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Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice; let the sea roar, and all that fills it; let the field exult & everything in it! Then shall all the trees of the forest sing for joy
Psalm 96:11-12

Our Events

35th Annual Montrose Christian Writers Conference

Monday July 15- Friday July 19, 2024

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EQUIPPING WRITERS FOR ETERNAL SIGNIFICANCE

"Then this is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all."

I John 1:5

Experienced writers will be spiritually renewed as they sharpen their word-smithing skills and learn about Christian publishing at this annual conference.

Daily Inspirational Sessions
Appointments with 3 Editors and 5 Best Selling Authors
4 Continuing Morning Series
3 Work-in-Progress Seminars
33 Afternoon Workshops
4 Afternoon Series
Faculty Panel Discussion
Great Evening Programs
Professional Critiques and Consults
Hands-on Mentoring Opportunities

A Word from the Director: 

1 John 1:5

“This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.”

     The number one reason for attending writers’ conferences is to learn how to get your words “in print” and, if God wills, get those words printed in a book! Some beginning writers have the goal of “making a lot of money.” Of course, they’re usually in for a big surprise when they discover how few of us published authors and even bestselling authors can live on our royalties.

     From our Christian perspective, we should always have in mind how we can share “the light of God’s Word” with our words. Our country, and the world in general, are both in total darkness with millions of people searching for the light of happiness in everything or everyone other than God.

     Therefore, when you write do you ask the Lord to give you direction so your work will impact others’ lives? Does your article, story, poem, music, or book reflect God’s “light” and His absolute truth from the Bible? It’s a noble goal that every Christian, regardless of the genre he writes, should set when pecking away at that computer.  

                                                          Marsha Hubler

Schedule

 

Monday
3:30 REGISTRATION OPENS     
5:30 SUPPER     
7:00 OPENING SESSION
         Keynote Address: Conference Director Jim Fahringer 
9:00 GET ACQUAINTED TIME    

Tuesday-Thursday
8:00 BREAKFAST
8:45 MEDITATION
9:00  PRAISE & WORSHIP with Zach & Leah Peterson   
9:20 MORNING CHALLENGE
     T: “The Truth, the Whole Truth, and Nothing but the Truth”  - Bill Day 
     W: “Bigger and Better”  - Jill Thomas
     Th: “Strength through Weakness” - Zach Peterson
10:40 MAJOR MORNING CLASSES
12:30 LUNCH
  1:30 AFTERNOON WORKSHOPS
  4:30 CRITIQUE GROUPS or FREE TIME
  5:30 SUPPER and FREE TIME
  7:00 EVENING SESSIONS
     T:   SKIT FUN NIGHT - Don/Darlene Catlett
     W:  FACULTY PANEL DISCUSSION OR FREE TIME
     Th: WRITERS’ THEATER - Patti Souder

Friday: 
 8:00 BREAKFAST
 9:00 PRAISE & WORSHIP
 9:20 MORNING CHALLENGE:“Keep Shining  - Elaine W. Miller
10:00 BENEDICTION and FAREWELL

Continuing Classes

Designed to provide in-depth learning and participation. Most valuable when taken as a series but all are open to those who cannot attend every day.

MAJOR MORNING CLASSES 10:40-12:10 TUESDAY - Thursday

1.AUTHOR MICHELE CHYNOWETH

“Writing a Great Christian Novel that Sells!”

No matter where you are in the novel process, this is for you! We’ll dive into all the important facets of writing and editing. You’ll learn both the basics and the nuances of crafting a great novel including starting with a solid plot, seamlessly weaving together description, dialogue, character and setting, building suspense, developing character arc, writing consistent point of view, and more. Last but not least, you’ll learn about publishing and marketing your book in hands-on workshops, so you’ll be able to sell lots of copies to help build the Kingdom! 

2.EDWINA PERKINS: ACQ. EDITOR FOR HARAMBEE PRESS 

“The Beginner’s Guide to Writing”

Where do you start? This question will yield a multitude of answers from a multitude of writers. Our words are important! They connect people to stories, conversations, and other people. Over the next few mornings, we’ll address the Who, What, Where, When, and Why of the writing process (not in that order) and offer you tools and tips to help you along your journey.

3. AUTHOR/EDITOR CINDY SPROLES 

“Let’s Learn Nonfiction Publishing!”

We’ll discuss writing a Christian worldview into your book, looking at how to cross over into the general market, what happens after you have a contract, and the importance of building that online presence—aka “platform.” We'll talk about all things publishing, why the wait is so long, and what publication ready means. We'll discuss the business decisions you’ll make and whether your best route into publishing is through traditional or self-publication.

