Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Gearing up for the 2013 Conference!

February 27-March 3, 2013 at Lake Yale Baptist Conference Center.

Friend us on facebook (Florida Christian Writers Conference) and get ready for the launch of the new website at a brand new address.

Keynoters include: Steven James, Sally Stuart, Dan Walsh, Alton Gansky.

Many speakers, editors, and agents coming to FCWC for the first time!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012


All of the conferees for the past twenty-five years extend sympathy to our director, Billie Wilson at the death of her dear husband, Doug, on June 12,2012. Please pray for Billie and her loving family at this sad time.

Monday, February 27, 2012



Are you excited? I am and here’s why:

  1. This week is the 25th Florida Christian Writers Conference near Orlando. Twenty-five years! Wow.
  2. Six continuing classes, mentoring tracks, 56 elective workshops, and 12 After Hours workshops.
  3. Cecil Murphy is the keynote speaker. He alone is worth the price of admission.
  4. An amazing faculty of excited 46 authors, agents, editors, and publishers.
  5. One-on-one meeting with the above 46 encouragers.
  6. Opportunities to have your submissions read and critiqued by the faculty.
  7. Opportunities to meet with exciting faculty for manuscript CPR.
  8. Worship in song and word.
  9. Great food.
  10. Opportunities to sit with your any of the 46 faculty during meals.
  11. Getting to experience Billie’s southern humor.
  12. Opportunities to connect with the conferees throughout the conference.
  13. The chance to learn what type of writing excites the conferees.
  14. Hearing the great ideas in the conferee’s queries and proposals.
  15. And finally, I am truly excited to share my workshops with the conferees. I have been fine-tuning my four workshops and two After Hours sessions. It’s fun.
  16. One more. I have been building my Wednesday night pre-conference session, called, “Reasons.” We’ll have fun.

I’ve been using my iPad to build my presentations. Capturing images, adding text and photos, managing transitions, making changes on the fly, adding newly found content – I love my iPad.

I look forward to seeing you  Wednesday night or Thursday for sure.

John Vonhof


MOST ANSWERS ABOUT SCHEDULE FOR THE CONFERENCE CAN BE ANSWERED BY CHECKING THE WEB SITE AND CLICKING THE SCHEDULE TAB.  Looking forward to a great conference. Registrsation will start at 9:00 on Thursday, but I know we will see some of you much earlier.

Saturday, February 25, 2012


by Elaine Creasman 
It's hard to believe 25 years have passed since I first entered through the doors of the Florida Christian Writers Conference as a mom of young children and a new writer. I battled many unresolved emotional issues in my life, but felt God had called me to write personal experience articles about how He was intervening in each of these.
For the first few conferences, editors terrified me. It seemed they had the power to mend or break my heart with one word--"yes" or "no" when it came to my meager offerings. Often I would ask myself, "What am I doing here?" But along the way, God helped me find favor with editors and improve my writing. Much of the writing which I've had published--including numerous articles, poems, gift book contributions--is a result of connections I made at FCWC.
Even though I came to the conferences to learn about writing and later on to also help writers move on in their writing journeys (as I joined the staff,) the Florida Christian Writers Conference has also been more. It became a place for a spiritual retreat--an oasis away from the sometimes chaotic happenings in my life--to hear from God.
At the early conferences Peter Lord, who wrote the book Hearing God, helped to open the door to believing  God wanted to speak truth to me about Himself, about me, and about my writing. And at each conference (I've attended 23 out of 24 conferences) He has spoken truth. I have found myself coming home at times much more excited about how God was changing my thinking and healing my emotions than how many pieces editors said "yes" to. Over time I discovered these changes helped my writing.   
God convinced me at early conferences that He didn't want me merely to focus on my writing at the conference, but He desired I embrace how He wanted to heal me and help me as a Christian. He reminded me that If I wanted to be an excellent Christian writer, it was essential to also work on the "Christian" part of that title.
Along the way God has spoken life-changing truths to me at FCWC through the wisdom of Billie Wilson, through speakers, through faculty and fellow writers, and through times alone as I have sought Him in prayer. Times alone have become one of the most important parts of the conference, which I encourage all conferees to pursue.
One experience I had at a conference where Peter Lord spoke was a turning point in my relationship with God, the Father. I wrote about it, and it was published as part of a piece in a women's magazine and more recently on      
Excitement is mounting about the conference again. Yes, I'm preparing as far as the writing end of things goes, but I'm also getting my heart ready to hear from God.
Speak Lord, for Your servant is listening. 
How about you? Is your heart and mind open to hear what God has to say about Himself, about you, and about your writing? Are you eager to draw closer to Him as you take time away from your everyday life?
I pray God will bless you at FCWC 2012 as you seek to hear all He has to say to you. I'm confident it will be life-changing.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The Florida conference connected me to the world of publishing.  Now I help with it behind the scenes and teach at it. I’ll be teaching the continuing class on marketing again but it is never the same twice.

