Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Colorado Christian Writers Conference’ Category

It’s been a challenging week! That’s not surprising when I’m working on the Colorado or Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference.

For more than 20 years I’ve been typesetting the 16-page conference brochures on Quark, a desktop publishing program similar to InDesign. Since I write the copy to fit, it’s not a job I can delegate. And really it’s a task I enjoy – that is, when I don’t encounter problems.

Perhaps my joy (okay, pride) in opening registration four days early for the May 13-16 Colorado Christian Writers Conference was why typesetting the brochure was more difficult than usual.

I’ve got a laptop with a huge hard drive and lots of memory, but clicking on the over 50 text boxes in the two pages below was laborious. I clicked and clicked. When a box finally opened, I couldn’t find the cursor. It was taking forever just to typeset these two pages, and I still had another 14 pages to finish!

The above does not include our keynoters or continuing session and clinic instructors. You can see who they are at https://colorado.writehisanswer.com.

Finally ready to send to the printer

Wednesday afternoon, two days later than I had planned, I finally uploaded the brochure to the printer, or rather I tried to upload it. Can you imagine my dismay when I kept getting the message, “The file appears to be corrupted”?

Three hours and two calls to the printer later, I was assured they had the file and everything was fine. But the next day I got an email that they did not have the file. Would I “please upload it again.”

Unbelievably, Friday morning they called. Yes, same message! But now they admitted the problem was on their end. They said they would expedite the printing so I’d have the brochures in time for the February 22, Writers on the Rock conference. (If you live in Colorado or Wyoming, click here for info on this great one-day learning experience.)

I was more than ready to move on to the next thing I needed to get done that I hoped wouldn’t be another challenge. No such luck. (Well, luck has nothing to do with any of this. I am so beyond my own abilities and dependent on Father’s enabling.)

Facing another challenge

Again I faced not one but two challenges. I tried and tried to get the workshop grids posted on the website so they were readable. After hours of no success, exasperated, and at the “end of my rope,” I blogged “When you think you can’t . . .” promises from God’s Word. But I confess, I did give up (temporarily) and move on to the next thing on my never-ending to-do list.

Again, technology had me stumped and frustrated. After typesetting the mini-poster and Teens Write flyer below in Quark, I couldn’t create the needed PDF to send them to the printer. I tried to find answers in the 450+ page manual. I did multiple Google searches. Even got a Just Answer tech. He tried everything he knew and said, “You need to contact Quark.”

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Poster-and-TW-CO-2020-Teens-Write-CO-2018-2.png

I found a Quark tech online. Turns out my 2018 version of Quark is not compatible with the latest Windows 10 update. What? It was when I purchased it a year ago. The 2015 version that I typically use had created the needed PDF for the conference brochure. (The learning curve for the later version is so daunting that I rarely use it, but for some reason I couldn’t get the file I needed to update for the poster and Teens Write to load in 2015.) I couldn’t move the mini-poster and Teens Write flyer I created in the 2018 version to the 2015 program. I was stuck! (Yes, this is getting complicated. Stick with me, please.)

While I was relieved to know it wasn’t my lack of computer know-how, I wasn’t thrilled with the need to purchase an upgrade. And, of course, I encountered issues getting the upgrade to work! Again, I needed tech help, but PTL Quark included a full year of free support.

It was another long and exhausting day. I didn’t get near as much done as I had hoped to accomplish.

I’m so grateful Father helped me to persevere when the evil one tried to convince me that I had hit a brick wall
that I was not smart enough
or strong enough
or young enough to scale.

What about you?

While hopefully you’re not encountering the technical challenges that are so often a part of my experience, I know you face other challenges. The blank computer screen can be intimidating. Writing for the Lord isn’t easy. None of us will ever fully master the craft or understand all the intricacies of grammar and punctuation. And building a platform and finding a publisher are daunting tasks.

I’m often reminded of the challenges Solomon faced when his father commissioned him to build the Temple. I cling to the Lord and to the words He gave David to speak to his son – and to me and to you:

Be strong and courageous and get to work. Don’t be frightened by the size of the task, for the Lord my God is with you; he will not forsake you. He will see to it that everything is finished correctly.
1 Chronicles 28:20 (TLB)

I know I’ll continue to face challenges, but God’s love and mercy never fail. PTL the new version of Quark is more user-friendly and isn’t hanging up. And now I’m able to create readable images directly from Quark. Hurrah!

Read Full Post »

I love surprises! But waiting has never been the part I love. I’d beg my mother to give me a hint – just a little hint. I didn’t want her to totally give away the surprise. That would spoil the fun of wondering what the surprise might be.

