Posts Categorized: Writers Conference

Allowing God to Lead You

Posted by & filed under Writers Conference.


Managing Editor, Molly Green Magazine

Reviewing Pre-Conference Manuscript Submissions and Meeting with Writers at the 2016 Mount Hermon Christian Writers’ Conference, March 18-22.



“Then Moses called Bezalel and Aholiab, and every gifted artisan in whose heart the LORD had put wisdom, everyone whose heart was stirred, to come and do the work” Exodus 36:2, NKJV

A few years ago our pastor challenged us to ask God to use us in our area of talent. My heart leapt and I immediately thought, “I want God to be glorified through my writing—I want Him to use me.”

This wasn’t something that unexpectedly pounced on me that morning. Since childhood I’ve enjoyed imagining and writing stories. I majored in Communication Arts, but in the busyness of raising and homeschooling six children and being a wife and homemaker, I pushed the desire to create to the sidelines. Occasionally I’d slip away to write, but rarely found or made time to do.

That Sunday morning something changed. I could feel it. God stirred my heart and I responded.

Within a short period of time I began to see Him answering. Completely unaware of my whispered prayer, I was asked to co-write the skits for the upcoming VBS at our church—an event that averages about 500 children a day. Then the Women’s Ministries offered another writing opportunity. My dormant desire was being nourished and once again I began working on my unfinished books and stories, as well as these other projects.

In 2012, after an incredible and encouraging experience at Mount Hermon Writers’ Conference, I decided I needed a platform. Within a few months I stumbled on an opportunity—writing literature unit studies for a homeschooling website—perfect for this season of my life. This opportunity led to writing articles, as well, but also to my current position as the Managing Editor of a magazine that covers topics that highly interest me and still allows me to home educate our children.

As I look back on the past few years, I see how faithful God has been to answer my prayer to be used in an area I love, and to guide my steps—even when I feel like I’m flailing.

Maybe for years you’ve had a desire to write, but the circumstances in your life haven’t allowed you to be able to commit the time needed. Is now the time? Is your heart being stirred like the artisans in Exodus to come and do the work and allow God to direct your writing journey?

Ask Him.

Perhaps attending the Mount Hermon Writers’ Conference in 2016 is the next step and will help lead you to a new season in your life. If your heart is being stirred, He’s the one inspiring you.

What will your journey look like?


Come meet Marla Schultz at the Mount Hermon Christian Writers’ Conference, March 18-22, 2016.


Weaving Grace into Non-Fiction Writing

Posted by & filed under Writers Conference.


A Nonfiction Mentor for the Pre-Conference Next Level Clinic.

Serving on the Critique Team and teaching a one-hour workshop at the Mount Hermon Christian Writers’ Conference.



My equipment consisted of a hammer, an empty soda can, and a stool. Over a thousand people watched me set the can on the stool and crush it flat by a hundred little taps. No, not a skills test, but a sermon before the church that calls me pastor.

My goal was to illustrate a painful point: so much of the Christian message seems to consist of a thousand little chores. People are tired. So many come to church worn out. What do they get? Hope? No. A glimpse of the power of God to transcend their mundane problems? No. A promise to claim? Another attribute of God to rest upon? No. No. No.

What they get is another item for their already backed up to-do list. Tap! We need help in the nursery. Tap! Did you pray/read/study this week? Tap. Integrity matters. Tap. Tap. Have you fallen into crazy love with Jesus? Tap! Tap! Tap! Be radical! Tap! Get to work, Mary! Go help Martha!

No crushing blow. No giant wagging foam finger of shame. But a thousand micro-guilt-trips, delivered courtesy the most sincere Christian communicator, resulting in a dispirited readership that would, if it had the clarity of mind, would through the offending book across the room, in Christian love.

Non-fiction writers, like pastors, need to weave grace into their writings. You may look at your body of work and protest, “Well, I never pound my readers on the head.” Amen! I’m happy to hear that. Now look more deeply. Study hard the thrust of your words. What are you writing about? Duty? Obligation? Practices? Christian chores?

Right, you may not pound. But do you tap?

Relentless tapping is today’s literary equivalent of yesterday’s water-drip torture.

Here are three ways to weave grace into your writings.

  1. Emphasize the DECLARATIVE over the IMPERATIVE.

Only in a writer’s blog could I get away with that statement. The bulk of Scripture is written in the in declarative mode. Scripture-writers relish to lay out a feast of who God is: his character, attributes, names, and deeds. They revel in his promises, and reveal his provision. They blaze forth the message of a God able to lead his people through the wilderness, and prepare them a table in the presence of their enemies. Without shying away from life’s painful realities, they nurture hope by pointing to eternal realities, more real and lasting and significant than anything we see with our eyes or feel with our senses.

As non-fiction writers, we have an embarrassment of riches from which to work. Yes, there is most definitely a place for the imperatives of the Christian life. But let us be sure to anchor them in the abiding declaratives. That is the only way our readers will know both the reasons for their obedience, and the power from which that obedience flows.

  1. Emphasize IDENTITY over ACTIVITY.

As a Christian author, you are naturally concerned with the way of life your readers embrace. It’s tempting to spell out that way of life in so much detail you begin to rival the Pharisees. The simple reality remains that people act out of who they are. More correctly, the act out of who they think they are. If they label themselves stupid, or weak, or victim, or ugly, their lifestyles invariably take on those hues.

If you really want your writing projects to speak to hearts and change lives, then speak to your readers’ identity. Who are you in God’s eyes? How does he label you? What does it mean to be truly beloved, wanted, cherished, protected, provisioned, enabled, empowered, and accepted in Christ?

If you spend a little more time telling people who they are than you “tap” their craniums with what they should do, you’ll see the grace take root and grow up like a tree.


Yes, the Holy Grail of modern Christian writing is, in my mind, woefully misplaced. What are we, Oprah with Jesus sprinkled on top? Dr. Phil Got Religion?

Of course, readers need tips for living. But those tips are just taps unless they’re rooted in something heavenly, something miraculous, something that transcends the mundane stuff of tabloid and Internet advice.

When a writer lifts that veil that separates earth from heaven’s throne, and describes a glimpse of God’s never ceasing labors in your everyday affairs, when you lift your reader’s mind above the humdrum of daily existence to the glories of the world above, when you make your reader’s heart skip a beat over the angelic watchers, and gasp at the glories to come, you have strengthened them to face the day by the matchless grace of God.

Sometimes “practical” is code for “tap, tap, tap.” Write to thrill the heart with the never-ceasing love of God, and you will have a your band of raving fans… not of you, but of the grace you proclaim.

Oh, and they’ll buy and sell your books too.

The saintly Robert Murray M’Cheyne wrote, “For every look at self take ten looks at Christ.” That’s what I’m talking about. Instead of tap-tap-tapping on your readers with what remains undone, fill their hearts with what has been done for them, perfectly, completely, and irrevocably by God’s matchless grace.


Come meet Bill Giovannetti at the Mount Hermon Christian Writers’ Conference.


Registration is Now Open!

Writing for Middle Grade Boys

Posted by & filed under Writers Conference.


Serving as a fiction mentor for a Morning Mentoring Clinic at the Mount Hermon Christian Writers’ Conference, March 18-22, 2016.

