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Photo Sessions for the 2018 Conference

Do you have a professional headshot? If so, how long has it been since it was taken? Good headshots can be extremely valuable at helping you promote your work. They can be used on business cards, in articles, on book jackets, on blogs, and elsewhere.

At the 2018 Write2Ignite conference, you’ll have an opportunity for an inexpensive photo session with a professional photographer!

Derek Eckenroth—an “award-winning university photographer, experienced wedding photographer, and aspiring real-estate and automotive photographer”—will conduct photo sessions during the conference. You can find many beautiful examples of his photography work on his website, EckenrothPhoto.com.

At the conference, photo sessions will be held in the Craft-Hemphill Center, room 207. The fee for each photo session is $35, and you’ll receive four to six usable headshots. The photographer will email digital files to you within two weeks of the conference.

If you’d like to have a photo session, please make an appointment ahead of time by contacting Write2Ignite registrar and financial director Cathy Biggerstaff at hiskid410@gmail.com.

Sneak Peek: Samantha Bell’s Presentation for W2I 2018

You’ve finished your picture book manuscript. You’ve read it over and over again, and you’ve revised it several times. The children in your life love it. You’ve even had a writing friend or two critique it for you. Finally, it’s ready to submit . . . or is it?

In my workshop “Polishing Your Picture Book,” we’ll read manuscripts and discuss how they can be polished even more. At the start of the class, brave attendees may submit their manuscripts; we’ll go over as many as time allows. We’ll examine things like word count, word choice, dialogue, pacing, story arc, illustration possibilities, and more. We’ll also discuss possible markets for the stories. If you’re not quite feeling up to the challenge, don’t worry—you don’t have to submit anything! Come to this informative discussion, and learn what makes a good picture book manuscript even better.


Author and illustrator Samantha Bell signed her first contract to illustrate a picture book in 2007. Since then, she has illustrated twenty more, including four of her own. She’s also the author of numerous nonfiction books for children and a regular contributor for Clubhouse Jr. and Kid’s Ark. You can find her online at SamanthaSBell.com

Sneak Peek: Jean Matthew Hall’s Presentations for W2I 2018

Hello, everyone! This year’s Write2Ignite conference is coming up fast. As one of the presenters at the conference, I’ll be leading two workshops: “Children’s Book Categories” and “Writing from Childhood Memories.” Let me tell you about them.

“Children’s Book Categories”

Foundational to writing successfully for children is a clear knowledge of children’s literature, including knowledge about the distinctions among book genres and the different categories of books for children.

You might have many questions about book genres and categories. For example, maybe you’re thinking, “How is a picture book different from an early-reader book? After all, both are written for similar audience ages and include plenty of illustrations.”

My workshop “Children’s Book Categories”—which includes Q&A time—will help you gain a fuller understanding of how book genres and categories work. I’ll explain the difference between book genres and book categories and then define the commonly accepted categories of books for children and young adults. After attending this workshop, you’ll be better equipped to create stories, describe them, and pitch them to agents or publishers.

“Writing from Childhood Memories”

Remember the time you jumped off a dock and almost drowned? So embarrassing!

Or that time you tried to rescue your cat from a tree and got stuck while the cat jumped down to freedom? Really scary, huh?

How about that awful, terrible, messy divorce your parents went through when you were eight years old? Remember how you just wanted to curl up and die?

Remember the year your family moved to Texas? Remember how you had absolutely no friends all summer, and boredom, anger, and resentment filled your heart?

Inspiration often comes from our memories of childhood or from events in our children’s lives. But times change, cultures change, toys change, and technologies change. As a result, stories that we base on our childhoods, which might have happened twenty or thirty years ago, must also change.

Here are some tips to help you shape stories that are based on events from your childhood:

  • Don’t try to capture details of a remembered event in your story. Rather, capture the emotions you felt before, during, and after the event. Show your characters experiencing those same emotions. Change the details but keep the feelings.
  • Don’t try to accurately portray real people from a remembered event (unless you’re writing a biography). Rather, seize one or two traits of each person, and make those traits bigger, better, uglier, smarter, faster, slower, and more beautiful than they were in real life. Doing so will enable you to create memorable characters your readers can relate to.

That’s how to translate your own childhood experiences into stories that today’s kids will love.

Attend my workshop to learn more! I can’t wait to see you there.


Jean Matthew Hall, who served as founding director of Write2Ignite Conference from 2008 to 2016, is a retired educator and administrator. Her experiences listening to “the hearts of teachers, children, and parents” have led to her goal of crafting “stories that encourage and edify both children and the caring adults in their lives.” This passion has fueled both her writing career and her past service in leading Write2Ignite Conference, which is designed to inform and equip Christian writers to create and publish quality reading materials for younger audiences.

To read more by and about Jean, check out her blogs and book reviews at her website, JeanMatthewHall.com. You can also read an interview about her pending book series with Little Lamb Publishing at LittleLambBooks.com.

Sneak Peek: Brenda Covert’s Presentation for W2I 2018

As a child, I penned a collection of Christmas poems. Little booklets of the poems became gifts tucked under Christmas trees. I loved creative writing and often wrote stories that I never finished, but I could always finish a poem. (Just don’t ask to see one of those early Christmas pieces!)

