2021 Workshops & Breakouts


Workshops will be video recorded
and available to view both during the conference
and for two months following.
Appointments will take place during the workshops,
allowing you to put the video on pause and return.
One workshop each time period will be LIVE.

All times are Eastern Daylight Savings Time

Wednesday, June 23

LIVE Early Bird Workshops

4:00 pm – 5:00 pm    
Kick Out Clichés and Christianese – Ava Pennington  LIVE
Have you encouraged readers to watch and pray and to stay in the Word while walking the straight and narrow so the world will not tarnish their trophy of grace? Is it your fervent prayer to carry your cross, live an abundant life, and let go and let God in the midst of your wilderness experiences? If we want our writing to make an impact in this day and age, in the final analysis, we must think outside the box and avoid clichés like the plague or our writing will be behind the eight ball!
     How many Christianese phrases and clichés did you find in the above paragraphs? Whether you are writing for believers or unbelievers, learn how to kick out clichés and Christianese for more effective writing. Your editors and readers will thank you!
     In addition to writing, Ava teaches a weekly Bible Study Fellowship (BSF) class. The class of 300 women represents 60+ different churches. Some class members are seekers, not affiliated with any church. She must teach in a way that speaks to both Christians and seekers – that means avoiding Christianese and clichés!

7:00 pm – 8:00 pm     
Brandstorming – Dick Bruso  LIVE
Don’t miss out! Learn how to set yourself apart by attending Dick Bruso’s highly acclaimed story-based Brandstorming session for creating powerful, unique, and enduring brands in a very noisy marketplace. 

For well over two decades, Dick has presented his in-demand Brandstorming program all across North America. This year, it’s being offered virtually, at no additional cost, as a special bonus, via Zoom, to all registrants of the 2021 Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference.

During this dynamic interactive session, Dick will demonstrate (with the assistance of two randomly selected attendees) how you and your writer colleagues can develop brands based on your unique and powerful life stories. You’ll also learn the secret of how to apply the “umbrella branding” approach to encompass all aspects of your career as a professional writer while staying totally congruent with your desired target markets.

THURSDAY, June 24                                     

11:50 – 12:45            

1A           Overcome Writer’s Block and Increase Productivity – Amy Deardon
This practical class will separate the parts of the writing process and give you a list of specific actions to take when blocked so you can finish your project fast and well.


1B            Does My Writing Offend You? – Edwina Perkins
For non-ethnic writers to understand how to include diversity in their manuscripts, they also need to address some important issues: Can white author write characters of color? What does diversity in Publishing look like in the Age of Black Lives Matter? Should white authors be afraid to write about BIPOC? Why are sensitivity readers necessary? Writers need to address the questions above because publishing houses are looking for more diversity in what authors are submitting. This workshop addresses the impact of writing about a culture outside of your own.

1C           Deep, Deep, Deep Deeper POV – Linda Glaz
Authors stumble and stammer when trying to write solid deep POV. And that’s to be expected when there’s confusion about what deep POV even means. Let’s have some straight talk about ways to write deep POV correctly and to understand when it is and when it isn’t necessary.

1D           How to Write Devotions People Love to Share – Beth Patch
Each day, God gives you stories worth sharing. Learn how to recognize them and craft them into devotions using the basic elements of good inspirational writing.

1E           Publishing 101 – Deb Haggerty  LIVE
Presenting yourself and your work successfully to an editor/publisher requires certain skills and documents. Ways to ensure you make that very important great first impression will be discussed along with tips and techniques to aid in the creative process. This is an interactive workshop with questions and discussion actively encouraged. Participants will:

1F           Make the Most of Little Tools – Karen Whiting
Create and wisely use bookmarks, memes, freebies, blog posts, FB live, and other marketing tools.

1G           Utilize the Digital Mission Field – Dr. Mel Tavares
Gain perspective and practical tools on how to use digital platforms as the mission field, impacting untold thousands (yes millions) around the world for Christ.


