Newsletters

January - Week 1 - Extended Training
Sunday, January 8, 2023 by Cindy Sproles

Image by Dede from PixabayIs there frustration on my face...because this is the 3rd time I've typed this letter! Arrgghh.

TYPOS ARE FREE AFTER THREE TIMES DOING THIS.

Maybe just a smidge. And if you know me, I tend to say what's on the brain, so bear with me.

We ARE SOLD OUT! I am completely grateful in every sense of the word that God has blessed us again this year. He never fails us, but in the midst of this success, He continues to test and try me - teach me, shape me. And it's hard. Having said that, please understand why I am about to share some things with you that might otherwise, seem stern.

1) It is the policy of the Cove, according to their 501c3, the State of North Carolina, and the Federal government restrictions placed on them to do the following:  Anyone coming on campus to eat, stay, or visit an in-process conference, must be a paid conferee. Here's why - they are a non-profit retreat center. Because of that, they charge per person so that each individual is accounted for and in attendance of a conference or retreat. You may visit the Cove grounds, but you cannot purchase a meal ticket, visit an in-progress conference, or stay with a friend unless you are registered as a paid attendee. You cannot just breeze in, ask for a hotel room, and stay there. All rooms are reserved by their codes and 501c3 for paid conferees. So when I tell you NO, a friend or spouse cannot come on campus to stay, visit our conference or eat, it's not me...there's a method behind the madness.

2) Mentoring appointments - If you contact Terri and ask for a mentor and that mentor is filled - then the mentor is filled. Please do not continually ask for a mentoring appointment if the mentor you are requesting is filled. They can only do so many and fulfill their other obligations to our conference. This is why we began early last year, encouraging you to sign up for mentoring appointments. In this case, be it our conference or another, the slots are few. The early bird gets the worm. Please be kind and respectful of our staff if they have to tell you no, and consider another mentor. We still have mentoring appointments with Billy and Lori. They are awesome. They can help you.

3) Refunds - Our cancellation/refund policy is listed on our registration page. After Dec. 31, there are no refunds. I will do my best to sell your spot, but if I cannot, there is no refund from here forward. WHY? Because the bills have been paid. If I can sell your slot, please be kind, and open a free VENMO or Zelle account so the purchaser can pay you directly. It is an accounting nightmare to refund monies that have been spent because...well, they've been spent and it's an ordeal to reverse things. Help me help you and open a VENMO account if you have to cancel. Otherwise, I cannot help you.

The Sparrow Book Contest is closed. Likewise, the Advance the Kingdom Devotion Contest is nearing an end as well. In fact, we may end it sooner than later, so if you are considering entering. DO IT NOW!

NOW THIS IS IMPORTANT TO ALL CONTEST ENTRANTS: PAY ATTENTION!
If you have entered the Sparrow Book Contest and have not sent Sarah your manuscript - DO NOT HESITATE. Send it to:
[email protected]. These are due Jan. 2

IF YOU HAVE ALREADY ENTERED THE ADVANCE THE KINGDOM DEVOTION CONTEST - PAY CLOSER ATTENTION. EMAIL YOUR ENTRY TO ANDREA MERRELL at [email protected] . Even if you have sent it to Cindy, email it again to Andrea. WHY? Charter Spectrum has been having tons of issues and email on my end is sloppy. WE DON'T WANT TO MISS ANYONE'S ENTRY. So EVEN IF YOU HAVE EMAILED IT TO CINDY, resend it to [email protected] . I REPEAT IN RED: RESEND YOUR DEVOTION ENTRY TO ANDREA MERRELL EVEN IF YOU HAVE SENT IT TO CINDY.


Housing on Campus:  We are slated to stay in Shepherd's Inn which is the Inn directly beside the Training Center. This is awesome because you are just steps away from the Training Center, and off-campus folks can drive up to the parking lot. When you arrive at the Cove on Friday, you cannot check into your room until after 3 pm. YOU WILL DRIVE UP, PARK, AND GO INSIDE SHEPHERD'S INN and get your name badge. You cannot enter the training center 3rd floor without your badge. Leave your luggage in your car. After the early bird classes, you will have time to return to Shepherd's Inn and get your room key. MEMORIZE THIS!

