Wednesday, January 30, 2008

And the Winner Is...

The winner of the Synopsis Contest, and a five-chapter critique is:

ROSE MCCAULEY

Rose submitted the synopsis for her novel Perfect Trust.

Perfect, Kentucky . Can any place really be perfect—heaven on earth? James and Elizabeth (Libby) Rollins pack up and move with their two teenagers to the promise of a paradise located in the center of the state, hoping this town will hold the answers to fulfilling their lifelong dreams. A person from Libby's past threatens those dreams. Can Libby trust James with her decades-old secret? Can she learn to trust God to work things out when they seem at their worst?


Rose McCauley has been married for almost 40 years to her college sweetheart, and they have 3 children and three grandchildren. Rose is happy to be a long-time member of ACFW which has helped her to hone her writing skills. She is pubbed in 5 non-fiction anthologies and has turned her hopes and efforts to being pubbed in fiction next. She hopes you will visit her online at her website and her blog, where you can "Win a book contest each month!"

Congratulations, Rose!

Thanks to all the participants - I read some GREAT synopses and look forward to hearing about their eventual purchase by publishers.

Since we're so late in the week making this announcement, I'm going to wait until Monday to announce the next contest.

Keep writing!

Monday, January 28, 2008

Congratulations!!!

Greetings, Pixels!!!

Jessica Nelson named the readers of this blog and will receive a critique of one chapter of her current WIP! Thanks so much, Jessica!

Jessica has three little boys and a wonderful husband. She loves to read, read, read. Currently she's working on her second manuscript and readying her first for submission. She says, "The readying part is taking awhile-I think I might be scared."


Jessica would like to share a ministry with you. She has good friends in S. Africa and encourages you to visit their website. She says, "I think that they are the most Godly people I have ever met."

You can learn more about Jessica on her MySpace page.


Thanks so much for all of the other great entries - you made it hard for me to choose!

I'd like to beg your indulgence for one more day before I announce the winner of the synopsis contest - we've had a death in the family and the funeral is today.

Tomorrow I will announce the winner of the five chapter critique, and a new contest, so come then to get all the details and join in the fun.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

A Father's Heart

Three part video - I hope you'll watch.





Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Entries: Which is Your Favorite?

I'll keep a running list here in this one post for all the names submitted for our blog contest. After we have a few, if you want to comment on any of them, please do so in the comments - I'd love to hear your thoughts!

How about calling your peeps Pixels?
Submitted by Jessie Nelson


Pipers - Pi(x)
pe(ns)
rs(readers)
Submitted by Debbie Roome


What about Word Pics? As in painting word pictures?
Submitted by Melanie Dickerson


Pixens
Submitted by Dr. Debbie McFarland


Okay, I know this doesn't encompass the photographers, but...Pen Pals has a ring to it.
Submitted by Karri Compton


Pixmates
Submitted by Mary Urban

PixieSticks
Submitted by Jon Bolton





Win A Critique!

We're having a double contest this week, readers. The first contest is fun, and entries will be posted here as they arrive. The second contest is work - I will not post the entries at all. Here's the scoop:

Contest #1:

I cannot figure out what to call the readers of this blog. BGs (bloggees) is taken, so I'd like for you to come up with something unique, somehow incorporating the use of the title Pix-N-Pens or our purpose. I thought of Pixies, but didn't think that would go over well with some of our readers, so I'm tossing the challenge out to you. Try to encompass writers AND photographers (and even readers if you can) into the name. Get creative and fun! Submit your entry to tracyruckman [at] gmail. com by NOON, Saturday, January 26th.

The winner of Contest #1 will receive a critique of their first chapter of a current WIP. Details posted below.

Contest #2:

Serious stuff here. Does anyone hate writing the synopsis as much as I do? Well, for this contest, send me your 2-page synopsis. I won't post it - I don't think that needs to be made public knowledge until after your book is published (and maybe not even then, except for teaching purposes.)

I'll judge the entries myself and the winner will receive a CRITIQUE of your first five chapters of your current WIP. When I announce the winner on the blog on Monday, January 28th, I'll include a bio and links to your website, and if you wish, we can include a back cover blurb for your book.

Contest Details:

Synopsis should be no more than 2 pages, single spaced. Submit it as an attachment to tracyruckman [at] gmail. com by NOON, Saturday, January 26th (10 days from today). I do reserve the right to reject any synopsis for any reason.

