2016 Coaching Classes

2016 Coaching Classes

“Making Youth Manuscripts Marketable” with Sally Apokedak

Writing for Children and Youth

This agent-facilitated, hands-on critique class will be limited to 10 people. Participants must send in work in advance to be in this class and critique work for the other class members before the conference. (You will send the first chapter/s of your chapter book or middle grade or young adult novel—up to 2,500 words—or an entire picture book manuscript by July 1. These will be distributed to class members. Instructions will be emailed after you register.) In class we will discuss the work, with instruction tailored to class needs. Sally will help you get your books ready to sell.

Sally Apokedak, Associate Agent with Leslie H. Stobbe Literary Agency
Sally Apokedak, Associate Agent with Leslie H. Stobbe Literary Agency

Sally Apokedak is an associate agent with the Leslie H. Stobbe Literary Agency. She has been studying, reviewing, and marketing children’s books, as well as giving writing instruction, for 15 years. As the manager of the Kidz Book Buzz blog tour she was privileged to work with best-selling and award-winning authors such as Jeanne DuPrau, Ingrid Law, and Shannon Hale.

She is most interested in middle grade and young adult novels for the general market. http://www.sally-apokedak.com/

“Aiming for Excellence in Historical Fiction” with Lynn Austin (Fiction)

This class is designed to mentor participants who have a novel in progress or in the planning stages. We will discuss how to do creative research and how to make that history relevant to the needs of today’s readers. We will talk about how to deepen characterization and bring characters to life, giving them realistic motivations and conflicts. We will also look at the spiritual aspects of writing, such as how to let God work through us as writers in order to make the spiritual content powerful but not preachy. (Participants should submit a brief synopsis and the first 10 pages of their novel in advance. Instructions will be emailed after you register. )

Lynn Austin, a former teacher, has been writing full-time since 1992 and has penned 12 books. Her novel Hidden Places was made into a movie for the Hallmark Channel, starring actress Shirley Jones. Lynn was recently inducted into the Christy Award Hall of Fame for winning eight Christy Awards. She also has a nonfiction book, Pilgrimage, about her spiritual journey through the land of Israel. Her most recent novels are her biblical fiction series, The Restoration Chronicles, which draw from the books of Ezra and Nehemiah. www.Lynnaustin.org

“Write from the Deep” with Karen Ball & Erin Taylor Young (Fiction and Nonfiction)

God’s call to us is clear: Come away with Him. Let His words sink deep into us first, then take His truths to the world. In the ever-changing and challenging world of publishing, writers need a way to find refreshment, renewal, and restored passion. And there’s no better place to do that than in the deep places. In these interactive sessions based on Ezekiel 2:1–3:22, writers will be challenged to go deep with God in their call and their craft. Together we’ll explore what it means when God calls us to the deep, and we’ll see how God uses the deep to help us find our story, hone our message, and understand our audience. Finally, we’ll talk about how to equip ourselves to face down obstacles—external and internal—and we’ll explore what it means to focus on excellence in spirit, craft, and serving our audience.

Karen Ball
Karen Ball

A publishing professional for more than 30 years, Karen Ball has overseen fiction for Tyndale, Multnomah, Zondervan, and B&H Publishing Group. An award-winning, best-selling author, she is currently owner of Karen Ball Publishing Services, LLC and a literary agent with the prestigious Steve Laube Agency. Her latest endeavor is Write from the Deep and Live from the Deep with Erin Taylor Young. Karen has worked with such notable authors as Francine Rivers, Karen Kingsbury, Brandilyn Collins, Ginny Yttrup, Robin Jones Gunn, Terri Blackstock, and many others. www.stevelaube.com,www.writefromthedeep.com

