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The FaithWriters' Heartbeat Week 1
by Deborah Porter 
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Hi everyone. For those who have not yet ďmetĒ me, Iím Deb Porter--long time FaithWriters member (the 11th to be exact) and general busy bee around the place. Youíll find me hard at work coordinating the Challenge, editing FaithWritersí Magazine and the quarterly anthologies, coordinating the book review section, making sure everyone is taken care of over on the message boards, and a few other bits and pieces here and there as well--but thatís enough about me.

As FaithWriters is getting bigger and bigger (28,266 members as I write this--wow!) I really thought it would be good to have a non-email way to keep members in the loop with everything thatís happening each week--the official things and the fun things as well. All the news, FAQís and chat that will help new members find their way around, and old timers catch up on whatís happening.

First things first, did you know that there are two FaithWritersí newsletters each month? Thereís one for all FaithWriters members and another for the FaithWriters 500 members. Both newsletters are a must to read--seriously. They are not only crammed full of all the important information you need, they are also really entertaining.

If you are thinking, "Yes Deb, we do get our newsletters, and you are SO right! Theyíre more fun than a trip to Disneyland," then you can move on down a couple of paragraphs (although if thatís really what you think, you may want to try turning off the computer and getting out a bit more often). If, however, you are thinking, "There are newsletters?" then keep on reading.

If you havenít been receiving your newsletters, then there are two possible reasons. The first, and most common one, is that your email or internet provider is blocking email from FaithWriters or, bless their hearts, sending it straight to your junk mail or bulk mail box. If you have a Yahoo, Hotmail or AOL account, this is highly likely, so please keep an eye on your junk/bulk mail boxes--just in case. You may be surprised how much you are missing. The second possibility is that your own spam settings are blocking emails from us.

This problem with email is growing, thanks to all the spammers out there, and it makes communicating with members very difficult. So if you havenít been receiving your newsletters, notifications, and other important updates from FaithWriters, please try checking your junk/bulk mail boxes or your own spam settings. If that doesnít solve the problem, then you may need to contact your internet provider and see if they are blocking mail from faithwriters.com.

In the meantime, hereís the link to the newsletter archives:

FaithWriters Newsletter Archives

If you are a 500 member, you can access the 500 newsletter by logging into your FaithWriters account and clicking on the red link to the FaithWriters 500 Member Area. (Itís above the big Private Messenger box).

When you get there, scroll down until you get to the Newsletter box. This newsletter is a must for 500 members. Donít miss it.

Now, on to other things...

Have you been enjoying the Challenge this quarter? In case you havenít realized, this is the genre/style quarter, and it has been stretching members more than any other quarter in the history of the Challenge.

I have to admit that Iíve been thrilled to see loads of new names entering each week and lots of new names in the list of winners, too. One of the most surprising weeks so far was the Science Fiction Challenge a few weeks ago. There was something really buzzing in those entries and I loved hearing comments like, ďI would never have even thought of writing something like this, but I really enjoyed it.Ē

Itís been interesting watching how people react to the different genres. Historical had more than a few cringing (seems that ďHistoryĒ was one of the most hated subjects at school for a lot of members), but the great thing has been seeing so many people rise to the Challenge each week and give it a go. Itís that attitude that makes the Challenge what it is, and our regular challengeers are the best. So whether you place or not, if you have entered any of the topics this quarter, then as far as Iím concerned, you are a winner!

This weekís topic, ďWriting for Children,Ē is proving to be a fun one, based on the titles submitted so far. Just a reminder, thoughówatch your word count. The minimum is 150 words, and the maximum is 750, and we do enforce that rule. The Poetry Challenge was a nightmare for word count, with around 18 entries having to be disqualified and removed (some only 40 or so words long). We have to remove them because of the 200 entry limit. If we had left the disqualified entries in the list, it would have meant that 18 other people would have missed out on entering.

Also, just on the "Childrens" topic, please make sure that your stories are aimed at children or pre-teens, not teenagers.

By the way, do you know how we judge the Challenge? Did you know that I post a list of the highest ranked entries (top 40 overall, and top 15 for each level) every Thursday afternoon on the message boards? Did you know that the ten highest ranked entries each week go into one of the FaithWriters books? Do you know why we call it a ďchallengeĒ and not a ďcontest?Ē These questions and more will be answered in the coming weeks. If you canít bear to wait, why not pop over to the message boards and find out some of this information for yourself? Itís a great place to spend time.

By the way, all the FaithWriters books are available here, or through Amazon:

FaithWriters Books

Our next book, Abundance of Life, will be available very soon, and I have to say I love this particular book. Itís a delight from start to finish. It fizzes with life, which is exactly what you would expect. Honestly, the FaithWriters books make fantastic reading and great gifts. We were invited to a friendís home for dinner recently, and I took our seventh book, Journey of Faith, as a gift for her. She was delighted and has loved the fact that she can pick it up and read a quick bit of inspiration whenever she wants. She grabbed me after church a few weeks later and said that sheís laughed, cried and been inspired, which is exactly the reaction we want from our readers.

Moving right along....

Well, Iím off to get my passport organized on Monday. The photos have been taken (not as bad as my driverís license, but no glamour shot either), and now itís a case of getting the paperwork underway. Then I just have to get my airline tickets ready, and after that Iíll be counting down the days until the first FaithWritersí Conference in Michigan in August. I can hardly wait. Believe me, it has to be something really wonderful to get me to travel all the way from Australia by myself--and I know that this conference is going to be a turning point for FaithWriters and everyone who attends.

