symbols of experts

How To Be An Expert

Posted by & filed under Writers Conference.

by Cheri Cowell

Do you consider yourself an expert? As speakers and writers, like it or not, we are seen as experts. Wearing the expert mantle takes some getting used to, but if we want to carry the message that’s been placed in our hearts into a world full of “experts” on just about everything, we need to get comfortable fast. Here are some things to consider in hanging your expert shingle out.

Experts Are Seen and Heard

First, experts are seen and heard in a variety of places. They are seen on television, in magazines, and online. They are heard on radio, TV, and at conferences. Experts have websites and books and articles. Experts speak and write on their topic. Have I described you? Consider expanding your arena if you’ve got limited exposure.

Experts Are Quoted

Second, experts are quoted. If you’ve written and spoken on a topic, you can be quoted. You are an expert. Register at these sites so you can be the next “expert” quoted: expertizing.com, PRLeads.com, and AuthorsAndExperts.com (paid service).

Experts Speak

Lastly, experts speak. And if they are also Christians, they believe the message they have to share can change people’s lives. Now don’t confuse the word expert with know-it-all. No one wants to hear from a know-it-all Christian, but if you’ve published your message in an article or book, then you know more about that subject than the average person. You are, therefore, an expert. Register at this site to let others know you are an expert speaker: ExpertsWhoSpeak.com.

Becoming a ‘Subtle’ Expert

The above suggestions are more “out there,” but there is a way to be more of a subtle expert. In today’s world, this approach may win more fans than you can signing autographs. We are bombarded today with experts touting their knowledge. You and I are just as turned off by it as our readers are. Perhaps this is why we shy away from calling ourselves an expert. We don’t want to be seen as “one of those people.”

So what is the answer? It is called Community Sharing. It is done through message boards and groups, where like-minded people gather online to share with each other. Here are the steps to be a part of a sharing community.

  • First, you need to understand it is a community. So you are not joining the community as an expert, but rather as someone also interested in the topic at hand. When you join, I suggest you simply lurk for a while. That’s right, lurk. Hang out and listen; get a feel for the lay of the land.
  • Next, when you feel compelled by someone’s need, offer your knowledge, your advice, and/or your words of encouragement. Remember, you are one of them, so come along beside them and offer your gifts as someone who’s been there and who understands.
  • Now, this is the magic–how to turn this into a subtle expert pitch. You will need to set up your profile, signature, or avatar (Google and Yahoo profile) to include a link to your website. Thus, when you give away great advice or just the right solution that helps someone, readers will click on your website in your signature to learn who you are. They don’t see this as “one of those” people selling themselves, but rather as someone who served them and who they want to get to know.

I liken this to the “Jesus way” of hanging out with sinners and meeting their needs. In community sharing, we are simply being Jesus in a broken world. When you meet their needs, they will want to know more and your more is where your expert status is developed on your website.

A couple of places to find boards and groups:

Whether you are a more traditional expert who is seen and heard, who is quoted and speaks, or a subtler expert who seeks to serve, don your expert mantle and get out there with the message God has given you. There are so many “experts” in the world with many messages, may your message be the one that points others to the One who is the real expert they seek.

 

Cheri Cowell headshot

Cheri Cowell, owner and publisher of EABooks Publishing, is passionate about helping others see God’s Word come alive, and she is excited to expand that mission by helping fellow authors take advantage of the new publishing trends. Says Cheri, “Whether your vision is e-books, print, or audiobooks, we can help you expand your reach with the message God gave you.” Cheri maintains a busy schedule teaching at Christian writers’ conferences. For a list of where you can meet or hear Cheri, or learn about publishing your own books visit http://www.eabookspublishing.com/

 


Introducing Topher Matson

Posted by & filed under Kindling, Staff News.

Topher is the newest member of our Advancement Team, and we couldn’t be happier that he is with us! We thought you would enjoy a chance to get to know him.

More than 22 years ago something significant happened in my life. I saw the Welcome to Mount Hermon sign for the first time. The scent of the redwoods and the flickering canopy overhead was breathtaking, but it would be only a portion of my memories made on that trip. I was full of anticipation and anxiety about this unfamiliar thing called Family Camp. Would I make friends? Would it be fun?

Within hours I had my answer. I was introduced to my Day Camp counselor “Jell-o” and the most fun and craziness I had yet experienced. I started to love the goofy songs we sang. I forgot about being cool. I ran all over camp playing games, meeting up with friends and having fun – and all of it was parent-approved! When Saturday came, I sadly watched as the Welcome to Mount Hermon sign drifted away in the rear-view mirror.

A few summers later, I knew Conference Center and Ponderosa Lodge like the back of my hand. I found myself surrounded with lifelong friends and this once “new” place became home. But the most indescribable experience year after year was that of feeling loved, forgiven and part of a heavenly family with a loving Savior. If you’re like me, you sense it whenever you set foot here – and every time it’s more fresh and exciting than the last.

Eight years later, I was fortunate enough to serve three summers as “Spiff” at Day Camp. It was an unforgettable adventure – seeing how God uses camp ministry to bless entire families while blessing the staff through service to Him. Summer 2007 was special to me because a friend of mine from college served at Ponderosa Lodge. I had my suspicions God was tying the knot around us, and after that summer I was sure.

She’s now my lovely bride of nine years, Kelly.

Once again, God has brought Kelly and me back to our “Mount Hermon home” together, with the addition of our seven-month-old son, Parker. As I pass the Welcome to Mount Hermon sign today, I’m reminded how God continues to grow His ministry to those who gather here. Being a new parent, I think a lot about ensuring Mount Hermon’s future for my growing family. I reflect on those in heaven who faithfully prepared a place for me to be rooted in the gospel, and I gaze in wonder as God continues to unveil His vision for  this precious place for generations  to come.

From my family to yours, thank you for your faithful support of Mount Hermon’s unique ministry. We marvel to witness your gifts furthering the mission of lives transformed
through Christ.

Please reach out. I’d love to chat when you’re here and hear your Mount Hermon story!


Reporting Back: Lakeside Remodel Update

Posted by & filed under Associates, Building Projects, Kindling.

 

We are thrilled to report that all three Lakeside Lodge buildings, 60 rooms in all, have been completely remodeled!

Last year we completed the remodel of the Lakeside 500 building just in time for summer. This year, we set an ambitious goal to remodel both the Lakeside 600 and 700 buildings, and thanks to Tommy Beadel’s crew with extra help from a local construction company, we finished just in time for Family Camp.

THANK YOU to those of you who contributed to this project. We know at the end of the day it’s not about the rooms, but about what happens in the rooms. Here’s what a teenage boy shared at Victory Circle during a week of Family Camp earlier this summer:

“Our family has been doing the devotions at the end of each day before we go to bed. My family and I have been going through some major struggles, especially my mom and I. We have been butting heads a lot lately and it’s been rough. We’ve even been debating whether I should move out or not. But being at camp it’s crazy, in just these past couple of days I can already tell that my Mom and I are already getting our relationship back like it used to be when I was younger and I just want to say, Mom, I love you.”

Your gifts help create the spaces where transformation happens! Thank You!

We couldn’t do it without you.


A Story of Service

Posted by & filed under Associates, Kindling, Stories of Ministry, Volunteer.

