Saturday, June 9, 2012

Call to Writers - Samaritan's Purse

Work With Us

Senior Writer/Communications (1180)

Boone, NC - We’re looking for a top-notch Senior Writer to work on a dynamic team in a fast-paced environment. The ideal candidate must possess excellent writing and editing skills, with attention to organization, readability, clarity, syntax, accuracy, consistency, grammar, etc. The Senior Writer will produce creative, compelling copy for a wide range of publications, including newsletters, magazines, Web stories, ads, brochures, handbooks, forms, and correspondence. Responsibilities include working closely with graphic artists and photo librarians to achieve best design and layout of publications. Requires at least a bachelor’s degree in journalism, English, communications, marketing, or related field, and 5-10 years of relevant experience. Non-profit experience a plus. Candidate must have a solid Christian commitment, consistent witness for Jesus Christ, and be able to manage multiple assignments, take direction willingly, meet deadlines, and work well in a team environment. Please provide samples of your work via website link within your resume, or email samples to after completing application.

Mission Statement:
Samaritan's Purse is a nondenominational evangelical Christian organization providing spiritual and physical aid to hurting people around the world. Since 1970, Samaritan's Purse has helped meet needs of people who are victims of war, poverty, natural disasters, disease, and famine with the purpose of sharing God's love through His Son, Jesus Christ. The organization serves the Church worldwide to promote the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Distinct Objectives:
The work of Samaritan’s Purse is marked by five distinct objectives, grounded in Scripture and biblical principles:
PROCLAIM THE GOSPEL - EXALT Christ and share the Gospel while working in His Name around the world
SERVE WITH EXCELLENCE - EXCEED the world’s standard while serving the purposes of God’s kingdom
RESPOND WITH COMPASSIONATE ACTION - EXPEDITE our response to needs as the Lord reveals opportunities to minister
DEMONSTRATE BIBLICAL INTEGRITY - EXHIBIT character and integrity personally, at home and work
WALK IN BOLD FAITH - EXPECT God to do the impossible-- “God Room”

Here is a link to the page where you will find this information and more.

Don't forget to let fellow bootcampers know if you are the one who got the job!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Writing for Lifeway

Becky Hillman

Have you ever wondered how Lifeway gets thier many publications filled? Beth Moore is good, but she can't write everything they publish. That's where we as freelance Christian writers come in. They have several categories that they need and use freelance writers for including:

  • Curriculum Study Materials and Personal Growth Materials
  • Ministry Periodicals
  • Devotional, Christian Living, and Life Enrichment Resources
  • Books

Most of what they do is on assignment, which means that once you have established a relationship with the right person for the periodical or department you are interested in, they send you an assignment. But remember, for Lifeway is not just another freelance job, it's a calling from God. They take that seriously at Lifeway, and so should you. So start your search with prayer.

Here is a great starting place. It's a link to the different categories where they use writers like us and the best ways to get started with them.

Below is a list of the different categories from the website and publications for each:

Curriculum Study Materials and Personal Growth Materials
There are many publications that fall under this category. Most of the writers they use attend a Southern Baptist Church and are involved in the type of study they are writing. If you are interested in writing this types of material, you will find a hyperklink in the above web address for a form to fill out.

Ministry Periodicals
The following periodicals are non-study activities, and are for specific ministry avenues.

The Deacon provides tips and devotions for deacons in the Southern Baptist church.

Let's Worship  is a handy resource for the worship arts ministry staff.  It includes music, dramas, sermons, ministry ideas, and more.

Special Education Today is a magazine dedicatd to helping churches improve thier outreach to families with children with special needs.

