Monday, February 28, 2011


Idea to-proposal-to-contract started with a two-minute chat

Aloha, I’m Karen Whiting and have been attending and helping with the Florida conference for many years. I first attended in 1996 and so many articles and most of my 16 books have come from this conference.
     Last year I chatted briefly with editor Rick Steele. Several years ago they published two books I wrote and last year, shortly before the conference I received a rejection on a proposal. 
(Now we do come in contact with editors who accept our writing and ones who reject it as that’s part of a writer’s life. We must not consider a rejection as a personal rejection, but understand it doesn’t fit that house at that time).
    Rick mentioned he felt bad the committee didn’t want the book because he had championed it Then he tossed out a new thought and asked if I might consider writing something in their God and Country division.
 (Now in submitting to a publisher you should get to know the publisher and what they produce. I knew that line though I had never considered writing anything for it. But, I’m good at instant brainstorming and instant prayer).
     I said a silent, speed prayer and an idea popped in my mind. I responded that if I wrote in that division, it would have to be stories of faith and courage on the home front of American wars. Rick said that sounded interesting and that hadn’t done that perspective. I mentioned it would be a huge project I would not want to write a lone and I couldn’t even start a proposal until the end of June. I thought of my friend Jane who wrote for the series (but knew she was busy) and Rick mentioned an author (Jane’s co-author) I didn’t know. End of chat and we moved on. Didn’t chat about it again at the conference.
     The end of June I finished writing a book (The 365 Most Important Bible Passages for Women due to release in April) and started to pray about the Home Front idea. At ICRS (a huge convention for book store owners) I chatted with Jane as well as some of the marketing people at AMG. Jane pitched the concept to AMG’s president. They all liked the idea and even gave me some input on what they’d like included. Jane had for the project, but put me in touch with her co-author Jocelyn who would be available. Joceyln and I worked up a proposal (not polished but presentable and close to completed) just in time for the August conference in Philly where Rick and I were both on the faculty. I asked Rick to set aside time to meet with me and showed him the proposal. He really liked it, but had forgotten our short chat. He asked for us to write more content and finish polishing the proposal by September. We did and in September the committee accepted the proposal. (This happened much, much faster than normal timelines and it helped that we both had written for the publisher in the past). I met Jocelyn a week later as we had planned to do research together when she came east to speak in PA.
So, listen to editors and needs.
If an editor asks you to consider writing within an area, or on a topic, take him or her seriously. Pray for God’s direction and inspiring ideas. 
Move past rejections and be available for conversations God orchestrates.

Friday, February 25, 2011

NOTES FROM AN AGENT by Blythe Daniels

One of the great tools that you as a writer have is the setting of a writers conference to wield your publishing prowess and show an editor or agent what genius ideas you have for your next (or first) book. We as agents or editors come onto the stage hoping to see some great talent that we believe will be a good match for one of our well-intended suitors/publishers. 

It is a bit like a good match making game. 

What you have to offer fits (or in some cases doesn’t fit and that isn’t a personal slight - we just can’t take everything we see) with what we’re working on with publishers. We generally know right away whether it’s going to be something we’re interested in or not. You can help us in the process by having a 2-minute sound bite that tells us a) what the book is about, b) what problem or issue your book is the answer to, and c) why you are the person to write it. 

As agents, we also want to see a fully-developed book proposal (even for fiction) and sample chapters where we can get a feel for your writing. But we want you to tell us about your book while we talk with you – not just hand us a proposal and ask us to read it. We want to see that when given the opportunity (for the publisher and future media interviews), you can effectively (and quickly!) relate what your book is about in a way that intrigues us and makes us want to hear more.

I also find it helpful to have a one-page with your photo on it and some background information on you, bullet points that talk about the key factors for your fiction or non-fiction book, and how we can reach you. You would be surprised how many writers don’t provide their email address anywhere on their documents. The photo helps us to remember meeting you and our conversation about your book.

At the conference, I’ll specifically be talking with writers about what makes a good agent and how to be your best publicist. I believe these two areas are critical for writers who want to advance their writing careers to the next level and who want to be smart about how they are handling the business side of writing (why having an agent makes sense) and how to publicize your book since this is an area that is no longer just a good idea, but a necessity.

I look forward to meeting you and talking with you at the conference. I hope your time at the conference will be profitable. Take the time to meet and talk with as many of the faculty as you can because they provide valuable feedback and ideas for you. And enjoy this time of being with other writers and professionals—just the focused time on writing and publishing is as valuable as the contacts you will make.

