September 2022

Northwest Christian Author

Editor: Dena Netherton

Assistant Editor: Liz Holtzman

The Northwest Christian Author

is published quarterly by the

Northwest Christian Writers Association


Writers' Guidelines: Non fiction articles on writing themes are welcomed: how-to, motivational, interview/profile. Complete article, 350 - 700 words, with a short bio. Submit articles to the editor at for consideration. 


Letter from the President - Dena Netherton

Dear NCWA Members,

We are so excited about this upcoming season. Last year’s spring season culminated with a wonderful Renewal Conference. If you were not able to attend, you can still order segments or the entire conference to listen to at your convenience. You can find more information about ordering on our website.

Read more/less

At our September meeting, we began with updates about our next Renewal Conference in May, Ready, Set, Write! I hope you are planning to attend. We are bringing in nationally acclaimed speakers, writers, editors, and agents.

We want all of you to consider how you can get involved in NCWA. On our website you will find multiple opportunities to contribute a devotional, write an informational article about the craft of writing, announce your latest book contract or book launch, sign up to speak for our writer high-five segments, and more.

Additionally, we are planning extra Zoom segments where Dori Harrell (one of our editors) will teach classes on improving our writing, how to properly format your manuscript, how to determine which genre your book is, and other topics. There will be a small fee.

Each month, members make suggestions about how we can improve our meetings. Of course, the needs of Zoom attenders and in-person attenders are different, so sometimes it takes a while for us to implement changes that help both groups. Please be patient with us. We’re trying!

And finally, don’t forget to pray for NCWA and its members, that we get in alignment with our heavenly Father and write to glorify Him.

In His service,

Dena Netherton, President

Dena Netherton is the author of seven novels and numerous articles and short stories. She began her professional life as a classically trained singer/musician performance artist who transformed into a teacher, a musical theater director, and a Director of Children’s Ministries. Her faith-filled and artistic background easily led to a life of creating compelling and suspenseful stories for Christian readers. Find more about her books, her faith, and her scripture songs on her website: and Amazon and Goodreads.

Dull Scholars in Spiritual Arithmetic - Jan Anderson

I really love math—especially algebra. I love making things balance on each side of an equation sign, and the more detailed and odd looking the equation, the more packed with signage and symbols, the more I like it. There is something inexplicably satisfying about proving that x does, in fact, equal y over z.

Read more/less

Would that my heart felt equally pleased when I turn to the account books of God’s economy. I am sad to report that I often prove to be a dull scholar in spiritual arithmetic. I just can’t seem to get the bottom line to add up properly. How is it possible that servants are examples of success, meekness inherits kingdoms, and losing life is a means of finding it? It seems as outlandish as the land of Phantom Tollbooths—so upside down and on its head.

Yet, it is God’s economy, which means that any other standard is a counterfeit, an airy substitute that can’t back its boasting. And in this economy, there is no law of competition or supply and demand. No, in this economy there is one and only one law—the law of love. And it has, from eternity past, been the case that God’s kingdom is marked by love. In his outstanding book Delighting in the Trinity, Michael Reeves drives this point home when he observes that a non-trinitarian god could not reign in a kingdom of love. He says, “Single person gods, having spent eternity alone, are inevitably self-centered beings.” If such gods existed, this would be perfectly true. They have only their own fuzzy-filled navels to contemplate. They are ever inward, never outward.

But the true God is in essence one but in persons three, and that is the great mystery of His beauty and His love. But what is love? Poets define it in all kinds of ways and philosophers a host of others, but the Bible makes it clear that love involves death—a dying to one’s self to benefit another, leaving yourself so that someone else might profit. Now that’s a strange economy, and done properly, that’s a tough addition! But such a love is at the very heart of God’s kingdom, and when God’s Spirit takes up residence in a man, reproducing that love so that it might look like its source becomes one of His primary tasks. Thus, wherever a Christian is, that real estate should be marked by love.

