Inspirational thoughts and random writings from the alumni and friends of Quad-Cities Christian Writers Conference.

The Great Blog Adventurers/ Contributing Writers

Narola (Rolie) Grady has been in the Quad Cities area since 1993.  She lives in Davenport with her husband, Mike, and their son, Sean.  Rolie has attended several of the QC Writing Conferences, and appreciates the hard work it takes to excel in this craft.  Aside from writing occasional articles, Rolie loves to worship by playing piano.  She has also been a speaker for various groups for the last 10 years.

Charis Seeley
I’m 22, live in Pleasant Valley, IA, and I enjoy writing Fantasy/Fiction/Coming of Age.
My name is phonetically pronounced Kah-REESE, but everyone gets it wrong the first twenty times.

I cheered for 3 years, and I would rather not talk about it.

My sleeping habits have a few people thinking I'm a vampire. (The non-glittering kind)

I try to be a woman with a short skirt and a long jacket.

I really hate toucans.

I don’t wear orange. I refuse to win by default in pool.

I eat my ice cream in a bowl only. I would rather drink from a glass bottle than an aluminum can. It feels classier.

I work better under pressure, thus I procrastinate with everything.

I'm Plegmatic and Sanguine. Also, I don't believe in horoscopes.

I don't do running or jumping jacks. But I love Captain Jack Sparrow.

I love nacho's. I will never pass up an opportunity to have nacho's. I make a mean buffalo-chicken pizza, which was previously unknown in the mid-west. I've yet to receive the rewards I quite clearly deserve for this enlightenment.

Many people think I'm weird. I'm inclined to agree with them. :)

You can contact me at

Kristi Paxton left a 26-year Postmaster career to become a substitute teacher, freelance writer and MadHousewifespokesmodel. She loves her childhood sweetheart-turned-husband, two grown children and a dog named Ziggy. Kristi writes features for the Waterloo Cedar Falls Courier and submits pieces to anything that sounds interesting.  Her hobbies include writing, painting, reading, kayaking, skiing, budget travel, drinking coffee and having ideas. She has an idea that she’d like to be on a beach right now. She lives in the woods outside Cedar Falls, Iowa.


Sharon Wilhite is the wife of one Terry Wilhite
 (teacher, chimney sweep, and handyman) and mother of seven children (4 girls and 3 boys, ages 6-19).  She likes to write children's picture books, poems, and insights from her personal devotions.  Her other joys in life (other than her children) include taking pictures of bugs and flowers and eating dark chocolate.  Homeschooling, housework, and cooking take up most of her time.  If anyone has a beachfront cottage they would like to loan her in order for her to write in peace and quiet, she would love to hear from you!
You can view Sharon's photography on her personal blog at
Robin J. Steinweg thinks life is sweet right in the middle of: her husband  and two sons living at home; caring for aging parents; homeschooling; writing children’s books; directing, writing and arranging music; teaching music students 5-85; leading worship; and listening for the Music of the Master’s voice. Robin writes devotionals for the online magazine The Christian Pulse.

Marvin P. Ferguson
A diehard baseball fan and former youth baseball coach along with personal experience, Marvin P. Ferguson is the author of Boys on the Gold Coast, a story about a group of boys who are the composite of every kid who wasn't afraid to get dirty, or play with splintered bats and tattered baseballs and use his imagination.

Jeanette Doran

After graduation I had the joy of living life in the Chiapas jungle, the land which helped to form Karena Shields into the enriching person we knew at U.S.D..This plantation was her inheritance where she arrived strapped on the back of a Mayan Indian. She grew up in this land of Maya, loving the people and their heritage. Most summers students would accompany her as a learning experience... Since I hoped to enter Carmel I felt this time in the jungle would be a space of solitude in the vast beauty of the jungle. Where I would also learn to adapt to another way of life I would need in Carmel. While I pursued my goal of seeking Carmel, I taught school. In June of 1965, I entered Carmel in Boston and went the following year on the foundation to South Dartmouth, MA. A coastland, where the waves splashed against the rugged rocky shore, was a place of splendor conducive for a contemplative life of prayer. Several reasons brought us to the difficult decision to close the Monastery in 1987. My journey brought me to Montreal for a four year study sabbatical. In 1992 I came to Iowa .and in 1994 I lived with a community of Carmelite Hermits in Minnesota for five years and returned to Iowa. Recently to our surprise when Oda Scheer visited her sister in our community we realized we roomed in the same dorm and graduated together. What a wonderful gift!

