Writers Conference

Attend the CLASS Christian Writers Conference to learn the craft of writing and increase your chances of an editor or agent reviewing your work.

Join experienced and new authors in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and concentrate on your writing career for four days.

Morning teaching labs with top professionals throughout the week will give you the tools to improve your writing and the inside scoop about the Christian publishing industry.

Workshops and clinics will equip you with the skills to self-edit, prepare a polished manuscript, write a proposal, set up a marketing plan, and pitch to an editor or agent.

Top publishers, agents, representatives, and professional writers are available during the conference for one-on-one consultations.

You’ll be spiritually renewed and inspired from keynotes by high profile Christian leaders and outstanding music from experienced worship leaders.

You can leave the conference as a published author by participating in the CLASS Conference Book Project. Every attendee may submit one chapter for the book and polish the piece with a mentor and a small critique group. At the end of the conference, a book will be published and made available for conferees to purchase at a discount. You do not have to buy books to participate in the project.

The 2014 Writers Conference will be October 23-25 at Albuquerque’s First Baptist Church.

Do you want to write a book? When you read magazine articles is your first thought, I could have written that? Are you a writer ready to take your writing to the next level? Have you published a few things but just need to encouragement to try a few more? Are you well-established in the writing world and need the fellowship of other writers who know what the writing life is like?

If you answered “yes” to any of the above questions, the CLASS Christian Writers Conference is for YOU!

Writers Conference Registration Form

Keynote Speaker

Dr. Hensley Dr. Dennis E. “Doc” Hensley has published 54 books – including six novels and eight textbooks – as well as more than 150 short stories and 3,500 newspaper and magazine articles. He’s also a recognized authority on the life and works of twentieth-century author Jack London. No wonder Dr. Hensley is called a master of professional writing.
No one could have that kind of literary output without plenty of knowledge and skill – along with a strategic plan. The good news is, Doc’s mission in life is to share his secrets with others who desire to write.





What people are saying –
“Doc Hensley was outstanding! Examples were riveting and memorable. Hearing him was a rare treat.”
“Loved the stories to hang on the points; terrific life experience.”
 “Great presentation! Great info that I can take away and use.”
“Wow! What a powerful presentation. I enjoyed learning so much from him.”
“I appreciated his illustrations and examples. He’s very expressive and hits the mark!”
“Great presenter. Held my attention. Engaging and knowledgeable and great advice.”
“So informative. I’m new to this—he gave me so much to think about.”

Here is what is being offered at the 2014 writer’s conference:

Continuing Classes

Karen PorterKaren Porter – CLASSeminar

Karen Porter is an international speaker and the author of six books and a successful business woman. She is a frequent guest on national TV and radio programs, serves on several boards, and coaches aspiring writers and speakers. She and her husband, George, own Bold Vision Books a Christian publishing company. Karen says her greatest achievement is her marriage to George. In her spare time, she follows her lifelong quest to find the perfect purse.


Want to write and speak? At the CLASS Christian Writers Conference, we are offering a unique opportunity for you to hone your skills as a writer and as a speaker. Choose the CLASSeminar as your major daily track and learn the speaking skills you need but still get the opportunity to meet publishers, editors, and attend the writers conference. In this major track, you will discover one of the fresh new and revitalized programs offered by CLASS. Skilled coaches will teach the techniques you need to become a great speaker. You will learn how to prepare powerful and interesting presentations plus discover the secrets of professional speakers—voice inflection, eye contact, humor, body language, and stage presence. You will learn how to speak without notes and how to craft a tantalizing story. Your coach will evaluate and coach your own 5-minute presentation and help you take your speaking to the next level. A marketing professional and a writing expert will direct your next steps and answer your questions. Writers should be speakers too!


Dennis HensleyDennis Hensley – Writing and Selling Nonfiction

Don’t miss this opportunity to learn from a master of nonfiction writing. Learn 18 points of contemporary writing, how to communicate effectively with modern readers. Gain writing momentum, face down writer’s block, and quickly organize ideas for articles and features. Also writing devotions, the nuts and bolts of nonfiction, how to create titles that grab editors’ attention, making an effective pitch, and much more.


