New Blogging Contest – What’s In Your Pocket?

FaithWriters has s new blogging contest going on right now,  and winners can get paid writing assignments or a free one-year Gold membership. The current contest is for the Pocket Testament League, a 120+-year-old organization whose their main focus is leading people to a saving knowledge of Christ and equipping others to do the same.

To enter the contest, you need to write a 750-word-or-less promotional review of their site/ministry whose goal is to encourage readers to click on the links to PTL’s website. Your article must include at least four links to the PTL website tied into certain key words (contextual links). And it must be posted in at least three places – on the “What’s In Your Pocket” post in the FaithWriters forums, in FaithWriters’ regular articles section, and one other place. See this page for the general guidelines, tips, and instruction on entering these contests, and this page for more details on this particular contest.

The deadline for this contest is 6pm ET on June 30, 2014, with winners announced as soon as they are determined.

So, are you wondering about prizes? Well, here they are:

1st Place (Upgraded member): Two paid writing assignments from Pocket Testament League ($150 total) and publication on 100 Christian blogs.

2nd Place (Upgraded member) One paid writing assignment from Pocket Testament League (worth $75)

Best Silver member entry: free one-year FaithWriters Gold membership

So, check out their website for ideas (or see the winners of the last PTL blogging contest a couple years ago) and get writing!

Are You Entering? What’s in Your Pocket?


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Filling the Well

Filling the Well

by Dorothy Love

Are you weary?  Out of ideas that excite you? Tired of wrestling that manuscript into shape while trying to follow the “rules” of writing a novel?  Worried that your new book is too tired, too trite, too…something? Me, too. Next week, I have a couple of projects due to my publishers. I’m digging deep to find the creative, emotional, and physical stamina  I need to meet my deadlines.  I know I’m not alone. All working writers regularly reach a point at which it seems impossible to finish the novel, write the blog post, make the book signing.

We need to refill the well. One thing that helps me is to read the words of others whose work is way better than mine. Some are funny,  some are profound, all of them encourage me and renew my love for this maddening, impossible and completely exhilarating work we call writing. Here are a few randomly selected quotes that helped me this week. I hope they will renew your spirits, too, or at least make you laugh,  regardless of where you are on your writing  journey.

“Whatever our theme in writing, it is old and tired. Whatever our place, it has been visited by the stranger; it will never be new again. It is only the vision that can be new, but that is enough.”   Eudora Welty

“If there  is a book you really want to read but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.”  Toni Morrison

“When the plot flags, bring in a man with a gun.”  Raymond Chandler

“The writer is the one who, embarking upon a task, does not know what to do.”  Donald Barthelme

“Most writers enjoy two periods of happiness–when a glorious idea comes to mind and, secondly when a last page has been written and you haven’t had time to know how much better it ought to be.”   Joseph Priestly

And, finally, this from EB White, author of Charlotte’s Web:  “I have no warm up exercises, other than to take an occasional drink.”

What’s your favorite quote?


Dorothy LoveBefore moving to the inspirational market with her Hickory Ridge series of historical romances for adult readers, Dorothy Love published more than a dozen novels for preteens and young adults at major New York houses including Random House and Simon and Schuster. Beyond All Measure, her first Hickory Ridge title from Thomas Nelson debuted in June, 2011 to starred reviews from Library Journal and Romantic Times.  The second book, Beauty For Ashes, released  in early 2012. The third and final book, Every Perfect Gift, released at the end of 2012. CAROLINA GOLD, Dorothy’s next novel, a stand alone historical, was published in November of 2013. Dorothy shares a home in the Texas hill country with her husband and two golden retrievers. She loves chatting with readers through her website: or her author page on Facebook:

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Summer is Coming

In MY hemisphere, anyway. And for a lot of people (though by no means ALL people), it means a different schedule and/or routine. The kids are home more. Vacations are more likely. Things are…well…different. And the amount of time you have for your pursuits – including writing – often changes.

For some, summer means more time to write, and for others, less. Regardless, it isn’t wise to let an entire season go by without putting pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) to exercise the writing muscles and gift God has given you.

And in case you didn’t know, FaithWriters does NOT go away for the summer – there are still plenty of opportunities to hone your craft, write to a topic, and all the other things you love about the site. So, check out the list of opportunities below and pick one or two to work on this summer.

FaithWriters’ second testimony book: if your testimony wasn’t published in FW’s first testimony book, upgraded members can submit one to this contest, whose deadline is August 15, 2014. Check out the link (and scroll down) for more details. Fifty testimonies will be chosen and included in this book, with authors participating in royalties.

2014 Non-Fiction Page Turner Contest: Platinum members can enter FaithWriters’ first chapter contest, with the possibility of winning $800 in cash and more in prizes. Submit the first chapter of your unpublished non-fiction manuscript, plus an overview of the book, and you could be the winner! Deadline for this contest is October 31, 2014. Check out this link for more details.

Xulon Christian Fiction Contest: Platinum members can submit the beginning and synopsis of an unpublished fiction manuscript to this contest, with the winner receiving a Xulon Press Bestseller Package for their manuscript, and free premium publicity and marketing for their finished novel on the FaithWriters’ site. Read more information here - the deadline for this contest is November 30, 2014.

