Introducing The Author: Paul Regnier


Speculative author Paul Regnier may not be a household name. I haven’t seen a lot of interviews with him or followed a blog tour that featured him. He does have an active presence on social media in places like Facebook and Instagram, but for some reason—maybe because of the dwindling of active blogs—Paul doesn’t have a lot of “guest appearances.” Happily, Speculative Faith, where I write every Monday, has had him as a guest contributor.

But typically, when an author generates content, he’s more apt to talk about his book or writing or some other related topic. Most don’t talk about themselves much.

That’s OK because, as it happens, I know Paul personally. Until he moved, I was in two writing groups with him.

I first met Paul at the Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference. A mutual friend introduced us, with the idea that we might want to include him in our small group of speculative fiction writers.

Since then Paul has gone on to co-teach a youth workshop at Mount Hermon. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Our group decided that he would be a good fit. He is a believer in Jesus Christ, a writer who loves various types of speculative fiction, a family man who, at the time, lived in the greater Los Angeles area, which is where all of us in the group live.

When Paul came into our little group of Christians writing speculative fiction, he was transitioning from screen writing to becoming a novelist. In fact, I think the first work of his that I read might have been a screen play.

I noticed a couple things in those early days. One, Paul had a great sense of humor. Some of the lines coming from the mouths of his characters had members of our group laughing out loud! Two, he was really, really good with dialogue. I mean, essentially dialogue is all that screen plays are. That and some stage direction to introduce scenes. (Obviously, I’m not a screen writer!)

At any rate, as Paul moved into the realm of novels, it was pretty clear that “work on your dialogue” was never going to be a critique any of us would offer.

Paul’s first publishing effort was a foray into self-publishing. The book came out before he had much of a social media platform, and I’m not sure it’s even still available. Let’s just say, he learned a lot through that experience.

From that first effort (fantasy, if I remember correctly) Paul moved on to Space Opera. He wrote the first book of his Space Drifters series, The Emerald Enigma, and after moving on from his agent, found a home for it at Enclave. He went on to complete that series, which became a trilogy, all with the same publisher.

Shortly after Paul joined the local chapter of American Christian Fiction Writers to which I also belong, he and his wife decided to move. With two young children, they determined that there were better places to raise kids than Southern California (imagine!) Paul and his family now make their home in Treasure Valley, Idaho.

Believe it or not, that first original writing group still “meets” from time to time. We were doing the online meetings before the Covidvirus made so many turn to Zoom in order to “gather.”

After completing Space Drifters, Paul went on to write and self-publish the Paranormia books which I’ve introduced here at Spec Faith (here and here).

I’m a big fan of the way Paul tilts a genre by making humor as integral to the story as the adventure. I think it’s a gift—the sense of humor but also the ability to write it and to make it a part of his characters so that it doesn’t feel forced or contrived.

In the long run, besides knowing that Paul “is a technology junkie, drone pilot, photographer, web designer, drummer, Star Wars nerd, and a wannabe Narnian with a fascination for all things futuristic,” what matters the most to readers are the stories.

Maybe the Paranormia books, because of their unique blend of genres, will put Paul on the map and make him that household name so speculative readers will start looking for his books with regularity. I don’t know. I do know that he’s a talented writer, and he keeps getting better. I don’t think readers will be disappointed if they choose one of his books in their search for a new exciting series or a stand-alone novel.

Published in: on June 29, 2020 at 4:03 pm  Comments Off on Introducing The Author: Paul Regnier  
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The Joy Of Conferencing


Not Mount Hermon, but not so very different either.

Not Mount Hermon, but not so very different either.

I love writers’ conferences. I’m not going to any this year, but my favorite one–Mount Hermon Christian Writers’ Conference–starts this week, and a number of people I know are planning on attending either as conferees or as presenters.

Years ago I attended a conference here in the Southland, which was nice because I didn’t have the added expense of a hotel room. It was held at a Christian university in the area so the facility couldn’t have been better. However, the director changed and the venue changed, and then the conference ended.

