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to register for the May 16-19 Colorado Christian Writers Conference.

The price automatically increases tomorrow (May 10), BUT if you register online instead of just walking in (although we’d still welcome you), we’ll give you a bookstore credit for the $10 – $15 price increase. (I call it the “procrastinator’s fee.”)

I know some of you are not procrastinators. You’re just now hearing about the conference, and I want to do everything possible so you do not miss what I know will be a life-changing and ministry-enabling conference.

Time payments can be arranged if needed. And partial scholarships are even a possibility if there is no other way. Our Father is always able to make a way.

Lodging is still available although we’re filling up quickly. Click here for info and call Brenda at the YMCA (970-586-3341 ext 1349). I think we’re about out of single rooms, but I know she’s still got some conferees looking for a roommate. Not only will that reduce your cost, you’ll make a new writing friend or friends. Alpen Lodge has two queen beds and a sofabed to house 3 people comfortably. The cost, including dinner from the day of your arrival through lunch the day of your departure, is only $68 a night, and you’ll save the $15 YMCA daily fee.

Please pray about joining the 60 faculty and 200 plus beginning and professional writers on the mountain next week.

God bless you and your writing ministry!

Lodge at nt

YMCA Lodges at Night

 

“Do you believe, do you really believe God can use you?”

When Michael Gantt spoke those words about ten years ago in a keynote at the Colorado Christian Writers Conference, the presence of the Lord was so powerful. I know lives were changed in that moment. Mine certainly was.

Even though I’d been directing the Colorado conference for about 12 years and the Philly conference (that I founded) for about 25 years (it’s now 35 years), the “deadly Ds” were a frequent companion.

If God has called you to “write His answer,” then if you’ve not yet encountered the deadly Ds of Disappointments, Doubts, Discouragement, and even Despair, the good news is that you will.

This is good news? Yes! First, it’s evidence that you are a threat to the evil one. And second, it will cause you to draw more and more close to the Lord and to depend on Him.

The journey to publication is not easy. Sadly, many give up.

For 22 years the Colorado Christian Writers Conferences has “encouraged and equipped Christians to write about a God who is real, who is reachable, and who changes lives.”

Every year He meets us on the mountain. He gives hope, courage, direction . . . He draws us into CCWC’s family of writers where deep, forever friendships are formed.

He may open the door to publication if you and your writing are ready. If not, you can be certain you’ll receive the instruction you need to keep growing your writing skills. In addition, you’ll receive valuable feedback in one-on-one appointments (more than at any other conference) with our faculty of 59 agents, editors, and authors.

Do you believe God can use you?

It’s not too late to register for the May 16-19 CCWC. Time payments can be arranged if needed. God will make a way. Trust Him!

 

Debbie Hardy for GP

Debbie Hardy

How would you like a chance to get 50% off the cost of registration for the Colorado Christian Writers Conference  Believe it or not, it’s simple.
Copy of Learn more!I learned this the hard way. I had heard that there was a contest I could enter and possibly win half off the next year’s conference. So, my first time at the CCWC, I entered. Unfortunately, I didn’t follow the contest rules and I wrote on the wrong topic. Needless to say, I didn’t win.

 

The next time, I did exactly as the rules said and was shocked when I heard my name called as the winner for previously unpublished prose! That meant that I had not been published before – ever – but my writing was now award-winning.

You can do the same.

There are 4 contest categories: 2 for prose and 2 for poetry. Each genre has a separate contest for writers and poets who have been published and for those who have not. So you’re on even ground with others of the same experience level.

Be sure to follow the rules:

*       Write 500-800 words or a 12-30 line poem.

*       Consider the conference theme, “Write His Answer,” and share about the writing life or how you’re writing His answer.

*       Put your name and address in the body of your email, not on the manuscript.

*       Indicate on your MS which contest you are entering and if you’re a published or not-yet-published writer.

*       Include your MS as an attachment. (It’s easier to print up for the judges.)

*       There is a $10 fee for each entry.

*       Contest is for registered conferees only. And there’s still time to register, although after May 9 the $15 “procrastinator’s fee” will kick in unless you give us a really good excuse for being late. 🙂 Click here to register.

In submitting your entry you are offering the conference one-time rights to possibly publish your entry in a future (no date yet determined) devotional book. If your work is accepted for publication, you will receive one free copy and a discount on purchasing additional copies. Profits will go to the scholarship fund. Please note: You may submit your manuscript elsewhere before or after the conference. You own the rights!

