Continuing Sessions 2019

1 – Fiction Writing: Keys for Unforgettable Storytelling

Bill Myers
Best-selling Author
Award-winning Filmmaker


Bill’s books and videos have sold over 8 million copies. Not bad for a man who never wanted to be a writer! He grew up in the mountains of Washington State, eight miles from the nearest town. Even with all that solitude, he read very little as a child and got Cs and Ds in the only writing class he took at the University of Washington. "When a girl I'd dated all through high school dumped me our first year at college, I wandered the campus night after night, until I finally told God He could have my life, I'd do whatever he wanted regardless of how strange it was."

Even though for most of his life Bill wanted to be a dentist, he kept getting the impression God wanted him to be in filmmaking. "We had quite a few arguments, but because I made that promise, I changed my major to film directing and a few weeks later found myself in Rome, Italy studying a subject I knew nothing about in a language I couldn't speak. Talk about feeling foolish."

Bill’s work has won over 70 national and international awards, including the C.S. Lewis Honor Award. His children's DVD and book series, McGee and Me, has sold 4.5 million copies, has won 40 Gold and Platinum awards, and has been aired on ABC as well as in 80 countries. His My Life As… book series has sold 2.1 million copies. He has written, directed, and done voice work for Focus on the Family's Adventures in Odyssey radio series and is the voice of Jesus in Zondervan's NIV Audio Bible.

As an author, Bill writes for a wide range of audiences. “But,” he says, “regardless of the age I write for or whether it’s comedy, thrillers, fiction, or non-fiction, my purpose is always the same … to draw the reader closer to the heart of God (and maybe do some thinking and enjoy some entertainment along the way). Several of his children’s book series and adult novels have made the bestseller list.

Bill is also managing partner of Amaris Media, International – a motion picture and media company currently developing several projects for both children and adults.

We’ll cover how to come up with unforgettable concepts and characters, structure, plots, writing habits that work, discovering your voice, and how to use comedy.

2 – Speaking and Writing – A Beautiful Relationship

Lynne Babbitt

Writer, Speaker
Professional Counselor 



For over thirty years, Lynne has enjoyed a flourishing ministry writing and presenting seminars and workshops to churches, businesses, and non-profits. She provides counseling services in her private practice, Lynne Babbitt Counseling. She has a bachelor’s degree in psychology, with a minor in Bible and a master’s in clinical counseling. Lynne’s journey has also included social work, teaching, church leadership, and rearing 6 children and 23 foster children, in part as a single parent. She was born and raised in Los Angeles and has since lived in all four corners and the middle of America. God has entrusted her with hard life lessons and with the transparency to share those lessons so others don’t have to learn the hard way.

Want to sell more books? Reach a wider audience? Build your brand and attract publishers? Enhance your speaking ministry? Speaking and writing hold hands to enrich each other. Learn how to write engaging, inspiring speeches and seminars, complete with Power Points and handouts. You can overcome stage fright, find speaking opportunities, and supplement income. Sell more books by setting up a great BOTR (back of the room) table. Learn to add humor and sparkle to your presentations from a veteran public speaker, singer, and therapist. The same Spirit who stirs you to write His answer can empower you to speak His answer.

3 – Making it Look Easy: Achieving Excellent Style in any Genre

Susan King

Associate Editor, The Upper Room
Compiler, Short & Sweet book series



For over 24 years, Associate Editor Susan King has served at The Upper Room, a daily-devotional magazine that reaches millions of readers in more than 100 countries. One of her greatest joys has been representing The Upper Room every year at several of 23 different Christian writers’ conferences in the U.S. and Canada.

Two years ago, she retired from 27 years of teaching English and feature-writing classes—most recently for Lipscomb University but also for Biola University and Abilene Christian University. Formerly, she served as writer, book editor, and radio-program producer/on-air talent for The Institute of Scriptural Psychology, wrote magazine features as a freelance writer, and functioned as a seminar facilitator in leadership and group dynamics. Susan lives in Franklin, Tennessee with her husband Joe. Their three adult children live in three different states, and she is delighted that one of them still lives nearby—with his wife and Susan and Joe’s two young grandsons.

Ask Susan for an assignment for the next book in her Short and Sweet book series. Needs fiction, nonfiction, and poetry.