Leading a bonus session Friday night, Preparing for the Appointment 



If you’re writing for middle grade kids, you may be making a critical mistake. Writing for “kids” suggests you’re targeting both boys and girls. Do that and you’ll likely only get the girls.

A better technique? Write for boys. You’ll get the boys and the girls if you do it right. Girls will read great writing targeted for boys, but many boys won’t read something they sense is written for girls. Lets look at things your writing for boys needs, and things you need to avoid.

Three Things Writing for Boys Needs

White Space– If you have too much margin-to-margin text your book looks like work to read—instead of fun. Many boys will simply close the book. Break up the page with dialogue, interior thought, etc.

Short Chapters– Some boys count the pages for a chapter before they read it. If the chapter is too long, they may not even start. Sometimes a boy only has fifteen minutes to read. If they can’t finish the chapter they’ll be frustrated. Find a good place to end the chapter sooner. I often average five or six pages. And remember … more chapters mean more cliffhangers—which is exactly what you need for boys.

Strong Starts– You know you need this. Your story is like a car on the line at a drag strip. When the reader opens to Chapter One, that’s the green light. You can’t be adjusting your mirrors and showing the reader what the track looks like. On the first line of the book you pop the clutch and stand on the gas. From the very first line you want to intrigue your reader … hint at danger. And not just the first line of the book, but the first line of every chapter.

Three Things Writing for Boys Must Avoid

Romance– Middle grade is a tricky time. Some boys are interested in girls, some aren’t. Many writers want to put a little romance in their stories just to keep the girls interested. Don’t do it. You’ll lose too many boys, and it isn’t needed. Girls will read—and love—a well-written story that has no romance.

Preachy– A good, well-written story will teach subtle spiritual truth. Including portions of a sermon the junior high character just happens to remember comes off as hokey. And so do many conversion scenes. They won’t seem real to the boy reader. When the story doesn’t seem real you’ll lose much of the potential impact your book could have had.

Lengthy Descriptions– The detailed descriptions you think will bring life to your story will more likely kill it. Boys skim descriptions—unless you’re describing a weapon, a cool machine, etc. They don’t care what most rooms look like. Honest. Limit your description only to the details that matter to your POV character at the moment, and give it to the readers in very small doses.

You want to write for middle grade kids?

Excellent. Target the boys, and you’ll get them all.


Come meet Tim Shoemaker at the 47th annual Mount Hermon Christian Writers’ Conference, March 18-22, 2016.

Registration is Now Open!

Building Your Platform with a New “P” Word–Potential

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Editorial Representative, Guideposts Magazine

Teaching an Afternoon Workshop, Reviewing Pre-Conference Manuscripts and meeting with writers at the 2016 Mount Hermon Christian Writers’ Conference, March 18-22.


You’re hard at work on a novel or nonfiction book. You sign up to attend the conference and are eager to discuss your work with agents and publishers. Along with feedback, get ready to hear this question, “What’s your platform?” Right now you might have to say, “I don’t have one,” but you can change that.

Don’t despair. Everyone has a platform. It is built on YOU! And you can start right now to construct yours or add to what you already have. Friends, family, acquaintances, even other writers, are a great beginning. And it’s what I call the new “P” word: Potential.

Start small and add to it weekly. Join Twitter, or Pinterest, or any of the social media sites. How do you get started? Google “how to get started on (blank)” in the search bar (insert one of the following into the blank space: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest). You’ll be amazed at the information that pops up to help you.

A large platform doesn’t happen overnight. A novel doesn’t get written in a day, and thousands of followers and friends don’t just drop out of the air one night. Layer your platform one step at a time, like building the foundation of a house, or constructing a novel. You may already have a Facebook account. Build it up by making friends outside of your circle of family. Not on Twitter? It’s not hard, but like everything else, there is a learning curve. The same with Pinterest or any of the other sites. Take time now to invest in your platform, then look forward to those meetings at the conference.

Set goals and work toward them. Do a little bit more on social media than you have done in the past. Post a few times a week on your sites. Taken one small step at a time it’s not so scary, not so insurmountable, not the big bad “P” word you thought it to be. You can answer an agent or publisher the next time they say, “What’s your platform?” with the following response, “I’m building it, and it has great potential.”


Can you name three things you’re doing to build your platform?

Come meet B.J. Taylor at the 47th annual Mount Hermon Christian Writers’ Conference, March 18-22, 2016.

Ready to learn more about Platform and work with a mentor to build your writer’s platform? Join us for the Pre-Conference Next Level Clinic and participate in Kathi Lipp’s Platform Workshop.

Click here to register for the Next Level Clinic and the Main Conference!


Registration is Open for the 2016 Writers’ Conference!

Posted by & filed under Writers Conference.

Strike up the band . . . for the 2016 Mount Hermon Christian Writers’ Conference.

The Mount Hermon Writers’ website is (mostly) updated!

Wait there’s more ~ Registration is open!

conversation amidst the trees


March 16-18, 2016 ~ Pre-Conference Next Level Clinic

March 18-22, 2016 ~ Main Conference

March 16-18, 2016 ~ Pre-Conference Next Level Clinic and Main Conference


Check out the stellar 2016 faculty . . .

Keynote Speaker



Workshop Leaders

Critique Team

Resource Team


Randy in conversation after class


Peruse the power-packed program . . .

Pre-Conference Next Level Clinic

Major Morning Tracks

Morning Mentoring Clinics

Afternoon Workshops

Night Owls


meal conversations


Don’t miss the Special Features and Resources, including . . .

Free Manuscript Review and/or Critique

The Critique Team

Airport Shuttle Service


Critique Team in action cropped

Click here for a peek at the 2016 Conference Schedule.

playdoh 1


“Don’t burn out; keep yourselves fueled and aflame.

Be alert servants of the Master, cheerfully expectant.

Don’t quit in hard times….” 

Romans 12:11-12 MSG

We can inspire and equip you to Be Unquenchable!

Emilies and others photo opp classroom conversation


Plan now to join us in the California Redwoods in March for Community, Instruction, Inspiration, Connection, encouragement, Spiritual Refreshment, and Blessing.


Writing and Selling Your Memoir: It’s All About Theme

Posted by & filed under Writers Conference.

Memoir Cartoon


Associate Editor, Nonfiction, David C. Cook Publishing

Reviewing Pre-Conference Manuscript Submissions and meeting with writers, March 18-22, 2016



“Memoir is about handing over your life to someone and saying, ‘This is what I went through, this is who I am, and maybe you can learn something from it.’ It’s honestly sharing what you think, feel, and have gone through. If you can do that effectively, then somebody gets the wisdom and benefit of your experience without having to live it.” ~ Jeanette Walls, author of The Glass Castle

You have a personal story. It may have been tragic or traumatic or very emotional, and you not only survived it, you learned valuable life lessons from it. Perhaps it can help others if you share it. So, what do you need to know about writing and selling your memoir?