The deadline for this year’s conference is May 14, the Monday before the conference starts. That will give me time to get your entry and print it to give to the appropriate judge on the first night.

You too could sit in the auditorium and hear your name called, giving you a 50% discount off next year’s conference. (BTW, you can enter more than once, to increase your chances!)

Please send your entry (or entries) to me at bdhardy@msn.com by May 14.

Debbie Hardy
CCWC Contest Coordinator

Sherri Langton Jan 2017Guest post
Sherri LangtonAction price incr
Associate Editor
Bible Advocate and Now What?

I consider myself the fossil of the Colorado Christian Writers Conference, having attended since January 1987. Back then, it was a one-day conference at my local church, Denver First Church of the Nazarene. Betty Robertson, a writer and Nazarene pastor’s wife, was the director.

In 1987, I wasn’t thinking about writing. I worked in the purchasing department of a large downtown bank — and hated it. I begged God to get me out of that stress-filled office, but He remained silent. I now think He was waiting for me to attend my first CCWC to discover what He would do.

The keynote speaker at the conference was Ruth Vaughn, a prolific writer. One thing she said that January day set the course of my writing: “God can make creative use out of your misery.” Ruth sparked an idea to write my own greeting cards. I called the line Godsend, and for several years sent cards to friends and church members who were hurting.

God didn’t stop at greeting cards. When I was laid off at the bank (mercifully), I wrote about my frustrations of job hunting, and my stories were accepted by Standard. Over the years, I’ve seen God make creative use out of depression, death, grief, cancer, and many other miseries. The stories and articles I wrote on these subjects were published in major and smaller Christian publications. I met many of those editors at CCWC.

Now as a magazine editor and faculty member, I “count it all joy” to give back to a conference that has given so much to me. What message will God give you at this year’s CCWC? He can set you on a new path, too!

 

mtns turkey-3048299_640 pixabay

“If you had faith even as small as a tiny mustard seed
you could say to this mountain, ‘Move!’
and it would go far away.
Nothing would be impossible.”
Matthew 17:20 (TLB)

The 16-page brochure for the July 26-28 Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference is a long way from being finished. And the website still needs a lot of work, BUT I’m praising the Lord that the faculty and program are in place and enough info is available online to make it possible to open registration tomorrow, May 1. It may not be until late evening, but what seemed impossible is going to happen. Thank You, Father!

Meanwhile, to hopefully get you as excited as I am, here’s a page from the brochure with four of our seven continuing sessions. You’ll find the other three online at http://philadelphia.writehisanswer.com/continuingsessions2018. There’s a link on the website to view it as a PDF as this is too small even for young eyes. 🙂

Page 4 continuing sessions

Also online you’ll find a list of our 40 faculty members, the schedule for the two and a half days of the conference, titles and descriptions of 35 workshops, the cost, and info about scholarship help.

There’s lots more to come – faculty bios, photos, editorial needs, appointment info, and our new Thursday afternoon learning labs and early bird workshops. Oh, and I must not forget our keynotes.

Father, thank You for how Your hand has been on the GPCWC for the past 34 years – for all You have done, are doing, and will do.

oak tree pixabay tree-893273_640 (1)

Two immense maple trees in the front yard sheltered the house I lived in until I was fourteen years old. They were my special friends.

When my mother threatened to call the police to come and take me away because I was a “naughty little girl,” I’d run outside and lean against one of my trees. Its branches seemed to embrace me with a love that I never knew from either of my parents.

My father was constantly in and out of the hospital. He seldom talked to me. When he did, his words were like hammer blows to my already fragile self-esteem. The beatings from his large fists often sent me flying. Even more painful than the welts his hand left on my face, was the way Mother (she didn’t like me to call her Mom) never intervened. “It’s all your fault,” she’d say. “If you’d be good, this wouldn’t have to happen.”  But it kept happening, again and again.

When my father got a blood clot in his leg, I remember Mother’s warning: “You’d better be good!  If you’re not, if you get your father upset, the blood clot can go to his heart and kill him.”

For weeks I tried to be very good, but I was gripped by the fear that I wasn’t good enough. I often mounted my bicycle, hoping to ride to the far end of the world. Instead, I’d end up at the forest preserve nearby where I’d walk deep into the woods. I never worried about getting lost. The trees of the forest were also my friends. When I heard that girls had been raped and murdered not far from my woods, I was frightened. But Mother knew where I was going and never stopped me. Doesn’t she care if something happens to me? I wondered.

