flowers-purple-crocus-13111088Spring is coming!

Actually, it arrived a week ago, but you can’t tell it from the cold the past few days.

I am so ready for spring – so ready to work in my garden. Even when it does warm up (really, it will;I KNOW it will), until the ground dries out from the winter snows, I’ll sink in above my sneakers.

Truth is, I don’t like waiting. And so Father called me to be a writer, a profession where waiting is a given!

Many of you know that my first book was rejected (returned sounds better!) by 42 publishers over a six-year period.

“I want you to learn to wait patiently, productively, and expectantly,” the Lord told me one day when I was griping and feeling sorry for myself.

I pondered those words the rest of the day. The productive and expectant part sounded okay. But patience? Surely the Lord knew I had a problem being patient. Yet I knew if I failed to learn the lesson of patience, I wouldn’t be prepared to persist during other dry spells. The challenge Lee Roddy once gave me, “write so heaven will be different,” would never happen if my lack of patience caused me to quit.

If I chose to use waiting times to indulge in self-pity and gripe to other writers about “those editors,” time that could be used productively would be lost. And the bottom line . . . failing to learn to wait patiently and expectantly would be the denial of a Scripture I promised years ago to heed. “I will keep on expecting you to help me. I [will] praise you more and more. I [will] walk in the strength of the Lord God” (Ps. 71:14, 16)—through the times when my writing is bearing fruit, as well as through the times when I must wait for it to mature and ripen.


Are you stuck in a time of waiting? Does your writing ministry seem to be on hold? Ask the Lord, “What lessons are You trying to teach me?” I’d love for you to share what He shows you.

Scriptures to encourage you: Psalm 27:14; 32:8; 42:11; 130:3-6; Isaiah 40:29-31; Hebrews 11:1.

Our four hands-on clinics are a great way to get the help you need and to connect with a small group of writers that may become forever friends.  Applications (click here) are due April 1 for:

Fiction Intensive with Tracie & Jim Peterson - limit 8 participants
What makes a good story? How do you give life to paper characters? Why is setting so critical? What’s research got to do with fiction? How can you avoid mistakes like telling not showing, too much backstory, flashbacks within flashbacks, lack of motivation in your characters, and more. In addition to the application, you need to submit 15 pages.

Nonfiction Book Proposals with Cindy Lambert - limit 6 participants
Cindy will lead a group of six authors in critiquing one another’s proposals, then spend the conference improving and fine-tuning them. She will also have a one-on-one 30-minute appointment with each participant.

Get Them Coming to Your Blog/Website with Megan Breedlove - limit 10 participants
How do you bring the maximum number of people to your site so they can hear your message or receive your ministry?  Learn what kind of web presence you need and where to go to get it, determine exactly who your target audience is and what they need, receive individual instruction to ensure your site does the best possible job of meeting your audience’s needs, discover how to promote your site and increase your Google ranking, expand your author platform so you can get your message out to the nations and develop a presence that will be attractive to publishers, and more.


Speakers’ Clinic with Roy Hanschke
limit 8 participants
Every writer needs to be a speaker, too. If you’ve been avoiding the challenge to begin the speaking part of your ministry or need to improve what you’re already doing, this is the clinic for you. Roy will help you 1) discover your ministry focus and how to talk about it (power statements), 2) organize one of your talks to maximize time and effectiveness (message development), 3) present your talk with power and pizzazz (voice personality), and 4) market your message through radio (media mania). You’ll have an opportunity to test what you learn and receive helpful evaluation from Roy and your peers.

It’s often said that writing and speaking go hand in hand.
That’s why I’m grateful that CCWC  offered Roy’s Speakers’ Clinic.
Roy is a dynamic example of “show don’t tell”
as he actually demonstrates different methods of effective communication.
Each participant had the opportunity to try out Roy’s suggestions
in a safe and encouraging atmosphere.
We learned from each other
and went home with a notebook full of useful instructions
on how to become a more skillful communicator. 

Sue Cameron

Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference – July 29 – August 1

Yes, I know it’s been a long wait, but finally the faculty and continuing sessions are in place. I’m really excited at how I see Father at work. Now I need to work at getting the rest of the website updated and  the brochure to the printer. Online registration opens April 1. No fooling!

Discouraged faceLast week I confessed my struggle with procrastination.

What about you? Isn’t it easier to stay in the comfort zone of thinking, talking, even praying about something you feel called to do (or to write) than to actually get started, much less finish? Isn’t it safer to put things off to “someday” than to risk failure?

