2023 Cascade Christian Writers Conference
June 25th – 28th
Classes and Workshops
Schedule and Registration | Classes and Workshops | Agents, Editors, and Mentors
“What I’ve Learned” Susie Finkbienber
Here’s your chance to hear from people with a wide variety of experience in the business of publishing. Your hosts will offer you the wisdom they’ve gained, ending each session with a time for questions.
“Deep Deep Deep POV” Linda Glaz
Would you like to take your writing to the next level? Well, we’ve got the time! Deep POV gets into your characters’ heads, stays there, and begs your readers to know them as well as a best friend. Learn the techniques including doing a “background” check on your characters. Who were they, who are they, and what does their future hold? Going DEEP in your writing will make it sing like a mezzo soprano, waking up agents, editors, and readers along the way!
“Self, Indie, or Traditional, Oh, My!” Robynne Miller
Which Publishing Avenue Is Right for You?
This interactive course will give you all the information, tools, and assessments you need to determine the best publishing path for your current project. You will learn about each publishing option, how they differ and who they serve best, what it takes to be successful in each publishing path, and what the next steps are for you, no matter what path you choose. Through exercises and a series of carefully designed assessments, we will look at the nuts and bolts of your own situation to help you decide how to proceed. When the coaching class ends, you will have the information and tools you’ll need to take your next publishing steps with confidence.
“Recording Your Own Audiobooks” James L. Rubart
You probably know audiobooks continue to be the fastest growing segment of publishing. But do you know how to capitalize on that trend? During this coaching class a narrator of 28 audiobooks will show and teach you exactly how to turn your fiction or nonfiction book into a quality audiobook. Hire or narrate it yourself? Learn what equipment to use, how to set up a home studio without even bending the bank, how to produce your book at zero cost to you and, of course, so much more.
“How to Start a Podcast Your Readers Will Love” KyLee Woodley
The podcast industry spiked in 2020 reaching one million+ shows. In the last 10 years, religious podcast listeners have grown by 85 percent. This has opened up a huge audience for authors of both fiction and nonfiction. This class teaches the fundamentals of podcasting and how to create your own podcast. We will walk through the steps of how to set up your own show and cover equipment, services, audio editing, publishing, promotion, and collaboration. This class will also include a booklet with the steps to set up a podcast, a glossary of terms, and a list of numerous resources.
“Three Keys to Creating an Unforgettable Memoir” Lynne Hartke
Memoir needs a third. There is you. And your writing. But you can’t write about writing. That’s ingrown. And you can’t just write about your sickness or your divorce or your tragedy. That’s depressing, and nobody buys a book to be sad and angry. You need a third thing so your readers can find themselves walking next to you in the pages. Finding your third thing is a vital key to writing an unforgettable memoir that will be purchased by more than your mother and six friends. In this session you will also hear about circles, chocolate, Gila monsters, and an important lesson the presenter learned by living among the Cree and Ojibwe people of northern Canada, people who are excellent circular storytellers.
“The Writer’s Retreat”
Use this time to write, plan, plot, or just relax.
“Writing a Meditation for The Upper Room” Andrew Breeden
In this workshop participants will learn about making connections between their lives and what God is doing in the world. We will look at a published meditation and discuss it, and then participants will have the opportunity to write their own and submit it for possible publication in a future issue of The Upper Room, an international publication with a readership of more than four million people worldwide.
“Where Is Jesus in the Slush Pile?” Linda Glaz
Do you place God’s truths on each page through insightful writing, or does Jesus smash your reader over the head with Scripture, internal prayers, and an altar call in every chapter, or do you give up and lose Him entirely? How are YOU called to write for the Kingdom, and what does that mean?
“Puzzle Writing” Stephen O’Rear
Give your left brain a workout! This creative course shares tips for writing puzzles that will challenge readers of all ages, from sudoku to “invisible letters” to interlocking hexagons. We’ll discuss helpful online tools, puzzle difficulty, and how to disguise math as art.
“Newsletters Without Tears” Lisa Bogart
Ugh! More platform building? Yes, but newsletters can be fun. Learn from an author who has been there and is still growing. With a newsletter claiming an open rate of 70 percent, Lisa has ideas to get you started and help you grow. For starters: what’s an open rate? We will find ways to reach readers, and what to say when you’ve got them. (Please note: though this workshop covers different ideas for various newsletter services available, it will NOT cover all the specifics for how to use each service.)
“Prolific Publishing in Magazines in the Midst of a Busy Life” Jennifer Anne F. Messing
Is your life jam-packed and full, but you long to write for publication? Learn ways to capture and organize your scattered ideas, thoughts, notes and journal entries, then craft them into saleable magazine articles. Draw from your varied life experiences to enrich your writing. We will discuss how to market your articles, stories, and poems in print and online publications, the importance of a writer’s social media presence and publicity, and suggestions on time management to help you create time to write amidst your busy life.
