Faculty and Classes

Conference Dates: May 21-25, 2017

Michelle Medlock Adams

Michelle Medlock Adams is an award-winning writer of more than 70 books and a best-selling author with over 1 million books sold. She has earned top honors from the Associated Press, the Society of Professional Journalists, the Selah Awards, and the Hoosier State Press Association to name a few. Most recently, Michelle’s release, Love & Care For The One and Only You (Worthy), was awarded a 2017 Illumination Book Award Gold Medal in the Devotional Category, and it was also a finalist for a Christian Retailing Best Award this past year.

Since graduating with a journalism degree from Indiana University, Michelle has written more than 1,000 articles for newspapers, magazines and websites; acted as a stringer for the Associated Press; written for a worldwide ministry; helped pen a New York Times Bestseller; and served as a blogger for Guideposts. Today, she continues working as a TV host for “Joy in Our Town” and successfully running her own freelance writing business.

When not working on her own assignments, Michelle ghostwrites books for celebrities, politicians, and some of today’s most effective and popular ministers. Michelle is also a much sought after teacher at writers conferences and universities around the nation. In fact, she has served as an adjunct professor at Taylor University twice, teaching “Writing for Children.” Michelle also loves speaking to women’s groups, youth groups, and congregations, encouraging others to discover their destinies in God.

Michelle is married to her high school sweetheart, Jeff, and they just celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary this past year. They have two daughters, Abby and Allyson; a son-in-law Micah; and a future son-in-law Wesley; as well as two dogs and two cats. When not writing or teaching writing, Michelle enjoys leading fitness classes, bass fishing, volunteering at her local Humane Society, and cheering on the Indiana University Hoosiers and the Chicago Cubbies.

Follow Michelle at www.michellemedlockadams.comFacebookTwitter, and Instagram

Classes:

Writing for Children Bootcamp – (Continuing Class, Act I/II/III)
From getting started to getting published to getting the word out about your children’s book, we’ll cover it all! It will be high energy, non-stop fun—and Michelle promises to bring the chocolate!

Specifically, we’ll explore:

  • The many different types of children’s books—from board books to picture books to middle grade fiction—and where your story fits best, as well as non-fiction versus fiction.
  • The “make or break it” building blocks that your story must have to keep an editor’s attention and a child’s enthusiasm.
  • The process—from idea to finished story…
  • The myths and truths of children’s writing, answering those lingering questions you’ve been dying to ask, like, “Do I need an agent?”
  • The various venues for your children’s stories—from magazines to websites to anthologies to curriculum to library books.
  • The best ways to format your board and picture books for successful submissions, as well as the keys to building a killer book proposal for your tween and teen fiction and non-fiction books.
  • The elements of an intriguing query letter and the most effective ways to get your foot in the door with publishers today.
  • Ways to come up with great article/book ideas and what to do with those genius ideas once you have them…
  • Methods for marketing your published children’s book(s) once you enter “The Published Author World.” (Getting TV interviews, newspaper articles, celebrity endorsements, etc.)
  • How to enjoy the journey on the way to publication…

Writing as a Career – (Continuing Class, Act I/II/III)

(This will be co-taught with Bethany Jett)

In this continuing class, we’ll explore what it takes to launch out into the freelance writing world and stay happily afloat! Michelle will share with you all the tricks of the trade that have allowed her to run a successful freelance writing business (Michelle Medlock Adams, LLC) for the past 16 years.

Similarly, Bethany Jett opened her own freelance writing, editing, and consulting company (JETTsetter Ink, LLC) in 2015. Even though was she was still a “baby in the business,” Bethany successfully leveraged her skills and secured freelance projects that netted her business into the five-figure mark her first year.

We hope you’ll join us for a practical, fast-moving, ever-so-fun, chocolate-filled kind of class.

Specifically, we’ll cover how to:

  • Prepare yourself for taking the big leap of faith into a fulltime freelance writing career & how to determine when you’re ready
  • Break into competitive markets and stay there
  • Find consistent paying freelance work
  • Identify your resources and tap into your current connections
  • Maximize the impact of current and past projects
  • Come up with sellable ideas and turn them into articles, blogs, devotions, and books
  • Craft a killer query letter, a perfect pitch letter, and a polished proposal
  • Network, market, and maintain a presence in the industry
  • Quickly build a modest platform
  • Recreate content for your blog
  • Appear as an expert with your first book
  • Network quickly with influencers in your niche
  • Supplement your freelance writing income with related ventures such as speaking gigs
  • Find time to write without sacrificing your family time
  • Divide your time between looking for work and doing the work that’s already on your plate
  • Find credible—and even celebrity—sources
  • Mine your goldmine of past published pieces and additional unused research
  • Make money while maximizing your ministry—it doesn’t have to be an either/or choice
  • Think outside the box to increase your publishing potential and freelance income
  • And how to do it all with balance and grace and a great big smile on your face!

Jessica Barnes

Jessica Barnes is a fiction editor at Bethany House Publishers, a division of Baker Publishing Group. She has been editing fiction for over 10 years and has worked with best-selling and award-winning authors. Life has taken her from the Great Plains to the Rocky Mountains to Asia to New York City, but she’s currently based in the Twin Cities.

Classes:

Line Editing for Fiction Authors – (Workshop, Act I/II)

Your plot is perfect, your characters leap off the page – now it’s time to look at your writing. Learn how to spot common pitfalls like repetition, pet phrases, sentence clutter, passive phrasing, awkward dialogue, and more. A fiction editor from Bethany House will help you polish your writing and make it sing. Bring a few pages of your WIP, and we’ll practice line editing each other’s work.

Brian Bird

During his 30-year career in Hollywood, Brian Bird’s writing and producing work comprises nearly two-dozen films and 250 episodes of network television.  He is founding partner with Michael Landon Jr. of Believe Pictures, most recently responsible for four seasons of the hit Hallmark Channel original TV series When Calls the Heart.Bird’s film writing and producing credits include The Case for Christ for Pure Flix (2017), The Heart of Man (2017), Paramount Pictures’ Captive (2015), The Ultimate Life for 20th Century Fox (2013), Not Easily Broken for Sony/Screen Gems (2009), The Last Sin Eater for 20th Century Fox (2007) and the Morgan Freeman-directed Bopha! for Paramount Pictures (1993). Additionally, Bird is writing and producing the upcoming Touchdown on the Tundra and The Boy from Baby House 10.

In television, he has written or produced such shows as Touched By An Angel, Step By Step and Evening Shade, in addition to the award-winning TV films Captive Heart, Call Me Claus (the highest-rated cable film of 2003), and The Shunning, The Confession, The Reckoning, and Saving Sarah Cain, all based on the novels of New York Times’ best-selling author Beverly Lewis.

Bird is considered a leading voice in the exploding faith-based media marketplace, and has spoken widely on the role of faith in the arts, including lectures at Pepperdine, Chapman, Biola and Palm Beach Atlantic Universities, along with being a keynote speaker at the Blue Ridge and Florida Christian Writers Conferences.  He is on the founding faculty of the Act One Writing for Hollywood program, and has served as a jury member for the Heartland, 168 and City of Angel Film Festivals.  He is also on the faculty of the Stephens College Screenwriting MFA.

His own films have garnered awards from the New York Independent Film Festival, New York Festivals, Heartland Film Festival, the Black Reel Awards, the Movie Guide Awards, the Camie Awards, the Telly Awards and the Christopher Awards.  And his widely read professional blog, BrianBird.net serves as a lively exchange on the art and craft of story-telling.

But beyond Bird’s professional achievements, he considers his top productions to date to be his 36-year marriage to wife, Patty, and his five children.

Twitter: @brbird     Facebook: Brian Bird

Classes:

Screen Writing – (Continuing Class, Act I/II)

(Description to follow)

Lynn Blackburn

Lynn Huggins Blackburn believes in the power of stories, especially those that remind us that true love exists, a gift from the Truest Love. She’s passionate about CrossFit, coffee, and chocolate (don’t make her choose) and experimenting with recipes that feed both body and soul. She lives in South Carolina with her true love, Brian, and their three children. Her first book, Covert Justice, won the 2016 Selah Award for Mystery and Suspense and the 2016 Carol Award for Short Novel. Her second book, Hidden Legacy, releases June 2017. You can follow her real life happily ever after on FacebookTwitterPinterest, Instagram, and at lynnhugginsblackburn.com.

Classes:

How to Use Scrivener Practicum – (Continuing Class, Act I/II/III)

Have you tried Scrivener and been too overwhelmed to use it? Have you started using it but know you aren’t scratching the surface of what you could do with it? Don’t let your fears and frustrations keep from you exploring all you can do with Scrivener.

In this three-day practicum—How to Use Scrivener—you’ll discover how to save time and frustration by utilizing this popular writing software for everything from fiction manuscripts to blog posts. By the end of the Practicum each participant should be able to create a new project (fiction, non-fiction, short story, blog post), fully utilize the Toolbar, Binder, Scrivenings Mode, Corkboard, Outliner, Research, Split Screen, Snapshots, Project Notes, Project Targets, Name Generators, and much more. We will create Templates that will make Scrivener work for you whether you’re a die-hard outliner or a free-range organic writer. When you’ve finished your project you’ll be able to successfully Compile the document into Word for submissions and then start the process all over again.

Participants will need to have a working version of Scrivener on their laptop for use during class.

A free 30-day trial is available for new users. PC or Mac.

Class size is limited. Please email lynnhblackburn@gmail.com to reserve your space.

Brad Bloom

Brad Bloom is the publisher of Faith & Fitness Magazine, Shout! Outdoor Lifestyle Magazine and map Travel Lifestyle Magazine.  He is president of Lifestyle Media Group, a ministry that develops and distributes content to help people fuel their passion to connect daily living and Christian faith. Bloom draws a distinct difference between secular and his faith-centered brands, “Life should be lived way beyond training harder, living adventurously and going further. That’s all good but God is great. We can be equipped to be great when we get beyond all the doing and actively Be Life – the life of Christ to others.”

Founded in 2003, with the launch of the flagship brand, Faith & Fitness Magazine, his commitment has been to deliver crafted content that isn’t a Christian alternative to secular media but instead defines how the Christian faith powerfully influence active living. Writing is just part of the show. Lifestyle Media Group is a network of bold players who actively shape culture for Christ certainly through content but then also through research and development, public relations, events and networking.

Brad was raised in rural Indiana doing non-denominational Christian ministry at La Campagne Ministries a a sixty-acre wooded retreat that has hosted people from around the world since 1982. This family ministry is described in his article How To Build A Park. He describes in Different Is Very Good how that history profoundly shaped his faith journey and his ministry today.

While studying music business and media production at Anderson University, Brad did production at WHMB, LeSea Broadcasting in Indianapolis, one of the oldest Christian television stations in the country. He transitioned from local television to film production with Del Rey Communications in Chicago producing commercials for Christianity Today Inc. and documentary films for Jews for Jesus, Calvin College and many other organizations. It was during this time while doing location production in Nigeria, for Christian Reformed World Missions that Brad ventured further into persuasive communication and shaping perspective for others. He describes the spiritual adventure of his time in West Africa in the Faith & Fitness Magazine article, The Lust For Life. During his time as an associate producer for the Agency for Instructional Technology he was involved in producing more than twenty educational video series for the K-12 market. These projects, throughout the U.S. and the world, involved writing on many different levels: proposals, daily business communications, project management, script writing, closed captioning, marketing and textbook editing.

The April/May 2017 release of Faith & Fitness Magazine is the 75th. Brad describes bi-monthly magazine production as a Good Workout Routine. His sessions at the Blue Ridge Mountains Writers Conference will introduce attendees to the unique ministry of Lifestyle Media Group and help them explore being part of this growing team.

Classes:

The Ministry of Magazine Practicum – (Continuing Class, Act I/II)

This class guides you in how to write for and manage many aspects of a magazine. The sessions will draw from experiences of Lifestyle Media Group’s three magazines. Get started with a fresh definition of what a magazine is in today’s world of rapidly evolving communication. Then before you dig into the details Brad will help you evaluate the rapidly evolving you. Getting a grip on these basics gives you the ability to build vision, influence and strength.

Shift into drive for a creative and aggressive journey into the business of magazine. Day 1 focuses on message. Content is king and the secret ingredients add more than just flavor (Food and food analogies will be included at not extra charge).  Day 2 you’ll unpack the tools of process. Discover how good magazine is a real hands-on job. Some of these tools are sharp for precision work. Some parts of the process are big, noisy and seemingly difficult to control. Grab hold, learn how to be the best you can, and then discover all you can do. Day 3 ventures into the realm of influence where you find all that lies beyond the written word. We’ll explore how to gain impact through other media outlets. This is where it gets interesting for most and adventurous for everyone. Discover the world of magazine and create a world of powerful ministry.

Jevon Oakman Bolden

Jevon Oakman Bolden has been an essential editorial partner and writing coach to a number of best-selling authors and has edited and acquired more than two hundred books in her thirteen-year career. With a knack for editing across genres and target audiences, she has a special vested interest in seeing published words reflect the beauty and diversity of all people. Having served as a proofreader, copyeditor, developmental editor, acquisitions editor, and imprint editor for Charisma House Book Group, and currently, Scholastic, and as a freelance editor and ghostwriter, Jevon has a wealth of knowledge, understanding, and empathy to share with writers and aspiring authors.

In addition to over a decade of professional experience, Jevon has a bachelor of arts degree in English with a minor in Sociology from the University of Alabama and is currently pursuing a master of arts in English Literature from Mercy College in New York.

Classes:

Writing for an Ethnically Diverse Audience – (Workshop, Act I/II/III)

Many stories told well matter. As acclaimed writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie said, “Stories have been used to dispossess and to malign, but stories can also be used to empower and to humanize. Stories can break the dignity of a people, but stories can also repair that broken dignity.” How will you, dear writer, use your storytelling power?

