About nwchristianwriters

The Northwest Christian Writers Association is an organization of writers providing instruction, encouragement, fellowship, critiquing, and networking. Its purpose is to develop excellent, professional writing that honors God and serves others.

Focus on Blythe Daniel

by Elizabeth Griffin

Bring your elevator pitch to Blythe Daniel at this year’s Renewal.

Approachable and energetic, Blythe takes a personal interest in the authors she represents. She is returning to this year’s Renewal to meet with you if you write about Christian Life, Spiritual Growth, Current Events, Inspirational/Narrative Nonfiction, Business/Leadership, Church Leadership, Marriage, Parenting, Apologetics, Social Issues, Women’s Issues, Cooking and Gift books concepts. She will consider devotionals with a unique theme and concept, and Children’s picture books and early readers with Christian concepts.

Blythe is always on the lookout for up-and-coming voices of ministry leaders, business leaders, pastors, journalists, counselors, and others who have an established organization or ministry, or are part of one. It’s important that you have an online presence and a strong platform. She wants to see what you have done, not just what you plan to do!

Blythe focuses on the placement of books with publishers, online marketing, and publicity for authors. She helps writers build the right book proposal, conducts publicity campaigns, and has placed clients in a number of major national media outlets.

Come prepared with an “elevator pitch.” In 30 seconds to two minutes tell about your idea, including what your book is about, who it’s written for, and how you are connected with your audience. Tell Blythe about your blog, podcasts, YouTube videos, publications you contribute to regularly, your speaking schedule, and your network with other writers and published authors.

Don’t have all of these? Don’t worry. If you write well and have a concept that’s unique and in her wheelhouse, the Blythe Daniel Agency is willing to take you on. Once there, you can be confident that Blythe has a proven track record of 20 years in the industry, including seven years at Thomas Nelson and working with New York Times bestselling authors John and Stasi Eldredge.

In addition to meeting with Blythe, plan to attend her workshops at the Renewal. She will be teaching:

And Exactly How Do I Sell My Book? – E-mail subscriber lists, podcasting, launch teams and what else? These are the current and proven tactics that sell books, whether you are traditionally or independently published. This workshop will explore what these items are and how to implement them in your marketing plans.

What Makes Your Book Eye-Catching to Publishers – Stellar writing, a unique and compelling idea, and your reach to the intended audience. These are the things that make your book attractive to publishers. They want you to write toward a theme that no one else is saying. How do you do this? Blythe will give examples and share how to take a topic and create an angle that will differentiate your book. Also covered will be how to write to your audience so that you are saying something that only you can offer.

Check out all the workshops being offered this year. To request an appointment with Blythe, register soon for the Renewal.

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In addition to writing and editing a monthly lifestyle newspaper for 10 years, Elizabeth Griffin elizabeth_griffin2has published more than 500 articles in newspapers, anthologies, and magazines, along with the books Fragile X, Fragile Hope: Finding Joy in Parenting a Child with Special Needs and Margot’s Story. Elizabeth’s favorite subject matter is true stories of redemption. She loves to speak truth into the lives of others and has been a Bible teacher for 16 years. Her recent adventures include directing communications for an international missions group and public relations for Seattle’s Union Gospel Mission, and blogging at Follow the Dots.

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An Interview with Rachel Hauck, Keynote Speaker at the 2018 Renewal

by Elizabeth Griffin

EG: Tell us about yourself, Rachel. Anything you want to share is great.

RH: I am a working author, which means I live on deadline. I write a book only to rewrite the book. By the time that’s done, I’m a month away from the hard-start of the next book. Yet somehow it seems the books take forever to release! But I love my job and despite the fact I feel like an eternal college student on the quarter system, I wouldn’t want to do anything else. My husband tolerates the writer’s life well and when I’m not writing, I lead worship at our church. I also watch a lot of sports.

EG: What inspires you to write? Tell me about where and when you write, what you like to write about, etc.

