2017 snow CCWC
With another nor’easter on the way (the fourth one in three weeks on the east coast), I am so looking forward to springtime in the Rockies. Well, not the “spring” we experienced last year at the Colorado Christian Writers Conference when we were in the bulls-eye of a storm that dumped 41″ of snow! Yes, 41″ – that’s not a typo!

The YMCA of the Rockies did an incredible job keeping the walkways and roads passable. They even cleared snow off the cars in the main parking lot. And really, it was awesome, especially for the folks from the south who had never seen this much snow.

Even more awesome was how Father again met us on the mountain. I expect He will do the same this year blanketing us with His presence but without the snow!

The bios of all 60 faculty members are now on the conference website. Click here. Also on the website are the wonderfully helpful charts of editorial needs, genres our agents our interested in representing, and areas of expertise Barb Haley, our appointments coordinator, has prepared to make it easier for you to choose your free 15-minutes one-on-one appointments.

If you come Thursday, Friday, and Saturday (Wednesday is a pre-conference day with 16 afternoon workshops and not one but two powerful keynotes in the evening), you’re entitled to 5 (yes, FIVE) appointments.

New this year is a chart you can click on for each faculty member for more info. Here’s a sample:

Chart Steve Barclift 2018 CCWC

The price increases March 18 – not by much, but the earlier you register the better opportunity you have to get your top appointment requests.

With 8 continuing sessions, 42 workshops (plus the 16 Wednesday early bird workshops), 4 clinics (by application due April 16), challenging keynotes, panels, and those important one-on-one appointments CCWC will encourage and equip you to write about a God who is real, who is reachable, and who changes lives!

For you are dealing with the One who formed the mountains, made the winds, and knows your every thought; he turns the morning to darkness and crushes down the mountains underneath his feet: Jehovah, the Lord, the Lord Almighty, is his name.
Amos 4:13 TLB

YMCA lodge

Dianne Buts for webWhen You Think
You’re Not the One to Go

Guest Post
Dianne E. Butts

Have you ever had a moment when you witnessed something, knew God was doing something amazing and important, but had no idea it would affect your life let alone how?

I will never forget that evening in the Ruesch Auditorium at the Colorado Christian Writers Conference. I believe it was the year 2000, when Marlene gave the podium to Barbara Nicolosi. When Barbara took the mic, she asked the audience two questions. Here’s how I remember them:

How many of you have seen something objectionable come out of Hollywood recently?”

I think a majority, if not all, the people in the audience of maybe 200 raised a hand and nodded and murmured agreement.

Then Barbara asked:

How many of you have prayed for Hollywood recently?”

The room went dead. Still. Not a single hand moved that I could detect. Including mine.

ActOne 2018 promo HalfPageFlyerBarbara went on to tell us about the school she and some others had started, called Act One: Writing for Hollywood, to train Christian writers to write for Hollywood and thereby transform Hollywood from the inside out. And that is why she had come to the Colorado Christian Writers Conference to speak to us Christian writers.

At the time and for many reasons it was not possible for me to go to Act One, although I longed to. I didn’t think I’d ever be the one to go. But ten years later, through several amazing circumstances, the Lord made it clear He wanted me to apply. And go. And in more amazing ways He provided what was needed so I could. So in the summer of 2010, I attended the Act One: Writing for Hollywood classes for two weeks in Hollywood. This launched me into an area of writing I had never envisioned when I started out to write fiction books for the Christian market.

Since then I have written feature-length screenplays which are currently being considered by some production company executives (which I was able to meet through Act One sponsored events), I have also swerved into not only writing short films but producing them! I never saw that coming. Turns out the short documentary film I was producing at the time of last year’s CCWC won two awards at a film festival last August: Best Documentary and the Evangelista Award for the clearest presentation of the gospel of all the films in the festival.

Over the years I have prayed God would do Ephesians 3:20 things with my writing: “immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine…to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus…” To my amazement, He is doing just that as He uses me in film.

Now, that you know my story, I have a question for you: Have you considered applying to and attending the Act One program? Yes, I mean you.