Readers don't care what you write if they can't tolerate how it is written. They'll just stop reading because it’s easier than trying to plow through poorly written material. Do you want to write with such sparkle and verve that you’ll knock the socks off editors? Do you want them to be falling all over themselves to publish your submission and then clamoring for anything you plan to write in the future? In this crash course in the essential elements of good style for any genre, you will come away with concrete tools for self-editing to produce polished works that will please readers and broadcast to editors and publishers that you are a consummate wordsmith.

“Whenever I find my writing getting sloppy, I write a devotional for The Upper Room and it tightens it right up,” book author and former editor (The Saturday Evening Post, Guideposts) Hal Hostetler once told me. He claimed that writing devotionals was the best discipline a writer could have. In general, the shorter the piece, the harder it is to write. And publishers expect much from those few words.  One of the goals of this class is to produce an excellent devotional to submit to The Upper Room magazine.

4 – Reaching Youth through Fiction

Tim Shoemaker

Author, Speaker



Tim is the author of 14 books and is a popular speaker at conferences and schools around the country. Over twenty-five years working with kids has helped him relate to his reading and listening audience in a unique way.  He is a regular contributor to Focus on the Family Clubhouse and Clubhouse JR. magazines. Code of Silence, the first in his middle-grade series, was listed by Booklist in the “Top Ten Crime Novels for Youth.” \

Tim speaks at churches and parachurch organizations such as Focus on the Family, Iron Sharpens Iron Men’s Conferences, and Moody Pastors Conference. He speaks at homeschool conventions as well as retreats for men and couples. He also speaks at public and Christian schools across the country—so if you know a librarian, principal, or English teacher, talk to Tim about that. Happily married for over 35 years, Tim has three grown sons and still loves doing volunteer youth work.

Tim’s energetic style of teaching helps make even difficult topics clear. He is all about encouraging and equipping writers to do what they do—better.

This isn’t just about writing for “kids”. It’s about writing for possibly the toughest market out there … but one of the most rewarding. We’ll share secrets to realistic action and fight scenes. Deepening your point-of-view, when to show—and when to tell, creating stronger scenes, and writing better dialogue. We’ll look at strong starts and other essentials to writing for youth. We’ll touch on plausibility and avoiding “hokey” Christian fiction. We’ll cover all these essentials of great fiction and more—and we’ll show you how to use them to boost your story to the next level.

5 - You Can Indie Publish & Market Your Book

Sarah Bolme

Sarah Bolme 

Director, Christian Indie Publishing Association (CIPA) 
Owner, Crest Publications


Sarah is the Director of Christian Indie Publishing Association (CIPA), the new name for the Christian Small Publishers Association (CSPA) that celebrated its 15th anniversary this January. The organization has changed its name to better reflect the current publishing landscape and the authors and publishers it serves. Their mission and focus stays the same: To provide information, tools, and resources to strengthen small publishers and independent authors, and to continue to represent this group to the larger Christian book industry.

Sarah is also the owner of Crest Publications and the author of 7 books including the award-winning Your Guide to Marketing Books in the Christian Marketplace and numerous articles. A clinical social worker by education and experience, Sarah stumbled into the world of publishing after her two self-help books were published by a small publisher. Sarah and her husband, a fiction author, then collaborated on a set of board books for infants and toddlers after the birth of their children. After much thought and research, they decided to publish the project themselves. This decision led to the creation of Crest Publications and Sarah’s journey into publishing and marketing books. Visit her blog –

Gain the knowledge and tools you need to  publish and market your own book affordably. Topics will include: Three Things to Do Before You Publish Your Book, Preparing Your Manuscript for Publishing, DIY: Publishing Your Book, Obtaining Book Reviews for Your Book, and Marketing Your Book: The Essential Ingredient. 

6 – Reach the World with Your Message

Linda Evans Shepherd  

Author, Speaker -
Publisher, Jubilant Press and Leading Hearts Magazine
President, Right to the Heart Ministries
Publisher, Arise Daily, a dialy e-devotional
Founder & Director, Advanced Writers & Speakers Assc. (AWSA)


Linda is a nationally known Christian speaker and an award-winning, best-selling author of over 30 books. Her online and speaking ministries have seen well over 350,000 people come to Christ and are seen by over 90,000 people daily. In addition to writing and speaking, Linda is president of a large Christian ministry, Right to the Heart, and also ministers to the top 500 Christian women authors and speakers in the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA) that she founded and directs.  She’s the publisher of the EPA Award Winning magazine, Leading Hearts, and the publisher of the Arise Daily e-devotional.