I remember one Christmas when my curiosity got the best of me. I hunted through all of my mother’s favorite hiding places until I finally discovered the tiny outfits she had made for my Ginny doll while I was in school. Christmas morning just wasn’t the same.

When someone tells me a secret and makes me promise not to tell, I have to bite my tongue. Although I’m busting to tell, a promise is a promise.

But when I’m in control, when I’m the giver, keeping a surprise a secret is part of the fun. I love being a tease and getting the eager recipient to play guessing games. I remember the time I had my children squirming in the back seat trying to figure out where we were going. Their squeals of excitement when they discovered the surprise was a puppy is a memory I treasure.

Even more exciting are the times when I surprise myself by accomplishing something I didn’t think I could do. Like the first time I overcame my fear and sang a solo in church. Or the first time I gave a day-long writers’ seminar. Just before the last session, my voice was gone. I remember desperately praying for help. And Father answered. My voice returned and was stronger than at the beginning of the day. That really was a needed surprise and a miracle since I did not have a microphone.

Just this week I surprised myself by beating a self-imposed deadline. I think it was a first! If you were with me online on Tuesday for the workshop I presented on Patricia Durgin’s Facebook Live Marketers on a Mission Summit, you were the first to know that registration for the Colorado Christian Writers Conference is open. I beat my February 1 deadline by four days!

You can view the workshop, one of my favorites – The Power of Story, Turning Personal Experiences Into Print – by clicking here. Presenting a workshop online via Zoom was another first for me. The amazing technology even enabled me to use my PowerPoints. Another surprise was that I could figure out how to do it, but Patricia is a good teacher!

Just as I enjoy giving and receiving surprises, I believe our Heavenly Father receives even more joy in surprising us with blessings. He wants our lives to be an exciting adventure of discovering the surprises He has for us when we put our trust in Him.

This is my life work: helping people understand and respond to this Message. It came as a sheer gift to me, a real surprise,
God handling all the details.

Ephesians 3:7 MSG

I hope you’ll visit the website for the May 13-16 Colorado Christian Writers Conference. Everything has been updated except for the conference brochure and Barb Haley’s amazing charts. Wow! That’s another surprise. I’m about a month ahead of last year! Thank You, Father!

I want to encourage you to register early. If you’re among the first 50 to register for Thursday, Friday, and Saturday (we offer optional early bird workshops on Wednesday afternoon), you’ll receive a bonus appointment for a total of SIX free 15-minute appointments with the faculty of your choice based on availability.

Obviously, by registering early it is much more likely that you’ll get your top choices. You won’t be able to request your appointments until the charts of editorial needs, areas of expertise, and availability for paid critiques are online, but as long as you get your requests to us by April 15 and are paid in full by then, you’ll get preference based on the order in which you registered. Sounds complicated? It really isn’t, and we’ve got lots of how-to info online under Appointments to help you understand our system, make the best choices, and be prepared to get the most out of the time you’ll spend one-on-one with our faculty.

Plans are also surprisingly well underway for the July 22-25 Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference. The conference is back to a full three days and begins Wednesday evening with a keynote by Liz Curtis Higgs.

Yes, I love surprises! What about you? Have you recently been surprised by a blessing you didn’t see coming or by something Father enabled you to do that you didn’t think was possible?

Read Full Post »

Patience is a fruit of the Spirit, but I confess it’s often sadly lacking in my life. Especially when it comes to learning new technology (or trying to), patience is not something I possess. Knowing that patience grows through testing, I admit that I avoid praying for patience. It’s easier to simply give up!

Hasn’t the technology that is part of day-to-day living gotten ridiculously complicated? I got a new smart phone, but it makes me feel dumb! I purchased a book (of course, since I’m a writer). But seriously, did I really think I would take the time to read 697 pages? iPhone the missing manual does have a good index and lots of illustrations, but I’m impatient. I don’t want to take time to study a manual. I want to immediately be able to use my iphone. After all, it’s supposed to be “intuitive.” Well, maybe for some.

Then there’s the daily challenge of wrestling with my computer. Instead of thanking God for all it enables me to do, I waste valuable time grumbling when I could and should be tackling the learning curve.

But today I made up my mind to stop moaning and groaning about HTML, HyperText Markup Language. It’s known as “the most basic building block of the Web.” Just the name makes me feel hyper, but it’s something I’ve known I need to learn to more effectively manage my four websites. So today I finally got started on a Udemy course, “HTML, CSS, Bootstrap.” It took some searching because I purchased it over a year ago. (Yes, I also struggle with procrastination!)