Andy ScheerAndy Scheer – Periodical Power

Andy Scheer serves as editor-in-chief for the Christian Writers Guild and Editorial Director for Believers Press, both Author1Source companies based in Colorado Springs. He’s also served as a freelance book editor, an agent with Hartline Literary, and an editor with Moody magazine. Andy often teaches at conferences and judges national writing contests. A journalism graduate of Colorado State University, he also studied at Denver Seminary. Discover the world of opportunities in writing for newspapers, magazines, and websites. Find effective ways to gain a periodical editor’s attention. Learn how to write two kinds of easy articles for fast publication ― and also publishable articles based on your life experience.


Jesse FloreaJesse Florea – Teen Track

Jesse Florea is a teenager trapped inside a man’s body. He’s worked at Focus on the Family for more than 20 years. For the past 17, he’s been the editor of Focus on the Family Clubhouse (for boys and girls ages 8 to 12) and is currently the editorial director for youth publications where he oversees Clubhouse and Clubhouse Jr. magazines. He co-hosts the biweekly “Official Adventures in Odyssey podcast” that often exceeds 1 million listeners. Plus, he is an occasional guest on the “Plugged In podcast” where he talks about movies and culture. Jesse teaches at writers conferences across the country and in local schools where he hopes to inspire the next generation of authors. He earned bachelor and master’s degrees in communications from Wheaton College, Ill. Additionally, Jesse has 25 years of newspaper experience and written or co-written over a dozen books (including Devotions for Super Average Kids, The One-Year Devos for Sports Fans, The One Year Father-Daughter Devotions, Linspired: The Jeremy Lin Story, Playing with Purpose: Baseball and Playing With Purpose Mariano Rivera). He lives with his wife, Stephanie, in Colorado Springs.


To be a success in writing takes the same determination as being successful in sports or music‹you have to work at it. From age 15, I knew I wanted to be a writer. I landed my first professional writing job that year at a local newspaper and haven’t stopped writing sense. During the course of this class, we’ll look at finding your writing passion, different arenas where you can use your writing skills (books, magazines, newspapers, marketing, blogs), how popular authors became popular, and different tools of the trade. It’ll be practical, interactive, meaningful and most of all fun. Plus, everyone who comes will have the opportunity to be published in the CLASS devotional book that will be created at the conference. God has given you talents that you can use to glorify Him. Hone those abilities and make a difference in the world!


Cynthia RuchtiCynthia Ruchti – Fiction Track

Cynthia Ruchti tells stories of Hope-that-glows-in-the-dark through her novels, novellas, devotions, and nonfiction, and through speaking for women’s events/retreats and writers’ conferences/workshops. She draws from 33 years of experience writing and producing the 15-minute daily radio broadcast, “The Heartbeat of the Home.” Her books have received recognition from RT Reviewers’ Choice, Retailers’ Choice, and Family Fiction Readers’ Choice as well as finalist honors in ACFW’s Carol Awards and the Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence, among others. She serves as Professional Relations Liaison for American Christian Fiction Writers, is a board member of the Deliver Hope ministry, and is part of the worship team at her church. She and her husband live in the heart of Wisconsin, not far from their three children and five grandchildren.


An in-depth look at the anatomy of a novel—its skeletal structure, circulatory system, muscles, nervous system, its heart, mind, soul, and strength—and examine how writers can use our Creator God’s incredible design for the systems of the human body to help us create healthy, thriving novels. Walk away with practical ideas for breathing new life into your stories.


LarryLeechLarry Leech– Advanced Nonfiction

(There is a prerequisite for this class.) For more than thirty years, Larry J. Leech II has written and edited in a number of capacities. He began his professional writing career in 1981 at age 18 and spent twenty-three years writing and editing at daily newspapers and magazines. With thousands of published articles under his belt, Larry moved into freelance book editing and writing in 2004. Since that time he has ghostwritten more than a dozen books and coached a number of aspiring writers through their projects. Larry teaches at numerous conferences nationwide each year and has become a much sought after writing coach. Upcoming releases in 2014 include two novels and two ghostwriting projects, one of which is the memoir of Dr. Raymond Damadian, the doctor who invented the MRI.