Lunchtime Small Group Q&A, 1:00-1:45 – LIVE

Celebration Web Design – Jonathan Shank

Faculty Networking – closed to conferees

2:45 – 3:40   

2A           Healing through Writing – Journals, Blogs, Books & More – Michele Chynoweth
Learn how writing down your story—whether through poetry, journaling, blogging, or even a memoir or novel—can help you heal from your painful past and inspire you to a new purpose for the future! Michele will share her journey which led her to follow a call to write her first novel and find her true purpose, and how her writing has led her on unexpected new paths to help others fulfill their destinies as authors. Learn how you too can find your purpose and engage in a writing practice that will free your mind, heart, and soul. 

2B           Taking Your Craft to The Next Level: Quick Fixes For 7 Writing Mistakes Even Great Writers Make – Karen Bouchard
Whether you’re a novice or veteran writer, how do you take your craft to the next level? It can be challenging to do on your own because if you’re not aware of mistakes you’re making, simply writing more may mean practicing the same mistakes over and over.

As a book coach and editor, I see the same mistakes made repeatedly in the work of novices and professional writers alike.

Many of the writing mistakes I cover in this workshop are easy to overlook, even for professional writers. You have a nagging feeling that your chapter, article, or blog post isn’t as powerful as you’d hoped it would be, but you can’t quite pinpoint where the problem lies.

In this workshop, I look at both the structural level of writing, and the word level, and point out common and often hard-to-spot mistakes made at each level. I also talk about how your reader’s experience is compromised in different ways when you make mistakes at the word level vs the structural level. Finally, I tell you exactly how to recognize and fix each mistake.


2C           The Heartbeat of Inspirational Romance – Susan Baganz
What constitutes an inspirational romance, and how far can a Christian writer realistically go with the romance between a man and a woman?

2D           The Genuine Article: From Idea to Acceptance – Marti Pieper
In her years of experiences as both writer and editor of hundreds of nonfiction articles and cover stories, Marti has learned how to take an idea, concept, or assignment and turn it into an article that not only sells but leaves a lasting impact. This workshop includes tips on brainstorming, identifying your target audience, focusing your idea, self-editing, and more. Learn to make editors smile and leave your audience asking for more.    

2E           Nonfiction Proposals that Pop – Jim Hart 
Your book proposal is often the first thing a prospective literary agent and editor will review as part of their decision-making process. Good proposals are noted and followed up on. Bad proposals are deleted and forgotten. “Proposals that Pop” will give you valuable information on what exactly should be, and what should not be, included in your proposal. Some of the themes discussed will include: Basic Structure Guidelines, Compelling Cover Letters, and Knowing When to Stop.

2F            Marketing for Introverts – Catherine Lawton
How to present yourself, grow your following by continuing to produce great content, develop a platform by being yourself, and connect authentically and helpfully with readers.

2G          Find Your Readers on Social Media – Rachel Schmoyer  LIVE
Tik-tok. Instagram. Reels. Facebook. Clubhouse. Twitter. Pinterest. Social media is EVERYWHERE. Learn how to use the power of the Internet to your advantage as Rachel shares the latest developments as well as best practices. 

FRIDAY, June 25

11:50 – 12:45

3A       The Emotionally Fit Writer – Jendayi “J” Harris
How to defeat negative emotions so you can stop procrastinating and get through the doubt, fear, worry, unworthiness, and criticism of your book project. The 5-step Emotional Fitness Workout for inner strength to feel happy, healthy, and whole for life so you can process those negative emotions that derail your efforts. What to do in the moment to handle emotions driving you to eat, drink, sleep, or watch movies to avoid writing. How to grow yourself to see yourself as an effective writer/author. This workshop will help writers understand the power of emotions for insight into their lives as well as provide a powerful “workout” to exercise their emotional bodies. ”J” will offer much needed tools to help you mature into a confident and successful Kingdom author.

3B          A Writer’s Armor – Edwina Perkins
Whether it be a quWhen under spiritual attack, Ephesians 6 reminds us to put on the entire armor of God. Why? To prepare for battle so we will still be standing afterward. As writers we need to understand spiritual attacks are real. The stories you pen today can impact generations to come. That’s a huge responsibility. No wonder we’re under attack. This workshop will address using a writer’s armor to fight against the battles we face.