4. JEANETTE LITTLETON: MANAGING EDITOR FOR EABOOKS PUB.

“Basic Editing and Chainsaw Editing with a Scalpel Touch”

If you love language and creating with words, this class is for you. Every writer, no matter their genre, can benefit from writing poetry. It’s an art and a craft that strengthens your feel for language and skill in using it. We’ll learn about imagery, sound, rhythm, line length, and white space and engage in creative, hands-on writing exercises. We’ll write and share with each other and enjoy the fellowship of a community of writers who love the word and The Word.

 

THREE Work-in-Progress Seminars
 

SONGWRITING 
with ZACH & LEAH PETERSON
10:40 – 12:10  TUESDAY-THURSDAY 

LIMIT: 8 CONFEREES ($40 each)

The Songwriting Journey: From a Line of Lyrics to a Finished Song 

This class is designed to help aspiring songwriters who have either a tune or some lyrics and want help making a finished product. We’ll cover the basics of songwriting and intertwine lessons on meshing lyrics with music using your work as the subject matter. 

PICTURE BOOK CLINIC
with PAM HALTER AND KIM SPONAUGLE

10:40 – 12:10 TUESDAY-THURSDAY

LIMIT: 10 CONFEREES ($60 each)

“Read It Again, Please!”

Award-winning author/illustrator team Pam Halter and Kim Sponaugle love picture books! They’ll break down the picture book process in such a way that participants will leave with either a manuscript that’s ready to submit or the tools needed to revise with confidence. Pam and Kim will read through each manuscript before the conference and plan workshops based on what the group needs. They’ll also teach some basics. Each conferee will have one-on-one time with Pam and Kim while the others in the group will be given assignments related to their manuscripts. And since we’re writing for kids, we’ll also get to play a little!

  • Prerequisite – Applicants need to have a finished picture book manuscript (Christian or a story that does not oppose Christian values) 1,000 words or less, which need to be sent to Pam and Kim a month before the conference. Attendees do not have to be published (or self-published). Since personal attention is given to each manuscript from both the author and illustrator, the clinic is limited to 10 participants

FANTASY
with AUTHOR PAM HALTER

3:30 – 5:15 TUESDAY-THURSDAY

LIMIT: 10 TEEN/YOUNG ADULT CONFEREES ($20 each)

“We’re Not in Kansas Anymore”

Award winning fantasy author, Pam Halter, will delve into creating fantasy worlds and characters with how-to’s and exercises to stimulate your imagination, help with writer’s block, and set you on the path to a new and exciting world. The first few pages are crucial in keeping a reader’s attention. Bring the first five pages of your work in progress. We’ll read them, break them down, see what’s needed, and do some revising.

Afternoon Workshops Series

(How-to instruction on specialized topics) 

“This Little Writer Went to Market”
Pam Halter
3 Sessions: 1:30 – 2:15 Tues. – Thurs.

Marketing! What authors dread the most about writing. In this three-part workshop, children’s author Pam Halter will break down marketing so it’s easy to understand, and it might even be fun! We’ll learn what marketing is, and we’ll brainstorm ideas for marketing your published book or WIP. It’s never too early to market that story! Participants are encouraged to bring their books or WIPs.

“Writing a Story People Will Read”
Elaine W. Miller
3 sessions: 2:30 – 3:15 Tues. – Thurs.

Living and writing for eternal significance happens when we live and write with excellence for the glory of God—not for the glory of man. Elaine's three sessions (stand alone or as a series) offers spiritual and practical teaching that will draw readers to seek our books because our lives shine Christ and our books change lives.

“You Can Design It! A Canva Tutorial for Beginners”  
Sue A. Fairchild
3 sessions: 3:30 – 4:15 Tues.-Thurs.

Frustrated by your lack of design skills but know you need to post to social media platforms to connect to your audience? “Canva” offers quick and easy templates for even the least design-oriented individual. With a BA in graphic design, Sue A. Fairchild can show you the way. She’ll provide the basics of the free Canva program as well as show you how to create professional-looking and effective graphics for a variety of uses.

“Nonfiction and Such”
Cindy Sproles
3 Sessions: 3:30 – 4:15 Tues. – Thurs. 

In these sessions, we’ll touch on all the variations of nonfiction from how to tell a solid nonfiction story to learning what your voice is and how to stay in your “lane.” Nonfiction can turn dry fast, so we’ll discuss ways to draw in your reader and how to interject emotion and even humor Finally, we’ll spend time talking about things you might not know unless someone tells you. We’ll put to rest unrealistic expectations and challenge you to set realistic publishing goals.

