Our 2012 Idahope Writer’s Conference Keynote Speaker: Jeff Gerke Tuesday, Sep 27 2011 

The Idahope Writers are pleased to announced that our 2012 Conference Keynote speaker will be publisher, editor, and writing guru Jeff Gerke.

Jeff has been on staff with such traditional Christian publishing houses as Multinomah, Strang/Realms, and Nav Press and has freelanced for several others. He also started the Christian Speculative Fiction, Where the Map Ends. One popular feature was Gerke’s, “Writing Tip of the Week” which ran for 96 weeks and provides good advice to Christian writers in not only speculative fiction, but any other genre of Christian fiction as well. Gerke expanded on these tips in his book, The Art & Craft of Writing Christian Fiction.  Gerke is also the author of Plot Versus Character: A Balance Approach to Writing.

In October 2008, Gerke launched the Marcher Lord Press, an innovative publisher of Christian speculative fiction that has published Christy Award winner (and past Idahope Conference Speaker) Jill Williamson and Carol Award Winner Mark Schooley. 

Jeff is the author of six novels under the pen name, Jefferson Scott including the Operation Firebrand series.

We’re privileged to have Jeff come to our conference. The 4th Annual Idahope Writer’s Conference will be held March 17, 2012 at Cole Community Church in Boise. Be sure to mark your calendar. In addition to Jeff’s presentations, there will be a variety of workshops offered.  Additional details will be announed in the near future.


What I Learned from Stephen Bly Saturday, Jun 11 2011 

Idaho Christian Writers have lost a great treasure as Stephen Bly: a pastor, an author of more than 100 books, and statesman went home to be with the Lord yesterday at the age of 66, after a five year long battle with cancer and five days short of his forty-eighth wedding anniversary.

I only met him once, but once was enough to leave an indelible impression. Sometimes, with Bly, it didn’t even taken once as Daniel Darling explained .

Bly was best known as a writer of Westerns and Historical Fiction, neither of which I’m fond of, but a Stephen Bly western or historical was different. His storytelling and voice kept me engaged and interested. His love for the places and the stories he told showed on every page.

There are many things that can and ought to be said about Stephen Bly, but my experience with this multi-published author over a period of a few days back in 2008, and that’s what I’ll speak to.

I went to the 2008 Oregon Christian Writer’s conference where Stephen Bly spoke. While it was an expensive conference, his presentations were worth the price of admission.

Shoot Somebody: During his presentation, he talked about how to get your novel going again and one tip I’ll never forget is, “Shoot somebody.”  By this he meant to have have a character get shot or have something else dramatic happen that brings the story to a head. To this day, when I get stuck in a story, and I don’t want to do, the thought comes to my mind, “Shoot somebody.”

Write Short Paragraphs: This helped me a lot in both my fiction and non-fiction writing. I come from a family of long dense paragraph writers. This is really bad in fiction as readers tend to give up when they see that.

Bly taught us to use short choppy paragraph to build tension and forward the action, and it made a big difference for me in my writing life as I’ve implemented that.

Dialogue First: While this isn’t a method I’ve tried, it was one of the most interesting highlights of the conference. Bly did dialogue first writing, where he would write all the dialogue for a scene and then fill in the tags for who was speaking. I’ll never forget when he read several pages of an upcoming work with dialogue only, and the audience had a good laugh listening, with no idea who was saying or what they were doing while they were speaking. It won’t work for everyone, but for him it did.

Our Writing is Ministry:  This may have been greatest lesson I learned from Stephen Bly and his book, Paperback Writers.  

In the novel, Paul James Watson is  a writer going through a career crisis as he finishes up his latest book. Watson is a professional novelist whose books sell a steady number of copies:  just enough to keep the publisher interested in more books in his Toby McKenna series. However, Watson has not achieved critical acclaim or the fame many of us authors would like to experience.

In the course of Watson’s adventures, he converses with his lead character, and during one of these conversations, Watson is able to put his writing into perspective leading to one of the most powerful passages I ever read on the life of a Christian writer:

“I got an inflated idea about my writing. I needed to back up and see it from the Lord’s point of view. I’m a paperback writer, Toby. I’m not a world-famous novelist. Not a Pulitzer Prize-winning author. I’m just like in the old Beatles song. But I’m good at it. And it’s my place that the Lord has provided.

