Thankful Thursday Reminder

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Eve ~ Mother of All

eve_rgb_smallWho was Eve?

We have all heard of Eve, the very first woman who was created in God’s own image. She lived in a beautiful garden, the Garden of Eden, and she was married to the first man, Adam.

Remember her?

Of course you do.

But have you thought of the challenges she faced?

√ as a woman without friends

√ a mother who was never a child

√ a wife to the only man alive

√ a parent who had never seen a baby?

You will read about all these challenges and a whole lot more in

Eve – Mother of All.

Why read this book?

She lived a perfect life in an idyllic setting. Unfortunately, it didn’t last long.

Join Shirley Corder as she draws Eve out of the shadow of the garden and shows her as a real flesh-and-blood woman.

If you’ve ever felt overwhelmed by your situation, or faced seemingly impossible challenges, you will identify with this woman who had no mother, sister or female friend.

What format is it written in?

Written in creative non-fiction, the story stays close to the biblical narrative, but Shirley brings it alive in a way that will encourage you and give you some chuckles.

Reflections after each short chapter will enable you to walk in Eve’s bare feet as you apply the words you have just read to your own life.

How to read this book

There are two ways you can use this book. You can read it through as a story, pausing at the reflections as you go. Or you may choose to use it with friends or an established Bible Study group. You could assign several chapters to be read over the following week, possibly as daily readings. You could then get together once a week to share your own reflections and compare notes.

The Scripture readings are very short, sometimes only a section of a verse. There is often so much information packed into one verse of Scripture. On a few occasions, you may even have the same reading for consecutive chapters.

Feel free to read the passage surrounding the quoted verse, although these may not be relevant to the chapter you are reading. The reflections often offer further passages in order to give you background to the passage. I pray you will enjoy getting to know Eve as she steps out of the shadow of The Garden of Eden as a real flesh-and-blood woman.

Excerpt from Chapter 2:

God’s latest creation stretched, blinked her eyes and squinted at the sheet of blue hovering overhead. “That’s so beautiful!”

“What?” came a voice much deeper than hers. “You mean the sky? It’s always that color.”

The woman’s eyes focused on the face that now appeared above her. “Oh. What…? Who…?”

The figure rose to his feet and stretched out his hand. “Let me help you up. I’m Adam, the first man, created in God’s image.”

“Am I also Adam?”

“No. I’m going to call you Woman, because you were taken out of me. You are bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh.”

The woman examined the man closely then looked down at her own body. There were similarities, but there were also differences. “Are we both made in God’s image? Or only you?”

“We both are,” Adam assured her. “God said it wasn’t good for me to be alone, and then He made you. He took you out of my side.”

“Whose side did you come from?”

To see how Adam answers, read the book. Available only as an ebook at this stage.

Click on the link to own your own copy, and if you enjoy it, I’d love you to post a review.

 

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Holiday on Wheels

caravan rig

Over many years, our family enjoyed holidays using this means of transport and accommodation. I’m going to call it a “van” for now. We hitched the “van” to the back of our car, and off we would go—with our home on wheels.

Once we arrived at our chosen destination, we would dismantle the rig by unhitching the “van” and then put down the stabilisers (to prevent it rocking).

Next step would be to put up the tent. This took a couple of hours. It went on the side of the van which had the door, so that it became an extension of the living accommodation. The entire side of the tent could be rolled up, giving us outdoor comfort. At night, or if we left the site for a period, or of course in inclement weather, the side was rolled down and fastened securely.

On the other side of the van we would put up a canopy which served as a veranda, giving us extra shade and a parking spot for our car in the evening.  We loved our holiday home that we could take wherever we wanted.

It was well appointed, with a fridge, stove, cupboards with shelves and hanging space. It had its own melamine crockery and cutlery, pots and pans, a kettle that whistled when it boiled, and under-bunk storage.

It had two sets of settees that could switch to two double beds.

We chose to keep one end as a permanent double bed, and the other end as comfortable seating with a table to work on.

We had a small television set, and often brought along the VCR to play videos. In later years. we even carted along our computer (no, not a laptop!) and set that up inside the “van”. Then we would play the games we didn’t normally have time to play.