Amazingly I somehow had the patience to get through the first 14 lessons. (I didn’t pray for patience, but I did ask Father to “Please show me how to do this.) I’ve still got much to learn, but it was enough to enable me to copy, paste, and revise some bootstrap code (something else I need to learn) in the website for the Colorado Christian Writers Conference.

It took all afternoon, but I’ve now got bootstrap working to display two photos and text on the top of the Continuing Session page that will adjust to all different size screens. Thank You, Father!

Like a kid in a candy store or with a new toy, I’m revising the bootstrap code to add pictures throughout the website. Check out the Continuing Sessions page by clicking here. The eight sessions are all in place and I’m excited. (The link is not yet available through the menu at the top of the page. That’s a challenge for another day!)

The learning curve is not just something I need to grin and bear when I’m dealing with technology. It’s a key to my growth in all areas of my life – personally, professionally, and spiritually.

Study [learn and keep learning]
to shew thyself approved unto God,
a workman that needeth not to be ashamed.

2 Timothy 2:15 KJV

For those who seek to serve the Lord through the ministry of writing there is also a learning curve. And it can feel really steep. That’s why we need to “encourage each other to build each other up” (1 Thess. 5:11 TLB). And it’s why I’m directing the Colorado Christian Writers Conference for the 24th year and the Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference for the 37th year. Someone has said they are the equivalent of a semester’s course in college. I doubt my first book would have ever gotten in print had my pastor not sent me to the St. Davids’ Christian Writers Conference over 40 years ago.

Father, You know how easy it is to get frustrated and discouraged by the learning curve. Forgive us, forgive me, when I grumble rather than trust You to help me do what feels impossible. You are so faithful!

What difficult task, that you’ve been putting off, do you need to tackle?

Read Full Post »

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”?

Read Full Post »

It was one of those mornings! Multi-tasking (as always) I cracked two eggs into a pre-heated pan. I don’t waste time watching eggs fry or pots of water boil. Instead, I reached for my tray of pills, removed the lid, and somehow knocked it (the very full tray, not the lid) on the floor.

Knowing that our two-year-old Labradoodle (she has yet to grow up) eats everything but her monthly heartworm pill, my husband and I tried to get her to go outside. She thought it would be more fun to play catch-me-if-you-can. As usual, I had to give her a treat to get her to do what I want. (Yes, I know I’m rewarding her for bad behavior.)

Paul got two garden kneelers from the garage. I grabbed a flashlight and managed to get down on the kitchen floor. (My arthritic knees are bone-on-bone and one has been swollen for a week.)

The pills, of course, had rolled everywhere. I remembered the pick-up stix game I played as a kid, but this wasn’t a game and it wasn’t fun!

Paul is now vacumning the floor and then will give it a much needed scrubbing. (It was scary to see at eye level just how dirty my floor is.)

So . . . “give thanks in everything”?
Yes, “for this is the will of God
in Christ Jesus concerning you.”
1 Thess. 5:18 KJV

Now, I don’t think it is His will that bad things happen. And I don’t think He expects me to thank Him for my carelessness or the dumb and often sinful things I or others do. But in the midst of frustrating, annoying, and even awful circumstances I can choose to thank Him for being with me and for His promise to work all things together for my good.

Even when we are too weak to have any faith left,
he remains faithful to us and will help us.

2 Tim. 2:13 TLB

Now dumping a bunch of pills on the floor isn’t a biggee when it comes to my faith. But Father did use it to teach me, yet again, to give thanks.

  • Thank You, Father, for the availability of medicine and the wise new primary care doctor You have led us to.

  • Thank You that this new doctor discontinued three medications that were obviously causing my husband to be confused. (After almost a year of health issues since Paul fell and broke three bones September 30, 2019, I am so thankful He is much better.)

  • Thank You for my wonderful husband and our 56th wedding anniversary we celebrated November 9.

  • Thank You for calling and enabling me to direct the Colorado and Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference and for the progress I’m making planning next year’s conferences. (Colorado is May 13-16; I don’t yet have a date for Philly. I’ve asked for July 22-25 or August 5-8.)

  • YES, thank You for every thing!
And yes, I’m grateful for our strong-willed puppy!

