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Archive for the ‘Colorado Christian Writers Conference’ Category

David Rupert

 

Guest blogger
David Rupert

 

I have been coming to the Colorado Christian Writers Conference off and on for about 20 years.

I work full-time for the government as a Corporate Communications manager, overseeing public relations, crisis communications, and executive communications. This isn’t really “Christian writing,” and yet I always pick up a skill at CCWC that I can use to improve my professional life.

On the side, I’ve engaged in Christian writing. I call myself a “hobbyist” writer. I’ve made a little bit of money, but most of my activity has been blogging about faith, the workplace, and culture. It’s kept my skills strong and my mind alive. I’ve made some money ghost-writing books for others and sold a few articles, but my writing is done mostly without compensation.

There is a perception that the Colorado Christian Writers Conference is only for those who are “full-time writers.”  And indeed, there are agents and editors and publishers at every turn, in every workshop and even at your dinner table. I want to assure you that there’s a place for you. As a non-professional, I’ve fit right in at CCWC. Every year I glean a new skill. I always make an attempt to attend one class that doesn’t interest me initially, but I still come away inspired intellectually and with one more tool in my box.

If you are a mom, tapping out words in the dark of night after the kids are asleep, you are a writer and CCWC is for you. 

If you are working in the marketplace, following a profession and yet your heart has a message that can only come out in words, you are a writer and CCWC is for you.

If you are retired and the years have given you both knowledge and wisdom to share, you are a writer and CCWC is for you. 

I’ll be teaching two workshops. The first is called, “The Rocks Cry Out,” and I’ll talk about how to engage the culture from right where you are with your words. The second is called, “Don’t Kill Your Writing.” I’ll give the four ways to destroy your writing life.

I hope to see you on the mountain.

David Rupert
Patheos Blogger
https://www.patheos.com/blogs/davidrupert/
David@DavidRupert.com
Director, Writers on the Rock

2019 CO banner & website

 

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Susan King Jan 2019

 

 

 

Guest blog
by Susan King
Associate Editor
The Upper Room

 

 

 

 

 

#1 – Reach: Magazines have the potential to reach more people with your message. For instance, if you’re published in The Upper Room, with more than three million subscribers, you reach a readership that very few book writers can match.

#2 – Turnaround Time: Even today—with some publishers using print-on-demand—a book can take 18 months until its release. The average lead time for magazines is one to six months. Think about the many months required to write a book but an article may take only a few hours. And the per-word compensation for an article is astronomically higher than for the average book.

#3 – Faster Payment: Periodicals often pay upon acceptance. Even if they pay on publication, your wait is much shorter than with a book.

#4 – Writing Credits: Experience in writing for periodicals looks good to publishers of that future book. First, it tells book publishers that other editors liked your stuff—over and over again. Also, it shows your versatility in being able to write on a variety of topics and in a variety of formats. And some magazines allow you to include your book credits along with a short bio printed with your piece, so you add to your platform for plugging any book you’ve written.

#5 – Instant Feedback: Feedback comes more quickly than responses to a book. Even if your feedback is mostly flat rejections, it will do what all feedback should: help you learn, grow, improve, and be willing to adapt your writing to the requirements of a variety of outlets.

#6 – Variety: Creative people are naturally drawn to varied ideas and teem with creative ways to approach them. Writing magazine articles for many different kinds of magazines, and on many different topics, will help you avoid the feeling of slogging along through the same topic month after month as you write your book.

#7 –  Improvement of Craft: Hal Hostetler (former editor of Guideposts and Saturday Evening Post) claimed that writing devotionals was the best discipline a writer could have. In general, the shorter the piece, the harder it is to write. While most magazine articles are longer than the average devotional, they are all much shorter than a book. Thus, a final benefit to writing for periodicals is that it helps sharpen your writing skills in general.

That, in a very large nutshell, is why even a novelist or nonfiction author might consider writing magazine articles. Maybe the writer will be intrigued enough to give up the book altogether. Most likely, you will use what can be gained from writing for magazines to produce a much better book.

