Mini Post Monday!

Life and Happiness

Happy Monday everyone! I hope everyone survived Mardi Gras this past weekend. I didn’t do a single thing to celebrate so…back to the grind!

Check out my new story!

I’ve been published again in Chicken Soup for the Soul! This time its in their annual dog compilation with a funny story about my pup Max. The book comes out Feb. 9th and you can get it at all the usual spots including here on Amazon. I’m so thrilled to be part of the Chicken Soup family. This is my second story published with them and I just sent in another one for consideration. If you think you have a good story suitable for their publications, check out their page for all the details of how you can submit. They have a plethora of great titles as well as dog and people food that they now sell!

 

What I’m Reading

I recently finished “Fear Mountain” by Mike Dellosso. Scary with a big dose of Christianity – I recommend it (as I do with most of Mike’s books.) Now I’m back to reading the E Series books by Kate Wrath. If you haven’t checked these out yet – DO IT. I rarely invest my money or time into a book series, but this one is SO worth it. I’ve only had to take a small break from it because the next in the series hasn’t come out yet! Now I know what all you Harry Potter people were talking about back in the day. The series starts in kind of an Old West sort of setting, but futuristic. (And, by the way, as a writer of book descriptions I typically think the descriptions most people use either 1) give too much away or 2) have nothing to do with the book. Not so with this series. The book descriptions are SPOT ON so if you like those – you’ll like the books.)

When I’m done with this series (I will weep and gnash my teeth I’m sure) it’ll be hard to move on to something else. I’m not even sure what I might read next. Not many on my Kindle will hold a candle to the E Series for sure. I may delve into some classics. What are you reading?

Writing Conferences

If you read my post last Monday you know I’m promoting the St. Davids Christian Writers Conference in Grove City, PA. I’m on the board there and it’s been such a blessing to me that I have to share it with all of you. If you live even remotely close and want to go to a conference, I HIGHLY suggest St. Davids. You will be blessed.

In addition, I’m looking at going to some other conferences this year and expanding my network and my knowledge about writing and editing. I’m thinking of going to the Lancaster Christian Writers Super Saturday event. They haven’t posted their dates and schedule yet though so… maybe not! (PS – Get on the ball folks! Your conference is in April!) (PPS – If you DO like Mike’s book I mentioned above, he will be at this one-day conference in Lancaster!)

On A Sadder Note

Last week my dad was informed that he would be a good candidate for open heart surgery. He had a small heart attack at the beginning of January and now they found two blockages in an artery intersection on the top of his heart. Because it’s in an intersection of arteries, they suggest a bypass instead of a stent or balloon procedure. He was given the option to have the surgery and he decided to do it. We’re hopeful about the surgery because Dad is in good health otherwise and the doctors feel that he’ll do well. Open heart surgery is still very serious though so I appreciate all prayers you would send our way. He’ll be in the hospital for about a week and will need a few months to completely recover. However, once the recovery is over he should feel better and may even be able to stop some medications he’s been on for his heart condition. If you pray – please do so. Thank you.

Hope each of you has a blessed and exciting week. Be sure to chime in below with what you’re reading and how your week is going. I love to stay in touch with you all and your comments give me life! God bless!

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Why Writing Conferences Are Awesome (Again)

Life and Happiness, Writing

I regularly attend the St. Davids Christian Writing Conference in Grove City, PA and am now a member of their board as well. This week registration for the conference is open and we’re excited to see who will attend and what new writers we’ll meet this year. (To check it out and to register, visit here.)

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With that in mind, I pulled up an old post that I wrote about why writing conferences are so awesome. I thought I’d share bits of that post again to get all of you excited about this year’s conference!

One aspect I love about conferences is that no matter what your particular brand of writing is; romance, speculative fiction, personal experience, devotionals or just blogging; you get exposed to a lot of other genres. One year we had a lot of spec fic (or science fiction-esque) people and it spurred me, the blog-writing-personal-experience-chick, to break out of my box and try it. I experimented with a bit of a paranormal type story on my blog for awhile and it got some good feedback. I thank conferences for the push that it took to put that out there. I’ve also dipped my pen into poetry and children’s writing too thanks to conferences I’ve attended.

(One thing I’d advise: Don’t go to a conference and JUST stick with your genre. Dip your toe into something else – maybe just one workshop. You’ll never know unless you try and it can be fun and get your creative juices flowing!)

The aspect of conferences that I love the most is meeting all sorts of new people. Because our particular group is a Christian group it is a very loving and supportive one as well. We pray for one another, share in each other’s heartaches and successes, and give each other boosts when we need them. I’ve connected to many on Facebook too and, after knowing them in person just one week, I can touch base with them all the time and receive great feedback on my writing. They are almost like family. And my perspectives often change too. Last year I met a lovely black woman at conference and I’ve learned so much about black lives and their struggle through our friendship. I’ve grown as a person and a writer.

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Just one of the fun and creative people I’ve met at conference!

