3rd Annual Aspiring Writers Forum Conference

The 2019 Aspiring Writers Conference is on August 17th, 2019. Each year, we invite successful local authors and coaches to share ideas with aspiring writers at any stage in their endeavor.  If you’ve ever dreamed of writing a book or if you just want to be a better writer, don’t miss this event.

Time: 9:00a.m. – 2:00p.m.

Where: Chino Valley Community Church, 14601 Peyton Dr. Chino Hills 91709

Cost: $35.00 early registration, $40.00 at the door.

This year our speakers will discuss “Telling Your Story” and tell their stories about writing and publication. Our Keynote Speaker is Dr. Joseph Bentz, Professor of English at Azusa Pacific University and author of several books. His keynote speech is
entitled: “The Power of Words.”

There will be four break out sessions, (titles to follow)

Lunch will be served.   You can register now!

RegisterForAWFC1

Past Speakers

Dr. Steven Goodwin

Dr. Steven Goodwin

Dr. Goodwin, the President of TurningWest, Inc., returns this year to share his knowledge. His mission is to create healthier organizations and stronger leaders in order to change the world. He is a coach and an expert on writing.

Jamie Fischer

Jamie Fischer

Jamie is currently the branch manager at the Chino Hills Public Library, which is the highest circulating library in the San Bernardino County Library system. They recently became the first library in County history to circulate a million items in a year! Jamie graduated magna cum laude from California Baptist University in 2013 with a bachelor’s degree in English. She is passionate about children’s literature and loves to write, mostly in the YA fantasy genre. You can find some of her writings at AllMyPaperBabies.blogspot.com.

Jamie will be presenting on Libraries and the Digital Universe.

Dr. Tom Albaugh

dr-tom-albaugh3

Dr. Thomas Albaugh is an associate professor of English at Azusa Pacific University, where he has taught Composition and Creative Writing since 2001. His father was a newspaper reporter, and after hearing his father typing late into the night, Tom wrote his first story. This was in the fourth grade, and after he shared his story, his father said, “This is good. Now rewrite it.” His stories, poems, and essays have appeared in a variety of academic and small press journals, including In Touch Magazine and Relief. He has also authored Pretexts for Writing, a textbook for first-year college writing. Currently, he lives in Southern California with his wife and their four children. He feels most motivated to write for audiences outside the church, for people who don’t hear about God constantly. Apocalypse TV, his first novel, attempts to do this and deals with Christian themes in terms of character.

Mike Beardon

Mike Bearden

A self-proclaimed “Smog Baby” born and raised in Southern California. I am a 25-year full-time ministry professional turned teacher and influencer at large. In the midst of this life’s journey, I decided to put into print part one aspect of my Identity that drives me as a human being, GROWTH, in the book entitled The Power of Next. In combination with my podcast, my heart’s desire is to connect with as many people as possible. Writing is just one tool that allows me to do so while hopefully inspiring others to use their gifts to do the same.

Courtney Petruzelli

courtney-petruzelli

Born and raised in Southern California, Courtney had a very unique childhood in which she began working for Disney at the age of 9. Behind the scenes of the magic kingdom she got to watch the design team dress up, and transform the park into an exquisite Christmas wonderland. She fell in love with the art of Holiday design and later went on to become a successful Christmas designer herself. She left her business to start a family with her husband, and they have been blessed with two young children. Courtney is now bringing the magic of Christmas to the world, in a new way, through a beautifully illustrated and written tale of a truly remarkable Christmas tradition.

To learn more, contact us here.

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Planning Session for our 2018 Conference

The Aspiring Writers Forum meets weekly, on Wednesday evenings from 7:00 to 8:30 PM at the same address shown above. We are off for the summer right now.

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May 21, 2017    First Annual Aspiring Writers’ Forum Conference

Please contact us or check back on this page to get our updated schedule.

https://teamup.com/ksvcyisp2bzfjpiwrk

In Memoria Sarah Hutson

39441715_10157606322919325_8472441565434871808_oRemembering Sarah

Over the last 15 years, I had the distinct privilege of interacting with Sarah Hutson, at our church, in several capacities. We were both involved in our last church Christmas play, we both attended the Aspiring Writers’ Forum and I often spoke with her when she was working the tech on Sunday mornings. She placed a high priority on people and relationships and her bright smile and laughter will be missed by many.