Another small–I’m talking, fifty people at most–conference, ACW, used to be held in the area at a hotel. I could still commute and liked that one too depending on who the presenters were. There was something really intimate about such a small gathering.

I went to another one day conference in the area put on by the Orange County Christian Writers’ Fellowhip, and that was good too (they recently expanded to a two day conference, I believe). It was medium sized and had some good workshop instructors.

Then there was the ACFW conference a number of years ago. I liked my classes and had a chance to meet a number of online friends in person.

In fact, the best part of conferences, I think, is getting to hang out with writers. I like learning the important content the instructors give, too. I’m an incurable note-taker so fill up pages at these conferences. I also use up all the slots I’m given to meet with editors and agents.

Mount Hermon seems like a good conference for those of us attending–we get to have our work in front of either editors or agents as a submission, if we choose, or we can ask for a critique from one of those or from an experienced writer. Then we can make appointments with staff we’d like to talk with or we can sit with them at lunch or dinner. Since the conference officially runs from Friday noon to Tuesday noon, that’s a lot of meals to spend pitching projects or just getting to know professionals in the business.

Besides all that, there are continuing classes on a particular subject of your choice, so you can go in depth. There are also editor and agent panels and other workshops about interesting topics. Of course there are also keynote speakers that tie the whole conference together. I’ve been there when Ted Dekker was a keynoter and another year when Jerry Jenkins was. But my favorite was Liz Curtis Higgs.

Mount Hermon has another thing going for it–it’s in Mount Hermon. I don’t know that there’s a more beautiful spot for a conference–and my favorite place in the world is Colorado. So you can see, I think a lot about the Mount Hermon Conference site. There’s something about those redwood trees. They’re not just big, though they are that. They are majestic. Or noble. It’s one of those things everyone tries to capture on film, but it just doesnt’ translate to an image. Besides, they create this amazing separation from the busy urban coastal communities nearby, so you feel as if you are miles and miles away from distractions (unless you bring them with you).

I love writers’ conferences, all types–small, large, short, long. I love talking about writing, hearing stories about writing, getting feedback about my writing. I even like writing, so one of the things I’d like to do is go to a writing retreat where much of the time is spent writing.

For now, though, I’m content to troll the Internet for news about conferences in the hopes that someone is blogging about their experience so I can live vicariously through them! 😉

Meet A Winner


The first time I went to the Mount Hermon Christian Writers’ Conference, I rode the bus. It was not a happy experience, mostly because I went at night, arrived tired, and stayed that way a good bit of the time.

The following year, some while before the conference, I pulled out the trusty list of attendees Mount Hermon supplied and started emailing locals to see if anyone from my area was driving up and might have room for a passenger.

While several people replied, only one looked like it would work out. I have to be honest. I had reservations. My traveling buddy was to be a man I had never met. Didn’t know him from Adam or from Jack the Ripper. 😀

Rich with his wife Sheryl

I laugh now because Rich Bullock, the writer who offered to car pool the six hours north, is one of the top-of-the-line Good Guys.

But I had another concern. What would we talk about for all that time? Or would it be OK for me to nap or stare silently out the window?

Silly me. I had prayed about this trip, and God has a way of giving abundantly more than we ask or think. I was driving with another writer, and we pretty much talked about writing non-stop.

Pretty much. I did learn that Rich and I are twins. Well, not actually, but we do share the exact same birth date—month, day, year.

So began a writer friendship. For the next three years Rich and I carpooled to Mount Hermon, adding in a couple other passengers along the way. One year we even had the opportunity to be in the same Mentoring Clinic, so I got a chance to read and critique Rich’s work, and he mine.

I soon learned he had an excellent eye and spot-on suggestions. For a short time we were in an online critique group together, and I saw more and more that Rich knew what he was doing on both sides of the writing desk. Even after that group petered out, I’d occasionally shoot a piece of work to him for his feedback, and he to me.