No matter what conference you attend, (but we hope you come to ours!) remember to do the following:

  1. Listen and learn
  2. Expand and reach
  3. Step out of your comfort zone
  4. Be open to new things
  5. Write, write, write

Hope to see you at a conference soon!

 

Why Writing Conferences Are Awesome

Life and Happiness

Last week our writer’s group got together to start planning our conference for this year. I’m relatively new to the group – about 3 years in – but apparently we’ve done these conferences in the past. It fell off for awhile and then last year we started it up again. There were some kinks to be sure, but we had about 60 people attend our “first” year and everyone expressed great thanks for the job well done. It spurred us to do it again this year.

Planning a conference – even a one day like we have – is no easy feat. It’s over 6 months away, but so much has to be planned, decided on and brainstormed that starting this early is key.

One thing I admire about our group is that we pull together and everyone helps out. Even our husbands & wives get in on the act. We have a couple of accountants and, this year, one engineering spouse. To be honest, they don’t know what to make of most of us writers, but they do a fine job helping out and being good helpmates for us all. What a blessing they are. Last year my husband and another husband worked the bookstore, sound and helped with lunch. Another members wife helped make our keynote speaker feel at home and became his “bodyguard” for the day. All so their spouses could try and actually enjoy the conference and help make the conference a success.

WBCW Shoulder Bag

Another aspect I love about conferences is that no matter what your particular brand of writing is; romance, speculative fiction, personal experience, devotionals or just blogging; you get exposed to a lot of other genres. Last year we had a lot of spec fic (or science fiction-esque) people and it spurred me, the blog-writing-personal-experience-chick, to break out of my box and try it. I’ve experimented on Fridays, as many of you know, with a bit of a paranormal type story. And it’s gotten some good feedback. I thank conferences for the push that it took to put that out there.

Finally, the aspect that I love the most is meeting all sorts of new people. Because our particular group is a Christian group it is a very loving and supportive group as well. We pray for one another, share in each other’s heartaches and successes, and give each other boosts when we need them. I’ve connected to many on Facebook too and, after knowing them in person just one day, I can touch base with them all the time and receive great feedback on my writing. They are like family almost.

It’s a network of people all helping each other. And it started at a one day conference.

>>>>>TWEET TO SHARE HOW WRITING CONFERENCES CAN EXPAND YOUR FAN BASE<<<<<<

If you’re interested in writing and want to check us out you can follow our group on Facebook here or check out our website here. Info on our October conference will be there soon. We hope you can join us!

Check This Out! (Let’s try again!)

Uncategorized

Hey readers – I am guest blogging on the St. David’s Christian Writer’s Association’s blog today. Check it out here: http://www.stdavidswriters.blogspot.com/

Their blog is primarily being written by the members of the Association, which gathers for a writing conference every year in June. The members come from all parts of this great nation and range from “new writer” to “well published.” You can check it out here. The conference is an uplifting, engaging and educational experience. You will meet friends for life and gain a wealth of writing knowledge. If you are looking for a writer’s conference – I urge you to check this one out.

But for just today – check out my blog on their site!

Where’s the Heroine in my story?

Life and Happiness

This past Saturday I attended the West Branch Christian Writers One Day Conference. (www.westbranchchristianwriters.com) Our keynote speaker was Jeff Gerke, founder of Marcher Lord Press (http://www.marcherlordpress.com/). His speech spoke about hero’s and how each story needs to have one. He talked about the “knot” or the thing that keeps us all from moving forward with change in our lives. Things that hold us back: unworthiness, unhappiness, fear of the unknown, change, a different land, a different way of life… whatever it may be. When we (or our characters) can make a decision, a choice, to move away from that knot, then we can move towards the things that make us happier. More fulfilled.

Think about every movie you’ve ever seen. They all have heros and heroines. There is always someone we’re pulling for in the end, to make that change, step out in their faith and just DO IT. Save the day, save their life, save someone else’s life. (Forrest Gump – overcame his disabilities to do SO many things, Frodo – walks away from his quiet, simple, comfortable life in the shire to save the world…)

Then during Jeff’s class we talked more about heros. What makes a hero? They have to be sympathetic, compassionate, lovable or… well, heroic in some way. The reader doesn’t want some guy who isn’t likable to be the hero. The reader wants a “man of distinguished courage or ability” (as defined by dictionary.com) not some guy who’s in it for himself.

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One hero in my life – balancing the checkbook!

During the awards ceremony I had the privilege to award a wonderful writer with a first place award for her blog entry. It was about her hero, her husband, losing his “cape” and not being able, physically, to be her hero anymore. She had to step in and be his heroine instead. That’s a true hero: stepping up when times get rough to fill in for someone who can no longer do it. Wow. Her story has two heros.

So I started to think: where is the heroine in my story? Do I encompass all these things it takes to define a hero? Some days. Not always. Does a hero have “off” days?

I’ve learned so much from this conference, and not just about writing. I’m moving forward, hopefully away from my knot, to find my hero or to find my inner heroine, and to be of “distinguished courage and ability” in all that I do.

Where is your hero today? What can you do to get rid of your knot and to be of “distinguished courage and ability” in your own life?