Greater Philadelphia Christian Writers Conference
Bonnie S. Calhoun

Bonnie S. Calhoun is the Founder and Publisher of Christian Fiction Online Magazine . She is also the Owner and Director of the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance which is the parent organization for the magazine.

In addition to her passion for spreading the word about Christian fiction, Bonnie is also an author of suspense/mystery thrillers. In the summer of 2009, she signed a co-authored two book contract with Abingdon Press. The first book will be released in 2011 and the second in 2012. She is represented by Terry Burns at Hartline Literary.

Greater Philadelphia Christian Writers Conference

GPCWC is happy to offer free registration to a CFOM subscriber. 

Click on Scholarships at and email your application no later than July 15.

Marlene Bagnull

No introduction is necessary because you all know and love my dear friend Marlene Bagnull! Tell us about GPCWC this year...

“‘How can we picture God’s kingdom? What kind of story can we use? It’s like a pine nut. When it lands on the ground it is quite small as seeds go, yet once it is planted it grows into a huge pine tree with thick branches. Eagles nest in it.’

“With many stories like these, he [Jesus] presented his message to them, fitting the stories to their experience and maturity. He was never without a story” (Mark 4:33-34 MSG).

The story of the Greater Philadelphia Christian Writers Conference is the story of thousands of writers who have been encouraged and equipped to “write His answer.” It is the story of authors, editors, and agents who have looked at countless manuscripts. And it’s the story of friendships formed as God has connected His scribes with others who share a passion for His story.

Tracy HigleyA big part of GPCWC’s story is how the emphasis on writing fiction has grown through the years. An expanded earlybird program on Wednesday, August 11, includes a 2-part workshop on “The Fiction Freight Train” taught by Tracey (T.L.) Higley, the author of six books with two more releasing this year. Tracy started her first novel at the age of eight and has been hooked on writing ever since. Her first historical, Shadow of Colossus, was a Christy finalist last year in the historical category. Tracey’s workshop delves into story structure, utilizing the analogy of a freight train to understand how to keep the pages moving.

Another 2-part earlybird workshop for fiction writers that willKathy Mackel provide encouragement and practical help to meet with editors at the conference is Kathryn Mackel’s, “Practice Your Pitch.” Kathryn will also teach the continuing session, “Adapting Your Book for Film.” You’ll learn how to structure your plot to fit a two-hour film, how to write scenes for maximum effect, and how to craft the concept to drive your book from prose to the silver screen.

Jeanette WindleJeanette Windle, author representative for Kregel Publications, is teaching the continuing session, “Focus on Fiction.” Her latest book, Veiled Freedom, has been nominated for a Christy and ECPA Christian book award. “The blueprint of writing a great story,” Jeanette says, “is given to us in the greatest story ever told, HIS Story.” This fun, inspirational, and practical continuing session will focus on A Firm Foundation, Can These Bones Live?, A Story to Tell, and A Tale’s End.

In addition to a continuing session, conferees may choose sixSusan Meissner hour-long workshops or, for hands–on help, they can apply for a fiction clinic that meets during the workshops. Susan Meissner, 2009 ECPA Christian Book Award winner for The Shape of Mercy, is leading a Women’s Fiction Clinic. She will focus on the key elements of marketable contemporary women’s fiction: A fully fleshed-out female lead or supporting character; a relatable and relevant conflict; a storyline that invites discussion, introspection, or wonder; correlating subplot threads; and a satisfying conclusion – not necessarily happily ever after.

Joyce MagninJoyce Magnin will again lead the clinic for Not Yet Published Novelists. “Are you serious about finishing and submitting your novel?” Joyce asks. “Are you submitting but collecting rejections? Sometimes fun, always encouraging, and always truthful, this clinic will get to the heart of your situation and provide the tools necessary to help you rise above the run-of-the-mill slush.” Joyce’s first novel, The Prayers of Agnes Sparrow, was selected by Library Journal as one of the top five Christian titles of 2009. Her next Bright’s Pond novel, Charlotte Figg Takes Over Paradise, releases October 1 from Abingdon Press.

Speaking of Abingdon Press, we’re delighted with the recentBarbara Scott addition of Barbara Scott, Senior Acquisitions Editor for fiction. Barbara is actively acquiring new voices, as well as published authors, in the genres of contemporary women’s fiction, contemporary romance, historical romance, historical fiction, mystery, action/adventure, and suspense/thrillers. Abingdon Press publishes 20 novels per year—10 in the Spring and 10 in the Fall.