So now I need your help. I often refer to these times in my writing, and I can’t establish what other countries call this.What would you call it?

Please write your answer under “comment” – and don’t forget to give your country.

Please pass this request on to other contacts. Ask all your friends to give an opinion, so that I can get as many responses as possible. Thank you.

 

Verbal Pitch by Julie H. Ferguson

Verbal Pitch

Be ready for this one! If you’re not prepared, verbal pitches can be scary; if you are organized and thus confident going into one, you may just get your ms accepted. Most often encountered at conferences when you meet editors/agents in the bar or through an appointment, verbal pitches are also necessary when you phone a publisher to enquire about the name of their acquisition editor and get put through….

To avoid rambling, you need to develop, ahead of time, a zinger of an opening
sentence to describe your book – just one sentence. A radio producer I know put it best, “Surprise me!” Try completing these sentences: My book is about… or My book tells the story of…

Test them on your fellow writers; revise them and test again. Then you can add a couple more sentences to supplement the first.

Next, compose one or two sentences about why you are perfect to write this book that include your writing achievements and expertise on the subject of the book. Test them out too.

When you have the short paragraph to your satisfaction, learn it by heart and practise it – you never know when you’ll need it.

When delivering a verbal pitch, recite your paragraph and then shut up and wait. The editor/agent will then ask you questions they need you to answer.

Remember they are not interested in why you wrote the book or that you have a degree in an unrelated subject.

If you have a terrific idea and write reasonably well, the editor or agent will ask you to send along more material and you have succeeded at the first step. Good luck!

© Julie H. Ferguson 2006
All rights reserved
Used with permission: http://license.icopyright.net/creator/use.act?n=julie-h-ferguson-789

Begin with the Basics by Many Writers

If you have a tip on how to get started with writing, add a comment at the bottom of the page . . .

Study your craft. Randy Ingermanson Publisher, Advanced Fiction Writing E-zine
Read widely. You can’t be a good writer—or find your own voice—without reading a lot of other people’s work. Michael Hyatt – CEO of Thomas Nelson
“There are many excellent books on the craft of writing. Read them!”
Deborah Raney 
“Read in the genre you wish to write.”
Eileen Key 
“Buy books, loan from the library and subscribe to a writer’s magazine and read, read and read some more.”
Beth Wehman
“Find out about everything in the books and then take those and ask, ask and ask questions from every writer you can possibly find.”
Beth Wehman 
“Obtain a copy of Sally Stuart’s Christian Writers’ Market Guide. “Send manuscripts and queries based on the TIPS section.”
Louise Bergmann DuMont
“Write to Market i.e. find your market before you write your article or story and tailor your piece to their audience.”
Louise Bergmann DuMont
“Learn the market.”
Mary Connealy
“Subscribe to writing magazines and read books about the craft of writing.”
Yvonne Ortega
“Ask around for an Accountability Partner, and set goals together.”
Shirley M. Corder
“Pray over your writing before you sit down to write.”
Rhonda Gibson
“Listen to God, then write your heart.”
Lena Nelson Dooley
“Set measurable writing goals and take steps to meet them.”
Marie DisBrow
“Read good writers. Study what makes them good, then practice and develop your own best writing so others will seek to emulate you. ”
Jan Kern
“Get comfortable–a place you enjoy is a place you will return to frequently.”
Linda Rondeau 

Prepare to Pitch

Marion and I are on a learning curve.

Come with us as we learn how to prepare our pitch for the conference.

If you’re not attending a conference in the foreseeable future, why would you want to know?

I’m glad you asked. Read on.

First you need to know:

What is a pitch?

A pitch is a brief but pithy description of your article or book
It’s the sampler that makes your listener (or reader) want to know more
It can be the basis for a query letter
The words can be used to kickoff a proposal
Your pitch is ideal material for advertisement on your website
It’s a good marketing tool – on your website or a publisher’s brochure
The pitch can be used as the blurb on the back cover of your book
And when Aunt Jemima gushes, “So what do you write?” you can trot out your pitch

Which leads us to:

Who needs to prepare a pitch?

A writer attending a writers’ conference
A novelist who wants to find a publisher or agent
Non-fiction witers who have a book drafted and want to get it published
Any writer who has written any type of article for a magazine or newspaper
In short, if you are a writer – you!