 

 

Afternoon Workshops

Tuesday
1:30-2:15
1. Author Legacy - Darice Ennis
2. Marketing Part 1 - Pam Halter
3. When Google Isn’t Enough—Find Other Reliable Sources - Bill Day        \
4. Understanding the Picture Book Process - Kim Sponaugle

2:30-3:15             
5. Shining God’s Light on your Career - Elaine Miller
6. Preparing your Presentation - Jill Thomas
7. Meeting with Agents and Editors - Edwina Perkins
8. AI Writing Tools Showcase - Don Catlett

 3:30-4:15
 9. Seven Story Blunders and How to Avoid Them - Lisa Betz
10. Canva Basics - Sue A. Fairchild
11. Voice and Description - Cindy Sproles

Wednesday
1:30-2:15         
12.  Editing Tools - Darice Ennis
13.  Marketing Part 2 - Pam Halter
14. Techniques to Get Your Point Across in Nonfiction - Bill Day
15. Find the Right Illustrator for your Story - Kim Sponaugle 

2:30-3:15         
16. Avoid the Pitfalls of Poor Writing - Elaine Miller
17. If You’re a Writer, You’re a CEO - Jill Thomas
18. Now What After the Rejection Letter - Edwina Perkins
19. Social Media Strategies for Authors - Don Catlett

3:30-4:15         
20. Building Believable Characters - Lisa Betz
21. Instagram and Other Social Media - Sue A. Fairchild
22. “Hook, Book, Look, and Took” is More than Devotions - Cindy Sproles    

Thursday
1:30-2:15
23. Poetry - Darice Ennis
24. Marketing Part 3 - Pam Halter
25. Write on, Writers! - Ginny Merritt
26. Create Clear Picture Book Revisions - Kim Sponaugle

2:30 – 3:15
27. My Book is Finished. Now What? - Elaine Miller
28. The Alpha and Omega of your Book - Jill Thomas
29. Fiction Techniques in Nonfiction Books -Edwina Perkins
30. Cybersecurity for Authors - Don Catlett

3:30 – 4:15 
31. Snagging Interviews on Podcasts, Radio, and More - Lisa Betz
32. Book Covers and Marketing - Sue A. Fairchild
33. Storytelling in Nonfiction -Cindy Sproles

Faculty

Lisa Betz: is an award-winning mystery writer, an inspirational speaker, and a speech coach. She loves to encourage others to grow in their faith, develop their God-given creativity, and live authentic, purposeful lives.

 

 

Don Catlett: truly enjoys sharing the marketing, design, and technology skills he’s developed over his career. As a freelance WordPress and social media consultant, he transforms creative ideas into effective strategies. With the introduction of AI tools, Don is even more excited to help fellow authors, editors, and publishers leverage technology to share their stories. He recently launched a blog "AI for Authors" to share tips and insights on using AI to assist readers in their writing journey. Looking for guidance on how to tell your story on the web? Come along as Don helps guide you through the digital landscape."
 

Michele Chynoweth: is the bestselling author of several award-winning contemporary suspense novels that re-imagine Old Testament stories from the Bible in an edgy, modern-day way. She loves helping writers become authors and is a sought-after conference speaker, professional editor, book coach, and founder of “Your Book Done Right” Master Class and Elite Coaching. A former news reporter, ad agency owner, and marketing director, she lives with her husband in North East, Maryland.

 

Darice Ennis: has been writing poetry and songs as well as documenting as a nurse for much of her life. "Peace within a Broken Heart" is her hybrid published work. She has a website, DariceOriginals.com with “The Bucket,” a weekly blog. She’s an acquisitions editor with Brimstone Books and Media, Brimstone Fiction and Brimstone Fire. Brimstone publishes a broad range of genres—both fiction and non-fiction. Submit your book for review to BrimstoneFiction@gmail.com. Brimstone Books and Media can be found on Facebook.

William Day: As a life-long learner, Bill has a passion for teaching and sharing what he learns. From a young age, he delighted in encouraging others with his studies. After college, he taught adult education Bible courses and started an adult education program at his church. After training, Bill became an assistant to the pastor as a counselor. He also taught math in a Christian high school before he went into the pastorate. With his love of education, God led him to homeschool and to start a Christian school. He continued his own education, completing a PhD in theology in 2017. In the summer of 2023, he took two graduate geography courses at JUC in Israel. Bill continues to volunteer, teach Bible as a pastor, administer a Christian school, and work on the Christian Homeschool Association of Pennsylvania’s (CHAP) planning committee. Bill’s greatest delight after forty-five years of marriage is his wife Tina, four children, and five grandchildren.     