Consequently, it was my privilege to read a chapter from his new work in progress, Storm Lake, back in February when he was preparing it for another mentoring clinic at Mount Hermon.

And now, seven months later, after a somewhat hopeful agent rejection, Rich hit contest pay dirt. He submitted Storm Lake/Storm Song to the ACFW Genesis contest, Mystery/Suspense/Thriller category, and won!

I can’t tell you how excited I am for him. Here’s a writer who has taken the time to learn the craft and isn’t afraid to have his work before a group of tough critics. He’s one of those writers who gives back, too, having volunteered for years as a contest judge himself.

Hats off to all the ACFW winners—in all categories of both the Genesis (opening pages of an unpublished writer’s manuscript) and Carol (formerly the Book of the Year) contests. But I have to say, I’m especially happy for my friend Rich.

His is a name you’ll want to remember, especially if you enjoy mystery/suspense. His writing is sensory and transports you into the scenes he writes. I can see readers up late at night, all lights burning, covers pulled tight under the chin, but unable to put the latest Rich Bullock novel down!

Published in: on September 24, 2010 at 7:39 pm  Comments (5)  
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The People of Mount Hermon


I promised more about Mount Hermon, and this seems like a good time to squeeze in a little more about the writer’s conference. However, if you want lots more, including some interesting pre-conference info, I suggest you click on over to the Mount Hermon blog.

Where to start?

Regulars here at A Christian Worldview of Fiction might like to put a face with the name of one of our frequent commenters—speculative fiction writer Morgan (she’ll have her own Web site soon) Busse. I was tempted to give her a hard time about not having her own blog until I learned what a busy woman she is and how disciplined she has to be just to eke out an hour a day for writing. Now I feel privileged that she takes the time to stop by ACWoF from time to time!

I don’t think Mount Hermon would feel like Mount Hermon if I didn’t see Becca Johnson and her mom Susan. I first met Becca in 2005, I think, when she was fifteen and part of the teen track. I was excited to meet another fantasy writer and we hit it off right away. Becca joined the CSFF Blog Tour and was quite active until college intervened. Now writing takes up her “free” time.

Some other regulars who make the conference feel like a reunion of sorts are people like now faculty member and former co-mentoring clinic attendee of a Randy Ingermanson group—Jeannette Hanscome, pictured with writer and one time keynote speaker Kay Marshall Strom; Harvest House editor Nick Harrison just before one evening general session standing beside novelist, biographer, poet, and seminar instructor Ethel Herr; strap-yourself-into-your-seat suspense writer Brandilyn Collins; fellow SoCal’ers, novelist Julie Carobini and mentoring group/transportation buddy Rich Bullock; lots others, but I see I’m not going to be able to load all these pictures in this post, so I’ll do a Part 2 another day. For now you’ll have to trust me. Those people really were there!

Published in: on April 15, 2010 at 5:52 pm  Comments (3)  
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More Mount Hermon, 2010


If you’ve been around A Christian Worldview of Fiction for any length of time, you already know I think the Mount Hermon Christian Writers’ Conference is topnotch. Every time I go, I learn more about writing and the business end of publishing, meet more writers, and get more inspiration.

This past conference was no exception.

I arrived a day early, having driven up from SoCal with Rachel Marks and Merrie Destefano (yes, the award winners!) That night I attended the Early Bird session taught by Austin Boyd (no picture! What was I thinking??)

The full conference started the next day with the noon meal (you can hardly call the abundant food provided by Mount Hermon “lunch”), followed by separate orientations for the first timers and the alumni. Author James Scott Bell taught the session for the latter group. About half way through, he invited agent Steve Laube to join him. They held an interesting dialogue about agent stuff. 😉

I had the privilege of sitting at Steve’s table for dinner that night for the purpose of asking him if he ever looks at a work he’s rejected a second time (he does). I was impressed by how much help he gave each of us, even those just getting started who aren’t close to the agent stage. He brainstormed ideas with everyone, listened to projects, and asked intelligent questions.

