Posts Tagged ‘nonfiction’


Authors! Make your plans to attend the 2019 Montrose Christian Writers Conference from July 14th to the 19th, or just come for a day or two. (Per diem rates are available.) Watch for online registration coming soon at www.montrosebible.org.

From now until July, look for posts featuring one faculty member in each post. Then set your sights on the faculty members with whom you’d like to meet and show your writing skills at the conference. Who knows? You might go home with a promised contract for some of your work.


Dan Brownell, editor of Today’s Christian Living, Today’s Pastor, and Smart Retailer, is a graduate of Liberty University with a bachelor’s degree in English. He taught junior high and high school English at an international Christian school in Uijongbu, South Korea, before entering the publishing field. Besides editing magazines, he has worked as an educational test writer and editor, copywriter, proposal writer, book editor, and book acquisitions editor. He is married to his sweetheart, Cathy, whom he met in college. They have two children — Elizabeth and Josh — a dog, and according to Dan — way too many cats.


(Dan will be at Montrose Wednesday and Thursday, July 17th and 18th only)


 Nonfiction Book Proposals Part 1 – The Publisher’s Proposal Process

Find out how book publishers decide what gets published and what doesn’t. Understanding what goes on behind the scenes can give you great insight and a big advantage. You’ll learn not only what publishers are looking for, but why. Although Dan is currently a magazine editor, he spent nearly five years as a book acquisitions editor for a major book publisher.

Nonfiction Book Proposals Part 2 – Researching and Writing a Book Proposal

Detailed research and concise, persuasive writing are crucial to submitting an effective book proposal. Discover how to do the background research necessary to attract an acquisition editor’s attention and interest. Also learn how to present a polished proposal with the right information.


Five Tips on Selling a Magazine Article

Editors receive far more articles than they have room or budget to print, which can make it hard for even an excellent article to stand out among the competition. Fortunately, there are some simple things you can do — that no one does — to move your article to the top of the pile. Learn the secrets of winning over an editor with your article.

Print and Digital Publishing Photo Requirements

Publishing is placing more and more emphasis on the visual impact of stories. Your ability to provide usable photos can make the difference in selling an article. This class provides some basic information you need to know about photo specs and expectations for both digital and print applications. Dan has worked with approximately 100,000 photos and images in his 20-year career as a book and magazine editor.



Editorial director of Judson Press & ordained to the publishing ministries in 2009, she loves working with authors to bring their words to the printed page. She’s worked in publishing since earning her undergrad. degree in English-writing in 1995. Completing a master’s in theological studies, she “found an ideal niche in Christian publishing, where her love of words meets her passion for God’s Word.”


(Rebecca will be at Montrose Monday and Tuesday, July 15th and 16th only) 


Writing Dramatic Dialogue

Learn some tips that are as useful in fiction as they are on stage! This class will feature some excerpts from the classics, the contemporary, and even from the class. Dissect the dialog and discover what works and why. Great for script writers, fiction writers, screenwriters, and even writers of memoir or biography.

The Art of Self-Editing

Getting your ideas on paper (or hard drive) is half the battle—but it’s only the first half. Learn the art of rewriting and self-editing to ensure that your manuscript is as strong as it can possibly be—without bogging down in the quicksand of overwriting. Covers a range of editorial issues, including organization, concept development, syntax, style, voice, and audience.


From Query to the 1st Royalty Check

A thorough behind-the-scenes overview of the publishing process from the time a concept is proposed through the first year of sales, including manuscript review and development, production and design, and front list marketing and promotions.

Publishing your Passion

It’s not enough to have something to say; you have to say something people need to hear—and then say it in such a way that they will listen! How to develop a unique and compelling “package” for your passion as a Christian writer. Learn how to do a market analysis and identify both an audience and a need that you are able to meet, not just with God’s Word but with your own words.


Watch for the online registration to be ready any day now. We’ll also soon have hard copy brochures. Let me know if you would like one snailmailed to you.


Director MCWC




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Writers, what’s your passion? Fiction? Devotionals? Personal interest stories? Film? Poetry? Picture books? Drama? Other?