Writing content for today’s increasingly diverse and global audience requires sensitivity and awareness of cultural and ethnic nuances, and effective utilization of the village that it takes to make a great book. This workshop will explore how to fearlessly write stories, fiction or nonfiction, that respectfully and honestly reflect multiethnic people and their lived experiences.

Too Good to Be True: How to Turn Your Real-life Experiences into Compelling Fiction – (Workshop, Act I/II/III)

For many first-time authors, the story may be similar: someone heard their testimony at church or in conversation and the listener says, “Your story is amazing! You need to write a book.” In another case, a writer may discover how many other people are going through experiences similar to one they have overcome, and they want to help as many people as they can by telling the secrets on how they made it through.

These are wonderfully noble reasons to want to write your life story, but publishers see personal stories, memoirs, and autobiographies in very different ways than the authors. This class will uncover those reasons and identify creative and strategic ways to overcome objections to getting your personal story published. One of the main ways we will explore in this class is how to turn a personal testimony into an exciting novel, with all the life-affirming principles attached.

Lindsey Brackett

Award-winning writer, Lindsey P. Brackett just writes life — blogs, columns, articles, and stories — in the midst of motherhood. A blogger since 2010, she has published articles and short stories in a variety of print and online publications including Northeast Georgia Living, Thriving Family, Country Extra, HomeLife, Splickety Prime, Splickety Love, and Southern Writers Magazine Best Short Fiction 2015. She writes a popular bimonthly column for several local newspapers in which she meditates on small town southern life.

Lindsey also serves as Editor of Web Content for the Splickety Publishing Group. For Splickety, Lindsey acquires great flash fiction and pieces of writerly wisdom that help make Splickety the world’s destination for great, quick reads and excellent writing tips.

Her love of family ties and southern places prompted her first novel, Still Waters, a Lowcountry story about the power of family and forgiveness, releasing with Lighthouse Publishing in 2017.

A homeschooling mother of four children, her home is always full of wet towels, lost library books, and strong coffee.

Connect with her at www.lindseypbrackett.com, where she just writes life, on Facebook as Lindsey P. Brackett, on Twitter @lindsbrac, or Instagram @lindseypbrackett.

She welcomes your flash fiction and writer wisdom pieces for Splickety’s Lightning Blog. Email her: blog@splicketypubgroup.com.

Classes:

Make a Spark: How to Write Flash Fiction Romance – (Workshop Act I/II/III)

“But I can’t show the romance in only 1000 words!” is a common excuse for writers we ask to submit to Splickety’s romance imprint. However, we’re not asking for the whole story. Rather, we’re looking for those sweet, funny, and sexy moments that make a romance spark.

We believe romance can be found in:

  • the linger
  • the look
  • the allusion

For this workshop, we will teach writers how to craft a red-hot romance that has all the elements of story without needing more than 1000 words or a lot of exposition.

Attendees will receive handouts, notes, be engaged in question and answer, as well as be given a list of upcoming themes for Splickety Love including current and future themes.

Writing Through the Chaos: A Q & A Session with Busy Writers on How They “Do It All” – (Workshop Act I/II/III)

As a busy wife, mom, and writer myself, I am often asked how I do it all. Which only makes me laugh, because truth is, I drop a lot of those balls I’m juggling daily. However, I’ve learned some tried and true tricks that help me meet deadlines, make connections, and manage my household while building a career.

The vision for this workshop is that it be a casual time for so many who feel overwhelmed upon entering the publishing world to ask questions and receive feedback from a panel. This panel would include a variety of people who have several big things in common—they are all extremely busy, not just as writers, but as parents, teachers, entrepreneurs, etc.

A Byline is Worth 500 Words – (Workshop, Act I/II)

As a blogger for six years, a newspaper columnist since 2013, and a flash fiction writer, I have taught myself the art of writing in 500 words or less. Online audiences expect a quick story that is scan-able and tweet-able. Traditional readers (newspaper, magazines) look for truth on the page, but they don’t want to keep flipping to finish. Magazines will pay big bucks for short—but true—anecdotes and tips from real life.

Then there’s the whole world of flash fiction just waiting to help hone your creativity and word count skills.

In this beginner to intermediate course, I will teach attendees how to craft a simple blog post that is unique to their story. Next, I’ll show them how to take this post and turn it into a suitable column for a newspaper or a freelance article for a magazine. Using examples from my own writing, I will also provide attendees with avenues toward publication by offering suggestions of where to submit, as well as sharing tips for how to get published with Splickety—even if you don’t write flash fiction.

Davis Bunn

Davis Bunn, a professional novelist for twenty-four years, has sales in excess of seven million copies in twenty languages.  He has appeared on numerous national bestseller lists, and his titles have been Main or Featured Selections with every major US bookclub.  Davis serves as Writer-In-Residence at Regent’s Park College, Oxford University, and has served as Lecturer in Oxford’s new creative writing program.  In 2011 his novel ‘Lion of Babylon’ was named a Best Book of the Year by Library Journal.  The sequel, entitled ‘Rare Earth’,  won Davis his fourth Christy Award for Excellence in Fiction in 2013.  In 2014 Davis was granted the Lifetime Achievement award by the Christy board of judges.  In November of this year, his most recent release entitled Trial Run was awarded the Best Book of 2015 by Suspense Magazine.  In the past twelve months, Davis has appeared on the cover of both Southern Writers Magazine and Christian Retailing.  He has written and presented a 40-part series for Moody Radio which was broadcast nationwide.  Davis lectures around the world on aspects of creative writing.

Classes:

Building a Strong Overview of Your Story – (Continuing Class, Act I/II) 

How to succeed in entering the commercial world of publishing.  These sessions will examine three topics.  First and foremost, how to develop your concept into a one-page overview that will electrify the editorial review board.  Second, how to create the one-sentence hook, or pitch, that is necessary for selling to Hollywood.  And third, how these two elements can help you focus upon the dynamics of creating a strong first draft.

Ann Byle

Ann Byle is a literary agent with Credo Communications representing fiction, nonfiction and children’s authors. She is also a freelance journalist writing for local and national publications. She is based in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Classes:

Making Your Best Pitch Ever Practicum (Workshop, Act I/II)

Pitching to editors and agents can be scary, but it doesn’t have to be. Learn how to create a unique and useful one-sheet, hone your elevator pitch, and practice, practice, practice. This is a hands-on workshop that will help you prepare to meet publishing professionals.

The Fine Art of Getting an Agent – (Workshop, Act II)

You think you are ready to find an agent! Learn when you’re actually ready for an agent, how to approach an agent, how NOT to approach one, what an agent can do for you, and how to behave once you sign a contract with an agent. Lots of useful information from an agent who has seen it all.

Dan Case

Dan CaseOver his 40-year career in broadcasting, Daniel F. Case has worked in every facet of radio. In fact, at one point he was simultaneously the Chief Engineer, Local Sales Manager, Afternoon Drive Host, Production Director, Assistant Janitor, and 50% of the sales force at a small-town radio station in Pennsylvania. He would have been the receptionist too, but he didn’t have the legs for it (and couldn’t type fast enough, either).

Dan stumbled into the writing world while doing daily radio commentaries on a station in St. Louis. After a couple of stunning embarrassments, he decided to write his commentaries in advance, and when he left that station two years later, he found he couldn’t stop writing. He still can’t quit, even though he’s tried. His publishing credits include Christian Single, Marriage Partnership, Spirit Magazine, and several regional magazines and newspapers.

For the past few years, Dan has focused exclusively on learning the art and craft of fiction. In 2008, Dan won First Place in the ACFW Gensis Contest (Contemporary Fiction) and is now focused on Upper Middle Grade/Lower YA Fiction.

Dan lives in Little Rock, Arkansas with his wife Sharon and the three cats who employ them. He continues to support his writing habit by working as Director of Engineering/IT for the Little Rock market of Cumulus Media, Inc. When not writing, wrangling electronics or playing with techie toys, he enjoys torturing fine hardwood with power tools in his woodworking shop.

A proud alumni of BRMCWC, Dan first attended in 2006. The staff has tried to get rid of him, but he keeps coming back.

His website is http://danielfcase.com.

Jonathan Clements

Friend broker. Well-crafted sentence aficionado. Coffee drinker. Relationship guru. Big-picture glass-wearer. Hockey fanatic. Purveyor of brands. Musicophile. Door opener. Jack of all trades.

Jonathan Clements has worked in the entertainment industry for more 20 years, calling Nashville home for the full term. With a background in artist and brand management providing career development and expertise, he found his calling in 2005, beginning working with authors as a literary agent.

In 2010, he went out on his own, founding Wheelhouse Literary Group. Wheelhouse has morphed into a boutique agency exploring behind-the-scenes intellectual property development and experience enhancement – in the arenas of book, film, television …

Of course, the end game is springboarding creatives, championing their passions to the masses. Wheelhouse represents authors, screenwriters, illustrators and more.

Always open to hearing ideas, Jonathan is an open door when it comes to approachability. Just don’t forget the coffee.

Classes:

Is This Elevator Stuck? – (Workshop, Act I/II)

So your manuscript is finished and has been edited. And edited again. You’ve even had the courage to show it to your writer’s group. And then, well … you went back and edited it yet again. Anyhow, you’ve pieced together a solid proposal, and have targeted a handful of agents and editors to pitch. So … ?

All you have to do is quickly garner the attention of a publishing professional, who hears dozens of pitches similar to yours every week. Good. Bad. And the Ugly. But how do you do this?

Simple: Craft the perfect ELEVATOR PITCH. Sound like a daunting task? Well, it doesn’t have to be.

In this session, we’ll discuss the WHATs (What even is an elevator pitch?), the WHYs (Why is this important?) and the HOWs (How do I craft mine?) of creating an effective ELEVATOR PITCH—along with some absolute DO’s and DON’Ts.

Help Me Help You – (Workshop, Act I/II)

This iconic line from a somewhat iconic film actually also describes how an author / literary agent relationship works best.

Come join me as we discuss everything you ever wanted to know—and even things you didn’t know you needed to know—about this relationship. We’ll cover burning questions like:

  • What does an agent do?
  • When does an author need an agent?
  • Does every author need an agent?

Do agents really just sit at coffee shops and drink java all day?

Pamela Clements

Pamela Clements is Vice President and Associate Publisher of Worthy’s Inspired imprint. Clements is an industry veteran, most recently serving as Associate Publisher of Abingdon’s Christian Living and Fiction books, which from its launch in 2011 published over 15 award-winning titles and was named Publisher of the Year by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association. Prior to that she was Associate Publisher at Hachette. Clements began her career at Thomas Nelson in publicity and marketing before becoming Publisher of its General Interest and Lifestyle imprint. She was instrumental in the launch of such best-selling authors as Andy Andrews, John Eldredge, John C. Maxwell, Babbie Mason, Ted Dekker, Cynthia Ruchti, and Barbara Mahaney. A lifelong reader, Pamela is committed to helping authors craft books that touch and change lives.

Pamela will be taking appointments and available to meet with attendees.

Cheri Cowell

Cheri Cowell, Owner and Publisher of EABooks Publishing, brings a unique blend of publisher and author experience to her company which benefits new, aspiring, and accomplished authors. As an author and speaker herself, with four traditionally published books including 365 Devotions for Peace by Zondervan, and Parables and Word Pictures, a Bible study by AMG, she understands the traditional publishing world. She also has several books published by EABooks Publishing, including One Story, One Mission, One God Bible study, and Living the Story: Reaching Outside the Church Walls, so she is well versed in both sides of the partnership publishing world. Cheri is also a frequent contributor to several writers’ magazines and blogs–Google her name.

Cheri began EABooks Publishing after learning how to get her own materials into e-book format.  With her passion of helping others see God’s Word come alive, she is excited to expand that mission by helping fellow authors take advantage of all the new publishing trends. Says Cheri, “Whether your vision is e-books, print, or audiobooks, we can help you expand your reach with the message God gave you.” Recently EABooks added editing, illustrating, and author marketing services to enhance the publishing experience and expand the reach of God’s messengers into the world.

To date, EABooks Publishing has published 98 projects representing 54 authors. Cheri looks forward to meeting you at the next Christian Writers’ Conference to hear about your book and show you how EABooks Publishing can help make your publishing dreams come true. www.EABooksPublishing.com

For more information: www.EABooksPublishing.com and www.CheriCowell.com

Classes:

Independent Publishing Boot Camp – (Continuing Class, Act III)

Learn the pros and cons of this growing trend, how to evaluate your options, the basics of formatting and cover design, e-book options, and how marketing your self-published book is different than a traditionally published book.

  • Session 1: Evaluating Indie/Co/Self-Publishing: The Pros and Cons of Doing it Yourself.
  • Session 2: Understanding the Do-it-Yourself Process: We’ll look at the various things you need to master if you’re going to indie-publish a print book.
  • Session 3: Why EBook? We’ll look at the limitations in e-book technology and what it takes to convert your book into an e-book for Kindle and others. Step-by-step instructions.
  • Session 4: Marketing an Indie Book: We’ll look at three major components of a marketing plan: your brand, an Internet presence, and what is needed in a social media plan.
  • Session 5: Before The Book is Written: This blueprint for action includes addressing the same questions traditional publishers ask: who is your target market, how will you reach them, what is your core message, and more. Come learn the questions any good author must answer and then how indie authors address them.

Evaluating Your Options/Is Independent Publishing a Good Option For You? – (Workshop, Act I)

We’ll discuss traditional publishing, answer some forbidden questions, and take a look at the many options for self, independent, co-publishing, and partnership publishing. As someone with her foot in both worlds, Cheri can help you evaluate your options.