Her Son, Gavin, has grown up with and been a good friend of both my boys. Sarah, as a single mother has done a remarkable job of raising him. He has always impressed me with his genuine interest in others, his polite manners and his ability to interact on an adult level. Sarah’s legacy of faith, love and relationship will certainly continue through Gavin.

During the Christmas play, Sarah was in charge of wardrobe and juggled the task of outfitting a very large cast of characters with dignity and elegance. She kept herself focused on her portion of our church’s mission to reach out to our local community. In the AWF, her touching writings were heartwarming stories that beautifully blended wit, wisdom and very often comedy. One way or another she always seemed to leave us in tears. Her passing is no exception. She will be greatly missed. May God’s peace and blessings be with her extended family.

Love, Douglas Thompson

On behalf of The Thompson family

(Douglas, Traci, Skyler, Dylan and Kaycee)

Remembering Sarah

I first met Sarah when Coleene and I launched the Aspiring Writers’ Forum in August of 2008. She, along with Chris and Barbara Harwood, manned the table beside us assembling people interested in working on the Christmas play. Her infectious smile greeted us when we arrived early Sunday mornings. We both were happy when she signed up to join us for our nascent Christian writers’ group.

We came to love her writing style which contained compassion along with a good dose of humor. She happily wrote about her foibles and how the Lord showed her how He loved her when people paid for her Starbucks and when she matched foster children with parents. Her voice came through clearly when we decided to undertake a Kingdom Assignment as a group. She wanted the funds raised to help local children and voted with many others to use the money to support CVCC children in going to Hume Lake the next summer.

As time passed, work kept Sarah from joining us on Wednesday nights. But she had a ready smile when I greeted her on Sunday mornings, usually when she was manning the booth in the back. We both knew we battled life-threatening illnesses, but neither of us chose to discuss that boring subject. Instead we spoke of writing and encouraged one another despite how our individual battles distracted us from committing words to paper.

So in 2017 it surprised both of us when we started being hospitalized at the same time on the same floor. Sometimes our paths crossed at Fontana’s Kaiser, more often we saw each other at Ontario’s Kaiser. We would poke our heads into each other’s room as we walked the hallways as inpatients. More happily, our paths crossed when we stopped for appointments or pharmacy runs. We both battled our way through into the New Year and 2018 hoping for a healthier year to follow. We spoke a couple times during the fights, offering each other encouragement to battle on.

When I learned that Sarah’s health was deteriorating, I wanted to stop in and visit her. My appointments left me exhausted and unable to follow through. I wish I would have pushed myself harder to try. The Thursday Sarah was taken to the ER for the last time, I was with my friend Gayle and we prayed fervently together. However, the Lord had a plan to take Sarah home that day. I cried but knew that she was now with our Savior. No more illness, no more pain. In the days since, I still watch for her when I am at Ontario Kaiser. I must remind myself that she is in a far better place now. I hope to see her smile again when the Lord decides it is my time to join Him.

Lots of Love, Linda Boutin

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Sarah

In the very beginning Aspiring Writers’ Forum or A.W.F. as we like to call ourselves, formed a bond amongst the members who transformed the table on Wednesday nights, sharing our thoughts in written word, our days in anecdotal stories and our hopes in words and imagined dreams of the glory and grace surrounding us. Our friend, Sarah Hutson sat amongst us in those first couple of years. With a genuine wit, she always made us laugh.

When I think of Sarah, I think of a spunky, young, single mom, with a huge heart for her family, her job, and especially her son, Gavin. She possessed many talents involving theater art, something she thought she might pursue as a career, but God led her down another path, one she also succeeded in, encompassing both her intellect, her loving spirit and “family.” Employed as social worker, specifically, she walked children and hopeful couples through the foster and adoption process, a gift of patience, insight and long hours, she saw the fruition of many hopes and dreams.

Sarah did all this fighting cancer, fighting for her own life, her own future but in that she trusted God wholeheartedly, as she herself proclaimed her adoption into God’s family.