And don’t forget FaithWriters’ continuing opportunities in the FaithWriters Writing Challenge, Free Reprints, and General Submissions.

What are YOUR writing plans for the summer?

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Keeping Your Writing Active

Keeping Your Writing Active

By Gail Gaymer Martin

Suspense, mysteries, and westerns aren’t the only genres that need action. Keeping your story filled with action-packed verbs helps the plot to move and helps create a page-turner. Passive voice is only one kind of inactive writing. Selecting inexplicit verbs and deadwood sentence structure also stops authors form creating a moving, active story.

Passive Voice
The English class definition of passive voice is exchanging the positions of the subject and the object in a sentence. In active voice, the subject is doer; it acts on something. Example: The child picked up his toy.  In passive voice, the subject receives the action. Ex: The toy was pickedup by the child. Or  ”The note was signed by him” rather than “He signed the note.” In most cases, the subject should carry the action, but on occasion when who did it isn’t as important as what was done, then use the passive. ”Twenty size children were injured in a school bus accident.”

Notice the word “was” in the first example. The “to be” verbs, such as: is, was, are, were, be, been, are usually connected with passive voice. Still, writers should not totally exclude these verbs in their writing. The “to be” verbs are often needed in predicate nominative and predicate adjective sentences, like, “She was beautiful” or “He was quiet. They were soldiers.” Though the author is smarter to show her beauty (Her beauty touched him) and show his quietness His silence disturbed her). When those ideas are not the focus of the sentence but only a lead in to something more important, then use the passive voice. Still an author should avoid passive voice when possible.

Continue Reading…

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FaithWriters’ Writing Challenge – our evolving language

So, have you entered the FaithWriters Writing Challenge yet this quarter? I can happily say that I did – after an almost two-year break. This quarter’s topics are especially fun, as they are new words and phrases that are in the Oxford English Dictionary. From “googled” to “digital detox” to this week’s topic “omnishambles,” the subjects are proof that our language does NOT stay the same year after year. We’re halfway through the topics right now – so even if the current one doesn’t strike you, keep your eyes open – five more words are on deck!

Want to enter? Ponder the topic (google it if necessary - here’s a link to the definition of this week’s topic), and write a piece between 150 and 750 words about it and submit your entry no later that 10:59 AM ET on Thursday, May 8. Gold and Platinum members can enter each week, while silver members can try out the challenge a total of four times total. You can also find a buddy group to look your entry over before you enter, and chat about the topic if you’d like on the FaithWriters forums. See more details on the rules/guidelines at the Challenge main page.

Once the topic closes, be sure to read and comment on others’ entries – there will certainly be gems for you. And watch the brick throwing thread on the boards for the all clear – this is a GREAT place to post the direct link to your entry once judging is completed (please do NOT share your entry publicly before you hear that judging is done to protect the integrity of the process). Then watch the FOLLOWING Thursday for the challenge winners.

As a regular challengeer for many years, I think my jump back in will likely mean I won’t be taking quite as long a break until my next entry. Join me?

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Six Ways to Back Up Your Writing Files

Six Ways to Back Up Your Writing Files

By Lynda Lee Schab

For writers, losing work is equivalent to losing a child. Well, not really, but you get the picture. Backing up files is essential. The way you choose to protect your work depends on what type of writing you do, and your particular lifestyle.

Here are 6 options to choose from:

1. EXTERNAL HARD DRIVE - Hooks up to your computer via USB port.

PROS – It’s portable, safe, holds huge amounts of data, is upgradable if you need more storage, and keeps your computer from getting clogged with downloads and large files.

CONS – You have to actually remember to do it; it’s a little bulky to transport; it’s pricey – it will cost you anywhere from $50 – $100+ for a decent one.

2. THUMB/FLASH DRIVE- Tiny device, hooks up to your computer via USB port.

PROS -It’s cheap, sturdy, and small enough to throw in your purse or attach to your keychain.

CONS- Not as much storage as an external hard drive, and easy to misplace. And again, you have to remember to manually transfer your data.

3. DROPBOX - Dropbox is a simple online virtual storage utility that allows you to make your files accessible from almost anywhere.

PROS – Everything is online, so no need to carry around a flash drive; Can share content with anyone you’d like.

CONS – Are some concerns about security; 2GB free, but costs extra for more storage; support only online.

4. MOZYDownloadable backup software that automatically saves all data twice per day to an online storage site.

PROS – Reliable security; affordable — 50 GB for $5.99 per month; Does not constantly run in background, but runs only during the file transfers; Flexible automatic schedule, so nothing to remember.

CONS – No file sharing; Can take up to 3 days for initial backup, No phone support

5. CARBONITE- Similar to Mozy, Carbonite is downloadable online backup software.

PROS – Unlimited storage; intuitive backup process; apt for beginners and inexperienced users; Phone support;.File searching offered; 15-day free trial.

CONS – Offers only annual plans (starting at $59.99), no monthly options available; Must purchase a new plan for each computer; Must manually select files to transfer.

