Faculty Bios and Workshops

Candy Arrington


Candy Arrington’s writing provides biblical insights and practical advice, often on tough topics. Her publishing credits include hundreds of articles in magazines, newspapers, and online including Focus on the Family, Thriving Family, Clubhouse, Encounter, The Lookout, The Upper Room, River Region's Journey, CBN.com, The Writer, and Writer’s Digest. Candy’s stories have appeared in the Chicken Soup and Cup of Comfort series as well as other anthologies. She is coauthor of When Your Aging Parent Needs Care: Practical Help for This Season of Life (Harvest House) and Aftershock: Help, Hope, and Healing in the Wake of Suicide (B & H Publishing Group). Candy is a member of the American Society of Journalists and Authors.

The Power of Story

Whether you are writing a devotional, personal essay, short story, novel, article, or nonfiction book, the main ingredient is a compelling story. The goal is to capture readers (or agents and editors) in the first few paragraphs and hold their attention throughout. How can you ensure your story is attention-grabbing? In this workshop, learn where to start your story, how to structure it, the effective use of dialogue, when to use segues, and how to self-edit for a powerful story.

 Tackling Tough Topics

Has God called you to write about difficult topics? If so, you have the opportunity to reach those who are hurting, feel alienated and alone, and are searching for ways to heal their pain. But it's important to know what to include, what to omit, and how to structure your content. And, if it's your own difficult story, have you processed your hurt enough to write without bitterness? In this workshop, learn methods to craft your writing so it ministers, touches hearts, and inspires hope.

First-Timers Preview: Making the Most of the Conference

Attending your first writers' conference is exciting, but it can also be a little intimidating and overwhelming. This first-timers preview is designed to help you learn how to navigate the conference like a pro. We'll discuss the importance of networking, taking notes, being teachable, following up on what you learn, and provide tips on choosing classes and making appointments. So plan to sign up for this free class to enhance your conference experience.




Michelle Sauter Cox - Whoa! Magazine for Women, Editor Just 18 Summers®

Parenting Blog 


Michelle Cox is a speaker and the bestselling author of nine books. Her newest books, God Glimpses from the Jewelry Box and God Glimpses from the Toolbox released from BroadStreet Publishing.

Michelle’s “Life with a Southern Grandmother” posts run each Monday and Thursday at www.Guideposts.org. She has been the food blogger for Fox News Personality Todd Starnes and has written for FoxNews.com, Focus on the Family, Christian Cinema, Whoa Magazine for Women, Leading Hearts Magazine, and numerous other publications. Michelle is the creator of the Just 18 Summers® brand of parenting products and resources, which will include movies, a documentary, music, books (the Just 18 Summers novel released from Tyndale), and other products. The Just 18 Summers® parenting blog (featuring a staff of writers) has a new post each Monday-Friday. Michelle has been a guest on Hannity, The Harvest Show, Focus on the Family, Babbie’s House, Atlanta Live, and on numerous other radio and television stations.

 Most importantly, she and her favorite husband, Paul, are the parents of three grown sons and grandparents to six perfect grandchildren. She can be bribed with cupcakes. Visit her at http://GodGlimpses.com, www.just18summers.com and on her Facebook pages at www.Facebook.com/MichelleCoxInspirations and www.Facebook.com/just18summers.

 Interests: Michelle is looking for parenting articles (parenting advice, inspirational, tips on organization, etc.) for Just 18 Summers® and “Voices” articles for WHOA Magazine for Women.

Managing the Writer’s Life

You’ll soon discover that juggling your writing life with the rest of your life can sometimes be challenging and overwhelming. Join me for tips and skills that will help you cope and thrive despite the physical, spiritual, and emotional challenges of the writing journey. We’ll talk about ways to manage your time and become more disciplined, how to deal with rejections and stay motivated, about the rejuvenating power of cupcakes, and a bunch of other stuff.    

Troubleshooting 101  

Do you have questions about various aspects of the writing life and you don’t know where to ask them? Well, this is the place for you! In this interactive session, I’ll try to look smart while I answer your questions and cover topics like what to do when you don't know what to write, what to do when you have writer's block or are procrastinating, what to do if an emergency affects your deadline, how to handle awkward situations with your publisher or co-author, and so on. 


