Writers Conferences: A Writer’s Best Tool

Now that the new year is upon us, my mind is focusing on this year’s writers conference this April at Mt. Hermon Christian Conference Center in the Santa Cruz mountains of Northern California.  This will be my third year attending and it is a delight and blessing to be able to attend this premiere conference.

Every year about 300 writers converge to network with literary agents, editors and publishers, to pitch their books or writings.  The conference is five days of workshops, morning tracks, and critiquing of your work.  I have met wonderful writer friends who have encouraged me and critiqued my work along the way.  For the past two years I have led a writers group on the San Francisco Peninsula, and hope to meet others this year who will want to be part of the group.

I am writing my first book, my memoirs, particularly on my time as a Christian missionary in Israel.  Tentatively titled:  Finding God in the Midst of My Mess:  My Love Story with Jesus, it tells my life story, the traumas I have faced in childhood and on the mission field, and how God has healed and restored my life.  I am writing the book to bring healing to others who have suffered the same things I have, like depression, sexual abuse, and addiction, through the love and healing power of Jesus.

This year at the conference my friend and mentor Kay Marshall Strom will be leading a morning class on writing memoirs.  I will be there expectantly, to learn how to strengthen my manuscript, and hopefully complete it with a fourth rewrite.  Writing is all about rewriting.  I began my book journey two years ago

Jenni and I at last year's conference

this January and have rewritten it three times.  I was blessed with a talented critique partner, Jenni Brummett, who helped me make my story more compelling and refined my grammar and flow.  Now I am seeking how to engage the reader more effectively in my story.  I know Kay, a renowned Christian author, will have those tools for me to do so.

As a small Christian art and writing ministry, money is tight and I need to solicit donations from others who believe in my book and would like to see it published.  The cost of the five day conference is $1100 which includes room, meals, transportation and the conference. Would you prayerfully consider helping me with a donation? As a way of saying thank you, I will send you a free copy of my book once it is self published 🙂

Secure donations can be made through Pay Pal below. My deadline to raise the money is April 9, 2014. Thank you so much!

Donor Name and Address for Free Book

To see my Scripture Art paintings and greeting cards go to www.giftsofhisglory.com or ‘my art’ above.

 

 

 

Donor Name and Address for Free Book

Meeting God Amongst the Redwood Trees- My Week at Mt. Hermon Christian Writers Conference

My head hurts from all the talking and conversation.  I look up at the tall Redwood trees and take a deep breath.  Do I have the courage to approach one more editor or agent and have my manuscript edited or rejected again?  Can I eat one more bit of chocolate without exploding?  Should I self publish or go for a traditional publishing house?  Is my writing good enough for publication?  All these thoughts rolled around in my mind this past week at Mt. Hermon’s Christian Writers Conference in the Santa Cruz Mountains of California.

My critique partner Jenni Brummett and I arrived early Friday morning and checked into our cute cabin like rooms just up a little hill from the main conference center.  We were excited to see what divine appointments the Lord had waiting for us.

my roommate Laura at our room

We met up with my roommate Laura Bennet  and we quickly became the three musketeers. We would gather each evening in our room, and compare notes in our PJ’s, while eating the sugar confections they served us right before bed.  Did you hear how that one man used the phrase “watch out or you will go to hell” in the learning to write greeting cards class? I asked, as shock registered on all three of our faces. We burst into giggles, not believing a writer would write that!

The week flew by as I went from appointment, to workshop, to critique, to picking up my manuscript with its comments from editors.  One kind editor met with me and showed me that my life story had many books within it and I should break it up into three or four books.  WOW, that was an unexpected suggestion.  But as I met with my author friends such as Kay Marshall Strom and Joseph Bentz, I realized she was right.

Add more characters to your story, Miriam, and weave a universal theme throughout, Kay suggested.  Rewrite your first chapter starting with your time as a missionary in Israel and include the bombing story, to catch your readers attention, Joseph told me.  Your writing is publishing quality and you write better than some of our current authors we are publishing, one editor told me. Music to my ears, I broke out into a big smile at this news.  However, Miriam, a non fiction narrative like you are writing needs fiction techniques such as showing, suspense, characterization and dialogue, Liz told me.  I can do that, I thought to myself.  My head swam with suggestions and ideas.

But what to do with my original manuscript of my life story that I believe the Lord told me to write, that would help many people, especially woman, all over the world?  I couldn’t let go of my story, it was my baby. The Lord spoke through my roommate Laura.  Have you heard of Create Space, the self publishing arm of Amazon the popular online bookstore?  You can basically design and publish you book for free, it was started to help authors like us publish our own books, she shared.

Immediately, I felt a peace flood my heart and knew this was the answer to my prayer.  Unlike other self publishing companies where you are left with a garage full of books, Create Space allows books to be printed on demand and even have an ebook feature for their Kindle readers.  I felt a release to self publish the book and go on to write other books for the Lord through traditional publishing houses in the future.

Jenni and I networking at the dinner table

The Lord was faithful to answer each and every one of my prayers, from getting free head shots to meeting and inviting other non fiction writers to the writers group Jenni and I have started after last years conference.  Big smiles of happiness met my invitation to the group by fellow writers who would find encouragement and free critiques of their manuscripts there.

After our talented and funny speaker McNair Wilson spoke for the last time on

me amongst the redwoods

Tuesday morning, the leaders asked us to stand,  They prayed over us and commissioned us to go forth as writers for the Lord, bringing Him glory.  My heart beamed with joy realizing I have the privilege to minister to others through my writing, to express His love in our fallen world.

May you find His love for you this Holy week as we celebrate the redemption of the Lord through Passover,  Good Friday and Easter Sunday.  He came to save us from our sins on the cross.  Three days later He Resurrected so we too could have eternal life.

Resurrection Sunrise Cross Painting I Corinthians 1:18 www.giftsofhisglory.com

All it takes to receive His free gift of grace is to ask Him to forgive your sins and place your faith in Him.  You can pray the salvation prayer below to ask Him into your heart as your Lord and Savior right now.  Won’t you come join the family of God and have the promise and hope of eternal life this Easter week?

Pray with me:  Dear Jesus.  I ask that you take the darkness of my sin and replace it with your light to shine deep within my heart.  I believe you died on the cross for my sin and rose from the dead, with the promise of eternal life with you in Heaven.  I ask you to be my Savior and Lord over my life today. Thank you for loving me with an everlasting love and giving me peace with God through you. Amen.

Angels are rejoicing over you as you step into the family of God.  Welcome!

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To see all of my biblical Scripture art click on ‘my art‘ above or at www.giftsofhisglory.com.