Friday, March 13, 2015

On Writers’ Conferences and Other Life-Changing Things

“Just call me Marci.”

Phil Callaway smiled. “That’s easier,” he said after confessing he was having a hard time deciding which syllable to emphasize in my name. Phil Callaway! I was standing there talking (and laughing with) Phil Callaway!

I had taken a leap of faith to get to the writers’ conference, held that year at Prairie Bible College, and I was already reaping the benefits. That was God Uses Ink, 199?  and I have attended almost every conference sponsored by The Word Guild ever since. I liked it when they changed the name to Write!Canada and moved to the beautiful campus at the Guelph Bible Conference Centre. The first few times I attended I was a bit intimidated but met some great people, other writers I could relate to and many who were to become mentors as well as friends, like Phil Callaway.

Most writers' organizations hold contests in conjunction with their conferences and Write!Canada is no exception. I always took advantage of that and benefited from the critiques and comments on my work. Now and then I even won a prize or two. It was a thrill and blessing to win the Best New Canadian Christian Author Award for my novel, One Smooth Stone, at Write!Canada in 2007.

Receiving the Best New Canadian Christian Author Award, 2007
Being asked to teach at the conference was another special blessing in later years as I discovered the joy of watching students “get it,” take the skills I passed on and move forward to publish. Their endorsements encouraged me to pursue more opportunities to speak and teach and led to an added venue for my career.

And Phil Callaway wasn’t the only successful author I’ve been able to chat with. There have been many others, as well as agents and acquisitions editors.  They have inspired me and spurred me on in my calling. Last year’s keynote speaker had a particularly profound affect on me. I’m sure Ted Dekker’s words will resonate in my life for many years to come and being able to thank him in person as we chatted for a few moments just added the cherry to the top of the dessert.

I am often approached by people who want to write but aren’t sure how to get started. I always tell them about Write!Canada and other conferences like InScribe Christian Writers’ Annual Fall Conference. Attending might be the catalyst that breaks the inertia, the inspiration that lights a fire, the spark that turns a wannabe into a full fledged writer.

Are you in that place? Write!Canada is open for registrations now and InScribe’s conference will be soon. 

Take the leap of faith. You’ll be glad you did.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Fiction Friday Blog Hop

Here's an excerpt from my work in progress,
Book 3 of The Ambassadors:

     Ulhrik was sitting by a small cooking fire, watching Latham settle a kettle on it. Eghan avoided them and climbed into the back of the wagon, intending to sleep. But sleep would not come. He tossed and turned for some time, his arm throbbing and his mind whirling. Each time he closed his eyes he saw Nara’s face, her eyes dancing with joy as they had on that last day when they rode together. After a while he heard Latham enter the wagon but did not respond when he called his name. Then he felt something poke at his leg and heard Ulhrik’s raspy voice telling him to get up and eat.
     After some time he threw off the cover with a growl and strode toward his companions. He took a bowl from Latham and sat near the fire, eating the mixture of fish and vegetables slowly, without speaking. He stayed there as the boy and Isham cleaned up the cooking utensils and laid out their sleeping mats. Then Ulhrik tapped his shoulder with his walking stick.
     “Come,” he said, and strode away.
     Eghan thought to ignore him, but sighed and followed, knowing the old man would not let him rest until he obeyed.
     Ulhrik stood with his back to him, staring across the small pond where the gypsies had caught the fish they had just eaten. When he spoke Eghan steeled himself for the words he suspected would come.
     “There is something I want you to do,” Ulhrik finally said.
     The old man turned to face him. “Balor has shown interest in this,” Ulhrik held out The Book.
     Eghan’s heart skipped a beat but he did not reach for it and did not raise his eyes until Ulhrik spoke again.
     “I want you to teach him,” Ulhrik continued.
     Eghan took a step back, shaking his head. “No.”
     “You will.” Ulhrik stepped toward him and grabbed his good arm, forcing The Book into his hand.
     Eghan stared at it. “How can I teach what I no longer believe?”
     Ulhrik shook his head with that ‘oh you young fool’ kind of expression that Eghan resented but had so often grudgingly acknowledged was well deserved.
     “It is not that you no longer believe, my young Sire, it is that you have allowed self-pity to overshadow your belief and your anger to distort the truth.”
     Eghan raised his eyes to the old man’s. “And do I not have a right to that anger? He has left me with nothing. He torments me with nightmares, or dreams that can never be.”
     “Oh? So now you attribute the sorrows of this world to Him and have the audacity to say you know the future?” 
     Ulhrik wrapped his hand around Eghan’s and pressed the book to his chest. “You will meet Balor here tomorrow, before the breaking of the fast. Begin with the gospel of John."

Check out Book One of The Ambassadors 

Christian Fiction Friday is a weekly blog hop where authors post snippets from their current Works in Progress. It is hosted by Alana Terry and Hallee Bridgeman

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Monday, January 12, 2015