Let’s be honest. Isn’t it really F E A R that holds us back? Fear of not being able to finish what we start … Fear of not having what it takes – of not measuring up to what others expect … Fear of rejection … Fear of failure …

Years ago, as I struggled to finish my first book, my writing papa, Lee Roddy, asked me whose voice I was listening to. He knew – I really did, too – that I was listening to the voice of fear not faith.

I’m so grateful for the many reassurances God gives me in His Word.

Fear not, for I am with you. Do not be dismayed.
I am your God. I will strengthen you;
I will help you; I will uphold you
with my victorious right hand.
Isaiah 41:0 TLB

And I’m grateful for the lesson of the elk.

beautifull elk

These magnificent creatures fearlessly roam the grounds of the YMCA of the Rockies and downtown Estes Park. The bulls weigh an average of over 700 pounds. Their antlers stretch close to 4 feet high and weigh around 40 pounds each. And yet, as Father, pointed out to me, they hold their head high as they charge across the fields and scale boulders.

I’ve never forgotten what He said to me one day when I was more overwhelmed than usual with everything I needed to do and fearful I’d never meet the deadlines that could not be extended. “Child,” He said, “the load is not too heavy when you are doing what I created you to do.”

Father, thank You for how You’ve reassured me that what You call me to do, You will also equip me to do. Help me to choose to walk (and run) in faith and not fear.

But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength.
They shall mount up with wings like eagles;
they shall run [like the elk] and not be weary;
they shall walk and not faint.
Isaiah 40:31 TLB

News You Can Use

Mastering POV

Set of multicolored big buttons made of glass or plastic with metallic bordersLinda Evans Shepherd and her Right to the Heart of Women ministry is sponsoring another webinar this coming Thursday evening, March 26. If you’ve written or are writing a novel, you know one of the biggest challenges is mastering POV (point of view).  I encourage you to join Linda and her guest Cynthia L. Simmons. For more information and to register click here.

Learning Scrivener

ScrivenerI’ve heard great things about this powerful software for writers. Through March 24 Writer’s Digest is offering it at 25% off making the MAC version $33.75  and the Windows version only $30. For more info and to see Scrivener in action click here. I’ve ordered it, but now I need to learn how to use it. Yep, I admit I’m intimidated by the learning curve that is a given with new software. I’m trusting the Lord that He will help me get everything ready so that I can attend Debbie Allen’s 2-1/2 hour “Afternoon with Scrivener” Wednesday, May 13, at the Colorado Christian Writers Conference. Later that afternoon she is also teaching a 90-minute session on “Self-publishing with Scrivener.” I hope you’ll join me and that you’ll choose to walk in faith and not fear!.


More than a Conference
Anne Johnson
Guest Blogger

The Colorado Christian Writers Conference isn’t just a writers conference, it is a family and a home.

I have attended the conference for over 12 years. Each year I learn more about my writing craft and take away nuggets of truth about God’s will for me and my writing.

I have worked closely with the conference director, Mrs. Marlene Bagnull, and have been a recipient of her overwhelming grace and generosity. When I didn’t have the money to come to the conference one year, she asked if I would help with registration, and thus I was given a working scholarship. Then next year she asked me to return and help with registration again. I have been blessed to be asked to lead morning devotions and help in other areas as well.

In 2000, I called Marlene and told her that I wouldn’t be able to come because I had a six month old daughter, Moriah, and she would probably be in the way. Marlene said, “Oh by all means, bring that special baby with you.” And so Moriah became the youngest conferee to attend CCWC. Since then, Marlene has welcomed my son, Christopher, to the conference as well. And collectively we adopted Marlene into our family as our surrogate aunt.

This year finances once again threatened to keep my children and I home. However, my children began to think of creative ways to earn money to attend the conference. We began in January selling old home school books on e-Bay. I worked a few extra shifts at work. Instead of spending their paper route paycheck the kids put it in our CCWC fund. We shoveled snow for some neighbors, watered plants and house-sat when friends went out-of-town, and the list continues.

When we approached my husband with the news that we had earned almost half of our money for the conference at the beginning of March, he was astonished. He asked the children why they wanted to attend the conference.

“The conference is like my family,” twelve-year-old Moriah said. “I can’t imagine not going. And attending Teens Write helps me to have a renewed and refreshed fire to write in the coming year.”

Then Christopher, our ten-year-old son, stated, “I love the people at CCWC. I have made many friends and would miss seeing them. And I feel encouraged to continue to write my stories and songs.”

A legacy, that is what CCWC is to my family and me. A family of believers brought together with a common goal–to serve God using the gift of writing to reach the lost and the dark world around us.

