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The Writing Challenge – Changes for 2019!

The FaithWriters Writing Challenge is one of the biggest constants, and most well-known parts, of FaithWriters. And, every once in a while, changes need to be made for whatever reason. And this year is one of those times. Two things will be different once the challenge starts up again on Thursday, January 3.  One is logistical, and the other relates to “staffing.”

First, starting with the first topic of 2019, the Challenge will be reduced from four levels to three. The numbers of entries each week, especially in the lower levels, has decreased, to the point where it often isn’t much of a competition. To help remedy that, we are COMBINING LEVELS 1 and 2 (Beginners and Intermediate) into a single Beginners/Intermediate level. Advanced and Masters will not change. To move up to advanced, entrants must place twice (1st, 2nd, or 3rd) in that level or in the Editor’s Choice. Three placements in the Editors Choice moves the Challengeer up to Masters, no matter where they are. More details can be found here and here.

The second change is best shared by FaithWriters’ own beloved Deb Porter:

To my beloved Challengeers, old and new, and to all FaithWriters members.

After almost sixteen wonderful years, my husband and I have experienced some fairly dramatic changes to our circumstances. Unexpected, but God-directed every step of the way. It is this change that has finally led me to make the very hard decision to step back from my role at FaithWriters.

Every step of this new direction in my life has been God-led, and I believe with all my heart that His hand will remain on FaithWriters during this transition too. I leave the Writing Challenge in the very capable hands of longtime FaithWriters member, Joanne Sher. Continue Reading…

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Meet 2018 Page Turner Non-Fiction Runner-Up Lori Othouse

See the interview with Page Turner Champion Debbie Roome here, and fiction runner-up Annette Griffin here.

Lori Othouse has been around FaithWriters, off and on, for more than a dozen years, entering the Writing Challenge, posting in regular articles, and more. And now, her non-fiction manuscript, Grace to Remain, has been named the non-fiction runner up in the 2018 Page Turner contest. Read on to learn more about Lori, her book in process, her love for Faithwriters, and more!

JOANNE SHER: First of all, congratulations on being the non-fiction runner up in the Page Turner contest! Can you tell us a bit about how you found out? What was your reaction?

LORI OTHOUSE: Thank you so much! I’m so honored and thankful to be a runner up! I actually found out when I was out shopping with my two daughters. We were in a store and I checked my email and saw the announcement. At first, I was kind of afraid to look. Then, when I scrolled down and saw my name, I was so excited! I tried not to smile too big in the middle of the store, but I couldn’t help it. After letting it sink in for a few minutes, I told my oldest daughter when we got out to the car. She loves to write, too, and was so happy. Needless to say, that email made my day!

JOANNE: I’ll bet! Fun to have folks to celebrate with. When do you first remember developing a passion/love for writing?

LORI: I first remember writing short stories and poetry when I was about 12 or 13, none of which I would want to share now, but back then, I thought they were pretty good.  I continued writing here and there throughout high school, but nothing very significant. After I graduated, I was pursuing other things and didn’t really do any writing for about 10 years until I began writing scripts for holiday productions at my church. That’s what really got me back into writing again. I did that for several years and it really stirred up my love for words in a new way. I started writing poetry and short stories again and found a new passion for using words for good and for God in a way that I never did before. Continue Reading…

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Meet 2018 Page Turner Fiction Runner-Up Annette Marie Griffin!

See the interview with Page Turner Champion Debbie Roome here.

Annette Marie Griffin (www.annettemariegriffin.comhas been writing for most of her life, and is beginning to see publishing success. And now, her allegorical novel, The Crevice, has been named the Fiction runner-up in FaithWriters’ 2018 Page Turner Contest. Read on to learn more about Annette’s novel, her writing and reading joys, and more!

JOANNE SHER: First of all, congratulations on being the fiction runner up in the Page Turner contest! Can you tell us a bit about how you found out? What was your reaction?