Reprints, Rights, and Rewrites — Getting Mileage out of Your Work (Workshop, Act I)

It takes twice as long and ten times the energy to write a new piece than to rework and resubmit that piece again and again. Learn how to get more mileage out of your work in this chock-full-of-tips-and-tricks class.

Michelle Cox

Michelle Cox is a speaker and the bestselling author of nine books. Her newest books, God Glimpses from the Jewelry Box and God Glimpses from the Toolbox released from BroadStreet Publishing.

Michelle’s “Life with a Southern Grandmother” posts run each Monday and Thursday at www.Guideposts.org. She has been the food blogger for Fox News Personality Todd Starnes and has written for FoxNews.com, Focus on the Family, Christian Cinema, Whoa Magazine for Women, Leading Hearts Magazine, and numerous other publications. Michelle is the creator of the Just 18 Summers® brand of parenting products and resources, which will include movies, a documentary, music, books (the Just 18 Summers novel released from Tyndale), and other products. The Just 18 Summers® parenting blog (featuring a staff of writers) has a new post each Monday-Friday. Michelle has been a guest on Hannity, The Harvest Show, Focus on the Family, Babbie’s House, Atlanta Live, and on numerous other radio and television stations.

Most importantly, she and her favorite husband, Paul, are the parents of three grown sons and grandparents to six perfect grandchildren. She can be bribed with cupcakes. Visit her at http://GodGlimpses.com, www.just18summers.com and on her Facebook pages at www.Facebook.com/MichelleCoxInspirations and www.Facebook.com/just18summers.

Interests: Michelle is looking for parenting articles (parenting advice, inspirational, tips on organization, etc.) for Just 18 Summers®.

Classes:

Managing the Writer’s Life – (Workshop, Act I/II) 

You’ll soon discover that juggling your writing life with the rest of your life can sometimes be challenging and overwhelming. Join me for tips and skills that will help you cope and thrive despite the physical, spiritual, and emotional challenges of the writing journey. We’ll talk about ways to manage your time and become more disciplined, how to deal with rejections and stay motivated, about the rejuvenating power of cupcakes, and a bunch of other stuff.

Troubleshooting 101 – (Workshop, Act I/II)  

Do you have questions about various aspects of the writing life and you don’t know where to ask them? Well, this is the place for you! In this interactive session, I’ll try to look smart while I answer your questions and cover topics like what to do when you don’t know what to write, what to do when you have writer’s block or are procrastinating, what to do if an emergency affects your deadline, how to handle awkward situations with your publisher or co-author, and so on.

Vicki Crumpton

Vicki Crumpton, Executive Editor for Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group, has over twenty-five years of publishing experience. A recipient of AWSA’s Editor of the Year award, she has acquired a number of award finalists and winners, as well as several New York Times bestsellers, including 90 Minutes in Heaven. She holds an M. Div. and Ph.D. from Southwestern Seminary and works from her home in Western Kentucky. 

Classes:

Trends in Christian Book Publishing – (Workshop, Act I/II)

Explores trends in Christian book publishing and how they may shape your publishing strategy.

Mary Denman

Mary Denman is a writer who also loves photography. Or a photographer who loves writing. As a freelance writer, Mary has had articles published in various forms ranging from Focus on the Family publications to magazines to devotions to op-ed pieces. She’s a member of several professional writing organizations including ACFW, My Book Therapy, and Word Weavers.

As a professional photographer, Mary has had photos published in both print literature and online. Her shots have been used by businesses and by fellow authors alike.

Her philosophy is to catch a moment that reflects God’s beauty and creativity, whether in nature, in life or in the face of her subjects. And as a writer herself, she understands what authors need in a headshot. Mary blends the two mediums of writing and photography on her blog. www.marydenman.blogspot.com.

Classes:

Photography and Blogging: How to Use Your Pictures More Effectively on Your Blog – (Workshop, Act I/II/III)

Join Mary for her class on learning how to take better pictures so you can use them on your blog! Mary will teach quick tips to immediately improve your photography and also how to take pictures specifically to use for memes. You’ll get ideas of how to use your photography for inspiration and to illustrate your content.

Lynette Eason

Lynette Eason is the award-winning, bestselling author of almost forty books. Lynette writes for Revell and Harlequin’s Love Inspired Suspense line. Her books have finaled or won awards in contests such as The Maggies, Inspirational Readers Choice Award, The Carol, ECPA Book of the Year, The Selah, and others. Her most recent wins are the Selah Award in 2015, the Book of the Year Golden Scoll Award in 2016, a Carol nomination in 2015, a Carol win in 2016 and the Daphne in 2016 as well as the Daphne OVERALL in 2016.  One of her recent achievements was placing in the top ten (out of thousands of entries) in the 2016 James Patterson Co-writers competition. Lynette began her teaching career in the public school classroom and has since moved to teaching at conferences all over the country. Lynette often speaks at women’s conference and retreats, but finds her first love is teaching writing. In her spare time she can be found hanging out with her family, loving on her nieces and nephews, traveling, and…um…writing. Lynette and her husband Jack live in South Carolina with their two teenagers. Life is never boring! Lynette can often be found online at www.facebook.com/lynette.eason and www.lynetteeason.com.

Classes:

Brainstorming Practicum (Continuing Class for Advanced Writers, Act IV)

PREREQUISITE : 2 Published Fiction Novels

Join Lynette Eason for three days of intense brainstorming. Come prepared to discuss your current work in progress or think up a new one. Everyone who attends will leave with something. Space is limited to 8 participants. Please send a synopsis of what you want to get from the brainstorming class to lynetteeason@gmail.com. Lynette will ensure that all participants receive a copy of each synopsis at least two weeks ahead of the start of the conference so all can be thinking ahead. Deadline to sign up for the class and submit material is May 1, 2017.

Eva Marie Everson

Eva Marie Everson is the bestselling and multi-award winning author of both fiction and nonfiction work. She is the president of Word Weavers International (word-weavers.com) and the director of Florida Christian Writers Conference. Eva Marie is a popular speaker at writers conferences across the United States and the Contest Director for Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference. Eva Marie is a seminary graduate and student and has taught a Bible study for over 20 years. Either she’s really good and the folks just can’t get enough … or she’s really bad and they’re still trying to learn something (the jury is out). Eva Marieand her husband enjoy their three grown children and children-in-love and are especially proud of their grandchildren. They are owned by their dog, Poods.

Classes:

Fiction Practicum Practicum (Continuing Class, Act I/II)

The First Three Things to Consider. Internal and External Conflicts. Character Arcs. The Seven “Issues.” Time Lines & Dialogue. Title Pages, Hooks, & “The Four Questions.” In this 5-hour hands-on practicum, Eva Marie Everson will discuss elements of fiction for next-level conferees. Get your red pens ready because we’re going to work on your manuscripts. Conferees must sign up in advance, and the class is limited to the first ten. Class participants should bring ten copies of their first 1,000 words, as well as one page that is heavy with dialogue. Participants should also be ready to discuss concept to completion ideas, title, and possible avenues for publication. Hands-on, loads of fun, and chocolate is involved.

This class is limited to the first ten participants. You must sign up in advance and can do so by emailing Eva at PenNhnd@aol.com.

Jesse Florea

Jesse Florea has worked at Focus on the Family for more than 23 years. For the past 19, he’s been the editor of Focus on the Family Clubhouse magazine (for boys and girls ages 8 to 12) and is currently the editorial director for youth publications where he oversees Clubhouse and Clubhouse Jr. magazines. He co-hosts the biweekly “Official Adventures in Odyssey podcast” that often exceeds 1 million listeners. He has written or co-written nearly 30 books (including The Case for Grace for Kids, The One Year Father-Daughter Devotions, The One Year Devotions for Active Boys, The One Year Devos for Sports Fans, Linspired: The Jeremy Lin Story and Playing With Purpose Mariano Rivera). He earned bachelor and master’s degrees in communications from Wheaton College, Ill. He lives with his wife, Stephanie, in Colorado Springs, and enjoys hanging out with his two adult children, their spouses and his granddaughter.

Classes:

Magazine Writing: Breaking In and Staying In – (Workshop, Act I/II)

Is print dead? No way! But the industry is changing. This workshop looks at the reasons you may want to write for periodicals, which include the 3P’s (not to be confused with the C-3PO’s): profit, platform and portfolio. It’s also a great way to express your passion. (Hey, that’s a fourth P!) We’ll talk about how to capture an editor’s attention, practice crafting an effective lead, learn about different types of periodicals and stories, and discover how good interviewing skills can open doors to big-time periodicals. Then there’s that whole business about the writer/editor relationship. This is a very hands-on, interactive series of classes that will expand your thinking about this still viable area of writing.

Art of the Interview – (Workshop, Act I/II)

Everybody has a story to tell . . . and you may have to help tell it. A constructive interview will help you write an engaging story. (And personality stories are big sellers in the magazine and book market.) From tips on how to land an interview to ideas on how to structure questions, this workshop will help you make the most of an interview.

Aaron Gansky

In addition to being a loving father and husband, Aaron Gansky is an award-winning novelist, teacher, speaker, and podcast host. In 2009, he earned his M.F.A in Fiction at the prestigious Antioch University of Los Angeles, one of the top five low-residency writing schools in the nation. His first novel The Bargain (2013, Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas) was a finalist for the Selah Award for debut novel. Two years later, The Book of Things to Come (2015, Brimstone Fiction), the first book in his Hand of Adonai YA Fantasy series, won the Selah Award for YA Fiction. His two latest novels, Who is Harrison Sawyer and The Blood Sword (Hand of Adonai Series Book 2) released in 2016, and he has two forthcoming books in 2017. He has written two books on the craft of fiction; Firsts in Fiction: First Lines and Write to Be Heard (with Diane Sherlock).

Classes:

Teaching Fiction Writing – (Continuing Class, Act II)

This continuing class will focus on teaching Creative Writing for a variety of age groups. In addition to looking at the fundamental elements of fiction, we’ll talk about teaching strategies, workshop models, providing feedback in a timely, efficient manner, and inspiring the love for writing in a young generation.

Day 1: Strategies for Teaching Writing

Day 2: The Workshop–Dos and Don’ts

Day 3: Giving Feedback to Encourage and Correct

Poetry Practicum – (Workshop, Act II/III)

For this class, attendees will arrive having already submitted three to five poems. Each class will focus on the work of one or two attendees. Feedback will be given by all attendees.

To participate in the poetry practicum, please send up to three poems to adgansky@msn.com with the subject line “Poetry Practicum Submission” before April 28th. Expect to receive other students’ submissions around the first of May. In order to maximize our time together, please read all entries and make notes on each. Look specifically for the use of language, sound, and rhythm. Note uses of figurative language as well as new, vivid descriptions. Be sure to note what each poet has done well, and specific, professional ways for the poet to improve their practice. Thanks, and I’ll see you in May!

First in Fiction Podcast Live! (Panel discussion)

NOTE: Time to be announced.

This live podcast will focus on a variety of topics and will feature an editor, an agent, and a writer. We will cover the different perspectives of different craft issues such as: “What makes a great opening?” “What makes a book memorable?” “What are the elements of a novel that make it a classic?”

BRMCWC FacultyAlton Gansky

Alton Gansky is the author of 50 books as well as a book collaborator and book surgeon. He has published both novels and book length nonfiction. He has worked with most of the major CBA publishers. He served as a Baptist pastor for 22 years. When not writing or editing he collects typewriters. To be blunt, he has more typewriters than any man needs.

Al is the cohost of the Firsts in Fiction podcast with his son Aaron Gansky (also on faculty) and the creator of Typewriter Tuesday, a video program about—you guessed it—typewriters.

Classes:

Spoken Word; Written Word. Expanding Your Ministry – (Continuing Class, Act I/II/III)

Communication is at the heart of ministry. Pastors are accustomed to teaching and encouraging through the spoken word, but the written word can live on long after a sermon is forgotten. The same can be said for those with public speaking ministries. In this continuing class, Alton Gansky will discuss the power of the written word to take a local ministry or speaking/teaching ministry and make it global. We will discuss the enduring power of the written word, writing opportunities for pastors, how to write a memorable nonfiction book, how to select ideas, the basics of nonfiction writing, converting sermons, speeches, motivational addresses, or Bible study material into books, and much more.

Linda Gilden

Linda Gilden is an experienced writer, speaker, editor, and writing coach. Author of the popular Love Notes series, she is also the author of Mommy Pick-Me-Ups, Mama Was the Queen of Christmas, Personality Perspectives, Called to Write, Why You Do What You Do, Words to Live By, Called to Speak, and several ghostwritten books. With over a thousand magazine articles to her credit, Linda Gilden is a regular columnist for thewriteconversation.comJust18summers.com, and presidentialprayerteam.com as well as a prolific writer who loves to share a great story. As a freelance editor and writing coach working with publishers and individuals, she encourages others to make their writing the best it can be. As a member of the CLASS Seminar training staff, Linda enjoys helping others polish their speaking and writing skills on their journeys to clear, concise communication. As Director of both the CLASS Christian Writers Conference and the Carolina Christian Writers Conference, Linda helps many writers take the next step in reaching their writing goals.

Linda Gilden knows the importance faith plays in the life of a writer and looks forward to serving as Conference Chaplain this year. www.lindagilden.com.