Here are some basic writing guidelines:

  1. Rule #1: Your memoir is not about you. There’s more to crafting a memoir than writing your life story. It isn’t one long journal written in chronological order. It also isn’t a book-length rant. Writing your memoir can be cathartic, but good memoir is geared more toward the reader’s experience.
  2. Tell the truth. With recent books having been fabricated, it’s more important than ever to make sure you’ve got your story straight. That doesn’t mean you have to remember what color shirt you were wearing on a certain day, or that you have to include every factual detail. It means be honest, don’t embellish, don’t exaggerate. Also, you’ll want to document facts, especially if you have legal or medical aspects to your story.
  3. Use fiction techniques. Every page must drive your story forward, so you need to create tension and remember to show, not tell. A good memoir often begins with an intense, emotion-packed moment of drama.
  4. Make ‘em hungry. Only include things that will actually interest your reader and make them want more. So what if your cat hacked up a hairball? Just because something happened, doesn’t mean it’s interesting. Keep in mind that the reader wants an emotional experience, and they’re always looking for what’s in your story for

Annie Dillard says, “You have to take pains in a memoir not to hang on the reader’s arms, like a drunk, and say, ‘And then I did this and it was so interesting.’”

What do agents and editors want to see in a memoir?

  1. A query with a strong hook. Unless you’ve met in person with an agent or an editor, don’t send anything more than a query letter. Make your letter stand out by creating a compelling hook for it.
  2. A complete, compelling proposal. Follow agency guidelines when submitting to agents. If you haven’t already written a book proposal, do this even before you finish your manuscript. A book proposal is like a business plan for a book. It will help you fully evaluate your audience, your market, and your own merit for writing a memoir.
  3. Excellent writing—an absolute must. Do not send your manuscript to an agent or editor until it is ready! The worst thing you can do is to be in a hurry to publish. Have a professional critique and/or edit your manuscript and proposal first, and be willing to do revisions if needed.
  4. A sensational or highly emotional story. Readers only keep reading memoir that holds meaning for them personally. They want an experience, not just lovely prose. Also, note that Christian publishers prefer a redemptive ending.
  5. A considerable platform and/or media attention. This is especially important to publishers these days, so you’ll want to give it your best effort.

Finally, remember that writing your memoir, even though it’s your story and what you learned along the way, is not about you. It’s about your reader—their life, their issues, and what they care about. And readers only read because they want to.

Alice CriderCome meet Alice Crider at the conference, March 18-22, 2016!

Registration is Now Open!

Down Payment on a Dream

Posted by & filed under Writers Conference.


Literary Agent and Vice President of Books & Such Literary Management

Co-Teaching a One-Hour Workshop and serving on the Agent Panel.



I’m guessing that some who investigate the cost of attending a writer’s conference like The Mount Hermon Christian Writers’ Conference are taken back by the cost. Four nights of accommodations in a pristine giant redwoods setting with a couple dozen meals, snacks and food events not to mention professional mentoring, teaching and networking with publishing professionals. Does it give you sticker shock?

I’m rereading Mark Batterson’s Draw the Circle: The 40 Day Prayer Challenge for the third time. Yes, it’s only been out for a little less than two years but this book is worth reading and rereading even in the space of a few months. On day seven, which he titles, Put on Waders, he tells the story about the year before his congregation bought what is now the famous coffee shop, Ebenezers, on Capitol Hill. They were praying for a piece of property to come available– any piece. They knew it would take a near-miracle to find anything for sale, let alone for a price they might be able to pay.

That year he took an $85.00 step of faith that set them up for the three million dollar miracle to come. His children’s school held a charity auction and he attended. Most people bid on trips or tickets to sporting events but he decided to bid on a book on Capitol Hill zoning codes donated by the Capitol Hill Restoration Society. Batterson bought the book and considered it a down payment on a dream. He sensed he needed to demonstrate his faith even before they found a property.

As I read that for the third time, it hit me– that’s what we ask writers to do all the time. Put a down payment on a dream. What are some of the things you might do?

  • Create a website and begin building a reader following long before you have your first contract.
  • Jump into social media and begin to build a platform long ahead of your book.
  • Join the writing community and connect with other writers, both published and not-yet-published.
  • Spend scarce dollars to take classes and webinars.
  • Create a writing environment in your home– a place for you to be serious about your dream. (I know, I know, but Noah built the Ark on dry land, didn’t he?)
  • Or maybe, just maybe, click on register for the 2016 Mount Hermon Writers’ Conference. Let it be your down payment on a dream.


Come meet Wendy Lawton at the Mount Hermon, March 18-22, 2015, where she’ll participate in a couple of workshops, review pre-conference manuscripts, and meet with writers!


There’s Never Been A Better Time to Write for Kids!

Posted by & filed under Writers Conference.


Children’s Author

Serving on the Critique Team, March 2016; Teaching an Afternoon Workshop


There’s Never Been a Better Time to Write for Kids!

I stared out at the crowd of a hundred or so kids at VBS.

Should I ask the question or not?

I was afraid, a little, because I’m a writer. But I was curious, a lot, because I’m a writer.

“How many of you like to read?”

To my surprise, three-quarters of the hands shot up. Half of them belonged to the boys.


My fingers fumbled with the zipper on my purse as the young couple in front of me talked about the joys and struggles of raising three girls.

Be bold. Ask them.

“What’s the age of your oldest?”

“She’s ten.”

“Does she like to read?”

Their eyes widened. “She loves it.”

“Then I’d like to give her a gift, if you don’t mind.” I pulled a book out of my purse, signed it, and handed it to them.

“You’re a writer?” They both teared up a little. “Thank you so much. We just visited our daughter at summer camp, and she’s struggling to fit in with girls her age. We know this will encourage her.”


I noticed an alert from a parent on my author Facebook page.

Go ahead. Click on it.

“My OH so picky reader LOVES your books! Thanks for following Jesus.”


There’s never been a better time to write for kids.


“I’ve thought about writing for kids,” you might say. “But… (Fill in your best ‘but’ here.)”

Hmmm. Sounds like you need encouragement. I have some for you.

The Mount Hermon Christian Writer’s Conference in 2016 is shaping up to be one of the best years yet for training, inspiring, and discovering children’s writers!

Check out who’s on this year’s faculty:

Children’s Authors:

  • Mona Hodgson (She’s the conference director but has written many books for kids—one that is currently my granddaughter’s favorite)
  • Christine Tangvald (A picture book genius and the inventor of enthusiasm)
  • Tim Shoemaker (I love his intense Code of Silence series.)
  • Nancy Rue (I’ll finally get her to sign all my Faithgirlz books!)
  • Crystal Bowman (She’s an expert at loving the littlest readers with her many picture books and Bible stories)
  • Me (I’ll be teaching a workshop and hanging out at the critique table. Please come and get a “Hey, you’re a children’s writer!” knuckle bump and some M&Ms.)

Children’s Editors:

This list is amazing! And it doesn’t even include all the super-talented writers for kids who plan to attend the conference.

I hope you will be one of them.

Why? Because kids really do like to read these days—even the boys. They’re also struggling to grow up godly in a culture that is fighting against them at every turn. Parents are hoping and praying and searching for quality materials for their children to read. And you, my friend, are a writer.

Sounds like the best time ever to write for kids.

See you at Mt. Hermon!

Why I Attend Writers’ Conferences

Posted by & filed under Writers Conference.


Literary Agent with Books & Such Literary Management

Serving on the Agent Panel workshop and meeting with writers.