Why is a pitch necessary? I can describe my work fine on my own.

Editors, publisher and agents are busy people. They don’t have time to listen to your rambling explanation of why your book is set to take over from Harry Potter.

They won’t read your book. Come to that, they won’t read your article – unless you first convince them it’s worth their valuable time.

You need the discipline of writing your pitch. “Describe your work in one sentence.” That sounds easy enough right? Okay, try it.

I rest my case. If you can’t describe your work in a sentence, you won’t sell it.

When might you need your pitch?

At a conference chatting in the passage, over a meal, in the elevator
If you’re about to write a query or cover letter to a magazine or publisher
If you plan to write a book or novel.
When you’re asked The Question. Remember Aunt Jemima? She has lots of relatives.

Tell someone you’re writing and their first question?
“What are you writing?” and the second (or sometimes this comes first)
“Where can I buy your books?”

Randy Ingermanson, pioneer of the now-famous Snowflake method of writing a novel, suggests you start writing by spending one hour (an hour, mark you) writing a one-sentence summary of your novel.

He gives as an example “A rogue physicist travels back in time to kill the apostle Paul.” That’s the one sentence pitch for his novel, Transgression. (And if you haven’t read it, you should.)
So are you convinced? Let’s move on:

How do I prepare a pitch?

Actually, you do two.

The so-called “elevator pitch”. The principal here is you should be able to answer The Question as the lift (elevator) travels between two floors. So you have about 15 seconds, or 25 words, to convince your listener that they want, make that need, to know more.
A “back-page blurb”. This should be between 50-100 words, and might take a full – gasp! – minute to tell.

That sounds easy enough, right? Well wait. There’s more.

What should your elevator pitch tell your listener or reader? Three things that have to be included are:

Title
Genre
Target reader

Sample: Rise and Soar is a 90-day devotional book for those living in the shadow of cancer.
(This is for a book I hope to pitch at the upcoming conference) [Title, genre and target reader]

What should your back page blurb (50-100 words) cover?

Title
A hook or bait that intrigues
The genre. Even if your listener doesn’t know the meaning of the word, they want to know if this is a spine-chiller or a book of meditations.
Target audience. Women in their mid-fifties? Teenagers? People in crisis? Be specific.
Writer: Why are you the best person to write this piece?
Non-fiction – Why is this book/article needed?
Fiction – Why will people want to read this book?
Any other important factor (Does it cover a significant time in history? Is there an underlying message?)

And you should be able to tell this in one or two minutes.

Sample: Rise and Soar above the Cancer Valley is a 90-day devotional book for those living in the shadow of cancer. [Title, bait, genre, target]

As an RN, Shirley Corder studied this disease and nursed its victims. In her role as pastor’s wife, she came alongside patients and their families in their homes. When she received her own diagnosis, she faced spiritual ramifications she didn’t know existed. [Writer’s qualifications for this project]
Despite the prediction that by 2010 cancer will be the leading cause of death, there are few devotional books dedicated to this disease. [Reason why this book is needed]

Arranged under five categories from ‘Diagnosis’ to ‘Recovery’, each meditation includes a Scripture passage, a personal anecdote and three probing questions. [Other factor – layout of the book]

One last thing: When the editor, publisher, or Aunt Jemima pops out with The Question, you can’t whip out your answer and read it to them. No, no, no!

You need to

Write and fine tune them both until you are happy they cover everything that’s required
Learn them and get comfortable with their message
Practice. Tell your spouse, your writing colleagues, your reflection in the mirror, your dog, your teddy . . . you get the picture.
Work on them until, when you see Aunty J coming down the corridoor you can give her a bright smile and say, “Let me tell you what I’m working on.”

So, Marion, when you come here next month on business, come prepared! We need to practice.

Read what author and professional speaker, Julie H. Ferguson has to say about sharing your verbal pitch.

Why a Writers’ Conference? And Which One? by Marcia Yudkin

Why a Writers’ Conference? And Which One?

by Marcia Yudkin

Most of the successful freelance writers I know are not social animals, and don’t readily splurge on frivolous expenses. So skepticism reigns when it comes to laying out a hundred bucks and up for a day or more of listening, learning and schmoozing. Can a writers’ conference really pay off more than the same time spent reading or Web surfing? If so, how? And which conferences are worth the investment?