Then it’s your time to come to the Montrose Christian Writers Conference, July 16th to the 21st at the Montrose Bible Conference Center, Montrose, PA. You’ll have a choice of over 40 classes, work-in-progress seminars, peer critique group interaction, and private interviews with faculty members to help you get your manuscript ready for publication. Following is a list of the afternoon classes offered:

Indie Publishing vs. Royalty Publishing. What’s New? Faculty Panel Discussion

Why Drama?

Formatting before Beginning

Fiction: Character Building (Part One)

21 Ways to Overcome Writers Block

Get the Most out of the Conference

The Art of Collaborative Writing

Fiction: Character Building (Part Two)

Conducting High Profile Interviews

Blogging 101

Creating a Viable Stage Production

Shock the Clock: Time Management

Marketing for Writers Who Don’t Like to Market

Seeing Through the Eyes of a Child

Powerful Sentence Structures

Fiction: Setting and Description

Write for your Life

Prayer in the Life of a Writer

Creative Blockbusters

Making your Fiction Matter

Writing for Parenting Magazines

Blogging 102

Format and Performance Know-how

Writing Compelling Devotions

No Market for your Book? What to Do

Putting Characters in Place

PUGS Specifics for Christian Writers

Writing for Guideposts and the Guideposts Contest

Graduation Time; What’s Next?

Bible Studies that Sell

Real “Artist-Ship”

Aspects of the Editing Process

Breaking into Anthologies

Social Media 101

Sharing the Fun of Drama

Column Writer as a Platform Builder

Peace in the Literary Storm

Writing for Picture: Magazine or Picture Book for Children?

Understanding the Business of Writing for Publication

Selling Personal Experience Short Stories

What’s an Edit?

Irresistible Queries and Proposals

Proofread with Excellence

Writing the Profile Piece

Please check out all th details at


I look forward to meeting you  July 16th!

Marsha, Director

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This past Montrose Christian Writers Conference in July, we had a lot of fun on Wednesday evening playing a Jeopardy-type quiz game with faculty and conferees called the Odd Ducks’ Dilemma. One of the categories on the quiz board was entitled WRITING/PUBLISHING TERMS, which the contestants who were seasoned writers had no problem answering. But the newbies to this business got stumped several times.

In this blog post, we have the list of the writing/publishing terms included in the conference quiz game. For you who are more experienced, this little quiz will be old hat for you. It’s a 20-question matching quiz to sharpen the writing/publishing part of your brain. So, take a few minutes, grab a pen and paper, and let’s go:





















11._______ HOOK     K. SENDING IT TO THE PUB. CO.




















Well, how do you think you did?  Here are the answers:

  1. F
  2.  K
  3.  G
  4.  L
  5.  H
  6. O
  7.  I
  8.  P
  9.  J
  10.  T
  11. E
  12. S
  13. D
  14. R
  15. C
  16. Q
  17. B
  18. N
  19. A
  20. M

If you missed this year’s Montrose Christian Writers Conference, you missed a real treat. Next year’s conference is scheduled for July 16th-21st, and we’ve already gotten verbal commitments from some of the faculty: film actor and best-selling author Torry Martin, fiction expert Barbara Scott representing Gilead Press, award-winning B.J. Taylor representing Guideposts and Inspiring Voices, Gloria Penwell representing Bold Vision Books,  Carol Wedeven doing a picture book WIP, Cathy Mayfield doing a WIP Teen Track, fiction author Mike Dellosso, and Don Catlett will be back with updates about blogging and social media and private mentoring sessions.

Watch for more updates as I connect with more best-selling authors, agents, and editors to make next year’s MCWC a double dynamite conference!

Keep on writing!

Marsha, Director


More shameless promotion


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Meet the Author Marti Pieper

Photo.Marti.Getting the Story_Pieper (2)

Marti Pieper’s passion to read, write, and pray has yielded all kinds of adventures. In 2005, her involvement in a prayer project led her to assist Brent and Deanna Higgins as they told their son’s compelling story. The resulting memoir, I Would Die for You: One Student’s Story of Passion, Service, and Faith (Revell, 2008), became a young adult bestseller that the publisher has called a “missions classic.”

Today, Marti continues to use her gifts as author, collaborative writer, and editor. Her latest release is Escape the Lie: Journey to Freedom from the Orphan Heart (Randall House, 2014) written for Dr. Walker Moore, President and Founder of Awe Star Ministries, a student missions-sending organization. This is their third book together.