What would we do without Volunteers? The gift of service from these incredibly faithful friends makes a significant difference at Mount Hermon. I have had the joy of knowing Bob and Peggy Mapes for 20 years. They are everywhere—faithful friends, Associates and longtime volunteers.

What brought you to Mount Hermon?

As newlyweds in 1957, we journeyed from Iowa to Sacramento. We learned of Mount Hermon through Sunday School at Arcade Baptist and we began attending Couples Conferences. Then we moved to San Jose and brought our children to Family Camps. After purchasing a cabin in 1978 our participation and love of Mount Hermon grew rapidly.

You are such faithful volunteers. How did that begin?

Bob was involved in repair jobs through the years, but our major volunteering began 12 years ago in Auditorium hosting. That led to dining room hosting, table setting and many others. We have grown to love our volunteering friends. We pray for each other, for Mount Hermon’s ministry and for its staff. A love of the Lord, Mount Hermon and people = a JOY-filled volunteer.

What does being a volunteer and an Associate mean to you?

You take ownership of the ministry when you get involved in serving and giving. It has caused us to want to be part of meeting needs in tangible ways and to pray for the staff and the ministry. It has been a blessing getting to know the staff. This a special place in our hearts.

The Mapes are truly wonderful folks. We love all our volunteers and couldn’t do what we do here without them! Next time you’re here, hug a volunteer!


Incredible Generosity

Posted by & filed under Giving, Kindling, Redwood Society, Stories of Ministry.


For Bill Ives, nothing was more important than family. He was the proud father of three children and eight grandchildren, and his favorite thing to do was spend time with them. Bill’s Mount Hermon story started like so many others: an invitation from a family member. His daughter Cathy and her husband Gary began coming to Family Camp around 15 years ago. After telling their family about the incredible experience they had, everyone decided to join in.

Since Bill knew this would mean a week of dedicated time with his kids and grandkids, he was excited to come!

For the last decade, Mount Hermon served as their family gathering place, where Bill’s son from Colorado and his daughters from Atlanta and Piedmont gathered each year with their whole families. Bill was not a church-goer and didn’t talk a lot about God. Cathy remembers the ten years they came to family camp vividly, noting that Dad loved coming to Mount Hermon and spending time with his family. He was at every session, engaged and excited to be there. Some of his favorite times were meeting up with the men in the family for early morning coffee on the Dining Hall porch, riding the train to the beach, and relaxing on the meadow.

A couple of years ago, Bill’s health began to deteriorate, and his children encouraged him to re-evaluate his estate plans. At that time he made the decision to include Mount Hermon. Bill’s daughter Stephanie shared this about her father:

“Dad modeled incredible generosity. The kind of generosity that didn’t seek to attract attention or get credit. He delighted in giving generously. He didn’t talk about it, he didn’t lecture us about it. He just modeled unselfish generosity. He had the perfect combination of contentment and generosity. Can you imagine what the world might be if everyone was like that?” Sadly, Bill graduated to be with Jesus in February. Stephanie also shared this precious memory from Bill’s final days: Dad didn’t talk about it much, but he believed in God. He spent his last days on a ventilator in Intensive Care going in and out of consciousness. After five days when the ventilator came off, we all crowded around as he seemed eager to tell us something. His voice was weak, he could only say a couple words at a time, but he said, “Jesus said I got you.” And then “Jesus loves us. Jesus loves all of us.” Dad knew where he was going and we had the incredible blessing of having him tell us that because of Jesus we get to go too.

We are incredibly grateful for Bill’s life and love for his family and Mount Hermon. The legacy he left Mount Hermon will minister to campers for decades to come. Bill’s gift comes at a pivotal time, as we are in need of funds to begin the Redwood Camp renewal. Because of Bill, thousands of kids who come to Redwood Camp in the days to come will encounter Jesus and experience His transformational love. Thank you, Bill!


Associates in the Making: Abbie and Sonja

Posted by & filed under Associates, Kindling, Stories of Ministry.

 

There are two little ladies that have come on the Mount Hermon scene recently that are truly champions of this wonderful ministry. They love each other and everything Mount Hermon! Abbie (9) and Sonja (10) have been attending the same week of Family Camp for several years but according to them, it was the first day of Family Camp 2017 where their “Best Friend” status was sealed. Abbie’s mom Kelly shared with me,

“Abbie loves the swings at Day Camp and that’s the place at camp where the two girls talked and decided to become best friends. After that was Redwood Camp and the Associates in Ministry Celebration. Not only do these two girls just happen to have families that go to Week 2 of Family Camp, but our families live 20 minutes away from each other back home!” I chatted with Sonja and Abbie to hear more of their story.

What do you remember about the first time you met?

Sonja: “I had a lot of friends and family at Family Camp but when I met Abbie, I knew she would be my best friend!” Abbie said the same thing about Sonja.

What’s your favorite memory at Mount Hermon?

Abbie: “Last year when Sonja and I walked to the playground and became best friends.” Sonja: “When we were at Redwood Camp last year I didn’t want to go on the Geronimo swing but Abbie encouraged me, so I did it and really liked it.”

How would you describe each other?

Abbie: “Sonja is energetic!”

Sonja: “Abbie always acts like herself.”

How would you describe Mount Hermon?

Abbie: “Coolest place on earth!”

Sonja: “I wouldn’t be the person I am today at 10 if I hadn’t gone to Mount Hermon.”

What are your future plans?

“We want to go to Family Camp every year and Redwood then Ponderosa and then go on Summer Staff, hopefully at Day Camp or Redwood Camp. We already have our camp names: Flip (Abbie) & Flop (Sonja). Then we want to live together at Mount Hermon with our husbands and our ICE CREAM!”

Kelly also shared with me, “I’m so grateful to God for this Mount Hermon friendship, and the best part of this friendship is that Abbie’s friend Sonja comes as a package. Sonja comes with an amazing family. A family that sets a Godly example of love and grace towards our family. This story of friendship between two little girls represents Mount Hermon to a tee!”

It just so happens that both Abbie and Sonja’s parents are Mount Hermon Associates. A love for Jesus and a heart for Mount Hermon runs deep in both of these sweet girls’ families. This story is unique to Sonja and Abbie but not unique in the story of Mount Hermon. Many lifelong relationships have started here, from husbands and wives, to best friends, to most importantly finding a Savior who will walk us into eternity. Thank you for being part of what keeps this ministry moving forward. We are very grateful.


Year After Year

Posted by & filed under Kindling, Stories of Ministry, Youth.

There are few things in the world as impactful as a week at Ponderosa Lodge.

When I was in high school I spent five summers coming to Ponderosa, and my life was transformed because of it. I was also lucky enough to spend three summers as a counselor. One of the best parts of counseling is seeing campers come year after year. I love seeing how God in His sovereignty chooses to work in campers’ lives. Sometimes it really is a
multi-year process!

I would love to share a story with you about a camper who came to Ponderosa in June. This was his second year at camp and, as his counselor tells, this was the year that God truly transformed his life:

I remember Travis from last year, he was the “cool kid.” He was too cool for everything: Bible study, activities, even too cool for girls! He made it very clear that even though he was at a Christian camp, he was only there to have fun. Throughout the week he didn’t contribute during small group time at all. By Saturday, though, I could tell it had been a good week, and the whole cabin, including Travis, said they hoped they could all come back next year and be together in the same cabin again. 

