2015 CO Continuing Sessions for format

1 - From Overwhelmed to Creative Breakthrough

Scoti Domeij

Allen Arnold
Former Publisher
Director of Content, Ransomed Hearts Ministries

Allen’s mission is to help storytellers, songwriters, and artists discover how to intimately and actively create with God. He cut his teeth in the advertising world (think the HBO series Mad Men on steroids) and then spent more than twenty years in Christian publishing.

As the founding Fiction Publisher for one of the world’s largest Christian publishing houses, Allen oversaw the development of more than five hundred novels. He knows first-hand how common it is for creators to become disheartened, overwhelmed, or burnt-out as well as what it takes to help the dreams of writers become reality.

He now oversees Content at Ransomed Heart – a ministry in the mountains of Colorado led by New York Times bestselling author John Eldredge. But that doesn’t really describe the man. Allen savors time with his family, craves the beach, drinks salsa by the glass, and is hooked on the TV series Lost. He pursues his calling to the larger creative community as a featured or keynote speaker at numerous gatherings and conferences each year.

You were never meant to write alone. Writers are given endless, often contradictory advice about the craft, business, and marketing aspects of their calling. The result is the initial joy of creativity is replaced with feelings of being overwhelmed, disheartened, and alone. This class foregoes the typical answers for a refreshing journey into why God invited you to write in the first place, what your truer identity means, and how you can actively create together with the Creator. It's an interactive, invigorating class that is equal parts practical and mysterious. Gain peace, clarity, and breakthrough to the story you are living as well as the story you are writing.

 2 - Indie Publishing Boot Camp

Cheri Cowell

Cheri Cowell

Author, Speaker, Sidewalk Theologian
Owner & Publisher, EABooks Publishing

Cheri brings a unique blend of publisher and author experience to her company which benefits new, aspiring, and accomplished authors. As an author and speaker herself, with four traditionally published books including Parables and Word Pictures, a Bible study by AMG, and 365 Devotions for Peace by Thomas Nelson, she understands the traditional pubishing world. She also has several books published by EABooks Publishing including See For Yourself and Living the Story: Reaching Outside the Church Walls, so she is well versed in both sides of the partnership publishing world. Cheri is also a frequent contributor to several writers’ magazines and blogs – Google her name.

Cheri began EABooks after learning how to get her own materials into e-book format. With her passion of helping others see God’s Word come alive, she is excited to expand that mission by helping fellow autors take advantage of all the new publishing trends. Says Cheri, “Whether your vision is e-books, print, or audiobooks, we can help you expand your reach with the message God gave you.” Recently EABooks added editing and author marketing servies to enhance the publishing experience and expand the reach of God’s messengers into the world. To date, REABooks Publishing has published 86 projects representing 46 authors. 

Pros and cons of this growing trend, how to evaluate your options, the basics of formatting and cover design, e-book options, and how marketing your self-published book is different than a traditionally published book.

Session 1 – Evaluating Indie/Co/Self-Publishing: The Pros and Cons of Doing it Yourself

Session 2 – Understanding the Do-it-Yourself Process: We’ll look at the various things you need to master if you’re going to indie-publish.

Session 3 – Why EBook? We’ll look at the limitations in e-book technology and what it takes to convert your book into an e-book for Kindle and others.

Session 4 – Marketing an Indie Book: We’ll look at three major components of a marketing plan including your brand, an Internet presence, and what is needed in a social media plan. 

Session 5  – Before the Book is Written: This blueprint for action includes addressing the same questions traditional publishers ask – who is your target market, how will you reach them, what is your core message, and more. Come learn the questions any good author must answer and then how indie authors address them.

3 – Secrets of a Winning Book Proposal
     How-to . . . Step-by-Step (fiction and nonfiction)

Mike Dellosso

Scoti Domeij
Acquisitions Editor
Blackside Publishing
Director, Springs Writers

​Scoti has held various responsibilities with ten traditional publishers, including author; editor; senior research assistant; copywriter; marketing director; and production, art, and design coordinator. As Director of Springs Writers, which offers monthly conference-quality workshops and bi-annual writing boot camps, Scoti’s passion is to help writers hone their skills, pursue their passion, and publish the story God embedded in their hearts.