Jimmie Davis

Jimmie is the author of Virtual You, the Girls’ Ministry Handbook and the Girls’ Ministry Idea Book for Lifeway. Jimmie has led workshops for jimmie-davis-2.pngwomen, teenage girls, and girls’ ministry leaders all over the US.  She has contributed to several women’s ministry books for Lifeway and several books as a ghostwriter. Jimmie has written numerous articles and currently serves as a ministry assistant editing and working with printed materials for First Baptist Spartanburg.

Jimmie Davis served in Student Ministry alongside her husband, Sam, for over 25 years. She served on staff as the Girls’ Ministry Director at First Baptist Spartanburg in SC for 8 years and as Director of the Deaf Ministry at First Baptist Atlanta for 3 years. Jimmie attended Converse College and has an Advanced Certificate in Women’s Ministry from the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary.

Practical Tips for Freelance Writers

So you want to become a writer, but you don't know where to start? Jimmie will help you stop spinning your wheels with practical tips on how to get started and build a business earning a good income as a freelance writer. Writing for others can be fun, stimulating and interesting. It will not only help you build your portfolio as a professional writer but can spur you on to writing your very own book someday. Every author has to start somewhere!  Join Jimmie and get on the track of writing professionally today!

Self-Editing: Essential Tips for Success

After you have let your creative juices flow to write your manuscript, you feel a great sense of accomplishment. But hold on a minute!  That is only the first draft! A good writer will edit, edit, edit before sending a manuscript to a publisher.  Why? Editors don’t have time to rewrite your whole manuscript. A busy editor can determine if he or she has time to edit and publish your book by reading the first few pages. Jimmie will share essential tips she has learned along the way for self-editing so you can create a clean, tight, and captivating manuscript every time.



Lynette Eason

Lynette Eason grew up in Greenville, SC. Even as a young girl, she knew she wanted her life to reflect the love of Jesus Christ.lynette.jpg

After graduating from the University of South Carolina with a Business Degree she used for a very short time (sorry Mom and Dad), she moved to Spartanburg, SC to attend Converse College where she obtained her Masters degree in Education. During this time, she met the man she would marry—the boy next door!

She is married to Jack Eason, who speaks, leads worship, and consults ministries around the country. They have two children.

Lynette’s books have appeared on the ECPA and CBA bestseller lists and have won several awards.

Lynette thanks God for giving her the talent and desire to spin stories that bring readers to the edge of their seat, but most importantly, to the throne of Christ.

Basics of Fiction

Do you have a story in your head, but aren't exactly sure how to start writing it? Don't be shy! Even published authors were beginners at one point. Come learn the terminology used by fiction writers and come learn how to start getting the story written. Plot, setting, characters, dialogue, and more. This class will cover the basics in fiction writing.


Writing Suspense

Learn what elements make up a rocking, edge of the seat, suspense story. Workshop will include topics such as:  writing the best opening line ever, using all five senses, dialogue, internal and external conflict, red herrings, character development and endings.



Edna Ellison – New Hope Publishers

edna.jpgDr. Edna Ellison, a humorist, poet, and storyteller known as “the Christian mentoring guru,” lives in Spartanburg, South Carolina. Former editor of a national Christian women’s magazine, Royal Service, she later served as a denominational consultant, speaker, and writer in Alabama and California. Currently Edna is the national president of Advanced Writers and Speakers Association.

Edna has been a keynote speaker in London, Frankfort, Panama City, and other world class cities. She has spoken and led writing conferences in almost every US state, including Alaska and Hawaii. An award-winning poetry and writing teacher on the high school, college, and post-graduate level, Edna is the author of 23 books and over 400 magazine articles. Her life has been featured in a Focus on the Family magazine, where she has also been published. A people-lover, she also loves teaching Bible studies, editing, and leading prayer retreats—and most of all, playing with her granddaughter, Blakely.

Me? God's Mouthpiece?