Devotional, Christian Living, and Life Enrichment Resources
The following provide Bible reading and devotional features:
  • Open Windows (for adults)
  • Quietud (Spanish devotional guide)
  • Journey (for women)
  • Stand Firm (for men)
  • Bible Express (for children)
  • More (for younger children)
  • Adventure (for older children)
  • Essential connection (for youth)

If you are interested in submitting work to these titles, start by requesting writers' guidelines from the editor of the periodical(s) for which you desire to write. Send requests for guidelines to:

Editor, (name of periodical)
One LifeWay Plaza
Nashville, TN 37234

If you have a book that you would like to submit to Lifeway, you can request writer's guidelines by sending a self-addressed stamped envelope to:
Broadman & Holman Publishers
127 Ninth Avenue, North
Nashville, TN 37234-0115

  1. I know this is a lot of information, but it's a start. Visit the website listed above to get more information on the different categories you may be interested in. Do some of your own research by browsing magazines and Bible studies at the Lifeway store. This will help you focus in the right direction and eliminate some things as well. Once you've written something for Lifeway, don't forget to share your experience with your fellow bootcampers. Remember, we're all in this together and want to cheer you on!

Monday, May 28, 2012


Mary Edwards

Zip a dee doo dah,
Zip a dee ay,
I got a rejection letter today!
Plenty of others heading my way,
Picking my pen back up
And writing away!

Several of my writer peers received rejection letters. We wanted to enjoy acceptance letters. Rather than basking in the sadness, we tried to see the lighter side of rejection. We penned these words to a jingle that made us smile. It reminded us to be patient in our work and not give up. The song became a catchy little reminder tune. We laughed when we sang it. I loved the joy it brought. 

It wasn't easy to be patient, though. Through encouragement we found the joy God promised.
I looked up the word patience in the dictionary. It read, “to be able to be calm, tolerant, and understanding”. The word calm means being in control of your emotions. The word tolerant is to be kind and show consideration to people who are different than you. Understanding means being able to put yourself in another person’s shoes.

I find myself struggling with all of these, especially when I write and want things to happen now.  I want others to like my work just like I wrote it.  Constructive criticism is often difficult to take, even when I ask for it. However, it is a form of education and education brings knowledge. The Holy Spirit helps you find wisdom, and the friends God places in our lives help us find and learn patience.

I am grateful to my Christian writer's group of encouragers who remind me of God's word. I would be even more impatient if it weren't for His words. The encouragers’ embrace this doubting, intolerant writer with the love of the Lord, and they show me that there are rewards in being patient and waiting upon the Lord. He is so good to us and is our perfect example of patience. I wonder if He ever sings Zip a dee do da when He gets rejected?

Monday, May 21, 2012

Steps to Protect Yourself from Online Hackers

Edie Melson
Last week I shared What to do if You’ve been Hacked. This week I want to give you some tips to help prevent it from happening. Unfortunately, nothing is foolproof. Inevitably, the more wise we become at protecting ourselves, the more cunning those wishing us harm become.

The majority of times we get hacked it’s because we clicked a link that uploaded a virus which opened us up to hackers.

This is the bad news, but there’s also good news. This kind of hacking is preventable, and here are some steps to take to stay safe online.

  • Be wise. This seems basic, but so many times we just ignore our better judgement. How many of us have been sucked in by direct messages like these? “Have you heard the rumors your friend is spreading about you?” or “This is a hilarious video just uploaded about you.” Stop. Think. Then DON’T click that link!
  • Assume it’s a lie. About six months ago I got an email from an online company confirming a large purchase with my credit card. I knew I hadn’t made any purchases, but still had to fight the urge to panic. I took a step back and looked more closely at the email. I noticed several things that made me suspicious. I immediately did an online search for scams involving that company and came up with pages of recent victims. I contacted the company directly (not through the info in their email) and confirmed the email was a ruse.
  • Never give out sensitive information. Let me repeat, NEVER GIVE OUT SENSITIVE INFORMATION! Companies don’t ask for bank account info, passwords or other information over the internet. First, if you’re a customer, they already have all of your information they need. Keeping up with personal passwords is a liability for companies. 

Now, a quick word about passwords. I know you don’t want to hear it, but your password should be different for every account you have. If you’re like me you probably have dozens of accounts, so how can you keep up with all those passwords? Trust me, it’s not with sticky notes or a file on your computer.