3C           Researching Your Novel – Liz Curtis Higgs  LIVE
"He did his best to find just the right words. And what he wrote was honest and true" (Ecclesiastes 12:10 NIRV).
      As a writer of both contemporary and historical novels, Liz Curtis Higgs believes the best fiction is built on a solid, factual foundation, which research alone provides. From hands-on experience to online exploring, from finding the right books to interviewing the right people, Liz will show you how to create a believable time and place for your characters to live and breathe.

3D           Verb Power – Scoti Domeij
Are your sentences dying by verbicide? Verbs, the heartbeat of the sentence, pulse life through the body of your story or infuse life into your prose. Strengthen your writing voice. Discover how to turn passive verbs into action and picture verbs. 


3E           Internet Safety for Writers – Rachel Kent
Rachel will instruct writers on easy ways to protect themselves, their families, and their identities on the internet. By making small changes to different internet behaviors, authors can still engage with their readers without endangering themselves or their families. Rachel’s class will share practical changes to make so writers are more protected in their day-to-day lives.

3F           Marketing for Today’s Market – Blythe Daniel
Publishing has changed a lot over the years, months, and days. What is the best response for marketing dollars in today’s market? This workshop will address the: who, what, where and why of what you need to know as you market your book. What gives you the most optimal positioning and promotions? We’ll go over best practices and how to do it on a modest budget.

3G          Writing Nonfiction for Children – Karen Whiting
Class will cover:


FRIDAY, June 25
Lunchtime Small Group Q&A , 1:00 – 1:45   LIVE

Celebration Web Design – Jonathan Shank
Q & A Nonfiction Books – Bill Watkins, Literary Solutions
Marketers on a Mission – Patricia Durgin
Christian Indie Publishing Association (CIPA) – Susan Neal
Certified AWSA Coach (Advanced Writers & Speakers Association) – Ava Pennington
Editing Insiders – Janyre Tromp
Word Ninjas Online Coaching & Training – Karen Bouchard
Faculty Networking – Closed to conferees


FRIDAY, June 25
2:45 – 3:40

4A          How to Make Kindle Vella, Bingebooks, and Pubby Reviews Grow Your Brand and Increase Book Sales – Eddie Jones
Kindle Vella is a way to share serialized stories with readers over an extended period – one episode at a time. With Kindle Vella readers will read the first three episodes of every story for free and use new features, like Faves and Thumbs Up, to engage with stories. Once a reader is hooked on a story they will use "Tokens" to read subsequent episodes. Kindle Vella taps into the binge-reading market. Pubby is one of the few legit review services available (Netgalley is another). Reviews of Pubby reflect a negative rating but don't let that scare you away from Pubby. If you wrote a good to great book you can earn legit Amazon reviews with Pubby. In this class I'll show you how to make Pubby work for you. Bingebooks is an author-run site similar to BookBub without the hefty advertising and promotion fees. 

4B             Grammar – What You REALLY Need to Know – Marie Collinson – LIVE
As I tell my college students, poor grammar in a presentation makes a terrible first impression. Whether it be a query letter to an agent or an editor or your manuscript itself, submitting a piece of writing with grammatical errors is like walking into an interview with a grease stain on your tie, a run in your pantyhose, or food stuck between your front teeth. This course will focus on three areas of concern: grammatical problems like sentence structure errors (run-ons, fragments, subject/verb agreement issues), pronoun errors, and modifier errors; punctuation, especially comma use; and issues with mechanics, particularly the use of quotation marks and identifying tags.

4C           First Round Fiction Edits Using Story Structure – Janyre Tromp    
Structure is key to a successful novel. In this workshop Janyre, a twenty-year veteran editor and novelist, discusses how to use structure to edit your manuscript like a developmental editor.

4D           So, You Want to Write a Nonfiction Book – Jim Hart
This class is a discussion of the things an author should consider as they plan to write a nonfiction book. We will explore five important elements that need to be identified in order to write and publish a successful nonfiction book. Among those elements are the reader’s felt need, the author’s qualifications, the message, the audience, and the marketing.

