OCW Fall Conference

2014 Mentors

Mentor Appointments: Focus on the Next Step

We are pleased to offer half-hour career mentoring appointments in our Writing Center, where you can sit face-to-face with an experienced professional author to ask advice about craft, marketing, goal-setting, or the business of writing. Mentoring appointments are not just for new authors. A writer can benefit from wise counsel at any stage of his or her career. An appointment might include a brief prayer, if requested. 

At the beginning of July, all registered conferees will receive an email asking for their first, second, and third choices for mentoring. Only one mentor appointment will be given to each conferee who requests one.

What to bring to the appointment: Several pages of your writing if you have craft questions—plus your answers to the following critical questions. Be specific. This will tell your mentor where you are in your writing career and provide insight on how to best help you. 

  • What kind of writing are you doing right now?
  • How long have you been writing?
  • What do you want to achieve with your writing?
  • What is the biggest thing preventing you from achieving that goal?
  • How can your mentor help you today?

Meet Your Mentors

Allen Arnold, fiction - www.ransomedheart.com

Allen Arnold loves the epic adventure God has set before him. From the mountains of Colorado, he leads Content & Resources for Ransomed Heart Ministries. Before that, he spent 20 years in Christian Publishing overseeing the development of more than 500 novels as founder and Publisher of Thomas Nelson Fiction. He was awarded the ACFW Lifetime Achievement Award in 2012. But that doesn’t really describe the man. Allen savors time with his family, craves the beach, drinks salsa by the glass, is hooked on the TV series Once Upon a Time, and is passionate about helping storytellers write from an awakened heart.

Mary DeMuth, nonfiction, memoir - www.marydemuth.com

Mary DeMuth is the author of 15 traditionally published books (nonfiction and fiction) and has spoken around the world, helping audiences live uncaged, freedom-infused lives. She is passionate about writing words that change lives and has a unique style of authenticity and craft that engages readers. She lives in Texas with her family.

Marion Duckworth, nonfiction - http://marionduckworthministries.com/

Marion Duckworth, a past president of OCW, is the author of 17 books, curricula, and hundreds of articles. A former columnist for Power for Living, she has spoken widely and has been a frequent guest on various media. Marion and her husband, John, spent 11 years as Village Missionaries and later established Abiding Ministry, a free counseling service. Marion has worked as a book doctor and editor and invites conferees to let her help them. She is also a member of the OCW Prayer Team. This is Marion’s fourth year as a mentor at the summer conference.

Jeff Gerke, speculative fiction/fiction - www.marcherlordpress.com

Jeff Gerke trains novelists how to better do what it is they’re trying to do. He trains through his four books for Writers Digest: Plot Versus Character, The First 50 Pages, Write Your Novel in a Month, and The Art & Craft of Writing Christian Fiction. He trains through his online video training program called FictionAcademy.com. He trains through the many writers’ conferences where he teaches all over the country every year. And he trains through the freelance editing he does for his clients. Jeff is the founder of Marcher Lord Press, the premier publisher of Christian speculative fiction. Jeff is known for encouraging other Christian novelists to improve their fiction and help them get published. This is Jeff’s fourth year as a mentor.

Leslie Gould, fiction - www.lesliegould.com

Leslie Gould is the award-winning author of 16 novels, including the #1 best-seller and Christy Award-winner, The Amish Midwife, co-written with Mindy Starns Clark. Leslie’s newest series, The Courtships of Lancaster County, was inspired by Shakespeare’s plays. Best-seller Courting Cate is a retelling of The Taming of the Shrew, and Adoring Addie is based on Romeo and Juliet. Her latest novel is Minding Molly, inspired by Romeo and Juliet. This is Leslie’s third year as a mentor.

Randy Ingermanson, fiction and marketing - http://www.ingermanson.com/index.php

Randy Ingermanson is the award-winning author of six novels and two nonfiction books, including Writing Fiction for Dummies. Randy has a doctorate in theoretical physics from UC Berkeley and is known around the world as “the Snowflake Guy” in honor of his Snowflake method of designing a novel. His Advanced Fiction Writing E-zine—the world’s largest electronic magazine dedicated to teaching fiction—has more than 28,000 subscribers. Randy also sits on the advisory board of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and is known for encouraging budding writers, some of whom have gone on to write award-winning or best-selling fiction. This is his fourth year as a mentor.