My father died of a heart attack when I was ten. “You can be glad you were a good girl the last few days, so you don’t have to feel guilty,” Mother said. But I knew I hadn’t been a good girl, and now it was too late. Perhaps she sensed my remorse.

“Give him a kiss and tell him you loved him,” she urged me as we stood before the open coffin.

I was terrified. “I can’t.”

“You can’t!  What’s the matter with you?”  Her eyes were accusing. “People will think you weren’t much of a daughter.”

“Mother, please. Please don’t make me,” I pleaded.

For the next year I had horrible nightmares. I begged Mother to let me sleep with her. Sometimes she gave in, but it didn’t help. I needed her to hold me and comfort me, but she always turned her back to me. I laid beside her wide awake, listening to her breathing and worrying every time its rhythm changed. Suppose she died too!

Mother remarried when I was fourteen. But life with my stepfather, Harry, was even worse. Why didn’t Mother tell him to leave me alone? But she didn’t, blaming me for the beatings and other abuse. I remember sitting under one of my trees all night, afraid to be alone on the streets and afraid to stay in the house.

On my wedding I had no regrets about moving a thousand miles away. When I became pregnant, I missed Mother. I was sure she’d come when my baby was born, but she didn’t.

A year later Mother was diagnosed with a mental illness, but I continued to be hurt by the things she did.

When my thirteen-year-old half-sister came to live with us because Harry was sexually abusing her, Mother was angry at me for taking her “baby” away from her. She continued to turn her back on me.

When Harry died, on the verge of another breakdown, Mother needed someone to take care of her. I tried to help, but much of what I did only made her angry. Finally, I convinced Mother to come east and enter a mental hospital. Tests revealed an illness similar to Alzheimer’s. Doctors urged me to put her in a personal care home. But I knew Mother could still function, with support, in an apartment. A geriatric counselor agreed and helped me to see what tasks could be done by others so I wouldn’t become consumed by Mother’s care.

Now the roles were reversed. I had to give Mother the things she failed to give me—attention, affection, love.

Mother, who signed my birthday card, “From Mabel,” complained about me to anyone who would listen. Unappreciative, mistrustful, she continued to reject me. Some days I wondered why I didn’t take the “easy” way out and put her in a home. Was I being a martyr? No, I concluded, I’m doing what I must do for my mother.

On Mother’s Day I didn’t want to be with her, but I couldn’t leave her alone in her apartment, so I took her out to dinner. Mother complained about her potatoes. They were too cold. Her chicken was too done. She didn’t like the salad dressing. Nothing pleased her!

I remembered how Mother’s psychiatrist had recommended that I think of her simply as an old woman who needed my help. “Don’t think of her as your mother; call her Mabel.” His words didn’t make me feel better.

Once I visited a friend whose mother has Alzheimer’s. I watched Jennifer comb her mother’s hair and give her a hug. Her mother smiled and kissed her cheek. Why can’t it be that way between me and my mother? I wondered.

“It hurts so much,” I told God one evening as I sat on my porch. I looked up at the tree in my backyard and wished I could draw comfort and strength from it as I did when I was a child. I remembered a fragment of a poem I memorized in school—something about only God being able to make a tree.

I thought of Jesus—how His hands and feet were nailed to a tree in order that my sins might be forgiven. He kept reaching for me when I kept rejecting Him, loving me when I was unlovable.

Suddenly I knew that because He first loved me, I could love Mother no matter how she treated me. “Love,” He reminded me “bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things” (l Corinthians 13:7, RSV).

A gentle breeze stirred the beginnings of forgiveness within my spirit. “I want to forgive you, Mother,” I whispered. “I still love you.”


Eight and a half years ago the Lord moved us to a new home in Lansdale. At first sight of the seven oak trees that lined the sidewalk, I knew this was the home He had chosen for us. The fact that our three grandkids live in walking distance caused us to immediately put in a bid.

Today, five of our oak trees are battling bacterial leaf scorch. I’m heartsick for as you now understand, trees mean a lot to me. They are due for their second $1,600 treatment that will not cure them but will hopefully give them the strength to survive. One of the five trees is not leafing out as the others.

Don’t worry about anything;
instead, pray about everything;
tell God your needs,
and don’t forget to thank him for his answers.

Philippians 4:6 (TLB)

Will you join me in praying for my trees?

beth-patch-900x750 2018

Guest post
Beth Patch
Senior Producer
Internet Acquisitions Editor
CBN.com

In my daily content production for CBN.com, I am grateful for writers who take their craft seriously enough to go to a writers conference. Usually, their approach to getting published and the submissions I receive from them have an edge of professionalism. They get plugged in to good writing practices and with other writers whose shared experiences help them. It’s a win-win situation and worth every penny.

