Meet 2014 Page Turner Runner-Up Becky Real

Read Page Turner winner Lori Dixon’s interview here, and one with runner-up Debbie Roome here.

Becky Real hasn’t been at FaithWriters long, but she is already making quite an impact. As one of two runners up in the Page Turner contest, her journey as written about in her work in progress could be on its way to publication. Read on to learn about her (scary) reaction to winning, how her husband’s cancer led to her passion for writing, and her busy life.

Joanne Sher: First of all, congratulations on your win! Can you tell us a bit about how you found out? What was your reaction?

Becky: Thanks! I was stunned when I learned I was in the top 15. Placing bowled me over and nearly knocked me off my feet – literally.

I was doing something that is not recommended — walking down the stairs at my home while checking Facebook from my phone. My cousin (also a member of FaithWriters) had posted a congratulations note to me about placing in the contest. When I first read it I thought she was commenting on being in the top 15. Suddenly I realized it was a December 1st posting. I stopped in the middle of the stairwell, clicked onto the FaithWriters site and saw my name listed.

I forgot whBecky Real 2ere I was, started screaming and jumping up and down and very nearly went “head over heels” as I slipped and stumbled down the rest of the steps. My dog Harley and two cats came running. Harley began barking and leaping up and down and the cats dashed upstairs past me to escape my high pitched screams and flailing arms and legs. Somehow I landed on my feet, swept Harley into my arms, swung her in circles and whooped out loud while tears streamed down my cheeks.

Once I caught my breath, put Harley down and landed safely into a nearby chair, I sent out a text message and Facebook blast. Then I cried some more…

I guess you could say I was kind of excited….

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The 2015 Fiction Page Turner Contest is Open!

It’s January, and it’s FaithWriters. You know what that means – right?

The ninth annual Page Turner Contest, sponsored by FaithWriters and Breath of Fresh Air Press, is accepting submissions! And this year, the focus is fiction. All Platinum 500 members are eligible to enter this fabulous contest, created just for you.

Maybe you’ve got a half-written manuscript gathering dust in the bottom of your wardrobe. Perhaps it’s something you wrote during NaNoWriMo last year. It could even be an idea that’s been brewing in the back of your mind for years. Whatever the stage of your novel, this contest is just the spur you need to get writing and polishing – and we will even give you until the end of October to get your entry ready.

Sound good? Well, here’s what you need to do. First of all, if you are not already a Platinum member, upgrade your account. Next, write, edit and polish at least one chapter of your manuscript. Once that’s done, prepare an overview of the planned book. Combine the book overview and first chapter in one Word or RTF document, and you’re all set to enter.

One entry will be chosen as the FaithWriters Page Turner Champion for the year, with the author receiving*:

1. A fabulous cash prize of $500 (US);

2. The offer of traditional publication of their winning manuscript by Breath of Fresh Air Press;

3. Final editing of their manuscript (through Breath of Fresh Air Press);

4. Free publicity and marketing of their book on all FaithWriters’ sites for twelve months following publication; and

5. A special Page Turner Champion award plaque.

Two Page Turner runners-up will each receive*:

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Meet Xulon Fiction Contest Winner Ennis Smith!

Ennis Smith has been a FaithWriters member for a few years now, and he is delighted to have won the Xulon Bestseller Package from Xulon Press and FaithWriters for his manuscript “The Walking Dead.” Read on to learn more about Ennis, his manuscript, his journey to FaithWriters, and God’s provision for him.

JOANNE SHER: First of all, congratulations on your win! Can you tell us a bit about how you found out? What was your reaction?

ENNIS SMITH: Thank you Joanne! I’m actually still processing the blessing and thanking God for the opportunity. FaithWriters is a community full of awesome writers.

I first learn my submission was chosen through a routine email check. Mr. Mike Edwards sent a message notifying me of the winning entry Friday the 19th. It’s funny, one of the things he said to me was,“This isn’t a joke, Ennis. You really won!”Dad's WordPress Photo 5-16-14

My initial reaction was complete shock. My wife and I like to give our years individual labels. Back in January, we dubbed 2014, “The Year of Blessed Victory.” This year has been a particularly tough one for our family in terms of breakthroughs, but we never stopped trusting in God. Although we held out hope for blessings, it really seemed as though we were circling the desert with no end in sight. Just as I was brooding over my writing seemingly going nowhere, Mike Edwards sends me an outstanding email! Never doubt the Lord’s promises!

JOANNE: God IS faithful – and I love when He shows His children just that! When do you first remember developing a passion/love for writing?

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And on to 2015!

Can you believe 2014 is nearly over? January 1 is a mere two days away. Maybe it’s time for us to look at our writing progress over the past twelve months and plot a course (with the Lord’s guidance, of course) for the year to come.

