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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What’s the Big Idea?

What’s the Big Idea?

By Delia Latham

Got a Mason jar? Or maybe an old mayonnaise jar you’ve run through the dishwasher and stuck in the back corner of the top shelf in case you need it for some unknown something in the future?

Here’s that something.

As a writer, you should always be seeking “the big idea.” As a writer, you should be using the bellows of imagination to ignite tiny sparks of idea into blazing fires of fabulous fiction.

Ideas are everywhere, and if you’re a serious writer, you spot them in places no one else thinks to look. You see shadows of “story” in mundane conversation and fictional scenes in places others walk by without a second glance. You pick up a newspaper and spot ten possible story lines in the first three pages. You visit a child’s show-and-tell and go home with a brand new novel percolating in your brain.

Trouble is, most of those bright spears of genius never make it into a book. Why? Because they go unrecorded, fizzle out, and are forgotten. The idea was so sharp, so bright, so vivid…you were absolutely certain you’d remember.

But you didn’t.

Don’t let it happen again. Pull out that useless jar (the one in the back corner of the top shelf) and put it to good use. 


Well, you could start by taking a solemn oath. Come on…hand over heart, and repeat after me:

Continue Reading…


Congratulations to 2014 Page Turner Winners!

After nearly a year of suspense and excitement, we now have our winners for the eighth annual of Fresh Air Press Page Turner Contest.

This year the focus was on nonfiction, and 45 Platinum members submitted a book proposal, outlining the planned work overall, together with the first chapter of their manuscript. Judging was based on how well each entry worked in a number of key areas, including creativity, freshness, craftsmanship and, most importantly, page turning power and potential for publication.

Congratulations to:


Walk a Mile in Her Shoes by Lori Dixon

Lori has won:

  1. A cash prize of $800;
  2. Free editing of her manuscript (up to 300 pages);
  3. Free publicity and marketing of her book on all FaithWriters’ sites for twelve months following publication;
  4. A special Page Turner Champion award plaque; and
  5. Publication of her winning manuscript by new Christian publisher, Breath of Fresh Air Press (publisher of the new line of Mixed Blessings books)


A Pile of Stones by Debbie Roome and Glimmers of God by Rebecca Real

Debbie and Rebecca have each won:

  1. A special Page Turner award plaque;
  2. The offer of half price editing for their winning manuscripts; and
  3. Consideration for publication by Breath of Fresh Air Press.

Also, for all 2014 Page Turner entrants who requested a feedback report, the marvelous Deb Porter reports that they are all finished, and will be sent this week. If you requested one and don’t have it by the end of the week, you need to check your junk folder and/or follow up with her.

Watch this space for interviews with the winner and runners up in the coming weeks – and watch for the 2015 Page Turner Contest – which will focus on fiction, and is set to open the first week of January 2015.

Congratulations, Lori, Debbie, and Rebecca!

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Finding Your Dream Agent

Finding Your Dream Agent

By Dorothy Love

You’ve spent months, maybe years on a manuscript. Finally it’s finished and you’re ready to look for your dream agent. How do you wade through the bewildering maze of literary agents out there to find the one who is your perfect match? For twenty years, I’ve worked with wonderful agents in both the general and inspirational markets. Here are a few FAQ’s to help you  as you go about finding just the right match.

How do I find a reputable agent? Is the agent you’re considering a member of the Association of Artists Representatives (AAR)? This professional organization for agents handling literary and dramatic works sets standards for membership and requires their member agents to abide by a code of ethics. The organization maintains a database of members available to authors seeking representation.  Their official website provides a list of questions to ask of potential agents. Find it here:

Among the questions listed on this site, pay particular attention to these: How long has the agent been in business? How many clients does he/she have? How many verifiable sales has this agent made within the past year?

An agent has expressed an interest in my book but requests a reading fee up front. Should I pay it?  Because the potential for abuse is so great in this situation, the AAR prohibits its member agents from charging reading fees. Generally speaking you should look for an agent who does not charge such fees. A reputable agent does not get paid until he or she sells your work and collects the advance from the publisher.

What is an Author-Agent Agreement? Most agents require a written agreement that sets out the terms of representation. The agreement should indicate whether the agent intends to represent all your future work, or whether he or she will determine this on a book by book basis. The agreement should specify a time frame for selling the work and should include the terms and requirements for terminating the agreement. Sometimes, despite the best efforts of both agent and author, the  relationship just doesn’t work. It’s important for both you and the agent to understand how to sever the partnership in a professional manner.