This year, Travis was back. At the beginning of the week he again made it clear that he had no interest in any of the spiritual parts of camp, but at least he was having fun with the games and activities. As the week progressed, I could tell he was becoming more engaged and was listening to the speaker. He started asking questions in small group time. At first he was asking with a challenging and defensive attitude, but that soon changed.

On Thursday he pulled me aside, and said, “All this stuff about God’s love you’re talking about, I see it in the people around me, but I don’t really understand it.” That opened up an opportunity for us to talk about God’s love, and how God uses others to show us His love. That was the moment when I really noticed things had changed. Travis became excited to worship and listen to the speaker! At the end of the week, he told me that he had made a decision to follow Jesus, and was talking about how excited he was to get involved at church back at home!

Wow! Now that is a life transformed! We are so grateful that Travis was able to have this experience at camp, and we are thankful to you for your support of this ministry. You help make these stories possible! Please join us in praying for Travis, and for the hundreds of other campers who have come to Ponderosa Lodge this summer as they transition back to home and school life this fall.


Yay God!

Posted by & filed under Kidder Creek, Kindling, Stories of Ministry.

 

We don’t always get to hear how God continues to work in campers’ lives after they leave camp, but sometimes we do and it is so encouraging to hear stories of the life transformation that starts at camp and continues throughout the year and for years to come.

Christina, one of our counselors from last summer, now our Ranch Camp lead, had the privilege of hearing first-hand how God was able to use her last summer in the life of a young camper.

“The day we had all been greatly anticipating had finally arrived. It was the first day of camp, and as parents and campers were settling in, a former camper, Katelynn, and her mom greeted me. Katelynn’s mom pulled me aside and told me that since her daughter was here last year, her life had not been the same. I asked how so, eager to hear what the Lord had done. She explained that my teachings as her daughter’s counselor were quite impactful. She told me how Katelynn had made the commitment to read her Bible every day since she left camp, and she had done just that. Even through the difficult chapters of the Bible, she broke it down into small pieces to study it better and has asked questions when she needed assistance. Because of Katelynn’s dedication to reading her Bible daily, her family has been greatly influenced.

Later that evening, as our campfire was ending I felt a small tap on my shoulder, and I turned to see that it was Katelynn. I made room for her on the wooden bench, and I listened intently as she told me how last summer changed her life. She thanked me for helping her set the goal of reading her Bible daily. I felt so privileged to hear firsthand that she was searching to be closer to God
and that God was meeting with her and moving many mountains in her young life.”

At Kidder Creek, when we hear a story of a life transformed we enthusiastically say “Yay God!!” Yay God that we are privileged to be a part of His work here at camp!


Thank You For Changing My Life!

Posted by & filed under Associates, Kindling, Stories of Ministry.

 

For those who have spent a week at Redwood Camp, you know how thrilling the experience is!

This summer the theme at Redwood Camp is Inventor’s Workshop. Campers are invited into the laboratory of Dr. Zyrombergraham, a world-renowned inventor. Dr. Zyrombergraham has made a new robot, RC-06, who is a special type of invention. They become close friends and do everything together. Even when RC-06 goes rogue and runs away, the doctor welcomes her back with open arms, ready and eager to forgive her.

In Bible study times, campers are following the story of Peter. They spend the week looking at Peter’s life and relationship with Jesus, and how Jesus restores Peter even after he has denied Him. What a beautiful lesson for these young campers to learn. God created us to be in relationship with him, and no matter what we do, he is eager to take us back with open arms!

There are so many incredible stories from this summer of God working in camper’s lives. Here is one from a Redwood Camp counselor about a girl who came to camp earlier this summer:

Last week I had an amazing group of primary girls. Two of them came with Power House Ministries, an organization that helps children of incarcerated parents come to camp. This created an interesting cabin dynamic, and all week I had been struggling to help my campers relate to each other despite their diverse backgrounds.

On Wednesday I spent one-on-one time with Merri, one of the Power House girls. She had been really shy all week, but she opened up to me about her life during our time together. It was so beautiful to see how joyful she was despite the pain she had gone through, and how mature she was due to life circumstances outside of her control. Over the next few days, I saw her continue to open up, and it was amazing to see God using our relationship to make her feel more comfortable and loved.

At the end of the week at our luminaria time, we had a great discussion that lasted an hour-and-a-half. That’s a long time for second graders! At the end of luminaria I prayed for my whole cabin, and I began to cry. I have never felt God’s presence more in my entire life than I did at that moment. When I finished, Merri looked at me and said, “Thank you for changing my life.” At that point, the entire cabin began sobbing! God had unified this group of girls in a way that only He could, and had used Merri’s experience at camp to transform her life!

Please join us in praying for the hundreds of Redwood campers who have come to camp this summer. And please pray for the exciting Redwood Camp renewal that will begin this fall. We will begin the process of building five new cabins and adding a half-bath to each of the existing cabins, enhancing our ability to minister to campers like Merri for decades to come!


Family Camp: He Restores My Soul

Posted by & filed under Associates, General, Kindling.

 

Each summer Mount Hermon hosts the largest weekly Family Camp in the country – if not the world – as over 700 people of all ages descend upon our grounds to enjoy a one-of-a-kind experience that spans the generations.

Personally, Family Camp has been a huge part of my childhood, teenage and adult years, and I am not the same because of how God has used it in my and my family’s life. I am deeply grateful!

This summer our Family Camp theme is “He Restores My Soul” from Psalm 23. People come on our grounds tired, discouraged, broken hearted and stressed but leave renewed, refreshed and transformed due to our God who restores us from the inside out.

“He Restores My Soul.” What better focus for a week at camp?!!

Here are some of the word-for-word comments from campers who shared their stories of restoration at Victory Circle during the first couple weeks of camp:

“This is an amazing place, and I want to say that the theme is so well picked. Everybody needs restoration, and I am so thankful that God wants to do that with my life.”

“I am sure that I am not the only person here who walked into the auditorium on Monday morning and saw the theme verse of “He restores my soul” and let out a sigh. This is exactly what I needed, to be able to come, rest, breathe and have an amazing balance of family together time, separate adult time, God time, marriage time and all of those things that feed your soul. This week is the beginning of that restoration work, the letting go and giving it to God.”

“I learned this week that restoration isn’t always taking us back to what we were before, but it makes us into something more beautiful. God can restore us to be something more beautiful than anything that we were.”

“I am a pastor, and this has been the hardest year in our life as I have battled with burn out and depression for the first time … This week, for the first time in six months, I felt Heaven open, and I said, “Thank you, God, for restoring my spirit.” We do our devotions. We do our daily lives. But there are times when you need that Psalm 23 green pasture.”

That’s what God does at Mount Hermon Family Camp. He provides a “Psalm 23 green pasture” for people of all ages and stages of life as He restores souls. He (God) restores (makes healthy) my (personal) soul (inner spiritual being). Incredible! Truly that’s why God made Mount Hermon.

Thank you for your encouragement, prayers, and support. Your tangible investment is making a difference in the lives of many as God is still in the business of restoring souls!


