Monday, February 29, 2016

Carolina Christian Writers Conference

Edie here. We're ramping up into writing conference season. I've already attended two this year as part of the faculty—Asheville Christian Writers Conference and Florida Christian Writers Conference. I'll be part of another one in a couple of weeks, the Carolina Christian Writers Conference. Linda Gilden is the director and a good friend. Today I persuaded her to give us a preview of what to expect!

Carolina Christian Writers Conference

Sunday, February 28, 2016

My Platform, My Audience, My Influence

by LaTan Murphy @LaTanM

Someone once said, "He who writes to please himself, caters to a fool."  

What truth this bears.

Our words-whether written, or spoken, are not to be kept to ourselves for narcissistic tickling of our own ears. 

They are God-inspired, for the purpose of blessing others with the rich, powerful influence entrusted to us.

Saturday, February 27, 2016

A Writer Wanders...

by Edie Melson @EdieMelson

"A writer wanders. And a once-lost story finds a home." ~Robert Benson

This week, I've had the incredible experience of listening to author Robert Benson. He's been the keynote speaker at the Florida Christian Writers Conference where I'm also on faulty. This particular quote resonated with me, and I thought I wanted to share it with you. 

I also invite you to use this image any way you like online. Post it to your blog, share it on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, anywhere you'd like. All I ask is that you keep it intact, with my website watermark visible.

Don't forget to join the conversation!

Friday, February 26, 2016

Portly Prose – Does Your Writing Need a Diet?

by Lori Hatcher @LoriHatcher2

When you face a writing assignment with a word count of 250, do you clap or groan? For me, writing with a short word count is much more challenging than writing with a long one.

For several years the editor of a popular anthology invited me to submit 225-word devotions for her consideration. “Two hundred and twenty-five words?” I’d say. “I can’t even build a porch with fewer than 225 words, and you want me to build a whole house?” Crafting a devotion with a hook, scriptural insight, personal application, and conclusion in only a few hundred words seemed impossible.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Are My Stories Autobiographical?

by Henry McLaughlin @RiverBendSagas

I’ve been asked this question on several occasions. For many authors, their stories, especially their first ones, are indeed autobiographical.

So I pondered this question and compared myself to the hero of my first novel, Michael Archer. Michael used to drink, so we have that in common.

But Michael lied, cheated, stole, assaulted and may have killed in his past. Some of that applied to me but not all of it.

I could see parts of me in Michael and in the other characters in the book. And my life experiences influenced the story. So did my research.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

The Best Tool for Writers—Tenacity

By DiAnn Mills @DiAnnMills

Be tenacious!
How vested are you in your writing goals? 

Some writers view their work as a hobby. If it works and they sell, great. If the market rejects their writing, no problem. Nothing’s vested for them. They can always try something new.

Some writers are afraid to grasp onto their dreams. They are commonly referred to as closet-writers. If they fail, they haven’t lost anything. Or have they?

Other writers are doggedly determined to publish. Doesn’t matter how long it takes to learn the craft. Doesn’t matter how many rejections. Doesn’t matter how many rewrites. Doesn’t matter the intricate nuances of marketing and promotion. They are persistent. Just try to tell them they don’t have what it takes to succeed, and their tenacity raises another notch. Those are my kind of writers. Because I’m one of them.

I believe the cost of doing everything to reach writing goals far outweighs the cost of doing nothing. Failure is not an option.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Ten Tips to Create a Positive Social Media Buzz—To Be and Not To Be

Edie here. I'm really excited to introduce you to our newest contributor to The Write Conversation. Molly Jo is a social media ninja in the truest sense of the word. I'm thrilled to be able to offer you all even more info about the world of publishing and social media. Be sure to give Molly Jo a warm welcome in the comments section below!

Ten Tips on Creating a Positive Social Media Buzz—To Be and Not to Be

by Molly Jo Realy @RealMojo68

Welcome to Social Media MoJo. I’m your social media ninja, navigating you through the cyber-world with all its twists, turns and rabbit holes.

Saturday, February 20, 2016


by Edie Melson @EdieMelson

Share your thoughts in the comment section below. 

I also invite you to use this image any way you like online. Post it to your blog, share it on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, anywhere you'd like. All I ask is that you keep it intact, with my website watermark visible.

Don't forget to join the conversation!

Friday, February 19, 2016

Rest in Peace, Big Ang

by Traci Tyne Hilton @TraciTyneHilton

Angela Raiola, lovingly called “Big Ang,” passed away of stage four brain and lung cancer last night, and I was heartbroken.