4E           Making Your Book Line Up to a Felt Need – Blythe Daniel
Publishers are looking for books that meet a felt need – whether a novel or non-fiction. Does your book line up to an identifiable need? In this workshop we’ll look at how to take a general concept and bring it down to a felt need so that you can have every opportunity to grab the attention of a publisher with your book idea. If a book is too general, editors and agents can’t determine the hook or application and will pass over it. How can your book stand out? We’ll look at how to write a stand-out book and key points to include in your book proposal as well.  What makes your book unique? 


4F           Launch Your Book – David Winters
MEffective marketing of any book requires planning, organization, and a blueprint for success. This workshop provides concrete steps which can lead to a strong book launch. From conception of the idea through the first month of launch, certain themes separate Christian authors from others. Prayer must underpin aggressive planning from identifying the target audience to embracing the importance of God’s message contained in your book. We will cover what to do as you write, in the months leading up to launch, and the events surrounding the release of your book. Topics include building a web presence, Bookfunnel promos, street team, test readers, using several types of media relationships, cover and blurb strategies, news releases, live events, buying email promo lists, awards as a marketing strategy, four creative ideas to boost sales, etc.


4G           The How-to and Why of Writing Poetry – Catherine Lawton & Angie Bass Williams
Two gifted poets will split this hour workshop.
     Catherine will address how to improve, market, and publish your poetry. In the process, sharpen your observation skills, deepen your relationship with God, connect with and influence others.
     Angie will talk about how poetry packs a powerful punch. Teach the Word, offer hope, and keep the reader engaged by using rhythmic flow and cadence. Convert your poetry into song lyrics or greeting cards.


12:00 – 12:55

5A           The Business of Writing/Editing – Deb Haggerty  LIVE
When you turn on your computer to write, you are in business. Robert Benson has said every writer wears three hats—author, editor, and marketer. This workshop will cover what an author needs to know to set themselves up in business properly and to avoid mistakes that may befall them.
     The topics covered will be business formats—their advantages and disadvantages; local and state rules for businesses such as sales taxes and business licenses; professionals you need in your camp; tracking—time, expenses, space; advertising/marketing vs. return on investment; networking with other writers; logos and service marks, DBAs vs name.

5B           Revelation, Inspiration, or Perspiration? – Angie Bass Williams
How do I convey the message of my heart to the printed page? It takes discipline and perseverance to produce a book that blesses and encourages others.

5C           Be BOLD! Bridging the Gap through Edgy Christian Fiction – Michele Chynoweth
Are you a writer who desires to serve God but also wants to write a novel that’s down-to-earth, edgy, racy, raw  . . . REAL? Are you concerned that it may not fit in either the Christian or secular worlds? St. Paul told us in his writings to be “bold” in our ministry. Why preach to the choir when there are so many who need your story or message but may not pick up your book to read it if you are afraid to write it? There’s a way to write fiction that’s still clean and Christian but passionate, not pablum. As the bestselling author of several edgy contemporary suspense novels that re-imagine Bible stories, Michele will teach how we can write novels that come close to the line without going over it.

5D           Narrative Nonfiction: The Power of Story – Marti Pieper
How can I make my nonfiction more compelling? How can truth and creativity coexist in my work? In this workshop, which includes both practical tips and inspiring examples, Marti shares the basics of this popular genre. Learn how to transform your writing through the power of authentic storytelling while you catch – and keep your readers.

5E           The Art and Science of a Fiction Proposal – Janyre Tromp
A proposal is key to winning a publisher. But how does an author capitalize on the opportunity? In this workshop, you’ll learn the secrets to developing a fiction proposal. Janyre has intimate knowledge of 3 of the 4 sides of the publishing world—author, marketing manager, and editorial representative.

5F           How to Write Great Marketing Copy and Get Your Work the Attention it Deserves! – Karen Bouchard
Do you know how to write persuasive copy that will:

 From back cover copy to marketing emails, Facebook ads to web copy, you need to be able to write riveting copy that captures the imagination and inspires your reader to action. But writing good marketing copy is a different animal than writing articles or books. Karen is a bestselling author and professional copywriter, and in this workshop she’s going to walk you through the best-practices of crafting persuasive marketing copy. Whatever your genre or message, knowing how to write great copy can help you WOW editors and grow—and keep—your readership. 