Lives Transformed – Camp Hope at Kidder Creek

Posted by & filed under Kidder Creek, Uncategorized.

At camp, even time at the pond is an opportunity for great conversations with staff and friends where you can discuss the deeper things of life in a positive and safe environment.

 

Last week during Camp Hope Camp a camper came up to one of our counselors and asked Sarah, one of our lifeguards, “Do you believe in God?”

She said “Yes”,

and he responded with “Well, I am an atheist, do you want to have a debate?”

Sarah said “Sure!”

Sarah spent the next half hour talking with this camper about God, faith and how at Kidder Creek all the staff are christians, other campers that we nearby joined in the conversation too.  This camper from Camp Hope had a very negative view of christians and that they are “all judgemental” but by the end of the conversation he had changed his mind.  He saw that at Kidder Creek the christians were loving and creating an environment where he would be safe and where he could grow and heal.

One step Stories.

That’s what we pray for and ask God to do in the lives of campers.  That they would take one step closer to Jesus.  This boy did just that.  He took one step closer to Jesus.  We know and pray that God will continue to work in his life and continue to draw this young man to himself.

God uses us in great ways when we will commit to living like, talking like and being Jesus to the people that God puts into our lives, even if that’s on the pond during your half hour break from lifeguarding.


Lives Transformed Stories – MTB Camp

Posted by & filed under Kidder Creek, Uncategorized.

#SenditforJesus

Sometimes campers come to camp to “just have fun”, little do they and sometimes their parents know that God is at work here.  They do have fun while here, but they can also have their lives transformed while here too!  This is a great story from a parent who sent their teenager to camp for just that, to have fun, God did so much more.

My son, Mario told me he got closer to God during the recent mountain bike camp.  He had fallen away from the Lord but he had a God experience and he said what he would like to do is to work for Mount Hermon next year.  He is 17 and will be 18 in March. He said he wouldn’t be able to go to any retreats next summer as a high schooler because he would be already a graduate.   

“When he told me he found God again, my heart nearly burst for joy. When he told me he saw that God answers HIS prayers, I cried.  I wasn’t expecting this when I sent him to bike camp. I just wanted him to have fun.”

 

You might be wondering what #senditforJesus is, well it’s our call to action to live the christian faith that we use at MTB camp.  Don’t just sit back and let life pass you by, live your life for Jesus!  Check out Romans 12:9-21 to read more about what we mean when we say “Send it for Jesus!”

 


Lives Transformed Stories – Ranch Camp 2018

Posted by & filed under Kidder Creek, Uncategorized.

We don’t always get to hear about how God continues to work in campers lives after they leave camp, but sometimes we do and it can be so encouraging to hear stories of the life transformation that starts at camp and continues throughout the year and for years to come.  

Christina, one of our counselors from last summer and now our ranch camp lead, had the privilege of hearing first hand how God was able to use her last summer in a young campers life.  

“The day we had all been greatly anticipating had finally arrived. It was the first day of camp, and as parents and campers were settling in, a former camper, Katelynn, and her mom greeted me. Katelynn’s mom pulled me aside and told me that since her daughter was here last year, her life had not been the same. I asked how so, eager to hear what the Lord had done. She explained that my teachings as her counselor with her daughter were quite impactful. She told me how Katelynn had made the commitment to read her Bible every day since she has left camp, and she had done just that. Even through the difficult chapters of the Bible, she broke it down in small pieces to study it better and has asked when she has needed assistance. Because of Katelynn’s dedication to reading her Bible daily, her family has been greatly influenced.

Later that evening, as our campfire was ending I felt a small tap on my shoulder, and I turned to see that it was that same camper, Katelynn. I made room for her on the wooden bench, and I listened intently as she  told me how last summer changed her life. She thanked me for helping her set the goal of reading her bible daily. I felt so privileged to hear firsthand that she was searching to be closer to God and that God was meeting with her and moving many mountains in her young life.”

Yay God!! Yay God that we are privileged to be a part of God’s work here at Kidder Creek!   


six ways to guarantee your guest blogging pitch gets rejected

How to Guarantee Rejection of Your Guest Post Pitch

Posted by & filed under Writers Conference.

by Laura Christianson
This article was originally published at BloggingBistro.com. Re-printed with permission.

Here is the actual, unretouched text of a guest blogging pitch I received:

Dear Admin,

I have seen your blog http://www.bloggingbistro.com/. I must appreciate your effort to maintaining such a good blog. As a professional writer and a web designer I found it very nice and interesting. I am a specialist in the clear communication of sophisticated concepts to both technical and non-technical audiences, using both text and graphical content. I will love to publish my unique latest article only in your blog. Will it be possible for you to post the article with my link?

Eagerly waiting for your reply.

Here’s another one:

Hello,

While surfing Internet, I’ve run into your site – http://www.bloggingbistro.com/. It caught my attention with it’s informative content. I thought it would be nice if you could consider me as a candidate for writing something interesting to your blog readers.
After detailed analyzing of the content performed on your web site, I came to conclusion that I really have something to offer.
I’m a highly experienced article writer, who is currently cooperating with [company buying incoming links].
If you are interested in my offer, I would gladly review your requirements to the post.

Will be highly excited to get your prompt reply.

A match made in heaven? Or hell?

In a creative twist on the two pitches above, many would-be guest bloggers note that the topics they write on are a “perfect” match for my blog. Then they list topics such as dog training, paintball gaming, restaurant furniture, designer fashion, or baby care.

Um… last time I checked, my blog focused on social media. But hey, dog training is close enough, right?

Every week, I receive dozens of nearly identical pitches. I route every single pitch straight into my Trash folder.

Why?

Here are six reasons:

1. The pitcher has no clue who I am.

“Dear Admin.”

“Hello.”

“Dear Blog Manager.”

I have a name. It’s plastered all over my website and blog. If you’re going to pitch a guest article, learn my name and address me by my name.

2. The pitcher doesn’t care about my blog.

“While surfing the Internet, I’ve run into your site.”

Ouch! Running into my site must have injured your brain.

Never, EVER tell a blogger you stumbled across his or her blog. We know that all you did was google “social media blogs that accept guest blog posts” and inserted “http://www.bloggingbistro.com/” into the first sentence of the same pitch letter you sent out to 100 other blogs.

3. The pitcher oversells his or her writing abilities.

“I am a specialist in the clear communication of sophisticated concepts to both technical and non-technical audiences, using both text and graphical content.”

Can you provide examples of those “sophisticated concepts” you’re so skilled at communicating? How about a list of published clips? Topics you’ve written about?

4. The pitcher did not bother to read our guest contributor guidelines.

“If you are interested in my offer, I would gladly review your requirements to the post.”

Yes, we have guest contributor guidelines! If you had visited our website, you may have noticed them at the top of the blog’s sidebar, where a large headline says “Guest Post Guidelines.” Or, you could’ve done a quick search of our site for “guest post guidelines.”

Our guidelines detail exactly what we expect from our guest columnists, and specify that we do not accept links to third party sites that hire bloggers to write articles on their behalf. That’s because we received a truckload of poorly-written articles submitted by people who blog on behalf of some company that pays them to obtain incoming links to said company’s website.

After discovering that it took a lot of time to review and reject these articles, we decided to stop accepting them. Period.

