2017 Writer Development Conference

YOU Writer Conference Promo 2017

Just sharing a conference announcement for all of my Christian writer friends… I first attended the Writer Development Track at the Black Church Leadership and Family Conference in 2014. I’ve been contracted to write for LifeWay’s YOU curriculum several times since then. Folks who are serious about investing in themselves and their writing careers should consider this amazing opportunity.

The Writer’s Conference: A Wise Investment

ACWC Program BookletEven with freshly inked documents to declare their legitimacy as LLCs or S-Corps, new businesses can still fail to deliver on their promises. Although well-meaning, they sometimes experience one pitfall after another: overcommitting, growing too quickly, insufficient cash flow, a hastily designed product or botched service, and other tell-tale signs that scream, “Newbie!” Obviously, good intentions don’t guarantee success; we must hone our craft.

That’s why about two weeks ago, I was happy to see several writers alongside me at the Atlanta Christian Writers Conference (ACWC).  Attendees at all experience levels were present, especially since the faculty taught classes on everything from identifying the elements of a good story and writing for magazines to building a platform and writing a book proposal. There were even sessions on making podcasts and finding markets for children’s non-fiction. The personal appointments with agents and editors were invaluable, to boot. Surely, the conferees understood how their personal growth and success required such a wise investment—in this case, nearly three days of their time and a couple hundred dollars out-of-pocket.

Whether we’ve started a grassroots organization, mom and pop eatery, home daycare, or web design company, we thrive when we see training as an investment and not merely a time-sucker or an unnecessary expense.  When writers have this perception, everyone wins. The result: More folks will write devotionals that teach without being preachy. Authors will create novels with well-crafted, relatable characters. And, freelancers will pen articles that grab—and keep—readers’ attention. After all, what good is a published piece (whether it’s an indie book, blog post, or content on a professional web site) if it’s constructed so poorly no one wants to read it?

How do you invest in yourself? What rewards have you (or others) reaped as a result?

Grace: The Newest Album in My Collection

Cherise Bopape and Gospel artist Debra Prather

Gospel singer Debra Prather (L), Cherise Bopape (R)

“Do you still feel like going?” my husband asked this past Thursday evening.

I sighed. After all, for the past three months, I’ve been learning to cope with a not-so-common, chronic illness. But, after a short delay, I replied, “Yep. Count me in.”

Off we went, creeping through Atlanta’s rush hour traffic and braving the extreme temperatures (not good for my chronic condition, mind you). Finally, we arrived at the Twelve Hotel near Centennial Olympic Park. Somewhat winded, I gave a few perfunctory greetings and quickly scanned the room for a seat. Before making my way to a table near the hors d’oeuvres, I got a glimpse of the songbird herself: gospel inspirational recording artist, Debra Prather. Immediately, I knew my travel hadn’t been in vain.

Cherise Bopape and Husband Thabo at Debra Prather's Album Listening Party

Cherise Bopape & husband, Thabo

Sparkling with gold accessories and displaying an infectious smile, Debra wore an off-white sheath dress with an elegant cape. Obviously she was prepared to slay the crowd. But, since this was my first time attending a listening party, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect.

As the night progressed, folks gave testimonies of Debra’s diverse musical talent. The self-proclaimed president of Debra’s fan club provided humor for the crowd while praising the new album, Grace, and also, shared her envy of Debra’s skills as a grandmother. Another fan took the mic and admitted to skipping Sunday school to listen to the album in his car. Others offered additional comments, giving us a glimpse of Debra as a PK (preacher’s kid), wife, mother, and most important, a child of God.

But it was Debra’s own sister, Shelia, who described “lil’ Debra” as the one who had a surprisingly powerful alto (and sometimes tenor) voice when she sang alongside her siblings. “She had this growl,” Shelia said, as she affectionately described her sister’s melodious, soulful voice. “But you won’t hear that on Debra’s newest solo album” she revealed.

Shelia is right. Debra’s versatility shines in her new album. It showcases a “Vicki Yohe meets Mandisa” type of vibe. But, don’t be fooled; Debra’s style is all her own. When she stood before her guests to sing a sample from her title track, the room grew still. Within seconds, the crowd sported broad smiles, nodded their heads, and clapped their hands.

Cherise Bopape holding a copy of Debra Prather's Grace Album

Cherise Bopape has her copy of Grace by Debra Prather

After Debra’s performance, I purchased Grace without a hint of buyer’s remorse. I hope you’ll consider purchasing a copy, too. Besides, a portion of all proceeds will help fund local and international mission efforts through Serv International.

Still not convinced to buy? Visit Debra’s Web site (http://debraprather.com/) and listen to the promotional tracks including “Highest Mountain,” my favorite. Like me, you’ll soon be saying, “Count me in” as you hold your very own listening “party—” in your home, car, or during your morning workout.