Erin Taylor Young is a founding member of Redbud Press—a boutique publisher focusing primarily on romance ebooks in the inspirational market—where she hones her publishing skills as an acquisitions editor and author liaison. Her deepest passions are the Word of God and bringing His truth to readers, whether in her own books or those of other authors. She teaches workshops about writing and publishing, produces podcasts, and is the co-creator of Write from the Deep and Live from the Deep with Karen Ball. She’s an award-winning humor writer who has a remarkable gift for making her readers laugh even as she’s delivering hard truths about living a life of faith. Her recent book, Surviving Henry: Adventures in Loving a Canine Catastrophe, was a 2015 Cascade Award winner. erintayloryoung.com,www.redbudpress.com

“Components of Nonfiction Writing” with Kim Bangs (Nonfiction Books)

As the saying goes, “A lot has changed in publishing over the past several years.” And, the changes continue. So if publishing has changed and the way readers read has changed, then that also means the way we write must change. In this active, interactive, reflective track we’ll start with the creative idea and move forward, discussing details of publishing, platform, proposals, and process that can lead to print.

Kim Bangs
Kim Bangs

In 2014 Kim Bangs joined the Baker Publishing Group as Senior Acquisitions Editor for the Bethany and Chosen divisions. Her new position was preceded by 25 years with Gospel Light/Regal. She served as an editor in the Children’s Curriculum Department at Gospel Light for five years. She left to serve on the staff of a local church plant until 1994. Returning to Gospel Light, Kim joined Regal Books as an administrative assistant to the editorial director. Her last position with Regal was Publishing Director. In 2012 Kim was honored by Advanced Writers and Speakers Association as Nonfiction Editor of the Year. Kim can also be found at several writers’ conferences throughout the year teaching, inspiring and encouraging writers. http://bakerpublishinggroup.com/chosen

“Writing New Work” with Lonnie Hull DuPont (Poetry)

This class is for any writer, including seasoned poets or would-be poets, who wants to nudge the right side of the brain to open up their writing. Simply put, we’re going to play. Together we’ll experiment with lots of poetry-writing exercises, and we’ll write new poems. We will also share our new work in a supportive environment, identify successful poetic devices and techniques, and discuss the publishing prospects for our poetry. So come with an empty notebook and an open mind, and let’s get some new poems written!

Lonnie Hull DuPont, a former high school teacher and ESL tutor, has worked in publishing for many years. After employment at Spring Arbor Distributors, Guideposts Books, Harper San Francisco, and Thomas Nelson, she ran her own editing service. She currently serves as Executive Editor at Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group. She has written several nonfiction books for both adults and young readers, ghostwritten a cookbook for two NASCAR moms, and compiled five popular anthologies of true animal stories. She is also an award-winning poet whose work has been was nominated for a Pushcart Prize and often performs her poetry with musicians in southeastern Michigan. Her new pet memoir, Kit Kat and Lucy: The Country Cats Who Changed a City Girl’s World, will be published by Revell in fall 2016. www.revellbooks.com

“The Foundation of Fiction through Film” with Eva Marie Everson (Fiction, Intermediate)

What can we learn about fiction—about character arc, plot points, backstory timelines, inciting incidents, story-worthy problems, initial surface problems, etc.—from both the small and the big screen? Eva Marie Everson uses video to teach all these elements and so much more. Participants will learn from the experts and be able to apply this teaching to every story they write, whether a short story or an epic novel. Come find out why past participants have called this “the most fun I ever had while learning.”

Eva Marie Everson is the best-selling, award-winning author of both fiction and nonfiction as well as an Old Testament theologian and a graduate of Andersonville Theological Seminary and Tzemach Institute. She serves as the president of Word Weavers International, the director of the Florida Christian Writers Conference, the acquisitions editor at Firefly Southern Fiction, and the educational consultant to SON Studios in Naples, Florida. She has spoken and taught in venues across the United States and Canada, including Taylor University.

www.EvaMarieEversonAuthor.com, www.fireflysouthernfiction.com/

“Tricks Rich Indies Use” with Traci Hilton (Publishing)

Are you ready to launch your indie career? Have you already independently published but want to learn how to take it to the next level? This class offers an in-depth study of how best-selling indie authors turned their writing passion into their full-time job. We will get to the heart of who we are as writers so we can focus our efforts and make readers fall in love with our work. We will put together individual, practical plans of action that will increase our audience and our income. We will also cover the how-tos of creating professional ebooks and paperbacks, investing our time and money wisely, and advertising effectively. By studying how the rich indies work, we can learn to invest our talents wisely, knowing that one day we too can hear Jesus say, “Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.”