5. The pitcher did not follow our guest contributor guidelines.

While many blogs accept pitches, Blogging Bistro does not. Our guidelines state:

We do NOT accept email pitches that ask us what we think of your idea. We do not open them. We do not read them. We do not acknowledge them in any way. We delete them.

Why?

We receive several pitches per day and there are not enough hours in the day to respond to them. Simply submit your article, bio, and headshot.

Yes, that requires work on your part. But it shows us that you’re a serious writer with serious intentions. We respect that.

So, dear pitchers, you are going to be eagerly waiting for my prompt reply for a very, very long time.

6. The pitcher does not know how to write.

“It caught my attention with it’s informative content.”

Aaargh! You just broke the cardinal rule of the English language by demonstrating that…

a) you do not know the difference between it’s and its.

b) you did not proofread your email.

This blunder is grounds for immediate expulsion of your email from my inbox.

“After detailed analyzing of the content performed on your web site, I came to conclusion that I really have something to offer.”

I work with several people who speak English as a second language, and all of them have a better grasp of sentence structure than you. What, exactly, do you have to offer that won’t make me gag?

Will they listen?

Do I assume the guest blogging pitches will stop as a result of my rant?

No.

Because the people who need to read this article never will, unless they “run into it” while they’re surfing the internet. You can help that happen, by sharing this post with your friends and fans (and even your enemies).

I will be “highly excited” to get your prompt reply!

 

Click here to receive guest contributor guidelines for Blogging Bistro.

 

Laura Christianson

As the owner of a business that helps communicators establish a vibrant online presence, Laura Christianson receives oodles of guest post pitches daily. She promptly deletes 99.9% of them for one simple reason: writers do not read or follow her guest contributor guidelines. She mainly writes her own blog posts and focuses her energy on building custom WordPress websites and coaching people in brand messaging, blogging, and email marketing. Laura hangs out at BloggingBistro.com.


Thank You Volunteers!!

Posted by & filed under Uncategorized.

Thank you Rolling Hills Covenant Church!

Last Month Marked the LAST MONTH that a group of students from Rolling Hills Covenant Church from WAY down in Southern California would come for their annual spring break service trip.

Thirty years ago, they began traveling to this area to work with Tim Lloyd (our facilities manager) at a different camp in the area to help get the camp ready for the summer.  In 2000, Tim made the transition to Kidder Creek and the group from Rolling Hills followed him.

Their work has been invaluable in helping us get ready every spring.  These students come and do the work that’s not terribly fun, but very important like raking, clearing ditches, scrubbing the pond and clearing brush.  The amount of man hours they put in is going to be hard to replace.

  

 

Due to the cost of transportation, they are stopping their trip.  To all of you who came here through Rolling Hills Covenant Church over the years:  Thank you so much!  Your service has been such a blessing!

To all of our volunteers who have given time, talents and resources.  Thank YOU!  You are a part of God’s work at Kidder Creek Camp and a part of Lives Transformed!!  Everywhere you look around Kidder Creek you see the touches of the many volunteers who faithfully serve campers, work on projects and serve meals.  Kidder Creek would not be the great place it is without you.


secure locks to protect private data

What You Need to Know about the GDPR

Posted by & filed under Writers Conference.

by Katie Hornor

In a modern digital world that is constantly changing, it’s important that we as Christians “walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil” (Ephesians 4:15-16).

To that end, I want to make you aware of something that could affect Christian writers, bloggers, and business owners.

The European Union and the United Kingdom have initiated legislation called the Global Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) to further safeguard the rights and the personal data of their residents, including IP addresses, names, email addresses, interests, and preferences. The EU expects anyone who handles the personal information of their residents to comply with their rules—even those who live in the US.

The EU and the UK have been working on this legislation for two years, but now there’s a deadline: May 25, 2018.

What do you need to do?

Without getting into too much tech talk, the GDPR legislation requires website owners and businesses to give users more say in the type of data collected, how it’s stored, how it can be requested or changed, and what can be done with it, including the third-party providers you use (for emails, giveaways, etc.).

If you’re in the EU you have no choice—you must comply or shut down your website. And you’re not given the option to block countries from your website (which would likely greatly affect your website speed anyway).

Many US-based website owners are allowing the myths they’ve heard about this to cloud their thinking, causing them to run in fear of what they do not understand. I’ve addressed some of those myths in my article “Mythbusting GDPR for US-based Bloggers.”

Does GDPR apply to me?

To answer this, ask yourself these questions:

  • Is your site for EU residents or targeting them in any way?
  • Can you identify traffic coming from EU countries?
  • Do you have newsletter subscribers from EU countries?
  • Do you have customers/clients from EU countries?
  • Do you use Google Analytics or third-party data processors (including your newsletter service)?

If you answered yes to any of those questions, it is in your best interest to comply with GDPR. You don’t want to limit your opportunities to reach those God sends your way. You want to be a good steward of what God has placed in your hands under the existing authorities. And if you do everything within your power, as a US-based writer/website owner, to safeguard the information you collect from your EU readers, you probably won’t be assessed any fines.

The basis for GDPR is improving the online business culture of transparency, respect for other’s information, and trust with your readers, followers, and customers. So why wouldn’t you follow it? Compliance with GDPR shows that you care about people’s rights to make better choices. You care about the security of their privacy. You care about serving them better, even in the mundane technical issues of running a website. In short, you care about customer service and having great relationships with your people, which breaks down the barriers to sharing with them the message God has given you to share.

We could be seeing measures like this in the United States and state legislatures very soon. Not because someone is forcing us to obey another policy, but because with the growth of technology, there has to be a growth of protective policies and procedures.

What are your options?

I am not a legal expert, so I strongly advise you to research GDPR on your own and consult with a certified legal professional in regards to your decision whether to comply or defy GDPR. But here are the options as I see them.

  1. Block EU countries from accessing your website, blog, and store.
  2. Do nothing differently. A risky option.
  3. Be as compliant as possible with GDPR so as to not impede your opportunity to reach, market to, or have a testimony with EU residents.

If you’d like step-by-step help for making your US-based blog or website compliant, check out my course.

It’d be my pleasure to walk you through the process. You may also wish to visit these web pages:

photo of katie horner

Most days you’ll find Katie Hornor answering client emails or working on her next book in the front room ministry café of their 250-year-old home in tropical Mexico. She’s a Christian speaker, missionary, homeschool mom of five, author of more than forty self-published works and the #RelationshipMarketing brand behind ParadisePraises.com and TheBlogConnection.com, where she thrives on helping women live in the Truth, while growing their influence and online income.


Working on Summer Staff has HUGE impact

Posted by & filed under Adventures, General, Kidder Creek, Staff News.

 

A recent staff impact study  highlights the impact that working on summer staff has on staff.  We already know that spending a summer serving others in great community is life transforming, this study backs it up.

Through the study, summer staff were asked to describe the impact of working at camp had on them.  Their responses were similar to the impact that campers share when asked how camp impacted them.

Leadership.  Impact.  Life.  Grow.  Teach.  Learn.  Relationship.

According to the study summer staff grew significantly in the areas of teamwork, faith, social and emotional intelligence and leadership.  Wow!  Not only are we having an impact on our campers, but also, on the staff we get to work alongside of every summer!