Come to this workshop to celebrate the awesome privilege of being a writer called by God. Have you found lately that you are working more on your own power instead of depending on God to direct your writing? How do you tap in to His Spirit and discover your own voice in your writing that also reflects His will and design? This workshop will provide Scriptures, prayer patterns, and technical language professional writers use to demonstrate their relationship with God. It will explore a few genres of successful authors and several ideas on Christian writers' ethics. It will also discuss "false humility" and offer a "Q & A" time to encourage attendees on a godly path toward being His mouthpiece.


Unveiling Your Power Words

Want to shape and shake your world through profound words? To be a savvy writer, you have to use the right lingo. This workshop will unlock the mystery of words used by professional journalists and successful authors, identifying key terms used in the publishing industry. Learn how to use concise phrases with editors and other professionals, as well as how to avoid head-hopping, superfluous cacophony, purple-passage verbiage, and anything trite and traditional. Come discover tips on creating an instant elevator pitch, finding seasonal hitchhiking methods, and designing evergreen topics, as you explore the difference between POV and POD. 



Linda Gilden – Director, Carolina Christian Writers Conference

pink-scarf-on-porch.jpgLinda Gilden is an experienced writer, speaker, editor, and writing coach. Author of the popular Love Notes series, Mommy Pick-Me-Ups, Called to Write, Why You Do What You Do, Words To Live By, and many ghostwritten books, and with hundreds of magazine articles to her credit, Linda Gilden loves to share a great story.

A national speaker on the training staff of CLASSEMINARS, Inc., Linda enjoys helping others discover and grow their communication skills. She teaches at national writers conferences and “Writing to Expand Your Ministry” in the Women’s Ministry Degree Program at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary.  A wife, mother, and grandmother, Linda’s favorite times are those spent with her family. Linda finds tremendous joy in directing the Carolina Christian Writers Conference and the CLASS Christian Writers Conference in NM. Lindagilden.com

The Writer’s Personality 

 The Writer’s Personality? What does my personality have to do with the way I write? Your personality affects the way you see the world. Therefore, everything you write is influenced by your point of view. What are the healthy habits of a sanguine writer? Why does a melancholy writer seem to get more projects done? How can a choleric writer organize his or her checklists for the most benefit? What can encourage a phlegmatic writer? Upon examination we will find that we all have characteristics of more than one personality. Our writing will be stronger if we understand our personalities, the personalities of our characters, and our readers.



Lori Hatcher - Editor, Reach Out, Columbia magazine

Lori Hatcher is the editor of Reach Out, Columbia magazine, a publication dedicated to proclaiming the life and work of Jesus Christ. She'slori-hatcherheadshot.jpg

had the privilege of interviewing heroes and heroines of the faith like Anne Graham Lotz, Kevin Leman and Dr. Gary Chapman, musicians Laura Story and Fernando Ortega, and comedian Tim Hawkins. Her favorite subjects, however, are those the world doesn't recognize as great, but God does. Lori is an award-winning Toastmasters International speaker, Christian Communicators Graduate, and the author of two devotional books, the Christian Small Publisher Association’s Book of the Year, Hungry for God … Starving for Time, Five-minute Devotions for Busy Women and Joy in the Journey – Encouragement for Homeschooling Moms.

 Lori’s had more than 100 feature articles and devotions published in magazines and online sites such as  P31, Crosswalk.com, Evangel, Upper Room, The Write Conversation, Columbia Metropolitan, and The Mother’s Heart. The author of the blog, Hungry for God (www.LoriHatcher.com), she writes to help women connect with God in the craziness of life. Ever grateful for the kind people who have helped her along the way, she loves sharing her passion for writing and speaking at writers’ conferences and workshops.

Ten Mistakes That Make Magazine Editors Say No

This workshop climbs inside magazine editors’ heads to discover why they say no to some submissions and yes to others. A magazine editor herself, Lori will share ten common mistakes writers make that cause editors to reject submissions. She’ll share examples and offer practical suggestions to increase every writer’s chance of acceptance.

 The Day I Wanted to Quit—tacking the mind games that discourage and defeat us

Most writers leave a conference pumped up and empowered. Then they go home. The doubts, fears, and insecurities they left behind begin to whisper in their ears again. Head games—writers play them every day. Is winning the battle in our minds really just a matter of positive thinking, or does God have something to say about it? 