~*~*~*~

For over 24 years, Associate Editor Susan King has served at The Upper Room, a daily-devotional magazine that reaches millions of readers in more than 100 countries. One of her greatest joys has been representing The Upper Room every year at several of 23 different Christian writers’ conferences in the U.S. and Canada.

We’re so happy to have her on faculty at the May 15-18 Colorado Christian Writers Conference. She will teach the continuing session, “Making It Look Easy!” This 6-hour class will focus on achieving excellent style in any genre. Readers don’t care what you write if they can’t tolerate how it is written. Do you want to write with such sparkle and verve that you’ll knock the socks off editors? In this crash course in the essential elements of good style for any genre, you will come away with concrete tools for self-editing to produce polished works that will please readers and broadcast to editors and publishers that you are a consummate wordsmith. One of the goals of this class is to produce an excellent devotional to submit to The Upper Room magazine.

Other magazine editors on faculty at this year’s CCWC include:

  • Karen Bouchard – Editor, Power for Living
  • Debbie Hardy – Representative, ChristianDevotions.us
  • Kate Jameson – Assistant Editor, Clubhouse Jr.
  • Sherri Langton – Associate Editor, Bible Advocate, Now What? e-zine, and Churchright
  • Rick Marschall – Editor, Innovative Health Magazine
  • Linda Evans Shepherd – Publisher, Leading Hearts Magazine and Arise Daily, e-devotional
  • Karen Whiting – representative, The Kid’s Ark

4 pics

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Storm over city

It’s been almost 30 years since Against the Night, Living in the New Dark Ages by Chuck Colson was published. He writes,

‘Dark Age’ is a strong term. I recognize that. Yet  in recent  years I’ve had a growing sense of storm clouds gathering on the horizon . . . The forecast is foreboding . . . We scan the horizon with unease.

We sense that things are winding down, that somehow freedom, justice, and order are slipping away. Our great civilization may not yet lie in smoldering ruins, but the enemy is within the gates.

The times seem to smell of sunset. Encroaching darkness casts long shadows across every institution in our land. . . . We do face a crisis in Western culture, and it presents the greatest threat to civilization since the barbarians invaded Rome.”

Chuck Colson – Against the Night, Living in the New Dark Ages

If you are not aware of  H.R. 5, known as the Equality Act, that was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives March 13, you need to Google it – NOW! This bill, if passed, would end our freedom as Christians to live out our faith not just in our workplaces but in our homes.

Liberty Counsel says,

HR 5, wrongly named the Equality Act, is the most extreme threat to religious freedom, free speech, privacy, and to women’s rights that has ever been proposed by Congress. The impact of HR 5 will be widespread – affecting churches; religious colleges and universities; public, private, and Christian schools; curriculum; religious and private organizations; employers; employees; individuals; foster care and adoption; shelters; local, state, and federal entities; privacy; women’s rights; and more. Click here to read more.

Yes, we must “love without stopping” (1 Cor. 16:14 MSG). But that does not mean we can ignore what God clearly says in His Word.

If we have eyes to see, the moral fabric of our nation is not just unraveling – it’s being torn apart. How much longer can a righteous God withhold His judgment of a nation that has turned away from His Truth?

The 23 years the Colorado Christian Writers Conference and 36 years the Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference has focused on the need for God’s scribes to “Write His Answer.”

Michael Gantt, who is again keynoting at both conferences, says:

MK gantt watchman

I urge you to subscribe to Michael’s blog at https://mkgantt.com and to read his post about the conference and why I’ve given him a standing invite to keynote. In part he says,

Writers have always been among the most feared by despots and dictators. Truth tellers have been imprisoned and executed, their writings banned and burned, their character brought into question by allegation and accusation. The written word is among the most powerful weapons of history. . . .

I realized this weekend that my part in standing before these conferences of writers and publishers is to represent the Word of God that it might not be bound; to communicate with a deep sense of urgency that we are not writers who are coincidentally Christians, but we are Christ followers who have been given a gift to write and that we bear a grave and dangerous responsibility to guard the deposit of truth that has been entrusted to us and to ensure above everything that the Word of God is not bound.