Bonnie Leon, historical and contemporary fiction- http://www.bonnieleon.com

Bonnie Leon is the author of 20 novels, including the newly released Where Eagles Soar and the popular Alaskan Skies series. She enjoys speaking for women’s groups and teaching at writing seminars and conventions. She and her husband, Greg, live in Southern Oregon. They have three grown children and eight grandchildren. These days, her time is filled with writing, being a grandmother and relishing precious time with her aged mother.

Susan Meissner, fiction - www.susanmeissner.com

Susan Meissner is a multi-published author, speaker, and writing workshop leader with a background in community journalism. Her novels include The Shape of Mercy, named by Publishers Weekly as one of the 100 Best Novels of 2008 and a Carol Award winner. She is a pastor’s wife and a mother of four young adults. Susan also writes small-group curriculum for her San Diego church. Her latest book is A Fall of Marigolds.

James L. Rubart, fiction and marketing - http://jimrubart.com/

James L. Rubart is the best-selling and Christy-Award-winning author of Rooms, the winner of Romantic Times Book Reviews Inspirational Novel of the Year in 2010, plus Book of Days, The Chair, Soul’s Gate, and Memory’s Door. He is also a professional speaker, consultant, and owner of Barefoot Marketing, which helps business and authors make more coin for the realm. This will be Jim’s fourth year as a mentor.

Patricia H. Rushford, fiction - www.patriciarushfordbooks.com

Patricia H. Rushford has written more than 50 books, including her much-loved mystery series for adults and children.  Her series include The McAllister Files, The Angel Delaney Mysteries, and The Helen Bradley Mysteries. She also wrote Sins of the Mother, a romantic suspense. Her series for children are The Jennie McGrady Mysteries and the The Max & Me Mysteries. Other books include four novels written for Guidepost Books. Her latest work is Strangers in the Night with Summerside Press. She is working on a prequel to her popular Helen Bradley Mysteries.  Pat was nominated for an Edgar by Mystery Writers of America and received the Silver Angel for excellence in media. She conducts writers’ workshops for adults and children and has served as director of the Oregon Christian Writers’ Summer Conference. This is Pat’s second year as a mentor.

Gail Sattler, fiction - www.gailsattler.com

Gail Sattler is the published author of more than 40 novels and novellas with Barbour Publishing, Love Inspired, B&H, and Abingdon Press. Gail lives in Vancouver, BC (Canada, eh!), with her husband, three sons, two dogs, and a lizard who is quite cuddly for a reptile. When she’s not writing (or at her day job), Gail enjoys making music with a local jazz band, where she plays electric bass, and a community orchestra, where she plays upright string bass. When she’s not writing or making music, Gail likes to sit back with hot coffee and read a book written by someone else. Gail is the coordinator for OCW Online Critique Groups. This will be Gail’s second year as a mentor.

Cornelia B. Seigneur, magazine/news - cornelia@corneliaseigneur.com

Cornelia Becker Seigneur divides her time pouring into her five children, her writing, and her students at Multnomah University, where she has taught article writing, new media, newspaper workshop, persuasion, and American literature. She serves as the faculty advisor for Multnomah’s MUSE student publication, which she helped launch in 2011. Cornelia pens a Family and Religion blog at The Huffington Post and contributes to Christianity Today and Multnomah’s Cultural Encounters. As a freelance journalist, Cornelia has written for The Oregonian newspaper since 1996 and specializes in family, community, faith, and culture stories.  She is the author of The Adventure of Motherhood and Images of America: WEST LINN. Cornelia loves to mentor aspiring writers and is the founding director for the Faith & Culture Writers Conference. This is Cornelia’s third year as a mentor.

Mick Silva, fiction and nonfiction, editorial consulting - www.yourwritersgroup.com

A former acquisitions and developmental editor for Focus on the Family and WaterBrook Press (the  Christian imprint of Random House), for 13 years Mick has coached authors through  traditional and independent publishing, offering one-of-a-kind  editorial feedback to inspire books of uncommon depth and artistry. He has edited many best-selling books, including One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp, and How We Love by Milan and Kay Yerkovich. As founder of the prayerful community YourWritersGroup.com, he guides writers seeking God through their own creative process. This will be Mick’s second year as a summer conference mentor.