“When the Well Runs Dry” Susie Finkbeiner
In the midst of deadlines, word count goals, platform building, and other such pressures, it’s easy to forget the importance of keeping our well stocked with what nourishes the soul. In this nurturing workshop, Susie will tell of a time when she found herself depleted, burned out, and empty and how the Holy Spirit refreshed her, reminding her of God’s delight in His creative kids.
“Self-Editing for Nonfiction Writers” Alice Crider
Whether you’re a new writer or an experienced author, there is always room for improvement. This workshop will provide an overview of the techniques of the editing trade that turn promising manuscripts into published bestsellers. We’ll cover big picture, developmental editing, with 21 important questions to ask when editing a manuscript, as well as line editing with a checklist of must-have principles to follow for fine-tuning your writing. Alice will walk you through the same processes she would go through to perfect your manuscript and illustrate each point with examples. Bring your work-in-progress and a willingness to transform it into a book that sings and sells!
“How to Create a Winning Book Proposal” Nick Harrison
In this workshop we’ll explain what a book proposal is, why they’re necessary, and what to include and exclude in a winning proposal.
“What Magazine Editors Wish Writers Knew” Sherri Langton
What really goes on behind a magazine editor’s desk? Why do editors revise your manuscript? Where do freelancers fail, and where do they succeed? We will answer these questions and more as well as cover changes in the world of publishing.
“How NOT to Get an Agent” Linda Glaz
Learn how to (and not to) get an agent to take your writing to the next level. And learn to DO that the right way from one who started out doing it ALL WRONG. That’s right. I did it all wrong! Let’s laugh and learn together as we push you toward your goal!
“Dialogue Is Not Story: Crafting a Narrative Voice” Stephen O’Rear
In a world dominated by video, many writers tell their stories almost exclusively through banter. But quips only get you so far. Rediscover the lost art of narrative and learn techniques that will make the storyteller your readers’ favorite character.
“Ten Ways to Boost Your Creativity” Lisa Bogart
Staying productive as a writer is more than just coming up with your next book idea. This workshop presents 10 ways to help you live a healthy writer’s life. It will keep you in the game for the long haul (idea #1), remind you that you are called to do this work (idea #9), set limits (idea #6), and even suggest taking a nap is the best thing you can do (idea #4). Come hear the whole list and feel more creative.
“Seven Steps to Design and Publish Your Print/E-Book on Amazon” Jennifer Anne F. Messing
Does the thought of independently publishing your book overwhelm you? This workshop will give a brief overview of traditional and indie publishing. We will discuss how to prepare your complete book as a Word document for publication and a step-by-step process to design and create your book’s front and back covers with a free online software or using your own. You will learn how to upload and publish your print/ebook on Amazon and tips for marketing your books on your website and on social media.
“What Are You Really Writing About?” Robynne Miller
Whether you realize it or not, you’re writing about something. And I don’t mean the plot you’ve devised, the characters you’ve created, the fantastic setting you’ve crafted, or even the well-defined self-help book you’ve meticulously outlined. I mean the story underneath. The reason you’re writing in the first place.
We all have something we feel deeply about bubbling just under the surface, seeping out into every word we put on the page. But if we’re not aware of what it is, our writing can drift, and the impact of our work become diffused.
First, we will discuss why it’s so important to know WHAT you’re really writing about and how that knowledge affects and strengthens your writing. Then, through a series of interactive writing exercises, we’ll uncover what God has truly placed on your heart to write. After we get that revelation firmly in hand, we’ll talk about how to follow these passions to create clarity, focus, and power in all you create.
“Public Speaking for Writers” Josh Kelley
Love to write but hate public speaking? Good news: the same skills that make you a good writer: transparency, storytelling, and embracing critique can help you become a confident public speaker. In this practical workshop, a full-time ghostwriter and former pastor will give you the tools you need to become a better speaker.
“Writing Your Spiritual Autobiography in 300 Words or Less” Andrew Breeden
In this workshop participants will practice their devotional writing skills through an exercise designed to help them tell their story. They will reflect on the significant events that have influenced their relationship with God and shaped their spiritual journeys. They will then craft an Upper Room meditation around one of these events. This workshop covers some of the fundamentals of good devotional writing and also encourages participants to discover more about themselves and who God is calling them to be.
“Juicing Your Ideas” Sherri Langton
You just went through an experience and can’t wait to write about it. Perhaps you might write an article. But is that all there is? The same experience can be “juiced” to get more out of it: a devotional, opinion piece, profile—and more. Bring your ideas, and even reprints, and see how much you can “squeeze” from them for different publications!