Each conference has a flavor one might say-that makes it unique. Florida has always been full of hope, graciousness, and friendliness. For me, returning each year is also a reunion of friends, including the editors and a place where I meet new friends.

No matter where you are in the process of writing this is a conference that will help you move forward. I have seen the people who persist and apply what they learn succeed, although the timing is always in God’s hands.

I bring in guests to speak and add some of their experience on various aspects of marketing covered. We start each session sharing information about marketing. And then the participants divide into two groups where we brainstorm how to apply the marketing principles to their own books. Making it individual helps each one start his, or her, own marketing plan.

Behind the scenes I try to help spread the word about the conference and work with ReachFM on interviewing some of the faculty and sharing about the conference throughout the year.

When you come, pray for God to set up the right meetings with people.

Come ready to listen and accept advise. The faculty members want to help you improve and get published. They are experienced, so listen.

Come eager, but pace each day as it can be overwhelming. Take breaks and don’t try to do everything.

Come and make friends. Gather emails and make connections and plans to stay I touch with at least a few people.

Let God plan the agenda.


Saturday, February 18, 2012


Hey, everyone! Can't wait to see you at the FCWC this year. I've attended for the past 8 years (can it be 8? I think so.)
When you get there, find the sheets explaining the "After Hours" conferences. (They're really not too late, but after the evening sessions.)
I'm teaching some of the same confrences I taught last year, since many people emailed asking us to provide them again.
*  On Thursday, You'll find out how to get started on a poetry-writing career or just writing poetry for family and friends. We'll cover poetry basics and then more in-depth information on creating and publishing your poetry. Go to room 343 for "Everything You Always Wanted to Know about Poetry," by Edna Ellison. Bring poetry to read, if you like.
*  On Friday, we'll have fun discussing "How to Write a Bible Study that Can Change the World." You won't believe how God has blessed me: of the 23 books I've written, 13 of them are Bible studies. I've got a new one coming out this fall, and I'll tell you how it came to be born. I know God is about to bless you in more exciting ways! I hope you change the world with your future Bible studies of all kinds.
*  On Saturday, let's have our final After Hour session on "Writing for Women." We'll cover how to appeal to women who read articles, books, poetry, and Bible studies you can sell to publishers to satisfy the longing in today's women for God's heartbeat in their lives and the lives of their families. Women of influence, come on over to the After Hours sessions every night.
   Oh, yes!  As you come into any of these sessions, win a prize by telling me you saw this online.      
I can't wait to see you at Lake Yale!
 In Christ,
Dr. Edna M. Ellison
170 Buckstone Lane
Spartanburg, SC 29307 

Thursday, February 16, 2012


Cost or Investment?     by Ava Pennington

February – the month between paying off your Christmas bills and collecting the documents you’ll need to file your taxes. Money is tight, and can you really afford a writers conference right now?