I also urge you to check out my blog post, “Write His Answer to Issues at this Year’s CCWC,” I posted on March 3. If you are unable to come to the conference, you can order a CD of one or more of the workshops in our Issues track:

America at the Crossroads
The Rocks Cry Out
Speaking Life to a Culture of Death
Answering Christianity’s Critics
The Burden of the Watchman
Make Some Noise!

Whether you write fiction or nonfiction, for children or adults, God can use you to write words that, as Michael says, “can shape lives and maybe, just maybe, change the world.”

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Question & Exclam pt

Why should you come to the May 15-18 Colorado Christian Writers Conference?

If you’re a beginning writer, CCWC will give you a solid foundation to build upon. It can save you both time and disappointments in your journey to publication. If you’re an advanced writer, there’s always more to learn.

Whether you have never published or are publishing regularly, CCWC is an opportunity to grow your writing and marketing skills through 5 new learning labs and 13 early bird workshops, 8 continuing sessions, and 42 workshops. As one conferee said, “It’s the equivalent of a semester course in writing.”

CCWC will give you face-to-face opportunities to present your ideas or manuscripts to editors and agents or to authors who can provide encouragement and direction.  Free one-on-one 15-minute appointments with our faculty are included with your registration.

Newsflash!

A bonus SIXTH appointment for those who register
for Thursday, Friday, and Saturday has been extended
from the first 50 to the first 75 to register.

Need hands-on help? Pray about applying for a clinic or requesting one or more paid critiques.

Do you long for deep friendships with others who share your passion for words and the Lord? You’ll meet them at CCWC.

Discouraged faceHave rejection slips or writers’ block caused you to become discouraged? You’ll find answers and encouragement at CCWC.

Do you need direction from the Lord and confirmation that you’re writing what He wants written? CCWC is not just a writers’ conference; it’s also a retreat where those who are listening have heard from Him in ways that have changed their lives.

Are you running on empty spiritually? The worship and keynotes will fill you to overflowing.

Yes, CCWC by God’s plan and design is much more than just a writers’ conference. I’m excited to see what He is going to do and know that it will be “exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think” (Eph. 3:20 NKJV).

Register now to beat the March 21 price increase. You’ll save $5 to $20 that can be better spent on books. 🙂

Possible And Impossible Keys Show Optimism And PositivityIf it looks impossible financially? Remember, nothing is impossible for the Lord. Partial scholarships are available for those with financial need thanks to all who have contributed to our scholarship fund and the generosity of Illumify Media. For more information and to apply click here.

Illumify-Media-Logo_350x100.png

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I confess! I hate research. As a result, almost all of my 1,000 plus sales to Christian periodicals are based on personal experience. You’ll rarely find me including statistics or quoting a bunch of “experts.”

Well, I hate most kinds of research, but I love digging deep into God’s Word to “write His answer.”

Study GOD and his strength, seek his presence day and night.

1 Chronicles 16:11 MSG

Early on in the 46 years I’ve written for publication I discovered the importance of studying (researching) the markets. I took seriously what an editor said at one of the first writers’ conferences I attended. I don’t remember her name, but I’ve never forgotten what she said: “An incorrectly targeted article is nothing but a source of irritation to a busy editor.”

Each edition of the Christian Writers Market Guide that Sally Stuart compiled for 24  years was well-worn and much appreciated. From it, and the guidelines for writers that I always requested from publishers, I developed Market Analysis Charts. As part of my Ministry/Marketing Packet that I sold for many years they were used by well over 1,000 writers.

Barb Haley apr 2016 croppedToday I’m so grateful for my dear friend, Barb Haley, who serves as the registrar and appointment coordinator for both the Colorado and Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference.

The charts of agent interests, editorial needs, and areas of expertise that she prepares for both conferences are an incredibly valuable research tool and a huge amount of work.

Below  is the chart of nonfiction editorial needs for the 22 editors at the May 15-18, 2019, Colorado Christian Writers Conference. There are also charts for fiction, children/YA & Other for our editors, 5 agents, 7 other professionals, and 19 authors.

EDITORS NONFICTION

In addition, with the bio for each of our 53 faculty members you’ll find the chart they completed (see sample below). Click on Editors, Agents & Other Professionals, and Authors.