Traci Tyne Hilton is the author of The Plain Jane Mysteries, The Mitzy Neuhaus Mysteries, and the Tillgiven Romantic Mysteries. She has been involved in indie publishing since 2010, and though she’s had offers from small and large presses she hasn’t gone hybrid yet. She was the Mystery/Suspense Category winner for the 2012 Christian Writers of the West Phoenix Rattler Contest, a finalist for Speculative Fiction in the same contest, and has a Drammy from the Portland Civic Theatre Guild. She blogs at www.TheWriteConversation.blogspot.com, and www.CozyMysteryMagazine.com.Traci attended Fackelbararnas Bibelskola in Holsby Brunn, Sweden, and earned a degree in history from Portland State University. www.tracihilton.com

“Writing Lessons from the Front” with Angela Hunt (Fiction, New to Intermediate)

Plotting, characters, theme, and setting: all you need to write a novel, right? No, there’s a bit more to it, and Angela Hunt will share information all novelists ought to know in order to help their work rise to the top. She will cover plotting, character development, point of view, evoking emotion, self-editing, and much more. Come with your work-in-progress firmly in mind.

Angela Hunt, Keynoter
Angela Hunt, Keynoter

Angela Hunt writes for readers who expect the unexpected in novels. With more than four million copies of her books sold worldwide, she is the best-selling author of more than 125 works, ranging from picture books to nonfiction books to novels. She also holds a doctorate of Biblical Studies in Theology. Her books have won the coveted Christy Award, several Angel Awards from Excellence in Media, and the Gold and Silver Medallions from Foreword Magazine’s Book of the Year Award. In 2007, her novel The Note was featured as a Christmas movie on the Hallmark Channel. Romantic Times Book Club presented her with a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2006. www.angelahuntbooks.com/

“Writing Powerful Personal Experiences” with Sherri Langton (Articles)

God loves a good story. It’s His way of communicating biblical truth so generations of seekers will know about Him. The problem is that sometimes we don’t know how to craft a story so it catches an editor’s eye. This class will help you write powerful nonfiction for magazines and will explore how story communicates biblical truth, where ideas come from, and how to be sure an idea is marketable. We’ll look at “singing” prose that shows instead of tells and fiction techniques that pull the reader into the center of the action. One session will be devoted to writing about tragedy. Come with ideas, and learn how God can use your story!

Sherrie Langton
Sherrie Langton

Sherri Langton, associate editor of the Bible Advocate magazine and of Now What? e-zine, has worked in Christian publishing for more than 25 years. She is an award-winning freelance writer whose work has appeared in Focus on the Family, In Touch, Upper Room, Today’s Christian Woman, Marriage Partnership, Discipleship Journal, Decision, Quiet Hour, and other publications. Sherri also has contributed to Chicken Soup for the Soul in Menopause, Chicken Soup for the Soul: Parenthood, My Turn to Care, Teatime Stories for Women, Becoming a Godly Man, Faces of Faith, and Hurray God! In addition, she teaches worrkshops at several Christian writers’ conferences. She lives in Denver, Colorado, where she has played drums and percussion at her church for more than 35 years. www.baonline.org, www.nowwhat.cog7.org

“The Healing Power of Your Story” with Sarah Thebarge (Memoir)

When it comes to writing memoirs, writers often face many questions at the start. How do I find my story? How do I tell my story in the best, most compelling way possible? How do I organize the narrative? What’s at stake when I tell my story—and when others read it? In this informal, interactive class, Sarah Thebarge will teach you how to find your story, give you techniques for how to tell your story well, and discuss how the process of storytelling can be healing to you as well as your literary audience.