This workshop offers a mix of biblical truth, humor, and common sense to empower the most insecure writer to answer God’s call to write boldly for Him, regardless of his or her ability, experience, or education. Addressing the areas of comparison, insecurity, and competitiveness, we’ll examine the biblical roots of each issue, walk through a three-step personal evaluation, and craft a unique mission statement designed to silence the voices that imprison our writing potential.


Terri Kelly - Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas   

tbkelly_headshot_01d.jpgTerri Kelly is the author of Mary Slessor: Missionary Mother. As a writer she has contributed to several books, including Divine Moments, Additional Christmas Moments, and Stupid Moments, Faith and Family and Spirit and Heart. Terri has published articles in Kids’ Ark Magazine, Clubhouse, WHOA Magazine, Asheville Lifestyles and numerous online publications. Her blog, terribkelly.com, addresses issues teachers deal with on a daily basis. She teaches at writing conferences and assists with the Asheville Christian Writers Conference in Asheville, North Carolina.

How to Unlock the Way You Think and Focus on Being Productive Instead of Busy 

This class is appropriate for writers of all genres. We will examine how we grew from scribblers to scribes. Find out how original thinkers like entrepreneurs, inventors, and artists used their minds to move forward and produce products.



Ginger Kolbaba - Editor


Ginger Kolbaba is an accomplished, award-winning author, editor, and speaker. She has written or contributed to more than 30 books, including Your Best Happily Ever After, and more than 400 magazine and online articles. In the publishing industry for more than two decades (she started very young), Ginger is the former editor of Today’s Christian Woman magazine, Marriage Partnership magazine, and the founding editor of Kyria.com, all award-winning resources of Christianity Today. Four years ago, she started her own writing and editing business, in which she works with both major publishing houses and individuals. You can visit her at www.gingerkolbaba.com, Facebook.com/gingerkolbaba, or Twitter @gingerkolbaba.

Get Published Fast: The Art to Writing Great Articles

Do you dream of having millions of people around the world read your work? Do you long to have those same millions see your byline? How about wanting to make some quick-ish cash as well? You can when you write for magazines. Former editor of two national publications and author of more than 400 articles, Ginger Kolbaba brings her experience and knowledge to share tips on how to get your writing above the competition’s and beyond an editor’s slush pile. She’ll share what you need to know about queries, rewrites, repackaging, and contracts. She’ll discuss the differences between writing for print and digital, and how you can use magazines to boost your writing platform to lead toward other writing potentials (books).

Understanding the Different Generations and How to Write to Them

Is one generation really that different from others? If you have a 20something still living in your house—or if you are that 20something—you know the answer to that question is a resounding yes! So if each generation is different, how does that affect our writing to a diverse audience? And what issues do we need to keep in mind so we can write successfully? This interactive workshop looks at each generation (Traditionalists, Boomers, Generation X, Millennials), how they’re alike, how they’re different, and what makes them the way they are. Not only will this session help your writing, it will strengthen your relationships with family, friends, coworkers, and just about everybody else!


Nancy Lohr - JourneyForth Publishers


Nancy Lohr, Acquisitions Editor at JourneyForth Books, acquires for both the youth and adult markets. Nancy has eighteen years of experience in book publishing and was an educator and children’s librarian for many years before moving to publishing. On the editor’s side of her desk, her responsibilities range from acquiring manuscripts and illustrations to editing manuscripts and managing book production. As an author, her personal résumé includes two historical novels for children, curriculum stories and articles, and numerous book reviews and articles for parents and educators.

Novels for Children (Session 1):

Writing for children isn’t as easy as it looks. Take a look at an overview that includes the reading needs of children, some myths about writing for children, and the challenges of writing for children in the 21st century.

Novels for Children (Session 2):

This session will look closely at some aspects of writing that can make or break a manuscript for children. Topics will include the opening sentence, strong dialogue, cadence, and more.

Edie Melson 


Edie Melson—author, editor and blogger—is a leading professional within the writing industry, as well as a popular instructor and mentor. Her heart to help others define and reach their dreams has connected her with writers across the country.

