Saturday, February 28, 2015

2015 Keynote Speaker Stephanie Grace Whitson

Wordsowers Christian Writers welcomes keynote speaker Stephanie Grace Whitson to its 2015 Writers Conference.
Author Stephanie Grace Whitson

This two-time Christy Award finalist has 20 historical novel credits under her belt, and interests ranging from quilting to motorcycling. Her diverse interests and passion for history bring a unique richness to her work.

Her conference presentation, Precious Stones and Living Words, focuses on the idea that God uses writers to share His living Word through story, not necessarily in spite of, but sometimes because of difficult circumstances.

Jeanie: Stephanie, we're looking forward to your presentation, "Precious Stones and Living Words." As keynote speaker, what do you most hope to impart to the audience?

Stephanie: Encouragement to keep on keeping on.

Jeanie: You're a best selling author with a loyal fan-base. You've written twenty historical novels, and are a two-time Christy Award finalist. With that success, what, if anything, would you do differently?

That's a very difficult question. I think we all do the best with what we know at a given point in time, and I'm very thankful that God isn't limited by our own mistakes in regards to His blessing and guidance. My life circumstances have changed significantly more than once over the years of my writing life. When I began, I was a homemaker living in the country, gardening, canning, selling produce and crafts at the local farmer's market, running a home-based business, and home schooling four children. Next I became a young widow and single mother living in town.

I subsequently remarried and welcomed a new son (step-son) into the family. Then came the season of life where the children were growing up, going to college, marrying, and (joy) giving me grandchildren and grand-dogs. At the beginning, my writing life was crowded into a family room and hours were gleaned only after the children were in bed. Now I have a home office dedicated to my writing life and my time is, relatively speaking, my own. All of those changes over the years required sometimes drastic adjustments to my writing life. In retrospect, I sometimes wish I had been more self-disciplined in every area of life. I know that's a rather vague answer, but I'm not the kind of person who dwells on regret. I have much more to be thankful for than to regret. God's abundant grace is evident in every part of my past. He has done good things … more often than not in spite of my weakness rather than because of my abilities.
Jeanie: Congratulations on your upcoming release,  Daughter of the Regiment. Where do you get the inspiration for your stories?

Stephanie: Thank you! Daughter of the Regiment releases the end of March. The book is set in Missouri during the Civil War and the heroine was inspired by women honored with the title "Daughter of the Regiment" who traveled with and ministered to men in several Civil War regiments. I dedicated the book to them after reading one historian's book about women in the Civil War. I came to writing because of studying the history of my home state with my home schooled children, and the "real history" focus of my writing has never changed. My stories are rooted in actual events and the characters are inspired by real people. I love visiting historic sites, museums, attending lectures, and reading diaries and reminiscences and history books. An event or a situation will capture my imagination. I'll wonder, what kind of woman would have survived that? Adding the what if element to that initial question is often the springboard to my next novel.

Jeanie: If you could only share one piece of information with a writer, what would it be? 

Stephanie: The first thing that comes to mind is a quote from Stephen King. “If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot. There's no way around these two things that I'm aware of, no shortcut.” The reason that resonates with me is that it's very down-to-earth. Elsewhere in his book, King speaks to the idea of not waiting for inspiration when he says, "just get up and go to work.” That speaks to the issue of self-discipline for the working writer. The hardest thing in the writing life for me personally is to sit alone in an office and stare at a blank screen and fill it with words that I know I'm not going to like until I've rewritten and rewritten and rewritten ad nauseum.

I never like my first draft. But if I don't create it, I've got nothing to work with. I have a quote posted in my office that reminds me, "Planning to write is not writing. Outlining a book is not writing. Researching is not writing. Talking to people about what you're doing, none of that is writing. Writing is writing." That seems simple, doesn't it? But writers know that while the principles that drive the work may be simple, writing isn't easy.

Author Stephanie Grace Whitson
Thank you for sharing with us today. 

Connect with Stephanie on her blog or Facebook pageand meet her in person at the 2015 Wordsowers Christian Writers Conference.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Multi-published Author Rose Zediker

Rose Ross Zediker's byline is found on over 60 works of fiction, nonfiction and Sunday school curriculum.
At the 2015 Wordsowers Writers Conference this  ACFW  and SCBWI author shares five reasons why breaking into the Christian children's magazine market is a good place to start your writing career.

Rose Ross Zediker, Author

Jeanie:  We're looking forward to your workshop, "Breaking into the Christian Children's Magazine Market." Can you tell us a little about what you'll cover?

Rose: Sometimes writing for magazines and Sunday school take home papers is an overlooked market for aspiring and established writers. I will give writer's five good reasons to write for these paying markets. In addition, I will talk about work for hire opportunities within this market as well. I hope workshop attendees come with many questions!

Jeanie: Rose, you work full time at the University of South Dakota. How do you fit your writing career in with your job, family, and other commitments?