Classes:

Articles, Articles, Articles: Everything you want to know! – (Continuing Class, Act I/II)

Learn the basics of magazine article writing in this information-packed continuing class. Topics addressed will be how to break in to the magazine market, where to find marketable ideas, the importance of titles, leads and endings, how to study the markets to find a perfect fit for your manuscript, making the most of your interview time, using the Internet in writing and much more. Discover how to make the most of your research by repurposing it for other articles and books. Find out how to give editors what they want so that your work stands out from the slush pile. Network with other writers for research as well as for encouragement and fellowship and use article placement as a successful marketing tool.The Writer’s Personality – (Workshop, Act I/II/III)

The Writer’s Personality – (Workshop, Act I/II/III)

The Writer’s Personality? What does my personality have to do with the way I write? Your personality affects the way you see the world. Therefore, everything you write is influenced by your point of view. What are the healthy habits of a sanguine writer? Why does a melancholy writer seem to get more projects done? How can a choleric writer organize his or her checklists for the most benefit? What can encourage a phlegmatic writer? Upon examination we will find that we all have characteristics of more than one personality. Our writing will be stronger if we understand our personalities, the personalities of our characters, and our readers.

Deb Haggerty

Deb Haggerty is a prolific blogger, astute business woman, and a die-hard visionary. She founded Positive Connections® (PositiveConnect.com), her management consulting practice in 1985, following thirteen years as a manager with Southern Bell/AT&T.

In 2000, she founded Positive Hope (PositiveHope.com), a breast cancer ministry, which gives encouragement and education to those with breast cancer, their families, and friends. She speaks on the topic from a faith-based perspective as she describes her journey.

Deb loves Christian literature and reviews books and interviews authors on her blog, (PositiveGrace.com). She loves encouraging both readers and authors with her words.

Deb is one of the clearest communicators you’ll ever meet. Featured in The Communication Coach, The Masters’ Collection, Intimate Encounters with God, and over twenty other books, she’s also published numerous articles. She has taught at writers’ conferences across the country as well as speaking for many corporate clients. Deb is a strong Christian with a love of sharing God’s grace.

In 2016, Deb purchased Elk Lake Publishing to pursue one of her greatest loves. She’s fiercely passionate about spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ by publishing positive Christian books. As she says, “Everything I’ve done in my life has brought me to this moment where God is fulfilling every dream for His glory. I’m so excited!

Deb is also a popular public speaker. Her topics include: Communicating with Confidence, God’s Grace, and Tips and Tricks for Working with Editors and Publishers. She lives in Plymouth, MA, with her husband of over 33 years, Roy, and Coki the Dog. 

Classes:

Networking: Nuisance or Necessity? – (Workshop, Act I/II/III)

Networking is an attitude. Always keep in mind those people you know to whom you can refer others. In order to receive the benefits from networking, you must first give. Effective networking techniques are a necessity to successfully marketing ourselves and our organizations and, when implemented, reduce the nuisance factor of making new contacts. Effective networking aids us in finding new employees, as well as in maintaining our professional relationships.

Tips and Tricks for Working with Editors/Publishers – (Workshop, Act I/II/III)

To present yourself and your work successfully to an editor/publisher, you must have certain skills and documents. That any paper you submit to them is absolutely perfect is a necessity. That said, we’ll talk about ways to ensure you do what’s required to make that very important great first impression. In addition, we’ll talk about writers’ conferences in general and what you should hope to gain from them. This is an interactive seminar with questions and discussion actively encouraged.

Tessa Emily Hall

Tessa Emily Hall’s passion for shedding light on clean entertainment and media for teens lead her to a career as a Jr. Agent at Hartline Literary Agency, YA Acquisitions Editor for Illuminate YA (LPC Books imprint), and Founder/Editor of PursueMagazine.net. The debut novel she penned at 16-years-old, PURPLE MOON (LPC Books) was a Selah 2014 Finalist. Her second YA novel, UNWRITTEN MELODY, released with Clean Reads fall 2016.

When Tessa’s fingers aren’t flying 116 WPM across the keyboard, she can be found speaking to teens, decorating her insulin pump, and acting in Christian films. She writes in a small town nestled between the Blue Ridge Mountains and Southeastern coast. Her favorite way to procrastinate is by connecting with readers on social media (@tessaemilyhall); her blog, Christ is Write; and website: www.tessaemilyhall.com

Appointment specifics:

  • Tessa works for Cyle Young as a Jr. Agent. They are both searching to work with writers across all genres; however, Tessa specializes in YA, MG, and NA fiction.
  • Tessa is seeking writers of YA and NA fiction of all subgenres except fantasy/speculative/supernatural fiction for Illuminate YA Fiction (LPC Books imprint).

Tessa is willing to speak with writers who are interested in contributing articles and blog posts geared toward a Christian teen audience for Pursue Magazine. (Please read the blog and/or magazine to get a feel for the magazine’s style before pitching.)

Bob Hostetler

Bob Hostetler is an award-winning writer, editor, and speaker from southwestern Ohio. His 47 books, which include the award-winning Don’t Check Your Brains at the Door (co-authored with Josh McDowell) and The Bard and the Bible: A Shakespeare Devotional, have sold millions of copies. Bob is also the founding pastor of Cobblestone Community Church in Oxford, Ohio. He and his wife, the lovely Robin, have two grown children, Aubrey and Aaron, who have given them five beautiful grandchildren.

Classes:

Writing Nonfiction – (Continuing Class, Act I)

On writing all forms of nonfiction, from newspaper and magazine to books.

From Pulpit to Print – (Workshop, Act I)

Preachers, teachers, and other Christians engaged in ministry are frequently writing sermons, lessons, etc.  This workshop will help such writers convert resources into published material.

Sell Everything You Write – (Workshop, Act II)

This workshop outlines the strategy I used when I became a full-time freelancer to never again wrote something that didn’t sell. (Includes “The Art of the Query Letter” material.)

Bethany Jett, authorBethany Jett

Bethany Jett is an award-winning author of The Cinderella Rule, speaker, ghostwriter, and founder of JETTsetter Ink, a consulting and editing company. She has written for numerous publications, created the My Moments Planner, Serious Writer Companion, and is the founder of Serious Writer Academy and the Build Your Brand Program. Her newest work, Through the Eyes of Hope is now available online and in retailers nationwide.

Bethany is a military wife and all-boys-mama who is addicted to suspense novels and all things girly. She writes on living a brilliant life at BethanyJett.com. Connect with her on FacebookPinterest,  Instagram (new profile), LinkedIn, and Twitter.

Classes:

Writing as a Career – (Continuing Class, Act I/II/III)

(This will be co-taught with Michelle Adams)

In this continuing class, we’ll explore what it takes to launch out into the freelance writing world and stay happily afloat! Michelle will share with you all the tricks of the trade that have allowed her to run a successful freelance writing business (Michelle Medlock Adams, LLC) for the past 16 years.

Similarly, Bethany Jett opened her own freelance writing, editing, and consulting company (JETTsetter Ink, LLC) in 2015. Even though was she was still a “baby in the business,” Bethany successfully leveraged her skills and secured freelance projects that netted her business into the five-figure mark her first year.

We hope you’ll join us for a practical, fast-moving, ever-so-fun, chocolate-filled kind of class.

Specifically, we’ll cover how to:

  • Prepare yourself for taking the big leap of faith into a fulltime freelance writing career & how to determine when you’re ready
  • Break into competitive markets and stay there
  • Find consistent paying freelance work
  • Identify your resources and tap into your current connections
  • Maximize the impact of current and past projects
  • Come up with sellable ideas and turn them into articles, blogs, devotions, and books
  • Craft a killer query letter, a perfect pitch letter, and a polished proposal
  • Network, market, and maintain a presence in the industry
  • Quickly build a modest platform
  • Recreate content for your blog
  • Appear as an expert with your first book
  • Network quickly with influencers in your niche
  • Supplement your freelance writing income with related ventures such as speaking gigs
  • Find time to write without sacrificing your family time
  • Divide your time between looking for work and doing the work that’s already on your plate
  • Find credible—and even celebrity—sources
  • Mine your goldmine of past published pieces and additional unused research
  • Make money while maximizing your ministry—it doesn’t have to be an either/or choice
  • Think outside the box to increase your publishing potential and freelance income
  • And how to do it all with balance and grace and a great big smile on your face!

Eddie Jones

Eddie is Founder and CEO of Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas and co-founder of Christian Devotions Ministries. He is also an award-winning novelist of middle-grade fiction for boys. In 2016 LPC was named Publisher of the Year at the Greater Philadelphia Writers Conference.

Classes:

Why You’re Not Getting Book Contracts and What To Do About It – (Workshop, Act I/II)

The book publishing industry changed last decade … year … month. Did you?  Learn the top seven mistakes writers make when they pitch their book and what to do about it.

Why You’re Not Getting Amazon Reviews and What To Do About It – (Workshop, Act I/II)

Amazon book reviews are social-proof and one of the top reason online consumers make a purchase. Learn seven ways to increase the number and rating of your book’s Amazon reviews.

Why You’re Not Selling Copies of Your Book and What To Do About It – (Workshop, Act I/II)

Do you have a sales goal for each of your books? A royalty target? A marketing budget? Would you like to have a top-seller. Learn the seven secrets that can turn any good book into a “blessed seller.”

Terri Kalfas

Terri Kalfas began her career as a journalist, working as a newspaper reporter, freelance writer, managing editor and editor. After she made the move to Christian publishing she has held positions ranging from editor to publisher. Her goal is to publish books that make people want to read the Bible for themselves in addition to reading books and studies about the Word. She is acquiring for Grace Publishing.

Grace Publishing is an independent Christian publisher founded with the intent to develop and distribute biblically based resources that challenge, encourage, teach, equip, and entertain Christians young and old in their personal journeys. The company is committed to providing resources for spiritual growth and renewal that aid and encourage the lives of Believers, and the people their lives touch. We want to help people fall in love with the stories and passages that inspire and help them understand God’s plan and will for our lives. The company is currently accepting submissions that focus on specific areas of a Christian’s personal journey. Formats can be Bible study guides, devotionals, non-fiction, fiction, or leader’s resources. Grace also publishes material that helps local churches strengthen their finances via inexpensive church stewardship programs and Christian education.

Classes:

Crafting Bible Studies for Spiritual Growth – (Continuing Class, Act I/II)

Have you ever thought about publishing a Bible study? Maybe you’ve got an idea but don’t know exactly what to do with it. Maybe you’re already writing and teaching Bible studies for your church or small group. How do you take the next step—publication? You don’t need a doctorate in theology to write a Bible study, but you do need to know certain things before you pitch it to a publisher or self-publish.

 We’ll discuss what you need to know about the changing market and how today’s cultural influences impact your audience—how the participant has changed and how that has changed Bible study itself. We’ll also discuss such things as the various types of studies, specific differences in curriculum and Bible study guides, who publishes what, the basics you need to know about learning styles and stages, how to use illustrations, how to craft good questions, and most important, Jesus’ pattern for teaching.

When God Calls You to Write – (Workshop, Act I/II)

Do you have a burning desire to communicate with others through the written word, but you aren’t sure of how or where to begin? Maybe you’ve begun writing, but you’re not sure you’re on the right track. If you sometimes find yourself questioning whether you’re even pursuing the right dream, this workshop’s for you! Come discover the many ways you can step out and follow God’s call in your life. You’ll leave assured He does have a purpose for you, and that He will use you to honor Him through your words and commitment to writing.

Katy Kauffman

Katy Kauffman is an award-winning author, a magazine editor and designer, and a co-founder of Lighthouse Bible Studies (not the same as Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas). Her book, Faith, Courage, and Victory, won the 2016 Selah award for Bible studies. She is a columnist for the Write Conversation, Almost an Author, and PursueMagazine.net. At the conference, she represents the online publication, Refresh Bible Study Magazine, which is released bimonthly by Lighthouse Bible Studies. Katy will be acquiring articles and the names of potential contributors.

About Refresh:

Refresh seeks to be a Christian voice in an increasingly secular world, and its mission is to connect God’s word to life today. Katy is looking for articles, devotions, personal stories or testimonies, prayers, poetry, and short stories related to the following topics in 2017:

  • June 15  Effective Evangelism: examples of how to do it, experiences, witnessing to children, when you heard the gospel and its effect on your life
  • August 15  Raising Our Children to Know and Love God
  • October 1  Contributor’s Choice
  • December 1  Christmas

Since the magazine’s purpose is to connect Scripture to life today, each article or submission should include at least one Bible verse. Articles should also have 800 words or less, and an encouraging and friendly voice, as if you are talking to a friend.

Make an appointment with Katy if you’re interested in writing for Refresh or would like more information. Ask about the Statement of Faith. Since the magazine is free, writers are not paid for articles, but the contributor’s bio is given at the end of each article, along with a blog address or website for those who have them.

Susan King

The Upper Room magazine

Associate Editor

devotional.upperroom.org

For over 22 years, Susan King has served with The Upper Room magazine.  Also for over 27 years, she taught English and feature-writing classes at Lipscomb University, Biola University, and Abilene Christian University. Formerly, she served as book editor and radio-program producer/on-air talent for The Institute of Scriptural Psychology, wrote magazine features as a freelance writer, and functioned as a seminar facilitator in leadership and group dynamics.

Susan and Joe have three grown children and two young grandchildren.  While Joe and their children are whitewater rafting on the Ocoee River, Susan can be found with her daughter-in-law and the grandchildren at a children’s museum or aquarium.

Classes:

Writing Great Devotionals/How to Write Well in Any Genre – (Continuing Class, Act II/III)

Do you want to write with such sparkle and verve that you’ll knock the socks off editors?  Do you want them to be falling all over themselves to publish your submission and then clamoring for anything you plan to write in the future?

As all professional writers know, the longer a work, the easier it is to write.  The inverse is also true: the hardest piece to write is the shortest—a poem or a devotional.  That’s why any class about writing devotionals also has to be a class about advanced writing techniques.  We’ll start with the essentials for writing for the Christian market and specific do’s and don’ts in writing devotionals and move on to detailed instruction in the elements of great style in any genre.  Participants will come away with concrete tools for self-editing to produce polished works that will delight editors and publishers.