In early summer, God gave me an impromptu way to serve Sarah, and I am so blessed to have had the opportunity to give her a ride home from church one warm Sunday afternoon. We talked a lot and it wasn’t idle chit-chat. I asked her a few questions I just wanted to know. I felt comfortable enough around her to inquire and she shared in transparency, she shared humbly, she shared with her hopes and dreams still attached. My heart swelled in thankfulness for this dear, strong woman, my friend, who in her frail and painful state, encouraged me, made me laugh and believe even more that God’s plans are good and that light shines in and through the darkness. As I pulled up to her house, I held her hand and we prayed together, one last time.

In those first few months of AWF, we did a crazy thing. (Somehow, I think Sarah helped move this idea forward). Putting together stories of unique perspectives from the Christmas Story, an Advent book came together. A collaborative effort, Sarah contributed three stories. I chose to share one of them here, “The Shepherdess.” I am reminded of my friend, a shepherdess in her own way, leading lost little lambs to forever families, telling cheerful and funny stories while waiting and watching in darkness over those things she loved so dearly. Thank you Sarah, for pointing out the glorious lights in heaven with your shining courageous Spirit and for inspiring us all with your faithful, unrelenting hope in a Greater Shepherd who comforts us now in our tears and our memories.

In love and gratitude, Coleene VanTilburg

 

From “Christmas Inspirations” published in 2010 by the Aspiring Writers’ Forum

December 14

The Shepherdess

Angels, that’s what she heard. That’s what awakened Deborah and her family. Even her unborn child seemed alert and moving. At first, she thought she was dreaming, but when she looked around she saw other shepherds waking from their huddled groups and staring at the sky. A sky alive with color and movement that swirled together to form heavenly figures. The sky filled with the messengers of heaven. The air itself crackled around Deborah and an unseen force drew her and her loved ones to their feet.

Be not afraid,” the angels said. “Unto you a Savior is born, go and worship Him.”

We are mere shepherds, the lowest of the village,” Deborah said to her husband. “Why would a Savior be born for us? What right do we have to worship at His feet?”

Her husband drew her close, “I too am afraid; but they have told us to go to the Child and bear witness of His birth. I do not understand why we have been chosen, but I will obey.”

The call of the angels overcame the fears of her mind, and they began to walk toward Bethlehem. Her hesitant, doubtful steps began to hasten. Those around her seemed to be walking faster as well; some even began to run. She moved quickly through the streets, and her husband reached out to help steady her. When he took her hand, she was surprised to find him shaking. And when she looked into his eyes, she found them filled with love.

They were told to follow the star, but they were led by something deep in their souls. They filled the dark, silent streets, searching for the newborn King. She wondered why the whole town was not awake to see the Savior, and she realized that the first glimpse of this precious Gift was meant for them.

She expected to find the Child in a fine inn or a wealthy home, some place suitable for a king. Instead she found a young mother and proud father holding a Child wrapped in rough swaddling cloths. They huddled together in an old stable on the outskirts of town. Deborah knew they had found what they were looking for. The brightest star in the sky shone down on the stable, like a beacon in the night guiding a lost ship safely home. She felt her unborn child move and she rubbed her stomach lovingly. It was then that she realized this young girl’s Child was born to save her children. He was born to save the world, now and for all the generations to come. The weight of that realization brought her to her knees, and she wept with tears of joy.

In the dark of the night, the Light of the World was born and the most humble amongst them became this miracle’s witness.

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Sarah in Peace

When I first met Sarah, Carl and I were replacing her bedroom door and repairing her bedroom window. She always had a radiant way of expressing her day. It was a pleasure to be near her. I saw her when she was in our first years of the Aspiring Writers’ Forum and when we did the Advent book. I saw her with a smile every Sunday doing the sound board and often during church activities. I would see her when we were at Kaiser when I was visiting Linda. She will be dearly missed.

Gary Boutin

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Sarah and I weren’t in AWF at the same time, so I didn’t get to experience her words like some of the others did. But, I have plenty of fond memories with Sarah outside of writing. I first got to know her through the wedding ministry at church. Her mom, Barbara, is the church wedding coordinator so the “regular team” for a few years was comprised of Barbara, Chris, Sarah, her son Gavin, my mom, my dad, and myself. Not many people have an ability with words and visuals, but Sarah was one of those blessed people who could do both. Her eye for color coordination, balance, and detail helped make many brides’ dream day become a reality. She was dedicated to this creativity and perfection not only with weddings, but also as the lead lighting technician for Sunday morning for as long as I can remember. I had countless Sunday’s working with her, she on lights and me on media. She taught me so much about technical details. 

