She and her husband, Martin, have been married almost 50 years and enjoy time with their grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

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Interview & Book Give-Away with Bethany Jett

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

Let’s Start with Writing Opportunities

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

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

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

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

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

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

6.  Jack and Jill Children’s Magazine

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

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

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

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

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


With Al Gansky

With Al Gansky at Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writers Conference

Upcoming Conferences

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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


Who Won Cyn Rogalski’s Writer’s Blocks?

Photo courtesy of Cyn Rogalski

Photo courtesy of Cyn Rogalski

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

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

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


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

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

Write on!


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Writer’s Headlines: Writing Opps, Conferences, Announcements, & Who Won Jo Ann Fore’s Book?

newspapersYep, it’s that time again…Time to help you get published, find a conference and maybe even win Jo Ann’s book!


Here are this month’s writing opportunities, compiled just for you!

1.  Vista, Light for the World, and Book submission guidelines from the Wesleyan Church

2.  Jeanne Doyon is looking for Guest Bloggers. Deadline May 1. Click here for guidelines: WANTED Guest Bloggers from Jeanne Doyon

3.  Weekly Christian Flash Fiction Writing Contest by Pastor and writer Charles W. Short

4.  Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award is accepting submissions February 16 to March 2, 2014. $50,000 Grand Prize!

5.  Castle Gate Press, a new publisher, is looking for submissions with a Christian worldview

6.  Appleseeds Magazine for Kids (Cricket – parent company) is looking for submissions appropriate for kids 6-9

7.  Free Spirit Publishing accepts non-fiction book and resources on character building, self-esteem, service-building, civics education, and more for children and teens

8.  Dog Fancy Magazine writers guidelines. One of our Christian Writer’s Den friends just had an article published in this magazine!

9.  Dollar Stretcher Publications writers guidelines

10. Just 4 Kids Magazine writers guidelines

11. Writer’s Digest Magazine submission guidelines. This is the magazine I insulted Steven James and embarrassed myself about. (And Steven James still likes me, I think!)

12. The Writer Magazine submission guidelines. As far as I know, I haven’t insulted anyone with this magazine. :-)

Well, friends, that should keep you busy for a while. Be sure to let us know if you find success through the writing opps. I sure encourages me to keep working at finding them for you!


Upcoming Conferences Black and White ladies at BRMCWC2010

We know conferences are THE BEST way to get your training and possibly meet editors and agents, too! So here are the conferences I know about. Feel free to Contact Me with any you’d like for me to add!

1. Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators: February 21-23, New York

2.  Writers Advance Boot Camp: February 21-23, 2014, Asheville, NC

3.  Florida Christian Writers Conference: February 26-March 2, 2014, Leesburg, FL (I’m teaching there and would love to see you!)

4.  Mid-South Christian Writers Conference: March 8, 2014, Memphis, TN

5.  Carolina Christian Writers Conference: March 13-15, 2014, Spartanburg, SC

6.  Idahope Writers: March 14-15, 2014, Meridian, ID

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

17. Christian Communicators Conference: August 27-31, 2014, The Billy Graham Training Center at The Cove, Asheville, NC (Registration now open! Hope to see you there!)

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


christian-communicators-promo-cove-2014Registration is Now Open for The Christian Communicators Conference for Speakers

Ladies, if you feel called to speak, you don’t want to miss the Christian Communicators Conference at the Billy Graham Training Center at The Cove. Carolyn Knefely and I would love to see you there!

At a Christian Communicators Conference, less truly is more…

By limiting the conference to about 30 ladies, you receive more!

  • You won’t be surrounded by hundreds of women . . . but you’ll be embraced by thirty who will become lifelong friends
  • You won’t experience long lines for dinner . . . but you’ll have long conversations over dessert
  • You won’t need change for vending machines . . . but shared stories at afternoon tea can change your life

Come and learn in a small, intimate setting . . .
then go out and change a great big world

Check out the Christian Communicators Conference registration details here. But don’t delay, with only 30 spots, we fill up quickly!Print


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

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

If you know a teen interested in acting, directing, screenwriting, singing, songwriting, or anything else related to the media arts, please send them to the Gideon Intern Page for details and application. But they must hurry–Deadline for applications is April 1.


Jo Ann Fore book coverAnd Finally…Who Won Jo Ann Fore’s Book?

My goodness, I can tell you loved Jo Ann, her book, and her interview! That was one of the highest number of responses ever received. Thank you for your support and encouragement. And now, the winner is…drumroll please…

…Kimberly Ruedger-Wheatfill!

Congratulations, Kimberly! Just Contact Me with your snail mail address and Jo Ann will have your book right out to you!

And for those who didn’t win, here’s your direct Amazon link to Jo Ann’s amazing book, When A Woman Finds Her Voice: Overcoming Life’s Hurts & Using Your Story to Make a Difference.


Okay, friends, that does it for today’s post. Yes, I know it was longer than usual, but that’s because I had so much good stuff to share with you!

Happy writing!


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Writer’s Headlines: Writing Opportunities & Conferences

newspapersHere are writing opportunities collected just for you!

Yes, it’s time for our monthly list of writing opps. I hope you’ll read the following opps, study the guidelines and submit. And don’t forget to let us celebrate with you when you have good news!

1.  Melissa Williams has a call-out for women who found love and marriage after age 30. She says: I’m currently writing an inspirational book for single Christian women (aged 30+) who are hoping to be married. I’m looking for Christian women who did indeed find love and marriage after 30 and are willing to share their stories throughout the book. I’m incredibly honoured by all the women God is

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Writer’s Headlines: Writing and Speaking Conferences & MoGo7000

It’s the 4th Thursday and time to look at upcoming conferences!

If you’re serious about writing, speaking, filmmaking, or creative arts, you need to be serious about learning your craft. Conferences are a great place to learn, regardless of your experience. Be sure to check them all out and find the ones that best fit your needs.

1.  Blue Ridge Writing Retreat with Agent Sally Apokedak: October 24-27, 2013, Blue Ridge, GA.

2.  Mini Fiction Workshop: November 16, 2013, Anderson, SC (Contact Elva Martin for details: elvacmartin@gmail.com)

3.  Writing for the Soul: February 13-15, 2014, Colorado Springs, CO

4.  Writers Advance Boot Camp: February 21-23, 2014, Asheville, NC

5.  Florida Christian Writers Conference: February 26-March 2, 2014, Leesburg, FL (Hope to see you there!)

6.  Mid-South Christian Writers Conference: March 8, 2014, Memphis, TN

7.  Carolina Christian Writers Conference: March 13-15, 2014, Spartanburg, SC (Registration opens soon!)

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

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

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

11. Gideon Media Arts Conference & Film Festival: July 11-15, 2014, Orlando, FL

12. Christian Communicators Conference: Hold the date! August 27-31, 2014, The Billy Graham Training Center at The Cove, Asheville, NC



Only 8 more days to MoGo in October!

Have you been working on your MoGo7000 this month? If so, you have 8 more days to count toward this month’s total, so keep working!

Don’t know what in the world I’m talking about? Head on over to the MoGo7000 Challenge page and check it out. You could finish a book this year AND win $100 in cold, hard cash!

So what are you waiting for?

Write on!


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