Christian Choice Writing Contest sponsored by Xulon Press
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Author Inspirations: Words from the Winner of the January Christian Choice Writing Contest

Ruth Long is upfront about it: she has been a cancer patient for three years. As a self-employed CPA with international clients, she is busy all year long, but especially since tax season is upon us. She’s done a lot of writing as an accountant, including copy for financial statements and official letters to clients, but has never written creatively before now. Why, then, did she choose now to write and of all things, to write so vulnerably about her experience with cancer? These questions were on my mind the instant I finished proofing her writing contest entry titled “Diagnosis: Cancer!” As the winning entry, it needed to be sent over to the Production Department so that it could be typeset, but passed through editorial first to make sure there were no minor errors.

Xulon Press Christian Choice Writing Contest

Although she’d never written before, Ruth for years has been telling friends that she is going to publishing a book. She hasn’t been settled on what to write about, but suddenly she became aware of the writing contest through one of Xulon’s sales representatives and something stirred in her. “I’d been on Tracy Sullivan’s email list for a long time; to be honest, I don’t know how I got on the list and I was in the habit of just deleting those emails. However, for some reason I opened this one and decided to enter the contest.” Ruth ended up alone in the house on Christmas Day – her family had already had their gathering and was out visiting others. Her husband was out on the farm. That was when she wrote her winning entry.

She says the contest ended up being quite the challenge, as well as a valuable learning experience. Each entry has a limit of 4,000 characters, including spaces. It took a lot of focus to keep the piece short, yet not leave out any information readers would need to understand the moment: her doctor informing her that her lumps were more than likely cancerous. In the three years since that day, Ruth has experienced a new level in her relationship with God, which is the basis of her inspiration to write. “I shared more in this piece than I have with friends and family about how I first ignored my symptoms because I was in denial. I feel so honored to have won. I just want my writing to bless and encourage others who are going through similar situations and are learning to trust God.”

Xulon Press holds several Christian Choice Writing Contests each year and the first place prize is an Elite Publishing Package worth more than $9,000. Ruth says winning first place was a complete surprise to her, since she knew there were more than 1,000 entrants and did not receive a personal phone call or email informing her of the results. She only opened the mass email with the winners list because she was curious about who had won and was blown away to see her own name in first place. She says, “This is the motivation I needed to finally write that book I’ve been telling everyone about.” Make sure to look out for Ruth Long’s first Xulon Press book, which will be the full story of her journey with cancer and how this experience relates to other aspects of her life.


Vanessa Correa is a Staff Editor at Xulon Press with a total of 10 years of publishing experience in diverse industries including journalism, academic publishing, social media and more. She is a native New Yorker and alumnus of the M.S. Publishing program at New York University. Her passion is translation—her family is from Puerto Rico and her aim is to ensure our authors receive the same high quality services for Spanish books, press releases and other materials as they do in English.

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