6. EMAIL - Email yourself a copy of your manuscript every time you add to it.

PROS: Easy; Free; Can access from anywhere

CONS: Have to remember to actually do it; If email address is compromised, you may lose your most recent copy.

The most important thing, of course, isn’t which option you choose, but that you do it. How do you back up your work?

lyndaschabLYNDA LEE SCHAB got her writing start in greeting cards and has many articles and stories published in magazines and online publications. She works behind the scenes at, is a regular book reviewer for, but Lynda’s passion has always been fiction. Her novels, MIND OVER MADI and MADILY IN LOVE, are available in print and on Kindle. Lynda lives in Michigan with her two children. Learn more about Lynda on her website,


Congrats to Latest Blog Contest Winners!

FaithWriters’ latest blogging contest, focused on The Set Apart Church, a new online non-denominational church without walls, is finished – and winners have been announced. Winners will receive recognition, the knowledge of blessing and ministering to those who might need a church like this, AND prizes.

And without further ado – congratulations to our winners – check out their entries in the FaithWriters forums!

First Place: Tear Down the Walls of the Church by Wayne Cook (wins two paid writing assignments from The Set Apart Church valued at $150)

Second Place: Something Larger Than Myself by Kathleen A. Trissel (wins one paid writing assignment from The Set Apart Church valued at $75)

Best Silver Entry: It’s Never too Late by Graham Keet (wins a free one-year gold membership to FaithWriters)

Congratulations to the winners! Watch the forums for the next blog contest.


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Share Your Testimony

TrialsandTriumphscover2-21-14_opt (2)Have you had a chance to read Trials and Triumphs, FaithWriters’ first book of testimonies? Forty different FaithWriters members share their stories of salvation or God’s provision through trials. These testimonies will inspire and encourage you – and could help bring a lost brother or sister to faith – and, for a limited time, the book is free in the FaithWriters bookstore in exchange for a review. If you don’t have it already, head on over and get it for yourself! You WILL be blessed.

Reading these testimonies may just inspire you to write up your own – and if so,  we have a possible outlet for it. Did you know that FaithWriters (in collaboration with Xulon Press) is putting out a SECOND testimony book? It’s true – and there is a contest going on right now to choose the fifty testimonies to be included in the book. It could be YOU who has a testimony published in the next book.

Any gold or platinum member who was not published in the first book is eligible to enter this contest. Simply write your testimony (either of salvation or of keeping your faith during struggles) according to the contest guidelines (scroll down a bit on the page linked to here to read them) in 1,200 words or less, and submit it before the contest deadline of August 15, 2014. The 50 entries selected will not only be published, but the authors will participate in royalties from the book’s sales.

Sound good? Check out the guidelines, and get working on your testimony!


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See It, Smell It, Taste It, Hear It…

See It, Smell It, Taste It, Hear It…

By Megan DiMaria

I recently read a story that left me wholly unsatisfied. The author skimped on writing in the sensory details. I felt disoriented while reading and found myself eager to be finished.
Beaver Creek 2007 001
When I read, either fiction or non-fiction, I need to feel as if I’m dropped into the scene and can experience what the character can experience.

The photo on the left is taken from the window of a luxury resort in Beaver Creek, Colorado. (I cashed in lots and lots of loyalty points to enjoy a few days in the Rockies.)

If I were reading a scene that takes place in that resort I’d like to know what the room looked like. How did the luxurious bedding feel to a weary body? How big were the windows, and what kind of shadows fell across the floor? How did the wind sing as it wove its way through the pines? Can you hear the whinny of horses as they cart vacationers through the mountain trails? Did the breeze carry the fragrance of pine boughs? What color blue was the sky? How plush was the carpet? What speciality was the hotel’s chef known for?

All those little details woven into the story help to transport the reader. If I take the time to read your book, please transport me.

Continue Reading…

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Joseph of Arimathaea

Joseph of Arimathaea
By Lori Dixon

Joseph of Arimathea, a prominent member of the Council, who was himself waiting for the kingdom of God, went boldly to Pilate and asked for Jesus’ body.When he learned from the centurion that it was so, he gave the body to Joseph. So Joseph bought some linen cloth, took down the body, wrapped it in the linen, and placed it in a tomb cut out of rock. Then he rolled a stone against the entrance of the tomb. Mark 15:43-44, 46 NIV

I’m sitting in semi-darkness weeping over Joseph of Arimathaea and the conviction I am under this morning as I examine my own life.

He took Jesus down.

How many times have I read this passage and just skipped over this man’s sacrifice? This man’s bravery? His dedication to do a job that nobody would have signed up for.

To approach Pilate was somewhat crazy enough, but then it says he begged . . . Mark’s version said he ‘craved’ the body of Christ. This morning, in the privacy that can only be found at the crack of dawn, I sit and cry, well aware that I am such a comfort seeker had I been there at the cross I most likely would not have volunteered to take on the dirty task.

I picture Joseph prying Christ’s hands and feet free. The open wound on His side oozing blood mingled with water . . . stickiness staining Joseph’s hands and clothes. The discomfort of exposure. To see His Savior naked. People were with Joseph; he had an audience of mourners during this most intimate exercise.

Continue Reading…