Once upon a time, I thought of myself as shy. Now when I say that, people laugh. I didn’t understand why at first, until I found myself in front of 300 people one night, sharing my words. Afterward, I felt energized, and I thought…maybe I can do this.
So I asked . . . “God, do you want me to . . .?”
Doors opened in answer, and I’ve not looked back. My curiosity is insatiable, and I love exploring new avenues in life, in faith, and in writing. I now speak frequently, mostly to women and writers.
If you think your women’s group or writer’s conference would be interested in any of these topics, please let me know.
Salt and Light: How Caring for Others Can Change Your Intimacy with God
For more than 20 years, I’ve cared for a daughter with severe disabilities. Rachel has changed my life, my faith, and my outlook on my relationships with God and other people. Yet even women who care for perfectly healthy families tell me that caregiving can crack open whole new places in your heart and mind. As I share Rachel’s story, I weave into it applications from Scripture and the wisdom learned from everyday lives in hopes of showing women how even simple tasks can open their hearts to God.
Paul’s Pointers for Success: Or…why God’s Apostle Was Not the Original Male Chauvinist Pig.
The life and letters of the Apostle Paul are some of the most studied sections of the Bible. Yet even scholars overlook how intensely he supported and cared about women in the faith. By taking a close look at his instructions to all believers as well as his relationships with women, I demonstrate how Paul wanted women to succeed in the faith as well as in life, and I offer four of his instructions up as examples we should follow on a daily basis.
The 60-Second Christian: How One Minute a Day with God Can Renew Your Faith and Life.
In the busyness of our daily lives, most women don’t think they have time to read a devotional or study the Bible. Yet reading most published devotionals takes less than 60 seconds, and can be done at a red light, waiting on a child – or even the microwave. Let me show you – with humor and Scripture – how these one-minute breaks with God can change your day . . . and maybe even your life.
Perfect Pitch: 10 Tips on Selling in 50 Words or Less
Ten suggestions that will help you perfect your “elevator pitch.” These will help you refine the high concept in your book and suggest ways to practice. Finally, they’ll help you eliminate those inevitable nerves when approaching an editor and make the best of your ten-minute session. Bring those pitches with you!
A Lady to Love: Turning Your Heroine’s GMC into an Irresistible ARC
This advanced craft workshop takes an intensive look at the character development that will turn your heroine from engaging to unforgettable. Participants will be asked to bring a description of an unforgettable heroine from the movies and a description of their own heroine, along with sample dialogue and description passage from their own novel.
10 Tips to Winning an Editor’s Heart (and Signature on a Contract)
Based on a seminar originally developed for the Southern Christian Writers Conference, this “Top Ten” countdown focuses on what editors and agents look for in a prospective writer’s work and attitude. Drawn from 30 years’ experience as a professional editor, this is practical advice presented with humor and (I hope) wisdom.
Shoot Someone: Ten Tips on Turning Your Middle from Muddle to Magnificent
Every novelist struggles sooner or later with a “middle malfunction.” In this workshop, I offer ten work-horse tips and writing exercises for revitalizing a droopy middle or jumpstarting a stalled one. Included are such suggestions as:
Shoot Someone. Literally, if you have to.
Chart Your Course. Get out that spreadsheet program . . . .
Fight Club. In other words, up the stakes on the outcome of conflict.
And more. On the other hand . . .
“But I Did Not Shoot the Deputy”: How Secondary Characters Can Make or Break a Novel
The easiest way to lose an editor’s attention is for your story to be confusing or annoying. By the time you introduce, describe, and give a life history to the twentieth secondary character, an editor is going to be both. This workshop provides tips on controlling your supporting cast: how different levels of characters should be revealed and built into the plot, explanations of how flat secondary characters can kill a sell, and tips on how to layer your characters in order to build interest and curiosity without taking over a book.
Deconstructing Paul: What God’s Apostle Can Teach Writers About Writing
A workshop that shows how Paul’s passion for his subject, his attention to details, and his awareness of his audience can be a primer for excellent writing. The class will focus on the four Ps of Paul’s letters:
Passion (Love your art)
Perfection (Know your craft)
Pitch (Know your audience)
Persistence (Never give up)
Marathon: Finishing Your First Draft in 30 Days or Less
If you’ve ever thought, “I can write better than that!” then this workshop is for you. A lot of people have great ideas and start a book, but never finish. Some even enter “book in a month” contests, then stall out after only a few chapters. This workshop will provide readers interested in writing as well as experienced authors the guidelines necessary for finishing the first draft of a novel in 30 days or less.
From the Red Pen Diaries: Editing Your Inspirational Novel for Publication
Editors don’t look for a reason to buy the novel you’ve struggled with for months—or years! They look for a reason to reject it. Don’t give them one. This workshop provides a glimpse from behind an editor’s desk: what they look for, why talent is not enough to get your manuscript published, and traps to avoid in such areas as format, presentation, and the development of character and story arcs.
Hai Karate: Smashing the Toughest Writer’s Blocks
Sooner or later, almost every writer gets stuck in a muddle. Some blocks last fifteen minutes; some can last years. This workshop looks at tips and writing exercises designed to break even the toughest block. From showing writers how to draw strengths from their own weaknesses to asking them to create a complete short story in 50 words or less, the workshop is a hands-on experience in making a breakthrough in your writing.
Small Group Victory: The Future of Curriculum in the Christian Market
The market for small group curriculum expands daily. The first half of the session will focus on the different types of small group curriculum and takes a close look at current trends, changes in the marketplace, and provides tips on breaking in to an extremely difficult market for writers. The second half will be interactive, with a look at a typical DVD curriculum, with time for Q&A. Note: This session does NOT address dated/Sunday school curriculum, except to make the distinction between it and small group curriculum.
It’s Not Rocket Science, But It’s Close: Editing Popular Non-fiction Before Submission
Presenting any important subject to a lay audience in a manner that will intrigue readers, not to mention editors, is a gift—and one that’s too easily sabotaged by the very authors who know the topic best. This workshop presents tips on organizing a non-fiction book, presenting it to an editor, developing an understanding of the audience, and controlling an insider’s vocabulary while remaining in-depth and fascinating.
Tag, You’re It: Crafting Dialogue to Eliminate “He Said/She Said”
“He Said/She Said” should describe a book’s conflict, not the repetition of annoying dialogue tags. The way a character speaks should be as individual as a fingerprint. This session covers 5 tips to intensify a character’s voice and syntax as distinct as their actions.