The answer to that question is…it depends. It depends on whether you want to:

1. develop your writing skills. 
(Think your writing can’t be improved? Think again!)

2. learn how to prepare for the day when that book contract arrives. 
(Hint: marketing yourself and your writing begins long before you sign on the dotted line.)

3. network with other writers. 
(Let’s face it: no one understands a writer better than another writer!)

4. meet agents and editors.
(Where else will you be able to meet with agents and editors who are there to meet with you?)

5. listen to editors and agents speak about what they’re looking for and what they’re not looking for. 
(The publishing industry is changing faster than Apple’s schedule for new iPhone releases. Don’t be left behind with outdated information.)

6. hear from giants in the Christian publishing industry such as Cec Murphey.
(Unless you’re not interested in learning from an author of more than 120 books, including New York Times bestsellers?)

7. develop new friendships
(Yes, this is a business conference…but we have fun, too!)

8. discover publishing opportunities.
(I met the editors of my books at a Florida Christian Writers Conference!)

9. be blessed by the generosity of others.
(Scholarships are available. See the FCWC website for more information.

Don’t view attendance at the Florida Christian Writers Conference as a cost, view it as an investment. Are you ready to invest in your writing future?

Saturday, February 11, 2012


Writing for Anthologies                 

How do you develop credibility when you’re an unpublished writer? Artists have their portfolios. Managers have their resumes. Unpublished writers have…? And that’s the problem. How does an unpublished writer prove to agents and publishers that he or she is serious about writing and publication?

One way is to build a history of published work by writing for magazines and anthologies. An anthology is a collection of short works. It can be poetry, flash fiction, creative non-fiction, or songs. An example of a well-known anthology is the Chicken Soup for the Soul series. Series such as this one are continuously seeking excellent content.

The first submission for which I was paid was a short story for Chicken Soup for the Soul. Since then, I’ve written for a variety of magazines, including The Lookout, Evangel, Light and Life, and Focus on the Family’s Clubhouse. These publishing credits helped prepare me for the publication of my first book, One Year Alone with God: 366 Devotions on the Names of God (Revell), as well as the two children’s books I co-authored with Crystal Bowman in the Faith Basics for Kids series (Standard Publishing).

Having been published in more than twenty different anthologies, including sixteen Chicken Soup for the Soul books, I’ve learned some things about what makes one creative non-fiction submission stand out from the rest of the competition.

I’ll be sharing what I’ve learned in two workshops at the Florida Christian Writers Conference on Saturday, March 3, at 1:30 and 2:45. In the first session, we’ll discuss the components of a winning story. We’ll spend the second session in a hands-on exercise as we transform a mediocre story into a winner, using the principles learned in the first workshop.

I’ll also be facilitating an After Hours session Saturday evening for participants who want their anthology stories critiqued, so bring something you’re working on.

Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Monday, February 6, 2012

FIRST OF THREE POSTS by Ava Pennington

My First Writers Conference                                    by Ava Pennington

I attended my first Florida Christian Writers Conference (FCWC) full of hope and a suitcase packed with five copies of three different book proposals. Why so many copies? Because I was sure editors would fight over my work, and I wanted to ensure enough copies for everyone!

Not only did no one offer me a publishing contract, editors were less than complimentary about the quality of my writing. In tears, I called my husband that Friday night and apologized for wasting his money on what was clearly an out-of-reach dream.

As you can imagine, I had much to learn about publishing!

Was my first writers conference a disaster? Absolutely not! At that same conference, I learned just how much I did not know about writing and publishing. I learned about queries and proposals. I discovered acronyms such as POV and RUE. I met agents and editors who took the time to explain the basics of this industry to a neophyte who didn’t know how much she didn’t know.

I found prospects, too. One magazine editor reviewed my writing and gave me an opportunity to submit a magazine article to him…which he published a few months later!