Pre-requisite-at least one published book and 5 published, print or digital, articles (blogs not included) OR participation in Larry 2013 class. Feel like you’re struck or want more from your writing career? Take The Next Step with this hands-on workshop that will help you with the craft, marketing, and publishing choices. Space is limited to eight participants.


SusanKing150x170pxSusan King – Writing Devotionals

Susan King, Associate Editor of The Upper Room magazine, also teaches English at Lipscomb University and functions as a seminar facilitator in leadership and group dynamics. Formerly she taught English and feature-writing classes at Biola University, served as book editor and radio-program producer/on-air talent for The Institute of Scriptural Psychology, and wrote magazine features as a freelance writer. Susan and husband, Joe, have three grown children and two young grandchildren (both perfect, of course!)


If you want to write with such sparkle and verve that you’ll knock the socks off editors, come to this class. If you want them to be falling all over themselves to publish your submission and then clamoring for anything you plan to write in the future, come to this class. A crash course in excellent writing for any genre, this continuing class will focus on the essentials for writing for the Christian market and specific do’s and don’ts in writing devotionals. Participants will come away with concrete tools for self-editing to produce polished works that will attract both editors and readers.


Kathy WillisKathy Willis – Marketing Professional

Kathy Carlton Willis enjoys fiddling with words as writer’s coach and marketing pro at KCW Communications. Kathy has been in the Christian literary industry since 2001, and is affiliated as a trainer with several national groups. She’s published in multiple books, magazines and online publications and lives the faith-walk of fulltime ministry. She gets jazzed inspiring others to have their own lightbulb moments. Kathy shines, whether she’s shining the light on God’s writers and speakers, or reflecting God’s light during her speaking events. Look for her books Speaker to Speaker: The Essential Speaker’s Companion and Grin with Grace, releasing in 2014.

Tentative Schedule

Schedule – Wednesday, October 22

1:00 p.m. Welcome at the hotel

2:00-4:30 p.m. On Ramp


Schedule – Thursday, October 23

8:15-8:30 a.m. Registration

8:30-10:00 a.m. Opening Session


10:30-noon. Teaching Labs


Writing and Selling Nonfiction – Dennis Hensley

Advanced Nonfiction – Larry Leech

The Anatomy of a Novel – Cynthia Ruchti

Periodical Power – Andy Scheer

CLASSEMINAR – Karen Porter and Betty Southard

Noon Lunch with editors (Choose your table)

1:00-3:45 p.m. Appointments with Editors and Professionals


1:30-2:30 p.m. Workshop # 1

2:45-3:45 p.m. Lightning Learning

4:00-5:00 p.m. Keynote

Supper on your own

6:30 – 9:30 p.m. CLASS Coaching Groups

7:00 p.m. Genre Groups at the hotel


Schedule – Friday, October 24

8:30-10:00 a.m. Teaching Labs


10:15-11:15 a.m. Critique Groups

11:30 a.m.-12:15 p.m. Devotion/Large Group

12:15 p.m. Lunch

1:30-3:45 p.m. Appointments with Editors and Professionals

Teen Track

1:30-5:00 p.m. Editor Appointments

1:30-2:30 p.m. Workshop # 1

2:45-3:45 p.m. Workshop #2

CLASS Coaching Groups

4:00-5:00 p.m. Autograph Party (Lots of fun, refreshments, and giveaways)

5:30 p.m. Banquet

6:30 p.m. Large Group worship

8:00-9:00 p.m. CLASS media training


Saturday, October 25

8:30-10:00 a.m. Teaching Labs

CLASS marketing

10:15-11:15 a.m. Critique Groups

11:30 a.m.-12:15 p.m. Devotions

12:15 p.m. Lunch

1:15-3:30 p.m. Appointments with Editors and Professionals

1:15-3:30 p.m. CLASS

1:15-2:15 p.m. Workshop # 1

2:25-3:25 p.m. Workshop #2

3:40-4:30 p.m. Closing Challenge

Scholarship Opportunity

CLASS Christian Writers Conference 2014 Scholarship Program

We are excited to offer scholarships to the 2014 CLASS Christian Writers Conference. Only full tuition scholarships are available and do not include lodging, food, and transportation. Please do not apply for these scholarships if you are not able to cover the additional expenses.