Sue A. Fairchild: started out as a devotion writer but now also claims the titles of editor, writing coach, webmistress, and speaker. She’s written and self-published three books as well as helped a variety of authors get their manuscripts into readers’ hands. Her latest novel, Changing Tides, will be available early 2024 from Elk Lake Publishing Inc., and she’s already working on her follow-up book, Changing Seasons. Sue loves working with clients who are working toward the greater good of sharing God’s message in this world.

 

Pam Halter: is a children’s book author since 1995 & freelance editor since 2006. Several books she’s worked with have won awards, most recently, Nickerbacher the Funniest Dragon by Terry Barto won a Storymonsters Award and a Gold Mom's Choice Award. She received Writer of the Year in 2014 at the Greater Phila. Christian Writers Conf. & won the Reader's Choice Award in the short story contest hosted by Realm Makers and Brimstone Fiction in 2015. She lives in NJ with her husband, special needs adult daughter, and her mother-in-law.

 

Jeanette Littleton: has written thousands of pieces for publication and several books. As an editor, she has worked with award-winning publications and edited over 10,000 articles and dozens of books for royalty publishers such as Guideposts and Bethany House. One of her current roles is as managing editor of EABooks. A hybrid publisher, EA Books offers services to help authors from conception to completion to bring their dreams to life. These services include editing, formatting, marketing, websites, uploading books to KDP and Ingram Spark, and more. The team at EABooks takes the stress of publishing so the author can relax and enjoy the process! 

Ginny Merritt: is the author of Mending the Tailor, A Ram for Isaac, The Window in the Wall, and Ed’s Christmas Miracle. She lives in an old house with a big garden in Clyde, NY, a little town on the Erie Canal. Her husband, Ray, is a kind, careful craftsman and retired pastor. Their rescue dog, Tobias, keeps them walking, the frogs in their pond keep them laughing, and their aged cat, Ranger, keeps them wondering how the feline brain works. Ginny has attended the Montrose Christian Writers Conference for over 25 years.

Elaine W. Miller: is an international author & speaker who uses warmth, enthusiasm, & humor to connect with her audience. A member of the Advanced Writers & Speakers Association, she’s been a featured guest on radio, TV, & podcasts. Elaine is the author of four books, Praise the Lord and Pass the Chemo: A Hopeful Response to a Hard Reality, We All Married Idiots: Three Things You Will Never Change About Your Marriage and Ten Things You Can, Splashes of Serenity: Bathtime Reflections for Drained Moms, and Splashes of Serenity: Bathtime Reflections for Drained Wives. Elaine & her husband, Dan, an ordained minister, live in Campbell, NY. For many years, they travelled annually to Bosnia as Pastoral Care Couple to International Workers. They’re blessed with three children, 15 grandchildren, & a great grandgirl named Elaine.  

Edwina Perkins: is the assistant director of the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference. She’s the managing editor for Harambee Press, an imprint of End Game Press. As a longtime member of Word Weavers International, she now serves as a member of the advisory board. Edwina also serves as the Emerging Leader Coordinator with ECPA (Evangelical Christian Publishing Association). As an award-winning writer, experienced teacher, speaker, freelance editor, and an authenticity/sensitivity consultant, she has been published in numerous publications. One of her passions is to address the need for authenticity and diversity in the publishing industry. 

Kim Sponaugle: has been illustrating picture books for over 20+ years. An AIPH grad, she started as a curriculum designer but soon found her hear’s vocation in children’s illustration. Since then, she has illustrated over 130 books for kids, working with traditional publishers and independent clients. She’s an award winner, her most recent the Mom’s Choice Gold Award for the Chipper the Arctic Fox series “Chipper Makes Merry” and the award-winning animal series by Anita Turnage, (Grumpy, Later Gator, Flounder). Kim lives in Salem County, New Jersey, with her husband, son, Bombay cat, and Blue Heeler. 

Cindy Sproles: is a speaker, novelist, and conference teacher. Twenty-five years in the publishing business has brought her to be an award-winning, best-selling author. Cindy is the cofounder of Christian Devotions Ministries and executive editor for christiandevotions.us. Cindy’s a writing coach/mentor with Writing Write Author Mentoring Service. She’s worked as an editor and acquisitions editor for two publishers and is a freelance editor with Ironstream Media. Cindy lives in the Appalachian Mountains with her husband and son.