Poppy Smith, nonfiction and speaking - www.poppysmith.com

Poppy Smith is an award-winning writer whose latest book, Why Can’t He Be More Like Me? (Harvest House), received the Advanced Speaker Writer Association (AWSA) 2012 Golden Scroll award for the Best Nonfiction Book of the Year. In addition, she has authored three books (published by Bethany House), two Bible studies, and numerous articles. Her e-zine, Thrive, provides monthly spiritual encouragement and insights to more than 2,000 people around the world. She was also the OCW fall conference keynoter in 2010. Drawing from her extensive experience as a Bible teacher with Bible Study Fellowship as well as her ministry as a popular inspirational speaker both in the US and overseas, Poppy is uniquely equipped to help writers turn their work into meaningful messages. 

Sally Stuart, nonfiction - http://stuartmarket.com/ 

Sally Stuart, of Tigard, has been writing for 43 years—full time for the last 26. She also compiled 25 editions of the Christian Writers’ Market Guide, the only market guide that specifically targets Christian markets. In addition, she has published a dozen other books and countless articles and columns. As marketing columnist for Christian Communicator, Advanced Christian Writer, and OCW, she is considered the leading authority on the Christian market. She is in demand as a conference speaker nationwide. Sally is the mother of three and grandmother of eight. This will be Sally’s fourth year as a mentor.

Colette Tennant, poetry - www.corban.edu/personnel/ctennant.html

Colette Tennant is an English professor at Corban University in Salem, where she teaches creative writing and literature. Her poems have appeared in Rosebud, Dos Passos Review, Natural Bridge, Christianity and Literature, Southern Poetry Review, and other publications. She has poetry forthcoming in Encore, Orpheus II, Gold Man Review, and Elohi Gugadan. Her poetry book, Commotion of Wings, was a finalist in Main Street Rag’s 2009 contest and was published in January 2010 as an editor’s choice. This will be Colette’s third year as a mentor.

Sarah Thebarge, memoir  - www.sarahthebarge.com

Sarah Thebarge is the author of The Invisible Girls, a memoir that weaves her story of having breast cancer in her 20s together with the story of a Somali refugee family she met on a train in Portland. Sarah’s writing has also appeared in Red Letter Christian, The Good Men Project, Christianity Today, and other magazines. Her writing for Christianity Today earned her first prize from the Evangelical Press Association in 2012. She has spoken at Donald Miller’s Storyline conference, as well as other conferences and retreats. Her second book is scheduled for publication in January 2015.  

Dan Walsh, fiction - http://danwalshbooks.com

Dan Walsh is the best-selling author of 10 novels published by Revell and Guideposts, including The Unfinished Gift, The Discovery, and The Dance. He’s won three ACFW Carol (Book of the Year) Awards and two Selah Awards, and three times his books have been finalists for Romantic Times’ Inspirational Book of the Year. A member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and Word Weavers International, Dan served as a pastor for 25 years and now writes fulltime in the Daytona Beach area. 

Susan May Warren, fiction - www.susanmaywarren.com 

Susan May Warren is the Christy, RITA, and Carol Award-winning author of over 40 novels with Tyndale, Barbour, Steeple Hill, and Summerside Press. A six-time Christy Award finalist and a three-time RITA finalist, she’s also a multi-winner of the Inspirational Readers Choice Award, and the ACFW Carol Award. A seasoned women’s events speaker, she’s a popular writing teacher at conferences around the nation and the author of the beginning writer’s workbook: From the Inside . . . Out: discover, create and publish the novel in you! She is also the founder of www.MyBookTherapy.com, a story-crafting service that helps authors get published . . . and stay published!  This is her fourth year as a mentor.

Jill Williamson, young adult fiction/all genres - www.jillwilliamson.com

Jill Williamson is a chocolate-loving, daydreaming, creator of kingdoms and the Christy-Award-winning author of the Blood of Kings trilogy, plus Replication, the Mission League series, and the Safe Lands trilogy. She lives in Oregon with her youth-pastor husband and two children and a whole lot of deer. Visit her website, where adventure comes to life. This is Jill’s second year as a mentor.

Julie Zander, journalism/memory books - http://www.chaptersoflife.com/

Julie McDonald Zander, compiler of the summer conference notebook and co-chair of the OCW Cascade Writing Contest, served as OCW’s newsletter editor for three years. She worked as a newspaper reporter and editor for 20 years before launching her personal-history business, Chapters of Life, in 1999. She has published four dozen personal, company, and community histories during the past decade. In addition to running her self-publishing company, Julie writes a column once a week for The Chronicle in Centralia, Washington. She and her husband, Larry, live in Toledo, Washington. They have two children, Paul, who is attending the University of Washington, and 13-year-old Nora, a budding writer. 

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