Right now Act One is preparing their summer Writing Program, and not only that but Act One also offers a Producing & Entertainment Program and a new Directing Workshop. Find all the details at these links:

  • Act One Hollywood Writing Program: New: Offering two tracks! Film Track and TV Track, or both. 10 days each track. Feature Films: July 9-19. Television: July 20-22 + July 23-Aug 2. Application* Deadlines: Early Bird Deadline is April 30, 2018 ($100 off price). Regular Deadline: June 15, 2018. Questions: james@actoneprogram.com

*$50 application fee

If you decide to apply for an Act One program, please tell them Dianne Butts sent you. And please let us know what adventure God is taking you on. We’d all like to know, to pray for you, and cheer you on.

And if you are interested in writing for the screen, whether feature films or TV, you won’t want to miss the amazing opportunity at the Colorado Christian Writers Conference this year! For the first time Executive Producer Brian Bird (The Case for Christ, When Calls the Heart, Touched by an Angel, more) will be teaching a continuing session — that’s six hours over three days — on screenwriting! Come meet Brian Bird (he’s really, really nice and not scary at all) and learn from him how to launch your career in screenwriting. To learn more about Brian and his six-hour continuing session click here and scroll down the page. To register for the CCWC conference click here.

Just one more thing: If you’re coming to the conference, Marlene is planning to show my award-winning short film, The Door, on Friday evening. I hope to see you there!

“Let everything that has breath, praise the Lord!”
Psalm 150:6

Guest Post from CCWC & GPCWC Keynoter
Michael Gantt

Just about seven years ago, I stood looking across a weed infested, half flooded plot of land in Western Kenya.  We had purchased the property for some future use for the Immanuel Christian School for the Deaf.  The school had so many real and pressing needs, there were some who considered the purchase with great consternation, thinking that the purchase was a great waste of money.  However, as I stood there gazing out over the little plot of land I saw neither weeds nor water.  Instead, I saw great brick buildings rising up out of the overgrown soil. I saw sleeping quarters and a beautiful dining hall and kitchen.  In my mind’s eye, I saw a meeting room for chapel services and public meetings and most beautiful of all – – a grand educational center towering above everything else; a place where Deaf children could overcome every disadvantage their Deafness had saddled them with.

I turned my gaze to a small room where I would meet with our Headmaster Wes Agengo and members of the school board.  On a table in front of us we had rolled out a large piece of white paper and threw some markers on it.  We prayed before picking up those markers and began  to draw a dream. We asked God to give us a vision greater than us. He gave us a vision for a Center for Deaf Education that would not only train Deaf children in basic academics, but a technical center where they could learn a trade and eventually, a Deaf College and Technical Institute.  We had scarcely a penny with which to begin but God had given us a vision and a kernel of faith and with that we began to dream and with the dream,  to plan.

When I returned home to the US,  I shared our vision with my own church. After one meeting a member of my church approached me with a twenty dollar bill.  She said, “That’s all I have, but I am giving it to you in faith that like the loaves and fishes, Jesus is going to multiply this into all the money you need to finish this work.”  Her faith (along with many others) has been rewarded, for God has indeed multiplied that small offering into a great miracle.

School for Deaf

The New Academic/Administration Center
for the Immanuel Christian School for the Deaf

     This morning, I received some photos that are a testimony to the power of a small faith and the great faithfulness of our God.  They are photos of that grand Educational Center that is within a few weeks and a few dollars of completion.  It is beautiful beyond any words I can share, but I must tell what God has done.  The campus I could only see in my spirit just seven years ago is today, almost complete. We are just $4,000 and a few weeks away from completion. How great is our God!!!

And yet, it is not merely buildings that have been built there; not just brick and mortar.  The Immanuel Christian School for the Deaf is now considered the leading academic center for the Deaf in all of Kenya.  Our students are excelling at a very high academic level.  Recently, we entered into an agreement with a national Teacher’s College that is now holding lectures on the new campus, training teachers to teach the Deaf.  Some of our own students are training at the college level to be teachers of the Deaf.  I could not have imagined just seven years ago that this would be possible in such a short time.

I asked Marlene Bagnull if I might submit this article for publication on her blog because I wanted to express my deepest gratitude to so many who have been associated with Write His Answer and the Colorado and Philadelphia writers conferences who have been instrumental in the fulfillment of this dream.  Each year as I have spoken at these conferences, those in attendance have sent me home with very generous offerings; amounting to many thousands of dollars in support of my kids in Kenya.