Of course, this doesn’t just have to be about writing. But since this IS a writing blog, that will be my focus (though not laser-like LOL) in this post.

I pretty much always set goals for myself – because, for me, accountability is HUGE. I have daily, weekly, and annual goals (I used to do monthly as well, but decided to lighten up A BIT :::eyeroll::: ), and I have found, for me, anyway, that having them there helps me accomplish them (and remember them LOL). It helps me with my focus.

For instance, my writing-related goals for 2014 (posted on my blog sidebar) were only three in number – but they definitely helped me stay focused. And I can say with almost complete confidence (because as of this writing one part is undone – but I’ve got a few days yet) that I achieved all three.

While I didn’t specifically follow all of the rules of creating SMART Goals (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Reasonable and Timely) – which are VERY good rules, by the way – they each had at least one or two of those aspects.

I would recommend you at least try to set a couple of writing goals for 2015 (note, I said goals, NOT resolutions. Sounds a bit more doable in my book :) ). Feel free to post them in the comments if you want.

Another popular approach to the start of the new year is to choose a single word to focus on for the year – to center and inspire you. Check out this site  (there are several others too – Google it :) ) for a Christian approach and support if you’d like.

Just FYI – I did this for 2015 also – for the first time. My 2014 word is/was “Content” (accent on the second syllable) and it was a great reminder to me when things were tough. So maybe you want to pick a word yourself.

(By the way, if you want to see my own goals and word for 2015, check out my personal blog, where I will have a post about them no later than the 2nd of January)

Do you set goals? Are you going to pick a word for 2015?


Meet 2014 Page Turner Runner-Up Debbie Roome

New Zealander Debbie Roome is no stranger to FaithWriters – or to being in the winners’ spotlight. Not only has she placed in the Page Turner in the past, she has also been a runner up for the Writing Challenge Best of the Best several years ago. Read on to learn more about her, her writing journey, and her entry, A Pile of Stones, that wowed the judges.

JOANNE SHER: First of all, congratulations on your win! Can you tell us a bit about how you found out? What was your reaction?

DEBBIE ROOME: I landed in Christchurch Airport after a day in Auckland and switched on my phone while we were taxiing to the gate. I saw on Facebook that the Page Turner winners had been announced and was very surprised to see my name there. It was an exciting moment and I felt like standing up and announcing my good news to the whole plane-load of passengers!

JOANNE: I likely would have done just that! When do you first remember developing a passion/love for writing?Deb 1

DEBBIE: I’ve been writing since I was five. It’s a lifelong love and I always did well at creative writing and poetry at school. I wrote my “first book” in a spiral bound notebook at the age of 6.

JOANNE: Is writing a hobby or potential career for you? Or something else?

DEBBIE: It’s a hobby, a ministry and hopefully will be a full-time career one day.

JOANNE: Share a bit about A Pile of Stones. Where did you get the idea for it? What’s it about? How far along in it are you?

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Xulon Fiction and Quarterly Writing Challenge Winners!

After several months of submissions, and a few weeks of waiting, we have our winner of the Xulon Press Bestseller Package for a fiction manuscript. Congratulations to Ennis Smith, whose novel, The Walking Dead, rose above the other submissions to take the prize. Watch for an interview with Ennis, and more information on his book and his prize, in coming weeks!

And now, for MORE winners

The FaithWriters’ Writing Challenge is on a break right now, with the last winners of the Genre quarter announced just last week. And that means it’s time to announce the four winners of the quarterly level awards. The highest scoring entry in EACH LEVEL over each entire ten-week quarter receives a $50 cash prize.

LEVEL 1: Meant for Us by Rebecca Real (from the Autobiography Challenge)

LEVEL 2: Vagrant by Trace Pezzali (from the Coming of Age Challenge)

LEVEL 3: Life, One Clue at a Time by Diane Bowman (from the Action/Adventure Challenge

LEVEL 4: The Night He Was Laughing by JK Stenger (from the Inspirational Challenge)

The Writing Challenge starts up again on January 8.


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Meet Nikola Dimitrov

Nikola Dimitrov is a FaithWriters member and ministry leader in Bulgaria who has a book available in the FaithWriters book store (where it is part of FaithWriters’ free reads for reviews program) and on Amazon that allows you to look at the life of Jesus chronologically. Read on to learn more about his book, his process, his family, and his ministry.

Joanne Sher: Thanks for being willing to be interviewed, Nikola. Tell us a bit about how you got into writing. Is it something you have always wanted to do, or did it come about later in life?