Read Full Post »

Thank You, Father, for holding back the clouds so that the faculty and conferees at this year’s Colorado Christian Writers Conference didn’t miss viewing Your magnificent handiwork. Thank You for the elk and mule deer that roamed the YMCA’s grounds and Rocky Mountain National Park. And thank You that the folks in one of the cars that went up to the park on Sunday saw moose. You know I’m disappointed. I’ve been looking for them for 30 years! Instead, I saw a turkey. 🙁

But now, Father, we’ve arrived home from the mountaintop we’ve been on, no doubt, to mountains of work. Problems we faced before we left for CCWC likely have not disappeared as the mountain peaks did on Sunday morning. Yet, as Beatrice Bruno would say, “But God . . . “

For I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from his love. Death can’t, and life can’t. . . . 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 8:38-39 TLB

But thank You, Father, that even when we don’t see or feel You near, we can KNOW that you are still with us just as the mountains, although hidden from my view, were still there.

Great is Thy faithfulness, O God, my Father . . .

Read Full Post »


Procrastination is a sin;
it brings me endless sorrow.
I know I should stop doing it.
I think I’ll start tomorrow.

Have you been procrastinating about registering for the May 13-18 Colorado Christian Writers Conference?

While we welcome walk-ins throughout the conference, the price increases May 9. I call it the “procrastinator’s fee.” It’s not a lot – only $15. But really, wouldn’t you rather spend $15 on a book from our huge book table.

Today (well yesterday) I spent over 10 hours packing books from the too-large inventory I have on hand. They must ship today to arrive in time. FedEx is scheduled to pick them up between 9 and 3 (they are too heavy for my husband to lug to a FedEx location), but I’m getting an error message at the FedEx site that is preventing me from printing the labels. Seriously? It’s not like I haven’t been doing this for years. Father, please save me and my laptop from glitches.

In faith I’m also placing a large order with Ingram/Spring Arbor. Faith? Yes! Some of the titles are not returnable, but I’m so excited about the wealth of new books I found – books we need to read if we are to become the best possible writers and marketers of the message God has entrusted to us.

And I’m excited about this year’s conference – and the one in Philly August 8-10. Online registration opened April 15 for Philly, and yesterday morning I uploaded our 16-page brochure to the printer. Thank You, Father!

But to be honest, I’m also battling the “deadly D’s” of disappointment and discouragement. I’m reminded of the parable Jesus told of the man who prepared a feast and sent out many invitations. “When everything was ready, he sent his servant around to notify the guests that it was time for them to arrive. But they all began making excuses” (Luke 14:17-18 TLB).

I have no doubt that the evil one is throwing huge obstacles in the way of many who need to come. I also do not doubt that our God can enable you to push through what seems to be impossible. He can make a way where there seems to be no way.

Thanks to the generosity of my dear friend, Cec Murphey, there are still partial scholarships available in addition to time payments. And from personal experience I can assure you that it is not too difficult for God to work out the logistics of time off work, child care, and whatever else is needed.

“For such a time as this” God is raising up an army to “write 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

He is coming! And that day may be sooner than we expect. It is likely to be preceded by intense persecution. Will you be ready, and will you allow Him to use your pen to help prepare other Christians to stand in His strength?

Please pray earnestly about joining us on the mountain May 15-18, or for just a day or two if that is how He leads you. Lodging is still available. And if you need financial help, you just need to ask.

Read Full Post »

Don’t miss out! If you’re still undecided about attending this year’s Colorado Christian Writers Conference, here’s one more reason to join us:

*Special Bonus! Everyone attending either of Dick Bruso’s workshops (descriptions shown below) will be given a complimentary 30-minute, post-conference, one-on-one phone consultation with Dick to help further their writing and speaking endeavors.

“Create a Best-Seller Brand” (May 17th, 2:15 to 3:15 p.m.)

Come learn how to develop a unique and enduring brand that will powerfully capture the marketplace by applying the “umbrella branding” approach to every aspect of your writing career. You will discover how you can bring absolute focus, clarity and life to both your work and your brand.

 “Fast-Track Your Speaking Outreach” (May, 17th, 3:30 to 4:30 p.m.)

Accelerate your writing career by tapping into the ideal professional speaking organizations, resources and tools. Learn the inside secrets every Christian writer needs to know about the world of public speaking and building a solid and professional platform.

Read Full Post »

Guest blog
Angela Ruth Strong

I attended the Colorado Christian Writers Conference for the first time ten years ago. I’d just sold my debut novel, and not only did I think I was going to become the next Susan May Warren, but Susan even told me at the conference, “I can see you being where I’m at in five years.”

Obviously, that didn’t happen, but God had other reasons for wanting me at the conference. He wanted to meet with me personally and prepare me for my own character arc.