As we stand at the precipice of victory, I want to express my gratitude to the many persons associated with the Greater Philadelphia Christian Writers Conference and the Colorado Christian Writers Conference for your encouragement and support.  Without your generous giving we would yet be many miles and many dollars away from completion.  You came to the conferences to learn, to hone your craft, but in the midst of it you found it in your hearts to invest in the lives of desperate children who live far away from you.

I expect to see many of you in Colorado in May and then in Philadelphia in July. I plan to bring photos that are different than those I’ve brought in the past. Photos not of what we HOPE to do – but of a work that is DONE!  Thank you Marlene for your generous allotment of time given to me to present the needs of the school and so many of Marlene’s friends who have made such generous contributions to our work. May His peace and blessings be yours.

Michael Gantt

From Marlene: Thank You, Father, for giving us the opportunity to be part of this ministry to the deaf children in Kenya. Thank You for again doing exceedingly, abundantly beyond . . 

To learn more about this life-changing work go to http://www.kenyadevfund.org.




2018 CO banner

These are in addition to Writing Women’s Fiction with Deborah Raney, Advanced Fiction Writing with Dave Lambert, and Screenwriting with Brian Bird. See https://writehisanswer.wordpress.com/2018/02/02/the-power-of-story/.

Erin Taylor Young High Resolution

Write from the Deep
with Erin Taylor Young

In the challenging world of publishing, we need a way to find refreshment, renewal, and restored passion. And there’s no better place to do that than in the deep places. These interactive sessions will challenge you to go deep with God in your call and craft. Erin is the co-creator of Write from the Deep with Karen Ball. She’s also an award-winning humor writer with the gift to make her readers laugh out loud even as she’s delivering hard truths about living a life of faith.

Craig von Buseck croppedWriting Narrative Nonfiction
with Craig von Buseck

The narrative nonfiction genre is a burgeoning market for writers who want to tell true stories with powerful messages. Learn the difference between narrative nonfiction, biography, and historical fiction. Discover how true stories can unlock the hearts of your readers to the ways God can move supernaturally in the lives of people who seek Him. Craig is an author, speaker, teacher, and Senior Editor for Inspiration.org, the official website of Inspiration Ministries.

Scoti Domeij 1Your Book Launch Game Plan
with Scoti Domeij

The biggest secret no one tells you behind an author landing an agent or book contract or making money in self-publishing—a savvy book marketing plan. Your Book Launch Game Plan provides a step-by-step, month-by-month, how-to action plan that covers the nitty-gritty groundwork of book marketing. It lays out a 6-month timeline to build a social media platform, to create pre-release marketing buzz, to launch your book, and to promote your book throughout the year after your book launches. Scoti has worked with 10 traditional publishers as an author; editor; senior research assistant; copyriter; marketing director; and production, art, and design coordinator.

Ken-Raney-HR-3 copyIndie Publishing
with Ken Raney

In the first session discover the pitfalls, snags & triumphs two writers experienced. Bob Ruesch used an indie publishing company, Roy Hanschke a traditional publisher. In the next three sessions Ken will address formatting the interior and designing professional looking book covers, business cards, newsletters, blogs and websites, bookmarks, postcards, email signatures, ads, and more along with accessible online resources for writers such as templates, themes, stock photography, fonts, photomanipulation programs, etc. Ken has over 35 years of experience in graphic design, illustration, advertising, and marketing. His sessions will be practical and user-friendly info even for non-techies. The last session features a panel of indie authors.

Bill Watkins2Writing that Changes Lives
with Bill Watkins

Culture changes one life at a time. And those personal changes impact the lives of others, eventually bringing about changes in policies, laws, business, entertainment, education, the church, and a host of other spheres in society. Although there are multiple causes of change, one that’s proven effective long after its author is gone is writing. But not just any writing. It must be writing that connects, challenges, provokes, inspires, casts vision, provides hope, and refuses to back away from telling the truth. It does not waste time with the trivial and the comfortable. Instead it takes readers more deeply into the true, the good, and the beautiful in all their power and mystery. In his 35-plus years in publishing, Bill has worked with hundreds of writers including Mike Huckabee, Charles R. Swindoll, Leslie Vernick, Josh McDowell, and Cecil Murphey.