On Thursday, participants are welcome to bring any unpublished devotional they’ve ever written (including ones that were not accepted by The Upper Room), and we’ll have our own writers’ critique group. We may not look at every meditation in every portfolio, but every participant will get to read at least one devotional for the group to discuss and offer feedback on, with suggestions for making it fit The Upper Room.

Jessica Kirkland

Jessica Kirkland, a literary agent and entrepreneur, is the owner and primary agent with Kirkland Media Management, LLC., a Texas-based boutique agency that specializes in publishing & film contracts in the inspirational market. Jessica possesses a unique skill set as an agent, which includes a strong command of sales, marketing, and creative development. She loves discovering new talent and identifying stories that have the capacity to change the world. Her outside-the-box thinking and keen business sense have allowed her to excel in the publishing industry and emerge as a champion for traditional and hybrid authors. With her eye always on the big picture, Jessica represents fiction and non-fiction clients who continue to thrive in an ever-changing publishing environment.

Jessica graduated with honors from Sam Houston State University with a Bachelor of Arts in Communications and Marketing. She is a popular conference speaker where she teaches on publishing trends, marketing, blogging, and the writer’s journey. She has been an agent for over five years, and was named Agent of the Year in 2016 by American Christian Fiction Writers.

Classes:

Blog Appeal: How to Attract Agents and Editors to Your Blog – (Workshop, Act I/II)

As new forms of media help authors communicate their messages, blogs are one of them. Publishers cite blogs as one of the top ways people learn about and buy books. As an agent, Jessica scouts and signs bloggers regularly who have built well-established communities and are experts in their fields. In this class, Jessica will discuss how you can become a blogger that publishing professionals are eager to find and sign. With traditional media like radio canceling programs or having fewer slots to feature authors, blogging, according to PR professionals and publishers, is the way to build your audience and sell books. In addition, Jessica will discuss what should be included in your blog, some key blogging tips, as well as look at influential bloggers and why they are sought-after. She will give real-life examples of who she has signed, how she found them on the Internet, and what made these people unique enough to sign and sell. You will walk away understanding what it takes to get noticed in a crowded world, and how to stand out in the market. Jessica will also talk about how to network with other bloggers to expand your reach even further. There is no better time to be a blogger and pursue publication, and this workshop will help you go from hobby-blogger to published author.

An Agent’s View of Traditional, Self, & Hybrid Publishing – (Workshop, Act II/III)

The publishing industry is always changing, and more than ever, prospective writers need to be informed on how to achieve their writing goals. There is a lot of good and bad information out there concerning the in’s and out’s of traditional and self-publishing. We all know authors who are experiencing success on both paths, but a hasty move by an author on either path can spell disaster for a writers book project and even their entire career. In this class, Jessica will outline the do’s and don’ts of hybrid publishing. What does it take to write, edit, market, and sell a book without the protection of a publishing house? What genres of fiction do well and which ones are difficult to market? What does it take to get signed to a traditional deal? And what if you are an author who wants to be hybrid? These publishing options deserve strategic thought and planning, and you will learn exactly what you need to do to carefully jump start a successful career that will be enjoyable and long-lived.

The Squeeze: Write Your Story Through any Season – (Workshop, Act I/II/III)

Workshop Description: As a writer, have you ever wished you could pen yourself a different story? Maybe a happier ending? What do you do when you feel like there is no end in sight during a tough life season? As writers, we need our mind, body, and circumstances to cooperate in order to accomplish our career goals, but what if one of these areas of your life is off balance? In this workshop, Jessica will talk about achieving your writing dreams in spite of sour circumstances. We’ll look at how to press through the difficult times and write from your heart regardless of what is going on in your life. She will cover the life of a writer—the ups and downs—and how a writer’s personal life bleeds into his or her writing. She will discuss when to write, when not to write, how to emotionally navigate industry changes, and how to deal with spiritual warfare. Jessica will speak candidly about her personal experiences with authors the agency has encouraged in this difficult place and their observations of spiritual opposition working on various projects. She will encourage writers to hear and sense how God is calling you to write no matter what season you are in. Sometimes the most important lessons in life are not found in the happy ending, but in the pain of the squeeze.

Steve Laube

Steve Laube, a literary agent and president of The Steve Laube Agency, has been in the book industry for over 35 years, first as a bookstore manager and book buyer for a national chain. (His store was named National Store of the Year by the Christian Booksellers Association (CBA) in 1989.)

He spent 11 years with Bethany House Publishers rising to the position of an Editorial Director. In 2002 he was named the Editor of the Year by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association. He edited over 150 books, wrote one, and produced numerous articles.

In 2003 he began his work as an agent with a leading New York Literary Agency. After more than a year of experience he launched his own agency which focuses specifically on the CBA (Christian) market. In 2009 he was named The Agent of the Year by the American Christian Fiction Writers organization. He was also inducted into the Academic Hall of Fame by Grand Canyon University’s College of Theology.

He is a popular teacher and has taught at over 100 writer’s conferences in more than 55 cities. His office is in Phoenix, Arizona.

Classes:

The 10 K’s of a Good Book or How You Can Earn 10K on Your Next One – (Workshop, Act I/II)

A fun discussion of the elements of a good book.

The Maze of Contracts and Negotiations – (Workshop, Act II/III)

A detailed discussion of the major elements of a book contract.

 

Tosca Lee

Tosca Lee is the award-winning, New York Times bestselling author of THE PROGENY, ISCARIOT, THE LEGEND OF SHEBA, DEMON: A MEMOIR, HAVAH: THE STORY OF EVE, and the Books of Mortals series with New York Times bestseller Ted Dekker (FORBIDDEN, MORTAL, SOVEREIGN). A notorious night-owl, she loves watching TV, eating bacon, playing video games and football with her kids, and sending cheesy texts to her husband.

You can find Tosca at ToscaLee.com, on social media, or hanging around the snack table. FIRSTBORN, the highly-anticipated sequel to THE PROGENY, releases May, 2017!

Classes:

Writing Unforgettable Characters(Continuing Class, Act II/III)

… is a pens-out fiction workshop. Though the majority of our time is spent drawing from the well of personal experience, hopes, dreams and fears to create characters that are as rich, complex, sympathetic and multi-dimensional as we are, it also touches on methods to convey these characteristics beyond simple telling. Best for those with works in progress or finished works that need more depth.

10 Secrets of a Bestselling Author(Workshop, Act I/II)

… is an interactive session designed to delve into our personal motivation for writing, practical advice to reach the finish line, harnessing our personal and writing strengths, the components of stories readers can’t put down, and professionalism and dealing with rejection.

Yvonne Lehman

Yvonne Lehman is a best-selling author of 57 novels. She founded and directed the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference for 25 years and now directs the Blue Ridge “Autumn in the Mountains” Novelist Retreat. She has joined Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas as Acquisitions and Managing Editor of Candlelight Romance and Guiding Light Women’s Fiction. She earned a Master’s Degree in English from Western Carolina University and has taught English and Creative Writing on the college level. Her recent novel releases are a novella Have Dress Will Marry (Heart of a Cowboy collection, Mountainbrook Ink), Better Latte than Never (cozy mystery, Winged Pub), and 8 Romances (4 set in SC, 4 set in NC, LPC). Her non-fiction Moments series (by 45-55 authors, Grace Pub) are Divine Moments, Christmas Moments, Spoken Moments, Precious Precocious Moments, More Christmas Moments, Stupid Moments, and Additional Christmas Moments. LPC released Writing Right to Success (by 25 authors about their writing journeys and craft). For release in 2017 is Why? Titanic Moments, Loving Moments and Merry Christmas Moments.. Her 50th novel is Hearts that Survive – A Novel of the Titanic (Abingdon), which she signs periodically at the Titanic Museum in Pigeon Forge TN. She blogs at  www.christiansread.com  and Novel Rocket. www.yvonnelehman.com –  yvonnelehman3@gmail.com

Classes:

When Pictures Speak Louder Than Words—Value of a Storyboard Practicum (Continuing Class, Act I/II)

Learn how to turn your book idea into a visual tool. Whether you’re a plotter or a panster, storyboarding can be an asset in outlining or letting the story evolve as you type. There’s a saying that picture is worth a thousand words. Writers may take issue with that. But after trying storyboarding, you may admit that the adage may apply to your writing. Discover when and how a storyboard can be more valuable to a plotter than an outline, and pictures enhance the work of a panster. Learn the purpose of having pictures all around to inspire you as you write. Magazines will be available for you to find your pictures or you may choose to research the internet.

Interactive Genre Clinic – (Continuing Class, Act I/II)

This is a group discussion for those who have a story idea, or have written the novel but are not sure where it belongs. “It’s a great story. Anybody would want it.” Well, no… editors have their genres and know what the readers want. No matter how good your story might be, or how great the writing, if it doesn’t fit into their genres, they won’t accept it. Doubts about your genre? Let’s discuss it. As editor with LPC, I’m looking for Romance novels and Women’s fiction. Maybe your novel fits into one of these genres.

Articles: Writing for Moments Books: Your Writing Tithe – (Workshop, Act I/I/III)

You have a lifetime of experiences that will make great stories. But how do you write them in a way that the reader finds meaning, inspiration, or entertainment? Let’s try your hand at getting these stories started. Learn how you can join hundreds of writers making a difference in other people’s lives.

Richard Mabry

Retired from a distinguished medical career as an educator, researcher, author and clinician, Dr. Richard Mabry entered the field of non-medical writing with the publication of his book, The Tender Scar: Life After The Death Of A Spouse, written after the death of his first wife.

He is the author of multiple articles appearing in various periodicals, as well as ten published novels and two novellas. Richard’s books have received praise from reviewers such as Romantic Times Book Reviews and Library Journal, as well as numerous fellow authors.

His novels have been finalists in competitions including ACFW’s Carol Award, Romantic Times’ Readers Choice, the Inspirational Readers Choice, and the Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writers Conference Selah Award. His novel, Lethal Remedy, won the 2012 Selah Award and appeared on the ECPA best-seller list.

Richard is a past Vice-President of the American Christian Fiction Writers, and an active member of the International Thriller Writers, the Romance Writers of America, and the Dallas-Ft. Worth Ready Writers group. He has taught extensively, including the American Christian Fiction Writers Conference, the Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference, the Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writers Conference, and numerous groups and venues throughout the Southwest.

Classes:

Researching Medical Details For Your Fiction – (Workshop, Act II)

Even writers who have no background in the medical field can benefit from having a medical scenario in their novel, whether it’s the central theme or merely peripheral. But how do you go about picking a disease, an injury, or a medical scenario? How should you go about getting the information you need? Are there resources (other than asking another author) that will give you the information you need to write accurately about the problem? What are the possible traps in an Internet search? This session will tackle all those questions, as well as answering your specific queries about your own scenarios. (If wireless access is available for this class location—“Bring your wireless-enabled laptops to learn first-hand how to research this problem.”)

Rules? We Don’t Need No Stinkin’ Rules! – (Workshop, Act I)

Beginning writers are often frustrated by numerous rules: “show, don’t tell,” “avoid the passive voice,” and “keep point of view consistent,” for example This session will discuss the most common rules a beginning writer hears and the reasons behind them. Are they hard and fast, or merely suggestions? What are the consequences of violating them? Are there alternatives? Do you see possible “rule” violations in your own WIP? Is there a better way to say what you’ve written?

Don’t Just Paint By Numbers – (Workshop, Act II)

It’s not difficult to tell the difference between a picture painted by numbers and one crafted by an artist. The same can be said of material produced by writers. This session will discuss the stages an author must go through to make the story in their head come to life on pages, the same way a painter creates a picture. When does the picture depict? What are the most important parts? Is every part of it complete? What about the frame? How do we go about exhibiting the work? And after this work is done, what’s next? This class will present an overview of the whole novel-writing experience, from concept to marketing and beyond, with an eye to helping you make your novel even better.

Torry Martin

Torry MartinTorry Martin is an award-winning actor, screenwriter, and comedian. He is also the author of Of Moose and Men, published by Harvest House Publishing and the creator of the character of Wooton Basset for Focus on the Family’s “Adventures in Odyssey.”

Martin has written 11 full feature length scripts with co-writer Marshal Younger, including the comedies “The Boonies,” “Helen of Troy, TN,” “Heaven Bound,” and “The Matchbreaker.”

His most recent acting roles were in the Taylor Swift parody of “The Office,” Hallmark’s “The Ultimate Legacy,” and the feature films “The Resurrection of Gavin Stone,” “Skid,” and “Mountain Top.”

Classes:

The Power of Networking – (Workshop, Act I/II/III)

The who, what, where, when, why and how of networking . Including how to network from a spiritual perspective. (This is a great class to teach on the first day of a conference to prepare conferees for networking throughout the week.)

Discovering Your Calling/Finding Your Gift – (Workshop, Act I/II/III)

Part in depth Bible study, part personal testimony and all fun. This humorous teaching is geared towards encouraging others to step out and start using their gifts.  This is my most requested class and keynote.

What’s the Big Idea? – (Workshop, Act I/II)

Two areas where writers tend to stumble when putting together a story are “the big idea” and pacing. For “the big idea,” this means, “Does this story need to be told as a book or a movie and will it keep audiences engaged for 300 pages or 90-120 minutes?” Engaging the audience, however, starts on the page. You need a reader to keep turning pages of your book or screenplay in rapid succession because the story propels them forward with energy and purpose. Readers need to see the movie as they turn pages, and if the script drags, the movie certainly will. How do you determine if your idea is “big” enough to carry a movie? And how do you make sure your script has strong pacing? In this class we will be delving into detail about the importance of the big idea and solid pacing.  I’ll be using some of my own stories as examples.