We understood each other. We talked about our shared interests in science fiction tv shows, YA novels, plus size fashion, and Pinterest. I even sat with her during a chemo treatment and taught her how to crochet to help pass the time. 

Through her health issues and constant pain, her faith always remained strong. She didn’t let cancer get in the way of her being Sarah. She was a fighter. Not only against cancer, but she fought for her son. She worked hard to provide for Gavin and guide him to be the man he has become and lead him to be a lover of Christ. She fought for every single foster kid she came in contact with, helping them live the lives they deserved and protecting them from things that kids should never have to go through. 

Sarah will be missed, and I pray for her mom and her son to have comfort, but oh, what joy, for her body to be at rest and to dance before her Savior. 

Rebekah Macias

 

Sarah came back a couple times to AWF a few years ago, and I remember a poem she shared took my breath away for its depth and powerful emotion. But I knew her better from working alongside her for a couple years in the tech booth running media (the easy job of advancing slides) for Sunday morning services. She was a whiz at the lights controls, which remain a mystery to me, owing to her years of experience in theater production. Some mornings we were drawn to stand and sing passionately with eyes closed and hands raised (peeking of course, to make sure everything continued to run properly). Other times we got silly, like when we sang “Our God and Our King.” When we got to the line “When Jesus returns on a white horse He’ll ride,” we leaned toward each other and belted it out with an extra country twang. Sarah was funny and brilliant and deeply caring. I am grateful to have known her for a short time this side of heaven, and look forward to some laughs with her on the other side.

Joanne Underwood

 

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Hear Our AWF Conference Interview on KSGN

We understand that Melissa Chavez-Clark is planning on airing an interview about our upcoming Aspiring Writers Conference on KSGN today between the 10 am to 2 pm hours of her show. Melissa interviewed our two founders, Linda Boutin and Coleene Van Tilburg about the conference to be held this Saturday.

You can listen to the KSGN program via their website if you are working during that time slot.

You can pre-register for the event and save $5.00 here.

Listen to KSGN Online

A Divine Calling

Coleene VanTilburg
CVCC Aspiring Writers’ Forum Co-leader

“Desperate times require desperate measures,” or so I’ve heard. My solace became a spiritual exercise of journal writing–diligently, prayerfully and with hope. Those journals never gave me a critique, but instead, I found that my words filling up a page worked to keep me connected to God’s Grace, maybe even kept me somewhat sane. Sanctuary lived on those blue lines in a padded journal. I trusted this process. Could it be possible to bless another with some of my personal insights, what I had seen God do in my life?

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God gave me courage. Not only did I start attending a small group again, after a long disappointment in others and myself, I started sharing with a group of ladies that seemed a bit different in their Christian faith–they were very authentic, transparent and prayerful. My friend Cathy, who God chose to come alongside me in these desperate times, introduced me to another friend of hers named Linda. She thought we’d be good for each other. I liked to write, and she was a former editor and writer herself. We got to know each other within this caring small group.

The year before, my oldest son, hospitalized so many times for his chronic illnesses, could no longer fight and left this earth for his heavenly home. My writing by this time truly became my conduit to God for all I felt, for all I knew and didn’t know, for all I grieved for daily. Encouraged by these friends to keep sharing, they became a trusted group where I was ministered to and shared the devotionals I wrote.

One day Linda told me of an idea of hers, to start a writers’ group at church. I had heard of book clubs before, but never a writers’ group. Did God’s plan include me in this new endeavor? She asked me to partner with her, become her co-leader. Strengthened by His insight into my grief, my self-confidence in a leadership role did not seem plausible, something I wasn’t sure I even wanted. But, I liked Linda a lot. She was gifted with intelligence and editing skills and she listened to me! I began to see how God’s plan is our “story…,” a story that needs to be told. I trusted Him with so much already. It felt right.

Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not unto your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight.” (NIV)

As the summer of 2009 came upon us, we met several times and planned out how we wanted to run this new, unique small group. Since journaling brought me into the writing world, we thought we’d challenge our members to write a timed piece, prompted from a question derived from the previous Sunday’s sermon, (provided we HAD members, I thought). Oh, ye of little faith.

Granted permission to use the Pastor Dan Vasquez Memorial Library for our Wednesday night gatherings, for three Sundays prior, Linda and I manned a sign-up table. To my surprise, and Linda’s too, several names, real people interested in writing, wanted to come and check us out. (Oh my goodness, this is really happening!)

September 9th, 2009 began our very first meeting. I walked into that library—that sacred, Holy place where a picture of a young preacher with a heart for the Word of God and his tiny blue church hung, this hallowed place named for this special man of God in my young adult life. Many years passed since that time, many lives changed. “Here I am Pastor Dan, trying out something new.”

I share this poem I wrote that first night, September 9, 2009. It may seem coincidental, all these nines, yet in God’s divine plan, nothing happens without His knowledge.

09-09-09

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0-Nine, 0-Nine, 0-Nine
Would you be so kind
To start a ministry anew
One for writing, sharing too.

0-Nine, 0-Nine, 0-Nine
I cannot be so sublime
Because on paper my words will be
To glorify my God, you see.

0-Nine, 0-Nine, 0-Nine
Tonight this Forum does shine
In the Library whose author’s tell
And a group I pray will soon jell.

 

0-Nine, 0-Nine, 0-Nine
We give thanks for every line
To scribe Your Spirit-led love
Sent to our hands, from God above.          

Thank you, Lord, for the gift to inspire with words, to tell a story that brings You glory and for everyone in my path whose encouragement keeps me moving forward.

The Journey Begins

Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

The Journey Begins

By: Linda Boutin, 

CVCC Aspiring Writers’ Forum Co-leader

The decade-long journey of the Aspiring Writers’ Forum began as a nagging desire in my heart. I wanted to get back into writing again after ignoring my gift for 8 years. When my husband left for work, I searched for a local writers’ group to join. If anything would jump start my passion, then I knew from experience it would be a busy group working on projects. When I had lived in San Diego, writing groups found me. However, since moving north into the Inland Empire, that all changed. So, I looked, but the only group I found wasn’t meeting anymore. Disappointed, I turned my attention to other things.

Later that year, we planned to move out of our rental into a condo located in The Preserve Master Community just a few miles south of our present abode. The loss of my sweet Aunt Mary in June left me in pain and grief. Any thoughts of finding a writing group flew away. One morning that fall in the café at church, my friend invited me to join a group she was participating in called The Truth Project. Looking for a new endeavor, I joined them at their next meeting.

The others were already deep in the study, but I caught up quickly. We explored topics I found fascinating. In February, I also attended the Membership class at church. Both studies kept me busy with learning and homework. They were ending within a week of each other in early May. For final approval for membership, I needed to speak with a deacon and elder at our church. With sadness I read through the final lesson of the Truth Project. Just before the end of the final DVD, the moderator challenged us to take what we had learned and apply it to a ministry. Immediately my mind remembered the writing group. I envisioned a Christian writing group at church, one that glorified God and encouraged writers to trust their voices.

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Linda Boutin & Coleene VanTilburg

The next evening, I met with my Prayer and Praise team. With much trepidation I told them about my idea. Everyone said they had never heard of a Christian writing group. They asked me questions about what I had in mind. Most of them weren’t interested in writing, but they enthusiastically encouraged me to give it a try.

I said I would need a partner because with my illness I would inevitably land in the hospital. I needed this partner to keep things going when I couldn’t be there. One member of the group seemed perfect, although I didn’t know her well. I turned to Coleene VanTilburg and asked her if she would be willing to be the co-leader of such a group. She said yes, so now we needed a place to meet. I don’t think either of us had any idea what we were committing to, but then doesn’t the Lord seem to work that way? Leading us blind sheep without us knowing where we are heading.