~ *~ *~ *~ *~

Be among the first 75 to register for Thursday, Friday, and Saturday and you’ll receive a free 6th one-on-one appointment. For more information and to register go to http://colorado.writehisanswer.com.



I’m risking being a pest because I so believe in the value of this new conference. Plus there is now a 9th reason for you to come!

Come to what? When? Where? The NEW

Write to Impact Lives Conference
February 9-10 in Lansdale, PA

And why?

Question & Exclam pt

9. Writers love books, and they need books! And if you register for both days, along with those who have already registered you will receive FREE the following three books that support the purpose of this conference.

New WHA cover

My Bible study for writers that addresses the struggles we face and must overcome.

Communicate Change Lives

Jim Watkins’ book that I believe every Christian writer needs to read.

CWMG 2018
The info you need to find markets for your work as well as literary agents, writers conferences and seminars, writers groups, editorial services, publicity and marketing services, and contests.

The three books sell for $44.97 on Amazon ($37.99 through the Write His Answer Bookstore), but if you register for the entire conference, you will receive them free of charge (or the equivalent value in other books we’ll have for sale).

8. To give your writing the jumpstart it needs in the midst of the winter doldrums and prepare to meet with editors and agents at the July 26-28 Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference. Attendees will receive 10% off GPCWC’s registration fee .

7. To participate in our Friday evening author interviews and book signing. If you’re not yet published, you’ll be encouraged by their testimony and by fellowship with other conferees and our faculty. We need to

Encourage each other and build each other up,
just as you are already doing.
1 Thessalonians 5:11 NLT

6. To be challenged, encouraged, and inspired through three powerful keynote addresses.

  • “Christians Are Hateful” – The Cultural Challenge for Today’s Christians – Bill Watkins
  • Write from the Deep – Karen Ball
  • Keeping Your Dreams Alive – Jim Watkins

5. To discover the advantages of Going Indie with Sarah Bolme, Director, Christian Small Publishers Association (CSPA). Self-publishing is no longer viewed as the last resort for writers unable to land a contract with a traditional publisher. Even best-selling authors often choose to go indie. This 4-hour learning lab will give you the knowledge and tools you need to publish and market your book.

4. To keep growing your writing skills in a 3-hour continuing session.

  • Taming Fiction Dragons with Karen Ball who has built fiction lines for Tyndale, Multnomah, Zondervan, and B&H Publishing Group. As an editor, author, and former literary agent with The Steve Laube Agency, Karen has over 30 years publishing experience.
  • The Five Rs of Nonfiction with Jim Watkins, an award-winning author of over 20 books and 2,000 articles. Jim will give you practical, step-by-step methods to get into print and pixels.
  • Writing that Changes Lives with Bill Watkins – Writing that connects, challenges, provokes, inspires, casts vision, provides hope, and refuses to back away from telling the truth can change lives and eventually cultures. During his 35-plus years in publishing, Bill has worked with hundreds of authors including Chuck Swindoll, Josh McDowell, Leslie Vernick, and Mike Huckabee. He is also an award-winning author with 7 published books, the president of Literary Solutions, and senior editor at BroadStreet Publishing Group.
  • Develop a Personalized Marketing Strategy for Your Book with Karen Whiting, an award-winning author of 25 nonfiction books. Whether it’s still an idea or an already published book, learn how to use your strengths to develop a marketing strategy that fits you and reaches your potential readers.

3. To learn ways to build your “platform.”  Whether you land a contract with a traditional publisher or go indie, you need to learn how to effectively reach your audience. Our faculty panel will share what works (and doesn’t) and answer your questions.

2. You’re too late to take advantage of a paid critique, BUT as their schedule allows, faculty will be available for free 15-minute appointments. Sign-up when you arrive.

1. Last but first, to hear from the Lord and recommit yourself to write to impact lives!

God can do anything, you know—far more
than you could ever imagine or guess or request
in your wildest dreams!
Ephesians 3:20 MSG

For more information and to register, click here. Walk-ins are welcome, but please check the website for specific info on the location.