Comedy Shorts for Stage or Screen – (Workshop, Act I/II)

Everything you need to know about writing comedy sketches for short films or staged productions. Emphasis on format, story and structure, character and dialogue, dialogue, DIALOGUE! (12-page handout)

Scott McCausey

Scott is the director of radio ministries at Christian Devotions Ministries. He has interviewed famous authors, Christian recording artists, renowned ministers and evangelists, sports celebrities and special interest leaders each Tuesday night on Christian Devotions Speak UP!

Scott is also the Senior Scientist at Eagle Design and Technology in Zeeland, MI. He’s performed various duties throughout his 27-year career and his vast knowledge of polyurethane allows him to answer difficult technical questions and steer new programs in the right direction.

Scott has also led Pillar of Truth Christian Church since 2010. He is the father of five children, one Grandchild and has been married to his wife Renee for 25 years. When free time presents itself, he enjoys fishing, board games and listening to baseball on the radio.

Classes:

The Show Must Go On (Continuing Class, Act II/III)

This class will share the exact way to start a Blog Talk Radio program. It will cover the mechanics of “The Studio” as well as how to set up a show and get one started, including advertising via social media to get “listens”. How You Too Can Host a Radio Program to Display Your Expertise

Tune Out the Static – (Workshop, Act II)

This class will hone in on that interview time. Discussions will include: What the host looks for. Things to expand your story. The infamous brain-freeze during the interview, getting back on track. Inflecting emotion through your voice and story. How to stay focused on your topic during the interview to shake the nerves and deliver the message.

Lucinda McDowell

Lucinda Secrest McDowell is passionate about embracing life — both through deep soul care from drawing closer to God, as well as living courageously in order to touch a needy world. A storyteller who engages both heart and mind, she offers “Encouraging Words” to all on the journey. A graduate of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and Furman University, Cindy is the author of thirteen books, including Dwelling Places, Live These Words, Refresh!, Quilts from Heaven, Role of a Lifetime and Ordinary Graces releasing this fall from Abingdon Press. Whether co-directing  “reNEW ~ retreat for New England Writing,”  pouring into young moms, or leading a restorative day of prayer, she is energized by investing in people of all ages. A passion is mentoring writers and speakers at events such as Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference, after becoming Mount Hermon “Writer of the Year” re-ignited her own career. Cindy’s favorites include tea parties, good books, laughing friends, ancient prayers, country music, cozy quilts, musical theatre, and especially her family scattered around the world doing amazing things. She writes from “Sunnyside” cottage in New England and blogs weekly at EncouragingWords.net

Classes:

PATH for the Dedicated Writer/Speaker – (Continuing Class, Act II)

The PATH you follow in your soul life will greatly affect your writing (and speaking) career. If  you truly desire to Pursue All Through Him, we’d love for you to join our journey of incorporating certain essentials into your daily life and deeper walk with God. Find direction to launch forth into a hurting world with healing words of hope and grace.

Part 1 – Essentials for the PATH of your Inner Journey

Part 2 – Essentials for the PATH of your Outer Journey

Balancing Personal and Professional Responsibilities – (Workshop, Act I/II/III)

Where do I find time to write amidst family and work? How do I monitor time on social networking when a platform is demanded by my publisher? How many speaking engagements should I accept while my kids are still young? How do I juggle the conflicting deadlines all around me? How do writers conferences help my career? Where do I find (and keep) true friends in this crazy publishing world? Honey, if you’ve ever asked even one of the above questions, then you will enjoy this gathering where we share wisdom and wit for living our calling with integrity. And you may just meet a few like-minded new friends…

7 Ways to Destroy Your Speaking Career – (Workshop, Act II)

Come to this workshop and you will never speak again. Just kidding. Actually, as we look at what not to do, we will discover the qualities that make a speaker one who is invited back time and again. This class covers many logistical details about starting or polishing your speaking ministry. Printed resources and interaction on your specific questions are provided.

Edie Melson

Edie Melson—author, blogger, speaker—has written numerous books, including her most recent fiction – Alone, and nonfiction – While My Child is Away. She’s also the military family blogger at Guideposts.org. Her popular blog, The Write Conversation, reaches thousands each month. She’s the director of the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference and a member of the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association. She’s the the Social Media Director for Southern Writers Magazine, Social Media Mentor at My Book Therapy, and the Senior Editor for NovelRocket.com. 

Classes:

Social Media, Marketing, and Branding – Taught with DiAnn Mills – (Continuing Class, Act I/II/III)

As writers we need to connect with our readers. We also need time to write. Edie and DiAnn provide easy instructions for how to balance both without sacrificing either. They teach social media from both sides, the working author and the writer working to grow a platform. Bring your laptops and prepare to work as they help you build a strong foundation to grow the platform you need for publishing success.

Blogging for Writers – (Workshop, Act I/II/III)

Blogging isn’t dead—it’s very much alive—and a great way to connect with your audience. Edie shares the foundational building blocks that can help you start of right or take your existing blog from good to great.

Andrea Merrell

Andrea Merrell is an associate editor with Christian Devotions Ministries and Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas. She is also a professional freelance editor and was a finalist for Editor of the Year at the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference in 2016. She has been a faculty member at various writers’ conferences, including:  Kentucky Christian Writers Conference, Asheville Christian Writers Conference, CLASS Christian Writers Conference, Carolina Christian Writers Conference, Atlanta Christian Writers Conference, and Write2Ignite. Andrea has been published in numerous anthologies and online venues and was a finalist in the 2015 USA Best Book Awards.  She is a graduate of Christian Communicators and author of Murder of a Manuscript: Writing and Editing Tips to Keep Your Book Out of the Editorial Graveyard, Praying for the Prodigal, and The Gift. Her newest book, Marriage: Make It or Break it releases in June of 2017. Andrea has a passion to help writers sharpen their skills and polish their prose. To learn more visit www.AndreaMerrell.com or www.TheWriteEditing.com.

Classes:

Writing Through the Pain – (Workshop, Act I/II)

Sometimes our greatest words can come from our greatest pain. Learn how to dig deeply into painful life experiences to find inspiration, passion, and purpose for your writing.

Many people, especially new writers, feel called to write, but don’t know what to write about. Even seasoned authors look for inspiration wherever they can find it, but sometimes they miss one of the most valuable resources available: pain.

Why would we want to write about pain? Because it’s a fact of life. Whether physical, mental, or emotional, pain is something we all go through. It’s something everyone can relate to and learn from, especially when we’re open, honest, and transparent about what we’ve experienced, whether it’s dealing with a strong-willed child, coping with the crisis of divorce or death, caring for an elderly parent, or a struggle with weight loss, chronic illness, or addiction.

Warning: Writing Can Be Hazardous to Your Health – (Workshop, Act I/II)

Learning the importance of an ergonomically correct work station, along with tips for keeping your body free of pain as a result of hours and hours on the computer.

Writers spend a lot of time and money on doctors, chiropractors, physical therapy, massage therapists, cortisone shots, medication, and even surgery because of poor habits at the computer. Once you injure yourself, it takes a lot more than ibuprofen, ice packs, and heating pads to get rid of the pain.

Murder of a Manuscript – (Workshop, Act I/II)

What are agents, editors, and publishers really looking for? This workshop will give you a number of writing and editing tips to polish your prose and keep your book from ending up in the editorial graveyard.

Big mistakes usually get our immediate attention, but what about the small stuff? The Bible says it’s the “little foxes that spoil the vine,” and the same is true in our writing. All those pesky little details we overlook can make or break our projects. As a writer, you can arm yourself with some basic weapons to keep those annoying little foxes out of your manuscript.

DiAnn MillsDiAnn Mills

DiAnn Mills is a bestselling author who believes her readers should expect an adventure. Her titles have appeared on the CBA and ECPA bestseller lists; won two Christy Awards; and been finalists for the RITA, Daphne Du Maurier, Inspirational Readers’ Choice, and Carol award contests. Library Journal presented her with a Best Books 2014: Genre Fiction award in the Christian Fiction category for Firewall.

DiAnn is a founding board member of the American Christian Fiction Writers, a member of Advanced Writers and Speakers Association, Suspense Sister, and International Thriller Writers. She is co-director of The Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writers Conference and The Author Roadmap with social media specialist Edie Melson. She teaches writing workshops around the country. DiAnn is active online and would love to connect with readers on any of the social media platforms listed at www.diannmills.com.

Classes:

Social Media, Marketing, and Branding – Taught with DiAnn Mills (Continuing Class Act I/II/III)

As writers we need to connect with our readers. We also need time to write. Edie and DiAnn provide easy instructions for how to balance both without sacrificing either. They teach social media from both sides, the working author and the writer working to grow a platform. Bring your laptops and prepare to work as they help you build a strong foundation to grow the platform you need for publishing success.

Alycia Morales

Alycia W. Morales is an award-winning freelance editor and author. Her clients have won the Selah Award, BRMCWC Director’s Choice Award, and many others. Her writing has been published in Thriving Family magazine, Splickety Love, and several compilation books. She is a member of ACFW, the president of Cross n’ Pens critique group, and a BRMCWC Conference Assistant.

When she isn’t busy writing, editing, and reading, Alycia enjoys spending time with her husband and four children taking hikes in Upstate SC and NC, creating various crafts, coloring in adult coloring books, and watching TV.

Alycia blogs at The Write Editing and Life. Inspired. Connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.

Classes:

90 Days in the Life of a Freelance Editor – (Workshop, Act II/III)

What does the life of a freelance editor look like? How long does it take to edit a manuscript? How do I relate to my client? What do I need to know before I begin a career in editing?

By taking a look at 90 days in the life of a freelance editor, these and many more questions will be answered. We’ll take an in-depth look at the process of editing, from the initial client contact to editing the manuscript to following up with a client.

 Microsoft Word for Writers Practicum (Workshop, Act I/II/III)

In this class, writers will learn the ins and outs of Microsoft Word and Track Changes. As a freelance editor, I have often found that writers of varying levels don’t always know how to properly format a manuscript for submission and/or publication. I have also found that many don’t understand how Track Changes works.

Since we live in a digital age where manuscripts are passed back and forth via e-mail, rather than on paper, and editors tend to use Track Changes and require submissions in Word format, it is becoming more and more necessary for writers to know how to use these tools.

This class will cover the basics of formatting in Microsoft Word, how to save documents with various extensions (including PDF), and how to use Track Changes in the editing process.

Bring your tablet or laptop where Word is installed. You’ll want to follow along on your version of Word, as some icons and menus are in different locations depending on your version of Word.

Tom Morrisey

Bestseller Tom Morrisey is the author of nine novels and three books of nonfiction, and a two-time finalist for The Christy Award. He has edited national magazines (one with a paid circulation in the millions), worked as an executive with a major  advertising agency, and served as a speechwriter and executive-engagement manager for top executives at Fortune 500 companies, including Chrysler, Ford and Disney. He earned his MA in English from The University of Toledo, and an MFA in Creative Writing (with a concentration in fiction) from Bowling Green State University, where he studied with writers such as James Baldwin, Howard McCord and Phillip F. O’Connor. Tom lives with his wife and daughter in Belle Isle Florida.

Classes: 

In a Manner of Speaking – (Continuing Class, Act II/III)

Taught by a writer with more than three decades of experience in writing speeches for Fortune 100 companies, this two-session class shows how to put written-word and storytelling experience to work in creating spoken-word experiences, perfect for the church, the classroom, the auditorium or the boardroom. An essential skill for writers wishing to promote their own work, speechwriting and public speaking is also valuable in a number of social and business situations, and good speechwriters are constantly in demand. Attendees will participate in exercises throughout the class. A bonus is that writers who get comfortable writing for the ear are generally much better writers overall.

 Let There Be Life – (Workshop, Act I/II)

In this single class session, attendees will learn how to develop three-dimensional characters that emerge from the page as believable human beings, and how to develop characters that readers love. This 75-minute class includes a practicum opportunity for attendees to create a character of their own, or develop a character that they already have in mind. (single session, 75 minutes)

Paula Mowery

Paula Mowery is an award-winning author, acquisitions editor, speaker, and pastor’s wife. Her published books include two women’s fiction titles, four Christian romances, and one Christian romantic suspense. Her devotions have been included in the published collections, Sweet Freedom A La Mode, Fear Not, The Mighty Pen, and A Walk in the Valley. She writes for the group blog, Putting on the New. She holds a Master of Education and taught English/Language Arts in public school which she reverts to when sharing writing lessons at conferences and in classrooms. TAG, Tomorrow’s Author Guild, is a pilot program she is currently creating in which she designs and teaches writing lessons to encourage young writers as well as assisting teachers with writing instruction. As a result of the TAG program, her first children’s chapter book, The Adventures of Chloe Ann Parker, has been published.

Paula is an acquisitions editor for Prism Book Group, which is now an imprint of Pelican Book Group. She is particularly interested in romance stories with Christian values and messages at their cores. She’s especially attracted to those manuscripts that leave the reader mulling over the story long after turning the last page. Paula is also on the lookout for those titles that would fit any of the Pelican imprints.

Classes:

Seven P’s of Pitching to an Editor – (Workshop, Act I/II)

Do you have all your ducks in a row? Another way to put that would be: Are you completely prepared? This workshop focuses upon seven areas to have covered and prepared when planning to pitch to an editor. This workshop was born out of my experience as an acquiring editor. There’s more than just having a one sheet or a short “elevator” pitch prepared. A Q & A time will be allowed at the end for specific inquiries from attendees.