Later I thought to ask him for an appointment. When we met the last full day of the conference, he was just as engaged, and gave me some helpful suggestions. A+ for Steve Laube. 😀

A good part of my conference time was spent in Rebeca Seitz‘s Major Morning Track—Painless, Purposeful Publicity. I took one picture which is good for blackmail, but this one gives you the real Rebeca. As head of Glass Road Public Relations, Rebeca was full of information about the promotion side of publishing. She had stats and studies, anecdotes and outlines.

I’m nowhere near this part of the process, but I like to be informed. Rebeca gave us loads of info, all from the perspective of what an author can do.

I’ll be honest—there’s so much that at one point I thought my only hope, should I become a published author, would be to hire a PR firm. But that, of course, is crossing the stream before I know if I need to get to the other side.

More on Mount Hermon another day.

Mount Hermon in a Nutshell


I don’t think I can ever do justice in a blog post to a writer’s conference like the Mount Hermon Christian Writers’ Conference. Much of the value comes from the interaction with the people, and most of these are unplanned. Well … by me, anyway. I’m pretty sure God planned them from before the beginning of time! 😉

Some years, I’ve learned practical writing technique information or had especially helpful critiques. Other years the Keynote speaker has had wonderful, humorous, helpful things to say. Then there have been years when I learned more about the business side of things, especially how books are actually acquired.

This year’s conference was different. Yes, I had a great Major Morning Track with Rebeca Seitz of Glass Road Public Relations, LLC. But I think the over all value for me was two-fold.

One came in the people I encountered. From unexpected sources I received ideas, encouragement, support. There were unlikely connections, such as learning that Deb Raney calls home the little town my family moved to the one year we lived in Kansas, or meeting Doug Wolven, a new writer and first-time Mount Hermon attender who lives a mile or so from my place.

Other folks seemed divinely placed in my path to give me a piece of information I needed at a timely moment. Carol was one such person, Wendy another, and Kim, a third.

In a fiction class, I was most surprised by what became, from my perspective, the second great aspect of Mount Hermon this year. Author Marlo Schalesky started the workshop by getting on what she called her soapbox.

She said, to write because we want to isn’t good enough. Christians are called by God to affect lives. If we as writers can show readers God, from wherever we stand, they will know Him better. Story can be the vehicle because it is powerful; it can move and change people.

I love that focus.

Back from Mount Hermon


So the big news is, the two women I rode with to the Mount Hermon Christian Writers’ Conference both won awards—two of eight offered.

Rachel Marks, on the left, won the True Grit Award, described as honoring a writer who perseveres under personal difficulty. Rachel is a cancer survivor. In the last year or so she had two surgeries with chemotherapy sandwiched between. By God’s grace and mercy, she is doing well and has continued to write.

Merrie Destefano, on the right, won the Mount Hermon Writer of the Year Award. Besides her many past accomplishments in the business, including her work as the editor of Victorian Homes magazine, she sold a novel to a general market publisher that will be releasing later this year.

I can’t tell you how happy I am for them both. What a fun/wonderful Awards event that was. More on the conference later.

Mount Hermon – Looking Back


I first attended the Mount Hermon Christian Writers’ Conference (where I am now, though you think I’m at home writing this blog post 🙂 ) back in 2004. Afterward one of the writing groups I belong to asked us to write about our most memorable moment at the conference.

Here’s my offering:

My Mount Hermon memorable moment was in transit. First stop for this poor white older single female bus traveler with Too Many Bags (both kinds) was downtown LA, for a transfer, at midnight.

I might mention, I’m not the most courageous person (i. e. I sent [one of the writers teaching a workshop] about seven dozen e-mails asking what I should expect at the conference).

The bus trip, however, was me and God—and about 82,000 other travelers. And the homeless folk who hang out at warm places like bus stations in the middle of the night.

Faced with an hour wait, I plopped on an end seat in the terminal and
determined to apply a recently-read writing tip—use the opportunity to people-watch. However, an elderly woman soon approached and sat next to me.