 Kathryn Lang  writes words to inspire and encourage the hearts of others. You can purchase her inspirational books through Amazon or her website Her debut novel, RUN, follows the struggles of Sara as she discovers that you can only run from your past as long as you are willing to sacrifice your future.

Michael Elmore
Born and raised in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Michael spent his early years listening to the exciting stories that his mother would tell him. Faith was central to the family's life, and he vividly remembers listening to Bible stories like David and Goliath, Joseph and his coat of many colors, and of course, the life of Jesus.  As a young boy a small local paper asked Michael to be a "cub reporter" and published several of his news stories. It was then that the idea of becoming a writer was born.

Michael, his wife Coleen, and their three young children left Iowa in 1982 to attend Bible College in Los Angeles. He studied Bible, theology and pastoral ministry. Because of his experience in printing, the college offered him a job as Director of Graphics. It was here that he edited, corrected, and designed textbooks published by the school. College also taught him the importance of researching and providing documentation that is an element in his literary style today.
Michael was ordained in 1986. It did not take him long to realize that pastoral ministry provided great stories that he often shared with family and friends. He just could not escape the allure of storytelling. During this time, Michael was a regular columnist for the local paper. Of course, every week he had another writing assignment - something called the "Sunday sermon".
Following several years of pastoral ministry, Michael made the decision to return to graduate school. During this time, he contributed many articles to the seminary's theological journal. At this time, one of the seminary professors asked him to edit and re-write a book that she was publishing at the time.
Eventually, he realized that typing and editing on a typewriter took a lot of time so he bought his first computer. Primitive as it was, it made the process of writing much easier.  In all of this, Michael's ability to write continued to grow.
In 2003, Michael and his wife Coleen moved back to Iowa where he spent time as a chaplain for several years. Again, people's stories as they battled incurable illnesses and death left a deep impact on him. He contributed articles about chaplaincy and spirituality on the website of a large hospital system.
After years of experience with various genres of writing, Michael has sensed God calling him full-time into the field of Christian writing. Currently he is using his long time interest in Christian apologetics and health care to write this exciting new book.

Lori Boruff believes in the power of hope because she experiences it. Personal 9/11's once caused her to see only hopeless ends until she discovered the secret to ENDLESS HOPE. As a Hope coach, Lori speaks at over 40 womens' events a year but dreams of reaching thousands around the world by producing and hosting her internet radio show - How to live a hope-FULL life launching in January 2011.
    Helping others live life on purpose motivates Lori to step out of her comfort zone and dream big for God. Whether freelance writing, polishing her first book, promoting a Holocaust writing project for children or directing a local writers' group - Lori is answering her God-given call to write.
    She married her sweetheart 30 years ago and they live in Aledo, IL. They've raised two sons and are proud the young men help others through military and community service. The way-to-young-to-be-a-grandma loves play days and afternoon naps with her three year old grandson.
    On the silly side of life, Lori lets bathtime bubbles wash her troubles away and chocolate be her friend.
    If Hope is like oxygen to the lungs and you have no hope - are you really living? Let Lori help you breathe deeply into the life God wants you to live.

Marie Tschopp is a Quad City native and has been a professional storyteller/speaker for more years than she cares to admit. Her most popular presentation is a dramatic portrayal of Laura Ingalls Wilder.  In her free time, Marie enjoys the pursuit of the perfect pair of shoes.

You can find Marie on Facebook at All Things Laura Ingalls Wilder and visit her blog @

Gail P. Smith-- I'm a transplanted Texan who's lived in the Midwest since 1976 after a brief stint in N. CA. I love my job working for my friend Twila Belk, owner of Gotta Tell Somebody, Inc, developer of the Quad-Cities Christian Writers Conference and personal assistant to Cecil Murphey, writer extrordinaire. I really love to read and help promote great books.
As for my own writing, I tend to see the world through a slightly skewed perspective, but always with a sense of humor. And I love the dictionary!

Helen Knueven I had an encounter with Jesus Christ that changed the direction of my life forever.
Most of the songs I write are about Him.
I teach private piano lessons and write devotional studies, short stories,Bible studies and songs.
I'm lucky to be married to the greatest guy - Mike!

Jeannette Doran, Marie Tschopp, Sharon Wilhite, Robin Steinweg, Charis Seeley, Gail Smith & Marvin Ferguson at the 2011 QCCWC

currently on hiatus