Proximate Point of View – (Workshop, Act I/II)

This workshop was formerly entitled, Deep POV Basics. Proximate more clearly defines the type of POV to be taught. Point of view will be defined as well as what proximate POV is and why writers should strive to achieve this in their novels. The presenter will explore six different areas which can enhance or hone the writer’s POV into a deeper one thus allowing the reader to connect even more with the POV character. Examples for hands-on practice will be utilized, some taken from the resource, Rivet Your Readers With Deep POV, by Jill Elizabeth Nelson (used by permission).

From Blog to Book – (Workshop, Act I/II)

This workshop will discuss how blog posts can be turned into a book. The presenter will draw from her own personal experience of turning blog posts into a children’s chapter book and having it be published. Attendees to this workshop will brainstorm possible ideas and explore ways to write fiction and nonfiction material in blog posts and then transition the material into book form. The benefits of creating a book in this way will be discussed as well as the differences in approach as creating the blog posts.

Ane Mulligan

Ane Mulligan writes Southern-fried fiction served with a tall, sweet iced tea. While a large, floppy straw hat is her favorite, she’s worn many different ones: hairdresser, legislative affairs director (that’s a fancy name for a lobbyist), business manager, drama director and writer—her lifetime experience provides a plethora of fodder for fiction (try saying that three times fast). An ACFW member since 2005, she’s the former President of the award-winning website Novel Rocket, a humor columnist, and a multi-published playwright and novelist. She resides in Georgia with her artist husband, chef son, and two dogs of Biblical proportion.

Classes:

Lies & Motivation: the Key to Great Characters & Plots – (Continuing Class, Act I/II)

The Lie the characters believe about themselves is the key to their motivation, and motivation is the key to great characters and to plotting. Motivation is the drive, the character’s impetus, the incentive to reach their goal. It’s the foundation to compelling characters and the key to great plots. Make the motivation complex and you’ll have memorable characters your readers will follow through anything. Once you know your character’s motivation, plotting becomes easier. In plotting a novel, coincidence can’t replace motivation. In this class, we’ll start with their backstory, learn the lie they believe about themselves, what incident caused it, the fear developed from it, and dig deep for the core motivation, which is also a great way to find your theme. Plan to bring your work in progress or ideas for a new WIP. Together, we’ll ferret out your character’s motivation.

How To Run a Successful Group Blog – (Workshop, Act I/II/III)

Keeping up with a blog is time consuming for a writer. Other than cloning yourself, group blogging is the best alternative. Founded in 2005, Novel Journey—now Novel Rocket—was the first literary group blog. From our 10 years of experience, learn how to find your audience, find your focus, pull together the right team, and monetize your blog.

Critiques of Consequence – (Workshop, Act I/II)

A common misconception about critique groups is they strip away your individual style and voice. It can be circumvented, if you know how. This workshop offers advice on how to find critique partners, work with different genres, and how to blend your unique strengths and weaknesses to form a top-notch group, and avoid discouragement. Novelist and Novel Rocket president, Ane Mulligan, has been with her critique partners for over 12 years. She mentors the Penwrights, a large critique group that has seen most of its members published, and has taught this course online and at conferences. This workshop will discuss the attitude necessary to give and receive critiques, how to be tough on each other and dig deep, while remaining encouraging.

Tamela Hancock Murray

Tamela Hancock Murray of The Steve Laube Agency has been a literary agent since 2001 and has been involved in the publishing industry for over three decades. She is a bestselling author of more than thirty novels, novellas, and nonfiction books. One of her short historical romance novels, Destinations, won an RWA Inspirational Readers Choice Award. Tamela is honored to represent many top authors and she continues to develop new talent. She earned her BA with honors in Journalism from Lynchburg College in Virginia. Today she enjoys living in Northern Virginia with her husband of over thirty years. Tamela and her husband are the proud parents of two lovely adult daughters. An avid reader, Tamela can often be found perusing anything from obscure religious texts to the latest bestseller. Tamela loves meeting with authors. Whether you are new to the business, a multi-published author, or somewhere in between, she looks forward to meeting you!

Classes:

Beyond the Book Deal: What an Agent Can Do for You – (Workshop, Act I/II)

Authors often wonder when and if it’s a good time to engage the services of a top literary agent. Steve Laube and Tamela Hancock Murray, both veteran agents representing top CBA authors, offer their insight on how an agent helps authors from their very first book proposal submissions, to successful careers that often involve complex situations best left in the capable hands of experienced agents. This class will help you answer the questions of how an agent can help you through all stages of your career, and offer advice on how to find a great agent for you!

Beth Patch

Beth Patch is an Internet Acquisitions editor for CBN.com. She serves as the editor/producer of the Internet ministry content, pens inspirational articles, interviews authors, and writes movie reviews. She holds bachelor and graduate degrees in Communication and Journalism, is a certified addiction recovery facilitator, and leads workshops on inspirational writing.

Classes:

Writing for CBN – (Workshop, Act I)

A workshop introducing participants to the various sections of CBN.com that consider submissions, what types of articles are considered for those sections, what the process is for submitting, and what to expect if your article is accepted for publication. Writing for the Web differs from writing for a magazine or print – key differences and how to tailor your writing for a web audience will be covered. There will be an open session for questions and ideas in the last portion of the workshop

Writing the Inspirational Article – (Workshop, Act I)

A workshop focused on presenting basic steps to penning inspirational articles of various lengths, including devotions. Practical tips on where to get new material, story-telling techniques, scripture selection, scripture citing, pairing scripture with the topic, self-editing, the take-away, and interacting with publishers.

Katara Washington Patton

Katara Washington Patton is the author of a series of books on successful living based on Biblical characters. Successful Moms of the Bible, Successful Women of the Bible and Successful Leaders of the Bible (Hatchette/FaithWords, 2016-2017) has received many outstanding reviews and testimonies of how Patton’s down-to-earth and sometimes humorous style has piqued even more interest in the Bible and the lessons within. Patton is also the author of a devotional coloring book for all ages, The Parables of Jesus Coloring Book (Hatchette/FaithWords 2017).

God has allowed Patton to combine her passions with her career experience and education. She is a writer, editor, preacher, educator, mother and wife. She enjoys writing and speaking about issues that pertain to women of faith (moms, single and married women, leaders, etc) who are ever trying to seek balance in this crazy world and remain true to themselves while they take care of others. She loves sharing insights she’s received from God through reading Scripture. She reads devotionals almost daily and enjoys finding meaning in God’s Word. She has spoken on numerous topics including:  depression, living as a single Christian, adjusting to married life, balancing work and motherhood, teaching teens, and writing for children, teens and adults.

Katara is grateful to have been born into a Bible-believing and following family, but she’s also had many years to observe the Christian faith and walk of others. Through her experiences and journey, she’s committed to being real and honest about faith. She believes in real-talk centered around God and God’s guidance for our lives—even when those conversations are tough and raise more questions than answers.

Katara has also created supplemental material for best-selling authors, such as T.D. Jakes and Joyce Meyer. She was general editor of Aspire: The New Women of Color Study Bible (Zondervan), the writer for the teacher’s workbook for Bishop Vashti MacKenzie’s Journey to the Well (UMI), and writer and acquisitions lead for Beth Moore’s So Long, Insecurity Teen Edition (Tyndale).

Katara graduated summa cum laude from Dillard University (New Orleans, LA), with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Mass Communications and English. She then earned a Master of Journalism in magazine publishing from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University (Evanston, IL). She also received a Masters of Divinity from Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary (Evanston, IL), where she received the outstanding preaching award.

She has worked in the editorial and acquisitions departments at Weekly Reader Corporation, Jet Magazine, Urban Ministries, Inc. (UMI), McGraw-Hill and Tyndale House Publishers. She recently established Esteem Publishing, which allows her to help others bring their book and media ideas to fruition. In 2014, she was named Nonfiction Editor of the Year by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).

Katara is a native of Thibodaux, Louisiana. She and her husband, Derrick, reside on the Southside of Chicago. They have one daughter, Kayla. She is a member of Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago. As much as possible, she tries to enjoy a Zumba class and a competitive game of Scrabble to keep her life balanced.

Follow Katara on:

Twitter: Katarawp

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/katara.patton

Website: www.esteempub.com

Blog: Musings from a woman of faith http://about-katara.pattonhome.net/http://about-katara.pattonhome.net/

About blog: I use my love of writing to help others keep this Christian journey real and relevant. My passion is for us all to navigate life successfully and happily and to know that even when the journey seems to have more downs than ups, more potholes than mountaintops, it does not have to be walked alone.

To book for a speaking engagement or book signing, please call 773.771.9856 or email katarapatton@gmail.com.

Classes:

First Time’s a Charm – (Workshop, Act I)

How I got a 3-book series deal along with another single-book deal from a major publisher in one year (and wrote all 4 books in one year) as a first-time author…and what I’d do differently next year!

Karen Porter

Karen Porter is an international retreat and seminar speaker and a successful businesswoman. She is the author of seven books including her newest release Speak Like Jesus and is a frequent guest on regional and national radio and TV programs and contributes to national magazines.

Karen served as Vice President of International Marketing of a major food company in Texas for more than 30 years. Today she and her husband, George, own Bold Vision Books, a Christian publishing company.

Karen is a coach of communicators in both writing and speaking and serves on numerous boards of national ministries.

Karen says her marriage to George is her greatest achievement, but she’d love to talk to you about her five grandchildren! In her spare time, Karen continues her life-long quest to find the perfect purse. Karen is a people person, plain and simple and you will love to laugh with her and maybe even cry a little as she shares her joys and struggles.

Classes:

Speaking for Writers(Continuing Class, Act I/II)

Speaking and writing go together like a hand in a glove. If you write, you must speak and if you speak, you must write. Karen Porter researched every place in the Bible where Jesus spoke and determined his speaking technique. You will learn where to find ideas, how to put them together in a compelling message. Then you’ll learn stage presence including what to do with your hands, voice, and eyes. Discover how to prepare a spectacular opening and a dramatic ending. Learn how to add the perfect story or illustration and speak without notes. Come learn to speak like the Master.

George Porter

George Porter is a brother, husband, father, and grandfather who loves God. As a science teacher for more than 23 years, George bring the scientific world to life in his presentations, Bible teaching, and writing as he helps his audiences embrace the God who made us all.

George is co-owner of Bold Vision Books, an independent, Christian publishing company. George serves as general manager, acquisitions editor, and publisher.

As a teacher in both public and private schools, George served as curriculum team leader and on campus site-based committees. He judged Science Olympiads, implemented pilot curriculum on drug awareness in cooperation with Baylor College of Medicine, and coached tennis teams.

George is a graduate of Texas A&M University and has done graduate work in physiology, biochemistry, microbiology, and cell biology at Baylor College of Medicine. He served as a combat medic and paratrooper in Vietnam and as a bacteriologist in the Surgical Research Unit at Brooke Army Medical Center in projects involving the treatment of burn patients.

George is married to Karen and has two children. He makes his home in Texas.

George will be taking appointment to meet with attendees

Deborah Raney

Deborah Raney’s thirty-plus books have garnered multiple industry awards, including the RITA, the Carol, the HOLT Medallion, National Readers’ Choice Award, and Silver Angel from Excellence in Media, and have three times been Christy Award finalists. Her first novel, A Vow to Cherish, which shed light on the ravages of Alzheimer’s disease and inspired the highly acclaimed World Wide Pictures film of the same title, continues to be a tool for Alzheimer’s families and caregivers. Deborah is on faculty for several national writers’ conferences, and serves on the executive board of the 2,700-member American Christian Fiction Writers organization. She and her husband, Ken Raney, traded small-town life in Kansas—the setting of many of Deb’s novels—for life in the city of Wichita. They have four children and seven precious grandchildren who all live much too far away. Visit Deb on the Web at www.deborahraney.com.

Classes:

Writing Women’s Fiction – (Continuing Class, Act I/II)

Keying on characterization, setting, dialogue, pacing, and other foundational elements of fiction writing, this class will also focus on the women’s fiction genre, specifically focusing on using social issues as a basis for plot, and discussing how to make family/relationship drama strong elements of a compelling and entertaining story.

 Show Me a Story: Writing Cinematically – (Workshop, Act II/III)

Using movie techniques—writing cinematically—is a great way to be sure you are SHOWING instead of telling, but it’s also a great way to be sure your novel reads like a script, and is therefore more likely to be considered by filmmakers. Through examining various film techniques and how to apply them to novel writing, Deborah will explore showing vs. telling, point-of-view, deepening characterization, making settings come to life, and many other secrets of strong writing that will make your writing visual and vivid.

Surprising Secrets of the Writing Life – (Workshop, Act I/II)

Little-known facts about what a working writer’s daily life is really like. Did you know that much of a writer’s day is spent doing things besides writing? Do you know why your agent earns his/her keep? What are the pitfalls of fame and the myths of fortune? How do you deal with the green-eyed monster––yours and fellow writers’? How does becoming a writer threaten your family life and life as you knew it before you were a writer? All this and much more, including what to do about it all!

Rhonda Rhea

Rhonda Rhea is a humor columnist for HomeLife magazine, Leading Hearts magazine, The Pathway, SBCLife and many more great publications. She’s written hundreds of magazine articles and is the author of 10 nonfiction books, including Espresso Your Faith, How Many Lightbulbs Does It Take to Change a Person? and Join the Insanity—Crazy-Fun Life in the Pastors’ Wives Club. She also coauthors fiction with her daughter, Kaley Faith Rhea, with their first book, Turtles in the Road, releasing soon and two more books in the works. Rhonda and her two daughters cohost the TV show, That’s My Mom, for Christian Television Network’s KNLJ, airing in mid-Missouri, and Rhonda enjoys hosting KNLJ TV’s The Devo-Minute as well. She is a frequent guest on many radio and TV shows and enjoyed a recurring role on Focus on the Family’s Weekend Magazine radio program for many years.