To my polite question about her travel plans, she responded, “No In-glesh.”

I dug out my rusty third-year Spanish and proceeded to stumble through a wonderful conversation with a godly Christian woman whose pastor-husband sat across the aisle.

Lessons learned:

  • God is in the bus station, too.
  • Language is important.
  • God transcends language barriers.
  • No matter how much I learn about my craft, without God’s transcendence, I might as well be stumbling along in a foreign language.
  • Connecting with culture is easier if you know the language.
  • Prayer matters.
  • Published in: on March 25, 2010 at 6:00 am  Comments (2)  
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    Conference Prep


    I’m planning to go to the Mount Hermon Christian Writers’ Conference again this year, so my mind is full of all the things I want to get done between now and then.

    We’ll have a CSFF Blog Tour the week of the conference, so that will occupy time that I normally have to prep. But what exactly does “prep” involve?

    For one, I’ll need more business cards. I print my own with my Mac on these cool linen cards that don’t have perforated edges. But I’ll need to have a friend take a more recent picture (I’m of the mind set that cards and profile pictures should actually LOOK like the person).

    Then there are manuscripts to prepare. Mount Hermon gives those of us attending, the opportunity to get either a critique or an editorial review as part of the price of the conference. But we have to mail these advance manuscripts in ahead of time. The one I had hoped to send is far from ready …

    There are around-the-house things to do, too. Cleaning (why is it I’m more concerned to clean before I leave than when I am here! 🙄 ), arranging for the mail and newspaper to be held, paying bills (since the conference is at the end of the month), getting someone to cover my church library duty the Sunday I’ll be gone, a little shopping—just stuff, but it clutters up my brain and I can’t seem to “get creative.”

    The tasks I want to do are the ones that don’t take much thought, at least not the right-brain kind. I’d rather read what others are saying in the blogsphere, check out agents I may want to query some day, work on a new project that has nothing whatsoever to do with what I want to show anyone at Mount Hermon.

    I recognize these symptoms as things I do when I’m scared. I’m a classic procrastinator when I don’t think I can pull something off. If I fritter away my time, I know I will eventually not be able to do all the things on my list, giving me an excuse for why I did a less-than-best job.

    So now that I know what it is I’m actually doing (blogging as therapy—who knew? 😉 ), I need to exercise that power of prayer I talked about a couple days ago and cast myself on God’s mercy so that I can start tackling some of the prep jobs.

    And if any of you are inclined to pray for me these next couple weeks, I would be ever so glad!

    Published in: on March 9, 2010 at 12:58 pm  Comments (1)  
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    Writers Getting Together


    I have to admit, I hear a number of writers heading off to Denver for the annual American Christian Fiction Writers Conference (ACFW), and I wish I were going too.

    Nothing better than a group of writers and other professionals getting together and learning, laughing, celebrating, encouraging, talking shop.

    My conference of choice is the Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference in Northern California (isn’t that our 51 state? 😆 ), but I have ties in Colorado and would love to have gone to ACFW for that reason alone.

    Get this, though. My friend Sally Apokedak will be attending one of the Highlights Foundation (of Highlights for Children fame) Founders Workshops. This is actually a practicum for 6 participants, led by an editor. In Chautauqua, New York. On the west shore of Chautauqua Lake.

    And then there is the upcoming Fall Festival of Authors here in Southern California, with, among others, Athol Dickson.

    Honestly, I’m feeling a little starved because it’s been over a year now that I’ve been to any kind of conference.

    I realize I interact with writers regularly via email and through social networking, but it isn’t the same. People in other professions have face-to-face encouragement regularly. I know from my teaching days, the interaction with colleagues spurred me on and gave me ideas and helped me find solutions to problems.

    Writers need this too. But since I’m not able to go to ACFW in Denver, I’ll be eagerly watching the blogs to get a second hand look at that conference. The Inkwell looks especially promising.

    Meanwhile, I’m on to work as usual, but I’m starting to save pennies in hopes of making the 2010 Mount Hermon Conference. 😉

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