“How Do You Spell Perseverance?” Linda Glaz
Thinking about giving up? Do small inner AND outer voices tell you that you don’t have what it takes? Don’t believe the lies. Some of the most successful folks in history were told to keep their day jobs. So, set yourself up for success by learning how to persevere in a tough industry. You’ve got this!
“Bluey, Magical Orphans, and Minecraft (Still): Trends in Children’s Media” Stephen O’Rear
We will review the top children’s entertainment in 2022-2023, including television shows, video games, books, movies, and YouTube channels. How does this new content influence kids’ sense of humor, attention span, spending habits, and personal values? And how should Christian writers respond?
“Heart-Songs: Expressing Life and Faith in Poetry” Jennifer Anne F. Messing
This workshop will help writers explore what poems are and where they originate, how poets can find their unique voice, and how to use journaling techniques to awaken and ignite their creativity. By drawing from life experiences, faith, and the things one deeply loves, we will learn ways to craft meaningful poems that stir readers’ hearts. The fundamentals of writing, editing, and marketing poetry will also be covered, including pointers on finding lesser-known, but equally attractive, markets for publishing poetry.
“Researching Your Mid-Century Novel” Susie Finkbeiner
Demand is growing for post-World War II fiction. But how is researching mid-century fiction different? What unique resources can writers find to aid them in representing the era accurately and efficiently? The author of four mid- to late-20th-century novels will share tricks and tips.
“Copywriting 101: Increase Your Influence and Reader Engagement” Alice Crider
You can land contracts and sell more books when you use the words that make people pay attention. Copywriting is written content that aims to increase brand awareness and ultimately persuade a person or group to take a particular action. You can use the power of copywriting to wow agents and editors as well as entice readers to buy books, engage with you on social media, through email, and on your blog or website. You can captivate readers with your story or message and improve the overall readability of your content. This workshop will give you street-smart copywriting tips you can use to power up your book marketing, win fans, influence readers, and keep them coming back for more.
“From Novelist to Full-Time Ghostwriter” Josh Kelley
If you’re a talented writer who doesn’t care about getting credit, ghostwriting can be a great opportunity. This isn’t a promise of easy money—it takes a lot of work and even more, divine providence—but a full-time ghostwriter will teach you some of the tricks.
“Your Life Theme” Jesse Rivas
James L. Rubart said, “If you give me your top three movies, I can tell you the theme of your life.” Well . . . I stole like an artist and added my own twist to dig deeper. In this interactive workshop, we will work together to discover where your authentic life theme and marketable life theme merge. You are welcome to come prepared with your top three movies to discuss, but no prep work is necessary.
“From Personal Experience to the Printed Page” Sherri Langton
We will review the effectiveness of story to communicate biblical truth, where ideas come from and which ones to use, how to build strong reader identification, and how to show the action instead of telling about it so the story will come alive to the reader.
“Forging into Traditional Nonfiction Publishing” Blythe Daniel
Forging means to form, create, and establish. How do you form a relationship with a traditional publisher when you are not famous or don’t know a lot of people but want to have your book published by a recognized publisher? In this workshop, we’ll talk about what makes your writing and you compelling to a publisher. What are the steps you need to take to get there? How does an agent help you? What does an acquisitions editor do? Should you hire a copy editor to work with you on your book proposal and chapters? We’ll answer these and more questions in this workshop for those who are interested in learning more about what traditional publishing—where the publisher pays for your book production—and what to expect in a traditional publishing deal.
“Writing for Focus on the Family Magazines” Stephen O’Rear
Magazines are a great way to get published, get paid, work with editors, and minister to children! This workshop breaks down the submission guidelines and content needs for the award-winning Clubhouse and Clubhouse Jr. magazines, with insider tips directly from the editors.
“Self-Care Is More than a Spa Day” Lisa Bogart
In the middle of a busy conference, we will take a deep breath. This workshop shows you some ways to care for yourself that will help your writing life and your busy life period. From deep breaths and stretches, to silence and guided meditation, to ideas for keeping yourself pampered and stress free, we will explore ways to bring spa pampering to your life and discover that quiet can enhance your writing.
“Pitch-Perfect Voice” Susie Finkbeiner
We hear it often: agents and editors are looking for new and authentic voices in fiction. But what does that mean? How does one achieve it? How does a writer keep that voice consistent? Glean ideas for cultivating a unique voice, hear examples of writers who do it well, and get writing prompts to try in this interactive workshop.
“Effective Platform Building” Janyre Tromp
Building a platform is essentially finding your audience and talking to them. Nonfiction writers can leverage their expertise, but how does a novelist build a platform . . . especially if they don’t have a book published yet? In this writer’s chat, an industry veteran and best-selling novelist will talk through some effective strategies you can employ to build a platform at any point in your career (whether you’re a novelist or nonfiction writer).