Peggy King Anderson Makes Mulch for Marketable Stories

 By Diana Savage, director of the Northwest Christian Writers Renewal

What do wet newspapers, cardboard, manure, and peat moss have to do with writing?

Children’s author Peggy King Anderson knows. And she enjoys spilling the secret.

“Just as layering yucky-sounding ingredients can produce a nutritious soil for growing wonderful gardens,” Peggy explains, “so also authors can layer their life experiences in order to write exciting and hopeful stories for kids.”

PeggyKingAndersonPinablePeggy has had plenty of experience in turning personal mulch into marketable writing for children’s magazines. Her story, “The Long March,” about the 1838 Potawatomi Trail of Death (forced Indian removal to the West) appeared in Highlights for Children. “Scaredy Cat,” a story dealing with children’s fears in the aftermath of 9/11, appears on the website of Pockets magazine, a publication for which she writes regularly.

At the 2015 Northwest Christian Writers Renewal, Peggy will teach a workshop on writing for children:

The Lasagna Garden: How to Grow Hopeful Stories for Kids

The Lasagna Garden- How to Grow Hopeful Stories for KidsPeat moss and cardboard, wet newspapers and manure. Sounds yucky, but layer it all and you have a lasagna garden that can grow something yummy. In this workshop, you’ll learn three fun ways to turn the layers of your life into exciting and hopeful stories for kids.

Peggy has just agreed to write a new monthly series, which will run from 2016 to 2018, for Pockets magazine. “It’s exciting to brainstorm this new series and start on the stories,” she says. “It’s also a great opportunity for me to use all those lasagna garden layers!”

Books she has authored include First Day Blues, Safe at Home, Coming Home, and A Horse’s Tale. Books she contributed to include Princess Natoree and the Tree Climber, and The Blood Jewel. The Fall of the Red Star (with Helen Szablya) was published in Hungarian as A Vörös Csillag Lehull and was featured on Children’s Book TV.

For more than twenty years, Peggy has taught creative writing in community colleges and at writers conferences. As a contract instructor, she also teaches creative writing to students in kindergarten through high school.

Writers attending Peggy’s workshops find her natural enthusiasm so infectious that they sometimes call her a cheerleader. “That’s not all bad!” she responds with her trademark grin.

You can catch that same infectious enthusiasm by signing up today for the 2015 Northwest Christian Writers Renewal, May 15–16.

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DianaSavageDiana Savage, a graduate of Northwest University and Bakke Graduate University, sold her first article when she was still in college, and she’s been writing ever since. Now the principal at Savage Creative Services, LLC, she is also director of the Northwest Christian Writers Renewal conference. Her latest book is 52 Heart Lifters for Difficult Times.

Cult Escapee Athena Dean Holtz Now Helps Other Wounded People

By Diana Savage, director of the Northwest Christian Writers Renewal

Not everyone caught in the clutches of a cult is able to get free.

Athena Dean Holtz has.

Twice.

First she was drawn into the Church of Scientology. After she escaped that deception and came to Christ in 1986, she was lured into a toxic, legalistic Christian cult. Among other abuses the leaders committed, they fraudulently coerced her into turning over a custom publishing company she had cofounded.

That took place five years ago. Eventually she was able to walk away from the traumatic situation, get counseling, and go public with her story. The cult leaders lashed back viciously and created entire websites dedicated to humiliating and discrediting Athena and those close to her.

AthenaDeanHoltzPinable“I’ve learned a lot from that experience,” she says. “God has taught me a great deal about why I was vulnerable in the first place. He has also given me great insights into deceivers and the people they have deceived.”

After spending twenty-five years in the book-publishing industry in the Pacific Northwest, Athena served as a broadcast missionary under Commission to Every Nation with her program for women, “Always Faithful Radio,” on AM 630 KSLR in San Antonio, Texas.

Early in 2014, she returned to publishing in this area and cofounded Redemption Press. “The amazing part of that story,” she says, “is God brought me full circle, back to the same offices I used to occupy.”