I didn’t know her personally. I’ve never even been to Staten Island. I knew her the same way the rest of American did…from Mob Wives.

She was a soft spoken woman with the craggy voice of someone who happened to have a tumor the size of a lemon on her vocal cords. Old pictures running around the internet show she used to be a tall, thin woman with a pretty, delicately featured face. The TV showed her as a tall woman with a well developed bust and huge lips. They called her Big Ang, not because of her lips, her height, or her bosom. She earned the name because of her big heart.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

5 More Things I Learned in My First Days as a Literary Agent… (Part 2)

by Cyle Young @CyleYoung

Every day as a new literary agent, I have wonderful, exhilarating, and often very humorous interactions with people, editors, manuscripts, and prospective clients. 

These first few months at Hartline Literary Agency have provided me with an ever-growing wealth of insight that I hope will help aspiring authors on their journey to find publishing success.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

7 Golden Keys to Writing Bible Studies

by Katy Kauffman @KatyKauffman28

Warmth, insight, flare. I look for these qualities when I want to buy a Bible study for my quiet time. I want something that draws my heart close to God, lets me see a little of the author’s heart and mind, exposes the truths of God’s Word, and presents application with personality, vibrancy, and sparkle. How about you?

It’s only fair that we include in the Bible studies that we write the types of things we love to find in others’ studies. So how can we do that? 

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

When You Feel Forgotten

by Lucinda Secrest McDowell @LucindaSMcDowel

She was waiting by the sink in the ladies room as I began washing my hands.

“Excuse me,” she interrupted, “But the Lord has given me a prophetic word for you.”

I was in Colorado Springs for meetings with my literary agent and publishers. Honestly, the meetings weren’t going very well, and I had escaped our dinner table at the restaurant to have a moment alone. Maybe I never would write another book. Maybe I had nothing more to say…

Monday, February 15, 2016

One Important Social Media Connection Point You May Be Missing

by Edie Melson @EdieMelson

It’s important that in today’s digital age, writers don’t pass up marketing opportunities. 

Unfortunately, I see a lot of writers doing just that when they send out emails. 

Your email signature line is prime marketing real estate.

If you’re not certain what a signature line (sometimes called a sig line) is, it’s the line or lines including or directly below your signature. You can set up one that is automatically generated within your email program. Just go to settings, signature, and set it up.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

A Love Story

by Sarah Van Diest

I have dreams from time to time where I see myself in a mirror. I don’t ever look like I do in the awake world. This dream world version is more like what you would see in a zombie movie. I always find it difficult to recognize myself, but then I force myself to look into the mirror and accept the truth that I am the grotesque figure looking back at me. Those are my dreams. They are pretty awful. I had one last night. My face was severely lopsided, as if it was made of wax and half of it was melting off. Most of my hair was gone. I was about 100 pounds overweight and probably about 30 years older than I am now, but it was supposed to be me presently. I saw myself in the mirror, felt the horror, made myself swallow the truth, and tried to go on, but with the added weight of my shame. All I wanted to do was close my eyes and pretend it wasn’t true. 

And then I woke up. Reality is not what I dreamt, but the shame stayed with me. The feeling that I am a disfigured monster stays with me still. I bring it with me as I enter into conversation with people at church or at the store, and I wonder how they can stand to look at me. I wonder how they can keep themselves from vomiting on site. I want to ease their pain, so I try to make our encounters brief. I don’t make them suffer long. I know if they look long enough, they will recognize they are talking to a monster and be frightened away or be sickened at the sight. I know they will see the monster, and the monster is me. 

That is shame. That is a core belief about a self full of death and decay. I don’t intend to have these dreams. They happen because they reflect what is happening in my soul. They show me what I’m fighting against. And it is a fight. Even in the dreams it is a fight. When I see myself there in the mirror I don’t want it to be true, I feel the resistance to the image I see, but my dreams don’t supply me with a different mirror; no alternate image is available. All I know is what I see and though there is a fight, it is short-lived and soon I resign.

This is a sad story, I know, but I share it because I know I’m not alone. I know there are others who suffer the same way and some to even greater extremes. The Enemy knows the truth about our beauty, loveliness, worth and value, but doesn’t want us to know it. He sets up “mirrors” all over our world to distort the reality of who we are and in whose image we were made. Our souls wrestle with the warring ideas and we are tempted to follow the Enemy’s lead. It is easier to believe the lie than to accept the truth. I’m not sure why.