She has published over 400 articles in such diverse periodicals as The New York Times, Southwest Art, School Daze, Sam Journal, Contemporary Christian Music, Focus on the Family magazine and other parenting magazines. She contributed to Violence of Action: The Untold Stories of the 75th Ranger Regiment in the War on Terror (Blackside Concepts), Love is a Verb and Heaven Touching Earth (Bethany House), Christmas Miracles (St. Martin’s Press), Extraordinary Answers to Prayer: In Times of Change (Guideposts), and The Mommy Diaries: Finding Yourself in the Daily Adventure (Revell). She authored Bible Heroes (Rainbow Publishers) and co-authored Wrong Way, Jonah (Harvest House Publishers) with Kay Arthur. 

Scoti is the proud Gold Star mother of Army Ranger Sgt. First Class Kristoffer Domeij, KIA October 22, 2011, in Afghanistan on his 14th deployment, the most deployed solder in American history to be killed in action. As a result of her loss, God opened the door for Scoti to become the Acquisitions Editor for Blackside Publishing. In her role as an editor and a contributing writer for Havok Journal, an online Huff-post-style journal targeted to and written by military personnel and veterans, Scoti opens conversations on subjects-you’re-not-supposed-to-talk-about. 

Are you writing memoir, self-help, nonfiction, or fiction, but wonder how to write a book proposal? Whether your book is an idea, rough draft, or completed work, writing a book proposal provides the key to attract agents or publishers, or sell to readers if self-publishing. Clear away the dread and fear.

This “show, don’t tell” continuing session will give you the confidence to write a winning proposal. Scoti will walk you step-by-step through the how-to’s for each section: From selling the sizzle, the title, opening and hook; to sizing up the target readers, the competition and the statistics; to laying your heart on the line, your expertise, bio, and platform. From pitching your book’s special features and back matter to your platform to your marketing plan. From nonfiction templates for the 1-2 paragraph description and unique selling proposition to fiction templates for a one-page summary or longer plot synopsis templates. You can write the perfect package. Those who attend this continuing session will receive book proposal templates, diagnostic checklists, sample foreword and endorsement query letter, and a how to analyze your target audience worksheet. 

4 - Christian Speculative Fiction

Liz Duckworth

Jeff Gerke
Author, Freelance Editor

When you’re truly ready to make your fiction publishable, it’s time to call Jeff Gerke. Jeff trains novelists how to better do what it is they’re trying to do through his books for Writers Digest: The Irresistible Novel, Plot Versus Character, The First 50 Pages, Write Your Novel in a Month, and The Art & Craft of Writing Christian Fiction. He trains through the many writers’ conferences he teaches at all over the country every year. He trained his authors when he ran Marcher Lord Press, the premier publisher of Christian speculative fiction, which he sold after an award-winning 5-year run. And he trains through the freelance editing he does for his clients at www.jeffgerke.com. Jeff is known for his canny book doctoring skills and his encouraging manner which leaves writers feeling empowered and like they really can do this thing after all. He lives in Colorado Springs with his wife and three children.

Those of us who write the “weird” kinds of fiction (science fiction, fantasy, superhero, dystopian, spiritual warfare, etc.) know that the principles that make for great fiction of any kind apply equally to fiction of the strange kind. Christian speculative fiction is just regular Christian fiction...with dragons. And space marines. And demons. No matter what genre of fiction you write, come learn from a five-time Writers Digest author how to make great fiction. You’ll learn the so-called “rules” of fiction and what to so-called do with them. You’ll learn the neuroscience tips that will let you hack your reader’s brain. You’ll learn from Jeff’s latest WD book, The Irresistible Novel, plus get more of his notoriously helpful, funny, and encouraging lore, with pretty much all his examples being drawn from speculative fiction.

5 – Addressing Today’s Issues  

Will we, as Michael Gantt urges, pray “day in and day out for a move of God that will shake the nation out of its spiritual coma”?
Seven faculty will address the critical issues of our day and how writers can make a difference.

Linda Evans Shepherd

Thursday, 10:15 – 10:55 am
America at the Crossroads
Charles Patricoff

Charles is an author with a personal passion for American history and our nation’s unique Christian heritage. As a Jewish follower of Yeshua, Charles speaks at Pro-Life and Tea Party rallies about our godly American heritage. “I write to preserve life and liberty, because by fighting to provide freedom for others, we preserve freedom for ourselves.” For over 35 years he supported the Department of Defense where his work gained recognition throughout the military and weapons development corporations.