Thank you for the opportunity to share on the Mount Hermon blog.

[Mona: We’re happy to hear from you, Rachel. Thanks for the post!]

I’m excited to get to be a part of the writers’ conference next year. I always enjoy the Mount Hermon conference! I have met a lot of my clients there and the classes are top notch.

[Mona: We’re thrilled you’re going to be with us and part of the faculty in March.]

Obviously, agents go to writers’ conferences to meet potential clients, but are there reasons beyond the obvious? YES!

Here are a few of the other reasons I like to attend writers conferences:

1) I attend conferences to help authors learn about publishing and what agents do. I usually teach one or two workshops. I am not teaching at Mt. Hermon this year because I have to leave on Sunday, but I will be participating in an Agent Panel workshop Saturday afternoon and I’m available for appointments–not only for pitches, but also to help answer questions writers might have.

2) I always enjoy gathering with fellow bibliophiles and worshiping God with other Christians. The worship time at many Christian conferences is a highlight for me. And worshiping surrounded by people who love books is a small slice of heaven.

3) I take time during conferences to talk with the editors who are also there on faculty. It’s a great time for us to connect face-to-face to discuss projects that are in the works, find out what the editors are looking to acquire, and discuss projects that I have to pitch that might be of interest.

4) I like to take the time at conferences to connect with my clients who are also at the conference. At larger conferences where there are many clients gathered, we’ll host a get-together for all of our agency clients to meet and mingle. I try to fit in one-on-one time with each client, too.

What are some reasons you like to attend writers’ conferences?

Will I see you at Mount Hermon’s Christian Writers’ Conference 2016?


Come meet Rachel Kent at Mount Hermon in March!

What I Wish I’d Known When My First Novel Was Published

Posted by & filed under Writers Conference.

LisabooksigningthumbPBXBLOGGER: LISA WINGATE

Award-Winning Novelist

Instructor for Supercharge Your Fiction and Your Writing Career, a Major Morning Track, Mount Hermon Christian Writers’ Conference, March 2016


What I Wish I’d Known When My First Novel Was Published

No matter what trajectory your particular writing career may take or what point you’re at in your quest, you can safely assume that, if you’ve chosen this profession, you’re in for a roller coaster ride. A writing career is challenging. It’s demanding. It’s busy. It can be unforgiving and maddening. It can also be unbelievably rewarding and filled with moments of story and human connection that are nothing short of bliss. With my twenty-fifth book, The Sea Keeper’s Daughters, hitting shelves in September, I can honestly say that my career has been filled with things I didn’t expect. That’s probably because I knew next to nothing about the business when I started.

If I could go back to the moment I sold my first mainstream novel, Tending Roses, to (then) Penguin Putnam, I’d tell myself a few things:

  1. Write because you love it.  I know everyone says that, but it’s true. If you really want a long career, you must figure out how to produce book, after book, while managing promotion, production edits, multiple forms of communication, and life in general. Set a manageable daily page quota or daily writing hours, and hold yourself to it. One of the hardest things about writing is time management.
  1. Finish your first manuscript and write another.  It’s almost impossible to sell on a partial in fiction if you’re unpublished. Polish your manuscript and send it out, because as much as we’d like them to, editors won’t come looking in your desk drawer. While you’re waiting for news, write another book.  If the first one sells, you’ll be set for a two-book deal. If the first one doesn’t sell, you will have eggs in another basket. Be tenacious, be as thick-skinned as possible, keep writing while you wait for news.
  1. Rejection stinks, but it happens. Rejection isn’t anything personal; it’s just part of the business, and it’s to be expected. Your project isn’t bad just because it gets rejected. It may not be that editor’s (or agent’s) cup of tea, the house might not be buying right then, they may have another author under contract whose work is similar to yours, and so on. There are so many reasons a book can be rejected, and the real trick is to look at the rejections as a tool and then move on. Don’t make sweeping changes based on one opinion unless there’s an imminent sale involved. Conversely, if you receive the same criticism from several editors (or agents), consider pulling out the red pen and getting to work
  1. You probably won’t hit the NYT immediately. In fact, few writers ever reach this coveted level. Be careful how you measure success. Setting lofty goals is a good thing… right up until you feel like a failure for not achieving them. Myriad factors determine which books get the “perfect storm” of great cover, great market timing, and heavy publisher promotion. Some of it is just luck. Write the very best book you can. Do what you can to promote. Stop obsessing. Write another book.
  1. Find your creative tribe. On any given road, you’re never the only traveler. Others walk in shoes like your own and shoes that are different. Find them. Critique one another’s work, brainstorm together, give creative criticism, take creative criticism, and learn from one another. Give back more than you get.
  1. Cheer for other people. One of the best promotional avenues available to writers today, yesterday, and tomorrow remains cooperative promotion. Find authors whose work is similar to yours. Shout out for one another’s successes, awards, and new releases. Your readers will thank you for the tips and you’ll feel good about doing something positive for someone else. You’ll also have that warm feeling when others do the same for you.

Above all, while you’re walking the writer-road, be aware, be in the moment, don’t close your eyes even for an instant. Wherever you go in life, there are nuggets of story along the trail. Sometimes you’ll see them coming; sometimes you’ll stumble over them. Pause long enough to pick them up and examine them. Your writer’s mind can take it from there.


What piece of advice from Lisa struck a chord with you? What next step will you take in response?
Lisa Wingate The Sea Keepers Daughter

Read a free excerpt of The Sea Keeper’s Daughters!

Come meet Lisa Wingate at Mount Hermon Christian Writers’ Conference, March 18-22, 2016, where she will teach a Major Morning Track for fiction writers. In the meantime, here’s where you can connect with Lisa on the Internet.

Lisa’s website 

Lisa’s newsletter signup 




Lisa’s blog

A Courage Challenge

Posted by & filed under Writers Conference.

Many thanks to our 2016 Faculty for supplying two posts a week through the conference in March. 


Nonfiction Author

Pre-Conference Next Level Clinic Coordinator and Nonfiction Mentor

Morning Mentoring Nonfiction Coordinator and Nonfiction Mentor



Artist Vincent van Gogh asked the question, “What would life be like if we had courage enough to attempt anything?”

As a writer who is also a credentialed life coach, I love asking questions like this. They are big dream questions that lift us out of the narrow scope of vision we are living. They help us explore, not simply possibilities, but where our heart might be already longing to go, where perhaps God has been inviting us to go next.

But what is courage enough for us as writers?

Courage enough to…

  • slash what isn’t working in our stuck plotline
  • cut open the tough places of our own story
  • take that leap toward a different reader-audience focus
  • face down the daily taunts of inadequacy
  • add our voice to a seemingly satiated market
  • compose those first difficult words of a new project

These are what stir our writer’s gut with longing or fear, where we find we are holding our breath.

What is stirring for you as you look at your unique writing projects or publishing hopes and dreams? Capture a clear picture and then allow me to add one more—a courage challenge:

Courage enough to trust God to take you wherever he needs to in order to shape you as his writer so he might powerfully set loose words and stories through you for his purposes.

Where might he take you? Can you imagine the heights? Or does hesitancy keep you grounded? You might have already seen and been inspired by the popular quote by contemporary poet, Erin Hanson:

There is freedom waiting for you,

On the breezes of the sky.