EDITORS WATKINS

Father, thank You for Barbie and for Steve Laube who is continuing the work Sally Stuart began with the Christian Writers Market Guide. Thank You for the Internet that puts information at our fingertips. Help us not to be lazy when it comes to obtaining info we need. And especially, Father, remind us daily to study Your Word. Help us to do in-depth research so that we can effectively share Your answer.

Know what his Word says and means.

2 Timothy 2:15

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Debbie Hardy for GPDebbie Hardy – The Queen of Resilience!  If you see her at the May 15-18 Colorado Christian Writers Conference, chances are, she’ll be wearing a tiara.

She loves this conference!  Attending for 11 years, she has been a speaker/teacher for 7 years.

Her first conference was a big challenge.  She had just begun her first book and was scared.  Marlene encouraged her to bring her first chapter.  Still she was so afraid to come alone, she convinced a friend to come with her, and Debbie paid her friend’s way!

Debbie learned two important lessons that first year.

1 – publishers and editors are people too!  And she had fun getting to know them and still does.

2 – there is a whole language to learn in the land of publishing.  So in many of her classes, she provides a vocabulary sheet with definitions to encourage new writers to jump right in.

This year she will be teaching an Early Bird workshop on Writing Devotions and doing Interviews representing ChristianDevotions.US.

Her favorite part of the conference is talking with new writers and seeing their eyes light up when they get some piece of feedback that makes them say “I can do that!”

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Dick Bruso from Eric.jpg

Guest Blogger – Dick Bruso
International Professional Speaker and Author

Wow! Another exceptional Colorado Christian Writers Conference at the YMCA of the Rockies, Estes Park Center, May 15-18, will be here before you know it. I’ve had the distinct privilege of attending and speaking at CCWC for a number of years and have been blessed beyond measure.

My life verse is Psalm 37:4 (NIV), “Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.” The Colorado Christian Writers Conference allows all who attend to truly delight themselves in the Lord throughout the entire conference while at the same time fulfilling the desires of their hearts as Christian writers.

Here are just a few ways you will be significantly impacted at CCWC 2019:

* Becoming much better equipped to write what God had laid upon your heart

* Forming new and life-long friendships with your brothers and sisters in Christ

* Learning from and connecting with a vast variety of remarkable professionals all dedicated to helping you move your writing career forward

* Enjoying the beauty and majesty of God’s creation in the awe-inspiring Rocky Mountains

* Building your faith through dedicated and powerful times of prayer and worship

If you haven’t already signed up for CCWC, now is the time to do so before the price increases March 21! It will prove to be one of the most valuable investments you will ever make as you seek to influence others for the cause of Christ!

Special Note: On Friday, May 17th, I will be giving two back-to-back workshops (featuring an exclusive bonus*) as described below:

“Create a Best-Seller Brand” (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” (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.

*Exclusive Bonus! Everyone attending either of these sessions will be given a complimentary 30-minute, post-conference, one-on-one phone consultation with me to help further their writing and speaking careers.

Testimonial from CCWC 2018

I attended Dick Bruso’s Create a Best-Seller Brand and Fast Track Your Speaking Outreach. Dick’s superb presentations were the answer to my prayers.

I can’t recommend his workshops enough. They were the high point of the CCWC for me, and I attended many other excellent sessions.

Jeff Walton, speaker and author of
the award-winning Christian novel,
Final Departure: Death Is Never On Time

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drive-landscape-mountain-1685905I remember the first time I drove into Rocky Mountain National Park. Nothing I had experienced in the Philadelphia area where I lived prepared me for the altitude and hairpin curves. Yes, the views were magnificent – truly breathtaking. But the drop offs . . .

I had a decision to make that day. I could choose to give my fear to the Lord and trust Him, or I could miss the incredible gift He had given me of being in the Rocky Mountains.