Other editors and agents encouraged me to persevere. Over and over, what I heard was not No, but rather Not yet.

That was in 2006. I returned to the FCWC in 2007 and 2008. Each year I learned more, honed my skills, and was encouraged to continue persevering. I built up a substantial portfolio of publishing credits writing for magazines such as Focus on the Family’s Clubhouse and anthologies such as Chicken Soup for the Soul.

During the FCWC in 2009, I met the editor who acquired my one-year devotional, One Year Alone with God: 366 Devotions on the Names of God (Revell). At that same conference, I met the editor who acquired a co-authored project called Faith Basics for Kids, including Do You Love Me More? and Will I See You Today? (Standard Publishing).

In 2010, I taught a workshop on writing for anthologies which I will teach again this year.

Have I arrived? No. I’m still learning, still writing, and still attending the Florida Christian Writers Conference.

How about you?MY First Writers Conference

Thursday, February 2, 2012


I can’t believe this will be our 25th FC writers conference and I’m looking forward to seeing published projects as a result of our 2012 conference. It is exciting to go through all the emails flooding my Inbox. I just received this from Laura N.

Last year's conference was my first and was a huge a motivation for me as a writer. As a result of my consultation with Jesse Florea, I received a contract for one of my children's short stories from Clubhouse Jr. In addition, my first children's book in the God's Secret Garden Adventure series was published. I will bring some to put in the conference bookstore this year.

I received priceless mentoring in Christine's workshop, and as a result, my second children's manuscript is ready to put out there. Also, the first draft of the third book is almost done. I intend to work on it in her class this year. Needless to say, last year's conference lit a fire in me, so I'm even more excited about what I will learn and the contacts I will make in 2012, with God's help.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012


Dear Writer WannaBe,

I know you’re out there. And today, I’m thinking of you.
You’ve slogged it out alone for so long. You sit at your computer and dream of creating a masterpiece (okay, several). And you know God wants to use your words.
Maybe you’ve written a novel or a chunk of a nonfiction book. Perhaps poetry bubbles from your pen like foam off an overfilled glass of Coke. Are you working on a screenplay? Or do you prefer to tackle shorter pieces like devotionals, greeting cards, or Bible studies instead?
But, yes, my friend, you have a problem. You don’t know how to get your work out there, do you? These days, you hear so much about self-publishing. What’s up with that? And then there’s the whole “agent” thing. Who needs one, and why? 
I understand. You'd love to meet some editors in person, to find out firsthand what they need and want. You know you should keep improving your craft, but when will you find the time, and where will you find a teacher? Could you take the chance to have a professional evaluate your writing and give you some tips to make it shine? 
Of course it sounds scary—but imagine the possibilities. After all, Mom’s opinion can only take you so far. 
You're right. Those are some deep needs and extreme expectations. But did you know, my WannaBe friend, that you can find hope, help, and encouragement at a writers' conference? Please take time to consider attending the 25th annual Florida Christian Writers Conference (FCWC), March 1-4, 2012.
Allow me to share some reasons this conference could meet your needs (and a few of your wants as well):
  • Superb Speakers: Best-selling author and collaborator Cec Murpheyy (Gifted Hands, 90 Minutes in Heaven) will keynote this year’s conference. 
  • Terrific Teachers: The FCWC offers continuing seminars (including fiction and nonfiction mentoring clinics) as well as individual workshops, all taught by industry professionals. These people know their stuff and share ittoo. 
  • Amazing Appointments: Dedicated time with your favorite author, editor, or agent to discuss you, your work, or the sad state of the economy (Okay, I was kidding about the last part—but it’s your fifteen minutes).
  • Fantastic Friendships: You'll love spending time with other WannaBes. You speak the same language, so make sure you stop talking long enough to improve your writing.
  • Stellar Setting: Lake Yale Baptist Conference Center in Leesburg provides a tranquil, beautiful setting. And the meals rival Rachael Ray’s (or your mom’s).
Don’t have the money? Let’s talk about that. If you or your child wanted to play the piano, wouldn't you do your best to find the funds for lessons? And then there’s your pet. When Scruffy needs something, you make sure she has it. Right?
You invest in what you value. Isn't it time to put your money where your words are?
By the way, the FCWC offers a unique opportunity for teen Writer WannaBes (I know you’re out there): hours of hands-on Teen Track training with fantasy author and teacher extraordinaire Bryan Davis at a discount price. Teens, seniors, or in-betweens can register, check on scholarships, and discover many other details at the conference website
Do the research. Pray about it. Send me questions.( consider this my personal invitation to shed some Florida sunlight on your writing. I'd love to have you join me at the FCWC.