This is a pivotal year for the United States of America. Will it follow the current path and become a Progressive/Socialist society like many European morally and fiscally bankrupt states, or will it alter course to become a stronger Constitutional Republic? 

Linda Evans Shepherd

Thursday, 11:00 am – 11:45 am
Stand for Truth
Rick Marschall

Rick is the author or editor of 74 books and hundreds of magazine articles in categories ranging from pop culture to classical music to children’s books to Christian apologetics. He has taught at four universities; has spoken overseas on behalf of the Department of State; was Director of Product Development for Youth Specialties; was Editor of Marvel Comics; was Managing Editor of Rare Jewel magazine, the Christian worldview journal of culture and politics; and a writer for Disney. He produces the weekly blog Monday Morning Music Ministry. His essays and articles have appeared on the sites Real Clear Religion, the Assist News Service, CBN.com, and the Renewing American Leadership (ReAL) organization.  

Do not be intimidated about taking stands or against laying strong foundations in your writing. God's people have faced the same challenges through all of history. How to stand for the Truth, and remain accessible.

NOTE: Charles Patricoff and Rick Marschall will lead a round table night owl Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday night on “America at the Crossroads” where they will facilitate deeper discussions on topics raised during the “Addressing the Issues” continuing session. They will focus on their respective areas of expertise:

Abortion (Charles)
Cultural Restoration (Rick)
Israel (Charles)
Christian Heritage in American History (Rick)
Self-Governance and Church in Politics (Rick)
Islam (Charles) 

Linda Evans Shepherd

Thursday, 4:45 – 5:45 pm
Answering Christianity’s Critics
Bill Watkins

Bill is a long-time writer, editor, mentor, consultant, teacher, speaker, and author of 7 books and 25 study guides. He is president of Literary Solutions and the senior editor at BroadStreet Publishing Group.

Antagonism toward the Christian faith and believers is at a new high in American culture. Find out how you can answer Christianity’s critics and win their respect in the process.



Patricia Raybon

Friday, 10:45 – 11:45 am
Grace, Race & Forgiveness
Patricia Raybon

Patricia’s award-winning writing includes her memoir, My First White Friend, winner of a Christopher Award and a Books for a Better Life Award.

A candid exploration of Patricia’s determination as an author, person of color, woman, and believer to heal her racial wounds by exploring the Bible’s secrets of forgiveness.




Steven Hutson

Friday, 4:45 – 5:15 pm
Know What You Believe
Steve Hutson

Steve is an author, literary agent, consultant, non-conformist, and author of In Search of Clarity: A Look at Religious Confusion in America.

The Word of God tells us that we should always be prepared to give an answer for the hope we have (1 Pet. 3:15). Whether you write devotionals or detective mysteries, your story will be informed – even subconsciously – by your innermost thoughts and beliefs. Steve won’t tell you what to believe, but he will exhort you to go deeper and follow your convictions. Let your writing draw you closer to God.


  N Paul Williams
Friday, 5:15 – 5:45

Write His Question
Nathan Williams

Nathan is an author and speaker driven by his passion to see others know Jesus on a deeper level. He combines unconventional thinking with creative applications to help people deal with their issues before their issues deal with them.

The best way to undermine the simple potency of the answer is to befuddle, obfuscate, and otherwise thoroughly confuse the question. Deep answers become shallow platitudes when the question is ignored. And it is only in the desperate throes of a question that Jesus can be fully known as the Answer. The best weapon in our arsenal is not always the “right answer” but rather the “better question.” Sometimes, the right answer is enough to make the answer as obvious as words written on a billboard.​


Charles Patricoff

Saturday, 2:15 – 2:55 pm
How Then Should We Live? – Part 1
Charles Patricoff

This question first appears in Ezekiel 33:10 after God appoints Ezekiel a watchman for the house of Israel. As Ezekiel 33 watchmen, we can see trouble coming upon the land. As Christian writers, we have a duty to sound His warning and write His answer. 