Having taught at several dozen writers conferences in the last 15 years and having attended a few as a participant, I have some thoughts to offer on why it’s worth venturing out of your home office once in a while for a conference. Since conferences differ greatly in content and form, I’ll also suggest ways to zero in on the programs designed to fulfill a certain purpose.

Publishing updates. Conferences that feature panels of editors usually inform you about trends in publishing. How has amazon.com changed the landscape of opportunities for book writers? Does the healthy economy continue to bode well for magazine writers? Expect editors and agents to sound off on these sorts of issues this year from the platform. Panel discussions tend to bring out more current and more candid perspectives than you find in print.

Specialty focus. Conferences that concentrate on only one area of publishing, such as writing about nature, cats, computers, golf or food, tend to be pitched toward more experienced writers. Specialized writers’ associations, of which there are several dozen, usually sponsor these. Florida freelancer R.G. Schmidt attends as many of the conferences of the Florida Outdoor Writers Association, the Southeastern Outdoor Press Association and the Outdoor Writers Association of America, for instance, as he can.

“The contacts are invaluable,” says Schmidt – contacts with manufacturers’ representatives, state Fish & Game people, editors and other outdoor writers. And the content is equally worthwhile, he finds. “I never went to one where I didn’t learn something. Once Tim Tucker, a prolific outdoor writer, gave a workshop with tips like having your subjects wear brightly colored shirts (because editors like color) and ways to get unusual shots. I’d guess that the accumulation of such knowledge from workshops has doubled my sales.”

Wayne Lutz attends the Christian Writer’s Conference near his home in Glenside, Pennsylvania every year for similar reasons. “The editors of most of the big Christian publications are there, as well as authors of Christian-oriented books. The editors get so specific in what they are looking for that they practically tattoo it on the participants’ foreheads.”

Some conferences appeal primarily to employed writers rather than freelancers, and these provide fascinating glimpses into how the other half lives and works. For example, the National Writers’ Workshop, where I’ve twice presented, sponsored by the Hartford Courant and the Poynter Institute for newspaper reporters, includes sessions on editorial writing, small-town reporting, article structure and literary journalism – topics rarely covered at conferences for freelance writers.

Meeting editors. As the writers I’ve already quoted attest, getting face to face with editors can provide a career boost. Anita Bartholomew took careful notes at an American Society of Journalists and Authors session five years ago or so when Gary Sledge, a senior editor at Reader’s Digest, spoke. A few months later, Bartholomew realized that a story she’d been pursuing for a women’s magazine wasn’t going to work for them but was perfect for Reader’s Digest. Not only did Sledge accept her first draft, she’s been writing for Reader’s Digest ever since. Naturally she now says the ASJA conference was “worth ten – no, twenty times the price of admission.”

Since sessions where editors speak tend to be jammed with writers, some freelancers express disappointment with one-day conferences where the front table gets mobbed after a panel discussion. Los Angeles health and parenting writer Kathy Sena didn’t let that discourage her when she introduced herself at an ASJA conference to editors like Janice Mall, then editing first-person pieces for the L.A. Times Life & Style section. Afterwards, Sena sent a story to her, mentioning in her cover letter that they had met at the conference. Mall passed it along to her colleague at the paper’s health section, who bought it.

“I find the feeding frenzy around the panel table a bit crazy-making,” Sena admits. “As a panelist since then, I have been put off by pushy people who want to hand me tons of pages. But meeting someone briefly, thanking them for their presentation and telling them you’ll be in touch never hurts and it offends no one. And sometimes it pays off!”

One conference tailor-made for magazine writers who don’t want to have to elbow their way to editors’ attention after panels is the Writers and Editors One on One Conference every spring in Chicago. Open only to writers who can demonstrate their magazine experience through clips, this conference matches up writers with editors at magazines that pay $1 per word and up and have writer-friendly contracts. Not only do attendees sign up for dinner with an editor in groups of eight, writers get at least three 10-minute appointments each with editors they have selected from that year’s lineup.