Blythe Daniel, The Blythe Daniel Agency, Inc.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011


Donna just shared this and Kindred Hearts and everyone at REACH FM are thrilled that Donna will be attending this year.  See you there Donna! Philippians 4:19


.by Donna Collins Tinsley on Wednesday, February 23, 2011 at 2:46pm.
To God be the Glory! Many thanks to the Lord and Reach FM! Just whethings seem the hardest and you wonder if the Lord is listening to your prayers, something wonderful happens. Many of you know from some of my blogs and posts that times are hard for many in my family. I have a wonderful family with a husband who works hard amidst intense pain, 4 beautiful daughters, 6 grandchildren and an extended family that I love so much! But as I have said before, we are not the Cleavers, Waltons, or Ingalls:) We are a work in progress and our only hope and anchor is the Lord Jesus.

The Lord knew it was the desire of my heart to go again to the Florida Christian Writer's Conference, but with work being slow for Bill, I just wasn't going to put that burden on him. He had said I could go for one day, but I felt there were other needs that were more important. Then lo and behold last week, I saw on the FCWC blog a contest. My Mama always said "Nothing ventured, nothing gained," and so, I decided to enter.
Well, lyrics of songs always stir my heart and I had several that I started thinking about. But “You are More” by Tenth Avenue North came through for me. I will write more about this and when it is allowed I will share the entry with y'all. Anitra Parmele from Reach FM called me yesterday and I am still on Cloud 9 but more than that praising the Lord who once again gave favor to one such as I, a woman who has never really known a father's love until I met Jesus. And I must say He is the best Father and provider around. He sees the hidden desires of the heart. He knows when we need a time of refreshing and study.

I am so grateful to Reach FM and the FCWC blog that posted the contest.


Saturday, February 19, 2011

Writing for Anthologies                                                                        Ava Pennington

You may have heard about it or experienced it. Editors won’t consider publishing your book without an agent, and agents won’t consider representing you if you haven’t been published. While that’s not always true, it does happen. What’s a writer to do?

One thing you can do is build a portfolio of publishing credits by writing short stories for anthologies or compilations. Inspirational series such as Chicken Soup for the Soul and God Allows U-Turns are always looking for terrific, true stories that will touch the hearts of their readers.

I speak from personal experience. Five years ago, I attended my first Florida Christian Writers Conference with several book proposals. The proposals were not accepted, but I was encouraged to pursue writing magazine articles to hone my craft and develop credibility as an author. At that time I’d already had one story published in a volume of Chicken Soup for the Soul.

Over the next several years, twenty additional anthologies published my stories, including 15 different volumes of Chicken Soup for the Soul. I also wrote articles for a variety of magazines, including The Lookout, Evangel, and Focus on the Family’s Clubhouse.

Last year, Revell Books published my first book, One Year Alone with God: 366 Devotions on the Names of God. This year, Standard Publishing published two children’s books, Do You Love Me More? and Will I See You Today?, co-authored with Crystal Bowman.

If you are interested in learning how to write for anthologies, I’ll be teaching two workshops on Saturday, March 5th, at 2:45 and 4:00. In the first session, we’ll talk about the components of a winning story. We’ll spend the second session in a hands-on exercise as we turn a mediocre story into a winner, using the principles learned in the first workshop.

I’ll also be facilitating an “After Hours” session on Saturday evening where participants will have the opportunity to have their true stories critiqued, so bring something you’re working on!

Hope to see you there!

Sunday, February 13, 2011


An Invitation To Learn More About Songwriting—At FCWC 2011 
Several years ago at the Florida Christian Writers Conference, there was a songwriting workshop as part of the nightowl sessions. As a beginning songwriter, I attended and received much encouragement. The next year I did the same and felt a bonding with the songwriters who returned from the year before. What a joy it was to share our songs.
Since then I started taking songwriting lessons from Kenn Mann, the worship leader at my church. I’ve been amazed at how much I’ve learned about songwriting from him. And what joy I’ve experienced in the process—like the times I’ve been working on a song the Lord was giving me and started weeping at how wonderful God is and for the privilege of putting that wonder down in a song I can sing back to Him.

With Kenn’s encouragement, I attended Babbie Mason’s Inner Circle songwriting workshop in November 2010 and learned more about being an excellent songwriter. I’ve had demos made of some of my songs and sent them to publishers. So far I haven’t had anything accepted, but I’m waiting to hear back from a publisher on another set of songs I sent recently.

