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Archive for the ‘Called to write’ Category

Do you see the storm clouds gathering?

Will our nation survive?

Do you believe God can use the words you write to bring our nation back to Him?

At the June 24-26 Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference you will learn tons about the craft of writing and marketing. In fact, your registration will give you access to over 90 hours of valuable information that you can view for two months after the conference – information that will help launch or expand your writing ministry whether it be through a nonfiction book, novel, personal experience story, article, or poetry.

But GPCWC will also encourage and equip you to address the issues facing our nation. After Leona Choy’s Thursday evening’s keynote, the six faculty teaching the “Impact Our Culture” continuing session will share in a panel discussion and lead us in a time of praying for our nation.

A keynote you won’t want to miss!

Leona Choy will turn ninety-six two days before the conference. She says, “As writers who are Christians, we can’t afford to stand down, to back off from writing honest words in appropriate ways. We can’t afford to live or write on the safe side by avoiding controversial topics. We must tackle edgy subject matter.

“We can’t be wimpy writers. Let’s stand our ground and stand up for our faith and truth and righteousness even if we stand out with a target on our back. When we see deception and fakery, God is counting on us to pray and write well with courage.”

Will you accept the challenge to “Write – and Live – His Answer”?

Now you have every grace and blessing;
every spiritual gift and power for doing his will
are yours during this time of waiting
for the return of our Lord Jesus Christ. 

1 Corinthians 1:7 TLB

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Writing is hard work! But is it worth it? Oh yes, Eric Sprinkle, our tech guru for our virtually amazing June 24-26 Greater Philly and August 26-28 Colorado Christian Conference says in this short but powerful video.

I’m reminded of my journey to publication with my first book. “All you gotta do is figure out what keys to hit,” a cartoon says.

Back then (yes, many, many years ago), when an editor was interested in a book manuscript, he would ask for the entire typed manuscript to be mailed to him via the USPS along with a SASE (self addressed stamped envelope) for its return if it was not accepted. [There were no computers back then so I definitely didn’t want to type another copy, and it was too expensive to make copies.]

I still remember the day my book was returned – again – and the note that was inside.

“This was reasonably well written
but exceptionally well typed!”

Wow! As I’m sure you can imagine, I was so encouraged by the “compliment.” I passed Typing 101.

As many of you know, it took six years and 42 “returns” (I learned not to call them “rejection slips”) before my book was finally accepted by an editor I met at a Christian writers conference.

Despite the deadly Ds of disappointments, doubt, and discouragement, I didn’t give up. Why? Because I knew God had called me to write that book. And I hung on to the encouragement of an editor who told me it was well written and needed to be published, but his house didn’t want to deal with the topic.

Much has changed since the 1970s when my fourteen-year-old half sister came to live with us because her father (my step-father) had sexually abused her. There was no social media or #MeToo movement to encourage those who had been abused to tell their story and receive the help they needed to recover. There were few professionals trained to provide hope and healing to victims or to extended families who stepped in. And only Tyndale House had published a book about incest.

[See https://myfamilytoo.com for info about this new edition that I indie published two years ago.)


Had I not persevered, I would have missed the door that finally opened to publish a book about a sensitive topic – a book that is a testimony to God’s faithfulness. I’m also certain I would not have gone on to publish 12 other books or to found and direct the Greater Philly and direct the Colorado Christian Writers Conference.

Last week I recorded a video workshop on how to prepare a Nonfiction One Sheet in preparation for meeting with an editor or agent at the Greater Philly or Colorado Christian Writers Conference. (I have learned a lot in the 40+ years I’ve been writing and publishing.)

I talk about what to include and why this information is needed to interest an agent or editor in your book. I also share some of my testimony to encourage you to overcome the Deadly Ds and to pursue your call to write.


Because the journey to publication is not easy and I do not want you to give up, I’m making this workshop available free of charge to everyone – not just those who register for one of the conferences. Here’s the link:


https://youtu.be/RMCGbbq4BlQ


Thank You, Father, for all You have done and will do for me and for each one who reads this and chooses to trust Your promises and timing.