Rhonda enjoys traveling the country speaking at all kinds of events but makes her home in the St. Louis area with her pastor/hubs, Richie Rhea. They have five grown children and both say they’re hoping for a ridiculous number of grandbabies.

Rhonda says she is absurdly social and would love to connect at:

https://www.facebook.com/RhondaRhea.Author/

https://www.facebook.com/RhondaRheaAndKaleyFaithRhea/

https://www.facebook.com/ThatsMyMom.TV/

https://twitter.com/RhondaRhea

https://www.instagram.com/rhondarhea/

RhondaRhea.com

Amazon author page: http://www.amazon.com/Rhonda-Rhea/e/B001H6Q8VG/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1468965803&sr=8-1

Classes:

Write It with Some Funny – (Workshop, Act I/II)

Plugging humor into your writing can endear readers and help you communicate with pizzazz. But don’t you have to be born funny to write funny? The answer is: nah. Check out formulas for humor-writing in this how-to workshop. You might actually find you’re pizzazzier than you knew!

Blank Screen, Ain’t No Thing – (Workshop, Act I/II)

No need to fear writer’s block. Idea generators—let’s talk about some! We’ll also look at how to file away usable thoughts, concepts and snippets so you have your own idea machine with a near endless supply of resources. Never sweat that blank screen again!

The Care and Feeding of a Healthy Query Letter – (Workshop, Act I/II)

A query letter is like a giant business card. Learn the basics of presenting your “card” with zing. Make editors hungry for your writing with a tasty query. Come hungry to learn!

Erin Smith

Erin Smith joined the fiction editorial team at Tyndale House Publishers in 2006. She enjoys discovering the truth in the novels she reads, whether it’s an exploration of a little-known piece of history, the painstaking accuracy of a car chase through the streets of Tehran, or a profound spiritual message that touches the heart. In her editing role, she works with both established and up-and-coming authors, including DiAnn Mills, Janice Cantore, and Pam Hillman. With a keen eye for detail, Erin contributes to numerous projects each year as a member of Tyndale’s fiction copyediting team and has worked on such bestselling novels as Joel C. Rosenberg’s The Third Target and Francine Rivers’s Bridge to Haven. She continues to be excited about the opportunity to read new fiction titles and, after her brief stint as a newspaper reporter, is thrilled to be able to add the final serial comma back into lists.

Classes:

What a Fiction Editor Does – (Workshop, Act I/II)

After a quick overview of the steps your manuscript goes through at a publishing house—from the review stage to the printer—this session will also explain how an editor can help you refine your novel by looking at various aspects of your story: plot, pacing, suspense, tension, characterizations, POV, showing vs. telling, voice, tone, grammar, syntax, etc. Come away with helpful resources for self-editing, as well as an understanding of common pitfalls in fiction writing.

Trends in Fiction – (Workshop, Act I/II/III)

Get a peek at what the Tyndale House Publishers fiction acquisitions team is looking for. And take a broader glance at trends in the Christian fiction market and what it takes to stay relevant or even ahead of the times.(Classes to follow)

Cindy Sproles

Cindy Sproles is an author and popular speaker. She is the cofounder of Christian Devotions ministries and managing editor of Straight Street Books and SonRise Devotionals, imprints of Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas. Cindy is the executive editor of www.christiandevotions.us and www.inspireafire.com. She teaches at writers conferences nationwide and directs The Asheville Christian Writers Conference – Writers Boot Camp.

She is the author of two devotionals, He Said, She Said – Learning to Live aLife of Passion and New Sheets – Thirty Days to Refine You into the Woman You Can Be. Cindy’s debut fiction novel, Mercy’s Rain, is available at major retailers. Visit Cindy at www.cindysproles.com and book her for your next conference or ladies retreat. Also connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.

Classes:

Say What? Knowing the Lingo? – (Continuing Class, Act I)

Many times conferees walk into a conference and feel as though they entered a foreign country without a translator. This one-day class will focus on writing and publishing jargon familiarizing conferees with those initials they hear, such as POV, GWS, RUE. They’ll learn publishing terms such as first rights, queries, cover letters, lead time, pay on publication and even proposals etc.  Once you understand the lingo things fall into place and you can roll through a conference confident and comfortable.

Polish that Won’t Crack: Writing to Engage – (Workshop, Act I/II)

Learning to write is an ongoing form of refining. In this class we will talk about those first lines, first paragraphs, and first pages. How do you grab a reader and hold them? And better yet. . .how do you keep them turning the pages. It’s learning to insert a cliffhanger thought without hanging the reader out to dry. We’ll discuss dissecting what the writer’s story is about and then when we find it, how to write that first line that drives the hook in. We’ll look at forming the ending paragraph of each chapter so the reader hungers for the next page. Learn what it means to be engaged with your reader. Conferees are encouraged to bring their first chapter to class so we can become. . . ENGAGED.

Learning the Art of Critique – (Workshop, Act I/II)

Get ready to get your hands dirty. Each workshop participant should bring one page of a current work-in-progress or something they’ve written in the past and we’ll work hands-on learning to critique. In this class, we’ll look at what a critique is. What is its purpose. Having a teachable spirit. Critique etiquette, lingo, how to work with tracking in Microsoft Word. And most importantly – how to present and receive a critique. We’ll talk about the value in a critique group and how the right one can move you ahead while the wrong one can crush your spirit. There is an art to critique.

Todd Starnes

Todd StarnesTodd Starnes has been at Fox News Radio for more than a decade. His daily commentary is heard on hundreds of radio stations and his syndicated column is read by millions. He is a frequent contributor on many Fox News Channel and Fox Business Network programs.

Pollster George Barna included Todd as one of the top media influencers for Evangelical Christians in the 2016 presidential election.

He has covered some of the biggest stories of the past decade – from presidential campaigns to the culture wars – interviewing an array of newsmakers and celebrities. His annual Fox Radio Christmas show has become a national yuletide tradition featuring some of the biggest names in Contemporary Christian music.

Todd has authored four books, including “God Less America” – a collection of essays documenting the war on religious liberty.

Todd is the recipient of a regional RTNDA Edward R. Murrow Award and an Associated Press Mark Twain Award for Storytelling. In 2014 he was awarded the National Religious Broadcaster’s Board of Directors Award. He is the recipient of First Liberty Institute’s “Defender of the Faith” award, Vision America’s “National Hero of the Faith” award, Bott Radio Network’s “Watchman on the Wall” award and Pacific Justice Institute’s “Light in Media Award.”

Todd is a frequent speaker at churches, Christian conferences and Christian universities. He has delivered messages at the Ronald Reagan Ranch, the Billy Graham Training Center and the Family Research Council’s Values Voter Summit.

His website is ToddStarnes.com

Classes:

How to Make Your Networking Truly Sociable – (Workshop, Act I/II)

Todd Starnes will teach you how to get the most out of your social networking platforms. From Facebook to Instagram, he will demonstrate methods to promote your book or project that will bring results. And one of those methods is an old school favorite – the newsletter! Todd has more than 210,000 newsletter subscribers and nearly 250,000 Facebook fans with one of the highest engagement rates in social media. So he does know a thing or two about building, growing and sustaining social media platforms.

The Author as a Promoter – (Workshop, Act II)

So you’ve published your book – now comes the hard part – promotion! In today’s modern publishing environment, authors are responsible for promoting their projects. It doesn’t matter if you are a New York Times bestseller or a self-publisher. This class will provide you tried-and-true methods to promoting your books and pitching your project to the media. Todd will also give pointers on how to conduct an interview that will keep you on message and sell your book!

David Van Diest

In galaxy far, far away and in a time so distant yet surreally recent, David worked for a number of different Christian publishers, in a variety of different roles… including delivery driver. His other duties included working directly with many of the major Christian ministries (Focus on the Family, Insight for Living, FamilyLife Ministries, Coral Ridge Ministries, TBN, Ligonier Ministries, etc.) and also with many bestselling authors. He wrote the marketing plan for the Prayer of Jabez, which sold over 10 million copies. He will readily admit that his involvement with the Prayer of Jabez “sounds better than it is.”

In this galaxy, and in this not so surreal time, David’s ongoing prayer is to be placed where God is working, not necessarily for God to bless David’s efforts. Since 1998 that place has been in Christian publishing. And from 2003 to the present, it has been as a literary agent. Presently, David is the principle agent with The Van Diest Literary Agency (www.christianliteraryagency.com). He is interested in mainly non-fiction literature. David’s wife, Sarah, is finishing her first book, which is scheduled to release early 2018 with NavPress.

Classes:

Crafting an Unforgettable Proposal (Continuing Class, Act I/II)

Literary agent David Van Diest knows what it takes to create an unforgettable proposal. In this class, he will share what it takes to make your proposal stand out.

Ben Wolf

In 7th grade Ben Wolf saw the movie Congo on TV. It was so bad that he wrote a parody of it that was set in Australia and featured murderous kangaroos instead of gorillas. So began his writing career.

As someone who knows how hectic life can get, Ben founded Splickety Publishing Group (SPG) to meet the needs of busy folks like him: people who appreciate great fiction but don’t have a lot of time to read. SPG offers three quarterly flash fiction magazines: Splickety Magazine (multi-genre), Havok Magazine (speculative fiction), and Spark (romance).

Ben has written six action/adventure novels (five of which are good) and has multiple other projects in the works. His first novel, Blood for Blood won the 2015 Cascade Award for Best Speculative Fiction Novel and has been characterized as “bold… with nonstop tension” and “hard to put down.” It examines the question of whether or not God can redeem anyone—even a vampire. His debut children’s book, I’d Punch a Lion in His Eye for You, won the 2016 Cascade Award for Best Children’s Book and is beloved by children nationwide.

For more information about his writing and his professional services, please visit his website, www.benwolf.com. 

You can also friend Ben Wolf on Facebook and follow him on Twitter (@1BenWolf).

What is Splickety Publishing Group? What’s the point of the magazines?

Splickety Publishing Group started as a single magazine called Splickety Magazine which specialized in flash fiction and still does. Since its inception in 2011, Splickety Magazine has published one issue every quarter, each one featuring an award-winning or best-selling author including the likes of Brandilyn Collins, Alton Gansky, Eva Marie Everson, Robert Liparulo, Jim Rubart, DiAnn Mills, Susan May Warren, and many others. In June of 2014 we hosted #1 NYT Bestelling author of the Left Behind series Jerry B. Jenkins.

In January and February of 2014, we launched Havok Magazine and Splickety Love, respectively, our first two specialized imprints for genre-specific flash fiction. Havok Magazine publishes speculative fiction stories and Splickety Love publishes romance-themed stories. Our debut featured authors for these two imprints included Tosca Lee and Rachel Hauck, and bestsellers Kristen Heitzmann, James Scott Bell, Travis Thrasher, Bryan Davis, and others have also headlined issues.

We’re also developing a fiction book publishing endeavor that will open with three distinct novel lines: one for romantic thrillers, one for superhero fiction, and one for dark fantasy. These lines are set to launch in late 2017, and acquisitions will open soon.

Classes:

Acting Out: Fighting Basics for Writers – (Continuing Class, Act II)

As a professional stage combat instructor and a mixed martial arts practitioner, Ben Wolf teaches and demonstrates the essential moves authors will need to ensure maximum believability for their fight scenes (such as punches, kicks, and even some jiu jitsu). Get ready to get off your keister and jump into some fighting movements and (safe) action. Screenwriters and visual media attendees will benefit from knowing how to write actual stage combat into their screenplays, and fiction authors will benefit from knowing what they can and can’t do in a fight scene in their novels.

Time-permitting, conferees will have the opportunity to develop their own live performances of fight scenes to present to the class. Advanced classes can also learn swordplay, knife-fighting, and quarter-staff basics.

Writing Flash Fiction that Sells – (Workshop, Act I)

I teach on Splickety’s specialty: flash fiction, which I define as 1000 words or less. Attendees will learn what makes a flash fiction story great (elements like plot, structure, conflict, character development, etc.) and how to condense everything into such a small amount of words. By the end of the presentation, attendees will know what it takes to write compelling flash fiction, will know where they can submit their fiction, and will hopefully do so as one step in their journey toward publication on a grander scale (i.e. a novel).

Cyle Young

Cyle Young is a force-sensitive dragon rider trapped in the modern world. When he and his three muggle padawans aren’t racing chocobos, they search for a magical wardrobe or time stone that may help them return home before The Nothing, Skeletor, or Skynet takes over this dimension. Cyle credits his 20+ writing awards to his discovery of the One Ring to Rule Them All. He lives in the Midwest and when he is not shopping manuscripts for Hartline Literary Agency, he can be found pastoring a growing church or lounging in his hammock beside the tranquil Grand River. More at www.cyleyoung.com
 
What I’m looking for in an appointment?

Be yourself. I DON’T want you to pitch me your book. I want to see your writing. I want to get to know your words, and if I fall in love with your writing… well, that’s a really good thing! The majority of my clients are people who I met at writing conferences… so relax. We can have a normal conversation, because in truth I’m an author just like you. I know the frustration, fears, and anxieties all too well. I will look at any genre in fiction or non-fiction from children’s picture books to adult novels for either the Christian or general market

Classes:

The “Polish” Draft: Selling Your Book Before You Submit Practicum (Continuing Class, Act I/II)

Become a writer that wows a prospective agent or editor by enhancing your manuscript and proposal submission with targeted editing geared to make your submission shine above the competition. Learn how to perform a proper “look” test, make sure you always kill the “as” monsters, “beat” up your dialogue, pull “weeds” and much more!

Winning at Winning Contests: From Contest to Contract – (Workshop, Act I)

Winning your way to a publishing contract and/or agency contract. Embrace contests to initiate your writing career. Create publicity and create market awareness by winning contests. Learn why you need to separate your writing passion from your contest entries, and harness your contests entries to work for you.

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