Children and teens are more than welcome at CCWC.  Each year we’re blessed with about 30 teens in Teens Write. A growing number of them opt to attend the entire conference. (Teens get 60% off the conference registration fee.) And yes, CCWC is like family for me, too. Really it’s a family reunion, spiritual retreat, and incredible networking and learning experience rolled into 3-1/2 memorable days in the breathtaking grandeur of the Colorado Rockies. Thank You, Father, for the privilege and joy of 19 years directing this conference.

for web site with elk

Possible And Impossible Keys Show Optimism And Positivity
Procrastination is a sin;
it brings me endless sorrow.
I know I should stop doing it.
I think I’ll start tomorrow!


No doubt you’ve seen this poem or something similar. I checked the Internet to attribute it and found 4,390 entries! Obviously procrastination is a hot topic that, like the old game of hot potato, we quickly toss (pass the blame) to someone or something else. Really, isn’t it easier to blame someone else for causing us to procrastinate or to move to another task to avoid doing the thing(s) we know we need to do?

While no one is immune from procrastination, I think writers are especially prone. I’m not pointing an accusing finger at you – I’m pointing it at myself. Despite the chapter on “Overcoming Procrastination” that I wrote for my book, Write His Answer – A Bible Study for Christian Writers, I struggle with procrastination as much or perhaps more than others. How else could I have written that chapter? I’m an expert! If you’re curious about what I’m learning (but sadly not always applying), click here to read the chapter online.

I especially struggle with procrastination when it comes to planning the Colorado and Greater Philly Christian Writers Conferences. I know Father has entrusted these conferences to me. Watching Him work and do Ephesians 3:20 things each year (it’s now 32 years for Philly and 19 for Colorado) is one of my greatest joys. It’s just the getting started that’s hard. Well, okay, the entire process is hard! I know I’ll face computer challenges and overwhelming to-do lists and time pressures that will stretch me far beyond my abilities, my limited IQ (it’s amazing how dumb my computer and smart phone can make me feel), my wisdom, my strength . . .

And that’s the problem! I procrastinate when I focus on me – on my self-doubts and feelings of inadequacy rather than trusting the Lord to enable me to do what I can never do on my own. Although the world says depending on anyone or anything but ourselves is weakness, like the apostle Paul I’d rather embrace my weaknesses knowing that “when I am weak, then I am strong – the less I have, the more I depend on him” (2 Cor. 12:10 TLB). God-confidence is far better than self-confidence!

for web site with elkUpdate – May 13-16
Colorado Christian Writers Conference

The last day to register at the early price is Sunday, March 15. Don’t delay, especially if you want to be one of the first 100 conferees and receive a free bonus 5th appointment if you register for all three days. Bios of our 55 faculty members are now online as well as editorial needs. Thank You, Father, for helping me to get the website updated.


Update – Juy 29-August 1Banner 2015 GPCWC
Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference

Although the website doesn’t yet show the progress that’s been made, the faculty is almost finalized. I’ll let you know via the conference Facebook page when I start updating the website in preparation for opening online registration April 1. That will be a challenge with all the work surrounding the Colorado conference. Thank You, Father, for making possible what often feels impossible.



pen & inkwellWhen Words Don’t Come

Guest post by
Starr Ayers

If it seems slow in coming, wait patiently, for it will surely take place. It will not be delayed. Habakkuk 2:3 NLT

Staying in tune with God can be difficult … especially when we don’t hear anything. As I drove my daughter, who has Down Syndrome, to an appointment, she listened to her favorite station through her headphones. Before long, she huffed and began thumping on her radio.

“What’s wrong?” I asked.

She gave no reply but continued to thump her radio in frustration.

“What’s wrong? Isn’t your radio working?”


“How long has it not been working?” I asked.

No answer.

“Did it work yesterday?”


“Did it work the day before?”


“Did you wear your headphones at work anyway?”


My heart broke. After my daughter’s appointment, I stopped at the store for batteries, replaced the old ones in her radio, and drove her back to work. When I left, she was wearing her headset and was working to the beat of the music once more. As I climbed into my car, God whispered, “She didn’t hear anything, but she kept on listening. You should too.”

Once again, my daughter was the teacher. I was the student. Sometimes, God is silent. During those times, the temptation to change the channel is great. We want to remedy the situation ourselves. Search in other directions. Fill the dead air with the sound of our own voice or the voices of others, or simply “thump” in frustration.

Although the words of today’s text may not be the words we want to hear, they do give us some much-needed insight. Listen. Keep watch. Remain steadfast. Live in expectancy. God will speak. He won’t remain silent forever. Although He may not rush in with His answer as quickly as I supplied the batteries for my daughter’s radio, His timing will be perfect.

