10 Benefits Awaiting Writers’ Conference First-Timers

You think you might like to write? You’re consumed with a burning idea but no clue how to take it from writing to publication? Maybe you’re sure you don’t write well enough yet.

Don’t let that stop you! Go ahead and attend a Christian writers’ conference. The benefits are astronomical. Here are just a few.

You will:

  1. Jumpstart your writing dream (You know you have one, right?)
  2. Be inspired by fantastic motivational speakers
  3. Learn from professionals how to write and get published
  4. Meet editors, publishers, and agents face-to-face. Find out what they’re looking for and discover that these brothers and sisters in Christ really want you to succeed.
  5. Receive valuable feedback about your writing skills through manuscript evaluations—maybe even an invitation to submit it for publication or suggestions regarding where to submit
  6. Make enthusiastic new friends who will validate your passion to write
  7. Begin to discover your niche as a writer and God’s plan for your coming year of writing.
  8. Spend a few days in Christian writer’s heaven on earth where people are kind, helpful, encouraging—and fun!
  9. Go home believing you can make your dream come true because you’re no longer alone. God and your new writer friends have your back.
  10. Look forward to next year’s conference to reconnect with your new writer friends, learn more, progress more, and enjoy another few days in writer’s heaven.

Don’t miss out! Sign up for a Christian Writers’conference today!

Here are a few I can personally vouch for:

Or check the Christian Writers Market Guide under “Christian Writers Conferences & Workshops” for other options near you!

Experienced conference goers, please help us out here: What favorite writers conference would you recommend to newbies considering first time attendance? And why?

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Talk about Joy and Blessing!

Writers’ retreats are one of the highlights of the writing life. Talk about joy and blessing!

Last week ten of us bubbled over as we arrived at Green Lake Conference Center’s Christian Writing Center. Yup, that’s it. An eight-bedroom, half-timbered English mansion overlooking … ah …  you guessed it … Green Lake. (The windows under the two gables on the far right of the second floor mark the location of my room. The large window to the left on the first floor belongs to the great room. More about that later.)

After lots of hugs plus helping each other unload our cars and get settled in our rooms, we enjoyed a Sunday supper of homemade veggie soup, ham & Swiss and Reuben stuffed breads hot from the oven, cold apple salad, and delicious caramel cheesecake one husband made for our enjoyment. Not a good start for our diets, but most excellent, and we didn’t waste a bite!

We put out jigsaw puzzles, colored pencils & coloring sheets, and games. One of our favorites is “Pilgrim’s Progress.” These along with long walks outdoors in the beautiful sunshine and a fire pit by the lake in late afternoon gave us plenty of activity when taking breaks from writing.

Oh, and we can’t forget the impromptu birthday party for the 82-year-old among us. Cake, ice cream, cards, and more laughter.

But …

We all agreed that the best part of each day came in the evening when we gathered by the fireplace in the great room. Debra accompanied us with her Q-chord as we sang to the Lord. His precious presence was so near and dear. And every night He gifted each of us with personal blessings and encouragement as we prayed and were prayed over.

Then, of course, we read manuscripts and shared stories. We couldn’t help but laugh as Kathi read from her father’s memoirs of growing up during the Great Depression. She’s editing and polishing them for publication. Her dad sure had an eye for hilarious goings-on in his small, northern Wisconsin community.

(By the way, the photo above is a view of Green Lake taken by Debra from the lakeside grounds of the house.)

The Lord blessed us one last time as we departed on Friday morning. We had all packed up before the pouring rain began, and each made it home safely before the big April blizzard hit over the weekend.

YOUR TURN TO SHARE! What special event to you look forward to experiencing each year with family or friends?

 

Guest Blog: Why Do I Write?

Writing is a difficult yet rewarding experience. Readers sometimes ask, “Why do you write?” Writers often ask themselves that very same question!

Here is an inspiring word from poet and author Lois A. Wiederhoeft on that subject. Whether you are a writer or reader, I hope it touches your heart as it did mine:

Job 19:23: Oh, that my words were now written! Oh that they were printed in a book! (KJV)

As I searched the Bible for the word “write,” I saw many reasons why God assigned old testament prophets to write on a scroll or in a book. His reasons were mostly warnings to the people of Israel. Some were harsh.

You may ask, “How could God give such tough writing assignments? I thought He was a God of Love.”

He is a God of love, but He hates sin, and his people were deep into sin, worshiping false gods or idols. They were going into extreme moral depravity and behavior. Because He still loved them, He warned of judgement if they did not return to Him.