I can do everything God asks me to
with the help of Christ
who gives me the strength and power. 
Philippians 4:13 TLB

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A new year is dawning. There is no bright sun breaking through the dense clouds here in the eastern United States. The same as Christmas Eve, it’s gloomy and raining. If only it was colder so the precip would change to snow – bright white snow transforming the barren landscape into a winter wonderland.

But I can’t control the weather or all that has happened in 2020 – my husband’s cancer, the coronavirus, the political and racial unrest that is tearing our nation apart . . .

Will 2021 bring a return to “normal”? I doubt it! Yet this I know, God is with us. He has not and will not abandon me or you. But we must choose to trust – my word for 2021.

Trust in the LORD with all your heart;
do not depend on your own understanding.
Seek his will in all you do,
and he will show you which path to take.
Proverbs 3:5-6 NLT

As I look to the new year ahead, I am more convinced than ever of the need to “write His answer.” I remain committed to do all I can to encourage and equip you to “write about a God who is real, who is reachable, and who changes lives.” The ministry of the Colorado and Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference will continue, if not in person, than we’ll meet virtually.

What about you? If you attended one of the conferences in the past, did you make a commitment to “write His answer”? Have you kept that commitment, or do you need to renew it or make a new commitment? In faith will you seek His will and enabling to “begin the new year write”?

Have the “deadly Ds” of disappointments, doubts, and discouragement derailed your writing dreams? It’s time to dig deeper into God’s Word and read (or re-read) my Bible study for writers. Click here for excerpts. Order at a discount from https://writehisanswer.com/bookstore. Also available as an eBook on Amazon.

I just finished rereading your book Write His Answer for the third time and wanted you to know how much I appreciate your message. It continues to amaze me how I would read a chapter on a topic just when I needed it. God is good! And He is using you to encourage writers over and over again. Thank you for being His messenger. Jeanie Wise, Ohio

The hot-off-the-press 2021 Christian Writers Market Guide is a must-have resource for finding a place to sell what you are writing or locating an agent, an editor, a designer, a podcast, or a writing coach. This 482 page resource sells for $29.99, but through the Write His Answer Bookstore I am glad to make it available for $24.99 Your purchase is needed and appeciated. It will help with the ministry expenses that have continued even though the conferences did not take place in 2020.

Have you finished your book but have not (yet) been able to find a publisher? “For such a time as this” I believe God has provided the technology to go indie. While there are numerous companies you can pay to publish your book, I encourage you to build a team and do as much of the process as possible yourself. Everyone needs an editor, but you can learn how to typeset your manuscript and even design your cover or use a service such as Fiverr or 99 Designs. My “Grow Your Writing Ministry” seminar will talk you through the steps. And here are just a few helpful books available at the Write His Answer Bookstore.

Have you worked hard to get your book in print only to discover it’s even harder to sell it? Or maybe you’ve been approaching agents and publishers with your yet-to-be published book but you lack the “platform” for them to be interested. How can you build your platform and still find time to write? Is it even possible? Here are just a few of the books I recommend that you’ll find at the Write His Answer Bookstore.

Perhaps your writing project seems too big, too overwhelming, and you’re feeling stuck. Writing your testimony or a personal experience story is a good place to begin, and the audio workshops that accompany the book below provide “incredible storytelling secrets so that the stories of your life can make a lasting impact.” – Linda Evans Shepherd, best selling author and founder of AWSA (Advanced Writers & Speakers Association).

“Few have Marlene’s experience to teach writers and give them the tools they need to Write His Answer and to do it so well. These are practical items even experienced writers need reminding of, such as: have a clear focus, stay close to the Lord, search for truth, reflect (and journal) on your life experiences, stay humble, know your audiences—all of this to remind us that we, as believers in the Lord Jesus, are called to write His answer to those with so many questions. Written conversationally, this book invites you to take part in the work with a ready pen. ” Eva Marie Everson – Bestselling author; President, Word Weavers Int’l.