  Michael Gantt

Saturday, 3:00 – 3:45 pm
How Then Should we Live? – Part 2
Michael Gantt

Michael has been in full time pastoral ministry for 42 years, and active in international ministry for over 20 years. He is deeply committed to the restoration of the family as the center of the Kingdom of Heaven. He blogs at Growing Godly Seed.

God has established a moral standard to govern all men. It is not a standard for some men to obey, while others are free to ignore. The moral laws of God are not constraints as much as they are a guard rail. They are not meant to hem us in but to protect us from danger. When men and nations honor the moral principles of Scripture they reap blessings that are tied to those principles. Those who put their trust in God will not be disappointed, and they will not be abandoned in the hour of trouble. But we must not put our trust in men, or politicians, or the pillow prophets who proclaim ease and comfort and that “our best days are ahead.” There are God-appointed principles by which we must govern our lives in order to know his blessing and mercy.

6 - Reaching Youth through Fiction

David Fessenden


Tim Shoemaker
Author, Speaker

Tim is a full-time speaker and author of 11 books. He is passionate about writing and has worked with youth for over twenty years. Code of Silence, book one of his contemporary suspense series with Zonderkidz, was included in the Booklist Online “Top Ten Crime Novels for Youth” list. Tim was selected by School Library Journal to serve on a four-member “Mysteries and Thrillers” panel for their Summer Teen Event.

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. Tim has a passionate style of teaching that makes his workshops enjoyable and helps make even difficult topics clear. Happily married for over thirty-five years, Tim has three grown sons and still loves doing volunteer youth work.

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 look at who you need to be targeting with your writing – and how to avoid the “kisses of death” in the process. Action and fight scenes are critical to your story. We’ll share secrets for making them real. Point-of-view, when to show and when to tell, creating stronger scenes, and writing better dialogue – we’ll cover all these essentials of great fiction and show you how to use them to boost your story to the next level.

7 - Thriving in Today’s Publishing World

N Paul Williams

Dave Lambert
Editorial Director, Somersault Group™

 Dave is the editorial director, responsible for managing the editorial development process for each manuscript for Somersault. He is also the owner of Lambert Editorial. Dave is the author of ten books (including The Missionary); a requested speaker; former senior fiction editor at Howard Publishing, a division of Simon & Schuster; and former executive editor for fiction at Zondervan. His experience includes both book and magazine publishing.

Dave’s a lifelong acoustic music fan who likes nothing better than browsing through a good guitar store, trying out instruments he can’t afford and pretending he can actually play.

Have at least one published book (traditionally or independently) under your belt? Then join this industry pro for six hours not just on how to get your next book written and published but how to make your next two years more productive and successful than the last two. We’ll talk about: Understanding the massive changes in the industry and what those changes offer you; creating a publishing strategy that’s all your own; finding and taking advantage of the latest consumer research; finding the best editorial help; how to do marketing right; your online and social media presence; and what top-quality video and audio production might offer you. Doors are open to today’s authors that have never been open before, but walking through those doors requires that you be prepared to invest, with both time and money, in your writing career. Are you? Bring your questions, and go home prepared to make the most of the opportunities of the next two years.  

8 - First-Chapter Boot Camp (nonfiction)

Marianne Hering


Andy Scheer
Andy Scheer Editorial Services

Andy has worked in publishing since 1984. Now a writer and editor, he's served as editor-in-chief for the Christian Writers Guild and Editorial Director for Believers Press. He’s also been an agent with Hartline and an editor with Moody magazine. As a freelance book editor since 2010, he’s edited fiction and nonfiction projects for Moody Publishers and Kregal as well as individual clients including Dirk Cussler, McNair Wilson, DiAnn Mills, and Sammy Tippit. A journalism graduate of Colorado State University, he also studied at Denver Seminary

In this hands-on class, learn what your first chapter and especially your opening page must accomplish so potential readers will want to buy your nonfiction  book. You'll learn to align your content and approach for maximum effect with your target audience. (Intermediate to advanced)

Participants should bring and be prepared to discuss their:

1) first chapter

2) one-paragraph description of target audience

3) one-sentence summary of project’s  purpose

Be prepared for in-class writing and daily homework assignments. Bring a laptop or a fresh legal pad and plenty of pencils.

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 a dozen books today. I hope to be involved for at least another decade because I've got more to learn—and write!

Linda Evans Shepherd