Puzzles have always intrigued me. Poems are like puzzles, and words are the puzzle pieces. When the words fit together perfectly, the result is a delightfully creative word picture. But if the wrong word has been hammered into place and forced to fit where it doesn’t belong, a disjointed picture emerges. Part of the fun of poetry is fitting the perfect words into place!

Poetry that honors our Heavenly Father has the power to inspire, encourage, convict, and motivate others in their walk. In my 2018 Write2Ignite Teen Track workshop, “Writing Poetry with Meter and Rhyme,” we’re going to look at “The Pilgrim,” a twenty-four-line poem by John Bunyan, and use it as a template for crafting our own poems. Then we’ll switch gears and work on two other types of poetry—life poetry and picture poetry—and have fun doing it! By the end of the workshop, we’ll have written three different types of poetry!

Can’t wait to see you in September!


Freelance author and editor Brenda Covert was first published for pay in 1999 with an article in the May/June issue of Today’s Christian Woman and a Thanksgiving poem in Clubhouse Jr. Since 2002, Brenda has written more than four hundred short children’s stories for Union Gospel Press’s Sunday school curriculum. Her stories, most of which are written for the nine to eleven age group, entertain as well as offer a lesson on living for our Savior. She also published numerous scripts for use in schools, the two most popular being K.C.’s Dream and The Constitutional Convention. Additionally, she has written poetry for the Adult Bible Study published by Union Gospel Press.

Brenda has been editing since 2002, first in the educational field and then in the Christian/family-friendly market. Her editing experience goes from picture books to chapter books—including Johanna’s Journey: Call to Freedom (a finalist for the 2015 Selah Award)—to YA novels and adult fiction and nonfiction, including inspirational books and Bible studies.

Brenda has two grown children, a new grandchild, two blogs that she promises to devote more attention to, and more cats than an allergic woman should have! (Want one?)

You can find Brenda online at BrendaCovert.blogspot.com. If you’re especially fond of Christmas, you’ll enjoy her blog at ChristmaswithBrenda.blogspot.com. Follow her on Twitter, where she is @radiantsunset7.

Sneak Peek: Dot by Dot

Hi, there. Vicki Moss—contributing editor of Southern Writers Magazine and author—here.

Looks like we’re fast approaching September and the Write2Ignite conference, and as usual, I can’t wait to cross the South Carolina line. This year, I’ll be teaching two classes: “The Journey towards Finding Your Writing Voice” and “Connecting the Dots.” Believe it or not, there is a connection between the two classes. Dot by dot.

“The Journey towards Finding Your Writing Voice”

In my class “The Journey towards Finding Your Writing Voice,” we’ll discuss what’s going on in your life. Yeah. You might want to jot down some notes this summer. For instance, maybe the water hose connected to your sprinkler reminds you of those snake dreams you had as a child and still have as an adult. Mmmm-hmmm. You just thought you weren’t ever going to dream about reptiles again.

Or maybe you dreamed that your son-in-law gave you one job while he was out of town. And that was to feed raw chicken to his young adult lion. But you forgot and found yourself driving all over town to find the nearest Kentucky Fried Chicken establishment. “Fried chicken is better than nothing,” you reasoned. And rightly so: your life depended on that fried chicken.

Oh, wait. That was my dream from last week. But when it comes to dreams, I’m sure you’ve had some doozies too. In my class “The Journey towards Finding Your Writing Voice,” we’ll discuss how to turn those dreams (and snaky hoses) into stories that roar with voice.

“Connecting the Dots”

In my “Connecting the Dots” class, we’ll talk about the “dots,” or happenings, in your life that have steered you toward a writing career and where those dots and connections might or should be taking you in the future. So be thinking about your dots and the steps you’ve already taken on your writer’s journey.

I’ll try my very best to help you figure out your pilgrim’s progress—perhaps over a fried chicken leg in the cafeteria during meal breaks. One step at a time—one leg at a time. Now that could be a catchy subtitle. Or book title. Think of a dazzling title to go with that subtitle, and you just might win a prize for coming up with the best one. Prize to be decided. This conference is already getting fun!

Don’t hesitate to introduce yourself. I’ll be there to help. If you come to one of my classes, I promise to tell you how my lion dream ended.


Vicki Moss is the author of several books listed on her website, LivingWaterFiction.com. Her books include How to Write for Kids’ Magazines and Writing with Voice. A former newspaper pundit and contributor to Yvonne Lehman’s Divine Moments series, she’s published over five hundred articles in her previous newspaper column and various magazines.

Her latest inspirational book, Nailed It! The Nail Salon Chronicles (Grace Publishing), which is coauthored with N. A. Banda, was released in July of 2018. No lion dream stories are in the book, but there is a story included about a woman meeting Jesus at Disneyland. Kid you not!

Connect with Vicki on Instagram (vickihmoss), her Facebook page, and Twitter (@VickiMoss). You can also find her on Pinterest and LinkedIn.

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