In addition to her work with nonfiction books, Marti writes and edits for popular Christian teen girls’ magazine, Sisterhood. She also serves as Director of Prayer and Publication for Awe Star Ministries and writer for the Shelby Kennedy Foundation, sponsor of the National Bible Bee.

Marti’s passion for mission service has been reflected in her work. She has had the privilege of traveling to Mexico and Panama with Awe Star Ministries and to Guatemala, Ecuador, Panama, Peru, and (this July) Costa Rica as the writer for the Never the Same missions trip co-founded by Susie Shellenberger, founding editor of Sisterhood. Last summer, she climbed several hundred steps in the slums of Lima in pursuit of a story and also had the privilege of joining teens in sandboarding down dunes more than 200 feet high.

Marti is a popular speaker at writers, homeschool, and missions conferences where she shares the wisdom gained from her experiences in writing, editing, homeschooling, and serving on numerous short-term mission trips. Marti also speaks for churches, women’s retreats, and young adults on topics related to missions and prayer.

Marti holds a B.S.Ed. from The Ohio State University and M.Div. from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. She is wife to Tom, a worship pastor, and mom to five young adults. Find her on Facebook, Twitter, and at http://www.martipieper.com.

Check out Marti’s novel, ESCAPE THE LIE


Satan’s deceptive tactics block most Christians from the lives God intended. We hide behind rules, masks, and manipulation. We preach the gospel, but our lives proclaim destruction.
Escape the Lie provides answers for the deep-seated problem known as the Orphan Heart. Through powerful, biblical teaching and compelling true-life examples, the book unlocks the door to help you escape the wounds of the past and move into abundant life.

Purchase Links:
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Escape-Lie-Walker-Moore/dp/0892656859/ref=tmm_pap_title_0
Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/escape-the-lie-walker-moore/1119464716?ean=9780892656851
Christian Book Distributors: http://www.christianbook.com/escape-journey-freedom-from-orphan-heart/walker-moore/9780892656851/pd/656851
Randall House: http://www.randallhouse.com/shop/escape-the-lie/

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Meet the Author Karen Whiting



Karen’s Background

Karen Whiting grew up in a small rural dairy community in Connecticut and then married a Coast Guard officer with whom she enjoyed moving and living in different areas of the US. Family has always been important for Karen. She lived on the same street with many relatives and loved being part of an extended family. She also found the military community is a family too. Her greatest joy is being part of God’s family. Karen and her husband reared five children and she now has nine grandchildren. With a degree in math, Karen never expected to become an author. Friends urged her to write about the activities she created for her family, and God also nudged her to write. It’s been a delightful learning experience, and Karen just completed her twentieth book. (Look for it in 2015).

Karen’s Published Works

Karen is the author of several inspirational craft and activity oriented books for girls, including God’s Girls and The One Year My Princess Devotions. Her books for women include pocket guides on time management and one-year devotionals. Her award winning co-authored book, Stories of Faith and Courage From the Home Front shares true accounts of women, families, and volunteers on the home front of American Wars from 1755 to the present day. Her newest release is Nature Girl: A Guide to Caring for God’s Creation. It’s packed full of information, activities, experiments, and fun get-togethers for girls.

Fun Facts About Karen

  • Karen and her family directed a teen puppet ministry for thirteen years that combined her love of youth with her creativity and interest in puppetry.
  • She loved Howdy Doody as a girl and so enjoyed learning puppetry as an adult from Margo Rose, one of Howdy’s creators.
  • She enjoys adventure. Karen has ridden a camel in the Canary Islands, scuba dove off the coast of Bermuda, white-water rafted in Australia, and enjoyed horseback riding in may countries and states.
  • Karen survived unexpected disasters, including four lightning strikes, two major hurricanes (though one damaged half her home), and two spontaneous fires to her homes.
  • Karen is part of the Just18Summers blog that shares ways to maximize the parenting years.
  • Her children time how quickly she moves from sitting with them to getting on the floor and playing with her grandchildren. They know she’ll always be a child at heart.
  • Growing up in the country she learned to sew, knit, crochet, rug-hook, can, and many other crafts and homemaking skills. She still enjoys them all!
  • As a teen, Karen did acrobatic clown performances to help raise money for charity causes.
  • Karen’s mind works like a popcorn popper that continually pops out new ideas. She uses the brainstorming ability to write her books and also to help other authors and ministry leaders.
  • Karen has been a member of Officer’s Christian Fellowship for four decades and helps with OCF activities and Bible studies at the US Naval Academy.