RH: Good writing inspires me to write. When I’m stuck, I pick up Susan May Warren, JoJo Moyes, Kristen Hannah, or Beatriz Williams. I read books with emotion and heart. Of course, nothing beats a good prayer meeting to stir the heart creatively.

I write in my office—a lovely space built and designed by a former Pixar artist. As much as we all want to feel inspired and bubbling with creativity every day, most of us don’t. I don’t. So I head up to my office and work. No matter what. I have a goal for each day and work until I achieve it. Of course, life gets in the way and I have to make adjustments, but I do all I can to stay on track.

Most of my stories are romantic, dual time stories. I love blending the story of characters from the past with characters in the present.

EG: How did you get started writing professionally? Tell us about your journey.

RH: I always wanted to be a writer since I was a little girl. I used to tell people I wanted to write children’s books. Then I realized the skill required to produce a good children’s book! Ha! On my first wedding anniversary the Lord prompted me to quit my job. My husband came to me a few days later and said he felt like I should quit my job. He had no idea what I was thinking or feeling. For the first time since I was 14, I wasn’t working or in school. Christian fiction was booming in those days so I read a lot. Eventually I started an epic WW II novel that was well rejected. But my “career” had started. I ended up back at work, putting a pause on writing. But in 2004 I quit for the last time to write full time. I’ve been published ever since. Praise God.

These are the workshops that Rachel will be teaching, in addition to her two plenary-session presentations:

Scene Tension Equation – Tension is what keeps the readers turning the page. Whether writing suspense or romance, the scene tension equation will help you make sure every scene is focused and on point.

The Story Equation,  2-part workshop – Are you overwhelmed after learning so many new techniques and ideas?  Are you struggling to know how to implement them into your novel and your publishing strategy?  How do you take everything you’ve learned and create a brilliant novel? New York Times and award-winning author Rachel Hauck uses the Story Equation method to give you a tool belt of how-to tools, perfect if you’re a plotter, pantser or somewhere in between. You’ll learn how to build and weave your external plot with the characters’ internal journey to create an exciting, well-paced story.  For beginning to advanced writers.

Come to this year’s Renewal to hear more about Rachel’s work and be inspired to continue the pursuit of your own writing journey!

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In addition to writing and editing a monthly lifestyle newspaper for 10 years, Elizabeth Griffin elizabeth_griffin2has published more than 500 articles in newspapers, anthologies, and magazines, along with the books Fragile X, Fragile Hope: Finding Joy in Parenting a Child with Special Needs and Margot’s Story. Elizabeth’s favorite subject matter is true stories of redemption. She loves to speak truth into the lives of others and has been a Bible teacher for 16 years. Her recent adventures include directing communications for an international missions group and public relations for Seattle’s Union Gospel Mission, and blogging at Follow the Dots.

Lisa Mitts: Worship Leader and Activist with Heart

by Elizabeth Griffin

The gifts Lisa Mitts brings to this year’s conference as worship leader have come at great personal cost. She is a survivor of trauma.

When she was 24, a stalker assaulted her at knifepoint in her own home. Lisa is convinced that her life would have ended had it not been for a miraculous intervention. She heard a voice telling her what to say to the man. The words that tumbled out of her mouth caused the attacker to leave while she was still alive.

“I had been raised in a Jewish family, and at the time, I did not know God personally,” Lisa says. “But to this day I can still remember His voice speaking. Two years later I recognized the same voice when He pursued me to know Him as Yeshua, Jesus, the lover of my soul, who protected and delivered me—first physically, then spiritually.”

She admits that for many years, even after becoming a believer, she couldn’t speak about the attack because she still needed deep healing and freedom from shame, anxiety, and the fear of death.

Lisa’s salvation experience took place two days after her husband, David, gave his life to Christ at a 1988 business convention in Miami, Florida. The couple now supports each other in ministries of healing as David practices holistic medicine and Lisa works with victims of human trafficking. Together they established the Seattle chapter of The Defender Foundation, as well as founding Destiny House Restoration Center, a rehabilitation facility for rescued victims.