Don’t grow weary and lose heart, my friend. Keep on listening. God’s words will come, and you’ll be dancing to the rhythm of His beat once more.



Starr Ayers is a third-generation artist, writer, and speaker. The mother of a daughter with Down syndrome, her heart is to encourage the acceptance of those with life-challenging disabilities and to inspire others to embrace their own uniqueness in Christ. Starr is a contributor to the book Hopelifter: Creative Ways to Spread Hope When Life Hurts and is published monthly in Thrive magazine. Connect with Starr at http://bringinglifeintofocus2.blogspot.com, or starrayers@triad.rr.com.

First appeared in www.christiandevotions.us. Used with permission of Christian Devotions Ministries.

Thank you, Starr, for this important reminder of the verse that comes before Habakkuk 2:2, the theme of the Colorado and Greater Philly Christian Writers Conferences. And thank you, Cindy Sproles, for your ministry through http://www.christiandevotions.us and giving me permission to reprint this. You can meet Cindy at the July 29-August 1 Greater Philly conference and the co-founder of Christian Devotions Ministries, Eddie Jones, at the May 13-16 Colorado Christian Writers Conference. I want to encourage you to subscribe to these daily devotions and to check out their helpful guidelines for writers.


News You Can Use

Set of multicolored big buttons made of glass or plastic with metallic borders

Leading Hearts Magazine


“Is God Calling You to Write?”

Wish You Had Your Own Writing Coach?

Now that could make THE difference to help you answer your call. Right?

This is exactly is why authors Angela  Breidenbach and Linda Evans Shepherd are presenting a live webinar called Secrets to a Successful Writing Career. And the best news is that even if you can’t make it to the live class — if you sign up, you will automatically get a recording of the class.  To Register: Click HERE.

The class will cover:

The big picture – What you need to know – to embark on the journey to publishing and readership.

  • Which key tools do you need to help you in your journey?
  • How do you get, find, and keep an editor or agent?
  • Finding a publisher and other publishing ops.
  • What is ‘platform’ and how do you build one?
  • What do you need to be writing now?
  • How do you write like a pro anyway?  What do you need to do in order to create excellence in your work?

We will cover this and a lot more to help you not only get published, but build an audience and an enduring readership – so you can answer your call to write.

Webinar Details:

When:  Thursday, March 12

Time:  9:00 pm EST, 8:00 pm CST, 7:00 pm MST, 6:00 pm PST

Where:  Watch our live Webinar on your own computer; or sign up and you will automatically get the replay to watch at your convenience.

NOTE:  Students will receive handouts plus, Angie and Linda will be live, in person, to answer your questions.

To Register: Click HERE.

About our Presenters:Angela Breidenbach

Angela Breidenbach is a captivating speaker, coach, and author. Angela serves nationally as the Christian Author Network’s (CAN) president. With a volume of appearances online and on television, stage, and radio Angela loves to share her knowledge to build up others. (And yes, she’s Writer in the #Muse & Writer comedy duo.)

linda shepherd hi res 2 from we bLinda Evans Shepherd is an award-winning, best-selling author of over 30 books.  She’s the president of Right to the Heart, the publisher of Leading Hearts Magazine, an international speaker as well as the director of Instant Writers Conference and Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA). Linda will give a keynote, “Write, and Speak, His Answer . . . Prayerfully” at the May 13-16 Colorado Christian Writers Conference. She will also teach the continuing session, “Reaching Women through Writing and More.”

Karen Whiting from FB 3Always Think Marketing

Guest post by
Karen Whiting


Marketing should begin before you write your proposal and continue through long after the book’s release. When you first have an idea that’s the time to think how you can grab the attention of readers.

Example: With my first book, on finger puppets, I thought of how I could use it in teaching puppetry at regional festivals and what might get vendors who carry books to purchase it. I brainstormed jingles and phrases and came up with I incorporated into the proposal, “Let your fingers do the teaching.” That ended up on the back cover of the book.

Results: I applied and got on faculty at a puppet festival. As I taught there, another person on the faculty loved what I did and said she wanted to take the book with her on a 60-city tour where she was teaching Sunday School leaders. I gave her sample puppets too. A vendor who chose to carry the book told me he did Sunday school conventions and ministry conventions all over the country. That launched the book.