We’re likely to face continued challenges in the coming year. Jesus never promised it would be easy to follow Him, but He has promised always to be with us. Father, help us to keep our eyes on Jesus, to trust You, and to “write Your answer.”

God is our refuge and strength,
a tested help in times of trouble.
And so we need not fear . . .
Psalm 46:1-2 TLB

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I’ve so missed connecting with old and new friends this year on the mountain in Colorado at CCWC and here in my backyard at GPCWC. Postponing both conferences until next year was one of the most difficult things I’ve ever had to do, but the coronavirus gave me no choice.

This year more than ever I believe we needed to hear our keynoters challenging us to “Write His Answer.”

I’m feeling a growing sense of urgency as I view what is happening in our nation. And I’m fearful of our fear to speak God’s truth into the events that are unfolding.

For years I’ve been talking about how we are like the frog in the kettle – how the temperature is being turned up but in our complacency we are not even aware of the danger.


You have probably heard me quote my friend, Hannah Crabtree, who grew up in Switzerland before the start of World War II. She said, “The church in Germany saw what was happening, but the church in Germany was silent.”

My friend, Eric Ludy (I was blessed to edit and typeset Eric and Leslie’s first two books many years ago) has just echoed Hannah’s words.

In Nazi Germany, out of 65 million people, there were 45 million Protestant Christians. And out of those 45 million, only 150,000 of them stood up against Hitler. That’s something like three out of every thousand. The church in America today is on the verge of being just as passive as the church in Nazi Germany was. In my new blog video, I present a challenge to all of us as modern Christians to rise up and take a stand for truth — not in the future when things get worse, but right now. Let’s not become silent at the very moment we need to speak up.  

Friends, I can’t urge you strongly enough to listen to Eric’s blog video. It’s only 2.36 minutes.

Father, please help us to wake up and to write and live Your answer for such a time as this.

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Someday life will return to normal, although only Father knows when and what the “new normal” will be. Until then, I believe He want us not to waste this time but to use it to:

Make the most of every opportunity
you have for doing good.
Ephesians 5:16 (TLB)

Before I share how I’ve been using this new found time, here’s what my friends Karen Bouchard and Michael Klassen are doing.

On Wednesday evenings at 6:30 MT they are presenting free webinars for writers. We’ve missed #1, but #2 is coming up this Wednesday night (April 22) and then the four Wednesday nights after that. There’s no charge—you just need to register ahead of time and then you’ll receive a Zoom link to participate on the video call.

Here’s a list of the webinars coming up:

  1. How to create an e-newsletter in MailChimp (and other platforms)
  2. How to create lead magnets and grow your list
  3. Do these things to get your books into more bookstores
  4. Tips on writing to today’s internet-influenced readers
  5. How to navigate today’s three best publishing options
  6. Bonus: Get answers to FAQs about writing, publishing, and marketing

Now, for how I’m using the time that I would have been spending on preparing for the Colorado and Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference (I’m still not certain whether or not I’ll be able to hold the July 22-25 Philly conference), I’ve been working with authors Father has gifted with an important message. I urge you to use this time to read one or more of the following books that I have had the privilege of editing:

A book every parent needs to read
and every pastor needs to recommend.

I was blessed to edit, design the cover, and provide the following endorsement: “In Victory through Light: How to Overcome the Growing Cultural Darkness Victoria Dorshorn confronts the ‘darkness that is growing in our culture today’ through the light of God’s Word. This is not a quick and easy read. Rather, it is a book to thoughtfully and prayerfully study. I especially recommend it as a resource for small groups and Sunday school classes.”