Christian Writers: Apply for LifeWay’s Writer Development Conference

BCLFC YOU Writer Development Conference 2016If you’re a lover of God’s Word and want to know what it takes to write curriculum for LifeWay, check out this opportunity. Back in 2014, I completed the first ever YOU Writer Development Conference. Then, in 2015, I was invited back as a faculty member for the Black Church Leadership and Family Conference (BCLFC). Since then, I’ve been contracted to write three feature articles and four units of Bible study for LifeWay’s YOU curriculum. What a wonderful experience! I absolutely love what I do.

Click here to learn more about the YOU curriculum. Serious inquiries may be directed to the LifeWay contact shown above. Don’t delay; apply now.

Self-Care: The Catalyst for Creativity and Peak Performances

During the summer months, many of us take vacations to enjoy warmer temperatures, ocean breezes, or abundant gardens with hues of red and yellow. At Bopape Enterprises, we like to do those things, too. After all, self-care is important. When we nurture ourselves, we find that our creativity and work performance peaks.

When I’m not taking a brief moment to reconnect and rejuvenate, I can often be found perched at my laptop while drafting an article or writing Bible study curriculum. At other times, I can be spotted storytelling in schools, giving a workshop in the community, or encouraging young ladies to be all that God created them to be. Regardless, I’m always seeking ways to shine, and I like helping others do the same.

Check out my pictures below to see what I’ve been up to, and then, share what inspires you to be at your peak.

Cherise Bopape-Panelist and Presenter, "My Identity Is Real: Single Parent Edition Conference"

On May 16, 2015 , I participated as a presenter and panelist in the My Identity Is Real: Single Parent Edition Conference in Atlanta, Georgia.






Amanda -BUY Cobb-2015 Millionaire Mind Competition WinnerOn April 25, 2015, I was happy to congratulate Amanda Theodore for winning B.U.Y Cobb, Inc.’s Millionaire Mind Competition. During the contest, Amanda presented a business plan for her jewelry-making business and stood before a panel of judges (entrepreneurs and corporate professionals) to answer questions. She also exhibited one of her original pieces. Contrary to what some believe, art can be a lucrative career. I’m sure this Georgia teen would agree. Here, she’s pictured with her check for a few hundred dollars. To learn why I enjoy encouraging artists in different genres, read my post, “When Faced with a Death Sentence, Choose God.”




Storytelling at King Springs Elementary, Smyrna, GeorgiaOn May 1, 2015, I celebrated South African culture via storytelling. I gave five 30-minute presentations to approximately 150 third grade students at King Springs Elementary in Smyrna, Georgia, during their annual STEM and Cultural Arts Day. The students heard my original tales, received a take-home activity, and learned how to say hello in Sotho, one of the many languages spoken in South Africa.





Noonday Creek Trail, Marietta, GA

I recently discovered the Noonday Creek Multi-Use Trail in Marietta, Georgia. Brisk walks here allow me to enjoy God’s creations. Plus, my creativity soars and my stress levels decrease. Self-care in action…

My Identity Is Real: Single Parent Edition

Coach Ramona Taylor Hosts "My Identity Is Real: Single Parent Edition" (Seminar, Panel, Career Resources for Women) May 16, 2015

Coach Ramona Taylor Hosts “My Identity Is Real: Single Parent Edition” (seminar, panel discussion, & career resources for women) May 16, 2015

Ladies, let’s make plans to attend My Identity Is REAL: Single Parent Edition. There will be seminars, a panel discussion, and career resources for women.

If you’re in the metro-Atlanta area this Saturday, May 16, 2015, register to attend this event. Expect four hours (9 am – 1 pm) of powerful content, networking, and fun–all on on the campus of Troy University (Atlanta). Expect to be inspired with life applicable information on how to better understand your children and yourself.Then, get energized as you learn to live life to the fullest, move beyond previous bad choices, and realize the freedom that comes with forgiveness.

This event is hosted by Coach Ramona Taylor. I’ll be a panelist and would love to see you there–it’s worth the $15 investment. Click here for additional details. 

A Godsend: Bible Study for Urban and Multicultural Believers

For a small business owner, new contracts are almost always welcome. I’ve been grateful for the ones I’ve received. For me, that means I get to do what I love: storytelling, writing, and telling others about Jesus. I even earn a few bucks in the process! However, my biggest joy is knowing that I’m equipping others with tools for godly living.

In the fourth quarter of 2014, I did some freelance writing for LifeWay’s quarterly Bible study, YOU: Connect, Grow, Serve, Go. While completing the work for this contract, I researched and studied the Bible, experienced aha moments at 2 a.m., and prayed intensely—for myself as I plugged through the writing process and for those who would read the words I’d penned.

Designed for urban and multicultural adults, LifeWay’s YOU Bible study reaches believers in a profound way. Its writers work hard to help 21st century Christians realize the Bible’s relevancy. Preview the video above for additional details. Then, get a free sample lesson and leader guide here. Even better, purchase the current issue (winter 2014/2015) for a nominal price ($3.50). In doing so, you’ll be able to read my article on page 23, “Reaching Alabama’s Black Belt with the Love of Christ.”