Scholarships available include:

Cec Murphey Scholarships of Full tuition – value $525, do not include lodging, food, and transportation. Please do not apply for these scholarships if you are not able to cover the additional expenses.

Special thanks to Cec Murphey for generously providing scholarships for our conference.

Teen Scholarships – value $99, includes Friday night and Saturday programming, and Saturday lunch. Does not include transportation. These scholarships are also provided by Cec Murphey.


  1. Applications must be submitted directly to scholarship e-mail address – classeminars@gmail.com
  2. All applications must include and be complete when submitted. This includes:

Application form - Click here to download.

Writing sample – What you hope to gain from the CLASS Christian Writers Conference.

A letter of recommendation – stating why the applicant should be given a scholarship and how it would benefit the applicant. (This letter may not come from relatives, CLASS faculty, or CCWC faculty or leadership.)

  1. Applicants will receive an acknowledgment saying the application was received.
  2. All applications must contain name, address, phone number and e-mail address.
  3. No applications will be accepted after midnight on August 15th.


  1. All former Cec Murphey scholarship recipients are ineligible for 2014 funding.
  2. CLASS faculty and family are ineligible.
  3. Members of CCWC leadership and faculty are ineligible.


  1. The deadline for submission is midnight on August 15th. Please submit all material at one time to Wendy Leech at WendyELeech@gmail.com.
  2. Announcement of recipients will be made in a blast, on the writers conference blog, and by e-mail on or before September 1.
Writers Conference Kudos Awards


Announcing the 2014 CLASS Christian Writers Conference Kudos Awards.

These awards are to applaud and acknowledge the success of our fellow communicators in the publishing industry. Fees from the contest go to our Scholarship Fund.

CLASS Christian Writers Conference Kudos Awards Contest Rules and Guidelines

This portion of the contest is for those present at the conference. The Award of Excellence category is open to writers at the conference and those who do not attend.

FEE per entry: $15

There are six categories:

1) Published Articles – Previously published nonfiction articles of 800-1500 words. Be sure to include date and publication.

2) Fiction – submit synopsis of novel and first chapter. Not to exceed twenty pages.

3) Young Adult (YA) – send synopsis and first chapter

4) Children’s Writing (Picture Books and Middle Grade)

Picture Books – send entire manuscript

Middle Grade novels – send 1 page synopsis and first ten pages

5) Nonfiction (personal experiences, motivational, how-to, etc.) – Submit outline and first chapter, not to exceed twenty pages.

6) Bible Study and Devotionals

Bible Studies – Submit outline and first chapter. Not to exceed twenty pages.

Devotions – Submit five devotions.

Email submissions to Gloria Penwell at gpenwell44@yahoo.com.


  • Contest is open to all 2014 attendees of the conference
  • Deadline for entries is September 30, 2014.
  • Email entries with entry form to Gloria Penwell at gpenwell44@yahoo.com. Mail your check for entry fee to Gerry Wakeland, CLASS PO Box 36551, Albuquerque, NM 87176

Christian Writers Conference Kudos Awards Entry Form


CLASS Award of Excellence

Submit one copy of the book. You do not have to be present at the conference to win.

FEE: $25 for each submission.

Contest entries are to be mailed to Linda Gilden. Please mail a copy of each book you are entering and your $25 check payable to “CLASSEMINARS, Inc.” to Linda Gilden, PO Box 2928, Spartanburg, SC 29304.


  • Contest is open to published authors, whose books were published between January 1, 2013, and September 1, 2014 with both traditional and nontraditional publishers.
  • You may enter in the fiction and nonfiction categories. Deadline for entries is September 15, 2014.
  • Both authors must sign the form if the book is coauthored.
  • Entries must be received by September 15, 2014.
  • Mail one copy of the book, the entry form, and a check for each entry to Linda Gilden, PO Box 2928, Spartanburg, SC 29304.
  • All scores are final.
  • Winners need not be present to win (but you will miss a great weekend if you’re not there!)

Lodging in Albuquerque