Saturday, May 16, 2015

Manage Your Time & Pitch Like A Pro - June 6!

Join the Great Lakes Chapter of the
American Christian Fiction Writers
for our June Meet & Eat


Make the Most of Your Writing Time!

Novelist Kathleen Rouser will share her secrets and tips on how to manage your time and write more efficiently.


Learn to Pitch Your Stories Like a Pro!

Toastmaster and author Judy Eick returns to help us learn the tricks and tools needed to speak well in front of others – including agents and editors.


Saturday, June 6, 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.

La Seniorita Restaurant
2700 Lake Lansing Road
Lansing MI 48912

$25* for ACFW-GLC members
$35* for non-members

Cost includes speakers and lunch. Advanced registration is required. Please contact Rohn Federbush at with questions and to make reservations.


ACFW ( is a professional organization devoted to the craft of Christian Fiction. ACFW's mission is to advance Christian fiction by inspiring writers to join with God in the creative process, training them in the craft, and educating them in the publishing industry.

Friday, May 1, 2015

April 2015 Newsletter: June's Meeting Date Set!

On flash fiction, retreats, and what-not

The April meeting kinda rocked. And not just because I only had a 20 minute drive to get there. Sarah Grimm's presentation on flash fiction was a revelation for most of us (I have written two in preparation for the scifi\fantasy contest issue of Splickety). And Sue Brower of the Natasha Kern Agency provided more information on the state of publishing than we dared to ask.

If you'd like to join a few of us in the flash fiction fun, here's the link to Splickety's submission guidelines (they actually pay, by the way, just sayin'...). Be sure to click on the "contests" link as well. If you think you can tell a story in 1000 words or less, you have three imprints to choose from: Splickety Prime for general fiction, Splickety Love for short mushiness, and my persoanal fave, Splickety Havok for the escalated creep factor and interstellar travel (or both).

Go ahead and give it a try. It's amazing what you'll learn about your writing when forced to hack it away to the bear necessities of story.

Updates: What's happening in the Great Lakes Chapter?

GLC Writing Retreat

The GLC writing retreat is coming up on May 1-3 at the Shanty Creek Resort in Bellaire. $230 per person includes 2 nights lodging (double occupancy), 2 breakfasts, 2 lunches, and 1 dinner per person.

Reservations are closed. Let's pray for a great weekend, sunny weather, and some inspired writing.

Member News

Ron Estrada (me) is working with a woman in his home church of Oakwood Community Church in Oxford\Brandon to start a writing group. The plan is to create a teaching, encouragement ministry to meet once a month or so. If anyone has started a similar undertaking in your church, I'd like to hear from you. If you haven't, maybe it's time to consider it. Imagine a statewide church writing ministry...but I'm getting ahead of myself. Let's start with Oakwood. If you have any advice (or warnings), please contact me at

If you have any announcements pertaining to writing, please let me know so that I can include it in the newsletter. Email me at

Ron Estrada, VP

2015 Calendar

June 6 – Lansing (host Rohn Federbush):
10 a.m. - 3 p.m.
La Senorita Mexican Restaurant700 Lake Lansing Road
Lansing MI 48912
Kathy Rouser – Time ManagementJudy Eick – Pitching/Toastmaster
August 1 – Grandville (host Susan Tuttle):
Dawn Crandall – Tips from a Newly Published AuthorAnn Byle, Credo Communications – Publishing Options, Reaching Your Readers, and How an Agent Can Help
September 17-20 – ACFW National Conference, Dallas, Texas
October 17 – Gaylord (host TBD):
Pegg Thomas–Conflict, Consequences, and ConclusionsChristine Johnson– Writing for the Love Inspired line.
December 5 – online: TBD

Your ACFW Great Lakes Chapter
What we're about.
The Great Lakes Chapter of the American Christian Fiction Writers Association promotes the writing of excellent, inspirational fiction from the great state of Michigan. We work to glorify God the Father and Jesus Christ, His Son.  
Contact for if you have any announcements to include in this newsletter. God bless all of our Mitten State writers.

Now go write for God's glory!

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Editors, Agents, and Bunnies - Oh My!

Even though it was Easter weekend, the Great Lakes Chapter of ACFW enjoyed a great day of education and fellowship in Lapeer, Michigan. Thanks to our gracious host Judy Eick, we met at the Past Tense Cider Mill to meet with Splickety Prime editor Sarah Grimm and Natasha Kern Literary Agency agent Sue Brower. 