At her first One on One conference, Mountain View, California writer Marie Faust Evitt benefitted greatly from even such a short time face to face with editors for Cooking Light and Westways. “At the meeting with the Cooking Light editor, the first idea I proposed he didn’t think would work. He suggested a related topic, I riffed off that, and he liked that new idea.” Similarly, the Westways editor wasn’t interested in the topics Evitt had brought with her, but mentioned an upcoming family sports issue that Evitt sent in a proposal on. Both meetings led directly to assignments and sales.

Finding an agent. When you’re ready to move on to book writing, conferences can help you hook up with a congenial literary agent. Some program rosters include not only agent panels or presentations but 10 or 15-minute private pitch sessions similar to One on One’s. One West Coast writer I know described the topic of the self-help book she was working on to immediate enthusiasm from the agent: “When can you get me the proposal? I know I can sell it.”

Re-education in a new genre. Interested in expanding your writing repertoire to fiction, poetry or screenwriting? A writers’ conference can provide a concentrated dose of education and reality orientation. Particularly in July and August, some programs provide classroom-like teaching, with manuscripts submitted in advance and intensive instruction lasting one week or two.

Getting charged up. Perhaps the major benefit for you would be a jolt of inspiration or an infusion of perspective on your writerly labors. At the conferences I’ve attended, I’ve almost always found something thought-provoking in the keynote speeches by best-selling authors. That might be a startling anecdote, like Sue Grafton saying that learning to write well takes no less time than medical training, or insight into the power relations between writers and publishers – something to be expected at any conference sponsored by the National Writers Union.

Self-development. Just a few conferences focus on developing the inner writer as well as your marketing savvy and writing skills. Chief among these is the annual week-long June conference of the International Women’s Writing Guild at Skidmore College in upstate New York. Participants can choose workshops in energy healing, journaling your way back to childhood or coming to terms with money as well as nuts and bolts instruction in fiction, memoir writing, creative nonfiction and journalism.

Relaxing away from home. Sometimes you just hanker to park yourself under some palm trees or away in the mountains and call it an educational trip. Choose a writers’ conference in Maui, Montana, Florida, Vermont or even Ireland and you can probably deduct the travel, lodging, food and program fees from your income taxes. In that case, make location your primary selection criterion and consider any of the other benefits I’ve mentioned as bonuses.

RESOURCES ON WRITERS’ CONFERENCES
On the Internet, you may not need to search further than http://www.shawguides.com, which profiles more than 400 writers conferences in the U.S., Canada and a few foreign countries.

Additionally, you can find out about writers’ conferences in your area by watching calendar listings in the newspaper and getting onto the mailing lists of writers’ organizations. Specialized writers’ organizations are listed in Literary Marketplace and in Writer’s Market.

Request conference brochures, match the programs against your primary and secondary goals for attending, and you should find your time and money well spent.

Copyright 1999, 2005 Marcia Yudkin. All rights reserved.

Veteran magazine and book writer Marcia Yudkin offers more than 25 free articles on succeeding in the art and business of writing at www.yudkin.com/publish.htm,

Copyright 1999, 2005 Marcia Yudkin. All rights reserved.

How Do I Pack for a Writer’s Conference? by Terry Whalin

Question:

As I pack for a conference, what do I need to make sure and take and what can I generally leave behind?

 

Answer:

Each year, I look forward to attending several conferences. It depends on the conference but sometimes I attend as an editor and other times I come as a regular participant. From years of experience, I’ve learned it’s not only what you pack that counts but the planning and preparation that goes into your packing.

One of our problems is the rush of our society. We know we need to attend a writer’s conference for our own encouragement and to form some new relationships with editors. We save our money and make a commitment to attend the conference, yet we fail to put this planning energy into our packing and preparation plans. Then we don’t get the maximum benefit from our attendance. Notice that I include myself in this category. I’m currently planning a trip to New York City in a few months to attend the American Society of Journalists and Authors annual conference. I’ve carefully gone through the schedule and planned which workshops I plan to attend (a good first step) but I have not taken the time to research specific editors and plan some pitches to them. I hope to make some time to follow my own seasoned advice.

 

Question: What is one thing you wish you’d brought along?