As a speaker, author, blogger, publisher, and now a pastor’s wife, Athena helps people who have been wounded by the church and other traumatic life experiences.

On Friday, May 15, at the 2015 Northwest Christian Writers Renewal, Athena will lead three sessions of an interactive WriteCoach Lab:

Build Your Platform Through SpeakingBuild Your Platform & Promote Your Work Through Speaking – Let Athena Dean Holtz help you map out your own individualized plan for using public speaking to build your author platform and promote your book. Includes hands-on exercises to get you started on your journey.

Athena is passionate about encouraging people to learn to trust God, even in the wake of spiritual abuse, trauma, or loss. “My prayer is that they will experience God’s faithfulness and restoration in the midst of the difficulties of life and suffering,” she says.

Her involvement at the Northwest Christian Writers Renewal is borne out of that passion. “I pray that people who’ve been wounded will learn to comfort others with the comfort God gives them,” she says.

As a Renewal sponsor, Redemption Press is holding a drawing at its vendor booth. The winner will receive a professional bundle of publishing services valued at $2,200.

To enter the drawing, as well as have the opportunity to be coached by Athena in one of her three WriteCoach Lab sessions, sign up today for the 2015 Northwest Christian Writers Renewal.

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DianaSavageDiana Savage, a graduate of Northwest University and Bakke Graduate University, sold her first article when she was still in college, and she’s been writing ever since. Now the principal at Savage Creative Services, LLC, she is also director of the Northwest Christian Writers Renewal conference. Her latest book is 52 Heart Lifters for Difficult Times.

Former Spy Dennis Brooke Ferrets Out Technology

By Diana Savage, director of the Northwest Christian Writers Renewal

A number of years ago, Dennis Brooke served as an Air Force missile officer. For four years he pulled duty sixty feet under the Montana prairie. He also spent a day in the skies as a spy.

“What was it like to be doing that job,” he asks, “when we thought the Cold War would last for decades to come or turn into a hot war any day?” It wasn’t until he stood on the Berlin Wall when it was coming down—just a few yards from Checkpoint Charlie—that he realized more fully why our military personnel serve their country.

Dennis has turned that experience into a topic for writing and speaking. Some of his other experiences-turned-topics include “Wooing Your Wife,” “Project Management,” and “Web 2.0.” His eclectic repertoire is revealed in the wide variety of publications he’s written for. “Until someone proves me wrong,” he says, “I’ll claim to be the only person to have been published in both Combat Crew and Focus on the Family magazines.”

DennisBrookePinablejpgWhile on the NCWA board, Dennis brought our organization into the digital age through a new database program for managing our membership and website, along with a cloud-based storage system that board members and key volunteers can access for necessary documents.

At the 2015 Northwest Christian Writers Renewal, Dennis will co-lead three interactive sessions of a WriteCoach Lab especially designed for those who have questions about basic technology and also moderate a marketing panel of experts:

BYOD-Tech Essentials1) BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) Tech Essentials (WriteCoach Lab, Friday, May 15, with Mindy Peltier) – Ever wonder how to make those graphic “thingies” you’re supposed to include in blog posts? Stumped trying to build an email list? Wish you knew how to use hashtags, make captions, or manage friends/followers? Nervous about uploading photos to “the cloud”? Recently changed from PC to Apple—or vice versa—and feel lost? At this BYOD Tech Essentials Lab, no question is too basic for experts Mindy Peltier and Dennis Brooke. And if they don’t know the answer, they’ll demonstrate how to search the Internet for solutions. Bring your own laptop, netbook, tablet, smartphone, etc., to gain the most from these sessions.

Market Like the Pros Panel2) “Market Like the Pros” Panel (Workshop, Friday, May 15) – Dennis Brooke will moderate a panel composed of publishing experts Carolyn McCready, Grace Fox, and James L. Rubart. You’ll learn secrets for getting your labors of love the attention they deserve. The panel will address marketing for both traditional and indie writers. Bring your questions and be ready for concrete ideas and inspiration.