If you want to answer God’s call to share your message, life story, or ministry topic, Linda Evans Shepherd, will show you her insider tips to help you identify your message, build your brand, then find the best ways to share it.  Linda will give you the scoop about book writing, articles, speaking, publishing, interviewing, social media and if you need to create a non-profit ministry.  She’ll share the secrets she’s discovered as an author, book and magazine publisher, conference organizer, screenwriter, TV host, social media influencer, and non-profit head.  Consider new ideas, and discover how to take the next step in becoming an influencer.

7 – How to Take Your Nonfiction Book from Good to Great


Michael J. Klassen

President and Publisher
Author and Ghostwriter



Michael is a bestselling, award-winning ghostwriter, author, freelance writer, and book coach. He has worked on projects with authors as varied as former president Jimmy Carter (Lessons From Life Bible), Michael John Cusick (Surfing For God), and Rafael Cruz (A Time For Action). He has also served as the theological reviewer for over 30 study Bibles and worked on over 70 traditionally published works. His published works have sold millions of copies and can be found in nearly every Christian bookstore in America.


Karen Linamen Bouchard

Acquisitions Editor
Managing Editor, David C. Cook’s, Power for Living
Author and Book Coach


Karen is also the bestselling author of Just Hand Over the Chocolate and No One Will Get Hurt and more than a dozen other nonfiction books. In addition to acquiring books for Illumify Media, she is a book coach, ghostwriter, and editor who works one-on-one with published and unpublished writers.  She has more than 30 years’ experience in publishing and has worked with many traditional publishers including Thomas Nelson, Revell, and Waterbrook Press (an imprint of Penguin Random House).

If you want to transform lives with your nonfiction book, there are steps you need to take long before you type your opening sentence—and steps you need to continue taking after your book hits the shelves. Michael and Karen break it all down and share practical strategies you can follow at every stage.

You’ll learn how to find your nonfiction sweet spot, how to identify specific words and phrases that will resonate with your audience, how to craft a riveting book proposal, and how to begin TODAY building or growing your author platform.

You’ll also learn how to organize content in your how-to, self-help, or inspirational book, and how to follow a fool-proof complication/resolution formula if you are writing a true story. We’ll even talk about the three unbreakable rules of writing a powerful memoir.

We’ll work through a few game-changing worksheets and exercises, and there will be time for questions. And if you’re working on a manuscript, bring it! We want to make sure you get exactly what you need out of these sessions to take your nonfiction book from good to great!

8 – You CAN Build Your Platform!

W. Terry Whalin
Acquisitions Editor
Morgan James Publishing

Terry understands both sides of the editorial desk – as an editor and a writer. He worked as a magazine editor and his work has appeared in more than 50 publications. Terry is an Acquisitions Editor at Morgan James Publishing. A former literary agent, Terry has acquired books at two other publishing houses and been in publishing over 25 years. He has written more than 60 books through traditional publishers in a wide range of topics from children’s books to biographies to co-authored books. Several of Terry’s books have sold over 100,000 copies.  Terry’s newest book, 10 Publishing Myths – Insight Every Author Needs to Succeed, is packed with insight. Also Terry has an innovative online training course to help authors effectively connect with literary agents and editors called Write A Book Proposal. Terry is a popular speaker and teacher at numerous writers’ conferences and an active member of the American Society of Journalists and Authors.

Session 1 – Your Author’s Calling and Why Build a Platform? If not you, who will do it? Realities and myths of today’s publishing world mixed with practical application. This information is for every author, even introverts, whether you publish traditionally or independently.

Session 2 – How to Build a Body of Work as an Author—and why? This session will emphasize the importance of writing consistency – of creating a “brand” – and how authors can create multiple streams of income and ministry. This session will look at the details for launching and/or growing your blog and website along with why every author needs an email list and list building ideas.

Session 3 – Serve Others with Your Content and Build Your Audience. Giveaways, newsletters, repurpose your content, podcasts, endorsements and more in this practical session.

Session 4 – With 76 million readers on Goodreads, why you need to serve your audience there? This session will give you the details to touch readers on Goodreads.

Session 5 – The value of social media and how not to be a slave to it. To tweet or not? Why Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest and others? This practical session will give you the tools you need to effectively use social media as a ministry and marketing tool.


How I love the Colorado Christian Writers Conference. Though I've taught at the conference for over a decade, I'm still one of its earnest students. Every year I take home loads of inspiration, encouragement, and instruction. If it weren't for what I've learned at CCWC, I would not be the author of over thirty books today. I hope to be involved for at least another decade because I've got more to learn—and write!

Linda Evans Shepherd