Lisa Mitts and Dr. Stacy Cecchet, a psychologist, professor, and consultant to the Seattle Police Department and the Washington State Congress, have developed the breakthrough program, H.E.A.R.T.S (Healing, Education, And Restoration Treatment for Survivors), used at Destiny House and other centers.

David and Lisa are also the founders and senior pastors of One New Man Ministry in Renton, Washington, where, as Jewish believers, they instruct their congregation on Christianity’s Hebraic roots. David has written three books on the subject.

The depth of compassion and understanding that Lisa has for traumatized people, along with her own personal healing, add to the richness of her worship of the King of Kings.

She began her musical journey at age six when she started taking piano lessons, and she applied herself to the study of music. At the University of Florida, she chose music as her major. But after just a year, she realized she didn’t want to be a classical pianist and went on to earn a degree in journalism and communications and broadcast production. For a brief time she worked at the NBC affiliate in San Francisco.

Today Lisa has returned to her musical roots and is a worship leader, singer, songwriter, and recording artist. Her passion against human trafficking is expressed in her song “Where Has Love Gone?” In September 2015, its music video was awarded Best Music Video at the Awareness Film Festival in Los Angeles. She is currently working on her fifth CD project with the hope that it will reach hundreds of thousands of listeners to bring healing, encouragement, and a more intimate relationship with God.

In addition to leading worship at this year’s Northwest Christian Writers Renewal, Lisa will also teach a workshop:

The Heart and Technique of Writing Song Lyrics – Discover the art of writing powerful song lyrics, especially for the genre of contemporary Christian music (CCM). In addition to the basic structure of a good song, also covered will be the importance of combining passion, emotion, and personal testimony with the foundations of God’s Word and message for all His children. All class participants will have the opportunity to write their first song or improve their lyric-writing skills and share with the class. No prior musical or songwriting experience is necessary (all levels).

Register today to attend Lisa’s workshop and be blessed by her leadership in worship and compassion at this year’s Renewal.

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Elizabeth Griffin has worked as a writer and editor for a monthly lifestyle newspaper elizabeth_griffin2for the past decade. She has published more than 500 articles in newspapers, anthologies, and magazines, in addition to the books Fragile X, Fragile Hope: Finding Joy in Parenting a Child with Special Needs and Margot’s Story. Elizabeth’s favorite subject matter is true stories about inspirational people. She loves to speak truth into the lives of others and has been a Bible teacher for 15 years. Her current passions are writing for an international network of church planters and her blog Follow the Dots.

Jennifer Slattery: A Way with Words

By Elizabeth Griffin

From the moment she could speak, Jennifer Slattery loved words. In fact, her mother used to beg her to be silent—just for five minutes. But Jennifer couldn’t do it. Even when disciplined by teachers for talking in class or embarrassed in Bible studies for dominating the discussion, her natural propensity for self-expression would not be dampened.

As an adult, Jennifer’s wellspring of words has become a source of healing to many women. She began Wholly Loved Ministries to teach women the truth about who they are as daughters of the King. Through stories and humor she shows women how to tune out the lies promoted on social media and modern culture, and to tune into the truth of God’s Word and their identity in Christ.

In addition to speaking fluently, Jennifer also has a freely flowing pen, and she has published five Romance novels with New Hope Publishers. She is a regular contributor to Crosswalk.com, Internet Cafe Devotions, and Christians Read. As managing editor of Guiding Light Women’s Fiction, an imprint of Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas, she loves working with writers to help them strengthen their manuscripts and grow in their gifting.

“If you have a passion to write, God lit that spark within you, and he knows exactly what lies ahead,” Jennifer says. “In fact, he’s fully committed to perfecting all that concerns you. If we belong to Christ, we’re chosen and called to greatness. God has entrusted us with the most precious, most powerful words known to man—the gospel. At this moment, God is equipping, molding, stretching, and guiding us so he can use us to create ripples of love, peace, joy, and hope. The question is, are we complying?”