Want to hear the rest of Dennis’s spy adventure? One time as an Air Force officer, he went on an Army Intelligence RC-12 spy mission. “We flew up and down the East German border all day,” he recalls. “It was very boring until we came in to land, and one of the landing-gear indicator lights that show “gear is down and locked” failed to illuminate. Fortunately, it was just a burned-out bulb, and my one day as a spy didn’t end in a crash landing.”

These days, Dennis is much more interested in the publishing contract he recently signed for his novel The Last Apostle. The book will be released January 2016.

To get your questions answered concerning technology and marketing—and perhaps even spy missions—sign up today for the 2015 Northwest Christian Writers Renewal.

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DianaSavageDiana Savage, a graduate of Northwest University and Bakke Graduate University, sold her first article when she was still in college, and she’s been writing ever since. Now the principal at Savage Creative Services, LLC, she is also director of the Northwest Christian Writers Renewal conference. Her latest book is 52 Heart Lifters for Difficult Times.

James L. Rubart Credits Wife for His Success

By Diana Savage, director of the Northwest Christian Writers Renewal conference

Jim Rubart’s wife, Darci, bought him a plaque that said “Future Award-Winning Author” and told him to hang it in his writing room. That was years before Jim ever believed he’d be published.

Then in 2002, Darci felt led to go on a fast. Without know why or for how long, she obeyed. Halfway through the third day, Jim sensed the Lord saying, “I’ve given you the desire and ability to write. When are you going to step into your destiny?”

Jim told Darci, “I know why you’re fasting. I’m supposed to be a novelist.”

She stared at her husband. “Wait a minute. I’m hungry for three days, and you get the answer?”

JamesLRubartPinableThree years later Jim finished his first novel and submitted it to four contacts he had in the publishing industry. Everyone rejected it. But the following spring, 2006, he attended a writers conference and made new connections.

Eventually Jim published his first novel under the byline James L. Rubart and became the best-selling and Christy-award-winning author of Rooms, Book of Days, The Chair, and Memory’s Door.

At the 2015 Northwest Christian Writers Renewal, Jim will lead a WriteCoach Lab and serve on a marketing panel of experts on Friday, May 15:

Discover and Sharpen Your Brand1) Discover and Sharpen Your Brand (WriteCoach Lab) – Do you know what your brand is as a writer? Need help developing it? As a best-selling author and owner of an ad agency/marketing firm, Jim Rubart will give you personalized help in defining your brand and learning specific ways you can promote it.

Market Like the Pros Panel2) “Market Like the Pros” Panel (Workshop) – Along with moderator Dennis Brooke and fellow panelists Carolyn McCready and Grace Fox, Jim will help you learn how to get your labors of love the attention they deserve. The panel will address marketing for both traditional and indie writers. Bring your questions and be ready for concrete ideas and inspiration.

Although James L. Rubart is the owner of Barefoot Marketing, a Pacific Northwest marketing and consulting firm, he gives his wife the credit for his writing success. “Darci’s talked me off the ledge so many times, she’s got a lawn chair set up out there,” he says. “It’s cliché to say it, but there’s no question I wouldn’t be where I am without her.”

To benefit from Jim’s wisdom and experience—along with his willingness to give credit where credit is due—sign up today for the 2015 Northwest Christian Writers Renewal!

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DianaSavageDiana Savage, a graduate of Northwest University and Bakke Graduate University, sold her first article when she was still in college, and she’s been writing ever since. Now the principal at Savage Creative Services, LLC, she is also director of the Northwest Christian Writers Renewal conference. Her latest book is 52 Heart Lifters for Difficult Times.

Craigslist Helped Steve Hutson Become an Agent

By Diana Savage, director of the Northwest Christian Writers Renewal

Several years ago, Steven Hutson was minding his own business as the founder and owner of a manuscript critique-and-editing service for aspiring authors. Client subject matter seemed to cover every topic from Bible study to yoga to credit repair. Life was good.