As I look forward to my 23rd year directing the Colorado Christian Writers Conference at the YMCA of the Rockies, Estes Park Center that borders Rocky Mountain National Park, I am so grateful I chose faith instead of fear. Yes, of course, I use common sense and drive carefully. And much as I’m tempted to take my eyes off the road when I spot elk, I wait until I can safely pull over to take dozens of pictures.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Now, this year, if I finally see a moose, I can’t guarantee what I’ll do. I’ve been waiting a long time. After last year’s conference, I drove into the park just after daybreak and went to where I was told the moose were. Instead, I saw turkeys!

moose alces-alces-animal-animal-photography-76972

Turkey3 CCWC

 

 

 

 

 

Sorry to ramble. There really is a point I want to make, and it has to do with the choices we make when confronted with the challenges of technology.

The learning curve is daunting and not something I enjoy. But today, as I’m struggling to learn Picmonkey and Instagram, I “came to realize” (don’t use this phrase in your writing) I have a choice. I can choose to trust the Lord and embrace the learning curve knowing He is the One who will equip me to do what I could never do in my own strength. Or, I can stress and believe the lie from the pit that I’m too old and too dumb to master another new computer skill.

Thank You, Father, for helping me to again choose to trust You and for showing me that this new challenge can actually be fun.

Friend, what challenge are you facing? And would you help make the challenge I’m facing with this new learning curve worthwhile by copying and pasting some of these images? I’d really appreciate it.

Scoti keynoteBios agents (1)

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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2019 CO banner & website

In just ten weeks several hundred writers will gather on the mountain at the YMCA of the Rockies, Estes Park Center, for the 23rd annual Colorado Christian Writers Conference.

With the ongoing theme of “Write His Answer” from Habakkuk 2:2, CCWC always seeks to address issues. This year, our opening general session on Wednesday night will feature the instructors of the six workshops in our “Issues” track. They will give a brief introduction of their topic and challenge us to use the gift of words the Lord has entrusted to us to make a difference.

charles_patricoff lg
Charles Patricoff
America at the Crosswords

Charles is an author with a personal passion for American history and our nation’s unique Christian heritage. As a Jewish follower of Yeshua, Charles speaks at Pro-Life and Tea Party rallies about our godly American heritage. “I write to preserve life and liberty, because by fighting to provide freedom for others, we preserve freedom for ourselves.” For over 35 years he supported the Department of Defense where his work gained recognition throughout the military and weapons development corporations. He says, “Christian writers can prepare believers to advance the kingdom of God as America takes another step toward complete rejection of its Judeo-Christian roots.”

David Rupert
David Rupert
The Rocks Cry Out

David is a corporate communicator, journalist, ghost-writer, and featured writer at Patheos Evangelical. He just published Living a Life of Yes. Visit his Living a Life of Yes Podcast. “Are you afraid to engage?” David asks. “In today’s world, traditional principles provoke reactions that can be unfair and personal. But the shrinking Christian writer does the world no good. Let’s learn to write truth!”

 

Rick Marschall MMM2
Rick Marschall
Speaking Life to a Culture of Death

Rick is the author of 74 books, editor for three newspaper syndicates, writer for Disney, Editor of Marvel Comics, and has written hundreds of articles. He currently edits Innovative Health Magazine and is looking for writers! And for 10 years he has written the weekly blog  MondayMinistry.com. Rick says, “The foundation of every contemporary crisis is Death: abortion, homosexuality, divorce, abuse, drugs . . . all wage war on procreation, the family. How can we redeem Truth and Life to this generation?”

Bill Watkins2
Bill Watkins
Answering Christianity’s Critics

Bill is the president of Literary Solutions and the senior editor at BroadStreet Publishing Group. A long-time writer, editor, mentor, consultant, teacher, and speaker, Bill is the award-winning author of seven books (including The New Absolutes, The Transforming Habits of a Growing Christian, and A House United? Evangelicals and Catholics Together), twenty-five study guides, and about 180 other pieces of writing. He is married and has seven adult children and seven grandchildren. He enjoys reading, movies, deep conversations, dating his wife, and playing with his grandkids. Bill will address antagonism toward the Christian faith and believers. “It is at a new high in American culture. Find out how you can answer the critics and win their respect while building the confidence of believers.”