I particularly enjoy it when a writer brings an example or two of their writing for me to read while we meet in a 15-minute editor appointment. I love being able to give feedback and encouragement. I’m only allowed to choose “accept” or “reject” when I receive submissions at the office, so it’s nice to have the opportunity to elaborate.

No academic track will expose a person to the heart of the writing industry like a writer’s conference. Not only do you get educational workshops to help you become a better writer, you get a chance to meet editors, agents, and publishers who you’d only meet through an impersonal email exchange at best. These professionals come to the conference with the same goal as the conferees: publish quality writing.


Beth is on faculty at the May 16-19 Colorado Christian Writers Conference and available for one-on-one appointments.

She is teaching a Wednesday early bird workshop, “Devoted to You.” In this entry-level devotion-writing workshop you’ll learn the four basic elements needed for writing an inspirational devotion and tips on self-editing, story development, focus, and following guidelines.

On Saturday afternoon Beth is teaching a workshop on “Writing for CBN.com.” Each week over 2 million pages are opened on the site. Learn what types of content CBN.com accepts for each section of the online magazine and your rights regarding content shared with CBN. For info on their editorial needs, visit Beth’s bio by clicking here. You’ll need to scroll down to the “Periodicals and Online Markets.”

Whether you’re going to the Colorado Christian Writers Conference May 16-19, the Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference July 26-28 (I’m beginning to update the website in preparation for opening online registration May 1), or another conference, if you’re nervous about meeting with an editor you’re in good company. Most writers find that their hands get sweaty and their hearts begin to pound at the thought of meeting an editor face to face. But as with anything else, it gets easier through the doing—and through going into the experience prepared to “put your best foot forward.” How?

The Colorado website offers encouragement and practical help under the Appointments tab in the menu. You’ll find info on:

Appointment Procedures
Making the Best Appointment Choices
Preparing for Your Appointments

Trust in the LORD with all your heart.
Never rely on what you think you know.
Remember the LORD in everything you do,
and he will show you the right way.
Proverbs 3:5-6 (TEV)

Let’s be real. Have the pressures of life ever made you feel like running away?

Maybe non-stop problems have worn you to a frazzle. And the thing with problems is that they are groupies. Seriously, have you ever had to cope with just one problem at a time?

My writing mentor used to tell me that problems were great grist for my writing  mill. Right! Maybe if I’d get a break long enough to see the Lord in them so I could write about them and give hope to my readers; it certainly won’t help them or me to whine!

I confess this has been one of those weeks when I would have liked to run away. It’s hard enough to be on deadlines for both the Colorado and Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference when my laptop is working. But when I’m forced to spend hours on the phone with technicians who don’t speak clear English and who end up making things worse rather than better, running away is a tempting option. But . . .

He who believes need never run away again.
Isaiah 28:16 TLB

Father knows I do believe and that I desperately need him to help my unbelief.

Despite seemingly impossible obstacles, I am making progress on the July 26-28 Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference.

Lest I get knocked off the Internet again, here’s the link for the 35 workshops I’ve packed into Friday and Saturday – http://philadelphia.writehisanswer.com/workshops2018. The page has not yet been proofread and is, therefore, not accessible from the menu. Trusting that somehow I’ll be able to open online registration May 1, I’m eager for you to see some of what we’re offering.

We also have an exciting line-up of 3 Learning Labs on Thursday afternoon along with early bird workshops, 7 continuing sessions, keynotes, panels, and an outstanding faculty of 38 agents, editors, and authors.

So . . . the bottom line is I’m NOT going to run away. Instead, will you commit along with me to:

Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—he could put up with anything along the way: cross, shame, whatever. And now he’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God.
When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility he plowed through.
That will shoot adrenaline into your souls!
Hebrews 12:2-3 MSG

I’m in the conference crunch zone! I MUST get the 16-page brochure for the July 26-28 Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference to the printer by the end of this week. Yes, I know it’s Thursday.

I’m also behind on must-do tasks for the May 16-19 Colorado Christian Writers Conference.

Although I’ve been directing the Colorado conference for 22 years and the Philly conference (that I founded) for 35 years, it does NOT get any easier. In fact, each year it gets harder.

I could blame the challenges of ongoing computer issues and the never-ending learning curve. At 73, I’m not getting any younger. Perhaps it’s true that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks? Well, correction! I’m not a dog. (I certainly don’t have the energy of our eight-month-old Labradoodle!) But I am a child of God engaged in a mighty spiritual battle.