We are a group of writers, but we are a unique group of writers, for we are Christian writers, and therefore we are ambassadors for Christ and His kingdom before we are anything else. Many of you in this organization have been exceptional examples of selflessness and love to one another—probably when you weren’t even aware of it, and while we ought to always encourage one another to keep pen to paper, we have an even higher calling to encourage one another to love. In 2 Corinthians 5:14 Paul writes that the love of God constrained him. May it be so for us, too, so that loving others to the point of forgetting ourselves is not a strange or novel thing among us but rather evidence of heavenly arithmetic.

Jan Anderson lives with her husband of 40 years in Bothell, WA. They have four adult children and three adorable grandchildren. From the time she could talk, poetry delighted her, and to this day she can get lost in the beauty of apples of gold in settings of silver.

Is Column Writing for You - Lydia Harris

Should you write a column? Use the following questions in this acronym to help you decide.

Read more/less

Content: Do you have an idea for a column topic? Consider your profession, hobbies, and life experiences.

Others How will this commitment impact your family and others? Do you have time for an ongoing writing assignment?

Low pay: Is money an issue? You won’t get rich writing columns. But there are other perks.

Uncomplimentary readers: Can you accept criticism from readers? If your topic is controversial, you may receive negative feedback.

Motives: Why do you want to write a column? To share your expertise, shape lives, develop credentials, have a built-in writing market, or build a platform? Columns can help in these areas. Plus, a collection of columns can become a book if you have a market.

New ideas: Are you good at generating ongoing ideas? Pick a topic where you can list 10 to 20 column ideas immediately.

Self-discipline: Are you motivated to complete columns regularly and meet deadlines? It’s important to count the cost before you begin.

Final Tips

  • Decide how often you want to write a column. Daily? Weekly? Monthly? Bimonthly?
  • Start with a local publication. Prepare sample columns, and submit the columns, a proposal, and a cover letter to introduce yourself and the need for the column. Wait to discuss payment until you are offered a column.
  • Carefully select the column’s title. Make it distinctive by including your name in it. Email friends and brainstorm titles with them.
  • Pray about your decision. God is interested in your writing career and longs to guide you.

Is column writing for you? Ponder the previous questions and seek God’s guidance. Then if you have something to say, can say it well, can find a market, and sense God nudging you, the answer is probably yes.

Lydia E. Harris writes “A Cup of Tea with Lydia,” which has been published across the United States and Canada in The Country Register papers for more than 20 years. No wonder her five grandchildren call her “Grandma Tea.” She has contributed to more than forty books and authored two grandparenting titles: Preparing My Heart for Grandparenting: For Grandparents at Any Stage of the Journey (a Bible study) and In the Kitchen with Grandma: Stirring Up Tasty Memories Together. Lydia develops and tests recipes with her grandchildren that are published in Focus on the Family’s magazines—Clubhouse, Clubhouse Jr., and Brio.

God's Math + Your Writing = Unexpected Blessings

Sonja Anderson

In Goliath + sword versus young David + slingshot, the young shepherd boy wins. An old man + old woman = the miraculous birth of Isaac. Worker pay for one hour = worker pay for a whole day. God’s math doesn’t always add up the way we expect.

Read more/less

Our writing “math” doesn’t always add up either. Years ago I researched Australian sea dragons for a picture-book manuscript about a distraught sea dragon who can only blow bubbles, not fire like a “real” dragon. I’ve submitted the story to no avail: 0 for 1, we’ll say.

Enter the NWCA Renewal Conference into the equation. An editor from Keys for Kids, a devotional magazine for children, mentioned in her workshop that one story per issue is a Creature Feature. A lightbulb went on. My sea dragon research! I quickly wrote up a devotional and sent it in. Several months later, I received a redirection letter. My poor sea dragon was now 0 for 2.

In the letter, however, they asked if I would write about an elephant instead.

I wrote back intending to say no (I’d never researched elephants) but found myself typing sure—I would give it a try. After all, I work in an elementary school library with kid-friendly elephant books at my disposal! Within days (and one or two revision requests), they accepted my piece for publication.