So how do you think marketing? Think in each direction that marketing reaches readers:

  1. Media - Think of short pitches that would interest a listening audience. They like humor, stories, and tips. What are the stories behind your book or in it? What did you learn that could be put into 3 top tips?
  1. Speaking - What topics can you fit into a 45-minute talk or workshop? I wrote a book on time management and that can sound a bit boring. But, I used principles from creation and decided to title a workshop, Created for purpose and beauty. That grabs attention better, as it gives hope and meeting planners can see how they can add in some fun, like including a fashion show or flower arranging as a side workshop.
  1. Articles and blog posts - What are some key ideas you want to convey to your audience? Those are ones to build articles on that relate to the book. So, for my time book I’ve done articles on accountability partners, get out of time debt, different time zones (personality and time), etc. Some expanded on ones I only used in sidebars of tips while others reinforced a larger section of the book.
  1. Social networking - As you write the book, can you sum up what you cover each day? The summaries could make great tweets. Can you jot down a few lines related to what you thought as you wrote? These could be blog posts or short FB post.Whiting Nature Girl
  1. Print - This includes freebies on your website, handouts, promotional material, etc. As you envision your idea, what do you see? These images can be great to capture for print. Can you create a handout of what you’d cover in a daylong or weekend retreat? These would be good for flyers for meeting planners. I created one on last year’s release (Nature Girl) for scout leaders. Last month I transformed it a bit for camp directors and did a mass mailing to Christian camps with the handout plus a few supplies for doing activities in the book. Next month I’ll put it on my website as a free handout. I created a fun quiz for a time I would be at a bookstore Mother’s Day weekend. It was part of launching a book for women and I did a quiz on a man’s laundry personality. The men loved the quiz, laughed, and I sold a ton of books that day.

I love helping others brainstorm and think  of unique ways to market their books and catchy phrases to use as a basis of marketing. Ideas are limitless!


Thanks, Karen, for sharing such great ideas. You really are the “idea queen.” I’m so glad to have you on faculty at both the May 13-16 Colorado Christian Writers Conference and the July 29 – August 1 Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference.

Among other things, Karen is offering a 30 minute paid consultation to “Develop a Unique Marketing Plan for Your Book.”  She will help you create realistic and workable plans to reach your audience building on your strengths. To learn more about Karen visit her website at www.karenwhiting.com.

Karen is the queen of creativity, the master at innovative ideas, and an expert
in transforming an insight into a tangible and powerful marketing tool.
During a recent writer’s conference, I attended her marketing sessions.
As we sat in a circle, she took the focus of each book,
gave each author ideas, examples, and practical steps to market each book.
They all evoked an “Ah!” from the participants.
The skill Karen has to craft a powerful marketing tool
from a mere concept is a gift few possess.

Janet Perez Eckles
Author & International Speaker

HopeIt’s been an exciting and busy week!

I’ve spent a good bit of time working on the website for the May 13-16 Colorado Christian Writers Conference. It’s not yet been proofread, so if you find mistakes, please overlook or, better still, let me know so they can be corrected. The major amount of time was spent making certain I had added all the faculty interested in doing paid critiques to the Paid Critiques page and to their bios. (There were a lot of additions, and there still may be a few more.)

I really appreciate all the faculty who have volunteered to do these. Considering what they would typically be paid outside the conference setting, it really is a labor of love for them to review your manuscript pre-conference and then sit down with you for 30 minutes. This can be one of the most valuable aspects of the conference and a huge help in strengthening your manuscript. I encourage you to do at least one paid critique. I do not, however, encourage you to have more than one faculty member critique the same manuscript. You’re likely to get differing opinions that may just confuse you.

Sandy Quandt has written a helpful blog post, “Critique, or Not? That Is the Question.” If you’ve not read it, I urge you to do so. You’ll find it right before this blog.

I was interviewed on Patti Shene’s blog talk radio show Lit(erally) Speak(ing) this week. I think you’d enjoy learning more about what’s behind the conference – rather WHO. Patti is hosting a drawing for a free copy of my books, Write His Answer – A Bible Study for Christian Writers or My Turn to Care – Encouragement for Caregivers of Aging Parents. The drawing closes this coming Monday, March 9, at 8:00 pm MST. (Don’t forget to move your clocks forward tonight.) Here’s the link to enter the drawing and listen to the interview: http://ow.ly/IqBuf. Patti will be at the conference and available to talk to you about her show or beginning your own show on blog talk radio.

I’ve been primarily focused on the Colorado conference, but next week I must finalize the faculty and program for the July 29-August 1 Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference so I can open online registration April 1 – no fooling! Spring really is coming – also no fooling! I am so eager for warm (not hot!) days and to be able to again work in my back porch “office.”

Thank You, Father, for Your promise:

“Oh, that we might know the Lord!
Let us press on to know him,
and he will respond to us
as surely as the coming of dawn
or the rain of early spring.”
Hosea 6:3 TLB








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