Why do I direct TWO Christian writers conferences when I’m old enough to retire?

Because it’s what Father has called and I trust equipped me to do in HIS strength.

ostrich 2

 

It’s all too easy to bury our head in the sand, to ignore the “signs of the time,” and believe the lie that one person cannot make a difference.

 

But God is calling and equipping us – me and you – to

 

Write my answer on a billboard, large and clear,
so that anyone can read it at a glance
and rush to tell the others.
Habakkuk 2:2 TLB

And friends, there is no time to waste. Souls are perishing as the tide is quickly turning against our freedom to proclaim the life-giving message of salvation through Jesus Christ.

April 24 CBN.com reported:

Google Rejects Christian Publisher Ads
that Mention Jesus

For years I have said that we cannot assume that the doors to print and distribute Christian literature will always be open. We also cannot assume that the incredible doors the Internet has opened will always remain open.

And so I direct TWO Christian writers conferences that will challenge you to “Write His Answer” to the critical issues facing our nation. At the May 16-19 Colorado conference keynoters will address

Redemptive Writing in a Hostile Culture
Embracing the Spirit of the Martyr
“Christians Are Hateful” – the Cultural Challenge

Our 58 workshops, 8 continuing sessions, 4 clinics (there’s still time to apply for the Nonfiction Book Proposal Clinic) and more will “encourage and equip you to write about a God who is real, who is reachable, and who changes lives.”

I’ve added a new “Issues” track to the July 26-28 Philly conference. Keynotes will address:

Declaring God’s Truth in a Digital Age of Half Truths
The Arm of Flesh Will Fail

Undaunted

Of course, the Philly conference, the same as the Colorado conference, will give you the practical help you need to sharpen your writing and marketing skills in addition to the opportunity to meet one-on-one with agents, editors, and authors.

Please pray about coming. Partial scholarships are available if needed. Remember, Father is able to make a way when there seems to be no way.

I’ve been to many “Christian” Writers Conferences
around the country.
None have helped build my faith,
provided clear direction,
strengthened my convictions,
and encouraged me to write Jesus’ messages
more than the Colorado Christian Writers Conference.
For the record, I’ve attended CCWC 12 years in a row.
I would not miss it.
Charles Patricoff

 

Bearing Fruit

berry-strawberry-hands-leaves-65271 pexelsSpring is finally here on the east coast, at least I hope it is. I’ve got loads of daffodils blooming. (I love how they naturalize and spread each year.) Waiting in the garage (and hopefully surviving) are 100 strawberry plants that arrived when there was 14″ of snow on the ground. My peach, pear, and apple trees (well, one of the apple trees) are in bloom.

As I think about the fruit I hope to harvest this summer and fall, I know far more important fruit will result from the May 16-19 Colorado Christian Writers Conference and the July 26-28 Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference. I’ve added a new faculty member to the Colorado conference (info coming soon), and tomorrow morning I trust I’ll finally get started on the 16-page brochure for the Philly conference.

But I know the “fruit” Father wants our lives to bear is not what we do for Him but how we grow closer to Him so that our lives reflect Him. I hope you’ll click here for a Bible study on “Bearing Fruit.”

Marketers on a Mission logo

A dear friend whose life and ministry is bearing much fruit is Patricia Durgin. Tomorrow, April 25, at 3:00 pm I’m delighted to be her guest on “Marketers on a Mission.” I’ve known Patricia for many years and am so impressed by the work she is doing to equip Christians to effectively market their business or ministry. The link for tomorrow’s interview is below. I hope you’ll join us.

https://www.facebook.com/PatriciaADurgin/videos/1686232451459763/

MK book
Missions Moments at the Write His Answer Conferences

Both the May 16-19 Colorado Christian Writers Conference and the July 26-28 Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference have always had a strong emphasis on raising awareness to needs at home and around the world. M.K. Henderson has frequently been with us and has a new book I encourage you to order. Click here. Ebook copies are available to purchase as a pre-release sale for $1.99 through April 30. (After April 30 the ebook will be $4.99.) Your purchase will automatically appear on your device May 1st. Print copies also will be available May 1st on Amazon.

Take care to live in me, and let me live in you. For a branch can’t produce fruit when severed from the vine. Nor can you be fruitful apart from me. Yes, I am the Vine; you are the branches. Whoever lives in me and I in him shall produce a large crop of fruit. For apart from me you can’t do a thing.

John 15:4-5 TLB