ANNETTE GRIFFIN: Thank you so much! I’m honored and thrilled. I wish I could say that I’ve reached that quiet, confident place in my writing career where I nonchalantly entered this contestthen forgot about my submission until the unexpected notification of my win. But … um no. December 1st was blazoned in red on my desk calendar and embellished with stars, many of which were doodled every time I flipped the page to count the remaining days. Yes—among other lessons, God is busy teaching me the virtue of patience. And my writing pursuits seem to make the perfect training ground.

My fourteen-year-old daughter had an early basketball tournament the morning of December 1st. So while we scrambled about the house in an attempt to get her and ourselves ready, I dealt with the nag of anticipation. I wanted to know the resultsyet dreaded knowing. After we all loaded into the car I opened the FaithWriters page on my phone and saw the list of winners. With a high-pitched squeal I shared the great news with my family, and we all celebrated the win by stopping for a fancy coffee drink.

JOANNE: I wish I had been a fly on the ceiling of that car 😀 When do you first remember developing a passion/love for writing? Is writing a hobby or potential career for you? Or something else? Continue Reading…

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Meet Page Turner Champion Debbie Roome!

Debbie Roome is no stranger to FaithWriters, or being recognized for her writing, Not only has she placed several times in Best of the Best Writing Challenge contest, but she has also been on the winners list for FaithWriters’ premiere contest, the Page Turner First Chapter Contest. And this year, she is at the top of that list! Read on to learn more about Debbie’s lengthy publishing credits, her winning entry, and more!

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 was lying in bed early Sunday morning and picked up my phone to check my emails. I’d forgotten the results for the Page Turner would be out and Michael’s message was completely unexpected. I was very excited – but then cried because I couldn’t tell my mom who was my biggest fan and supporter. She passed away in August this year.

JOANNE: So sorry – I imagine it was bittersweet. This is your fourth time in the Page Turner winners’ circle: two runners up in 2010 and 2014 plus two first places – one in 2015 and then this year. You are clearly a prolific (and excellent!)  writer. Do you have “a secret?” Where do you get your ideas from? What books do you currently have published, and where can we get them?

DEBBIE: Ideas come to me from daily life and what happens around me and to me. I love to watch people and imagine them as characters in my books.

I have a number of books published. The fiction titles are:
Embracing Change
Broken Shells
Contagious Hope
Fragrant Hope

Non-fiction titles
Magnitude 7.1 and 6.3
Christchurch Earthquake Images
Cyber-Bullying is Never Alright
All About Travel
Fly with Me
Loving Leanne Continue Reading…

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Congratulations to 2018’s Page Turner Winners!

After almost 12 months of excitement and nail-biting suspense, it is time to announce the winners of the twelfth annual FaithWriters.com/Breath of Fresh Air Press Page Turner Contest.

The 2018 Page Turner Writing Contest, for fiction and nonfiction manuscripts, began in early January. The competition was open to all members of the FaithWriters Platinum 500. 

Entries comprised a book proposal, outlining the planned work overall, together with the first chapter of the manuscript. Judging was based on how well each entry worked in a number of key areas, including creativity, freshness, craftsmanship and, most important of all, page turning power and potential for publication.

One Page Turner Champion (the highest rated entry from either fiction or nonfiction categories) receives:

  1. A cash prize of $400 (US);
  2. The offer of traditional publication of their winning manuscript by Breath of Fresh Air Press (which includes editing of the manuscript, if the winner accepts the publishing contract from Breath of Fresh Air Press); and
  3. Free publicity and marketing of their book on all FaithWriters’ sites for twelve months following publication.

Two Page Turner runners up (one from each of the two categories—fiction and nonfiction) will receive:

  1. Two x one-hour mentoring sessions with Deb Porter through Finesse Writing and Editing Service/Breath of Fresh Air Press;
  2. Consideration for possible publication by Breath of Fresh Air Press.

It is with great pleasure we announce our 2018 Page Turner winners:

2018 Page Turner Champion—Highest Rated Entry Overall

The First World Problem of Clutter

 

Debbie Roome

* * *

2018 Page Turner Runner Up—Fiction Winner

The Crevice

Annette Marie Griffin
* * *

2018 Page Turner Runner Up—Nonfiction Winner

Grace to Remain

Lori Othouse

Watch for interviews with the winners and runners up on the blog soon!