Jill Thomas: is a business owner, teacher, author, and speaker. She has years of experience teaching college mathematics and speaking on behalf of her family’s pretzel manufacturing business. She’s published six Bible studies, a series of five scripture writing journals, five nonfiction books, and four fiction books. She loves drinking coffee with friends, adventuring with her grandkids, and traveling to exotic places. 




Zach and Leah Peterson: Music for Zach and Leah has been an integral part of their lives from an early age—Leah playing in accordion contests at age 4 and Zach singing in cantatas and church beginning at age 9. They both sang in the nationally televised Rejoice Choir as well as the Susquehanna Valley Chorale. In 2015 they produced a CD, “The Love of God,” that includes two of their original compositions. Their desire is to communicate and worship in song to uplift and edify the believer and bring the lost to Christ. Zach currently serves as the assistant pastor at Riverview Baptist Church, Mifflinburg, PA, and Leah serves in the children’s and ladies’ ministries and is the music teacher for Rockland Christian Academy in Middleburg, PA. 

Professional Critiques

This is a great opportunity to have your work evaluated by a published professional. Receive a written evaluation of your manuscript plus a 30-minute private appointment to discuss ways to improve and/or market your piece.

Register for MCWC by June 1st and request guidelines for emailing your manuscript.  $40.00 per critique.

Faculty Genre Limit
Lisa Betz

Mysteries/Speculative Fiction

2
Michele Chynoweth  

Contemporary Fiction 

5
Bill Day

Your Nonfiction Work Reviewed for Citation, Outline, and Style

3
Darice Ennis Historical Fiction/Devotions 3
Sue A. Fairchild Middle Grade Fiction/Editing Help     2
Jeanette Littleton        Personal Experience Articles/Editing Help 6
Elaine W. Miller Nonfiction 1
     

 

Other Opportunities

WORK-iN-PROGRESS

MORNING THREE-SESSION WORK-IN-PROGRESS: Songwriting Seminar with Zach and Leah Peterson  $40 (Limit: 8 conferees)

MORNING THREE-SESSION PICTURE BOOK SEMINAR: Bring your ms./artwork and work with Pam Halter and Kim Sponaugle to shape your ideas into publishable work. – $60 (Limit: 12 conferees)

AFTERNOON THREE-SESSION WORK-IN-PROGRESS FOR TEENS/YA: Fantasy with Pam Halter - $20 (Limit: 10 conferees)

PRIVATE BLOGING LESSONS

Work one-on-one with social media consultant Don Catlett to start a blog or upgrade the one you have. Each 45-minute session $20.

EDITORIAL APPOINTMENTS

Private 15-minute appointments with editors and agents to show them your work, which may be suitable for their publications and/or to discuss ideas for stories. Sign-up sheets available at the conference. Bring professionally prepared manuscripts. Be sure to bring copies! No charge.

CRITIQUE GROUPS and GENRES of INTEREST GROUPS
Opportunity for feedback from other writers. No charge. Held Tuesday and Wednesday at 4:30pm. 

BOOK TABLE
Features books by faculty and conferees.  When registering, please indicate books you’ve written which you would like to sell. Please tag all books with prices rounded to a dollar.

MP3 RECORDINGS
Listen to the sessions you missed or those you want to hear again. 

EVENING EVENTS

TUESDAY:  SKIT FUN NIGHT - Don & Darlene Catlett 
WEDNESDAY: FACULTY PANEL DISCUSSION

Here’s your opportunity to ask the faculty pertinent questions about the writing/editing/ publishing/marketing world.

THURSDAY: WRITERS’ THEATER 

Here's another opportunity for you to shine! Bring your own work, an excerpt from a short story, memoir, novel, or a poem and trimmed to three minutes and read it to the conferees at the Writers’ Theater, a delightful program that celebrates your creativity. Patti Souder is the moderator. Some faculty and conferees consider this evening so special, they “dress up” to present their work. You are certainly welcome to do that, as well.

Scholarships

Shirley Brinkerhoff Memorial Scholarship

$200 grant for tuition: Awarded to a writer actively striving to hone the craft of writing who’s not yet secured a publishing contract. Application below. 

General Scholarship

Help available according to need. For more information go to the About Montrose tab and click on scholarships.  

 

RegisTER HERE

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Montrose Bible Conference // 218 Locust Street, Montrose, PA 18801 // Phone 570-278-1001 // Toll Free 1-800-598-5030 // Contact Us