We both attended Chino Valley Community Church (CVCC) so I thought I would ask there first. I spoke with the elder and deacon that Sunday and they approved my membership. I asked the elder what he thought of a writing ministry. I knew I had few credentials to start it, but wanted his opinion. He, too, said he had never heard of such a thing. He asked me many questions, helping me define for myself what this group would be about. He encouraged me that this was a good idea, but I should run it past the staff and get their opinion. Since I was volunteering in the office Monday morning, I thought I would check with them then. When I spoke with our Ministry Leader, I received a quick affirmative. She had a few questions but loved the idea. She said the small groups would begin again in the fall when school started. That’s when we would launch our group.

Within one week the Lord had taken that simmering desire in my heart, turned it into a ministry, found me a co-leader to work with, settled us to do our work at CVCC, and given me a start date for this idea of the first week of September 2009. Now the work began.

 

2nd Annual Aspiring Writers’ Forum

The 2018 Aspiring Writers Conference was on August 17th, 2018 from 9:00 am to 2:00 pm.

awf conference 18

This annual event will be held at the Chino Valley Community Church, 14601 Peyton Dr, Chino Hills, CA 91709.

Each year, we invite successful local authors and coaches to share ideas with aspiring writers at any stage in their endeavor.  If you’ve ever dreamed of writing a book or if you just want to be a better writer, don’t miss this event.  Here are just a few of the speakers for this years event:

Dr. Steven Goodwin

Dr. Steven Goodwin

Dr. Goodwin, the President of TurningWest, Inc., returns this year to share his knowledge. His mission is to create healthier organizations and stronger leaders in order to change the world. He is a coach and an expert on writing.

Jamie Fischer

Jamie Fischer

Jamie is currently the branch manager at the Chino Hills Public Library, which is the highest circulating library in the San Bernardino County Library system. They recently became the first library in County history to circulate a million items in a year! Jamie graduated magna cum laude from California Baptist University in 2013 with a bachelor’s degree in English. She is passionate about children’s literature and loves to write, mostly in the YA fantasy genre. You can find some of her writings at AllMyPaperBabies.blogspot.com.

Jamie will be presenting on Libraries and the Digital Universe.

Dr. Tom Albaugh

dr-tom-albaugh3

Dr. Thomas Albaugh is an associate professor of English at Azusa Pacific University, where he has taught Composition and Creative Writing since 2001. His father was a newspaper reporter, and after hearing his father typing late into the night, Tom wrote his first story. This was in the fourth grade, and after he shared his story, his father said, “This is good. Now rewrite it.” His stories, poems, and essays have appeared in a variety of academic and small press journals, including In Touch Magazine and Relief. He has also authored Pretexts for Writing, a textbook for first-year college writing. Currently, he lives in Southern California with his wife and their four children. He feels most motivated to write for audiences outside the church, for people who don’t hear about God constantly. Apocalypse TV, his first novel, attempts to do this and deals with Christian themes in terms of character.

Mike Beardon

Mike Bearden

A self-proclaimed “Smog Baby” born and raised in Southern California. I am a 25-year full-time ministry professional turned teacher and influencer at large. In the midst of this life’s journey, I decided to put into print part one aspect of my Identity that drives me as a human being, GROWTH, in the book entitled The Power of Next. In combination with my podcast, my heart’s desire is to connect with as many people as possible. Writing is just one tool that allows me to do so while hopefully inspiring others to use their gifts to do the same.

Courtney Petruzelli

courtney-petruzelli

Born and raised in Southern California, Courtney had a very unique childhood in which she began working for Disney at the age of 9. Behind the scenes of the magic kingdom she got to watch the design team dress up, and transform the park into an exquisite Christmas wonderland. She fell in love with the art of Holiday design and later went on to become a successful Christmas designer herself. She left her business to start a family with her husband, and they have been blessed with two young children. Courtney is now bringing the magic of Christmas to the world, in a new way, through a beautifully illustrated and written tale of a truly remarkable Christmas tradition.

To learn more, contact us here.

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Planning Session for 2018 Conference

The Aspiring Writers Forum meets weekly, on Wednesday evenings from 7:00 to 8:30 PM at the same address shown above. We are off for the summer right now.

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May 21, 2017    First Annual Aspiring Writers’ Forum Conference

Please contact us or check back on this page to get our updated schedule.

https://teamup.com/ksvcyisp2bzfjpiwrk