It started with interest from Waterbrook. An editor requested my manuscript, and I went back to my room after meeting with her, planning to simply lie on my bunk and smile at the ceiling. But my Bible was on the bunk. And I hadn’t read my Bible yet that day.

I opened it up to the passage where David says, “God, you are my all.” In my prayer journal I wrote, “God, you are my all.” Then I wondered if that was really true. I thought about how David also said, “Test me.” I cried and wrote, “Test me.”

When I told my husband about that experience over the phone, he later said he knew what my test was going to be. See, he’d started an affair while I was gone. I came home to complete insanity, and he eventually left.

I don’t believe God was like, “You want a test, Angela? I’ll give you a test.” He was saying, “You know I’m your all. You know it.” When I lost everything, God was still there. And He was enough.

Though I quit writing romance at that time, God romanced me. He provided in miraculous ways. He loved me through strangers. He restored my soul.

Last year, I received a scholarship to attend again on the basis of using my personal story in my writing. I pitched Prayers of an Abandoned Wife to an editor, and she responded with, “There are five women I want to give your book to right now.” I didn’t go lie on my bed this time. I found a seat in the sunshine, overlooking the mountains, and I reveled in the beauty of God’s love.

My joy wasn’t about wanting to be Susan May Warren anymore. It was about an opportunity to share God’s love with a very hurting world.

I’m excited to return and see what else God has for me, and I’m also excited to be there for you. Ten years after I first attended Write His Answer, I’m going to be teaching. We’ll be talking about “The Power of Story” and what we can learn from having God as the author of our own lives.

Whether this year will be your first time attending the conference or your tenth, there’s a mountaintop experience waiting. I hope to see you there.


Angela Ruth Strong sold her first Christian romance novel in 2009 then quit writing romance when her husband left her. Ten years later, God has shown her the true meaning of love, and there’s nothing else she’d rather write about. Her books have since earned TOP PICK in Romantic Times, been optioned for film, won the Cascade Award, and been Amazon best-sellers. She also writes nonfiction for SpiritLed Woman. To help aspiring authors, she started IDAhope Writers where she lives in Idaho, and she teaches as an expert online at WRITE THAT BOOK.

Read Full Post »

April 15 really is an important date, and not just to file our taxes or, reminder to self, to request an extension. (Waiting until the last minute makes life so much more exciting!)


ID 119582019 © Marcos Calvo Mesa | Dreamstime.com

April 15 is also the last day to register for the May 15-18 Colorado Christian Writers Conference before the price increases. It’s not a huge increase, but it is enough to purchase a writing how-to book from the huge selection that will be available at the conference. (If you’ve already registered, just pass this email on to a friend since I’m not able to separate out names that are on multiple lists.)

April 15 was the last day to register for the May 18 Teens Write before that price increases by $10. I have, however, extended the early price through April 30 because I’m still working on getting the info to homeschool groups.

The deadline for our first-ever Teens Write writing contest was also April 15 but has been extended to April 30. If Jesus tarries and we continue to have the freedom to print and distribute Christian literature, teens will be the future of Christian publishing. Ask Father if there is a teen He wants you to encourage to come. Seehttp://colorado.writehisanswer.com/TeensWrite for info.

Clinic applications are also due April 15 (oops, April 16). I need to keep that date for Cindy Lambert’s Nonfiction Book Proposal Clinic, but I’ve extended the date for our other three clinics to April 20.


IMPORTANT: If you’re writing a novel, I want to encourage you to take a close look at Dave Lambert’s Fiction Intensive. If you’ve not read my blog post, “God can use you to write fiction that changes lives,” please do.


If you’ve published or are working on a nonfiction book, you will need a strong platform which includes speaking. Please read my blog post “Writer, you CAN overcome your fear of public speaking!” Roy anschke’s Speakers’ Clinic is an option you need to seriously consider.


Scoti Domeij’s Build a Book Promotional Power Pack Clinic will provide hands-on help with the more than two-dozen marketing pieces you need to successfully launch your book, and Scoti will show you how to do this while you’re still writing your book.


You’ll find more info about all the clinics along with the needed applications athttp://colorado.writehisanswer.com/clinics2019.


If you need financial help to be able to come, it’s not too late to request a partial scholarship and/or time payments. Go tohttp://colorado.writehisanswer.com/scholarships. God can make a way when there seems to be no way. Trust Him!


Please be praying for the faculty and staff as we prepare for what I know will be a life-changing conference.


Serving Christ – Marlene

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »