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Writer's conference invites wordsmiths of all levels

Julie L. Cannon, bestselling author of "Southern Fried Food for the Soul," will teach workshops at the East Metro Atlanta Christian Writers annual two-day writers conference Sept. 7 and 8.

Julie L. Cannon, bestselling author of "Southern Fried Food for the Soul," will teach workshops at the East Metro Atlanta Christian Writers annual two-day writers conference Sept. 7 and 8.

The East Metro Atlanta Christian Writers (EMACW) annual two-day conference is just around the corner and accomplished writers as well as novices are invited to register.

The event will be held at Georgia Piedmont Technical College in Covington on Sept. 7 and 8. The conference is led by a faculty of professionals in the writing and publishing industry.

Participants are invited to attend a meet-and-greet session on Sept. 6, from 7 to 9 p.m. to pick up their conference packets and to get to know the faculty members who will come to Newton County to lead the two days of instruction. Registration for the conference is required and closes Aug. 31.

The mission of the 12-year-old EMACW is "to educate, encourage and engage the writer to the highest standards," according to its website, www.emacw.org.

"We select faculty who embrace our goals and have a heart for teaching," said EMACW founder and director Colleen Capes Jackson.

"We want to dispel the myth that successful authors are unapproachable. Our faculty sits with the attendees during breakfast and lunch and is available to meet with them for a 15-minute interview.

"The faculty is there not only to teach, but to mentor our writers. It's common to hear faculty give out their contact information during a session and invite attendees to contact them if a question arises after the conference."

Faculty members this year include novelist and writing coach Sally Hamer; award-winning novelists Jennifer Hudson Taylor and Julie Cannon; editor and social marketing expert Edie Melson; gift and devotional book author Karen Moore; literary agent Les Stobbe; and local authors and bloggers Patricia Manns, Alicia Stunkel and Leigh DeLozier.

The entry deadline for the publishing award has already closed and judges are now reviewing the entries received from 12 writers from Newton, Rockdale, Gwinnett and DeKalb counties. The competition, sponsored by WestBow Press, a division of Thomas Nelson Publishing will select a first, second and third place winner.

At the close of the conference, each contestant will receive a certificate of appreciation. The first place winner will receive a $2,999 Bookstore Advantage Publishing Package from WestBow Press and have their work published and available in bookstores in 2013.

Those contestants and the titles of their entries include: Martha Brown, "Victim or Accomplice"; Jacenta Cobb, "Momma, Where Do Ugly People Come From?"; Carrie Huenke, "Guide Her Safely Through The Night"; Barbara Latta, "Encounters With Grace"; Buddy McElhannon, "Walking Through the Valley of Tears"; Grace Potts, "The Fourth Gift"; Tigner Rand, "A Book of Devotions & Testimonies"; Kathy Rhoades, "The Golden Rule Kids"; Jackie Rod, "Fingerprints on My Heart"; Cindy Reynolds, "Wolfsblood"; Renee Sunday, "Grief Through the Eyes of an Anesthesiologist" and Terri Webster, "Markers for Single Moms -- Finding God's Direction in the Chaos."

On Sept. 7 and 8, attendees will take part in the instructional sessions of their choice and browse through the EMACW bookstore. The conference begins with a continental breakfast at 7:30 a.m. both Friday and Saturday and concludes each day at 5 p.m.

Registration includes five workshops, along with a keynote address each day, continental breakfast, lunch and class handouts. The cost is $199.

Workshops topics will focus on both fiction and non-fiction writing. Some sessions include "Getting Started Freelancing," "Writing Gift Books and Devotionals," and "Marketing Your Blog."

EMACW's membership writes for both the Christian and secular markets and Jackson said the conference is not just for Christian writers, but for secular writers, as well.

EMACW's two-day conference will be held on the Georgia Piedmont Technical College campus Newton Center, Building D and Conference Center, which is located at 8100 Bob Williams Parkway in Covington.

In addition to the annual conference in September, EMACW meets the second Saturday of each month and invites novice to advanced writers to participate.

Jackson said she wants to make a personal guarantee to those considering coming to the conference.

"If you register and attend one of EMACW's conferences and believe you didn't get your money's worth, we will refund your registration or give you a credit to future conferences," she said.

"We can make that guarantee because we are confident that you will make life-long friends, connections that will carry you through your writing journey and receive continuing education that will enable you to reach your personal and professional goals as a writer."

Anyone interested in the conference is invited to contact Jackson at 404-444-7514. For more information and a conference brochure listing all the sessions, visit www.emacw.org.

Beth Sexton is a freelance writer based in Snellville. If you have a story idea, contact Karen Rohr, features editor, at karen.rohr@rockdalecitizen.com.