God has now turned my 0 for 2 into stories for ten issues of Keys for Kids. I, along with thousands of their readers, have learned so much about God’s fascinating creatures: elephants, hedgehogs, sheep, grizzly bears, kingfishers, quokka, and more. I didn’t know much about any of them until saying, “Yes, God, I’ll try.”

Have you done research for a book project that you can turn into smaller articles, blog posts, freebies on your website, or children’s devotionals? Keys for Kids needs many realistic fiction stories, and their sister YA magazine, Unlocked, looks for devotionals on historical events and figures, fantasy-based stories, and much more. See or The Christian Writers Market Guide. You’re writing might be the answer God is looking for!

NCWA VP Sonja Anderson is an elementary school librarian and the author of Sophie's Quest for ages 8-12. She is represented by Adria Goetz of P.S. Literary Agency.

Where Are the Writers? - Liz Holtzman

Are you wondering if anyone shares your interest in writing historical romance, mysteries, memoirs, or devotionals? Did you think of something you wanted to share with someone you met at a meeting? If you are an active member, you can use our Membership Directory to share and find out.

Read more/less

Depending on what people put in their profile, you can discover their writing interests, their websites, or anything else they chose to share. Click on their name and you can use the Send Message button to contact them via email. When someone contacts you from the directory, they do not know your email address unless you choose to respond. Only members have access to the directory, and each member has control over what is shown.

It is a great resource for networking. Head on over to the Resources Menu, choose Members Only, and scroll down to browse the directory. Our members are an eclectic group. You are bound to find people who pique your interest.

Liz Holtzman is an educator, intercessor, and author. She is the author of Proven Character: Praying for Our Children.

Cheering Section

Our writers are doing some great things. Check out the list and give a cheer for their celebrations and redirections. Here are some possible ways to support them: make a purchase, write a review, follow their blog, or sign up for their newsletter. “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up” (! Thess. 5:11 NIV)

Read more/less

Sonja Anderson received a redirection about a picture book manuscript that had reached the final stage of the acquisition process at a major Christian publishing company. It was turned down. The good news is that they are willing to reconsider in a year if I can improve my platform—email newsletter subscribers, social media followers, etc.

Tiffany Dickinson published a middle-grade historical fiction novel Kaleidoscope.

Lydia Harris had a recipe published in Sept. Clubhouse--Pear Kuchen, an article in Sept.-Oct. Bible Advocate Story in Can Sir! book collection, ongoing columns: A Cup of Tea with Lydia since 1998.

Leon Johnson published his book Your Rescued Life: Ten Keys to Transformational Peace.

Kevin King published his book Song of the Adoel.

Dena Netherton was commissioned to write a suspense novella for Write Integrity Press. Elk Lake Publishing offered her a contract for her novel The Girl Everyone Wants.

Karen Olson was a substantive editor and one of four authors on a civics curriculum project, FreedomCivics(R): Foundations of American Government Teacher and Student Workbooks were published by the Freedom Education Foundation in July.

Eric Thomas Ruthford released Voice in the Storm, a young-adult Christian fiction novel about a church summer camp and a young camper putting her science skills to work to save it. In a month I'm releasing a sequel, a Voice is Born, about a camper having to deal with the super-premature birth of a new brother.

Iris Smith launched her new book Daily Journey of Hope.

Rick Taylor sold a story to Unlocked, a quarterly teen devotional after about five rejections. The Geese Listen notes how nature listens to God’s small still voice and thrives. Why can’t Mankind listen?

Wendy Thayer launched her new book I Wish for You Hope.

Tina Wanamaker released her third book Redefined in Christ. “In essence, to redefine yourself in Christ means to describe yourself using what God says of you.”

Mike Weiford launched his new book Navigating the Minefield: A Map for Effective Parenting.

Copyright © by NCWA. All rights reserved.

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software