Sarah helped us not only understand the concept of flash fiction (stories in less than 1,000 words), she also talked about how we can use it to improve our novels (and even help promote them!). It's also a great opportunity to practice all aspects of fiction writing.

"Flash fiction lets you practice your whole skill set," she said. "Writing, editing, revising in one short story."

It's also a great way to break through the writer's block. "Creativity begets creativity," said Sarah. Are you stumped in a scene? Write a flash fiction story - once the creative juices start flowing, they'll keep moving into your novel!

You can even take those stories you used to break the block to make a little money. Splickety publishes three flash fiction magazines, and they're always looking for gripping stories (in 1,000 words or fewer). You can learn more about their themes and deadlines here.

After a great lunch and some socialization, Sue Brower shared some tough-love advice, as well as industry information. Here are a few tidbits from Sue:

* If you haven't published yet, your #1 job is to write. Spend 90% of your time writing and 10% on social media.
* Don't quit your day job - you're not just competing against other novelists. You're fighting for attention with novels, TV, Pintrest, Facebook, and Candy Crush Saga.
* As a client, you have a responsibility to your agent. Make sure you communicate well so your agent can advocate for you.
* Sue hasn't read an unsolicited query in 18 months! With so many writers out there, she (and other agents as well) only responds to people she's met or who have been referred to her.

GREAT NEWS! If you were in Lapeer last weekend, Sue said that's an official meet! You didn't have to spend thousands of dollars and multiple days at a conference - most of us spent a few hours in the car and $25 for the chance to meet an industry professional.

Sue Brower and Joy Avery Melville even got to meet the Easter Bunny!
With two speakers, three guests, and six members, it was a successful and enjoyable event!

Next Up:

May 1-3 - Writer's Retreat - Shanty Creek Resort: Two nights away to write, write, write! The all-inclusive price includes meals and lodging. To reserve your spot, click here.

June 6 - Meet & Eat - Lansing: Featuring Kathleen Rouser talking about Time Management and Toastmaster Judy Eick showing us how to speak well in front of a crowd. 10 a.m. - 2 p.m., location to be determined

Sunday, March 22, 2015

March 2015 Newsletter

Spring! When an old man's fancy turns to lawn care!

Know how you can tell when a Michigan writer has written a book in the winter? All the descriptions are in shades of gray (not 50, maybe a dozen at most). But now we can add color! Birdsong! Fewer swear words.

And it's also when our frozen little chapter thaws a bit and gets busy. So, with no further ado (not adieu...I checked with Grammar Girl...btw, did you know she has a grammar devotional?). I digress. Let's get on with the news and updates.

What's happening in the Great Lakes Chapter?

Our April 4th meeting in Lapeer is fast approaching. Sarah Grimm will talk about flash fiction and Sue Brower of the Natasha Kern Agency will discuss the agent/author relationship.

The meeting will be held at the Past Tense Cider Mill from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Give yourself time to shop in the Past Tense store. They have an awesome, and very large, nostalgic selection. I especially like the Christmas shop upstairs.

 Past tensewebsite and address.

As if that weren't enough to bring you to our lovely Thumb region, anyone who attends this or the June meeting has the chance to win a four day writing retreat, July 27-30, at Judy Eick's cottage in St. Helen. Lodging is free, just bring your own food. We're giving away three spots, so get to those meetings so you'll be eligible.

The cost is $25 for ACFW-GLC members and $35 for non-members. See you on April 4th!

GLC Writing Retreat

The GLC writing retreat is coming up on May 1-3 at the Shanty Creek Resort in Bellaire. $230 per person includes 2 nights lodging (double occupancy), 2 breakfasts, 2 lunches, and 1 dinner per person.

Only a couple weeks to get the reservation forms back to Karin. So hurry!

October Meeting Update

We're excited to announce that we've added Christine Johnson to our speaker schedule. She'll be speaking about writing for the Love Inspired line.

Member News

Some exciting news from Dawn Crandall: “My debut novel, THE HESITANT HEIRESS, was named a finalist in the Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence Romance Writers of America book contest this week!” Congratulations, Dawn!

Sunday, February 15, 2015

February 2015 Newsletter: Think Spring and Flash Fiction

Our next event will be held on April 4th at Past Tense Cider Mill in Lapeer.