Prizes:

The winner of Contest #1 will receive a critique of their first chapter - of no more than 10,000 words. The manuscript should be double-spaced, and include a header with your name and page number at the top of each page. It must be submitted within 10 days of the winning announcement. Please allow up to one week for the critique.

The winner of Contest #2 will receive a critique of their first five chapters - of no more than 50,000 words. The manuscript should be double-spaced, and include a header with your name and page number at the top of each page. It must be submitted within 10 days of the winning announcement. Please allow up to three weeks for the critique.

If you have questions, please feel free to write or ask here on the blog.

I'm looking forward to your entries.

Invaluable Writer's Tool

Recently, I joined the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance, which means I'll be providing information in the coming months about a variety of books. For some, I'll write personal reviews, for some I won't - and I don't take this responsibility lightly. If I recommend a book, it means I've read it, or in the case of today's book, read it, absorbed it, and utilized it. I'd love to hear your own comments and reviews about the books I present here on Pix-N-Pens - when you read one, come back here and leave a comment so we'll know what you think.


Now, about today's book.

When I started writing umpteen years ago, the first resource recommended to me was the Christian Writer's Market Guide by Sally Stuart. Over the years, this yearly release has become a friend and a necessity in my writing career. Last year for the first time, a CD was included with the book, and is again this year, giving computer geeks like me the fun of searching for markets on my computer. I keep a separate copy of the book on my desktop and mark it up with highlighters - potential markets for articles, books, photos. This book belongs in EVERY writer's library.

I had the pleasure of meeting Sally Stuart last Spring at the Mount Hermon Christian Writer's Conference. She is devoted to the task of helping aspiring writers, and is as precious as her picture below.

Thank you, Sally, for all the work you've done over the years to provide such a tremendous resource for all of us.







ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


Sally Stuart has been writing for the last 40+ years, and has been putting out the annual Christian Writers' Market Guide for the last 23 years. Her other writing includes several Christian education resources books, a children's picture book, a basic writing text, writing resources, and a western novel--plus hundreds of articles and marketing columns. She writes marketing columns for the "Christian Communicator," "Advanced Christian Writer," and the Oregon Christian Writers' Newsletter. She speaks and teaches at Christian Writers' Conferences nationwide. Sally is the mother of 3 and grandmother of 8. She and her husband, Norm, spend their free time vacationing on the Oregon coast.


Check out her blog!


ABOUT THE BOOK:

The essential reference tool for the Christian writer, Sally Stuart’s Christian Writers’ Market Guide is now in its 23rd annual edition!
Check out the section on Blogging on page 69...the CFBA is listed!

Writers’ Conference listings, Book Publishers, Magazine Publishers, and a Bookstore filled with the resources you need to be successful in this business. Get a Book Contract or Manuscript Evaluation, and check out the Writer’s Resource links. This book has all you need to connect to all these valuable helps for the beginning, intermediate, or professional writer.

To keep you up to date with the latest marketing news, visit Sally Stuart’s new marketing blog, Christian Writers’ Marketplace.

A new, updated version of the Christian Writers’ Market Guide is available about January 15 each year.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

We Have a TIE!

Special Guest Judge Janice Thompson couldn't choose just one entry, so we have a tie for this week's contest.

Congratulations to:



Lynda Schab and Debbie Roome

Lynda Schab is a freelance writer and aspiring author from Michigan. Her work has been published in greeting cards, articles and several anthologies. View more of her work, including the rest of this story, by visiting Faith Writers. You can also check out her writer's blog.

Her winning entry was:

Funnel of Fear
By Lynda Schab

The only thing worse than being cooped up in a mini van with my family for three days was knowing that I would soon be trapped in a three bedroom bungalow with my cousins, who were a bunch of Bible-thumping Jesus freaks. In the meantime, if my mom and sister sang, "Open the Eyes of my Heart, Lord," one more time, I swore I would open my door and fling myself out onto the highway.I thought about the joint in my suitcase and craved a hit. I fidgeted with my MP3 player and wished I could crank up some Black Sabbath tunes. But the battery was dead and daddy dearest refused to stop and buy more.

I wished I were dead about now.

Submitted by
Lynda Schab


Debbie Roome started writing at the age of six and has never looked back. She most enjoys writing Christian fiction that touches people's hearts and encourages them to grow.

Her winning entry was:

See Sarah Run
By Debbie Roome

It was exactly 2pm when Sarah put a match to the kitchen curtains. The exact time she should have started preparing his dinner. She’d lived with his routines for so long that she almost needed to be guided by them. The curtains caught quickly and searing flames leapt up to the ceiling boards. Billows of acrid smoke rolled across the counter tops and blobs of burning nylon from the curtains ignited a recipe book. Fascinated, she watched, marveling at how quickly the fire was spreading. The windows were open and the flames were greedily sucking in the oxygen they thrived on. An exploding bottle shocked her back to reality. The plan! She had to keep to the plan! The spare room was the one closest to the road and she flung open the windows.

Submitted by:
Debbie Roome

Congratulations ladies, and thanks to everyone for your participation!

Please extend your thanks to Janice Thompson for being our guest this week - go out and get a copy of her book The Wedding Caper.

I'll be announcing a new contest tomorrow morning, so come back and join the fun!

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Entry: A Second Chance

A Second Chance
By Debbie Roome


The door splintered open jerking her to full awareness. Pale light spilt in from the passageway, outlining the figure that was fumbling in the darkness. She knew he would find her. He always did, but it didn’t detract from the fear that coiled her insides. He located the light switch and a bare globe burned like a tiger’s eye, the dim light illuminating the dingy interior of the room. Burnt orange walls, scribbled with graffiti and a single window, grimy with age and neglect. Jeanette lay huddled on a lumpy double mattress, the only item in the room apart from her bags. The figure strode towards her and she braced herself, curling into a tiny ball as he raised a heavy booted foot and slammed it into her ribs.


Submitted by
Debbie Roome

Entry: The Timepiece

The Timepiece
by Karri Compton


Five-year-olds remember things, even after they've turned twenty-five. Every time T.J. entered her mom's house, she locked bitter memories deep into her mind's basement. Her hands shook as she hung her coat in the closet. The aroma of candles, meant to bring relaxation, only served to heighten her mounting headache and remind her of Dad and all that had happened years ago. She had moved out after graduation, hoping to leave the recollections behind her like so many dirty footprints in the snow. Exhaling deeply, T.J. commanded inner calm and called out to her mom.

Submitted by
Karri Compton

Entry: Runaway

Runaway
by Amy Barkman


“I fled him down the nights and down the days.” Okay, so that’s some guy talking about God but I’m serious. I fled from Harvey Crackenthorpe down the nights and days of my entire middle and high school years. I gave up in college and married him. The day we finally got the divorce I sat across the table from him and let myself wonder if I was making a mistake. It didn't take long to answer. No way. But later, on the steps outside the courthouse, we held each other and cried like babies.

Submitted by
Amy Barkman

Funnel of Fear
By Lynda Schab


The only thing worse than being cooped up in a mini van with my family for three days was knowing that I would soon be trapped in a three bedroom bungalow with my cousins, who were a bunch of Bible-thumping Jesus freaks. In the meantime, if my mom and sister sang, "Open the Eyes of my Heart, Lord," one more time, I swore I would open my door and fling myself out onto the highway.

I thought about the joint in my suitcase and craved a hit. I fidgeted with my MP3 player and wished I could crank up some Black Sabbath tunes. But the battery was dead and daddy dearest refused to stop and buy more.

I wished I were dead about now.

Submitted by
Lynda Schab

Entry: Swept off My Feet

Swept off my Feet
By Lynda Schab


I sit at the counter after a hard day at the office and flip the pages of my latest Christian Woman magazine. But I'm not really reading. In fact, at the moment, I am thinking thoughts that might not even be considered, “Christian.” At least, not to the single woman. But I’m married so the fantasies floating around in my brain have been pre-approved by God.

Whew!

I try skimming an article but totally can’t concentrate. My husband is such a distraction. Even after eighteen years, he can still make my heart go, “pitter-patter.” The weird thing is that this sudden urge to jump his bones pops up at the strangest times.

Like now.

Submitted by
Lynda Schab

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Entry: Fangs

Fangs
by Patty Wysong


Well, I must admit that when I grabbed that snake by the tail I never expected it to turn around and strike, but that’s exactly what it did. No hiss, no warning, just fangs striking at me. I mean, I thought it was just a harmless ol' snake. Boy, was I ever wrong.

“That man drives me crazy! I swear he’s the most inconsiderate person on the face of the earth. I’m sick to death having to follow along behind him, picking up his dirty clothes when he walks in the door after work.” Brenda took a deep breath, ready to continue her tirade, but Jill handed her a cookie.

Now, normally I keep my opinions to myself, but I must’ve had one too many Mountain Dews or something, because I was feeling mighty bold.