He did the same thing in the New Testament. It gets kind of rough when Jesus called the religious leaders, “white washed sepulchers.” Paul and Peter rebuked people in the book of Acts for their rejection of God’s commandments, and wanting God’s gifts for the wrong reasons.

So what does that have to do with my writing? He told Jeremiah, in Chapter 30, verse 2, “Thus speaketh the LORD God of Israel, saying, Write thee all the words that I have spoken unto thee in a book.” (KJV)

If Luke had not written two letters to Theophilus. We would not have the books of Luke and Acts. We never would learn how Jesus started His church if the apostles had not followed His directions. I thank God for His faithful prophets and apostles writing for our instruction and about God’s expectations for our lives.

One blessing about writing: people don’t assume what you’re saying and no one interrupts.

My life as a single person gives me more solitude time which writers need. I have uninterrupted time with the Heavenly Author as He inspires me, mostly in poems. They focus on the Lord, His ways, His Truth, His life, and His compassion for the sinner as recorded in the Holy Bible..

Why do I write?

  • I would be miserable if I could not write what God lays on my heart.
  • I write because I have something to say for the Lord.
  • I write because there is a secret fire burning inside of me. I must share my thoughts with someone else.
  • I write because I realize that I might die next week, or tomorrow, or five minutes from now, and I want to leave something behind for posterity.
  • I write because, along with God, nothing else will fill that emptiness. I want to find a way to connect with someone, anyone who might understand.
  • I write because no other person who came before me or who will come after me will be able to write in quite the same way that I was meant to write.

    I began writing poems soon after I was married, for birthdays of nephews, siblings and my mother. I wrote anniversary poems for my grandparents. But there was a vacancy in my soul, that led me to write as a seeker of the Lord. I wanted to know Him better. I wanted others to know Him. Through the years, I found out I will never know everything about Him, but His Word tells me to seek Him with all my heart, and I found Him. When I found the Pearl of Great Price, He commissioned me to share His truth, obey His truth, and walk in His truth.
    I can now do that in poems, devotions, essays, songs, and by stretching my abilities to writing an assigned Bible study, now in the editing process.

Announcing New Novel’s Release Date with Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving Day, everyone! What a great day to count the many blessings God showers on us. And you–family and friends who love and take time to show you care–are chief among them.

  • Today I’m thanking God for my son Bret who volunteered to make the Thanksgiving dinner and bring it and his family here to celebrate. He visits most weeks to help with the yard, have a meal with me, and play boards games as we catch up on each others news.
  • I’m also thanking God for my son Rick who does so much for me throughout the year. All I have to do is call and say, “We have a problem!” He’s quick to fix whatever needs attention and lend advice as his dad might have while he was still alive. He also takes care of our hunting land, and Tuesday he brought over some lovely venison from the deer he harvested last weekend–roast, tenderloins, and steaks.Oven roasted venison stew, here we come!
  • An especially big thank you both to you family, friends, fans, and the staff at Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas and to the Lord who graciously answered your faithful prayers as I wrote my second novel. Lighthouse accepted its latest version on November 14.

I can now officially announce: the sequel to Her Deadly Inheritance releases next year on December 1. A great choice because Jill and Clay meet her birth father and confront more romantic suspense adventures over the Christmas holidays.

Now that I’ve shared a few things I’m thankful for this year …
What are you thankful for on this Thanksgiving Day?

A Writer’s Life: Fall Fun!

While I’m furiously at work on the new novel, attempting to get it ready to release next year, for sure record breaking fall fun is all around us!

Gardens. How about this heirloom tomato? Measuring 6 inches long by 5 inches wide and 4 inches fat, it’s a gift from my next door neighbors and good friends. Jackie and Dennis cleaned out their 2017 garden and brought over this last luscious beauty. Bacon, lettuce, and tomato sandwiches, anyone?

Bugs. Rick stopped over yesterday to power wash my house. “Mom, you’ve got a major infestation of box elder bugs!” Major understatement, my son. Can anyone say, “Guinness Book of Records”? If I had the patience to count these nasty nuisances, this year’s “crop” would make its record breaking pages easily. When I told Dave, who will spray my house and yard next week, he just laughed. “Not a one will be found when I’m done.” Oh well … so much for my chance to appear in the Guinness Book of Records.

 

Driveways. Isn’t the blacktop apron of my driveway pitiful??? The one good thing about it is that when the back tires hit that dip, I know my car is safe while I run across the road to grab the newspaper. And the good news? I’m arranging to have it fixed. Hopefully before winter.

Now admit it. You picture authors enjoying this cushy at-home job with a hot cup of coffee nearby while peacefully writing marvelous stories and witty social media. Okay, that’s what I thought until my first novel released. Now I know writers lead normal lives that need attention on a daily basis just like yours.