Check out Karen’s latest book!

 Nature Girl: a guide to caring for God’s creation



Explore and enjoy the outdoors while learning how to conserve resources and care for God’s creation. Spa parties with recipes to create skin care products, parties at the park, and healthy eating gatherings make the book fun for girls. Experiments with soil, solar energy, and more help girls investigate nature. Crafts, games, and fun quizzes add make learning exciting. The 175 pages, co-authored with her daughter Rebecca White, are packed with information and fun!

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Meet the Author Cindy Sproles



I first met Cindy Sproles in July of 2013 when we served on faculty at the Montrose Christian Writers Conference. Let’s just say we hit it off, and we became fast friends, almost as if we’d known each other all our lives. But that’s often the case when one Christian meets another. We have a special bond in Christ, which makes being a part of the family of God so very special.

Let’s meet Cindy and find out a little more about this interesting gal and published author.

Cindy’s Day Job

When asked about her job, Cindy replied, “Which one? I have four. I’m a writer, of course. I also serve as acquisitions editor for Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas – SonRise Books. SonRise is the devotional books imprint of LPC. I also acquisition for our non-fiction imprint, which has not officially been released yet. That’s job #2.  Job #3 is as an Office Administrator for Comfort Keepers, an in-home, non-medical company who places caregivers in the homes of the elderly. Finally, job #4 is Christian Devotions Ministries. I am the executive editor for www.christiandevotions.us and cofounder of this ministry.”

Is Cindy very busy? Need we answer that question?

Cindy hardly has time to be bored. But of her four jobs, she said, “I love writing first and foremost. I can sit at my desk and be lost in words a good thirteen hours a day. My second love is Christian Devotions. I know this, along with writing, is the ministry into which God has called me. The two work hand-in-hand, and they allow me wonderful opportunities to teach at writers conferences nationwide. It’s a joy to teach. I’ve been told I’m an encourager. I love to sit across the table from other writers and work with them and critique their efforts. It allows me the golden chance to become their cheerleader.”

What Does Cindy Write?

When asked this question, Cindy chuckled. “The first time I attended a writers conference, I attended alone. I stood in line to check into the hotel and had the radar going to hear what everyone talked about. There’s something to be said for naivety, because all I heard folks asking was, “What do you write?”

Cindy then recalled the humorous incident that caused that chuckle to surface. “As I stood in line, this very nice man turned around and extended his hand. ‘Hi. My name is Al. What’s yours?’”


“This your first conference?”

“I look that green?”

He laughed. “You look like that deer-in-headlights.”

I immediately began to feel comfortable. These writers must not be so bad, so I asked “the” question.

“What do you write?”

A grin stretched across his face. “Oh…this and that.” And he left it at that.

The next day, I attended my first class, and who should walk in to teach the class but Alton Gansky. I found out he’d written over 40 books, and I, the deer-in-headlights, had actually asked him what he wrote! Since then, Al has become a wonderful friend. See what happens at writers conferences?

So, Cindy, c’mon, tell us. What do you write? She says, “I’ve primarily written non-fiction: devotions and true stories. But fiction has always gnawed at me. I kept writing non-fiction and became part of three devotional compilations, He Said, She Said – A Devotional Guiding to Cultivating a Life of Passion, co-authored with my ministry partner, Eddie Jones. And last year, my first stand-alone devotional book was released, New Sheets – Thirty Days to Refining You into the Woman You can Be.

Fiction for Cindy?

“Yes,” she said. “In August 2013, Kregel Publishing contracted Mercy’s Rain, which will release late fall or early 2015. My fiction dream is coming true.”

Any Advice for Newbie Writers?

