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Writing for a higher cause
East Metro Atlanta Christian Writers nurture budding writers
Read all about it: East Metro Atlanta Christian Writers member Cindy Reynolds holds up a copy of her book, "Secret in the Attic," at the Olde Town Fine Arts Festival.

They say the pen is mightier than the sword, and a group of local Christian writers are proving this true. The East Metro Atlanta Christian Writers group offers a "network of prayer, encouragement, motivation, friendship and education to writers" as they use their wordsmithing skills for a higher cause.

At the May 16 Olde Town Fine Arts Festival, the fruits of this cultivation could be seen at the EMACW tables, which offered a wide variety of genres, from fiction to poetry to personal columns and even music. Cindy Reynolds signed copies of her newly released Christian fiction book, "Secret in the Attic." Heddie Simmons, founder of A Poetic Ministree, Inc. read her poetry and encouraged listeners. Kari Apted, a regular columnist for The Covington News and contributor to The Rockdale News, manned the bookmark making station. Apted is one of the contributors of Random House’s "Operation Homecoming: Iraq, Afghanistan, and the Home Front, in the Words of U.S. Troops and Their Families." Colleen Capes Jackson, a writer for The Alcovy Magazine and The Covington News, played some of the songs from her CD, "I’m a Champion." Leigh DeLozier, author, editor, speaker and publicist, shared some of her stories from "Divas in Disguise" and devotions from "Penned From the Heart."

The writers credit part of their success to the support that they receive from each other through EMACW, a chapter of the American Christian Writers Association. Apted, director of communications for the group, explained, "I don’t know what I’d do without EMACW — their support and friendship has meant the world to me. The connections I’ve established at meetings have helped me further my writing career, and have allowed me to meet some of the most amazing people. I always leave our meetings and conferences feeling inspired to continue using the gifts God has placed within me to help others or make them laugh. Writing can be a very difficult career, even lonely at times. But the support I get through EMACW helps me through those rough spots. I know that at any time I’m battling writer’s block or am lacking ideas, I can call or email other members and always find what I need to keep going. They’ve truly been a Godsend to me,"

In addition to fostering the works of adult writers, the EMACW also encourages high school students. Colleen Jackson, director of the group, and Joyce Fincher, president, recently awarded the prestigious Elizabeth Sherrill Scholarship Award to the four essay winners from Alcovy High School’s Writing contest. The scholarship is an all expense paid registration to the upcoming EMACW Conference on July 17.

Alcovy High School’s first place winners in the ninth, 10th, 11th and 12th grade are Ashley Wilkerson, Jennifer Rudasill, Jessica Cain and Henryetta East, respectively. The first place winner in every grade then goes on as Alcovy’s entry in Newton County's Young Georgia Authors Contest. Winners at the county level go to the district competition and then to the state competition.

Currently, members are busy preparing for their next monthly meeting on Saturday, June 13, at DeKalb Technical College’s Newton Center, which will feature novelist Amy Wallace, author of Enduring Justice. Wallace writes "Dark Chocolate Suspense," high-action suspense that delves into heart issues. Her writing has been described as "... spellbinding action and characters so vivid they'll live on in your memory long after you shelve the book." Amy is President of the local American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) chapter, a homeschool mom, a speaker and Bible study leader, and avid chocoholic.

The writing group is also finalizing plans for an upcoming two day writing conference July 17 and 18 that will be led by nationally known author, teacher and speaker, Dr. Dennis Hensley and professional trainer, Patricia Durgin.

Dr. Dennis Hensley ("Doc") is director of the professional writing major at Taylor University Fort Wayne and is on the Board of Directors for the Jerry B. Jenkins Christian Writers Guild. He’s published six novels, 36 nonfiction books, and thousands of newspaper and magazine articles. He’s also written several recorded Gospel tunes, a stage musical, and several scripts. He is a frequent speaker at writing conferences across the U.S. He’ll be joining the EMACW for two days to share his knowledge about the publishing industry and writing for fiction and nonfiction.

Patricia Durgin is a professional trainer. For over 25 years—in more than 5,000 teaching sessions—Patricia has taught people how to apply abstract principles to their real-life situations, in business, church, and community settings.

Durgin will lead a four-session series, two on Friday, two on Saturday, that focuses on how to distinguish yourself in the marketplace.

Meetings and conferences are open to anyone who is interested. The group includes a wide range of experience. While many members are published, there are many others who are discovering their own writing "voice." All are welcome and encouraged to visit the group’s website at to find out more.