As for “marvelous stories and witty social media,” let’s not go there. We do our best and hope it delights you. Oh, and did I mention that <cringe> I never got into drinking coffee? (My apologies to all who love the this aromatic brew.)

All that said, I do love writing … and chatting with readers. Absolutely!

Your turn: What’s happening with you this fall as you prepare for winter?

14 Murder, She Wrote Tips for Balancing Your Writing Life, Part Two

Believe it or not, it’s time to get back to “14 Murder, She Wrote Tips for Balancing Your Writing LIfe.” March 9, I shared the first half of those tips. I promised you seven more. So let’s not waste any time. Here is Part Two of …

14 Tips for Balancing Your Writing Life

Jessica Fletcher, best-selling mystery novelist in the fictional Murder, She Wrote television series, had to manage the many facets of her writing life just as we do,  That included not taking, but making …

  1. Time to write. We often saw Jessica sitting at the kitchen table of her home in Cabot Cove, pounding the keys of her typewriter. As she attempted to beat the publisher’s deadline for her new novel, she refused to be interrupted by all but dire needs. Later, in her New York apartment, she turned to writing at a computer  … and sometimes dealing with computer problems. Even Jessica had computer problems. Unlike us, they usually led to solving a murder mystery.
  2. Time for research. Do you remember Jessica poking around in the book stacks at a library? Or searching for information online? How about interviewing experts and visiting her novels’ settings to ensure the accuracy of her stories? I especially liked the scene where she made up a dummy to be the “murder victim” in her WIP (work in progress) and then acted out the scene to make sure the imaginary bullet’s trajectory was possible.
  3. Time for conferences. Every writer from beginner to published needs to spend time at writers’ conferences and seminars,and Jessica was no exception. Of course, when she showed up to network with other writers, or meet with her agent, editors and publishers, she invariably wound up involved in a murder mystery. I have to admit that with all the conferences I attended, not once was anyone threatened, much less murdered. So, you are not only safe going to a writer’s conference or seminar, you will love it. Here I am with three friends at Write-To-Publish, John, Cindy, and Kris.
  4. Time to teach. And how about those criminology classes Jessica taught at a college in New York? Or when she spoke at a writer’s conference? She not only became adept at writing and at solving crimes, she shared her knowledge with others. She also occasionally made time to read unpublished writers’ stories, offer suggestions, and encourage them to continue their pursuit of publication.
  5. Time for readers. No matter how famous  Jessica became, she made time for her readers. Time to autograph books. Time to speak to fans gathered at a meeting to hear her read from her newest novel and share some interesting facet of the writing of it. I loved the time she wound up involved in solving a murder mystery when she stumbled on a Jessica Fletcher fan club whose members had read all her books. Here I am, signing a book for Nancy who was kind enough to attend my novel’s book launch last year.
  6. Time for business. Yes, Jessica met with her editors and publishers, but she also had to stay on top of her investments. She was one of the authors who actually made a living writing her novels! No doubt she also had someone to take care of tax matters.
  7. Time to pray. Imagine my surprise at catching an episode in which Jessica prayed. You know the routine, Against a pressing deadline, we get stuck. There she sat at her typewriter, frustrated. Suddenly she folded her hands in prayer and looked heavenward. Yes, even Jessica had to pray to make progress with her WIP. I like to think that she, too, knew the importance of prayer to succeed in writing well.

And there you have it … the last of the “14 Tips.” I hope you enjoyed them. The truth is: fictional author or not, we all have to face similar challenges in our writing lives.

What biggest challenge as a novelist have you faced and, hopefully, overcome?

 

Missing in Action?

Missing in action? Yes, the last time you saw a post was the end of May, and I truly apologize. You are important to me.

But, sometimes life takes us by the hair and drags us wherever it wants. Have you ever felt that way? Well, that’s exactly what happened over the last two months while I was mysteriously ill. Finally, this past Sunday, whatever-it-was let go.

And I’m so glad to be back with you once again!

You all amaze me with your wonderful support. Within the past twenty-four hours, another five-star review of Her Deadly Inheritance appeared on Amazon: “Loved this book! The opening line to the last line keep you turning the page.”

What encouragement as I’m now physically able to work on the edits requested for the second novel by my editor at Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas, Darla Crass. Once those edits are approved, LPC will set a release date for this novel. When that happens, I’ll be sure to answer your frequent question, “When is your next novel coming out?”

In the meantime, thank you so much for making Her Deadly inheritance a top-selling novel on Amazon since it came out last year, I’m so grateful to you and to the Lord.