Aside from these important legal considerations, you should consider the personal side of the partnership. It’s ideal if you can sit down with an interested agent and talk face to face. If that isn’t possible, schedule time for a telephone chat. A few questions to ask :

What form of communication do you prefer, and how often can I expect to have contact with you?  This very important question can forestall misunderstandings on down the road. Most good agents are very busy and don’t have time to give clients a day by day report. Since agents don’t get paid until a sale is made, they are happy to call clients the minute an offer comes in. Because editors are busy, too, this can take weeks. Understand, too, that the initial offer is just that–a beginning point. Your agent will then look over a short document from the publisher called a deal  points memo which sets out the basics of the offer. Many times these points are negotiated and changed. Your agent will keep you informed as the deal moves forward but don’t expect a daily report.

Some agents prefer to be contacted by email, others prefer the telephone. Try to accommodate their preferences.

What level of involvement with the creative process should I expect? Some agents are very hands on, and read their clients’ manuscripts before they are submitted. Others offer guidance and encouragement but expect clients to write and submit the contracted work with a minimum of direction.  In  my view, an author should write the book, the agent should sell it. Authors who need a detailed critique before submission should consider hiring a free-lance editor.

Do our personalities “click”? This is completely subjective but it’s very important to the success of a long- term relationship and it’s why a face to face meeting before you sign the agency agreement is so desirable.

Finding an agent with whom you can build a long-term, mutually advantageous partnership requires time and effort.  But the rewards of finding that dream agent can last throughout your career. New authors: Do you have other questions about finding an agent? Agented authors:  what questions would you add to this list? Agents: Describe your dream client.


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 last November. Her latest novel, THE BRACELET, releases December 9th. 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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Last Xulon Contests for 2014 Close Sunday!

I know this is a busy week (especially for us Americans), but it is NOT too late to enter either of the two remaining FaithWriters contests where the prizes are  Xulon Press Bestseller Packages. If you wait much longer, however, it WILL be too late. The deadline for both contests is Sunday, November 30, 2014.

Have an unpublished Christian fiction book with a strong biblical message (or even just the beginning of one)? Then maybe you should enter the Christian fiction contest. All Platinum members are eligible to enter (click here to join or upgrade). Simply send in your first chapter and a synopsis in a Word document and you’re entered! The winner will receive Xulon’s Best Seller Package and free premium publicity and marketing of the completed book on all FaithWriters’ sites. See complete details and instructions for entering on the FaithWriters’ Purpose-Driven Contest page.

If you don’t have a novel written – and/or aren’t a platinum member – you can still have an opportunity to win a publishing package through our Xulon raffle. And, again, the deadline is this Sunday. In this old-fashioned raffle with a high-tech twist, there are over three dozen ways to enter – everything from liking FaithWriters on Facebook to entering the Writing Challenge to hiring a FaithWriters-approved editor. Simply scroll to the bottom of the Purpose-Driven Contest page, review the rules, and enter as many or as few opportunities as you can over the next several days. You could be the winner!

Have You Entered?

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Finalists for 2014 Nonfiction Page Turner Contest Announced

In a week and a half, the winners of FaithWriters and Breath of Fresh Air Press‘s 2014 Nonfiction Page Turner will be announced. And as we wait, the lovely judges have whittled the 45 entries down to a top 15. Who are they, and how was the process? I think I’ll let the lovely Deb Porter tell you (from this post on the FaithWriters forums).

“Once again, it has been a privilege to see such heartfelt entries in the 2014 Non-Fiction Page Turner Contest. To everyone who entered, thank you for sharing your hearts, experience and wisdom through your writing. I have laughed with you, cried with you, and cheered you on–every single one of you, whether you made it into the top contenders list or not.

But now, with all 45 entries read and rated, we have our top 15 Finalists (and I will sleep well tonight!).

Please note, the list is in alphabetical order only.

Once again, the competition this year was quite impressive. There were other entries that just missed out making it into the Top 15. In most cases, this was due to the entries listed below being just a little stronger at this point in time. (So if your entry is not in the list, don’t be discouraged. You have taken a big step by preparing your entry and submitting it for this contest.)