This year my songwriting teacher, Kenn Mann, will teach a two-part songwriting class on Friday, March 4th at 1:30pm and at 2:45pm. Through this class you can learn what makes an excellent song and how to improve songs you’re working on. The class would also be excellent for poets since writing poems and writing songs are closely related.
Kenn has been a worship leader for well over 20 years. He has created and had published four (4) major musicals and over fifty (50) choral anthems by such companies as Word Music, Brentwood-Benson, Clydesdale & Clydesdale, Radiant Music, Spring Hill / Gaither Music, Monarch Music and The Lorenz Corporation.
He presently co-writes music with Spring Hill Music Artist, Babbie Mason (whom Kenn sees as his mentor.) Together they wrote the #1 inspirational song “The Sea of Forgetfulness,” which was recorded by Helen Baylor. Kenn co-wrote “Make us One,” which won the Gospel Music Association’s 1997 Dove Award for Musical of The Year.”

About his walk with God, Kenn says: “He continues to speak to my heart daily revealing to me His plan for my life. I’ve learned too well that accolades fade and fame is always short lived; but God’s anointing and grace are fresh every day. I never want to tire of knowing Him more.”
Kenn and I will also be leading an informal songwriting nightowl session on Friday evening after the general session. You can bring your songs there to have them critiqued. 
If you have any inkling of exploring the world of songwriting or if you already have songs and want to move to the next level, I hope that you will take part in the songwriting offerings at the conference. I look forward to hearing and being blessed by your songs.
Elaine Creasman

Saturday, February 12, 2011

You've been inspired, challenged or encouraged by the lyrics of a song on Reach FM. 
Now it's your chance to share your story.

 here to submit your story before midnight on Sunday, February 20, 2011.  
You could be selected to attend the Florida Writers Conference.
Florida Writers Conference
The Florida Christian Writers Conference is one of the premier writing conferences in the nation. This conference provides unprecedented access to editors, agents and best-selling authors.   Writing tracks include fiction, non-fiction, children, devotions and a track specifically for teen writers. Whether you are a beginner or a multi-published author, this conference is the next step in your unique publishing journey.  
For more information and to register for the conference,
call 321-269-5831 or
Reach FM Contest Rules apply. Additional rules here.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011


(marketing brainstorming summit)

I’m Karen Whiting, author of more than a dozen books with four more to be released in the coming year.
The conference is just around the corner and I’m gearing up for leading the continuing class. it’s all about the participants and you won’t even hear me lecture much.  I bring in guests and have a continuing guest who is fantastic-the marketing director from AMG Publishers John Fallahee. John has a side business helping people learn to study the Bible that has had phenomenal growth in social networking.

It doesn’t work or go like most workshops.  These classes are to generate ideas for each individual. I ask the people in the group to fill out an index card with their name, book title/topic, and a focus statement of what the book is about and who most needs it.  We continually give ideas on applying various marketing ideas to the book titles of the participants (using the cards.) Each day after learning about an area of marketing we divide into small groups and brainstorm ways to apply that day's concepts to each person’s book.

The Holy Spirit has gifted me with the ability to brainstorm marketing ideas and I have a great passion for helping people harness promotional concepts for their books.  John is a treasure chest of ideas. I’m praying the Holy Spirit will also pour out ideas on everyone in the group.

Market areas we will cover include:
            What’s in a marketing plan
            (and how to build one)
            Marketing via media
            Virtual marketing, 
            (including social networking)
            Non-virtual promotion
            Developing expertise in your topic
            Elements of a best seller
            Choosing what to work on next 
           (can’t do it all at once)

So, if you need to add more ideas to your book proposal or you have a book ready to launch, this continuing class will benefit you.

Meanwhile, please pray for my family and the other faculty. My husband has breast cancer and after a clean slate for several moths, cancer cells are growing again so they need to change his treatment. One daughter-in-law has a brain tumor. And that’s part of life that continues for so any writers.

I can’t wait to be there, meet new people with new visions and help them move forward with their dreams.

Monday, February 7, 2011

CHECK OUT THIS NEWS STORY/ Scholarship Available

THE FOLLOWING ARTICLE BY ANITRA PARMELE  APPEARED IN THE GOOD NEWS 2/5/11 and Anitra gave us permission to run it on the FCWC blog. 
Ray Quinn is cynical, bitter and somewhat aimless. You can’t really blame him. Crippled by a gunman’s bullet, Ray was forced into retiring from his life as an Orlando homicide detective. His new life is bookended by his two “friends” Jim and Joe. Ray relies on Jim Beam to get him to sleep and a “cup of joe” to wake him up.