Apart from the privilege of speaking at the conference, I have to admit that I am so excited about meeting all my FaithWriters friends (and some new ones as well). I had a really long telephone conversation with Scott Lindsay (the owner, creator and driving force behind FaithWriters) a few weeks ago, and we are both really looking forward to seeing everyone in August. We know itís going to be a fantastic event, and we want as many FaithWriters members as possible to be there.

Itís quite funny, but the lead up to the conference is a bit like preparing for a wedding. The third member of the conference organizing team, Amy Wiley, has started having dreams about it already. I havenít quite had that happen yet, but theyíll probably start once the event draws nearer. Iím pretty sure Amyís dream isnít going to come to pass, though, as she had me climbing trees outside the hotel, which I can tell you right now just ainít gonna happen!

Even so, message board regular, Al Boyce, very thoughtfully posted a Google earth shot of the Radisson Hotel, and circled all the trees in the immediate vicinity, just in case I do end up deciding to act like a koala.

So, are you going to be there? Itís definitely not too late to register, and we would be delighted to have you with us. Itís going to be so much fun, and I am sure you will leave inspired. We had a little Australian FaithWriters Conference last August, with just a handful of ladies, and the impact of that weekend together was incredible. So I really encourage you to do everything you can to be at the US conference this year:

Conference Information and Registration Form

Oh, and for the Aussies and Kiwis, we are planning to have another FaithWriters Down Under conference next year, so stay tuned for that. Or even better, leave a note in the feedback box below if you might be interested in attending.

Anyway, to keep up with all the latest conference buzz, make sure you visit the message boards here:

Conference Information on the Boards

Speaking of the message boards, itís been great to see our old mate, Maxx (our first Best of the Best winner) back in action. Not only is he back on the boards, but heís also back in the Challenge, and back in the winners list with his poetry entry (congrats Maxx!).

This win with poetry has kicked off a very funny thread on the boards. Has Maxx lost his gritty, boundary-pushing edge to become a sensitive ďnew ageĒ guy? If you need a laugh, and are familiar with Maxxís work, then donít miss this very tongue-in-cheek thread on the boards:

Maxxís No, No, No Thread

Thereís a really loving, encouraging community over on the message boards, and we even have a place for you to post your prayers. So if you have a prayer need, come on over and let your brothers and sisters in Christ lift your need to the Lord.

Well, thatís more than enough for this weekís Heartbeat. Now itís over to you. I have loads of information and FAQís to share with you over the coming weeks, but I want to know what you want to know. So if there is a question about FaithWriters that youíve been desperate to know, just leave me a note in the comment box below, and Iíll answer some each week.

Also, each week Iíll try and highlight some articles or challenge entries that have caught my eye. This week I have to shine the spotlight on one of the entries in the recent Humor challenge. This entry didnít win, but it sure struck a chord with a lot of feedback-loving members. So if you get a chance, take the time to read:

FaithWriters Feedback by Ed VanDeMark

By the way, if you have ever wanted more feedback on your Challenge entries (and who doesnít?), make sure you stop by the message boards on a Monday night. As soon as I give the ďall clearĒ (meaning the judges have finished reading and rating entries, and the winners list is on the way to FaithWriters), members are able to start hinting about which entries belong to them. Itís a great way to point more readers in the direction of your work (and a lot of fun too). Just make a beeline to the Writing Challenge forum on the boards.

Well, thatís it for this week. Keep writing, rising to the Challenge, and being a shining light for His glory!


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FaithReaders Interview with Deb Porter

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Member Comments
Member Date
Deborah Anderson 06 Jun 2007
Thanks for another great job, Deb. God bless you for all the hard work you do here at FaithWriters. You know I love ya, sister! :-)
terri tiffany 05 Jun 2007
This was great to read and loved the links being handy! Thanks for all your hard work here Deb!
dub W 03 Jun 2007
Nice idea deb. Thanx.
Amy Michelle Wiley  02 Jun 2007
Great first Heartbeat, Deb! Cool idea. Beleive it or not, I dreamed about the conference again last night, hehe. Only this time I couldn't find anyone I knew. Ha, like that's gonna happen! The place'll be jammed with friends.
Jesus Puppy  02 Jun 2007
Quote: (although if thatís really what you think, you may want to try turning off the computer and getting out a bit more often). Is that to say Some of us don't have a life..? :P Good work on the page Sis, makes me want to hang around more.. well except for thet one comment about me not having a life.. :)
Tamara Rodrigues 02 Jun 2007
Awesome way to communicate Deb. I haven't gotten a faithwriters newsletter in forever. Yet, I have you on my notice list and got your email. Very odd...... Blessings - Tam..
Venice Kichura 02 Jun 2007
I agree with the above comments, Deb. This is an excellent article & idea. I so enjoyed reading it.
Shari Armstrong  02 Jun 2007
Thanks, Deb, for all you do :)
Pat Guy  02 Jun 2007
This is a wonderful idea Deb! Perfect! :)
Jacquelyn Horne 02 Jun 2007
Deb.....this is great! I learned a lot. I have not been receiving newsletters either, but I'm on DSL. I'll check out my computer setting (when I find out how). This should be good for newbies and old pros alike.
Donna J. Shepherd 02 Jun 2007
Deb, thanks for the update, and for all your hard work. Your enthusiasm is contagious! Donna
Betty Castleberry 02 Jun 2007
What a wonderful idea, Deb, and what a blessing you are. Thank you for this.
Verna Cole Mitchell  02 Jun 2007
What an upbeat, draw-you-in article! I'll look forward to the ones to follow. I receive the FW general letter but not the 500 one. Thanks for all you do. I especially appreciate your sweet spirit, as well as your witness and your wisdom. I just believe you might be the "heartbeat" at FaithWriters!


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