5G          Secrets to Crafting a Talk that Sells Books – Michael J. Klassen
The fastest way to create an income stream, even faster than building a social media platform, is to create a talk that places you in front of groups—rather than individuals—to sell your books. Michael J. Klassen, who has addressed multiple thousands of people multiple times, will show you how. During your time together, you’ll learn:

Fiction or nonfiction, putting all of this together really isn’t that hard. Michael will give you the tools to make it happen.

Lunchtime Small Group Q&A, 1:05 – 1:55    LIVE 

Indie Publishers:

Ampelos Press – Marlene Bagnull
AudioBook Division, EABooks Publishing – Linda Goldfarb
Christian Book Services Services LLC, Carpenter's Son Publishing, Clovercroft Publishing – Larry A. Carpenter
EABooks Publishing – Jim Watkins
EBooks Listing Services – Amy Deardon
Fruitbearer Publishing – Pam Halter
Golden Morning Publishing – Leona Choy
Honeycomb House Publishing LLC – Dave Fessenden
Illumify Media Global – Michael J. Klassen & Karen Bouchard
Pageant Wheel Publishing – Kathryn Ross

SATURDAY, June 26 
2:00 – 2:55

6A           How to Make a Living as a Writer – Michael J. Klassen  LIVE
Life as a freelance writer can be compared to riding a roller coaster. Up one day and down the next. But you can smooth out the dips and bends by following the practical advice offered in this workshop. Topics covered include:

You can make a living as a freelance writer and still pay the bills. Michael will show you how.


6B          Self-Editing Checklist – Kathryn Ross
Move from brain dump to a manuscript ready for submission. 

6C           SHOW and TELL TIME: How to KNOW if you SHOW! – T.E. Bradford
You’ve heard the phrase “Show, don’t Tell,” but what does it mean? How do you find it— and more important—how do you FIX it in your own writing? Don’t worry, I’ll SHOW you (and Tell you, too)!


6D           20 Tips to Better Profile Interviews – Ava Pennington
Writing a profile article? Learn 20 tips to conduct more effective interviews. A successful interview will provide valuable material, enabling readers to connect with your interviewee . . . and with you! During the 20+ years Ava worked as a Human Resources executive in NYC, she conducted thousands of employment interviews. As a writer, she has published numerous profile articles.

6E           The Publishing Contract – David Fessenden
Just when you are rejoicing that your book is going to be published, you receive a thick envelope in the mail with the contract. This workshop explains the clauses in a standard book contract, from a layperson’s perspective. Disclaimer: Dave is not a lawyer and does not dispense legal advice!

6F           Improve Your Book’s Amazon Rank by Expanding Categories and Strengthening Keywords – Susan Neal
Would you like to attain a higher Amazon rank which would result in more book sales? This workshop describes techniques to boost your book’s rank by adding book categories and strengthening keywords. You can benefit from amazing sales when you apply these techniques.

Did you know you can have up to ten Amazon categories for your book? When you strategically choose additional categories with less competition, your book’s rank increases. When I added seven more categories to my book, 7 Steps To Get Off Sugar and Carbohydrates, it jumped from number ninety-eight in the diet category to number one in the healthy diet category. Healthy diet is a more specific category with fewer competing books. All it took was one phone call, and it became a number one Amazon best seller.

Susan Neal will demonstrate how to use the software Publisher Rocket to determine which keywords have the highest Amazon searches. Those are the keywords you want to use. After you figure out your additional categories and more robust keywords, it is time to update your Amazon book description and title set-up.


6G          Writing Books for Children – Michelle Lazurek
Many people want to write for children. But how do you write engaging content that not only tells a story but also keeps a young audience engaged despite the instant gratification world in which we live? In this workshop, Michelle will address the following aspects of children’s writing:



The Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference
 helped me focus on the tools I needed to refine and finish my first book,
40 Days in the Desert – A Devotional Guide for Uniformed Services.
Thanks to Marlene and her incredible staff.

Paul F. Bauer