As a respected expert in social media, Edie has the proven expertise to teach others how to plug in without sacrificing valuable writing time. Her bestselling eBook on this subject, has recently been updated, expanded and re-released as Connections: Social Media & Networking Techniques for Writers 

She’s the director of the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference, Social Media Mentor at My Book Therapy, the Social Media Director for Southern Writers Magazine, and the Military Family Blogger on Guidepost.org. She’s also the Senior Editor at Novel Rocket. Connect with Edie through her blog, Twitter and Facebook.

What Do You Meme? - Working With Images to Enhance & Grow Your Social Presence

 Memes are a hot commodity throughout social media. These images with embedded text are an attention-getting and shareable way to grow your online community. Edie will lead you through the steps to create these, from where to find images to how to add the text to what size is best for which network. Bring your computer and get ready to generate some memes!

  • An introduction to free and almost-free online programs to add words to text
  • How to work with images, adding words and special effects
  • Where to find quality images & how to take some of your own with your smart phone
  • Copyright basics

The Whys and Hows of Social Media for Writers (with DiAnn Mills)

Many writers mistakenly assume it’s either too late or too early to build a solid social media presence. Edie will walk you through the reason social media is non-negotiable for almost all writers, and how to find a way to make it work for your specific situation. Included will be information on

  • Why we need a social media presence before we get a contract
  • Which networks work best for which audience (and why you need to be active on more than one)
  • How to use scheduling programs to keep your social media time commitment manageable.
  • How to compose effective updates that increase shares
  • What you need to know to connect with your book’s potential audience

Creativity - the Heart of the Christian Writer (with DiAnn Mills)

Genesis 1:26 says, "Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.” Our Father is the Author of Creativity. Our gift to Him is to accept what He's given us, nurture it, develop concepts, and go forward with our life experiences and faith to glorify God. As writers, we have the responsibility of glorifying God through the power of the written word. This workshop provides biblical principles to illustrate our unique gift.



DiAnn Mills


DiAnn Mills is a bestselling author who believes her readers should expect an adventure. She combines unforgettable characters with unpredictable plots to create action-packed, suspense-filled novels.

Her titles have appeared on the CBA and ECPA bestseller lists; won two Christy Awards; and been finalists for the RITA, Daphne Du Maurier, Inspirational Readers’ Choice, and Carol award contests. Library Journal presented her with a Best Books 2014: Genre Fiction award in the Christian Fiction category for Firewall.

DiAnn is a founding board member of the American Christian Fiction Writers, a member of Advanced Writers and Speakers Association, Sisters in Crime, and International Thriller Writers. She is co-director of The Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writers Conference and The Author Roadmap with social media specialist Edie Melson where she continues her passion of helping other writers be successful. She speaks to various groups and teaches writing workshops around the country.

DiAnn has been termed a coffee snob and roasts her own coffee beans. She’s an avid reader, loves to cook, and believes her grandchildren are the smartest kids in the universe. She and her husband live in sunny Houston, Texas.

DiAnn is very active online and would love to connect with readers on any of the social media platforms listed at www.diannmills.com.

Creativity - the Heart of the Christian Writer (with Edie Melson)

Genesis 1:26 says, "TheGod said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.” Our Father is the Author of Creativity. Our gift to Him is to accept what He's given us, nurture it, develop concepts, and go forward with our life experiences and faith to glorify God. As writers, we have the responsibility of glorifying God through the power of the written word. This workshop provides biblical principles to illustrate our unique gift.

Dialogue the Sings, Dances, and Plays the Piano

We all like to read dialogue. We want to hear what our characters have to say and how they say it. We want to learn about their problems, the plot, and all the exciting other characters in the story. But the truth of writing witty dialogue is rooted in character and how they have experienced life. This hands-on workshop shows the writer how to compose dialogue that is unique and memorable.

The Whys and Hows of Social Media for Writers (with Edie Melson)

Many writers mistakenly assume it’s either too late or too early to build a solid social media presence. Edie will walk you through the reason social media is non-negotiable for almost all writers, and how to find a way to make it work for your specific situation. Included will be information on

  • Why we need a social media presence before we get a contract
  • Which networks work best for which audience (and why you need to be active on more than one)
  • How to use scheduling programs to keep your social media time commitment manageable.
  • How to compose effective updates that increase shares
  • What you need to know to connect with your book’s potential audience



Dalene Parker 

Dalene V. Parker is an English and Creative Writing teacher who also loves to speak and write. Her work has appeared in Focus on the FamilyHomeLife, WarCry, ENCOUNTER, Journey, and more. She is the author of Christian Teachers in Public Schools by Beacon Hill Press and lives in South Carolina. 