Michael Gantt Apr 2016
Michael Gantt
The Burden of the Watchman

Michael served in pulpit ministry for 45 years and as Senior Minister at Agape Christian Fellowship in Brattleboro, Vermont. Most recently, he is the director of the Kenya Development Fund, a strategic development ministry among the deaf of Kenya. He travels widely, preaching in churches and conferences across America and around the world. He maintains his blog site where he writes on a variety of issues. His heartbeat is driven by the twin themes of guarding the integrity and authority of the Bible and the restoration of the home as the Center of the Kingdom.  He is the author of three books: Eddie: Adventures with a 41-Year-Old RV and the Lessons We Learned From Him, MAKUTANO: Lives Intersecting to Write God’s Story, and Cry Mercy: America’s one hope may be in her destruction. Michael says, “There are some who see what others do not see, hear sounds others do not hear, and discern danger before danger reveals itself. Should he sleep, the loss of the city will stain his hands forever.”

Bruce porter 2019
Bruce Porter
Make Some Noise!

Bruce is a “man with a mission” to call people into biblical truth and Christians back to their ancient roots and radical passion for Christ no matter the cost.  Church planter, pastor, international speaker, and responder to disasters worldwide, Bruce brings a unique perspective that challenges and motivates his readers. His most recent book is Destroying the Shadow Agenda – A Christian Manifesto. He writes, “Paul Revere’s night ride of 1775 rallied the Colonists. Christian writers are also night ‘writers’ upon their keyboards to awaken God’s army. A Shadow Agenda seeks to discourage us, but Bruce sees only inevitable victory in Christ. He encourages God’s heralds to ‘Write His Message’ of Christ’s final ultimate victory over the Shadow Agenda!”

 

And Wednesday evening is just the beginning of what will be a life-changing conference that features:

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Guest post by Darcie Gudger and Debra Moerke

The 23rd Annual Colorado Christian Writer’s Conference (CCWC) is coming up May 15-18, and the 36th Greater Philly conference August 8-10. Some of you may wonder if a conference is right for you. You’re just toying with the idea of writing, and maybe don’t have anything prepared, or have scratched out a chapter on a napkin. Publishing lingo and writer talk are foreign. So why go? Below, CCWC alum, Deb Moerke, shares her experience of intimidated newbie to getting a contract with Tyndale. Her book releases October 8th. 

Who knows what God may do at this year’s conference?

Here is Deb’s story in her own words.

Debra Moerke

Debra Moerke, author, speaker, real estate agent

A number of Colorado Christian Writers Conferences in the Rockies had come and gone. I  wanted to attend each year but watched the opportunity pass me by. Either money or time held me back. Perhaps, just perhaps, it was more my own fear and the intimidation of finding myself with an industry of people I had never rubbed shoulders with before that kept me away. What would I say to them? How should I act?

But in 2014, my March birthday arrived and I received a call from my oldest daughter and her family.

“Happy birthday dear Grammy, happy birthday to you!” Sweet voices sang over the phone as my eight-year-old grandson followed up with, “We are sending you to the writers’ conference you have wanted to go to.”

Surprised and touched by my family’s gesture, I said, “Really? Wow! Thank you.” Now I was obligated. No more excuses.

In May of that year, the day arrived and I packed up my car, kissed my family good-by and drove to the YMCA of the Rockies. I  marked up my registration form putting an X in every box that I could. I signed up for as many workshops, appointments with agents, authors, editors, publishers, and even volunteered to help in the bookstore. I had no clue what that meant. But I planned to dive in and be useful. I hoped to saturate myself with every aspect of the conference. I would come home filled with great knowledge and direction.

That was my plan.

Within 24 hours of meeting my roommate, I joined a couple hundred people in the main auditorium for general sessions. Then stood in line pushing my tray along the cafeteria stainless steel track getting food. Life at the conference was non-stop.There were so many people! After the last session on the first night, I left the main center and walked to my mountain condo in tears. I was overwhelmed. Maybe this wasn’t the best idea. Who did I think I was?  I had no idea what I am doing.

I reached out to God asking him to guide me and show me what to do. I felt better knowing my roommate had not been to the conference before either and I knew I was in good company. We talked about how we loved the Lord and believed he had called us to write. We agreed to pray for each other during the conference then went to sleep.