Instead, take advantage of some wonderful programs. Some charge a small fee, others are free—all have the highest security rating available. 

Keepass X (for Mac) and Keepass (for PC)

There are also blank booklets available for those of you who are old school and want something you can hold in your hand. I’ve seen them at local discount stores, as well as high end specialty stores.

Now it’s your turn, what are some tricks you use to stay safe online? 

Don’t forget to join the conversation!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Help, I've Been Hacked, Now What?

A Guest post by Edie Melson

Many of us have experienced the sinking feeling that comes with the realization that one (or more) of our social media profiles have been hacked. It's nothing to be ashamed of, but it can sure wreck an otherwise blissful day. 

The easiest way to get hacked is to click on a link that contains a virus allowing hackers access to your accounts. When you click on the link, you may see a message telling you the link is broken. That doesn’t mean you’ve dodged the bullet. If your firewall or virus software doesn’t catch it, you’ll still be infected. 

Some of the most common messages that spread viruses and allow hackers access are:
“Did you know your friends are spreading nasty rumors about you?” 
“This is a hilarious video of you.”

So what’s a social media professional to do, cancel all accounts and slink away in shame?


In this post I'll give you the steps to repair the damage. In the next post I'll give you some tips to keep it from happening again.

First, change your password for the social media profile that’s been compromised. 

  • Go to your home page and click on VIEW MY PROFILE PAGE under your name in the top left of the screen.
  • Then click on PASSWORD and follow the directions to change your password.

  • Go to your home page and click on the arrow to the right of your profile name in the solid blue header.
  • You should land on General Account Settings. From here click PASSWORD and change your password.

Next, you need to check and make certain the damage hasn't spread. Changing your password is just the first step. For this, you’ll need to visit the app section for Twitter and Facebook. Here’s how:

  • Go to your home page and click on VIEW MY PROFILE PAGE under your name in the top left of the screen.
  • Then click on APPS. Here you’ll see a list of apps that have access to your Twitter account. I recommend you revoke access to any you don’t recognize or haven’t used in a while.

  • Go to your home page and click on the arrow to the right of your profile name in the solid blue header.
  • Click on APPS. Here, too, you’ll see a list of apps that have access to your Facebook account. Again, I recommend you revoke access to any you don’t recognize or haven’t used in a while.

The fear of getting hacked shouldn't keep us from exploring social networking, anymore than the fear of identity theft should keep us from using a debit or credit card. But we all need to play smart. 

How about you, have you ever been hacked? 
Don't forget to join the conversation at

Monday, May 7, 2012

Self-Editing Your Article

By Becky Hillman

Your article is finally finished and you’re ready to send it off to be published. But is the article ready? Have you taken the necessary steps to make sure it’s all it can be? You’ve worked hard to get to this point, don’t slack off now. Besides, your name is going to be attached to this piece, you want it to be something you can be proud of. Here are some self-editing tips from a 2012 Writers Advance! Boot Camp class taught by Ann Tatlock to help you out.

Once your article is finished, Ann suggests “giving it a cooling-off period. Come back later with fresh eyes. In the meantime, let a critique partner read the material.” I like to ask my husband to read things I’ve written because I know he will be honest about it. He is good at letting me know when he doesn’t understand the point I’m trying to make, or when a sentence seems a bit wordy.

Once it’s back in my hands, the fun begins. Here are some questions Ann says to ask yourself:

Do I have an effective lead?
An effective lead is probably one of the most important parts of an article, or any piece or writing for that matter. If you don’t hook the reader in, they will put down what they are reading and move on to something else.

Have I stuck to the point or gotten off on rabbit trails?
Sticking to the point is difficult at best, so you must be careful with this one. A critique partner or an honest friend is most helpful here. They can easily see where you have gone bird walking and will help pull you back in.