Submitted by
Patty Wysong

Entry: Nothing Without You

Nothing Without You
By Tiffany C. Kinerson


Whispers low-crawled toward him on the mottled gray carpet of the squadron hallway. They dodged and hid against the white slab walls and hard-backed wooden chairs. Like snipers, they seemed to wait for the perfect moment to pierce him with knowledge, send him crashing down beneath the force of their premonition.

This time it will be different. This time your boys will not be safe...

He closed the sound from his mind, glanced at his watch. His men would go to their final briefing in only ten more minutes.

Submitted by
Tiffany C. Kinerson

Entry: Walk on My Own Two Hands

Walk on My Own Two Hands
By Tiffany C. Kinerson


The high-pitched squeal blared through the tiny room. The plasticy wood paneling bounced the sounds from wall to wall until it grew into a huge cacophonous ball of drilling, squealing, sucking, screaming sounds that pummeled my eardrums.

I looked across the waiting room at Jennifer. “Are we sure about this?”


Submitted by
Tiffany C. Kinerson

Monday, January 7, 2008

Entry: See Sarah Run

See Sarah Run
By Debbie Roome


It was exactly 2pm when Sarah put a match to the kitchen curtains. The exact time she should have started preparing his dinner. She’d lived with his routines for so long that she almost needed to be guided by them. The curtains caught quickly and searing flames leapt up to the ceiling boards. Billows of acrid smoke rolled across the counter tops and blobs of burning nylon from the curtains ignited a recipe book. Fascinated, she watched, marveling at how quickly the fire was spreading. The windows were open and the flames were greedily sucking in the oxygen they thrived on. An exploding bottle shocked her back to reality. The plan! She had to keep to the plan! The spare room was the one closest to the road and she flung open the windows.

Submitted by:
Debbie Roome

Entry: Does a Mustard Seed Have Faith?

Does a Mustard Seed Have Faith?
By John Meyer


What did Jesus mean when He said in Luke 17:6 “....If ye had faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye might say unto this sycamine tree, Be thou plucked up by the root, and be thou planted in the sea; and it should obey you.” Or in Matthew 17:20 when He said “....if ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.”?

Does a grain of mustard seed have faith? I’d like to tell you a little story.


My book, Does A Mustard Seed Have Faith? is a story about a mustard seed named Unrealised Potential but everyone just calls him UP for short.

Submitted by:
John Meyer

Contest Entry: The Cross of Love

The Cross of Love
by Carolyn M. Kenney


“Crucify Him! Crucify Him!” the crowd shouted angrily at Pilot. He had no choice but to release Barabbas to them. Jesus stood off to the side with bowed head, praying silently to His Father. He felt the soldiers grab Him by the elbows and lead Him away as the blood dripped from the crown of thorns on His sacred Head. His breathing became labored; the pain from the scourging caused unbearable torments throughout His body. The agony was tremendous, but He picked up the cross lying before Him on the ground and started to carry it to Calvary.


Suddenly Jesus could hear noise and pushing coming from the crowd around Him. He saw a tall, well-built man step forward. Jesus heard one of the guards yell at the man, "Pick up that cross! Now!"


Submitted by
Carolyn M. Kenney

Contest: Are they HOOKED?

Hooking a reader into the story is paramount for writers. Does your first paragraph hook the reader enough to pull them into your story?

Welcome back, Pix-N-Pen readers! Happy New Year! We have some exciting contests and a few changes for you in the coming months, so spread the word and encourage your friends to participate. How do you like the new look?

This week's contest: Give us your best hook! Submit the opening paragraph of your book or story - 250 words max - for a chance to win. Send your entry to tracyruckman [at] gmail.com by Sunday night, January 13th. The winner will be announced next Tuesday, January 15th.

Our special guest judge is...gosh, I was going to say a "consummate hooker" but that didn't come out right! :-) She writes GREAT opening hooks. Whew. That's better - now maybe she'll let me off the hook.

Janice Thompson is the author of books in a wide variety of genres—everything from inspirational romance, to cozy mysteries, historicals, non-fiction books and devotion. She currently juggles her time between writing for the Christian market and editing for clients through her new company, Writers GPS.

Janice is giving away an autographed copy of her book The Wedding Caper, which has an awesome hook of its own: "I've had an aversion to Tuesdays ever since the day my husband robbed the Clark County Savings and Loan."

Send us YOUR hook and WIN!