Friday, September 25, 2009

Why a Conference?

As part of the "what's in it for YOU?" refocusing of this blog, I'm here to offer some reasons to consider attending one of the major writers' conferences.

Yes, there's expense involved. Yes, the logistics of getting-there-and-back can be daunting, given the travel environment that certain Radical Elements have gifted us with since 9/11/01. But I submit that the benefits can outweigh all this.

First, at a conference such as ACFW's just-concluded annual event, you can learn how to take your writing to the next level. No matter what abilities as a writer you already have, there is a session or seminar that talks to YOU, where YOU are at in your craft-acquisition mode. Beginner? Fine. There are plotting sessions and "up the tension" sessions and even sessions (can I yerk now?) on creative ways to write the Dreaded Synopsis.

Have you sold a book or two? Sessions are offered which will tell you what to expect next. That talk of marketing, of publishing-as-business, of promo and blog-savvy and website development.

Are you multi-published? Sessions discuss how to give back to the writing community, how to mentor newer writers, how to "pay it forward" in creative ways. It's humbling to listen to writers more accomplished than I, talk about how to pass along what they have learned, to the benefit of others.

If you get the chance, go. It can be stressful but so are all good things. My take is that it's worth it.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Just Sell the Story

Next week (can it be so soon already? Yeeks! I'm not done!), a large number of authors, publishing industry representatives, and newcomers to Christian fiction writing will gather in Denver at the American Christian Fiction Writer’s annual conference to compare notes, learn from each other, and encourage one another in the pursuit of publishing goals.

This year’s conference theme, "Standing Firm/Moving Forward", is intended to inspire the full range of talent and dreams in the ever-changing publishing world today.

The conference features epresentatives from major publishing houses like B & H, Guideposts, Zondervan, Harvest House, Barbour, Steeple Hill, Summerside Press, Bethany House, Waterbrook Multnomah, Marcher Lord Press, Tyndale House, and Thomas Nelson, and top literary agents who will meet with writers and identify promising proposals from both new and veteran novelists. Conferees will have access to publishing panels, professional critiques, and customized workshops based on skills and interests.

The keynote speaker is New York Times bestselling author, Debbie Macomber, who has more than 100 million copies of her books in print worldwide.

Learn more about the American Christian Fiction Writer’s Conference by visiting Click on the left sidebar on Annual Conference.

I have to admit, I attend this conference primarily because I always learn a great deal. Add in the friends I've made, both across the nation and locally, and it's a big hit with me and my buddies.

Anyone with questions, post 'em here -- as part of the What's In It For YOU campaign on this blog, I'll answer 'em or find someone who can.

Now where did I put that pitch sheet for my hope-to-sell-book?

Monday, September 07, 2009

What's In It For YOU?

What I need is one more thing to do...LOL. But I've been mulling this blog. Wondering about you, my readers. What do I do on this blog that's for YOU?

Not so much. Yet. But my thinking is leading away from talking so much about me and what I'm doing. I want to get into things YOU want to hear about, maybe even open up some fruitful discussion.

Look for changes.

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Autumn Reflections

In my part of the world, spring is an elusive maiden and summer a short-tempered brat. We look forward to the warm seasons through all the dark, cold months. When spring hits, it lasts about twenty minutes. Right after that it gets HOT!

Autumn comes more gradually, like a gentle and kindly aunt. It encourages us to take time to catch our breath, to look back a little, to take stock on what we've done, where we've succeeded and failed. We reflect on what we wanted to accomplish during all those glorious days of summer, and didn't get done. When the leaves turn and life closes in a bit, it offers opportunity to reflect, consider.

When the leaves hang heavy and red, when the air smells like apples and holds a tang of the coming chill, it is time for a picnic. Fried chicken, salad and a pie don't seem so much of a hassle to whip up. The salads and cold fruits of summer yield to more robust fare, but we can still take it outdoors and enjoy before the weather nips at our cheeks and makes outdoor life less desirable.

Our hardwood trees take a two-week breath as summer ebbs, hold their green a second longer, then burst into glorious tan, gold, russet and every hue in between. If the giant trees can take a breath for a moment, why shouldn't I?

When autumn comes, I regain my spark to create. This tendency is a hangover from my school days, when everything in September became new and challenging. Stories form in my head and beg for life on the computer screen. Characters I thought abandoned whisper new perspectives. "Come on!" they whine. "It's fall now, time for us to shine!"

This year I'm building a medieval lighthouse for my front yard. I have no formed plan for this impulse, but I know it will come together once I find a concept and choose materials. I am determined it will shine its gentle solar-powered light before the dark, long nights of winter. I believe it will tell me a story, before it's done.

John Denver, in one of his songs, said, "To change is to be new. To be new is to be young again." Come on, autumn! Time to celebrate.