To start the next quarter off with LifeWay’s YOU Bible study, purchase the 2015 spring edition. Inside, you’ll find a unit on service; I wrote the learner/leader/object lessons for unit 3. Check them out and let me know how the lessons have encouraged you to examine your service efforts.

This summer, whether we make plans to visit the beach, splash in the pool, or simply cool off with a homemade smoothie, remember to stay connected to a small group (Sunday school) and study God’s word. To help you to do just that, consider pre-ordering the summer edition of LifeWay’s YOU Bible study. I recently finished writing its learner/leader/object lessons and commentaries for unit 1. It focuses on prayer—a staple in the believer’s life.

Whether I write a piece for LifeWay or some other Christian periodical, I consider all of my writing contracts a godsend. Really. God has shown me that He provides and promotes; He even supports my progress. What has He shown you, recently?

Questions Anyone?

Questions on books, writing, and publishing...Novice writers spew so many questions –many in my direction. They ask:  How might I break into the writing industry? I have a book I want to write; where do I begin?  Can you edit my work? How can I write a devotional that really ministers to my audience?  Do I really need an editor? My book is relative to anyone who reads it, right? Should I seek a traditional publisher or is self-publishing the way to go?

Today, you can have these questions answered in person by simply joining me at the Sights and Sounds Black Cultural Expo Museum. This traveling museum educates the community on the positive aspects of African American history, validates the contributions of African American trailblazers, and offers inspiration.  Mr. James Horton, the Collector/Executive Director, will have an assortment of items on display and has agreed to host authors, storytellers, speakers, and more at this location on each Saturday in June and July 2014.

Today, I’ll be at the museum to read from and sign copies of my book, Lessons from the Littlest. I’ll also entertain questions on the writing industry. I hope to see you there!

WHAT : Book reading, book signing, and Q &A with author Cherise Bopape

WHERE: Sights and Sounds Black Cultural Expo Museum, North Dekalb Mall, 2050 Lawrenceville Hwy, Decatur, GA 30033

WHEN: Saturday, June 07, 2014 at 3 pm

Stop That Broken Record!

We constantly impart knowledge to our children; however, do we consider the lessons we gather from them?  Today, I’m sharing an excerpt from my book, Lessons from the Littlest: A Devotional for Mothers of Young Children.  I’m reading from Chapter 3, “Stop That Broken Record.”

In my 31-day devotional book, each chapter contains a true, relatable story involving a mom and a young child.  From a mother-daughter discussion of earwax to a son’s struggle with collard greens, the book provides unique stories that warm mothers’ hearts or tickle their funny bones.  Each day’s reading offers a Scripture, challenge, and a brief prayer to foster spiritual growth.

Lessons from the Littlest makes a great Mother’s Day gift.  Purchase a copy for yourself or someone you love. If you’d like to finish reading the chapter excerpted via the video below, click here to purchase the book.  Hurry, limited copies are available.

Children’s Book Review: Mama, I Want to See God

Herndon Home MuseumI recently went to see one of my author friends, Vanessa Fortenberry, during an author showcase at the Herndon Home, a National Historic Landmark and America’s only private Black mansion museum. Vanessa and I initially met while we were members of the Christian Authors Guild.  We share some of the same passions:  books, reading, research, and desserts.  (She enjoys baking sweet treats; I enjoy eating them.)

At the Herndon Home’s author event, Vanessa, in her soft-spoken manner, shared the inspiration for her children’s story, Mama, I Want to See God.  After she read an excerpt, I had to purchase a copy.

Mama, I Want to See God is a heartwarming conversation between a patient mother Author Event:  Vanessa Fortenberry and Cherise Bopapeand her inquisitive child who wants to know more about God. The mother’s answers help young readers to realize God in relatable ways, whether they’re admiring His creations, experiencing His love, or studying His Word.  This book helps children to understand that God cares about little things (and little people).  It encourages youngsters to believe that God indeed is real, even though they can not physically see him.

With beautiful illustrations representing everyday scenarios and families of different ethnicities, this book allows kids to “see” themselves within its pages.  Written in a rhyming verse, Vanessa’s new title offers reassuring content for little ears and growing minds.

After finishing the book, I felt as warm and smiley-faced as I did when I read another “Mama” masterpiece:  Mama, Do You Love Me?, by Barbara M. Joosse.  Consequently, my advice to parents and children thumbing through the pages of Mama, I Want to See God is simple: Read. Enjoy. Repeat.

Order your copy of Mama, I Want to See God today.  Or, enter the book giveaway through BQB Publishing for a chance to win a copy.  Hurry though, the giveaway will occur in just a few days!  In the meantime, check out my post: Q & A with Vanessa.