 

Answer:
My response to this question has changed over the years. Early on I needed a simple business card to bring to the conference. Ideally when you attend these conferences you bring a business card–then you exchange with the editor or another writer. If you don’t have a card, then there is nothing to exchange–and it’s harder to get those valuable business cards and contact information from the editor. Those cards with their simple contact information can be the beginnings of a terrific relationship. If I get a second after receiving the business card, I recommend jotting down something on the back that reminds me of that particular person–because I collect many cards at one conference.

As I attended various writers’ conferences, I wished I had brought along specific query letters or proposals for a particular editor. It takes time to write these queries and research publications but when I make this effort, it pays off in keen interest from the editor and a potential assignment or book project (additional writing but assigned writing).

As an editor attending conferences, I can tell when a writer has done their homework and knows some background of your publishing house. It makes you listen to their pitch with a greater intensity. If you can swing it (particularly possible in the magazine query area), it’s good to multiple query and pitch your idea to several different magazines and see which editor is really interested in it–and make sure you say on your query that it’s a simultaneous query.

See more detailed information about writing a basic magazine article at: http://www.right-writing.com/basics.html

 

 

Question: What is one thing you wish you hadn’t brought along?

 

Answer:

 

In this area, my answer is easy–books. Part of my trouble traveling is to select the book or books that I’m going to read on the way to and from the conference. Do I take a writing how-to book so I’m learning to be a better writer (I regularly read and purchase these books)? Or do I take a fun novel or do I take a nonfiction book that I want to read?

Often in the bookstore of a conference, I will purchase a book or two–and some times if the author is present, have him autograph the book. It’s my consistent problem no matter what sort of traveling that I’m doing? Because often when I read the back cover and first chapter of the book, it’s hard for me to tell the pace of the story. Maybe I’ll finish it quickly and then what? For example, last November I went to Nashville and read the entire The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown (over 400 pages) on the way there and back. The pages flew past in this book.

Your conference challenges of what to leave behind may be totally different than mine.

 

Another question that people ask about packing and a writer’s conferences is: Should I take my laptop or leave it at home?

 

Answer:

There is a lot to consider about taking or not taking a computer to a conference.

How much will you use it? Will you make the time to use it enough to make it worth the effort? Will you be able to dial out at the conference for example and get your email or will you use it to scratch down article ideas or what?

At times, I’ve found hauling my laptop to a conference as a complete waste of time. There hasn’t been any outside phone line to dial out and read my email or anything else that I receive online. Some times these conference centers are in remote locations and there are no telephones in the room. It’s an intentional part of the setting to get you away from the phone and television but it makes it difficult to keep up on anything online.

I’ve hauled a laptop around to different conferences mostly when I needed to connect to my office via email to keep up on a particular project. Several years ago at the Mount Hermon Christian Writer’s Conference, I was on a book deadline–so every spare moment I could find I was back in my room cranking out more pages for my book, Teach Yourself the Bible in 24 Hours. In this particular case, my book deadline took priority over my leisure time at the conference and made that particular conference less enjoyable to me.

You have to think carefully about how much you will use your laptop and if using it will take away from other things you could take advantage of or enjoy during the conference time. I find some of the most productive moments of a conference often occur while I am sitting around talking with people.

Whether you take your laptop to a writer’s conference or not is an individual choice. It is one of those choices with no clear cut right or wrong answer.

 

To learn more about the importance of attending a writer’s conference then follow this link:
http://www.right-writing.com/conference.html 
__________________________________________________

W. Terry Whalin understands both sides of the editorial desk–as an editor and a writer. He worked as an editor for Decision and In Other Words. His magazine articles have appeared in more than 50 publications including Writer’s Digest and Christianity Today. Terry has written more than 60 nonfiction books and one of his latest is Book Proposals That Sell, 21 Secrets To Speed Your Success (Write Now Publications). See more about Terry at:www.right-writing.com/whalin.html. For more than 12 years Terry has been an ECPA Gold Medallion judge in the fiction category. He has written extensively about Christian fiction and reviewed numerous fiction books in publications such as CBA Marketplace and BookPage. He is the former Fiction Acquisitions Editor for Howard Books and creator of www.right-writing.com. Sign up for Terry’s free newsletter, Right Writing News.

© 2008 W. Terry Whalin

Reprinted with permission