Congrats, Debbie, Annette, and Lori!

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Writing Lessons from Luke

Writing Lessons from Luke
by Moses Solanke (theburningbushboy Solanke)

Though a physician (Col. 4:14), Luke is one good Christian writer I’ve had to look upon again and again. Reading only a few lines of his first book, The Gospel According to Luke, provided me enough guidancew for my writing ministry.

I, hereby, itemize the lessons I learned reading through the first four verses of Luke Chapter 1.

Lesson 1: Luke knew that no matter how good his writing would turn out to be, his could not stand aloof of others.

“Several biographies of Christ have already been written…,” he says in Luke 1:1 of the Living Bible edition.

It is good to acknowledge (it actually makes you humble) that someone’s writing, action or idea sparked your inspiration to write. Nobody receives inspirations from the blue.

Your idea is just a follow-up or a modified version of an existing idea. Just as you got inspired from reading others, another will be inspired to write from reading your work.

Hence, we have a chain or network of inspirations. Your writing must have either a forward or backward connection. It cannot stand aloof. Continue Reading…

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Page Turner: Deadline is SUNDAY!

Can you believe we are already to the end of September? Here in the States, fall is upon us, winter is around the corner, and it’s nearly time to snuggle up in blankets and read a good book. OR  – maybe write one. And if writing a book is your thing, there is STILL time to enter your first chapter in FaithWriters’ premier contest – but you only have a few days to do it!

The 12th Annual Page Turner Contest, sponsored by Faithwriters and Breath of Fresh Air Press, closes on September 30. If you are a FaithWriters Platinum member, you are invited to enter this very special contest created just for you. If you are not yet a Platinum member, this may be the perfect reason to upgrade. The feedback on your manuscript, alone, makes it an outstanding value.

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 manuscript, this Christian writing contest is the spur you need to write, polish, and submit it-and we will give you until September 30 to do so – which is THIS SUNDAY!

Sound good? Well, here’s what you need to do:

  1. Upgrade to a Platinum member (if you haven’t already done so).
  2. Write, edit, and polish at least one chapter of your manuscript. You may seek professional editing input to polish your chapter.
  3. Prepare a book proposal (suggestions for the proposal are included on the Platinum member Page Turner Christian writing contest information page).
  4. When you have a book proposal and a polished first chapter, combine the two as one Word or RTF document (book proposal first, followed by the chapter), and you’re all set to enter the 2018 Page Turner Christian writing contest.

Continue Reading…

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Page Turner Deadline Less than a Month Away!

You Could Be Our 12th Page Turner Winner!
Page Turner Deadline 9-30-18 – HERE

FaithWriters.com and Breath of Fresh Air Press are pleased to announce the twelfth annual Page Turner Christian writing contest. If you are a FaithWriters Platinum member, you are invited to enter this very special contest created just for you. If you are not yet a Platinum member, this may be the perfect reason to upgrade. The feedback on your manuscript, alone, makes it an outstanding value.

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 manuscript, this Christian writing contest is the spur you need to write, polish, and submit it-and we will give you until the end of September to get your entry ready- which, you should realize, is THIS MONTH!

Sound good? Well, here’s what you need to do:

  1. Upgrade to a Platinum member (if you haven’t already done so).
  2. Write, edit, and polish at least one chapter of your manuscript. You may seek professional editing input to polish your chapter.
  3. Prepare a book proposal (suggestions for the proposal are included on the Platinum member Page Turner Christian writing contest information page).
  4. When you have a book proposal and a polished first chapter, combine the two as one Word or RTF document (book proposal first, followed by the chapter), and you’re all set to enter the 2018 Page Turner Christian writing contest.
There will be one Page Turner contest champion-the highest rated entry overall, chosen from either the Fiction or Nonfiction categories. This one champion will win:

Continue Reading…

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Meet 2018 3rd Place Best of the Best Lucy Steel

See the interview with first place Best of the Best Jan Ackerson here, and second place Kate Mackereth here.