And you ask, “What if I fall?”

“Oh but darling,

What if you fly?”

In those words, and really throughout Scripture, we see a companion to courage called trust. The question that begins and ends the whole adventure of flying is God’s: “Do you trust me in this?”


Where do you struggle most with courage?

You’ll meet Jan Kern at the 2016 Mount Hermon Christian Writers’ Conference, March 16-22, where she will coordinate the Pre-Conference Next Level Clinics and coordinate the Nonfiction Morning Mentoring Clinic. Jan is also a nonfiction mentor in both programs.

Why Viewpoint Matters

Posted by & filed under Writers Conference.


Freelance Author, Fiction

Mentoring a fiction group in the Morning Mentoring Clinic, March 2016; Teaching a one-hour workshop



Think about the last book that made you forget everything but the story. Maybe making dinner slipped your mind. Maybe you stayed up way past your bedtime.

Why do we do this?

A deeply involved reader is temporarily convinced that the story events are really happening. For as long as she’s reading that book, she actually feels like she’s a character, experiencing the romance and adventure, the strange and wonderful world that the author created.

But a human being can only be in one place at a time, experiencing one person’s thoughts. That’s why—to convince readers that they are living the story—it’s vital for a writer to understand viewpoint.

Skillful authors use viewpoint well, and once the adventure ends, their readers thank them—after recovering from those forgotten dinners and missed hours of sleep. Satisfied readers want to repeat the experience, too. They want to buy the next book in the series. They recommend the author to their friends, so they can share the excitement.

Good, strong viewpoint anchors the reader in every scene without confusion or frustration. Authors use many kinds of viewpoint, but one in particular is easiest to write well: we call it “third person limited.” Since the reader becomes one character in every scene, living in story time, it feels like real life. To create this sense of living inside the story, an author uses vivid, active verbs, skillful speaker attributions, body language and gesture, realistic sequencing, and other elements of strong fiction writing.

That’s why studying viewpoint is essential. I’d love to see you next spring at Mount Hermon, where I’ll teach an afternoon workshop on taking your readers along on the journey using strong viewpoint.

Kathy Tyers Gillin


You’ll meet Kathy Tyers Gillin at the 2016 Mount Hermon Christian Writers’ Conference, March 18-22, where she will lead the Morning Mentoring Clinic for Fantasy and Speculative Fiction writers and teach a one-hour workshop.

Writing Your Own Story

Posted by & filed under Writers Conference.


Freelance Author, Fiction and Nonfiction

Leading the Returners’ Reunion and teaching The Ready Writer: An Intro to Writing for Publication, a Major Morning Track at the March 2016 conference.



You have lived through some tough stuff. But you have also received unexpected blessings. You feel certain that people could benefit from the lessons you learned, but is it possible to write personal experiences in a way that resonates with others? When your writing is done, will anyone want to read it? Will it be published?

Excellent questions! (The answers are: yes, hopefully, and that depends.) So, how to proceed? I’ve written from my own experiences, and I’ve also taught personal writing, and what I’ve found is that these four steps can pave the way to a strong manuscript.

1. Find your focus. Suppose your entire neighborhood was destroyed by fire. One person might focus on the horror and loss of such a catastrophe. Another might write about the bravery of a particular rescuer. Another might concentrate on how best to explain loss to children. Still another might focus on a biblical examination of God’s protection. Which of these is the right focus for a personal experience essay? If you said, “Any of them!” you are right. The important thing is that you choose a single focus and stick with it.

 2. Search out a Universal Truth. We all experience tough things. Some so tough that they forever divide our lives into before and after. The problem with writing about such events is that readers tend to think: Yes, that’s bad. But what happened to me is even worse! Why, one time…  However passionately you write, however poignantly you express yourself, readers will never be able to feel as deeply as you felt. It’s not their experience. The best way to write about your milestone is to make it a frame for a universal experience. Have it illustrate something to which we can all relate. For instance, if you lost your house in that fire, the universal truth might be perspective. Your loss is a terrible tragedy. (I know, because it happened to me!) But still it is just a house. Whatever your topic, I suggest that you make a list of Universal Truths and find one that will fit your experience. Here are some suggestions to start your list: Give thanks always. This world is not my home. The truth will set you free. Where your treasure is, that’s where your heart will be.

3. Determine your audience. Who do you expect to read your writing? Your family? Other Christians? People who are experiencing similar difficulties? People who have no idea what it’s like to be in such a situation? This is important for you to know, because you will write differently for each—for instance, readers who already know and love you and understand your pain, as opposed to strangers who are struggling to make sense of their own situations.

 4. Start writing! Should you write about your personal experience? Absolutely! Way too many people get so busy talking about writing that they never get around to actually putting words on paper. Should that writing be published? Maybe, or maybe not. But this I can say unequivocally: no one will ever read it if you never write it!

Bring your writing with you to the Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference in March 2016. Remind me of this post, and I will go over your work with you.

Write on!


Are you working on a personal story? Which of Kay’s four steps will you work on next?

You’ll meet Kay Marshall Strom at the 2016 Mount Hermon Christian Writers’ Conference, March 18-22, where she will lead the Returners Reunion and teach a Major Morning Track.



A Celebration of Villains

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Elizabeth Mazer head shotBLOGGER: ELIZABETH MAZER

Associate Editor

Love Inspired, Love Inspired Suspense, Love Inspired Historical

Teaching two afternoon workshops and meeting with writers, March 18-22, 2016


A Celebration of Villains

Romantic suspense writers are amazing. The way that my fantastic Love Inspired Suspense authors balance compelling characters, fast pacing, strong conflicts, terrifying danger, deep faith and sweet, satisfying romance into each story never fails to impress me. Writing a good romantic suspense story isn’t easy, but when it works wow how it dazzles. How can you make that happen for your story? Here’s my tip—take a closer look at your villain.

I am a champion of those poor, underappreciated bad guys—and you should be, too. The villain is the heart of your story. He (or she! or they!) makes it all happen. In your mental plot party, the hero and heroine bring the warmth, the charm, the strong sense of duty and gradually blossoming love—but the excitement and adrenaline-rush don’t step through the door until the villain arrives with the high-stakes danger.

Know your villains as well as you know your protagonists. What are his goals? What is he willing to do to get what he wants? What’s standing in his way? And how does every action he takes play into his grand scheme?

Imagine a heroine sees something she wasn’t supposed to see, and bolts before the villain can stop her. Once the villain tracks her down, what does he do? Does he send her a threatening note? No, he doesn’t want her on her guard, he wants her oblivious so he can sneak up right behind her. So don’t start your story with a threatening note—start it with the heroine waking up in the middle of the night to someone breaking into her house. Or discovering her car brakes have been cut. Or a gunshot out of nowhere.

Maybe the heroine has info the villain badly needs. Will he try to kill her? Nah, she can’t tell him anything if she’s dead. Will he threaten her? Maybe…but with what? Could he hold one of her loved ones hostage? Could he blackmail her with the threatened exposure of some past secret? Before the story even starts, your villain needs to be asking himself these questions—and finding answers that get him everything he wants.

