Thoughts about the Mount Hermon Christian Writer’s Conference


I first went to Mount Hermon in 2004. For those of you who may not know, this is actually a small town in Northern California, very near Santa Cruz, which is south of San Francisco.

For the record, Northern California is about as different from SoCal as Nevada is. Sure there is the coast, but it’s a different look, not all beachy like the south. And there are mountains (not serious ones like the Rockies or the Sierras, but much like the San Gabriel Mountains I see out my window every day), but these are covered with Redwood trees. (So the mountains may not be serious, but the trees most definitely are! 😉 )

Driving up the mountain into the Mount Hermon Christian Conference grounds makes me feel like I’m entering another world—rich fodder for a fantasy writer, I assure you.

Back in 2004 I made the trip by bus at night to Santa Cruz, then hung around with a large homeless population until the Conference shuttle came to collect me. That was all pretty interesting too. It reminded me of the summer I took a bus to Mexico City, but that’s another story.

I remember that first year going to the Writer’s Conference I was nervous. I mean, I knew no one. Well, almost. Two members of my critique group were going also, but we had never met. Then there were the editors and agents to talk to, and I felt I had to get it all right or I just might miss my opportunity.

Fortunately a very kind, experienced member of an online writers’ group answered a lot of my pre-conference questions. And God was gracious. I hit it off with both women from my crit group, met lots of other writers, learned good things, especially from Brandilyn Collins and Randy Ingermanson who were teaching a fiction track (a series of workshops totaling something like eight hours).

Oddly enough, one of the things I came away from that conference thinking was that I’d some day like to teach a session or two. I mean, it seemed natural, being as I’ve been a teacher all my adult life … well, until I became a full time writer. But first, you’ve got to earn some credibility, which for writers comes largely by publishing something.

And here I am, an unknown, first-time author, writing a genre unpopular with CBA houses. Uh, writing a trilogy, no less—the old-fashioned, epic kind, with each individual book not standing alone. With a male protagonist. These are things I have come to learn are … difficulties when it comes to finding a publisher.

But here’s the thing. In these past four years, as I continue to write and continue to pursue publication, I have come to realize in a deeper way that God is able. He brought the walls of Jericho down, not Joshua. He gave the victory to Gideon’s band of 300. He brought prisoner Joseph out of the dungeon and made him second in command to Pharaoh. And on and on.

So here’s a surprise, but not really, because of who God is. It looks as if I’ll have a tiny part in a blogging seminar at Mount Hermon this year. Yep, I’m still unpublished, and you can’t really call this teaching, but it’s closer than I thought possible at this stage of my career. That’s the thing, though—God isn’t limited to what we think is possible.

Much more important than me trying to figure out what “right” is for editors and agents is my trust in our God Who Is Able. He walks with me through the prep for this conference, and He will be present at every conversation I have. What does He have in mind for those encounters? I have no idea, and I don’t need to know. And certainly I don’t need to try to finagle or engineer something to happen, as if I can pull off something He might not have thought of. More than likely, the reverse is true! 😉

Published in: on February 26, 2008 at 11:50 am  Comments (10)  
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