I look at dreams like these as red flag warnings and whispers from the Lord to fall into His arms and immerse myself in His truth and His Word, because “…our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.” The mind is a powerful thing and much of our fight goes on there. God knew our propensity to focus on the negative aspects of ourselves and life in general, so He told us to dwell on the things that are good and noble and worthy of praise (see Phil. 4:8), and not on the things of this world (see Rom. 12:2). He told us to look up to the hills to see our help coming (see Ps. 121).

Here, let’s dive in, immerse in His Word and look up to the hills for help. Psalm 139 says:
For You formed my inward parts;
You wove me in my mother’s womb.
14 I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Wonderful are Your works,
And my soul knows it very well.
15 My frame was not hidden from You,
When I was made in secret,
And skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth;
16 Your eyes have seen my unformed substance;
And in Your book were all written
The days that were ordained for me,
When as yet there was not one of them.
17 How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God!
How vast is the sum of them!
18 If I should count them, they would outnumber the sand.
When I awake, I am still with You.

And what of Luke 12: 6-7:
“Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? And not one of them is forgotten before God. Why, even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not; you are of more value than many sparrows.”

And Genesis 1:27:
“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.”

There are many more verses that tell us we are of great and immeasurable value to God (Eph. 2:10, I John 3:16, John 3:16, Ps. 8, Eph. 1:3-5, Matt. 10:31). Jesus’ death on the cross was a statement for all time proclaiming to all peoples that our Father loves us more than we can comprehend. The entire history of man is a love story, not a zombie movie. We get it wrong when we see ourselves as depraved, flesh-eating (or brain-eating) monsters despised by a holy God until we clean ourselves up. 

No. We sin, yes, but we are not sin. When we sin it grieves our Father, not because He despises us, not because we become these horrific monsters, but because He loves us and desires that we abide in His love, that we trust Him, that we believe Him when He says He loves us, that we live as His beloved…not like the living-dead. Yes, we die, but we are not death. 

We are loved. 

We are valuable.

We are worthy because we are made in His image.

He loves us because we are lovable.
So today, Valentine’s Day, a day of love and loving, let your mind and heart dwell on His love for you. Rest in His arms. He will never let you go. Oh, and remember you are a beautiful creature because He made you, and I will do the same. We are not in a zombie movie, we are in a love story.

We are loved. We are valuable. We are worthy because we are made in His Image. Sarah Van Diest (Click to Tweet)

Sarah has worked in Christian publishing since 2005 as both an editor and an agent.

Currently, she works with her husband, David, in their agency, the Van Diest Literary Agency. Writing is a growing passion for her as she hopes to bring hope to hurting hearts.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Failure and Success

by Beth Vogt @BethVogt

For too long I believed failure was only negative — something to be avoided at all costs.

Now I’m more accepting of failure. It may take me down for awhile, but it doesn’t defeat me or define me.

Don’t get me wrong: I like success just as much as anyone else. Bring it on! But I know  to achieve success, both personally and professionally, I have to take risks. I have to try new things, realizing that my efforts may or may not work. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve said, “Won’t know if it’ll work until we try it.” (Usually I’m discussing a book marketing idea.)

I’m getting more and more comfortable outside the safe zone. That’s where the fun happens—both failures and successes. That’s where new ideas are birthed and where I grow most as a person. Yes, sometimes an idea bombs. But that’s okay. A failed attempt doesn’t mean I’m a failure. It just means I get another chance to try something else—I get another chance to succeed!

In Your Words: How do you feel about failure and playing it safe? What’s been your most recent failure on the way to success?

Failure, the unexpected path to success - thoughts from @BethVogt on @EdieMelson (Click to Tweet)

A failed attempt doesn’t mean I’m a failure - wisdom from author @BethVogt (Click to Tweet)

Beth K. Vogt believes God’s best often waits behind the doors marked “Never.”

A nonfiction writer and editor who said she’d never write fiction, Beth is now a novelist with Howard Books. She enjoys writing inspirational contemporary romance because she believes there’s more to happily-ever-after than the fairy tales tell us. Connect with Beth on her website, Twitter, Facebook, or check out her blog on quotes, In Others’ Words.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Create Once, Sell Twice

by Vonda Skelton @VondaSkelton

Years ago I was listening to a National Speakers Association (NSA) training CD when Tom Searcy said something like, "Never create something once that you can't sell twice." 

Although it would most likely be considered wise counsel in the general market, I must admit that as a Christian writer and speaker, my first response was to cringe. 

Sell? And not only once, but twice? Does everything in the world have to go back to money? 

Thursday, February 11, 2016

6 Ways to Manage Writing Time & Encourage Creativity

by Lynette Eason @LynetteEason

At what point do you have to step back and say, “No, I’m sorry, I simply can’t add one more thing to my calendar?” 