Off-Campus folks...You will drive up to Shepherd's Inn and get your name tag. Then park in the lot above the Training Center. You must get your name tag before entering the Training Center. If you are being dropped off, then drop off at Shepherd's Inn, get your badge, and walk next door to the training center. Pick-ups can be in front of the training center, but I recommend you text your ride and have them arrive just in time to pick you up. The buses will be running from Pilgrims Inn, and they will need that drive under at the training center.

Early bird classes start at 1 p.m. You may come on campus at 11 a.m. Get your name tag and visit the Billy Graham Chapel or the downstairs rotunda and bookstore at the Cove. Classes begin at 1 p.m. on the 3rd floor. Please do not go to the 3rd floor until 12:30. Help the bottleneck of folks on the 3rd floor.

To Get to the Conference: You'll take the elevator in front of the HUGE fireplace at the main entrance to the training center, to the 3rd floor, where you'll be greeted by our bookstore staff and some faculty. We'll show you where to go from there for your early bird classes. Please DO NOT ARRIVE before 11 a.m. The Cove is not prepared for an influx of folks since they are checking other conferences OUT. Help keep down the chaos. :)

FACULTY BOOKSTORE - We will have a bookstore available to you with our faculty books, cd's, and other sundries. We encourage you to browse the bookstore and make a purchase. Grab the faculty member whose book you purchase and let them sign it. Your purchases not only help our faculty (who we only pay in M&M's and peanuts) but again, you will be providing scholarship funds for next year.

Remember our MISSION - The Bob Box - any donations you make will be divided between the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and our Moore Square mission work.

YOU DO NOT SIGN UP FOR OUR CLASSES. We have Step Up and Step Out. The Step Up classes are geared toward newer writers, while the Step Out classes are geared toward the more seasoned writer. But, you can attend either one. We recommend you pick a track and stay in it, but we can't force that. INSTEAD, prepare to buy the MP3s. We will record all the classes and keynotes. So if you miss a class in person, buy the MP3s and have the full conference teaching sessions forever. Plus, when you purchase the MP3s, you are helping provide scholarships for next year. MP3s are $45.

15-Minute appointment sign-up will be Friday night. Terri will fill you in Friday night at our general assembly.

Your first extended class blog begins today. It will be an assignment and blog by the amazing Bob Hostetler. Bob is an agent with the Steve Laube Agency, and he's an author who's hit that million book mark - I know...don't dote on him too much, we won't be able to live with him. Either way, he's prepared a great blog on writing your bio. This is probably one of the most important things you will hone for your writing career. So check out the blog at www.ashevillechristianwritersconference.com.

All the Classes are listed and the schedule is listed. There will be tweaks to the schedule - There always are. But you will have a good idea of the times when you look at it. Currently, it is written in wet cement. What will change this is the number of folks at the Cove for the weekend. COVID guidelines are still in effect for the Cove regarding the number of folks in a room. If they reach the coveted number in the dining hall, then they will break meals into two sessions. That will force a schedule change. Trust me, Terri and I wait holding our breath that it doesn't change, but it almost always does...and sometimes ...not until FRIDAY when you arrive. Be patient. Please be patient with the meal lines, with the internet (because there will be tons of folks using it), and with our bookstore payment method (that depends on the speed of the internet). You may have to wait. It's okay. Get those MP3s, and you'll be sure not to miss a thing.

Keep a look at your watch. Once we get rolling, we are on a very tight schedule! It doesn't have room for dawdling.

Mentoring and Critiques - There are still a few paid critique appointments and a few mentoring appointments with Billy or Lori. Sign up quickly before they are all gone.

Our mentors, Edie Melson, Les Stobbe. and Larry Leech, are filled. Lori Marett and Billy Wayne Arrington still have appointment slots.