Teen Writers and Those who Love Them

This workshop explores tips and options for helping serious teen writers get published. Veteran teacher Dalene Parker has navigated the publishing process with hundreds of teens and is eager to share what she has learned along the way: 

  •  ·         Finding markets for teen poetry and prose
  •  ·         Avoiding publishing scams
  •            Making sure the writing's real
  •  ·         Simplifying the submission process
  •  ·         Celebrating all the small successes 
Teen writers are welcome along with parents and teachers of teens.
Just for Teens
If you are a teen writer, this workshop is just for you. Brainstorm ideas with your peers, learn the basics of how to write for your markets, and discover how many opportunities there are for teen writers.


Gloria Penwell – Bold Vision Books 

gloria.jpgGloria Penwell’s expertise and love of the writing world comes from years of traveling with her husband, Dan. Together they attended hundreds of writers conferences while Dan was Acquisitions Editor at AMG Publishing. Gloria is the CLASS Christian Writers Conference Assistant Director. She is an incredible encourager and understands what the writing life is about. Gloria works as an acquisition editor for Bold Vision Books.

Writing Bible Studies That Can Change the World

Bible studies can be one of the most important writing you'll ever do. Learn what it takes to shake up your writing of Bible studies, where the market is for them, and are you qualified to write them. 


Rhonda Robinson - Mondaymondaynetwork.com

Rhonda Robinson is the managing editor for MondayMonday Network, although her first love is writing. For over two decades Rhonda has provided commentary and analysis on the social, political and parenting issues affecting the family. From newspapers to new media, Rhonda has over a thousand articles published. Rhonda Robinson is a columnist at PJMedia where it is not uncommon to have 20K- 40K Facebook shares. Her work has been read on-air by Rush Limbaugh, referenced in white papers of political think tanks, and found on some of the most influential sites around the Web. In 2011, Rhonda led a team of writers creating high traffic content for one of the top 50 conservative blogs on the Internet. Rhonda lives with her husband Mike in the hills of Tennessee. After 40 years of marriage and nine children they are settling into an empty nest and enjoying their 28 grandchildren.

The Anatomy of a Viral Blog Post.

Do you want to use your blog or website to get your message to the world? Does it feel overwhelming? The thought of sending your work out into cyberspace hoping someone with find it can seem useless. In this class, you will learn how to write “boxing ring style” tight and concise. You will learn the secret recipe that draws Google to you. Your blog or website can become the platform publishers want.

Capture the Moments and Set Your Creativity Free

In a perfect world, writers could cozy up with a warm cup and watch the words flow from their fingertips onto the screen. However, for real world writers, there are children and spouses who need our time, and life’s hardships and heartbreaks to work through. Learn how to take the time you have and spin it into the time you need.


Les Stobbe - Stobbe Literary Agency

les-stobbe.jpgLes Stobbe is a literary agent and former Journalist in Residence at Gordon College, Wenham, MA. He has also served as Director of International Christian Writers.

     The founding editor of the Mennonite Observer in Winnipeg, Les Stobbe served as editor at Christian Life Publications, editorial director of Cambridge Publishers (Canadian business magazines), Moody Press Books, Christian Herald Books and Book Clubs, and Here's Life Publishers Ltd., and managing editor of curriculum for Scripture Press. For seven years he served as president of Here's Life Publishers. His most recent full-time position was as Vice President of Communications and Marketing at the Evangelistic Association of New England (now Vision New England). He is author or co-author of 14 books and has written more than 700 published articles. Recipient of Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference award for probably having published more first-time authors than anyone else. Recipient of the Partnership Award from The Word Guild of Canada for his significant contributions to Canadian writers who are Christian and The R.A. Torrey Award for Outstanding Service as a Publishing Pioneer. The Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to Les Stobbe by the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference.

Corralling the Big Idea

What big idea is burning like a fire in your soul? How do you wrestle it down and turn it into a valid book idea unique enough to excite readers?