At the May 5–6 Northwest Christian Writers Renewal, Jennifer will entertain proposals for Guiding Light Women’s Fiction. Because we’re so close to the conference, she will schedule her own appointments. You may e-mail her to request a 15-minute slot, or you can use the sign-up form at the Editor/Agent Appointment Desk.

In looking for women’s fiction, Jennifer is especially interested in manuscripts that can cross over into the general market. Though the publisher will continue to release novels with strong Christian elements, for this imprint they’re looking for stories that don’t necessarily use Scripture or refer to God but that reveal truth in more of a parable fashion, such as showing the consequences of sinful behavior. She is not interested in seeing nonfiction, children’s, YA, or overtly religious women’s fiction.

Another way you can take advantage of Jennifer’s insights in writing and promotion is by attending her workshops:

Creating Characters That Grab Your Reader – Some characters entertain us; others grab hold of us and don’t let go. A well-crafted character grabs the reader at their deepest heart level, causing them to see themselves in the character’s struggles and victories. In this discussion on abstract and concrete goals, inner lies, black moments, and character arcs, writers will learn how to take their readers from merely enjoying their stories to living them. (Emerging-writer level)

Developing and Expanding Your Reach: Ways to Build Your Author Platform – This class touches on numerous ways authors can begin to build their platform from article writing to guest blogging, speaking, and more. It discusses how a writer can go from having zero publishing credits to getting asked to write for publication. It also addresses the importance of presenting one’s best work, developing a strong critique partnership team, tweaking old articles and posts to make them fresh, and using self-publishing and compilations to gain readerships. (All levels)

At the conference, let Jennifer’s God-given gift for self-expression inspire you to develop your own way with words.

Sign up now for the 2017 Northwest Christian Writers Renewal.

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Elizabeth Griffin has worked as a writer and editor for a monthly lifestyle newspaper elizabeth_griffin2for the past decade. She has published more than 500 articles in newspapers, anthologies, and magazines, in addition to the books Fragile X, Fragile Hope: Finding Joy in Parenting a Child with Special Needs and Margot’s Story. Elizabeth’s favorite subject matter is true stories about inspirational people. She loves to speak truth into the lives of others and has been a Bible teacher for 15 years. Her current passions are writing for an international network of church planters and her blog Follow the Dots.

Tricia Goyer: Real-Life Wonder Woman

By Elizabeth Griffin

We all know at least one Wonder Woman. Or we’ve heard of one. Because whenever a woman manages to parent more than a couple of children well, earn an income, actively minister in her church and community, and juggle a host of activities and relationships, word spreads.

With Tricia Goyer, you can multiply all of the above many times, and word has definitely spread.

To say that she is a busy mom of ten is an understatement. Her list of accomplishments and ongoing ministry is astonishing.

In summary—and I know I’m missing at least a few things—Tricia is

  • a wife;
  • homeschooling mother of ten, seven of whom are adopted;
  • grandmother of two;
  • national speaker;
  • multi-award winning author of more than 60 published novels and nonfiction books;
  • writer of more than 500 published articles;
  • active blogger on several websites;
  • mentor of teen moms in her community;
  • founder of Hope Pregnancy Ministries;
  • sought-after speaker at conferences throughout the world,
  • a regular short-term missionary.

Jesus’ parable of the talents, told in Matthew 25:14–30 (esv), comes to mind when I think about Tricia. The Lord has definitely given her many abilities and gifts, and she has been faithful to use them. As she has done that, the promise “For to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have an abundance,” has proven true.

When recently asked how she finds time to write, Tricia responded:

Writing for me comes down to two things: (1) the choice, and (2) deadlines. I have deadlines with publishers that I have to meet, and I have to make hard choices to meet them. I often wake up early to write—like four a.m. I take my computer with me when we have appointments, such as speech therapy and occupational therapy, and I write in the waiting rooms. And I hire a babysitter for eight to ten hours a week to watch my kids so I can write.

