SC 2013 Mentor Appointments

Focus on the Next Step

We are pleased to offer half-hour career mentoring appointments 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. One appointment will be given to each conferee.

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.

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

Meet Your Mentors

Marion Duckworth, nonfiction

Marion Duckworth, a former OCW president, is the author of 17 books, plus curricula and hundreds of articles. A former columnist for Power for Living, she has spoken widely and 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 third year as a mentoring author for summer conference.

Birdie Etchison, fiction and nonfiction

Birdie Etchison has sold 21 books ranging from juvenile fiction to nonfiction, romance, and historical fiction. A past president of OCW, she has taught for Writer’s Digest School for 22 years, instructing writers of all levels in fiction and nonfiction techniques, novel structure, and the basics of getting started in writing. She loves mentoring new writers, helping them develop their own God-given gifts, and encouraging them to write, write, write. This will be Birdie’s second year as a mentor.

Miralee Ferrell, fiction –

Miralee Ferrell and her husband, Allen, live on 11 acres in the Columbia River Gorge. She’s been writing since 2005, and her first book was published in 2007. Since then, she’s published six more—both women’s contemporary and historical fiction—with another six under contract. Her western romance, Love Finds You in Sundance, Wyoming, was awarded the Will Rogers Medallion for Excellence in Western Fiction and her newest release, Blowing on Dandelions, is the first in a three-book series set in Oregon. Miralee loves interacting with people, ministering at her church, riding her horse, and playing with her dogs.

Judy Gann, library marketing and

A children’s librarian for more than 25 years, Judy Gann selects Christian fiction for a large library system in Washington State. The librarian for Library Insider, she also serves as a public library marketing consultant for Christian publishers and authors, assisting them in their marketing efforts to public libraries. The author of The God of All Comfort: Devotions of Hope for Those Who Chronically Suffer (AMG Publishers), Judy is also the manuscript coordinator for the conference.

Jeff Gerke, speculative fiction/fiction

Jeff Gerke wrote his own speculative fiction and spearheaded the launch of a fiction imprint dedicated to Christian speculative fiction at a major Christian publishing company. He then branched out on his own to launch Marcher Lord Press, an independent publishing house whose several major awards lend credence to its claim of being the premier publisher of Christian speculative fiction. His fiction craft books, The Art & Craft of Writing Christian Fiction, Plot Versus Character, and The First 50 Pages, are popular. Jeff is is known for encouraging other Christian novelists to improve their fiction and help them get published. This is Jeff’s third year as a mentor.

Leslie Gould,

Leslie Gould is the award-winning author of 16 novels, including the #1 bestseller 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. Bestseller Courting Cate is a retelling of The Taming of the Shrew and Leslie’s latest release, Adoring Addie, is based on Romeo and Juliet. Leslie received her master of fine arts in creative writing from Portland State University and has taught fiction as an adjunct professor at Multnomah University. This is Leslie’s second year as a mentor.

Randy Ingermanson, fiction and marketing

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. He also sits on the advisory board of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW). Randy is known for encouraging budding writers, some of whom have gone on to write award-winning or best-selling fiction. This is his third year as a mentoring author.

Ronie Kendig, suspense fiction

Ronie Kendig is an award-winning, best-selling author who grew up an Army brat. Ronie’s degree in psychology has helped her pen novels of raw, broken characters. Since launching onto the publishing scene, Ronie’s “Rapid-Fire Fiction” has hit the CBA Bestseller List, and she has won the prestigious Christy Award and been a finalist in the ACFW Carol Awards (Book of the Year), as well as several other awards. She loves people and helping other writers through speaking, workshops, and/or mentoring.