Anyway, here are the Top 15 Finalists (in alphabetical order) for the 2014 Non-Fiction Page Turner Contest:

Altared Egos by Gail Raynor
Blessings from Italy by Milly Born
Doing the Stuff by Jennifer Dawn Dexter
Glimmers of God by Rebecca Real
God Is Who He Says He Is: Knowing God through the Valley by Stacie Snell
Hospitality – The Open Arms of God by Brenda Shipman
Lords Hill – A Place Only God Could Save Me From by Colleen Bruce
Piles of Stones by Debbie Roome
She Loved Sugar and I Love Salt by Francie Snell
Surprise in the Suitcase by Brenda K. Blakely
Teen Challenge – Repairer of Broken Walls by Leola Ogle
The Rock ‘N Tree Ranch by Nancy K. Sullivan
Unmerited Blame by Michelle Mitchell
Walk a Mile in Her Shoes by Lori Dixon
Your Home is Not Your Castle by Lillian Rhoades

Congratulations to you all.”

Congratulations indeed – and watch for the winners to be announced on Monday, December 1 (what are the prizes? Check this post for details).

Super Job, FaithWriters!!

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What Do YOU Want to See on the Blog?

The FaithWriters blog has been around for five years this coming January, and it has evolved some over that time – but one thing that has not changed is that this blog is for YOU, the FaithWriters member and Christian writer.

So, I thought it was probably time for me to come to YOU, and find out what you would like to see here. (Not that it hasn’t been asked before, mind you – but it never hurts to poll the people- right??

This blog, being part of FaithWriters, will always be a spot to find information on FaithWriters-sponsored contests and other such things, but I don’t believe that is al this blog should be. There are many other type of things that have been posted here – and I’m curious what you think of them – and whether you have ideas for others.

So, please peruse my list of possible topics for the blog, and let me know in the comments what you think of them – and share any of your own ideas for possible subjects.

Thanks so much for your feedback!

Would you be interested in:

  1. Member spotlights/interviews
  2. Writing-related devotionals
  3. Articles from published authors on the craft of writing
  4. Articles on marketing, self-publishing, and other writing topics not specifically craft related
  5. Posts on different aspects of the FaithWriters site
  6. Post for writing motivation and/or inspiration
  7. Whatever else you can think of

Can’t wait to hear your suggestions!

What do you want to see on the blog? How about the site as a whole?


Creating Suspense Through Backstory

Creating Suspense Through Backstory

By Gail Gaymer Martin

Backstory fulfills a multitude of purposes from creating characterization, goals, motivation and conflicts. But today, think of backstory as a way to build suspense in novels from thrillers to romance. Suspense results from elements in your story that captures reader’s curiosity and pulls them forward searching for the answers. Will Sam find out about Andrea’s secret life? Will Andrea understand Sam’s fear of commitment before it’s too late? Will Jeb kiss Kate? Will Bret reveal the truth when Julia begs for answers?

Putting backstory too early in a novel is not only boring, it destroys its power to surprise readers. Learning to balance the revelation of backstory is a technique writers benefit in learning. Learn when to reveal backstory, how to reveal it and when to hold it back. Give serious thought to backstory before you supply information to the reader. Is it necessary to share this information now? Will it make a difference? Is it important if the reader doesn’t fully understand the reason the character refuses to do something or acts uncomfortable about a situation? Does your decision allow the reader to seek out an answer instead of being hand fed it? Will the reader enjoy playing detective and using their own brain to discover or even speculate what might be wrong? Will it mean more and surprise readers later when they know the character more fully?

Withholding backstory until it’s absolutely necessary falls into three categories: Keeping information from the reader, keeping information from a character or all of them or keeping information from one another while the reader knows.

As the author, you know the completed backstory. You can weigh the importance of sharing this information and the benefits of withholding it. Readers do not need nor want to know details too early. They prefer to figure things out for themselves. I have received thank you letters from readers for allowing them the enjoyment of using their own methods of searching for answers and discovering the truth, and they indicated being disappointed in authors who explain everything to them. So give that thought as you share information.

Continue Reading…

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Checking that your Challenge Entry was Received

Have you ever submitted your entry for the FaithWriters Writing Challenge, then come Thursday, not been able to find it in the current entries? Maybe you forgot to check for the confirmation page, or there was some sort of glitch that stopped it from going through. It can be frustrating, as there is nothing that can be done after the fact to have your entry in for that topic.

Well, now there is a way to be 100% certain your entry was received safe and sound. Once you have submitted your entry, go to the Challenge entry list link (just bookmark this link, or find it on the submission page for the Challenge OR the thanks for your submission page) – the titles of each entry submitted are listed there. If you don’t see your entry under the appropriate level, feel free to resubmit. If you do, you have nothing to worry about!

Thanks, Mike, for making this wonderful feature available. And the rest of you – get busy on your challenge entries for this week – your opportunity to Write a Travelogue! (Check out Jan Ackerson’s lesson on this genre here)

Gotta love that peace of mind!

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