That’s the fun part of villains—they have a plan. Whether they want to steal an inheritance, cover up a murder, or take over the world, the villain knows precisely what he’s after. Villains aren’t reactive—they start the ball rolling and keep it rolling. While the hero and heroine are dodging bullets and wondering what on earth is going on, the villain is giving an evil laugh and telling his hairless cat that everything is going according to plan. J

Dig deeper into your villains, and watch the story fall into place. Once you know how your villain has decided to threaten/attack/connive his way into what he wants, you’ll know what your hero and heroine are up against. And with those high stakes and ruthless plans in place… the party begins!


Who are your favorite villains?

You’ll meet Elizabeth Mazer at the 2016 Mount Hermon Christian Writers’ Conference, March 18-22, where she will review manuscripts, teach two workshops, and meet with writers.

It’s All About the DASHES

Posted by & filed under Writers Conference.

Kathy Ide 

 BLOGGER: Kathy Ide

Coordinator of the Mount Hermon Christian Writers’ Conference Critique Team



Two types of dashes are often used in book manuscripts:

em dash: —

en dash: –

The em dash

According to The Chicago Manual of Style and The Christian Writer’s Manual of Style, an em dash should be used to denote a sudden break in thought that causes an abrupt change in sentence structure. For example:

Will he—can he—obtain the necessary signatures?

The em dash is used to indicate that one person’s speech has been interrupted by another.

“Well,” he began, “I thought I might—”

“Might what?” Jayna interrupted.

The Chicago manual also states that a defining or enumerating complementary element in a sentence may be set off by dashes.

“Suzette could forgive every insult but the last—the snub by her coauthor.”

“Three novelists—Francine Rivers, Angela Elwell Hunt, and Karen Kingsbury—have most influenced my own writing.”

CMOS and CWMS recommend that no more than a single dash (or pair of dashes) be used in a sentence. Dashes should be used sparingly throughout a manuscript.

The en dash

The en dash is used for connecting inclusive numbers, including dates, time, or reference numbers. Examples:

1981–1982                 pages 31–33                Daniel 13:3–15



Some word processors can convert hyphens to dashes. In MS Word, go to Tools, AutoCorrect, AutoFormat. Put a check in “Symbol characters (–) with symbols (—).” Then:

To make an en dash, type a word, insert a space, then type a hyphen, then type the next letter or word followed by a space. Once the hyphen converts to an en dash, delete the spaces before and after it. To make an em dash, type a word (do not insert a space), then type a double-hyphen, then type the next letter or word followed by a space.

MS Word has keyboard shortcuts for dashes. For an en dash, hold down the Ctrl key and hit the hyphen on your number pad. For an em dash, hold the Ctrl and Alt keys, then hit the hyphen on your number pad.

If your computer can’t convert, a hyphen may be used in place of an en dash, and a double-hyphen can be typed to represent an em dash, with no spaces before, after, or in between.

Note: For article manuscripts (per the Associated Press Stylebook), do not use the en dash. And insert a space before and after an em dash. For example: “Books — but not articles — use en dashes.”


Did you know the distinction between the two dashes? Think maybe those tips will help revolutionize your dash-editing process?

You’ll meet Kathy Ide at the 2016 Mount Hermon Christian Writers’ Conference, March 18-22, where she serves as the coordinator of the Critique Team. Click here to learn more about the Critique Team.


What Kind of Children’s Book?

Posted by & filed under Writers Conference.


Starting today, we will feature bi-weekly posts by some of our 2016 writers’ conference faculty and resource team members. We’re starting with a little something for children’s writers.

Crystal Bowman from FB


Mentor, Pre-Conference Next Level Mentoring Clinic ~ Take Your Children’s Writing to the Next Level

Workshop ~ Rhythm, Rhyme & Repetition


When writers tell me they want to write a children’s book, I ask them, “What kind of children’s book?” They often give me a puzzled look and reply, “What do you mean?”

The writer is usually referring to the standard 32-page hardcover picture book with illustrations, but there are several sub-genres within the genre of children’s literature that writers need to know about before submitting their work to a publisher. Boardbooks for toddlers, preschool picture books, and books for beginning readers are much different from 32-page picture book with a story. Each sub-genre has its own set of requirements such as word count, page count, vocabulary, and themes.

God’s Big Promises for Kids
  • Boardbooks: Boardbooks are written for little ones who are not learning to read, they are learning to talk. Therefore the words in a boardbook need to be chosen carefully. Even though an adult will be reading the book to the child, the words need to be concrete words that a child can comprehend. Boardbooks are usually 12 pages with bold illustrations and few words per page. Even though you will have little or no say in the illustrations, you need to be able to visualize your words.
Preschool Picture Book
  • Preschool Picture Books: Though some preschoolers may begin to recognize letters, numbers, and even a few short words, many children at this age are still experimenting with sounds and learning new words to add to their growing vocabulary. They enjoy verbally playing with words and sounds, and a skilled writer will incorporate “word play” into the text. Alliteration, onomatopoeia, assonance, repetition, and rhyme are some examples of word play that can help a preschool picture book reach its targeted audience.
Picture Book
  • Picture Books: The standard 32-(or 48) page picture book is a fictional story with a full plot—beginning, middle, and ending. It is usually less than 1000 words, and the story is told using complete sentences and paragraphs. Character development is critical, as well as dialogue. The illustrations enhance the story, but the story can stand alone and is not dependent on illustrations. The market is flooded with premium picture book, so in order to get noticed, a writer has to offer something that is unique and exceptional.
Beginning Reader Book
  • Beginning Reader Books: When writing for beginning readers, writers need to write satisfying stories to get kids excited about reading. They need to use vocabulary words that can be sounded out easily. The sentence structure needs to be simple and direct with few dependent clauses. The stories are told primarily through action and dialogue, and most of the descriptions are left to the illustrations. The key is to combine good writing with engaging stores that can be developed into a series.

In addition to these sub-genres, the children’s market also includes non-fiction picture books, young adult fiction or non-fiction books, Bible storybooks, and devotions for children. So the next time you tell someone you want to write a children’s book, be prepared to tell them what kind of children’s book you have in mind.


Did you know about the various formats for children’s books? Which category best fits the children’s book you’re writing?

You’ll meet Crystal Bowman at the 2016 Mount Hermon Christian Writers’ Conference, where she will serve as a mentor for children’s writers in the Pre-Conference Next Level Clinics, March 16-18, and teach a workshop and serve on the Critique Team, March 18-22. Click here to learn more about the Critique Team.

The Ready Writer: Intro to Writing for Publication

Posted by & filed under Writers Conference.

Each Monday, we’re featuring one of the Major Morning Tracks lined up for March 2016.

Choose one of seven tracks designed for writers at every skill level for your Major Morning Track—Saturday, Sunday, and Monday.

Designed with three parts packed with benefits.

  • Morning Instruction
  • Guided writing in tandem with the teaching
  • Afternoon Mentoring Groups

Instructor: Kay Marshall Strom, Author 

Kay StromKay Marshall Strom is a writer and speaker with a heart for the world-wide family of God. She has authored 44 books—nonfiction and fiction. Her writing credits include magazine articles, TV and movie scripts, curriculum, books for children, and writers’ helps. Her work appears in many compilations, including various editions of NIV Devotional Bibles. Kay and husband Dan Kline live in Eugene, Oregon.