The next morning, my roommate and I walked to breakfast. A number of other people who were attending the conference asked to join us when they noticed our conference lanyards read CCWC. Within minutes we were connecting with others who either were first timers or alumni. I began to feel better about my decision to attend the conference as I entered the main auditorium with a handful of ladies ready to worship together and hear a great speaker.

I attended the continuing course that I signed up for and took a million notes. I met with a number of publishers, editors, authors and agents for my fifteen-minute appointments, and I helped the bookstore lady straighten books and smile at people coming in to the area looking for that perfect book. Each person I met asked, “What are you writing?” That was always the question even before they asked my name. Yes, it was still a different world to me but one I was beginning to feel more comfortable being a part of. Though I was relaxing a bit, I didn’t feel I was getting the answers I needed to move forward on my story. In fact, I was getting some mixed directions. Each professional I spoke with had their own perspective and dealt with different genres and parts of the process. One would be encouraging and the next one would say they didn’t see a real need for what I was writing about. Confused, I finished my second day wanting to go to my room and reorganize all my notes.

It was my sweet roommate that gave me the best direction as we climbed into our beds exhausted and brain-dead.  She said that my story was so compelling and being that it was a true story, I needed to talk with Cindy Lambert. My new-found-friend was sincere in believing Cindy could help me.

Cindy and her husband, Dave, were stars of the conference. They were some of the main speakers. When I went to the bookstore to see if I could make an appointment with Cindy, the appointment woman just smiled at me and said, “Oh honey, she is completely booked. She has no openings.” I was crushed. It must have shown on my face because the woman at the appointment table encouraged me to keep checking back in the case a spot would open up. That is what happened. Friday evening, a 5:30 spot opened up. I was in.

I brought the one chapter I had written, and nervously sat down next to Cindy while introducing myself. Before we started to talk, I felt a connection. I knew I liked this lady and she made me feel comfortable. I told her my story. She read my chapter and didn’t quickly scan it as a few others had. Finished, she offered direction and advice. I grabbed my notebook and wrote it all down. Our fifteen minutes were over before I knew it. I was happy with our meeting. I felt a peace and that I had received some great advice. I was beginning to feel my trip was all worth it. Great worship music. Wonderful people. Professional advice from some of the best in the industry and I made some new-found writing friends. This is what I came for.

Little did I know God had bigger plans.

The next morning, just after breakfast, I was walking through the bookstore heading for the auditorium for morning worship when someone reached out and tapped my shoulder. “I’ve been looking all over for you,” the woman said. It was Cindy. Surprised she would be looking for me, I asked her why. She said she had thought about me and my story all night and couldn’t sleep. She wanted to know if I would meet her and her husband for lunch in the cafeteria after the morning workshops. I agreed having no idea what she would want to talk to me about.

I met the couple and we found a table in the back where we had some privacy. Cindy shared with me that she and her husband had been in the business for many years and had been speaking at conferences for around fifteen years. She said that many people approached them, but that she had never approached anyone about his or her writing. She also shared that though she had never done this before, she felt led to help me with my story. She didn’t want to offend me with her offer, but she wanted to come alongside as a collaborative writer to get the story out. I broke down in tears. I could never have seen that coming.

“Yes! Yes!” I cried (literally). I was overwhelmed, overjoyed, humbled.

Since that May conference in 2014, Cindy has flown out to my town to spend a number of days with me to see where the story took place and meet some of the people in my life who are a part of it.  I have attended a number of conferences, learning more and more each year. We have worked on the book together for the past three years. Today I have an amazing agent, a contract with Tyndale House Publishers who flew me out to meet with the team that will be working on my book. A release date of October 8th has been set and I believe pre-sale orders will go out on Amazon in April or May. The title is Murder, Motherhood and Miraculous Grace.

My encouragement to each of you writers out there is…don’t give up. Pray and ask the Lord for direction. Keep going to the conference and take in all you can. You never know when that perfect opportunity will arrive where you get a tap on the shoulder from someone who believes in you and your writing and says, I want to walk this with you.
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To find out more about the May 15-18, 2019, click here: Colorado Christian Writers Conference. The August 8-10 Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference doesn’t have mountains or elk, but it does offer the same exciting opportunity to connect with professionals who can help you get your work in print.

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