Winter 2014 Workshops

Winter Workshops Will Inspire Your Craft

by Marilyn Rhoads, OCW Program Coordinator

A. “Five Steps to Getting Out of the Slush Pile,” presented by Deborah Raney, will cover the five main writing problems that crop up whenever Deborah critiques a manuscript or judges writing contests. Fixing these five common issues can make the difference between a manuscript that lands in the slush pile and one that makes it to an editor’s desk . . . and ultimately into the bookstore. The fixes are surprisingly easy to learn and may apply to your work. (Fiction)

B. Miralee Ferrell will present, “When the Screen Goes Blank.” Do you struggle day after day, staring at a blank screen with no inspiration? Have you stopped halfway through your book or article? Can’t get restarted? Do you despair of meeting your deadline? What should you do? Learn some practical tips and a hands-on approach to get writing again. Bring your laptop or notebook and a pen, and do some quick exercises to revitalize your work. (All genres)

Miralee is the author of numerous books, both contemporary and historical, including The Other Daughter, Finding Jeena, and Blowing on Dandelions. Her latest book releases in February, Wishing on Buttercups. Miralee has a large collection of first-edition Zane Grey books, which inspired her to write fiction set in the Old West. She and her husband, Allen, live on the beautiful Columbia River Gorge. She served as president of the Portland chapter of ACFW for four years and currently serves as an advisor. She belongs to several writing groups.

C. Dorcas Smucker will present “Tell Your Story: Discover the Thread.” Each of us has a story worth telling. What’s yours? Dorcas will help you develop your thoughts by following these steps: 1) Choose a subject. What’s your passion? What’s on your heart? 2) Write a beginning. You must start somewhere. 3) Turn your experiences into words. Will someone else want to read it? Come learn from a professional how it’s done. (All genres)

Dorcas lives in an old farmhouse near Harrisburg. She is first of all a follower of Jesus, then Paul’s wife, then the mother of six, and then many other things, including a columnist and a blogger. Despite her hatred of deadlines, she has written a column for Eugene’s Register-Guard for 13 years and is the author of four books. She is deeply involved in the family business, the Mennonite church where her husband serves as pastor, and with anyone who stops in for a cup of tea and a listening ear.

D. Sandy Silverthorne will present “Discovering Children’s Publishing.” Writing and illustrating books for children is a fun, creative, and exciting adventure, but where do you start? If you want to hear some of the fascinating insider secrets of this popular genre, this workshop is for you. Where do you get ideas? How can you think and sound like a child? Where do you find an illustrator? These and many other topics will be covered. See examples, visual aids, and actual page layouts. Develop your own storyboard and the first page of your book. (Children’s)

Sandy’s award-winning “Great Bible Adventure” series has sold more than 180,000 copies and has been distributed in eight languages. Sandy has written and illustrated for clients like Universal Studios, The Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, Doubleday Publishers, Penguin, Zondervan, the Charlotte Hornets, and Focus on the Family. His cartoons have appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Campus Life Magazine, Citizen, Youthworker, and Leadership Magazine. Wild and Wacky Bible Stories for Kids is his latest release. He lives in Eugene with his wife and daughter.

E. “Ideas & Inspiration” will be presented by Deborah Raney. Explore a wide variety of resources for sparking creative book and article ideas in this interactive workshop. More importantly, Deb will reveal industry secrets for getting—and staying—inspired to write once you have an idea nailed down. (All genres)

F. Nick Harrison will teach “Seven Tips Toward Publication.” Learn the seven principles that will give you an edge over other writers from a senior acquisition editor and a multi-published author. Tip number one: Is your work too long for the guidelines? Discover the six remaining major strategies to move toward publishing your writing and get set for success. (All genres)

A senior editor for Harvest House Publishers, Nick is the successful author of nine books—his most recent, Power in the Promises, was just released by Zondervan. He spent more than 20 years managing Christian bookstores while beginning a freelance writing career. Nick has also published articles in numerous magazines. He and his recently retired wife, Beverly, a former Harvest House employee, live in Eugene. They are the parents of three adult daughters and enjoy spending time with their grandchildren.

G. “Writing a Newspaper Column” will be taught by Dorcas Smucker. Have you ever wanted to write for a newspaper? How do you get started writing a column? Dorcas will tell how she began writing for the Register-Guard in Eugene 13 years ago. She will discuss what she’s learned while steadily publishing her columns about family life, as well as how you can share your story with a newspaper audience. (Journalism)

H. “Utilizing Media to Build Your Platform” will be taught by Nicole Miller. Social media and online marketing are essential to building your network of potential readers and industry contacts, but which platform gives you the most bang for your buck? “Websites, Facebook, blogging, oh my.” Online marketing is not one-size-fits-all, so you’ll explore a variety of outlets, time-saving tips, and the latest trends. (Media)

Nicole is a former rodeo queen and a historical fiction writer who stumbled into social media, marketing, graphic design, and website development. She works at the University of Western States as their online media manager and recently redesigned their 500+ page website on a short timeline. She operates her own graphic design, marketing, and website design company, Miller Media Solutions, and is the head of marketing for Ashberry Lane Publishing. She and her husband live in Milwaukie. 

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