Your friend and fellow Writer WannaBe,

P.S. Read descriptions of the workshops I'll teach at the conference here. Have you attended the FCWC or another writers’ conference? Please add to my letter via your comments!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Note from Director, Billie Wilson

Conference details are looking good and it is not too late for you to register for the 25th Florida Christian Writers Conference. We have additional lodging available at Lake Yale and I am asking you to let everyone on your contact list know about the conference.
Hello Fellow Writers,
photo - Crystal BowmanIf you are trying to decide whether or not to attend this year's Florida Christian Writers' Conference, I have one word for you--come
Whether you are a novice writer or a published writer, there are classes designed just for you.
I first attended in 2006, and it was worth every penny. I attended classes, ate lunch with other writers, and had meetings with editors. As a result of that conference, I received several book contracts. I have been a part of this conference ever since, and it just keeps getting better. 
This year I will be teaching the continuing classes on writing for children. We will cover
everything from board books and picture books, to beginning readers and Bible storybooks. We will dissect all the sub-genres within the genre of children's literature, and you will leave knowing how to write like a pro for this age group. Class sizes are small and personal.
The dress code is comfortable and casual. Bring a jacket or sweater for chilly evenings and air-conditioned rooms.
Forget fashion and wear comfortable shoes.
I hope you decide to come, because you will be glad you did. You will meet some amazing people, learn a lot,
and laugh a lot.
See you soon!

Crystal Bowman

Wednesday, January 25, 2012


Billie has asked me to share this note with the followers of Florida Christian Writers' conference.  Exciting results from last year's conference.  Check it out by clicking to links in note. Congratulations C. Kevin Thompson.  

Note from Kevin:

The time has come! My debut novel, The Serpent’s Grasp, is set for release mid-February 2012 by OakTara Publishers!  I have attached the news release for you to see!  It shows all the distributors who will be selling the book as well as telling you about it!

You can also check out my website,, to find out the latest, stay informed, and get a sneak peek at the book!!  On that website is the Official Book Trailer, but you may also see the book trailer at!
Thank you for your support!

Best Regards,

Ocean.1.1.1.Email format.2

Monday, January 23, 2012


Every year I resolve to be more prepared for the conference. This year is no exception, but I looked at the countdown clock and realized only 37 days until  the day. For some reason, seeing it in writing may be just what I needed. I'm taking another look at the editors and publishers who will be attending. I'm dragging out a couple of devotions that I thought I might polish up a bit and submit to Mary Lou Reddick. I am so glad she will be with us this year-a lovely lady.
 I decided this afternoon that I needed to establish a  time table and a few goals for the next few weeks. My Kindred Hearts will be ecstatic to know they have finally persuaded me that goals are a good thing.
Guest posts for this blog would be so welcome. Perhaps you have some good memories you would like to share, or some of the writing tips you have gleaned from the conference would encourage an undecided conferee.
 Maybe you have a list of items that an individual needs to bring to the conference-for example, unless something has changed hair driers are not furnished.  I realize that has very little impact on your manuscript, but when we meet editors and fellow writers, it does help our self-confidence to feel we are at our best.
Just e-mail me and I will be glad to share your post on this blog.