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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10 Comments

  1. Amen and wonderful news!!

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  2. What a Mighty God We Serve!! Thanks for sharing!

    Kim

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  3. I’m so excited about Mount Hermon! I love writers conferences and Mount Hermon is especially great. It’s my favorite.

    So what is the name of this seminar you will be taking part in? I want to be sure to leave that block of time open. heh heh

    Actually…I think I already picked all my workshops and I don’t recall a blogging one in the bunch. Probably because I don’t blog anymore. But now that I know about the talent they’ve signed up for that workshop, I’m going to be there. You can bet your boots on it.

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  4. Congrats, Becky!
    Please give the redwoods a hug from me. I’m SO sad not to be going this year.
    I loved sitting with you and Reagen in the lovely fern-filled central garden for an interview last year – one of my highlight memories. 🙂

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  5. Several months ago, I started looking into the Mount Hermon conference, and would like to attend, but next year may be the time. Hope all goes well with your opportunity there this year!

    As for what you’re writing, I’m on a similar uphill climb, and I’m quite tired of fellow writers (and a few agents and publishers) telling me that an unknown writer can’t expect to be published by writing a sprawling story. After all, who would buy it? Well, uhm, I would. I write the kind of stories I like to read. So, all my best to a fellow traveler.

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  6. Nicole, Kim, thanks for your feedback. You guys are so supportive.

    Sally, there are actually two blogging seminars, both given by Laura Barkat. One is session III on Saturday and the other session VI on Monday (according to the tentative schedule). I don’t know which I’m to be a part of. Laura invited Mark Goodyear, who’s actually done some statistical analysis of blog tours, to participate, and he suggested I present what I do for the CSFF blog tour.

    Sharon, I’ll miss seeing you there. It will be the first one I’ve gone to without you. Hanging out with you and Reagen was very fun.

    Keanan, I write what I like to read, too. That’s exactly how I got started. If I’d known this would turn into a serious pursuit, I would have started with something smaller to build a following. I’d have done short stories more, sooner, to learn the craft. But though I followed my passion into what at times feels like publishing purgatory ( 😉 ), I know I’m where God wants me. What more could I ask?

    Becky

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  7. Hey, Becky, it will be great to see you at MH again. How great to hear you’re taking part in one of the blogging workshops. I would love to attend them to hear some stats on blogging. But I don’t know–they’ve got me teaching a morning track PLUS being on critique team again this year, so I’ll be running solid.

    See ya soon! And btw, I continue to support your genre in CBA. One day, I keep saying to myself. One day…

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  8. Brandilyn, thanks for stopping by! MH just wasn’t the same without you last year. So glad you’ll be a part again. I’ve already made my plans to hit the crit tables to get your feedback.

    And yes, I do know you are a supporter of the fantasy genre in CBA. I saw you mentioned your hopes for more of the same in one of your recent posts. Yea, I’m saying, Brandilyn’s in there making points for us. Thanks a bundle. Looking forward to seeing you in a few short weeks.

    Becky

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  9. Hi there, Becky. Good to meet you here in the blogosphere. You’ll be participating in the Monday session. The Saturday is more for beginners (though there’ll be some good tips in there that I didn’t come by until I was quite past Beginner Stage!).

    Looking forward to meeting you in person.

    Blessings,
    LL

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  10. Thanks, Laura. I’m looking forward to it!

    Mark told me he’s bringing out the hook after five minutes! 😀

    Becky

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