“It took a long time for me to find my niche in writing. I knew God gifted me in non-fiction, but the drive He placed in me moved me to learn the craft of fiction. This is why when I teach, I encourage new writers to try their hand at lots of different types and genres. You may never publish in those areas, but you learn the art of writing from every angle. It’s amazing.”

Cindy’s Personal Life is not Dull Either

When talking about her life, Cindy said, “I’m a country girl, raised in the mountains of East Tennessee, my most all-time favorite place to be. I love my mountain heritage and the people of the Appalachian Mountains. We’re pretty easy going, happy with a simple life, and we love that mountain air.

I’m happily married to the THE most wonderful guy in the world. Tim and I have four sons (all adults) and one grandson. Yep, we never seemed to find a little girl to hug on—it’s all boys–even our pet animals are male. But this has made life most interesting. There has never been a dull moment.”

What Inspires Her Writing?

“Plain and simple,” she said, “people do. I try to look deep at every life experience I have to seek out the things God is teaching me. That pours out through my writing. My heart and my life are a constant work in progress. Those around me help shape that, so they inspire me.

“The river inspires me. A mountain trail. The summer breeze. I love to meet God on the mountain and try to hear what He whispers to me.”

In a Nutshell. . .

Cindy shared how she feels about her life and work: “I’m very transparent. I love family, quiet time, and working the ministry of Christian Devotions. I had no idea seven years ago that God would actually use a gal like me. But when He called, I said yes, and the road He has taken me down has been nothing short of amazing.

“I had a conferee say, ‘How’s it feel to have so many people know who you are?’ And I actually laughed out loud. I figure there’s one of me. It’s easy to remember the gal with the southern twang. I don’t consider myself to be known by the multitudes, but I do pray those I meet are encouraged, and when they walk away, they can say they were loved.

“I’m an avid animal lover, having worked for 15 years as a vet tech. I could not pass up the opportunity to publically admit, I covet Marsha’s dog, Bailey.”


Well, thanks, Cindy, for opening your heart to the readers. We wish you all God’s blessings in the many facets of your life, and I’ll let you in on a little secret: Bailey thinks you’re the cat’s meow too!



Visit Cindy at www.cindysproles.com and see the ministry of Christian Devotions at www.christiandevotions.us.


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Today’s Writers’ Tip

Meet the Author: Karen Malena

(Today we’re taking a break from blogs about fiction plots to feature an author with an interesting life that has translated into interesting writing.)


I guess with a last name like “Malena,” you would expect Karen to be Italian. Well, you’re correct. Discussing her roots, Karen tells us, “Heritage plays a major role in my books. Being Italian is something I’m proud of, yet I’m able to laugh at some of the truly dysfunctional events from the interesting upbringing I had. Italians are extremely vocal people, very passionate in their beliefs, and quite hilarious in their actions. I can’t make up better characters than drawing from some of the people in my own family and their quirks and traits, good and bad.”

How Has Life Affected Karen’s Writing?

It’s interesting to note how many true-to-life events Karen uses in her writings. “My own memories,” she says, “while creating stories are easy to draw upon: some difficult, others downright humorous, and still others quite inspirational. In my book, Reflections from My Mother’s Kitchen, A Journey of Hope and Healing, I cover some true events from my life such as the scoliosis I had as a child, subsequent bullying from cruel children, and the frightening time spent in Children’s Hospital with recovery afterward. I speak of my mother’s childhood fears of an abusive father and her life-changing near-death experience later in life. In many ways it has been quite healing to write about issues I’ve kept bottled up for many years.”

What’s Karen’s “Style?”

Karen goes on to say, “I like to layer my faith-based writing a little at a time. I believe the reader doesn’t like to be preached at or lectured to. I gently incorporate stories of faith and goodness, hopefully, to inspire a person who may never have heard the good news before. My stories cannot entirely be categorized as Christian fiction but could be labeled as family encouraging material, instilling old-fashioned values back into our world.”

 What’s She Up To Next?

Karen’s already working on a third book, in which she says readers will get to see a creative, humorous side of her with a family friendly novel about friendship and morals…. and the differences between cats and dogs.

Well, I for one can see Karen Malena is a prolific writer, who aims to bless the heart of every reader. See more of her true, inspirational stories on her blog at karenmalena.blogspot.com.

Malena.Mothers kitchenBk.Cover

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