Check out what one of our staff had to say about their time on summer staff team last summer.

 “Kidder Creek brought me close to God in ways I didn’t even know were possible!  I grew up in the church and knew who God was but nothing compared to how I know Him now.  Having meaningful conversations about life and how we see God moving is something I had craved but never knew.  I left something so comfortable back at home and at my old school.  Knowing that God is with me everywhere I go makes anything worth it!  I have given my life to Him and I cannot wait to see where He takes me!”

Please join us in praying for our summer staff.  They have really cool jobs and make lifelong friendships in their time here.  Pray that God will use this summer to impact them in great ways and draw them closer to Jesus while they work alongside of Him and get to see Him do great work in the lives of the campers.

Know a college aged young adult that still needs something to do this summer?  Send them to:

whyiworkatcamp.com

There they can apply for summer jobs at Kidder Creek Camp.  We are still hiring lifeguards, counselors, food service and maintenance staff.

 

 


What’s happening at Kidder? April 2018

Posted by & filed under Adventures, Building Projects, General, Giving, Kidder Creek.

There are always a lot of exciting things happening at Kidder throughout the year.  This monthly blogpost will give you some of the highlights and things we are excited about.

April 2018 Highlights

God has been blessing Kidder Creek the last several years with continued growth in the number of campers that are able to come learn about the love of Christ!  It’s been such an honor to be a part of that growth process!  We hear over and over how kids lives are transformed here at Kidder, so it’s great to have more campers.  More campers =  Greater impact.  Of course, if we have more campers, we’re going to need more staff, but the problem we’ve run into is where to keep all of these wonderfully kind, servant-hearted young adults!

This spring we began construction on two new staff tent cabins that will be meeting a need that  for more staff housing.  These new cabins will be slightly bigger than our camper tent cabins and will have electricity (unlike our camper cabins).

Our awesome summer staff are the energy behind the amazing things happening at camp and we are beyond excited to provide some new digs for them this summer.
Check out the progress so far (we’ll post completed pictures later!)

  

Did you know that YOU can join us in taking care of our staff by donating to this project.  Thanks for supporting life transforming adventures in creation at Kidder Creek Camp!

Donate Now!

*After redirecting to our donation page select Kidder Creek in the drop down menu, please make your donation to the general fund.


Why Adventure?

Posted by & filed under Adventures, General, Kidder Creek, Youth.

Why Adventure?  Better yet, why not adventure?   Through adventures we develop and grow into the person that God made us to be.  He invites us into His adventure, to join Him in doing His work.

 

At Kidder Creek we have ample opportunities to join in on great adventures.  When a child rides a horse for the first time they will carry that with them the rest of their life.   When someone faces their fears and steps off the zipline platform to soar through the trees they embrace life’s adventure.  Mountain biking, rafting or backpacking to a mountain lake with nothing but the necessities of life on your back, one realizes how big this world really is  and the intricacy and beauty that abounds in it!

These adventures teach, allowing us to grow in our faith and discover who we are and what we are made of.   Think about your own life, the times you remember are the times you stepped out of your comfort zone and into your adventure zone.  Growth happens in the adventure zone.  Growth that develops leadership and teamwork. 

“Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure… than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much, because they live in a gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat.” Theodore Roosevelt

Teddy got it right.  He understood that a life of adventure is a life worth living.  Dare to do mighty things at Kidder this summer and grow!  

Learn to work together with your team while rafting on the mighty Klamath.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

Take a leap and find out what you are made of.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Learn to stand when everything in you says you should sit.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Develop grit while climbing to new heights.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Get some dirt on your face while riding with your friends.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spend time in creation and connect to the creator.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

Register today for an adventure experience and grow.  Live the Adventure!


tired dragon resting on books

Dangle Your Modifiers In Someone Else’s Fairytale, Por Favor

Posted by & filed under Writers Conference.

by Carrie Talbott

Once upon a time there was a faculty member—the fairest smarty pants in all the camp. “Kill the adverbs and avoid split infinitives.”

Totally nodding my head in agreement, wise instructor lady. Love your class so far, but if you call on me I might have to break up with you and slip out the double doors.

Your basic writers’ conference gives you tools to become a better writer. Tips to hook your reader. Insights to hone your craft.

The Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference gives you a whole lot more than basic. And when one of your instructors is the Senior Acquisitions Editor from David C. Cook, you are clearly not in English 101.

Her split infinitives were plenty for this simple writer. But when overachievers in the class started showing off their grammar skills, we who just want to write glazed over and slumped down.

Feel free to look these up if you want to thoroughly kiss up to impress an editor or aggressively bore your neighbor.

  • Independent and relative clauses,
  • Third conditional sentences,
  • Imperfect past participle,
  • Quantifiers of relative quantity.

Um, what? Totally impressed, old guy in the front. But I don’t need a play-by-play of your dramatic narrative nonfiction and how you used quantum physics in your life to manifest what you wanted while using the above list.

Spacing out now …

Craving an adjective? I gotcha covered. Need a verb? I’m your girl. Beyond that—not so much. Of course, life would be lovely if I actually knew what each of those intimidating terms meant and how to use them while I write, but alas, I do not.

I got almost straight A’s through every English class; why didn’t these rules stick? My normal routine includes hitting “Control N,” staring at a blank screen and clickety-clacking my way through new ideas. Now I wonder if I’m doing it wrong.

What’s “it,” Carrie? Don’t write like that—you know better.

Do I?

I’ve got an idea, future editor of my future book… how ‘bout I write the stories and you let me know if I ever breach the English 909 rules. This will be our relationship.

When we moved on from the über overwhelming parts of the classes to the helpful, practical parts, I woke up and sponged.

“Avoid clichés like the plague.”
Yessss. That’s as refreshing as water in the desert.

“Show, don’t tell.”
I’m trying. I mean, I tried. Err … I will try.

“Write your introduction last.”
Okay. Seems awkwardly backward for Type-As, but okay.

“Don’t use words like ‘awkwardly.’”
You’re losing me.       

“Practice B.I.C. (Butt In Chair)”
Woohoo—I’m doing this right now!

“Have you thanked Jesus for unanswered prayer?”
Uhh—no. But I could!

And on I went, typing with focus, ignoring my insecurities, ready to attack my new challenges. After five days of this, however, my soaked sponge clocked out and I continued on autopilot.

Don’t curl up in the back, just take copious notes and absorb when you get home.

In the midst of grammar chaos, I snagged a few quotes from our fantastic instructors and speakers. Don’t have to be a writer to love these….

Favorite Quotes

      • “Show up and serve.”  ~ Kathi Lipp
        “Develop a heart of integrity. Don’t allow jealousy to fester. Remain humble. Surround yourself with friends who hold you accountable.”  ~ Carol Kent
        “Our failures only matter when we allow them to prevent God from embracing us.”  ~ Mick Silva
        “There is still room for your voice.” ~ Alice Crider
        “When God is about to bring up a new thing, Satan is usually about to bring up an old thing.”  ~ Susie Larson
        “There will always be trolls; develop thick skin now. Is this your call from God? Then get back up and move on.”  ~ Bill Giovannetti

In addition to the wise writers and editors, I met a multitude of conferees who surprised me with their stories and encouraged me through mine. They wrote about everything from sexual abuse and politics, to alcohol addiction, psychotherapy, and autism.