Lori Marett - Works with WRAMS, mentoring writing service. She is a screenplay writer and amazing at brainstorming and content. She can look at your work and spit out suggestions faster than Jack Spratt. Book with Lori.

Billy Wayne Arrington - Billy is the music man, but that's not all - he's a playwright and musician. NOT ONLY THAT, but Billy has run an amazing ministry for years at his venue, the Lamplite Theatre. He works with ministries, he's an evangelist, and of course, an amazing singer. Billy can lead you through the process of is your work something that could become a play or movie or is your poetry workable as lyrics. But more so, with his years of experience in active ministry, he can guide you into beginning your own ministry.

These appointments cost you a little investment, but it is money well spent to have one-on-one attention to your work. Make those appointments and remember, they fill quickly.


WEATHER - The weather in February is always iffy. However, we have never had snow. (Well, one year ...like 14 yrs ago. But the roads were cleared within hours.) God has been faithful to us year after year by holding the weather at bay. Just know that Asheville has roads cleared in hours if it should snow. They're accustomed to snow in the winter. It's nothing for you to worry over. We just ask you to continue to pray for good weather and safe travel.


AGAIN - I simply ask that you pray over this conference. Pray for safety, good weather, and for those who are attending. Pray for good health. For God to show up and show us His might and power. Praise Him for the success He has provided thus far.
_______________________________________________________

WHO CARES!
 
A number of years ago, my very tall son (6 '6 1/2") stood on the sidewalk with his finger pointed in my face. I stood on the porch, looking up at him. "Who cares, Mom?" He shouted.

It took all my strength not to react the way my heart wanted to react. Instead, I grasped his finger tightly and squeezed his finger into his palm, then pushed his hand to his side. I took a deep breath, butted my chest against his and firmly, but quietly said, "I care. God cares. That's all you need." He stared down at me and, after a second, gently took hold of my hand.

How many times have you thought those very words? In our world, that's the attitude. It's like black mold growing inside a damp wall, crawling, intoxicating, and making us ill. Today, we live in a time when demanding an answer seems the best way to make headway. You may wonder why I use this example. Well, I despise having to start a normally positive newsletter out with a stern hand. It's not me, but when it comes to my staff and even myself, I will firmly take hold of the accusing finger and quietly remind the person behind it that I CARE.  I've had to do that a lot this week. I've had to step in and protect my staff from seething emails because things aren't going the way that person thought it should go. I've even dealt with a couple slamming me. So when you toss those words, WHO CARES out there, guess what? You're gonna get the one who cares. (And for the record for every three kind-hearted requests, there was one that was not so kind. They weren't all bad.)

Our words can move mountains. Perhaps that's why we have been called to be writers. We have those special words that can do just that. That's why, as writers, it's important that you remember what power there is in your words. You can change lives with appropriately penned words. You can offer hope, bring peace, show faith, and show the consequence of a faithless life. Words are powerful and moving.

I often wonder if Adam and Eve looked to God when they sinned in the garden and shouted, "Who cares." I feel sure God returned the stare, His heart aching, with the reply, "I care!" And you know, He does care.  He cares enough to offer us grace, give us life, and bring us the hope of eternity. When I hear those words, who cares...I can say with confidence. God cares, and so do I.

So as you write this week, look over the power in your words. Look at the power behind the words you say to others, and remember who truly cares. Then soften your tone, and take in the whisper, "I care." Then and only then will you experience the power behind the phrase. We are in the countdown and growing excited to meet you face-to-face.

Blessings over your week,

Cindy Sproles,
Director

Previous Posts

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January - Week 1 - Extended Training
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1/8/2023

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December Newsletter
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February 13, 2022 - UPDATED NEWSLETTER
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Week 4 - Newsletter for January 23 - ASSIGNMENT 4
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January 16, Assignment 3 - Bring Your Characters to Life
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Week 2 - Newsletter January 8
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January 5 Newsletter
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December 17 Newsletter
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December 2021 Newsletter
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December 2018 Newsletter
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