Julie Klassen, Regency

Julie Klassen loves all things Jane—Jane Eyre and Jane Austen. A graduate of the University of Illinois, Julie worked in publishing for 16 years and now writes full time. Three of her books, The Maid of Fairbourne Hall, The Girl in the Gatehouse, and The Silent Governess, have won the Christy Award for Historical Romance. Julie’s most recent novels are set in the 1800s in England, with her latest being The Tutor’s Daughter.  Read more about Julie in our interview with the author at

Matt Mikalatos, fiction/nonfiction and kid’s fantasy –

Matt Mikalatos is the author of two comedy-theology novels, My Imaginary Jesus and Night of the Living Dead Christian, as well as a kids’ fantasy novel, The Sword of Six Worlds. His first nonfiction book is coming from Baker Books in 2014. You can catch up with him on Twitter at @mattmikalatos or on his blog at

James L. Rubart, fiction and marketing –               

James L. Rubart is the best-selling author of Rooms,the winner of Romantic Times Book Reviews Inspirational Novel of the Year in 2010, plus Book of Days, The Chair, and Soul’s Gate. He received his degree in broadcast journalism from the University of Washington and started his career on air at a Seattle radio station. During the day, he runs Barefoot Marketing, which helps businesses and authors make more coin for the realm. Jim is also an in-demand speaker and consultant. This will be Jim’s third year as a mentoring author.

Patricia Rushford, romantic suspense and mystery –

Award-winning speaker and teacher Patricia H. Rushford has written more than 50 books and is currently writing romantic suspense. Her latest release is Strangers in the Night. She was nominated for an Edgar by Mystery Writers of America and received the Silver Angel for excellence in media. Pat is enthusiastic, loves people, and enjoys teaching and encouraging writers. In 2011 she served as thecreative writing instructoron a 111-day world cruise.

Gail Sattler, fiction

Gail Sattler is the award-winning author of more than 30 novels and novellas with Barbour Publishing, Love Inspired, Abingdon Press, and B&H Publishing. When she’s not writing or making music, Gail can be found settling down with a cup of hot coffee and a good book written by someone else. This will be Gail’s second year as a mentoring author.

Cornelia Becker Seigneur, freelance writing in a digital world –

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, News 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 andMultnomah’s Cultural Encounters. As a freelance journalist for The Oregonian newspaper since 1996, she specializes in family, community, faith, and culture stories. Cornelia 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 second year as a mentoring author.

Ann Shorey, historical

Ann Shorey has been a full-time writer for more than 20 years. Her writing has appeared in Chicken Soup for the Grandma’s Soul, and in the Adams Media’s Cup of Comfort series. She made her fiction debut with The Edge of Light, book one in the At Home in Beldon Grove series for Revell, followed by The Promise of Morning and The Dawn of a Dream. The Sisters at Heart series, beginning with Where Wildflowers Bloom, is her latest offering from Revell. Book two in the series, When the Heart Heals,released this spring. To learn more about Ann and her writing, visit her website and blog, This is Ann’s second year as a mentoring author.

Mick Silva –

Mick Silva is a book editor with more than 12 years’ experience acquiring projects for Focus on the Family and WaterBrook Multnomah (the Christian division of Random House)—focusing on heartfelt, artful, “God-seeker” stories—fiction, narrative nonfiction, and memoir, especially ones that don’t wrap up neatly. His authors include Susan Hill (Closer than Your Skin), Milan and Kay Yerkovich (How We Love), and Ann Voskamp (One Thousand Gifts, a New York Times bestseller). As a pastor’s son, Mick probably should have been a pastor, but he’s always been a bit of a bookworm. He runs, where authors critique and connect through story.

Poppy Smith, speaking and

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 –

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.

Colette Tennant,

Colette Tennant is an English professor at Corban University in Salem. She received her doctorate in English from Ohio State University. Along with teaching creative writing and literature at Corban, she also teaches art in Germany, Austria, and Italy every other year. Along with writing poetry, she enjoys playing the piano and writing music. Her poetry book, Commotion of Wings, was published by Main Street Rag in 2010 as an Editor’s Choice. She has had many poems published in journals, including in Christianity and Literature, Dos Passos Review, and Southern Poetry Review. This will be Colette’s second year as a mentoring author.

Susan May Warren,

Susan May Warren is the award-winning author of more than 40 novels with Tyndale, Barbour, Steeple Hill, and Summerside Press. A five-time Christy-award finalist and a three-time RITA (Romance Writers of America) finalist, she’s also a multi-winner of the Inspirational Readers Choice award and the ACFW Carol (Book of the Year) 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, a story-crafting service that helps authors discover their voice. This is her third year as a mentoring author.

Jill Williamson, young adult/ fiction –

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. Visit her online at, where adventure comes to life.