“They don’t study my novels in English lit. classes at Stanford. But there’s a single mom, struggling to make ends meet working as a clerk-typist in the admissions office, who tackles those preschoolers in late Friday night in that one-bedroom apartment #421 on 16th Street in Palo Alto, and then curls up on the faded pea-green sofa she inherited from her granny, pulls a tattered afghan over her feet, and reads my book until she falls asleep about three in the morning. And for five straight hours, she isn’t worried about car payments, or alimony checks that never arrive, or little sissy constantly getting sick at day care, or the jerk at the office who brushed up against her backside in the elevator, or her mother’s comments about her marriage failure, or the fact that she’s gained six pounds since Christmas. For those few hours it’s just her and Toby McKenna, having one incredible adventure after another.

“She will fall asleep with a sweet dream of a dashing, though distracted, detective. She’ll wake up in the real world, but for a few hours we gave her mind and body and soul a break. She got to live in your world. And because of that, she’ll tackle the new day with just a little more strength, courage, direction, and, I hope, more faith.

“Oh, the critics don’t think much of my books. But the critics don’t have to carry a three-year-old up two flights of steps every evening at 5:45 and twice on Sundays.

This quote brought home to me that writing of any sort can minister to those around us.  It also means that if we are blessing and ministering to those who God wants us to touch, that we have fulfilled our purpose as writers.

Stephen Bly ministered to tens of thousands of people through his writing and his books will continue to be blessed and comforted by his paperback writings.  He also was  a great blessing to his fellow writers.

Our prayers are with his wife, Janet and their family as they go through this time of loss and mourning.

Lunch for the Conference Thursday, Feb 24 2011 

It is not too late to register for the 2011 Annual Idahope Christian Writers Conference.

Late registration is available at the door for $30, Saturday, February 26. Registration begins at 8 a.m.


We will provide coffee and pastries at registration and coffee service throughout the day. The conference begins at 8:30 a.m. Our schedule allows for a 75 minute lunch from 11:45 to 1 p.m. The lunch meal is not included in the $30 conference fee.


However, Idahope will have a catering service provide a boxed lunch (sandwiches) for $10/person. **To order a boxed lunch by Thursday, please read below. If you choose not to participate in the box lunch here are a few other options.


  • There are a few fast food chains nearby the conference location including pizza hut, Sonic Drive-in and Quiznos Sandwich. (See map below.)
  • You could bring a sack lunch or have someone deliver something for you during the lunch hour.


The catering service will be provided by “3 Girls Catering” and you have two choices for lunch.


Option 1—It’s a Wrap

Grilled Chicken Caesar Wrap

With Chopped Romaine, Diced Tomatoes & Shredded Parmesan Cheese, Tangy Caesar Dressing & Cracked Pepper

Sweet & Savory Orzo Salad with Dried Cranberries & Apricots, Toasted Walnuts, Caramelized Onions & Veggies

Option 2—All American

Roast Beef ‘n Cheddar Sandwich with Green Leaf, Red Onion & Horsey Sauce

Garden Salad with Tomatoes, Cucumbers, Red Onion & Ranch


Unfortunately there cannot be modifications to the sandwiches, so if you have dietary needs, please consider bringing your own bagged lunch.


**To order: The catering must be finalized by noon, Thursday, February 24. You must order by emailing Hilarey Johnson hilarey@hilarey.com with your sandwich choice. Orders must be paid for ($10) at the registration table the morning of the conference. Then you will receive your meal ticket.


We apologize for the late notice and the limited time response. If you do not make the deadline you still have the other two options. It is our hope to encourage people to stay at the conference location for the noon meal for two reasons. One, there are very few fast food options and two, we hope attendees will be able to relax, socialize and network with fellow writers between sessions.


Below is a link and a map of Cole Community so you will see some of the meal options in the area.


