Friday, December 30, 2011

ACFW Genesis Contest

It's been too long since I posted anything and I do apologize. Contests are a great way for writers to get published and earn recognition for their writing. American Christian Fiction Writers is a highly reputable organization well worth joining. Their Genesis contest is open to members and nonmembers. Check out the link below. If you decide to enter, thoroughly read and follow ALL submission instructions.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Call for Submission


Based on Psalm 103, God’s Benefit Package devotions remind readers of all the amazing things our Heavenly Father does for his people - from his compassion and mercy to his unfailing love and healing power.

We are looking for first-person, true stories of times in your life when God has proved faithful to his divine nature as described in Psalm 103 - whether it be forgiveness, healing, compassion, patience,  or any of the other ‘benefits’ listed in the chapter.

Benefit Package is a compilation project contracted with CrossRiver Publishing and has a tentative release date in early Summer 2012.


·         Deadline for submissions is December 23, 2011.
·         Devotions must include a verse (other than Ps. 103) along with the true story, practical application commentary and suggested prayer topic. Please indicate which benefit (including verse) in Psalm 103 you feel your story most closely fits.
·         Please include a brief bio to be included with the devotional.
·         Word count should be between 500 and 1000 words.
·         Topics include but are not limited to God’s forgiveness, healing, life-saving power, justice, compassion, mercy, patience and father-like nature. (Please see list of benefits in Ps. 103)
·         You may submit original or reprinted work, however if it is a reprint, please tell us where it was published and assure us you own the reprint rights. 
·         We will edit selected stories for clarity, consistency and style. We will not change factual information. If you are unwilling to allow edits, please do not submit.
·         If your story is selected, we will notify you by email by February or March 2012.
·         Contributors will receive a contributor credit along with one free copy of Benefit Package (working title). Author will also be able to order additional copies at a significantly discounted rate.
·         Please send submissions to

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Writing Opportunity

Cec Murphey and Twila Belk have a contract with Summerside/Guideposts for a compilation book titled Heavenly Company: Entertaining Angels and Other Strangers. It’s set for an August 2012 release. Do you have an angel story? Visit for guidelines and submission details. Deadline for submissions is November 12.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Grammar Help

Do you know when to use e.g. instead of i.e.? What about who and whom? I admit, there are a lot of grammatical rules I often struggle to remember, and whether you are a splendid grammarian or a lousy one, we all need help now and then. If you don't have a desk reference on grammar (a wise investment for those who really struggle with this), one Web site I recommend using is Grammar Girl. Yes, you'll find the advice you need for the above questions at Grammar Girl and much more. Punctuation? Word choices? Style? You'll find them all. My favorite feature on any Web site the Search Box. It saves me time, and I need all the help I can get in that arena. Pop on over and check it out. You'll be glad you did.

Do you have a Web site you like? Please share it our readers.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

The Idea Book

People often ask writers where they get their ideas. Perhaps just as important as where we get ideas is "How do you remember them all?" New ideas often hit me in the middle of working on something else, and I needed to save the idea and continue with my work. A system I learned from another writer that has worked well for me is the idea book.

The system uses two small note pads and one composition book. One note pad I keep on the bedside table along with a pencil so I can write down anything that strikes me in the middle of the night--yes, it happens. The other small note pad, I keep in my purse. This way I am assured of having a way to write things down, wherever I'm at, even if it means pulling off the road to do it. (I do a lot of thinking on my commute.) The composition notebook I keep at home in the office, ready to grab when a thought strikes. This allows me to jot down the basics and then go back to what I was working on. Later, when I'm ready to start another story or article, I can refer to my idea book and its ready list of choices.

What system do you use? Please share it with us.

Happy writing!

Friday, September 30, 2011

What Would You Recommend?

I could spend all day browsing the aisles of a book store. If I could have my way, I would have a library in my home like the ones I've seen in the castles of Europe with floor to ceiling shelves on all four walls! For now, I have to settle for two bookcases, with the makings to fill a third beginning to pile up on the living room and office floors.

When it comes to choosing a book about writing, I study the offerings carefully. I have a budget to meet like everyone else and want to make sure I get the best one. Two books I continually pull off the shelf are The Writer's Little Helper by James V. Smith, Jr. and An Introduction to Christian Writing by Ethel Herr. Each has tools you'll use the rest of your writing career.

Do you have a favorite or two? Please share with us the books that have made the greatest impact on your skills as a writer.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Writers' Conference and the Elevator Pitch

A writer's major goal is to get published, and writers' conferences open that door. This year, I am excited to be part of the faculty of the Heart of America Christian Writers Conference where I will be teaching two workshops. As a webzine editor, I will also be meeting with writers to hear what they have to offer for publication in Glory and Strength.

But you can't simply show up and expect publishers and editors to snatch up your writing like hungry wolves. You've got to be prepared with specific information they want to hear. One of those pieces of information is your elevator pitch.

Michael Hyatt, chairman of Thomas Nelson Publishers, has been in the book publishing industry for his entire career. His blog post today, The 4 Components of a Compelling Elevator Pitch, is must-have advice for your next conference. And though I am part of the faculty for this year's HACWN conference, I plan on doing some pitching of my own. This advice couldn't have come at a better time! The wonderful part about elevator pitches is they aren't just for conferences. The very nature of this quick speech means you can give it whenever an opportunity presents itself. Read it, save it, and be better prepared for publishing success.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Cec Murphey's Writer to Writer

One of the most outstanding blogs available for learning the craft of writing is Cecil Murphey's Writer to Writer. He has written or co-written over 100 books and hundreds of articles. His book 90 Minutes in Heaven with Don Piper has been on the New York Times' best seller list since October 2006.

Murphey is also a panelist for The Writers View 2, an online Christian writers group for beginning  and intermediate writers serious about learning their craft. I joined the group in 2006 and have made new friends in the writing business as well as learned a great deal about great writing.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Call for Submissions

Writers, Chicken Soup for the Soul presently has several books in the works. Visit Chicken Soup possible books for all the titles and to submit your story. 

Sunday, September 11, 2011


Welcome to the blog page of author and speaker Debra L. Butterfield.

Try as I might to put out a newsletter once a month, I wasn't always successful. In addition, I often found myself with tidbits of news I wanted to put out, but didn't want to inundate my subscribers with emails. So I have moved my news to a blog. This will allow me to post often and you to read when you want without clogging your inbox.

If you are a current subscriber to my newsletter, please "follow" the blog so you will always be up to date on when I post. I will no longer be sending Jots and Dots via email. If you have just discovered my blog, welcome. I hope you will follow along with others.

What You Can Expect to Find Here:

  • writing advice
  • publishing advice
  • submission callouts
  • writer resources
  • and more...