Terry GlapseyThis year’s conference includes the most book editors we’ve ever had, including a number who are looking for fiction. Terry Glapsey, Director of Acquisitions, Harvest House Publishers, is primarily interested in historical romance and Amish fiction. Shannon [Hill] Marchese, Senior editor, Fiction, The WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group, a Division of Random House, Inc., is looking for full-length novels with a degree of creativity, sophistication, and craft in the writing. Shannon Hill Marchese She doesn’t have genres she is not acquiring in, per se, but she is less interested in cozy mysteries, anything involving missionaries or terrorists, scientific thrillers, and YA unless it is very unique. Shannon will be leading a two-hour Sharp Writer Boot Camp Friday afternoon by application for writers who have completed a full length novel of over 70K.

Destiny Image Publishers is “always looking for God-breathed Cynthia Ballenger works of fiction and non-fiction with a prophetic emphasis” and is sending Acquisitions Agent, Marti Statler. Cynthia Ballenger, Acquisitions Manager, Lift Every Voice African American publishing imprint on behalf of the partnership of Moody Publishers and the Institute for Black Family Development, is acquiring fiction.

Kathi MaciasKathi Macias, author representative, New Hope Publishers, also will look at fiction. Kathi will teach “Do You Have Issues with Fiction?” that will explore the possibilities and purpose of developing a novel or series based on a major issue and how that can help you break out of the pack. Kathi is the author of New Hope’s new missional fiction series titled “Extreme Devotion.”

C. Hope Flinchbaugh, author of three novels based on trueC. Hope Flinchbaugh testimonies of religious persecution and revival in China, is senior editor for HigherLife Publishing that provides authors three choices: to co-publish, publish on demand, or apply for literary management.

Are you writing a contemporary fiction series for girls that explores growing up and growing in faith or a stand-alone middle grade or YA fiction that portrays an authentic Kathleen Kerrexperience of faith, including the questions and doubts that tweens/teens experience? If so you’ll want to request an appointment with Kathleen Kerr, Acquisitions Editor, Zondervan, a HarperCollins Company. Kathleen is also interested in seeing adventure series for boys and adventure/fantasy series for boys and girls. And, “Yes! You Can Write for Children” Nancy I. Sanders says of the continuing session she will teach.

Kristine Pratt, CEO & Editor-in-Chief, of the newly launched Written World Communications will be with us along with two of her editors. Rowena Kuo, editor of Harpstring, is seeking ChristianKristine Pratt fiction between 60 and 80K. Patti Shene, editor of Starsongs magazine, is accepting original, unpublished work including stories and plays by writers age 9 to 19.

GPCWC takes seriously the responsibility of training a new generation of writers. Teens are welcome to attend the entire conference at 60% off. We also offer Teens Write Thursday afternoon. This year’s theme is “Novel Writing – Making it Real.” Tim Shoemaker will teach “Making Tim Shoemakera Scene,” Bonnie Calhoun “Dialogue that Works,” and Pam Halter “The Rest of the Story.” Pam is Children’s Editor, HALO Publishing. HALO is a complete publishing service, and that includes marketing ofPam Halter everything from children’s picture books to adult novels.

Recognizing that independent publishing may be the best option for some authors, GPCWC is offering a continuing session on “The Christian Self-Publisher.” Kathi Macias, representative for AuthorHouse, will teach the first workshop on the differences, advantages, and pitfalls of traditional publishing, self-publishing, and print-on-demand publishing. Andrew Mackay, publishing specialist with BelieversPress, will walk you through the self-publishing process emphasizing the ways you can grow your ministry or career, spread the message God has laid on your heart, and build your platform. W. Terry Whalin, vice president and Terry Whalenpublisher at Intermedia Publishing Group, one of the fastest-growing small presses, will teach a continuing session on “Marketing – The Constant Drumbeat.” A recent addition to the faculty, Jeff Dunn of Electric Moon Publishing, will teach a workshop on epublishing as will Bill Jensen of Eagle Rock Publishers.

Our faculty of 71 authors, editors, and agents are available for free 15-minute appointments. Those who register for Thursday through Saturday receive four appointments – a total of 60 minutes of one-on-one time. This year’s agents include Diana Flegal of Hartline Literary Agency, Bill Jensen of William K. Jensen Literary Agency, and Rachel Zurakowski of Books and Such Literary Agency. They are all open to fiction.

So . . . where are you at in your journey to publishing the story or stories God has given you? One thing is certain—the GPCWC is the place to be August 11-14.

In addition to directing the Colorado and Greater Philadelphia Christian Writers Conference, Marlene Bagnull has served on the faculty of over 70 conferences and taught over 50 one and two-day writing seminars around the country. She is the compiler/editor of three books and author of five books including Write His Answer—A Bible Study for Christian Writers. She offers fiction and nonfiction At-Home Writing Workshops, a correspondence study program. Marlene also helps writers self-publish affordably yet professionally through Ampelos Press. Visit to learn more.

GPCWC is happy to offer free registration to a CFOM subscriber. Click on Scholarships at and email your application no later than July 15.