A timely and gripping novel you won’t be able to put down that I’m grateful I had the opportunity to publish as an Ampelos Press book. From the back cover:

“Remember Scenario 5? Are you ready?” With these five words, Angela Norsworthy’s world turns upside down. Before seventy-two hours are up, Angie and her daughter, Rose, are plunged into an escalating spiral of fear and darkness. Her friend, a colonel and medical officer on a U.S. airbase in
Germany, is sending Angie desperate texts to warn her of the danger to come. A deadly terror, the like of which the world has never known, has been unleashed. This could happen today. Are you ready?

Father has given Susan Paulus a gift to write stories that make the Bible come alive. As you read these short stories, you will feel like you are there and be drawn closer to the Lord. Please, Sue, keep writing these wonderful stories!

Ebook available on Amazon:
https://amzn.to/34Ra1GG

And one more book that I finished editing in December before I knew how dramatically all our lives would change. Order from https://www.marjistevens.com/books

Thank you, Marji Stevens, for taking me deeper into God’s Word and revealing the amazing ways He speaks through trees. I highly recommend this unique Bible study for all who long to be “rooted and built up in Him” (Colossians 2:7 NKJV).

“I want you to learn to wait patiently, productively, and expectantly,” the Lord told me many years ago when I was griping and feeling sorry for myself because doors were not opening for the publication of my work.

The productive part sounded okay. But patience? Surely the Lord knew I had (and still have) 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.

The bottom line that is as true today as it was then: If I fail to learn to wait patiently and expectantly I will be denying 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).

Friends, let’s ask Father to help us make the most of the opportunities during these challenging days. Let’s trust Him to enable us to write and to live His answer.

What is the Lord saying to you during this waiting time? What lesson is He seeking to teach you?

Scriptures to encourage you: Psalm 27:14; 32:8; 42:11; 130:5; Isaiah 40:29-31; Hebrews 11:1.

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It’s hard to believe that the story below was first published almost 36 years ago by Christian Standard. It went on to be reprinted by The Mennonite in 1983, Pentecostal Messenger in 1984, Advocate in 1985, and Vision (below) in 1989. But it feels appropriate that the Lord brought it to my attention today as I prayerfully consider stepping out in a new ministry to His scribes during the “new normal” we are experiencing.

Of course, I long to return to the old normal, but sadly the days of gathering on the mountain for the Colorado Christian Writers Conference are over – at least for this year. I already had the YMCA of the Rockies reserved for May 12-15, 2021, and most all this year’s faculty are saving the date. I do not yet know if it will be safe to hold the July 22-25, 2020, Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference.

What I do know is the need is greater than ever for us to “Write His Answer.” And I believe that’s why Father called my attention to the story below. Although I’m having a “Crisis of Confidence” over learning new technology, I’m going to take a baby step on Friday and video my “Hook ‘Em from the Get-Go” workshop. Please pray for me and be watching for the announcement that it’s online.

Father, please encourage everyone reading this blog to seek You during this time when our lives have been so disrupted – really turned upside down – by this pandemic. For many the “new normal” has created great financial hardship. Still others are experiencing the much greater pain of losing loved ones. Please be their comfort and strength. Please lead medical science to find a cure and vaccine. And please help us to write words that will turn hearts to You and to Your love that has not and will not fail.

______________

I also needed to re-read Chapter 23, “Crisis of Confidence,” in my book Write His Answer – A Bible Study for Christian Writers. Click here to download the chapter. Even if you’ve done this study before, now would be a good time to do it again and to journal your thoughts at the end of each chapter in “Responding to God’s Call to Write.” It’s been in print for 28 years, and almost weekly I hear from someone it has blessed. It sells for $10 on my website, but I’m cutting the price to $7 (half of the $13.99 Amazon price) plus $3 shipping. Click here to order.