Then he added to his responsibilities by answering the call to manage a writers conference near Los Angeles. He enjoyed increasing his connections in the publishing industry.

One day Steve placed an ad on Craigslist to promote the editing service. As he had hoped, the response was fantastic. But one inquiry shocked him.

SteveHutsonPinable“A film producer asked us to adapt his screenplays into novels and then pitch the books to publishers,” Steve says. “We hesitated. That’s what an agent did! Certainly there were others more qualified.”

But then Steve decided, Why not? He realized he already knew most of the people who were needed to undertake the project. His success gave Steve and his team confidence to set up shop as a literary agency in early 2011.

Today, WordWise Media has four agents and serves forty-five authors. Client books have been placed with a variety of publishers, and several of their authors have also won prestigious awards for their works.

On Friday, May 15, at the 2015 Northwest Christian Writers Renewal, Steve will meet with writers in group appointments. If you would like to pitch your proposal to him, please follow guidelines concerning what he would like to see and what he’s not looking at right now.

On Saturday, May 16, Steve will also present the workshop:

20 Reasons You’re Not Getting Published – Are you tired of getting rejected by agents and publishers? Identify the most common mistakes and learn how to avoid them. Hint: It might have nothing to do with the quality of your manuscript.

Steve is one of those rare individuals actually born in Los Angeles instead of moving there from someplace else. He’s been a storyteller since he learned to talk and is convinced that the Wimpy Kid books were based on his childhood.

Although the writing bug bit him early and never let go, Steve didn’t immediately become a published writer with a career in the publishing field. Along the way he took business courses in college and also found gainful employment as a clerk typist, vitamin buyer, waiter, forklift operator, lifeguard, bookkeeper, grocery manager, printer’s apprentice, and meat cutter.

In other words, he understands authors who must maintain day jobs while striving to find time to write and get published.

To meet with Steve and attend his workshop on how you can improve your chances of publication, sign up today for the 2015 Northwest Christian Writers Renewal!

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DianaSavageDiana Savage, a graduate of Northwest University and Bakke Graduate University, sold her first article when she was still in college, and she’s been writing ever since. Now the principal at Savage Creative Services, LLC, she is also director of the Northwest Christian Writers Renewal conference. Her latest book is 52 Heart Lifters for Difficult Times.

Lynnette Bonner Conquers the Indie Publishing Jungle

By Diana Savage, director of the Northwest Christian Writers Renewal

Because of Lynnette Bonner’s unique upbringing, one might almost think she was destined to forge a new path as an independent author.

She began life in Malawi, Africa, where her parents were missionaries. She learned to speak Chichewa (Chee-chay-wuh) fluently, climbed acacia trees, sampled fire-braised termites, and ran through tall, crisp grasses playing “cows” with her young African friends.

From fourth grade on, she resided at a Kijabe, Kenya, boarding school during each curricular term. When she came to the US to attend college, she met a young man who had grown up “in the sticks of Idaho. That’s just about as close as you can get to African ambiance and still be on US soil,” she says. That man is now her husband, Pastor Marty Bonner.

LynnetteBonnerPinableAfter Lynnette finished her first novel in 2000 and submitted it to many publishers and agents, a small e-book publisher finally offered her a contract and released her book. Then the company promptly went out of business. By that time she was homeschooling her two oldest kids, had a toddler, and then gave birth to her fourth child.

“I told the Lord the book was in his hands,” she says, admitting she was pretty sure he already knew that. She also determined that if God had given her the story just to help her through those tough, stressful years, she’d try to be content.

“But I kept asking him to direct my steps where the book was concerned. I specifically remember praying that if the Lord wanted this book to be published, he would need to ‘drop a publisher in my lap’ because I didn’t have time to shop it around again.”

Several years later, a small press—the first she’d submitted to in seven years—eagerly picked up the book, and Lynnette was on her way.