Major Morning Track #7 of 7

The Ready Writer: Intro to Writing for Publication

Writing is both an art and a craft. In this class we will develop both sides.  Art of Writing topics will include: finding ideas and determining their marketability, managing writing time, handling acceptance, and gaining through “rejections.”  The Craft of Writing topics will focus on specific how-to’s of successful writing such as structure, theme, beginnings and endings, dialogue, characters, research, and self-editing.  You will have an opportunity to apply what you learn, and by the end the course will have a finished short piece.  This class is designed for beginning writers, and also intermediates who want a more solid writing foundation.

What specific questions do you have that you’d like Kay Strom to answer in her Major Morning Track?

If you missed any of the previously featured Major Morning Track posts you can view them here.

Join Mount Hermon Writers on . . . 




Magazine Writing: Starting Point or Destination?

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Each Monday, we’re featuring one of the Major Morning Tracks lined up for March 2016.

Choose one of seven tracks designed for writers at every skill level for your Major Morning Track—Saturday, Sunday, and Monday.

Designed with three parts packed with benefits.

  • Morning Instruction
  • Guided writing in tandem with the teaching
  • Afternoon Mentoring Groups

Instructor: Jesse Florea, Magazine Editor and Author 

Jesse FloreaJesse Florea has worked at Focus on the Family for more than 22 years. For the past 18, he’s been the editor of Adventures in Odyssey Clubhouse magazine (for boys and girls ages 8 to 12) and is currently the editorial director for youth publications where he oversees Clubhouse and Clubhouse Jr. magazines. Additionally, Jesse has written for dozens of magazines, including current monthly assignments from devotion and teen publications. He has helped co-write more than a 20 books (including The Case for Grace for Kids, The One Year Father-Daughter Devotions, The One Year Devotions for Active Boys, The One Year Devos for Sports Fans, Linspired: The Jeremy Lin Story and Playing With Purpose Mariano Rivera).  He lives with his wife, Stephanie, in Colorado Springs, and enjoys hanging out with his two adult children.

Major Morning Track #6 of 7

Magazine Writing: Starting Point or Destination?

Is print dead? No way! But the industry is changing. This workshop looks at the reasons you may want to write for periodicals, which include the 3P’s (not to be confused with the C-3PO’s): profit, platform and portfolio. It’s also a great way to express your passion. (Hey, that’s a fourth P!) We’ll talk about how to capture an editor’s attention, practice crafting an effective lead, learn about different types of magazines (online and print), delve into devotional writing and discover how good interviewing skills can open doors to big-time periodicals.

What specific questions do you have that you’d like Jesse Florea to answer in his Major Morning Track?

If you missed any of the previously featured Major Morning Track posts you can view them here.

Join Mount Hermon Writers on . . . 




The Art and Wonder of Writing for Tweens & Teens

Posted by & filed under Writers Conference.

Each Monday, we’re featuring one of the Major Morning Tracks lined up for March 2016.

Choose one of seven tracks designed for writers at every skill level for your Major Morning Track—Saturday, Sunday, and Monday.

Designed with three parts packed with benefits.

  • Morning Instruction
  • Guided writing in tandem with the teaching
  • Afternoon Mentoring Groups

Nancy Rue cropped (677x800)Instructor: Nancy Rue, Author 

Nancy comes to the mentoring table with a wealth of experience: 31 years writing both fiction and non-fiction for middle grade, YA, new adult, and adult audiences; 43 years teaching creative writing; and 122 published books. Over a million of those have sold over her 20 years writing full time. A two-time Christy Award winner, Nancy has expanded her ministry through her Writer’s Mentorship Program to mentor new authors who are led to a writing ministry of their own.

Major Morning Track #5 of 7

The Art and Wonder of Writing for Tweens & Teens

It takes a special kind of writer to create for children and young adults. Writing for them requires not only a  degree of child-brain and kid-memory, but a  certain skill set – an aptitude – a calling. In our time together we’ll discover exactly where you fall as a young people’s author, how you can hone the tools you need in the bag, and just where to go from there as a person called to the kids.


What questions do you have that you’d like Nancy Rue to answer in her Major Morning Track?


If you missed any of the previous Major Morning Track posts you can view them here.


Join Mount Hermon Writers on . . . 




Super Charge Your Fiction and Your Writing Career

Posted by & filed under Writers Conference.

Each Monday, we’re featuring one of the Major Morning Tracks lined up for March 2016.

Choose one of seven tracks designed for writers at every skill level for your Major Morning Track—Saturday, Sunday, and Monday.

Designed with three parts packed with benefits.

  • Morning Instruction
  • Morning Writing Assignments in conjunction with teaching
  • Afternoon Mentoring Groups

Lisa WingateInstructor: Lisa Wingate, Author 

Lisa Wingate’s novels were selected among BOOKLIST’S Top 10 of 2012 and Top 10 of 2013, Publisher’s Weekly calls her work “Masterful,” and Booklist described her as, “Quite simply, a master storyteller.” She is a journalist, an inspirational speaker, and the author of twenty-five novels. She is a seven-time ACFW Carol Award finalist, a Christianity Today Book Award finalist, a four-time Christy Award finalist, a Christian Retailing’s Best Award finalist, and a two-time Carol Award winner. The group Americans for More Civility, a kindness watchdog organization, selected Lisa along with Bill Ford, Camille Cosby, and six others as recipients of the National Civies Award, which celebrates public figures who work to promote greater kindness and civility in American life.

Major Morning Track #4 of 7

Supercharge Your Fiction and Your Writing Career

Lisa Wingate, national bestselling author of twenty-five novels for Penguin Putnam, Bethany House, and Tyndale House, opens her writer’s toolkit and shares her methods of employing plot structure, character, setting, voice, pacing, editing, tight writing, author brand, and marketing strategies to tune floundering manuscripts, sustain audience, and maintain a long-lasting career in fiction. These tips will help your work speed past the roadblocks that could be standing between you and your writing goals.

What questions do you have that you’d like Lisa Wingate to answer in her Major Morning Track?

If you missed any of the previous Major Morning Track posts you can view them here.

Join Mount Hermon Writers on . . . 




Snapshots from the 2015 Mount Hermon Writers’ Conference

Posted by & filed under Writers Conference.

Were you at the 2015 Mount Hermon Christian Writers’ Conference in March?

What would you say is one of the many benefits to gathering with others in the redwoods at Mount Hermon every spring?

Many would say ~ it’s the conversation!

Conversations with writers, agents, and editors.

classroom conversation conversation amidst the trees Conversations outside auditorium meal conversations Randy in conversation after class conversation at the field Three conversations Meal conversations three


Join the conversation . . .

March 16-22, 2016!

Mark your calender ~

Pre-Conference Next Level Mentoring Clinics – March 16-18, 2016

Main Conference – March 18-22, 2016


How To Be An Insanely Great Indie Author

Posted by & filed under Writers Conference.

Each Monday we are highlighting one of the Major Morning Tracks for the Mount Hermon Christian Writers’ Conference.

Choose one of seven tracks designed for writers at every skill level for your Major Morning Track—Saturday, Sunday, and Monday.

Designed with three parts packed with benefits.