Of course that means ignoring the laundry, ignoring the messy house, and ignoring all the things I want to watch on television. Sometimes I’m tired when I sit down to write, but once I get going the ideas excite me, and it becomes easier. The hard part is just getting started. I’ve learned over the years to just start.

That’s a good lesson for all of us: just start. Be faithful with what God has given you. Then praise him for the results.

I expect there are quite a few lessons we could learn from Tricia, and we’re blessed to have her lead two workshops at our Renewal this May:

Painless Social Media for Authors — Want to grow your followers and increase your impact as an author? Social media can be painless when you discover its true purpose and you create systems that work for you. (Intermediate and advanced levels)

Using Your Life Themes to Write Powerful Fiction – Compelling novels are filled with emotion. Not melodrama, but pain and triumph mined from the deep places of your heart. Discover the deep wells, and your story will take on new life and will touch the deep places of readers’ hearts too. (All levels)

Don’t miss meeting a real-life Wonder Woman! Sign up now for the 2017 Northwest Christian Writers Renewal.

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Elizabeth Griffin has worked as a writer and editor for a monthly lifestyle newspaper elizabeth_griffin2for the past decade. She has published more than 500 articles in newspapers, anthologies, and magazines, in addition to the books Fragile X, Fragile Hope: Finding Joy in Parenting a Child with Special Needs and Margot’s Story. Elizabeth’s favorite subject matter is true stories about inspirational people. She loves to speak truth into the lives of others and has been a Bible teacher for 15 years. Her current passions are writing for an international network of church planters and her blog Follow the Dots.

Sonja Anderson: Book-Loving Librarian, Educator, and Children’s Author

by Eric Gollings

The first time I went to a book launch, I wasn’t sure what to expect. My family arrived at the Burien Public Library a little late and found a crowd packed into the expansive meeting room.

I stood at the door listening and craning to see the author over the throng. Behind me, the sun shone through tall windows on rows of shelves with countless books. I thought, “What a perfect place for a book launch.”

That book launch debuted Sonja Anderson’s novel, Sophie’s Quest.

The first thing you notice about the book is the beautiful cover art depicting an owl wearing a purse and hat, soaring over a sunny harbor. As you read, you find that it deals with deep questions of faith, culture, and the differences that often divide us. It does this all in a way that is accessible and engaging for young readers. For an aspiring novelist, the story of how this book and its sequel came into being is as uplifting as the adventure itself.

Sonja Anderson loves books. She is a multi-published author, an educator, and a librarian—the perfect vocations for a book lover.

Her love of reading and teaching has taken her many places. In Chicago, she studied history at North Park College. At Harvard University in Boston she earned a Master of Education degree. In Tokyo she taught kindergarten and second grade at an international school.

Since coming to Washington State she has taught every grade as a substitute teacher in Seattle Public Schools, and for twelve years she served as the Christian Formation Coordinator for the North Pacific Conference of the Evangelical Covenant Church. She is currently the library tech at her local elementary school where she helps children find books that will ignite their own passion for lifelong reading. Sonja Anderson is also an active member of the Society of Children’s Book Authors and Illustrators and of the Northwest Christian Writers Association.

At this year’s Northwest Christian Writers Renewal, Sonja will share her insights in two break-out sessions for emerging writers.

Authors and Children’s Book Illustration: How the Publisher, Illustrator, and Author Work Together (or Not) to Create a Great Book – Learn common misunderstandings many writers have about the way children’s books are illustrated. This includes both picture books and the cover art for novels. Gain an understanding about the quality of the art that should be submitted with your story—or if it should even be submitted—and learn what to expect when working with a publisher. (Emerging-writer level)

Sleuthing for Success: How Nancy Drew Would Get Her Children’s Story Published – Learn the pros and cons of indie publishing vs. royalty publishing for children’s works. Discover how thinking creatively, flexibly, and realistically about the best ways to reach kids can help you find the right agent/editor/publisher for your children’s story. Learn how prayer and a generous attitude toward other writers can help make connections, build relationships, and provide encouragement during not-so-successful days of writing and marketing. Included: tips on using print resources and conducting successful Internet searches for potential markets. (Emerging-writer level)

Don’t miss hearing Sonja Anderson at the 2017 Northwest Christian Writers Renewal. Sign up now!

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Eric Gollings, a humanitarian professional with an MBA, is fluent in Spanish, Chinese, and English and has spent years living and serving in Latin America and Asia. For the last eight years, he has worked for World Vision. His writing and speaking interests include history, theology, humanitarian affairs, and speculative fiction. Eric enjoys creating clear and compelling communication, whether through blog posts, stories, professional e-mails, or speaking engagements.

Courtney Lasater: Opening Hearts through Devotions for Kids

By Nancy Aguilar

Devotions every day? The struggle is real, according to editor Courtney Lasater.

Perhaps that’s one reason why Courtney is so passionate about sharing the gospel through Keys for Kids, an online daily devotional ministry for children ages 6 to 12.

“Kids today are getting so many messages and being pulled in so many directions,” Courtney says. “I think a lot of them have a deep underlying fear that no matter what they do, they’ll never be enough.”

As editor at Keys for Kids for the past four years, Courtney loves pointing children to the truth of the Bible—that Jesus loves them, he died for them, and he can be trusted because he is more than enough!

The roots of Keys for Kids Ministries date back to 1947, when a radio program called the Children’s Bible Hour began. This popular program featured radio dramas that spread the message of God’s love to kids around the world. In 2014, the ministry’s name was changed to Keys for Kids, which more accurately reflected their mission: to ignite a passion for Christ in kids and their families.

This year, NCWA welcomes Courtney Lasater to our esteemed lineup of editors at the 2017 Northwest Christian Writers Renewal. Courtney looks forward to meeting up with conferees in one-on-one appointments to hear their devotion ideas. (For a sample Keys for Kids devotion, check out the current post.)

To those who meet with her, Courtney gives this advice: “Don’t feel like you need to have a finished devotional story ready to hand over. A lot of people I meet with never thought about writing devotions for kids until they arrived and heard what we’re looking for.”

And exactly what is Courtney looking for? Devotions for 6- to 12-year-olds with a strong biblical message; children’s or family activity ideas; nonfiction books or web content for children, teens, and/or parents; and Bible studies for children or teens. Devotions must follow a specific format, as explained in the Keys for Kids guidelines.

What is Courtney not looking for? Picture books, children’s/teen/adult novels, or adult nonfiction books (other than parenting).

The 2017 Northwest Christian Writers Renewal will be Courtney’s first conference with NCWA, as well as her first visit to Washington State. “I think it’s important to get away from our desks for a while and meet with others who can sharpen our minds and share their insights and ideas,” she says. “I always learn something new and am inspired.”

If you have a burning idea for a children’s devotion, be sure to request an appointment with Courtney and share your story! And if you’re curious about writing a children’s devotion and want to learn more—even if you’ve never written one before—Courtney invites you to attend her informative workshop and to “use your gift in a way that can encourage kids in their spiritual journey.”

Writing Devotions for Children – Did you know that about 70 percent of all Christian adults accept Jesus as Savior when they’re 14 years old or younger? Reaching kids for Christ is crucial! Learn more about what editors are looking for when they review devotion submissions. Hear pointers on what not to send editors and how to get noticed as a devotion writer for kids ages 6–12. Handouts in class, or download your copy here. (This workshop is for emerging-writer and intermediate levels.)

Don’t miss hearing Courtney Lasater at the 2017 Northwest Christian Writers Renewal. Sign up now!

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Nancy Aguilar has worked as an editor for YWAM Publishing, George Fox University Seminary, the Word for Today, U-Turn for Christ, the Enduring Word, and others. Her writing credits include Clubhouse Magazine, Upper Room, and Heavenly Company: Entertaining Angels Unaware. She teaches in the women’s Bible study at her church and has also taught for Calvary Chapel Bible College. Nancy leads a lively critique group and is currently coauthoring a getaway guide for writers.