Write His Answer is not just a book to read and put down . . . I keep my copy close to my manuscript and journals, dog-eared and tattered from use. I purchased the original version years ago at the Greater Philadelphia Christian Writers Conference when I had no idea how to begin a writing ministry. Although I’m excited about getting the new edition, my first copy filled with personal notes is simply irreplaceable. More than a devotional or a “how-to-and-continue-on” manual, Write His Answer is written by a woman who knows the heart of God and the heart of a writer. This has been a rich resource to encourage and challenge me to respond and remain faithful to God’s call and use His Word as my guidance for every page.
This is a classic . . . for keeps. ~ Verna Bowman

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It’s now been almost four weeks since our daughter insisted that we not go out in public, even to church. As a physician, she saw the potential for the coronavirus to become a deadly pandemic. I thought she was over-reacting, but I’m so glad I listened.

The past month has not been easy for anyone, and it’s likely to become even more difficult in the weeks ahead. Despite the thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours I invested, I was forced to cancel the May 12-15 Colorado Christian Writers Conference. (It would have been our 24th conference!) I do not yet know if the 37th July 22-25 Greater Philly conference will happen. But compared to those who have lost loved ones to covid-19 or are on the front lines of trying to save lives, I am grateful to be safe at home.

With our daily routines drastically altered, we can no longer use the excuse that we’re “too busy” to write. Now, more than ever, “People Need the Lord.” He is calling me, and calling you, to “get the Word out” that He is with us.

Click here for a more readable PDF of the above Bible study that I’ve given several times as a keynote. In addition to asking Him what new writing He wants youhttp://categories to do, you may already have manuscripts looking for a home or books in print that would make a difference in the lives of readers if they knew they were available. I do!

little over a year ago I republished my testimony of God’s faithfulness during the five years we raised my half sister who was sexually abused by her father, my step-father. Sadly, I’ve done a pathetic job marketing #MyFamilyToo! – How Our Family Coped with Childhood Sexual Abuse.

Click here for the website.

If you have a book in print that needs to reach a wider audience, I want to encourage you to join me in studying Secrets to Effective Author Marketing – It’s More than “Buy My Book” by Maggie McVay Lynch. From the back cover of this 365-page book:

Have you put your book out there and been disappointed in your sales? Perhaps you’ve tried a variety of marketing tactics to boost discoverability: blog posts, social media, book tours, paid ads in a variety of venues. But nothing is working. This book provides specific techniques to exploit the value of your book without resorting to the typical overexposure in social media and newsletters with “Buy My Book” sales messaging.

I have only five copies available and am happy to sell them first come at my price of $11.89 plus $4 shipping. Please email me at mbagnull@aol.com and I’ll invoice you if I’m not sold out.

If you have a book that has not yet been published or stories, articles, devotionals, or poems, you need the 2020 Christian Writers Market Guide. I still have copies available at my price of $15.24 (retail $24.99) plus $4 shipping (or $6 shipping if you order both books). Again, please email me.

If you order one or both of these books, I’ll be glad to include a free CD of my “Get the Word Out” keynote.

Father, the needs are so great. Please help us to write and to live Your answer!

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What a wonderful God we have—he is the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the source of every mercy, and the one who so wonderfully comforts and strengthens us in our hardships and trials. And why does he do this? So that when others are troubled, needing our sympathy and encouragement, we can pass on to them this same help and comfort God has given us.
2 Corinthians 1:3-4 TLB

Friends, we have stories we need to share, testimonies that will make a difference in the lives of people who are terrified as the covid-19 pandemic sweeps through our nation and world.

As daily the news becomes more grim, we have Good News to share.

Despite all this, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ who loved us enough to die for us. For I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from his love. Death can’t, and life can’t. The angels won’t, and all the powers of hell itself cannot keep God’s love away. Our fears for today, our worries about tomorrow, or where we are—high above the sky, or in the deepest ocean—nothing will ever be able to separate us from the love of God demonstrated by our Lord Jesus Christ when he died for us.
Romans 8:37-39 TLB

Click here for free access to MP3s of two workshops:

The Power of Story –
of Your Testimony
Biblical guidelines for writing your testimony.

How to Write the Personal Experience Story
Seven essential elements of a personal experience story and pitfalls to avoid.

Thank You, Father, that “for such a time as this” You have provided the technology to reach the world with Your message of salvation. Help us not to get caught up in the pandemic of fear but to instead make the most of this opportunity to live, speak, and write Your answer.