Sarah Thebarge, author of the memoir The Invisible Girls, has also written for The Huffington Post, Relevant Magazine, and Christianity Today.The Invisible Girls was chosen as the “First Year Experience” book for incoming freshman at Mississippi State University, where Sarah delivered the convocation in 2014. She has also spoken at colleges, retreats, churches and conferences, including Donald Miller’s Storyline Conference. She was named one of 40 Women Under 40 who are challenging taboos of the Christian faith through the “I Speak For Myself” initiative. She also served as a spokesperson for Vanity Fair Lingerie’s “Women Who Do”campaign, which featured women who made a positive difference in their communities, and is a spokesperson for Compassion International. www.sarahthebarge.com

“Book Quest: One Idea’s Epic Adventure to Becoming a Novel” with Susan May Warren & James L. Rubart (Intermediate to Advanced Fiction)

What does it take to turn a little idea into a breakout novel? Expert writing teachers team up in this epic class that will take a tiny idea and develop it into a magnificent story. It’s more than theory—watch and take part in this revolutionary class as the trio utilizes each of their specialized story-building skills. From the initial idea, to deciding on genre, to adding in multi-layered characters, to constructing a riveting plot, to threading in the inner journey, creating Act Two, and the huzzah ending, learn how to apply the techniques of powerful story building. Then, go further and learn how to construct that first scene (and every scene thereafter), create the emotional push through the story, and, finally, how to apply your story idea to your branding and marketing efforts to editors, agents, and readers. Bottom line? You’ll leave with all the tools you need to put together your own epic novel.


James L. Rubart
James L. Rubart

James L. Rubart thinks he is still young enough to waterski like a madman and dirt bike with his two grown sons, and he loves to send readers on journeys they’ll remember months after finishing one of his books. He is the best-selling and Christy, INSPY, and RT Book Reviews award-winning author of seven novels as well as a professional speaker. During the day he runs his marketing company, which helps businesses, authors, and publishers make more coin of the realm. www.jameslrubart.com

Susan May Warren
Susan May Warren

Susan May Warren is the Christy, RITA, and Carol award-winning author of more than 45 novels. A prolific novelist with more than one million books sold, she has written contemporary and historical romances, romantic-suspense, thrillers, romantic-comedy, and Christmas novellas. She loves to help people launch their writing careers and is the founder of My Book Therapy (www.MyBookTherapy.com) and www.LearnHowtoWriteaNovel.com, a writing website that helps authors get published and stay published. She is also the author of the popular writing method, The Story Equationwww.susanmaywarren.com

“Effectively Communicating Christ to Secular Audiences” with Rusty Wright (Nonfiction and Fiction)

Want to reach nonbelievers with your writing? Find where they itch, and scratch there! This class covers practical tools for analyzing your audience and learning how to tap your readers’ felt needs, grab their attention, touch their hearts and minds, and sensitively communicate spiritual truth. This class is for all writers and speakers who want to expand their reach.

Components include:

  • Secrets of Successful Humor
  • Writing for Skeptics: Finding common ground
  • Translating Christianese into Normal HumanSpeak
  • Multiplying Your Reach to Nonbelievers via the Internet

Rusty Wright is an award-winning author, journalist, syndicated columnist, and lecturer who has spoken on six continents. His columns have appeared in mainstream newspapers across the US and internationally. More than 1,400 websites—Christian and secular—have used his articles and media resources in 14 languages. He has appeared on secular TV talk shows in cities around the world. He has presented at numerous Evangelical Press Association conventions, and his writing credits include many EPA magazines such as Christianity Today, Decision, Worldwide Challenge, Plain Truth, Physician,and Pentecostal Evangel. He trains Christian leaders, broadcasters, print-media specialists, and Internet professionals in effective communication with secular audiences. He holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Duke and a master’s in theology from Oxford University. www.RustyWright.com



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