Have I left gaps in information?
Right tight! We all heard it more than once at the 2012 Writers Advance! Boot Camp, but not at the expense of leaving the reader guessing at what you really mean. You want to leave some things to their imagination, but not so much they are left in the dark.

Do I have a good balance of narrative and dialogue?
If your article includes dialogue, keep it balanced with the narrative. Maintaining this balance keeps readers on their toes. Too much of either one can be awkward and boring.

When I read it aloud, does if flow? (Vary sentence length.)
Speaking of awkward, read your article out loud. This feels a bit strange, but allows you to check the flow. Are your sentences too short and choppy? Or maybe you have long run-on sentences. A good flow will hold a reader’s attention and keep them looking for more.

Is the ending satisfying and does it give the reader something to take away and think about?
Satisfy your audience with a challenging ending. Give them something useful, something they can think about long after they have put your article down.

As you read through each paragraph, Ann points out the following items to make your work shine:
  •  Cut out the deadwood. Get rid of the words that aren’t necessary, especially overused adverbs or adjectives. Look for repetitive words and delete them.
  • Ask yourself, “Is this the right word to use?” Words that are similar may still have different shades of meaning. Use a thesaurus or synonym finder.
  • Circle passive verbs (is, was, were, etc.) and use active verbs instead.
  • Look for end-of-sentence prepositions and see if you can rework the sentence.
  • Avoid clichés. Strive for originality.
  • Check for incorrect grammar, misspelled words and typos.
Remember, your name will be attached to your work and people will read it. If it gets into the hands of an editor, you want them to see your best. Do what you can to polish it so what they read is worth remembering.

Like me, I’m sure you are grateful to Ann for taking the time and effort to share her wisdom. Now, let’s pick up our marching orders and use her advice to write the best articles the world has ever seen. And share those articles with your fellow boot campers. Remember, we are all in this together!

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Got Nothing. Aurrghh!

By Nan Trammell Jones

I was stumped. The freshly written devotion was powerful, poignant - even unique. But I had no idea how to bring it full circle and end it with a life-changing punch. I clicked my fingertips against the computer keys. Nothing. Moments later, I clasped my hands, rolled them forward and stretched them high above my head, bobbing my neck from side to side, willing the muscles to relax. Still nothing. I lost myself in the candle’s flickering flame teasing me with its fresh apple scent and, you guessed it. Nothing.

And then I remembered.

When I decided to get serious about my writing, the first book I read was Marlene Bagnull’s, Write His Answer. In this fabulous bible study for writers, Marlene instructs the writer to learn to sit quietly before the Lord and listen to His gentle whisper. Ask Him, “Lord, what is Your answer here? What do you want my words to say?” This is a simple solution. It requires discipline, but the results can be stunning.

I have applied Marlene’s instruction many times. When I sat at the keyboard and stared at a blank screen, I sat quietly for a moment, then asked those very questions, “Lord, what is Your answer? What do you want me to write?” Oftentimes, I only hear one word deep in my spirit. If I am willing to type that one word – and trust that I have heard from the Lord – the sentences begin to unfold. It is a matter of intentionally seeking His guidance and listening for His sweet voice. No one is more surprised at His answers than me.

He amazes me every time.

You may visit Nan at her website: or stop by Morning Glory:

If you are interested int the book Nan mentioned, Write His Answer by Marlene Bagnull, use the following link to check it out and possibly purchase it.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Call to Writers - OakTara Publishers

To all writers and writers’ group leaders:

Want to get your foot in the door in publishing? Or to expand your current publishing credits? OakTara Publishers (see and attached About OakTara.pdf) is looking for new authors and growing authors like you who have a great story to tell!

Do you have a great falling-in-love story? Or know someone who does who would be willing for you to write it on their behalf? We want to hear it! OakTara is looking for short stories—real-life love stories—for our upcoming anthology, to be published in fall 2012. If your story is chosen, you’ll receive either a cash award or a royalty percentage of net retail sales, plus complimentary copies of the book. And you’ll be a published author, with a credit to add to your growing publishing résumé!

For more information, visit

The deadline for submissions is June 15th, 2012. Send all questions and submissions to
We anticipate hearing from you!

Jennifer Wessner
Social Networking Director
A place to call home

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Copyright 101 for Bloggers, Part Two

Edie Melson
Today I want to finish up my series on copyright.

First, I want to state right up front that I am NOT a lawyer and none of what I’ve said or will say constitutes any kind of legal advice. All I’m trying to do is learn how to be responsible online and share that knowledge with you.

That said, at the end of this post I’m going to give you some links to the places where I found my information so you can go check out the specifics for yourself.
Now, onto the remaining answer of the quiz.

More Copyright Information
Number Seven—FALSE—Fair Use. We are all used to being able to quote passages from books and not get into any kind of copyright infringement. I am here to tell you, that is NOT the case with a song. The only part of a song you may quote is the title.

If you’ve seen songs quoted in published books either someone paid a use fee or the author wrote the song himself. I’ve known of two authors who self-published books and had to pull the books because of songs quoted without permission.

Number Eight—FALSE—Copyright Symbol (c). Copyright symbols are visual REMINDERS that what you’re reading belongs to someone. Just because there isn’t one doesn’t affect the status of what you see in print or online. If someone wrote it, it’s copyrighted.

SPECIAL NOTE: You do not have to apply for a copyright for your work...EVER. You can register your copyright, but it’s expensive and cumbersome to do. And it’s rarely necessary.

Number Nine—TRUE—Facebook Use. This is another trick question I snuck in. Because of the user agreement you signed when you registered for a Facebook account you agreed that your photos were able to be used by them for different online purposes. This makes it VERY difficult to prove in a court of law that you don’t mean that permission for everyone else on Facebook. So, if I post my Niagara Falls vacation photos on Facebook, I can’t complain if you borrow them.
Now, it’s always good manners to ask permission, but it’s probably not going to get you in any legal trouble.

ANOTHER SPECIAL NOTE: If the person posting the photo did so illegally, and you repost it, then you are just as guilty and can also be charged with copyright infringement.

I Pinterest, do you?
Number Ten—FALSE—Pinterest. I don’t know about you, but I LOVE Pinterest! I guess I’m just a visual kind of girl. But there are a lot of folks getting into trouble on Pinterest right now. We have to follow ALL the copyright rules when we’re pinning, just like when we’re posting on our blogs. And, if you violate a copyright with one of your Pinterest boards you, and you ONLY, are liable for any fines or charges. You agreed to this when you opened your Pinterest account and accepted their terms of use. If you want to read them again, here is the direct link:

But there is one slight loophole. If someone or some business has a Pinterest button on their website, you can assume they want their stuff to be pinned and you should be okay.

Number Eleven—TRUE—Book Reviews/Recommendations. This is an instance of Fair Use. As long as you’re not saying the book in question is written by you (if it’s not) you can legally post a review and use the cover.

Number Twelve—FALSE—Copyright Expiration. A lot of folks have heard that copyrights expire after 70 years. In some cases that’s true...but not all. There are some instances when copyright expires 70 years after the author/creators death. There are also times when copyrights are renewed. Beyond that, there are other exceptions, so while the 70 year rule is a good place to start—it’s not the place to end.

No need to Fear
This series of posts was NOT generated to scare you, but to give you confidence in what you’re doing and doing well. Being a writer would give me a reason to be passionate about this, but I also come from a creative family. My mother is Monita Mahoney, an internationally known artist and my dad is a classical musician, as well as a landscape photographer. Believe me when I say, I cut my teeth on this stuff. Back in the day, I’ve known my mother to correct complete strangers standing in front of copying machines with art books.

Now it’s your turn, feel free to use the comments section to let me clarify any thing that wasn’t clear or anything I didn’t cover.
Don’t forget to join the Conversation!

You can check out Edie's blog at

Resources (thought I’d forgotten, didn’t you!)
Good explanations of copyright
Public Domain Info
YouTube Info: