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.


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!


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.

Porters Bring Bold Vision to Conference

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

PortersPreparing to pitch your proposal for the first time at a conference can be daunting. And if you knew that an editor at this year’s Northwest Christian Writers Renewal was a frequent guest on radio and TV programs and contributed to national magazines—accomplishments that describe Karen Porter of Bold Vision Books—you might be especially nervous. But the title of one of Karen’s books, I’ll Bring the Chocolate, just might take the edge off your nervousness. After all, can someone who loves chocolate be all that intimidating?

One event planner reports that Karen “is a people person, plain and simple. After you meet her, you will quickly discover that her joy is not only genuine, it is absolutely contagious!”

Meanwhile Karen’s husband, George Porter, co-owner of Bold Vision and a science teacher for more than 23 years, brings the scientific world to life in his writing, Bible teaching, and presentations to help his audiences embrace the God who made us all.

Together they make an unbeatable husband-and-wife publishing combination.

At this year’s conference, Karen will present two workshops:

How to Tell It Funny1) How to Tell It Funny – Discover how to add wit, humor, and winsomeness to your writing and speaking. No one can make you funny, but you can learn to lighten up, and this workshop will help you discover the methods that will add a new dimension to your communication.

Marketing for Writers and Speakers2) Marketing for Writers and Speakers – Marketing techniques and methods have changed drastically with the emergence of the Internet. The information and advice you’ve read might already be out of date. Marketing expert Karen Porter will help you define your personal style and brand. From tag lines and mission statements to web presence in blogs, Twitter, and Facebook, you will learn how to market your message, your speaking ministry, and your book. Karen will help you build a toolbox of practical, useful, doable methods. You will leave this session with a personal plan.

Maximize Your Book TableGeorge will present a workshop on how to Maximize Your Book Table. Did you know you can have a back-of-the-room book table even if you don’t have a book yet? In this workshop, George will show you how to pick out and buy products. He’ll give you display hints, bundling ideas, info on credit cards, and much more, all based on his experience in managing an extensive book table with good organization and time-saving tricks of the trade.

Both George and Karen serve as acquisitions editors for Bold Vision Books. Here are proposals they’ll be looking for at the Renewal:

  • Well-crafted nonfiction manuscripts with a timeless message told in a fresh, new way, using story techniques and strong Scripture backing
  • YA fiction (no fantasy) for young teens
  • For their Nuts ‘N’ Bolts line: ideas for craft books for the arts and business; “how to” materials, such as teaching, writing, speaking, painting, acting, business principles, productivity, or time management

Karen serves on the Board of Directors and national teaching staff of CLASSEMINARS, Inc., providing training of Christian leaders and speakers. She also serves as president of the board of AWSA (Advanced Writers Speakers Association) and on the Board of Directors of First Place 4 Health, as well as being an advisory director for Fruitful Word Ministries. Her seventh book is Speak Like Jesus: How the Speaking Techniques Jesus Used Can Change Your Presentations.

George is a graduate of Texas A&M University and has done graduate work in physiology, biochemistry, microbiology, and cell biology at Baylor College of Medicine. He served as a combat medic and paratrooper in Vietnam and as a bacteriologist in the Surgical Research Unit at Brooke Army Medical Center in projects involving the treatment of burn patients. As a teacher in both public and private schools, George served as curriculum team leader and on campus site-based committees. He judged Science Olympiads, implemented pilot curriculum on drug awareness in cooperation with Baylor College of Medicine, and coached tennis teams.

To hear the Porters speak or to request appointments with them or with one of the other five editorial representatives at the conference this year, register today.


Diana SavageDianaSavage, 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 also directs the Northwest Christian Writers Renewal conference. She is the author of 52 Heart Lifters for Difficult Times and the coauthor—with Dr. Dennis E. Hensley—of the inspirational suspense novel Pseudonym.


A Dozen Surprising Facts about Doc Hensley

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

Perhaps you already know that Dr. Dennis E. Hensley is the author of 60 books.

You may have heard that his more than 3,500 articles and short stories have appeared in Reader’s Digest, Parade Magazine, USA Today, Vital Christianity, and many other periodicals, too numerous to mention.

DocWithCokeCaptionedIt’s common knowledge that he holds a PhD in literature and linguistics from Ball State University and directs the professional writing major at Taylor University in Upland, Indiana.

But are you aware of these 12 facts?

  1. Doc’s best friend is Jerry B. Jenkins, author of the wildly successful Left Behind series of novels.
  1. Dr. Hensley has written more than 1,800 radio scripts for the Fresh Perspectives daily devotional radio show on WBCL-FM, Fort Wayne, Indiana.
  1. Doc Hensley loves jokes and cartoons. Whenever he runs across a new cartoon or amusing quote regarding grammar or the writing life, he posts a print of it on his Taylor University office door for his students to enjoy.
  1. When he left Detroit for his tour of duty in Vietnam as a chaplain’s bodyguard, the temperature was 3 degrees. A few days later, when he landed near Saigon on January 2, 1971, it was 103 degrees.
  1. Nearly all of Dr. Dennis E. Hensley’s book coauthors have been women: Holly G. Miller, Pamela Rice Hahn, Rose A. Adkins, and Diana Savage. The one exception is a 1984 writing textbook he coauthored with Stanley Field.
  1. In his fiction works—including the recently released inspirational suspense novel, Pseudonym, that he coauthored with Diana Savage—Doc often names supporting characters after friends and family members.
  1. Dr. Hensley is a film aficionado and can tell you the plot and interesting quips from a wide variety of motion pictures.
  1. An excellent guitarist in his younger years, Doc formed his own rock-n-roll band in high school. Later he was a staff writer for Guitar Player magazine for 6 years and did freelance writing for Country Music, Downbeat, Stereo, and Music City News.

           Tweet Did you know Doc Hensley is a former Rock Star?

  1. One of the songs Dr. Hensley has written, “Jesus Is the Same as He Was Back Then,” has been recorded by 8 different musical groups.
  1. Growing up, his nickname was “Butch.” His brother and sister still call him that.
  1. Convinced of the importance of keeping one’s shoes polished, he motivated his young son in that discipline by polishing one of his son’s shoes and placing it next to the unpolished one. Doc reasoned that his boy wouldn’t be able to wear a pair of shoes only half polished and would finish the job himself. The ploy worked.
  1. Dr. Hensley is recognized as an authority on 20th-century author Jack London and has given guest lectures on the famous author at 22 colleges worldwide. Doc’s writings about Jack London include his PhD dissertation, dozens of scholarly articles, and two textbooks:
  • ­ The Annotated Edition of Jack London’s Martin Eden
  • ­ Jack London’s Masterplots

Doc Hensley’s reputation as a conference presenter is legendary. “I’ve heard Dennis Hensley speak at various writers conferences for the past 25 years,” says Sally E. Stuart, founder of the Christian Writers’ Market Guide. “No one is more informative, entertaining, focused, or knowledgeable about writing than he is. Anyone privileged enough to study under him is bound to become successful at writing.”

Attendees at other conferences agree:

­ “Doc Hensley was outstanding! Examples were riveting and memorable. Hearing him was a rare treat.”

­ “Wow! What a powerful presentation. I enjoyed learning so much from him.”

­ “Great presenter. Held my attention. Engaging and knowledgeable and great advice.”

Now you have the opportunity to learn from Dr. Hensley at the 2016 Northwest Christian Writers Renewal, an information-packed two-day conference in Bellevue, WA. You’ll be supercharged by hope as Doc shares his vast knowledge learned through decades of writing professionally.

TweetDoes your writing life need to be supercharged? Let Doc Hensley inspire May 13-14 at the @NWCWriters Conference in Bellevue, WA

Conference registration is now open. Be sure to sign up and let Doc Hensley guide you to your next level of writing success.

TweetA Dozen Surprising Facts about Doc Hensley


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 also directs the Northwest Christian Writers Renewal conference. She is the author of 52 Heart Lifters for Difficult Times and the coauthor—with Dr. Hensley—of the inspirational suspense novel Pseudonym.


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.


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.


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.


2013 Workshops Revisited: “Public Speaking Start to Finish” by Michelle Hollomon and Laura Smith

Missed a workshop at the conference? Lost your handouts? We’re here to help!

At NCWA’s Renewal Conference, Michelle and Laura Smith presented: “Public Speaking Start to Finish.”

Click here for “So You Want to be a Speaker” handout.

Click here to order CDs from the conference.


Michelle Hollomon picMichelle Hollomon, MA, LMHC, is the host of Relationship Coach Radio on the Alive in Christ Radio Network, and author of God Unwrapped. She is a licensed counselor in Redmond, Washington, a wife to one dashing man and mother to two sassy daughters. She has been a member of NCWA since 2010. Click here to visit her website.


Laura Smith picLaura Smith is an accomplished speaker and graduate of the Butterworth Communicators Institute. She is experienced as a corporate presenter as well as sought-after faith-based retreat speaker. Laura is the author of Questions From a Single Heart.

Click here to visit her website.


January NCWA Meeting Highlights

Laura Smith1Laura Smith’s topic was “Speaking with Relevance.”

“If you feel like you’d rather jump off a cliff than stand in front of a group of people and speak, you’re not alone.  However, in order to establish that all so important platform, writers are being called upon to speak in a variety of venues these days.”

She taught us “the one principle that will make your speaking resonate with all audiences.  Beginner, intermediate, and accomplished speakers will become relatable when they learn to consistently employ this one key ingredient to their public speaking.”

Laura Smith is NCWA’s own Speaker’s Connection Coordinator and is an accomplished speaker and graduate of the Butterworth Communicator’s Institute. She is experienced as a corporate presenter as well as a sought after faith based retreat and event speaker.

Laura’s adventures and daring spirit shine through in her words as a speaker, contributor to magazines, blog articles, and book Questions from a Single Heart. To learn more about Laura visit her website or her blog.


In “The Write Start,” June Temple taught about “Organizing Through Story Boarding.”

June Temple

Marilyn GrayThe Devotional, “Breakthrough and Cross Over” was presented by Marilyn Gray. Click here for Marilyn’s website.

All photos courtesy of Karen Robbins.