Rose: It's all about organization, scheduling and saying 'no'. I've been writing since 1991 for publication so I've had years to hone this process. I'm not an early riser nor do I write late into night, so I have learned to utilize my free time to work on my writing projects. At the beginning of each month, I set goals. The monthly goals are then broken down to weekly goals. At the start of each week, I decide what I need to accomplish to insure my writing goals are met and how that fits in with the weeks upcoming social commitments. If for example, I have an organization meeting one evening, I know I'll have to write during my lunch hour to achieve my goal. I do want to point out that I'm not socially over-committed anymore. I've learned to say 'no' to activities that infer with my valuable writing time. I allow only one 'social' engagement per week on my calendar and this includes organization meetings and dinners/lunches with friends.

Jeanie: In addition to your work in the children's market, you also write inspirational romances under Harlequin’s Heartsong Presents line. What advice would you give to someone looking to break into that genre? Well, unfortunately, Harlequin will close the Heartsong Present's line of romance novels in June 2015. However, my advice to anyone who wants to break into the inspirational romance market is: Read the genre. Get a feel for what your target publisher has recently published. Follow any and all blogs put out by the publisher and if you submit something to them, follow their guidelines to the letter. I broke into the inspirational romance market when Barbour Books published the Heartsong Presents line. I followed their editor's blog and they put a call out for 'gray-haired love'. I wrote the book, drafted up a proposal and it sold. BTW-I can't stress enough that writer's should answer manuscript calls put out by editor's in their writing field. I've garnered many sales/bylines this way.
Jeanie: How can we pray for you?

Rose: I'll ask for prayers for my extended family. In December one of my second cousins, 33, passed away in a single engine plane crash. In February, another second cousin age 32, passed away unexpectedly of heart disease. The first death was on my mother's side of the family, the second my fathers. Please pray for their families comfort during their difficult hours of mourning. 
 Rose, thanks for being with us today. more on Rose's blog. Plus find her latest release, Dakota Love, on her author's page

Rose Ross Zediker lives in rural Elk Point, SD with her husband. Their son and daughter-in-law have blessed them with two wonderful granddaughters. Rose works full time at the University of South Dakota and writes during the evening or weekends. Some of her pastimes include reading, sewing, embroidery, quilting and spoiling her granddaughters.
Besides writing inspirational romance novels, Rose has many publishing credits in the Christian children’s genre. She is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers. - See more at:

Rose Ross Zediker lives in rural Elk Point, SD with her husband. Their son and daughter-in-law have blessed them with two wonderful granddaughters. Rose works full time at the University of South Dakota and writes during the evening or weekends. Some of her pastimes include reading, sewing, embroidery, quilting and spoiling her granddaughters.
Besides writing inspirational romance novels, Rose has many publishing credits in the Christian children’s genre. She is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers. - See more at:

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Phil Morgan, Song-crafter & Author

Musical artist Phil Morgan
Award-winning musical artist and author Phil Morgan shares his song-crafting expertise at the 2015 Wordsowers Writers Conference.

Musician Phil Morgan has toured from Alaska to the Carribbean and across much of the USA. His unique blend of knowledge, talent, and humor provides a valuable resource to those seeking to hone their song creation skills.

Phil walked with his wife, Pam, through her miraculous recovery from parapalegia, and the ensuing TV appearances, speaking engagements, and concerts. 

I caught up with him 8 CDs, 2 videos, and 3 books later.

Jeanie: When did you begin writing songs?
Phil: I started writing songs long before I knew I was writing songs.  I’ve always loved music, and as early as age five I would play on my backyard swingset and sing about whatever happened in my life that day.  I started taking piano lessons at age nine and continued for five years.  During that time I listened to all styles of music, studying how the songs were crafted and what made some songs speak to me emotionally.  I still listen to music voraciously, seeking well-crafted songs.
Musical artists Phil and Pam Morgan family

Jeanie: Some people, like me, compose lyrics, but aren't gifted in the area of music composition. Is your workshop a good fit for us?
Phil: Absolutely!  I’ll be sharing how lyric writing is similar and different from other styles of writing.  We’ll also look at basic musical composition and how lyrics are married to a melody.  It’s impossible to write appropriate lyrics without some understanding of the entire process.  As a writer, I am constantly approached by people who have a poem or lyrics they want to put to music.  Even if the idea and poem are excellent, it is unlikely to be a great lyric without some modification to fit the music.  Understanding the big picture helps your lyric be the best it can be.

Jeanie: Who will benefit from your workshop?
Phil: Anyone wanting to learn more about the craft of songwriting, whether they want to write songs or not.  We listen to music everyday, and understanding the science behind how great songs are written brings a new depth and appreciation to the listening experience.  A great song tells a memorable story and creates emotional impact, all in around three minutes!  The skills and mindset required to do so can give a fresh perspective on any style of writing.  I’m excited to share my passion for communicating God’s love through our unique talents.

Jeanie: How would you like us to pray for you?
Phil: Always that God would keep my focus on Him so I can communicate my Christian walk effectively, whether in a song or my daily life.

Phil, thanks for taking time to chat with us. 

Musical artists Phil and Pam Morgan

Join us at the April 2015 Wordsowers Writers Conference for Phil's workshop, The Art of Songcrafting. 

Plus catch his author-speaker-singer wife Pam's "The Complete Communicator" workshop.  

Click here to listen to a sample of Phil and Pam's music.

For more information on their music ministry, go to