We exchanged business cards like cute little author nerds and agreed to connect in cyberspace. Not in the midst of the fourteen-hour days though—once we all got home and decompressed from the lack of sleep and firehose learning.

I learned more. I feel smarter. Maybe not compared to those of you who know what modifiers are and why you shouldn’t dangle them, but smarter than two weeks ago. And I’m more motivated than ever to continue writing thanks to Mount Hermon and the rad faculty members.

Will I return next year? Heck yeah!

I mean yes. Lord willing, yes.

And they all wrote happily, forever, with laughter.

The End.

photo of carrie TalbottRecent transplants from twelve years in Baja, Mexico, Carrie now lives in California with her husband and two boys. Raised in the forest at a Christian camp, Carrie’s heart is for young women and all things wood. She has a children’s book about bullying, writes for magazines, and is currently collaborating on a memoir about grit and resiliency while outlining a book about their rough and zany years in full-time ministry. Carrie is dedicated to Jesus and avocados, and blogs regularly about hope and how-to’s with a splash of wit at carrietalbottink.com. She can also be found on Instagram @carrie_talbott_ink, on Twitter @carrie_talbott and on Facebook at Carrie Talbott Ink. She believes normal is boring and weirder is better.


Meet Kidder Creek’s New Horses

Posted by & filed under Uncategorized.

We have 9 new horses joining us for this summer.

Meet the new additions to our herd:

 

“Kash” is a Quarter Horse gelding who is mellow, kind and has spend many hours in the mountains.  He is ready to take kids on trail rides!


“Remy” is a handsome chocolate colored Quarter Horse gelding with really cool eyes.  His prior owner says he has a lot of “cow” in him. He will be perfect to move calves at Cowboy Camp!   


“Blue” is a Blue Roan Quarter Horse mare who is very sensitive and kind. She is a fast learner and a willing partner.  


 

This Appaloosa gal, “Bow”, has already been on a few trail rides and is ready for camp to start!  


“Cisco” is a Quarter Horse gelding who loves to eat and just hang out with his mares.  Won’t take him long to get in the Ranch Camp groove!


“Luna” is a Missouri Fox Trotter mare and she will teach campers what it feels like to ride a gaited horse. What a really cool opportunity!


Is this mare beautiful or what?  “Star” is a Leopard Appaloosa who is just as sweet as she is beautiful!


 

“Tango” is such a cool guy! He is a Mustang off the Nevada Range.  He was originally started by inmates at the correctional facility in Susanville, CA.  Tango has also spent many hours in the mountains and is ready to trail ride!


This gelding has a horsenality as big as Texas!  “Toby” is a Haflinger gelding who likes to “talk” to anyone who will listen.  He’s such a character and is tons of fun to play with and ride!


Don’t just meet these great new Kidder horses through pictures, come meet them and hang out with them at one of our Ranch Programs this summer at Kidder Creek Ranch Camp.

Register for Ranch Camp 


A Glimpse at the 2018 Kidder Creek Summer Staff

Posted by & filed under Adventures, General, Kidder Creek, Youth.

2018 Kidder Creek Summer Staff Highlight

Spring is in full swing and we are well on our way to being fully staffed for the summer!  Meet a few of the awesome staff we have hired so far!


Abi A.

Abi is returning for a second summer at Kidder Creek as one of our Adventure Trip Leads!  Last year she brought so much light, joy and energy to every week’s cabin that she counseled and we are thrilled to have her serving alongside the rest of our staff next summer.  Abi originally came to us from Southern California where she attended Cal Baptist University and played for their water polo team.  After last summer, she proved to be a great example to us all as she followed the call from Jesus and accepted the challenge of moving to a new town and stepping into the unknown.  We are so glad she’ll be back to share her heart, joy and zeal for the Love of God with everyone who comes to camp!



Gerrit

I’m excited to share the love of Jesus with kids through the outdoors and be a positive role model in their lives. The outdoors is often where I connect with God the most and kids need to know that He is not found solely within the walls of a church. 



Maddie

Maddie grew up coming to ranch camp as a camper and now, full circle, we are excited to have here on our Lifeguard and Health Aid team!  From Maddie: “Hey guys! I’m so excited to be working at Kidder Creek this summer because God works in amazing ways and I can’t wait to see how He takes ordinary people and circumstances and turns them into extraordinary situations. He’s taught me so much these past several months and I’m excited to put what I learned to use and have Christ work in and through me as much as possible. I’ve always wanted to work here because I grew up going to Ranch Camp so, I’m excited!!” 


 

Fischer

Fischer is making his debut this summer at Kidder Creek as our videographer!!  He felt the call of God to move west and we couldn’t be more thrilled! From Fischer: “This summer, I am beyond stoked to dive in to camp life and document all of the joy and Jesus present. It will be my second summer working as a camera guy at camp, and I aim to continue investing myself in telling stories that matter, as well as honing my abilities as a videographer. Through capturing God’s work and presence at Kidder, I can use my talents to further His Kingdom, and that’s pretty cool!”


Paige

Paige is returning another year as one of our wranglers!  Paige says: “I look forward to teaching kids how to ride horses and conquer fears throughout their week with us. I’m super excited to help them see God in everything they do. I’m hoping to help them realize that they are loved and important and that there’s a Creator that loves them for who they are. I can’t wait to meet these kids and help them to be a light of the world.”

 


With staff like these, I am sure it will be a great summer!

This summer we will hire 65 summer staff.  Know someone who might be a good fit for Kidder Creek Summer Staff? Send them to our application page where they can find out more about having the best summer of their lives serving Jesus in a rad place as part of a great community.  www.whyiworkatcamp.com


Brand New Parent Child Camps For This Year!

Posted by & filed under Adventures, Building Projects, General, Kidder Creek, Youth.

There are so many things happening at Kidder Creek Camp as we prepare for yet another summer of adventures in creation with kids, youth and families!  There are some really great New Things that I am especially excited about.

A few years back we started our Mother Daughter Ranch Camp.  It has been so fun seeing moms and daughters playing, riding horses and worshiping together.  In fact it’s been so great that we have decided to expand the options to Fathers and Sons and also to any combination of Parent and Child for mt bike camps in 2018.  Come and enjoy time together and in creation making memories that will last a lifetime.

MD Ranch 18 - Mom & 2 Daughters

Register for Mother Daughter Ranch Camp

Brand new Parent Child camps for this year!

Father Son Adventure Camp  – At this new camp Dads and Sons will worship around the fire, eat meat, laugh, shoot arrows, ride horses, tell stories, talk to God, make friends, get wet cliff jumping and whitewater rafting. Father’s and Sons create memories of a lifetime at this three day adventure camp.  

Timb HA 18 - Rafting

Register for Father Son Adventure Camp


Parent Child Mt Bike Camps  – Shred the amazing trails of Northern California with your son or daughter.  Learn more about God and what it means to ride for Him. We’ll provide ride shuttles, food, recreation, and counselor guides that will push your riding and relationship to new levels.  