Nikola Dimitrov: Hey, thank you for this opportunity and Happy Holidays!nikola-3

I love writing and I have been doing it since a very young age, even before I became a believer. After I got saved, I wanted to surrender to the Lord the gift He had given me, and use it to His glory alone. So, during the twenty-two years of my full-time ministry, I’ve written, translated, edited and published more than fifty books altogether. It’s my passion. If I have to dictate my thoughts for a book or a letter, it would be much harder, but as soon as I sit down in front of a computer or start writing in a notebook, the words just pour out of my mind and through my fingers without any hesitation or difficulty. Sometimes I can write as many as 100 emails a day, all to different people, explaining completely diverse Biblical topics and it is an absolute joy and pleasure – no pressure, no stress, no hard work.

Joanne: Wow – your writing is certainly a gift! Tell us a bit about your latest book, The Four-In-One Gospel of Jesus. What motivated you to write/compile it? How long did it take? What kind of reception have you gotten?

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Characterization Multitasking


By Linda Yezak

Your two main characters are in the same scene, but they’re not together. He’s doing his thing, she’s doing hers. You can reveal so much about both when you illustrate your POV character observing the other. Of course you can describe the observed character’s physical features, but why leave it at that? Why pass up the opportunity to tell your reader something about both characters?

As the author and creator of these people, you know things about them that 1) you want to introduce to the reader, and 2) you want to introduce to each of the of the two people in the scene. What you know about them is called “backstory.” (I recently discovered that Miriam Webster has “backstory” as one word, so when you type it on your computer, ignore the little squiggly red line under it).

Whether you pre-plan your novel with outlines and character bios or, like me, you look at a scene and think, “How can I make the characters more interesting here?” and do a character interview on the spot, you need to have a backstory for each of the primary folks who populate your books. What you don’t need, though, is to dump the entire backstory into one scene and explain everything you think the reader needs to know about your hero and heroine all at once.

Let me introduce Anna Roberts and Cody Batson.

Anna was a late-bloomer, the ugly duckling who didn’t become beautiful by shedding weight until her early twenties. Although she’s a knock-out now, her self image, ingrained by kids’ cruelty during high school, is that of a fat girl. Today, she’s a computer scientist at NOAA, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and spends the bulk of her time alone.

Cody was the star quarterback and played the role of “popular guy” in school, but in truth, he’s shy and longs for a relationship that goes deeper than an appreciation of his athletic skills and build. He’s highly artistic, but since he got the bulk of his positive reinforcement from those who valued his athleticism, he played up to that image. Today, with his PhD, he’s a professor of English Literature, specializing in the Romance Era, at George Washington University. His biggest daydream is for sonnets to make a comeback.

Continue Reading…

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Meet 2014 Page Turner Winner Lori Dixon

We have quite an international bunch this year for Page Turner winners – an American, a Kiwi(New Zealander), and a Canadian each placed in this year’s contest. The FaithWriters/Breath of Fresh Air Press 2014 Nonfiction Page Turner champion is the lovely Lori Dixon of Canada. Read her interview below to learn more about her, her winning manuscript Walk a Mile in her Shoes, and her other passions.

Joanne Sher: First of all, congratulations on your win! Can you tell us a bit about how you found out? What was your reaction?

Lori Dixon: It was rather disappointing and anti-climactic as I had been soooo excited and hopeful, since I didn’t want anyone to help me on my book but Deb. Seriously. So I decided to open up the webpage on my phone before bed so that in the morning I could check it. The thing is, though, it was after midnight on the West Coast and and the results were already up. I couldn’t even wake up my family and tell them. (Okay, so I did wake up my hubby: but come on! I was so excited!)

Joanne: I’m sure you had quite the celebration in the morning! When do you first remember developing a passion/love for writing?

Lori: During my typing 9 class. I did not appreciate “The quick brown dog jumped over the lazy fox,” so I would write “Muppet News Flashes” instead. When it was time to pass our typing papers for our peers to mark, my best friend who sat behind me was very amused. My friend was a straight A student right through to her college degree – except for typing 9 where she got a B because of me. Continue Reading…

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Xulon Raffle Winners Announced :)

After several months of entering and waiting, we have our winners of the three prizes in our raffle.

Congratulations to Karen Pourbabaee, who won the Xulon Press Bestseller Package (with a retail value of over $4,000)!

Rebekah Duchesneau is the winner of a free FaithWriters platinum membership (with a $120 retail value)

And congratulations to Pinkie Taolo, who won a free FaithWriters gold membership (with a $65 retail value)

Watch for the winner of the fiction contest (who also receives a Xulon Best Seller Package) no later than December 20 – and keep your eyes open for MORE contests like this in 2015!

Congratulations, ladies!

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