Lucy Steel has been entering the FaithWriters Writing Challenge for a couple years off and on. And this time, her teen entry Orange is the Colour of Friendship was recognized as the third place winner in FaithWriters’ Annual Best of the Best.  Read on to learn more about this Aussie’s love of the outdoors, her winning piece, what “namesake” author inspired her to write, and more.

JOANNE SHER: First of all, congratulations on your third place win! What was your reaction when you found out you were chosen as third place in Best of the Best?

LUCY STEEL: I was very excited! There are a lot of talented writers on FaithWriters, so I felt honoured that one of my stories was selected. It’s also encouraged me to keep writing – I have a habit of letting ‘life’ take over and not entering the challenge for months – this third place win has given me an extra boost of enthusiasm to keep writing regularly.

JOANNE: Winning DOES have a way of doing that, doesn’t it? Your winning piece, Orange is the Colour of Friendship, feels real to teenage life. Was it based on personal experience? Where did you get the idea for this piece? How did it come together for you? Any particular struggles getting it the way you liked it?

LUCY: The character of Jacqueline was actually loosely based on my friend – who shares the same name. My friend Jacqueline loves the colour orange and jokingly refers to herself as amazing and a supermodel.  Jacqueline told me that if I wrote a story about her it would ‘go places’ – I guess she was right!

While the situation wasn’t based on personal experience, I think that many teenagers have at some point felt lonely and isolated, or felt that they have no friends. I liked the idea of the popular person befriending the loner and enjoyed writing about a slightly ridiculous situation with the fake tan.

I don’t remember any particular struggles when writing the story. I pictured my old high school when writing it, which was still very vivid in my mind – although high school was a long time ago!

JOANNE: I love the way you brought those two folks together! You have been entering the challenge off and on for the past couple years. How did you find FaithWriters, and what made you stick around?

LUCY: A couple of years ago, I joined a writers group and soon after Deb Porter came to speak at it. She talked about FaithWriters and it sounded like just what I needed to begin writing properly and hone my writing skills.  When I began entering the challenge I found that people were so encouraging, but also gave useful feedback. FaithWriters really was the platform I needed to get me writing – and doing well in the challenges helped me to believe in myself as a ‘real’ writer. Continue Reading…

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Meet 2018 2nd Place Best of the Best Kate Mackereth!

Read the interview with Jan Ackerson, first place Best of the Best, here.

Kate Mackereth has loved to write since she was a girl, but only began entering the Challenge a few months ago – and already one of her first entries, the heartwrenching Baby Shrapnel, has placed second in the annual Best of the Best. Read on to learn more about Kate, her winning entry, her striving for perfection, and more.

JOANNE SHER: First of all, congratulations on your second place win! What was your reaction when you found out you were chosen as second place in Best of the Best?

KATE MACKERETH: Thank you! I was very surprised because I am new to the challenge. It was quite thrilling.

JOANNE: Your winning piece, Baby Shrapnel, is incredibly poignant and heart-wrenching. Reading it made me wonder if it was based on personal experience. Was it?  Where did you get the idea for this piece? How did it come together for you? Any particular struggles getting it the way you liked it?

KATE: It was Anzac day here in Australia when I wrote it, so I had our soldiers and the theme of sacrifice on my mind. As an Army wife, I’ve been through the various emotions of deployment so that bit just flowed. The part about mowing the lawn is completely true, and I enjoyed the shocked expression on my husband’s face when he read it!!

The topic was ‘Amazing’ and I just love how amazing it is that God has claimed us as his, all at a cost to himself. I wanted to make that kind of sacrificial love more personal to readers. I knew a family in one of my old churches who had lost a baby boy named Matthew. They were told he would be born without a brain and not survive but still the mother carried him to term. They loved him through the entire process regardless of the heartbreak and it moved me greatly to hear about it.

I was worried about the way I started my sentences and using the topic word in the piece but I did it anyway and held my breath. It is fun to break some rules and I’m so delighted people were moved by it. Continue Reading…

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