The Power of Story

2018 CO bannerThree Continuing Sessions for Fiction Writers

Because one of the most effective ways to present truth is through the power of story, we’re offering not one but three continuing sessions on writing fiction at the May 16-19 Colorado Christian Writers Conference:

Deb-Raney-HR-3Award-winning novelist Deborah Raney will teach a 6-hour continuing session on Writing Women’s Fiction. Beyond covering many writing tools that apply to all genres: strong characterization, complex plots, and deft use of point-of-view, Deborah will discuss key elements unique to contemporary women’s fiction: addressing social issues in fiction, creating likeable-yet-flawed characters, using strong dialogue, creating page-turning action (despite a lack of explosions or car chases), and writing cinematically (making it that much more likely your book might become a movie).

Brian Bird2Brian Bird who has spent three decades in Hollywood, will provide soup-to-nuts advice for authors adapting their own stories into screenplays in his 6-hour Screenwriting session. Brian has written or produced two dozen films including The Case for Christ and Captive as well as nearly 300 episodes of such shows as Touched by an Angel. He is also the executive producer and co-creator of the Hallmark Channel original series When Calls the Heart, now in its fifth season.

Dave Lambert 2018A third option for fiction writers (it’s going to be difficult to choose) is Dave Lambert’s Advanced Fiction Writing. Dave has a M.F.A. in fiction writing and is the author of 11 books. He spent 18 years as an acquiring editor at Zondervan, and most recently, 3 years as senior fiction editor at Howard Books. He also wrote the fiction curriculum for the Jerry B. Jenkins’ Christian Writers Guild. Dave will help take your fiction to the next level as he examines some of the more advanced techniques: character growth and change, creating believable character emotion, voice, exposition, a sense of place, style, conveying meaning through implication, and more. Time will be set aside to discuss the problems you’re encountering in your work-in-progress.

Did I say it’s going to be difficult to choose?

Plus there are five more continuing sessions. Three of them would also be a good choice for those who write fiction. Watch for the next blog!

For more information about all our continuing sessions go to http://colorado.writehisanswer.com/continuingsessions.

Online registration opened February 1. Click here

The earlier you register, the better opportunity you have to get your top choices for the five free one-on-one appointments you are entitled to if you register for Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. And if you’re among the first 75 to register, you’ll receive a 6th appointment.

News You Can Use

reading newspaper pexels-photo-404976

Yes, I believe our writing is a ministry! But if we want to reach the most people possible with the message Father has entrusted to us, we can’t ignore the business aspect of our ministry. Especially when it comes to social media, we need to learn the most effective ways of connecting with our audience and with influencers.

So . . . below is some “news you can use” that will hopefully help you to expand your ministry. But one word of caution. Be careful to guard against getting so caught up with numbers and the world’s way of doing things that you leave the Lord out of the equation. He is able to make things happen that you could never do on your own.

God can pour on the blessings
in astonishing ways
so that you’re ready for anything and everything,
more than just ready to do what needs to be done.
2 Corinthians 9:8 MSG

The Ultimate Book Marketing Plan

Rob Eagar, www.startawildfire.com, announced: “I’m giving away an incredible new 10-part email course called the Ultimate Book Marketing Plan for FREE at Reedsy.com. Reedsy is a new global online marketplace for authors that I encourage you to visit. It’s like AirBnB or Angie’s List for the needs that authors face, such as finding a book cover designer, editor, or a marketer like me.

“This new email course officially launched January 26. You get to be one of the first authors to access it for free. It’s a perfect complement to the Ultimate Book Marketing Template that many of you have downloaded. Click here to take the free email course at Reedsy.”

A Writer’s Best Friend 

A helpful and humorous blog by author and literary agent Bob Hostetler about a tool every writer needs to use. I won’t tell you what it is. 🙂 You need to read Bob’s blog. Click the link above.

Connect with Influencers in Three Sentences

If you need to secure endorsements for your book, you need to read this helpful blog post from Mike Loomis who has served on the faculty of the Colorado Christian Writers Conference.

What Facebook’s 2018 Change Means for Authors  

This blog post from Thomas Umstattd Jr. (another former CCWC faculty member) explains Facebook’s EdgeRank algorithm. One important change: “Reactions (like laugh, heart, and crying face) are now weighted more than likes. So if somebody gives you a heart emoji, that’s more than if they just give you a regular thumbs up.” Let’s remember to do this when responding to posts of those who need our support.