Truth is, I’m still trying to figure that one out. Christmas 2015 came and went in a blur. Then the month of January somehow passed me by. And now February is doing the same! 

As a writer, I can very easily spend all of my time in front of the computer. During the school day, I typically have from about 8:00AM – 3:30PM (and sometimes longer if everyone is working or hanging out with friends) to write without interruption. Time that I’m not doing something for my children or husband, etc., can be gone in the blink of an eye by the time I look up from my laptop. And while it’s productive (MOST of the time) writing wise, it’s not always productive “healthy” wise.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

PSL, Publishing as a Second Language—What is Genre & How Do I Figure Out Mine?

by Linda Gilden @LindaGilden

When I started writing one of the strangest words to both my ear and tongue was the word genre. It is pronounced ʒɑn·rə or ˈʒɑ̃·rə but even knowing that, the pronunciation seemed awkward.

After using it for a few years, I began to get used to using this word. It became easier to say and the more I heard it the more common it seemed. But the mystery still remained as to what a genre really is.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Frozen in Place—Don't Let Negative Self Talk Freeze Your Writing

by Cindy Sproles @CindyDevoted

Fourteen inches of snow had fallen three days earlier. Rain pelted down the fourth day. Yet when I opened the door to head out, it was the most beautiful sight I’d ever seen. After the rain, the temperature dropped, and as the mountains are famous for their beautiful morning foggy mists—the fog had frozen. It was like you could lift your finger and break the air.

I gawked, took pictures and when I came home and sat down to write, I found myself in a frozen fog. It wasn’t writer’s block. My thoughts simply froze as solid as the mountain midst.

It’s crunch time on the novel and as I enter the last 15K words to completion, self-doubt punched at my gut.

It’s probably not good enough. You know folks will compare it to the best seller you had last time. What makes you think you can actually pull off two in a row?

Doubt strikes at the most inopportune times. Without warning we’re plunking away at our work when our fingers grow cold. The confidence we’ve exuberated over the last year, suddenly vanishes.

Monday, February 8, 2016

The TWO Most Important Things that will Take Your Social Media to the Next Level

by Edie Melson @EdieMelson

I teach social media all over the country. My students include writers, authors, ministries, even businesses. I’m asked over and over again for the secrets to my own success. Everyone is looking for that insider tip that can take social media to the next level.

Today I’m going to give you 2 of them.

But I’ve got to warn you, they’re not some difficult algorithm or complicated series of steps.

The simplicity of what I’m about to tell you will cause many to shake their heads and walk away. These tips seem too easy to work. Truthfully though, they are the secret to my own success.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Writers, Rewrite the Masters to Improve Your Writing

by Bruce Brady @BDBrady007

The other day I began reading a New York Times best-selling novel with a critical eye and noticed something I thought odd. It could have been written better.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying I’m better than that author. I’m certainly not. My point here is to make us all aware of a couple truths, and an idea.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

A Writer's Fear

by Lynn H Blackburn @LynnHBlackburn

A few weeks ago, I watched a live Adele concert. The lucky people who filled the venue were an enthusiastic audience. There were cheers, applause, and the occasional sing-a-long when she sang a favorite.

I’m a fan so I enjoyed it immensely, but I couldn’t help but be struck by her vulnerability. She stood on the stage and poured herself into each song, even though she wasn’t sure of the response she would get. At one point, she wiped tears from her eyes and told the crowd how nervous she was and how afraid she’d been that they wouldn’t like her new songs.

As I watched, I kept thinking, “She’s Adele for crying out loud! What does she have to be afraid of? How does she not know that people are going to love it?”

When it was over the cameras followed her off the stage, all the way to a waiting elevator where she threw herself into the arms of her boyfriend . . . and sobbed.

It’s an image I’ve been unable to shake.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Idea Starters for Writers: Calendar Days—February's Crazy Holidays & Special Occasions

by Edie Melson @EdieMelson

It’s time again for Calendar Days. These are just fun to read. They’re also a great way to jumpstart our creativity when looking for ideas for articles and blog posts. They’re also a fun writing prompt idea. 
In addition, calendar days are great conversation starters for social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, especially when two contrasting holidays fall on the same date. Here are some that tickled my funny bone this month:

Monday, February 1, 2016

Is Blogging Still Relevant for Writers & Authors

by Edie Melson @EdieMelson

Recently, I’ve fielded a flurry of questions asking if blogging is still worthwhile for writers and authors. 

If anything, I believe it’s more important. 

There have been so many changes on social media—with new algorithms, rules, and changes—it has never been more critical for us to have a stable place for our audience to always be able to find us.