Eventually she realized that she could be even more effective if she became an “indie” author—a writer who publishes independently instead of with traditional publishers. That decision encompassed much more than mere self-publishing. It involved every step of the process: writing, editing, proofreading, layout, cover design, marketing, and even legal concerns, such as acquiring each book’s ISBN number.

Perhaps adapting to a new culture when she came to the US as a young adult helped Lynnette acquire the skills she’d need years later for negotiating the jungles of independent publishing.

She has been successful in her endeavors. To date, Lynnette has indie-published ten books. At the Northwest Christian Writers Renewal, she will share the secrets she has learned.

An Overview of Indie Publishing-1) An Overview of Indie Publishing: Nothing Less than the Best (Friday, May 15) – What exactly is indie publishing? How is it accomplished, who is best suited to go that route, and what’s the best way to go about it? Let’s talk about print and e-book formatting that shines, and much, much more.

Making Your eBooks Work for You2) Making Your E-books Work for You (Saturday, May 16) – Learn about the many passive marketing techniques you can incorporate into your e-books to make them work harder for you. We’ll talk about the first things all successful indie authors need to have in place, along with other verified marketing techniques proven to work for the instructor and many of her indie author friends. If you have an e-book you want to take to the next level, this is the class for you.

Lynnette’s latest book, Song of the Surf, will be awarded to every qualified person who enters this year’s Grand Prize Contest. Don’t miss your opportunity to win a free ten-page manuscript critique by our keynote speaker, Angela Hunt, along with an e-book copy of Lynnette’s newest Christian romance.

To learn timely insights about indie publishing, sign up today for the 2015 Northwest Christian Writers Renewal!

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DianaSavageDiana Savage, a graduate of Northwest University and Bakke Graduate University, sold her first article when she was still in college, and she’s been writing ever since. Now the principal at Savage Creative Services, LLC, she is also director of the Northwest Christian Writers Renewal conference. Her latest book is 52 Heart Lifters for Difficult Times.

Suzanne Petrucci Gives Authors the Chance to Make a Great First—and Lasting—Impression

by Deborah Austin, Northwest Christian Writers Renewal Vendor Coordinator

Why should a writer get a headshot photograph?

Suzanne Petrucci of Glimmer Glass Photography answers that question by asking another one: “How would you dress for a job interview? A job that you really, really wanted? You want to make a great first impression, right? So, good or bad, right or wrong, knowingly or unwittingly, we all make an initial assessment based on visual appearances. It’s sort of like, judging a book by its cover. You want good cover art, right?”

SuzyPetrucciPinableThe Internet, with online profiles and more, has changed the way people gather first impressions. “You want your photo to be more than just okay or pretty good,” says Suzanne, “but you don’t want a glamour shot either.”

She points out that you also want to be remembered. If you use your headshot on your business card or—at the very least—your website, the editor or agent you just met at the conference will be able to put your face with your name. It’s a great way to stand out from the crowd.

Suzanne’s website, Glimmer Glass Photography, features some of her amazing photography work, along with her regular prices. At the Northwest Christian Writers Renewal, however, she’s offering the incredible price of only $65 for a sitting.

SuzyBlogSidebarBut that’s not all. She’s also making available to NCWA members a pre-conference special of just $50! That’s 50 percent off of her regular studio pricing.

To get the early bird special, all you have to do is sign up at the May 4 NCWA meeting or drop me an e-mail anytime between now and May 14. This will ensure you an appointment for a sitting at the conference on either May 15 or May 16. Don’t miss this opportunity for Suzanne to help you make a positive and professional first impression.

Suzanne assures us that the images will be professionally edited, so most people will look from five to ten years younger in the final files. That’s enough motivation for me to sign up right now!

“Simply put,” Suzanne concludes, “it’s my dream job to help you get your dream job.” To take advantage of this wonderful opportunity with special pricing, register today for the 2015 Northwest Christian Writers Renewal.

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2012May_Austin_Author_105-Edit CroppedNCWA member Deborah Austin is a freelance copyeditor. Be sure to stop by her booth at the Renewal and see what she can do for you and your manuscripts.