Sarah Grimm will talk Flash Fiction and Sue Brower of the Natasha Kern Agency will talk about the Agent/Author relationship.

The event will be hosted by Judy Eick.

Cost is $25 per person which includes lunch provided by Past Tense.

Past Tense is a favorite destination of those living in central Michigan and the Thumb area. Be sure to leave time to visit their country store and awesome bake shop. You'll love the rustic charm and country setting.

Be sure to invite friends who may be interesting in joining the ACFW Great Lakes Chapter.

About Sarah Grimm:

I love stories. 

I strive for quality. 

I'm passionate about helping writers.

As a writer myself, I know what it’s like to be on that side of the fence: You write something, you love it, and you want to share it with the world. Whether you choose to self-publish, publish via the traditional route, or search for an agent, you need to put your best work out there. You want it to be polished until it shines. That’s where I come in. 

My experience comes from performing different types of editing on a regular basis. As an editor for both Pelican Book Group and Splickety Magazine, I perform the duties of acquisitions editor, copy editor, proofreader, and an editor who works closely with authors to get their manuscripts publication-ready. I have edited the work of published and new authors alike. 

Learn more about Sarah at her website.

Sue Brower says ... “I love finding and developing authors and connecting them with the reader. Book publishing has changed dramatically over the past several years and it's no secret that the novels that create buzz through their unique writing or concepts are the ones that become bestsellers.  Over the past 25 years in publishing, I have done marketing, editing, story development and acquisitions for Zondervan, a division of Harper Collins Publishers. Most recently, I was Executive Editor and had the privilege of working with New York Times bestselling authors Karen Kingsbury, Tim LaHaye, Stephen Carter, and Terri Blackstock and was named ACFW's Editor of the Year in 2010. And now I am fortunate to partner with Natasha Kern at the Natasha Kern Literary Agency. “
“I've been an avid fiction fan since childhood and love the way stories are able to change lives, heal hearts, and bring joy to readers. Today, I want to read and acquire women's contemporary, any kind of romance, suspense, mystery and historical novels.  I would love to discover the next breakaway author in any of these genres.”
“I am originally from Arizona and now live in Michigan with my hubby, and three furry "kids," Shep, Ollie, and Pepper.  You can find more information on LinkedIn and Facebook.”

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Secrets of the Comma and other Grammar Mysteries: Tuesday, Feb. 3

Travel with the ultimate Grammar Nerd into the mysterious world of participial phrases, appositives, and the ancient conflict between dependent and independent clauses as we unravel the enigmatic comma and grapple with grammatical perplexities that would leave your ninth grade English teacher’s hair standing on end. 


Tuesday, Feb. 3, 2015 at 7 p.m., Robin Patchen will present "Secrets of the Comma and other Grammar Mysteries." 

Robin is a professional freelance editor with several books to her credit. You can read more about her at Robin's Red Pen, and you can read some of her blog posts at Quid Pro Quills.

This is a free online event for members and associate members of the Great Lakes Chapter of ACFW! As long as we have your email address, you don't need to worry about anything - you'll receive an invitation in your inbox.

If you aren't a member of the GLC and would like to join, click here. If you have any other questions about it, please contact me at 

Monday, December 29, 2014

December 2014 Newsletter - Looking Ahead
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

It’s hard to believe, but another year is almost over. Thank you so much for your patience this year as the new board learned how things work. I hope you enjoyed the past year and were able to participate in some of our events. We had some great successes as a group and individually – our first writing retreat and online meeting plus lots of new contracts and book deals.

Our newest celebrant, for the month of December, is Kathy Rouser, who received a contract for her full-length novel, As Rumor Would Have It (working title)with Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas. They're hoping to release it in the spring of 2016. Congratulations!


We’ve just about filled our 2015 event calendar (we still need a December presenter), but you can see the agenda (including our May writing retreat) by clicking here.


In case you missed it, our new board was elected this past month, and your officers for 2015 are:

President – Karin Beery
Vice President – Ron Estrada
Secretary – Susan Tuttle
Treasurer – Pegg Thomas
Prayer Coordinator – Joy Avery Melville

Thank you to everyone for your willingness to serve!


That’s about all for now. Praying you all have a great new year, full of the Lord’s love and prosperity.


Judy Eick and Karin Beery

Historian and President