Cole Community Church

8775 West Ustick Road
Boise, ID 83704
(208) 375-3565


Idahope Writers Welcomes Robin Lee Hatcher Thursday, Oct 14 2010 

Idahope Writers is pleased to welcome award-winning author Robin Lee Hatcher as the speaker for its October meeting.

Hatcher is the author of more than 60 novels, with 30 having been written for the General Market, and 30 for the Christian Market.  Hatcher is past President of the Romance Writers of America (1992-94) and winner of the Christy Award for Excellence in Christian Fiction and the RITA Award for Best Inspirational Romance.

Idahope Writers is a chapter of the American Christian Fiction Writers set up with the goal of providing fellowship for Christian writers and opportunities to work towards publication.  The Idahope Writers Group has presented two writers conferences in 2009 and 2010 and is looking for the 2011 conference. 

More information is available on Idahope writers by e-mailing  Adam Graham, president of Idahope Writers.

Idahope Conference Agenda Monday, Feb 22 2010 

The agenda for this year’s conference is posted. Please go here to register:

9:10-Adam Graham: The Future of FictionWriting

9:45-Ray Ellis: Writing About the Police


10:45-Donna Crow: Structure of a Novel


1:10 P.M.- Sherry Lord-Let Your Characters be Real

1:35 P.M.- Jon Colson-How to Critique

2:15 P.M.. Break, fellowship and Book Signing

3:15 P.M. –Jill Williamson-Marketing Your Book on a Limited Budget

Idahope Conference Information Thursday, Feb 11 2010 

February 27 @ 8:30 a.m. at Grace Bible Church at 4262 North Eagle Road in Boise

Want to become a better writer? Would you like to meet other Treasure Valley Christian Writers? Come to this year’s mini-conference.

We have two fabulous keynote speakers this year:

  • Donna Fletcher Crow is the author of more than thirty books, including Christian romance, historical fiction, and non-fiction. Her most famous book is the epic, Glastonbury: A Novel of Christian England. Her latest book, an ecclesiastical mystery entitled A Very Private Grave will be released later this year.
  • Jill Williamson is the author of By Darkness Hid, a Christian Fantasy novel. She will be representing Marcher Lord Press. She is a former editor for Wild Rose Press. She also writes the Novel Teen Book Review blog. Jill has just signed a movie option for her Blood of the Kings Trilogy.

Also speaking at the conference are:

  • Jon Colson is a professional author and speaker from Meridian, Idaho.
  • Ray Ellis is a member of ACFW and Idahope Writers. He is a 20-year veteran of law enforcement and lead investigator for the city of Meridian in crimes against children.
  • Sherrie Lord is “a Christian Biker Writer” who writes full throttle Christian Romance. She has two published books. More information on Sherrie is available at her website
  • Adam Graham is President of Idahope Writers and was published in the 2007 Anthology Light at the Edge of Darkness along with his wife and Andrea. He and his wife, Andrea collaborate on Laser and Sword Magazine. He is a columnist for Pajamas Media and has been quoted in the Los Angeles Times, and the New York Times Best-seller Do The Right Thing. 

The cost of attending the 2010 conference is $20, which includes a one year membership in the Idahope Christian Writer’s group (normally $10.) Your membership will help you to continue to grow as a writer through regular meetings which provide opportunities for learning and fellowship. Please note this does not include the $50 membership dues of our parent organization, ACFW. You can pay on Paypal here

You can also register by mail by sending your name and a check for $20 to:
PO Box 16221
Boise, Idaho 83715

Welcome to the New Blog Thursday, Nov 12 2009 

Hello, my name is Adam Graham. I’m President. Well, I’m not the President. I’m President of the Idahope Christian Writers group. Believe me, you don’t have to spend near as much to become the President of the Idahope Christian
Writers Group.

We are a dynamic group that is looking towards the future. We believe strongly in fellowship and growing together as writers.  We would love to have you join us and to share your ideas and to learn together. Our regular meetings are held the fourth Thursday in every month at 6:30 P.M. at the Rediscovered Bookshop.

This blog will feature news and happenings surrounding Idahope Writers. You’ll know when our members have books published, when there are booking signs,  and certainly we’ll welcome contributions from our members. Keep your eye on this blog for exciting news and information.