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Today is my birthday! Turning 75 is one of those sobering birthdays like my 40th. Hard to believe I’ve lived 3/4’s of a century!

A friend sent me a link to this hilarious video. What a wonderful example of creativity.

Happy Birthday, by Beethoven? Bach? Mozart? – Nicole Pesce on piano
https://bit.ly/2QJYBPX

I can only play simple melodies (sometimes in two-parts) with my right hand. But He’s given me – and YOU – other gifts. In fact, His Word promises in Ephesians 4:7 (TLB):

Christ has given each of us special abilities—
whatever he wants us to have
out of his rich storehouse of gifts.

Do you believe it? And if you do, are you using the gift(s) He has given you to further His Kingdom?

One day all those who have accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior will stand before Him. I have no doubt one of the questions He will ask us is, “What did you do with the gift I entrusted to you?”

I have invested 37 of my 75 years in directing the Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference (24 years directing the sister “Write His Answer” conference in Colorado). Each year there are more challenges – not, I believe, because I’m “over the hill” but because the evil one knows his time is short. My purpose continues to be

to encourage and equip writers
in all stages of their journey to write about
a God who is real, who is reachable,
and who changes lives
.

Father has given me the special birthday gift of enabling me to have the faculty in place for the May 13-16 Colorado conference. Last year at this time because of my husband’s fall and long recovery I had just begun planning. Our faculty includes 3 agents, 20 editors, 17 authors, 9 other professionals, and 10 staff. Nineteen are new to CCWC; 6 were not with us last year. You can see who is coming at https://colorado.writehisanswer.com.

About half of the faculty is in place for the July 22-25 Philly conference. See https://philadelphia.writehisanswer.com. Wednesday evening Liz Curtis Higgs will launch the conference by keynoting. Then, new this year, will be a full day of workshops on Thursday as well as Friday and Saturday.

If you’re not able to come to Colorado or Philly, I encourage you to check out the other Christian writers conferences around the nation. I believe attending a conference is the best investment you can make in your writing ministry.

You’ll find a list in the 2020 Christian Writers Market Guide. I have copies available at a discount (click here) or you can subscribe to the online edition. It really is a must-have resource as is a subscription to The Christian Communicator.

But the most important thing you can do to grow your gift is to grow closer to the Giver. In this new year I urge you to dig into His Word more deeply than ever. How else can you “write His answer”?

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Over 50 years ago I felt called to “Write His Answer.” Today, much of what I still feel called to write is on the backburner as I invest my time and energy in encouraging and equipping others to

write about a God who is real,
who is reachable,
and who changes lives.

But sometimes, like this afternoon, I find myself leafing through the binders of the 1,000 plus manuscripts I have sold to Christian periodicals. The piece below grabbed my attention. It was published 36 years ago in Christian Single. And it was what I needed to re-read, to re-pray, today. Perhaps you, too? Click here for a more readable PDF.

If you know God has called you to “write His answer” but you’re feeling empty and doubting your ability, I want to encourage you to seek the Lord and His “power for living.” He does speak to us when we are listening.

And please pray about registering for the August 8-10 Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference. Because Father does not want anyone to be turned away because of financial need, partial scholarships and/or time payments are available. Click here for the scholarship application.

If your schedule can’t make room for a conference, why not order some CDs from the May Colorado Christian Writers Conference? There is a link to the order form on the home page of the conference website. We can get them to you in several days if you order soon before we’re in the home stretch for the Philly conference.

Finally, remembering the stern admonishment of my writing papa, Lee Roddy, who is now with the Lord, I need to encourage you to read my book, Write His Answer – A Bible Study for Christian Writers. You’ll find excerpts and a link to order it by clicking here. Father has used it in Ephesians 3:20 ways throughout the 27 years it has been in print.

Thank You, Father, for Your power that is available to us simply for the asking. Help us to “write Your answer.”

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