  • Morning Instruction
  • Morning Writing Assignments in conjunction with teaching
  • Afternoon Mentoring Groups

Randy Ingermanson
Instructor: Randy Ingermanson, Author

Randy Ingermanson is the award-winning author of six novels and the best-selling guidebooks Writing Fiction for Dummies and How to Write a Novel Using the Snowflake Method. He has a Ph.D. in theoretical physics from UC Berkeley and is famous around the world as “the Snowflake Guy” in honor of his wildly popular Snowflake Method of writing a novel. Randy is an indie author whose goal is to achieve Total World Domination. His wife is OK with that, as long as he remembers to take out the garbage. Visit Randy’s web site at to see what he’s up to next.

Major Morning Track #3 of 7


The internet is buzzing with rumors of indie authors earning millions of dollars—all on their own, without an agent or publisher.  It’s also buzzing with naysayers who warn that indie authors don’t earn diddley.  The truth is that most indie authors don’t earn much, but a surprising number are doing incredibly well.  Why the difference?  In this track, we’ll talk about the “Success Equation” that explains who will be winners and who won’t.  We’ll reveal the secrets of successful indie authors—the vision, strategy, and tactics they use to achieve success.

What questions would you like Randy to answer in his Major Morning Track for Indie Authors?

If you missed any of the previous Major Morning Track posts you can view them here.”

Major Morning Track #1 of 7

Major Morning Track #2 of 7


Join Mount Hermon Writers on . . . 

2016 Keynote Speaker for Mount Hermon Writers

Posted by & filed under Writers Conference.

One of the many highlights of the annual Mount Hermon Christian Writers’ Conference is the faith-building encouragement and inspiration shared by a general session keynote speaker who has been there.

And our 2016 Keynote Speaker has certainly been there. Places we may dream of going. And places the rest of us would never wish to go, but her writing and her speaking are all the richer for it.


Carol Kent


Plan now to come to Mount Hermon, March 18-22, 2016, to glean from Carol Kent.

Why did I choose the word glean?

Take at look at these few facts about Carol . . .

~ 20+ books, including: Becoming a Woman of Influence, When I Lay My Isaac Down, A New Kind of Normal, Between a Rock and a Grace Place, Secret Longings of the Heart, Tame Your Fears, Speak Up With Confidence, and her newest release, Unquenchable.

~ A dynamic, humorous, biblical, and international public speaker.

~ Keynote speaker at Women of Faith, Extraordinary Women, Women of Joy, Time Out for Women, and Heritage Keepers arena events.

~ Speaker at The Praise Gathering for Believers and at Vision New England’s Congress.

~ President of Speak Up Speaker Services, a Christian speakers’ bureau.

~ Founder and Director of the Speak Up Conference, a ministry that equips speakers and writers to take the next step:

~ Along with her husband Gene, founded the nonprofit organization, Speak Up for Hope, which benefits inmates and their families.

~ Former radio show co-host and has often been a guest on Focus on the Family.

~ Regularly appears on a wide variety of nationally syndicated radio and television broadcasts. Past appearances have included the Billy Graham Prime Time Special, Dateline NBC, CNN, MSNBC, Focus on the Family, LIFE Today with James Robison, Family Life Today, and 100 Huntley Street.

~ Featured on the cover of Today’s Christian Woman, and her articles have been published in a wide variety of magazines.


As you can see we have much to garner and gain from this passionate and transparent author and speaker.

Plan now to come and reap the benefits of Carol Kent’s life and industry experience.

Have you ever heard Carol Kent speak? When? Where?

We are SO excited Carol (and Gene) will be joining us in the redwoods in the Santa Cruz Mountains, March 18-22, 2016. We’d love it if you’d help us spread the word in your writing circles.

Find Your Words in the Father’s Presence

Posted by & filed under Writers Conference.

Each Monday we are highlighting one of the Major Morning Tracks for the Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference.

Choose one of seven tracks designed for writers at every skill level for your Major Morning Track—Saturday, Sunday, and Monday.

Designed with three parts packed with benefits.

  • Morning Instruction
  • Morning Writing Assignments in conjunction with teaching
  • Afternoon Mentoring Groups

Doug Newton in TreesInstructor: Doug Newton, Author 

Doug Newton is the Senior Pastor of the Greenville (IL) Free Methodist Church and co-director of the National Prayer Ministry of the Free Methodist Church-USA. Formerly the 15-year editor of Light and Life magazine, Doug has authored eight books and travels extensively speaking at conferences, seminars and churches around the world. He and his wife Margie founded Mary’s Place Ministries and hosted prayer retreats for over 15 years.

Major Morning Track #2 of 7

Find Your Words in the Father’s Presence

Jesus set the standard for writers when He said: I do not speak on my own. The Father tells me what to say and how to say it (John 12:49). Seriously? All those amazing parables (fictional short stories) that change hearts? All those authoritative teachings (non-fiction) that transform minds? All that came from an intimate listening relationship with His Father? If the “Word of God made flesh” had to find His words in His Father’s presence, how can we hope to write without a similar process? In this major morning track you will gain confidence in your co-authorship relationship with God and learn how it works in the realms of reasoning and imagination. Your writing will likely become Spirit-filled and creatively fresh. And the value-added bonus? Your prayer life will never be the same.

What questions do you have that you hope Doug will answer in the class?

If you missed any of the previous Major Morning Track posts you can view them here.

Major Morning Track #1 of 7

Join Mount Hermon Writers on . . .




Writing Life-Changing Nonfiction

Posted by & filed under Writers Conference.

Each Monday we are highlighting one of the Major Morning Tracks for the Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference.

Choose one of seven tracks designed for writers at every skill level for your Major Morning Track—Saturday, Sunday, and Monday.

Designed with three parts packed with benefits.

  • Morning Instruction
  • Morning Writing Assignments in conjunction with teaching
  • Afternoon Mentoring Groups

Alice CriderInstructor: Alice Crider, Senior Acquisitions & Development Editor at David C. Cook

Alice Crider a Senior Acquisitions & Development Editor at David C. Cook. She began her career in Christian publishing at David C. Cook in 1998, moved to Alive Communications in 2001 and then to WaterBrook Press in 2004 where she progressed through editorial ranks acquiring and developing manuscripts. Along the way, she became a certified life coach and published several magazine articles with Focus on the Family. Before returning to David C. Cook, she worked as an Agent with WordServe Literary Group representing 40+ authors. Alice lives in Colorado, where she enjoys hiking, horseback riding, organic gardening, and time with her family.


Major Morning Track #1 of 7

Writing Life-Changing Nonfiction

Have you written a non-fiction book (or two) that hasn’t quite hit the mark high enough for a traditional publisher? Have you published or self-published a book that didn’t reach as much of your audience as you intended? In this workshop, Alice will talk about how to reach and engage your audience by tapping into a felt need they don’t even know they have. Look at the characteristics of best-selling books and how you can use the same techniques, and Alice will provide “results-based” coaching that will help you take a quantum leap forward in your writing career. Bring your current project and/or new ideas, as well as some white paper and a blue ink pen (you’ll see why), and be ready to transform how you approach your writing career.

What questions do you hope Alice will answer in the class?

Join Mount Hermon Writers on . . .