MB18 - Blue Shirt Man (M)

Register for Parent Child Mt Bike Camps


Get Ready for That Appointment

Posted by & filed under Writers Conference.

by Susan K. Stewart

I remember my first appointment with an editor at a writers’ conference. I thought I had really blown it … well, alright, I did blow it. I was late. I wrote down the wrong time. The very gracious editor took a few minutes with me when he had a free moment and did ask for a full proposal.

I tell you my little tale as an example of what not to do. And, also, as an encouragement to relax. It’s not as hard as it may sound and editors aren’t scary. Although making that first appointment may be.

As I look back to that first appointment more than a decade ago, I wish I had known what was expected of me and the person on the other side of the table. I didn’t even know what an elevator speech was, let alone a one-sheet. I anticipated a gruff old man ready to reject anything put in front of him. A throwback to my first days working at a daily newspaper, I guess.

If this is the first time you’re meeting with an editor or agent at a conference. Take heart. The person on the other side of the table is just that … a person. The fact is we are looking for new material to recommend to our companies. Why else would we be there? Most editors and agents want to say “yes.”

Remember also, the person you are meeting with is a human being. We want to meet you and get to know you. Stuff happens. Editors and agents get tired, planes are delayed, or we worry about our loved ones at home. We’re just like you.

Like a scout, you can be prepared. Here are few other things you can do make your appointment go a little smoother.

Once you’ve narrowed the possibilities down, go to the publisher’s or agents’ website. Look at their style sheet and other information. Check the books and authors the company has published or represents. This will help you know if your project is a good fit.

Nearly all of the faculty members are available when not speaking to meet with attendees on their topics. Want to know more details of blogs? Have a specific question about accounting? Are you confused about the Oxford comma? One of the faculty members will be able to answer the question. You can read about faculty members and their specialties here.

Not sure if a specific publisher or agent is right for you? Have a meal with them. Faculty members have assigned tables for lunch and dinner. Look for that editor, agent, or faculty member you might want to meet. This is a good time to have that elevator speech ready. It’s also a good time to listen. So much can be learned during a meal.

Faculty members will be taking appointments at the Meet and Greet on Thursday, March 22 at 3:00 p.m. in the Field House. Hors d’oeuvres and mocktails will be served. You won’t want to miss this fun social time.

Relax and get ready for your conference appointments by preparing before you get there. And double check that time.

 

Also, read Mary DeMuth’s guide, “10 Ways to Be Awkward at a Writer’s Conference.

Susan Stewart

Susan K. Stewart teaches, writes, and edits nonfiction. She is known for practical solutions to real-world situations. Susan is senior nonfiction editor with Elk Lake Publishing and blog content manager for the Mount Hermon Writers Conference blog. She has published three books, including the award-winning Formatting e-Books for Writers: Convert Your Word File to Kindle. Susan teaches writing and editing workshops online and in person. She lives in central Texas with her husband, Bob, three dogs, three cats, nine chickens, and a donkey. The Stewarts have three children and five grandchildren. You can read more of Susan’s practical solutions at www.practicalinspirations.com.

Susan will be teaching “Practical Blogs for Writers” (Sunday, 1:45 p.m.) and “Preparing and Formatting E-books” (Monday, 3:15 p.m.).


lady walking in fall leaves

Writing on the Deepest Places

Posted by & filed under Writers Conference.

by Kelly Harrel

Last year I had the honor of teaching for the first time at Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference. One of the workshops I led was “Writing in the Deep Places.” I felt I had much to contribute to this topic since through the years I have battled with physical pain, depression, even brain trauma. Rather than allowing it to debilitate me, I’ve grown through it and even used these difficult experiences in my writing. When I shared last year on that topic, I felt like I had arrived. Like I had made it through with wisdom to share. In my own mind, I had conquered the deep places. Little did I know that this year God would teach me how to write in the deepest places.

The text came from my best friend on March 1, 2017.

I found a lump. Please pray.

For twelve years we have done life together. Our husbands both work nights, weekends, and holidays. Since we only live five minutes away from each other, we basically raised our kids together. We homeschooled together, we worked together at the same charter school, and led Bible studies together. Yes, we have done life together. And now, we’re doing death together.

It’s not that we didn’t pray. I’ve uttered the same prayer almost every day for a year. Lord, heal her. We absolutely believed He could heal her. In fact, after her double mastectomy, we thought the cancer was gone. She had never felt better. In July we toasted to my birthday and her health. Less than two months later the cancer had spread to her liver, lungs, and spine. The four months of chemo that followed did nothing. And now, she’s at home on hospice. Waiting for God to take her home.

The past twelve months have been full of trials and hardships. I stopped asking “What’s next God?” when my husband had a heart attack in September two days after my best friend got out of the hospital. Then my son totaled his car in November (praise God he wasn’t hurt) and I ended up with shingles for the second time in my life. Yeah, I don’t ask that question anymore because honestly, I’m afraid of what might come my way.

I have many reasons NOT to write. Truly, I feel as if my life is falling apart and at times feel like I’m losing my mind. I’m also working more than full time at my teaching job. But God has taught me that in this deepest place I NEED to write. At first, I thought it was my escape. My way of leaving the troubles of this life behind. I crave that hour or two of the day when I cease to be wife, mom, teacher, friend and can be the instrument through which God delivers his next story. Though in a way it is an escape, I realize now it’s more. Writing is how God made me express my emotions. And my emotions are what bring my characters to life. The story I’m writing now is not one of someone struggling with cancer, but of someone struggling with God. A teenage boy who doesn’t understand why his prayers go unanswered, why things can go the way he wants. At night when I turn off my light, I feel the struggle.

God, why won’t you heal her? We were supposed to raise our kids together, spoil our grandkids, and grow old together. It shouldn’t be this way…

I get the struggle. I’ve felt the emotions. I’ve cried the bitter tears. And even though everyone would understand if I just didn’t write in this season, God wants me to. He made me to tell stories. Writing in the deepest places is more about obedience than productivity.

I don’t know what tomorrow holds, except that I will write.  In a week I’ll be packing my bags to go to Mount Hermon. My slides are ready for my workshops, I have Kleenex and chocolate, but I also feel like a wreck. I’m trusting God to carry me through as he has the past twelve months. Life is hard, without a doubt. But God is good even when we don’t understand. And when you continue to use the gift he has given you in the deepest places, he will bless your efforts. I do believe this will be my best series yet, I just need to do my part and trust the Lord to do his.

Don’t worry about having it all together when you go to #MHWriters18, my friends. None of us have it all together. What matters is that we come together to encourage, inspire, and lift one another up. I am looking forward to seeing you on the mountain.

 

Kelly will be teaching “Authors Don’t Preach–But Their Characters Might” and “Making Your Dreams Come True … Without Quitting Your Day Job” at Mount Hermon Writers Conference. It’s not too late to register. Join Kelly at #MHWriters18.

kelly harrell

Kelly Harrel writes inspirational fiction and Christian romance that deal with real-life struggles in the light of God’s love and grace. Passionate to inspire others into a deeper faith, she enjoys speaking at women’s events, writers conferences, and to audiences of all genders and ages about overcoming depression and anxiety. After several decades in education, publishing six novels, and leading a multigenerational women’s ministry, Kelly still claims that her biggest accomplishment is homeschooling her children. She resides in Southern California with her husband, two teens, and a desert tortoise named George.