That bullet that crippled Ray? There were more where that came from- one of which struck and killed his partner, Tricia, with whom he had just begun to express his tender, and tentative, love to.

Lost in the story

Did I mention that Ray is a fictional character? If you lost track of that fact, it is a testimony to both Mark Mynheir’s skill and experience that Ray Quinn comes to life within the pages of this follow-up to The Night Watchman.

The Corruptible picks up the story of Ray Quinn and his rag-tag staff at The Night Watchman Private Detective Agency which includes Pam, a possible contender for the position of love interest if Ray can ever manage to extricate his heart. As a believer in Christ, Pam serves as the perfect foil for both Mark’s initial contempt and ultimately his growing respect of the faith she not only professes but which marks her daily life.

Mark my words

Don’t be deceived. This is not solely an incredibly engrossing hard-boiled murder mystery, although even sticklers for procedure will revel in the authentic detail. Mynheir has managed to provide readers a novel which allows them to plunge headlong into the thoughts, actions, and motives of people who “exist” solely on the pages of his novel and within his fertile imagination. A task which any writer will agree looks the most effortless only when blood is spilled (along with sweat) on the part of the writer.

About the Author

Born and raised on the east coast of Central Florida, Mark battled dyslexia and dysgraphia throughout his education - finding success in sports, including football and martial arts.

After four years in the Marines, Mark entered law enforcement where sympathetic co-workers and a lot of hustle on his part hid his daily struggles with the endless paperwork associated with the job - a job in which he excelled as he worked as a narcotics agent, S.W.A.T. team member and Palm Bay homicide detective.

A health crisis with his oldest son led Mark to investigate the claims of Christ as revealed in the pages of the Bible. The once self-described hard-drinking, profane man who struggled with the minimum requirements of written communication became a husband, father, police officer and novelist highly respected and loved by family, friends and readers for his finely-tuned and incredibly engaging novels.

About his inspiration

After attending his first Florida Christian Writers Conference over a decade ago, Mark points to this annual conference as the place where he successfully pitched his novels, secured an agent and widened his circle of colleagues around the country.

This year, Mark is scheduled to co-lead the Fiction block of classes, an honor which he sees as his opportunity to give back to eager writers in the same way that he received encouragement each time he attended the Florida Christian Writers Conference.

Start … Write Now… And Win

In recognition of the elements of Mark’s success story at work within prospective writers around our community, The Good News is offering a scholarship to the upcoming Florida Christian Writers Conference. Submitting your entry is simple. Write an article (500-800 words) profiling an individual or organization within the tri-county area (Miami-Dade, Broward or Palm Beach County) that has impacted our community for the better. It could be your neighbor who mentors young men at the area middle school, the Girl Scout troop that raised money to buy furniture after a family’s house fire, or your church’s prison ministry. E-mail your story and a picture of the subject to before midnight February 15, 2011 and you may be one step closer to making 2011 the year you’re published.

Friday, February 4, 2011

KINDRED HEART WRITERS displayed this post on Friday, Feb.4 written by Johnnie Donley. Is she excited about the conference?  OH YES!  We all are looking forward to it and hope we see you there.

Four weeks from today, on Friday, March 4th, we'll be in the midst of the 2011 Florida Christian Writers Conference (March 3rd - 6th). Clella will arrive early in the week so she can be there to welcome the attendees and help them with registration. The rest of us will arrive on Wednesday evening, just in time for supper. Believe me, there'll be lots of hugging, laughing, and interrupting each other before we settle down to eat!

We're busy getting ready. Clella, Karen, and I got together last week to work on a book proposal for a collection of devotions that the five of us have written. We're submitting this proposal to an editor at the conference.

We're also working on our individual proposals, trying to decide on the continuing classes and workshops we want to take, and planning the appointments we want to make with the publishing professionals who'll be attending.

A writers conference is a great place to meet agents, editors, and other writers. It's a great place to find out the latest trends and genre-specific craftsmanship.

And take it from me -- a writers conference is a great place to make significant, lasting friendships.

When the writers conference is held in Leesburg, Florida, you can add sunshine, warmer weather than most of the rest of the country, and confernce director Billie Wilson's southern charm to its appeal.

If you've already registered, be sure and look us up. If you're not, what are you waiting for? It's not too late and we'd love to see you there.

Check out the FCWC Blog for interviews with the faculty and staff. You can also find the FCWC on Facebook.